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I Belong

Early Review: Velvet by Temple West

March 28th, 2015 @ 12:02 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Paranormal, Review, Temple West, Velvet, Young Adult

VelvetTitle: Velvet

Author: Temple West

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Format: Paperback, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250057086 (MacTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-1250057082 (MacTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


First rule of dealing with hot vampire bodyguards? Don’t fall in love.

After losing both her parents before age seventeen, aspiring designer Caitlin Holte feels like her whole world has been turned upside down, and that was before the terrifying encounter with a supernatural force. Then, she learns that her hot bad-boy neighbor, Adrian—who might have just saved her life—is actually a half-demon vampire.

Suddenly Caitlin is stuck with a vampire bodyguard who feels that the best way to protect her is to become her pretend boyfriend. Trouble is, Caitlin is starting to fall in love for real, while Adrian can never love a human. Caitlin trusts Adrian to keep her safe from his demon father, but will he be able to protect her heart?

Quick & Dirty: Entertaining YA paranormal story with relatable characters, suspenseful plot, and amazing romance. The beginning was a little rough for me but overall this was an amazing read and I would highly recommend it!

Opening Sentence: “By the suits and ties of Tim Gunn, I swear I will hunt you down and eat you for breakfast.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Four days ago Caitlin Holte’s entire world was basically destroyed. Her very loving mother died from a long struggle with cancer and this left Caitlin an orphan since her father died when she was only five years old. She has been sent to live with her aunt and uncle whom she has never met. They live on a ranch in a tiny town called Stony Creek. This isn’t home for Caitlin and no matter how much her aunt tries to comfort her it doesn’t help. All Caitlin has to do is get through the next two years of high school and then she can move to New York City and fulfill her dreams of being a fashion designer! But Caitlin’s life is about to get even more complicated.

After being in Stony Creek for only two days she manages to attract the attention of a demon and a gorgeous half demon-vampire saves her life. It turns out that Caitlin now needs to be protected from the demon and her hot vampire neighbor, Adrian, appoints himself as her bodyguard. To make things simpler they decide that they should pretend to be dating, but soon Caitlin finds herself falling for Adrian for real. It is forbidden for vampires and humans to be together, but Caitlin can’t help that Adrian seems to be the only thing that brightens her otherwise dark days!

At first Caitlin is a very frustrating character. She is in a lot of pain from the loss of her mother and it has turned her into a bitter person. She doesn’t care about anyone or anything and while I could sympathize with her situation, her negative attitude made it hard to form a connection with her. But as the story progresses and she gets out of her slump I started to really like her. She turns out to be a really sweet, witty girl with great ambition. She actually has a really big heart and it has been crushed so many times that she wanted to give up, but in the end she realizes that’s not what her mother would want. While I didn’t love her at the beginning, I do think her reaction to her mother’s death was very authentic and it made her a much more realistic character. In the end, I loved her character and I can’t wait to read more of her story!

Adrian is one of those guys you can’t help but fall madly in love with. He is the quiet brooding type that pretty much stays away from everyone.  Because he is a vampire there are rules he has to follow when it comes to interacting with humans. Basically he isn’t allowed to form any type of attachments to humans and the only way he has been able to do this is by crafting a wall around himself that keeps everyone out. Underneath that wall is a sweet, gorgeous guy that is a total nerd at heart! He is funny, charming, loyal, and so easy to like. His relationship with Caitlin is adorable! It is very hot and cold because of the whole vampires can’t be with humans rule, but I loved every minute of it! Adrian quickly burrowed his way into my heart and I can easily see him becoming one of my favorite book boys!

Velvet is a fun, unique paranormal read with interesting characters, wonderful romance, and great action. The beginning of the story was a little rough for me and it took a while for me to get into the story. But once things picked up, I couldn’t put the book down. I will say that there are some undeniable similarities to Twilight. Like the fact that the main character is new to town and happens to be the only girl to ever attract the attention of the gorgeous aloof boy who is a vampire. But really that’s where the similarities stop. West put her own unique spin on vampires and I found the world she created very fascinating. The romance was written really well, and I enjoyed getting to know all the different characters. The plot was intriguing and besides the rough start this was an extremely entertaining read. I was a little worried when I finished the book because I didn’t know if it was going to be a series and while things were wrapped up pretty well at the end, I was still left with tons of unanswered questions. Luckily this is going to be a series and I am really excited to see what happens in the next book. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for a great YA paranormal story!

