5 of 5 stars to ‘A Shade of Blood’ by Bella Forrest

Shade of blood

Addictive

No human has ever left the Shade alive. Now, after weeks of captivity on the sunless vampire island, Sofia is given the choice: stay, and remain with her beloved Derek Novak as his human slave; or return to her life with Ben and have some chance of normality. Can she live with the choice she must make?

Book 2 continues the series exactly where book 1 left off. If there’s one thing that jars me a little when reading this series, it’s that there are no clearly defined beginnings and endings to each of the novels. Each book seems far too short and ends abruptly, leaving you hanging, wondering what is next. Sheer genius of Bella Forrest, I think. I know that as readers, we like tidy little packages with all the ends neatly ribboned off, but when you’re reading a series, there has to be a reason to move on to the next book, and Bella Forrest certainly knows how to provide that. So, I’ve made peace with this series by viewing it as one long book that has been broken down into smaller chunks. And it’s one of those fast-paced series you have to read from cover to cover!

Book two featured a greater variety of character’s POV. I particularly enjoyed this, since it gave depth to many of the characters that I felt was missing in book 1. Strangely enough, I relished Lukas’ POV, it was just fresh and unusual to see things from the POV of the villain.

The emotional intensity from the first book was heightened in this one. I felt that Derek’s ‘fall’ following Sofia’s decision made him more ‘human’ and ‘inhuman’ at the same time. The chemistry and intensity between Sofia and Derek remained intact and there was some lovely character development all round, including for Ben.

This is definitely an addictive series.

3 of 5 stars to ‘The beautiful ashes’ by Jeaniene Frost

Beautiful ashes

Something different from one of my favorite authors

Ivy is psychotic. It’s what she’s been told her whole life and the only way she can explain the visions of dark, parallel worlds that only she can see. Then Ivy’s sister, Jasmine goes missing into one of those strange universe’s and Ivy can only turn to Adrian. But no matter how attracted Ivy may be to Adrian, he will not allow her to forget that his destiny will be to betray her. Can they navigate the demon worlds to rescue Ivy’s sister without becoming victims themselves?

I am a HUGE Jeaniene Frost fan. HUGE. The Night Huntress series is possibly one of my favorite of all time, so I was super excited when she decided to dabble in the New Adult genre. The premise of the series is wonderfully imaginative and her creativity in fleshing out the demon realms is nothing less than the ‘awesomeness’ I expect from such a talented author.

And yet…I have to say I was disappointed. So many of the things that made me love the Night Huntress series were absent: the sizzle between Ivy and Adrian just didn’t do it for me and I did not immediately fall in love with their characters the way I did with Bones and Cat. Ivy, in particular felt a little too two dimensional for me. Adrian has a dark, brooding side to him which did endear him to me later in the book.

The world creation and action scenes were what I’d expect from Ms Frost’s calibre of work – rich, detailed and starkly ‘realistic’. Her skill in making each scene come alive with descriptive words carries through too. So while it is my personal opinion that Ms Frost excels more with adult fantasy novels than in this genre, I will remain a steadfast fan.

Lets chat with Evelyne Stone author of ‘Destroying the Wrong’

Destroying the wrong 2

Talented author Evelyne Stone reveals discusses her inspiration for Destroying the Wrong together with some great advice!

Q: What inspired you to write ‘Destroying the Wrong’?
A: My kids inspired me to write Destroying the Wrong. They listen to my advice but I don’t think they really hear me. I wanted to write about topics that would open up more discussions with them. I know I didn’t want to listen to my mom and had the attitude “it will never happen to me,” so I’m hoping at least some of my story will stick with them.

Q: Tell us something about Evelyne Stone that is not common knowledge.
A: This is a hard one! I’ve always been super boy crazy but if a cute boy ever talks to me, my whole body will turn red. Not a cute, blush red, but a red that makes me look like I just broke out in a rash! It happens with girls I find intimidating, too!

