Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger is the second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

Summary:

Sam Roth is no longer the boy who turns into a wolf when the temperature drops.  He is now just a boy with a future ahead of him and the girl he loves beside him.  However, his past is never that far from his present, nor is the weight of responsibility on his shoulders ever far from his mind.

Grace Brisbane, the girl who didn’t turn into a wolf when she was bitten as a child, now has all she’s ever wanted.  A real future with the boy she loves and the prospect of a life away from Mercy Falls when she goes off to college.  However, something’s not right, and the future she had thought was hers is no longer certain.

As their world begins to fall apart, what will become of them?

Favourite Quote:

“I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make people do so many different things.

I never knew there were so many different ways to say goodbye.”

Review:

In the second book in this series we find that the roles of Grace and Sam have been somewhat reversed.  Isabel, their reluctant confidant from Shiver, comes into her own, as she tries battling her own demons and helping her friends.

We are also introduced to a new character, Cole. I liked how his story was the complete opposite of Sam’s: Sam struggled to remain human, whilst Cole struggles to remain a wolf.  Another aspect of the story that I like is that Sam uses song lyrics to process what he is feeling and what is going on around him.

I enjoyed reading this book, however, I didn’t think it was as good or as gripping as the first in the trilogy, probably because I found it harder to connect with a few of the characters this time round, at least for the first half of the book.  This made it much harder to rate.  I didn’t think I could give it a 4, the same as I gave Shiver, but it is much better than a 3, so I tagged an extra ½ on to the rating below.

I am looking forward to reading the final book of the trilogy, Forever, to see what happens to Grace and Sam, Cole and Isabel and the rest of the wolf pack.

Rating:

3.5 / 5

Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

shiver-front-coverShiver is the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

Summary:

When Grace was small, she was dragged off the swing in her back garden by wolves and pulled into the woods behind her house.  Somehow she survived the attack.  Deep down she knows it has something to do with the wolf with yellow eyes – her wolf.

As the years pass, she marks the changing seasons by the presence or lack there of, of the wolves in Boundary Woods.  When they’re not there, she misses them terribly.  When they are, she knows the yellow-eyed wolf is close by, watching.  And there is something almost human about him…

Sam is a young man caught between worlds.  In winter he is destined to live his life with the pack in the woods, the only true family he has ever loved.  In summer, when the temperature allows, he shifts back to being human.

Then, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy, and she just knows he is her wolf.  But things are never that simple.  Sam’s time is running out.  When it does, he will lose Grace, forever.

Favourite Quote:

She made a soft noise that, roughly translated, meant piss off in sleep language.

Review:

First, I loved this book, even though it made me cry.  Yes, I can be terribly soft and sentimental…

As a YA book, it was a quick and easy read, and it didn’t take long for me to get swept up with the story.  One thing in particular stood out to me as I read it: it is full of gorgeous descriptions of the setting, convincingly transporting me to Mercy Falls.

Shiver reminded me a little of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books.  Star-crossed lovers, impossible odds of being together, paranormal boyfriend – human girlfriend…and yet I felt they were so different, probably due to the style of the author’s writing.

I enjoyed the mythology surrounding the wolves.  Having the temperature play such an important role in the story really added drama and tension to it.  I also liked how we got to see what was happening from both Grace’s and Sam’s point of view.

I liked Grace; she is a strong young woman, and will do what it takes to fight for who she loves.  And Sam, caught between the life he knows and a life with the woman he loves…it’s not hard to feel for him.

I am looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, Linger, to see where the story leads next…

Rating:

four-stars

Book Review: Shattered Promises by Jessica Sorensen

For as long as Gemma Lucas can remember, she has felt nothing but emptiness.  It doesn’t help that she was raised by grandparents who never showed her any affection.  Things change when she starts having dreams which somehow begin to unlock her emotions.

A few weeks later, she meets a stranger on the college campus; a guy she has been dreaming about.  When they touch, electricity shoots up her arm.  It just so happens that this guy, Alex, and his sister, Aislin, are new in town and are in Gemma’s astrology class.  When the three have to work on a project together, Gemma can’t help but feel drawn to Alex, but she gets extremely conflicting messages from him.  When the monsters from her dreams start appearing in her waking life, she can’t help wonder if she’s mad.