Notable Scene:

He searched my eyes for a moment, then leaned down, hovering half a centimeter away, giving me the chance to pull back.

But I didn’t.

So he kissed me.

Even while it was happening, I wondered if I could count this as my first “real” kiss—because in the end, it wasn’t really real. It was soft and slow and perfect and it sucked because I wanted this, but not like this.


FTC Advisory:  Swoon Romance/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Velvet.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

March 28th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: Kimberly Derting, Review, Science Fiction, The Replaced, The Taking Series, Young Adult

The Replaced KDTitleThe Replaced

AuthorKimberly Derting

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: Taking (Book #2)

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 006229363X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062293633 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


The gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy is perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series. Explosive and romantic, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills, The Replaced will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.

Kyra hasn’t been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted . . . all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive, Kyra risks everything to get him back. But he is being held by a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, and going after him puts the rest of the group in danger. Even if Kyra gets Tyler back, the fight to save him—and the rest of the Returned—is just beginning.

Quick & Dirty: Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I did the previous one. I couldn’t connect with the main character and resented the extra love interest who was added in.

Opening SentenceDead.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Spoilers for the first book! In The Taking, Kira realized that aliens abducted her and took five years from her. She’s not the only one who’s been stolen away, but she is the only one who has been gone longer than a couple days. When Tyler was infected by the fatal disease in her blood, she took the last chance she had to save him, and tried to give him to the aliens in the hopes they could heal him. It worked, and he, too, was taken. But it’s been weeks without sign of him and Kira is crazy with worry. Not only that, but she’s beginning to realize what makes her different from the rest of the returned. She has a mysterious power that she finds hard to control and her old nemesis seems resistant to all her attempts to assuage him. To find Tyler, Kira will do whatever it takes. But when she finds him, will he be the same?

I read The Taking last year. I had been intrigued by the original plotline and awesome main character, Kira, and loved the romance with Tyler. When I got the opportunity to review The Replaced, I scooped it up, excited to continue the story. In the first, it was a nice entry into the series, but there was a lot of information left out. Why are the aliens taking humans? What do they plan to do with the returned? I was excited to answer a couple of those questions in the sequel. Although there was a couple questions answered, there were more that developed, and I’m not sure how everything could be answered in a third book. In the end, it was an okay read, but I think I enjoyed The Taking more: I’m not sure what it was, but I didn’t find The Replaced as gripping as The Taking was, or engaging.

Kira is still a badass heroine, but I didn’t care for her as much this book. In book one, I felt connected to her plight. The book moved at a steady pace and her emotions were easy to sink into. This novel, I found that the pace was less stable and more action packed, and that Kira was harder for me to connect with for whatever reason. One thing I did like about her in the story was her powers. She was watching them develop and doing her best to control them but was having difficulties. Through all of that she remained determined to figure them out in order to be safe around her friends and loved ones. I think my lack of connection to Kira was a major reason that this book fell a little flat for me, especially when I expected so much after the killer first novel.

In The Taking, I loved her love interest, Tyler. He was sweet, friendly, and he was a good listener. He would do anything for Kira. Their relationship developed adorably and I totally approved. Unfortunately, in this novel, something of a love triangle springs up which annoyed to me no end. I didn’t even like the guy who was the second option, Simon. It was basically “since Tyler isn’t around I guess you’re a good second choice!” I mean, come on. Tyler never would have given up on Kira were it him in her shoes and he deserved that kind of loyalty from her. At least wait a year or two before moving on, not months. This really messed up how I looked at Kira, and I lost respect for her the instant she began to feel something for him.

For all my complaining, there were things I enjoyed about this book. You finally realize what happened to Kira up there and the difference between her and the other returned. There are a couple other questions answered, and a nifty cliffhanger sets up a next book nicely. There were some good action scenes and a couple big revelations, though they were somewhat predictable. Nevertheless, I felt let down by this novel. The writing felt simpler in a way and the whole book was more rushed. I get that the story has to speed up book two, but I wish that I could have followed along better. One thing that I will say is that the cover to The Replaced is as gorgeous as The Takings was and you should try it out if you liked the first book, if only for the cover. Maybe your feelings will be different!

