Heart of Thorns book cover

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Falling Under by Gwen HayesFalling Under (Falling Under, #1) by Gwen Hayes
Published by New American Library on March 1st 2011
Pages: 324

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Falling Under has left an immense impression on me. With it’s darkly enchanting story and vivid characters, I quickly and irrevocably fell under it’s spell. I was like a buoy bobbing up and over waves of emotion, some of which were despairing and heartbreaking while others were comforting, warm, and humorous. I also can’t forget about the many emotional waves of lust. This book is full of devilish charm and sexy times thanks to the book’s heart throb and tragic character, Haden. He’s mysterious, mischievous, dark and delicious and a whole lotta other words that escape me at the moment but make me want to throw myself at him. Like the majority of the book’s female population, I’ve completely fallen under his lure. Damn that sexy boy.

Theia is a extremely multi-facted and intriguing character. My heart instantly went out to her. Although she’s originally from the U.K. British accent ta’boot, she’s lived in the U.S. for the past few years. Besides being British, something that I equate prim and properness with, she’s also been forced to live a confined life for other reasons. Her father who is constantly described as cold, has sheltered Theia her whole life. He has basically caged her in, not allowing her the simple and carefree freedoms that come with being a child, and the abilities to make one’s own decisions that come with young adulthood. We find out early on that her mother passed away the day Theia was born, which has since caused an uncomfortable and awkward rift between Theia and her father. All I can say is thank goodness for Theia’s bestfriends, Amelia and Donny. Little by little we see how they break Theia out of the stiff shell that her father has spent his life creating. Donny is tough as nails with sarcastic wit and an extreme sense of protection aimed towards her friends. Amelia is equally as charming but in another sense; she’s quieter and more reserved. However, deep down she’s just as fiercely protective of Theia as Donny is. Together the trio make one hell of a team.

Then there’s Haden, my sweet, devilish and delectable Haden. Although he comes off as a seductively charming and sometimes ass-y character, it’s easy to see that deep down he suffers. His lonelyness and despair is gut-wrenching. I applaud Theia for instantly recognizing a fellow person in pain and wanting to reach out. However at times I also wanted to give her a good shake as to say “what the heck are you thinking girl”. It’s clear from the beginning that something dark and ominous surrounds Haden’s arrival, but Theia can’t, and has also lost all will to stay away. Although part of me wishes she had stayed away in order to protect herself, another part feels as though the two were fated to meet.

It’s times like these where I feel so blessed to have had taken a Gothic Literature class a couple years back. Without that class I never would have been able to appreciate a novel as dark and wonderful as Falling Under. This story is so imaginative, somber and full of macabre; it kept me enticed yet weary the whole way through. The romantic aspects are scorching and all-consuming. And the writing – wow! The style and imagery conveyed is breathtaking.

“Part of me wants to set you on fire and hold you while the flame consumes us bother, to eat your heart so I know that only I possess it entirely.”

If you are a fan of the book Nevermore or just generally like dark, mysterious, and sexy-oozing stories with a paranormal aspect, Falling Under is most definitely the book for you! Dark and utterly compelling. This is one book you don’t want to pass up.

Heart of Thorns book cover

Unbreakable (The Legion #1) by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable (The Legion #1) by Kami GarciaUnbreakable (The Legion, #1) by Kami Garcia
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on October 1st 2013
Pages: 305

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

This book could have been pretty awesome. I was really digging the whole ghost hunting/vanquishing that called for iron, salt and holy water. It’s very reminiscent of one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, which gives it extra points naturally. Unfortunately, Garcia decided to keep the focus on Kennedy and her ridiculous love triangle between two brothers, instead of developing the “legion” storyline.

I’m not a huge love triangle fan to begin with, but occasionally, given the right circumstances and character growths, I can hop on board. The love triangle in Unbreakable was totally forced, ridiculous and useless. I didn’t see the point of it, and every time Kennedy would bounce from one brother to another (which literally happened every other page) I laughed. The relationship between Kennedy and each brother was a only a couple days old, so the whole “can’t live without you”-goo-goo-eyes was so dramatic and fake, that I couldn’t take it seriously.

I’m just overall disappointed in this book. Nothing seemed original. The whole set-up: Artistic girl’s mother is killed while girl is partying. Girl is then attacked herself, but saved by a “hunter” who tells her she belongs to this secret group that fights against spirits/demons. The whole premise of Unbreakable was too close to The Mortal Instrument’s premise. Nothing surprised me, which made reading this book a very boring experience. I’m definitely not rushing out to get book two.

Heart of Thorns book cover

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Cold Kiss by Amy GarveyCold Kiss (Cold Kiss, #1) by Amy Garvey
Published by HarperTeen on September 20th 2011
Pages: 292

It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

Cold Kiss drew me in instantly with a premise that promised romance, obstacles, consequences, and of course paranormalcy. Apart from her unique I’ll say “magical” abilities, Wren is just like any other girl. She’s busy with school, has weekly sleepovers with her two besties, and is completely in love and devoted to her boyfriend, Danny. Of course, except for the school-part, the rest is all of the past. After a devastating accident, Wren loses Danny. However this is temporarily. In utter pain and confusion Wren summons all the power she has, bringing Danny back from the grave, at least a version of him…

By the time the novel begins, Wren although still coping with Danny’s lost, is also coping with his return. After a spell performed in a blind panic, Danny comes back in a type of altered state. Besides the fact that everyone saw him dead and buried, Wren struggles to hide Danny due to the fact that he’s changed. His body is now entirely too stiff and too cold; his memories as well have begun to deteriorate. Although this is an important aspect to the Cold Kiss story-line, it’s not the main one. This book focuses more on Wren, not just getting over Danny’s death, but learning to live without him and understanding that it is okay to be happy without him. After he died she lost a piece of herself and in the process shut herself off from most of the world, including her two best friends. Then out of the blue, a new student arrives (Gabriel). He immediately recognizes the power swirling within Wren and deduces what she has done. Wren can’t help but feel drawn to him in more ways than one which adds another level of chaos to her life.

This is where I must praise Amy Garvey. Her writing – by way of the emotions she draws out of the readers is truly remarkable. I’ve personally never been in love such as Wren has, but by Garvey’s amazing details and ability to portray “true” love I was able to feel Wren’s emotion. I felt pure utter happiness during the flashbacks that occur featuring sweet moments between Danny and Wren and of course mounds of sorrow in the present while Wren watches Danny suffer in confusion and isolation.

This is a powerful book. Wren although heartbroken and lost, is still such a strong and independent character. Her raw emotions pillared this story the entire way through leaving me entirely captivated. The only quip I had with this story is the length and pacing. Like most good books I felt like this one was entirely too short, but by a pacing stand point. I felt like a lot of the story moved by too quickly. There were some flashbacks to fill in the gaps but by the end I felt like the bond grown between Gabriel and Wren was a bit rushed. Regardless I still loved this book, having read it in one sitting. Book two comes out very soon (2 weeks) and I definitely need to read it!