But something isn’t right with Alex and Aislin and Gemma doesn’t know what it is.  However, as her emotions begin to get stronger, long-buried secrets are revealed.  Can she trust her new friends?  She might not have a choice…

What intrigued me about this story was that it is a re-imagining of one of the author’s other books, The Fallen Star, which I reviewed here, as part of Indie Only 2014.  And this made me curious.  The original was a YA paranormal story, whilst this re-imagining is an adult paranormal romance. I have read books where the stories remain the same but are told from a different characters viewpoint but this I had never come across.

I enjoyed this world the author created, one full of witches, vampires, monsters, demons and many other paranormal creatures beside.  And as for the characters, I thought they were well-developed and engaging.  My favourite was probably Laylen, but I thought the conflicted relationship between Gemma and Alex was gripping.  It isn’t hard to feel for Gemma as the story progresses; for her to go from feeling nothing, to feeling everything and then wondering if she will lose her emotions again is a gruelling thing to suffer.

The only problem I had with reading Shattered Promises was that I could recall too much of The Fallen Star and the stories kept conflicting in my head.  But that really doesn’t have anything to do with the book nor the author’s efforts.  After all, the books are aimed at different audiences and probably not intended to be read by both.  That being said, I did enjoy this re-imagined story, possibly more than the original.  And, if you are a fan of paranormal romance, I would recommend you give this a read or if YA is your thing, The Fallen Star.

I downloaded Shattered Promises by Jessica Sorensen for free from Smashwords.

Book Review: Focus by Sarah Doughty

Focus is the second book in the Earthen Witch series by Sarah Doughty.

When Aisling Green wakes up, she realises two things: that she has been captured by the Kramer Scholars and that her powerful, intense magic is not working like it should.  As she undergoes a bout of torture at the hands of this strange, ancient sect, she knows that she must survive so that she can find Conner and escape before they both end up dead.

To complicate matters further, not only are they being pursued by a well-connected, well-funded, almost military-style paranormal eradication group, someone has summoned a very dark, very dangerous demon.  And the only person strong enough to fight it is Aisling, with her powers of an Earthen Witch.

But, when the demon is getting stronger and stronger by the day, will they be able to find it in time before it can reach ascension.  If they can’t, a lot of people are going to die and the world will be destroyed.

Focus picks up the story line where the first book in the series, Just Breathe, finished off, and it does so seamlessly.

It was nice to see a bit of the world beyond that which we saw in Just Breathe with this instalment, illustrating that the rules that govern this Earthen Witch world are widespread.  The story is full of energy and action, and the pace quick; there is never a dull moment in these books.

As well as the supernatural creatures from the first story (vampires, werewolves, witches and fairies), we are introduced to a new one this time round, though I won’t say any more.  Suffice to say that with so many different characters and creatures, the story is always moving forward with drama and excitement.

I think that the idea that someone’s power and magic stems from love is an interesting theme that runs through this series.  And, as the relationship between Aisling and Conner intensifies, there are a few more adult scenes in this book than the first one.

A lot of pressure rests on poor Aisling’s shoulders and as she has her own personal battles to fight as well as everything else, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions she is feeling and experiencing.  However, the group she has around her – Connor, Liam, Shadow and Angela – are a great supporting cast.

I will be adding the other stories from the Earthen Witch world (including a couple of short stories as well as another novel) to be my TBR.  And I can’t wait to read them.  This series is just so addictive and so well-written.  Paranormal romance at its best 🙂

I downloaded a copy of Focus by Sarah Doughty for free from Smashwords.

Book Review: Just Breathe by Sarah Doughty

Just Breathe is the first book in the Earthen Witch series by Sarah Doughty.

Aisling Green has been having a tough time all her life, but a new tough chapter begins when she turns 21.  However, not long after, her grandmother dies and she loses the only family she’s got left and the only one it seemed that had any answers for her.  As a coping mechanism she forces herself not to feel anything.  The only one she will let get close is her friend, Angela, a librarian in the town where she lives.

