Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review: Blue Moon, by Alyson Noel

Title: Blue Moon (Book #2, Immortals)
Author: Alyson Noel (
Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: July 07, 2009

Genre: Young Adult
Themes: immortality, reincarnation, forbidden love, paranormal, high school

Synopsis: (From GoodReads) Eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal, Ever turns to her beloved Damen to show her the way. But just as her powers are increasing, Damen’s are waning. In an attempt to save him, Ever travels to the magical dimension of Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen’s tortured past; a past which he has always kept hidden from her. But in her quest to cure Damen, Ever discovers an ancient text that details the workings of time. Now Ever must chose between turning back the past and saving her family from the accident that claimed their lives—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows sicker every day...

Additional Information: Read an excerpt here. Book trailer follows.

My Review: At the start of the book, we learn that Ever is learning about her new powers from her Immortal boyfriend, Damen. Everything seems to be going perfectly for the couple until they see the new kid in school, Roman. Damen pays him no mind, but Ever is put off by him from the beginning. Then, things start changing. Suddenly, Damen starts acting weaker ... and altogether starts ignoring Ever. As a matter of fact, everyone seems to not like Ever at school anymore - even her friends Miles and Haven. Typical high school clique change, right? No, not necessarily. The school seems to be getting along fine and it seems as though the lines between cliques have been blurred. Everyone seems to be getting along, and agreeing on the fact that Ever is the only outcast in the school. Damen even goes as far as calling Ever a stalker and takes a sudden interest in the school's queen bee/ Ever's nemesis, Stacia. Ever's only ally during this time is Roman, the new kid who is constantly flirting with her. Ever knows something is wrong with Roman and somehow he's responsible for everything happening - but she has no proof and Damen seems to be slipping farther away from her. With the help of her psychic friend Ava, a few trips to Summerland and some intuition, Ever learns that all is not well and she doesn't have much time at all. And if she can't find a solution? Damen's immortal life may be at risk.

I mentioned on my Facebook that I literally stopped reading this a few times, which is why it took me a few extra days to do this review. There's just so many things that I can point out that make me want to scream, but I'll start with the good. Miles finally has some dimension! I know I mentioned in the first book that I was disappointed that the author didn't go anywhere with the token gay guy, but all is better. And there were definitely some spots in the book where it took unexpected twists, which was very refreshing. Having said that ... I feel as though Riley didn't get as much action time as she should have been given in this book. Yes, I know, she crossed over - but there were supposed to be signs everywhere for Ever! When you did get a sign and a scene, it was close to the end and just felt like an afterthought to me. The whole ordeal with Damen being weakened was a little sudden to me. I mean, it went from having a small problem with manifestation to a small bout of amnesia - to no amnesia and absolute disgust with Ever within a day. Oh, and you find out he's dying ... but there were never any signs that he was deteriorating. Instead, Damen's moments in the book were spent with threatening Ever and flirting shamelessly with Stacia. Yet, when the whole school seems to be acting the exact same to one another - Haven somehow manages to shine through by dressing like anyone that she likes at the moment. It was just so out of place. The plot seemed to be going in the same direction - which is Ever and Damen seem like they'll never get to actually enjoy being with one another - something always keeps them apart. And the worst part for me - Ever not following her instincts and her doing the exact opposite of what she should have done. To me, Ever just seems to be really immature, always acting irrationally. She never knows anything, but then out of the blue she has these genius ideas to save the world. With the negative out of the way, I can say that the read was light and flowed easily. Despite my complaints, I'm not going to stop reading the series because it does have that flair that keeps me coming back for more.

Rating: - As I said, the story frustrates me to no end. It has the "not what it may seem" moments, but then Ever's decisions are getting a little more predictable as you go along. It has a bittersweet happy ending, which gets you ready for the next book in the series. Again, there's nothing much I can say about the characters since they were a little ... distracted in the story. Despite that, the writing was wonderful and I do enjoy the world that is Summerland and look forward to reading more about it.

Summary: If you liked Evermore, then I'm sure you'll want to read this book. It's good for a nice, quick read. You learn a lot more about Summerland. Forbidden romance seems to be the theme this season, so if you love stories like that ... you'll probably like this one.

Source of Book: Purchased.

