A Girl in Black and White

BOOK 1: A Girl Named Calamity  by  Danielle Lori

A Girl in Black and White   description:

My once upon a time didn’t end with happily ever after—but with blood-stained hands and cold blue eyes. The story of my life had been laid beneath my feet since childhood, but until death, I’d never known that road was paved with stones called lies.

In this city of sun and heat, cloaked in dark, both inside and out, I became somebody other than Farm Girl. There was no assassin behind my back. No, my shackles were just as tight but came in a different form.

Like Death’s icy fingers running down my spine, the ones that had gripped me for months, my past haunted my present in the guise of nostalgia. My old chains still left marks on my skin, their owner’s gaze following behind. But he didn’t know I lived. He didn’t know I was so close, that I heard his name spoken every day. That I still hated him. Until my hate started tasting suspiciously different.

One mistake and everything I’d created unraveled. A liar. Corruptor. He stood in front of me now. The air was heavy with expectation, tense with the possibilities of how this would unfold, of what he would do.

But there was always two sides to every story, and maybe in this version, the corruptor wasn’t him, but me.

BOOK 2: A Girl in Black and White   5 STARS

I really enjoyed the first book, but wow this one was a total step up. It’s nearly a year after the end of the first book, and a lot has happened in this time, and during such Calamity has clearly matured. She’s also started figuring out her powers, as well as the truth about her life, her mother, and all the plans her grandmother had for her. While it initially bothered me how much of the first book turns out to be a facade, hiding basically all of the truth and everyone’s intentions to the extent that by the end of this book it feels like everything was just a lie. It’s also sort of amazing to read a book that pulls it off so well that by the end you’re just stunned into silence and wondering where the hell you can get the next book, because you need it right now. Everything, from the Sisterhood she’s being forced into, the return of the Untouchable Prince, as well as Weston who is still just such a psycho murderous dreamboat, is all so perfectly laid out and balanced to make for a book you can’t put down. I glad so many of the characters that I loved from the first book make an appearance, but I also enjoyed the fact that since this all takes place in one city this time we get a full new cast of different sorts of people and all the interactions and relationships that have formed around Calamity. It makes for a very involved plot with so many possibilities. But mostly I loved the development of her relationship with Weston, and how it no longer feels like a silly girl with a crush, but an actual woman dealing with feelings she has for a man she knows she shouldn’t have feelings for. Altogether a great book.

Advertisements

What’s New Pussycat?

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken  by  Dakota Cassidy

What’s New Pussycat?  description:

Derrick Adams is not happy. His pack of wolves isn’t like all the others. He’s got a brother who found his lifemate in the pound, a cousin who’s a vegetarian and now he has a lifemate of his own and she isn’t barking.
Martine Brooks is in a pickle. Derrick Adams is in a jam.
Pickles and jam. Not exactly a hot combo. Unless the “pickle” is a sultry, sassy cat shifter and the “jam” is a gorgeous hunk of wolf.

Derrick is cursed to die if he doesn’t make the woot-woot with his life mate on the night of the next full moon. Martine’s been held captive by a power-hungry warlock for six long months, forced to do his bidding before finding herself stuffed in a cat carrier and ditched at a 7-Eleven.

After rescuing her from a dumpster, Derrick and Martine strike a mutually beneficial deal: Mate, save a life, walk away—both alive and kicking. Win! Yet, there are kinks in the plan. Like the fact that Martine’s one-time captor is on the hunt, planning to extinguish all of her nine lives at once. Or the fact the curse threatening Derrick’s life is about to throw him a monster curve ball.
But the biggest kink might prove to be Derrick and Martine themselves, two avowed commitment-phobes…who are beginning to wonder what forever looks like.

 

BOOK 2: What’s New Pussycat?   3 STARS

The humor wasn’t as prominent as it was in the last book, though it still managed a light, fun story. However, it’s such an overused and ridiculous trope to have the two main characters be completely against the idea of a forever sort of love, and to then be surprised and unsure why they suddenly think about the other so much and are so happy to be near them. Regardless, it was nice that from the very beginning Martine knew exactly what was going on with Derrick, and happily agreed to be there for him, which did allow for other plot twists to come up. As well as for the fact that they’re in Cedar Glen for the most part, and so we get to see all the characters that were brought up previously and really get to know the strange bunch of paranormals that make up this little safe haven. It really added to the story, and makes for the promise of more books set here a rather appealing one. I want to know what’s to come of all these characters, not just the main ones that are the star of the book. Derrick, of course, is a werewolf, and it was funny for him to be initially opposed to Martine being his potential mate because she’s a cat, and we all know cats and dogs don’t mix. Martine was really the more interesting part, because she’s not just a cat shifter, she’s a witch’s familiar. This is the big driving point of the story, and gives us a lot more magic to deal with than just another shape-shifter to read about. Altogether it was a good story with a surprise ending.

Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen     description:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

gardenBook 1: Garden Spells        4 STARS

For a book filled with so much magic, a cast of great characters, and a really fulfilling plot line, the apple tree is still my favorite part. I mean I think that says plenty about the author, to take something like an apple tree (even a magical one) and give it a real personality, and such a vital part of the story in ways that you slowly discover. But that is just still one small part of the story. This book does deal with magic, but it isn’t a generic story of witches. It’s more like a family filled with unique talents that are inherent to each person. Though, how they do affect the world around them, especially within the Waverly’s property, is definitely a bit witchy. Yet, the story is really that of normal people trying to find their place in the world. Two women who have lived through difficult lives and trying to get to know each other again as real sisters. And the little girl, Bay, was so sweet and adorable with how she knows where everything is meant to be, even people, and the fact that she ultimately has the most insight in the end into people was a really moving part of the story. Beyond the Waverly family you also get to discover a bit about small town living, the good, the bad, and the intriguing family legacies. There was just so much to love about this book, it’s really hard to put it all into one review without ruining the story, so I just say go and pick it up as quick as you can.

Some Halloweenish Reading

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

So for Halloween I thought I’d put together a list of books that were spooky, creepy, gave me the heebie jeebies, or  you know deals with the supernatural. Here you go.

phantomsPhantoms by  Dean Koontz

So this is one of those books that just makes you never want to turn out the lights again, and possibly hide in your room the rest of your life. Really freaked me out, because even when you finally get the full story it’s still completely disturbing and really does leave you wondering, especially since it uses bits of real history where weird junk happened and there’s no explanation for it. Never like it when they do that, because even as you may believe that Koontz’s explanation is most likely not even close to what happened in real life, it still leaves you wondering what really happened to those people, and could it happen to you.

skinSkin  by  Ted Dekker

Unfortunately I don’t have an actual review to attach to this. Something I definitely need to remedy. This however is one strange cookie of a book. A group of people who don’t know each other end up in this town, and one moment it’s a town being plagued by a serial killer, and the next their waking up in a deserted version where they’re all alone, and possibly still being hunted by a serial killer, and back and forth they go. You get glimpses into the mind of the  killer as well, which always ups the creep factor of a book, and definitely made me never want to eat mustard again. Either way, it’s an interesting book with a wicked ending.

insatiableInsatiable by Meg Cabot

Yes it’s vampires, but Cabot made it both interesting, amusing, and devious. The 2nd book in the serious definitely goes into creepy territory at times. I do like that the main girl hates vampires, thinks it ridiculous the soap opera she writes for is trying to introduce them, and can also tell exactly how a person is going to die. Plus I love the tie in between angels and demons, so it really took it a step beyond the norm.

forbiddenThe Forbidden Game  by  L.J. Smith

We got evil Shadow Men, and that alone is enough to make it to this list. Mainly cause they love making people face their worse nightmares, and well do a bunch of evil stuff trapping people’s souls in those nightmares or in like creepy fortune telling machines. So many layers of messed up that just keeps coming. It’s sort of like a twisted and even more disturbing version of Jumanji that just keeps coming for you even if you technically win the game. It just wants to play with you… forever… and ever… and ever…

moonlightMoonlight, Madness, and Magic

This is 3 short stories, well 4 if you count the introductory one, each dealing with the descendants of a curse. It’s a paranormal romance as well, but instead of just falling for the vampire or werewolf they’re having to figure out how to break the curse that’s causing them to transform into such, which was a nice switch-up. Plus it’s a little naughty as well, and that’s good any time of the year.

