Young Adult Guest Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)

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?

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade
Publisher:  Philomel
Format: ebook
ISBN: 039925482X
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: October 19th 2010
Number of pages: 452
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Review by Melissa

Andrea Cremer became one of my favorite authors thanks to this beauty of a book/series which I still need to devour in a (hopefully) not so distant future. I can still remember in rich detail most of the story as it was captivating, amazing, kick-ass and simply perfect in all ways possible. 

Calla is the alpha female of the Nightshade pack. Her attitude, personality, natural leading qualities made her someone worthy of following by her packmates ‘til the deep end without even doubting her intentions. In return, she protects all of them fiercely by putting their needs before her own. Although she’s not someone to rely on a male to get things done, she does have to struggle endlessly with the ancient traditions of her paranormal world, keeping their secrets safe and uniting the packs by promising herself to the alpha male of the other pack, Ren, even if it’s against her will.

This is where our wonderful boy, Shay Doran, comes into the story. Defiant, adventurous and extremely curious as of his surroundings, it was of no surprise that he should be the one to cross Calla’s path, show her that there might be more than what she was led to believe all her life and that sometimes sacrifices come with a very heavy price, but totally worth it.

Finally, there’s only for me to rave about the beautiful setting Nightshade took place in: the magical Vail, Colorado. Just imagine mountains, forests and a great deal of snow. This is a truly magnificent place where you do expect paranormal things to happen right around the corner, or at least meet bears hanging around your garbage.

I really hope to get my hands on the second installment soon; the whole series is already complete so thankfully there won’t be torturous months of waiting in between.

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Series in Order

#0.5 – Shadow Days
#1 – NightShade
#2 – Wolfsbane
#2.5 – Treachery
#3 – Bloodrose
#3.5 – Aftermath
 

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Young Adult Guest Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
ISBN: 0062117378
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: February 12th 2013
Number of pages: 343
 
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Review by Melissa

Pivot Point without doubt has earned a special place in my list of favorite books ever. It was awesome, incredible, unique. Such an imaginative read that I devoured in less than a day. It was addictive, very fast paced, but not overwhelming, just the right amount to be entertaining and easy to follow.

I loved the plot and the alternative futures. It’s so uncommon to come across books just like this one that answers the “what if” questions like: Which choice to make? Stay or leave? Remember or forget? Addie has this amazing ability to be able to see into her future and the possible outcomes, to make a choice and decide which one is best for her. She is so mature regarding her ability, knowing the implications of using them in her everyday life, besides from being smart, witty and a total bookworm, thus making me really like her as a character. It was fun to watch her go down her two possible futures and interact on totally different settings: the normal world and the compound, home of supernatural people.
The chapters flew by in my attempt to get to know both outcomes, though I must admit I was eager to read the ones involving the normal world. Of course this has nothing to do with Trevor … okay, it had A LOT to do with him. He was just so perfect and fun to hang out with that it makes me want to have a best friend just like him and follow the best friend handbook word by word. Believe me, it’s so worth it. And this is just a small part of the awesomeness.

It’s a book where I laughed out loud with the things Addie and her best friend, Laila, would come up with. It’s a book where I doubted who to trust and made me feel apprehensive of some people for no reason. It’s a book where my heart wanted to jump out of my body and into the book pages, especially when Trevor was around. It’s a book worth re-reading countless of times until the next installment comes out and relieves me from the pain of waiting such a long time to see what happens next. I NEED to know.

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Series in Order

#1 – Pivot Point
#2 – Split Second (Expected publication: February 11th 2014)

Young Adult Guest Review: Eyes Ever to the Sky by Katie French

Eyes Ever to the Sky

When Hugh wakes up in a smoldering crater—no memory, no clothes—a single thought echoes in his head…trust no one. Frightened and alone, with no memory of who he is, he stumbles upon a grisly murder scene and is fatally shot. He wakes, only to find he can heal himself. He has superpowers, and he’s going to need them.
Desperate and bleeding, Hugh stumbles upon fifteen-year-old Cece, who’s got enough troubles of her own. Between caring for her bipolar mother and trying not to get evicted from her run-down trailer, Cece may be the only person struggling as much as Hugh. Drawn to Hugh, Cece finds a love she’s never known. But when the real killer—a man-hunting beast—chooses another victim, Hugh and Cece realize they must unlock the clues to their past if they have any chance at a future.

Title: Eyes Ever to the Sky
Author: Katie French
Series: The Sky Trilogy
Publisher:  Katie French Books
Format: ebook (PDF)
ISBN: 0615811213
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: April 9th 2013
Number of pages: 194

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Review by Melissa

There’s not a single bad thing that I could say about Eyes Ever to the Sky, except that maybe it should have been longer, 194 pages of Hugh was not enough for me.  The book starts off when Hugh wakes up naked in the bottom of a crater at a park. He hardly remembers who he is, let alone how he came to be there of all places. At the other side of the story (it’s told from multiple points of views) we meet Cece, short for Cecelia, who lives with her bipolar mother in a trashy trailer. Her life is all messed up, basically living among garbage and constantly worrying for both of their safety. Mama’s health is dropping with every passing day, so Cece needs help urgently or she will lose her along with her freedom from foster care.

