Thursday, 31 January 2013

Review + Giveaway: Fangtabulous by Lucienne Diver

With the Ghouligans in town, we can't stay in Salem. But with a supernatural strangler running loose, we can't leave.

After figuring out that the Feds like to perform mad experiments on vamps for fun and profit, I decided it was time for me - Gina Covello, fashionista of the fanged - and my minions to ditch our government spy jobs. Unfortunately, that made us public enemies number one through six.

Being on the run is no picnic, and who knew our perfect hiding place would be crawling with ghosts? A nasty spirit from ye old witch trial days - maybe the infamous Sheriff Corwin - is on a killing spree. And with a producer from the ghost hunting reality show Ghouligans ready to blow our vamp cover, Salem isn't helping us to blend in. But the supernatural strangler needs to be stopped. Sure, I rose form the dead, but this evil ghost's victims won't be as lucky... or as fangtabulous as me.

This series keeps getting better with every book I read! Fangtabulous is my favourite by far, for so many reasons. I loved the character development, the intense plot, the mystery aspect interwoven within the storyline, and the ever-present signature humour of this series.

In Fangtabulous, Gina and the others are on the run from the Feds, after realizing that they aren't exactly the good guys. They decide to stay in Salem for a while, until they find out that the cast and producers of a supernatural TV show, Ghouligans, is in town. Being vamps, they have to avoid the cameras at all costs, but there's another risk too - they can't have the producers finding out their little secret. But the appearance of a supernatural strangler convinces them to stay, especially when Gina becomes a target.

I really like how much Gina's grown from the start of the series. In Vamped, she struck me as vain and superficial. But now, she's smart, kick-ass, and also really compassionate. She doesn't want to leave Salem because she wants to save everyone in the town from the strangler. She values their safety more than her own. She's still sarcastic and quirky, which are the things I like most about her. But I found it great that she also opened up to Bobby, her boyfriend, more. Their moments together were really cute! Speaking of Bobby, there's a nice little plot twist concerning him near the middle of the book. Okay, maybe I shouldn't say 'nice'. But it was both serious and hilarious at the same time, and I was torn between laughing and worrying for the better part of the book!

A character from a previous book returns in Fangtabulous, and that just made me love this book even more. Care to hazard a guess? It's Ulric, of course! The goth guy from ReVamped who had a thing for Gina? Well, he's back, and Bobby's not very happy about it! Ulric is my favourite character from the series, other than Bobby maybe, and I was so psyched to see him come back in this book! There wasn't exactly a love triangle here, but it was pretty close. I think one might develop in the next book. I'm intrigued to see how that would work. Anyway, Ulric is as hilarious as ever, and he's always there to give Gina a laugh when she needs one. I'm still Team Bobby all the way, though!

I loved that this book was about the Salem witch trials, because I've been interested in them ever since I first heard about them. They make a great background for the plot of a book. The Vamped series has always had great suspense and action, but Fangtabulous definitely surpassed the others. Lucienne Diver has created an awesome plot for this book - the whole witch trials and Book of Shadows aspects got me really interested.

After reading Fangtabulous, I honestly can't wait to read the next one, assuming that the series will continue. And it should! With that ending, I'd love to find out what happens next. Fangtabulous is perfectly paced, action-packed, and a great balance or romance, suspense, and humour. If you've read the previous books in the Vamped series, you definitely can't mis out on this! And if you haven't started this series yet, what are you waiting for? Get to it!

*Thank you to Lucienne Diver for providing a copy for review*

Rating: 4/5

Lucienne Diver is very generously giving away FOUR SIGNED COPIES of Fangtabulous!

You must be 13+ to enter.
This giveaway is open to the US only.
It will run from January 31st to February 28th 2013.
4 winners will each win a signed copy of Fangtabulous.

Enter the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #17: Scarlet

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Release date: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Scarlet is the second book in the incredibly awesome Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. I love the concept in this series, especially the fact that each book is a different fairy-tale retelling. Cinder was a retelling of Cinderella, and Scarlet is a retelling of Red Riding Hood. Cinder was the very first book I reviewed on my blog, so it's really special to me. That being said, I can't wait to read this book!

Add Scarlet on Goodreads here.

Book Promo Blitz + Giveaway: The Crescent Chronicles by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles #1)
Published August 2012

Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Focus (The Crescent Chronicles #2)
Publishing date: January 31st 2013

Freshman year of college is hard even when you're not tied to the future king of a supernatural society.

