Review: The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2) by Shana Abe

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 320
ISBN:
Publisher:
Genre: fantasy, historical fiction
Source: Library book

The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2)A rich portrait of post-Victorian England, The Deepest Night seamlessly blends thrilling romance with riveting history and adventure—perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Lauren Kate.

It’s 1915, and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is finishing up her first year as a charity student at Iverson, a prestigious, gothic boarding school on England’s southern coast. While she’s always felt different from everyone around her, now she finally knows why: She is a drákon, a rare, enchanted being with astonishing magical abilities.

As war hits Britain’s shores, and Lora reels from an unimaginable loss, she finds that her powers come with grave and dangerous responsibilities. At the request of Armand Louis, the darkly mysterious boy whose father owns Iverson, Lora will spend her summer at his lavish estate. To help the war effort—and to keep Lora by his side—Armand turns his home into a military hospital, where Lora will serve as a nurse. For Armand is inescapably drawn to her—bound to her by heart-deep secrets and a supernatural connection that runs thicker than blood.

Yet while Lora tries to sort out her own feelings toward Armand, fate offers an unexpected surprise. Lora discovers there is another drákon, a prisoner of war being held in Germany. And that only she, with her newly honed Gifts, will be able to rescue him.

With Armand, Lora will cross enemy lines on an incredible mission—one that could bond her to Armand forever, or irrevocably tear them apart.

Beautifully written, deeply romantic, and filled with daring adventure and magic, The Deepest Night is a mesmerizing novel of the enduring pull of destiny, and the eternal strength of love. 


This. series.  

I have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of dragons (or drakon as they are called in this series). Mermaids? Yes. Dragons? Not so much. In fact, I'm pretty sure The Sweetest Dark was the first book I have read featuring a dragon, aside from Talking to Dragons that I read in 6th grade (a million years ago). Add that to a setting that I adore, and you have my instant fandom.

I love this series.

Why? That's a more complicated answer than I probably have time for, but in it's simplest terms it's because of the beautiful, lyrical writing. There is a certain flow in the prose that borders between a fantasy novel and some eloquent, antiqued story. I love Victorian literature, and The Sweetest Dark and The Deepest Night blend those lines perfectly. However, I did not find The Deepest Night to have the same poetic feel as the first book. At times it was there, but it wasn't as abundant as the first time around.

I also found that some parts of the plot lingered too long this time around. It seemed like more of the story was focused on Ahmed than Lora. Now, don't get me wrong. I do enjoy Ahmed, but it made things a bit slow to tell both those stories at the same time.

Overall, I think The Deepest Night suffered from middle child syndrome. It wasn't as trail blazing as the first book and is lacking the finality that the next book will have. It's lost somewhere in the middle. Necessary to move the plot along, but lacking the pizazz in the elements of The Sweetest Dark that took my breath away. But I do still recommend this series. I read The Deepest Night in one sitting; I didn't want to put it down.

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Giveaway Time!



 
I have good and bad news.

The good news is I have an awesome signed book for a giveaway.

The bad news is that I had this book for a year and forgot about it. See, I've been doing some serious cleaning around here this summer. In the process, I've uncovered all kinds of things. Most of what I found is not useful, but I uncovered an entire box of books I grabbed from IRA in 2013-- for the purpose of a giveaway-- but forgot about it. They got lost in the piles of books I currently have.

It's sad for me to admit that. But at least I found it. Better late than never, right?

So here is what's up for grabs: 

* a signed ARC of Scorched

Not familiar with the book? Here's a bit about it:

Scorched (Scorched, #1)Trinity
Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed. 



This contest is open to anyone with a US mailing address. Just enter the Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: If I Should Die (Amy Plum)

The Deets: 
Audience: YA
Pages: 405
Publisher: May 7th 2013 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 9780062004031
Genre: paranormal, paranormal romance, myth
Source: Library book

If I Should Die (Revenants, #3)I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me? 




 I have put off reading this book because I did not want it to end. I am a bit saddened that there is not more Vincent and Jules, but what a great way to end this series!

Lots of things are going on in If I Should Die. There is A LOT of back story for revenants and numa. We also meet a few other characters (or at least I think they are new because I forgot them in the other books!). At any rate, they have a more prominent role in this book than they did before.

