Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Inheritance
Author: Aimee Carter
Series: Goddess Test series
Pages: 283 pages paperback, 289 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

After the cliffhanger ending of Goddess Interrupted, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I wanted to know how Carter would end this lovely series. Despite a couple hang-ups, The Goddess Inheritance was a fantastic book and a perfect way to end the series.

It felt like this was more of a plot-driven novel than a character-driven one. I have no problem with that, but I would have liked a little more Kate and Henry interaction and relationship development. There was a bit of a disconnect between how they said they felt and how they acted. While I can understand some of it, I still feel like there could have been more between them.

I am sure some people will look at how often Kate cries and think she’s weaker in this novel than in the others. I don’t believe that’s true. Crying doesn’t always make you weak, nor is it a sign of weakness. Sometimes, crying means you care so much, there’s no other way for you to express it. And that is why I still think Kate is a strong character. She stands up for herself and what she believes is right. If in doing that, she needs to cry occasionally, then I can’t fault her for it.

The addition of Milo, Kate and Henry’s son, was fantastic. It gave Henry and Kate something more to fight for. It was no longer just them and the counsel they had to think of when making decisions. Now they had a baby to figure into the equation, too. It made them both stop and think each and every plan through to make sure it was the right path to choose.

The one other thing that didn’t feel quite right was the climax of the novel. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it and reading it made me anxious, but as soon as it happened, I felt like there was a lot of build up and tension and right at the pivotal moment…it fizzled a little bit. The scene still worked, but I had felt like there was going to be something more, and yet it wasn’t there.

Overall, The Goddess Inheritance was an action-packed conclusion to the story of Kate and Henry. The ending is sweet and loving and leaves the future wide open for their family’s happiness. It was a great end to a great series.

If The Goddess Inheritance sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Wicked Kiss
Author: Michelle Rowen
Series: Nightwatchers series
Pages: 448 pages paperback, 336 ebook
Rating: ★★★★★

Here’s the thing. Wicked Kiss has a lot of my usual annoyances when it comes to Young Adult novels. There’s insta-love, secrets everywhere, lack of communication…it’s all there. And yet, Rowen was able to write all of that so amazingly well that none of it bothered me, at all. I was completely in love with this book.

It starts off not long after Dark Kiss ends. Sam still hungers for Bishop, the angels and demons are still working together to get rid of the greys in Trinity, and they are searching for Sam’s soul. An angel with a secret agenda falls and becomes part of the group. It’s then discovered that the greys are changing–they either wither completely away, or they become super-greys.

Sam is just as strong as she was in the first book. She doesn’t let anyone walk over her or tell her what to do. She is constantly trying to figure out things on her own, not succumbing to any “damsel in distress” moments. She fights her hunger, fights against the soulless being everyone is waiting for her to become.

Bishop was wonderful. This might sound strange, but I love that Rowen wrote their relationship filled with questions. Are they attracted to each other only because Sam took part of his soul, or is it something more? It made the insta-love work for me. It made it questionable until the end.

The plot was fascinating. Not only does the storyline from Dark Kiss bleed over, but it has its own plot to flesh through. At first I thought it might have been too much to fit into one novel, and man, near the end I had no idea how Rowen was going to be able to finish, but every word was completely worth staying up until 3am for.

Wicked Kiss is a superb novel that has a little bit of everything. Rowen has a real talent for making my heart bleed for these characters and I can’t wait to read more from her. Her Nightwatchers series is a definite must read.

If Wicked Kiss sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Essence by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Essence
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge series
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve been struggling with how to start this review. I enjoyed this book so much that when I try to think of words to describe it, I can’t. It got my heart racing in the best way.

The book starts up with Charlie adjusting to being queen. There are protocols and rules and knowledge she must learn right away. There are people who don’t like the New Equality and want the old class system back. They aren’t afraid to make that abundantly clear. She is summoned to a meeting of all the queens and on her way there, her life is at risk.

A lot of this novel is a mental battle. There really aren’t any big fight scenes in the action sense, but there is a major battle going on. Charlie is fighting everything in order to remain the same person. She’s fighting Sabara’s essence as she tries to take over Charlie’s body. She’s fighting those that oppose her New Equality changes. She’s fighting the doubts everyone, including her, has about her rule at the moment.

