Book Review: The Genesis of Evangeline

cover-review-the genesis of evangelineTitle: The Genesis of Evangeline [The Lost Royals Saga 1]

Author: Rachel Jonas

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Evie Callahan is positive there’s something strange going on in Seaton Falls, her new home. The locals are bigger, stronger, and faster than most. That includes Nick, the boy next door who’s become her silver lining in this godforsaken town.

She wants to trust her instincts–about Nick, about what she suspects in Seaton Falls–but rumors of wolves and dragon shifters makes it hard to tell what’s real. With a history of odd dreams and the nagging sense that she’s never belonged, Evie fears she’s losing touch with reality. Her concern only grows when someone who’s haunted these dreams is suddenly tangible… and claims to hold the key to unlocking her true identity.

Finding out her entire life has been a lie is scary enough, but what’s downright terrifying is discovering who she’s destined to become.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

The Genesis of Evangeline by Rachel Jonas was a solid, fast-paced read. I immediately sank into the story and fell in love with the characters. The author did a good job of making the reader empathize with all of the different characters, particularly the love interests. I’m a firm believer that love triangles only work if both choices are equally appealing, and the author managed to pull that off.

The world building, though cryptic in this first installment of the series, hinted at a depth that I look forward to expanding upon in the subsequent books. The characters were authentic and smart – none of the ridiculous choices and actions you find plaguing young adult fiction these days. My only complaint really is that I did run into a handful of spelling errors. That aside, I would easily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural YA stories. This book was well worth the price for a fully-fleshed out read hinting at a larger saga.

Book Review: Adored by the Mountain Wolf

cover-review-adored by the mountain wolfTitle: Adored by the Mountain Wolf [Mountain Wolf Protectors 2]

Author: Emilia Hartley

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Two weeks after she started living on the Compound – the home of the Mountain Wolves – Amara was getting anxious to return to her life. She had a job, friends and family to return to. Not only that, she had to make sure her sister was safe from her psychopath boyfriend, Kal. If only she could tell Sadie the truth, that he was the wolf shifter who wreaked havoc on Strathford for all these years.

As much as he wanted to protect her, Nova knew that he couldn’t keep Amara from her life forever. He and the Mountain Wolves have been vigilant in the fight against the Valley Clan, but they begin to lose their footing as the attacks increase in frequency. When Nova is reminded he has to protect his pack he has no choice but to bring Amara with him, for her safety.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Adored By The Mountain Wolf by Emilia Hartley was a solid addition to the Mountain Wolf Protectors series. The book was fast-paced and easy to sink into. The characters were familiar from the previous book and the romance was just as sexy and heated as I’d hoped.

If anything, my one complaint about this book is that it wasn’t long enough. I read through the story in less than 2 hours, and even though it was a great read, I couldn’t help but feel that there should have been more to it. The book ended abruptly and the tension of the war between the wolf clans kind of petered out. I wish more time had been spent developing the characters, their relationships, and the plot’s tension – I think we only scratched the surface here.

All that aside, it was a solid read, perfect for readers looking for something sexy and short to sink into, and I recommend it to all paranormal romance readers looking for a new shifter book to get into.

Book Review: Revenant

cover-review-revenantTitle: Revenant [The Apparition Trilogy 2]

Author: Dylan White

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

After everything Jade has been through, Sean wants to make life as normal as possible for her. But being in love with a ghost is anything but normal. The threat of Feeders has grown worse. Despite Sean’s efforts to keep Jade safe, he might not be able to help her anymore. When Ray senses a dark spirit has descended on the house, he will do anything to dispel it. And that could mean eliminating Sean, as well …

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Like the previous book in the series, I am torn on giving Revenant by Dylan White a rating. On the one hand, I like the characters, the romance, and the plot. However, I am not a fan of the narrative voice, the omnipotent 3rd person point of view, or the penchant the author seems to have for giving the reader backstory through little asides. I find the narrative voice distancing to the reader, and I am constantly pulled away from the characters by the frequent head hopping.

I did spot less glaring typos and textual errors in this installment, which is a plus, but I also feel like I didn’t learn anything new. Most of the drama of the plot revolved around ghosts interrupting the main character’s life, but for the most part, it was the same old thing. We got very little new information regarding Sean or his place in the afterlife. It was a bit frustrating to close the second book feeling like little had been gained.

Overall, the book was okay. There are parts of it I liked, and parts of it I didn’t. I was entertained for a few short hours, and I guess that’s what matters.

Book Review: Apparition

cover-review-apparitionTitle: Apparition [The Apparition Trilogy 1]

Author: Dylan White

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Jade Foster just moved to a new city with her mother and step-dad in the middle of her senior year. She doesn’t know anyone. She has a midterm on Monday. And her house is haunted.

Sean Clayton died at eighteen almost seventy years ago. He believes Jade is the one who can help him finally move on. But his connection to Jade exposes her to dark forces from the afterlife. Despite the danger, Sean promises to protect her.

But falling in love with her might be the scariest thing he could do …

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Giving a star rating to Apparition by Dylan White is hard to do. On the one hand, I was intrigued by the story. I liked the main character, and though perhaps not the most thorough of world-building, I did enjoy the overall concept.

Not all was puppies and rainbows, however.

