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MICHELLE'S REVIEW: One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij

One, Two, Three - Elodie Nowodazkij

Natalya was on the track to becoming a professional ballerina, when a car crash not only affects her career, but also her family. Her full-time mom has become a full-time alcoholic, and Natalya is pretty much left to her own devices most of the time. Now that her leg's busted, Natalya can't dance... but that doesn't mean she can't live.

This book was being promoted as a Perfect Chemistry meets Save the Last Dance book, and because I do so love the Perfect Chemistry series, I had to request it. Only, it's not as Perfect Chemistry-y as I would like.

I desperately tried to get Natalya, because actually liking her was bordering a bit on the difficult side. Her POV was pretty childlike, so just reading through them and getting to understand things from her standpoint was a bit unsettling. I really had a hard time trying to remind myself that this girl was old enough to get a few unsettling kisses of her own.

The secrets that unfolded weren't much to talk about either. It's feasible, sure, but the way the drama unloaded was anti-climatic, and to me, felt more like a cop-out to the readers who are already on to it from the get-go.

One Two Three is one of those books you pick up all the while knowing how it's going to end. I usually pick up these kinds of novels with a tiny, tiny hope that something new and fresh would grip me, or that I might just -fingers crossed! - be helplessly entertained by the story. 

Unfortunately, One Two Three is only one of the many books that offers nothing new to the already standard, generic formula.


MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Erica Crouch's Madly, Deeply

Madly, Deeply - Erica Crouch

When I saw Madly, Deeply on NetGalley, I didn't know what I was getting into. The cover was lovely, the blurb even more so, and my expectations were spiraling upwards faster than I can scream, "Stop, it could be a TRAP!!!" as lots of books with gorgeous covers and equally arresting blurbs are wont to do. But before I knew it, the green button touted the words PENDING, and my request was sent. Fast forward a few days, and a copy pops up on my dashboard. And because I want to prolong the delicious suspense that is just killing me, I finish off the other new books first. (Yep, selecting which book to read first - and last - is this dramatic for me.) When I finished those, I sprawled on my bed, just because I have had enough of draping myself in my mother's chaise lounge earlier, and read.


And read.


And read, and made pitiful moaning sounds read, and made more wounded, dying animal sounds read.


Until it was The End. 


Ladies and gents, Madly Deeply, is a short book, but it has also got to be the up there with the most gutting, let-me-splash-some-alcohol-on-your-wounds-and-sucker-punch-said-wounds book I've ever read.


My dear Ms Crouch, do you have poetry book-protein shakes for breakfast? Grilled poetry books for lunch? A light poetry book salad for dinner? No? ARE YOU SURE? Everything in this book is just pure poetry - the kind that is just obviously effortless, and sounds like it just comes naturally to the author. The narrative is lush, evocative, and all sorts of wonderful that it just is very fitting for the novel, which is a derivation of Poe's Annabel Lee.


I LOVED it because it has just the right amount of length to it - effectively without overstretching the story and overdramatizing the plot that some books are wont to do. It's short, but it's incredibly bittersweet because you have these two amazing characters who are so in love with each other and who are just about to start an amazing life together, only to have Fate intervene and crush everyone's dreams.


Madly, Deeply inevitably cuts readers where it hurts the most, but it will slowly soothe you, and at the end of the book, the reader will inevitably subconsciously touch the gash, only to find healed, yet puckered skin. 


I cannot recommend Madly, Deeply enough to Poe fans and bittersweet romance aficionados alike.


"'Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" indeed.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Feuds by Avery Hastings

Feuds - Avery Hastings

Davis is a ballerina. Genetically enhanced since birth like all Priors are, she's smarter, stronger and basically just better than the Imperfects. Or Imps as they're called. She's about to qualify for the Olympiads and nothing will stop her from becoming a renowned ballerina like her mother. Until she meets Cole. Unbeknownst to her, Cole has another reason for bumping into her one night at a party - to sabotage her father's campaign through Davis. They never expected to fall for each other. Never expected to unveil secrets that the government is desperate to hide.


