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Romance

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Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here’s my review of The Lost Prince

When I finished The Iron Knight, I was very happy for our protagonists. They were finally getting the happily ever after treatment. But I was distraught that the adventures into the Nevernever were finished. Kaput. Finite. Over…
Then I heard about Kagawa’s upcoming novel and the setup novella and I was ecstatic.
You have no idea how excited I was for this sequel series! The possibility of Meg and Ash having a kid? It’s something fans only ever dream about. Authors don’t usually oblige this fantasy and string it into words.

But before review the book, let me briefly comment on the covers. First is the UK version:

It was not the first to come out but it was the one I had to purchase, as I reside in England. After first seeing the US cover I was prepared to be completely underwhelmed by the UK version. I was astounded by the what was eventually produced, however.

Intro

TLP was written from Ethan’s point if view. A 16 year old Ethan. I found it hard to believe that he was now 16, and not that sad-eyed, frightened four year old from the first book. And boy had he grown. I felt a little pervy, ogling at at his exposed torso on the cover. Oh well…

Now the problem with this book is that after the previous series, we as readers already have such high expectations. For the most part, Ethan was a sound, well rounded character. Sure, he was a jerk most of the time, especially at the beginning to Kenzie. But the ass hole thing was just the mask he wore so he didn’t get hurt, or hurt others around him. I think it’s quite curious that he can see faeries, and in turn they know that he can see them.

My concern with this book was a slight lack of orginality. The Iron King featured Meghan plunging into the Nevernever with Ash and Puck in order to find her missing brother, who as we all know (Should know!) was kidnapped by- you guessed, the Iron King. The Lost Prince featured our all grown up protagonist, Ethan, braving the Nevernever with a friend to find another friend, who like Ethan all those years ago, was kidnapped by one of the fey. So what’s different?

New Characters

Ethan
Meghan’s once sweet little brother has grown into a brooding teenageer. I’m sad to say, I don’t think that’s just a phase. Of course Ethan doesn’t WANT to push everyone he cares about away, but he has to. I really liked Kagawa explaining the memory he had of a friend he let get close to him. Of course I don’t like what the fey did to her, but it made me understand. I understand why Ethan loathes Ash but I get rather defensive when it comes to the former Ice Prince, now Prince Consort and Iron Knight. But then, he lost a sister. At least if she were dead he would have some sort of closure, but he has to live knowing that They took her and made her one of Them.
Ethan is skilled in Kali, this type of martial arts that I’ve never heard of. Which is totally awesome. I once tried kickboxing. I loved it but my mum couldn’t afford to pay for me any longer, which was a sad time. But for Ethan, self-defence is the difference between life and death because They are out there. I’m not really sure what Ethan saw in Kenzie, but I’m glad it wasn’t insta-love. They got to know each other gradually.

Kenzie
This girl is tenacious. She gets what she wants, eventually. I don’t mean that in a spoilt little rich girl kind of way, even though she is a rich girl. Kenzie wants to be a reporter. She’s one of those people who has to know as much as she can, always seeking for knowledge- the latest scoop. And boy has she got some questions for Ethan Chase. (Too bad they never do that interview). She’s the one who thinks up quick, logical minded plans when the team get into a jam. These plans tend to be non-violent ones which is good because you can get seriously injured when fighting the fey. Love her or hate her, it’s clear she’s here to stay. I’ve heard some fans of Goodreads say that Kenzie gets on their nerves and to be honest, I don’t blame you. She also has this secret that is mentioned later on in the book. If I’m honest, I didn’t see the need for it.

Final Thoughts…

Like it’s predecessor series, The Call of the Forgotten is exploring the rise of a new species of fey. This idea would be all too boring and samey-samey if not for the fact that it was a very DIFFERENT kind of fey. Another good thing about this one is the air of mystery it still poses at the end, and the fact that there in NO LOVE TRIANGLE! So happy about that one 😀 I would have liked it if there had been more humor, but there was still enough action to keep be going.

Also, everyone looks 16. Ethan is 16. Meghan, Ash and Puck look 16/ 17, and their son IS 16! Can you imagine if your father looked the same age as you? But I guess when he has mad Unseelie/ Winter powers like Ash you’d still be a little scared of him. All I had to deal with when I was younger was beats. I’m African man but ICE?! ICE?! Don’t talk to me about ice.

