Category Archives: Harper Teen

Review: Arise (Hereafter #2) By Tara Hudson

Arise by Tara Hudson
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: June 5, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Hereafter #2

I absolutely adored Hereafter. I totally meant to reread it before reading Arise, but lately with blogging I’ve felt the pressure to read quickly and not focus on rereading things. But honestly, I need to let that go. Especially since rereading books in series as a new one comes out helps keep things fresh and makes the newest book more enjoyable. I honestly think Arise suffered from me not rereading Hereafter.
I love Amelia and Josh as much as I did after finishing Hereafter, but this book just wasn’t keeping me hooked and I don’t honestly know why. Tara’s writing was as beautiful as ever and great at describing things in such a way that I still felt a part of the story and not like I was being told about it. I did enjoy the setting being moved to New Orleans and the addition of voodoo. That definitely makes things more interesting, especially with what happens to Amelia because of it. It may have just been the pacing I guess. Some parts seemed slow while others I was tearing through pages. I actually felt ambivalent about most of the new additions in terms of characters, just because I didn’t really feel like they were being developed. Just placed in there to move the story along.
All in all, still a great sequel to Hereafter and I’m most definitely looking forward to the next book. But I definitely suggest rereading Hereafter if it’s been a while.

Review: Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Destined by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: May 1, 2012
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Series: Wings #4 (final book)

Tamani looked at her gravely, and reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear.

He hesitated for an instant, then his hands found the sides of her face, pulling her to him. He didn’t kiss her, just held her face close to his, their foreheads resting together, their noses almost touching.

She hated how much it felt like good-bye.

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and Klea plans to use her to help conquer and destroy Avalon. But Klea’s reach extends far beyond one wild Winter faerie. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares to face what may be Avalon’s final days, in the stunning conclusion to the Wings series.

An explosive end to what has become one of my favorite faerie series. I barely even know where to start, so while I’m thinking about that, let’s talk covers for this series. I’d have to say my favorites are the cover for Wings, and the cover for this book, Destined. Spells and Illusions just had too much going on, but these two each had a single thing, so it works. Destined is my favorite overall.

This book was like a movie in my mind. Most of the time when I’m reading I can imagine in my mind what I’m reading, but it doesn’t always have that feeling of a movie. But this one does, because I think Destined is the best example of Aprilynne Pike’s writing. I can even recall specific events that had they been real would be devastating and haunting, what happened at the Academy. Another thing amazed me was how the battle felt drawn out and yet at the same time didn’t, and I know that doesn’t really make any sense. I don’t know how to explain it, but whatever it was it worked.

Klea is one of those characters that is truly evil, even though she didn’t start out that way before we met her. I felt bad for what had happened to her before we met her, but not about what happens after. Everyone rose to the occasion for this final confrontation though. While Chelsea and David are both just in high school, they did a lot of growing up in Destined. I was proud of both them and what they were able to do to help Avalon. We do see some friends go, and it is sad. This book has made me choke up a couple of times.

Like Claudia Gray’s blurb on the front cover says this is “The perfect ending.” I am for the most part satisfied by this ending, though it is also bittersweet. There is a letter at the end though that had my heart hurting for it’s author. I won’t say who wrote or who it was written to, but I do warn to you be careful in deciding to read it.

In the end this is a must read series, especially if you love faeries.

Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: May 3, 2011
Source: Purchased
Series: Wings #3

Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

As of right now, Spells is still my favorite book in this series. Illusions maybe second. But overall I was not as impressed with the third book in this series as I was with the second. Spells had this atmosphere because of the time Laurel spends in Avalon. In Illusions, we only get one or two quick trips that don’t last long enough.

I’m not going to say who’s team I’m on, just for those who have not read this series yet. Most of you have, but not all. I quite liked having Laurel know she was attracted to two guys, but set firmly in her decision of one of them. We didn’t have any of that indecision that comes with love triangles in Spells. Illusions made up for that though. So much indecision that it went in a way I was not expecting, but then again half expecting in one aspect. That is the kind of love triangle I’m not fond of. I like the ones where the girl is set, and even though the one guy she doesn’t choose fights for her, she never deviates. I must say I was disappointed in Illusions for going the other way.

