Love in a Time of Monsters – Teresa Yea.

Many thanks to Broken E Publishing, via Netgalley, for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5

I’ve just finished this book (as in, literally 3 minutes ago I put it down), and I really, really enjoyed it. The characters were perfect in their imperfections; I can’t remember reading a book where there was such a comparison of light and dark, good and evil, in the main characters.

Rob, the main character, was really the only one out of the main four characters (Rob, Cat, the doctor, and Liam) who was truly good. The others all had very distinct phases of being good, being evil, etc. It was fascinating to see how Yea pulled that off.

Things I loved included the setting of the book (how can you not enjoy reading about a serial killing monster that lives in the fae-dark woods in the wilds of Scotland in the 19th century?); the flashbacks that Cat had to the ill-fated trip to the Congo; and how realistically addiction was portrayed throughout the novel. I also really enjoyed the truth about who Rob really was. The last thing I loved is more of a writing thing: the parallelism between a semi-calm scene and a more violent scene, using the exact same wording. Example:

…In reply, the lad passed a hand over the last bell jar and the copper wires ignited into a small explosion.

*

An explosion mushroomed in the forest, backlighting the interior in a wash of flames. Through her spyglasses, Cat watched…

The only thing I didn’t particularly like about this book is that there were a lot of sexual overtones and innuendoes that I think could have been removed without really hurting the overall storyline. I mean, yes, the readers get that Rob is attracted to Cat. Why do we need to read a discussion about his penis in the actual book? (Yes. That did happen.)

But that is my own personal bias, and obviously it didn’t bug me terribly much.

Definitely recommend, and definitely will be looking for other books by Ms. Yea!

From a Distant Star – Karen McQuestion

5/5 stars.

Many thanks to Amazon Publishing and Skyscape, via Netgalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Recipe for this book:

1. Begin with 1/2 cup of stereotypical teenage romance, wherein Emma’s boyfriend Lucas is dying from cancer. Throw in 1 T. of doubt that this book is going to be any more interesting than aforementioned stereotypical teenage romances. Stir well.

2. Add 2 cups of a sad, innocent, lonely — but incredibly smart and adorable — alien named Scout (who takes over Lucas’ body in order to survive), and a half cup of excitement that the book is actually going to be something different than it started out seeming to be; mix thoroughly.

3. Sprinkle in a pinch (or a bit more, depending on flavor of mixture thus far) of nagging fear that Emma is never going to get Lucas back and that Scout is never going to get home; stir well.

4. Add 1 cup of exciting adventure and 2 cups of a happy ending that makes everyone happy. Mix well.

5. Place in oven and bake for 6 hours.  Enjoy!

Really, really enjoyed this book (as if it’s not evident by now). Scout was so sweet. The only downside is that I feel that I got to know Scout better, as he learns to navigate Earth, than I ever really knew Emma. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to recommend this book to those of my friends who like books that defy overused tropes. I look forward to see what other books Ms. McQuestion will be writing!

Return of the professional reader.

And now I have returned to the world of Netgalleying… and the first book I have to review is Jillian Spectre and the Dreamweaver, by Nic Tatano.  I’m so glad that I requested this book!

4.5

Many thanks to HarperCollins UK and HarperImpulse, via Netgalley, for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

First off… wow. I went into this book expecting an interesting story, based on the blurb, but I also expected it to be a little on the stereotypical side of YA paranormal.

Man, was I in for a surprise! There’s really nothing stereotypical about Jillian Spectre. I mean, yes, she’s a teenage girl with awesome paranormal abilities — but unlike similar books/series, Jillian’s powers are the strongest when she works together with her three best friends. I really liked that, because instead of just one person single-handedly saving the world, it was a team effort.

There was romance in the book, but thankfully — in my opinion, anyway — it was not overdone or really the main focus of the story. Well, not entirely the main focus (and if I said any more, it would be spoiler-y). But it was a sweet romance, no “hot sex” — and that I appreciated as well.

Definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a different take on YA paranormal. It’s a quick read, and what’s even better (IMO) is that it’s part of a series. I can’t wait to get my hands on the first book in the series (when I requested this from Netgalley, I didn’t realize that it was the second in a series). However — also in its favor — it’s fine as a standalone. Yes, I knew that there was some info I was missing from a previous book, but it wasn’t so much to the point where I didn’t understand what was happening.

Well done, Mr Tatano! I look forward to reading other books of yours!!