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Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Red at Night by Katie McGarry

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Red at Night by Katie McGarryRed at Night by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen on 01 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 84
Format: eBook
Source: Free Download
Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Crossing the Line, Crash Into You

Place(s) Traveled To: Louisville, Kentucky

First Line(s): I like cemeteries.

Red at Night by Katie McGarry is a novella that set in the same world as her Pushing the Limits series but doesn’t involve characters from those books. This short little novella is told from the POVs of Stella (social outcast) and Jonah (popular jock). Stella comes from the poor side of town and has never had the best clothes and often worried where her next meal would come from. In grade school, because kids can be cruel, rumors where started and as a result she’s become the butt of many a joke and so has spent the majority of her school experience alone. Prior to the start of Red at Night she’s taken to hanging out in cemeteries, visiting the dead, because its quiet and the risk of running into anyone she knows is low. That is until Jonah starts to visit a grave a few stones away from Stella and eventually the two begin to talk without the pressures of high school weighing them down.

I loved this novella and was fully invested in the story of Stella and Jonah both of who were really complex characters and both dealling with some heavy issues. Red at Night gave me so many feels and I really wish that it had been a full length story. This is the writing and the character development that I fell in love with in Pushing the Limits and something that has been drifting out of her other novels. I still love McGarry’s work but after Crash Into You left me feeling a bit meh I don’t have much desire to read Take Me On as I hated West so much in Crash. There is just so much story in Red at Night that its bursting at the seems and even though its only 84 pages there is just so much that happens.

Red at Night gave me all of those heart-achy feels that I love and restored my faith in McGarry’s writing and storytelling. Stella and Jonah have so much chemistry and how they help each other with their different problems adds a lot of growth to their characters. My heart broke from them as high school pressures got in the way of their friendship and budding romance and I feared on how this one would end. I admired Stella’s strength and Jonah’s kind heart and I did like seeing a certain guidance counscelor make an appearance. Overall, this was a great novella and its one that I highly recommend for all fans of Katie McGarry.

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irishdarkblue

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Red at Night2

four-stars
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Forever Song by Julie KagawaThe Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden,
Also in this series: The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure
Published by Harlequin Teen on 15 April 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Asian American, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Monsters, People & Places, Romance, Sci-Fi, Survival Stories, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure, The Brothers Piggett

Place(s) Traveled to: Old Chicago, Illinois // Eden // (Future)

First Line(s): The outpost gate creaked in the wind, swinging back on its hinges.

I was so excited to receive a copy of The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa as I couldn’t wait to see what happened after I blitzed through the first two books (The Immortal Rules & The Eternity Cure) last year. The Forever Song picks up a few weeks after The Eternity Cure ends with Allison, Jackal and Kanin tracking Sarren as he carries his super-red lung virus to Eden. The release of which will wipe out the rest of  humanity and vampires alike and essentially mean the end of everything. While life in a vampire and rabid world may not be ideal the human race is hanging on – even if tentatively – and they aren’t ready to give up the fight.

Along the way Allison struggles with retaining her humanity and struggles against the monster inside of her as Sarren has taken away the her hope and attacked her core. This struggles causes a rift between her and her maker, Kanin, but her blood brother is delighted at the idea. And Allison faces her greatest threat when she sees just what traps and surprises that Sarren has left for her along the way. Sarren is even more diabolical than ever in this book and yet you do have to admire his evil genius as he wages his psychological warfare on Allison. The bright light in the story though is Jackal who is always on hand for a witty one-liner or caustic comment and I just love him more and more.

The Forever Song is a fast paced read and I think that fans of the series will enjoy how it all ends. Its a roller coaster ride of emotion filled with things you expect and ones that make shock. I may have even shed a tear or two over some moments at the very end. While I didn’t love this book as much as the first two I did enjoy it and was happy with how Kagawa wrapped up her series. The character ARCs are all believable and my issue was more with the pacing of the ending than anything else. It just seemed a little rushed compared to the build up of getting our heroes to Eden to stop the second apocalypse. There were also a couple of things that seemed to convenient and pushed the boundaries of believability. I also hold an irrational sadness against this series because it did come to an end. I always hate when a series ends and have been known to avoid a final episode or final book just so that it will not end.

