Reviews


REVIEW BY Merissa   

Charming

by Krystal Wade
- rating
- story
- characters

"So what happens if you cross Cinderella with Saw? "

You get a bloody brilliant book that will draw you in and not let go, not even to make your children's tea! I'll be honest, reading the synopsis and seeing that it fell in the horror genre, I wasn't sure if I'd like it. I mean, come on, who wants to read about an alcoholic dad, a dead mum, an indifferent sister and physical abuse, especially when you're a wuss as I am? It turns out I do when it is written in this way!

The moment I realised that my stomach was clenching on behalf of Haley as she stood before her home, trying to find the strength to go through the door, I knew I was hooked. Trust me, Haley has everything to whinge and whine about but surprisingly does neither. She is destructing, but slowly and underneath everyone's radar or so she thinks. A couple of people reach out to her - her English teacher, the caretaker at the cemetery where she visits with her mum and surprisingly, Chris Charming. The son of the man who now runs her mother's company. The boy who has what she had. The story between Haley and Chris runs through the book but doesn't overwhelm it.

The other part of the story, the mystery/horror of the book, I won't talk about much as I don't want to spoil it for anyone else. Suffice it to say that I was twisted in knots trying to figure out who it was - was it this person or that one? It turns out I was right but Krystal Wade had me doubting everything I thought I knew. Excellent! The horror part wasn't too bad, yes there were parts to it that weren't nice to read - violence, abuse, kidnap to name just three - but there was nothing there that didn't contribute to the story, that didn't help to set the scene or deepen your feelings for that particular character whether they are good or bad.

The plot, storyline and pace were all fantastic - I honestly can't think of anything that let this book down. I can 100%, wholeheartedly recommend this to all fans of YA, Romance, Horror (never thought I'd recommend a horror book!) and of Krystal Wade herself. Another hit for Miss Wade!

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Duty

by Rachel Rossano
- rating

"Review from Victoria Lane"

DUTY by Rachel Rossano is an action-packed romantic drama that promises a little something to tempt every reader. I give it two stars because while the plot was stirring and interesting, there was too much going on for one stand-alone novel. I think I would have enjoyed it more as two novels that allowed more time for detail and fleshing out the political and social plotlines.

In the novel, war has come to the medieval Rhynan. The king is dead and apparently, so are all the men from the village of Lady Brielle Solarius. She and all the women from her village have been given to a conquering army as a part of a cease-fire agreement. As a noblewoman, Lady Brielle is given to Lord Irvaine, a newly-titled earl.

Lord Irvaine has been given the daunting task of ruling Rhynan, which is complicated enough politically without the stress of inadequate provisions and the more personal pressure of getting to know his new wife. The current provisions won't last through the winter, and the perceived success or failure of Irvaine's marriage will have significant political ramifications. And this is only one part of the drama.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel, but it took me significant determination to get through it. In the beginning, there were a lot of names used without enough description of who or what they were in relation to everything else. Getting past that issue to understand the story was challenging. At a certain point I had to make up my own explanations so I could continue reading, and in the end, there seemed to be a lot of sub-plot lines that fizzled out instead of coming to fruition.

The romance was nicely done, making the novel okay for teens, and when declarations of love are made, they are fairly credible considering the circumstances.

This novel really needs another revision with an eye to clarify and simplify the plotlines. I would recommend a revised version to all readers who love medieval dramas.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Finding Perfect

by Kendra C. Highley
- rating

"Review from Ashia"

FINDING PERFECT is a satisfying friends-to-lovers story, and that's saying a lot, since this is my favorite trope to read.

On Paige's "D"oomsday, that is, the day she got a D in AP Calculus, thereby possibly derailing her plans to get into her dad's alma mater, she almost had a breakdown. She's been the perfect student all this while and a perfect daughter besides, fulfilling her parents' expectations of her thus far. She hires Ben to tutor her, who wanted Paige to introduce him and get a date with her best friend Zoe. A bargain was struck, and in the process, Paige found herself having feelings for Ben...but what chance did she have against her more beautiful, more popular friend?

Ben is an admirable hero; working two jobs while going to school in order to help his single mother make ends meet. His confusion over which girl has a greater claim on his heart--Paige or Zoe-- is understandable and believable. It was great reading about his struggles, and how he was willing to give some things up in order to help his mom. Truly an admirable hero.

Paige is one of the popular kids, but I get the assumption that she's only popular by association, due to her best friend Zoe. She's also of the opinion that being a popular kid isn't all that it's purported to be, but I wish we could've seen more evidence of this instead of just hearing her say about it. Zoe is her best friend, and while I understand why Paige can't seem to be able to talk to her about some things, there's no scene wherein they have any girl talk, thus making me wonder just how much of a "best friends" they are (this not counting the scene when Zoe wanted to clear up some misunderstandings). What I like about Paige, however, is that she's not a snob. I don't know how realistic that is, considering that she's one of the popular kids and her dad is a doctor, so she's rich, but yeah, that's one endearing trait about her.

The story is told in alternating points of view, with each chapter stating clearly "Paige" or "Ben" right after the chapter heading. Which I think is superfluous and unnecessary. Because there is no doubt whose point of view we are in, as the first paragraph usually starts off with Ben did this or Paige said that. I mean, that's clear enough, right?

Zoe is a great secondary character, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that she's not one-dimensional. Probably because the next book is about her. :)

Aside from the romance, certain parent-child issues were also tackled here, and for the most part, I think it was done pretty well. Most young adults can relate to that as well, especially when their dreams and that of their parents' dreams for them do not align.

Overall, a great, uplifting read. Perfect for both adults and young adults.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Illuminae

by Amie Kaufman; Jay Kristoff
- rating

"Review from Ashia"

This book is a danger--to my sanity, sleep, work. I couldn't put it down! It's powerful and raw; it doesn't shy away from illuminating the gritty, poignant, bittersweet truth of combat situations.

Kady Grant was in class when she realized her planet's under attack from enemy ships. Kerenza's citizens do illegal mining of hermium under the directives of a corporation WUC, and its competitor BeiTech discovered this and means to take it for themselves. So it was a hostile takeover and lots of lives were lost. In a call for help, the battleship Alexander was patrolling nearby and responded to their call. They had to travel for about six months in space, with BeiTech's surviving battleship the Lincoln in pursuit, before they can reach the Heimdall station, where hopefully there'll be someone to assist them.

However, soon they realized something was wrong. The artificial intelligence running the ship, AIDAN, was taking over the ship, and a deadly pathogen is loose. How many would succumb to the virus? How many would be killed by AIDAN? And how many would survive and live to tell the truth?

First of all, I've gotta applaud the ingenious way of telling the story. This is something you've never read before, a story told via transcripts of conversations, military documents, IMs, emails, journal entries, etc. I can't imagine what the authors had to do to come up with this collage of information, but it works! I was enthralled and compelled to keep hitting the button on my epub reader. Still I couldn't help thinking that this is one format that's best read on a paper book.

If you've ever watched the anime tv series Robotech, you'll be able to imagine the atmosphere and environs of this book. Well, initially anyway. That's the feeling I got when I started reading, when Ezra and Kady were on the ship fleeing their damaged planet and BeiTech's ships. I imagine them living in the city within the ship, the micro-environment that sprung up due to necessity, etc. Of course, there was no singing here or attack from aliens. Instead, the danger is all too near, because AIDAN is severely damaged and there's a deadly virus loosed on Copernicus (one of the ships).

