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Series Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Series Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Talon by Julie Kagawa | Talon Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Talon (from Goodreads):
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Talon Series
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: October 2014 – April 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (#5)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations / Why I Picked It Up:

I’m basically at that point where Julie Kagawa publishes a book, I’ll be reading it. The Iron Fey Series is one of my all time favourite series and while I didn’t love the Blood of Eden Trilogy, I didn’t dislike it enough to give up on her writing yet. Also, the fact that this series is about dragons? Um yes please!

My Thoughts on Talon (Book #1):

This series is basically the love child of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan and the Angel Trilogy by L.A. Weatherly. Honestly, that is the best way to describe it. But if you haven’t read those two series, here’s the breakdown: take the dragons and their hierarchy from Firelight minus the unbearable heroine; and add the slower pace plot-line and an assassin who questions his ability to kill his target from Angel Burn and you have this series. I like to think it is the best parts of both those series wrapped up into one.

I didn’t fall in love with Talon immediately. It starts off slow–like the first 75% of the book is just building up to the last 25% of the book. And the last 25% of the book is great–it really had me on edge and I was excited to see where it would go! But that first 75% is nothing remarkable–it’s actually almost a bit of a cliché for those who have read numerous shapeshifting Young Adult novels. I can’t help but to compare it to the Iron King where I felt like we dove head first into the action and I feel like Kagawa’s subsequent novels fail to have this faster start. Yet I still found myself drawn into the story.

I think it helps that you get multiple perspectives throughout the book. It helps you see the larger picture and keeps the slower pace moving. Another thing I liked was Ember. I was surprised that I didn’t mind her character because at first glance she is everything I dislike: an angsty, rebel teenager torn between two guys. However, she never got on my nerves. Maybe it’s because I had other POVs so I didn’t get overwhelmed by her or maybe it’s simply Kagawa creating a tolerable heroine or maybe it’s a bit of both.

When I started Talon, I thought it was going to be a trilogy (because most things are nowadays) but the fact that it is 5 books long gives me mixed feelings. For one it makes me happy as it explains why this book started off so slow–because it has to set the tone for the rest of the series. But it also makes me hesitant because I really don’t know what to expect out of the next four books and I don’t want to be stuck committed to a series that could possibly be dragged out. Regardless, at this moment I am going to have faith in Ms. Kagawa and eagerly await the next novel in this series, Rogue.

updates

–May 22, 2015– Book #2: Rogue

I was really excited to read Rogue. When I saw that my library had added it, I immediately grabbed it despite the bazillion other books I had out. I’m glad I did (though I’m going to have to wait forever for the next book!)! Rogue was more of what I thought Talon was going to be. It was faster paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I moved through it much quicker than I expected–which was great! Rogue had a great blend of character development, plot development, action and romance.

As for the love triangle, it didn’t get on my nerves. It’s really underplayed in this novel (as in it isn’t the entire focus). While I definitely have a “team” that I am cheering for, I truly have no idea how it is going to develop. It’s just one of the many plot developments I’m looking forward to in the third book, Solider.

–September 20, 2016– Book #3: Solider

Unlike the inaugural novel, this one moved at a terrific pace. Even while the story was building to its HUGE (and I mean HUGE) climax, the action was still there pushing you forward. Meaning it didn’t feel like just a bridging novel–like most book 3s do in a 5 book series–it actually had its own plot while building the rest of the series. It did lag a bit for me near the end but it still held my attention…hard not to after that cliffhanger!

Everything had a great flow to. The romance was just right; the action was consistent; and the characters became more dimensional to me. Easily my favourite of the series so far.

–October 9, 2017– Book #4: Legion

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in this one. I found it to be a very slow start–more talking than action–but I had high expectations. I think if the cliffhanger had turned out a different way, I would have felt differently.

The last third of the novel really picked up and kept my full attention. I’m excited to see how this wraps up!

–March 22, 2020– Book #5: Inferno

I took a chance on the audiobook for this final book since it had been so long since I read the previous novels–and it was a great production. I highly recommend you listen to them if that’s your thing!

Overall, a solid finale. It was gradually building and moving to the climax so it always had my full attention. It was great to get so many different POV to really give you the all round perspective of what was happening and why. I also liked how extended the epilogue felt and how it wrapped everything up.

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Talon 3.5/5 | Rogue 4/5 | Solider 4/5 | Legion  3/5 | Inferno 4/5

overall

Readings about dragons is a nice change from vampires and werewolves. While it starts slow, the series is heading into the right direction (from what I can see) and promises faster paced times ahead. A great pick for Kagawa fans or for those who enjoy shapeshifter series.