As she goes about trying to find the answers about what she is, and failing, she is attacked by a dark witch.  Thankfully, the handsome Connor, a light witch, is close by and he rescues her.  Only then, with his help, does she finally discover what she is and what she can do.

But things are not that simple.  Word spreads that an Earthen Witch walks the earth for the first time in three hundred years, and she very quickly comes to understand that people want her dead and will stop at nothing to make it so.  Can she learn how to master the power inside of her before her enemies catch up with them?  And can she protect her friends, the only family she now has left?

I can’t believe how much I loved this book.  I loved it so much that I am almost finished the second book in the series, Focus (look out for that review over the next couple of days).

The book is extremely well written, and each chapter flows nicely on to the next.  The characters the author has created are truly engaging, be they witches, vampires, werewolves, or any other supernatural being, or human.  They simply bring the story to life and what helps is that she has taken these paranormal creatures and made them her own, creating her own set of rules for how they and their magic function.  This makes the book such a refreshing read.

As for detail and description, the story is rich and vivid and consistent throughout.   It is hard not to empathise with Aisling as we discover her traumatic past.  Equally, it is hard not to root for her and her friends as she and they have been through so much.

If you enjoy paranormal romance, I highly recommend giving this a read.  The book manages to capture the imagination from within the first few pages and holds on until you reach the end.  And if you are anything like me, it will compel you to go and start reading book two in the series before you’ve even written the review of the first one!  If this book is anything to go by, this will be an amazing series and I’m looking forward to read the other stories set in this amazing world.  This book is definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far.

I downloaded Just Breathe by Sarah Doughty for free from Smashwords.  I hope you do too 🙂

Book Review: Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! by Sara C. Roethle

Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! is the first book in the Xoe Meyer series by Sara C. Roethle.

Alexondra Meyers, or Xoe to her friends, attends Shelby Heights High School in Shelby, Oregon.  Brought up by her mother, she knows nothing about her father.  It is the first day of junior year, and Xoe, who is not a fan of school or for that matter, many people outside her small circle of friends, is getting to grips with another school year and new timetable.  At least she has her closest friends, Lucy and Allison, to help to pass the time.

However, it is the arrival of a new student at the school, Dan, where Xoe’s real problem lies.  She doesn’t like him at all.  From their very first meeting she knows that something isn’t right about him, but Lucy and Allison don’t see it, and when they do, are willing to ignore it.  But Xoe isn’t.

Very soon, life as Xoe knows it will be completely turned upside down, and things will never be the same again.

I can honestly say that Xoe is probably one of the best YA books I have read.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and felt it was different enough to other vampire-werewolf-teen books to make it stand out.  The storyline was not predictable, in fact it was quite a refreshing, entertaining read.

The narrative is rich in description – of the people and places, but also of Xoe’s perception of everything and everyone around her.  This makes it easy to visualise the story coming to life as each chapter unfolds.  The cast is good and the characters are engaging.  Xoe is not a meek damsel-in-distress.  She is strong and confident and pro-active, especially when it comes to trying to protect her friends.

If you like vampires and werewolves and demons, or if you enjoy a good paranormal romance, I recommend you check out this book.

I downloaded a copy of Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! for free from Smashwords.

Book Review: Cursed (Book One of The Devil’s Roses series) by Tara Brown

The book begins with the main character, Aimee, chasing down her prey, only to run in to someone from her past, someone she can’t bear to see.  This little encounter sets the stage for the majority of the book as we go back in time to learn how she finds herself in this situation.

Aimee’s mother has died in a strange car accident and understandably Aimee is quite depressed.  She is desperate not to forget her mother and so in effect does all she can to stop living so that she can hold on to her mother’s memory.  However, the decision to attend a party all so that her sister, Alise, the most popular girl in school can go, changes the way she sees the world and her place in it.  In fact, it changes everything.

The characters and storyline are both good.  Constant twists and turns keep you wanting to read more. A few typing errors here and there are found throughout the book, and the ending came about pretty quickly, perhaps a little too quickly compared to the pace of the rest of the story, but these do nothing to detract from the overall enjoyment of the plot.

If you like paranormal romance novels, then this book is certainly worth a try.

Book downloaded for free from Smashwords.