There are 3 ships in all--Alexander (the main battleship that has the guns and defense grids), Hypatia (the research vessel) and Copernicus. Kady, our heroine, is on Hypatia, and Ezra, her recent ex, is on Alexander. Kady is a computer programming prodigy, and she's bold and brave and she has this fight-to-the-end attitude that's very admirable. She didn't want to give up as long as there's a sliver of a chance. Ezra is great too, but it is Kady who carries the show.

The story is straightforward at first, as it documents the happenings on Kerenza and the people's subsequent adaptation to life on the ship to when things start to go wrong. Then, halfway through, there's surprising twists and turns, causing the story to go in a different direction, and shocking revelations that fried my brains and made this a totally amazing read. Perhaps I should've seen those revelations coming, but I love it when an author (or authors) manage to surprise me!

Lastly, this is a story of sacrifice and courage and the indomitable human spirit. I can't tell you how many times I was moved by a certain scene or how certain words struck me. Like, "It is moments like this that kill me." All too often, wars and battles seem so far away from us, but in reading this, I have no doubt similar situations occur in war zones, situations where a man's actions spoke of the very person that he is, situations where in the darkest night, the human spirit, courage and selflessness shine bright.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Cold Burn of Magic

by Jennifer Estep
- rating

"Review from BJ"

4.5 "Magic Mafia" Stars! What an interesting read that brings together a number of my loves and wraps it all up together in a completely unique packaging! Mixing some of my favorite sub-genres, paranormal/UF, contemporary YA/New Adult romance and Mafia-like romantic suspense, COLD BURN OF MAGIC is sure to appeal to a wide audience as it has a little something for everyone! What a fantastic beginning to a new series that is sure to be another hit for Jennifer Estep!

Lila Merriweather was forced to learn how to survive early in life. Having lost her mother (a former bodyguard) at a young age, she has tried her best with the help of her mother's friend, a pawn shop owner, to avoid foster homes. Earning her way by stealing and completing odd jobs that her mother's friend assigns to her, and living in the basement of a library that she can only visit after it closes at night, has taught her a lot about making ends meet in the magical world she lives in which is ruled by a few powerful Families of varying magical strengths. Above all costs, the one rule that she has learned she must essentially follow is to avoid the Families and never let them know her true magical talents, one of which would nearly certainly be stolen from her if she ever let it be discovered.

Everything, however, changes when Lila inadvertently gets involved in an assassination/kidnapping attempt against the son of the head of the Sinclair family, the second most powerful Family. With only a split second to determine her fate, and not really recognizing Devon as a member of the Sinclair Family, Lila throws all caution aside and saves Devon, exposing her extraordinary fighting skills.

As no good deed goes unpunished, it is this act of selflessness, which, for better or for worse, opens up a whole new world to her. While this puts her square in the sights of Devon Sinclair, a young man who is poised to become the head of the Sinclair Family, and who makes her feel things she has never felt before, it also may just mean that her destiny to live and die like her mother, at the hands of a Family feud, may also be sealed.

I loved both the suspense/action-packed angle and magic-filled nature of this young adult read. As I typically only read romance titles, I feel compelled to mention that although COLD BURN OF MAGIC is not labeled a romance title, it does have a satisfying, rather subdued, element of romance. In particular, it really felt to me like Ms. Estep was teeing up this romance aspect to play a more prominent role in upcoming books. I can't wait to continue the Black Blade Series with Dark Heart of Magic which is scheduled to be released in October 2015!

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

"Review from Breann"

Sweet, sweet, sweet. With an extra side of sweet.

I love me some cute YA love, with a dash of angst, and this totally delivered.

Simon and Jimmy had been eyeing each other at school. Both wanting to talk to the other, but neither wanted to make the first move. But once they finally met... they had hearts in their eyes and it was LUV.

Simon and Jimmy were adorbs. They were each other's first for everything. Expect lots of tentative touches, light kisses and blushing. Just cute. Their romance rang so true to their age. Like everything for a teenager, their emotions run on 100% all the time. They met, fell in love and were convinced they'd be together for all of eternity. Their devotion and dedication to each other was infectious.

Simon's life was not an easy one. He lived with his very abusive father and Jimmy was struggling to help him out. I'm not kidding about the abuse; it's horrible, major trigger warnings here. But through the love and support of Jimmy's awesome family, Simon got the love he deserved, all topped with a perfect epilogue. And not just the love of Jimmy, but the love of a family.

We were well on our way to fives-ville, but these cute boys were a bit too lovey-dovey, with lots of 'babys' thrown around. I loved it, but it was too much. Also, this could have been about 100 pages shorter. I was loving it, but around the 3/4 mark, things started to drag.

All around, I loved THE GEEK AND HIS ARTIST and couldn't put it down.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Lucky Linus

by Gene Gant
- rating

"Review from Breann"

LUCKY LINUS is a coming of age tale that's both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

The story begins when Linus is a young child. It tells of the neglect he endured from his mother and the abuse from his mother's boyfriend. He was taken from his home and placed in different foster homes. Some homes were safe and some of the homes he lived in were not. Linus suffered more heartache and abuse than anyone should have to bear, let alone a child.

As a teenager he's placed with the Nelsons. They seem nice enough, but Linus isn't getting too attached. He knows what happens with the nice ones; for one reason or another, he has to move on. So he keeps a tentative relationship with this family he's living with.

He joins an online LGBT group where he meets another boy his age, Kevin. They hit it off while chatting and meet up. They start hanging out more and more, until they get caught in some illegal activity.

I really loved Linus. He's such a strong character. Linus doesn't let his circumstances keep him down. Yes, he keeps his new family at arms' length, but he's such a good kid. He protects himself from more heartbreak, but all without becoming too jaded.

There was a lot going on here. Either more length, or less conflict would have helped this story feel more fleshed out. I liked that he found peace with both his new family and with Kevin, but neither felt completely resolved. Some major growth with the Nelsons was skipped over and then, all of a sudden, Linus has an HEA. After all he'd been through, seeing him bond with them would have been great, especially with his siblings.

Linus' story is an unforgettable one. It's highly recommended for YA fans.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Unbeautiful

by Jessica Sorensen
- rating

"Review from BJ"

4 "Unquestionably Beautifully Intriguing" Stars! Just what is going on in the small town of Ralingford, Wyoming? In a style somewhat reminiscent of a younger version of The Stepford Wives, Emery is expected to be the perfect model daughter and girlfriend, and the chief qualities of which are demanded of her are strict obedience and adherence to all measures necessary to remain utterly beautiful. But just what dark secrets and imperfections lie beneath this mirage of perfection? So many questions and an infinite number of possibilities abound in this highly unique read. One thing is a given though, if you want to learn the answers, you will need to read the conclusion to the UnBeautiful Series in Untamed, which releases February 27, 2015.

Emery appears to have the perfect life. Beautiful like no other, head cheerleader and girlfriend of the captain of the football team (who also happens to be the son of the town's richest lawyer and close acquaintance of her father), one would think she wouldn't have a care in the world. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Emery yearns to run away from the cuffs that bind her. But nearly no one ever leaves Ralingford. Determined to finally gain control over her life, Emery seizes her opportunity shortly after high school graduation, when during one of her father's business trips, she moves out of town purportedly under the guise of wanting to attend a university (rather than the town's community college).

