Archive | December, 2010

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

31 Dec

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book #2

Published:  July 13th 2010 by Scholastic Press

Details: Hardcover, 362 pages

My rating: 3/5

My summary:

A continuation of Sam and Grace from Shiver. Sam is now cured, but as spring approaches Grace starts feeling unwell. While beautifully written, the pacing in this book is off and I’m still not connecting with Sam and Grace. I did however like the new addition Cole. Overall, okay read. Third installment Forever to hit the shelves next summer.

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A few chapters in:

If you’ve read my review of the first installment Shiver you might know that I didn’t outright love that book. I thought I was going to devour it, as the story seemed to be right up my alley with an Edward-Bella type of a romantic couple set in a paranormal environment (with werewolves instead of vampires). Problem was, Sam and Grace did not resonate with me in the same way that Edward and Bella did. Why? I don’t know. I just know that I didn’t care for them as much as I should have.

That said, it was beautifully written, with an intriguing and original plot that included well-rounded secondary characters (Isabel especially), and so I always knew I wanted to return to the wolves of Mercy Falls. The question was only when.

Well, the time has now come to delve into the sequel, and I’m already a few chapters in. Some time has passed since we left them in Shiver. It’s still winter but there are early signs of spring. Like in Shiver, there are alternating POV’s. This time however, two more POV’s have been added apart from Sam and Grace, namely Isabel and a new character Cole. Cole is one of the new werewolves that Beck recruited just before changing to a werewolf himself, presumably for the last time. Consequently, we don’t know much about Cole, except for the fact that for some reason he must have willingly agreed to become a werewolf, or else Beck wouldn’t have recruited him.

As the spring approaches, so does the time when Cole and the other new werewolves will shift back to their human forms. Sam, who is now amazingly cured, is waiting for them, hoping that their transition will go well. Meanwhile, Grace is struggling with headaches and a hot temperature. Something is not quite right, which is most likely stemming from when she was bitten all those years ago. Why that should surface now, I don’t know, but I’m sure there is an explanation.

I’ve just got to the point now where Isabel and Cole meet. And let me just say, that this is starting to get really interesting. If their first meeting (where sparks literally fly) is any indication of the rest of the book, I’m guessing I might just devour this sequel, the way I never did with Shiver. Let’s hope so!

 


 

After finishing the book:

Well, I’ve finished it. And I’m sorry to say, just like with Shiver I felt it was lacking. I was momentarily gripped when Isabelle and Cole met, but as that relationship sort of fizzled out, my interest in the book did too.

Mostly my problem with Linger (as well as Shiver) is my inability to connect with the lead romantic couple Sam and Grace.  This is a very subjective thing I know. But given the fact that it doesn’t take much for me to swoon over romantic couples (Bella & Edward, Cabel & Janie, Jace & Clary, Valek & Yelena) to name a few, it is quite strange how when I read about Sam tossing and turning in bed because he misses Grace so much, my reaction is: yawn. Why is that?

It may be because I’m missing sparks and passion. I don’t for a minute doubt that they love each other very much, but it’s all so careful, quiet and lovey-dovey. Which, once again, some might like to read about, but I need something with a little more life in it. That’s why I loved the new addition of Cole, because he brought some life and sparks to the story, that previously only Isabelle had provided.

My other main reason for yawning my way through this book was the non-existent plot. Already in the first couple of pages, we get a hint of what is to happen to Grace. Yet it takes all of the 400 pages to get there. And in between? Not so much, really. Cole’s background story is told, and there is the friction between Grace’s parents and Sam. But other than that, it felt like I read about all the four of them basically going on about their life, doing mundane things like calling each other, turning a pillow in a bed, driving their car, looking at the wolves, pondering and questioning and worrying.

It helps of course that these mundane events are told in the words of Maggie Stiefvater, who can make a trip to the bathroom sound like poetry. She is extremely good with words, there is no denying that. Unfortunately though, no amount of beautifully phrased prose can save a non-existent plot (in my view).

I have to say though that the ending was quite spectacular. I loved how Cole stepped up to the plate when it really mattered (Cole’s my man!), and the whole explanation behind the werewolf curse was interesting as well.

