Book Review: Rebel Bound

cover-review-rebel boundTitle: Rebel Bound

Author: Shauna E. Black

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

A city without light … without hope.

Caelin is a survivor. It’s been eleven years since a nuclear disaster drove much of the population underground. Caelin and her young sister Mardy were left topside, where Caelin uses salvage to trade for shelter. Until she gets hurt.

To save her life, a handsome stranger named Jate brings the sisters to rebel turf where plans are being hatched to conquer the Undercity. The rebels preach good life for the masses, and both Caelin and Mardy are hooked on the dream. But as Caelin is drawn deeper into the rebel’s inner circle, passion ignites between Caelin and Jate, and he suddenly seems determined to push her away.

Then she discovers the harsh price of loyalty. The rebel’s dream becomes a nightmare that puts her sister on a dangerous mission to the Undercity. Caelin must determine who to trust before Mardy and the population of the Undercity are wiped out.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Rebel Bound by Shauna E. Black was a fast-paced danger-filled tale of two sisters trying to survive in the wreckage of a post-apocalyptic world. The book was well written – the narrative easy to follow and lacking more than one or two obvious typos. The characters were solid, unique, and their story was rife with danger and uncertainty.

I loved every minute of it. The uncomfortable tension of Caelin’s world and the distrust she had for those around her brought a very real feeling of disquiet to the narrative that made it feel like I was truly part of the story. Caelin was smart, untrusting, and although sometimes made decisions based on a lack of information, she never made stupid choices. She was fiercely loyal to her family and friends, and not afraid to jump into the fray to keep what was hers. I thoroughly enjoyed her as the main character.

Overall, I loved this book. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction, I highly recommend you give this book a try. It is well worth the time.

Book Review: Calmer Girls

cover-review-calmer girlsTitle: Calmer Girls [Calmer Girls 1]

Author: Jennifer Kelland Perry

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Cross is introverted, highly sensitive, and is falling in love for the first time. The biggest problem? The guy she’s falling for is her older sister’s boyfriend, Ben Swift.

Her sister Veronica is beautiful, outgoing, and confident. Samantha is used to her sister getting all of the attention and everything she wants, even if she’s never liked it. But now they’re being torn apart by love for the same boy, their parents’ separation and mother’s declining emotional state, and their move away from Calmer Cove into city life in St. John’s.

As her life crumbles apart around her, Samantha’s feelings for Ben only grow stronger. Then she finds out the boy driving the vintage Thunderbird has mysterious issues of his own. Will Samantha let Veronica keep the only boy she’s ever loved, or will she end up ruining her sister’s happiness to take control of her own? Tensions between the siblings escalate, and Samantha is torn between doing what she thinks is right and acting on her heart’s desire. One thing becomes clear: One of the Cross sisters is in for a broken heart.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have to say, Calmer Girls by Jennifer Kelland Perry was not exactly what I expected. Though labeled as a Young Adult Contemporary Romance, I would venture to say that the book isn’t much of a romance at all. Instead, I’d say that the true calling of this book is as a Contemporary Coming of Age story, or perhaps even venturing into Literary territory. Romance it was not – because despite the core of the plot revolving around a single boy who has two sisters falling madly in love with him…. there really isn’t much romance to be had. This was more of a story about a broken family in a small town trying their best to skate by in life, and the bumps that got in their way. One of those bumps just happened to be a boy equally as broken as they are.

The plot dealt with themes of domestic abuse, adultery, divorce, alcoholism, dementia, teen pregnancy, and a whole host of other problems, and for the most part, the author integrated these believably into the narrative. I did have a few qualms though that kept this from being a five-star read. Maybe it is my ignorance surrounding the local of the story – and that may very well be – but despite the fact that two underage girls were drinking alcohol and having sex with a boy who was very much considered an adult (18), there was never any mention in the narrative by any of the characters about the dangers of what they were doing from the law’s perspective. The girls never made a nod to the idea that what they were doing could be considered illegal or how their actions may play out for the boy (man) they were dating. I’d be willing to even let that slide, considering the terrible parenting the girls were in the midst of at the time… but there was another problem. I had a hard time pinning down Samantha, the protagonist of our story and the voice of narration. Though clearly written to be 16 years of age, she didn’t act 16. The language she used and her thought processes tended to meander between being hopelessly naïve – making her seem barely older than 10 or 12 – or they pushed her in the other direction and made her seem much older than she was.