There she meets Ryler. Sporting tattoos, a lip piercing and other immeasurable scars, Ryler is exactly the type of imperfect man that Emery's family would expect her to steer clear from. Emery, however, views an unconventional beauty in Ryler that draws her to him. Not even his arguably biggest flaw, that he can no longer speak, can keep her away. Finally free, she gets to experience her first few moments of true pleasure and beauty with Ryler.

Ryler, however, is leading a double life and soon the dark forces that previously controlled her world and Ryler's double life intersect, to call everything back into question. Will Emery and Ryler ever be able to truly break free of their pasts in time to find a HEA? Moreover, just what exactly is the extent of the dark past that Emery is running from?

Lovers of twisty, mysterious, suspense intensive romances will not want to miss UNBEAUTIFUL. Angsty, fast-paced and creative beyond compare, I can't wait to read Untamed to see how all the pieces of this complex puzzle fit together.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

A Devil in Daylight

by Marcus Damanda
- rating

"Review from Rachel's Willful Thoughts"

Although it is published by the Evernight Teen division, Marcus Damanda's series has all the right ingredients for a skin-chilling thriller for adult readers.

A DEVIL IN DAYLIGHT is the second book in The Devil in Miss Drake's Class Series. While I didn't read the first book, I would recommend that readers start at the beginning to get the full impact.

The storyline picks up with Audrey on the brink of a fresh start. However, the tormentors of her past are not quite ready to admit defeat. With that determination channeled into social media, it's not long before the drama kicks into high gear. Add a parallel storyline featuring a demonic character and the book quickly starts hitting high marks on the supernatural scale.

Some elements of the story, particularly the hateful teenagers and their use of social media, are so realistic that it is eerie. I found myself quickly getting caught up in the storyline.

While I could have done without the cliffhanger, it certainly was successful in making sure that I added the next installment of this series to my list. It might feature a storyline geared for teens, but it had plenty of appeal for this adult reader.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Death Marked

by Leah Cypess
- rating

"Review from Ashia"

If you haven't read the first book, Death Sworn, go read it now. Though you can understand the story by jumping straight into DEATH MARKED, but you won't get the same flavor and experience with knowing the backstory from reading the first book.

Ileni left the caves to go to the Empire to learn more about their ways and if indeed they deserve to be killed. She left behind the boy she loved, Sorin, who is now the master of the assassins, after she killed their master. At the Empire, her position is tenuous, depending solely on Karin's (the head sorceress) generosity. The more she stayed on, Ileni was left with more questions than answers...and she had to probe the inner workings of her heart.

***Mini Spoilers Alert***

DEATH MARKED is the story of Ileni's growth, of her discovering things in the Empire that made her think twice on the course of destruction that was her original mission. The author gave a vivid and realistic portrayal of Ileni's confusion and the way her heart and her honor tug her in two different directions. And as Ileni grew in her convictions, so she also grew apart from Sorin, as their beliefs became radically different.

As in the previous book, the romance is understated, and all we have is the bloom of a possible love. That is understandable, due to Sorin's place in her heart for most of the book.

***Mini Spoilers End***

The story flowed in a fascinating, compelling way that I can't put the book down. Surprise twists and turns kept my eyes glued to the pages, desperate to know what happens next. The resolution to Ileni's problem came as a surprise, yet when I thought about it, it was fitting, believable and realistic. Change, after all, comes slowly.

I've heard that this series comprises of only these two books, and yet, I can't help but feel there could be more to the story. I certainly would love to see what happens after the ending, and go with Ileni on further adventures.

Fantasy lovers would love this duology, and seriously, I just love those covers! Just the right blend of mystique and magic with gorgeous colors.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Devils in the Dark

by Marcus Damanda
- rating

"Review from Rachel's Willful Thoughts"

Although it is part of the Evernight Teen imprint, Marcus Damanda's The Devil in Miss Drake's Class series has all the components for an unsettlingly suspenseful adult read.

In the first of three books, DEVILS IN THE DARK sets the stage for a tale that combines the horrific side of teens using social media with a paranormal twist.

Every reader can identify with the feeling of being bullied as a child, or at least can recall an example. Today's version, though, involves social media, which is much more effective than items written on a bathroom wall.

At the center of the story is Audrey Bales, who has been pushed to the limits of her endurance by a group of other teens. The depth of her emotions catches the attention of an entity referred to as "the observer." As Audrey tries to pick up the pieces of her sanity within the confines of a psychiatric ward, the observer keeps an eye on the Facebook Fifteen -- the ones who had participated in the online bullying sessions.

While obviously a work of fiction, the author did an excellent job adding realistic details to the storyline. It's packed with emotion from start to finish.

The author leaves the reader ready to see what happens next. Because I initially read the second book first, I appreciated the back story. To get the most out of the series, I would recommend reading it in sequence. It's a quick read, perfect for a weekend. As a word of caution, though, this is not for the faint of heart.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

The Devil at Play

by Marcus Damanda
- rating

"Review from Rachel's Willful Thoughts"

Marcus Damanda delivers the stunning conclusion to The Devil in Miss Drake's Class series with his third book, THE DEVIL AT PLAY.

This spine-tingling thriller may be published under the Evernight Teen label, but it is far from what I would typically expect in teen fiction.

From the very beginning with Audrey's suicide attempt to her subsequent recovery, readers get a clear taste of the writer's skill in building suspense.

The paranormal element of "the observer" is especially developed in this installment as justice continues to be served regarding the Facebook Fifteen, the teens who played a role in Audrey's public humiliation.

I found this installment to be the best of the three because all of the loose ends were wrapped up in a satisfying way. It might not exactly be the most believable storyline because of the paranormal element, but there were aspects that were all too real. This was a great series that left me with chills.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

All the Devils Here

by Astor Penn
- rating

"Review from Breann"

Oh... wow. WOW.

Wow.

That's really all I've got. I'm quite speechless.

We began with Brie all on her own. A horribly contagious and fatal sickness hit and the world was in a post-apocalyptic state. Right from the start I could feel the emptiness and desperation in the world. The heartache was thick. So think I felt consumed by it, right from the start.

Brie was all on her own since she was away at school in New York when the outbreak started. Brie, who is just 17, was out for herself and knows that being with anyone else would only slow her down and slowing down means death. She's as heartless as they come, or so it seemed.

Right away she stumbled upon two guys and a small girl who are also just trying to survive. They're running from the hazmats--the group of people who say they're there to help, but every sane person knows they're the enemy. So her heart got the best of her and she stayed with this small group. That's where she also met Raven. Raven! I really like Raven. She's as ruthless as Brie. Knows what it takes to survive.

And so that's what they did. Together, they tried to survive.

Of course, it wasn't that easy. Poor Brie went through some horrific events. As did I! My poor shattered heart. The author really made this feel like an authentic story. She took it where it needed to go, no matter how gut wrenching it was at times. The story was organic and flowed naturally. The writing was flawless.

Brie and Raven had this bond that neither one of them expected. But it's there and it's strong. I could feel it between them almost instantly. They're both young and barely knew each other, but Brie felt for her more than she'd ever felt for anyone. I think, being so alone made them grasp onto each other even harder. They knew what they had was special and did everything they could to keep it. And I mean everything. These girls were seriously badass.