It’s astounding the way the characters grow throughout the story. We started out meeting a confused, terrified boy with no clue whatsoever of his identity and the next thing we see is a young man so ready to take on anything that threatens the life of Cece. Hugh’s survival instincts were impressive, though quite risky. He doesn’t trust anyone, his guts tell him not to, instead deciding to venture on his own and see where this leads him. When he falls in love with Cece, it doesn’t really feel like insta-love, it’s more like knowing he can trust her. She shows him kindness, ready to help him in any way she can, just like she would like others to lend her a helping hand.

Hugh stared into Cece’s face. She stared back, her brown eyes filling with tears. ‘Don’t worry about me,’ she whispered.
‘I will’ he said, his voice trembling. ‘I will always worry about you.’

That line made me tear up in front of my friends. I wish I had waited until I was home to fall apart and crush my heart a little bit without an audience, but I just could not stop reading. So yeah, I personally loved this book… and Hugh.

 

Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review

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Series in Order

#1 – Eyes Ever to the Sky
#2 – Unknown

Young Adult Guest Review: Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Bloodspell (Bloodspell, #1)

The spell was simple…
Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)
But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?
Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds — much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.
What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own…
Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

Title: Bloodspell
Author: Amalie Howard
Series: Bloodspell
Publisher:  Langdon Street Press
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1936782111
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: June 1st 2011
Number of pages: 394

 
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Review by Melissa

When it comes to vampires and witches, forbidden love and all, you would think that this book would follow the same standard rules of paranormal relationships; vampire falls in love with the innocent human girl (this time a witch) but of course it’s complicated due to his insane need to take her blood until dry, never mind the fact that he loves her. Ok, come to think of it, Bloodspell does follow this same pattern in a way, but Amalie Howard takes it to a whole new other level that really is so much better than my lame description above.

First of all, Victoria is powerful. She’s a witch and a very deadly one at that, much to her dislike. She’s the one who everyone fears, holder of Le Song Noir, the black blood that runs wildly in her veins trying to take control of Victoria to do its bidding, to cause pain on anyone who dares cross its path, to take pleasure the moment it goes for the kill. Victoria is terrified of what she is capable of doing, having learned of it from some journal entries written by none other than the first wielder of the Black Blood, her ancestor Brigid.

These entries were so good, serving as a background to understand the hunger and power of the Black Blood. They described how Le Sang Noir slowly starts taking control of Brigid, eats away her own humanity and encourages to do horrible stuff. I loved the ominous feeling this set, becoming my favorite part of the book. I have a really soft spot for the world building, the history created by the author felt authentic and interesting to follow.

The relationship between Victoria and Christian was good, ignoring the insta-love/attraction they feel for each other at the beginning. I felt him to be so mature and totally swoon worthy. The guy could play the piano and the violin with such passion that he would make your heart melt within seconds. So you see, it wasn’t difficult to guess why Victoria felt attracted to him and for me to look forward to the sequel.

 

Series on Order

#1 – Bloodspell
#2 – Bloodcraft (Expected publication: 2014)

Saying Hello to Melissa on the Team Book Travels

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I’m a 19 year old International Commerce student living in Mexico. I love reading fantasy, paranormal and basically all things YA with a hint of romance, but I also enjoy reading New Adult, Classics and regular fiction. I strongly believe that books are the perfect companions and all the therapy you need when you want to escape from reality and dive into amazing worlds created with such love and imagination.

I also like to write poetry, though I would call it more like "expressing myself" and it makes me feel good just letting it all out, just like when I review a book and give back a bit to the authors I admire.

Some of my favorite reads would be:

  • Dystopian – The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

I loved the books way before they were a huge screen success. So fierce and heart-thumping, I couldn’t get enough of them. Could I have cried harder when I read Mockingjay? I don’t think so.

  • Fantasy – The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.

I fell down the rabbit hole like Alice, but instead I found myself in the Never never, with round eyes and all. I loved every single thing from these books: characters, settings and the fresh ideas. Oh, and Grimalkin.

  • The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter.

I have always been fond of Greek mythology and Aimée Carter’s new take of the infamous Hades was something that really caught my eye and bookish heart. I really love the underdogs.

  • Contemporary (YA) – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

I will never stop crushing for this book with its perfect boy and perfect place in Paris.

  • Classic – Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

I love horses and this story is so perfect and beautiful that I will forever cherish it. I hope one day to be able to read it to my kids just as my mom did it to me.

These are just a few of my favorite reads, though they are YA, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to give other books a chance. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and The Shack by Paul Young are favorites of mine as well.

I can’t wait to get started!

Melissa first review is coming very soon!