Review: The Boy From the Woods

The Boy From the Woods by Jen Minkman

The Boy From The Woods

Publication date: November 26th 2013

Publisher: Createspace

Number of pages: 300

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Paranormal

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Julia fell down on her knees next to his lifeless body, her heart filling with dread as she noticed the left side of his face was covered in blood. He had fallen off the motorbike, hitting his temple on a sharp-edged rock. His head injury looked really, really bad.
“Michael?” she whispered softly, putting a trembling hand on his forehead. “Can you hear me?”

Julia has been in love with Michael for years. He’s the hottest guy in school, and she can’t believe her luck when they finally hit it off during Senior Prom. Her dream doesn’t last, though: after a few dates, he callously dumps her out of the blue. Summer vacation starts with Julia feeling heart-broken and miserable.
But then she rescues Michael in the woods when he has a motorcycle accident in a heavy thunderstorm. From that point onward, her life is turned upside down. Michael has changed completely after the blow to the head that nearly killed him… and he wants her back. But why is he so different? And will she be able to trust him this time around?

Can the boy who broke your heart ever win it back again..?

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Review:

If you can find anything Jen Minkman can’t write, I will be shocked. Honestly, she’s amazing.

This is my third book by this author and as expected, it didn’t disappoint. I have read the first two books in her Island novella series which were dystopian, and now The Boy From The Woods, which is totally different genre-wise.

The ending was probably my favourite part of the book as it was both pretty and surprising. I didn’t know the genre or synopsis while I was reading this book, so I was quite surprised when the genre of the story seemed to change from contemporary.
That was not the only point where I was surprised. Minkman dealt with some very unexpected themes that I would never have guessed. She also has this habit of making your eyes widen as you read.

The setting is absolutely gorgeous. If you don’t know what Salzburg looks like, Google it. Seriously, you won’t forget it. The in-book describing was also great, I loved all the scenes with the woods.

One of the main things that stand out to me about Minkman’s books, is her writing style. It’s very pretty and descriptive, yet the story still flows smoothly and are easy to read. There are both amazing and heartbreaking scenes mixed in with the pretty writing, so really, it could only be great.

For some reason, this book reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood. Actually, now that I think about it, I think it may have something to do with the woods and the grandmother.

If you have read and loved Minkman’s Island novella series, you should definitely give this a try. But even if you haven’t and are looking for an easy but pretty read, check this out.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

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Author bio:

Jen MinkmanJen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English and Dutch at a secondary school in The Hague, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication.
In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack.

‘I have always been drawn to writing. My first book was a sci-fi novel at the age of eight, which I painstakingly typed out on my dad’s typewriter and illustrated myself. Nowadays, I stick to poetry, paranormal romance, chicklit and/or fantasy. In my home country, I am the first-ever published writer of paranormal romance, and I will gradually make my books also available in English (seeing I have to re-write and translate the books myself, this will take some time!).’

Review: Mine to Spell

Mine to Spell by Janeal Falor

Mine to Spell (Mine, #2)

Publication date: May 5th 2014

Publisher: Chardonian Press

Number of pages: 291

Series: Mine (2#)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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 Goodreads synopsis:

Cynthia has always hidden from her father’s hexes behind her older sister. When her family gains independence unheard of for women, she’s relieved that her days of harsh punishments are over. But as her seventeenth birthday approaches—the typical age to be sold to a new master—death threats endanger her sisters. She now faces two options: run or meet society’s expectations.

For once, Cynthia isn’t going to let her older sister shield her from the problem. She’s going to prove to herself, her sisters, and society that her family isn’t a threat to their traditions. She willingly chooses to be purchased by a new master. A bold step that takes her somewhere she never thought she would go and to a man she might possibly fall in love with. With his help, she may just find a way to save her sisters while discovering how to stand up for herself. If she lives long enough.

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 Review:

Mine to Spell was a spellbinding read, both in the literal and the literary sense.

The best thing about the books in this series is the way that they capture the reader and are becoming notorious for not letting them escape until the book is over. Mine to Spell is set in a warlock world where women are possessions, their worth depending on the magic in their blood.

I’d say perhaps the main focus in this book, is Cynthia’s struggle as a woman with a lot of magic who wants to change things. She spends a lot of the book trying to change the mindset of both men and women and she does it in a risky and courageous way.

This review may be shorter than they typically are because I was geniunely too absorbed in the story to make the notes that I usually do when reading.

The other thing is, I swear the warlock who buys the girl gets worse and worse each time. Edward was awful and even worse than I thought he would be.

The reason why I am not rating Mine to Spell as high as I rated You Are Mine and Mine to Tarnish, is probably due to the fact that I was not as keen on Cynthia nor her story as much as I was the other characters. This is mostly just a oersonal preference thing, however. I definitely enjoyed the second half less than the first half, but all the same, I still adore this series.

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a unique, out of the ordinary warlock book. I wish more people would read it because it really is fantastic.

