Book Review – ‘School Spirits’ (Hex Hall Companion) by Rachel Hawkins

The Hex Hall Extended Universe…

School Spirits (#4 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Comedy, Romance

No. of pages: 297

From Goodreads:

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy’s mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who’s always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt? 

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Another great addition to the Hex Hall Universe. This time our protagonist is Izzy Brannick, Sophie’s younger monster-hunter-in-training cousin.

This was cute and in the same vein as the other Hex Hall novels. Izzy is struggling to prove herself, stumbling along and trying to hone her skills… as well as keep her cover as a regular high school student when she is anything but regular. Izzy has no idea about friendships, classes, and a plethora of other typical teen girl things. It was a fun, clumsy fish out of water story that dripped clues along the way in order to solve the mission Izzy had been tasked with.

School Spirits (#4 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI have to say that this novel feels a bit messy – only because it’s basically a standalone, but reads as the start to a new series. Not all plot points are tied up. Rachel Hawkins has stated that she is not writing any more on this collection, but it felt like she had a different intention when penning ‘School Spirits.’

I was also hoping there was going to be more presence of Sophie as well. The cast in ‘School Spirits’ is fairly compact. Izzy, her mum, Torin (the mirror enslaved warlock), and the three school friends all of whom are members of the P.M.S. (Paranormal Management Society.)

Still with all the aspects that I love about Hawkins writing: twists and turns in the plot, an ending I did not easily predict, fun interesting characters that hint to many hidden secrets waiting to be uncovered.

It saddens me that this the end to the Hex Hall collection. I felt like I was just starting to really get into it and then it ended… abruptly. With too many things left up in the air.

Fun easy read, I devoured it in a day accompanied with a bowl of cookies and a several cups of tea. Perfect for an autumn weekend.

Overall feeling: Got my motor running…

School Spirits (#4 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

School Spirits (#4 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Spell Bound’ (#3 Hex Hall) by Rachel Hawkins

The final book in the Hex Hall trilogy brings all the gouls to the yard.

Spell Bound (#3 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Comedy, Romance

No. of pages: 327

From Goodreads:

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

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Still loving this trilogy, the humour, the sass, the magical goings-on. We still get a few unexpected twists, but for me this conclusion wasn’t as quite as fantastic as I thought it would be. It was still Hawkins’ phenomenal writing, and the epic battle scene was amazeballs, but it felt like it was over in the blink of an eye after a massive build-up. It was all kinds of crazy and culminated in epicness.. but it still felt like it was missing something. Maybe I was expecting more of an emotional note? Am I getting spoiled for choice in my reading habits and continually raising the bar in what amazes me? Who knows exactly. While I loved ‘Spell bound’ and found it thoroughly entertaining and clanged the bells for all things YA that I lurve, there was that little something when I finished that whispered in my head that I was needing something bigger…

Spell Bound (#3 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgOur protagonist Sophie was her usual sarcastic self, and I LOL’d many times at her witty one liners, though you get a sense of her beginning to put the humour-masking-fear reaction aside by the end of the novel, showing some of the growth her character is moving through. I did feel that some aspects of her story were rushed, and it felt like we jumped around a bit – location wise and narrative wise. Yes, the story was broken into three parts, but ‘Spell bound’ didn’t have the cohesion its predecessors had.

Cal felt a bit more like a prop in this story… he slowly blended into the background, as did Jenna, Sophie’s vampire best friend. But I can’t fault Hawkins – there was so much going on and the plot blasts forward so quickly that having these two more prominent in the narrative would have been detrimental to the story. The four of them (five if you count Elodie the ghost) formed the best little Scooby gang. I enjoyed this series more than I did the Rebel Belle trilogy.

We get all the answers to the mysteries, and then some. Snippets of backstories are brought to light in a very organic way. But there is still some elements of the mythology that are left floating in the ether, but on the whole this novel wrapped up the trilogy nicely. There is a companion novel, ‘School Spirits,’ which I am definitely going to purchase next. I’m interested in Izzy’s story and hopefully get some more exploration on the Council and Prodigium’s history in the Hex Hall Universe.