Bitter Demons

BOOK 1: Beautiful Demons  by  Sarra Cannon

BOOK 2: Inner Demons

Bitter Demons   description:

So far, life in Peachville has been tough for Harper Madison. She’s survived attacks on her life, learned how to control her magic and met the most gorgeous boy with an unbelievable secret. After her latest stunt at Brighton Hospital, life has gotten even more complicated. The Order of Shadows is determined to tighten their control on her life.
When a future Prima from a nearby demon gate comes to town, she and Harper decide to use glamours to switch places at a party. All Harper wants is to have a little fun.
But the night will end in blood.
And Harper will find out the attack was meant for her…

bitter demonsBOOK 3: Bitter Demons   4 STARS

We get a lot of answers in this book, and so while there’s still some mystery hanging around, you finally get a clearer picture of the Order of Shadows as a whole, and how they’re structured and how the Prima’s are normally treated in other towns. Which was nice because finally someone comes around and sticks up for Harper. Plus, it was great that the full truth about Jackson and his connection with the Peachville Order is revealed. Altogether this book really helped move the story ahead, and brought the plot to a new level of interest, because it wasn’t just all about who is after Harper, though that’s of course in here too. My main problem with this book, and it’s an understandable issue for Harper to have, but I do hate that Harper is constantly fretting over if Jackson cares about her or just the demon attached to her family line. It does help reveal some of her insecurities, even as she is doing her best to be brave enough to stand up against the Order, and in that way it does show her normal teenage side which I can appreciate, even if it did begin to irritate me after a bit. However, on the whole this book just continued the exciting adventure that is this series.

Inner Demons

BOOK 1: Beautiful Demons  by  Sarra Cannon

Inner Demons   description:

Becoming a Demons cheerleader was the last thing Harper Madison expected when she moved to the small town of Peachville. Now that she’s an official member of the squad, her training can begin. Only, this is no normal group of cheerleaders. Harper isn’t there to learn dances and cheers. She became a cheerleader in order to finally learn how to control the magic inside.

The Peachville Demons cheerleading squad is really a training ground for a powerful coven of witches called the Order of Shadows. The training opens up a new world for Harper. It’s a world of beauty and magic beyond her wildest dreams, but also a world of pressure and impossible expectations.

A world where every secret hides an even darker secret.

inner demonsBOOK 2: Inner Demons   4 STARS

I couldn’t help it, these books are so fast paced, and the stories flow from one to the next that I had to grab up the next book and tear right through it. And that is one thing I do love about this series, how they all flow together. While each book is a full story within itself, it isn’t like one mystery or instance that has to be solved, it’s the constant delving and unfolding of the world around her as it grows and becomes more complicated and dangerous. This book picks up only days after the last one ended, and as she becomes inducted into the Order as a trainee she begins to fully realize how trapped she has become, and how even those around her are as in the dark to the truth of the world they’ve entered into. I love how Harper is intelligent enough to realize that everything isn’t as wonderful as the people are trying to make it out to be, but also recognizes she can’t fight them on her own and has to play along, but she still doesn’t blindly follow their rules. Also, even as we see how much larger this world is, Cannon does a good job of keeping the focus and the main cast of the first book, so that it doesn’t become overly complicated with the introduction of too many people. Though those like Mrs. Ashworth do come more into the light, and we learn more about Harper’s friends and the town, so there is definitely a lot of great development, which is why I couldn’t help but immediately turn to the next book.

Beautiful Demons

Beautiful Demons  by  Sarra Cannon   description:

Harper Madison isn’t like other girls. She has extraordinary powers, but her inability to control them has gotten her kicked from so many foster homes she’s lost count. Shadowford Home is her last chance, and she hopes Peachville High will be the fresh start she needs. But when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, Harper discovers this small town has a big secret.

beautiful demonsBOOK 1: Beautiful Demons   4 STARS

I read this series a while back, but I wanted to be able to give them a good review, and I’m glad to see that I’m enjoying them as much the 2nd time round as I did the first. So many YA paranormal romance books tend to be some silly teenage girl falling for a boy whose all supernaturally, but this was so much more than that. First off, Harper is the one with powers, but ones she’s afraid of and has caused her nothing but problems her whole life. And the one town that’s ever accepted her turns out to be a seething bed of secrets and lies. I love that this is told in first person because we only know what Harper knows and so we can experience it all with her, and understand that while she knows something is wrong with the town why she would still desire to fit in. There’s a lot of good character development for her, and you get a good picture of those around her, but they’re all shrouded in a sort of mystery as you try to figure out what everyone’s angle is, while discovering who’s running the show and who’s trapped by it. It’s definitely an exciting plot, but relies more on the intense situations of wondering what will happen next, which makes it a great beginning to an incredible series.

Slightly Spellbound… a Southern Witch novel

BOOK 1: Would-be Witch  by  Kimberly Frost

BOOK 2: Barely Bewitched

BOOK 3: Halfway Hexed

Slightly Spellbound   description:

With two kinds of magick at odds inside her and two gorgeous men vying for her attention, Tammy Jo Trask is used to being pulled in opposite directions. But in the latest Southern Witch novel she’ll have to make some serious decisions—like how she intends to stay alive.

