Denazen #1-3

Title: Touch (Book 1 in Denazen)
Author: Jus Accardo
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: November 1, 2011

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.
Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.
Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect.

Title: Untouched (Book 1.5 in Denazen)
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Ebook

Until he met Dez, Kale’s days were filled with violence and death. He was used as a weapon of destruction by the power hungry men of Denazen. He’s a Six. A person with an abnormal ability. Some people call them gifts, but not Kale. Kale’s touch means instant death.
But now there’s Dez, the girl he can touch, and they’re hunting down Sixes and warning them about Denazen. Kale is learning about the world outside captivity and trying to put his dark past behind him. But they underestimated how badly Denazen wanted him back.
When Dez sacrifices herself to save the new Six they’d rescued from falling into the corp’s hands, Kale is lost. Denazen has brought out its best to get the job done. Samsen, a nightmare from Kale’s past—the only person he’s ever truly feared—has come for them, and it soon becomes obvious he has his own twisted agenda.
Kale will need all his training to get Dez back and ensure they make it out, free—and alive. But will it be enough?

Title: Toxic (Book 2 in Denazen)
Release Date: October 16, 2012

When a Six saved Kale’s life the night of Sumrun, she warned there would be consequences. A trade-off. Something taken for the life they gained. But Dez never imagined she’d lose the one thing she’d give anything to keep… And as if it’s not enough Dez finds her immunity to Kale fading, the Six brought in to help Kale learn to control his killer touch starts drooling on him the moment they meet. Worse than that? Jade can touch Kale. But bimbo Barbie is the least of Dez’s problems.
After Dez and Kale got away at Sumrun, her father lost not only his most powerful weapon but an important piece of the Supremacy project. Forced by Denazen to remedy the situation, he poisons Dez and offers her a choice–surrender to Denazen for the cure…or die. Determined to find a solution that doesn’t involve being bagged and tagged–or losing someone she loves–Dez keeps the poison a secret. But when a rash of Denazen attacks hit a little too close to home, Dez is convinced there’s a traitor among them. Jade.
Sacrifices, broken promises, and secrets. Dez will have to lay it all on the line if there’s any hope of proving Jade’s guilt before they all end up Residents of Denazen. Or worse, dead…

Title: Faceless (Book 2.5 in Denazen)
Release Date: March 18, 2013
Ebook

My name is Brandt Cross, and I died. Again…
I’m living in the body of a Six named Douglass Cain, a certifiable scumbag whose ability is on Zendean Industries—AKA Denazen’s—most wanted list. There’s some serious bad going down, and Ginger, the leader of the Underground, sent me undercover to obtain information because people are dying.
My cousin, Dez, is dying…
Denazen thought they’d found a cure for the Supremacy decline, but they were wrong. That’s the bad news. The good news? Franklin Wentz.
Wentz, the owner of a genetic research company, is brilliant and just a little bit crazy. He’s unwittingly created a formula that may cure the sick Supremacy kids, and everyone wants it—including Devin, the super hot Resident.
Get the formula. Save the day. Don’t fall for the hot spy. Piece of cake.

Title: Tremble (Book 3 in Denazen)
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Ebook

Dez Cross has problems. She’s almost eighteen and on the verge of losing her mind thanks to the drug Denazen used to enhance her abilities. People close to her have turned their back on the underground and are now fighting for the wrong side. And then there’s Kale… Things couldn’t get any worse.
Until of course, they do. Denazen is about to start a new trial—this one called Domination—and it works. But that means out with the old and in with the new. The order has been given to terminate all remnants of the second trial—including Dez. The good news is that there’s a survivor from the original trial. A woman who’s blood may hold the cure for the second generation of Supremacy kid’s defect. But the underground Sixes aren’t the only ones who know about her….
Cross is willing to throw everything he has to keep Dez from getting the cure—including the one thing that might tear her apart from the inside out.

This series is amazing! I read a snippet of someone’s review while researching this book on Google, and unfortunately I can’t remember the exact quote, or which blogger said it (and it definitely was a blog, though I don’t know why that’s what I remember), but (s)he said something about if you haven’t read this series, then you must be living under a rock or something, and I whole-heartedly agree! This is one series that you don’t want to miss; enrapturing characters, adrenaline rushes, action-packed plot, and a most definitely steamy romance all come together in a wild, crazy adventure that you won’t want to miss. I remember when these books first started coming out, and I remember the hype and adding them to my TBR list. I’m now presently kicking myself for not getting around to them sooner and not having them on my bookshelf! The cover series is amazing; they are relevant, with the same color tones, and intriguing. Combined with the titles, that alone was enough to make me want to read the books, but there is so much more that will make you love them after you read the series. (And, by the way, I read all of these in a matter of three short days! Yeah, they’re that good!)