I have a bone to pick with this book. Truthfully. It has a gorgeous cover which I love love love but's basically a romance in a dystopian setting. Oh sure, there's a deadly virus sweeping through the Priors and Cole's attempted sabotage of Davis' reputation but it really just focuses on the romance. It's not the swoon-worthy kind of romance too, it's instant love. Th kind where a connection between them is forged through subtle glances and the mystery surrounding Cole's persona and the fact that he's major eye candy. Sometimes I'm okay with instant love. Sometimes. This is not one of them. 


It doesn't help that Davis was a damsel in distress kind of heroine. She has zero self preservation skills. When Davis and Cole first met he was a major creeper. I mean if a guy just so happens to put his had on my bare back at a party I'd run screaming for the other side of the room or maybe just hide behind my friends. Don't get drawn in by a pretty face and a grin. Seriously. Davis' friendships also seem superficial. I couldn't get a feel for the connection between her and the best friend. 


And you know, I might have forgiven the insta-love if the focus of the story wasn't on that. I didn't want to read about Davis wondering about Cole. Didn't want to see her swoon, or look forward to when they were gonna bump into each other. People are dying Davis, people you know. You should be scared.


And if that wasn't enough, the world building for Feuds was just...shoddy. There wasn't enough back story. Not enough details on their society. Like why the divide? Priors and Imps? Technology? Barely there. I want the details, the little things that come together to give me an image of what their society is like. It's supposed to be futuristic but the thing is, aside from the social divide? There's nothing here that really screams that. Aside from genetically modified human beings who are immune to all kinds of sicknesses. 


Half baked world building and forgettable characters? Not my thing. And while I do like my fair share of romance I expected this book to lean towards the sci-fi side more. My mistake. Looking for sci-fi that's actually science-y and believable? Try Insignia by SJ Kincaid or Proxy by Alex London. 



NICOLE'S REVIEW: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception - Mary E. Pearson

Lia flees on her wedding day with a bundle of stolen documents and her maid. She doesn't want to have any part in the arranged marriage she's forced into and throws duty aside in favor of her freedom. But Lia never really thought of the consequences that would surely follow her shunning of an arranged marriage with a possible political ally and she's going to have to man up and figure out how to fix the mess she's created. Runaway princesses, assassins, princes and a war that's just waiting to happen.


When I first started the book I was like well, okay. I can't begin to understand the pressure that comes along with an arranged marriage so let's give Lia the benefit of the doubt. It's not hard to imagine yearning for a life elsewhere when you're forced into marrying someone you've never met. It was kind of annoying that she'd shirk duty over the chance of finding love but hey, I'm not going to judge. Much. 

Things started to get annoying when the love triangle was introduced. Enter Rafe and Kaden. One's a prince and the other assassin. Lia doesn't know who they are and assumes that one is a merchant and the other a fisherman (if I'm not mistaken). She spends an inordinate amount of time brooding over which boy she wanted and this goes on for around half of the book. Dances, boys, working at the inn, boys, getting attacked by a bounty hunter, more problems with boys. Ugh. She spends a lot of time complaining about being loved and wanting to love and finding love. Please. Stop. 

Also might I add that Lia is kind of an idiot? When she manages to meet up with her brother and he tells her of the trouble brewing between Morrighan and Dalbreck and the marauders who want to conquer the two kingdoms she responds with surprise. SURPRISE. I mean did she not stop and think that maybe there was a reason for the political marriage? That maybe it was a way to get two kingdoms who were at odds with each other to form an alliance against the invaders? I mean Lia! Come on! And all for what? An imagined love? 

Thankfully, somewhere along the latter half of the book Lia grows a spine, realizes that she's a princess and she has duties to her people and her kingdom and finally -FINALLY- gets with the program. Better late than never. This is where things also started to get exciting and it got back to being FANTASY. Because really mooning over boys and watching them wrestle on logs over mud was kind of boring (and stuff like that doesn't only happen in fantasy books). I wanted action and angst and epic battles and magic! Maybe there wasn't exactly much of an epic battle but at least the latter part of the book rekindled my faith in the story with the twists and turns it took and that ending! Mmmmm.

