Donnie Darko Girl

Donnie Darko Girl

YA & NA book reviews from a Donnie Darko fangirl

4 Stars
emotional post-apocalyptic story
The Blast - Sarah Perlmutter

I received a review copy for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

The Blast is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic young adult novel with a very young heroine, Beatrice, at the core of the story. After the blasts force Beatrice, her younger brother Henry, and their parents into their bunker, things are never going to be the same for them again. Lucky for Beatrice, her parents prepared for an emergency such as this and had made and stocked the bunker with all kinds of supplies.

The Blast had some major surprises in store. The grittiness of the world after it goes to crap is so realistic, it feels like it could really happen. In a situation like this, where your life changes forever, bad things are bound to happen, and Perlmutter doesn't shy away from from those kind of things happening. I knew life wasn't going to be pretty for this family, but I had no idea they were going to go through so much grief. What really helped them out was the preparation Beatrice's parents had done in case something like this happened.

The nuclear winter was really freaky. The description of what it was like when the family went out scavenging for supplies with ash surrounding them and completely frigid temperatures making it impossible to venture far from home was so realistic. It was just like I imagined a nuclear winter to be like, and it gave me chills!

As I mentioned before, The Blast was very fast paced, taking place over five years, but I wished the pace was slower, taking its time a little more. The story is so rich with so much potential it felt a bit rushed at times. I wanted more!

Beatrice is literally just a kid at eleven-years-old, yet she's had to kill people to protect her family. She isn't even a teen at the beginning of the novel. The things she's had to do for herself and her family to survive keep haunting her, and are things no kid her age should have to see let alone do. Though it was necessary, it changes her forever. There's no going back. She's forced to grow up quickly.

There's foreshadowing here and there of things to come, but the way those events unfold is what will keep you riveted. I couldn't put this book down! The Blast is the kind of story I read in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I was pulled in right away, and the suspense and grittiness of this new world post-apocalypse had me enthralled.

3 Stars
gritty interracial romance but weak heroine
Incarcerated - Inger Iversen
I reviewed the audio book version of Incarcerated for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

I've heard great things about author Inger Iversen, and her books have been on my must-read list for a while now. I've been getting into audio books lately and really love them. Depending on the narrator, just by listening, you can lose yourself in the story in a different way than if you were reading it yourself.

Olivia Peppersmith does an excellent job narrating Incarcerated and has a pleasant voice to listen to. She gives each character his or her own distinctive voice, and I'd listen to any audio book she narrates.

Incarcerated gives you insight into what some of the men in prison could be like. Maybe there are guys like Logan in there who don't deny what they've done and who want to finish serving their time so they can get out and make a life for themselves. I didn't hate him, but I didn't quite like him either. I didn't know what to think about his racism. It didn't seem he had learned it from his parents, so it wasn't something that seemed to be deeply entrenched in his belief system. But I wanted to scream at him, you didn't know what Katie looked like or what her ethnicity was but you fell in love with her anyway!! So what does he think that tells him??

I think Katie was a weak heroine, but I think she was supposed to be shown as vulnerable. If she hadn't been, she probably wouldn't have started the pen pal program to begin with. She's dealing with a lot - the death of her mother, her overbearing father, pressure from work deadlines, her former boyfriend abandoning her right after her mother's death, and agoraphobia. I just wish she had grown and become stronger by the end, but to me, that never happened.

I didn't think Katie's friend, Teal, was much of a friend. I know she wanted Katie to break out of her self-imposed exile, but forcing her to go to parties is not the way to go. To me it was the equivalent of telling a depressed person to "snap out of it!" or "get over it!" The only time I liked Teal was when she tried talking sense into Katie when she found out about Katie falling in love with an inmate from the pen pal program. Everything Teal said to Katie at that time was true.

Incarcerated kept me riveted. I wanted to know how everything was going to turn out in the end. Would Katie and Logan be able to make a romance happen? Truth be told, I wasn't totally rooting for them but wasn't completely against them either. I thought Katie could do a lot better, especially when it's apparent Logan is racist, but also thought she was a better woman than I for not judging Logan solely based on his prison sentence, before she knew he was racist.