Tammy Jo’s romance with the wizard Bryn Lyons is on hold while her ex-husband is in town trying to remind her of the good old days. Choosing between them isn’t easy, and it doesn’t help that a skeletal creature is spying on her, a faery knight is hunting her, and she just made friends with Evangeline Rhodes—a rich witch who thinks her own family is trying to kill her.

When Evangeline disappears under suspicious circumstances, Tammy Jo is determined to find out what happened. As she uncovers a secret more dangerous—and personal—than she could have imagined, she also discovers that, in both love and magic, you can’t stay neutral forever.

slightlyBOOK 4: Slightly Spellbound  5 STARS

I really love how Frost is moving the series along. She isn’t falling into the tragic flaws of dragging things out too long. I don’t consider it a spoiler to say the love triangle is done. Tammy Jo makes a decision early on, and that really helped the story focus more on the dealings with Evangeline and Skeleton guy. And we’re even discovering more and more about the fairy world, and that helps to understand Tammy Jo as well. Regardless of the love triangle, both Bryn and Zach continue to give a lot to the movement of the story, and the action going on within it. Plus there’s a lot going on, and misdirection that made the tangled plot something that captured the attention and wouldn’t let go. This is a series that is so funny and enchanting that I never want it to end.

Halfway Hexed… a Southern Witch

BOOK 1: Would-be Witch  by  Kimberly Frost

BOOK 2: Barely Bewitched

Halfway Hexed   description:

First, there are the local residents who form a scripture-spouting posse and kidnap Tammy to “defend” Duvall, Texas, against witchcraft. Next, someone saddles her with a secret package chock full of dangerous visions, just as the president of WAM-the World Association of Magic- arrives with his entourage to investigate her. And who worse to examine Tammy’s entanglement with off-limits and drop-dead gorgeous wizard Bryn Lyons than his ex-girlfriend? Not to mention that the clash between the locals and the magical visitors leads to a series of unnatural disasters that may doom them all.
While the fate of the town hangs in the balance, one thing’s certain: this would-be witch is ready to rumble, Texas style.

halfway hexedBOOK 3: Halfway Hexed   5 STARS

I am loving this series… Tammy Jo is just such a fun and unpredictable character… with the way her powers are growing and changing in ways that other witches don’t expect makes it exciting… and I love how Merc has become such an essential character himself… it makes Tammy both eccentric and smart enough to listen to good advice no matter who it’s coming from… plus finally getting to figure out more about the warning against the Lyons family… as well as finding out more about her own family has really helped make the plot thicken… it isn’t just some strange new magical attack… it’s dealing with their history and the importance of that town… plus I like the approach to magic in these books… it isn’t just like memorizing some spell and waving a wand… it’s almost like a science that’s constantly being explored and perfected… altogether can’t wait to get my hands on the next one…

Barely Bewitched… A Southern Witch

BOOK 1: Would-be Witch  by  Kimberly Frost

Barely Bewitched   description:

Tammy Jo’s misfiring magic has attracted the unwanted attention of WAM, the World Association of Magic. Now, a wand-wielding wizard and a menacing fire warlock have come to Duvall to train her for a dangerous mandatory challenge. But is there more to their arrival than they claim?

When a curse leads to a toxic spill of pixie dust, the town comes unglued and the doors between the human and faery worlds begin to open. To rescue the town and to face the impossible magical test, Tammy needs the help of incredibly handsome Bryn Lyons, but WAM has declared him totally off-limits. To avoid deadly consequences, Tammy probably ought to follow the rules this time.

On the other hand, rebellion is an old Texas tradition

barelyBOOK 2: Barely Bewitched   5 STARS

Even better than the first… more secrets are uncovered while more questions pop up leaving you rushing to the 3rd book… it was fun and exciting and romantic all in one… with all new people creating havoc and and old ones getting in the way as usual… and Tamara’s choice between Bryn and Zach become more tangled as her feelings for Bryn grows even though she knows that’s taboo(even if the reason for that remains unknown) and Zach as always remains her first love and clings to the hope that maybe they could make it work eventually… to be honest i’m not even sure who to choose as Bryn understands and helps her at the drop of a hat but can be a bit shady at times… then again Zach just doesn’t get any of it at all but he loves her despite what he thinks is pure craziness… but really the best part of all are the blood thirsty faeries that will forever change your mind of what a fairy tale really is… well, I’m about to go snatch up the 3rd book right now to see what happens next cause i just can’t wait…