Notable Scene:

Where were the fireflies when you needed them?

“Get off at the next exit!” Jeff announced franticly from the front seat. He snapped the laptop shut and was waving wildly toward the right side of the jam-packed highway. “Get over! Start signaling now. We need to get off as soon as possible!”

This couldn’t be good. “Why? What is it?”

“It’s us,” Jett answered, twisting in his seat so her could face us all. “They’ve got roadblocks up ahead and they’re looking for us.”

The Taking Series:

1. The Taking

2. The Replaced


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Replaced. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

March 27th, 2015 @ 12:02 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: Anna Carey, Blackbird, Blackbird Duology, Review, Thriller, Young Adult


AuthorAnna Carey

GenreYA Thriller

SeriesBlackbird (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 16, 2014

FormatHardcover, 256 Pages

ISBN-100062299735 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13978-0062299734 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed byKaitlin


From the author of the Eve trilogy comes the breathless story of a girl racing to figure out who she is—and how to stay alive. When a nameless girl wakes up on the subway tracks, she knows only one thing for sure: people want her dead. Can she find them before they track her down? This pulse-pounding contemporary thriller is perfect for fans of The Maze RunnerThe Darkest Minds, and Legend.

Things I Know Are True:

  • I am in Los Angeles
  • I woke up on the train tracks at the Vermont/Sunset station
  • I am a teenage girl
  • I have long black hair
  • I have a bird tattoo on the inside of my right wrist with the letters and numbers FNV02198
  • People are trying to kill me

Quick & DirtyMy expectations weren’t high, but this suspenseful novel surprised me with its grit and originality.

Opening SentenceThe sun holds the heat of the sun, even an hour after it has sunk beneath the pavement, pushing its way below the sprawling city.


The Review:

I’ll admit that I have been holding off on reading Blackbird. Bad review after bad review rolled through my Twitter feed and the Goodreads page, making me hesitant to even crack the cover. Anyway, it’s less than 300 pages, and I’m adventurous, so I decided to power through so that I could write my review and be done. I was prepared for the absolute worst: shaky narrative, unexplained mysteries, plot holes. Instead, I found myself enjoying the first half. I wondered, will it go downhill from here? But in my mind it got better. It was unique, incredibly creepy, and gave me nightmares (yay!). I couldn’t help but enjoy the main character’s struggle and for me, the second person narrative style actually helped me to connect with the MC. True, I wish she had more depth, but her feelings of fear, angst, and anger are well done, and that’s what she feels the majority of the book. One little tidbit I disliked was that the whole book, she never learned her real name. Like, ever. Mostly the side characters think about her as “the girl” when they get their side chapters. She goes by Sunny a couple times, so I’ll call her Sunny in the review for the sake of convenience.

Ben was the love interest for book one, though it wasn’t a very deep romance. It was more of a fling, something to take up the time where Sunny wasn’t being chased by maniacs with secrets. She liked him for his body, and he said a few cute lines, but in the end it isn’t a relationship built to last. I doubt that they will stay together book two, though I can’t say for sure, after such a Ben-related-twist at the end. There was also the question of the boy in her few memories, the one who was protecting and kissing her. I am positive that book two will delve more into their relationship and I look forward to it with their history. In book two, I also look forward to Sunny getting back more of her memories and learning more about how the Island operates. I actually am excited for the sequel, because there are a couple burning questions I still have.

Lots of people found the second person narrative style to be hard to read. Instead of, “I put the book down”, or “she put the book down”, it’s “you put the book down.” It’s not easy to get used to, that’s for sure. But once I got past a couple chapters I felt myself sinking more into the perspective and I believe it allowed for more suspense and a closer relationship with the main character. The book was paced well, not too fast, not too slow, never a second of peace. Just when you thought the pace was slowing, bam! Another bomb dropped and you find the chapters of this short novel fly past. At least, for me. I seem to be the black sheep for this novel. Baaaaa.