Realistically, they have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to make it as a couple. I don't know if I would want to make it work with someone like Logan who judges me based on my skin color even after getting to know me, but Incarcerated gave me a lot of food for thought, and for that, I'm grateful.
5 Stars
a zombie to love
Zombie-saurus Rex: What if Your Romeo is Already Dead - Mark Souza
I received a review copy for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

Zombie-saurus Rex was a really cool zombie story. Full of originality and fun, I cared about Rex. A lot. And I really wanted him to get a happy ending. I know, I know. He's a zombie. But he isn't like any other zombie I know, except maybe R from Warm Bodies. But Zombie-saurus Rex is completely different from Warm Bodies - in this novel, zombies can still do things like speak and go to school, but humans are leery of them, to the point where some in the military want to put them in internment camps or just go ahead and kill them all.

In a sense, I could understand people's trepidation, after all, what are zombies infamous for craving? But if Rex gets to eat his calf brain for lunch and has snacks here and there (snacks he's brought with him!) then there's no reason to panic about him coming after you. He just wants to graduate high school and maybe go to college. The problem is, Rex and his mother have had to move so many times he finds himself behind in school academically sometimes, plus it's difficult to learn when you have to deal with other kids harassing you.

I love Ariella! And I love that Rex does end up making a male friend, Howie. Ariella wants to be different, so much so that she goes out of her way to try to stand out from everyone else. I had forgotten she's the daughter of the Chief of Police, and so I cracked up when he knocks on Rex's door looking for her. Poor Rex had no idea! The two of them were what I thought of as the dynamic duo. I don't think there was anything Rex could have done that would've phased Ariella or made her stop liking him. Nothing. And that's the kind of friend you need at any age.

Zombie-saurus Rex does an excellent job of giving you an escape from the real world while at the same time giving you food for thought (pun intended) about dealing with the presence of discrimination and adversity. I highly, highly recommend this book no matter if you're a fan of zombies or not. If you aren't a fan of them, then you will be after meeting Rex. Promise.
4 Stars
fresh and unique read!
Red - Alyxandra Harvey
I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

Red's synopsis sounded intriguing to me, and that cover is gorgeous! Alyxandra Harvey is an author who's been on my to-read list for quite a while, and I'm thrilled to say I'm a fan.

I really liked Kia right away - she's snarky (I'd snark right along with her any day!), clever, and oh yeah, can start fires with her mind. As you can probably imagine, that's a problem, especially because she can't control it - she gets kicked out of her school and sent to live with her grandmother, Abby.

One of my favorite television series of all time is Heroes, so when Kia decides not to tell the truth about things she's getting in trouble for even though they aren't her fault, I totally get that. She's afraid the truth could go one of two ways - no one would believe her, or she'd become a government experiment. In Heroes, the characters had extraordinary abilities like Kia, and they were hunted down by the government, so Kia's reasoning was solid to me.

I kept wondering why Kia calls her grandmother Abby instead of Grandma. They saw each other once a year before Kia goes to live with her, so they don't know each other all that well. But still, it seemed odd to me. I liked Abby.

Ethan runs hot and cold. At times I liked him, and other times I didn't. He can be kind and generous but also just plain rude. Because he's in the know about the mysterious woods from the start and Kia isn't, I guess he was going for the tough love thing? Maybe he thought he was helping her out? But he can see there's more to her than she lets on, and he's smart. There's much more to her than meets the eye.

Red is fast paced with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested and turning the pages. You can feel Kia's struggle to control her ability, and I wanted her to come out with the truth but understood why she was hesitant about the idea. For me, Red is a quick read, and I was engrossed from the beginning. Kia had a lot to do with that. I just really loved her character from the first page. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good young adult paranormal read.
4 Stars
awesome dystopian fairytale reimagining!
Gathering Frost (Once Upon A Curse Book 1) - Kaitlyn Davis

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

Gathering Frost is a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty with a twist on the story we're used to - instead of sleeping, the kingdom is in thrall to the Queen, including Jade, the main character. The Queen has frozen all emotions except for fear and dread to keep everyone under her control. Genius idea!