Did those last 10 pages make up for the rest? Not really. But a good ending always leaves you intrigued, and so I may actually pick up the third installment Forever, to be released next summer.

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Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

24 Dec

Series: Morganville Vampires, book #1

Published October 3rd 2006 by NAL Jam

Details: Paperback, 248 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Summary:

First book in a series of 12. About Claire who moves to Morganville, Texas as a freshman in college and befriends the older teens Shane, Eve and Michael. Soon the sinister secret of Morganville is revealed – the town is ruled by vampires.  And Claire and her friends find themselves in the midst of it all. This is a fun page-turner, with non-stop action, and a little bit of romance. Not enough character depth and a cliff-hanger-ending drags grade down. Sequel is called The Dead Girls’ Dance.

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A few chapters in:

After reading Twilight, I did what many others did. I went on the hunt for other similar vampire series. Numerous Twilight-reading-lists and recommendations later, I had gathered the following information:

There are two young adult vampire series out there worth getting into (for a 30-year-old), both having earned a huge fan-base and great reviews: The Vampire Academy and The Morganville Vampires. Problem with the latter was that at the time I was craving a vampire story a la Cullens i.e. nice vampires who refrained from killing humans. Not the case with the Morganville Vampires whose vampires are..well not exactly the good guys. Hence,  the book ended up on my TBR pile and there it was, forgotten, while I plowed through one young adult series after another reading about pretty much every mythical creature out there except vampires (sirens, shapeshifters, werewolves, fallen angels, fairies, demons, ghosts and the list goes on..).

Now, almost a year later, I feel I’m ready to delve into another vampire series where (gasp!) they are actually the evil guys. Not only ready, I’m looking forward to it! Time has come for the Morganville Vampires.

I’m now a few chapters in. Brainy and studious Claire is just starting classes at the Texas Prairie University in Morganville, Texas as a freshman, at only 16 years of age. Problem is, this doesn’t sit well with other students, in particular a certain Monica, leader of a terrifying girl gang.

During a scary encounter in the dorm with them, Claire is pushed down a flight of stairs. Feeling lonely and badly bruised she decides to try to find somewhere else to stay, seeing as her dorm no longer seems like a safe alternative.

Following an add in the paper, she finds a room in a house in downtown Morganville, to share with the group of older teens Eve, Shane and Michael. Through them she soon learns that there are things out there far more scarier than Monica and her gang of girls.

It turns out Morganville carries a rather sinister secret. The town is run by vampires, who operate like a type of mafia. You’re either with them and get protection or you’re not, meaning there is a high possibility you’ll end up as one of many strange disappearances.  Claire is having a hard time at first believing in the existence of vamps (who wouldn’t) but as the days go by, she reluctantly grows to accept it as the only plausible explanation to all the strange happenings around there .

And this is as far as I’ve got, but I’m already feeling the pull. I’ve got the same excited feeling as when I started reading the Mortal Instruments series. Claire (as well as Clary) is an ordinary girl who teams up with a cool group of older teens and friends, to explore a supernatural world she had no idea existed. As in the City of Bones I’m immediately warming to the characters, in this case Claire, Eve, Shane and Michael, and I’m feeling really curious to see what will happen next. In short, I’ve got a good feeling about this series.

 

 

 

 

After finishing the book:

I’ve just finished the book and I liked it. It’s a great fun page-turner and a good start to a series.

It had everything you’d want in a paranormal fiction series. Intriguing world-building, friendship, romance and of course lots and lots of action. I loved the latter of course seeing as that was one of the reasons why I kept turning pages. Yet, the non-stop action overshadowed character development, which is why this story never reached amazing grading levels for me. (As you know, the characters are the number one priority for me in a book.)

However, the characters are all likable, and they have distinct characteristics, so that’s all good. I just needed a bit more depth to really start caring for them. Though I assume more depth will be provided in the following books.

There is romance as well, and it develops quite slowly, which I liked. First they hang out, become friends and only then, after some time does it become more. I wasn’t even sure until about half way through the book which one of the two boys would take on the romantic lead (surprising seeing as my romantic antenna is usually pretty alert and spot-on). Either way, it doesn’t blossom into anything more than those first tentative steps. Too much fast-paced action going on in the background for that. But I look forward to see how it develops.

