Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Harcourt Children’s Books (February 1, 2009)
368 pages
$11.56
(Amazon.com, at time of purchase, it’s now down to $10.83 as of 05/16/09)

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Originality: 5
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Setting: 4
Plot: 5
Passion: 4
Overall: 27/30 90% = A
Cover Bonus: 0

First off, I need to address why I ended up reading this book. I was NOT going to read this. I’ll address some of these reasons *cough* cover *cough*, *cough* title *cough* later. Until I read Beth Fantaskey’s guest blog on Wondrous Reads. This guest post sucked me in and I purchased my copy that very afternoon. And please note that if I can help it I do not buy books that I can’t purchase in Kindle format. I will wait until it’s out on the Kindle before buying the physical book. Not with this book. I HAD to have it. Now, on with my review.

Originality:
I awarded this element of the book a 5 not because it was “truly” 100% original but it’s execution was original. I have never read a book where a young male swoops in and insists on wooing a young female into being his beloved for fear that if he fails his family and her family will throw themselves into all out war.

Characters:
Jessica (woot! my name!) is someone that I immediately related to. It’s strange though because we are incredibly unalike but that doesn’t matter because ultimately she was just an average, teenager blossoming into a young adult and all that entails with that change. She was real. She was also very mature, unwilling to rush into anything with out thinking it through. Her parents were a wacky pair but they too where amazing parents.

Lucius. Now Lucius is a guy that I could fall head over heels for. He’s 110% chivarly. His accent (yes!) had me lured in from the get go. He was way too funny at points that I was wiping tears from my eyes. But I did hate him in this book too. He gives up and I can’t stand a weak male lead character just as much as I can’t stand a weak female lead character, but I have to give him credit because Jessica does not make it easy for him, not in the least. He does evolve and seeing him do that is very fulfilling.

The other characters play some huge roles too. (I read this a while ago so I can’t think of their names!)

Writing:
Now this is what sucked me in! Beth’s writing is phenomenal. I only read that guest blog and couldn’t get enough. It seems to come naturally to her or something. Everything flows so well. Nothing is pressured, nothing is presumed to happen. I hate it when I “know” what’s going to happen and I never felt that with this book. The ending was just craziness but it all worked out and I really hope to be able to continue learning about Jessica’s world.

Setting:
The setting was just the coolest to me! It’s set in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. This is just north of where I live so it felt very familiar to me. Some of the story took place in Romania, I believe, which is where Lucius comes from. There’s some amazing castle scenes that I just loved! I would have loved more of that in this book.

Plot:
The plot was awesome. I hate giving away any major details concerning books so I’m just going to paste a bit of the first chapter here instead of me rambling off every detail that I can think of.

Excerpt: (briefly, read the rest here)

Chapter 1

The first time I saw him, a heavy, gray fog clung to the cornfields, tails of mist slithering between the dying stalks. It was a dreary early morning right after Labor Day, and I was waiting for the school bus, just minding my own business, standing at the end of the dirt lane that connected my family’s farmhouse to the main road into town.

I was thinking about how many times I’d probably waited for that bus over the course of a dozen years, killing time like any mathlete would, by doing the calculations in my head, when I noticed him.

And suddenly that familiar stretch of blacktop seemed awfully desolate.
He was standing under a massive beech tree across the road from me, his arms crossed over his chest. The tree’s low, gnarled branches twisted down around him, nearly concealing him in limbs and leaves and shadows. But it was obvious that he was tall and wearing a long, dark coat, almost like a cloak.

Passion:
The passion in this book gets to a boiling point a few times. The pot never spills over but that’s okay. The true meaning of love is what matters in this book. They are teenagers with hormones but it never steals the scene completely. It was kind of sad at times for Jessica and Lucius because they both end up fighting their hearts.

Cover & Title:
You probably noticed that I did NOT give any bonus points for the cover. That’s because I HATE it. I mean it’s not the ugliest thing but what hurts me to look at it is the title and the cover together. It just doesn’t make sense. Even after you read it you’re still not going to like the title. The cover kinda makes sense but not the title. There is a “guide” book in the story but it’s not what I would have picked, at all. I can’t really make a suggestion as to what I would have named it but almost anything would be better than what it is. Or at least a cover that reflected a guide book in some fashion.

Overall:
I LOVED this book. I had the hardest time putting it down in any fashion. It made me laugh and I might have teared up a bit at a point, but ultimately it made me smile. It was a true love story with teenaged angst and super natural twists. I didn’t mention the vampire element in any of the above because it’s really not what swayed me to loving the book. Lucius could have been just any normal exchange student and the story would still make sense, minus the impending uproar between the two vampire clans of course. 🙂


Like my review? Buy a copy today from Amazon.com!

Beth is also hosting a contest until May 30 for this book and some other great prizes!

Connect with Beth Fantaskey:
Blog
Website
Goodreads

What did you think of Jessica’s GT Dating on the Dark Side? Will you read it now?

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Posted in Amazon Kindle, Book Reviews, Must Read

Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

I just finished reading the three available books of this series. I’m going to summarize what the books are a bit and then explain my feelings on this series, which is quite different than what I normally think about series.