Charlie is not weak. She fights with all she has to make things right for her people. She stands up to people when she’s fighting for something. She knows she must fight to keep Sabara hidden deep inside her mind, where she can’t control Charlie. The few times Sabara was able to take control were Charlie’s moments of weakness.

There’s not as much Max in this book, but when he’s there, he’s amazing. He doesn’t try to control Charlie. He lets her be queen. He just does whatever he can to love her and make her safe. Derting made sure that even though there wasn’t a lot of Max, the times he was there were perfect.

The ending was a perfect way to wrap up the second book while laying the foundation for the third. There’s enough closure to make people happy, but there’s a lot left hanging that needs to be sorted out. I’m on edge with anticipation and can’t wait for the conclusion of this fantastic series.

If The Essence sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan

Title: The Forgotten Queen
Author: D. L. Bogdan
Pages: 318 pages paperback, 384 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

One of my favorite things about reading historical fiction is getting to discover something or someone from the past. In the case of The Forgotten Queen, I get to do both.

Margaret is the older sister of King Henry VIII. She is married to James, King of Scotland in order to hopefully bring peace between the two countries. She’s told from the very beginning that peace is her job as queen. She holds on to that tightly, even when things get tough.

Margaret knows from an early age that her choices are not truly her own. Because she is a woman, her marriage is a bargaining tool. She can never rule in her own right, and her opinions on anything other than dresses are generally not looked upon as valuable. She fights back in her own way, choosing her second and third husbands and trying to do what is right for Scotland through her son.

Bogdan wrote a perfectly flawed character. Margaret is in love with the idea of love and that clouds her judgment at times. She loves a little too much, but that is both a strength and a weakness. She makes decisions having the best intentions at heart, even though she doesn’t always think her actions through. I loved reading a character, even one based on fact, that is a completely human character. It makes her come alive.

The true sign, to me, of a great historical fiction novel, is one that makes me want to learn more after the last page has been read. The Forgotten Queen was one of those books. As soon as I had finished reading, I was looking up more information. I had known of Margaret before reading, but after finishing the novel, I feel like I know her a little bit more.

This is definitely a book for anyone interested in the other members of the Tudor family. There were a couple times when the tone of the novel felt a little off, but that doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the story. This look into the life of Margaret is a wonderful read and a great historical fiction novel.

If The Forgotten Queen sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane

Title: Indigo Awakening
Author: Jordan Dane
Series: The Hunted series
Pages: 304 pages
Rating: ★★★

I was pretty intrigued by the premise of Indigo Awakening. A group hunting down a secret group of children because they’re different. It could have been really interesting. Instead, the novel felt a little off until the very end. It was a little disappointing to say the least.

Lucas Darby is different. He’s been locked away because of his differences, but he’s escaped and is on his own. His sister Rayne ignores his pleas to not look for him and in the process meets Gabe. Lucas and Gabe are different than normal teens. They’re gifted and that makes them targets of a fanatical church.

First of all, there were too many points of view. I can understand wanting to tell the story from all angles, but instead of giving me the full story, I felt like I was just skimming the surface. I didn’t feel that connection with the characters because as soon as a connection started, the point of view changed and I was back to square one.

My other issue relates to the differing points of view. Because I felt like I was just skimming the surface, it felt like there was a lot of story and questions brought up, but then those questions were pushed aside for more story and questions. I can understand wanting to leave some things unanswered, but I feel like in order to keep myself interested, I need some answers. Indigo Awakening kept bringing things up, but rarely ever dealt with them.

The ending of the book saved it from falling into the “pass on this book” category. The last few scenes didn’t quite make up for the rest of the book, but they definitely helped save it. There are a few answers and a bit of resolution. That part was nice.

Overall, Indigo Awakening didn’t wow me. It was an okay novel, but I was expecting a little bit more. I’m sure this kind of novel appeals to some, but for me, it just didn’t work.

If Indigo Awakening sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Bloodletter’s Daughter by Linda Lafferty

Title: The Bloodletter’s Daughter
Author: Linda Lafferty
Pages: 512 pages hardcover, 513 ebook
Rating: ★★★★★

I had never heard of Marketa Pichlerova before reading this book. And to be honest, if I didn’t look up the real history behind this book, I probably would have thought it too dramatic to be true. That’s why I think I loved this book so much. The basic story behind it is true. Marketa was real. The main parts of this story are things that actually happened. And man, is it a story.