My Rating



New year, new targets. This year, I aim to read at least 40 books. Last year it was 30. I’d aim for 50 but what with exams coming up, I have too much at stake to get side tracked. The next 5 months will determine where I end up for the next FOUR years. University here I come!

So far I’ve read 6 books. Here’s the list:

#1 The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter

Unlike my other reads, this one is a novella. This one was multi narrative. It wasn’t always necessary though. What I don’t understand about Kate is how she can just go off on a holiday with James just like that after everything that has occurred. He was going to replace Henry! The Castor and Pollux story was cool but I think it needed a bit more but seemed to me that Zeus was overreacting, even for him. What a dysfunctional family!

#2 Endure, by Carrie Jones

And so the countdown to Ragnarok begins.

Zara is now a pixie, and is also Astley’s queen. But she still loves Nick. It’s hard to believe that this character is the same one who used to whisper phobias to herself all the time. Little Miss Peace is now she is fighter trying to save her town, and potentially the world, from a pixie invasion. I know a similar transformation that occurred in a favourite book series of mine. It was the Iron Fey series’ Meghan Chase. By the Iron Queen, she was there with the rest of them, fighting it out, much like Zara does. I liked how Jones resolved the love triangle in this book, although I think she took a bit of a risk. Still, I liked it and I found it believable. I also really like Hel. She was pretty nice and I like how Jones incorporated Norse Mythology. If I had made as many transformation as Zara had, I think I’d be even more messed up than she was if I’m honest.
#3 Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

This one was a strange book. The origins behind it, The Arcana cards, was unfamiliar to me, which excited me. Yet at the sane time I was a big unnerved. But that might have been my reaction to the whole post-apocalyptic thing, and if course the romance which had me cringing from time to time.
Jack was a strange fellow but I loved how Cole used his background to shape him. The MC (what was her name? Evie? I’ve read too many books this month.) got in my nerves from time to time. Jack wasn’t all bad and sometimes she treated him like dirt and I didn’t like that. But then again, he had faults if his own, especially his lustful nature. I’m convinced that the only reasons Cole went for the post-apocalyptic thing is because they’re really trending, it gives the characters a reason to be travelling extensively, and it somehow justifies all the male character’s REALLY uncontrollable lust. Like seriously, can’t they control themselves!
I didn’t like the post-apocalyptic thing because Cole didn’t really explain how it had gotten that way. I mean I guess neither did Evie but at the moment I don’t think that even the author has that part figured out either.
#4 Intertwined by Gena Showalter

I’ve already written an extensive review about this book so you should go over there to check it out. I don’t want to reiterate myself but basically it’s a story about a guy with four different voices in his head, who he believes are different souls. And one of them predicts is death. He seeks to set them free so that he can live a normal life… And falls in love with a vampire along the way.

#5 The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Ethan Chase has grown up now. He isn’t the same helpless boy who kidnaped by faeries anymore. He’s 17 now, but the fey are still a part of his life because he has the Sight. The fey are constantly making his life miserable which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t hurt the ones he loved too. When a mysterious new species of fey emerge and kidnap a halfling, Ethan embarks on a quest to get him back.
Mmm… Does this plot seem familiar? Yes I thought so too. But do not fear, there are enough twists and turns to keep this story interesting, with appearances from out fave characters from the previous series as well.

#6 Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

So the final book in the Blue Bloods series has finally come out. After reading Wolf Pact I was definitely ready to see Bliss again. GoP finally tied up all the loose ends in the series. I really enjoyed it, with the exception if the very last chapter which I thought was very odd. I’m happy for all the characters and Cruz did a good job portraying Lucifer, which I had been wary about before. There is enough suspense, action, and of course romance to keep you going. My only problem was thy the characters would occasionally get distracted. I mean, this is an end I the world situation and you’re busy doing what? (I will not be spoil sport and tell you what Sky gets up to). It’s a shame that it’s the end, but what a great ending it was!

