Category Archives: 4 Stars

REVIEW {46} Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

NOWHERE BUT HERE
AUTHOR: Katie McGarry
SERIES: Thunder Road [Book #1]
PUBLICATION INFO: Harlequin Teen | RELEASE DATE: May 26th 2015
CATEGORY: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Motorcycle Clubs, First Love, Four Star Rating
ACQUISITION: Own | EDITION: Hardcover; First Edition, 496 pages
RATING: 4 STARS | GOODREADS RATING: 4.06/5.00
ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

MY THOUGHTS: This one has been compared to the TV Show Sons of Anarchy, but having never seen the show, I cannot offer my opinion on that.
What I can do however; is tell you that if you loved McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series as much as I did (Which is a whole freaking lot!) then you will love this first entry in the Thunder Road series. It has all the bad boy yumminess, flawed characters, and a whole lot of anxiety-inducing action to keep  with Julie Kagawa (double-freaking-awesomeness!) and while I knew I’d read Nowhere But Here, it wasn’t until after I heard Katie speak that I got super pumped for this book, and decided that I was going to buy it instead of waiting for a copy from the library. These books are ones that I can see myself rereading in the future.
What I love about Katie’s books is that she isn’t afraid to take her characters anywhere she wants them to go – whether that puts them in danger or a dangerous downward spiral – she will have you laughing, crying, and screaming page after page at characters so real that they feel like they’re your friends in real life.
For me, I had a little trouble getting into Emily’s character at the start of NBH. She was so innocent and naive, so trusting and believing in her parents that she was completely ignorant to an entire other part of her life… that included her bio-dad. I came to care for Emily as the chapters flew by, and by the end of the book I was definitely happy to see the person she became over the course of the book.
The whole premise of the book, being based around a motorcycle club, was a refreshingly new idea that I fully embraced and was very curious about. While seeing Katie speak, she explained how she had actually spent time with a real motorcycle club – to remove the stigma that is associated with them. Not all clubs are bad, illegal, or gangs – and that is what she proved with this book.
I was not expecting the big secret of the book to end up being what it was. It was an awesome curve ball that she threw, and I think it was awesome the way the whole story was centered around this big secret, and the whole time I was thinking how this secret is being so over-hyped and it probably won’t even be that big of  a secret, but yes, it is quite a doozy – and the consequences are dire.
Overall, I fell in love with a little town called Snowflake, Kentucky and the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club, and all of the characters that I got to meet and spend time with. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary stories, romance done well, and some seriously sexy bad boys you can’t help but fall for too.

NEXT BOOK IN THE SERIES:  Walk the Edge | Expected Publication Date: March 2016

OTHER BOOKS BY KATIE MCGARRY: Pushing the Limits | Dare You To | Crash Into You | Take Me On | Crossing the Line | Breaking the Rules | Chasing Impossible

SIMILAR READS: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid | Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally | The Lies About the Truth by Courtney C. Stevens | Another Little Piece of my Heart  by Tracey Martin | What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Happy Reading!
Laura

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Review {36} HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins

HEX HALL

SERIES: Hex Hall | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Hex Hall #1 Demonglass #2 Spell Bound #3

AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins

PUBLICATION INFORMATION: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Books

EDITION: Paperback, 323 pages

ACQUISITION: Own

CATEGORIES: Hex Hall Series, Young Adult, Review, 4 Stars, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Vampires, Witches, Faeries, Shapeshifters, Supernatural, Demons, Rachel Hawkins, 2014 Read

RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.99/5.00


WHAT THE COVER SAYS: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she is a witch. Her non-gifted mother has been supportive, consulting Sophie’s estranged father – a warlock – only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who exiles her to “Hex Hall”, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fairies, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day, Sophie has three new enemies, a futile crush on a warlock, a tag-along ghost, and a vampire roommate. Worse, Sophie soon learns that an unknown predator has been attacking students. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries converges, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: An ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this book more than I expected to! I first picked this book up from the library when it first released, and had trouble getting into it, and ultimately didn’t finish it. But then the reviews started pouring in, and some of my favorite fellow bloggers really enjoyed it and were saying great things about it. So, I bought it when it released in paperback. 