Jade is in the Queen's guard and the only female because she's so kickass. I love a strong female character, and it isn't just her frozen heart that braces her in the face of danger. She possesses true bravery and courage, the likes of which some of the men around her are sorely lacking. She's intelligent - always thinking one step ahead.

When she meets the Queen's son, Prince Asher, and is tasked with deceiving him, it's quickly apparent she's met her match in wit and strength. I was surprised by how different he is from his mother - he's warm and caring. I loved how he was more amused by Jade than threatened by her. I think it was because he could see something within her that no one else could, maybe something she couldn't even see for herself.

My only issue with Gathering Frost is that a couple of parts felt a little slow to me. My mind kept wandering during those times though I had no distractions around me. Something pulled me out of the story for some reason. It's a fast read though as in I read it all in one sitting and did enjoy it.

The relationship between Jade and Asher will probably seem like instalove, but this is a fairy tale reimagining and love happens fast in fairy tales. There are plenty of complex obstacles for them to navigate to make their story interesting. Jade is supposed to be deceiving Asher, but at what point does she stop, if ever? Or is she only deceiving herself?

I'm excited to find out what happens next! Gathering Frost is a book I'd recommend to anyone who loves fairy tales and strong heroines in YA fiction.

5 Stars
a gender flip fairy tale masterpiece!
The Stillness of the Sky: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) - Starla Huchton, Jennifer Melzer

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

The Stillness of the Sky is a gender flipped take on "Jack and the Beanstalk" with originality. I ADORE Starla's Evolution series and her other gender flipped fairy tale, Shadows on Snow. I not only wish I had thought about this, too, but also wish for her to gender flip everything! XD

In this rendition, Jack is short for Jacqueline. Jack's mother is tired of dealing with her father so she tries to convince Jack to leave with her. Jack chooses to stay with her alcoholic father because she worries he won't be able to take care of himself. He's abusive to her and one day orders her to sell their cows to cover his debt. On her way to town, she stops to rest, falls asleep, and wakes up to find the cows are gone and in their place is a pouch of beans.

Jack ends up leaving, wondering if it would have been kinder to have left earlier so her father would have been forced to face his demons a long time ago. She doesn't have a clear plan or idea of where she's going, but that's what makes her departure so adventurous and exciting. Not to mention that she's finally free - away from her father's abuse and only has to worry about taking care of herself rather than someone who doesn't appreciate all that she does.

I was so excited for her! She's setting out on this journey this for herself, no one else. To me, the journey she embarks on was also symbolic of the kind young people take to discover themselves. Along Jack's way she meets different people whom she helps because she truly embodies kindness, and they recognize the quality in her.
One stormy night, the beans are accidentally planted, and she wakes up to find a towering beanstalk. From there, everything becomes magical.

I love the characters, especially Jack, and the adventure and romance woven into this tale. Starla has the imaginative chops to take this well known story and make it her own. From now on, I'll look at "Jack and the Beanstalk" with a new and fresh perspective. Every time I think about it, I'll think of The Stillness of the Sky and how beautiful and uplifting Starla retold this tale.

4 Stars
unicorns, zombies, and Santa, oh my!
Amaranthine - Nina R. Schluntz

I received a copy for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

The mix of genres in Amaranthine: The Heart of Decompose is unique and creative. There's fantasy with unicorns, dragons, and fairies, horror with zombies, science fiction with space travel and life on other planets, and a touch of romance. It's amazing how Schluntz had these elements all come together to make a unified story. Santa is even in there!

Amaranthine begins with finding out that several different planets, including Earth, have been infected with a plague that turns the inhabitants into zombies. The plague was created during a war between unicorns and dragons, and Dee also known as Decompose, carries the plague. The cure lies in his friend, Jhon, and the two end up getting separated. Dee must find Jhon in order to cure the inhabitants of the different planets ravaged by the disease.

The action and tension kept me on the edge of my seat. Dee and Jhon had an enormous task ahead of them, not only to find each other but also to cure people and stay a step ahead of those who wish to use the infection to control their people. And Dee straddles the line between life and death - he doesn't really belong to one or the other. I grew to like Dee, but it took me time to get used to Jhon. I wasn't sure about him for a while.