Read if You Like: stories about dragons, forbidden romance, rebellious characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slower starting series, reading mulitple POVs

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Single Sundays: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Rewind to You (from Goodreads):
Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Review:

I came across this book completely by accident when I was browsing eBooks from my public library and I’m glad that I took a chance on it and picked it up.

This book has so many layers to it that it’s hard to decide where to start. When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be more New Adult in nature, and to a degree it is, but it is missing the sexual content that often accompanies New Adult reads. I suppose it is just an issue of semantics and what the definition “New Adult” means to you. To me, it means collage students who deal with heavier topics and have sex with their romantic lead. But, I’ve read a lot of “New Adult-like” books that have characters in high school who also deal with heavier subject matter but lack the sex-focus. Anyways…this book straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult but I would say it leans more towards New Adult than it does towards a Sarah Dessen novel.

One thing I really loved about this book was the character development. When we meet the characters, they are already well developed and complete characters; but as the book progresses their layers really get revealed and that’s what drove the story for me. Laura Johnston did a great job writing this book and I loved how it never seemed to follow a formula in its presentation. When Austin’s story needed to be the focus, we got multiple chapters of him in a row and vice versa.

Another thing I loved was that there was a lot going on in each character’s life. It wasn’t focused on just Sienna with a little bit of a side story for Austin. I felt like it was really well balanced and both characters complemented each other very well.

My only disappointment with the book was that it felt a little too “love-at-first-sight”. It wasn’t really in the grand scheme of things–and I really don’t want it to deter you from reading this if you don’t like love-at-first-sight novels–but it was an element that wasn’t my favourite part of the story. However, unlike most love-at-first-sight novels I really felt like these characters had a connection that simply wasn’t lust and that was super refreshing.

Conclusion:

It was a very refreshing read and very well written; one of my favourite reads this year. If you want a book that is heavy on the dark drama that is often found in New Adult reads but without all the sex, this is a great book for you to grab!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Coming of Age, Mental Health
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Kiss the Tiger by Raquel Lyon and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes

Series Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series:

There is a prequel series called the Nightshade Prequel Series.

There is also a prequel adult erotica series called Captive: the Forbidden Side of Nightshade

There is also a spin-off series called the Nightshade Legacy

Author: Andrea Cremer
# of Books: 3 (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, Bloodrose)

There are 3 novellas: #0.5 Shadow Days, #2.5 Treachery, and #3.5 Aftermath

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm (but pretty steamy for a Young Adult read)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I actually read Nightshade 3 years ago and Wolfsbane 2 years ago but decided to reread both before I finally read the grande finale, Bloodrose this fall. Part of the reason was that the year between reading the first two novels really caused me some hardships as I couldn’t remember some of the finer details of the plot which in turn altered my reading experience. So I knew the two years between Wolfbane and Bloodrose wouldn’t be any better and subsequently put in my holds at the library to get my hands on these books.

When I first read Nightshade, I really enjoyed it though I did have my negatives about it. Rereading reaffirmed my initial impression: I like this series and the concept of it but dislike the heroine. I really don’t enjoy werewolf novels; they just don’t do anything for me other than piss me off with overprotective alpha males and silly (often nonexistent in the adult genre) plot-lines. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me. And while this series does have some of those moments, I find it’s a lot more toned down (in some things) and it has a more intricate plot that peaks my interest.

That’s the best way to describe this series: an adult werewolf read for young adults. Because the sexual tension is there (Calla is probably one, if not the, horniest young adult heroine I have ever come across) complete with the love triangle and the alpha males that are supposed to get your heart racing; it just isn’t as descriptive as an adult paranormal read would be (though you get a pretty good idea of what is going down if you catch my drift). I guess that’s why the Captive: Forbidden Side of Nightshade series was created because this trilogy often bordered on adult content so I could definitely see Cremer doing a more adult series like she has.

One of the negatives with this series is Calla. Man, I really want to like her because she has everything she needs to be a strong, independent heroine and for the most part I would say she is independent. But her ultimate flaw is her flare for over-dramatics. She just flips like a switch in her moods at times and it doesn’t help that she is torn between two love interests for the entire series. One minute she wants to smack Ren then the next she is shivering in lust to be with him; same with Shay. This love triangle is one of the sole reasons why I hate love triangles in novels. It also doesn’t help that I am totally Team Ren through and through so I really can’t stand anything Shay does and in turn, anything Calla does with Shay. Calla actually reminds me a lot of Zoey from the House of Night Series, and not in a good way. Although Calla doesn’t have multiple love interests per book (she thankfully just has the two) she still is extremely self-absorbed about her romantic relationships and is constantly making out with them then subsequently feeling quilt for doing so.