I was really impressed with Hawkins writing style, the quips, the description, the pacing. It felt compact, relevant and full of pop culture. I’m kinda wishing this was a longer series because I fell in love with all the characters so much. Maybe Hawkins will revisit Hex Hall again with another great adventure for our misshapen band of teen heroes?

I wonder is Hawkins had every intent to continue with this Universe with the addition of ‘School Spirits’ and much left unsaid – but nothing new has been written since the latest book was published in 2013. But highly recommend this collection, its fun, quick-paced, and quippy YA at its best.

Overall feeling: Fills me with 90’s nostalgia and all kinds of paranormal adventure.

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Reckoning’ (#5 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

A supernatural finale that flounders, just a little…

Reckoning (#5 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 307

From Goodreads:

Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha — rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires — the worst is yet to come.

Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice.

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Another entertaining read from Lili St. Crow!

From the outset, the Strange Angels series has possessed an urban grittiness and an underlying note of darkness and sadness. Just like our protagonist Dru and her kind act in isolation from the rest of the human race, there is a sense of loneliness that seeps into your bones. I was really hoping we’d get some connection before the end, but it was anything but tenuous.

With an end battle surmounting all the relevant epicness of a final battle, there was something about how this rounded up the series that was lacking. The tone and afterthought was a bit lacklustre and did not give me that wow factor.

The biggest reason is around Dru and her decisions… or lack thereof. It felt like her character hadn’t really come that far. But then in other aspects she’d grown into this amazing person. Maybe because she’s still growing up, and has a long journey ahead of her, the story is not over by a long shot. So it ended with a “…” Which, practically, is a great note to end on; but since I’ve invested my time and money over 5 novels, I was hoping for something more definitive. I won’t get into any more details in fear of spoiling any new readers, but if you’ve read this series you may understand my view point.

I was a little shell-shocked, because as far as epic endings go, there is always mess – and I’m still not sure how to wrap my head around it all. Was it necessary? What did it all mean? It felt a bit rushed. Endings are always ‘big picture’ books aside from the epic battle. The series needs to answer some philosophical questions to put the hero’s journey in perspective.

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Dru’s love interest, Graves, ever the smiling puppy dog hero went out with a whimper in my eyes. I wanted more justice for his journey throughout the novels and sticking by Dru’s side.

Christophe, the annoying boy-model leech that Dru could not seem to resist or get rid of frustrated me even more in this finale. I never connected with him and had an even less opinion of him by the conclusion. I think that is another element of my dissatisfaction with the ending.

There’s still the sarcasm, the sass, and plenty of action.

But St. Crow can craft action scenes like the best of them. I was lifting my feet, swerving in my seat and steering my book like I was playing a computer game at times. Bravo!

A new element of the Marajai was introduced… and then we get a bit of development of this arc before the series ends. It left me wondering if St. Crow intended to continue in this universe with a second series or do a spin-off.

So, while loving the writing, the action, and totally immersed in the Strange Angels universe, by the end I was still left wanting – and that’s not what you want to feel after reading a finale. St. Crow has an edgy writing style that always had me coming back for more, and I am definitely going to check out more of her titles. I’d easily recommend the Strange Angels collection to anyone loving sassy protagonist and paranormal YA fiction.

Overall feeling:…was that the end?

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Demonglass’ (#2 Hex Hall) by Rachel Hawkins

Flip the script on Harry Potter and it could read very much like Demonglass.

Demon Glass (#2 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Comedy, Romance

No. of pages: 359

From Goodreads:

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (a.k.a. witches, shape-shifters, and faeries). But then she discovered the family secret, and the fact that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world-the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will either destroy her powers for good-or kill her. 

But once Sophie arrives, she makes a shocking discovery. Her new housemates? They’re demons too. Meaning, someone is raising demons in secret, with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

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After a surprisingly enjoyable debut with ‘Hex Hall’ we get another well-paced, unexpected adventure with ‘Demonglass.’

Our protagonist Sophie felt a stronger character for me compared to her depiction in ‘Hex Hall.’ Growth in trusting herself and her instincts, in her growing relationship with her estranged Father, I was really invested in her story. And the sarcasm was a delight. I LOL’ed many times. ‘Demonglass’ was a joy to read.