There are a couple of other characters who are as important as Dee and Jhon, but I don't want to say who they are or talk about them because I feel it would give too much away. I will say one character I liked quite a bit, and the other I liked but not quite as much.

Amaranthine is a novel I believe will appeal to fans of any or all of the genres it includes. It gives a fresh take on zombies - they aren't all like the zombies you're used to - and I loved the space travel aspect of the novel. I haven't seen a novel mixing these genres together before, and it's a cleverly written mashup of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. And there are unicorns! Did I mention unicorns?!

4 Stars
YA re-imagining of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde!!
Unleashed - Rachel McClellan

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

It's been a long time since I've read a good YA thriller, and Unleashed is a great one. Although I haven't read Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I know the story and have always been fascinated by it. The way McClellan handles her re-imagining of this classic is clever and suspenseful. Unleashed takes you on a fast action-packed ride from beginning to end.

Claire is a high school student who's in a band and wants to get out of the town she lives in. She doesn't have a great home life, and she's had to protect herself because neither of her parents will. Once she accidentally overhears classified information at the medical research facility in her town, her life is in danger from a security guard who's been tasked to find out what she knows and a guy she runs into named Gage. Luckily, she has a father figure in her life who also happens to be a policeman. He looks out for her just like a father would his own daughter.

Soon it becomes apparent that one of two important people in Claire's life play a role in the information she overheard - she just doesn't know which one, and neither does the reader. That was one of my favorite aspects of Unleashed - not knowing and trying to figure out who Gage's identity before he could harm Claire. You only know Gage could be Claire's friend, Logan, or her boyfriend, Ethan. McClellan writes both characters in a way that either one could be the culprit, and you use clues and hints she drops to take a guess.

I really didn't know which one was Gage and was kept guessing until the end. The ending was spectacularly intense and kept my pulse pounding! McClellan did a stellar job with her re-imagining of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Unleashed. And what a perfect title for the book! I'd recommend this to anyone who is looking for a YA thriller with romance sprinkled in.

4 Stars
a story with action and heart
Bridges Burned (Entangled Teen) (Going Down in Flames) - Chris Cannon

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

Getting ready to read Bridges Burned gave me an excuse to re-read the first book, Going Down in Flames, and I'm so glad I did. I really didn't need an excuse to read it again though - GDiF was just as awesome the second time around! Bryn is the kind of heroine you don't soon forget. In case you haven't read GDiF yet, I've done my best to make sure not to include any spoilers.

A couple of things stood out to me right away. It's interesting when an author can subtly shift your opinion of a character and even more so when it's achieved with multiple characters. That's exactly what Chris Cannon did in Bridges Burned. I found myself starting to feel differently about some of the characters than I had in GDiF, and it was surprising because I never would have thought my opinions could change that way.

I'm also super jealous that dragons can eat as much as they want without gaining weight. Like SUPER jealous. And it can be anything, even food that isn't good for you. Bryn could eat three or four pieces of cake after dinner! How can anyone not be jealous of that!

Like in the first book, I felt Zavien, the black dragon who is kind of Bryn's protector, is a jerk. I don't get his appeal. I can see it, I just don't get it. Nola, a black dragon and Zavien's friend, becomes super needy this time around, and of course he runs to her rescue at the drop of a hat. I was sad to see Bryn get left behind over and over.

I always liked Valmont, Bryn's literal knight in shining armor, and it was cool to get to know him and his backstory. He works at an Italian restaurant near the school in Dragon's Bluff. Bryn brought out the knight in him, so he really does protect her. There were definite sparks flying between them, and I think he's much more noble and caring than Zavien.

There was a lot of story around Bryn and her love life, which definitely kept me turning the pages. But I was also eager to delve into the politics of the Directorate and the ways in which Bryn could really shake things up. With conspiracy theories and the mystery of who would have gained what from trying to kill her, there was plenty of action and suspense to keep me reading straight through.

I love this series! Chris Cannon delivers once again with a heart-pounding and action-filled story with romance and heart.

5 Stars
I love audiobooks!
Crossing the Ice - Jennifer Comeaux, Emily Stokes

I received an audiobook copy for my stop on the blog tour atDonnie Darko Girl.

