When two girls change places, nothing can go wrong: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

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Being Sloane Jacobs

By: Lauren Morrill

To be released in January 7th by Random House Children’s

Length: 352 Pages

Genre: Young Adult Sports and Games

Rating: 4 and a half Stars

Acquired: through Netgalley

Sloane Emily Jacobs is no stranger to the spotlight. She lives the life of a politician’s daughter in Washington D.C.; as well as a top figure skater in her age division. But, after a fall during a competition three years before, she hasn’t been on the ice much. Until she catches Daddy in the act. Whether to keep her hushed or not, she gets sent to an intense summer figure skating camp in Canada to prepare herself for nationals, and to be the top again.

Sloane Devon Jacobs has a habit of being too aggressive on the ice hockey field. Barely scrapping by, Sloane Devon’s only chance at going to college is by getting an ice hockey scholarship. But, when her aggression on the ice gets out of hand, her coach bans her for the next year, her senior year, of high school unless she goes to an ice hockey camp in Canada.

These two  girls may share the same name, but they come from two different backgrounds. Both on and off the ice. When the bump into each other, and discover they share the same name, that’s when it hits Sloane Emily Jacobs. It’s time for a switch. The girls’ adjustments to their new lifestyles won’t be easy. They each have something to prove, but can they pull it all off?

Lauren Morrill’s novel is one of those finds you can’t put down. Told in alternating voices, it’s easy to believe you are in Canada, too, living a double life. The girls were great. Sloane Emily wasn’t a prim and proper ice princess, she had spunk, attitude, and likability to her. I loved when it was her chapter; she was tough, while staying true to herself. Sloane Devon wasn’t an easy character to crack. She was much rougher around the edges than Sloane Emily, and a little bit harder to like. When I finally warmed up to her a little bit less than halfway, I quickly looked forward to her chapters, too.

Neither characters played the “poor girl” or “rich girl” card, proving their different classes didn’t mean anything. Instead it was about believing in themselves; on and off the rink. They had more to prove to themselves than anyone, and it was nice to see them succeed despite of themselves.

I am not a sports fan by any means. I don’t know the rules to ice hockey and need to hold onto bars if I go ice skating. Yet, I loved this book. It was more about believing in yourself, finding strength in the unknown, and taking personal risks than just about the two sports. The sports were prevalent, but used more as a soul searching device rather than a how-to device. I would recommend this book to all the sports loving readers and non-sports loving readers alike. There is something for everyone in it. Love, learning to be your own person, friendship, and sports. It’s all a winning combination in my book.

Some Books can’t be read: Waking Sleep Beauty Freak Book Review

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Waking Sleep Beauty Freak

Released June, 2013 by Winking Buddha Press

Length: 256 pages

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir

Rating: DNF

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Waking Sleep Beauty Freak is about waking up and realizing you are on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. Now what? It is a non-fiction inspirational tale about disillusionment, self-discovery and the universal web of pain and growth. Its “Girls-grown-up” style narrative addresses what happens when an ambitious, hard-working, world traveling girl-verging-on-woman wakes up from a seven-year relationship to realize she is on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. The subsequent unraveling and reweaving is crafted and delivered in a clever conversational tone, sharing ‘just enough’ – in a fun, poetic, modern philosophical way – to hold attention while simultaneously allowing the reader’s mind to wander down its own self-reflective path. While hilarious and bawdy at times, it digs deep and across multiple continents to provide a unique inspirational window into a journey through divorce – parental and her own – and disease (diabetes). This is an ideal summer beach read, especially for women between the ages of 25 and 45 who have lived in New York and/or experienced any of the above. If candid, witty, seemingly gorgeous, ambitious and fun on the surface – she’s imperfect. She’s real. Raw. Rough. A little dirty. Growing. And wanting the reader to grow alongside her..

goodreads.com description

When I was looking through titles on netgalley, this book jumped up at me. I thought the title was creative and witty. Although the description of the book is somewhat lengthy, it is a little vague as well. The description isn’t the only thing that is vague, though. I couldn’t get very far reading this book. There were a couple pages that had funny analogies, or that I thought were insightful, but the majority of the pages fell short for me. Even at page 50, or so, I never got a true feel of what the book was about. Maybe if I tried to keep reading; but, it took me over two weeks just to get to around that page. I might have stopped half way. There just wasn’t enough substance in it.