The murky feelings that I had for love interest Archer faded and were transferred to the other challenger for Sophie’s affections, Cal – although I liked the fact that they respected her enough not to impose their feelings on her, there was still a bit of passive aggressive behaviour that annoyed me. Plus a love triangle trope… I was hoping it would get a little bit more interesting and original.

Cal started to turn into the brooding love interest trope, but I liked how he managed to brush his bruised ego aside when it counted.

Archer was dreamy. I was always invested in his story, and his pairing with Sophie…. keen to see where this goes, he’s starting to prove his true intentions.

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I was never bored, and compelled to continue reading. The pacing is great. Hawkins writing style felt a little more on trend, there was plenty of snarky banter and teen slang that added that something extra to the narrative.

The plot twist was masterful. I had no idea what was coming and was totally engrossed. Though it does end on a cliff hanger, and many plot points aren’t resolved – you kind of need to jump right into the third instalment ‘Spell Bound.’ I’m really excited to see what comes next. Especially given Hawkins talent for plot twists that show up out of the blue.

Definitely recommend this one!

Overall feeling: Sassy, snarky and so entertaining

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Defiance’ (#4 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

Defining the YA paranormal genre…

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 272

From Goodreads:

Now that sixteen-year-old Dru’s worst fears have come true and Sergej has kidnapped her best friend Graves, she’ll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring him back in one piece.

That is, if she can put all of Christophe’s training to good use, defeat her mother’s traitor, Anna, once and for all, and manage to survive another day…

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Nothing much happened in the first half of the book except for training and general boring stuff… I was worried this book was going to be a complete write-off. Then for the second half it was like everything just exploded.

Misdirection. Lies. Confrontations. Epic battles. I had a lot of fun reading this… if only the first half hadn’t lagged so much this would have been perfect.

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleDru annoyed me a bit in this one, she charged like a bull at a gate at just about everything, after being so strategic in previous volumes of this series, it felt like a big step backwards. But it did lead to an ending with suitable dramatic flair.

I still don’t like Christophe (as a character or Dru’s love interest) too much, he feel like a smooth operator, maneuvering people around him like chess pieces. I understand his feelings may be genuine, but don’t think someone like him is good for Dru. Graves is my pick for Dru… poor guy is being put through the ringer.

My favorite character is still tortured werewolf Ash, that she is trying to mend back to health – maybe it’s the dog-lover in me 😉

Sergei is the perfect antagonist: mysterious, powerful, egotistic and conniving. Though I’m feeling he is a bit two-dimensional being so enigmatic and evil. Though I can’t wait for a showdown between him and Dru. Though adding Anna to the list of baddies really ups the anty against Dru. St. Crow can really craft an engaging plot.

The writing style was the same breezy, sarcastic tone, though there were moments of repetition. Words recycled, descriptions reused. It felt a bit lazy on the editor’s behalf.

Another easy and quick read. Loving Lilli’s writing. Short, entertaining, and chock full of twisty and angsty goodness. She also writes mean action scenes.

Only one more book left in the series and can’t wait to get into ‘Reckoning.’

Overall feeling: You got me there girl!

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Hex Hall’ (#1 Hex Hall) by Rachel Hawkins

A paranormal plot with punch.

Hex Hall (#1 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Comedy, Romance

No. of pages: 323

From Goodreads:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

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For some reason I did not connect that this was the same author that had written the ‘Rebel Belle’ trilogy – more stupid me! I had a lot of fun reading that Palladin adventure, and so too did I enjoy this witchy-demon-magic boarding school romp through the grounds of Hecate Hall.

I’d seen this book pop up in my recommendations repeatedly on several different sites – but something about the cover art, and it being a witch-based tale had me dismissing it. But because I was looking for some quick reads to help reach my reading goals back in 2017 (futilely) ‘Hex Hall’ fit the bill… and I was pleasantly surprised. This was not some mass produced paranormal romance I’d predicted. While still in the YA wheelhouse of tone, our protagonist Sophie had some wit and humour that kept me engaged, and I never felt bored for a moment. With a murder mystery entwined into the storyline, a romance, a fish-out-of-water arc, I was always waiting to see what would unfold on the next page. Needless to say this novel was a wonderful surprise and an engaging read. I’m definitely looking forward to adding the rest of this collection to my library as soon as possible.