I loved Brie and Raven. I'm praying and hoping and wishing that this is a series. I got just a smidgen of an HEA and I want more, more, more! Especially more of Raven. I didn't get nearly enough of her, but, mmhm, that girl has words to make me swoon.

Obviously, I wasn't all that speechless. But, honestly, this is one of those books that all I want to say is, READ IT. Because now you've wasted precious reading time reading my review instead of ALL THE DEVILS HERE. Which you should get to. Stat.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Red Queen

by Victoria Aveyard
- rating

"Review from Ashia"

RED QUEEN is a fascinating, compelling dystopian debut from Victoria Aveyard, where the truth is not as it seems. With stunning twists, the story takes us on a sweeping adventure in a world that is different and yet eerily similar to our own.

Mare Burrows lives in a world where the Reds are oppressed by the elite Silvers. Reds are downtrodden, forced to eke out a minimal living for survival. Anybody who doesn't have a job is conscripted into a war that they're fighting with their neighbors, the Lakelands.

Silvers, on the other hand, possess abilities or talents, like telekinesis, manipulating fire, etc. They live in nice houses with every luxury imaginable, with Reds doing the menial work for them.

Mare is a Red, as the blood in her veins flows red. When, by some chance, she happened to possess and display abilities--manipulating electricity--she was passed off by the king as a long-lost daughter of a slain Silver general and betrothed to the younger prince, Maven. Yet, she can't help her feelings for Cal, the prince who once saved her when she was at her most desperate. What about her role in the Scarlet Guard, the revolutionary force that was trying to win equality and a better life for the Reds? How could she betray one for the other? And what is she, a Red possessing abilities that only Silvers heretofore possess?

First of all, I have to admit to having issues with the heroine's name. How is it pronounced--Mary, Ma-re or Mare, as in horse? I usually pronounced it in my head as "mare" and I would now forever associate her with the female equine. Unfortunate, but there it is. I realize this has probably to do with her second name later on in the story, but I believe there are better names than this.

That minor quibble aside, Mare is a sympathetic, compassionate heroine, though initially naive.

"And Kilorn wouldn't let me do this, not if he knew I would be in danger. They [the Scarlet Guard] wouldn't do this to me."


Though she's street smart as they come, she doesn't yet realize she's a pawn in somebody's game. She thought her position can protect her, not understanding that she's nobody, that she can be used and discarded to further other people's agenda--the Scarlet Guard...or somebody else. I can understand her actions toward the latter part of the story, though I may not like how she manipulated a certain someone by using his feelings for her. But then, all's fair in love and war, I suppose. When all was revealed, I want to scream at Mare for being so stupid, but I guess I would be too, if I were in her situation. She's still young, and not jaded yet with years of experience. Let's hope she becomes smarter in the sequels.

I like Cal. I thought he's got the proper attitude for a would-be king--going to the Red villages, to the battlefront, to learn firsthand the plight of his people. He's the crown prince sure, but all throughout the story, I get the feeling that he's also a Red sympathizer--ok, maybe not exactly that, but that all the while, he's trying to do things that might make the world better for everyone. Till the end, we don't really know what or how he would've changed things when he's king, and I wish that he and Mare could've talked more, then maybe she (and the reader) could've understood him and his ideals/plans better. But that makes for great conflict, right?

I like how the author depicted Maven, the younger prince, who, like Cal and Mare, was not one-dimensional. He has his own fears and ambitions, and layers to his character. I can't wait to see more of what the author would make of him.

The story unfolds at the right pace, with a balanced mix of suspense, action and romance. Okay, a word to romance junkies: The romance is understated here. There was just enough to whet your appetite for more, but I guess more couldn't be due to the characters' situation. There was a triangle (maybe quadrangle) of sorts, but everything was vague. There was a kiss though and a forbidden romance, so maybe that would be enough to tide you over until the next book in the series. I know I can't wait for the next book in the series, though I heard we may have to wait until 2016.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Fairy Tales for Modern Queers

by Emily Reed
- rating

"Review from Breann"

These aren't quite the fairy tales you're used to hearing.

The author took a variety of fairy tales and put a modern, YA spin on them. They all feature a character from the LGBTQ community, whether they're gay, trans, lesbian or gender fluid.

While I liked the idea of this collection, some of the stories fell flat for me. Most of them ended too soon, without any real closure with the characters. It's like they ended a couple pages right before their HEA and I'd have liked to see it play out all the way. It was like something was missing and I never became fully invested in any of the characters.

There were a couple stories that I would have loved more from. The Cinderella story and Repunzel story were my favorites and I desperately wished they were longer. I was so intrigued by the characters and the fairy tale adaptation, that I was bummed when they ended. I would have preferred there were only a couple more fleshed out, longer fairy tales, rather than the little bits that were served.

Some stories were more enjoyable than others, but I did appreciate the variety of sexual orientations presented in the collection. It was something different from LGBTQ romance and fairy tale retellings.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

The Red Sheet

by Mia Kerick
- rating

"Review from Breann"

THE RED SHEET is a powerful YA novel. It will hit you right in the heart.

When Bryan wakes up one morning, he's ready to save the world while wearing his red cape. This would be all good and well if it was normal behavior for Bryan. Except for it's so not his norm. He's the bully. The jock everyone steers clear from. But he doesn't quite remember being that person. So, he's shocked to find out that the boy he's attracted to was brutally hurt by none other than Bryan himself.

Bryan knows that he needs Scott in his life. But Scott won't have anything to do with him, and rightfully so. The way Bryan treated Scott was almost unforgivable. Almost, except for how freaking loveable he became when trying to win Scott back. He was able to change and become the kind of person he knew he should be. The kind of person he wanted to be.

There were some flashbacks throughout, showing us and Bryan his behavior from the past. Showing him how truly cruel he was to the boy he claimed to care so much about.

Wow. How powerful. To be able to look at yourself from the outside looking in. What a different perspective on life all of us would have if we even had a glimpse. Just a glimpse at how others see you would probably be amazing, terrible and horrifying all at the same time. This is the gift Bryan was given, and I'm so happy he saw it that way, and he took the gift and used it to change.

I have to mention their teacher, Ms. Libby. I simply adored her and her willingness to help Bryan. She altered her teaching to help a boy make amends. And this is what parents want for their kids. Yeah, we want success, but really, we want kids to be loving human beings. And I love that the teacher put that as her highest priority.

There were so many things I loved about THE RED SHEET, all without mentioning their adorableness. Shocking, I know. I do love my YA cutie-patooties. They definitely fit into the cute category. Even though they had an established relationship, readers are able to witness them starting fresh with Bryan's new perspective on life and the way he wants to live it.

Bravo, Ms. Kerick. This one's a beauty, and a powerful one, at that.

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Rites of Passage

by Joy N. Hensley
- rating

"Review from Ashia"

RITES OF PASSAGE is a riveting, engrossing story set in a high school military school.

Sam McKenna (or Mac, as she's called in school) is going to be one of the five first girl recruits ever at Denmark Military School. Too bad there are some people at the school who don't want her there. Added to it the complication of having a crush on her drill sergeant and Sam has her hands full!

This being my first time to read about military school, I was fascinated. It brought back memories of my own time training and marching, and when I was reading about Drill Sergeant Stamm, it was my own drill sergeant that I imagined who, in my opinion, is every bit as yummy as Drill! (I wasn't in a military school, but we had some sort of military exercise as part of the curriculum.)