Other Books By Author: For a list of Noel's books, click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Review: Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Pages: 384
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: February 01, 2009

Genre: Young Adult :: Paranormal Romance
Themes: love, arranged marriage, vampires, high school, feuding families

Synopsis: (From GoodReads) The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

Additional Information: Read an excerpt of Chapter 1 here. AFTER you read the story, if you feel like reading more on Jessica and Lucius, then click here. You do NOT want to go to that link before you read the book, unless you want the story kind of spoiled. You've been warned. ;)

My Review: Jessica Packwood is waiting on the bus for school when she spots him - the mysterious stranger leaning up against a tree with a long, black coat on. The part that bothered her? He was staring at her. Avoiding contact with him by climbing into the school bus, Jessica heads for school with more questions about the stranger - like how he knew her name from her past that no one knew about. Her crazy encounters don't stop there. Suddenly, this guy is everywhere in her life - from being in her class, to talking to her mom, to being invited to her house for supper! How could things get any worse? Finding out that Lucius, the stranger, believes that she is a vampire princess and she has been decreed as his fiance since birth to save their rival clans from war. Oh, and he's a vampire too, obviously. Convinced that the guy is off of his rocker, Jessica goes out of her way to try to avoid him - only to have her own parents turn on her and make her be courteous to him, in and out of school. Throughout the story, Lucius tries to court Jessica, but finds it completely impossible - especially with a farmhand courting her as well and Jessica accepting his advances. Realizing that Jessica was not raised to handle her vampire life, Lucius begins to distance himself from Jessica - only to have Jessica start accepting her heritage. During this time, Lucius figures out some dark secrets of his own family and decides to break their contract of marriage in order to save Jessica's own life. However, he puts his own life in jeopardy. The ball is in Jessica's court - does she continue to live out her normal life, or does she embrace her fate ... even if there is a chance she has lost her vampire fiance?

This story ... was pretty awesome. There are so many cliches in this story ... yet their are also so many original twists to the story, it makes my head spin to keep up with the two. What I love about this story is that you can really see the character development happen right before your eyes with the two main characters, as well as a few others. Jessica actually develops feelings for Lucius over the course of the story, she doesn't just automatically fall in love with him as soon as she sees him or as soon as he shows chivalry. Lucius is hard at first, set on bringing Jessica back to marry her as part of his duty - but her ways charms him into actually feeling something for her. Both characters I find very endearing. The story is told from Jessica's point of view (in 1st person pov), but you get breaks and a peek in Lucius' mind through his letters to his uncle scattered throughout the book. The story was wrapped up really well and everything just seemed to flow seamlessly. My favorite part? Lucius' banter. He reminded me a lot of Stewie Griffin - and that's a very good thing!

Rating: - For the reasons above - especially Lucius and his dialogue - I have decided that this book is definitely worth five stars. I would read this book over and over because it's absolutely adorable. I mean, the whole self-sacrifice on both of the characters' parts was extremely gutsy and the story is completely believable - not everything is black and white, not everything is all peaches and cream. However, in the end, what needed to happen actually happened and it pulled together nicely. As far as I know, this is a stand alone story - but the world and story is so elaborate that more could be written about it.

Summary: This story is a wonderful paranormal romance with a back history attached to it. Anyone that loves witty vampires and true love and sacrifice with love this book.

Source of Book: Purchase.

Other Books By Author: Beth has another book coming out that is not related to this story called Jekel Loves Hyde.

Katie's Spring Cleaning Contest!

In the past, I've wrapped all contests into one pretty little post with a nice little bow on top. Then, I realized that it's not giving the contest the proper recognition that it deserves. From now on, it'll be a separate post for each. That way, your attention is on the contest and not a thousand links that run together after skimming through twenty or so. ;)

* * * * * * * * * *

Katie is actually running TWO contests that both end on April 30th. The Linger ARC contest I have already mentioned, but this one is actually a little more than just a single title.

It seems Katie is running into the same problem that most of us bibliophiles run into, and that's not having enough room for all of your books! Lucky for us, she's giving away 20+ books! The best part? Entering this contest is as easy as the Linger one!

Head on over to the contest post on her blog, fill out the form, and hold your breath until April 30th! Okay, I kid about holding your breath. Catching up on posts on her blog may be a better idea - better for your health, anyway. =D

Update & Linger ARC giveaway!

Ew, things have been so especially horrific with my computer situation. Alas, I get my laptop back on Friday. By the end of the weekend, I'm hoping to be up and running again. Hopefully. My computer isn't 100%, I've been told it still randomly shuts down every now and then on its own and the disc drive is still not working. But, it works beyond that! I plan on keeping it for about a month, testing it out, then I'll probably end up shipping it off to HP - after I know what's all wrong with it. However, within my trial month period, I'm going to work my tail off doing reviews. I'm looking into maybe backstocking a bunch of reviews, then rationing them out so I only post between 1-3 a week until my computer is back and completely fixed. That will also give me room to post other things like teasers, covers, reviews of movies based on books, and other important things ... like contests and giveaways!