 4/5 comets
A meteor shower. A great show.

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 Goodreads author bio:

Janeal FalorAmazon bestselling author Janeal Falor lives in Utah with her husband and three children. In her non-writing time she teaches her kids to make silly faces, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and attempts to cultivate a garden even when half the things she plants die. When it’s time for a break she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family or drinking hot chocolate.

 

 

Review: Becoming Alpha

Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin

Becoming Alpha (Alpha Girl, #1)

Publication date: December 17th 2013 (first published November 1st 2013)

Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC

Number of pages: 267

Series: Alpha Girl (1#)

Genre: YA Paranormal

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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 Goodreads synopsis:

Tessa McCaide has a unique talent for getting into trouble. Then again, it isn’t easy for a girl with visions to ignore what she sees. Luckily Tessa and her family are leaving California and moving halfway across the country, giving her the perfect opportunity to leave her reputation as “Freaky Tessa” behind.

But Tessa doesn’t realize that kissing the wrong guy in her new Texas town could land her in far more trouble than she ever imagined. Like being forced to attend St. Ailbe’s Academy, a secret boarding school for werewolves.

Even if the wrong guy did accidentally turn her into one of “them” and doom her to attending the weirdest high school ever, Tessa can’t help her growing attraction to the mysterious Dastien Laurent.

When vampires attack St. Alibe’s and her visions pinpoint an enemy in their midst, Tessa realizes that boy drama and her newfound canine tendencies might just be the least of her problems.

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 Review:

Becoming Alpha is totally becoming a favourite werewolf book.

Perhaps my favourite thing about Becoming Alpha was the author’s writing style. I thought that it was really realistic of how a teen would speak and think. Or maybe that’s because that’s really similar to my style of both thoughts and writing. But I really enjoyed reading Aileen Erin’s writing style, I thought it was modern and it really just sucked me into the story.

Speaking of what I liked, Tessa. I found her totally relatable and I don’t often say that because I just generally don’t find that many characters relatable. And she thinks like me. I quote:
“I needed lots and lots of ice cream. Even if it was my breakfast. It had milk and eggs. That totally counted.” – 15%

Stuff like that made me chuckle through out the book. I think it’s actually the first time I have said chuckle in a review. Yeah I didn’t laugh in this book, I chuckled.

The one thing that really irked me, was a couple of grammatical errors. There were at least two full stops where there should have been question marks and anyone who even remotely knows me, knows that I am big on grammar. If it was done on purpose, I think I get why, but they really should have been question marks.

Another contender for my favourite thing, has to be the take on werewolves. Honestly, I don’t read that many werewolf books but I really, really liked Aileen Erin’s take. It was super cool and very unlike any other werewolf book that I’ve read. It reminded me a little of the House of Night series by P. C. and Kristin Cast but I thought it was a world of better.

Then there comes the relationship between Tessa and Dastien. I liked it and I didn’t. I thought it was a little weird and there comes a point when their dependency on eachother got a bit irritating, but it was also sweet and complimented the story. Plus there was the fact that Dastien is French. Oh la la.

One of my favourite characters had to be Axel. His protectiveness over his sister was so cute and he was really funny, which never goes a miss in my books. He was just as cool as the alpha concept. I liked the way that Aileen Erin crafted the whole alpha subplot into the story, it was quite interesting.

The cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous. The colours, the shades of those colours, the wolf, the girl, the drama…it’s just so pretty. I hope that the other covers of books in this series are this pretty.

I honestly am considering whether Becoming Alpha is the best werewolf book that I have read so far. It definitely exceeded my expectations and I hope that I not only get the chance to continue with this series and some point, but that future books in this series are just as good, if not better.

The reason that I am not giving Becoming Alpha five stars/comets, is because I feel like something was missing. And I know, you have to explain yourself after a comment like that. I can’t really pick out what it was, but I have a feeling that it may be something to do with the plot, like maybe a bigger climax?

Just as a little review side note, but keep reading to the end! And I mean past the end. To the acknowledgments. Aileen Erin offers some advice to writers that I really like because it’s pretty honest. Then at the very end is another beautiful picture, that could rival the cover.

 4.5/5 comets
KABOOM! That only leaves one little continent. One little flaw.

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 Goodreads author bio:

Aileen ErinTrek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

Review: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine

 The Lost Boys

Publication date: October 24th 2013

Publisher: Ebury Press

Number of pages: 512

Series: The Lost Boys (1#)

Genre: YA Paranormal

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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 Goodreads synopsis:

An intensely addictive romance novel about girls, ghosts, and forbidden love, ideal for fans of Stephenie Meyer
 Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart? Having moved to a strange town, 17-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home. But there’s a very good reason why Tristan Halloway is always to be found roaming in the local graveyard. Perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate, The Lost Boys is a magical, romantic tale of girl meets ghost.

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 Review:

I could get lost in this book for hours.