I'd have given this book a higher rating if the first half was as exciting as the second but I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. Hopefully it gets better and Lia puts away boys for a moment and focuses on saving her kingdom first. What's the use of boys if you're all dead.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After - Susan Dennard

This is it, the final battle, the moment that will decide whether Eleanor manages to win against the evil that took her mother, her brother and now her friend Jie or ultimately lose everyone dear to her. Eleanor travels all over the place in this installment, from Paris to Marseilles and then to Egpyt, if I'm not mistaken, trying to stop Marcus and hoping to save the life of her friend.


The final installment of this series is...I can't. It's killer. As in when I read...THAT PART (no spoilers) I had to do a reread because why why why why why. Cue ugly crying people. Ugh. On to the review.


Eleanor's control of her powers is getting better but her powers and her demon companion still cause strife between her and the Spirit Hunters seeing as how they're totally against her necromancy. I'm glad that Daniel and Eleanor's relationship actually progresses in this installment and Eleanor does grow as a character. I mean sure sometimes her decisions leave me baffled but Eleanor's a smart girl and fearless too and she always manages to push through. Sometimes I wonder why Eleanor's so afraid of her magic but then I realize it's not exactly unicorns and rainbows when it comes to raising the dead. Dead is dead and zombies aren't pretty.


If you've read the second book you'll know that Eleanor and Oliver are not on good terms but I like how their friendship doesn't just disappear and they manage to bridge the gap between them. He's the one who always urges Eleanor to hone her powers and free him from their contract. And despite his anger and hurt he still cares. 

Strange and Ever After is hard to put down, Eleanor encounters trouble every which way she turns to the point that it looks like she just can't win. And when all was said and done, the ending was terribly poignant. It's one of the more conclusive endings I've read, with all the loose ends tied up. It was sad but Dennard managed to make it hopeful so while I might have thrown a little tantrum I got over it quickly enough. I'm satisfied and I will definitely read the next book the author releases. 

Thank you for this series Susan Dennard, it was wonderful.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Aspen by Rebekah Crane

Aspen - Rebekah Crane

Honestly, if you put a pile of books in front of me, this one included, I probably wouldn't pick it up. Even if it were displayed among dreaded medical textbooks or math books. I'm really just not that into contemporary. But I was offered an eARC of this book and I thought, why not? I liked the author's previous book well enough.


Aspen is suffering from PTSD after her involvement in an accident that took away the life of one of her classmates. She just wants to get through her senior year, figure out why Katelyn's ghost is stalking her and try to keep her mother in line. It doesn't help that Ben, Katelyn's boyfriend, sits next to her in class and looks at her with eyes that seem to know just exactly what she's going through.


Aspen feels genuine. A normal girl trying to find her way, trying to move on from the accident that changed her life in an instant. She's struggling to deal with the people in school, her family and Katelyn's ghost. The ghost isn't particularly malicious but that doesn't mean it's not creepy. Aspen is also lucky in that she's got a mother who, despite being irresponsible, truly loves her and friends who care about her. She's stubborn and all she wants to do is forget.


Then there's Ben. He's sweet and nice and charming and good for Aspen. He's making her remember things from the night that she'd rather forget. And he's making her feel things she's not sure she should. But hey, he needs her and she needs him and they're perfect for each other.


The pacing for this book was just right, showing readers Aspen's snarky side and her humor. Her interactions with all the different characters and the final moment where Katelyn's side of the story is revealed and Aspen learns to let it go. (Cue the Frozen song, just because)


This book is heartfelt. A story of letting go, acceptance and the fact that life goes on whether you want it to or not. I may not have bothered to pick this up if it were dangled in front of me but I'm glad I did. Maybe next time I'll try not to judge a book by it's cover.

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die - Danielle  Paige

I could not resist buying this book. A retelling of The Wizard of Oz that puts a totally new spin on the characters? Yeah, dude. Count me in.


Amy's spent her whole life stuck in a trailer with her alcoholic mom, stuck in a school where she gets teased all the time and where everyone is against her. She just wants to leave it all behind her. Little does she know that her yearnings would all by answered in the form of a tornado that sweeps through town, lifts her trailer up and dumps her in the middle of nowhere where she's faced with an odd, crumbling yellow brick road.


I love how Paige took the original story and warped it into something wicked. Dorothy who's now the power hungry monarch ruling Oz in her tiny cleavage-bearing dresses and high heels? A little disturbing. The Tin Man's got a crush on Dorothy and acts as her bodyguard, the Lion's been turned into a gruesome beast who sucks the soul out of hapless munchkins and the like. And the Scarecrow? He performs despicable experiments on flying monkeys and turns people into walking weapons. Literally.