Each character is unique and enthralling, with a specific personality that not only makes them real, but distinguishes them from every other character. I especially like Kale’s narration in extra scenes at the end of books and in his novella, Untouched. He is child-like, because of all the years spent removed from the world (DBD) but he is strong, intelligent, and in touch (no pun intended) with his feelings (even though he may not always understand the emotions running through him).  Dez is the perfect counterpart for him, too, and the thing that really stands out about their relationship (yeah, other than the fact that they’re being hunted by crazy scientists and murderers) is that they love each other because of things that other people can ignore, not in spite of them. That’s actually in the books, too – although I can’t recall at which point it was said.

The rest of the characters are awesome, too, especially Brandt, who even gets his own novella. I thought that was really cool, too, since he is a very important and loveable character. The relationship between him and Dez is perfectly written, conveying all the love and emotional childhood memories in all the books. I also like how the novellas take place between all the books, so that there’s stuff revealed in them that aren’t necessarily included in the novels but may be hinted at, or at least shed a whole new light on them.

The action and suspense in these adventures is both extremely exciting and terrifying, which definitely plays with my emotions as a reader. I’m constantly surprised, which leads to emotional turmoil – betrayal, confusion, heartache and heartbreak are all commonplace feelings while reading this series, and don’t expect to be able to just sit back and enjoy flipping the pages. No; you’ll be on the edge of your seat, eager for every word, unable to sit still for fear of what may come next, and even if you manage to predict what happens on occasion, there will definitely be surprises in store for you!

I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on the next book, and I hope you all feel the same when you go out and read this for yourselves!

~Yours Truly

*Note: I do not recommend this book for readers under the age of 15 due to extreme violence, sexual references, and profanity.

 

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Fins Are Forever

Title: Fins Are Forever (Book 2 in Fins)
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books – HarperCollins
Release Date: June 28, 2011

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.
Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form, when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?
The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams
?

This was a great, sweet sequel to the first book. The characters were great (Quince and Lily together are awesome!), the plot was interesting, and the writing was well done. I still can’t get over the fish references and phrases that replace human ones (guppyhood, sea witch, etc.). They’re funny and completely accurate, so it adds a bit of comic relief to the emotional and tense places in the story.

I also liked the fact that even though it was a good book, it wasn’t too drawn out or long. It was pretty fast paced, and with everything on Lily’s plate, the pace worked nicely with the plot. And then there’s the ending, too – I almost couldn’t believe what had happened. I wish that there had been another, or at least an easier, way for everything to work out, but at the same time I understand that an imperfect ending was really best – it helps make it more realistic. Life is messy, after all, and can’t be resolved with a poof of magic or a few plot twists in a story, after all.

I really enjoyed this installment, and I definitely want to read the last book in the trilogy. I highly recommend this book as a middle grade read – everything about it is enjoyable. The characters are funny and real, and the mermaid fantasy is a great twist on a normal (or as normal as possible) existence in the same world readers experience every day. Enjoy!

~Yours Truly

Crimson Frost

Title: Crimson Frost (Book 4 in Mythos Academy)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington Press
Release Date: January 1, 2012

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.
I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

As good as this book was, it was not the best out of the rest of the books. It was definitely emotional, don’t get me wrong – I was happy and heartbroken at all the right places. And Estep still did a wonderful job controlling the pace of the plot to build the suspense and action.

And even though the plot is thickening, and it was still a great book, it felt more like a filler book. Which is okay, but I’m now super excited for the next book, especially given what happens between the characters (ahem, Logan and Gwen) in this one. Those two just can’t seem to catch a break.

So, since it was a filler, most of the book was full of pre-actual-stopping-Loki action – some of which relates back to the previous book, especially considering her upcoming trial. In the next book, though, there will probably be a lot more of actual-stopping-Loki-slash-preparing-for-the-upcoming-battle, which I, for one, am very much looking forward to reading! Also, there was a lot of character and relationship development in this book. I already mentioned Gwen and Logan, but there’s a new character, Alexei, who I am looking forward to learning more about in future books, as well as some interesting relationships that change (for the better) – Oliver, Savannah, and Gwen; Logan and his dad; Gwen with Nike; etc. Plus, I really liked the whole addition of the Protectorate. As the main focus for this book, it will be good to have this book later on so that it doesn’t come into play all of a sudden in a future book and make no sense.