There weren’t a lot of typos or errors, but there were some obvious ones that should have been caught by an editor. The narrative style was sloppy and confusing at times as the author bounced back and forth between the many characters, often within the same chapter. The voice was third person omnipresent – which meant that the story felt like we were hearing it second hand through an impartial observer. At times the author took too much time stepping aside from the story to give the reader context through asides instead of letting the reader figure things out on their own. The style reminded me more of a middle grade or children’s fiction than a Young Adult book.

Basically, the narrative voice nearly wrecked the story for me. I almost put the book down in the first 15 minutes. Luckily, the story pulled through.

Overall, it was an okay book. Though I hated the narrative style and voice, I enjoyed the story and the characters. I may go on to read further in the series. Maybe.

Book Review: The Haunted

cover-review-the hauntedTitle: The Haunted [Sleeping With Monsters 1]

Author: Cassie Alexander

Genre: Paranormal, Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Horror

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Daphne Vance’s life is perfect — she’s a beautiful, devoted wife, and her husband has just bought her a vast countryside estate to start their family in.

But when her husband leaves on a business trip, it doesn’t feel like she’s alone in the mansion — she can feel eyes watching her, and hot hands trailing up her thighs. The domineering spirit of the mansion’s former owner is still present — and when she discovers her husband cheating on her, she doesn’t want to resist the Master anymore….

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I quibbled with myself for a little while before I came up with an appropriate rating for The Haunted by Cassie Alexander. Some people aren’t going to like it. It is a niche of dark fantasy erotica that isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It is dark, sexy, terrifying, and at times very graphic. If those things don’t appeal to you, you’re probably going to want to pass this one up.

The story was incredibly steamy, a bit taboo at times, and not always easy to understand. The main character, Daphne, makes a lot of questionable decisions as to her safety and her own happiness. She gives in to a very dark temptation, and it takes her on a lustful journey with an unseen force – and she isn’t always sure what its motives are. Sometimes the ghost that haunts her seems tender and kind. Sometimes it is jealous and possessive. Sometimes it is downright murderous.

All of that aside, and personal tastes aside, the book is well written. The characters show a sense of depth, the author is good at writing in tension, and the book doesn’t hand-hold the reader. The ending is dark and terrifying, but also appropriate to the story – and one of the reasons this book didn’t stray too far into the ridiculous side of erotica. I think the author did a really good job on the story.

As I said, this book isn’t going to be for everyone – but if you’re looking for a dark take on a paranormal erotic story, this is a good one. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Book Review: Afterlife Academy

cover-review-afterlife academyTitle: Afterlife Academy

Author: Jaimie Admans

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.

Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson’s to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she’s stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she’s stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.

In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all…

Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, I liked Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans more than I thought I would when I first opened up the cover. The main character, Riley, was rather difficult to like at first. She was a bully, sarcastic, quick-tempered, and most definitely in denial. She was the kind of girl you love to hate – because we’ve all met Riley Richardson. She’s the popular girl that everyone looks up to and despises in equal parts. As the story wore on, however, I learned that there was a lot more to Riley. She was capable of introspection, she was fiercely protective of her friends and those she loves, and while she isn’t always the most down-to-earth, she is strong-willed and determined.

Technically speaking, the book was written decently well. There were a few words that I stumbled over and would normally consider as being used improperly, but because this book was set in Europe, and I am from the US, I will give it the benefit of the doubt—as I’m sure it’s most likely a cultural language difference. Other than that, the narrative was easy to follow, the plot was intriguing, and the shenanigans and colorful world built around the Afterlife Academy were geared perfectly towards the audience. I think for what it is, this worked well – and I had a fun time reading it.   If you like  YA romances with a paranormal twist, this was a fun one to get into, and I recommend it.

Book Review: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

cover-review-light as a feather, stiff as a boardTitle: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board [Weeping Willow High 1]

Author: Zoe Aarsen

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

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

McKenna Brady thinks her junior year of high school is going to be the best ever when she’s welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High School led by blond, gorgeous Olivia Richmond. Prior to junior year, McKenna was known in her small town as the girl whose twin sister died in a tragic house fire, and she’s overjoyed at the prospect of redefining her identity. She has a date to the Homecoming dance with Olivia’s handsome older brother, and a good chance of being elected to student council. For the first time since McKenna’s parents divorced, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover birthday party. Violet, the shy, mysterious new girl in town, suggests that the girls play a scary game called Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, during which Violet makes up elaborate stories about the future ways in which beautiful Olivia, brassy Candace, and athletic Mischa will die. The game unsettles McKenna because she’s already escaped death once in her life, but she doesn’t want to ruin her friends’ fun. It’s only a game, she reminds herself.

But it doesn’t seem like a harmless game a week later when Olivia dies unexpectedly in a violent car crash, exactly as Violet predicted. And something begins haunting McKenna’s bedroom at night, leaving her clues that all seem to point to Violet. McKenna enlists the help of her cute next-door neighbor Trey in finding out exactly what kind of curse Violet has put on all of the popular girls in the junior class. As Violet rises to popularity and seemingly steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna and Trey know they only have a limited amount of time to bring an end to Violet’s game before more lives are lost.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board by Zoe Aarsen was a chilling tale of vengeance and greed reaching forth from the afterlife to wreak havoc on a a small town as an unwitting group of teen girls become pawns in a plot from beyond the grave.

The story was well written and boasted a cast of characters both unique and complex. I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping tale would would recommend it to any reader looking for a solid supernatural thriller with strong characterization and a well-constructed plot.