But what really got me this time around was Kate and her sister, Georgia. They have both undergone some serious character growth. In the other books, Kate comes across as whiny and weak. Not this time! She is a total kick butt heroine now. Her destiny is a bit obvious, but that's ok. I enjoyed it. Then there is Georgia. The self-centered hussy is gone. She's reserved and concerned about people other than herself. She was a great supporting character for Kate.

What did bother me, however, is the lack of Jules. I love Vincent and Ambrose, don't get me wrong. But there has always been something about Jules. He's so broken and distraught about his feelings for Kate. I was really hoping he could find his happy ending, but instead he vanished. Poof. I was pretty upset by that. I think Jules needs his own series or at least a companion novel.

If you have read the other novels, you will more of the things you have come to expect from Amy Plum. The descriptions are remarkable. You will feel as if you are walking the streets of Paris along with Kate and her band of revenants. Also, the way she can pen emotions will make your heart race and give you goosebumps. It's pretty fantastic. If you are like me and have been putting off this series, go ahead and pick up If I Should Die. It won't disappoint you. And if you have not read this series, what are you waiting for?



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Review: Burning Blue (Paul Griffin)

The Deets:
Audience: YA, older MG
Pages: 288
Publisher: October 25th 2012 by Dial (first published October 24th 2012)
ISBN: 9780803738157
Genre: mystery
Source: Library book


Burning BlueHow far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that--he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in--and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning--and dangers--of love and beauty.


I absolutely loved Paul Griffin's Stay with Me, so when I saw Burning Blue on the Teen Read's 2014 list, I had to give it a try. I had super-high expectations for this book based on what I've read before, and I was not disappointed.

Burning Blue is a cross between a contemporary and a mystery. It's not one or the other, but something perfectly blended. The narrator is a teenage boy with his own issues to hide from, which brings a perfect sub plot to the story. On one side you have the mystery behind Nicole's attack, and Jay's back story. But above all that, you have a story about overcoming misunderstandings and first impressions. (and much more)

Jay's voice is perfect. He's not your stereotypical jock. He's not a super-nerd. He's not overly popular, or an outcast. He floats between them all, hoping to be invisible. I think many readers will be able to relate to him on that level, even if his tech savvy habits are a bit hard to follow at times. 

As with other books by Paul Griffin, always expect a twist and a finely executed ending; Burning Blue did not disappoint. The big reveal will blow you away (even if you figure it out about the same time as Jay does). It will make you think, that's for sure.




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Review: Dream Boy ( Madelyn Rosenberg)

The Deets: 
Audience: YA older MG
Pages: 336
Publisher: July 1st 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781402295836
Genre: mystery, paranormal
Source: eARC from Netgalley


Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.

One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares. 




This. Book. 

I really don't know how/why it's getting 4 star reviews on Goodreads. The idea is beyond my understanding. I really felt like I was being generous with 3 stars at times. 

Let me start by saying that the flow of the plot held me back from loving this book. I was around 60% complete before something "good" started to happen. Something that made me go "oh, hey now" instead of mindlessly reading. Needless to say, it was super slow at times.

With that being said, I can mention the characters. Annabelle just annoyed me for some reason. I cannot exactly put my finger on it, but she did not impress me at all. In fact, she was a bit annoying. The idea behind Dream Boy is highly original, so I can say it's fresh. But I just wasn't buying the whole "let me love the boy from my (literal) dreams from day one" thing.  Maybe I'm crazy, but if lover boy showed up to my school from my dreams, my first reaction would be WTFizzle just happened. It would NOT be hey boy, remember that dreamy kiss? Let's do it again. So Annabelle gets a big wah wah from me, and Martin/Josh gets a super wah wah wah (cue cheesy game show sounds). If you told me Martin/Josh was an alien, I would totally buy that based on how he acted. His speech patterns and way of explaining things were definitely weird. I was not impressed.

I was also not impressed with the setting. Dream Boy takes place in a small town somewhere, and it really could be Anywhere, USA. There was nothing descriptive or even tangible to hold on to.  It felt under developed and lacking.

The one thing I did enjoy was the best friend, Will. The banter between Annabelle and Will was believable and I adored it. There should have been more. He was the character that kept me reading. 

So, this is going to be another book that you will either love or dismiss. It's going to be up to the reader to form his/her own opinion. This girl, however, was unmoved.  




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