Book Review: Dalysian Hope – Jamie Summer

Title: Dalysian Hope
Author: Jamie Summer
Genre: YA – Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Pub Date: March 23, 2016

Buy Link: http://smile.amazon.com/dp/1530803020

Blurb (From Goodreads):One night that changed everything.
Sophie Evans is sure about one thing: she’s a normal teenage girl. Until one night her life is turned upside down. 

Attacked in her own apartment and saved by two handsome strangers, she’s thrown into a whole new world. Suddenly dealing with powers she knows nothing about and having half-truths thrown at her from every direction, she realizes that the definition of normal might not fit her after all. 

When Sophie is told that she has to fight in a matter of life and death, she’s left wondering what chance does she really have? And how can she be the only hope of a race she never even knew existed? 

Can Sophie fight the odds stacked against her, or will she lose herself in the process?

My Review:

Dalysian Hope was a review request sent to me. I’ve slowed way down on accepting requests, just because the time I used to spend on reading/blogging/promoting just isn’t available anymore. But since I was interested in the blurb I was given, and the cover of this book was beautiful, so I decided to give it a shot.

What I Loved: This story is very unique in many ways, and yet still falls into what is popular in YA-Fantasy/Dystopian type novels. I enjoyed Sophie’s character. She was witty and strong, yet at the same time took things in stride and didn’t have a tendency for the dramatic ‘this is not fair’ attitude that sometimes comes with these novels. This book was not too forthcoming with information, but there were some elements that of foreshadowing I was able to pick up on, and I love when I’m able to do that.

The chemistry between Sophie and Ash….and Sophie and Ren was pretty decent. Yes, unfortunately we have the makings (not exactly there yet…) for a love triangle here. I have my ‘side’ but I will keep that to myself for now.

Not So Much:
As previously mentioned, this book is not too forthcoming with the information. I was just as frustrated as Sophie about this, but mostly because it caused some of the story to just not make sense, or even flow very well. Keeping information so far under wraps that nearly the entire book is us discovering Sophie’s abilities, her training, and her internally swooning – it really just could have used a little more movement. There were things happening, lies that were being told (though not very well at times) and plots forming; however we never really figured out the reasons behind some of these things. I have my suspicions on a few of them…but no confirmation. That is not to say the book wasn’t without its action, and once there was some information starting to get shared, the book picked up pace considerably. It was just that I had to wait until the final 3/4ths of the novel for that to really happen.

The Verdict:  

    

I did enjoy the concept of this story, it was a unique idea with a lot of potential. I will be interested to see what more can be made of it as the series progresses. This book is clean, very YA appropriate.

Book Review: Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend – Becca Ann

Title: Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend
Author: Becca Ann (Cassie Mae)
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Self Image

Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B00AY6OT70

Blurb (from Goodreads.com):
It’s stupid to fall for your brother’s ex. It’s even worse to enlist another’s help to win the ex over. But Brody is desperate and Hayley, his partner in American Sign Language, is more than willing to lend him a few tips.

She’s the school’s matchmaker,’ and with her bizarre and positive personality, Brody finds her easy to talk to, even about the most awkward situations. Hayley’s tips seem to be working, but as Brody learns more about his matchmaker, he starts finding reasons to spend time with her, and not the girl he thought he was in love with.

But Hayley isn’t ready to fall for anyone. Labeled the “Funny Fat Friend” within her group, her self image makes it impossible for Brody to share his feelings without Hayley shrugging it off as a joke.

Convincing her Brody can, and did, fall for the “Funny Fat Friend” turns out to be harder than simply falling in love.

My Review:  
After being in the supernatural world for a bit, I decided I wanted something light and fun and normal to read. What better author to turn to than Mrs. Cassie Mae?

What I Loved: This book was exactly what I needed. It was a sweet romance with likable, real characters who were goofy and down to earth. I loved that this story was told from the guys perspective, which is always a little refreshing, despite me wrinkling my nose every time he talked about how badly his bedroom smelled (at least he was aware of it!). Hayley was pretty funny, and a lot cheesy, but I could tell the person she was meant to be right off. I’ve met those people who seem so incredibly self-aware and confident, who are easy to talk to and know how to keep conversations moving, yet have something going on underneath. I could see why Brody would have a hard time understanding her reluctance to believe that he actually liked her.

