Angel of Night by Julie Simons

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Angel of Night by Julie Simons
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Full (355 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Poinsettia

He could guard an ancient temple or preside over the gates of Hell….

After enduring years of terrifying nightmares, a mysterious figure has begun to appear in Leah’s dreams. He’s both grim and glorious–lit with the glory of the sunrise, yet his fierce countenance banishes the horrors that haunt her. She recognizes him as the imposing, enigmatic senior who has drawn her interest since first sight. He’s been frequenting her dreams for months but now seems to be watching her day and night, and Leah can’t resist fantasizing that the aloof boy everyone else is afraid of may actually be protectively watching over her. But her friends warn her that he’s dangerous. When Leah’s worst nightmares begin to materialize around her and her world begins to fray at the seams, her night angel is the only one Leah trusts to help her. Angel or demon, with danger closing in on her, she wants to believe that he can save her. But can anyone save her from herself? If she only knew what awaits her. There’s something Leah’s nightmares have been trying to tell her….

Leah’s crush isn’t what he seems, but then neither is Leah.

Poor Leah. She just wants to survive high school and make her parents proud, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to get anything right. To top it off, she’s experiencing some health issues that are severely affecting her life. Her delicate stomach, sensitivity to light, and nocturnal habits are grating on her parents’ last nerve. Their suspicious and borderline hostile attitude is heartbreaking. It was hard to watch Leah struggle to behave “normally,” but as I read, it became clear that Leah is anything but normal.

I really like Leah. Her love of animals is particularly endearing, especially her friendship with a young deer. The time she spends with animals seems to be the only time she can truly relax. Leah is having a tough time going through her “change” into whatever she’s becoming. Her parents don’t understand what’s happening, and her father is very harsh and seems to have written Leah off completely. I get the impression that she was once close to both of her parents. This makes their broken relationships that much harder to bear. While I have a lot of sympathy for Leah, I think she could treat those around her better, especially her friend Joe and her mother. They have no clue what is happening to Leah, but they are genuinely trying to understand because they love her and want to help her. Leah just pushes them away and shuts them down when they try to talk to her. That being said, I do think Leah’s relationship with her mother can be saved. Leah’s mother is extremely smart and persistent, and I really like that. It shows she cares and will never give up on her daughter.

Asher, the mysterious senior, is a unique hero struggling with the same problems Leah has. While others perceive him as a “bad boy,” he’s really just trying to survive the best he can. Asher has admired Leah from afar for a long time, but never told her. However, he is very protective of Leah and defends her when some other students say and do some particularly nasty things to her. Asher and Leah have an interesting relationship. He is protective and pushy at times, but I never doubt the sincerity of his affections for her.

I must say that Angel of Night, is very slow paced for the first half. In fact, this is the sole reason I didn’t rate this book a five. While the slower pace at the beginning gave me an in depth feel for Leah and Asher and the world they life in, it was drawn out too long. However, Leah and Asher are wonderfully developed characters and my interest in them kept me going. My patience was definitely rewarded. Once Leah and Asher actually connect, the pacing really picks up. I do wish they had more time to simply enjoy being together, but Asher waited too long to approach Leah and they just don’t have time because something dangerous is closing in on them. Consequently, most of their spare time is devoted to teaching Leah how to develop her blossoming abilities. Unfortunately, time is running out.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Angel of Night. I’ve never encountered beings like Leah and Asher in a paranormal book before, and my curiosity is piqued. I hope that Ms. Simons has plans for a sequel because I can’t wait to read the next chapter in Leah and Asher’s story. I highly recommend Angel of Night to anyone looking for a unique paranormal laced with romance.

Supremacy by Christin Lee

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Supremacy by Christin Lee
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance
Length: Full (375 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 stars
Review by: Poinsettia

Kate Parker, is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She’s on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.

Does Kate really want to know the truth about Lucas?

I liked Kate immediately. Her kindness and passion for animals in need made it very easy for me to warm up to her character. Kate has a lot going for her. She’s pretty, smart, and athletic with a competitive streak. Kate also has a special ability she doesn’t talk about much. If she did, others assume she’s showing off when in reality Kate truly desires to use her ability to help others. I can’t say more about her ability without spoiling the story, but I will say that I’m very curious to learn if it can be developed further.

