Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (@jkagawa @HarlequinTeen)

Received an advance digital copy from NetGalley for review.

I was a huge fan of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Ruleseven though I was a little hesitant at first. Vampire dystopian? Really? Haven’t both those genres been beaten to death with the redundancy stick, resurrected into genre zombies, and then been decapitated with a sword dipped in the blood of a dead horse?

But then I read it, and I loved it. Julie Kagawa’s fluid prose, her complete willingness to dive into the nitty gritty elements of her world, and her unique spin on both the vampire and dystopian genres won me over almost immediately. So when I saw the sequel, The Eternity Cure, was up for review on NetGalley, I requested the heck out of it.

Okay, so you can really only request one way, and there is no way to make an emphatic request, but if there was, I would have done it. I would have strenuously requested.

(NetGalley: “Oh, you strenuously request? Then we’ll take some time and reconsider.”)

I’m getting away from myself here. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BOOK.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

My Thoughts:

The Eternity Cure picks up a few months after The Immortal Rules leaves off, after Allie has left behind her human friends – including Zeke, the human boy she had grown to love – at Eden, the last remaining vampire-free city. Now she’s using her sire bond – a psychic link with the vampire who created her – to track Kanin, and it leads her to her former home, where she encounters a new, deadly plague, as well as some faces from her past she thought were gone forever.

Just like in The Immortal Rules, Julie Kagawa does not shy away from the ugliness of her world. These vampires are not glamorous (even the glamorous ones have an ick-factor), and the world they rule is beyond grim. This is a series where I never feel complacent and I never assume that a character is safe simply because they’re important. She keeps the tension high and the action intense from the beginning through to the end, and just when I thought I might get a break — she’d raise the stakes again.

Some of the secondary characters in The Immortal Rules come front and center in The Eternity Cure, which was awesome. We get to spend a good chunk of time with Jackal, the vampire prince who we last saw staking Allie and throwing her out a window. He returns, dark and snarky as ever, and walks an impressively fine line between villain and reluctant hero. Like all the best villains, he is layered and complex, and is true to himself above all else.

Kanin is also back, and I love him just as much as I did in the first book. I am a sucker for the strong, noble, self-sacrificing type – provided they are not sappy and patronizing – and Kanin fills this role perfectly. He is unwavering in his morals and convictions, and they drive every action he makes, but he is also a man who has made many mistakes, and realizes they come with a price. I cannot say enough good things about his character. There should be more Kanins, both in books and in life.

Zeke and Allie both come into their own a bit in this book. In The Immortal Rules, so much of their relationship was hindered by secrecy. Now, they each know up front who the other is, and have to decide whether or not to come to terms with that. I enjoyed both of them, and appreciated their increased honesty, and the closeness that came from it. I also liked seeing Allie embrace her humanity a bit more, and seeing Zeke really examine his beliefs, instead of just accepting what his father believed. There was good growth from both of them.

As far as the plot, I think I’m becoming a bit immune to plot twists, because I watched everyone freak out about the twists in this book when it was released, and none of them really surprised me. BUT! That didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book in the least – just because I suspect something is coming doesn’t mean I enjoy watching it unfold any less. So I can’t comment on how surprising or satisfying the twists are. What I can say is that the plotting is tight, the action is prevalent, and once you get to the twisty parts – she pulls no punches. NONE. AT ALL. I begin to wonder if she’s even heard of pulling punches.

The Eternity Cure is a solid follow-up to The Immortal Rules, filled with intense action, thoughtfully developed and varied characters, and break-neck pacing that will keep you turning pages well into the night. Just make sure to keep the light on, because here, there be monsters.

Cover Reveal: Witch Hearts by Liz Long (@LizCLong)

Today I’m happy to participate in the cover reveal for Witch Hearts, the upcoming adult paranormal thriller from Liz Long. I enjoyed Liz’s first book, Gifted: A Donovan Circus Novel, and I also find Liz to be an absolutely delightful person. So when she asked for help promoting her new book, I was happy to do it!

I’ll let Liz take it from here!

Hi everyone! I want to thank the amazing authors and bloggers who volunteered to help with today’s cover reveal. Indies wouldn’t be here without their help and of course, you guys. I am so excited to show off the cover for my new book – I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks!

Witch Hearts is my second novel, an adult paranormal thriller meant for those who liked to be a little creeped out and also enjoy a murder mystery. My first book, Gifted, A Donovan Circus Novel, is about a murder at a supernatural circus, and is available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Now without further ado, the cover for Witch Hearts!

Witch Hearts Synopsis:

How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?

Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.

If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.

About the Author:

Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work.

Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while.

Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website:

Well, what do we think of the Witch Hearts cover? I told Liz it was going to give me nightmares. She said that was the goal. So. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab (@veschwab @DisneyHyperion)

I was super-excited when I received an advance copy of Victoria Schwab’s newest book, The Archived in my mailbox. This has been one of the year’s most anticipated releases across the blogosphere (yes, I’m aware it’s only January, but still) and the concept sounded fascinating and original. I’m excited for you all to be able to experience it when it releases TOMORROW.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous-it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

My Thoughts:

This story was amazing. Victoria’s prose is gorgeous and atmospheric, and it was easy to lose myself in the story. She reveals the workings and mythology of The Archive in bits and pieces instead of info-dumping all at once, so when I started out, it took me a little bit to get my bearings. But gradually, without really noticing it was happening, I began to understand. And before I knew it, I was totally immersed in Mackenzie’s world.

What I liked about Mac was that she was strong, but flawed. She constantly tried to do her best, but made some very bad decisions. She had been trained to be so secretive that she didn’t ask for help when she needed it. She had closed her emotions to the point where she didn’t notice warning signs and ignored her gut instincts. But what was amazing about this is that because of the way her character was developed, I understood why she was doing those things. I may not agree with them, but it made sense. I liked that she wasn’t perfect and sometimes didn’t piece together the clues about what was happening until it was too late.

I know I’m painting her as kind of clueless, and you may be wondering what’s so appealing about a closed-off and ignorant character, but she was also smart, resourceful, and determined. She was just a very well-rounded and human character, which in a story with such fantastic elements, kept it grounded in the believable.

Then there was Wes, who I thought was fabulous. Although there’s hints of romance between him and Mac, he’s so much more than just “the love interest.” Wesley has his own struggles and complexities. I loved how his approach to life not only differed from Mac’s, but challenged her, and how while Mac is undoubtedly the hero of the story, Wes has his moments of heroism as well. I can’t wait to learn more about Wes in the sequels.

The plotting and pacing of The Archived was excellent. I felt like I was constantly gaining new insight into the world while asking new questions. Victoria is a master at keeping the reader turning pages, giving enough information to appease, but not so much that you stop asking questions. She weaves small details into the early pages that you don’t realize are important until the end, so that a savvy reader may be able to figure out what’s going on…but probably won’t. I like when plot twists are subtly foreshadowed, because it makes the payoff that much more satisfying.

Ultimately, I thought The Archived was a beautifully written, tightly plotted, brilliantly original story. I was riveted from beginning to end, and can’t wait to see what Victoria has planned next for these characters.

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Linger is Book 2 in Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. If you’ll recall, I recently read the first book, Shiverand while I thought the writing was lovely and the premise was intriguing, I had some problems with certain aspects of the plot. But even so, I was anxious to read Linger, in the hopes that perhaps my qualms did not…er…linger.

Warning: Spoilers for Shiver ahead.

The Plot (From Goodreads)

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

My Thoughts

Once again, conflicting emotions. The good news is this book doesn’t spend nearly as long dwelling on the girl-falls-in-love-with-an-animal plot point, which I still find creepy. Grace and Sam are now both human and in love (in a relationship which may be a tad too obsessive to actually be considered healthy) and…happy? Well, no, not really happy, because Sam still has angst about being a wolf, and about the rest of his pack who is currently a wolf, and about the strange unknowns of the new wolves. Sam is just an angsty kind of guy.

However, Linger is not entirely the Sam-and-Grace show, because now we add in the viewpoints of Cole and Isabelle. Cole was not a very likable guy. I’m not even sure if I was supposed to like him. He’s charismatic and charming, but not the kind of person I really want to spend any time with. Add in that half the characters also don’t like him, and I think it’s okay that I didn’t either. He was interesting. Just not likable.

However, I did like Isabelle, which is funny, because she’s also not a very likable person. But a lot of the time, she had the sole voice of reason, making the same observations I was and pointing out obvious things that really should be priorities for the other characters. And despite everything Isabelle went through in the first book, she was surprisingly non-angsty and down-to-earth. Yes, there was the weird thing between her and Cole, which was kind of out-of-the-blue, but it wasn’t a central plot point like the Sam-and-Grace relationship. For the most part, the Isabelle chapters were my favorites.

The plot for Linger is, in my opinion, more interesting than the one for Shiver because there’s a bit more mystery about the whole thing, a bit more of the danger and unknown that makes a story interesting. Also, less focus on the romance (although it is still very much present), which was good because while I love a good romance, I need it to be more sub-plotty and less main-plotty.

My biggest problem with Linger was Grace’s conflict with her parents. I got SO FRUSTRATED with that whole thing, and it was for three reasons.

1. Grace’s parents’ concerns were totally valid, as were their reactions to what Grace was doing and the way they decided to deal with it. If anything, I thought she got off easy.