Hex Hall (#1 Hex Hall) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleHex Hall’ has a Harry Potteresque feel. A prodigy magic user/outsider protagonist with a mystery to solve about their past. A magical boarding school with spells and student hijinks. A bully, some beasties and ghosts, wacky teachers and classes, and of course a library. But Sophie stands on her own – there is no Scooby Gang with a like-minded Hermione or Ronald, she does her own research, practices and develops skills and uncovers answers solo. I felt there could have been a bit more establishment of her character for me to connect with her quicker, and there are many tropes that gave this a I’ve-read-this-before vibe. But still, I was entertained and armoured by Sophie and her stumbling existence at Hecate Hall.

Qudos to Sophie’s roommate/vampire/best friend Jenna, by far my favourite character from the novel. She was sarcastic, juxtaposing and quirky… just as a best friend should be. I’m eager to see where this friendship will go in the series.

The writing style lends to an easy read, the tone is very teen-girl, I wanted a bit more sophistication, but it would have not hit its target market and confused readers. Hawkins writing is bang on for the demographic. And as a huge lover of all things YA, was charmed by this story. As there are new challenges and clues mixed with humour constantly scattered every page or so, it keeps the pace and tension building right to the end, and can quite easily be completed in one sitting, however I broke it in two, consuming it over lazy afternoons accompanied by a hot cup of tea.

There is enough of a mystery solved and plenty of resolution to feel like you get a pay-off at the end of the novel, even though this is a debut to a series. Plus, there are enough good teasers to leave you wanting to read on and get your hands on the next book. I’m definitely eager to dive right into ‘Demonglass’ as soon as possible. A super fun read and something I’d recommend to lovers of YA, and light witchy-toned books!

Overall feeling: Wowzer!

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Jealousy’ (#3 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

It’s getting better! Dru really sink her teeth into the story in Jealousy.

Jealousy (#3 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 316

From Goodreads:

Dru Anderson might finally be safe. She’s at the largest Schola on the continent, and beginning to learn what it means to be svetocha—half vampire, half human, and all deadly. If she survives her training, she will be able to take her place in the Order, holding back the vampires and protecting the oblivious normal people.

But a web of lies and betrayals is still closing around her, just when she thinks she can relax a little. Her mentor Christophe is missing, her almost-boyfriend is acting weird, and the bodyguards she’s been assigned seem to know much more than they should. And then there’s the vampire attacks, the strange nightly visits, and the looks everyone keeps giving her. As if she should know something.

Or as if she’s in danger.

Someone high up in the Order is a traitor. They want Dru dead—but first, they want to know what she remembers of the night her mother died. Dru doesn’t want to remember, but it looks like she might have to—especially since once Christophe returns, he’ll be on trial for his life, and the only person who can save him is Dru.

The problem is, once she remembers everything, she may not want to…

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Things are starting to get interesting again – we’re back on the path to finding answers, fighting the big bad, and making serious head-roads into a serious relationship.

There were some parts of ‘Jealousy’ where the pacing went flat: getting bogged down in a lot of mundane detail. And then there was the repeated reference to many things like the necklace, the owl, the touch…. we get it, they’re important to the plot, but the continual referencing was starting to get tedious.

The love triangle thing came out in full effect in ‘Jealously’ and, to be frank, I don’t like it.

Just. Stop.

But besides that, I lurved ‘Jealousy.’ The formation of strong friendships, the battles, the espionage and back-stabbing. It made for some delicious reading. The 14 year old girl in me was all-a-squee.

Jealousy (#3 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleOur protagonist Dru felt like she was finally starting to take her future into her own hands, challenging the direction those around her of whom were pushing her in earnest. She made up her own mind with the facts that were presented. I loved how Dru showed compassion with Ash the tortured and broken werewolf; I really started getting wrapped up in her story and could feel the character development ooze from the page.

