Wide Awake

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Wide Awake (Academy of the Fallen #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I flew through this book within the span of several hours and was surprised at how much I liked it. I like YA but it is not my usual read and so finding something that pulled me in so completely is a testament to how good it is. The characters are so well-defined that I couldn’t help but be drawn to them, even the side characters had a definite feel that gave you insight into them and what could be expected from them. Based on the ages of the characters the dialogue was spot on for they talk to each other and the adults they interact with giving them even more life.

Kayla is your typical 16-year-old, she has good friends, nice parents, and a so-so boyfriend. The one thing that seems to set Kayla apart is that she was adopted when she was 3 years old and no one has told her about her biological parents. Her days have been spent with shopping and hanging out with her friends until they go on a field trip to the museum and everything changes for her. First she sees a little girl named Carolyn in a back room at the museum and then she shows up again at her home, not totally strange and she takes her home, but then she starts seeing her in other places.

Hunter Chambers was once a friend but now is anti-social and keeps to himself. When Hunter approaches Kayla and says that he knows how to help her and she refuses. He tries a few times and then leaves the ball in her court so she can decide. As things get worse she has to call for help as her normal world starts to spin out of control. Things she never thought existed are now after her and Hunter is the only person standing between her and something worse than death.

Kayla is a kid and as teenagers go not so bad, though we would have issues with her attitude. I found Hunter to be the best part of this since Kayla is still a little to soft for my tastes, hoping for her to get a little tougher as things progress. But overall a very enjoyable and entertaining story leading to an even better story I see on the horizon. I will definitely be continuing this series!

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The Judge

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The Judge (The Elite #3)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have loved this trilogy from the first sentence of the first book and would be just as happy if I got to spend little more time with the characters. I feel like I know each and every one of them personally and that they are friends who are about to move away for good. This is a plea for maybe a chance to find out how things went after for them. 🙂 The characters have from the beginning been very well fleshed out and real, whether they were good guys, bad guys, or somewhere in between. They react and interact in a way that feels genuine to who they are supposed to be. They are a part of this world and you have no doubt about that for a minute. This story begins directly as the second book ends, with the Island playing host to many Elite families and preparing for war.

Connor Moore passed the ancient tests which would declare him as the Judge and been accepted by the five Elite families as their leader in this fight. The most important thing for Connor at this moment however is the fact that Laren has been taken and how quickly they can get to her rescue. Lu wants to run off without a plan but Connor and his father understand they need to be sure of what they do.

When Laren is found it is discovered that Vercin has found a way to turn off the Elite gene, which means he could destroy them without much effort if it is used as a weapon. Connor does not wish to kill but he may find that Vercin is not going to give him any choice, it is a matter of kill or be killed. The final battle for the future of both mankind and Elites is drawing near and everyone will have to sacrifice to keep from being overrun by a tyrant who would be king.

This had one of the best battle scenes I have ever read! It was seen from multiple points of view which give you a glimpse of how things were going in varying locations around the area of battle and allowed you to check in with characters who you may have been worried about. This was visual and visceral for me as I held my breath fearing that someone I cared about would be killed or injured badly. I think that everyone needs to read these books and enjoy the growth of a boy to a man.

Screaming Spires

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Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers #2)

Lets start with the fact that I give this 4.5 stars.

This book picks up pretty much where the first book, Oxford Blood, leaves off. The story is flawless in its continuation of the plot line making for a great reintroduction before moving forward. All the elements that made the first book so enjoyable are here again with the added pleasure of getting to know a bit more about some of the secondary characters as well as some mains who were not fully fleshed out. This is keeping me so engaged partially because of the triangle which developed early on and does seem to be resolved, even though you expect it to be, things have just gotten that much more tense. The introduction of new characters only deepens the mystery of what is going on and adds another layer to what/who is involved. I can only guess at the language, which can be a bit confusing sometimes, thank goodness for BBC America, I can at least understand most of the terms without a translator. 🙂 There are multiple factions and multiple plots playing out so knowing the players makes it easy to keep track.

Harriet is back at Oxford for her second year after a summer break that left her in a broken condition. She and Tom are still dating but George is never far from her thoughts which makes her feel disloyal. When George does something for her, which he claims was out of love, she cannot think straight about what she should do. Two vampires, both Cavaliers, and both claiming they have feelings for her. After all the revelations she has had to deal with, this does not make her life any easier. The one bright spot for her is the return of her best friend Caroline.

There are also darker forces gathering who do not have Harriet nor the Cavaliers best interests at heart. They are bent on revenge and anyone who gets in their way is fair game. Someone close to her also has an agenda and it may or may not be to her benefit. Harriet is going to learn the hard way that while she may be considered vampire royalty for her lineage, she must decide how to live with what she continues to find out about those around her.

I was drawn back into this world swiftly and thoroughly with the first few sentences. I had really liked Harriet when I read the first book but feel a bit more ambivalent about her now, because she seems just a bit more wishy-washy than she did before. Even though she was young she seemed to have more of a backbone and did not allow herself to be pushed or swayed one way or the other. I’m partial to Tom even though he may not be the strongest, he does seem to have more integrity than any of the others. I am enjoying this series because it has everything I like in a vampire novel, blood, sexy vampires, romance, sexual tension, rivalries, revenge, and well-defined friendships. This cliff-hanger killed me because I had no idea how long I would have to wait to find out the conclusion. I know what I want and can’t wait to find out what happens. I would recommend this series highly.

Shattered Promises

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Shattered Promises (Shattered Promises #1)

 

This is 4.5 stars for entertaining even though I was not sure what was going on for the longest time. I loved the characters and the way that they were introduced even though I would have liked to have gotten more information on some. The story was confusing for me but it still managed to maintain a flow that allowed me to follow where it was going and enlighten me along the way. The story is rather complicated and twisty so you really have to pay attention to who you are with and what they are doing.