#7 Supernaturally by Kiersten White

After yearning for a normal life for so long, Evie finally gets her wish. She’s left a little bit disappointed by high school, but she loves her locker. Although she may have escaped IPCA, they are in need if her again. And of course there’s the relationship problem. She’s worried about how Lend is immortal and whether she should tell him. In this department, I think she gets on my nerves a little. Why can’t she decide? Still, I sympathise.

I wish Reth appeared more often, but I kind of liked Jack. He was an interesting addition. Some say the villain was obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to me. Overall, with the lack of Reth and Lend, there was quite a lot to be desired in this sequel by I have hope for the final book of the trilogy.

There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High…

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can possess another human.
One can tell the future.

Everyone thinks he’s crazy, which is why he’s spent his entire life shuffled between mental institutions and juvie. All of that is about to change, however. For months Aden has been having visions of a beautiful girl—a girl who carries centuries-old secrets. A girl who will either save him or destroy him.

Together they’ll enter a dark world of intrigue and danger… but not everyone will come out alive.

 

I recall first hearing about this book at the back of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa as an advertisement by Mira INK. The synopsis sounded interesting but I more or less dismissed it, instead determine to Kagawa’s sequel. I never would have guessed that I would have ended up liking this book as much as I did. It was utterly addictive. I finished within 2 days, and that is no easy feat when you’re stuck up to HERE with A level coursework and examination preparation. It’s no wonder my friends think I’m insane.

Anyway, on with the review…

Haden “Aden” Stone has 4 souls in his body + his own. Each of these souls has their own power, which makes him a beacon for trouble. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he has been sent from one mental instituion to the other, even being adopted from time to time. All he wants is to find a way to free the souls inside him. I really admired the relationship he had with the souls, and found it a little touching that he helped them pick their names. Things would have been far easier if they had remembered who they had been in their previous lives. It isn’t until one of them remembers their past life that Aden can really confirm that they are the spirits of dead people. It might have been a bit more interesting if one of the souls had been antagonistic, but their family banter was great all the same.

Being a YA book, romance was always going to have a part to play. Aden has being having dreams of a mysterious girl. It’s pretty clear that he’ll be having a romanic relationship of sorts with this girl and I’m not surprised when she finally appears. Victoria is a vampire princess. Sorry, minor spoiler there. She is strong, powerful and of course, beautiful. I’ve read a lot of YA books so really I find her a type-cast with not much in her to make her particulalry unique. She has the slight “Oh- I’m- A- Monster” thing that a lot of vampires are represented as going for her. She is often disgusted with herself and doesn’t want Aden to see her for what she is- a blood thirsty parasite. So yeah, she’s essentially the female Edward Cullen. It’s pretty ironic too considering that her name is Victoria, the name of the vampire who wants to kill Bella for revenge. Did I hate Victoria? No. Did I like her? Not overly. I regard her with a cool indifference. It’s funny because I think I kind of liked her before, but my opinion has changes slighlty upon reflection.

The other main character is Mary-Ann. First thing you should know about her? She’s a complete Mary-Sue. She hasn’t got a lot of depth to her. Her life starts off more or less perfect. She’s in the popular crowd, dating the popular guy. She’s even a straight A student, even though she pretty much seems to hate working. She does it so that her dad can be proud of her. At least that’s one insecurity she has. One step to becoming more flawed and understandable. When we first meet her, I’m afraid that she’ll fall in love with Aden, but thankfully the one thing this book does not have is a LOVE TRIANGLE. I think I’d die or at the very least chuck this book back at the library I found it in if it did.

There is even a romance between Mary-Ann a certain wolfman but I think I’ll let you discover that on your own. Team Riley <3 The plot mostly consisted of trying to uncover the secrets surrounding Mary-Ann and Aden’s lives. For some reason, Aden is very powerful and has attracted the attention of lots of different magical creatures. And I mean lots. The vampires were the first, but then there came the witches, faeries, demons and goblins. Even angels and a motley of other creatures were mentioned. Were all these supernatural creatures necessarry? No. Did they add to the story? Not really. I mean, sure they make the whole situation seem more dire, but in Aden’s point of view it was scary enough jut to have caught the attention of vampires. My advice would have been to choose only two or three creatures. Perhaps vampires, werewolves, and the witches. There is of course a way of having multiple creatures in a book series, but you have to make it believabe. Of course the other issue is the fact that Aden is apparantly fated to die in the near future. So how about you pick up this book and read about his fate? Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it, but at the same time, I did find it slightly lacking in some areas. Aden was a likeable character. He was both brave and vulnerable. Cute (even allegedly hot) but not conceited. And Mary-Ann was Meh. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

Well, it’s been a very long time since I have blogged. I have a very good explanation for that. It’s called A-Levels, that stage in the British Education system before university. It’s really stressful. I apologise for neglected this blog and it’s followers.

