Category Archives: YA Paranormal Romance

Kiss of Frost and Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

kiss of frost

Wow, I have to say I’m impressed. Normally the first book in a series is by far the best one, but not so with Estep’s Mythos Academy series. Gwen Frost has the power of psychometry–touch magic. She can “see” memories/impressions of strong emotions that are left behind on objects after people use them. She is also the chosen champion of the goddess Nike and is in direct opposition to the increasingly powerful god of chaos, Loki.

And that makes her numero uno on the mythological hit list.

As if that wasn’t hard enough, what’s going on with her Spartan crush Logan? Is he into her or isn’t he?

I have surprisingly grown to love this YA series, after trepidatiously continuing it after a shaky start with book one–an advanced readers edition. It is total fluff, but it’s entertaining fluff and I love it. I really like the Mythos Academy as a school, and I’m totally waiting for my superhuman abilities to develop. Gwen can “read” objects, but other than that she’s totally normal. Kinda hard to feel special when you’re surrounded by powerful freaks of nature wearing designer jeans.

Wind down with a cup of tea reading this series. It’s fun, interesting, and not too stressful.

4 creepy hairbrushes of 5


The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Ahhh, Kelley, you’ve done it again. Somehow you’ve managed to make the third book in a trilogy better than the first two while simultaneously intertwining two parallel story lines. Phew. I’m tired just saying that.

The Rising wraps up the Darkness Rising trilogy, which follows Maya, a mountain lion shapeshifter, and her band of genetically modified friends. They’re on the run from some of the most dangerous cabals in the supernatural underworld and have recently learned that the sleepy life they were accustomed to was all a lie. 11864728

Much to my delight, while on the run, they meet up with the teens from Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy and kinda wrap that whole situation up too. I enjoyed this series wholeheartedly–probably for its simplicity. Everything was as it seemed for the most part and for ONCE an ending didn’t piss me off. Things were as they should be. And this love triangle ended the right way.

Reading these books was like dipping my toes in a lukewarm pool. It was pleasant, relaxing, and I didn’t have to get soaked. Some books cause me so much anxiety that I almost stop reading them out of enjoyment and read them to relieve the nervousness they cause. Like I said, these are easy reading.

Keep up the good work, Kelley!

3 birth marks of 5

Also, I highly recommend reading The Darkest Powers bonus pack one and two. They each contain two or three stories out of the DP world and they are definitely worth your time. They fill in a lot of gaps and add a lot to the overall trilogy and are super cheap for the Kindle. (I actually think KA posts them for free on her website but takes them down as new ones are written…)


And as another, probably useless, sidenote– I also happened to download her other short story Hunting Kat. As far as I know it’s a stand alone, and hopefully it stays that way. The new vampire/genetic vampire/bitten vampire on the run thing was way too contrived. KA has some awesome work out there and this comes no where close to representing her talent. Skip it.



The Twice Lost by Sarah Porter

Finally my mermaid trilogy has come to an end! At this point, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. While I fell in love with Luce (and Sarah Porter) during The Lost Voices, my annoyance with her only grew through Waking Storms and The Twice Lost. Her lyrical prose that drew me in was still there, but the delicate beauty the story had at first was soon replaced by blockbuster easy-to-predict action that kind of disappointed me. the twice lost

I just hate how every YA story must revolve around a guy (or two) and how the heroine is influenced by her feelings/weakness for him. I liked the way that Porter ended the series, but throughout the second and third book Dorian continuously pissed me off. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK ANY WOMAN IN HER RIGHT MIND WOULD GIVE UP A MERMAID TAIL SO SHE COULD FOLD SOME DUDE’S LAUNDRY FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE?? NO BITCH, I AM NOT GIVING UP MY AWESOMENESS FOR YOU!

I mean, some girls did end up choosing differently than Luce, but everyone had different reasons for that. I don’t think the reason should be a guy who may or may not love you. That’s just me.

I couldn’t help but feel like The Twice Lost would’ve made a better movie than a book.


Also, during the helicopter scene–when the mermaid were drying out and dying suspended midair–why couldn’t the mermaids who were NOT on “wave” duty start singing a wave to come up and cover the mermaid, or even knock the helicopter out of the sky?? It seemed like the obvious solution and it seemed dumb of Luce (or any of the others) not to think of it. 

I still love Sarah Porter and her mermaids, but I have to say I finished this book more out of anxiety than pleasure.

4 larvae of 5

Added bonus: Back in June when we went back to Florida to visit our families, I got the amazing opportunity to swim with one of Eric Ducharme’s tails! (He was featured awhile back on TLC on My Crazy Obsessions. Check out his site here.)







Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Ok, at first glance Shadows Cast by Stars is a post-apocalyptic novel about a half-aboriginal girl who has Plague-immune blood. The government is seeking all fullblood and halfblood aborigines to drain of blood and use to save non-natives. Or wait, is it about Canadian indian magic and folklore intertwined with the modern day? Hmm… or maybe it’s a combination of a YA love story and Indian legends? 6931234

Honestly, I have no clue and I’m pretty sure Knutsson didn’t either. The way the book is described on the jacket insert is WAAAAYYY off from where the story actually sits. Sixteen year old Cassandra moves to a tiny Canadian island with her father and brother after her mother’s Plague-related death. There she struggles to integrate with the existing tribe/townsfolk and has some creepy-ass encounters with the characters of Indian folk legend. Sprinkle in a cute chief’s son and a weirdo sea monster, and there ya go–there’s the story in a nutshell.