It takes me forever to read books over 500 pages on my Kindle. You know when the progress bar just isn’t moving up? Well, if the Lost Boys had been my first 500+ page book I wouldn’t have known. I couldn’t believe how into the story I got. I couldn’t believe how much I cared for this book and it’s characters.

Let’s start off with Joe. Or should I say Joey. I am beyond glad that her name just became Joey in the book eventually because I really couldn’t get used to Joe for some reason. I don’t know why, it just wouldn’t stick. Plus I have always loved the name Joey, which probably helped. Now this isn’t really a spoiler, because it’s revealed very early on, but if you have a problem with minor minor (yep, that minor) spoilers (in fact it’s really not a spoiler in my opinion), do proceed to the next paragraph. I loved Joey’s power, I thought it was unusual and I would have loved for it to be featured in the book more often.

There has definitely been a new book boyfriend added to the surprisingly limited list. It’s a tough criteria to match, alright? But Tristan, or should I say Tris, was awesome. He’s exactly what we don’t get enough of in YA fiction. He’s NICE and cares beyond deeply about Joey. He’s the aw factor amplified 100 times. Aw.

In fact, I really liked all the characters. Seth, Tiffany, whom I was convinced I was going to HATE at the start of the novel (nah that didn’t last. She was pretty awesome too), Sam, Harry (who could forget Harry) and Josh. All the characters had their own cute little quirks and it made them seem a lot more realistic and relatable.

As much as I liked Joey, her hot-headedness got on my nerves. This wasn’t such a major problem but it really annoyed me towards the beginning of the book. Speaking of things to do with characters that annoyed me, the dialogue. Really. I know how teens speak. I AM one. Nobody actually actually says, “Take a chill pill.” or at least any that I know. But who knows, maybe some do. I’m not dissing Tristan’s use of ‘swell’ though. That was cute.

Something that totally surprised me, was that the paranormal bit seemed to only really be a subplot. From the beginning I never would have guessed this. I thought that it was pretty cool that it didn’t override the story. All in all, this story was not at all what I was expecting. There was some elements that I did not see coming by a long shot and some that wereterrbily obvious.

As much I adore Tristan. He had his issues. As in I had issues with him. For a good third of the book. If you read this or have read this, you will know what I’m talking about. There are no excuses. But he must have done something right because for some reason I have forgiven him.

And what is this mythical reason for forgiving something so supposedly dreadful that you hear whispers of in the wind? They call it the loveliest ending I have read in too long.

What I am totally confused about, was what on Earth was Vigil? All I got was something to do with a grey hood. Meh. I ended up liking Vigil anyway and was glad that he was in the story.

There’s something that I have just discovered that I have not mentioned yet about Joey, that possibly can’t go left unmentioned. I loved the way she influenced those around her so much for the better. I thought this was great and I’d love to see another book with her in it.

I was way to excited to discover the deleted scenes at the end of the book. They were pretty good and I’m glad they weren’t in the story because one of them would have made me feel differently about Joey, but if you are a fan of the story, you have to read them. I really enjoyed them anyway. I was glad for the second one because it made me understand this ‘tangerine’ business a little more.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a YA book that they can relax a little to and just want a good book to sink their teeth into. I will definitely be hoping to read more by Lilian Carmine.

4.5/5 comets!
KABOOM! That only leaves one continent. One little flaw.

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 Goodreads author bio:

Lilian CarmineLilian Carmine is the author of the popular Lost Boys Novels and graduated Bacharel of Visual Arts.
The Lost Boys Trilogy will be published by Random House UK – ebury Press, the first book of the trilogy released in October of 2013.
Lilian is currently working as a freelance artist on illustrated children’s books, animation, and artistic creation – as well as the next book in her Lost Boys series.

Review: Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)

Publication date: August 31st 2010

Publisher: HarperTeen

Number of pages: 335

Series: Paranormalcy (1#)

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Source: Purchased. This is my honest opinion.

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 Goodreads synopsis:

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

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 Review:

Talk about hard to review.

You have literally no idea I have been staring at this screen.

A long time.

I guess I could start off by saying that I looooooved the romance. Man, it was so adorable. In fact, I’m astounded that I actually liked the name Lend. It was endearing.

I loved all the supernatural creatures and the beginning but with the vampire. Is it twisted if I say I liked the bits with Reth? Because I did.

The fire thing and Evie’s gift was cool too.

What I didn’t like, or should I say who I didn’t like, was Evie. Pink, pink, Tasey, high school, pink, pink. Tasey reminds me way to much of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because Buffy called HER stake Mr. Pointy. And all the bleeps really annoyed me too. I definitely warmed to her a little more as the book went on though.

I will definitely be continuing with the series – I already have the second book – and it was strangely addicting I that sense.

 3.5/5 comets
Looks like the start of an apocalypse. Nearly there.

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 Goodreads author bio:

Kiersten WhiteHi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it.