The author, who does not have her name printed on the cover, gave nicknames to the people mentioned. These nicknames were not helpful, descriptive, or useful at all. There was creative ambition. I don’t know what he really looks like. I can’t tell you a single personality trait of his other than he must have some creative ambition. Then, there is her husband, Ferrari. Given that he is named after a fancy car, I am going to make a hypothesis and assume he is wealthy. Do I know his age? Occupation? Anything special? Not really, other than that he was a poor husband. I think he worked on Wall Street, and was an older gentleman. I didn’t feel anything for him, creative ambition, and the other creative ambition she later added. I didn’t feel much for her, either.

She is a well-traveled woman, used to fancy things, and more than slightly obnoxious in her writing. She seemed selfish, especially when she cheated. I wanted to like her, to feel something, anything, for her. I just didn’t. There was nothing but a slight distaste for her. Maybe she got better, I just didn’t have the patience or desire to learn more about her or her diabetes (I never got to that part).

I guess a good title does not mean the quality and quantity of the writing is on equal footing, or better. I am not one to not finish books, but I couldn’t continue. I needed to wake that sleeping beauty freak up.

What Can Happen in Six Months when you black out: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards Book Review

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Six Months Later

By: Natalie D. Richards

Released October, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire

Length: 326 Pages

Genre: YA Thriller

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired by Netgalley

Chloe was not the perfect or ideal anything. She was close to being a delinquent, had sub par grades, and a sub par social life until she woke up six months later from a routine nap to find out she wasn’t the person anymore. But, can’t remember how. 

A lot can happen in six months. Even more can happen when you wake up from a nap to discover you can’t remember the past six months of your life; and, you weren’t in a coma, hospitalized, or Rip Van Winkle. High School Senior Chloe can’t remember the past six months. The much better grades, the boyfriend she only dreamed about, new friends and social life, and her best friend not talking to her. She can’t remember the study group she participated in that changed everything. Or, why she is the only person a fellow student thinks has the answers. Her doctors say she is normal; all tests coming back clear. Her mother doesn’t understand Chloe’s new awareness of not being aware. Chloe is a mess. What starts to develop is even more so.

I have never really read a young adult thriller, or mystery novel. I didn’t realize this one would be it. I am happy to report, I am so happy I was allowed to review this book. There was a new twist, turn, and plot device thrown at me on every page. The end is not what I expected. Nor, the middle truthfully. I was shocked by everything that happened. I loved it! I loved guessing after each page and being wrong. Chloe was a great character. I wanted to be her crime solving sidekick as she slowly pieced her life back together. Back together isn’t entirely true. Her life would never be the same. That was one of the best parts, her character growth. She never just let what happen to her take its toll on her. She fought back. Proved to her mother that something was wrong.

This novel was extremely well-written. Something character growth can be hard, especially in a mystery/thriller setting. But, the way Chloe matured, both internally and with her interpersonal relationships, was really well-written. I didn’t feel confused with each turn and twist. There was nothing expected about this novel at all. I didn’t see certain turns of events coming. It is nice to read a book like this where I am just as surprised as the fictional character. My heart was beating with her.

Six Months Later is a real page turner. Even reading it on my Nook, I kept wanting the next page to come. I couldn’t swipe fast enough. In about two sittings, I finished this book sad it was finished. I couldn’t decide what to read next because this book was just too great to be compared to anything else. If you like suspense, a mini whodunit, or want to discover someone new, this book is for you. It makes you think. And, participate really. I am not a fan of thrillers, I passed on Gone Girl. But, with this book, I’m glad I didn’t. I will definitely keep an eye out for this author. I just enjoyed this book so much. If you read it, there will be no regrets.