It gets tiring–this back and forth between Calla and the two boys and by Bloodrose it was driving me nuts! I found Wolfsbane didn’t have much of a plot: it was mostly just Calla worrying about who she would choose between Ren and Shay. That got even worse in Bloodrose. By the time I was 50 pages in I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to read the synopsis for the Aftermath novella in the hopes it would tell me who she picked. It didn’t but I accidentally read a spoiler so that made things go a little smoother.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of Bloodrose. Having read the entire series in a week I honestly was getting kind of bored with it (mostly because of the love triangle thing) and I think I just wanted it to end. I understand why some people hate the ending given the two twists we get near the end, I do a little bit too. But it honestly ended how I thought it would so in the end, no biggie.

I didn’t read any of the other novellas in the series (Shadow Days and Treachery) with the exception of Aftermath. I didn’t read the first two because I really could care less about Shay and Treachery just didn’t interest me. I don’t feel like I lost any reading experience by not reading them. Aftermath is a good one to read if you are interested in reading the spin-off series, Nightshade Legacy. But it doesn’t really wrap up everything if you are expecting an epilogue type of novella.

Despite not totally loving this series, I think I am going to give Nightshade Legacy a shot because I really like one of the characters it focuses on and I’m interested to see where the plot will go next.

Conclusion:

This series really lost momentum for me after the first book. Cool concept, interesting plot and awesome secondary characters but Calla as a heroine really disappointed me. If you enjoy werewolf reads and/or love triangle obsessed novels, this is the series for you. However, if you are like me and wanted to tear your hair out reading Twilight because of Bella’s love triangle, this is NOT the series for you.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1); Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves Trilogy #1) and Marked by P.C. Cast (House of Night Series #1)

Synopsis for Nightshade (from Goodreads):
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Series Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: Everneath Trilogy
Author: Brodi Ashton
# of Books: 3 (Everneath, Everbound, Evertrue)

There is a novella that is listed after book one called Neverfall.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Urban Fantasy, Underworld, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

Everneath was one of those series that I just never got fully into. If I really think about it there are probably two reasons why that is: 1) I didn’t like the heroine and 2) reading the books so far apart from each other.

I’ll start with the publication gap; it isn’t anything new really, books take forever to get released nowadays. But with this series I read each book as soon as they came out (the exception being the final book) so each book had at least a year between them. The Everneath world isn’t overly complicated but there is a way that the world operates and certain terms used and I would forget that between each book (or get them confused with a similar book). So I always felt a little lost when I started on the sequel books; but I eventually did get back into the swing of things once i got further into the novel. I recommend reading these books as close together as possible to make sure you keep everything straight.

The main reason I didn’t get into these books was because of Nikki, the heroine of the novel. She and I just didn’t connect and that caused her to irritate the crap out of me. She was slightly more tolerable once I got to Evertrue (book 3) but I still didn’t like her. She was unnecessarily angsty to me which always irritates me. Her romance with Jack is one of those overly sweet high-school first loves that really did nothing for me (and I’m a romantic at heart). I much preferred Cole over Jack (so I loved the novella Neverfall which focused on Cole). Cole was a much more complex character than Jack and a lot more fun to read about. And because I liked him so much I really didn’t want him to be stuck with Nikki in the Everneath for eternity (’cause I wouldn’t want her stuck with me for eternity); nevertheless, I was still rooting for him all the way.

As for the books themselves, they moved at a slower pace for me and were often singlular in their plots. I find that as I read more books, I tend to enjoy series that have multiple plot lines going on and as a result I can’t seem to put them down. Reading Evertrue was definitely a chore for me to get through. I would often zone out reading it because it just couldn’t keep my attention. I think Everbound (book 2) was the best for keeping my attention because it actually had some interesting, unpredictable plot twists.

Conclusion:

I’ve read better Young Adult underworld/immortal-focused series than this one. I think if the Revenants Trilogy and the Goddess Test Trilogy had a book offspring together, this would be the result. If you enjoy slower paranormal stories about true loves and immortality, this is probably a good one for you to read. It just didn’t do it for me, though I love the covers.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Die for Me by Amy Plum (Revenants Trilogy #1) and The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Everneath (from Goodreads):
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Series Review: The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Series Review: The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Kiss of Deception (from Goodreads):

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

breakdown

Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Author: Mary E Pearson
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: July 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover; Audiobook (#2 & #3)

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations:

When I grabbed this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Normally, I don’t like books that hint at a love triangle in its plot but I’ve been looking for an awesome Young Adult Historical Fiction novel with a strong heroine and this one looked like it was worth a shot.