Crossing the Ice is a book I've been wanting to read for a while now, and so I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook. I don't have much experience with audiobooks - I borrowed one from the library quite a while ago and didn't like it. But listening to Crossing the Ice was a completely different experience and has made me a fan of audiobooks forever.

The narrator, Emily Stokes, has a pleasant voice, and it was easy to allow her to draw me into the story immediately. I'd listen to any book narrated by her. The only teeny tiny issue I had was the toddler voices. It was slightly jarring to me but didn't take away from my love for this book at all.

Crossing the Ice starts off rocky for Courtney and her skating partner, Mark. Things look bleak for them when they bomb in the free skate, and then they find out their coaches, Em and Sergei, will also be coaching their biggest rivals - Josh and his sister, Stephanie. It felt like a betrayal, and I'm still scratching my head over what the coaches were thinking with that decision.

I couldn't tell you what Josh looks like. I have no idea what his hair or eye color is, how tall or short he is, or any of the physical descriptions authors use to help readers picture a character. The moment I heard the character's name was Josh, I pictured Josh Hutcherson (like perfectly pictured him) and nothing can change my mind about that. ;)

Anyway, I liked Josh from the start once he was away from his stuck up sister. There's so much about him to love. One of his favorite bands is Muse, so when I heard that, I knew I was in love! It was cute how nervous he was around Courtney. I thought he was simply adorable. And there's a moment when U2's "Love is Blindness" plays as Josh and Courtney are both skating that I held onto because it was too sweet. I think there was a hidden message from Em in playing that song - it was perfect.

Stephanie is a terrible person and easy to root against. She's so bitchy and stuck up. I love how Courtney tells her off from time to time - it's nice to see a young woman stand up for herself. It's hard to believe she's Josh's sister!

Crossing the Ice is a sweet love story with all the ups and downs of young love. I ADORE this book, and I was so sad when it was over. I'm planning on listening to it all over again very soon, plus I bought a copy of the book to read. Five stars from me, hands down!

4 Stars
another reason why I love serials - fresh and exciting story!
Behind the Stars - Leigh Talbert Moore, Steven Novak

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

Just a couple days ago I said I'm a fan of serials, and Behind the Stars is another reason why. Well written, intelligent, and mysterious, this series is the kind that keeps you in a constant state of holding your breath either hoping for or against the next thing to happen. And while you don't know what will happen, you do know there's enough tension to cut with a knife and keep you on the edge of your seat.

I really liked trying to figure out the mystery behind Prentiss's kidnapping. One day she's on her way to work but never makes it there. Instead, she wakes up in a strange place with kids she knows from school - male and female. I couldn't tell who had kidnapped all of these kids and why. Was there a war? An invasion? What do the kidnappers want with these kids?

In the meantime, Prentiss takes us back in her memories to her relationship with her boyfriend Jackson, the turmoil at home between her brother and their father, and losing her mom at an early age. I was able to get to know what Prentiss was like before she was taken as well as afterward. It's clear from the start she isn't going to go down without a fight. While everyone else seems resigned to their fate, she's thinking of ways to escape and bring help to get everyone else out, too.

With so many people in their small town unaccounted for, no one knows if they've been taken, too, and whether they're dead or alive. I couldn't put this book down...I had to find out what was going on! What I wanted to know the most, almost more than if Prentiss could make a break for it, was who had kidnapped them and why. What were they planning on doing with those they had abducted and how were they able to get away with it? Neither the military nor the police comes to save the day, so why is that?

The answers will surprise you, even shock you. There were so many moments where I really think I did hold my breath! I would have rated this five stars, but after the first episode, the story slowed down a bit; however, I realize this was to build up relationships between characters for what would happen later down the road. Not long after, the story picks back up again with speed.

Behind the Stars is definitely the kind of series I look for when wanting something fresh and original to read. I loved losing myself in the pages and playing Sherlock as I tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Definitely recommend this!