Love is Neverending for the Believers: Endless by Amanda Gray Book Review

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Endless

By: Amanda Gray

Released September, 2013 from Month9Books, LLC

Length: 384 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal with a mix of Historical Fiction (Romanov Era)

Rating: Four Stars

Jenny Kramer was accustomed to seeing visions from just a simple touch, but when the visions start to involve Maria Romanov and becomes intertwined with her real life, Jenny has to find out what the connection between Maria and her is. And, why a boy from her visions seems very much alive next door to her. She’s can’t seem to stop herself from being drawn from him, either. Is it love? Is it Real?

For a majority of her life, it is just been Jenny Kramer and her architect dad since her mother died when she was young. Although she is close with her dad, the details surrounding her mom are vague. Jenny can’t remember anything about her. All she knew was her mother would disappear for periods of time without saying why.  Jenny never pushed her dad for details, but when a figure from her dreams not only sneaks into the paintings Jenny made for an exhibit, but appears in the abandoned manor next door, Jenny starts to question who her mother really was. Why did she have a ring that resembles that of a secret organization in her town that helps people out of time. And, what is out of time? There are so many questions Jenny needs to find the answers for. The first, why the man resembles a boy, Nikolai from the Romanov Era? And, why he calls her Maria, the girl she is in her dream? Is she related to a Romanov?

 There were so many layers to this novel that I can’t do them justice. So much intrigue. I loved the historical aspect. It brought anew twist to the paranormal/fantasy aspect in the novel. I enjoyed that the chosen period wasn’t that of the Tudors, or the like, but of the Russian Romanovs that have such a sad history. It made the book seem less cliche; Romanovs aren’t usually on the top of peoples radar. Gray was able to weave together the tragic end of the Romanovs, focusing on Maria Romanov, into a timeless love story. Jenny/Maria was a strong character. The love story between her and the mysterious Nikolai was great. It wasn’t a love that was forced down the reader’s throat because it is supposed to be true love. It was natural; believable in the intensity for once. The way Nikolai finds Jenny/Maria was awe-inducing. I didn’t cry over their love, but of all the true love YA books out there, this has to be one of the most original; and sweet, heart-warming, and not creepy in a It is Young Adult, but didn’t always feel like that which was refreshing. You didn’t think about how old the characters were. There was no High School moment. They were never in classrooms that would remind you you were reading a YA book. It all felt contemporary; and, the age irrelevant.  I am never a huge fan of reading soulmate books, but this one was one I would read again. It all felt more authentic than others.

The dialogue in this novel wasn’t the writers’ strong point, but it was enjoyable enough that I didn’t want to skip many pages. I loved the plot the best; the way it unfolded it a gradual pace that allowed me to hang on to my seat for a little while. I was definitely surprised, or shocked, at certain plot twists that I enjoyed. All the plot twists, or layers, were great. I really found this novel to be unique and original. Since Amanda Grace is a duo, I thought maybe I would read parts that belonged to one author and not the other, like some collaborations read. Not here. The novel was completely fluid, with no real style changes. The book may seem to be a little long at a little under 400 pages, but reading it feels like it is much shorter. I just kept turning the page as each twist appeared, an aw love moment would happen, and a funny line would appear. I loved this novel.

I highly recommend this book. Just read it. You will want more. There is a slight cliff hanger, but I couldn’t find out if it is part of a series. Makes me love it even more that it was so good I want a second one. I’m not even a real fan of series. It was that enjoyable for me. I want to find out more!

Falling Hard for Falling Hard: Falling Hard (Roller Girls #1) by Megan Sparks book review

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Falling Hard (Roller Girls #1)

By Megan Sparks

Released July, 2013 by Capstone Young Readers

Length: 255 Pages

Genre: YA fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Annie has a choice to make: become a  fearless roller girl, or join become a British All-American cheerleader with the head cheerleader already marking you on her list.