My Review of Kiss of Deception:

The Kiss of Deception starts supers slow. The focus (and wrongly so in my opinion) is mostly on Lia settling in town, doing menial tasks and talking about how free she is. It’s a lot of talking with really no plot whatsoever. It makes for a dull start and things really don’t get interesting until the halfway point when we learn that there might be another plot going on.

The book reminded me a lot of The Girl of Fire and Thorns but whereas I really loved the character development of that heroine, I just felt like it was lacking for Lia in this book. Lia isn’t super interesting, she’s rather dull and while I appreciate her independent spirit, I wish she would think about the consequences of her actions a bit more. She does improve within the last third of the book but for the first half, she wasn’t anything to write home about.

What did keep me reading was the mystery of the two strangers. The way that Mary E. Pearson writes the two boys characters is great! You really don’t know who is the assassin and who is the prince until the last third of the book; and by then the plot actually starts to become interesting and worth while. The “love triangle” isn’t really that much of a love triangle in the sense that she is torn between two boys and can’t make a decision. Maybe it will progress into something more in the next book, but it was well done in this book.

updates

–February 27, 2019– Book #2: The Heart of Betrayal

It’s been YEARS since I read the first book but I had some pretty great notes about what happened so it didn’t take me long to get back into this world.

I really, truly enjoyed this book. I didn’t have the best experience with the first book–it was a rough start–but by the end I could see that bigger things were coming. And they most certainly did!

Lia was much more interesting as a heroine in this addition. I found her to be terribly dull and rash with her actions in the first novel; but I was pleasantly surprised with her here. She’s starting to get a backbone and gets a little more cunning with her actions and motives. It was interesting to watch her navigate this new world she finds herself in.

Also, the audiobook was FANTASTIC! I love when there are multiple cast members and it really just brought this novel to life for me.

–March 21, 2019– Book #3: The Beauty of Darkness

This series has come a long way from the start and it’s reflected in this finale. While I thought there were some pacing issues in the middle (parts seemed redundant and mundane), it still kept my full attention. Again, I listened to the audio version and I have no regrets there.

 

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Series Rating: 4/5

The Kiss of Deception 3.5/5 | The Heart of Betrayal  4/5| The Beauty of Darkness 4/5

overall

A very slow start but things definitely pick in the last half and I think/hope things will be at a faster pace for the next book like they were near the end of this one. For Young Adult fans who enjoy Historical Fiction with a dash of magic (and a small dash at that) that move at a slower pace will enjoy the start of this new series.

Read if You Like: historical fantasy novels, suspense/mystery, politics
Avoid if You: dislike action novels, dislike monarchies

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Series Review: Matched by Ally Condie

 

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Matched (from Goodreads):
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

breakdown

Series: Matched Trilogy
Author: Ally Condie
# of Books: 3 (Matched, Crossed, Reached)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Matched), Multiple
Publication Dates: November 2010 – November 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: That I have not fully read the final novel, Reached. I was approximately 25% through when I decided to stop. Find out why below.

My Review:

I read Matched right when it came out–right when Young Adult dystopian novels were just coming into popularity. However, compared to its peers it just didn’t stand up quite on par to them. It had everything else they had: a love triangle, tyrannical government, mysterious human history, rebels–but it just uses it all in a lackluster way and does that for the whole series.

Part of the problem is Cassia. It doesn’t get much duller than her folks. Nothing about her excited me and because the first two books are told solely from her perspective I just couldn’t get into them.I can’t even say that I hate her: I’m just indifferent.

What I did hate was her love triangle. While this is probably one of the only series where the love triangle is actually necessary to the plot, I would have appreciated better components than Cassia, Ky (who I never liked at all) and Xander (who I actually liked). Ky always seemed to be paranoid about his relationship with Cassia (especially in the final novel Reached) and I didn’t like that. Xander is the proverbial best friend of Cassia but who doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in my opinion–I think its obvious whose team I was on for this one.

Matched and Crossed mostly focus on Cassia coming to terms about the world around her and where she fits in with it all. The only reason I gave Crossed a 4/5 is because of the awesome twist we get at the end. A twist that made me super excited to read Reached…

But then I actually read Reached and nearly cried because of the boredom. It took me 7 months to finally come to terms that this was a series I was probably never going to finish. I’m sure part of the problem is that it’s been nearly 2 years since I read Crossed and I’ve just lost my interest in a series that I was indifferent to. But part of the other problem is the length and the details. I can appreciate the fact that Ally Condie wanted to give the 3 main characters adequate screen time in the big finale but I just felt like everything dragged because of it. The worst part is that I didn’t even care how the series ended–I just read the last two chapters to read get a conclusion to the love triangle, how sad is that?