Altogether, this novel was a lot of fun to read, a whirlwind of suspense and action. I was a little put off by a couple of things, such as the number of questions left unanswered and the lack of much positive emotion. It was a very dark read. The second person style didn’t bother me at all, though many had much more trouble than I did, and the plotline was unique and complex without many plot holes. I do wish the cover was more satisfying: the colors are very powerful but the graphic just isn’t visually appealing to me. Maybe it was my extremely low expectations that made me enjoy it so much more. After all, I expected to have to forge through like a determined soldier rather than enjoy the ride. Either way, I would recommend the book to anyone looking for dark, suspenseful mysterious with a little twist. If you’re the kind of person who is put off by second person, however, skip it; it’s not worth all the angst.

Notable Scene:

It was real, you think, it happened.

But when you turn around the narrow alley is deserted. Not a single car is in the parking garage. There is only that shallow wash of blood and the rush of the freeway above.

The Blackbird Duology:

1. Blackbird

2. Deadfall (June 16, 2015)


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Blackbird. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

March 27th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: Contemporary Romance, Gabriel's Inferno, Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, Sylvain Reynard

gabriels infernoTitle: Gabriel’s Inferno

Author: Sylvain Reynard

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Gabriel’s Inferno (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Format: Paperback, 545 Pages

ISBN-10: 042526596X (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425265963 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kristie


From national bestselling author Sylvain Reynard comes the haunting, unforgettable tale of one man’s salvation and one woman’s sensual awakening . . .

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love, and redemption, Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible—forgiveness and love.

Quick & Dirty: Gabriel’s Inferno is a Professor/Student relationship that spends more time exploring the past and setting up a relationship that is quite anti-climactic.

Opening Sentence: The poet stood next to the bridge and watched as the young woman approached.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Gabriel’s Inferno is a very deceiving book. I was expecting an erotic romance or at least some kind of steamy romance. In an age with books being marketed towards the 50 Shades readers (I will state I haven’t read them yet.) and covers being redesigned to be more obscure I can understand why these books are placed with the more erotic products. I will also state that I think this book was a fluke, I imagine the other two books in the Gabriel’s Inferno series are probably more steamy and erotic after the events of this one.

I was really conflicted at the beginning of the novel. I couldn’t stand how terribly Gabriel treated Julianne (Julia). He was totally uncalled for and I really wanted to set the novel aside. Then also in the first chapter there was a huge chunk where the point of view was by a classmate of Julianne’s, Paul Norris who kept talking about how attractive she was, I just remember thinking that this book was supposed to be about Julia and Gabriel and not some guy named Paul. I powered through until Julia overhears Gabriel receiving the news that someone in his life died. Then when Julia gets the same call, I was hooked for a while. I really wanted to know how they knew this person but yet didn’t “seem” to know each other.

Julia and Gabriel have a past together that Gabriel is unaware of and it is kind of frustrating all in itself. This past really influences Julia’s present as a graduate student specializing in Dante, Gabriel’s specialty. Gabriel just didn’t piece it together, much to Julia’s dismay. Gabriel is a Professor at the University of Toronto where Julia is accepted into the graduate program. She was also accepted at Harvard but couldn’t afford it. Their attraction for each other is pretty much instantaneous (past & present) although Gabriel doesn’t quite understand why he doesn’t want to hurt the poor, nice girls feelings at first. Not to mention dating a student would ruin his career, but since he isn’t hurting for money, that isn’t too much of a problem.

Gabriel’s Inferno is basically a “courting” book. Gabriel courts Julia the entire book and this isn’t a short book at over 500 pages. The reason why…Gabriel and Julia have secrets. Secrets that are potentially devastating.  Once their feelings for each other are revealed, the next step in their relationship is to divulge the secrets that could end their relationship. Also, Julia is a big V and Gabriel has to make taking that away from her uber-super special, even planning out the big day.

Gabriel is crazy moody. He easily goes from hot to cold and back again. He thinks he is this dark creature who can’t have anything or anyone he wants. He is in a self-imposed prison. He has no problem sleeping with any woman he sees. Outwardly, Julia is this really nice, naïve and sweet girl, everyone thinks she is beautiful and she doesn’t see it. Inwardly, she does suffer from some really poor self-esteem. I felt that they did have some steamy interactions with each other but their respective moodiness kind of ruins the moment.

This novel is told in the third person and it is constantly jumping from person to person, even time jumping from one paragraph to another. It took a little bit for me to get used to but once I did I really didn’t have too much of a problem with it.