Christophe was absent for most of the story, but when he appeared, he landed with a clap of thunder and shook everything up… I’m still of two minds about him though. As lovely as he is written, there is something altogether creepy about him.

My heart belongs to Goth Boy. Graves in all his laoup garou glory. I adore his sarcastic sense of humour and how he supports Dru as a partner and not a dominator.

Again, I got a number of delightful little surprises from the plot, many of which I didn’t see coming. Anna plays a wonderful role in the unveiling of the past, and mythology. Though this does end on a cliff-hanger; it has a sense of hope and strength and I’m keen as mustard to get my hands on ‘Defiance.’ A great addition to my YA collection. Recommended.

Overall feeling: Falling in love with this series.

Jealousy (#3 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Jealousy (#3 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Betrayals’ (#2 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

The next instalment in the Buffy-esque YA creature feature.

Betrayals (#2 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 296

From Goodreads:

She’s no angel…

Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she’s just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn’t entirely human. (So what else is new?)

Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there’s a big problem—she’s the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn’t be so bad, but Dru’s killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide…

Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart?

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This sequel to ‘Strange Angels’ is still with the fun characters, the adventure, and action filled storylines. St. Crow definitely has a superb writing style, however this felt a little wah-wah for me.

The plot felt like the Scooby Gang just went from point A to point B while fighting off some nasties. I missed the sarcastic humour and banter, I missed some major plot development, and finding out about some of the mythology of the ‘real world.’ It was definitely an engaging read, little tweaks on creature features were delightful. Though it did read like a middle book. I felt if there were some more reveals in the plot, a touch of character development this would have felt like a novel, not just a couple of chapters in a larger story.

Betrayals (#2 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe love triangle-esqe thing was a little bit tiresome, but I definitely lavished in how the relationship is building between Dru and Graves. This is my pairing for the win! There’s not much else to say about the characters, it was such a short novel that mainly consisted of a journey… but we don’t get any hero transformation because it is only part-way to the destination, so while I loved the story, and it was an entertaining read, it felt, well… empty. The only plus side in commenting on characters, it that of the protagonist – there was a real sense of Dru being lost that rang through strong and resonated with me…

This short novel was completed in two sittings, and am keen to continue on with the series in ‘Jealousy.’ I’d recommend this, but make sure you have the entire series to marathon because the individual volumes in this series don’t quite stack up as separate novels.

Overall feeling: Cool, but…

Betrayals (#2 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Betrayals (#2 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Strange Angels’ (#1 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

A cool sarcastic ride of the paranormal… shades of Buffy.

Strange Angels Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 293

From Goodreads:

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

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I was pleasantly surprised by ‘Strange Angels,’ it starts off with a bang and takes one surprising road after another. There is an ancient twist to the monsters and mythology in this novel that kept me engaged. It did not feel like every other YA paranormal in this genre.

I was engaged throughout and found myself investing in our protagonist Dru, and even began to ‘ship her and Graves. Dru is a gritty independent heroine, but also a teen girl with hopes of normality. I was really rooting for her, and forever trying to work out what was going on.

Christophe was introduced too late in the novel for me to care about. But Graves, the only other male was Asian geeky deliciousness. Easy going and loyal to a fault. And thank goodness it did not feel like a love triangle, or instalove even though it had all the ingredients for this trope.

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There are some spoony moments and this has a heavy ‘Supernatural‘ (the television show) vibe, except it’s a female lead instead of the Winchester brothers.

Lili St. Crow has a wonderful writing style. Her wording was so unexpected yet flourishing and edgy, complementing the tone of ‘Strange Angels.’ It’s a dark horror comedy that definitely entertained and I have become an instant fangirl.

I don’t feel like there was a whole lot of resolution – in fact very little – but it has asked a whole lot of questions that I can see stretching out over the four novels to follow. I’m intrigued to find out what happens in ‘Betrayals.’ And discover even more about the mythology of the real world and Dru’s heritage.

Definitely recommend this to lovers of the YA horror/fantasy genre. A quick punchy read.

Overall feeling: Holding on to my socks!

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