Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Under the Desert Moon by Emma Meade

Published: August 29, 2012
Publisher: Soul Fire Press
Format: ARC, eBook
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

17 year old Erin Harris spends her time daydreaming, hoping to escape her small town life in Copperfield, Arizona. When a movie crew arrives unexpectedly to shoot a vampire film over the summer, Erin’s small town world changes forever.

Erin is positive she has seen the star, James Linkin before in a thirty year old TV show. He hasn’t aged a day. How is this possible? Erin is determined to find out, but how will James handle the scrutiny of an all too intelligent teenage girl?

The synopsis of this book is what lured me in, since vampires are one of my favorite paranormal groups to read about. I have never read a story quite like this one; especially one where the vampire is a movie star. The fact that the author provides the reader with a new and unique angle such as this makes her worthy of props. I also appreciate the fact that this book was written from the dual perspectives of the main characters, Erin and James. It was definitely necessary to get inside both of their heads.

Erin, the female protagonist, is likable enough and her ambitions to leave her small town life are admirable. But that being said, I still had a hard time connecting with her and I didn't feel as invested in her character as I would have liked. I also found this to be true with James, the vampire. When this happens it sort of ruins a book for me. Don't get me wrong, these characters could easily capture the hearts of other readers but unfortunately they couldn't quite win me over. On a side note, I did end up liking Erin's brother, Nick! He was the most rational person in this novel and an overall great guy.

When James' character comes to Erin's town to film a movie and he is initially introduced, he comes off as a cold and calculating predator. I think it's great that he changed and ultimately became a better person/vampire, but I think it happened way too fast and without enough explanation. He meets Erin, then BAM!, he's a new man overnight.....and their romantic relationship develops pretty much the same way--at least that's how it felt to me. There was no easing into the relationship or gradual change and I felt like something was missing from the plot, like part of it's structure caved in somewhere along the way.

However, I will say that the last few chapters of the book did hold my attention a lot more, and there was a bittersweet feel to the ending. When I was done reading I did find myself curious about the future of the characters because of the way the book ended. Even though this book didn't fully agree with me, I would still recommend for anyone who likes vampires and romance to give this story a try because it's a quick read that does have some suspenseful and entertaining qualities.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: The Witch Is Back (Jolie Wilkins #4) by H.P. Mallory

Published: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Bantam
Format: Paperback
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Series: Jolie Wilkins
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Funny and feisty witch Jolie Wilkins is back—or rather, she’s back to her humble beginnings. Propelled into the past to her old Los Angeles fortune-telling shop, Jolie has no idea she possesses extraordinary powers, and she definitely doesn’t remember becoming Queen of the Underworld. But at least she has two incredibly sexy men vying for her affection: Rand Balfour, who looks very familiar, though Jolie can’t place his gorgeous face, and Sinjin Sinclair, who is tall, dark, and perfect . . . except for the fangs.

Yet despite her steamy love life, Jolie can’t shake the sense that something is not quite right—like she’s stuck in a déjà vu gone terribly awry. As both men race against time—and each other—to win Jolie’s heart, the fate of the Underworld hangs in the balance. And Jolie’s decision can either restore order or create an absolute, drop-dead disaster.

I could not wait to get my hands on The Witch Is Back since the previous book, Witchful Thinking, ended with such a jaw-dropping event! In The Witch Is Back, Jolie finds herself back in time, in her old life where she owned a shop as a fortune-teller. This Jolie hasn't met Rand or Sinjin yet and she has no memory of being Queen of the Underworld, since technically none of it has even happened yet. Most of this book is like a huge do-over; a chance to see what could have happened if Sinjin had met Jolie first, not Rand.

It's safe to say that this book left me with more conflicted feelings than I have ever felt before. I was VERY excited for Sinjin to get his chance with Jolie, since I absolutely adore him and have always wanted more to happen between them. I was not disappointed, because these two shared some very intense moments together and it is very clear that they have chemistry and that Sinjin does feel very deeply for Jolie. But at the same time, I was a little peeved at him. Sinjin finally reveals his reasons--very legitimate and understandable reasons--for going back in time and altering the path of Jolie's future/fate, but some of his actions are still unforgivable and frustrating. But then again, I feel bad for him on some levels and I can't help but have a soft spot for him. Plus, he made me swoon with all of the terribly sweet and sincere things he said to Jolie throughout the course of the book....See what I mean about feeling conflicted?!