After growing up in London, Annie relocates to the Midwest to live with her American father after her parents separated; leaving her life behind and starting high school as both a freshman and a foreigner. Wanting to please her dad, she tries out for the cheer-leading team, even though the captain, Miss Popular Kelsey, has it out for her.  But there is another sport that catches her eye, roller derby. After watching one game, with her new best friend, Annie is hooked. But, what about cheer-leading? And, the hot soccer player Tyler, perfect All-American boy. Can Annie juggle everything?

I read this book in a day. I couldn’t put it down. I laughed, a lot. It isn’t a book that is going to be a classic, or make it on any prestigious lists; I think that’s why I enjoyed it. It is such a light-hearted gem not to be missed. I liked Annie a lot, but it was her best friend I enjoyed maybe a little bit more. She just had such a great sense of humor. Called cheer-leading, cheer-weeding. She was one of those characters that was someone I would like to have in my corner. I could pass on oogling over Tyler, but there was also Jesse, who works at the roller rink and could have potential with Annie if she gets over the All-American Soccer boy crush. I don’t think dating an athlete is all that in regards to having a social life, but Annie thinks so. It was kind of annoying. But, really one of the only flaws in the book.

The writing was nothing fancy; which worked. The story wasn’t convoluted; it was very suitable for the age group the book is geared towards. Although I am no longer in that intended age group, I liked how I didn’t have to think while reading it. The flow was good. The dialogue was decent. It all meshed well. There is definitely a positive message in this book. Annie is a good role model; she is strong, speaks up for herself, a good friend, and makes good decisions (on what, you’ll have to guess. Is it roller derby or cheer-weeding?)  I am looking forward to reading the second book. It was just too fun to not want to continue the series. I am a little biased though, because I do like the roller derby. I loved the movie adaptation of Whip It starring Ellen Page (I haven’t read the book yet) that is very similar to this novel. Both girls are discovering themselves and how they fit in where they are living. Many girls in high school can relate to this book. The roller derby choice isn’t brought in for the violence factor. It is tied in a great, encouraging way.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for some light reading material. It is a great, one to two sitting read. You aren’t dedicating too much of your time. It isn’t a heavy commitment. And funny. Endearing. Leaves you with a smile. Give this little gem a try. You won’t regret it.

When witches are in Tudor England: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1) by Victoria Lamb

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Witchstruck

By Victoria Lamb

Released September, 2013 by Harlequin Teen

Length: 320 pages

Genre: YA Historical, paranormal-witches

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: by netgalley

 

A witch, Lady Elizabeth, a Spanish Priest in Training, and a Witch hunter  in Tudor England, what could go wrong?

Meg Lytton is a witch in training, serving exiled Princess Elizabeth accused of treason, living in the dilapidated castle at Woodstock. Meg wasn’t very smart covering up that she was a witch. Lady Elizabeth knows, asking her often to use her powers to predict her status and so forth. Then, there is the Spanish Catholic Priest Alejandro de Castillo who catches her but soon changes her. Then, there is the Witch Hunter, Marcus Dent,  who still wants her.

Oh, Meg, she is trouble. She can’t control her magical powers, often getting cocky with her abilities. But Lady Elizabeth’s persistence doesn’t help, either. Lady Elizabeth is portrayed as somewhat needy, immature, yet willful and strong. A tad bit whiny, too to be honest. And, Meg, fiesty, fiesty Meg. The audacity she had. Yet, she was strong. Strong, independent, and extremely willful. She claimed to always be careful while practicing, but I didn’t see much of it. She was by no means weak, but a little insolent and definitely naive. She wasn’t very lovable to me, or really likable, but definitely had character. To be honest, I was unimpressed with how any of the characters were portrayed, but I loved the Priest. I liked his personality, interaction with Meg, and how noble he behaves. He is perhaps the main reason why I gave this book three stars.

I did enjoy the this book. I found the subject intriguing with the mix of the Tudors, their history I have always enjoyed reading about, and the presence of witchcraft. As well as Meg Lytton’s family members and Lady Elizabeth’s other supporters trying to dethrone Queen Mary. At the time of the book, Queen Mary is pregnant, or having a false pregnancy. The plot was strong, just Meg and Lady Elizabeth’s characters weren’t developed as well.