Anyway, quite some time ago, Riordan’s sequel to The Son of Neptune was published. As busy as I’d been, I completely forgot about it (shame on me!). Then I realised I was broke anyway :'(
But then I got some money from the BOD (Bank of Dad) for a school trip to Canterbury. It was not my decision. To go there and buy the book but there was a beautiful Waterstones store & the MoA was being displayed by the window.

All the books beckoned to me and I finally gave into my weakness.

But you don’t care about that! You want a review. Well here we go:

“Seven half-bloods must answer the call”

The very first thing that astounded me at the end of The Son of Neptune was the possibility that the Romans and the Greeks could actually work together. Both Percy & Jason had integrated themselves in the worlds of their opposing camps, and that gave the readers hope. The Mark of Athena see Percy and Annabeth finally reuniting. It’s so romantic and it just made me so happy.

But in classic Riordan style, something goes horribly wrong and the Romans and the small cohort of Greeks have a fall out and everything goes nuclear.

The prophecy (or two):
So obviously you can’t go through a Heroes of Olympus book without referring to the Greay Prophecy, and so our Seven demigods (one can only assume at this stage that the are the Chosen Seven) seek to close the Doors if Death. There also happens to be another prophecy directly referring to The Mark of Athena, and it’s no spoiler that it has something to do with Annabeth. But what is The Mark of Athena? Well, I can’t spoil that one for you. Riordan is cryptic about his prophecies (as usual- but then, all prophecies should be!) and neither one seems to have a definitive ending. The cliffhanger at the end will attest to that. It’s so amazing many fans have dubbed it the ‘Rickhanger’. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

The Characters:

One of the the things that strike me most about this book I’m afraid is the cover. This isn’t just me being superficial. Like many fans I waited a year for this book with not much more to go on but the book cover for quite some time. So when I saw Percy and Jason going head to head like that I felt like I was being torn apart. Is Riordan going to make us choose between them? It turned out that the reason for that fight was different to what I had imagined. Having said that, it was pretty clear throughout the book that the two demigods had a sort of alpha male rivalry going on. Both were used to being leaders and so when they end up on the same quest, it’s hard for them to adjust. You should see the tension emanating between them when they both try to sit at the head table! No wonder Zeus and Poseidon don’t get along. Both were born to lead.

What can I say about Annabeth in this book? Brave would be an understatement. She knew the risks that she would face; knew of the enemy that awaited her but still she had enough courage to do what needed to be done. Separating herself from Percy when they had just gotten together must have been heartbreaking. And when two certain children of the Big Three had their Alpha Mall stand-offs, she was there to do the leading. Gotta give her a lot of respect in this novel.

Leo, Leo, Leo. He had to put up with a lot of stick in this one. From the word go he’s being blamed for something that wasn’t his fault. He feels like the seventh wheel… I mean, you’ve heard of the 3rd wheel so being the 7th must REALLY suck! Then of course there’s the weirdness between him and Hazel. Sorry, I can’t elaborate on that one.

There are some interesting characters that appear of the godly variety, such as none other than Nemesis herself. You know, the one that took her kid’s eye out as payment. You remember Ethan Nakamura, right?
Then there’s the matter of finding out about what really happened to Sammy and how a certain demigod fits into this link.

The Plot: Unfortunalty I can’t say I remember much about this book now, having read it in October or November or something. Seems so long ago! I can however tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you will too! (Well, I hope so anyway). One of favorite parts (spoiler alert!) is when they meet Dionysus’ Roman version, Bacchus. Totally awesome 🙂

And now I will leave you with these nice pictures I found online about how much I want the sequel, The House of Hades: 

I had the fortune of coming across this book in my digital local library. After reading the synopsis, I knew that it was for me.