Allie dives into college head first with Hailey as her roommate and the city of New Orleans as her backyard. As things within The Society heat up, Allie realizes that whether she’s with Levi or not, she's in far too deep to turn back.

Goodreads | Amazon

About the author:

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a Young Adult and New Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Find Alyssa on:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Excerpt from Flight

We walked through the French Quarter slowly, and I tried to take it all in. The music, the crowds, and the atmosphere still felt surreal. Music spilled out of the endless bars and clubs. 
“Wow, are those people seriously dressed up as vampires?” I asked, looking in at a dark bar on the corner. Inside I watched a man and woman holding up a chalice and smiling with fangs showing.
Levi laughed. “If you think those people are weird, you’d be freaked out by the real thing.”
“The real thing? Very funny.”
“What, you don’t think vampires are real?”
“No, and I’m glad they aren’t.”
“Why? Do they scare you?” Levi stopped walking, and turned me to look at him.
“Does the thought of blood sucking monsters scare me? Hell yes. Who wouldn’t be scared of that? ”
He laughed again even louder. “Trust me sweetheart, in New Orleans vampires are the least of your worries.”
“What do you mean?” Something about the glint in his eyes made me feel a little uneasy.
Levi’s face turned into a faint smile. “I’m really glad you asked that.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’ll have to wait and see.”
“Okay, listen, scaring me isn’t a good way to get me interested, so if you have any weird tricks up your sleeve just shelve them.” I wondered if this was the time to tell him I avoided horror movies like the plague.
“No tricks, hon.” Levi pulled his phone out of his pocket and texted a few times.
 I continued my people watching. I’d never seen so many middle-aged people laughing and partying before. It almost felt like the twilight zone.
Levi slipped his phone back in his pocket. “We’re meeting everyone over at Club 360.”
“What’s that?”
“The lounge on the top of the World Trade Center down by the river.”
“Okay, is it a cool view?”
“Yeah, it’s got a good view.” Levi laughed again and I had the distinct impression he was hiding something from me.
“You promise you aren’t luring me into some trap?”
“A trap? No. Let’s just call it a new experience.”
My stomach dropped. What the heck did I get myself into?

One ebook copy of Flight
Giveaway ends on February 20th
Fill in the Rafflecopter below to enter!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cover Reveal: The Only Exception by Magan Vernon

Here is the beautiful cover for The Only Exception by Magan Vernon!

It's so pretty! And I really like the blending of the stars and stripes. I definitely want to check this out when it releases!
Here is the official blurb - 

Fiercely liberal Monica Remy prefers to blend in. Despite her tattoos, piercings, and outspoken personality, she transferred to Central to escape—before she finds out that her next door neighbor is the uber conservative governor son, Trey Chapman.

No matter how hard she tries to avoid Trey, he still finds a way to get under her skin. Monica can’t stand his crisp white shirts or his staunch views on women. But she can’t help counting every freckle on his face and wondering what it would feel like to have him stop talking politics and kiss her.

A class debate project forces the unlikely pair to work together, and the political lines are blurred in late-night make out sessions. But despite their fiery chemistry, Trey’s politics threatens to smother their relationship for good.

Release date: April 9th 2013
Publisher: Beautifully Broken Books

Add The Only Exception on Goodreads!

About the author:

Magan Vernon is a Young Adult and New Adult writer who lives with her family in the insurance capital of the world. She is in a very serious, fake relationship with Adam Lambert and constantly asks her husband to wear guyliner. He still refuses. She also believes her husband is secretly an alien, disguised as a southern gentleman.

Find Magan on:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Othermoon by Nina Berry

Everyone has secrets. When Dez rescued a boy, Caleb, from a cage, she discovered secrets she never knew she possessed, Now she's sure she's found the place where she belongs. With the otherkin - and with Caleb. But as the barriers between the mortal world and Othersphere fall, a wall rises between Dez and Caleb, leaving her fiercest enemy her only friend ...and maybe something more. Now Dez must make a devastating choice: keep the love of her life, or save the otherkin from annihilation...

Othermoon is a great follow-up to Otherkin. It's a lot darker, though, and there's a lot more at stake. The plot is gripping and fast-paced, with lots of action. With a sequel like this, I'm literally craving the next book!