Q: Are there any specific childhood experiences or memories that you feel have helped shape you into the person you’ve become? Would you share them with us?
A: I have this terrible habit of remembering embarrassing moments constantly. The biggest one that made me terrified of public speaking seems to pop up more than the others. I was in seventh grade and I wanted to try out for cheerleading. The only experience I had was a cheer summer camp at the high school that lasted maybe two days. We had to get up in front of the entire school and they would vote. I was not skinny or popular, so the fact that I even considered doing it was amazing. I was the last to go and once I stood in the center of the gymnasium, I covered my face with my hands and couldn’t remember a thing I had practiced. I think I did one little part of the cheer and then ran off the floor. Everyone laughed. I hid in the bathroom for a few minutes, sucked it up and went to my next class. Even now, I hate getting up in front of people.

Q: Bullying and teen relationships are two of the most prominent themes in ‘Destroying the wrong’. Are these issues close to your heart and do you have any advice for teens going through such challenges?
A: They are both close to my heart. I was bullied throughout my entire school career and I wish I could say that it stops when you’re all grown up, but it doesn’t. Adults just bully others in other ways. Not to sound all professional, but I really think teen relationships help define our adult relationships. It’s so easy to manipulate younger girls and I’ve seen too many guys take advantage of that.
My advice for teens is to keep an open communication with an adult. It doesn’t have to be a parent but someone you can trust and go to when you need advice. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable in a relationship, it’s probably not a good one to be in. Never, ever sell yourself short.
Wow, I sound just like my mother!

Q: Are there any authors you particularly admire or who you feel have influenced you greatly?
A: I read a lot of books by Dean Koontz growing up and he has a way to pull you right into the book. I also read every Babysitter’s Club books and I loved the way I could relate to the characters while I was growing up. I want to write books with characters that are likeable so that when they experience things my readers have also experienced, the character can show the reader it’ll all work out.

Q: When and why did you decide to become a writer?
A: I’ve always wanted to write a book and honestly, I still have a lot to learn. I’m sure you can pull out at least five grammar errors in this interview alone! One of my best friends pushed me to try writing a book and I did. It’s not going to be a best seller but I finished and that feels really good.

Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I am working on another YA book that focuses on relationships and letting go of things we don’t have control over. After that, I’ll be finishing up the third book in the Wrong series.

5 of 5 stars to ‘Destroying the wrong’ by Evelyne Stone

Destroying the wrong

Realistic and shocking

Alissa and Katherine can’t wait for the school year to end. They want to graduate and get out of this school that has become a nightmare. But there are still a few months to go and Kat and Alyssa will have to navigate the reality of bullying and boys before they’ll have the freedom they long for.

Destroying the wrong has two main themes at its heart.

The first is bullying. Well done to Ms Stone for tackling such a relevant and yet difficult topic! The reality and brutality of the bullying is eye-opening. Sadly, Ms stone is right too – with the advent of social media, bullying has reached a new low. Teens are cruel and have no qualms about splashing one another’s shame across media networks. While some of the scenes were a little cliched in terms of their angst, I felt that Ms Stone did a wonderful job of portraying the challenges that face many teens nowadays and hopefully, she will create some much needed awareness around this cruel practice.

The second theme is teen relationships. Ms Stone has so accurately portrayed the nervous, excited, jumble of hormones of a first physical relationship. The relationship between Matt and Alyssa progressed much too quickly for my liking and lacked softer emotions. This made me wonder if this is not a sign of the times. Sadly, the idea of girls discussing and planning the giving up of their most precious gift of virginity like it’s something to ‘get over with’, is shocking but true. The lack of respect and monogamy was annoying for me. I like my characters to have a bit of morality in their spines – but the simple truth is that not everyone does. Ms Stone expertly captured the naughty excitement and fear of wrong doing with her words.

There were some tense issues and some parts I felt were contrived. I would have also like to see a bit more depth in the lives of Kat and Alyssa – surely there is more to their lives that bullying and boys. But perhaps that is the whole intention of this novel. Perhaps these things consume our lives as teenagers to such an extent that we cannot see past them? I love a good book with an important message and this one has a few. It made me think past the end of the book and wonder. The story itself is pretty ‘normal’ and yet Ms Stone has managed to take a mundane part of life and turn it into something frightening, exciting, passionate, tender, naughty and eye-opening.