The Forever Song isn’t my favorites installment in the Blood of Eden series but as a whole it does fit in well with the two books that came before. I think that there is a lasting appeal to the series that will terrify and delight readers for years to come. Kagawa is a brilliant writer and has a gift for playing with the emotions of her readers. While I do hate to say goodbye to Allison and her cohorts I am looking forward to her next series, Talon, and seeing how she takes on the dragon mythology.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Light It Up by Kimberly Derting

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Light It Up by Kimberly Derting

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Light It Up by Kimberly DertingLight It Up by Kimberly Derting
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Better
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Abduction, Anthology, Family, Short Story / Novella, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 26
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: The Woods

First Line(s): I drop my sleeping bag and sit down hard on the slime-covered boulder, refusing to take one more step.

Original Story: Hansel and Gretal

Anthologies are always a grab bag of good things and not so good things so as with every other story in Grim, I was a bit uncertain at the start of Light it Up by Kimberly Derting. Though in the end Light it Up has been one of my favorite stories (so far) in this anthology. Its true to the original story and modernizes it for a new audience. I thought that it was well written and I hated for the story to end. I would have liked to have seen this one go on for a few more pages to see what happened next. The story was fast paced and it kept me engaged and it makes me want to go back and read all things Kimberly Derting.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David HutchinsonBetter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Anthology, Diseases, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 30
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Deathday Letter, Violent Ends

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Hamelin Space Ship

First Line(s): I feel real.

Original Story: Pinocchio The Pied Piper

I was never a huge fan of the whole Pinocchio story but in Better by Shaun David Hutchinson I have seen a potential in it that I never have before. Hutchinson’s version is much darker than the original and really lives up to promise of what I thought the Grim anthology should be. Hutchinson takes this pretty bland story and transports the reader into a futuristic world where a group of humans are flying through space looking for a new home. Think Across the Universe by Beth Revis but where things don’t go as well. Better is a quick read and I loved the promise of it. This is the sort of retelling that I was hoping every story in this anthology would be when I picked it up. Better is also a story that I would enjoy if there was more to it but at the same time I think that its pretty solid as it is.

Edit: I originally thought this story was based on Pinocchio but have since learned it was really The Pied Piper.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Untethered by Sonia Gensler

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Untethered by Sonia GenslerUntethered by Sonia Gensler
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Anthology, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Family, Paranormal, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Pages: 15
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
two-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown

First Line(s): Grief hangs on my bones, at times nearly suffocating me.

Original Story: The Shroud

 

Untethered by Sonia Gensler is a very short story in the Grim anthology that feels even shorter than the few pages that it was contained on. Its a fast read and while I did like the twist it was just too short to have any real impact on me. There is no history or boackground or anything tangible to it that allowed me to become connected to any of these characters. I was told that they were grieving and shown it but the why was just sort of glossed over. It just felt so incomplete like we received less than a fragment of a story and I remember asking myself when I hit the last page, “That’s it?” I thought that Untethered was well written and liked Gensler’s style but just didn’t feel this story. I would say to skip it but its over in such a blink that reading it is almost the same as not reading it at all.

irishdarkblue

two-stars
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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa

Short Story Saturday: Grim – The Brothers Piggett by Julie KagawaThe Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, Untethered, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Anthology, Fantasy, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Pages: 28
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure, The Forever Song

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Small, unnamed village on the edge of the Haunted Wood

First Line(s): This is a story about a boy in love.

Original Story: The Three Little Pigs

The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa is the eighth story in the Grim Anthology and is a retelling of The Three Little Pigs. I had been a little disappointed in the previous stories and so was setting myself up to be disappointed again with this one. But while I didn’t love this story I was pleasantly surprised by it. The Brothers Piggett is a unique twist on the original story and I have to admit I didn’t see this twist coming. This is a quick story and it was a refreshing change from the ones that came before it. The story is well-written and evenly paced and told with Kagawa’s usual style. Its engrossing and makes you want to turn the pages faster. I’d be curious to read an expanded version of this story or one that continues where this one leaves off but I’m also satisfied with how it ended. All in all a good story in this mixed bag anthology.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Beast/Beast by Tessa GrattonBeast/Beast by Tessa Gratton
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Anthology, Fantasy, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Pages: 27
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
two-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed

First Line(s): The first time I attempted to escape from the Beast’s castle was under cover of flat, fierce rain.