It's amazing how much Dez has grown to accept herself as a tiger-shifter. She loves shifting, and being in her tiger form makes her feel comfortable. She's changed a lot from who she was at the beginning of Otherkin - she's tougher, stronger, and, well, even more stubborn. Her pride gets in the way of a lot of things in this book, but I understand why she makes the decisions she does. I don't necessarily agree with them, though. I found it admirable that Dez stood up for what she believed in even with practically no one on her side, but I wish she had put herself in the place of the others to see things from their point of view. Dez also grows into her role as a leader, and I think she makes a great one because she's so focused. She goes through a lot in this book; some really personal stuff too. Her biological mom, for example. Yeah, Dez gets to communicate with her, though she's not what she expected. Dez's relationship with Caleb takes a turn for the worse in Othermoon, and I wanted to knock some sense into both of them throughout the better part of the novel!

We see a different side of Caleb in this book. He's not as humourous or carefree as he was in Otherkin. In fact, he seems like a completely different person, broody most of the time. That doesn't mean he wasn't still awesome, though! On the contrary. I'm still full-on Team Caleb. What I didn't like about him in this book was his irrational jealousy. He should know that he's everything to Dez and that she loves him. But no, he misinterprets a lot of things, and ends up jumping to conclusions. Of course, not all of them are unwarranted. But still, I almost yelled out loud in some scenes! There's a barrier that forms between Caleb and Dez about halfway through the book, a barrier that I doubt will disappear anytime soon. And that really breaks my heart, because I think they're amazing together, and they bring out the best in each other. Caleb and Dez did have some great moments in Othermoon. Here's a couple of teasers that will leave you wanting more!
His voice got low, sending a thrilling vibration down to my toes. “Because the next time I get you alone, nobody’s going to stop me.” 
He said nothing, only kissed me again with a craving that pulled the breath from my body.  

Do they make you want to pick up the book right now? I sure hope so! Things really heat up between Caleb and Dez in this book, and that leaves me with hope for the two of them. Because they really are meant for each other.

And now we come to Lazar, a.k.a. the guy who messes up everything. If you remember him from Otherkin, you know that he's Caleb's half-brother. Well, he's suddenly had a loyalty change. He turns to Amaris, his sister, for help, and she brings him to Dez and Caleb. Caleb, of course, wants nothing to do with him. Understandably. Dez, on the other hand, holds out the olive branch. I was initially surprised with her decision, but I kind of get it. She'll do whatever it takes to bring down the initiative and make sure her friends are safe. Even if it means asking the enemy for help.
I felt really conflicted about Lazar in this book. I empathized with him, and he reminds me of Warner from Shatter Me. In fact, Dez, Caleb and Lazar all remind me of Juliette, Adam and Warner. That's why I find it weird that in Shatter Me I'm Team Warner but here I'm definitely Team Caleb. Lazar has come over to the good side, but I blame him for the rift between Dez and Caleb, so I can't bring myself to like him too much. I do appreciate that he was there for Dez when Caleb wasn't, though. I don't know what will happen in the next book, but judging by the end of this one, I think Lazar's going to be pretty happy where he is.

We also get to see a lot more of the otherkin, as well as Amaris. She's not as frail as she was in Othermoon, since she's been training with the otherkin, too. I liked seeing her with Caleb, because I could tell how much they cared for each other. I felt really sorry for Amaris at times, usually when she was with Caleb and Lazar and they were at each other's throats. She loves both her brothers and they love her, but they can't stand one another. Amaris hates that, but she's helpless. I found it ironic how she secretly communicated with Caleb in Otherkin and now with Lazar in Othermoon. But I sympathize with her because she had to hide her affection for each brother, in both books. Hopefully things start to look up in book 3!

London, November, Siku and Arnaldo are exactly how they were in Otherkin. I was maybe a little disappointed with the lack in development, but I loved the new relationship that cropped up. I won't say who! We get to see a different side of November as well, and find out a shocking secret about London! I have to admit I never saw that one coming. All the otherkin develop their skills in this sequel, and they discover something new about their shifter forms - another thing I never saw coming! This book is just full of surprises. Not all of them good ones, but then they never are all good, right?