Plot

DANICA SHARDAE IS an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk’s form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long, no one can remember how the fighting began. As heir to the avian throne, she’ll do anything in her power to stop this war—even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind’s greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.

Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica—and all they ask of their people—but it may be more than she can give.

I won’t lie. This wasn’t the most original plot I’ve ever heard, but I feel that it was handled with such care, that I loved it. Danica is the princess of her people, and Zane is a prince. Their kingdoms have been at war for centuries, making the feud between the Capulets and Montague’s look like a childish spat. I genuinely thought that this had the potential to be a tragedy, much like Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde. At first, their union is tenuous at best, what with the lack of trust. Getting to know Zane better from Danica’s perspective was very interesting. I enjoyed seeing their relationship blossom slowly.

Where I do draw the line, however, is the ‘mystery’. Granted that I didn’t uncover one of the assassins myself, it was otherwise very obvious who the other one was at least. The idea that Zane might be surprised is understandable, but Danica really should have known better. I do wish that the novel had more twists and turns, but this is why I believe that it is more of a character driven novel, rather than a plot driven one. For what it is, it is a rather gripping tale, however. I finished it in one sitting, on my iPhone, until about 2AM because I’d started it late.

World Building

The creatures that A.R. created were altogether unique. Admittedly, the Serpiente were my favourite. All the characters are shifters, and they have inherited their second form from an animal. Therefore, Zane is a cobra, and Danica is a hawk. I liked the differences that they had, but I liked that Zane did point out that both had something in common: They both descended from humans and had a human form. I really enjoyed the old world feel it had, although from what I recall, the date is never specified. Or if it is, it isn’t clear whether it is the same year for the humans, as their societies are different.

Characters 

I can’t say very much about the characters, unless you want me to ruin the whole story. I mean, it’s not very long, at 243 pages. The one thing I’d like to point out is that some of the relationships could have been expanded on. Danica and her mother for instance seem rather distant but we don’t know how it came to be that way. I like how at first Zane is compared to Vasili, the guy Danica was once promised to wed before he died, but eventually comes into his own and becomes his own person. When he becomes incomparable to anyone else, that’s when we know she loves him. 
I, however, couldn’t help but compare him to a certain Winter Prince. Ash would be furious if he knew someone was comparing him to another character, but what can I say? For me, I found it amusing that both once wanted to kill the girl that they eventually fell for. Their major difference, however, is that whilst Ash remains frozen, and locks everyone out, Zane is more approachable… well, if you’re a serpiente, haha! He’s actually outgoing, and the type to wear his emotions on his sleeves. 
So whilst I can’t really compare to many of my other reads, I feel that I’d ought to give this one…
3 STARS!

It would have been four stars, if not for the lack of good sub-plots.

       

It has been quite some time since I’ve read the previous book, Lament! Knowing that this book would be from James’ Point Of View, however, I didn’t let that worry me. So is Ballad worth the bother? I mean, let’s face it, you could quite as easily treat Lament as. a standalone. My answer? It’s worth it, yet it’s not…

UK Cover

Narrating

Well, this is sequel is quite different as it does not have the same narrator as its predecessor. This is a trait that I became accustomed to with Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, and even Julie Kagawa had a go at an alternative POV with her last Iron Fey book, The Iron Knight. Many authors have tried using alternate point of views in their novels, but not all have succeeded.

Characters


The MC: James. What can I say about James? He was… interesting. If I’m honest, I think I enjoyed reading about him from Dee’s perspective. There is something just a little bit odd about reading a funny character from their own point of view. It’s not always bad, mind you. Riordan’s Leo Valdez (Heroes of Olympus series) and Kagawa’s Puck (Iron Fey series) were both very amusing even when they narrated. At about page 90, I remember getting sick of James’ humour. I remember because I took a note of it using my Goodreads App. Here’s my update statement:

“I loved how funny James was in Lament but now that half the novel is from his POV, I just don’t understand why he’s still trying so hard to be funny, even internally. I wish he’d be a bit more serious. I know he’s not that immature.”

