Review: Die for Me by Amy Plum

Goodreads: My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I’m fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family’s—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

I went into Die for Me not knowing what to expect. I hadn’t seen any of the buzz online about the book but was told by a friend I absolutely must read it. So I opened it on Saturday morning and was completely enraptured by Plum’s romantic writing for the rest of the weekend.

Kate is easily likable and incredibly smart. Vincent is the TDF kind of guy you expect to see haunting the streets of Paris. He isn’t looking for attention but Kate gives it to him anyway.

It is easy to begin this book thinking “oh another YA Paranormal” not even in a bad way. A lot of us love every paranormal thrown at us, but almost immediately you realize that Die for Me is something more. It is a romance; a true romance. There is conflict and there is love but it’s not the insta-love we have all come to know. Kate is too smart to lay all her cards on one guy who has a triggering effect on her most depressing of thoughts.

As you get to know Vincent and Kate more (and you do get to know them, the character building in this book is second to none) you see their inner struggle to allow themselves to love each other. Each has inherited a strong loss and neither want to relive those bad memories.

The setting could not have been better for the story, while seedy and old world scary at night, Paris is the epitome of love during the daylight hours. I loved Plum’s use of the city, it becomes almost a character unto itself and you fall in love with Vincent, Kate and Paris all at the same time.

I strongly believe that even paranormal naysayers should have a go at reading this book. While the supernatural aspect is there and prominent in the story line it is not once in your face demanding you care deeply about the paranormal elements.

The lore is tight and there is so much more to say and discover about this world. I am dying to read book two.

I picked this up at ALA and requested it from Netgalley for review purposes.

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San Francisco Book Review

I have some epically exciting news. I will be reviewing professionally for the San Francisco Book Review and I just got my first three titles in the mail. Since I am now going to be spreading the awesome of Bookalicious into the print sector I am super excited. Here are my first three assignments. Click through for descriptions via Goodreads.

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Review: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

I have over all enjoyed the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead. I love the characters, the books are easy reads, fun plot, not a lot of holes, and I like the culture she gave the vampires. This book however didn’t do it for me really. There are lots of reasons why I personally didn’t like this book, needless to say I loved the first three and my little annoyances shouldn’t keep you from picking up this volume or starting the series. I highly recommend reading the series in its entirety.

The book starts off with Rose on her mission to find Dimitri. She is in Russia and we follow her through her ordeal of trying to find him and monitoring what is up with the Moroi in the area. She is now out of school and not finishing up a rouge dhampir probably never becoming a guardian, but you have to do what you have to do right?

Two of the things that bothered me most were the love story of Rose and Dimitri were kind of ruined for me, and the author kept stressing how McDonald’s in Russia is so different than McDonald’s in America. That really isn’t true. McDonald’s is the same all over the world, I have ate at McDonald’s in Holland, London, and other places. Sometimes there is an added cultural item or two but in the end the Big Mac is the Big Mac. This shouldn’t have bothered me greatly but as I said it was mentioned several times and I really dislike skewed information that is easily researched. To make sure I wasn’t in the wrong I checked with some Russian and Finnish web developer friends of mine and the menu’s are the same there.

I felt the friendships were not as looked after in this addition to the series, although secondary characters in previous books were fleshed out more. I do plan to read the next book and I am anticipating it. I hope to get a release date soon.

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Author Review: Candace Havens

A while back I received an amazing box from Candace Havens, even with rocking bookmarks. This box really made my day as a reviewer, the books were pristine and signed with one of the most beautiful signatures I have ever seen. I am now aspiring to come up with my own fancy signature, even though I really have no need. Guess I could start writing checks for bills instead of paying them online.

It’s not very often as a reviewer that you get such an awesome present, and with that aside reading these books for me was a pure joy. It has the mystery of Charlaine Harris without all of the plot skipping and annoyances. Candace takes each of her characters and within the first few chapters she has fleshed out a person that you can see bumping into at the local Starbucks. Her list of side characters are also very personable and you really are able to like or relate to all of the persons in her stories. Her writing style is easy to follow and fun, and at least once in every single one of the books I laughed out loud. I am in awe of her persistence, and ability to keep up with the details of previous works from herself, even the small.

I first read The Demon King and I from my Haven’s selection. I was able to like the main character immediately. She was an heiress with actual depth. The book follows Gillian and her sisters through their every day lives, parties, shopping, complicated jobs, and the like. However the girls also have an extra responsibility, they are guardian keys that save our world from being overrun by beings from other dimensions. Gillian is the Guardian of the demon realm, but when the old king is supplanted and a new more human looking (okay actually hot) demon king is on the throne, will Gillian be able to perform her duties without conflict?