Nina Berry brings in some physics into this book in addition to the paranormal, which I loved! The whole concept about the particle accelerator was so intriguing. There was a lot of depth to the explanation, which was great to see, because you don't find that in a lot of novels. Overall, this book was fantastic - it had everything I could possibly want, and more. The ending is bittersweet, but I liked it. It doesn't leave you hanging, so thank goodness for that (I hate cliffhangers)! What I love most about this series is its unpredictability. I don't know what the next book will bring, so I'm eagerly looking forward to it!

*Thank you to Nina Berry for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: Otherkin by Nina Berry

I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.

Dez is a good girl who does as she's told and tries not to be noticed. Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself. Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change--and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them, are prepared for what Dez will unleash.

Oh wow. I haven't read a book like Otherkin in ages, and it reminded me of how much I missed paranormal. I've been so caught up in this contemporary phase that I've forgotten just how amazing a good paranormal read can be. Otherkin rekindled my love for paranormal, and I'm so grateful for that!

Personally, I don't think the description of this book does it justice. Otherkin is so much more than that, and Dez is so much more than that. Seriously, give this book a chance and you most definitely will not regret it! I loved everything about Otherkin - the whole concept, all the characters who are unique in their own way, the action, the suspense, the humour. This book has it all! It's not often that I come across a book in which I can find no flaws at all, but this is definitely one of those times.

Dez. Firstly, I love that name! It suits her way more than Desdemona, her full name. Dez is awesome - she's strong, she's stubborn, and incredibly compassionate. She's so good that she seems unreal! Dez's character develops a lot in this book, going from reserved and uncertain to strong and brazen. And the most awesome thing about Dez? She can shift into a tiger! That's right - a gigantic, gorgeous, beautifully striped tiger. I think she accepts who she is really fast, and that's admirable. Plus, she never complains. Not once. She isn't whiny or bratty, and she's incredibly focused throughout the novel. No wonder the others turn to her as a leader.

Speaking of the others... Caleb first, of course. I liked him immediately - when they first meet, he makes Dez feel at ease with his awesome sense of humour, and he's also really supportive of her no matter how skeptical he is about her decisions. Even when he seemed to be keeping secrets from Dez, I trusted him completely. He's just the kind of guy that you can't help but trust. Dez realizes that, and she even grows to rely on his unwavering support. The chemistry between them builds up right from the start; it was incredible to see. Their relationship develops slowly. Maybe too slow for some people, but definitely not for me. I loved the part where they finally give in to their desires!

When Dez and Caleb go on the run and reach the school for the Otherkin, they meet the others. November is a rat-shifter, a very quirky and bubbly one. London is a wolf-shifter; closed-off at first, but very lovable on the inside. Siku can shift into a bear, and Arnaldo into an eagle. Both these guys were amazing in their own way - Siku seemed kind of scary at first, but he's got a dry sense of humour that was really nice to see at random moments. Arnaldo is the resident geek. There's always one of those, right? Anyway, I loved his adorable awkwardness. I grew really attached to all these characters, because they were pretty much impossible not to like. Nina Berry has done an amazing job with her character development in this book.

The plot, as I mentioned before, is perfectly-paced, and it flows so smoothly! There were no slow moments in this book at all. There's loads of suspense, a lot of unanswered questions, and it basically makes you pine for the next one! Luckily I had Othermoon lying on my shelf just waiting to be read, so I went straight on to it.

If you love paranormal books, you've got to read this one. The concept is totally unique, and the book is pretty much unputdownable. The world-building was great, the characters were likeable, and the action was mind-blowing! Seriously, even if you're not a huge YA paranormal fan, Otherkin may just win you over. Nina Berry has created a beautiful world which I couldn't help but dive into right from the beginning. This series has gained a new hardcore fan!

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #16: Prodigy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Release date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Prodigy is the second book in the Legend series, and it comes out in a week! I know I'll need to re-read Legend before reading this, but I honestly can't wait until it comes out. I loved the world Marie Lu created in Legend, as well as the characters. Plus, I'm a huge dystopian fan! Prodigy seems like it's going to be even better than Legend, and I'm really looking forward to reading more about June and Day.

Add Prodigy on Goodreads here.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review: Rise by Andrea Cremer

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the  couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

Richly sensual and full of magic, action and danger, Andrea Cremer's fifth book set in the Nightshade world is an edge-of-your-seat page turner.