Lastly, but not least, the premise of this series is intriguing in itself. What would happen if vampires were to rule a city? How would that work? Some of the details of this concept is explained in this initial book, but others are left out, which makes me curious to continue reading. For instance, I would like to know more of the background and the hierarchy of the vampire rulership. And why is it that some vampires can stay out during the day albeit not in direct sunlight? Moreover, are all vampires evil or are there exceptions?

I’m sure these questions (and more) will be addressed in the following books, and I’m looking forward to get the answers, as I return to the town of Morganville in a very near future. One thing that lowered the grade however was the cliff-hanger ending, which had the book ending practically in the middle of an action scene. You probably will want to have acquired the sequel The Dead Girls’ Dance by the time you finish this book.

Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

15 Dec

Series: Hush Hush, book #2

Published: October 19th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Details: Hardcover, 432 pages

Rating: 3/5

My Summary:

I loved Hush Hush, mostly because of the dangerous and intriguing character Patch. Unfortunately he is absent for most part of this sequel, and Nora has turned into an irrational, angry, whiny and weak heroine. I’m sad to say that this book was a disappointment. Still an easy read, and I remain curious to read the conclusion to the series in Silence, out next year.

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A few chapters in:

Ever since I read Hush Hush some time ago, I have been eagerly waiting to read this sequel. Fitzpatrick has a way with words that make me feel as if I’m watching the story unfold from the front row of a cinema theatre. It’s that vivid. Consequently, I just know that the sequel will be as entertaining as Hush Hush was. Plus, it has got great reviews.

I’m now a few chapters into Crescendo, and Fitzpatrick does not disappoint. I’m pulled into the story immediately as I follow Nora’s father during the last terrifying hours of his life (in the prologue).

Fast forward to present day and the troublesome relationship of Nora and Patch. It’s been two months since Patch saved Nora’s life and was given back his wings and a place as a guardian angel. You would have thought that this achievement would put a stop to any doubts regarding Patch’s intentions, seeing as he is now clearly working for the good guys. Or is he? Nora is still doubting pretty much everything about him – primarily his feelings for her.  All doubts are of course stemming from the fact that she still doesn’t know much about him. Patch isn’t (as we know by now), the most talkative guy out there.

When Patch appears to have secretly visited Nora’s archenemy Marcie Millar, and refuses to explain it upon Nora’s confrontation, it all becomes too much and Nora breaks up with him.

As much as I love the bad boy character in Patch, I have to say I rejoiced when that happened, because from what I saw, that did not seem like a healthy balanced relationship to me, Nora being way too attached to a seemingly distracted/busy/arrogant Patch. So way to go Nora!

I know there may be ulterior motives behind Patch’s actions (angels stuff that we are yet unaware of), but he has to start including Nora into his thoughts, or else how is she ever going to be able to trust him? As it is now, she’s better off without him.

At the same time, Scott, an old childhood friend moves back to town. At first, I expected him to immediately throw himself over Nora, creating that love triangle we love so much in young adult fiction these days. But, that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, Scott – all though good-looking, is almost rivaling Patch with his grumpy attitude and shady past. It’ll be interesting to see how he will fit into the story, because at the moment I have no idea.

From the prologue, I am also guessing that Nora will start investigating her father’s death, hopefully casting some light on the events that led up to it, including her link to the Nephilim.

All in all, I’m guessing I’m in for an exciting read! 

 

 

After finishing the book:

It started out so great, with so much potential. We had the charismatic Patch, and his dramatic relationship with Nora. Throw in a new boy in town with secrets of his own – Scott. While underneath it all an outwordly and dangerous angel and Nephilim world is lurking.

Instead, what did we get?

An absent Patch, who made an appearence here and there occasionally, mostly to save Nora or Marcie from various situations. But certainly not enough apearences to keep me interested. The new guy Scott turned out to be a joke. Rude, strange, weak. A side character just like Elliot in Hush Hush. I was simply not  interested in him. Of the nephilim / angel world we only got glimpses here and there, except for the last three chapters when some of it is explained.