We meet Gemma Lucas as she finds that emotions are no longer a thing only other people feel. Gemma is a student in her final year of college and has no idea what she is going to do when it ends. But sometimes you shouldn’t temp fate by wondering about such things because you may find out that she has plans you might not agree with. She meets Aisling and Alex Avery in one of her classes and feels an electrical charge when she is around Alex, but does not know what it means, and he seems to be unaware of it however.

When she starts to have strange dreams and waking nightmares Gemma believes that she is going insane, but that is far from the truth. Gemma finds herself being pulled into a world and situations that she would have never believed existed. She also finds herself with emotions that she has never had to contend with, and controlling them proves to be difficult. Does she love Alex or hate him? Can she trust Alex? Should she trust Alex? Lots of questions and few answers but finding out is going to be a heck of a ride.

As I said, I did not always know what was going on but half the fun is trying to figure out who to trust and who not to trust. I am just as baffled as Gemma but can’t wait to see if I have chosen wisely. There are thrills, chills, and paranormals galore.

 

Ghost Betweens

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Ghost Betweens

My rating 4 of 5 stars
I usually like my horror a bit more bloody and dark but for this I will make an exception. While not bloody it did have a dark edge to it. It was an easy read that allowed you to get to know the characters in increments as the book progressed. Some were better represented than others but you still had an idea of who they were in relation to each other. The reasons behind the haunting was never made completely clear but the story was still good even without knowing every detail. It was able to keep my interest and keep me turning pages wanting to find out what would happen next. The term Ghost Betweens was a new one on me and I think I like it, it seems very apt for the teens here.

Citrus Valley is located somewhere between Los Angeles and Orange County in California. There is a farmhouse just outside the town which is said to be haunted and no one can say how long it has been empty. The local kids don’t party there and no one has even stayed for a night in the abandoned house, but it has a feeling that keeps people away. There is a sign out front which changes year to year or month to month and sometimes day by day, yet no one has ever been seen doing it.

Josh and Zach are high school boys who decide to go out and take pictures around the old farm and maybe capture some ghosts on film. They definitely get there wish and when the pictures are shown to one of their teachers he enlists them to continue their search for ghosts. They in turn bring into it Kendra, the girlfriend of Zach, and a new girl in school, Whisper who at first thinks she is joining a photography club. They wake up an evil that wishes to use them and they must race to master skills which will keep them alive and save more than their town from what could be released.

While light on scares it gives a nice story of young love blossoming in the face of horror. Finding the person who completes you before you are even complete yourself and learning to work together for the greater good. There was only one thing that bugged me and that was we never really got any answers about the teacher, like how he knew so much about ghosts, and spells, and evil entities, he was a history teacher after all. But that was a small thing and did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story. This book is YA and so has no major heavy content.

The Trials

The Trials

The Trials (The Elite #2)

I have fallen in love with this series and this is only the second book! From the start I was ready to follow this story anywhere it wanted to take me, it had me at the first sentence. The characters are so well defined they seem like friends who decided to drop by and relate a new adventure. The language is straight forward and appropriate for the place and type of people they are. There is nothing slow about anything which happens, we keep moving from action to action with time for reflection that does not even slow down the pace. This was a perfect blend of action and introspection that allowed you to know the character and get behind or against them through their thoughts and deeds.

Connor Moore has been changed forever, he now officially belongs within the world of the Elites, but must still prove himself to be the Judge of the prophesy who will save his race and humankind from a darkness coming to claim them. To do this he must endure The Trials, which have not been used in over a thousand years but is the only way to garner support for a half-blood. When he accepts to undertake them he finds that he is told that he must pass the three trials which will test him mind, body, and spirit. Being eighteen is hard enough but to take on the role of savior is more than any teenager should have to do. The question is if he can do it before the darkness overtakes them. And to add to his burden he has not one but two girls who want to know where they stand in his life. That may have to wait until they see if they survive.

This is a smart, witty, action packed series that has eye candy throughout (great imagination from great descriptions) that anyone would enjoy. I have found characters that I can relate to and cry for or laugh about or hate and that is what good writing does, it draws you in and makes you care one way or the other. That is what I have here. It may not be for everyone but I would think if given a try it would do the same for anyone. And I for one cannot wait for the next installment, cliff hangers always make me anxious and I want to know what happens!

The Beast Within

The Beast Within

The Beast Within (The Elite #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great and exciting book! I was pulled into the story immediately and could not put it down. You may go in thinking you are about to read another vampire/werewolf story but you get so much more than that. The characters are well-defined and real, they have personalities which will make you run the gambit of emotions when you read about them. The plot starts with a kick and makes you want to keep going from chapter to chapter in order to see what will happen next.

Connor Moore is your average eighteen year old, he’s graduated from high school and lost his girlfriend of the last two years when she breaks up with him. His world is one of working for his mother, working out, and trying to figure out how to tell her he is not going away to college but staying close by, just your normal everyday things. But when he meets Laren Abelardus in the woods one day after a run things start to change for him, both for the better and the worse. Connor is drawn into a world that has been hidden but living alongside humans for generations, a world of human like creatures who live among us but do not interact with humanity on a daily basis.

Connor finds that what he always thought to be true about the world and himself is a far cry from where the truth lies. People he has known for years are not who they appear to be. He is not who he thought he was and things he has always held to be true are not.

If I say anything more I will likely give away to much and I wouldn’t want to do that. There is action packed moments, villains, heroes, sorcery, shifters, and betrayal. There is not a lot of teen angst, which I am happy for. If you like YA or even if you only read it on occasion you should give this a try. It is well worth the time.