I can't say how much I love Andrea Cremer's writing - it just pulls you into the amazing world she's created and never lets you go. Rise did exactly that. I honestly didn't want it to end; I even went as slow as I possibly could to prolong reading it. Rise is an amazing sequel to Rift - it's got all the action, suspense, shockers, and more romance, too.

Rise picks up where Rift left off, with Ember and Barrow galloping off into the night, and Alistair left without knowing a thing. What I loved most about this book is the fact that Andrea Cremer shows us how a lot of things in the Nightshade trilogy came about. For example, the creation of the Guardians. If you've read Nightshade, you remember the Guardians, right? The... well they're not werewolves, but they can change shape between human and wolf. I found it amazing to watch the origins of the Guardians, however unethical it may have been. It was fascinating and scary at the same time! The creation of the Rift was incredible too. Of course, it's not necessary to read the Nightshade trilogy if you've read the prequel series, but I highly recommend it. If you love the Nightshade world here, you'll definitely love it in the original trilogy!

Ember grows a lot in this book. She's not the same weak-boned girl she was when she first joined Conatus. Her will is as strong as ever, but so is the rest of her. I loved all the action in this book, since it showed how much Ember had learned from her time in Conatus. Even though she's changed, she's still as compassionate as she was in Rift. She cares deeply for her sister, for Barrow, and yes, even for Alistair. Even though Ember was torn between decisions in several situations, I think she ultimately made the right decisions.

Barrow, of course, is as incredible as ever! I liked that he showed a more vulnerable side in Rise. Oh, and if Barrow himself isn't enough of an incentive to read this book, try this out. We get to see Barrow get jealous! Yeah, you read that right. It was hilarious, and I loved how insecure he felt; it made him seem more human, somehow, and less like a god. Plus, he's also really protective of Ember in Rise, but I liked the fact that he respects her enough to let her make her own decisions even though he doesn't agree with them. There are a few really steamy scenes with Ember and Barrow, so look out for those! ;)

I was really conflicted about Alistair in this book. Even though he's siding with Eira and Bosque, he still has this innocence about him that I can't help but like. His love for Ember is also admirable, and I found myself feeling sorry for him on more than one occasion. Of course, that disappeared later. You'll find out why! Anyway, I enjoyed reading about Alistair's interaction with the wolf cubs, because he seemed so attached to them. I think he really loved them, and it showed that he's capable of that kind of love. Alistair himself is extremely conflicted in Rise, and I think his character is the hardest to figure out. In a way he's more complex than even Eira is.

The stakes are much higher in Rise, with the war looming in the wake of the four runaway Conatus guards. There are a lot of shocks, and a lot of moments where my heart was in my mouth. Some parts in this book flow like a movie, and I could actually see the scenes unfolding before my eyes! The action was intense, and Andrea's writing made it all the more enjoyable. There were, however, a few slow parts in this book. Those were hard to follow, but on the whole I loved this book, though not as much as Rift. In a book like this, you'd think there wouldn't be much room for humour, right? Think again! There are some hilarious moments in Rise, which I found a gratifying relief from all the seriousness going on. Here's one particular one I liked - 

With a sigh, Jérôme said, “I am not jesting, Lady Morrow. I brought the gown for a purpose. You cannot go to your sister’s husband in that ragged dress you’re wearing.”   
“I thought not to go in a dress at all,” Ember answered.   
Jérôme’s eyebrows went up. “Well, that would be interesting.”
Jérôme is a new character we meet in Rise, and I found myself liking him immediately. He brought most of the comedy to the book, and he's overall a great help to Ember, Barrow, Lukasz and Kael. We also meet Agnes, Ember's sister, for a longer period of time. I have to say I wasn't impressed with her. She's one of those typical old-fashioned girls who sit at home and knit or whatever, and I found myself losing patience with her a lot. I couldn't even bring myself to sympathize with her situation. But Ember really shined through during these times, and I admired her all the more for everything she did for Agnes.

I just found out that this is the final book in the Nightshade Prequel series, so it's just a duology. The ending was great, and I'm satisfied with it, but at the same time I would have loved to know more about what happened next, and how the Keepers and Searchers were created. But I guess Andrea decided to leave some things to our imagination. I'm really sad to have to say goodbye to these amazing characters, because I honestly like them a lot better than those in the Nightshade trilogy. I connected with Ember and Barrow, and I'd love to read more about them.