4 Stars
love this series!!
Buried in New Orleans - Chris  Myers

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

I've done my best to keep spoilers out of this review in case you haven't read the first two books, but there may be a tiny detail or two I've forgotten. :P

Buried in New Orleans starts off with Jolie, Brit, and Drew heading to New Orleans so he can cross over. They search for April, Drew's girlfriend from when he was alive, to get answers as to why he hasn't been able to. They run into Jolie's old ghost hunting group NOSH (New Orleans Spirit Hunters), and she's less than thrilled to see them because Drew has been hanging around her for so long. Jolie's kind of been putting off helping him move on, and it's a huge no-no to allow a spirit to hang around.

I love these characters and this series! It's an amazing story line which gets better with each book. Each character has his or her strengths and weakness, but they all bring something to the table which makes them such a great team.

I truly believe Jolie was born to help spirits. She gets part of her talent through her mother and grandmother, but she also puts her heart into everything she does. Her downfall? Drew, but I can't blame her!

Brit is so spunky it gets her into trouble sometimes, but I like her spunk. She's completely fearless and a great partner in crime. Her downfall? The color pink. And money. ;)

Drew has been there for Jolie - helping her get ghost hunting jobs, supporting her on the move to Massachusetts and starting a new school. He's been her only friend until Brit. He's comforted her, and it's totally understandable why she wouldn't want to let all that go.

So when the mystery of why he can't cross over is revealed, it's a complete shocker. Never saw it coming! It makes it even more difficult for Jolie to help him because helping him means letting him go. I really empathized with her - I wouldn't want to lose my best friend either.

Buried in New Orleans is a fantastic addition to the RIPSTERS series! I love the modernized Nancy Drew-like paranormal mystery aspect this series has. Reading Buried in New Orleans was like visiting with old friends. I love the dynamics in Jolie and Brit's friendship. I highly recommend this series if you love young adult books with paranormal mystery, and romance.

5 Stars
fantastic steampunk story!
Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story - Pauline Creeden

I received a review copy for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

I'm a fan of serial storytelling where parts of the story come in episodes spread out over time. The Chronicles of Steele #1 contains four episodes, and I'll be reviewing all of them here.

I really enjoyed reading the episodes and even better, I read them back-to-back. It would have been difficult to wait for each one, but I wouldn't have minded. My anticipation would have just built up, and all of this together means the wait would be worth it. After finishing The Chronicles of Steele, I know this is definitely true.

I love Raven. She's a reaper who wants to settle down and become a wife but an incident early on ends up sending her on yet another mission. Once she's on this mission, that's all she focuses on though she had been on her way to give up being a reaper and live a "normal" human life.

Reapers aren't magic, but they are highly trained to anticipate outcomes ahead of time and to fight and to be mentally prepared. They are so well trained they seem like they use magic. Raven was taught to save a life for every life she has to take, which keeps a reaper balanced and reminds him (with the exception of Raven, most reapers are male) all lives have meaning.

The plot is captivating and laid out well, and the steampunk elements are seamlessly blended in giving the world Creeden has built vibrant life. Captain Jack caught my eye early on. I remember thinking I hoped to meet up with him again sooner rather than later. Though he's the enemy, it isn't quite that cut and dry as you'll find out.

Jack and Raven are playing a game of cat-and-mouse. She's always one step ahead of him, and I couldn't help but be amused every time he realized that. He sees her strength and recognizes her vulnerability. There's more to him than just what you see on the outside.

I think The Chronicles of Steele might just be my absolute favorite book by Pauline Creeden now - it's that fantastic!

5 Stars
plenty of action with some romance sprinkled in
Skin of My Teeth - Judith Graves

I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

I read the first three books in this series - Under My Skin, Second Skin, and Skin of My Teeth. This review will cover all three books.

I love Judith Graves's writing style. The main character, Eryn, drew me into her world with her snark and her wit, and I didn't want to leave. It would be hard being the new girl, with everyone gawking at you shamelessly. But she handles it like a pro, not letting it bother her. She has bigger problems than a bunch of fellow high school kids anyhow.

She's half-human, half-wolven, and after something has happened to her parents (they disappeared without a trace), the Council sends her to live with her uncle. She starts going to school with her cousin, who's less than thrilled to have her living with them. The Council wants her to lay low, believing Redgrave is paranorm-free, but they couldn't be more wrong.