After some time, I got used to it and began to appreciate his rather wry sense of humour. I’d like to think that if I ever met him in real life, we’d get along. So long as he didn’t play his bagpipes, that is. Oh well, maybe he’s as good as they say he is.

James is arrogant, loud spoken and outgoing. He’s somehow cool and geeky. I can’t help thinking what someone like him sees in someone like Dee. I get the whole BFF thing, but she’s not interested! She’s pining after some ex-assassin faery. Move on! Am I being unreasonable? Maybe. You can’t help who you fall for, after all.

The Other MC: Nuala, the leanansidhe. Now it struck me that she was a leananshide. I couldn’t help but compare her to Kagawa’s leananside, the Exile Queen. It quickly became apparent that they were nothing alike however. It’s sad to say, but Kagawa’s lenansidhe would eat Nuala for breakfast. Nuala isn’t as badass as she appears to be, but that’s what I like about her. She has a vulnerability that makes her relatable. So, okay, I don’t have to burn myself alive every sixteen years in order to survive, and go all Phoenix, and rise from the ashes. But like many teenagers, I understand what it is like to feel isolated and alone.

Nuala first appears to be an antagonist, but it becomes apparent that she is so much more. I felt detached from her to begin with, and could not understand why I would want to see things from her point of view. A little while passed and I realised that despite how the novel had started, this was her story too. She is a faery, yet she is not. Too human to be respected by those of her species, and too feared to be considered human, she is forced to live her life solitary. With dreams and aspirations of her own, I began to believe that she was a well thought out character. I love her sense of humour, which compliments James’ very well, without upstaging him.

US Cover

Supportive Characters: Paul. Sullivan. Dee. The Antler King (who’s name I just can’t spell). These are some of the more prominent supportive characters. I don’t want to ruin it by detailing who they are or what their roles are, but I can say that I liked having most of them around. A certain alcohol scene comes to mind with Paul, who Nuala has dubbed ‘Roundface’. Don’t worry, it’s nothing irresponsible, after all this is one of James’ mischievous acts. No, I am not being sarcastic here. Sullivan was loveable, and really did seem a lot like James.

Dee was boring, as far as I’m concerned. She didn’t do a lot in this book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you, considering that she and James have become more distant since the events of Lament. Somehow, she still seems to have a voice, however, as we are shown a number of text messages that she had intended for James, but purposely did not send. You might wonder what the point of that is. Really, it’s like writing out an angry letter to vent out your feelings, but never mailing it. I found it quite effective, yet infuriating, as we did not get to follow up on what she wrote.

My biggest complaint about this book, however, is the lack of one of my favourite characters, Luke Dillon. I mean, why?! I miss him!

Plot

In this mesmerizing sequel to “Lament”, music prodigy James Morgan has joined his best friend, Deirdre, at a private conservatory for musicians. James’ almost unearthly gift for music has attracted the dangerous attentions of Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together leads James and Nuala down an unexpected road of mutual admiration …and love. Haunted by a vision of raging fire and death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soulscorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.
– Goodreads Synopsis

Like lament, this is a tale of unexpected (expected) romance. How is it expected and yet unexpected?, you may ask. Well, because Nuala and James seem like a rather unlikely couple, and yet you can sort of see it coming because it’s a YA book, and that’s what happens in YA.

The stuff that goes on with the Antlered King was creepy and amazing. In the end, I was strangely satisfied with what happened. I mean, sure, one of my favourite characters becomes… oh I can’t tell you. All I can say is that Their plans are foiled, for the most part.

Man, I cannot wait for the third book, Requim. It’s coming out in 2013. 
In the end, I think this novel deserved 4 stars

* I did indeed find these GIFs on Tumblr

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
-Goodreads Synopsis

Coming Out:
September 18th 2012




Okay, this book sounds creepy…
Which is why I’m sure I’d be very interested in it. It’s different. It’s intriguing.
I’ve read certain books where for some reason, two characters end up sharing a body. For instance, in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles, the Egyptian gods could merge with a magician, who would become their host. But WLOF is completely different as the characters were always in the same body. Weird.

As for the cover, I really like it. I love how there seems to be two people there if you look hard enough. Sure, the girl up-front is very obvious, but can you see the other one? There her eye is, there is a nose pointing out. You just have to look at the outline. The colours are simple but effective, and for once, I’m not annoyed at seeing the character’s profile picture.