Reached reminded me a lot of Requiem, the last book in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series (another slow, poorly executed dystopian series). It’s the final climax of the series so you expect a lot of action but instead you get a lot of vague dialogue, zero action and a blah conclusion. It makes for a slow read and in turn becomes a let down to readers who watched as the series built up to this final piece. And the actual ending is not something that all fans of the books agree with or like. From other reviews I’ve gathered that the ending of the Matched Trilogy is a little dismal with only a few people actually liking it.

However, if you have read Reached, I wouldn’t mind a brief synopsis of what happens 😛

Series Rating: DNF

overall

For me, this series is one where I loved the concept but not the execution. For those who like slower, more character development focused stories, this series might be worth your time. Otherwise, pass!

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  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)
  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano (Fever Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout | The Dark Elements Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: The Dark Elements Trilogy
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (Pennames include J. Lynn)
# of Books: 3 (White Hot Kiss, Stone Cold Touch, Every Last Breath)

There is a prequel novella called Bitter Sweet Love that can be read before the series

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm – spicy for a young adult novel
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

I pretty much read anything Jennifer L. Armentrout because I have always enjoyed her works but this was one series I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy. After reading the plot synopsis for White Hot Kiss it seemed obvious to me that there was going to be a love triangle and that kind-of turned me off of this new series (love triangles are my least favourite literary device). However, when I was browsing the Kindle Free Bestsellers, I came across Bitter Sweet Love and decided to give this series a shot.

I’m glad I read Bitter Sweet Love first–and I highly recommend that you read it first if you plan on reading this series (though it isn’t necessary). It does a great job of setting up the world–which is pretty unique in that it features gargoyles–so that you are familiar with it when you read the first full length novel, White Hot Kiss. It also introduces you to the main character Layla years earlier as well as some other characters that make an appearance later on. Again, you don’t have to read this book but I found that it helped set the scene for the rest of the series and it made me really excited to read White Hot Kiss.

White Hot Kiss reminded me of Firelight by Sophie Jordan but with gargoyles instead of dragons and a more mature (read: less annoying) heroine. The storyline is also completely different but I found the stories had a lot of parallels in its delivery. The love triangle wasn’t as bad as it could have been–it was pretty mild compared to other love triangle based stories. However, the sexual content (like most of Armentrout’s work) is higher than most Young Adult reads. Personally, it’s right on that Young Adult-New Adult border for me like Sweet Evil was.

I did like Layla as a character and I could understand her choices; however I just didn’t love her. I find Armentrout’s heroines all have the same general makeup to them so at times I felt like I was reading about Kat from Lux or Alex from Covenant (more so Kat in this case). I loved Roth though 😛

I’m interested to see where the series is going to go and I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

updates

–December 7, 2014– Book 2: Stone Cold Touch

Stone Cold Touch really just an amped up version of White Hot Kiss. The plot is darker and more twisty; the love triangle is at full force (and totally swoon-worthy); and the characters become more defined. I really enjoyed reading it and it sucked me into the story much faster than the first novel did. While I had a pretty good idea of how things were going to unfold, I often found myself second-guessing myself so I loved that uncertainty and it kept me reading.

I have to hand it to Armentrout–she honestly writes the best male leads. I normally hate love triangles but with this one I had such a hard time picking a side! I probably have one I leaned to more (Roth if I’m going to be honest) but I liked that the love triangle wasn’t the whole focus of the book or annoyed the shit out of me by having Layla going back and forth between the two of them. While I still don’t love Layla (what I said earlier still stands) I liked her a lot more in this book. Overall, it’s a solid second novel (my favourite of the series so far) and I can’t wait to see how everything wraps up in Summer 2015.

–August 29, 2015– Book 3: Every Last Breath

I was really excited to read this last book, especially after the previous one which was fantastic. But I think I just read this book at the wrong time. When I was reading it, I was in the middle of moving and preparing for my new school year so I really didn’t have a lot of time to just sit around and read.

And because of that, the book just felt slow to me. I was expecting the action to start right from the get-go but instead, it focused on wrapping up the love triangle. Which, I appreciated don’t get me wrong! I wasn’t looking forward to waiting until the very end to see how that would all go down so it was nice to get it out of the way. I just wanted all that action I had anticipated given the ending of the second book.

The last 100 pages or so (the eBook was ~280) really picked things up and overall it was a solid ending. I just wanted a bit more and because I really enjoyed the second book SO MUCH, I think this finale had a lot to live up to.

Series Rating: 4/5

White Hot Kiss 3.5/5 | Stone Cold Touch 5/5 | Every Last Breath 3/5

overall

Fans of Armentrout will enjoy this series as it has her fingerprints all over it and delivers like you expect her works to. For people unfamiliar with Armentrout’s work, you will also enjoy it if you want a more mature Young Adult read with paranormal/supernatural creatures not often talked about in Young Adult fiction (gargoyles).