Marketa is a bathmaiden, which is basically saying she will be a classy prostitute. She longs to study and practice medicine, even though she is a woman and can’t have that dream. She works in her mother’s bathhouse and occasionally assists her father in his bloodletting procedures. I felt so much for her. Because her mother is a bathmaiden, that’s really all she can hope for in her future. She was born with the ultimate curse–being a woman. She just wants to do more than what is expected of her. She wants to follow her dreams and learn more of medicine and be able to practice.

When she finally gets her first “patient” in the son of the king, I can see why her better judgment becomes clouded. She’s finally getting the chance to do what she wants, even if she doesn’t get the credit. She gets to use her knowledge of the human body to help someone, even if the man she is helping is too far gone to really feel any benefits.

I feel bad for Don Julius, in a way. Granted, I don’t feel bad enough for me to find him redeeming in any way, but not everything is his fault. Yes, he is mad and insane, but those around him indulge him instead of really trying to help him. Fear of falling out of the king’s good graces leads Julius’ companions to turn a blind eye to his behavior instead of stopping it. It is in that way I feel bad for him. Who knows how things would have turned out had Julius been treated the way he deserved instead of being treated with kid gloves.

The story itself is amazing. It reads like a soap opera, but is based in fact. That is what I find fascinating. Those few years the book described really happened. It’s hard to wrap my head around it and I really want to know more.

The Bloodletter’s Daughter is a fascinating read that transports you back in time and throws you right into the middle of the town. The story is brilliantly written and makes it nearly impossible to put the book down. This is a must-read book.

If The Bloodletter’s Daughter sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

Title: Forbidden
Author: Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Pages: 410 pages paperback, 416 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

I went into Forbidden with low expectations. It was one of those books that sounded like it could be amazing, and so I went into it expecting a book that didn’t meet expectations. That sounds a little twisted, I know, but I figured if a book sounded this good, then it probably wasn’t going to be. So to say I was pleasantly surprised by Forbidden is putting it simply.

Claire is a normal 17 year old girl who starts to get strange visions of past and future events, as well as mysterious messages from someone she doesn’t know. Just as all this starts to happen, Alec shows up. While Alec isn’t the cause of these new, strange occurrences, he doesn’t have an explanation. As Claire and Alec begin their romance, they soon discover whatever they feel is forbidden.

The story itself doesn’t sound completely unique. Boy meets girl. Angels are involved. Boy can’t date girl. However, Syrie and Ryan manage to make a unique story out of an ordinary plot. There are enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. Plus, the spin on angels is a little bit different and it really works to set the novel apart.

Claire is a teenager and she acts like a teenager, albeit a mature one. She does the typical teen thing, although she thankfully doesn’t fall into the love triangle trap. She has amazing friends and, here’s the shocker, she actually works to keep them in her life after things start to change. For some reason, in a lot of Young Adult paranormal novels, the friends from the beginning are slowly cut out of the picture and that always bugs me. Erica and Brian don’t let Claire push them aside, and Claire makes sure to include them as she tries to figure everything out.

I wish we got a little bit more of Alec characterization. He’s a fantastic guy and does have his swoon worthy moments, but he’s not different. There’s nothing that really sets his apart from other Young Adult male leads. He’s written well and he’s a sweet guy, but I feel like I say that about every guy. I could have gone for something a little different.

There were a few other moments when the novel just seemed to get choppy all of a sudden and there were a couple times when phrases or sentences just felt weird or out of place, and those are the only things holding me back from falling completely in love with the story.

As it looks right now, Forbidden is a single novel, even though the authors have more to write. I really hope this changes and there will be more Claire and Alec to read in the future. I want to know what happens to these two.

If Forbidden sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Title: Nobody But Us
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Pages: 272 pages paperback
Rating: ★★★★

Nobody But Us is not Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay. It’s not. If I were to rate it only based on those comparisons, it’d be 1.5 stars. Yes, there’s a bit of a Bonnie and Clyde feel, in that it’s a couple on the run, but Will and Zoe are more than that.

Zoe runs away from home with Will. She’s only 15, he’s 18. Their dream is to just run away from their pasts and their problems, and to start life fresh. They do have a bit of a plan, so they aren’t completely clueless, but they’re living on their dream. Then reality crashes on them and they are each forced to make big decisions about their future together.