Amy, the heroine, is incredibly real. She doesn't want to be the hero, doesn't want to be the one to kill Dorothy. But what choice does she have when the witches who saved her from Dorothy's clutches claim she's the only one who can? Her emotions are all over the place but really, mine would be too if I were in her place. She can be nasty sometimes, and kind of whiny and maybe a little stupid but that's what endeared her to me. She's genuine.


Going up against Dorothy and her magical red heels and clothes in that awful blue and white checker pattern? No thank you. Imagine that pattern on leather and try not to cringe and shudder in despair. (Has turning evil somehow screwed with Dorothy's fashion sense?) She's forced to train with the witches and earn her magic but she also has to deal with Nox; infuriating, handsome, standoffish Nox who teaches her combat skills and takes her to mountain tops to look at the stars. Nox who looks at her like he sees her and tells her he likes her hair. I couldn't exactly get a read on him and I'm pretty sure there's more to Nox than his combat skills and dedication to the cause.


Dorothy Must Die is an incredibly imaginative retelling of the original Oz but you don't have to be familiar with the original story to follow this. It's dark and dreary and gory but wholly entertaining. Oh and did I mention that this is Danielle Paige's debut book? So rad. If you're a fan of Oz, of retellings, or maybe just on the lookout for your next read why not pick this book up?


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Proxy by Alex London

Proxy - Alex London

Just when I've been about to turn my back on dystopians this book comes along and manages to rekindle my love for the genre. With wonderfully nuanced characters and crazy plot twists I found myself engrossed in a world where the rich (Patrons) have everything and the poor are burdened with debt.


Enter Knox, born to one of the wealthiest families he wants for nothing. He has money, looks and a Proxy to take all his punishments for him. He's all up for causing chaos because he knows he won't ever be blamed. But when Knox crashes a car and kills his passenger, his Proxy is set to die in his place. Syd, the Proxy, won't stand for it and runs. Caught in this tangle of lies and deception, Knox and Syd form an unlikely truce because to get out of this alive, they'll both need their wits about them.


Proxy is told in the alternating voices of Syd and Knox. Knox is your typical rich boy, spoiled, uncaring, entitled and always after his next conquest. Let me add that he's also an excellent hacker despite blundering about in school. He's the type of character I usually hate but London's characters aren't one-sided and being a spoiled brat isn't all Knox is. He's got issues with his father and the events that led to the death of his mother and his growth later on in the story is admirable. So while I did want to punch him in the face I as wanted to give him a hug and tell him that things'll get better.


Syd is Knox's Proxy. Every blunder and every mistake Knox commits, Syd is there to take punishment. Being a Proxy is a way for the poor to pay off their debt (school, medical bills, the like) and Syd was just the unlucky boy who got picked. Did I mention that he's also gay? I love how London didn't make such a fuss about Syd's being gay. It's not an Issue book, it's definitely a sci-fi/dystopian where the protagonist just so happens to be a boy who likes boys. Syd's also a special little butterfly - there's something in his blood that might just put an end to the social divide but he's going to need the help of the rebels to figure it all out.


London has created such a great book. It's got social issues, the divide between the poor and the rich is glaringly obvious; well crafted actions scenes and a bunch of cool tech that I wouldn't mind playing with. His characters are multidimensional, not flat paper dolls to be jerked around. The plot's all twisty and focuses on the unwitting friendship (sort of) between Syd and Knox. The ending was a surprise. I never expected the book to close on that note and I'll admit to feeling a little bereft after finishing the book. Do I recommend this book? Yes. YES. Pick up Guardian while you're at it.


(Blog Tour) MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Magnolia - Kristi Cook

Jemma Cafferty didn't always hate Ryder Marsden. In fact, she was kind of crushing on him back in eighth grade... Only he kind of unknowingly crushed her heart. Which in turn, crushed the dreams of the two closer families of ever being united by marriage. Now seventeen and on the brink of their high school graduation, Jemma and Ryder are more than ready to bid adieu, farewell to everyone's expectations of them ever getting together. But like the storm that batters Magnolia Branch, there seems to be some other stronger force to be reckoned with...