Original Story: Beauty and the Beast

Another short story that isn’t quite the retelling I though it would be, in Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton tells the story of Beauty and the Beast and its a combination of the Disney version and some of the original tale that I read as a child. A beauty girl is forced to live with a beast in the hopes that she’ll fall in love and the curse will be broken. While Gratton has a good sense of pace and writing style this one like the previous stories is too like the original and I just wonder at the point of it. Especially with the non-ending. At least with the previous non-retellings the stories ended as their fairy tale counterparts did. I guess this may have been Gratton’s way to heighten suspense or have the reader fill in how things will go and while I don’t normally mind an open ended story in this case I did. I wanted to be shown what would happen between Beauty and her Beast. Or at the very have an indication of the meaning of the title Beast/Beast which implies that more than one person is ugly in the story and yet that was never reflected in what we were told. All in all this one was yet another disappointment in the Grim anthology.

irishdarkblue

two-stars
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen HopkinsBefore the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Short Story / Novella, Verse, Young Adult
Pages: 35
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To:  Lapland // Finland

First Line(s):
Deep in a vault beneath the Hall
of Legends is a tale of love and lust,
fire and ice.

Original Story: The Snow Queen

*le sigh*

Another story in the Grim anthology that is barely distinguishable from the original. Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins is told in verse, a style she favors, and as such it is a quick read. But as with the previous two stories in this anthology its a regurgitation of the original tale. Because of this I found myself wanting to skip this story in the hopes that the next one would be an actual retelling. It also doesn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of stories told in verse though Hopkins is better than others that I have read. Fans of Hopkins will probably enjoy this installment in the Anthology but I am left disappointed since its not a retelling.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell

Posted by Irish in 2.5 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Thinner Than Water by Saundra MitchellThinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Anthology, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Pages: 28
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
two-half-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Flamen // Lycea

First Line(s): I live in a kingdom surrounded by many lands.

Original Story: Cat-Skin

Though beautifully written Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell falls into the same trap that the previous story, The Raven Princess inthat it doesn’t re-tell a fairy tale. Instead, Thinner Than Water takes the original story and just re-writes it slightly but essentially its the same story. The difference with Thinner Than Water though is that Mitchell changes the ending. In the original, the Princess leaves her kingdom to hide out in another and she eventually marries the Prince (or King in some variations of the tale) and they live happily ever after. In Thinner Than Water, the story ends not long after the Princess leaves and of the two stories I do like Mitchell’s ending best.

Where this story loses me is with the squick factor and so there was a lot of unease while reading the story. In some ways this is a good thing thing as an incestuous story should make the reader feel uncomfortable and Mitchell certainly succeeds in that. But for me, I wish I had skipped this story or that Mitchell had choosen another fairy tale to try to recreate. Overall, this installment in the anthology just wasn’t for me and I hope that the next one is actually more of a retelling and not just a regurgitation of the original.

irishdarkblue

two-half-stars
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult1 Comment

Short Story Saturday: Grim – The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron

Short Story Saturday: Grim – The Raven Princess by Jon SkovronThe Raven Princess by Jon Skovron
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Anthology, Fantasy, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Pages: 29
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Summer Days and Summer Nights

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Stromberg // Unknown Locations

First Line(s): The Princess wouldn’t stop crying.

Original Story: The Raven

At first reading The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron is among my favorite in the Grim anthology so far. However, it is also the most literal telling that I’ve read so far. The Raven Princess is almost word for word identical to the original story and as such it loses a little something in my eyes. The whole idea of this anthology is for authors to put their own spin on a classic fairy tale  and in this Skovron fails. Yet even though The Raven Princess as original as some of the others that I have I do still think that it is a worthwhile read. Skovron is a good writer I just expected something more from this story than what I got.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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