Kate’s ability does isolate her from her peers a bit, but she has a great support system in her family and two best friends, Shea and Stephen. Kate and Shea have a great connection, but I have no idea why Kate considers Stephen a friend, let alone a best friend. Not once in the entire story did Stephen behave the way a friend should. In fact, Stephen puts her in a very uncomfortable position that a true friend who has known Kate for years never would have. Kate kept insisting Stephen was a best friend, but there is no evidence to support that claim.

Kate’s family is great. Her parents, especially her father, are overprotective, but I really liked the fact that they care about Kate enough to be truly involved in her life. I especially enjoyed watching Kate with her brothers. While they pick on each other mercilessly, it is clear that this is the way they express love for each other.

When Kate meets Lucas, she is completely unprepared for the torrent of emotions he unlocks in her heart. I must admit that I was never quite able to get comfortable with their relationship. Considering that their time together is very limited, I think they fell in love rather quickly. However, I do like the fact that Kate is able to be herself around Lucas. She doesn’t have to hide her personality or her special ability. Lucas is very closed off at first, but he opens up more toward the end of the book, especially after Kate figures out what he is and where he’s from. Unfortunately, he hides some very important details from Kate that have her questioning everything about their relationship. I must say that the ending of Supremacy is very hard to swallow. I certainly hope that Ms. Lee has some happiness is store for the couple in the next installment of this series.

I enjoyed reading Supremacy. I’m glad I got to know Kate and Lucas, and the brief glimpse of Lucas’ world left me wanting to know more. Fans of young adult romance should give Supremacy a try.

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Action/Adventure, Suspense
Length: Full (528 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Lupine

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family as good as killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the theif-turned-wizard Han Allister can be trusted. She wants to believe it – he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive – and even they might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hands of fate.

The Gray Wolf Throne is the third installment in the Seven Realms series. It’s full of action and romance as the paths that Han and Raisa have twisted around each other finally converge in an epic and large collision of hurt, betrayal, and love. Though Raisa stepped on Han’s trust and feelings for her, he still repeatedly helps her and is always the shadow behind her when she needs a shoulder to lean on.

Being in the court rather than out in the world was quite the change, and I appreciated the adaptation of the former street lord to the confines of blue blood life. Alister is just as manipulative and snide as those who live in the court, but he knows better ways to get what he wants. Raisa also has to struggle with the many callings of being a young queen, being pushed and pulled in many different directions, both in responsibility and in love. She’s got many options to marry, but she has to decide if her heart will choose over a political marriage for the better of the country. I like that Raisa has her head on her shoulders, and recognizes the many mistakes and wars that would be a result of an unwise choice in marriage. It’s an unusual thing to see such a high maturity level in someone her age, and I love to see how she takes on the many problems that are presented to her, and uses her mind. She also isn’t completely deterred by the many affections around her, the people trying to vie for her hand in marriage.

The plot thickens with the introduction of the plans to destroy, control, or use the throne. Many people want to have the Fells under their hand for war, for power, or many other things. Raisa has a lot on her plate. I thought the plot overall was good, but slow in some spots. I can’t wait to pick up the fourth book!

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
​Length: Full length (400 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rated: 4.5 stars
Review by Lupine

A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon’s life is a lie.

She does not belong in Thunder Basin, Nebraska. As the star witness in a murder trial against a drug dealer, Stella is now in the Witness Protection Program. The small town locals can never know who she really is. Not even Chet Falconer, the one boy who makes her want to reveal her true self. She knows that telling the truth will only bring violence to this safe haven.

Despite how hard Stella tries to stay under the radar, danger is fast-approaching. Criminals have a way of getting rid of witnesses, and Stella may have made the one mistake that could lead the cold-blooded men hunting for her right to her doorstep.

A nonstop page turner with a great plot and endless excitement–what else could you want​?

