Book Review: Out of the Ashes

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00037]Title: Out of the Ashes [The Ending 3]

Author: Lindsey Fairleigh, Lindsey Pogue

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Adventure

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Hope brought them together, but it’s now fear that drives them…and threatens to tear them apart.
Zoe and her companions succeeded in rescuing Dani from the Colony. But not without sacrifice. Beaten and broken, they head west, determined to leave behind the torment and horrors they experienced in Colorado.

As Dani and Zoe make the perilous trek home to Bodega Bay, they learn that danger can take many forms–other survivors, their friends, even themselves–and that things are rarely what they seem. Zoe is desperate to become the woman she sees in others’ memories, while Dani struggles to conceal damaging secrets, risking losing herself–her humanity–completely. Together, they must rediscover the true meaning of friendship, love, and trust, and learn just how hard they’re willing to fight for what remains of their shattered world.

As relationships are put to the test, second chances are given, and new life emerges, death lurks in the most unlikely of places. To survive, Dani and Zoe must accept that sometimes hope alone isn’t enough.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Let me preface this review by saying that I adore this series as a whole–I’ve been following it from the moment I was sent the ARC of the first book–but this installment to the series wasn’t my favorite. It’s been more than a year since I read the second book in The Ending series, so going into Out of the Ashes by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue, I had a bit of a hard time sinking in. Like Zoe, one of the main characters of the series, I felt like I had a form of amnesia. I couldn’t remember what had happened previously in the series, particularly near the ending of the second book, and so being dropped into the fast-paced and somewhat alarming beginning of the third book, I was rightfully confused. It took me a while to sort out what was happening and to remind myself of previous plot points… and in that way, I felt very close to Zoe in her struggle with trying to remember her past. It was an unexpected and strange sisterhood between us throughout the book.

Technically speaking, the book was exceedingly well written. I didn’t run into any grammatical errors, typos, or punctuation problems. The characters were all distinct, easy to love or hate respectively, and the story moved along at a steady pace. The setting was rich with detail but not so much as to bog down the narrative, and overall, I enjoyed the book as a whole.

There was only one problem.

I slogged through the book. It was odd how slowly I moved through the story–and it took me till nearly the end of the book to figure out why. There were no big battles or dramatic plot points. The majority of the book was spent delving into the character’s emotional states and the relationships between the members of their group… but very little was spent in any sort of action scene or on any sort of big battle with a nemesis. It was all very interesting–don’t get me wrong.. but by the end of the book, I was left feeling that nothing had happened. As much as I enjoyed spending time with the characters, by the end I was glad to finally be done and to set the book aside and move on. I’m even a little hesitant now to pick up the fourth book, though I will be doing so shortly… this installment just wasn’t as tension filled as I’d come to expect–although, thank goodness, there was a lot more of the romance present that had been missing from the second book in the series.

If you like post-apocalyptic stories filled with special abilities and great characters, I highly recommend this series, even if this wasn’t my favorite out of the bunch.

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Book Review: Beyond The Fortune Teller’s Tent

review-cover-beyond the fortune teller's tentTitle: Beyond The Fortune Teller’s Tent [Beyond 1]

Author: Kristy Tate

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Time Travel, Historical

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred spirit in Emory Ravenswood.

Emory must thwart the plans of religious zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always play fair.

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

What a strange, but entertaining book. I picked up Beyond the Fortune Teller’s Tent by Kristy Tate on a whim after spotting it on Amazon for FREE. I’m a huge fan of time travel, and the book seemed to be right up my alley. I wasn’t wrong.

As far as the technical side of things goes, the book was well written. There were one or two typos, but nothing that distracted me from the story for more than a split second. The writing was clear and easy to follow, and I was engaged with the story from the very first page until the very last.

I adored the characters—particularly Emory, but also Mary, Anne, and Garret. I’ll admit I had my doubts about Petra—no offense to the teen, but there were times when she made really stupid comments/decisions that made me want to roll my eyes. I understood why she made them, though. She was definitely a fish out of water in the 1600’s.

My biggest complaints were the loopholes and tiny unfinished bits throughout the book. They weren’t enough to make me not enjoy the story as a whole, but they were distracting from time to time. One minute Petra was convinced she was dreaming, the next she knew exactly what year she was in without ever having to ask. She went from not knowing what to do in her relationship with Emory, to suddenly being in a genuine relationship with very little transition. I sometimes just had to step back, take a breath, and say “okay, so, that’s a thing now.” and move on.