2. Grace acted like a disrespectful brat, throwing out basically every teenage angsty cliche in the book, driving her parents bonkers, then acting like their reaction was completely unreasonable and over-the-top, and being utterly narrow-minded and self-centered. I honestly couldn’t stand her in those chapters.

3. Grace’s relationship with her parents for all of Shiver and the first part of Linger undermined them when they actually attempted to do some decent parenting, and I hated that that was the case. While I still don’t think Grace’s melodramatic hissy fit was justified, I can at least understand why she was disinclined to listen to her parents’ concerns after they spent most of her life decidedly absent.

Everything about this part just rubbed me the wrong way, and while I understand that it makes sense for the characters (because after all, Grace is a teenager in the throes of her first serious relationship, and her parents are uninvolved 95% of the time), it was beyond frustrating. I think this is a matter of perspective, not the writing or storytelling. If I was a teenager reading this, I may have completely sided with Grace. But I’m a parent, so I couldn’t. You may think this is the best part of the book, and if so, good for you. I’m glad you don’t have to be frustrated.

Then there was the ending, which was actually kind of neat. I saw half of it coming, but the ultimate resolution took me by surprise. It’s the reason I’m going to keep going and read Forever, because I’m really curious how they’re going to work out a solution to this problem. I’m just hoping they don’t turn Cole into a deus ex machina, because I could see it going there. I’m also hoping that we get less angst, less brattiness, and more Isabelle-as-the-voice-of-reason.

Content guide: Language, drug use, profanity, sexual situations, implied violence.

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Review copy received from Scholastic

I have never read a purely werewolf book before. Werewolves as part of other stories, sure. But never a book that was only about werewolves. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but I’ve heard good things about Shiver and I knew I liked Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style from reading The Raven Boys. And then Scholastic was awesome enough to send me the entire trilogy to review, so while I was on vacation last week, I plunged into the first book.

The Plot (from Goodreads)

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My Thoughts

My impression on this first book was kind of a mixed bag. On the positive side, I still really like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. She has a great way of pulling a reader into the story and describing things in ways that are almost tangible. Of course, a huge part of Shiver revolves around the highly unpleasant sensation of being cold, which I hate, so sometimes I kind of wish her writing had been a little less visceral…but that’s what I get for reading a book called Shiver. That’s really much more my problem than the book’s.

I liked Grace and Sam (Sam probably a bit more than Grace), and while the book alternated their first-person points-of-view, I never found their rotating voices confusing. Each had their own distinctive ways of thinking and reacting (Do emo rockers really make up spontaneous song lyrics all the time? Is that a thing?) and I actually found it a bit refreshing to not stay with the same character the whole way through the story. I think either of them on their own for the entire book would have been a bit much, as both of them are preeeetty intense and kind of obsessive. So switching was good.

I also liked the way the werewolf mythology was handled. It was an interesting take on the archetype, presented very straightforwardly without a lot of bells and whistles. The characters even say on several occasions that the transformation from human to wolf is scientific, not magical (although it never really does explore this supposed “science,” which kind of takes away from that argument). But I like that the origin story of the wolves was not the focus. They simply were werewolves, which they dealt with, then moved on.

Now the parts I wasn’t so sold on. First, Grace’s obsession with the wolves is creeeeepy. Seriously, the girl really should have been in therapy for most of her life. She had a crush on a wolf. A wolf she had no idea was human for several months out of the year. So basically, she has a romantic attraction to an animal and this is somehow okay because we know he’s a wolf. But she doesn’t.

Sam does the same thing. At one point, another character asks them how long they’ve been going out, and he answers “six years.” Grace muses, “Of course he would count the time that we’d been two entirely different species.” (p.282)


And this leads to my other issue with the book, which is because they both are apparently under the impression that they were carrying on some sort of romantic relationship while Sam was a wolf — and Grace had no idea he could turn into a human — they plunge right into a super-serious relationship the second he turns human. Even though their entire scope of interaction until that point has been staring at each other across her backyard. WHILE HE WAS A WOLF. This is now something on which to base a deep, borderline-obsessive relationship, apparently. It seemed very instalovey to me, and I know it’s not supposed to because of the aforementioned wolfy staring, but I just can’t count that as the basis for any sort of healthy human relationship.

So. Obviously that bothered me. And their obsession with each other really was a significant portion of the book, which means a significant portion of the book bothered me.

However. I will read the rest of the series, and not just out of obligation. See, I’m pretty sure that I’ll only ever have to experience Grace and Sam “falling in love” (while he is a four-legged furry animal) in this first book. Hopefully subsequent books focus on other parts of the story, like the interesting secondary characters, and the aftermath of the end of this book (which is a pretty solid ending), and the other werewolves. And those are all things I’m interested in reading about.

Content guide: Contains violence and teen sexual activity