And lastly, story-wise there just didn’t really seem to be a whole lot going on. We don’t really get an antagonist until slightly more than halfway through the book, and even so they’re an absent antagonist. They don’t really do anything until the big reveal of things at the very end in the last couple of chapters. And by the way, except for one random troll attack in the middle of the book, the only other action happens at the very end

The thing that saves Illusions for me though is what is revealed in the last quarter of the book. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where that’s taken in Destined. Illusions is a must read if you’ve already started this series, just beware that it might not live up to your expectations.

Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: May 4, 2010
Source: Purchased
Series: Wings #2

Summary from Goodreads:
Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger–and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

 This was without a doubt so much better than Wings. That’s not to say I didn’t like Wings, because I did. It was an all right book. But seriously, Spells was so much better. My favorite thing was the world-building for Avalon. It was done in such a way that it didn’t feel like an info dump, though I did think that Laurel’s time spent at the Academy was rushed just the tiniest bit. But I loved how descriptive the author was when describing the faerie world. I felt like I was there, that’s how well I could see it in my mind. The writing definitely improved from book one to two.

We see more of one boy than the other in this book though, and I can’t quite decide which one I’m rooting for. David and Tamani are both great guys, and it’d be awesome if they could just be combined into one person. But that isn’t possible, so hopefully Illusions will help me make up my mind on that score.

There was a plot turn that I was not expecting, with a new person introduced that changes things up. I’m definitely interested in seeing where that goes, but it did sort of make what happens in the ending problem a tad predictable. I’m definitely eager though to jump right into the next book to see what happens to everyone next. I definitely need more of Avalon!

Recommended for anyone who loves faeries. And fantasy and romance. Just beware the love triangle and a girl who can’t make up her mind half the time.

Review: The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad

Book title and author name
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: April 3, 2012
Source: Finished copy for review from publisher
Series: The Fame Game #1

In Hollywood, fame can be found on every corner and behind any door. You just have to know where to look for it. Nineteen-year-old Madison Parker made a name for herself as best frenemy of nice-girl-next-door Jane Roberts on the hot reality show L.A. Candy. Now Madison’s ready for her turn in the spotlight and she’ll stop at nothing to get it. Sure, she’s the star of a new show, but with backstabbing friends and suspicious family members trying to bring her down, Madison has her work cut out for her. Plus, there’s a new nice girl in “reality” town—aspiring actress Carmen Price, the daughter of Hollywood royalty—and she’s a lot more experienced at playing the fame game… When the camera’s start rolling, whose star will shine brighter?

Filled with characters both familiar and new, Lauren Conrad’s series about the highs and lows of being famous delivers Hollywood gossip and drama at every turn.

I read L.A. Candy a few years ago, when I had an idea of who Lauren Conrad was. I remember enjoying it, but for some reason or other never got around to reading the two sequels that followed. Then I was sent an arc of The Fame Game, the spin off series. It sat on my shelf for the last month though, until another copy arrived in the mail. I’d been in a bit of a reading slump, so I thought why not try this book.
Now first of all, let me just say that as much as I love reading, I don’t actually read at home all that often anymore. I mostly read on my breaks and lunch at work now. But I enjoyed this book so much that I stayed up late a few nights ago to finish it. There’s so much drama and I have to admit I am a drama whore. I can’t get enough of it. My favorite characters were Kate & Carmen. Kate is this “nobody” from the midwest who moves to L.A. to try and make it as a musician. Carmen was born from Hollywood royalty but is still human. Gaby wasn’t given much development since she’s just supposed to be the stupid/ditzy sidekick. I actually hope to see more development for her in the next book. Madison is that character you love to hate and hate to love. But there is a huge twist for her that will you shocked.
Overall, I’m definitely looking forward to the next in this new series by Lauren Conrad. I can’t wait to see what happens to The Fame Game after the shocking ending.