Everything in this book is so off kilter and poor Jolie is forced on an emotional roller coaster. Especially when Rand shows up to rescue Jolie and brings up confusing and undeniable feelings in her. She knows she cares for Sinjin but she can't understand why she has such a familiar pull towards Rand, especially when she's been warned to stay away from him. I liked how Rand's presence proved that some bonds just can't be broken, but I also think that everything that Sinjin and Jolie experienced together can't be easily erased either. Ultimately I felt bad for Jolie, Rand and Sinjin when the truth was finally revealed to Jolie because so much had happened that couldn't be undone, and all of them were left with some emotional scarring. This book left me a little broken-hearted as well, to be honest!

I'm very excited to get my hands on Something Witchy This Way Comes, which is the next and final book in the series. I don't know what Jolie's fate will be, but I know I can count on there being more of her delightfully funny inner monologue to keep me laughing. And of course I'm looking forward to more action, romance, suspense and revelations! I can't wait to see who Jolie will end up with, once and for all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stacking The Shelves (8)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's a fun way to share what books we recently added to our bookshelves.
*All titles link to Goodreads*
Here are some of the books I've received recently:
Bought & Gifted:
The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe, Jay Parini (Introduction), April Bernard (Afterword) 
I read The Demon Trapper's Daughter on my Nook a while ago and I really liked it! I decided I needed to have it in paperback, especially since it was on sale on Amazon for less than $5.00.
It's no secret that I am a huge Edgar Allan Poe fan! I have 2 large volumes of his complete works, which is awesome, but because of their size they are not exactly comfortable to hold while reading. I was on a mission to find a book made up of nothing but his poetry, and I found it. So now I can read his poetry without getting a hand cramp since the book is fairly small!
My best friend, Sarah, ended up with an extra ARC of Venom and because she's super nice, she gave it to me. I'm so stoked to read this book! Thanks again, Sarah! =D
Thanks for stopping by, and please leave me a link to your post so I can check out the books you received as well!

-Shanon =)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: Enshadowed (Nevermore #2) by Kelly Creagh

Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Format: Hardcover, 429 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Nevermore
My rating: 5/5 stars!
Synopsis from Goodreads:

True love takes a twisted turn in the second book of this modern gothic romance trilogy channeling the dark brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe.

While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.

But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.

Enshadowed is the second book in the Nevermore trilogy, and I devoured it rather quickly and loved ever minute of it! This series is easily one of my favorites. As with book one, this book included enough mystery, Poe references, romantic turmoil, and unforeseeable twists to keep me on the edge of my seat and unable to put the book down. Kelly Creagh is a genius! Her writing is so incredibly beautiful and graceful; and her world building is phenomenal. I often felt like I was right there in the story, which was really creepy and terrifying at times!

Isobel spends the majority of this book trying to concoct a plan to get Varen back from the dreamworld where he is trapped. Isobel, along with the reader, learns a lot of fascinating and horrifying truths throughout the book. There's so much information that is revealed about the dreamworld, the malevolent lady in white, the truth surrounding Edgar Allan Poe's death, Reynolds, and Varen! I was taken on such a ride with Isobel and I found myself shocked and excited several times along the way. There's no way to predict what the next chapter will bring, and that's one of the things I love most about this series--it's completely original and unpredictable in the most fantastic way!

I really adore Isobel and Varen, but it was also really nice to get more of my other favorite characters in this book! Gwen, Isobel's new and most trusted friend, has more of a role in this part of the story. She's just as witty and sarcastic as ever, as well as completely unfiltered. You are pretty much guaranteed a laugh when her character is present! She also played a big part in aiding Isobel on her quest to save Varen, which proves just how awesome she is as a friend. Another character I was happy to see more of was Pinfeathers! Yes, he's creepy and you never know exactly what his agenda is, but for some reason I can't help but be fond of him. He actually earned more of my admiration towards the end of the book, for reasons I won't name because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone. But just know that he is pretty rad!

The last few chapters of the book left me speechless! While I will freely admit that this installment of the trilogy was just as amazing to get wrapped up in as book one, I definitely have more mixed emotions about the ending of this book because it was even more shocking than the first book. I still have no idea where Isobel and Varen's stories will end up, but I am so EXCITED to find out and I can't wait to be reunited with them in the next book! I'm also hoping to get more Edgar Allan Poe, of course!


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