Well, it’s what I’ve been waiting for! The sequel to Ashton’s ‘Everneath’ is coming out soon.

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki’s boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it’s too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen – and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.
Goodreads Synopsis

Coming Out:
January 22nd 2013

It’s a gorgeous cover, isn’t it?! I’m pleased that it keeps to the theme, what with the shadows swirling around, enigmatically. For me, it’s not as stunning as the first cover, purely because the first dress was better, but I’ glad to see that she has a full face this time around! Her hair is very glamorous, and I can’t get over the way that even the top half of the dress billows away like that, becoming one with the shadows. I like that the shadows seems to be encircling her, as the title suggests. As an improvement, I would have like to see it do this more, like a tentacle ready to grapple onto her or something. Just a suggestion. Either way, I’m very happy to have this on my bookshelf when it comes out.

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything – including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
-Goodreads Synopsis


World Building


I’ve read a few vampire novels, and of course my natural progression was to find a werewolf book, and then voila, I found Nightshade. At first, I was under the belief that it would purely be a werewolf novel, no other paranormals in sight.  I was wrong, but that wasn’t a problem. It made for a more interesting novel.

First thing’s first, I’d ought to explain the heirachy and the two different factions of witches. I would have appreciated it if Cremer had made this obvious from the beginning. The werewolves in this novel are known as Guardians, and they serve the Keepers, one of the factions of witches. In return, the Keepers pay for their education and living costs, and the Guardians view it as an honour to serve. So what do they guard? Secret sites of great importance. 
wolves vs wolves:
There are two opposing packs in this novel, the Nightshades and the Banes. They pretty much hate each other, and I guess it has something to do with them being two different packs living near each other with their own different Alpha males. 
Keepers vs Searchers

Now, what really gets to me is how we are told that the ‘Searchers’ are the bad guys, but we don’t know why. It’s just what we’re told, and for some reason our MC, Calla, is trained to kill them. I suppose on some level it makes sense as this is all Calla knows. She’s been brought up never to question her masters, the Keepers, of which Lumine Nightshade is her main mistress. The packs are named after their head Keeper, thus the Banes are named after Efron Bane, and the Nightshades after Lumine Nightshade. I wish this had been explained earlier.

It is also never really explained why the Searchers and the Keepers hate each other, except for the fact that the Keepers pretty much behave like iron-fisted dictators. Not to mention that they hunt the Searchers to kill. Well, not personally of course. That’s what the Guardians (the werewolves) are there for. By now you are probably wondering what the Keepers and Searchers actually are. At the beginning of the novel, Calla’s ‘school mates’ are divided into three major categories: Guardians, Keepers and humans. This hints that the Keepers are not human, unfortunately it takes forever for Calla to actually spell it out to the reader that they are WITCHES! Would telling us this nearer to the beginning of the book have been so painful? Just wondering.

 But why would a werewolf have a master? Surely it goes against the instincts of an alpha to take orders. This was mentioned in another blog I read, and if I’m honest, I hadn’t thought about it too much up until then. I’ve come to realise that if I question things too much in a YA book, I won’t enjoy myself as much because I’ll be too absorbed in the impossibility of such a situation. So naturally, when I was told that Guardians had to be submissive to their masters, I was like ‘OK’. Now I’m thinking ‘Why didn’t Ren totally bite Efron Bane’s head off?’, considering the way he treats Sabine.

Romance


If you’ve read the synopsis, you should have gathered that the main love interest is a human boy, and that this is a novel with a love triangle. The other guy in this triangle is none other than alpha male Ren Laroche of the Bane pack. So whose team am I on? That is never an easy question…
The problem I have with the human boy Shay is that he’s really nice and I love the mystery that surrounds him as the novel progresses, but I don’t get what is so great about him. The only thing appealing about him besides the fact that he obviously isn’t like a normal human, is that Calla is obviously forbidden to be with him. Now I’m a bit of sucker for forbidden love, as it just makes the plot more interesting, but really, when the whole novel seems to revolve around this, it can be a problem. So above all:
Do NOT read this book if you hate LOVE TRIANGLES!

