Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











The Forever SongFrom Goodreads: VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

MONSTER

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

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While I have thoroughly enjoyed this vampire series by Julie Kagawa, I have to admit that this final installment didn’t stand up to my expectations. Sequels and final installments are always extremely difficult to craft, and while Kagawa’s novels are always very well written, this one was just a tad too predictable and repetitive for my liking. Though action packed, I felt that every fight scene was the same as the many that came before it, with Allie slicing through rabids, getting knocked down, nearly succumbing to her enemies, and finally triumphing. After a while, these scenes became longer, more drawn out, and overly predictable.

Likewise, the truth of Zeke’s death is also predictable, and while I was glad to find I was right in my speculations, I wanted the truth to be a little more spicy—to throw me for a loop, blindside me, make me gasp. But it didn’t. Instead, the novel carries extremely depressing undertones, and with two of the main characters constantly contemplating death and wishing to no longer exist, fighting themselves and everyone else around them, I found myself feeling depressed as well. While the tasks and overall plotline of this final installment is certainly not supposed to be one of cheer, the mopiness of the characters and situations became a bit overbearing and draining as I read. It is definitely a darker tale, and the characters have much to prove and learn about themselves as they attempt to save humanity and stop a sociopathic vampire.

And yet, this novel really encompasses the idea of coming of age, facing our fears, and doing what is right, even when we know it’ll be near impossible to achieve. Though the repetitious fight scenes and predictability bogged me down a bit, I found the character’s struggles with themselves to be completely believable. Allie has grown a lot in the year since she’s become a vampire, and she’s struggled much. With the possibility of a new, even more deadly virus on the horizon, and a psychotic vampire always one step ahead of the gang, the events unfold quickly and do keep reader attention for much of the novel. Though it’s not the final installment I was expecting, I still liked it overall. Three stars.

3 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Harlequin publishers have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release on April 15, 2014.

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18176657From Goodreads: In the city that never sleeps the Chronicles continue…

Serving coffee is temporary, just like Casey’s year off from school. She’s going to come up with a plan to stay in New York City and go back to college, and that plan does not involve dating a paranormal creature—let alone two.

Running the supernatural society of New York is not as fun as it sounds, especially when you still have to answer to your ex-girlfriend’s fiancé. Toby doesn’t mean to bring Casey into the chaos of his life, but he can’t resist the girl who makes him smile when he thought no one else ever could.

Jared’s in New York checking out a security risk for his best friend, the king. He plans to return to New Orleans quickly, but not if it means losing his chance with the brunette who pretends she wants nothing to do with him.

In over her head with a bunch of winged creatures who most definitely are not angels, Casey has to figure out who to trust with her life and maybe her heart.

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Readers are happily thrust back into the world of the Pterons in this spin off series to the Crescent Chronicles, meshing together new and old characters alike.  Casey, the new heroine of his novel, is in much the same boat as Allie was when she first learned of the Pterons, yet she’s vastly different.  I like Casey, but I also found her wishy-washy attitude between Toby and Jared a bit jarring. She had a hard time making up her mind about who she liked more, and it made me mad. I have a tendency to want my heroines to go with the first good guy that captures their heart, so when it’s a battle between two lovers, it takes me time to change allegiances, and I don’t always do so, even though the characters do. I am kind of miffed about Casey’s final choice, truth be told. However, I have a feeling that it’s all going to change for both Jared and Toby based on the final few pages and their twist of events, one I never saw coming!

I feel kind of bad for Toby in this novel, which I wasn’t expecting going in.  He is stuck missing Allie–and while I admit he didn’t handle things too well in the first series and I kind of hated him, I do feel sorry for him just the same, which is why I was hoping he’d catch a break in this novel, especially because he seems so much nicer. And while the break does seem to come, the appearance of Jared muddies the waters and it seems that Toby may never meet his other half.

I enjoyed that our main characters from series one are also side characters in this novel, so even though it’s a new heroine, my faves are still there in the background, helping to make sense of it all for Casey. And, again, based on the twist here at the end, it looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Levi and Allie in the next installments in this lovely spinoff series, too, which is a huge plus because I really enjoy them.

One aspect that really intrigued me in this novel is the appearance of the shapeshifters; I really want to know what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it, but Ivy doesn’t give too much away, leaving me yearning for the next installment already… especially based on the twist at the end.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the publicist in exchange for an honest review.



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