Basically, even though it was a filler book for the series, I think it will prove to be a very important book in the series. It gives a lot of information that undoubtedly will come in handy in the next books, and I am looking forward to finding out what happens next! (And the covers are still totally awesome!) I highly recommend this series to anyone with any sort of sense of adventure at all!

~Yours Truly

*Note: Due to some violence and mild language, I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 13.

Dark Frost

Title: Dark Frost (Book 3 in Mythos Academy)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Release Date: May 29, 2012

I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me–again.
Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects–and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me? It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me–and I’m in for the fight of my life.

Even though I decided not to reread the previous books in this series, I was thrust back into the Mythos Academy world immediately and absolutely. It hardly seemed as though I had forgotten anything because of how well Estep incorporated the earlier parts of the plot into this third book, and this next part to Gwen’s story was just as captivating as the first two!

Gwen’s narration is funny, blunt, and definitely gives the reader insight into her personality when it comes to her romantic problems, friendship issues, or people trying to kill her. It was great that she was very honest narrator, and that her personality didn’t change from scene to scene. Logan, Daphne, Carson, and the other characters – Grandma Frost, Professor Metis, and the rest of the Mythos Academy population – were also well-written and convincing. And even though the plot didn’t hinge on the characters as much as in other books I’ve read recently, the interactions definitely affected the outcome (like when no one would answer Gwen’s phone calls – while she was running to save someone’s life!). But my favorite secondary character was definitely Nott. Even though she wasn’t in every scene, she was in the ones that really mattered. The ending killed me, but then Nyx made up for it, sort of, with the level of cuteness and innocence she brought into the last scenes.

The plot with the Reapers and Loki really intensifies in this installment, and Estep does a great job of keeping the story suspenseful but fast-paced. With everything that’s happened in this book, I can’t wait to see what happens in Crimson Frost!

~Yours Truly

*Note: Due to mild language and violence, I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 14.

Taken at Dusk & Whispers at Moonrise

Title: Taken at Dusk (Book 3 in Shadow Falls)
Author: C. C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: April 10, 2012

Kylie Galen wants the truth so badly she can taste it. The truth about who her real family is, the truth about which boy she’s meant to be with—and the truth about what her emerging powers mean.  But she’s about to discover that some secrets can change your life forever…and not always for the better.
Just when she and Lucas are finally getting close, she learns that his pack has forbidden them from being together.  Was it a mistake to pick him over Derek? And it’s not just romance troubling Kylie. An amnesia-stricken ghost is haunting her, delivering the frightful warning, someone lives and someone dies. As Kylie races to unravel the mystery and protect those she loves, she finally unlocks the truth about her supernatural identity, which is far different—and more astonishing—than she ever imagined.

Title: Whispers at Moonrise (Book 4 in Shadow Falls)
Release Date: October 2, 2012

Even at a camp for supernatural teens, Kylie Galen has never been normal. Not only can she see ghosts, but she doesn’t seem to belong to any one species—she exhibits traits from them all. As Kylie struggles to unlock the secrets of her identity, she begins to worry that Lucas will never be able to accept her for what she is, and what she isn’t…a werewolf.  With his pack standing in their way, Kylie finds herself turning more and more to Derek, the only person in her life who’s willing to accept the impossible.
As if life isn’t hard enough, she starts getting visits from the ghost of Holiday, her closest confidante.  Trouble is, Holiday isn’t dead…not yet anyway.  Now Kylie must race to save one of her own from an unseen danger before it’s too late—all while trying to stop her relationship with Lucas from slipping away forever.   In a world of constant confusion, there’s only one thing Kylie knows for sure.  Change is inevitable and all things must come to an end…maybe even her time at Shadow Falls.

Oh my gosh. This series is killing me with the endings to the books! It’s not even like a huge deal, either, but somehow Hunter manages to make me feel so anxious and excited and tense to know what happens next with only a little tease at the end – a sense that there’s much more to come, but not until the next book!

I loved everything about these books; as continuations of Kylie’s adventures and self-discovery (while dealing with ghosts, murdering rogue supernaturals, and a ton of other stuff), they do an amazing job. And even though I loved both of these installments, this latest book –Whispers at Moonrise– I think is the best so far. Of course, with the next book I’ll probably say the same thing, considering how badly I need more of this story.