Now, onto better things. =)

Do I have your attention?? Good!!

Katie over at Katie's Book Blog is giving away her extra ARC of Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater! I'm about half-way through Shiver, so I'm really excited about the follow-up!

Make sure to head over to the official contest post, fill out this form by April 30th, and you'll be entered to win! Also, I suggest following Katie because her blog is great!

Thanks for your patience, guys! I promise I'll make it worth it once I'm completely back up and running!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Review: Evermore, by Alyson Noel

Title: Evermore (Book #1, The Immortals)
Author: Alyson Noel (
Pages: 320
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: February 03, 2009

Genre: Young Adult
Themes: high school, teenage love, immortals, reincarnation, tragedy

Synopsis: (From GoodReads) Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

Additional Information: To read Chapter One and Two of Evermore on Alyson Noel's website, click here. Book trailer follows below.

My Review: Ever (original name, no?) survives a tragic accident that claims the lives of her father, mother, pet dog and twelve-year old sister, Riley. Unfortunately, Riley didn't actually cross over like the rest of her family (save Ever), so now she spends most of her time around Ever, or catching up on old neighbors and their gossip. Ever, now orphaned, is taken in by her father's twin sister - who is a lawyer and immediately gives Ever all that she could need to make herself feel more at home - tv, jacuzzi, stereo, the works. However, Ever would give it all back to have her family back. Not only does she have to start her life over in a new place, but she seems to have received psychic powers from her near-death experience. She can see auras, read people with just a touch and, worse of all, she hears everyone's thoughts. It's too much for Ever. She used to be popular at her old school and now - armed with her iPod on full blast to drown out the thoughts and hooded sweatshirts to conceal her mp3 player - she's considered a freak, only finding solace in her attention-craved, now goth, friend Haven and token gay friend Miles. That is, until she meets Damen. She's already heard about him, but she avoided eye contact with him when he sat beside of her in class. Then, there was the silence. Anytime Damen touched her, all she heard was silence. Damen has taken an interest in Ever - but who is this new girl, Drina, that she's seen him out with? And why is this new girl trying to take her best friend away from her? Ever didn't think it could get any worse ... until she found out that Damen is an immortal, and Drina's trying to kill her in order to get Damen back.

This is one of those books that I got a while back in order to get over my vampire obsession. I figured I could still do paranormal, but I needed to expand my horizons. The cover attracted me and I had heard a lot of things about it, but nothing overly great. I still picked it up, but I didn't get around to it until now. Thanks to my friend, I got a little hooked on the Harper Connelly Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris. Whoops. However, I'm hearing wonderful things about Shadowland and I really want to read it - so, what better place to start than the first in the series? It's just something I absolutely have to do - if I start a series, I start from the very beginning. Now, the story starts out okay. It drags out a little, and you have to read a while for some of the good stuff to happen. However, the filler that really kept me reading was Riley - Ever's sister that didn't cross over. She's a wonderful character. I just wish I could say the same about the others. I found the secondary characters not all that well developed. To be honest, Haven got on my last nerve with her attention-whoring ways. Of course, I never really did like anyone who changed who they were to get someone's attention. And Miles ... he's gay ... his character could have been wonderful in so many ways! But instead, he just came around in the story to add his two cents here and there, and he really felt like a filler to be ... but a filler in a bad way, not good like Riley. Ever could have been a little better as a main character. She just seemed so indecisive about everything and sometimes so needy when it came to Damen and her sister. The plot was good. I did like the story. Overall, the story was well-written, I just wish the characters were fleshed out a little better.

Rating: - Don't get me wrong, this is a good story and it's worth the read. But the characters held me back from four stars. However, I do plan on reading the sequel as well as the third installment that's come out recently.

Summary: The story starts out as a tragedy, but quickly turns into a love story between a girl and an immortal. As the story continues, you learn a lot more about why Ever has her powers as well as why she's being stalked by Drina, who claims to be married to Ever's boyfriend. It's a story that tells you it's definitely not the beginning of this love story - nor is it the ending.

Target Audience: Teenagers and older that loves the fantasy stories. If you like reading about crazy exes, you may like this story as well. ;)

Source of Book: Purchased with my own money.

Other Books By Author: The sequel to Evermore, Blue Moon, and now the third installment, Shadowland. Alyson Noel also has several other YA books that are non-paranormal, including Cruel Summer, Laguna Cove, and several others. For a full list, visit her website or click here.
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