Read if You Like: more New Adult-esque YA, paranormal shapeshifter stories, good vs evil
Avoid if You: want less romance, don’t like paranormal YA

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Synopsis for White Hot Kiss (from Goodreads):

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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Series Review: Unbreakable Trilogy by Rebecca Shea

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: Unbreakable Trilogy
Author: Rebecca Shea
# of Books: 3 (Unbreakable, Undone, Unforgiven)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Drama, Contemporary, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: September 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts:

I decided to read Unbreakable as a lighter, more upbeat read after reading a particularly dry novel: so you can guess that I was in for a bit of a surprise when I realized that Unbreakable wasn’t that upbeat book I was looking for. I guess I missed that bit about the tragedy or assumed it would be something else when I read the synopsis because this book, while charming and fun at times, is more often than not a sadder, more serious read than I previously assumed.

I think a more plausible explanation is that I expected the book to be more about Gabe and Jessica falling in love and then dealing with a tragedy than what actually happens. The romance between Gabe and Jessica (the path of falling in love) mostly takes place “off-screen”, years before the story begins which was disappointing as I was really looking forward to the sexual tension as they succumbed to their feelings for each other. Instead, we get plunked right into the beginning of their relationship, then the tragedy and the events that unfold afterwards. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

This story is more about Jessica and Gabe dealing with the tragedy after it happens and trying to navigate their relationship accordingly. It was well done, especially in regards to what the “tragedy” is, so I didn’t mind reading the story. I could have done without a particular character introduced later in the story–I think it was unnecessary to this story (though I won’t lie and say that I am not excited to read about their story in the next book; so I guess it wasn’t the worst thing in the world :P).

While I loved the moments shared between Jessica and Gabe (for a while they were going to get the tag “fav couple”) I found I quickly got tired of them–Jessica in particular. This is one of those books about First Love so it can get a little sugary and “all-consuming” at times. Some of the things Jessica did made me think she was a little dim and I wish she had a bit more independence–I hate couples that are overly “couplely” if you know what I mean and Gabe and Jess were like that to me.

When all was said and done, I did enjoy Unbreakable–I think if I knew exactly I was getting into before I read it, I would have given it a higher rating.

Because I had an idea of what to expected with the second book, Undone, I think I enjoyed it a lot more. This time, I got to watch the couple fall in love and I enjoyed watching them do so because I loved the sexual chemistry between the two of them. They were a great pair that balanced each other out well. At first, I was worried that things were going to happen too fast between them but I was glad when things progressed at a slower pace than I anticipated. I also feel it is important to note that this novel reads more as adult contemporary romance with a New Adult feel to it because the characters are much older than the previous leads.

Although I knew what to expect, there were a few interesting twists along the way that I liked and were interesting to watch unfold. I didn’t feel like I was getting dragged through the motions as much as I did with Unbreakable. I think it’s clear that I much preferred this book to Unbreakable; however, this is one aspect that I felt like Unbreakable did better and that was how they handled the tragedy/secret. It isn’t a huge deal but it was something I personally didn’t particularly like in Undone when I think about it.

I’m really excited to read Unforgiven–I’ve been thinking about this particular pairing since Unbreakable and I’m excited to see where it will go!

updates

–February 11, 2016– Book #3: Unforgiven

*Sigh* This was NOT the story I was expecting when I finally picked up Unforgiven. Like Unbreakable, it’s more of a story about individual character development with a dash (and I mean a small dash) of romance on the side. I wanted to see these two characters fall in love and that really wasn’t what we got. It was very disappointing in that respect.

I did like the plot to a certain degree. I haven’t really read a book that deals with the topics this one does and I really liked the approach it takes. However, I was frustrated with how our male lead handles everything and that really turned me off of this story in the end.

Series Rating: 3/5

Unbreakable 3/5 | Undone 4/5 | Unforgiven 2.5/5

overall

This series has a more serious, darker feel to it than some other New Adult reads. It focuses more on the tragedies than the drama of relationships; instead, it focuses on each lead finding themselves and then finding out where they belong in a relationship. All the novels (so far) deal with mature subject matter that may make some people uncomfortable but for the most part the material is handled well in a realistic and mature manner that readers will respect.

Read if You Like: character development, tragedy, realistic stories
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike love triangles

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Synopsis for Unbreakable (from Goodreads):
Jessica Harper is the epitome of perfection. She’s a good daughter, makes excellent grades, and always strays on the safe side of life. The last thing she thought would ever happen was falling in love with her best friend’s brother. But sometimes fate just has a way of bringing two people together.

Wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Gabe Garcia, seems to have it all. When his feelings for Jessica come to surface, Gabe will give up everything to be with her.