It's not exactly a secret that any book that is set in either the South, or in New Orleans, is already halfway to my list of must-reads. A fluffy-sounding contemporary in the South where glorious chicken and biscuits exist side by side with the lovely drawling accents of the inhabitants? Sign me up!


It wasn't all that hard to fall into this book. In all honesty, I dazedly abandoned everything as soon as I got home, hurriedly grabbed my tablet and sprawled out on my mother's chaise lounge, ashamedly with an arm draped across my forehead, channeling one of them older Southern belles I thought I would encounter. (I must have looked pretty ridiculous, and you know you'd think I would look pretty ridiculous. I don't know why I had to tell you that, but I did. I have no regrets.)


I did like Jemma and Ryder (fine, everyone!) because they're all so darned there. Part of the charm (Ha, Southern charm, amirite? ...Goodness gracious, just ignore me.) of Magnolia is that it's easy to read, and you just fall right in. Like that one time you stumbled across some acquaintance's or friend's secret blog, and you just lap up delicious post after delicious post (which in my case, wasn't delicious at all, because all it did was chronicle what she did for the day. And when you're in school doing the same stuff almost every day, there's really just so much "We had a quiz!" "I ate lunch!" "My teacher is so boring!" posts you can get through). 


I found it quite amusing and adorable that the families weren't exactly subtle about their wanting Jemma and Ryder getting together (The proverbial wedding cake is as old as they are, you guys.) It's not so much as an arranged marriage, but it's more like a "C'mon, pleeeeeeeeeeeease get married, you two!" between the two families. It would probably be annoying if they genuinely hated each other, which they definitely don't, so I just sat back in that lounge with a smirk on my face, and watched it all unfold. 

About 70% of the book did revolve around Jemma and Ryder's interactions during the storm, and maybe that's where I found some things that may have gotten a bit off. Sure, there's nothing much to do with the power out, and I do understand that they may end up more friendly because of all the time they spend together. I don't get how chummy they suddenly seem though. Don't get me wrong, I want them to end up together, but if I end up stuck in a storm with the guy who humiliated me, and broke my heart, you can best bet that I won't let him know much of my future plans. I also don't get why they use some people to make the other jealous in the first place. They're both sounding off that they dislike the other, but it's like, "Yeah, look - the person I'm kissing right now? Isn't you - BAM, IN YO FACE!" (C'mon, that's lame, you guys.) That's about the only gripe I have with this book, which isn't even all that major for me.


Have I mentioned that I like the cover of the book? It's not all artsy-fartsy and stuff, but it's very fitting. It's got Southern-setting scrawled over the book, without the corny, cheeseball "YEEHAW!" everyone's drawing up in their minds every time someone mentions the South. We have Jemma whose tense-looking body may be pointing the opposite direction, but her head is definitely facing the same direction Ryder is. It's like she's giving off the "I want to do the opposite, but dang, maybe I'm just being contrary, and if I don't do the contrary, then I'm just being myself" mind-warring thing she's doing. (I'm told I overanalyze everything. Do I really?) Ryder's body language, on the other hand, is a bit more relaxed, just like how he is in the book. And can I also just point out that very ominous-looking sky which changes the course of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-ng for the two kids?

Magnolia by Kristi Cook is perfect for readers who are looking for some light contemporary about a reverse Romeo and Juliet-esque couple who just need some time and space to pick up where they last left off.



NICOLE'S REVIEW: Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette

Burn Bright - Bethany Frenette

After saving her city, Audrey's all set to explore a relationship with Leon and, with the appearance of her new ability, she's all about lending a hand in the fight against Harrowers despite the naysayers (mainly her mom and Leon). But when a new threat in the form of a vicious Harrower named Susannah appears, determined to end the Kin, it's time for Audrey and her gang to once again step up to save the world. Sort of.


I just love the superhero theme going on in the books. It's way too much fun. Add to that the super cute romance between Audrey and Leon, a few bad guys who're out to rule the world and a crazy dude fixed on vengeance and getting himself killed and you've got yourself a winner. 


Frenette has a cast of wonderful characters. Audrey is terribly pragmatic and while some girls swoon at the thought of a guy willing to risk his life for hers because it's oh so dramatic, Audrey is afraid. She's scared and terrified and while I don't really approve of the way she distanced herself from Leon, I understand why she did that. Leon's got a protective streak going on and Audrey isn't exactly an ideal body to guard. She's also got a whole lot of things to deal with; like her best friend's boy problems, the nasty nightmares that torment Gideon and the fact that she and Leon have never gone out on an actual date. Oh and let's not forget the murderous Harrower who's hell-bent on annihilating them. Superhero stuff.


This series is seriously addicting though what with all the twists and turns and action scenes that Frenette doles out. It never got boring. And while the book is light-hearted and humorous at times, don't let that fool you because there's some serious stuff going around here. The relationship with Audrey's mom and her dad? Ugh. So. Painful. 


So anyway, I'd definitely recommend this series and I would like to see more Leon and Audrey kissy scenes in the next book. PLEASE. If you haven't picked up this incredibly fun series yet, well, what are you waiting for? 


NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare Dilemma (Arkwell Academy) (Hardback) - Common - by Mindee Arnett

When one of Dusty's friends is attacked and accusing eyes are cast on resident jock Lance Rathbone, Dusty is doubtful of Lance's participation in the heinous crime. She's all set to find out who the real perpetrator is but it's not as easy as it seems. The dreams she shares with Eli are no help either seeing as how they're more nightmare than prophecy. To complicate things even more Dusty's ex-boyfriend is back and he's all about trying to get back into Dusty's good graces just as Eli's all set to capture Dusty's heart.


The Nightmare Dilemma is as entertaining and enjoyable as its predecessor. The summary might be a little misleading - with Paul making an appearance, you'd think that a love triangle was in the making. Fear not because nothing really ever happens between Dusty and Paul, aside from making Eli jealous. Which is good; jealous Eli amused me.


Dusty is still as funny as she was in the first book. She's developing her powers as well as nurturing her budding relationship with Eli. It was glorious, really. I ship them so hard. Dusty is an amusing character, she's also real and human (as human as a nightmare can be) and she doesn't have a hero complex going on. She's got rad powers and wields a super sword but that doesn't mean she's going to jump in headfirst into danger, totally disregarding her life. No. She makes rash decisions sometimes but come on, don't we all?


In the second book she also has to deal with Eli and Selene keeping secrets from her. Selene and her nightly forays and Eli with his hot and cold attitude towards their relationship. It's pretty obvious that Eli wants her too. You're not fooling anyone Eli! Paul too is trying to get Dusty to trust him again. After the events of the first book, it's hard to not cast suspicion on everything Paul does but I feel like he's genuinely remorseful about his actions.


The pacing of the book was great with decent helpings of mystery and romance. But that ending? The way the romance was heading has me worried. Don't do anything to ruin my OTP please. I beg of you. All in all The Nightmare Dilemma is a solid sequel and I cannot wait for the next installment.


MICHELLE'S REVIEW: On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence - Kasie West

In a testosterone-filled household, it's not unusual for Charlie to be more comfortable with participating in wrestling matches than a shopping spree. Charlie is one of the boys, and she's more than okay with that, until she starts working for a chic boutique to pay off a speeding ticket. While wearing makeup and putting on clothes that actually fit well seem to be a novelty that's somehow growing on her, Charlie's almost desperate attempts to keep her home life and blooming social life separate are catching up on her. The only place Charlie feels where she could truly be herself is when she is talking to Braden behind their fences, but could she lose her sanctuary when she figures out that she's actually in love with the cliched boy next door?

I recall that On the Fence was announced just after I finished reviewing The Distance Between Us and all at once, I felt like a cat about to be given another bowl of creamy milk. Based on TDBU, I more or less already predicted the cute fluffiness that West will throw at her readers, as if she already knows the secret ingredient to the balm that would undoubtedly soothe our heavy-YA-weary souls. 

On The Fence is exactly that.

Watching Charlie Reynolds being thrust into the world of makeup and fashion is very fun, especially if you're the type of reader who likes reading about things like that (which I am). And watching her being all flustered with Braden, who is suddenly simply not just Braden? Even cuter, if you're the type who smirks while reading a fun, fluffy, contemporary novel (which I also am). Charlie is at the right age to be exploring her true identity, given that all she's ever known and have been comfortable with, was hanging out with her brothers and Braden, and playing one game after the other. It's quite lovely to see the lightbulb go off in her head that she doesn't have to be only one orthe other - and that she could actually be both!

