blo Teens Read and Write: August 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review & Blog Tour: INNOCENT DARKNESS by Suzanne Lazear

Thanks to Mundie Moms for having us participate in the INNOCENT DARKNESS Blog Tour!

Title: Innocent Darkness
Series: The Aether Chronicles #1
Paperback, 408 pages
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Publisher: Flux
Publication: August 8, 2012
Amazon | Goodreads 

Wish. Love. Desire. Live.
Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.

A fantastic beginning that sucked me right in. 

Noli is an awesome heroine, full of spunk, intelligence and independence. She moves to her own funky beat, and is proud and confident about it. Unfortunately, wonderful V is the only one that appreciates her individuality, which is why she’s sent to that God forsaken reform school.
Makes your insides cringe, doesn't it?

The way this torture chamber—I mean, school is written had my stomach twisting tighter than a balled python. It doesn’t get too graphic, but close enough that your imagination doesn’t have to work too hard. 

Noli toughs it out with incredible strength, and you’re absolutely ecstatic when she gets free. Even if she does land in the Realm of Faerie.

Which is where, in comparison to the first half, things start to slow. Still good, but doesn’t hold up to that incredibly suspenseful first half.

In the faerie realm, Noli depends on mystery man Kevighn to get her back home. She loses some independence here which is one of the main characteristics that made me want to be BFFs in the first place. *sigh*

But Kevighn does have that seriously dark and dangerous sexy thing going on which had me, and Noli, kicking ourselves for liking him so much. What is it about tortured bad boys that pluck the  hormone - uh, I mean, heart strings?

The good news is that when Noli’s best friend V shows up to save the day, he turns out to not only be a sweet book nerd, but just as dangerous and even more smokin’ than Kevighn. 

That’s right, you get two bad boys with tortured pasts in one book. I’ll wait while digest that delicious news. 

It's almost like getting 2 Damon Salvatores.
Only not as good because, you know, it's not 2 Damon Salvatores.
However, V is definitely my pick of the two. The main reason being that he and Noli had a terrific history of awesome friendship which made the transition to romantic love sweet and believable. 

The major problem driving the plot seemed to wrap up a little too easily for me, but the final pages do hold an exciting and ghastly twist. Why Noli? Why? It’s so not fair.

There was way less steampunk than I expected, so hardcore steampunk fans, consider yourselves warned. However, faerie fans should be thrilled with the abundance of fae drama.

Secondary characters James and Charlotte were delightful and I'm intrigued as to where their story goes.

Also, just a note, near the end an overly sexy scene blips out of nowhere and had me wondering about the "for 12 and up" rating. It was brief, somewhat vague, but not vague enough for my eyebrows not to shoot up.

Mom isn't reading over my shoulder, right?
That'd be awkward.
Overall, a fun read with plenty of romance, intrigue, and for most of the book, a pretty tough heroine. I'm definitely picking up the next one to see how she makes it out of that craptastic situation at the end. 

If you missed any of stops, be sure to check them all out on the INNOCENT DARKNESS Blog Tour!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Review: STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth

by Jennifer Bosworth
Pub: May 8, 2012
384 pages

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
Overall, I enjoyed STRUCK and the vivid dystopian wasteland Bosworth created. I've lived in LA and felt my share of earthquakes so could relate to the scary prospects of devastation. 

A recovering lightning addict, Mia’s avoiding the electrifying goodness. We do get hints that there’s something more supernatural happening with her other than just surviving a gazillion lightning strikes. Though that’s pretty amazing in itself. 

Mia would prefer to stay out of all the end of world drama but she gets sucked in when her mother and brother become involved. Mia must take on the bad guys and figure out the mystery in order to save her family. 

Mia is smart and slow to trust so some might find it confusing when she has an insta-love connection with the strange hot guy that has not only been stalking her, but attempted to MURDER her. 

Funny enough, while I questioned her judgement here, I ended up completely falling in love with the sweet, sexy stalker/killer because he had totally justifiable and logical reasons for wanting her dead, and if he went through with the plan, with Mia gone, he and I could be together. 

Don't judge. All's fair in my fantasy literary lovelife.

With the End of Days concept, there's a religious aspect to STRUCK, but it’s not huge. The Seekers and the Followers are opposing cults with the Followers led by Prophet - name is actually Prophet - who's preying on people’s fear to get them to join him for some nefarious purpose that only Mia can stop. 

Both cults want Mia on their side for super-secret reasons. Mia and I agreed that both were sketchy—see the caution and smart thinking? (I’m talking about her, not me, but I can see where you could make the mistake.) Mia chooses the only other available side: hers. Which ticks off Twiddle Dee and Dum, but had me fist pumping the air, and leads Mia to find the power within and fulfill her destiny.

STRUCK has an exciting premise and while the action junkie in me could have used a bit more action, those who love a high-voltage (see what I did there?) tension-filled read will be satisfied. Great characters, a cute romance (after you get over the whole attempted murder thing), and some serious mystery. Someone call Nancy!

And STRUCK has the best book trailer EVEREVER!!! I think Bosworth's director husband created it for her and if so, I vote that he does every YA book trailer from here on out. Who's with me?! 
Check it out! 


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