RITES OF PASSAGE is fascinating reading, and I was compelled onward due to curiosity as to what happens in such a school, plus the atrocities and bullying suffered by Sam at the hands of those who didn't want any girl recruits in the school. I think the bullying is a universal theme, not just suffered by girl recruits in an all-boys school, so this theme should strike a chord in everyone who reads this book. I was glad there were people who stood up for her and who defended her.

Sam is a strong heroine, bolstered onward by her own indomitable will and strength, as well as the dare that her brother has made with her. That may have been the start, but her sense of purpose was strengthened by the desire to get to the bottom of things, to overthrow the secret Society that's at the heart of what she's suffered, so that future girl recruits would have an easier time of things, the chance to pursue their dreams.

The romance with Drill was slow to start, because it was forbidden, but when it started, there were all sorts of delicious tension. You can feel their frustration and longing, and you can't help but yell for them to break the rules JUST ONCE! Still, it was good tension.

There's a sequel (of course! as with any young adult book these days), and I'm absolutely looking forward to it. Drill and Sam will be facing a new chapter in their lives (uh-uh, not telling what it is, and it may not be what you're thinking either), and I can't wait to be with them on their journey!

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Elite

by Rachel Van Dyken
- rating

"Review from BJ"

5 "I'll Do Anything To Protect You--Even Make You Think I'm the Devil" Stars!

Wow, this book was amazing! What a twisted journey! I loved that you would never be able to figure out what this story is about from the first few pages or book blurb. For me the more suspenseful and convoluted the story, the better! So please don't be quick to make judgments. That's the point. This story is told from the heroine's POV, who is in the dark about who she really is and what she is really doing at Eagle Elite College. The beauty and creativeness of this book is how the story unfolds, and Rachel Van Dyken is a master, slowly revealing little clues along the way. In fact, even at the end of this book, you get the sense that there are still secrets that have yet to be unraveled, including who the heroine's true love match is. Yes, that's right, this series sports one of my favorite romance tropes: a love triangle! I can't wait to read book 2, Elect, to see how this new adult gem continues to evolve!

Trace Rooks lost her parents at a young age. Raised by her grandparents, who move to a farm in Wyoming to raise her, she has led a fairly wholesome life. Then she fulfills her grandmother's dying wish, when she wins and accepts the annual Eagle Elite College Scholarship to attend the prestigious university. Attending Elite is usually an opportunity that is reserved for the extremely wealthy and future leaders of the country, so Trace believes it's a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone like her.

As soon as she arrives, however, she realizes just what a different world Elite is. Almost immediately she meets mean students who make it their mission to make her question whether she belongs. Perhaps the worst of them all is Nixon Abandonato, the class president. Everyone seems to cower at his command, even his ever present companion and fellow Elect member, Chase, who seems to alternate between following Nixon's lead with his taunts and then challenging Nixon by showing genuine interest and concern for Trace.

It doesn't take long for Nixon, however, to begin showing his own interest to Trace, and as his attention seems to alternate between protecting her and then acting like the devil, Trace realizes that she can't deny the unexplainable attraction that she has to Nixon. It's not logical, but it is undeniable, and she is helpless to resist Nixon.

But the Elect is hiding secrets, and their number one priority is protecting Tate, even if they have to hurt her in the process. Can there possibly be a HEA in the cards for Trace? Moreover, when the truths begin to be told, danger becomes even more omnipresent. Will Trace even manage to stay safe?

All in all, this was an amazing start to a promising new adult suspense-filled series, which also has a bit of a young adult feel. In that regard, please note that while there is tons of romantic tension, including the beginnings of a love triangle, this read is fairly tame from a love scenes perspective. The action and guessing as to where this series is going, however, both from a romantic and suspense perspective, will keep you joyfully entertained and clamoring for more!

REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Left Behind

by Vi Keeland; Dylan Scott
- rating

"Review from BJ"

Readers of young adult romance will not want to miss this emotional story of coping with loss before learning how to love again. The interesting unique twist to this novel is that it's actually about two separate tales, but it is discovering how they intersect that actually becomes the groundbreaking necessary precursor to moving forward.

Nikki Fallon has had a lonely upbringing. Growing up way before her time, she in essence becomes her own mother's caretaker as her mother struggles between bouts with diabetes and bipolar mental disease. Although Nikki is a good student, she is unsure of where the future will lead given that they have almost no money and are barely getting by living in a trailer. It's been so bad that she has been in and out of foster homes from time to time. Then her mother passes away and other than her best friend, Ashley, Nikki is totally alone. When her social worker comes to take her away to yet another foster home shortly after her mother's death, Nikki's world is turned upside down when her mother's deathbed confession is revealed. A secret her mother kept so hidden that she only bears having it finally revealed following her death in a letter.

Zack Martin has been in love with Emily since he was 9 years old and she moved next door. Now at 17, he's the quarterback of the high school football team and Emily is the captain of the cheerleader squad. From the outside looking in, everything seems picture perfect for this star couple. But as Emily has aged, she's become more like her mother, obsessed with appearances and social standing. Zack feels like she is no longer the girl who became his best friend and whom he has loved all these years. It is this change that ultimately leads to actions that will forever haunt Zack.

I wish I could give you more insight into this emotional romance, but it is the suspense of learning how these two stories intersect which is the real gem of this book. Any more and you will piece it together too quickly, losing its intended effect. I will say that I guessed the connection fairly early on, so in some respects, I wish the suspense and mystery had been less predictable. All that said, I found the process and journey toward this discovery, and the related characters' self-discovery, to be touching and enlightening.

This romance deals with some rather deep subjects, particularly for a young adult title, including grief and coping with the loss of a loved one. I enjoyed the realistic look at how such difficult subjects can affect one's ability to trust and love again and greatly enjoyed the sweet budding romance and coming of age story woven together within them in LEFT BEHIND.


REVIEW BY The Romance Reviews   

Amazon Burning

by Victoria Griffith
- rating

"Review from Rachel's Willful Thoughts"

Victoria Griffith takes readers on an adventure deep into the Amazon jungle in AMAZON BURNING.

While trying to keep a low profile after a sexual harassment incident, Emma Cohen wants nothing more than to avoid any drama. When her father gets the chance to cover an international story in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the budding journalist begs to tag along. There she finds herself paired up with photographer Jimmy Feldman.

As they get deeper into the story surrounding the death of an environmental protestor, they find themselves picking up some formidable enemies. In a race against time, they struggle to put the pieces together and escape the Amazon alive.

As a new adult romance, I found the storyline to be interesting and quite vivid with the descriptions of the dangers in the Amazon. The adrenaline-fueled scenes are complete with mudslides, random shootings and perilous airplane rides.

When it came to the love scenes, I felt that the author included too many euphemisms rather than simply keeping it more natural. For example, I stumbled over phrases such as "samba of bliss" and "fountain of pleasure into her vessel." While these phrases might be appropriate for a younger audience, they seemed out of place.

It wasn't until the end that all the missing pieces were finally put together, providing an interesting read full of drama and intrigue.

Rise
The people of Nelebek live in fear of persecution from the evil Morlet, who reigns with a dark and destructive magic. The kingdom’s only hope lies with the Order of the Krigers—twelve warriors with mysterious powers linked to magical weapons.