Immediately enthused with Havens stories I jumped straight into Charmed & Dangerous and I have to admit the Bronwyn stories fascinate me even more that the Demon King and I. Bronwyn is a high witch, meaning she has loads of power. She can do all the cool stuff I wish I could like melt someones brain with an evil glare. These books are great for the mystery and plot but also and foremost for me the list of characters and places. Sweet, Texas, albeit a fictitious town is teaming with small town vibe. They even have a Piggly Wiggly. Being a small town girl I loved the places in Sweet, like Lulu’s Diner where you can get a rockin’ chicken fried steak. Bronwyn has her share of man troubles but eventually settles for a non practicing warlock who recently moved to town as the new doctor. She works for the PM in London and saves him from bad magic, and meets a Sheik from Dubai who hires her onto his payroll too giving her a new jet to be at his beck and call. You also meet Kira the new librarian and she has a secret magic of her own. The next two Bronwyn books I breezed through really wishing there was more, I absolutely fell in love with the Sheik and wanted her to somehow end up with him but yeah I understand, Sam is the love of her life. In the second and third books we learn more about minor characters such as Kira, the PM, his assistant, and new rock star named Zane who uses his stardom to feed the hungry. The Bronwyn books are a awesome read for those of us who like a little paranormal in our romance. They have awesome characters you want to sit down at Lulu’s and have dinner with, and plot gripping action that keeps you on the edge of your chaise lounge.

The last and final book I had from Candace was a great surprise to me. Like a Charm follows Kira the new Sweet librarian through her romance with Bronwyn’s friend Caleb. Her finding out she can see, hear, and rent books to dead people, as well as her forming relationships in the town like with Bronwyn. Kira was a Sweet Texas girl born and raised. Being from a town that produces so much magic, Kira always felt lost and when old enough kicked it out of town to school and then Atlanta to becoming a high priced contract lawyer. Her love of Armani speaks to my soul, when trouble arises she goes home for a visit and is bequeathed the local library. It was a private collection. Will she continue in her fast paced law career in New York or stay in Sweet to build a life for her and Caleb in the library that was her solace growing up as a akward non magical child? Kira was always one of my favorite characters from the Bronwyn series and it was super awesome to get a close up look of her life in this installment. I cannot wait to read Haven’s title coming in July, “Dragons Prefer Blondes”, I have a feeling this will deal with Gillian’s sister and her being the Guardian of the Dragon Realm.

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Review: Cecilia, Memoirs of an Heiress, by Frances Burney

Fanny Burney is usually quite overlooked as an author from the old English literature names you usually hear. Everyone loves Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Defoe, and the others you always hear about but Fanny Burney wrote quite a few satire novels in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s. My favorite from her is Cecilia, or Memoirs of an heiress. I appreciate the above mentioned authors and their ability to tell a story with easy and grace, Burney however seems to keep my imagination moving and her plots are complicated while also being very interesting.

The story follows Cecilia, an heiress from Suffolk England. She has three executors to her estate as she was orphaned at an early age. Her uncle’s passing caused Cecilia to be turned over to these three men to handle her income and her social upbringing. She is forced to London to Mr. Harrell’s house and this is when her troubles begin. She is from a good country family but of course she can mix with the London nobility but could never become a part of the family. Ergo she falls madly in love without even realizing it with the son of one of her executors Mr. Delville won’t allow them to marry and after several attempts they all but completely give up. Cecilia has this awful clause in her inheritance that the man she marries must take her last name instead of her taking his. In the late 1700′s era London this would have been impossible for any man of standing. Therefore the couple have problems not only with the parents allowing the marriage but young Delville himself has a small pride issue at hand in taking her name.

In the end Cecilia is driven literally mad, and is locked in a house. Her estate is in ruins and is on the brink of being taken away from her. She has no family remaining and only has the affections of those who her inheritance can profit. This look into the late 18th century London from Burney is very descriptive and well documented. You almost feel like you are walking through the Pall Mall, and the other locations the characters visit. Never has one of the classics brought me into the book so well even with the old time English playing its part. Burney is a masterful storyteller and I truly rate this as one of my favorite novels, It bumped down Jane Eyre that was my all time favorite since I was around 14 or so. If you like classics or reading about the social customs of old England, then you should really pick up this story. I had real tears streaming from my eyes in the last three or four chapters of this book. Even with its massive length and old language it was a story I haven’t easily forgotten. The text seems to stay with you and I hope to see Burney listed with the greats of old language literature more often.

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