Early Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass (ARC)

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: April 24, 2012
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Series: The Selection #1
Purchase: Book Depository

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

First of all what drew me to this book is pretty much the same as what has drawn everyone initially. That cover, oh my. That is one of the most eye-catching covers I have ever seen. If I had no idea about this book before being published and only found it afterwards sitting on a bookshelf in the bookstore, I’d probably buy it without even looking at the inside flap. That’s how stunning the cover is. We all know that saying don’t judge a book by its cover, but come on. We all do it. And seriously, the cover is the first thing we see about a book, that first initial draw. It helps when it looks this good.

 America was an interesting character. She was strong and definitely opinionated when it came to Prince Maxon and their two different worlds. I enjoyed the other girls in The Selection as well, for the most part. Some seemed really sweet, though most were just barely mentioned in passing, and usually only when they were sent home. I had a problem with that at first, but after giving it thought I decided it works that way, since I don’t want a big chunk of the book to be information on all 35 girls. That would’ve definitely taken away from the story. I would have liked to have seen more of Maxon’s mother and father, especially the mother since she was also chosen from The Selection. I’m guessing based off something said in the book though that we’ll be seeing more of her in the sequel. I have to say that Kiera Cass made it really easy to choose which side of this love triangle I’m on. I get the reasons behind the way one of the guys acted, but once I saw how the other one was, I knew who I was rooting for.

The story itself was very enjoyable. I ate this book up. I would have liked more worldbuilding though. More information about the world in general, but also more about Illea specifically. Like how the castes came about. How was it decided who would be in which caste? And how did Maxon’s family end up ruling? Something was mentioned about that, but didn’t go in depth at all.

The Selection doesn’t quite end on a cliffhanger, but it ends in such a way that is frustrating but at the same time makes you really wish you had the sequel in your hands so you could continue right away. I will definitely be reading the next in this trilogy when it becomes available, and buying The Selection as soon as it is released for my personal library.

Review: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Vanish by Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: September 6, 2011
Source: Publisher via NetGalley / Purchased
Series: Firelight #2
Purchase: Book Depository

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

There are some bombs dropped in Vanish, making this even more thrilling than Firelight. Story-wise this was very good, with Tamra finally manifesting and finding her inner draki. Though I did think it was a little too convenient that she happened to be one of the most rare draki that was especially needed in their pride since Nidia won’t be around forever to fulfill her duty.

Cassian rocked in Vanish as well, which makes me only wish even more that Jacinda would choose him. Will proved to me that I don’t want Jacinda ending up with him based off some of his actions. I applauded her ability to choose one of the boys in Firelight, but in Vanish we’re served that indecision crap I was so happy to not have to deal with. Oh well. I was happy though that the setting for Vanish to place back among the pride. I felt like we didn’t get see enough of the people that Jacinda and Tamra left behind in Firelight. Provided a different atmosphere for the story, which I much preferred. Felt more like a fantasy book than a run of the mill paranormal book set in a cityscape.

While some questions were answered, we have even more that were introduced and not answered. Like what really happened to their father? And seriously, who are the Enkros? What do they want with the draki? Well we’ll definitely find out since Jacinda was stupid enough to pull something selfish and get somebody else caught by the Enkros. Book three, Hidden, is I assume going to be focused on the rescue mission that is hatched at the end of Vanish. I’m definitely looking forward to finally finding out everything.

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: September 7, 2010
Source: Purchased
Series: Firelight #1
Purchase: Book Depository

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

When I was younger I was fascinated with the idea of dragons. I mean they’d be one of the most awesome things you could possibly catch a ride on. For some reason though, I bypassed this for nearly a year every time I went to the bookstore. Then I decided to take the plunge because honestly, at least it wasn’t vampires.