So, if nothing of the above, then what was the plot about?

To tell you the truth, I am still not completely sure of that myself. At the beginning Nora broke up with Patch, because she doubted his feelings for her (which I could understand). The rest of the book is mainly about Nora’s emotional turmoil following that break-up. It was quite confusing to read. It felt like listening to a confused friend going on and on about an ex-boyfriend post break up. That oh, she loves him, but they can’t be together, but he is a jerk, yet he is the best that ever happened to her, and she wants him, but it would never work out between them, and either way he is a jerk.. and so on and so forth.

I did understand the emotions Nora went through (break-ups are tough), especially seeing as she is young, and Patch was her first love. Yet, it’s hard to sympathize with such an irrational and whiny heroine. She keeps making stupid decisions, and as such ends up in the most ridiculous scenarios, breaking into numerous bedrooms/flats/cars, sneaking, stealing and lying.

After seeing her behaving this way for a while I started to feel that she wasn’t much better than her archenemy Marcie herself. Worse still, I was beginning to wonder what the heck Patch ever saw in her. And that can’t be good. Because Patch’s and Nora’s relationship was the driving force behind me turning pages in Hush Hush.

The Bottom Line:

So to sum it up, my hopes for Crescendo were that it was going to take a step forward, delving more into Patch’s background, character growth, the world of angels and nephilim and more about Nora’s part in the whole scheme of things.

Instead it felt as if the plot got stuck stomping at the very same spot, where we left off in Hush Hush. There was yet again a stalker attempting to harm Nora, there were the same trust issues regarding Patch, and Nora kept making the same stupid decisions putting herself in numerous dangerous situations, again.

As if nothing had been learnt from the events in Hush Hush. At the end of it, I was starting to lose interest, and frankly couldn’t care less about Nora – whether she was going to make it or not and who the bad guy was.

All that said, I still read it quickly, as it is very well written. I haven’t changed my mind regarding Fitzpatrick’s writing. She knows how to write, no question about that. I am also still curious to see what will happen next, (curious but no longer dying to know) and I will probably read the final installment Silence, to be released in the fall next year. My expectations however have now been lowered. Which may not always be a bad thing. I might enjoy Silence more. Let’s hope so.

Review: Absolution by Jennifer Laurens

14 Dec

Series: Heavenly, book #3

Published: October 1st 2010 by Grove Creek Publishing

Details: Paperback 220 pages

My Rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Last installment of the lovely Heavenly series. Zoe is fighting evil spirits, as well as trying to choose between human Weston and angel Matthias. Another wonderful read with all the characters that I’ve come to love. However, as a fan of Weston, I was slightly dissapointed at some turns of events. All in all great but not as amazing as Penitence.

A few chapters in:

Oh, I am so happy!!! I finally got this book in my hands, and believe me, I’ve been eagerly waiting for it ever since I finished the wonderful prequel Penitence. It looks as if this book will continue along the same lines – have only read a few reviews (too afraid of spoilers!) – but those have all confirmed what I was hoping – that Absolution will bring a perfect end to what is turning out to be an amazing trilogy.

Ok, so before I start, let’s just take a few deep breaths, and if I can manage to lower my expectations just slightly that would be good too. At the moment they are skyrocket high, never a good thing as it leaves too much space in there for disappointments.

Right, so it’s just a book, no big deal. May not be exactly what I was hoping for, but that’s OK too.

All good? Ok, let’s read!!!

I’m now a few chapters in. It starts just where Penitence left off, on the day of Brady’s funeral. Zoe and Chase are on their way to Krissy’s house, to talk to Krissy who seemed upset about something. As you may recall from Penitence, Krissy’s father appears to be one evil man, if judged by the many black spirits that constantly encircle his persona. Krissy refuses to tell Zoe what is bothering her, but it I have a strong feeling her father has something to do with it.

Meanwhile, the father of Matthias, the evil Albert, is making Zoe’s family home life a living hell, causing her parents to argue at all times. Will Zoe ever be able to make it stop, and if so, how? She decides to tell her parents the truth about her being able to communicate with spirits. Because if they know that Albert is causing their rages, that may prevent it. Or so she hopes.

