Book Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

10429015Title: Cold Kiss
Author: Amy Garvey
Series: Cold Kiss #1
ISBN: 9780061996221
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date:  September 2011
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance
Pages: 304
Rating:  2/5

From Goodreads:   It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants–what she must do–is to bring Danny back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her–and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought–even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

My Reveries and Ramblings: This book was okay. I was able to read it fairly quickly in one sitting. There was very little detail. It was pretty much plot driven. The characters were a bit flat to me. I wanted to know more about Wren’s power and why her mom wouldn’t talk about it, or why her dad left. I also wanted to know more about Gabriel. But instead most of the book was entirely devoted to how badly she messed up by bringing Danny back to life and how she loves and loved him so much. I just wish Ms. Garvey spent more time on fleshing out the characters. The plot is there, the characters, not so much.
Having said that though, I do think the story was good, albeit predictable. It felt more like a novella or short story. There just wasn’t enough…of everything. But i did enjoy it. I’m not the biggest fan of zombie books and there were quite a few moments where Danny creeped me out. But I loved the message in the book. The messages were of love, loss and grief. Wren has to come to terms with losing her first love prematurely. Most people have lost someone in their lives. So I can assume everyone can relate and sympathize with Wren’s battle: her desire to keep the one she loves and her need to let him go.
Overall, I thought the book was okay. I will probably read the sequel at some point. I really hope the author expands on the world and answers some questions left from the end of the last book.

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Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss, #1)

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Book Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

10118172Title: Spellbound
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Series: Spellbound #1
ISBN: 9780373210305
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: June 2011
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Romance/ Paranormal Romance
Pages: 324
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?  Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Oh. My. Goodness. This book seriously surprised me. Going into it, all I knew was that it was a YA paranormal romance. Boy, was I amazed to discover there was so much more. For starters, Cara Lynn Schultz successfully wrote from a teenager’s perspective. I never once cringed at the language used. (Don’t you hate it when a YA author starts throwing around the word “Yo”). Actually, I really enjoyed Emma’s voice. She was nice, funny, and completely relatable. She has insecurities, like every teenager. She worries about her hair, if she will fit in, and what Brendan thinks of her. Also, Emma is not a push over. Especially when it comes to the kids at school who constantly gossip about her. Cue the jerk: Anthony. He just makes Emma’s life a living hell at school (and outside it). At first its just a matter of ego, but it soon turns into something much more dangerous. As the story progresses, Anthony’s darker side surfaces. He is seriously insane. By the end, I was scared of him.

The second thing that literally brought this book up a full kiss was the fact that it a) has a tragic love story for a base; b) involves soul mates; and c) involves past lives/reincarnation. As you know, I love books that contain even just one of those. But this one contained all three! The tragic love story: Emma and Brendan are cursed to fall in love over and over again only to be torn apart by an untimely death. Something is different this time around. They might have a shot at breaking the curse. If they don’t hurry, it could all end, once again.
Poor Emma. In every life she is born poor. This one was especially brutal for her. After her mom and brother die, she lives with her step-father who would rather drink and abuse her then man-up and be a father for her. After getting into a DWI accident with Emma in the car (she gets injured), Emma escapes to her aunt’s home in NYC. Going to the exclusive Vince Academy has Emma feeling even more of an outsider with all the rich students (think Gossip Girl).
Yes, it does have a HEA. But, you know, it was still a lot of fun to read. The ending was suspenseful. The romance was lovely. And Brendan was just soooo cute. You can’t see me, but I’m crossing my fingers hoping there will be a sequel.

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Spellbound (Spellbound, #1)

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Book Review: Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell

Title: Blood of the Maple
Author: Dana Marie Bell
Series: Maggie’s Grove #1
ISBN: B004RQD3XO
Publisher: Carina Press
Pub. Date: April 2011
Source: Net Galley
Genre: Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/Supernatural/Fantasy/Romance
Words: 78,000
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads: A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie’s Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn’t experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn’t long before craving gives in to need.
In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She’s scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She’s convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she’s not one of the O-positive set, and can’t believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.
When the witch who’s been plaguing Parker’s life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie’s Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