It really has NOTHING to do with the post-Plague world and NOTHING to do with the government seeking native blood. I have no idea why this was even mentioned because it was rarely brought up in the plot. So many random things started to happen to Cassandra and then just…didn’t… that I had to flip back a few times to check if I’d missed something. Half the time I was confused and the other half I was bored.

I really liked the monsters/magic/medicine woman aspect of the story, but I felt like Knutsson bit off more than she could chew. Why not just scrap the whole Plague thing and focus on the native folklore?

Too much added up to too little…

2 sea serpent pearls of 5

Above by Leah Bobet


So… I just finished this book the other day and I still don’t really know what happened… The whole thing was so vague and confusing.

Above features Matthew, a teenage boy living in a subterranean cave/subway system known as Safe. It’s a haven for people with oddities, like his late lion-footed father and gilled mother. The leader, Atticus, has crab claws instead of hands. Got it?

Matthew is Safe’s “Teller.” He records and repeats the stories and histories of all of the underground residents. He’s in love with Ariel, a flighty waif of a girl who shape-shifts into a bee when under stress. He found her in the tunnels.

Life in Safe is secure until it is attacked by a former outcast member and its band of shadows. Yep, shadows are the enemy here and they can only be kept at bay with a lit match and are only killed with a torch. Now the group must risk going Above and the Whitecoats (aka mad scientists) in order to survive.

Believe me, this sounds interesting as hell, right?? I was tricked!! TRICKED! Tricked again by a beautiful cover!

To be fair, the premise was great. Powers and mutations and ghosts and shadows and hermaphroditic bad guys/girls…. What’s not to love?

Unfortunately, the stunted writing style, lack of description, and flat characters answered that question. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had to go back and re-read passages so many times. Bobet’s writing style made it hard to go with the flow and made things really unclear in many parts of the story.

Like I said, I read the whole book and I’m still not fully sure what happened.

The world was just not fleshed out enough, nor were the characters. All of them had weird names like Whisper or Corner and most of them went unexplained. And I HATED Ariel, Matthew’s love interest. I know she had a mental illness, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to punch her in the face. They could’ve avoided so much trouble if it weren’t for her!

I guess I was hoping it would have the haunting ethereal beauty of Tithe by Holly Black, but it didn’t even put its toe in the same swimming pool. Booo. Lots of amazing potential down the sewer.

2 burnt matches of 5

Raised by Wolves Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Many of my early teen years were spent girl-crushing after the feisty werewolf heroine Vivian from Annette Curtis Klause’s Blood and Chocolate. (Please ignore the absolutely heinous cinematic interpretation…) Klause’s prose was so spell-binding, she had a way of turning everything in our ordinary human world into magic. She made me want to be a werewolf.

Raised by Wolves is the first glimmer of similar wolfy magic I’ve seen in probably ten years. 6905534

Bryn is human, but after her parents are killed in a vicious rogue werewolf attack–or Rabid, as they say–she is taken in by a local pack. The Alpha Callum “Marks” her, thus granting protection from the other wolves and giving her over to be raised by one of the were’s human wives.

But when Bryn is 15 she begins to rebel against the male-dominated intense control of the pack. She longs for autonomy. But even as she tries to pull away, she is drawn back in by something unheard of–a new wolf–a bitten wolf. Chase has survived a gruesome mauling, has turned wolf himself, and clues about his attack ring alarm bells in Bryn’s head.

Maybe the Rabid who attacked Chase is the same wolf that killed her parents…

I was very pleasantly surprised with this book. Once again, the YA publishers have allowed a terribly cheese-tastic cover to mar what is otherwise a great story. (Can I just be in charge of the book cover department, please?) I liked that we had a human perspective into the crazy Pack dynamic and it wasn’t just your typical paranormal romance.

There were butterflies and smooching and all that, but it didn’t overwhelm the story or make me want to puke. I consider that a success. Not to mention, that Bryn wasn’t just a woe-is-me-lay-down-and-take-it type of girl. She stood up for what she believed in, even when it was a difficult thing to do.

I just wish that her “power” over her relationships/pack bonds was explained more. I don’t know if it is meditation or part of her “super survivor” thing, but I don’t really understand where it came from or how it works. Why does she have that ability? Hopefully Barnes will explain it in the next installment!

4 paw prints of 5

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

10429067Grace. Gretchen. Greer. Three sisters, one destiny. They are the identical triplet descendants of the famous Medusa–and while they can’t turn people to stone with their eyes–they do have some pretty interesting abilities of their own. They are huntresses, assigned to bite invading creatures with their venomous fangs and thus send them back to the Underworld. Or wherever they came from.

Too bad they were separated at birth and must find each other before the monsters of myth and legend take over San Francisco. Ass-kicking Gretchen must find tree-hugging Grace and unite with snobby rich girl Greer to fulfill their ancient duty.

I know it sounds terribly cheesy, but it was actually vastly entertaining. I learned a lot about Greek mythology, especially all the random beasts running around. Each chapter was split into a different sister’s perspective and that kept the pace moving along nicely. I liked that there were some little droplets of romantic interest for each of the sisters, but none overwhelmed the story or made it too cheesy/teen angsty.

I admit, I did catch myself drifting in and out during certain parts, but mostly I enjoyed it. I could see the books being translated into one of those 90’s Disney Channel original movies that we all LOVED back it the day. I’m just glad the YA Fiction market has started to drift away from werewolves and vampires–and I love my weres and vamps.

I will definitely be following up with the Medusa Girls series.

4 hypnotic eyes of 5