She soon finds herself in the middle of all sorts of paranorm activity (haha!) and becomes torn between her attraction to a hunter, Alec, and a vampire, Wade. All sorts of secrets are being kept - ones from her as well as the ones she's keeping from others. She struggles with keeping her wolven side in check and needs to find a way to reconcile both sides of herself.

"I pull the covers over my head and wonder what happens if you're both the beauty and the beast."

There's plenty of action and some romance sprinkled in. Sometimes I didn't like how many times Eryn would go back and forth between her attraction to Alec and Wade; however, I remember having feelings at that age for more than one guy. I was young, and it wasn't like I was looking to settle down for the rest of my life at the age of sixteen. :P It still could be annoying reading about it in Eryn's for me, though, because her feelings switched in mere minutes.

I was desperate to find out what happened to Eryn's parents - were they still alive or had something really awful happened to them? How did the council tie into everything? If her parents were still alive, then I really wanted to meet them because they seemed like good parents doing the best they could just from her memories. And I was surprised that Alec and Wade were both still in the picture as love interests by the third book. I do love both characters, so I was okay with it. ;)

Aside from that, I'm looking forward to the fourth book, Hour of the Wolf. I love the characters in this series, the paranormal aspects of the story, and the moments that make you laugh and cry at the same time. There are always surprises around every corner, and you never know how things are going to turn out until you get there.

4 Stars
definitely worth losing sleep over!
Blood and Shattered Glass - Tyffani Clark Kemp

I received an ARC for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

With that synopsis and that cover, I knew I had to dig into Blood and Shattered Glass and find out for myself what the mystery was all about. It seemed too twisted and fun to pass up, plus I love Tyffani Clark Kemp's writing. I've read the first two books of her LeKrista Scott, Vampire Hunted series, and I love it when authors branch out into other genres.

I'm going to have to be really vague with this review because too much can be given away if I start getting into specifics. And I definitely don't want to give anything away, not one single thing. There were so many surprises around every corner that I wasn't expecting, and the plot blew me away. It's fantastic. I want you to have the opportunity to be blown away by this book, too.

Trista and Jeremi depend on one another - I could tell that right away. At first it appeared he was the one taking care of her, but I think he relied on her almost as much as she did him. I couldn't wait to find out the secrets he was keeping - I had no idea what those could be. Plus I was looking forward to finding out if there was something fishy going on at the psychiatric hospital.

Blood and Shattered Glass is full of secrets waiting to be found out. There were just a couple of small issues I had with it plot wise where things happened a bit too conveniently, but it didn't detract me from enjoying the story as much as I did. I highly recommend this romantic thriller - it'll keep you up reading way past your bedtime and is totally worth losing sleep over!

4 Stars
a delicate soul & a selfish one = fire & water
Fire and Water - Andrew  Grey

I received a review copy for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

I haven't read too many M/M romances but plan to start, and Andrew Grey is a wonderful author for me to start with. Fire and Water is just one of many books he has written, and I definitely plan on reading more of his novels. When I checked out his page on Goodreads, I was impressed with the number of books he's written! I'm so glad to have been introduced to this author.

Red is a delicate soul which sharply contrasts with his hardened physical build and presence. He's such a good guy and has faced terrible tragedy with losing his parents and dealing with people's reactions to his disfigured face. He's been living an isolated life, keeping his distance from other people out of fear they'll judge him based on his appearance, which most do.

Terry is younger than Red and less experienced in life overall. He's left a bad relationship behind him, but his ex just won't let go. He's extremely attractive and knows it, using his looks so far to get what he wants in life. Once he meets Red however, he begins to question the choices he's made.

Red and Terry make a good match, cheesy at times, but I thought they were good for each other with Terry bringing out a braver side of Red and Red bringing out a less judgmental side of Terry. I enjoyed Fire and Water quite a bit and would have have rated it higher than a four but felt the characters rushed into a physical relationship before they got to know each other. I had been hoping their attraction would simmer for a while longer while they learned more about one another.

I love Andrew Grey's writing style and am looking forward to delving into more of his titles. I recommend Fire and Water to anyone who enjoys M/M romance and to anyone who is looking to start reading the genre as long as you don't mind the characters jumping into a physical relationship. I think you'll agree with me that Andrew Grey is an author you'll want to read more of like I do.