Although I didn’t love this book, or believe it should be rated higher than I gave it, I would recommend this book to fans of YA books. There is something about it that makes it worth reading.

Edgar Allan Poe was a romantic: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen Book Review

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Mrs. Poe

By Lynn Cullen

To be released October 1st, 2013 by Gallery Books (imprint of Simon and Schuester)

336 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Acquired by Netgalley

Rating: Four and a half stars

A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge . . . 

Where Winter in New York City is desolate, freezing, and unwelcoming becomes center stage for this thrilling historical fiction novel about struggling poet Frances Osgood and Edgar Allan Poe. From the winter of 1845, when they first met, Cullen masterfully describes their relationship until Winter 1847.

It’s 1845, Mr. Poe’s The Raven has just been published to wide acclaim. Struggling poet Frances Osgood gets yet another rejection, and told by her publisher to write like Mr. Poe- terrifying stories for women. Frances Osgood wasn’t a fan. Dejected, she found nothing special about The Raven and, more so, the author himself. Yet, after a chance meeting at a literary conversazione, a spark is ignited. Frances Osgood wasn’t supposed to fall in love with Mr. Poe. She was married to a philandering husband where he was, unbeknownst to her,  living the life of a half way struggling artist with a divorcee in Cincinnati, Ohio. Poe, himself was married to his first cousin half his age. In the span of two years, the reader experiences the relationship alongside the ill-fated matched. Both married, their love could never be. It was one spouse in particular that is in the way, Mrs. Virginia Poe. Mrs. Poe takes a liking to Mrs. Osgood that leads to a more complicated relationship than either three were prepared for. Add in a somewhat crazy mom in law, and a simple romance takes a terrifying turn. And, that turn, you’ll only find out if you read this electrifying novel.

I never pictured Poe as a romantic. His stories are the poster children of macabre literature, and in general. There is darkness, death, pain. Yet, here he is, a romantic. Cullen includes poems the lovers sent to each other through his journal Tribune. I expected Osgood to be a romantic poet, considering her main subjects were always flowers that represent femininity, but Mr. sullen, dark Poe, never. The poems are beautiful. The love real.

Lynn Cullen does an excellent on depicting this love story, especially with Edgar Allan Poe. Mrs. Poe was a good character, but in the end there is one character who takes the cake. I was excited by this story after finishing two books I didn’t like very much. I loved this novel. It was fascinating, hearing Frances voice and the enfolding of her affair. I did not expect the thrill of an end; thus making me very satisfied.

The story reads like a story on its own, but then you remember it is heavily based on extensive research, making all that much satisfying and enjoyable. As much as I admired Poe’s work, I feel like we are on intimate terms. As Mrs. Poe calls him, Eddie. And, Frances Osgood is a great female “character” and person that I would have liked to meet. Through the whole novel she was strong, resilient, and a force to be reckoned with. How much really would one not do for real love?  I would highly recommend this book, even if you aren’t familiar with either or both writers. I also feel this novel is just for people fans of historical fiction; nor just for people wanting to read a love story. There are so many dimensions to this novel that I think many people would find enjoyable.

 

 

 

Where the Internet knows your name: 4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

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4 to 16 Characters

By Kelly Hourihan

To be published in November, 2013 by Lemon Sherbet Press

Acquired by netgalley

Genre: YA Realistic fiction

Rating: Two and a half stars

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all.

  Jane Shilling is not happy with her real world life. During the day, she is plain Jane Shilling, attending Spectrum, a high school for the disabled and mentally challenged; she has no friends, easily mocked, and challenged by teachers and therapists as she remains withdrawn and angry. At night, ignoring her grieving, alcoholic father she is Rachel, a popular college student who writes some of the best fanfiction for a show. She is also a grad student writing about Edna St. Vincent Millay, an emo goth guy whose posts are often dark, depressing, and slightly suicidal. In total, on and off she has lost count of her fake identities.  With online diary entries, IM conversations (including ones between her therapist), e-mails, fanfiction, and fictional postings comprise this novel.