Not So Much: Part of me is happy that Hayley’s home life wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought, at the same time I kind of felt like that part of the story was a little underdeveloped. It could have been me wishing to get into Hayley’s head (since I’m used to the girls being the narrator) but I kind of wanted more there.

The Verdict:    

As always a great read! There is mild cussing, and there IS non-descriptive sex in this book, so older YA would be my recommendation.

Book Review: Onyx – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Onyx (A Lux Novel – Book 2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610116

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…
I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…


My Review:

No sooner did I finish Obsidian then I went and purchased Onyx. While I may have had some character troubles with Obsidian, I was still captivated by this story and wanted to know more about what was going to happen.

What I Loved: The continuing building of heat between Katy and Daemon. I enjoyed Daemon much more in this book than the previous. He was done fighting what were obviously very strong feelings for Katy, and he was in aggressive pursuit. There was a lot more kissing in this book – and boy can Jennifer Armentrout write a good kissing scene!

We learned more about what is going on between Katy and Daemon’s strange connection and what it might all mean. We also are introduced to Blake who is more than he seems.

In Onyx we get a few more twists and turns in the story, while the progress on the relationship front seems to be more the issue here.

Not So Much: Katy is driving me crazy. She is still so obtuse and just wishy-washy. She says things that she desperately wants to believe, but are obviously not true. She has become a horrible friend and really not admirable at all. She lies, and hides things that should be brought to light, and trusts way more information to people outside of her alien circle than she should.

The Verdict:    

Gosh, the romance draws me in. The story is interesting enough…but I’m just a bit perturbed by Katy. Some reviews of the third book indicate that she gets better, but I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to move on yet.

Book Review: Obsidian – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian (A Lux Novel – Book 1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610078

Blurb (From Goodreads): 
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My Review:

Pay attention book bloggers – this one goes out to you! Last week I did a quick search on my WordPress app on Book Reviews, just to see what would pop up. I can’t tell you the blogger who did it, but I ran across a review for Obsidian and knew that I had that book for kindle, so I stopped to read the review. This review wasn’t a 5 star all praise this book in all its ways, it revealed some thing that the reader didn’t care for, but she gushed about Daemon and a few other aspects of the book. As a result, I searched for it in my library (because who KNOWs when I bought it, but it was pretty buried in my list) and started reading it.

Note – I don’t usually read reviews…but I might start after this. I just really hate spoilers, I like to be surprised by stuff…and some bloggers have a difficult time with this. I read a review during this same search that basically spoiled an entire book (that I had already read) with her discussing what she liked/disliked about every part of the book. I have moments when I want to do this too..and I’m starting to wonder if we should call these blog posts “Book Discussions” rather than “Book Reviews” to alert the reader?! Anyway.

What I Loved: So, alien books aren’t actually my ‘thing,’ I’m not sure why, since in the last few years I’ve read a few good ones, but they just aren’t the first books that I tend to grab first. But I did really enjoy this take on Aliens. I didn’t fully understand what they could do and why – well, I vaguely understood why I guess – but I also just know it’s a book and it doesn’t have to make complete sense to me. The back-story of how they came to exist on earth and what had been established was flushed out to a satisfactory degree for me. All of the fight scenes were enjoyable to read, I didn’t get lost in the movements and what was actually happening, which can happen sometimes when there is a battle going on.

I totally loved Daemon and Katy’s back and forth constant battering of each other. It was some really good heat between the two of them.  The fact that they were both fighting attraction kind of helped dial up the heat quite a bit.  Some of my favorite scenes where the ones where Daemon was displaying jealous.  And w-o-w, the kiss scene.

Not So Much: Despite that the back story and the fight scenes were well done, I did feel like the overall story had some holes in it. At some points it felt like the entire town was alien, and at other points it felt like a select few were, and the people of the town knew they were alien or at least ‘other.’ At other times it seemed like their secret was completely locked down and humans put off the whole thing as “this town is weird.” I kind of felt like the lines were blurred a bit on the alien powers also, mostly when it came to the trace, or mark that could be left on humans. I kind of felt like they knew the logistics of it, and then at some point it was like – “hey, let’s try this.” In fact – as far as the instance I’m referring too, I kind of felt like it was put there so the scene would happen – and I would NEVER want that scene removed, but the reasoning behind it seemed a bit under-processed.