And this is as far as I’ve got. As usual I have no clue where the plot will take me. It seems as if Krissy will play a bigger part here, but how? Will Weston return again? Please Laurens, make him return! And finally, will Zoe be able to get rid of Albert, and keep Matthias at the same time?

So many questions. Can they all be answered in less than 200 pages? I truly hope so!

After finishing the book:

It’s taken me a few days to collect my thoughts regarding this book. I liked it, very much even, but it also lacked that special something that made Penitence so amazing. I’m finding it difficult to put my finger on exactly what that was.

Once again, the prose was excellent and I got pulled in immediately – invested as I was in all the characters – as I followed Zoe’s struggles to maintain peace all around herself. Peace, that Matthias father Albert was bent on shattering. As you may recall from Penitence, his attempts at destroying Zoe’s life are interlaced with his goal of hurting Matthias. Some father, right?

Consequently, this last installment takes on a darker tone, as evil spirits swarm just about everywhere around Zoe. Brady resurrects as a black spirit haunting Weston. As hinted earlier, black spirits are constantly encircling Krissy’s dad. And of course there is Albert, stirring up fights in Zoe’s family. A lot of times, it just felt like Zoe went from crisis to crisis, trying desperately to put out fires.

There is also the issue of that choice between Weston and Matthias. Not an easy one, I definitely agree on that. I realized though in Absolution that Zoe’s first and hence deepest love is, and will always be Matthias. No matter how crazy in love Weston is with her, no matter how sweet he is, and how real, he will always be her second choice. And that pained me to see. Weston is going out of his way to reach Zoe. He literally lays his heart out for her to take, and she just goes along with it, takes his heart, but doesn’t truly give anything back. Because, even though she loves him, she still loves Matthias more.

For me, as someone who fell in love with Weston in Penitence, that was a bit of a disappointment, to see Weston treated that way. I mean, poor guy to have to compete against an angel! Matthias is of course as divine as before, (all jealousy now gone) always as forgiving, reassuring and loving as he was in Heavenly. There is nothing bad to say about him, because he is perfect. But just like in Heavenly, I didn’t feel the connection between her and Matthias, not the way I felt Weston. Then again, this might have been just a difference in taste, because I’ve read quite a few reviewers who were team Matthias all the way. So maybe that’s just it. I happened to vote on the other guy this time.

Beware of spoilers:

The ending. Well, it was bittersweet, but once again, I felt more for Weston than I did for Matthias and Zoe.  Because did this mean that Matthias and Zoe one day will be reunited? If so, what about Weston? Is he supposed to just let Zoe go when that happens? Will Zoe ever be able to truly love Weston, as long as she remembers and longs for Matthias? For the sake of Weston I hope that Matthias erased himself. I actually do. As sad as that is.

End of spoilers

The Bottom Line:

All that said, just the fact that I am finding myself this emotional regarding all these characters proves that it is a great series. It’s been some time since I felt this invested in fictional characters, that’s for sure! So even though the direction of the story in this book (and the ending) wasn’t completely what I was hoping for, it is still very much worth the read. All in all, a wonderful series that I am recommending everyone to read!

Review: Old Magic by Marianne Curley

7 Dec

Series: No, stand-alone

Published: February 26th 2002 by Simon Pulse

Details: Paperback, 317 pages

My Rating: 2/5

My Summary:

Stand-alone novel about Kate and Jarrod who time travel to medieval England in order to prevent a curse to be casted on Jarrod’s family. First half of the book dragged, but it got slightly better in the second half – the time travel section. My main problems were Jarrod who was a wimp and the simplistic plot & writing, which was too young adult for me. Probably ok for younger teens.

A few chapters in:

Witchcraft, time travel and romance. A (gasp!) stand-alone book, almost never heard of in the young adult paranormal genre these days. And finally, written by Marianne Curley, an Australian author I’ve been curious about for some time.(She is also the author of the highly acclaimed The Guardians of Time Trilogy.)