For over a century, Morlet has been annihilating the Order, picking them off one by one. Eleven Krigers have been hunted down, tortured, and imprisoned in his dungeon. Now, only one remains.

Sixteen-year-old Kaia survives by keeping her head down and minding her own business. But when she finds herself in the middle of a public execution where the mysterious Morlet is in attendance, an odd compulsion she can’t resist comes over her.

Kaia looks into Morlet’s eyes.

Soon, an ancient power awakens and Kaia can no more blend into the scenery. Will she heed the call of the Krigers or will Morlet’s dark magic destroy the last of the Order?

Fans of GRACELING and THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS will enjoy RISE, book one in the RISE OF THE KRIGERS series from international bestselling author Jennifer Anne Davis.

The Secret of a Heart Note
From critically acclaimed author Stacey Lee, an evocative novel about a teen aroma-expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to help others fall in love—while protecting her own heart at all costs—perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and E. Lockhart.

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.

Devil's Playground
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters may be a witch, but she doesn’t know the first thing about magic—unless you count accidental bouts of spontaneous combustion. Elizabeth’s father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection, but when accusations of witchcraft start flying through Salem Village, she wishes she was more prepared.
Despite her lack of magical knowledge, Elizabeth appoints herself to save innocent women from the demise the village has in store for them. Elizabeth finds, however, that she is not the hero Salem needs her to be.
She meant to save them. She cursed them instead.

Soul Slam, Soul Warriors Book 1
An ancient Egyptian amulet.
A pharaoh’s soul inside demanding she obey.
A double cross that ends with a curse.

On her first heist to steal an ancient Egyptian amulet, sixteen-year-old Olivia inadvertently receives the soul of King Tut…and the deadly curse that comes with it. And Olivia’s not alone at the museum.

A member of a secret society, Xander believes it’s his place to inherit King Tut’s soul and justly rule. He knows nothing about the society’s evil plan to control the world or the curse. Now, he must deal with the female thief who stole the amulet.

When the two teens find themselves up against the secret society, they reluctantly join forces and must figure out how to end the curse before it turns deadly. On the run and unable to touch because of the curse, Olivia and Xander develop a connection during their quest.

As the mystery surrounding the amulet unfolds, Olivia and Xander fall for each other. But is love enough to save them and the world from destruction?

“If you are a fan of Rick Riordan books about a quest with love and history thrown in…this is for you!” – Hooked In A Book Review

Other books in series: Tut’s Trumpet, Peace Piper, Cleo’s Curse

Allusive Aftershock
What happens when a major earthquake changes life as you know it and the boy you thought you hated ends up saving you? Three times!

Courtland Reese is the guy everyone hates and makes fun of because … well, he is weird. He communicates with animals. Strange or interesting, seventeen-year-old Adela Castielle can’t quite figure out, but when he saves her from being trampled by her own horse, she begins to understand him a little better and wants to learn more about him.

But, Max—her best friend/dream guy/someday-to-be-her-husband-only-he-doesn’t-know-it-yet—hates Courtland with a passion. Adela wants to know why, except neither boy is talking.

When Max leaves her stranded in his parents' wine cave with his worst enemy, Courtland, after what the experts are calling a “megathrust” earthquake, Adela starts to question her loyalty to Max as steamy kisses in a dark damp cellar only fuel her emotions with more conflict.

But does she really have time to worry about that when fire, destruction and mayhem surround her?

Angelstone (Dark Angel #2)
After escaping from the Hollows and the Michaelea lightwarriors, Jordan takes Alyx and Israel to Aradale, a secret Rogue community, where they appear to be safe − for now. But did they bring the enemy with them? “Mini”, the strange and speechless young girl they rescued from the Hollows, is not as she seems. Why was Elder Michael keeping her locked up? What is she hiding?

Alyx and Israel are driven further apart as Israel continues to obsess over making Adere human and Alyx hides two secrets from him: that he may be part-demon and that she may be carrying his child, a tri-blood keye that can be used to unlock Hell.

Out in the mortal cities, pieces of Black Stone, the only material that can disrupt the angels’ healing abilities, continue to be stolen to make weapons for Samyara’s dark army. Alyx and her friends must stop them, but this means infiltrating holy and guarded places to steal the Black Stone − a monastery in remote China, a mosque in Saudi Arabia, an art gallery in Florence and a cathedral in Peru.

Can they win this deadly race against the Darkened?

The Revenge Artist
Evelyn Hernandez is a high school junior who reads Shakespeare for fun, sews her own dresses, and keeps a sketch journal of her daily life. When Varsity quarterback Garvey Valenzuela breaks her heart, she sends him to the emergency room with a busted hand.

Add black magic to her resume...

Evelyn embarks on a dark journey of revenge when she discovers she has the power to make bad things happen by drawing them. Her emotional pain, isolation, and self-hatred lead her down a self-destructive path with dire consequences.

Supermassive
Eighteen-year-old Ing is torn apart by two conflicting emotions: his numbing grief for his dead mother and his enduring love for a boy named Ellis. Four years ago, while visiting his grandmother in a remote part of Norway, his mother died the same day he kissed Ellis, his summer friend. Convinced that moving to Norway will solve his issues, Ing faces his first setback when he can’t bear to talk about his mother or go anywhere near the river where she drowned. The second blow comes when he meets Ellis at school and Ellis acts like nothing happened between them.

Ing resolves to rekindle their friendship, but his infatuation only grows as he gets to know the stunning and matured Ellis. When heart-shattering secrets surface, Ing’s resolve to bare his soul to Ellis starts to unravel. Forced to face his mother's death, he second-guesses his decision to move. His growing closeness with Ellis also frightens him, because if Ellis rejects him, he'll have no one left to love. Ing must decide what losses he is willing to endure and what chances to take in order to gain resolution.

THE GHOST CHRONICLES - Book One
***Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards for Young Adult Fiction***
Can Michael get to heaven before the devil gets him first, and if it means leaving Sarah is he sure he still wants to go?
Michael Andrews had everything – a loving family, a great girlfriend and a promising basketball career. That was before the accident that took his life. Now he’s a marked soul pursued by demons, struggling to understand why he’s stuck, and led by a mentor who’s keeping secrets.
To make matters worse, he’s falling in love in the afterlife, where binding oneself to another soul is strictly forbidden, for it may keep one or both of the souls bound to earth for longer than they should be.
As if that’s not enough, there’s also a danger in going too far with Sarah, because the “joining” of two souls in the afterlife is also forbidden and they don’t know what will happen if they do go that far.
Each time they touch they can feel the boundaries of their energies slipping perilously into one another.
So maybe falling in love in the afterlife isn’t such a good idea?
Inspired by the legend of a haunting at the Angel of the Sea in Cape May, NJ, THE GHOST CHRONICLES is a YA paranormal with adult crossover appeal, perfect for fans of The Twilight saga and the movie Ghost.

Sunset Rising
Born a slave inside a secret government biodome, Sunny O’Donnell becomes the victim in a political plot that sparks a rebellion. Accused of treason and facing execution, she escapes with Jack Kenner, a man she considers an enemy, and discovers she not only has to work with him to survive, but also lead the revolution.