I can’t quite get my head around this book. I am torn with whether or not I liked this book. There were some good parts in the novel. I rather enjoyed the end. One of the few things I did like. I had trouble with reading the narrative. Jane’s voice was very authentic. So authentic that I felt it was , at times, too juvenile. In retrospect, that is a good thing. It’s not an easy thing to write in a child’s voice when you are grown, and separated from that voice. I commend Hourihan for that; and will always be impressed. However, I felt lost within Jane’s voice. Maybe more distant. I just wanted to get to the next page or chapter because she was irritating me at the page I was at. I skipped through a lot of her fan fiction diary entries. Some parts of her diary entries I glanced through, noncommittally.

I didn’t truly know why she was at Spectrum; really why any of the characters mentioned were there. I could feel Jane’s emotions, and her lack of empathy towards school. I just felt her behavior towards school was exaggerated. She hates her high school, a lot of adolescents do. It is curious how smart she is, under driven, and then uses the type of school she goes to to allow her behavior. Her math teacher is the only teacher you read about in the novel that truly tries to help her. Granted, in not a very productive way. But, Jane hates that this teacher does. Claims that the teacher is too tough for Spectrum standards since school is supposed to be like a joke for the kids that go there. Easy, helpful, not any way tough. She uses the one institution she is not fond of to protect her, and almost reward her for not trying. It made me dislike Jane more.And, when she does get a friend, Gary, she is just as awful, at first at least. I dislike her, then she becomes this reformed character I can’t help but root for; in a subdued manner of course.

Gary’s character felt underdeveloped to me. He felt flat, slightly one dimensional. I know his immensely poor spelling should be excused, but I couldn’t help but focus on it because you never find out what his disability is to allow the bad spelling. Should that not be something I was so bothered by, yes absolutely. But, I was. He wasn’t the only character who I didn’t see develop.

I also didn’t truly connect with the fan fiction, taking me away from the novel. It fit, but didn’t at the same time. Nor did the spread out diary posts and emails from two of her fictitious personalities. If there were not those thrown in, maybe I would have liked it more.

I don’t regret reading it, though. Again, I did enjoy, even love a little, the end even if it took some time to get there. I would recommend this book if you like The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time. Also, if you enjoy child narratives. It isn’t for everyone.

Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch Book Review

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Sideshow of Merit

By Nicole Pietsch

Published September 16th, 2013 by namelos

Genre: New Adult

Acquired by netgalley

One Star

SIDESHOW OF MERIT is a story of abuse and recovery, of friendship and trust, of survival, of repeated failure and ultimate success, set against a backdrop of human frailty, selfishness, greed, and vulnerability. Tevan and James’s journey of is a coming-of-age story like no other.

The two main characters, “pretty” Tevan George and James Rowley have been on the run for nine years after skipping out on the sanatorium Mount Rosa in Canada in 1961 for TB testing. Tuberculosis survivors, Tevan and James are emotional wrecks. What happened in Mount Rosa? What’s happening now? This story was confusing to me, often the author tries to use the technique of going back to the past to show what happened, but not in a coherent way. It wasn’t spaced out, like chapter breaks, to really see the time it happened. Pietsch, to me, was not exactly successful in my opinion. I think pietsch held herself back from really exploring sexual abuse, and homosexuality. She censored herself while describing both subjects which made me more uncomfortable than if it was stated upfront. Two boys in the ward were called Betty and Veronica and it took me a long time to realize they were boys, and brothers. The nicknames were just thrown in.

Her writing wasn’t necessarily messy, but it wasn’t fluid either. I didn’t know where I was sometimes in the story. Some of the things she wanted to allude to, I think I missed it. At first, I wasn’t sure if the characters were supposed to be gay. Is James? I say this because, what later turns into a creepy paying gig at the sideshow, James strangles Tevan in a basically homoerotic way. It is presented in two ways: a cloaked sexual way and a disturbing act of, I don’t know, love? One of the first parts when I read about what James does to Tevan, James tries to reassure Tevan by saying “you know, I’ll never hurt you.” I had to stop. Is this a sex act he’s doing? Why do I feel cloudy and uncomfortable?