Katy is so dense. I loved her personality for the most part, but how many times does one have to refer to “your kind” or call you “human” before you really get it, and not have to have it spelled out to you? She doesn’t want to believe anything, including that Daemon isn’t quite as uncaring as he seems half the time. Read between the lines! It’s only frustrating because she is only like this to drag this storyline and hot/cold heat between the characters on for as long as possible – she is a strong character otherwise. The hot/cold stuff could probably be done without her playing dumb about it.

The Verdict:    
I’m completely engrossed in this series, and just bought book 2. I want to know what happens, and I do want a little bit more Katy/Daemon heat in my life. My hope is that the story and writing just gets better as we go through the books. The book is okay for older teenagers, there is cussing. Kissing and a little bit of touching that isn’t overly descriptive.

Book Review: A is for Abstinence – Kelly Oram

Title:  A is for Abstinence
Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: NA – Romance
Blurb (from Goodreads): 

Best selling YA romance author Kelly Oram takes her first dive into new adult romance with this heartfelt and hilarious tale of a rockstar and a virgin.

Rockstar to the core, Six-time Grammy Award-winning musician Kyle Hamilton has it all—money, fame, talent, good looks, and a job he loves. His only regret in life: walking away from a certain notorious virgin because he was too prideful, stubborn, and even afraid to give her the only thing she asked of him—his abstinence.

Four years and a broken heart later, Kyle realizes that sex isn’t everything, and he suddenly can’t stop thinking about the girl that got away. Virgin Val Jensen got under his skin like no one else ever has. He wasn’t ready for her then, but things are different now. He’s grown up, he’s learned a few things, and he’s finally figured out exactly what he wants, or, rather, who he wants.

Kyle Hamilton wants a do-over, and this time he’s willing to do—or not do—whatever it takes.


My Review:
So I broke my rule TBR Challenge rule.  Kelly Oram is NOT on my “pre-approved to buy” list for this year, but I couldn’t leave Val and Kyle up in the air like that.  I lasted 4 months.  That’s pretty decent, right?  And it doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and buy all the books…not necessarily. 
What I Loved:  Getting the rest of the story.  
I loved what Kyle was willing to do to prove to Val that he loved her and wanted to be with her.  I loved the growth his character went through between the two books in understanding Val’s perspective and even as far as understanding just why waiting was so special.
Not So Much:  I didn’t really feel like there was much of a story arch in this second book.  There were some minor issues and a little drama, but this was mostly a story about how Val and Kyle got their HEA.   I expected some kind of grand gesture from Marissa that would mess up something between Val and Kyle, or maybe someone from Val’s side. 
The Verdict:     
I really glad I picked up and read this book, but kind feel like it could have been more.  This book is still clean, despite the NA category.  Mild cussing, and of course there is sex talk.

Book Review: Prince of Wolves – Quinn Loftis

Title: Prince of Wolves
Author: Quinn Loftis
Genre: YA – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1463685688

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Jacque Pierce was just an ordinary 17-year-old girl getting ready to start her senior year in high school in Coldspring, Texas. When a mysterious foreign exchange student from Romania moves in across the street, Jacque and her two best friends, Sally and Jen, don’t realize the last two weeks of their summer are going to get a lot more interesting.

From the moment Jacque sets eyes on Fane she feels an instant connection, a pull like a moth to a flame. Little does she know that the flame she is drawn to is actually a Canis lupis, werewolf, and she just happens to be his mate; the other half of his soul.

The problem is Fane is not the only wolf in Coldspring, Texas.

Just as Fane and Jacque are getting to know each other, another wolf steps out to try and claim Jacque as his mate. Fane will now have to fight for the right to complete the mating bond, something that is his right by birth but is being denied him by a crazed Alpha. Will the love Fane has for Jacque be enough to give him the strength to defeat his enemy, will Jacque accept that she is Fane’s mate and complete the bond between them?

My Review:

I have heard a lot about The Grey Wolves Series by Quinn Loftis, and how much I need to read these books. I’m all about the paranormal romance genre, but I’ve been sitting on Prince of Wolves for a while. Mostly because I did start the book over a year ago and stopped reading it. At the time I just wasn’t getting into it. BUT with much persistence I picked the book up again.