This book was one of the best books I have read this year, and considering I nearly marked Becca Fitzpatrick’s books off my TBR list forever after Black Ice, I’m excited to say I think she has outdone many authors with this particular book.

The heroine is smart, strong, independent, and stubborn, and she can take care of herself and make rational choices on her own, which I don’t always see in YA books. The plot is excellently crafted and keeps the reader engrossed, the “love triangle” is actually interesting, which is odd because I usually hate them, and the book can snap from heart-pounding suspense to carefree life in a few seconds.

Really, I can’t say enough about the protagonist. I think she is in my top five list of people I aspire to be like because of her personality, her heart, and her intelligence. She makes good choices and I applaud her for it, yet it doesn’t take away from the reality of her humanity and she still struggles with some choices. The love interest isn’t sketchy and controlling and obnoxious, which is a relief because I can’t stand that, and he’s actually quite respectable in terms of teenage boy. The plot never takes a break, and right when you think everything’s okay, it’s not.

The only thing i disliked were the few plot holes (if this is going to be a series, that would be forgivable, but I’m not sure it is). The author left a few things unanswered which I didn’t appreciate, and is the only reason this didn’t rate higher.

Overall, though, it was a great book and I can guarantee that I’ll reread it and recommend it to my friends.

Chaysing Dreams by Jalpa Williby

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Chaysing Trilogy Book #1: Chaysing Dreams by Jalpa Williby
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Full Length Story
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Sorrel

Life…secrecy, deceit, danger…No, no! Run, escape!

“Run!” Her inner voice is shouting. She has to run faster! She’s about to get caught! No, no! She has to get away. Please, she must escape! “Run faster!”

As long as Tess Sanoby can remember, she has always had the same nightmares, where the girl in her dreams is running for her life with an unknown force chasing her. Each time, right before the girl is caught, Tess awakens, shaken with fear and confusion. Who is the girl? What do these dreams mean?

Getting through the growing pains of high school with her best friends Jack and Kylie, and then being accepted into her dream college, Tess is excited to start her life of independence. There, she meets the mysterious trainer and mentor, Chris, and she instantly feels a strong connection with him. Unfortunately, Chris wants nothing to do with her. Although Chris continues to give her the cold shoulder, his overprotectiveness and the occasional slips of sensitivity confuse Tess. Not understanding Chris or their relationship, she is on a constant emotional roller coaster with him. Could her best friends be the stable force that she desperately needs?

Unfortunately for Tess, the more she tries to connect the missing pieces of her life, the more obscure her past and future appear to her. To make matters worse, she realizes she has fallen hard for a man who may be her worst enemy. As passion ignites between the two, she can’t help but surrender her heart and soul to him.

Tess is unexpectedly exposed to a world of secrecy, deceit, and danger, causing her to be running for her life, chased by the unknown. Can Tess escape and save not only herself, but also her loved ones? Or, will she be caught, leaving her no choice but to face her worst nightmare?

Chaysing Dreams is the ultimate love story, full of suspense, friendship, betrayal, tragedy, and sacrifice. In this epic tale, you will laugh and cry with Tess–a story full of twists and turns, keeping you guessing until the end.

An interesting twist to an everyday YA contemporary romance.  Tess is almost like any other college student. But there is one difference. This one difference will put a 360 degree spin on her life.

I have always been very particular about the Young Adult books I read.  There were things in Chaysing Dreams that I liked and disliked.

First of all I think it has a very good plot. It was really interesting to see bits and pieces add into the overall plot and enhance it.

But the story felt a little too long because not enough happened at the start.  I wasn’t getting those tidbits and clues I crave in a good mystery.  I love mysteries. But to keep me interested, I need to have answers to questions given throughout the story, not just near the end.  Also I struggled a bit with the point of view choice. The writing style and the POV didn’t mesh together as well as it could have.

However, the premise, the mystery and suspense and a touch of romance played a big part in keeping me engaged. The lead characters had a lot of chemistry and passion between them. Chris understands Tess and is willing to do anything to protect her. The love he has for her does not allow him to be away from Tess for long.  I do think this is a book that would appeal to many YA readers.