I have read gay fiction before. But, the way this was done made me think the author was just as uncomfortable writing this as I was reading it. Honestly, I did not finish the book. I tried, and tried. I never knew where it was headed. When sex acts happen, they are so veiled I had to reread it to see if it was happening. I wish she didn’t censor herself. Maybe I would have finished the book. I was just getting too annoyed over what was being hidden. I felt immense uneasy. Maybe because the way it was presented was as a no, no way. That what is happening isn’t natural, it’s bad, disgusting. There is sexual abuse in this story, I gather at least. Because, again, it’s not really told straight forward. I know problems with telling rather than showing. But, Pietsch writes it in a sketchy way. Just didn’t sit well at all with me. Maybe I don’t understand the time period it takes place in. What politically and socially was going on. I just don’t know.

Fallen Angels, Nephilim, and Rephaim, What Could go Wrong: Shadows (The Rephaim #1) by Paula Weston

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Shadows (The Rephaim #1)

By: Paula Weston

Published September 10, 2013 by Tundra Books

Acquired by netgalley

Genre: YA Fantasy

391 Pages

Three and a half stars

Love. Nightmares. Angels. War.

Gaby Winters used to be a twin until her brother died tragically in a car accident a year before, leaving Gaby as the only survivor. Badly wounded, Gaby found herself living in a quiet beach town. She held a steady job at a library. Lived with her best friend Maggie. 

Healed physically, she has started to have gruesome dreams killing demons that scare her nightly. Once again, so she thought it was just a dream. Enter the man in Gaby’s dreams strolling into her quiet beach town, sitting the bar she frequents. Was he looking at her? He was. But, why? Because sometimes dreams aren’t just dreams.

What Matt, as she called him in the story she wrote and published based on her dreams, or Rafa, his correct name, tells her is mind shattering.

She is not human. She is not an angel. She is a Rephaim, half human with a father who was part of The Fallen race; fallen angels who fell from grace because of their love of human women. She is a Rephaim who, as Rafa and clan figure out, has lost all of her memories. The memories of her brother, were they real? Is she really not 19? Did the accident truly happen the way she said it did? Gaby starts to question everything as she fights to gain her senses and protect herself.

Weston’s novel kept me on my toes. The action was smooth, the realizations and action not rushed, and the character development was strong. Although some of the minor characters, who are supposed to have a lasting affect on Gaby, are lightly stunted in their development, I enjoyed the hints of her past; the relationship with her brother, the outsiders who are the ones that left the sanctuary, and certain people from the sanctuary. 

What happens in the sanctuary was surprising, and made me slightly uneasy. Perhaps a good uneasy. Since the word and species Nephilim was mentioned, I couldn’t help but think of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. THe premise was entirely the same, but there are strong similarities. First, in The Mortal Instruments Clarey Frey did not know what she was. Gaby Winter just can’t remember who she is. They both have to learn to adapt and make up for lost time. Jace (from the Mortal Instruments) seemed like a younger Rafa. Both suave, at first mistrustful of the heroine, and battle hungry.

I did like Shadows  better. AS I just recently read Clare’s first book in her The Mortal Instruments series, the ideas were still fresh in my head. What Clary failed to do–what a strong heroine that wasn’t so annoying, create a world where humans were not looked down upon in a, quite frankly, condescending way that made me hate the Nephilims was what Weston succeeded. Maybe I am bias, but I liked that no one was stereotyped, looked down upon. There was a connection with both worlds; thus making the ideas more real for more.

Thankfully, Weston was aware of Clare’s use of the “mundanes” and included two digs at the Nephilim race (and to Clare, I think).

Overall, this was a great, quick read. It left me with a little feeling of “what just happened?” Not sure if that is good or not. Nor, am I sure I will continue the series. I just might.

 

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