I didn’t dislike the book, however. I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed their troubles and drama, and for the most part, the book was very well written and engaging. Overall, I really enjoyed the story. If you like literary coming of age stories, I think this book will probably be right up your alley – but I wouldn’t go into reading it thinking that it will be a true YA Romance, because that isn’t really what it is – and you’ll be disappointed if that’s what you’re looking for.

On a more personal note: I really wanted Samantha to wizen up and date Kalen. He seemed sweet.

Free Fiction Friday #148

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #148! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is:  Young Adult Romance!

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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Free Fiction Friday #146–Double The Books!

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #145! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is:  Young Adult Mystery, Thriller & Suspense!

Note: Once again, I missed a Free Fiction Friday (and some reviews) because my schedule is hectic and I am a busy woman. So, you get double the books in this FFF to make up for the skipped post! Enjoy~

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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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: Speak of the Devil

cover-review-speak of the devilTitle: Speak of the Devil [Speak of the Devil 1]

Author: Shawna Romkey

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the crash and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she discovers who…what they really are and learns they are falling too.

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, figure out how to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey was a fast-paced intriguing twist on the battle between good and evil. The writing was clear and easy to follow, the characters were interesting, and the plot was fresh and entertaining.

All that being said, the book wasn’t all rainbows. There was some very serious subject matter handled in this book and it may be a bit triggering to some. The main character deals with the death of her friends, depression, and thoughts of suicide. There is a brief scene of a near-sexual assault. However, I do think that the author handled these well. They weren’t egregious or used to spur on drama. A lot of care was taken to put the reader in the main character’s mind so we could understand her feelings. It never got whiney or over-dramatic.

Overall, I enjoyed how this book was handled and I found it both interesting and entertaining. It isn’t going to be for everyone – as it deals with some heavy subject matter – but if you enjoy good vs. evil YA fiction, I recommend you give it a try.

Book Review: The Binding

cover-review-the bindingTitle: The Binding [The Velesi Trilogy 1]

Author: L. Filloon

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Two nights after her eighteenth birthday, Lily is attacked while out jogging, but is saved by Tharin Lunar, a Sidhe prince. When she discovers that her attacker is her own brother, Lucas, who disappeared four years ago, Lily refuses to believe that her brother would truly hurt her and becomes determined to find Lucas and bring him home. Lily finds that Lucas’ disappearance is somehow tied to Tharin; so when he informs her that she is his betrothed and must return with him to Velesi, fulfill a treaty between their families and unite the two strongest clans through their marriage, Lily agrees. However, she’s not going to Velesi for a wedding, but to bring home her only family, Lucas.

On their journey to the borders of Velesi, the realm of the Thirteen Clans, they’re pursued by a Sidhe assassin group call the Ange, meet with an ogre crime lord that ends badly, deal with a sleazy troll motel manager, and when they discover that there’s a bounty on their heads, they must keep one step ahead of every assassin, bounty hunter and low-life criminal in Velesi.

Protecting Lily has become the biggest challenge of Tharin’s life. Lucky for him he has help in the form of his twin brother, Tolan, Lily’s best friend Julia and his three bodyguard cousins.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Although I liked the overall premise of The Binding by L. Filloon and for the most part, I enjoyed reading it, the book wasn’t without its faults.

The book was easy to read and moved at a nice pace but contained a multitude of misspellings and tense issues. The errors were obvious and I stumbled a few times as I read on. It was clear that the book lacked a solid editor.

The characters, though fun and likable, lacked a real sense of depth – they all read about the same, and some were completely unnecessary. The character Julia, the main female’’ lead’s best friend, was one of these. She was an over-written side character with an exceptionally rough past that instantly falls in love with the second prince. It was unbelievable cliché and needless to have her in the story, and I spent more time rolling my eyes at her character structure than I did enjoying her sass.

Overall, yes, I was entertained, but the book was just okay. I feel like a good editor and some constructive time spent re-working the characters wouldn’t go amiss.