Zoe seems a bit mature for her age at times, and then at other times it’s easy to tell she’s only 15. I believe she believes she is in love, even if I’m not sure what she actually feels is love. Will offers her kindness and a way out, when everyone else in the town turns their backs and ignores the truth. I think Zoe falls in love with that, with the white knight, but it can be hard to tell as you read the novel.

Will breaks my heart. He could have been so much more, but he’s given up on a system that gave up on him. He believes he is the only person he can trust and rely on all the time, but he wants to be better for Zoe. He wants to be the kind of guy he thinks she deserves, even if he goes about it the wrong way. Every decision he makes for the two of them breaks my heart just a little bit more.

I can see where people might have issues with the destructiveness of their relationship, and to be fair, it isn’t a healthy relationship, not by a long shot. Will has temper issues and needs to learn how to control his violent urges. Zoe needs to be able to stand up for herself more and not rely on someone else to prove her worth. However, not once did I get the feeling this book was supposed to be a sweet romance.

It was a book about how a destructive relationship destroys. It turns the good into bad and it makes happy endings hard to come by. Maybe that’s just how I viewed the novel. I just felt as though the point wasn’t to write a relationship that has typical teen issues, it was to write a relationship that was self-destructive not only to the relationship as a whole, but to the two individuals.

Nobody But Us was a rough, gritty novel that pulls are your heart and makes you hope, all the while, you know things can’t end well. It’s not like If I Stay meets Bonnie and Clyde, but it is a good book. Definitely worth a read.

If Nobody But Us sounds like your kind of read, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Title: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Series: Angelfire series
Rating: ★★★

I liked Angelfire. I wasn’t wowed by it, but it also wasn’t even close to being dull or hard to read.

Heaven versus Hell books run the risk of either being too preachy or way too different from “the originals” and losing readers either way. Angelfire was able to straddle the line well, sticking to Ellie’s discovery of her true self and finding a way to defeat the bad guys. The angels and Fallen angels play a big part, but there isn’t a focus on going to Hell or getting into Heaven.

Ellie is the typical teen. She wants to graduate, get into college, and spend as much time as possible with her friends while doing that. She starts having nightmares that feel entirely too real, and then on her 17th birthday, the nightmares become her life. Enter Will.

Will is Ellie’s guardian. He has been watching over her and basically being her partner in crime for the past 500 years. It’s easy to see right from the beginning how Will feels about Ellie. He may not know Ellie, the body, but he knows the soul well. All he wants to do is make sure she stays safe and alive.

The action is intense and I liked that. If an author can write a scene in a book well enough that I can picture the entire thing in my head, I consider it well-written. Every scene was like that. It played out in my head with every word I read.

Angelfire is a good book. It’s not the most spectacular Angel and Fallen Angel story out there, but it’s pretty good. I’m definitely invested enough to want to read the rest of Ellie and Will’s story, but I don’t need it at this exact moment. I will certainly be reading more, but I might wait until the last book comes out, just so I don’t have much waiting time between.

If Angelfire sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Title: Don’t Turn Around
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Series: PERSEPHoNE series
Rating: ★★★★

Don’t Turn Around sounded like a promising book. It had a different plot, interesting sounding characters and I felt it had the potential to be great. For the most part, it was. The only thing I can fault is not being able to fully connect with the characters, however I’m going to hope that since this is the first in a series, there will more to the next two books.

Noa is a foster kid runaway. She lives off the grid and has found ways of taking care of herself. She’s a genius when it comes to hacking and she’s got a pretty severe attachment to her computer. She wakes up one day on a cold table, an IV in her arm, and a scar down her chest. Right away, we are thrown into the middle of the action.

Don’t Turn Around really packs in the action. Peter and Noa are constantly on the move, running and hiding from the people that cut Noa open. There are very few safe places they can go and they aren’t sure who they can trust. Gagnon writes the action very well. It’s clear enough to picture in your head, but it’s not too simple. It really plays out like an action movie.

I’m glad there wasn’t a full-blown romance in this book. It would have felt a little rushed and possibly a little forced, I think. Instead, there’s a foundation built. There’s clearly something there, but it’s not a love story yet. I like that there’s the potential, but that the focus was kept on the mystery aspect of the plot.

Overall, Don’t Turn Around is a strong start to a promising series. I wish there had been a little more character building, but the base is there and I feel like Gagnon could really do something great with this series. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

If Don’t Turn Around sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble