Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Haze by Paula Weston

Title: Haze (The Rephaim #2)
Author: Paula Weston
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 448
Source: Copy provided by publisher

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Gaby Winters' life used to be pretty normal. She lived with her best friend. She worked in a library. She was slowly getting over the death of her twin brother, Jude. And then Rafa came looking for her.

With him, her blood-soaked nightmares stopped. But now they are reality. She is one of the Rephaim - a wingless half angel, descended from the Fallen. Demons exist and they are hunting her.

She knows she's alive when she's meant to be dead. And that means maybe Jude is too. So why isn't she out there looking for him?

My Thoughts:  
Paula Weston's Shadows was very much an introduction to the Rephaim series, but Haze wastes no time plunging right into the heart of the Rephaim world. Fast-paced and utterly addictive, I couldn't stop reading Haze until I reached the very last page. Gaby's past is still very much a mystery that needs to be unraveled and readers are brought another step closer to learning the truth.

Gaby has finally accepted that she's no ordinary human girl—she's a half-angel who used to be one of the Rephaim's best fighters until she and her twin brother Jude mysteriously disappeared a year ago. Since learning of her angelic heritage, Gaby has been trying to understand and reconcile the girl she used to be as "Gabe" in the past and the girl she is now in the present as "Gaby". But an even greater revelation has shaken Gaby's world: Jude may still be alive.

After grieving everyday the past year believing Jude was killed in a car accident, Gaby is afraid to hope her brother is alive. She knows her memories have been tampered and changed, and Rafa is more than ready to search for answers about his best friend, but Gaby is hesitant to confront her past. Even though there's a chance Jude may not be dead after all, it would feel like losing him all over again if her hopes came crashing down.

I'm absolutely crushing hard on Rafa! He's always encouraging Gaby to trust her instincts and always has her back when she's rushing into dangerous situations. Rafa recognizes that although Gaby is not really a trained fighter anymore, she is still very much a force to be reckoned with and more than capable of taking care of herself. He may not always agree with Gaby's decisions, but he respects them and does what he can to help her.

You can tell something major happened between Gaby and Rafa in the past, but Rafa's very reluctant and wary to reveal any details. It just makes me all the more curious to learn more! Gaby's opinion of him is obviously very important to Rafa, and he doesn't want to seem somehow lesser in her eyes. Rafa comes across as confident and self-assured, but we can't forget that he's hiding just as much pain as Gaby has felt the past year. He suddenly lost the two people closest to him and he still hasn't really gotten either of them back.

It's hard to really say too much about Haze plot-wise because it would feel kind of like giving away spoilers. Knowing less when you begin reading is probably best. If you loved Shadows, then you're going to love this book even more! And I seriously can't believe Haze ended the way it did. I was left gasping in shock, desperate to know what would happen next. I need Shimmer. Right. Now.

Thanks so much to Tundra Books / Random House Canada for providing this review copy!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Danger is hard to resist in this sexy thriller from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga. 

Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there…and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

Black Ice is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

My Thoughts: 
Reading Becca Fitzpatrick's Black Ice is a cinematic experience. When Britt and her best friend Korbie become stranded in the heart of a blizzard, they take shelter in a remote cabin only to be taken hostage by its two handsome occupants. Forced to help the men evade police capture by getting out of Grand Teton National Park before the storm is over, Britt hopes she stays alive long enough for Korbie's older brother Calvin, who's also her ex-boyfriend, to find and rescue her before it's too late. Black Ice is more than just a romantic thriller, it's a fight for survival against nature's terrifying strength.

I felt that Becca Fitzpatrick dropped too many hints about the overarching murder mystery because I figured out all the connections between the characters and the identity of the murderer within the first few chapters. It kind of ruined the fun for me because I expected this mystery to take much longer for me to unravel. The clues definitely needed more subtlety or ambiguity because the few attempts to throw readers off course were not convincing enough. In the end, all it did was cause me to become frustrated with Britt because, for an apparently smart girl, she couldn't see what was right in front of her face.

Britt places her faith in all the wrong people, even when the signs are SO obvious she shouldn't. Not only does Britt have a horrible sense of judgement, but she's also a perpetual liar; she lies to others and she lies to herself all the time. It makes Britt an unreliable narrator, and even though she claimed she'd trained how to backpack the Teton Range, I didn't fully believe she could actually survive in the wilderness. She even acknowledges several times that she's spoiled and relies on the men in her life to do everything for her. 

Calvin is an arrogant rich boy. Britt may have known him since she was a child, but she was—and still is—too blind to his faults to realize he was never a good boyfriend. Korbie is annoyingly melodramatic and self-centered, and I was so relieved she didn't have a large role in the novel. She and Britt seemed to share nothing in common; they may have been close when they were younger but now their separate interests are drifting them apart. Mason was the only character I didn't want to punch in the face or strangle. He may have helped to hold Britt as a hostage, but he's oddly protective of her and definitely hiding secrets...

While I wasn't really a fan of the characters (except Mason!), Becca Fitzpatrick's vivid descriptions of the Teton Range in Wyoming made up for it, helping to bring the novel to life. I was completely captivated by the suspense and danger of Britt's trek through the mountains as the relentless blizzard raged on. Despite some of my mixed feelings, I really do hope Becca Fitzpatrick's Black Ice is a success. After exhausting the YA paranormal and dystopian genres, there's still so much potential in the mystery/thriller genre to grow. Even though I didn't love Black Ice as much as I hoped I would, it hasn't dissuaded me from wanting to read similar novels.

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing this review copy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shadows by Paula Weston

Title: Shadows (The Rephaim #1)
Author: Paula Weston
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 400
Source: Copy received from publisher

Overall: 4 Stars

It's almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams, he tells her things about her brother and her life that cannot be true, things that are dangerous. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And who is Gaby? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares. 

My Thoughts: 
When I began Paula Weston's Shadows, I was worried the book would become a victim of a reading slump I was having. I had been searching for a new book to read but nothing was really grabbing my attention until my sister recommended Shadows to me. I'm so glad I listened to her because Paula Weston's debut novel is an addictive paranormal read with a fresh take on angels, demons, and their descendants! And, okay, Shadows totally also gets bonus points for being Australian!

It's been almost a year since the night a car accident suddenly killed Gaby's twin brother Jude and left her hospitalized with serious injuries. On her own and now eighteen-years-old, Gaby has since then moved into the small tourist town of Pan Beach where she works at the local library and quietly grieves the loss of her brother. At night, she is plagued by terrifying nightmares featuring hell-beasts she must fight and kill with a sword. And when she wakes up, a vividly green-eyed young man who helps her fight these monsters always lingers in her mind.

When Gaby meets Rafael, her world is shattered all over again. She instantly recognizes Rafa as the handsome man from her dreams, but what is even more shocking is that he claims Jude was his best friend, even though Gaby cannot remember him. Gaby's life before the car accident is still a haze, and when Rafa asks her specific questions about her past, the details always seem to slip away before she can grasp them. Something happened to Gaby to make her forget her own life, and now that others are aware she is alive, they will be coming for her... 

What I really liked about Shadows is that Paula Weston has found a way to perfectly balance developing Gaby's character growth and exploring the world of the Rephaim. Despite Rafa's insistence that Gaby's memories have been twisted and tampered, it doesn't negate the fact that the trauma of the car accident still feels all too real to her and cannot be easily brushed aside. Gaby may now find herself being drawn into the dangerous life of the Rephaim as she searches for answers with Rafa's help, but we never forget that she also still mourns and misses her brother everyday.

Seriously, how did I miss reading Shadows sooner? I'm kind of annoyed that my sister didn't recommend the book to me right away! There is still so much mystery surrounding Gaby's past and how she lost her true memories. I need more of Rafa, too! He and Gaby had such amazing chemistry together. And while I think Paula Weston's Shadows is considered a YA novel, I loved the New Adult feel it had to it! There are definitely not enough NA paranormal books yet, but the Rephaim series is an encouraging glimpse of what the genre could be like. I'm definitely eager to read what happens next to Gaby and Rafa in Haze!

Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: Pull by Claire Wallis

If you've read my review of Claire Wallis' PUSH, then you'll know just how much I loved her debut novel. After reading quite a few New Adult contemporary romances, they all begin to blur after awhile, but PUSH has been one of those rare exceptions. It's a romance meets psychological thriller, with an unforgettable cliffhanger that left me anxious to read the sequel. Well, that wait will soon be over!

I'm absolutely thrilled to be helping reveal the cover for PULL, the continuation of the shocking events in PUSH! If you've read the first book, then you'll understand the significance of the bridge on the cover... 

PULL will be available in digital format via Amazon, Nook, and iBooks on November 6. Pre-orders can be placed on Amazon beginning Monday, October 20th! (And if you still haven't read PUSH, then now is a good time to start it so you're ready for PULL's release!)

Are you excited to read Claire Wallis' PULL?

Release Date: November 6, 2014
Publisher: Claire Wallis

Summary (from author): 
***PULL is the continuation of Claire Wallis' sharp and shocking debut novel, PUSH. It is the second book in the series and is not intended to be a standalone.*** 

"It is impossible for someone like me—someone with a sin-list capable of wrapping itself around the world—to find redemption. To be repaired."

David Calgaro has secrets, and the only woman he's ever loved is about to pay the ultimate price to protect them. He's spent a lifetime searching for purpose and control. And the only place he's managed to find them is in a single, perfect moment; a moment in which he has absolute control over someone else's life.

David is unredeemable, unfixable, unsalvageable. But Emma Searfoss has forced a tiny sliver of hope to penetrate his soul. Hope that, even though redemption is impossible, maybe life isn't. Maybe he isn't who he thought he was. Maybe he's meant to be more.

This is a new adult novel with mature content for readers 17 and up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I'm absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Fall With Me, the fourth book in Jennifer L. Armentrout's Wait for You series! I can't wait to read Roxy and Reece's story, and since we have a long wait ahead to get ours hands on Fall With Me, I'm sure I'll be finding myself rereading the previous books in the series all over again.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the cover! Are you a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout and her addictive NA contemporary romance novels?

 Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Avon

Summary (from Harper Collins): 
Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.



About Jennifer L. Armentrout: 
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. 

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. 

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. Image Map
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