But what happens when a tragedy abruptly changes the course of your life? For Jessica and Gabe, everything they thought they knew about each other will be questioned. Sometimes, there are scars in life that are cut too deep to completely heal.

Will their love prove to be unbreakable, or will it shatter and prove fate is just another lie?

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Series Review: House of Night by P.C. Cast

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

 book2 book2 book2 book2 book2 book2

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Marked (from Goodreads):

The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire — that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny–with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

breakdown

Series: House of Night
Author: P.C and Kristin Cast
# of Books: 12 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Romance, Drama, Action
Heat Rating: very warm (for a Young Adult Novel)
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: April 2018 – August 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: That as of May, 2014 I have only read up to Destined (Book 9) of the series. I have decided not to continue with the series after this novel.

My Review:

I started this series as a recommendation from a co-worker. She absolutely loved this series and I had liked her previous suggestions so I decided to give this series a try.

I really did enjoy the first novel, Marked. It was a different spin on vampires and I liked that it was much darker than other Young Adult vampire reads. It was also a lot “spicier” than other books in the genre (definitely a result of PC Cast being an adult romance writer) as it mentions a lot more sexual content. Which was a bit of a shock to me because I hadn’t really come across that too much in other books but it isn’t full out descriptive by any means. Overall, it was your typical intro book to a longer running series.

One thing I knew from the start was that I didn’t like Zoey. Ugh–she is the definition of my most disliked heroine in a Young Adult series ever (though Bella Swan is a very close first). I just never connected well with her and Lead-Heroine Self-Sacrifice Syndrome. It is also no secret that I am NOT a fan of love triangles and this book has them in plenty. But wait…it gets better! Not only does Zoey find herself in one love triangle but she practically has 12 going on at the same time (no lie, she legit has 4 boys vying for her attention at any one time). I remember reading somewhere that this was done intentionally to have a female lead with polyamory because of something or other–but it’s just too over the top for me. It just drove me nuts because I never really liked any of the male romantic leads (except one really) and I just hated the flip-flopping back and forth.

Why I Didn’t Finish the Series:

When I started the series, there were only 6 books in the series–so I thought that was where it was going to end. Which would of been fine as I liked how the plot was progressing. But once I reached book 7, Tempted, I realised that wasn’t the case.

To me, this is one of those series that has suffered from its popularity and fandom in the case that the plot gets dragged out because readers want more. As is the case with a lot of other series **coughcoughCROSSFIREcoughcough** I think the series overall takes a hit.

Do I necessarily remember how much I enjoyed the first set of books? No, but because I haven’t enjoyed the last 3 or so novels as much so it creates a bias to me that I didn’t enjoy the others that much either (though to be truthful this series never did too much for me anyways). I just feel like the plot has gone in a completely different direction and they keep doing stupid things just for the sake of dragging this series out.

As I said at the start of this post, I have only read up until book 9, Destined. Part of the problem was that I got tired of waiting a year to read each new book when I wasn’t totally in love with the series anymore. I’m probably going to finish the series just for the sake of finishing it, but I’m in no rush to do so. For anyone in the same boat or who doesn’t want to read it, Wikipedia has extensive plot overviews that will help you get back on track or finish the series for you.

During its height of popularity, according to the Wikipedia page for the series, 5 movies were planned for the series. Personally, I would have rather seen this a s a TV series more than anything with the way the series and its romances progress. The thought of it as a movie slightly scares me in that I fear it will do extremely well at the box office (though I don’t think that will be the case) and be a massive hit when other book-movie series like the Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy and Beautiful Creatures have substantially better characters and plotlines yet flopped at the box office. I probably will watch the movie if it is made but I won’t be going opening weekend…

Series Rating: DNF

overall

If you like high drama, love triangles galore and sexier Young Adult reads, you will probably love this series. But if you hate love triangles, like your heroines with a little more backbone and don’t enjoy dragged out plots, AVOID this series.

Read if You Like: vampires, love triangles, angst
Avoid if You: dislike noncontemporary

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  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #1)
  • Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods #1)

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Series Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Series: Firelight Trilogy
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Firelight, Vanish, Hidden)

There is a spin-off novella that takes place after Hidden called Breathless

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: getting warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

It took me a really long time to finish the series. I actually contemplated not reading the last book (Hidden) when I had it in my hands (for the 5th time it seemed) but when I saw the size of it, I knew I could read it in 2 hours and 2 hours to finish a series I invested double the time into was “worth” it. And to an extent it was–but it is important to start this review from the start.

I started this series right when Firelight came out. This means I was still a teenager and my threshold level for idiotic heroines was a lot higher than it is now. If I were to read Firelight now, I probably would enact my 50-page rule and drop this series all because of Jacinda.