So what do I think of Ren? Well, there is something appealing about him, in that whole bad boy way. What really gets to me is the fact that he actually seems to care about Calla. I mean, it isn’t that obvious as one could take the way he behaves as simply being possessive. After all, he would have to lose some bad-boy ‘street creds’ for revealing his undying love for Calla. There is something there between them- a spark if you will. 
The love triangle reminded me of Irial, Niall, and Leslie from Melissa Marr’s Ink Exchange. Not the whole thing, mind you, just a particular scene. At one point in Nightshade, Calla dances with Shay and Ren goes all alpha male on the whole situation. Similarly, Niall brings Leslie to a party and Irial ends up dancing with Leslie, possessively claiming her. OMG! I do not believe I just compared Irial to another character. He’s way too unique. 
Besides the romance going on between the MCs, there are also other characters here with love lives. Now the issue with this is that besides the alphas, every other Guardian has to get permission to marry from their Keeper as well. So if said Keeper does not approve, unfortunately the union is forbidden. I think that this made things very interesting, showing just how tenuous the relationship between Guardians and Keepers are. Unfortunately, it also makes me further question why the Guardians put up with this sort of thing. 

Character Summary


So I’ve already covered aspects of this, so this paragraph won’t be long. Cremer has added quite a few interesting characters in her novel. I quite liked Calla’s younger brother Ansel. I know right? Ansel? I thought he was a girl! Cremer doesn’t seem to do ‘normal’ names. Another example is Dax. I’m sorry Cremer but Dax is the stuff that my dad and I used to use in our hair. It kept my hair nice and shiny, thanks to the sheen stuff and it kept it oiled (which with Afro hair is very important! My hair is forever getting dry and breaking!).

Enough mockery now. I generally liked the characters and I enjoyed the dynamic between the Banes and Nightshades. Their interactions were fascinating, and I was forever wondering when someone would do or say something bad enough to cause a fight. Let’s face it- they’re ANIMALS!

Now here’s for the important part:

Calla

A capable and strong warrior, Calla Tor should be everything you look for in a main female character. She is loyal to her packmates, she can hold her own in a fight and from time to time she can even control her infatuation with bad boy Ren. I like that she’s a tom-boy. One of the quotes that comes to mind when referring to make-up is:

“No eyes, no lips. Nothing. This is plenty. Any more and I will spontaneously combust”

Here’s the other:

“I look like a cake.”
“But a beautiful cake.”

You’ll notice that I said that Calla ‘should’ be everything you look for in a main female character. But she isn’t. The problem is that she’s missing a fundamental aspect that every bad-ass character needs. The ability to question things. Let’s face it, until Shay shows up, she accepts her lot in society. And I suppose that’s understandable. She had a fairly good position in the grand scheme of things, I suppose. And when you’re brought up in a certain way, you get used to the way things are. This is why I liked Shay. He questioned things, and I loved how he brought in Gramsci’s theory about cultural hegemony. I’m learning this in Media Studies!

Final Rating


So, after all that, what do I rate it? It’s tricky. I think that after everything they went through, because of the interesting world building, the romance (not the worst love triangle, mind you. I liked that it wasn’t TOO obvious who she’d choose), I will give Nightshade
Here’s a blogger who had a slightly different point of view on Nightshade. Just click the link.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Oh my gosh, Oh my GOSH! I’m so excited! But it’s such a looong wait. After that astonishing cliffhanger in Lost in Time, I was gobsmacked. So many questions were left unanswered and man do I need them to be answered. I’ve truly gotten to love all of these characters, even Mimi, and that’s saying something considering how much I loathed her in the first few books. And they’re coming to my city! London city! Just brilliant considering they’ve been to pretty much everywhere else.

The Final Blue Bloods novel is coming. Are you ready?

Coming Soon:
January 15th 2013



Watch out for the explosive finale in the Blue Bloods series.
The seventh and final novel in the epic saga.

All your questions answered. . . All the mysteries explained. . . Friends reunited. . . Hearts broken. . . Will Bliss return with the Hellhounds? Will Schuyler save the Blue Bloods? Who will live? Who will die?
– Goodreads Synopsis