Readers Favorite 2015 Gold Book Award Winner

“…a heart stopping ride until the very end. Romance, intrigue, and action all come together beautifully here to create an experience that will leave anyone asking for more.” – Readers Favorite

“The ease and imagery of S.M. McEachern's writing style is so captivating you are truly sucked into the story. This book has it all....love story, good vs evil, drama, suspense......definitely a book you can't put down!” – Midwest Book Review

Soulmated
Two souls. One Fate. The power of choice.

All eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan—an Irish royal empath—wants to do is stop the frustrating search for the elusive girl destined to be his soulmate. The rare union will cement his family's standing in empath politics and give the couple legendary powers, painting a bullseye on Liam's back—and hers.

All Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia wants is to free herself from her traditional mother's ultimatum: graduate from high school early and go to medical school, or have her marriage arranged. Neither allow her to pursue her dreams of a career in dancing or of falling in love.

When Liam moves in next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately drawn to the purity of her emotions, and she sees in this charming Irish boy a future with the freedom to follow her heart. But Liam's father will never consent if she's not The One. And Laxshmi's mom won't even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. But hiding their relationship can’t keep them from becoming targets of a dark and ancient group determined to destroy the soulmated.

What will these two risk to choose their own fate?

Fire And Ice
OPTIONED FOR MOTION PICTURE!

Adventure wasn’t something Lorelei Alundra was interested in. Gifted with two other-worldly talents for singing and healing, she’s always shied away from her gifts and the spotlight, preferring quiet anonymity, over attention and fame. But when she meets the enigmatic Adrius, with his dark and dangerous mystique and eyes that could see into her soul, her uneventful life becomes irrevocably altered.

Adrius turns up in every one of her classes and knows more about her than any newcomer should. Including the condition of her mother who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Accepting his offer to help leads her into a terrifying and thrilling world, where Elves are even hotter than Legolas, and Faeries.... are nothing like Tinkerbell. The two magical beings are fire and ice opposites. One Lorelei can’t help falling for, and the other she's compelled to be with.

Now she’s trapped, expected to prevent a war between witches and faeries, or forfeit her mother’s life. Nothing is what it seems. Not her family. Not the Fey. Not even Adrius, whose feelings for her balance precariously between desire and danger. Despite her better judgment, she can’t say away from him.
As secrets unravel and unsettling truths are revealed, Lorelei must fight to save much more than her mother’s life. One mistake could put the fate of his world, and her soul in jeopardy.

But hey, no pressure… right.

Refuge for Masterminds: A Stranje House Novel
It’s 1814. Napoleon has escaped his imprisonment on Elba. Britain is at war on four fronts. And at Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, five young ladies are secretly being trained for a world of spies, diplomacy, and war….

Napoleon’s invasion of England is underway and someone at Stranje House is sneaking information to his spies. Lady Jane Moore is determined to find out who it is. If anyone can discover the traitor, it is Jane—for, according to headmistress Emma Stranje, Lady Jane is a mastermind.

Jane doesn’t consider herself a mastermind. It’s just that she tends to grasp the facts of a situation quickly, and by so doing, she’s able to devise and implement a sensible course of action. Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save the brash young American inventor Alexander Sinclair, her friends at Stranje House, and possibly England itself?

Fans of genre-blending, romance, and action will love this Regency-era alternate history novel filled with spunky heroines, handsome young lords, and dastardly villains—the third in the Stranje House series. Don’t miss the first two books: A School for Unusual Girls and Exile for Dreamers.

Stacy's Song
Stacy's talent and love for music forces her to make hard choices. Life is risky, but she must learn to make important decisions on her own. Stacy Nelson, warm-hearted with a sense of humor, is a tall, skinny teenager, sometimes called "giraffe" by other kids. She's an average student with a lot of extracurricular interests. Her good friend Karen wants Stacy to practice with her and try out for cheerleading. Liz Norris asks Stacy to join a band that she and her brother Michael are starting, but Stacy has reservations. Her first meeting with Michael Norris is stormy, yet she is drawn in by his outstanding musical ability and joins the band. Stacy always wants to please everyone, but fails to think about who she is and what she really wants. After making the cheerleading squad, Greg Lawson, captain of the football team, becomes interested in Stacy. He is easy-going and charming, just the opposite of Michael. They start dating, and Stacy is suddenly popular in and out of school. As a cheerleader, she is accepted by the in-crowd. She tries to relax and enjoy this new lifestyle. When Stacy has difficulty meeting all of her commitments and her grades fall, her father is displeased and insists she quit the band. Stacy feels torn-wanting to please her father without letting down the other band members. Ultimately, while dealing with family and peer pressure, she must decide what is best for her.

Alex, Approximately
In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent half of her junior year falling for a sensitive film geek she only knows online as “Alex.” Two coasts separate them until she moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist trap, the oddball Cavern Palace Museum. Or that she’s being tormented daily by Porter Roth, a smart-alecky yet irritatingly hot museum security guard. But when Porter and Bailey are locked in the museum overnight, Bailey is forced to choose whether she should cling to a dreamy fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex. Approximately.

The Starlight Chronicles Boxed Set
Lark Singer is seventeen years old and already on the way to a brilliant music career. But as she and her band, Starlight, gear up for a competition, life seems to be throwing her a few curve balls. The mysteries of her past seem to be unraveling, and she’s no longer certain she wants to know those answers or how knowing about her past will affect her difficult relationship with her mother. And when her best friend, Bean, changes things between them, all her plans for a musical future are placed in jeopardy. How can she balance her complicated personal life to keep her musical goals on track?

BOX SET CONTAINS ALL THREE BOOKS IN THE STARLIGHT SERIES:
Gideon Lee
Lark Singer
Starlight

Flipping the Scales
Meredith and Marina’s lives have been flipped upside down.

When the translucent skirt that straight-A-student Meredith finds hidden on the beach gets wet, it transforms her legs into a mermaid tail. Despite the evidence in front of her, she insists that becoming a mythical creature isn’t scientifically possible.

Marina is allowed to experience one day per moon cycle among the humans. After hiding her tail on the beach that morning, she takes her first timid steps on land. When she returns at sunset to find it missing, she is left stranded and alone.

For the first time in her life, Meredith doesn’t have all the answers. As she searches for a way to return to normal before the next full moon, she makes waves among the school of mermaids. Meanwhile, Marina uncovers information about her past, and for the first time in her life, she must stand on her own two feet and take the lead on her own adventure.

As Meredith senses her human side slipping away, a forbidden way to change back entices her. But it comes with a consequence: Marina wouldn’t be able to return to the ocean.

Totally Starcross'd
A modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

"Why does she have to be Romilly Montague? Any other name on the planet. She’d be just as pretty and cute and clever—just as perfect—but she wouldn’t be Romilly Montague. Then I’d have a chance with her.”

Romilly longs for the freedom to live her own life ... but her dad is Alan Montague, hot contender for the job of Governor. And the bigger he gets, the more protective of Romilly her parents become.

Could Julian Capulet’s luck be worse? As if being born into the most conservative family in Verona wasn't bad enough, the girl of his dreams is the daughter of his father's biggest adversary in the upcoming election. His embarrassing family—especially his troublemaking younger brother—seem set to totally ruin his chances with Romilly.

For Romilly and Julian it’s never been truer that you can choose your friends but not your family. Will this story end in woe—or can there be a happily ever after for this modern-day Juliet and Romeo?