Jacinda is a very hard character to like. She’s vain, selfish, hypocritical and simply annoying. Perhaps the most redeeming quality to her is that she cares for her family–occasionally. I just did not like her and that really throws me off a series–especially when it’s that character telling the story from a first person POV so you have to spend time in their head.

But because I was younger when I read Firelight, I actually didn’t mind it. Part of the reason is the overall concept of the book. If you ignore the love-struck whinny heroine, the premise of the book is really neat. It isn’t everyday that a novel targeted for girls features dragons and as much as I dislike Jacinda, I liked that she was the paranormal creature for once and not her love interest. I don’t particularly like werewolf books so it was a nice change to read about dragons–and Ms. Jordan does this part of the book very well. So while the plot is nothing overtly original, when you strip it down to the basic premise the world it takes place in was interesting for me and that is what held my attention.

Just a note on Ms. Jordan’s writing: when you read her young adult novels it’s obvious that she writes adult romance novels. Her style reminds me a lot of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s (who also writes YA and adult romance novels) in that the romance details are a little more “spicy” than the typical YA novel. This doesn’t mean there are extensive love scenes but there is a lot more talk of sex and more heated kissing descriptions than the average YA novel.

Book 2, Vanish, is where I really started to dislike this series. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in this book–it came back to me a bit when I read the description of Hidden and a little more as I was reading Hidden (Jordan does a good job of refreshing details in the sequels). But I spent the vast majority of the book being mad at Jacinda because, low and behold, we get the another Book 2 Curse: the love triangle “climax” plot. UGH. And this love triangle is just as bad as Twilight‘s. Jacinda also suffers from Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome with both boys and to be honest I’m not sure why. Her “interaction” with Will in the first book isn’t enough to fall in love with him (in my opinion) and I’m not sure why she likes him (or him her) to be honest. I think it has something to do with biology (if you do read these books, you can probably see what I am talking about) and nothing else. They have nothing in common and because of that I just didn’t see the connection. So, I think it is obvious that I am team Cassian and I’ve been team Cassian since the get-go. I see them together more so than her and Will for a few reasons but I think it simply comes down to the fact that they are better suited for each other. The love triangle in this series is the prime example of why I can’t stand them in novels and it’s right beside Twilight for worst love triangle ever…but I digress.

I know you are probably thinking: this book probably has a lot of action considering Jacinda is a dragon and Will’s family hunts them. Well, that is a wrong assumption though I totally had the same thought. While there is some exciting “events” this isn’t an action series by any means. There is a lot more action in Hidden than the other 2 novels–which made it more enjoyable to read–but don’t think there are going to be some epic battles. The action is quite tame and isn’t a huge part of the plot lines.

warning

As I said, Hidden was a lot faster paced (might have been because I was skimming it as well…) but I still found it frustrating to read because Jacinda was in full hypocrite, I-love-him-but-I-love-him-too mode. I have to write about a spoiler here because it’s bursting to come out of me: ( you can’t feel guilty about nearly killing a man who was about to kill you and then feel no guilt–and SAY SO–when a guy who tormented you dies by the hand of someone else because he was attacking that someone. WTF!? Do you hear yourself when you think these ridiculous thoughts in your head! ) There was one really good twist near the end that I didn’t see coming but it’s not enough for me to sing this series’ praises anytime soon. Also, I just need to say this: it was weird reading about Jacinda making out with boys in her dragon form. I’m assuming the picture I have of dragons in my head does NOT match what they look like in the books (or I just missed a descriptive line about what form she was in) but it just gave me the creeps…bleh!

When I was reading reviews of Vanish in an attempt of trying to remember what happened in it, I read a review where the reader suggested that the story should have been told by Tamara because she was a lot more interesting. Listening to Tamara complain in Firelight would have frustrated me to no end; but I really did enjoy her character more in Vanish and Hidden than I did Jacinda’s. So I would have liked more from her and I actually was hoping Breathless, the novella that takes place after Hidden would be about her but it isn’t. It’s actually about Az, Jacinda’s friend who I couldn’t care less for. I’ll read it if we get it at the library but I’m not going to go out of my way.

Conclusion:

I think if I was 16 again, I would enjoy this series. That isn’t to knock or insult 16 year olds everywhere–it’s just that my reading tastes have changed immensely in the years since. I don’t care for love triangles; I can’t stand whinny teenage heroines and I like my novels to have a lot more substantial drama and action. Older YA fans probably won’t enjoy this series as much but if you want to read a mild, quick trilogy series that is also written well than it might be worth a shot.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series #1)

Synopsis for Firelight (from Goodreads):
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.