Sophie was a likable character because it was easy to sympathize with her when she starts learning all of the secrets that have been kept from her all of her life – important secrets that probably could’ve really been useful to know! When she attempts to help a girl at the prom get her dream date, the spell goes horribly wrong – landing Sophie at Hecate ‘Hex’ Hall as punishment. 

There weren’t many elements of the story that I didn’t like. I really enjoy that there are many different paranormal creatures – Prodigium – at Hex Hall, but I feel like there were too many to really get to know any one group more than just on a superficial level. I am really hoping that in the next two books we get to know more about the workings of the faeries, shifters and witches. We get a main story on how they were “Created” from angels/fallen angels, but I did want more background.

The pacing of the story moved quickly, and there was always some type of action or event occurring on each page. I liked the dynamics of all of the characters, each was different and individual and held their own. I really enjoyed Jenna’s character, and how she and Sophie work together as roommates-turned-friends. 

I didn’t like how secretive everyone was; however. It wasn’t just Sophie’s parents (including her Warlock father whom she’s never met) but Ms. Casnoff, the head of Hex Hall as well. Nobody wanted to tell Sophie who she truly is, her family lineage, or the dangers that face her now and in the future. I feel like keeping everything a secret was even more detrimental, than had everyone been open with her. I cannot imagine the feeling of finding out these secrets about yourself and your family from other students, especially when you’re already new and feel out of place.

The aspect of the book that I really liked, was the ghost of Sophie’s great-grandmother, Alice, who takes it upon herself to teach Sophie how to protect herself. But things aren’t always as they seem, and when things start to get a little weird, Sophie starts to piece everything together and we are left with a pretty crazy cliffhanger. I do like that Hawkins isn’t afraid to kill off characters and not give them happy endings, but I’m curious to see how the series proceeds now without a few key players.

SIMILAR READS: AWAKE AT DAWN (Shadow Falls #2) by C.C. Hunter | THE GHOST AND THE GOTH (The Ghost and the Goth #1) by Stacey Kade | Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White | SHADE (Shade #1) by Jeri Smith-Ready | ONCE A WITCH (Once a Witch #1) by Carolyn MacCullough | FIRESPELL (Dark Elite #1) by Chloe Neill

Happy Reading!
Laura

REVIEW {30} RETRO REVIEW {4} Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

VAMPIRE ACADEMY
SERIES: Vampire Academy #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Frostbite #2; Shadow Kiss #3; Blood Promise #4; Spirit Bound #5; and Last Sacrifice #6; SPIN-OFF SERIES: Bloodlines | BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Bloodlines #1; The Golden Lily #2; The Indigo Spell #3; The Fiery Heart #4
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
EDITION: Paperback, 332 pages
ACQUISITION: Own
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Magic, Review, Razorbill, 4 Stars, Vampire Academy Series, Richelle Mead
RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.20/5.00

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

MY THOUGHTS: I went into this not really thinking I’d like it; but when I finished, I realized that I actually really enjoyed it! Like any first book, the beginning is a bit slower as it fills you in on everything that is going on, and explaining all of the characters, and story lines, etc.  I was even kind of annoyed with both Rose & Lissa when they first got back to the Academy. I had trouble connecting with Rose because I was reading her one way, and then we start to learn about how she used to be when they were previously at the Academy, so it was conflicting for me. But once I was into the bulk of the book I started seeing how kick-ass Rose Hathaway is! And Dimitri – YUM! The tension between Rose and Dimitiri is wonderful! And Christian, oh, Christian! Love the bad boys!!

What I liked as well is that there was ALWAYS something going on. There were very few, if any dull, slow moments. It was a very nicely paced story, in my opinion. I love the development of both Rose and Lissa’s characters throughout the story; and the ending was pretty much perfect to lead us into the second book. The world that Mead has created is wonderful, and one you can easily visualize and spend lots of time in. 

[NOTE: This is actually an old review that I originally posted on my previous blog in 2011. I’ve since read and loved the entire series, and will be posting the reviews for the rest of the series in upcoming weeks.]

SIMILAR READS: Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine | Betrayals by Lili St. Crow | Night World by L.J. Smith | Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide by Michelle Rowen | Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

Happy Reading!

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