My Reveries and Ramblings: I had such a hard time rating this book.  There were so many things I really liked about this book, but at the same time there were plenty of things that I didn’t like.  Blood of the Maple is about a playboy vampire, Parker, who moves to Maggie’s Grove with his best friend and ghost, Greg.  Maggie’s Grove is one of the only, if not the only, towns in the US that is completely supernatural.  Shortly after arriving, Parker meets Amara, a powerful dryad who lives next door.  They fall in love, but their relationship, and the town,  is threatened by Parker’s ex, an obsessive crazy witch who has been following Parker for years.
Amara is a really powerful dryad who was raised by a kind woman.  For reasons unknown to Amara, but revealed later in the book, the townspeople avoid her.  When they are not ignoring her, they are outwardly horrible to her.  Even though most of Maggie’s Grove hates her, she has a few friends, but she is still very lonely.  Amara spends most of her time in her garden and conversing with her tree.
After escaping from his ex, who was trying to make it so he could only drink from her blood, so they will be together forever, Parker is stuck drinking plant-like blood.  Before Amara, Greg would make a smoothie with a few drops of his blood mixed with certain plants.  After Greg dies and becomes a ghost, they move to Maggie’s Grove, where Parker falls in love with Amara and the final showdown with his ex takes place.
Maggie’s Grove is such a quant town.  It’s like a supernatural version of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.  Everyone knows everyone.  The beings that inhabit Maggie’s Grove are shapeshifters, vampires, psychics, witches, dryads, etc.  When Parker’s ex threatens the town to get to Parker, everyone comes together to fight her.
I loved the fresh take on the supernatural.  The problems I had with this book had to do with all the random sex scenes.  Some were appropriately placed but I felt that others were just unneeded.  Yes, I know this is a paranormal romance-stressing the romance, but still. Having said that, I still liked this book and will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out.

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Blood of the Maple (Maggie's Grove, #1)

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Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
ISBN: 978-1423121305
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Pub. Date: March 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal/Magic
Pages:  336
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European 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 decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

My Reveries and Ramblings:   First of all, let me start off by saying that this book was so much better than I expected. To prove my point, when I was about ¾ through the book I fell asleep (it was 3 AM) and I dreamt about Hex Hall. My dream was exactly like the book except for the location of Hecate Hall. Instead of being in the US, the school was located in Brazil. And of course I was Sophie.
Sophie, the daughter of the head of the Council, is sent to Hecate Hall, also known as Hex Hall, for using magic irresponsibly. She hates it. She doesn’t fit in and everyone seems to know more about her than she does. It probably has to do with the fact that she has never actually met her father. The teachers, in an effort to avoid showing favoritism, treat Sophie more harshly then the other students. This means getting thrown into detention three days a week for the whole semester. But its not that bad-she has the super hot Archer to keep her company. When the girls of the coven, the super popular and powerful clique of girls, start getting attacked, everyone starts blaming Jenna, Sophie’s vampire roommate. Throughout the book, Sophie is trying to prove Jenna’s innocence as well as trying to discover who she, herself, is.
Hex Hall was very entertaining. It was suspenseful, funny, and enjoyable. Sophie is very go with the flow. Her voice was fun to read. Her opinions were very real. She wasn’t trying to be the teenaged adult. She was a teenager and acted accordingly. Sophie followed her instincts when it came to dangerous situations and didn’t sit there and overestimate her abilities. Ah, Archer. I’m not sure how I feel about him. Those of you who read the book know what I mean. I think he’s hot. His attitude made him even more attractive. There’s just something about him. I never got that “I want him” feeling that I find necessary in the male love interest. Now Cal, I’d much rather he be the love interest in this book. I don’t know why but I really liked Cal. I mean I really liked Cal. He’s got healing hands 😉 Plus, he’s what, 20? 21? His character is obscure which is a bit disappointing. Hopefully he has a larger role in the upcoming books.
As I read Hex Hall, I visualized it like a Disney movie. A PG-13 Disney movie. I’m not sure why, but that’s how I saw it unfolding in my head. Don’t get me wrong-it was a great book. Rachel Hawkins did an exceptional job. The writing was easy to read. There was never a moment where I was confused or rereading to see if I missed something.

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Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

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*Also, Mean by Taylor Swift