I do have my misgivings with On The Fence, however. Similar in the fashion of The Distance Between Us, some events that seemed minor, given the little amount of spotlight thrown on them, ended up being major events that got in the way of the storyline. Also, Charlie didn't seem to be the type of girl who lived for pushing the pedal to the metal. The girl got one speeding ticket, and didn't seem to come across as having them habitually since there were no repetitive nuances about it throughout the whole book.

But still, On The Fence is one such balm to soothe my heavy-YA-weary soul, and for that I could not ask for more. And yes, I still lapped that cream to every last drop.

Read On The Fence if you like cutesy, fluffy fiction about tomboyish girls and their equally adorable love interests. Or you know, you're a kindred heavy-YA-weary soul as well.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited - Sophie Jordan

Okay so I tried Sophie Jordan's Firelight series and I hated it with a vengeance so I was reluctant to try Uninvited. I don't know what pushed me to buy this book but I'm glad I did. It's waaaaaaay better than the other series. On to the review then.


Davy's the perfect high school senior but the moment she's diagnosed as a carrier for "the kill gene" her life starts to spiral out of control. Her best friend turns betrays her, her boyfriend turns his back on her and Davy is shunned. She is uninvited by the prep school she attends but what's worse is the fear in her parents' eyes when they look at her. And when people start to turn on the so called carriers, what's Davy to do?


I can't help but compare this book to Firelight. I'm sorry but Uninvited has better characters. Davy isn't an annoying lovelorn twit but rather a smart, talented girl who's thrust into a problematic position. She's adapting and struggling with the loss of her friends and the change in her family. Sure there's a guy; a dangerous, cute guy but Davy knows he's dangerous but at least she's not diving into any kind of relationship eyes closed. She might be a little spoiled and a special little butterfly but she's real - just a normal girl who's caught in unfortunate (hah! unfortunate) circumstances.


Davy's ex-boyfriend and best friend were annoying. Seriously. I mean what douchery was that? It's kind of sick that they were capable of doing that to someone they love. Seriously. I mean they made me want to give up on being human. Just ugh. But fear for carriers has been ingrained in society and to them it's probably normal to shun people who have been diagnosed positive.


The thing with Uninvited is that it has action scenes and they were well written. They had a cinematic feel to them and I liked reading them so much. The only thing was well, the things were a little too easy for Davy in the end you know? And I'm kind of hoping that it's a set up for the next book. Please.


Anyway I'm just really glad this didn't turn out like Firelight and I'm really sorry but I can't get how much I dislike that book out of my head. Uninvited restored my faith in Sophie Jordan and I'm definitely going to grab the next book.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro

Dark Paradise - Angie Sandro

Mala is in denial about her powers. She's been trying to escape her whole life but finding a dead body floating in the bayou near her house puts all those carefully crafted notions out of her head. Landry has always had his eye on Mala - hanging out where she works, looking at her, staring at her when in school - but when Mala is the one who discovers his sister's body floating in the water he's not sure what to think anymore. Satanic rituals? Hoodoo? Can Landry put his trust in a girl who's painted as a witch involved in blood rituals? Can Mala figure out what the malevolent spirit wants before she gets consumed by her own budding powers?

It's told in the alternating voices of Mala and Landry. Mala is a sort of pariah seeing as how she's a descendant of witch women and people with all their prejudice and preconceived ideas concerning witches treat her like she's got the plague. Mala's used to it though and spends her time at the police station helping out. She's over-dramatic sometimes and a little naive at others. She's also part of this confusing romance and torn between two boys - George and Landry.

George doesn't really have that much of a presence in the book. He's just this guy who Mala works with and fancies. He kind of sees Mala as this little girl or damsel in distress who needs to be sheltered and protected. I have no idea what Mala sees in him because aside from the pretty face there really is nothing to write home about.