Darkfever (Fever, Book 1)
EXCERPT
DarkfeverThe beginning of this story begins with MacKayla Lane lounging by the pool, soaking up some rays while listening to her iPod. She dropped her cell phone in the pool earlier in the week which leads to the house phone ringing from Ireland to inform her that her sister, Alina, was found murdered. Their parents were away on a cruise so Mac was left to identify her body once it arrived in Georgia where the Lane’s live.

Distraut with grief, seeking answers MacKayla decides to go to Ireland and figure out what the police can’t seem to do. What happened to Alina?

Mac’s first night there she rents a room, goes to a pub for dinner and sees a fae. She doesn’t realize what it was and nearly gave herself away by staring at it when an old lady starts knocking her in her head telling her to stop staring and go somewhere else and die.

Mac does some investigating the next day at Alina’s campus, gets lost in Dublin, and strays into a bookstore, the best bookstore she’s ever been in, to call a cab. Before going in she swears she’s seen the shadows move. The bookstore is called Barrons Books and Baubles. The owner is a dark, sexy man named Jericho Barrons.

Through the rest of the book Mac discovers that she is a sidhe-seer; she can see and sense the fae and fae objects. Barrons takes her under his care, lets her move into the bookstore, trains her to use her senses while using her as an OOP (Object of Power). The steal the Spear from a mobster. She meets a Seelie death-by-sex Fae Prince named V’lane, who wants Mac to work with him to find the BOOK! The book is the object of the entire book. Everyone wants it. It’s real name is Sinsar Dubh (she-suh-DOO).

Bloodfever (Fever, Book 2) EXCERPT
BloodfeverThe story continues right where it left off on the first book. There was no wrap up, no conclusion. Lets just say I immediately bought the third book when I bought the second book knowing there wouldn’t be a conclusion with this book either.

Mac and Barrons are still working together. They are not too friendly to each other. Barrons is NOT a man. He’s a something that Mac can’t figure out but he keeps her safe so she’ll deal with it.

Mac was investigating the Dark area near the bookstore and found a house. She found some of her sisters stuff in the house. She felt a pulling towards a warehouse behind the house. Inside she found a portal to the unseelie world being opened by The Lord Master, aka Alina’s boyfriend. She’s discovered there by Malluce the vampire. Barron’s falls in and saves her. She ends up stabbing Mallue with the spear. (This might have happened in the first book.) Malluce is expected dead but there’s no proof. Mac starts seeing a grimreaper like ghost thing following her around. One night it attacks her and it’s Malluce. He kidnaps her, brutally beats her inches from death. Barrons finally comes to her rescue nearly too late. She askes him to feed her the half eaten Rhino-Boy off the slab. It has healing powers. Within 10 minutes she’s fully healed and nearly as strong as Barrons. They pursue after Malluce. She wants to fight him. Barrons says ok but ends up jumping in to behead Malluce because Mac was enjoying herself too much. The second book ends in the same fashion: no ending.

Faefever (Fever, Book 3)  EXCERPT
FaefeverThe third book is all about Mac trying to figure out who to ally with. Her choices are Barrons, V’lane, Rowena, and few other minute people that can help her. V’lane and Barrons are walking sex that Mac just can’t help but want even though she says she doesn’t want them. I KNOW she is falling in love with Barrons and that’s the reason I’m reading this series. I’m going to find out what he is!!

It’s nearly Halloween when all the shit hits the fan. The Unseelie are trying to tear down the prision wall so that they can all walk the earth. Barrons is helping the Scotish clan with a ritual and Mac was going to the Abbey to help them with their ritual. BUT the entire city is being riotted by the Unseelie themselves and they’re driving the humans towards the Dark places so they can be soaked up by the Shades. Mac is trapped in the city with no help. She can’t call V’lane with the his name on her tough dying when she said it, the Unseelie took control of the utilites causing all the lights and cell towers to go down so she can’t call Barrons or IYCRM or IYD which are the back up for Barrons. She has no choice but to take her MacHalo and run. She holes up in the spire of a cathedral in a broom closet. When dawn comes she goes out. She’s slammed by the death-by-sex feeling and thinks it’s V’lane coming to her rescue. She was WAY wrong. It’s three Unseelie Princes. They rape her in the church. When they stop The Lord Master comes over and says “I think she’ll obey me now”.

So, here I am. Three books into a series with no end in sight. There are two more books posted on Karen’s website. That means at least one year, may two or three before the ending is revealed. I CAN’T STAND THAT! Most other series have some sort of ending. These DO NOT! I’m an instant gratification kind of girl. I like series because I like to have a constant such as environment, characters, or language. This series is unlike any I’ve ever read. I guess I could say that the Sookie Stackhouse series is somewhat like this but this story is so much bigger than Sookie’s. There are so many unanswered questions.

What is Barrons?
Who is V’lane really?
What about this Lord Master?
Why did the walls fail?
What is really going on?

Karen’s constant reminder in the books and her blog and website is that there will be a happy ending for Mac. That’s great and all but me as the reader doesn’t want to hear that. I want to know now and I want the books to be written better with either less detail or something. Dragging this story out so much is torture. The books are good but they aren’t THAT good.

I’m going to finish this series when the books are available. However, I would suggest to other readers to wait. Make sure they are all out and then read the story.

I give all three of these books an 8/10. The story line is good. I just don’t like the product.