I’m just going to go on a stupid rant here…What do you think of books that bash something you really like? I am a pretty huge fan of Nine Inch Nails. I know a lot of people don’t like them but I like that type of music. This novel just bashed them left and right, including the fact that Trent Reznor really made the girl want to hurl. Yes, Gabriel stated that he liked Nine Inch Nails but that didn’t turn out too well in the end. I know this could have been any band, it just happened to be one that I really liked so much so that I had to listen to them while reading this novel. I’m going to try and pull a Taylor Swift and try to “Shake It Off”. Rant over.

Overall, this novel was a half & half for me. I enjoyed half of it. I didn’t enjoy the other half of it. It might not have been a problem if it wasn’t soooo long. The buildup just didn’t pay off in the end. I was not too thrilled with the climactic buildup and subsequent revelations. One of the characters terrible secret was so not a secret to me and that in itself was annoying. I just really can’t recommend this novel unless you are looking for something with a bit of steam, some moodiness and/or really like Dante and Italy.

Notable Scene:

“Beatrice.” He clasped her wrist, pulling her toward him. He shifted slightly on the bed to accommodate her, enveloping her in his arms as she rested her head on his naked chest. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

“Never,” she choked out as the tears began to flow uncontrollably. “I thought of you every day.”

“Don’t cry. You found me.”

Gabriel closed his eyes and turned his head, his breathing beginning to regulate again. Julia lay very still, not wanting her sobs to disturb him, trying desperately not to shake the bed as she let her grief and relief wash over her. Tears travelled in small rivers down her pale cheeks and onto the expanse of tanned and tattooed skin that lay beneath her head.

Her Gabriel had remembered her. Her Gabriel had finally returned.

“Beatrice,” his arm tightened around her waist as he moved to whisper against her hair, still damp from the shower. “Don’t cry.” With his brilliant blue eyes closed, Gabriel pressed his lips to her forehead, once, twice, thrice.

“I missed you. So much,” she whispered, her lips moving against his tattoo.

“You found me,” he murmured. “I should have waited. I love you.”

Now Julia wept harder, clinging to him as if she were drowning and he was her savior. She kissed the skin of his chest lightly and ran her fingers up and down his abdomen.

In response, Gabriel’s fingertips traced the goose-pimpled flesh of her arms before slipping under the loose fabric of her T-shirt. He feathered his fingers across her skin until his hand finally stilled against her lower back. He sighed deeply and seemed to pass into his dreamland once again.

“I love you, Gabriel. So much it hurts,” she said, her hand coming to rest over his gently beating heart.

Gabriel’s Inferno Series:

1. Gabriel’s Inferno

2. Gabriel’s Rapture

3. Gabriel’s Redemption


FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Gabriel’s Inferno. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Event: Girls Gone Sci-Fi

March 26th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Event Tags: Claudia Gray, Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Melissa Landers

So I went over to Mysterious Galaxy to go to a pretty big signing with four authors – it was supposed to be five, but unfortunately Debra Driz had to cancel. I already loved two authors there, Jessica Khoury and Melissa Landers, for Alienated and Origin (check them out, they’re amazing!) The others, Claudia Gray and Jessica Brody, I’ve heard amazing things about. Since so many people were very early, we started pretty early with a Q and A and talked about Claudia Gray’s new collaboration. Also, kapibaras in ballerina costumes and treadmills for puppies. And what’s the difference between poop and skat? Pretty odd topics — I know, you’re jealous you weren’t there.

The covers for all their books were all display. They are all absolutely gorgeous!


I thought it was pretty cool that each author introduced another and made it clear that they support one another, despite their inclusion with four different publishing houses.

There was an awesome game called Book Boyfriends where they had the boys from each novel answer questions and a member of the audience chose her favorite. They also had the audience choose random pages that they would read passages from, and let me say, each of these authors are very eloquent.

Random piece of info: the first thing Jessica Khoury did after getting her first book deal was paying off a 112 dollar library fee from renting out audiobooks.

After the authors pitched their books, I wanted to read everything. I ended up reading A Thousand Pieces of You since then, which was epic and full of plot twists. The idea of the dimensional travel and the firebird was so interesting and unique! I can’t wait for the second.

It was a fun experience and all the authors were very funny! I got lots of swag!


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