Overall, it was a good book. Was it the best time travel romance I’ve read? No. I wish there had been a little more world building—but it was still a decent read, and it fit the YA genre well. It was a fun little adventure, a sweet romance, and I’m happy to have read it. If you like YA fantasy Romances, particularly delving into time travel, I recommend you give this a try.

Book Review: Accordance

cover-review-accordanceTitle: Accordance [Significance 2]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the sequel, Maggie learns much more about all the strange things that happened to her, and has to face new ones. She rebels against it, but ultimately, must face it for her new families sake and maybe even her life. Bish went from being her biggest supporter to her biggest pain in the butt and Kyle’s intentions to attract her interest may not be so innocent. Caleb and Maggie face many new obstacles together and fight to work through them but will one that should be a good thing be too much for Maggie to handle?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

After quickly reading through the first book in the Significance series, I went ahead and picked up the second, Accordance, right away. I was a little worried going into this story that I wouldn’t like it as much as the first book; it’s pretty common for series to go through the second book slump, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Like Significance, Accordance was well written. There were quite a few typos in my copy of the book, which was unfortunate, but other than one or two stumbles where a letter or word was left out, most of the errors were tiny and didn’t jar me out of the reading. The narrative was decently paced, easy to follow and engaging. I was sucked into the story right away and sped through to the end of the book in just a few hours.

Luckily, where the first book failed in the series, Accordance excelled. The story was rife with tension, both between the rather large cast of characters, the different families of the Aces, and more importantly, between Caleb and Maggie. Things certainly weren’t easy for the couple, and Marcus, Bish, and Kyle once again didn’t make things any easier.

I was glad to see the changes to Maggie and Caleb as they started to come into their powers, and even more so to see some of the other characters start to find their Imprints. My only problem was with the exceedingly slow pace at which Maggie figured things out. I’d guessed at the outcomes of some of the relationships and uses of their powers long before Maggie caught on, and it felt a little like I was waiting for her to catch up throughout the book.

Still, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Now that the Instant-Love aspect of Maggie and Caleb’s story was a book behind me, I was able to sink into their relationship a little easier, and of course it was nice to see that they were beginning to run into obstacles with their relationship. If you liked the first book in the series, or you’re a fan of heavily romance-influenced paranormal YA stories, you’ll probably love this book. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but personally, I can’t wait to continue on with the series!

Book Review: First Impression

review-cover-firstimpression

Title: First Impression [Shadow Maven Paranormal 1]

Author: Pauline Creeden

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Chira Kelly thought she didn’t need anyone…until she met Ben.

Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she’s wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group.

Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. Going into First Impression, I was somewhat put off by the present tense of the narrative—which no big surprise here, isn’t my favorite tense. In fact, more often than not, I loathe it. It took me awhile to get used to the story right off the bat, and this was further compounded by a multitude of punctuation/grammar mistakes—mostly stemming from the author’s predisposition towards using correlative conjunctions incorrectly. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who start sentences with “and” and “but”; I’ll admit, it drove me a little crazy. Once I was able to push past that, the narrative was mostly okay. I’ll admit: it was a little choppy for my tastes. Sentences were short and concise, and while usually this is a good thing, eventually it gets monotonous if it isn’t broken up a little bit. The first chapter was certainly a push.

Once I sunk into the story, however, I fell in deep. Ms. Creeden has this amazing ability to draw the reader in with engaging personal details and very real character development. None of the characters felt 1-dimensional to me, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Ben and Chira specifically. The dialogue and actions of the characters were natural and familiar in a way I think will speak to most readers, and the plotline was entertaining. The story held bits of romance, thriller, and ghost story, and it was fun to follow along with Chira as she and her friends began to untangle the truth behind what was happening at the old school house.

I’m going to keep this review short because I don’t want to give away any spoilers of what is to come, but I will say that despite it’s rocky beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed First Impression. It had the familiar feel of a good old fashion ghost story, but with a splash of realism to really bring out how terrifying the whole situation was to the teens involved. I’d be happy to read this again, and to recommend it to other readers. If you enjoy paranormal  YA fiction, you’re probably going to love this.