I felt bad for Jacinda, because she was essentially being punished for just being who she is when her mother uproots her and her sister Tamra to a human town, just so Tamra will feel more at home in her own skin. Basically sacrificing one daughter for the sake of the other, instead of trying to find some compromise that would suit both daughters. And let me tell you, this book might make you a little thirsty since the mother takes them to a desert, which is supposed to dry up Jacinda’s draki.

And then there’s the love triangle. Usually I’d be pulling for Will, but I have to say this time I’m pulling for Cassian. Her choice is made fairly obvious throughout the story. In a way that is nice since you don’t have all that indecision crap that many YA heroines seem to suffer from when faced with the love triangle. And even though I am rooting for Cassian, I do like Will. He’s just not my first choice for Jacinda.

With action from the first chapter and forbidden romance between hunter and prey, who would want to pass this up? I kicked myself for waiting so long to read it. We’re introduced to some interesting worldbuilding and dragon mythology. A definite must read for fans of the paranormal in need of something other than vampires and werewolves.

Early Review: The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (ARC)

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Harper
Release date: April 10, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Darkness Rising #2
Purchase: Book Depository

Maya and her friends–all of whom have supernatural powers–have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.

The Calling was a fun read, but not quite as fun as The Gathering, since I feel like it suffered from the second bookitis. Meaning it seemed mostly like a bridge between the first and the last book. Sure they get kidnapped and crash on an island and are then chased by their kidnappers. But really most of the time Maya is wallowing in sadness about another character, fate unknown until later on in the book. And we’re only left with more questions unanswered.

The characters weren’t developed much further either, with Maya and Daniel the only ones who seemed to know what they were doing the entire time. Though it seemed like one or two might have been picking things up as they went. I honestly could do without Rafe. He breezed into town in The Gathering and basically played everyone, but Maya just forgives him for it basically. I’d much prefer she realize what she has with Daniel and choose him. Because Daniel is awesome. The best friend you could possibly have, and no doubt an awesome boyfriend.

The writing is as good as ever which helped to make this a fast read. The story itself was pretty good too, I just wish we’d been given a little more. But we finally get to see something happen that was expected to happen, which made me happy so we did get something. I’m definitely looking forward to the third book.

Review: Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James

Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: January 24, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Purchase: Book Depository

She should not exist.

He should not love her.

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?

You know, this was a good book. Not a great and gripping read though. It took me a little longer to read this, especially once I got another book I was itching to read. But I did enjoy Forbidden. It’s another angel book with it’s own twist on angel lore, which I love reading about. I can’t get enough of angel books.

One thing I noticed while reading is that this is a pretty sizable book, but a lot was happening. Every now and then you come across these chunksters, huge monsters of a book but while you’re reading things get dragged out so that when you’ve finished you’re like “What did I just read and how did it take up that many pages?” Well, I didn’t have that issue with Forbidden. I’m quite happy with the length and for the most part all the major events aren’t dragged out. There are some small parts that were, but they’re small.

I also really enjoyed the fact that the authors did not use insta-love/attraction/lust with their main characters, as least not wholly. Alec was instantly attracted, but Claire took a while to warm up to him because of his standoffish first appearance. One thing I didn’t like though was that once she started becoming attracted to Alec her other crush just went out the window, even though it had been around for two years. And while her change of affection wasn’t instant, it was just a tiny bit faster than I would’ve liked, given the size of the book.

They’re both fun characters though, and Claire especially is a strong protagonist. You have all this crazy stuff happening to you all of a sudden, but still manages to keep her cool and take everything in stride. Claire’s friends are awesome and quirky. If this turns out to be a series, I definitely hope we see more of them later on. I wasn’t all that thrilled with the long term crush of Claire’s, since he seems to suddenly notice and pay attention to her, when he never did before Alec’s arrival.

Overall, I definitely did enjoy this book. I loved that it was told through Claire’s and Alec’s viewpoints, switching back and forth each chapter. If you love angel books, I would definitely recommend this to you, and to any paranormal fan.