All of the above, combined with the fact that it was standing there literally waiting for me while I was browsing the library shelf for something to read, made me pick it up.

I’m now a few chapters in, and while it’s an OK read, I’m not feeling completely converted just yet.

Kate is a witch. Meaning, she knows how to cast minor spells such as turning on the radio in the next room or fast-forwarding the minute-hands on the clock. Her speciality however is to get inside people’s heads in order to sense their general feelings.

Witchcraft runs in her family, all though the only family she’s ever known is her granny with whom she lives. Her mom abandoned her when she was only an infant. Because of her and her granny’s abilities, they have a bit of a reputation in the small town of Ashpeak where they live.

One day in school, Jarrod, the new guy arrives. Kate immediately senses that something is different about him. When Jarrod is being teased by the other guys in class, a storm is suddenly conjured up out of thin air, throwing things around within the walls of the class room. What Kate suspected before is confirmed. Jarrod has some serious magical powers.

Problem is, he is not aware of it, and he refuses to listen to Kate, who he believes is one crazy witch.

This is as far as I’ve got. I’m liking the fact that we’ve got alternating POV’s following both Kate’s and Jarrod’s thoughts. Yet, like I said before, I don’t feel any pull towards it. Hoping to feel it though, as I read more.

After finishing the book:

On finishing this book, I had a similar feeling to when I finished A Great and Terribly Beauty by Libba Bray. That the writing was good, but the story failed to pull me in, and in both cases I suspect it was because I am considerably older than the target audience.

As for the review:

Well, as I mentioned, the first half of the book dragged, to the point that I almost gave up. We are given Kate’s background story of being an outcast, due to being a witch, in the small village of Ashpeak where she and her grandma live. Enters Jarrod, the new guy in town, and he and Kate start a wary friendship. Wary because Jarrod – spineless as he is – is too afraid to acknowledge outcast Kate in school – as to not lose popularity himself.

They do however get to know each other better (off school) and as they do, Kate realizes two things. 1) Jarrod has powerful magical powers and 2) His family is unusually accident-prone, to the point that she suspects a curse has been placed upon them. After this realization, she repeatedly (and I mean literally repeatedly) tries to convince Jarrod to see this truth, while Jarrod repeatedly denies it. And this goes on..and on..and on..and on..until I was ready to throw the book into a wall.

Then just as the book was about to fly, Jarrod finally makes up his mind to follow Kate on a time travel to meet with his ancestors in medieval England in order to prevent the curse (which they believe was casted around that time era).

Here the pace picks up, and I gathered enough interest to keep going. Kate and Jarrod visit the ancestors Lord Thorntyne and his family at their castle – and are welcomed in. Not long after, it’s made very clear who the source of the curse is. There is this illegitimate brother – Rhauk – who lives in a neighbouring castle called the Blacklands (sounds evil anyone?), and who is looking to revenge his lost inheritance with a curse. The question is now, will the clumsy wimp known as Jarrod gather enough strength and magical powers to beat the powerful magician Rhauk, thus destroying the curse in the process?

Well, as much as I want to avoid spoilers, I can’t pretend the ending was a surprise. And believe me, as you are reading it you will know the end way before time as well. The plot was as predictable as a child story. I would have needed more subplots or twists and turns to keep me interested. This was simply put, too simplistic.

There is also a romance between Kate and Jarrod, which never pulled me in either. Kate was such a strong and mature girl, and I couldn’t fathom how she could ever be interested in Jarrod, let alone go through so much trouble to save him and his family from a curse.  She mutters herself quite a few times how she thinks that Jarrod is a spineless wimp. So I found it hard to believe in the romantic connection that they supposedly shared. Granted, Jarrod does change towards the very end, but it was a bit too late for me.

The Bottom Line:

All that being said, the book wasn’t completely bad, meaning I’ve read worse. It did redeem itself slightly towards the end. And, like I said when reviewing A Great and Terrible Beauty, had I been say 14 years of age, chances are I would have loved it.

As for now, I’m contemplating whether to read more of Curley’s books. Her trilogy The Guardians of Time has received high praise but after reading this debut novel of hers.. let’s just say, that trilogy just moved down a couple of notches on my TBR-list.

Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn

3 Dec

Series: Siren Trilogy, book # 1

Published: July 13th 2010 by EgmontUSA

Details: Hardcover, 352 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Summary:

Enjoyable paranormal read about Vanessa who is investigating her sister’s sudden death in a coastal town in Maine. If you are tired of fallen angels and vampires, this is a refreshing tale of something new: sirens. It’s a quite spooky read what with all the deaths caused by these creatures. Also with a hint of a romance. Be prepared to have questions left unanswered though. Sequel out next summer.

A few chapters in:

Ever since this book was published half a year ago, I’ve been keeping an eye on it, as it seemed to include everything that I normally enjoy in a book. We have Mystery: check! Sweet romance: check! Paranormal twist: check! And finally, but not least, great reviews: check!

I’m now a few chapters in. Quiet Vanessa and her lively sister Justine return together with their parents to their lake house in Maine to spend the summer. As always, when in Maine, they hang out with the neighbours and brothers Simon and Cabel. However, this time not many leisurely days go by until the unthinkable happens. Justine’s dead body is found in the sea, after having supposedly thrown herself off a cliff in bad weather.

Vanessa and her parents leave Maine in complete shock to arrange the funeral at home. After a few days, Vanessa decides to go back to the Lake House to investigate her sister’s death further as she is doubting the police report stating that Justine jumped off the cliff herself. There, she meets Simon, who tells her that ever since the night when Justine died, his brother Cabel has been missing too.  Meanwhile, the weather in Maine is behaving rather strange, gathering up storms from out of nowhere and calming down the next second. Somehow, I believe the weather is linked to these disappearances, but how I don’t know.

And this is as far as I’ve got, but the beginning is promising and I’m sensing a bit spooky too!

After finishing the book:

I have just finished the book, and..I liked it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but I did enjoy reading it.

First of all, I have to point out that it had some striking similarities with Need, all though instead of pixies, here there are evil sirens. In both books, the heroine (a girl with a lot of fears) is grieving the sudden death of a family member. Both storied are set in small towns in Maine, involving quite a few deaths before our heroes manage to close in on the enemies. And last but not least, they both involve a kick-ass grandma Betty!

I could go on, but if I do I’m afraid there will too many spoilers. I gave Need a stunning 4.5, and as you can see, I was not as impressed with this book. The main reason? The romance, which was so much stronger and steamier in Need. Loved Zara and Nick!

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked, back to this review:

We have Vanessa, who is a very likeable heroine, thoughtful and cautious, yet brave and strong. Just the way I like a heroine. All through the book she deals with her sister’s death, which is a painful process and somewhat confusing, as she gradually realizes that she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought.

We have geeky but still adorable Simon. A romance is hinted between the two of them, or rather starts but never truly takes off. I actually thought there would more romance, but it turns out the suspense in this novel overshadows the romance.

There are also many side characters, such as Paige, Cabel, Zara and Betty who were very well portrayed. I particularly warmed for sweet (almost to the point of naive) Paige, who seemed so misplaced amongst all the cruelty.

Even though the romance was not as prominent as I hoped it would be (as you know, I am a romantic at heart), it still very much kept my interest. I got a real spooky feeling while reading about the small coastal town surroundings, with dead bodies washing up onshore every few days and a weather going havoc. You don’t need to be an Einstein to guess that the sirens were the cause of all the mayhem (considering the title of the book), but there were many questions regarding the how and why? Through most part of the book, I was kept in the dark, with only tiny bits of information thrown in here and there. And it worked, I kept turning pages hoping to get my questions answered.

After finishing it, I’m not completely sure though I fully understood the how and why. I’ve read quite a few reviewers addressing the same issue, that too many loose ends were left hanging at the end, and I have to agree. I would have loved more to have been explained about the world of the sirens. And not only that, but other weird happenings, such as why supposedly dead Justine could communicate with Vanessa. Anyone got that?

Then again, I assume all this will be more throughly explained in the sequel Undercurrent, to be released next summer. The end in this book promises an intriguing sequel, so I am looking forward to continue reading this (what I assume to be) trilogy.