The characters were excellent, too. There was a lot of baggage and emotion that each brought into the story, and it all came together to make me happy, sad, frustrated, and a million other emotions while reading. I liked how the book ended with the romantic entanglements, and how even though there was a lot going on, it all came together to make sense in Kylie’s crazy life.

Considering what she does at the end, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next stage of Kylie’s life–Chosen at Nightfall is definitely next on my TBR list!

~Yours Truly

*Note: I do not recommend these books to anyone under the age of 13 due to some grotesque images, mild language, and sexual references.

The Lonely Hearts Club

Title: The Lonely Hearts Club
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point – Scholastic, Inc.
Release Date: December 29, 2009

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It’s a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there’s this certain boy she can’t help but like. . .

This is possibly the best book I’ve reviewed all summer, and not (necessarily) in a screaming, I-need-a-sequel way, either. Instead, this was a cute, sweet, and clever novel with realistic characters, a mostly light-hearted theme, and a fantastic story that left feeling happy after I finished it. Pure romance novels, even for young adults, aren’t my favorite books, but this book certainly pulled out all the stops. Plus, the whole coming-of-age aspect to it and the focus on friendship, not just romantic entanglements, made it super easy to read – in just a few short hours (like, 2), I went through the book, and am seriously considering making this the next book I buy – and I don’t buy nooks often!

The characters were awesome. I loved Penny and her family; she had so much voice and personality as a narrator, which made it so easy to fall into the story, and even though her family is only in a few scenes, it wasn’t at all hard to fall in love with them, too (and I love the whole Beatlemania that comes into play, not only with her family, friends, and romance, but also in setting the stage for the readers with the lyrics intertwined with the writing, the title, the sections of the book, even the cover modeled after the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover – can you tell I love the Beatles? Although not, I may add, as obsessively as the Bloom family). Her friends Tracy and Diane were awesome, too. I loved how their friendship grew and developed over the course of the book as Penny changed – it’s rare to find that in books, but Eulberg does an excellent job of it. Plus, all the other girls in the Club were wonderful. I loved the whole premise of the book, but without those girls to pull it off, this book could have been a terrible read. Luckily, Eulberg is a freaking fantastic writer, and her publishers let the world know with this book.

I’ve completely ignored the guy characters, though. Ryan, of course, is amazing: great personality, and even when he and Penny are fighting, he was my second-favorite character (right after Penny herself). And then the other guys – Principal Braddock, Todd, and Mate, mostly – even though they were jerks, made great characters and intensified the emotion that came out during a lot of scenes in the book – mostly righteous anger and indignation, but then that made the warm and fuzzies even more special when they came along, too (like the ending)!

As predictable as some of the relationships and plot points were, I loved it – the writing really sucks you in, despite knowing some of what’s going to happen. As a reader, blogger, and attempted writer, I give Eulberg my highest commendations and hope that continues to publish stories like this – light, happy, romantic reads that perpetuate happiness. These books definitely make the world a better place.

~ Yours Truly

*Note: Due to mild language and some sexual references, I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 13.

School Spirits

Title: School Spirits (Book 3.5 in Hex Hall)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 14, 2013

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy’s mom decides they need to take a break.
Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who’s always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.
Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Hawkins has done it again! As the beginning to a new series from the POV of a different character (Izzy Brannick), I absolutely adore this book! I like how there were references to the other characters like Sophie and Archer, almost as though we got to check in on them every now and then, and how Sophie and Izzy were similar as narrators (which makes sense, because they’re cousins). The combination of new story with same setting made a terrific book.

The new secondary characters were great, too. Dex and Romy and Anderson were fun people, and perfect for Izzy and the plot. Giving them any other personality would have been weird. I really loved how Izzy had to try to fit in and get used to high school – how removed she was from the rest of the world was never that apparent in the other book, so this gave a lot of insight to the Brannick family. I also liked how the romance kept me on the tips of my toes, unsure of how it would turn out. I think that the way the romance ends leaves room for hope and most definitely another book! Plus, there’s all the unresolved issues, like Finn, Torin, etc.

Seeing as how this is the fourth straight Hawkins novel I’ve read, I believe it’s safe to say that I love this author, her series, and the especially her characters. Even though the next few books I have lined up to read are not by her, I will surely be on the look out for more (and there had better be another in this particular storyline)!

~Yours Truly