Landry on the other hand is crazy. He's always had a crush on Mala but never really had the guts to go talk to her. When he finds out Mala's the one who finds his sister's body he is easily persuaded into believing that she's performing crazy blood rituals and his sister is an unwitting victim. And he expects Mala to fall at his feet? Expects that they could actually have a relationship together? From their first confrontation to their following interactions, Landry is either hating/angry at her or flirty and charming. Maybe if he were a little less psycho they might have a chance.

I did like the atmosphere of the book. It's creepy and mysterious and I don't know how I made it through because I am not good with ghosts. I mean just mentioning ghosts makes me feel tainted. I just kind of wished that instead of focusing on the romance because all that messy drama overshadowed the good horror/mystery vibe the book had going.

Nevertheless I'll be checking out the second book, mainly because I want to see where the author takes this series and also because Mala's powers are growing and I want to know if they're going to driver her crazy in the end. And Landry too because crazies also deserve a happy ending.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Born of Deception by Teri Brown

Born of Deception - Teri Brown

Anna Van Housen managed to escape her dreary - sort of - life in New York by scoring a spot on a famous European tour. She gets to move to London with the handsome Cole and gets to perform her illusions for all the world to see. Everything's perfect until she meets the secret society Cole is a part of - Sensitives are disappearing and turning up dead and the society is in chaos. Secrets are uncovered and revealed and Anna's plans and her relationship with Cole is shot to hell. Her powers are starting to unravel her and Anna has to find the killer before he finds her.

It's London, Anna should be having the time of her life performing and pursuing this relationship with Cole. But instead she's got to figure out why her powers are going haywire and why in the world this new killer is targeting her. She also has to deal with this pretty boy who seems to have his eye on her and discourage his charming advances. Love triangle? Not really. Don't worry guys. Cole gets jealous and all and I kind of liked seeing him that way. It was fun, made him seem less perfect.

Like the first book in the series, the sequel has the same feel to it. Mysterious, eerie and charged with magic. Brown's writing was as good as in the first book, her characters are just as wonderful and easy to fall in love with. Like saying hello to long time friends I haven't seen in ages. Brown also introduces a new cast of characters that serve to make things more diversified and interesting.

The thing about this though, is that the book felt a little flat. I mean add a pretty boy who fancies Anna to cause strife between the two? Yeah. I did like the tension that arose thanks to the issues with the secret society of Sensitives and the craziness that seemed to follow Anna around. The ghost part was really creepy but truth be had, any mention of ghosts is bound to creep me out. 

All in all a decent follow up to Born of Illusion, a sort of paler imitation but enjoyable nonetheless. The writing is still as good and so is the world building. I'm definitely picking up the next book to see where Brown will take us next. Also note that it's set in JAZZ AGE LONDON.


NICOLE'S REVIEW: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

Harper Price is perfect. She's homecoming queen, captain of cheer squad and her boyfriend is the hottest guy on campus. Nothing can go wrong. That is until a run-in with a strange man who imbues her with Paladin powers and puts her in charge of her nemesis David Stark. The David Stark who mercilessly makes her life a living hell and the boy she might be falling for (gasp!).


This book was so much fun. Harper is an adorable heroine, a little bit of an overachiever but totally likeable, smart and funny. She's also a prude - PDA is vile and she does not cuss. If she were a real person I don't think we'd get along very well. David is the anti-hero. He's moody, insufferable and wears really tight pants (he's a hipster and of course that disturbs Harper's delicate sensibilities). He's also nephew to the school principal and editor on the school paper.


I had a lot of fun reading this book despite the fact that the ending was sort of rushed and the bad guys felt really random. You know, like, toss a bad guy in just for kicks. The book also seemed to put a lot of focus into Harper's messed up love life. Ryan aka The Perfect Boyfriend on one hand and David the Archnemesis on the other. Normally I'd be irritated by this but not this time. Rebel Belle was just too much fun. And you just know that Hawkins is totally setting readers up for the next book with the way Rebel Belle ended. Oh what a fine mess our adorable heroine is in.


Let me just add that the secondary characters were boring too but eh, who needs them. David and Harper were my sole focus so I couldn't really care less. And nobody needs a bunch of cheerleaders with super powers please.


Anyway I'd definitely recommend this to readers looking for a light, fun urban fantasy. Also suitable for those who'd like to ease themselves into the genre, I think.