Rise is a satisfying and beautiful end to the Nightshade Prequel duology, and the heart-stopping action will leave you rooted to your seats, as will the incredible romances. Yeah, that's plural! The character development was amazing, the plot was fast-paced and intense, and the book just flowed really well. But even though I have to say goodbye to these characters, I'm so glad that I don't have to say goodbye to the Nightshade world. There's another trilogy coming out, and I can't wait to see more of the characters from the Nightshade trilogy!

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, 21 January 2013

Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Get hooked on a girl named Fred.

When Fredericka "Fred" Oday is invited to become the only girl on her school's boys' varsity golf team, she can't say no. This is her opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to college, something no one in her family has done. But Fred's presence on the team isn't exactly welcome - especially not to the player she's paired with, rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make room for Fred.

Sparks will fly as the girl from the Rez with the killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile!

I believed that my ancestors lived among the stars. Whenever I struck a golf ball, sometimes the ball soared so high that I thought they could touch it.
Hooked is an incredible debut from Liz Fichera. I loved how completely original it was - I mean, a Native American girl joining an all-boys golf team? I've definitely never read anything like it before, and I loved it! It was fun and serious at the same time, and I found that really entertaining.

Fred Oday lives on the Gila River Indian Reservation (a.k.a. the "Rez"), along with the rest of the Native Americans in that area. They're all pretty isolated from the Caucasians, especially in school. The Indians stick with each other. So when Fred is offered a spot on the boys golf team at her high school, she's apprehensive at first. But Fred is determined to get a golf  scholarship and go to college, unlike her ancestors, so she accepts. Little did she know how much her decision would affect the other players on the team, particularly Seth Winter and his best friend, Ryan Berenger.

Fred is an awesome protagonist - I loved her from the beginning. She isn't whiny or bratty, and she doesn't make incredibly stupid decisions like a lot of other female protagonists. Fred is strong-willed and brave, though a little naive. She's compassionate and really wants to see the good in everyone, even in people who don't have any good left to show. I found myself really connecting with Fred in this novel, even though I know practically nothing about golf. So I guess that shows just how much I liked her!

Ryan, on the other hand, didn't give me a good first impression. He seemed like a typical rich kid - spoiled and arrogant. Thinking he rules the school. I felt that he relied too much on Seth and his opinions, and so he decided to hate Fred from the start. He later discovers that, well, he just can't resist Fred's charms! I grew to really like Ryan as the novel progressed. There was some awesome character development for him, and he revealed a completely different side of himself that no one has seen before. And of course Fred played a huge part in helping him bring out that side. I loved how their relationship developed in Hooked, because it definitely wasn't insta-love. More like insta-hate, and then they grew to like each other after spending so much time with each other.

Ryan and Fred's relationship had a lot of rocky spots, which involved mostly misunderstandings. I got kind of frustrated with them, but I was thankful when they eventually made up. I blame Seth for all the downs in their relationship! It's really all his fault. Ugh I hated him so much!
I really liked how protective Ryan became of Fred. It was ironic to see that after how much he hated her in the beginning! The dual points of view helped me understand both Fred and Ryan, and it helped me connect with both of them. Plus, I loved reading about how uncertain they felt when they discovered that they actually really liked each other!

I also loved a few of the minor characters. Riley, Ryan's sister, was awesome to read about - bubbly and positive. She's got loads of common sense too, and she's surprisingly level-headed in a panicky situation.
Sam is another character I really liked. He is Fred's childhood friend from the Rez. They've known each other their whole lives. Sam is extremely protective of Fred, though maybe a bit too much. But he's sweet, and he really means well. I felt sorry for him in a lot of scenes, but after reaching the end of the book, I cheered up. Want to know why? Because the sequel, Played, is Riley and Sam's story! I honestly cannot wait to read that!

The plot of Hooked was well-paced - not too slow, not too fast. The dual perspectives confused me sometimes, but I definitely prefer that over reading from just Fred's point of view. There was a lot of golf terminology in this book, but there's a very nice glossary at the back of the book which helped me understand the terms. 

I really loved Hooked, even though it's not the kind of book I usually read, and I think it's definitely going to be one of my favourite 2013 debuts. I loved how Liz Fichera mixed the lightness and humour of the novel with controversial themes like racism and poverty. Liz has created some amazing characters, and I can't wait to see more of them in Played!

*Thank you to Liz Fichera for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 4/5