Life in the Lucky Zone
Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Taylor lives a charmed life—always the lead in school plays, possessor of a healthy entourage and a hot boyfriend. But then she gets dumped and screws up her audition for the spring play. The Theater teacher picks Trey Berger, a gamer who irritates her by simply opening his mouth, to run lines with her. Could things get any worse?

Trey can barely tolerate Lindsey. It’s bad enough their best friends are dating and he has to see Lindsey outside of school. Rehearse together? Trey would rather chill with his live-in grandmother who has Dementia.

As the semester continues, Trey discovers there’s more to Lindsey than the persona she puts on for everyone else’s benefit. And that Lindsey might be someone he could care about. A lot.

While Lindsey tries to change her luck and heal from the breakup, Trey slowly becomes her best friend. He makes her laugh and holds her when she cries. Could he possibly become something more?

A School For Unusual Girls
"...kept me reading until late into the night...completely original - and totally engrossing - world, full of smart girls, handsome boys, and sinister mysteries."
- Meg Cabot, #1 NYT Bestselling Author

"...enticing from the first sentence...gender stereotypes are turned upside down..."
- New York Times Book Review

"Spellbinding! ...a beautifully written tale of adventure, intrigue, and romance...a true page-turner!"
- Rachel Hawthorne, NYT Bestselling Author

A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin.

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts…

Descent: Son of a Mermaid ~ Book One
Shea MacNamara's life just got complicated. When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, fifteen-year-old Shea moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he's never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes his life.

Forever.

Kae belongs to an undersea world hidden from humans, where bloody war rages between opposing clans. A fragile peace accord hinges on marriage between the royal families, but treachery and magick lurk in every shadow.

With Kae's help, Shea discovers his true heritage and finds that his destiny lies somewhere far below the ocean's surface.

Coming Up for Air
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie's focus and free time is spent swimming. She's not only striving to earn scholarships―she's training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team, and cheers her on. But Levi's already earned an Olympic tryout, so Maggie feels even more pressure to succeed. And it's not until Maggie's away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the "typical" high school experience she's missed by being in the pool.

No one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to sacrifice in the water to win at love?

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back
Everyone knows how those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you're the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect--pretty, smart, and, worst of all, nice--stepsister is dating the charming, devastatingly handsome guy you've had a thing for since you were nine?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her online. The school mean girl has made it her mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister is the most popular girl in school and is dating Mattie's secret crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She'll start by running for senior class president against Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie's going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

This is a new release of an edition originally published by Fire & Ice Books with additional bonus content.

Rite of Rejection
Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.

A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.

But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.

Divine Fall
After tragedy tears Jamie Brandt's life apart, her only goal is to finish high school so she can leave her small hometown behind. In the meantime, riding her horse is her main source of solace, until a mysterious stable hand shows up at the barn. There's something not quite right about the handsome new employee, and the more Jamie sees of him, the more determined she becomes to figure out what he's hiding.

Dothan Reed came to historic Huntsville, Maryland, for one reason--revenge. But his plan can't move forward until he finds the missing piece he needs to enhance his powers. As the only surviving Nephilim, Dothan is not only weaker than full-blooded angels; his forbidden lineage makes him an outcast in both worlds. When he discovers Jamie is the key to locating an ancient weapon, he's forced to interact with a vulnerable human girl--a task that becomes more appealing with each encounter.

Jamie soon learns Dothan isn't the only one with a dark secret. Each new revelation further threatens her safety, and Dothan's betrayal shatters her heart. Forgiving him seems impossible, but the thought of turning her back on him is equally painful.

As their connection deepens, Dothan will have to make his own difficult choice: continue on his path of vengeance, or protect the girl he loves. And when Dothan's actions thrust Jamie into an unforeseen danger, he must seek the help of his enemy...or risk losing her forever.

Starfall
When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend...with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn't exactly in need of heroics--she's claimed her birthright as Eturia's queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn't a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia--and is certain she returns his feelings--but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

Tell Me Three Things
What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?

Funny and romantic, this tug-at-your-heartstrings contemporary YA debut is perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven, and E. Lockhart.

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week as a junior at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Triumph of Chaos
After the disaster in Europe, Darlena’s starting to get desperate. She knows the only way to
defeat Hecate and the other crazy Red Gods is by banding together with other Witches, but is it any wonder she has a hard time trusting them?

With Izzy’s support, Darlena begins making fragile strides toward repairing the mess she made,
but she just can’t catch a break. As chaos runs rampant around her, Darlena begins to think that things would be better if she’d never become a Red Witch in the first place. But there’s no way to change the past…is there?

The final book in the Red Magic series brings Darlena face to face with impossible odds, and a
terrifying choice.

P.S. I Like You
Signed, sealed, delivered...

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...

Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

Crooked Kingdom
The highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets?a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

The Volk Advent
An orphaned Siberian teen loses her job and home on Christmas Eve. Left on the streets to freeze, Faina flees to an abandoned castle for shelter. At the castle, she discovers the animal-torn body of a local recluse. No wonder Eurasian wolves are not recommended for the first-time pet owner. Can a girl with no past, preserve her future from accusations of murderer and a pack of escaped wolves?

Our Dark Duet
The sequel—and conclusion—to Victoria Schwab’s instant #1 New York Times bestseller, This Savage Song.

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

A gorgeously written dark fantasy from New York Times-bestselling author Victoria Schwab, and one to hand to fans of Holly Black, Laini Taylor, and Maggie Stiefvater.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

The Romeo Club
What happens when you agree to help your brother “de-nerdify” so he can catch the attention of the popular Chloe Anders, and to everyone's surprise, he actually lands her?

And what if his equally geeky friends come running with girl wish lists of their own, offering money for your services?

Well, if you’re sixteen-year-old, Delyla Denson, then you start The Romeo Club. A secret club where she’ll teach these guys how talk, act, and be cool around girls. It’s a win-win situation.

She’ll get enough money for the awesome prom dress she’s had her eye on, and the guys, well, they’ll get dates and maybe learn how to do something other than beat the next level on their video games.

There are only two problems with this plan. One, her quarterback/track star boyfriend is getting jealous of how much time she’s spending away from him and decides to try and figure out what’s going on. And two, Delyla is kind of falling for her brother’s BFF, Trey who she’s been hanging out with a lot more. And who thanks to her help, has caught the attention of the beautiful, perfect, and popular, Portia Rickard. With Portia and Trey heating up, Delyla realizes that maybe the person she’s meant to be with has been in front of her all this time.

But falling for Trey means she’ll have to take drastic measures including sabotage, with a capital S.

Fragile Hearts
Fragile Hearts is the story of twenty-one year old Morgan Weston, who is confined to a wheelchair. A car accident at the age of fourteen left her not only physically challenged, but emotionally fragile. There are mysteries to be unraveled regarding the car accident that killed her only sister and her sister's boyfriend. Because Morgan's parents love her, they are forcing her to enroll in college and live on her own for the first time.

Enter now, Tyce Brandon. Tyce has his own secrets.

Over several months, Morgan and Tyce become friends. Tyce is drawn to Morgan, but is he confusing love for pity, or even worse, guilt?

Fragile Hearts is not only a love story between a most unlikely couple, but also a coming of age story for a sheltered young woman. Will the mysteries revealed drive these young lovers apart, or is forgiveness the key to sealing a love begun in the depths of despair?

Some profanity
Sweet love scenes
1st Edition 2/3/14; 2nd Edition 4/21/16