What I Loved: There was a lot of playful banter in this book. Especially between Jacque and her best friends Sally and Jen, and even a bit between her and her prince wolf, Fane. While it came off very young at times, or a little over the top on the valley girl meets wanna be thug, it still made for some comedy.

The action in Prince of Wolves was pretty good, there was tension and the story line moved along at a fast enough pace to keep the reader interested.

Of course there is that cover.  Isn’t it gorgeous??

Not So Much: Well, I had a hard time biting off the easy acceptance of there being werewolves in existence. I mean it wasn’t just the main characters, but even some of the supporting characters took the news in stride and just kept right on going as if it were nothing. Jacque (I really had a hard time with her nickname too, if I’m completely honest) would have these mini-panic attacks about the situation and all the things she was learning, but they seemed more like young teenager tantrums than a real reaction to the events surrounding her life.

Another thing I didn’t quite understand was the fluctuation with how cussing was handled in this book. At times it seemed like the characters were using word replacements for cuss-words, other times it was like “he cursed and…,” then there were times a cuss-word was actually spoken out loud (no replacement word used), and at least once I saw the characters indicating a cuss-word ($*%#). This probably could have at least used some consistency throughout the novel.

The Verdict:     

While I did not absolutely love this first book of the series, this is an (almost) 10 book series, that has a bit of a following. I was already warned that the first book was a little iffy, but that Quinn’s writing definitely gets better with time (and I’m 100% sure that it does). So this isn’t me writing off this series. As I stated before, the book moved along and was interesting, I just had a hard time with some minor things that could be viewed as personal preference rather than flaws with the book if you think about it. As a whole, I’d say if you like paranormal and romance, and fun banter – pick this book, and series up. It is clean with mild cussing, but okay for teenagers.

Book Review: Firstlife – Gena Showalter

Title: Firstlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance

Buy Link: http://amzn.com/0373211570

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

My Review: 
I had just recently started hearing a little bit of buzz about Firstlife recently when I saw that the audio book was available for download from my library, so I decided I’d give it a shot. A long while ago I was a fan of Gena Showalter, so I figured giving her YA novels a try would be worth the time.

What I Loved: This was a unique world that Showalter has created. I enjoyed learning about the two (three) sides of the afterlife, and their differences. More so, I enjoyed getting to know Archer and Killian along with Ten(ley). When the book started, I wasn’t sure which direction we were going to take on the whole romance angle, and I actually guessed wrong – which was a pleasant surprise for me actually. I wanted to be wrong, though I was interested in how what I thought was going to happen would…(clear as mud?! 😉 )

I enjoyed the banter between all three main characters, they were witty and silly at times, and serious others. The boys were even a bit overwhelmingly over protective at times, a trait that I love in book-form only. I loved Ten’s loyalty to her friends. Despite the two afterlives fighting for her allegiance, and the decisions her friends were making along the way, she remained rather impartial and even respected their decisions. She was genuinely trying to figure out what was best for her life.

There was no lack of action in Firstlife. There was always constant motion – even if I wasn’t sure exactly where that motion was suppose to be leading.

I cannot leave this section without mentioning the narrator, Emma Galvin.  Even in the times when I felt like the book was running long, Emma was the saving grace – because she did such an excellent job, especially with the accents.  It was beautifully done!

Not So Much: There were many parts of this book that I felt were sort of loose ends, or scenes that kind of seemed unnecessary to the story line (unless they play a role in the next parts of the series, though that doesn’t really seem that likely). I also felt the first half of the book dragged on a bit long as well – it truly was the two boys fighting for her allegiance the best they could, just a constant ‘sign with…’ every time something happened.

I spent a good portion of this book kind of understanding why there was such a huge fight to sign Tenley, but mostly was left wondering what really was the big deal with this girl.

The Verdict:    

I think this series is going to have to come together a bit more before I’m able to know if I’m going to really like it or just kind of like it. Right now I’m on the “eh, it was okay,” end of the spectrum, but intrigued enough to give the 2nd book a chance when it is released. If the 2nd book doesn’t really capture me completely though, I wouldn’t give the 3rd book much of a chance (I’m just assuming this is a three book series). This book had mild cussing and some sex talk suitable for high school teenagers.