Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review: Strange Angels Series by Lili St. Crow

Please read my Book Review Disclosure.

Title: Strange Angels (Books 1-5) 
Author:  Lili St. Crow
Genre:  YA Paranormal 
Spoilers:  Nahhhh . . . not really.  


Dru Anderson wakes up each morning with one goal:  to survive another day.  She has what her grandmother called “the touch”.  This comes in handy when you are traveling across the country with your dad, hunting ghosts, wolves, vampires, and the occasional zombie.  Now that her dad has entered the zombie category, Dru has a choice to make:  Does she kill him for good or allow him to live undead and kill her and everyone in his path?  With her mom gone, her dad a vampire and her best friend a werewolf, she has since learned her own blood is not entirely human. 

It's a good thing Dru Anderson is quick on her feet, because the people (and I use this term very loosely) chasing her are not slowing down, and one vampire in particular will not stop until he has her blood on his incisors.  When her best friend is captured, Dru’s worst fears have come true.  She doesn’t think twice when she sets out to bring him back in one piece, at any cost.  Dru’s training kicks into overdrive when she is face-to-face with her best friend’s tormentor and her mother’s traitor.    

My Opinion: 

If you can just hold my hand through this, we’ll all be okay.  Strange Angels is, hands-down, one of my favorite paranormal YA series.  Dru, Graves, and (okayyeahI’lladmit) Christophe are amazing characters you can get lost in.  Although Lili St. Crow is not an amateur author by any means of the word, from Strange Angels (Book 1) to Reckoning (Book 5), you can feel—not just read—the growth of the author in the characters.

Throughout all of these books, I was holding my breath until the end . . . and in the end the whoosh of breath I exhaled was out of awe and frustration, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  Dru is, for lack of a better phrase, a certified ass kicker.  And you know what?  It’s about friggin’ time.  Throughout several YA dystopian novels we see strong heroines who kick ass without bothering to take names.  But I have found this is rare in the paranormal genre.  Sure, the main female characters are essentially strong in their own right, but Dru is simply a sharp diamond in the center of fragile glass.  She’s tough, but she has her moments when you wonder if she’s finally going to break.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good love story.  Strange Angels has this element, but survival is at the forefront of everything.

Now.  Let me get into the reason why I was awed and frustrated at the ending without giving away said ending.  Although there is an epilogue, we never really find out what happens!  Oh.  My. Stars.  I don’t even . . . I just . . . what in the world . . . can we just have a min—noooooooo!  A book series that has an open-ending drives me insane.  But even now, long after I have finished the series, I’m still thinking about it.  Well played, Miss St. Crow.  Well played. 

I lovedlovedloved this series.  I hope y’all will take a little time and check it out.  My advice:  don’t forget to breathe.  

Strange Angels (Books 1-5)

What I'm Listening To:
Spoken word poet, Shane Koyczan

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Playing For Keeps by R.L. Mathewson

Normally I only read books from the Young Adult genre, but lately I have branched out into other literary greatness.  I recently found an author that I am pretty much fangirling right now . . . in a totally no weirdo kind of way, of course.  I read all of her e-books in about a week, except one.  I refuse to read this last one because I'm not sure when the next one will come out and that hurts my heart a little.  

Gosh, Maria, could you be just a little more dramatic?  

I could, but I'll spare you.  You're welcome.

Book Review Disclosure

Title:  Playing for Keeps (A Neighbor From Hell #1)
Author:  R.L. Mathewson
Genre:  Contemporary Romance (if there were a genre for "Contemporary Romance and Friggin' Hilarious," this would be the perfect category)

Note:  There is sex in this book.  Steamy, beautiful, sweet, sexy love making that may not be suitable for anyone who is offended by such things.


Haley Blaine and Jason Bradford are neighbors and colleagues at the same high school, in the same department, with adjoining classrooms   As a neighbor Jason is loud, obnoxious, messy, and a self-proclaimed a-hole.  Haley is the world's biggest pushover who avoids conflict at all costs and never complains about his parties, naked people climbing her fence to jump in the pool, or women screaming at Jason from his front lawn at all hours of the night.  However, the day Jason begins digging in her flower garden is the day Haley decides enough is enough. 

After a timid Haley hoses him down with icy water and tackles Jason from behind for pulling up her precious flowers, the neighbors surprisingly strike up a close friendship where they bond over food, baseball, and predicaments only a Bradford can get into.  With Jason's influence, Haley discovers exactly how strong she can be.  

My Opinion:

Now.  What I described sounds really serious and dramatic, but the way R.L. Mathewson portrays this story is anything but dramatic.  Rarely does a book make you laugh out loud, but there were times when I had to put down my phone (yes, I read this on my phone . . . you can judge me later) and double over . . . I just could not stop cracking up.  Jason is funny and charming and so is Haley.  The steamier scenes in the book are very well written and (thank goodness!) not cheesy atallwhatsoever.  

As far as the overall story goes, there is nothing I would change about Playing for Keeps.  The book is serious when it needs to be serious and beautifully sexy when the situation calls for it.  One of the things I love about her writing--and if you know about my fangirl obsession with YA author Simone Elkeles, then you will know why--is she has a heartwarming epilogue that shows what is going on in her characters' lives that could essentially develop into a short story all its own.  Why do I love when authors do this?  Because I am nosy and need to know what's going on in my favorite characters' futures and goshdarnit sometimes we need to see happy endings in books, and not just "Oh, Bubba and Ellie May pushed out some kids and did some work and blahbleghblah boring everafter."  Mathewson's writing is nothing short of refreshing.  In a genre where authors and stories tend to get lost in the overwhelming mix, she simply stands out, quietly basking in her amazingness.  Another good thing?  Her books are only .99 on iTunes!

Visit R.L. Mathewson

What I'm Listening To:

I'm in a country state of mind these days.