Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely #4) by Melissa Marr

Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely #4)
By Melissa Marr

(Hardcover, 340 pages)

The fourth in Marr’s Wicked Lovely series focuses loosely on Devlin, the High Queen of Faerie’s advisor-assassin, and Ani, the half-mortal daughter of Gabriel, leader of the Wild Hunt. Characters from other books play roles of varying importance as Devlin and Ani meet, fall in lust/love, and foil another attempt to create unrest in both worlds. This is a convoluted story, and despite frequent interruptions detailing character back stories and the inner workings of Faerie courts, it is utterly dependent on the rest of the series. The story ends with balance restored to Faerie, an ominous sense of precariousness leaves room for more.

I have said before that I probably wouldn’t continue the Wicked Lovely series because I was disappointed in Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity. After reading the first few chapters of Ink Exchange it was disappointing to me when I realized that it was not exactly a sequel or a continuation of the story in Wicked Lovely. When I started reading Ink Exchange I enjoyed how the love triangle between Keenan, Asilinn and Seth is heightened, but after awhile it was redundant (Aislann loves Seth but is attracted to Keenan, Keenan loves Donia but wants Aislann), over and over and over and over with nothing really happening in the story.

When the fourth book Radiant Shadows came out I didn’t run to the book store to purchase it, until my daughter decided that she wanted to read the series…. and since it was in the house I thought I would give it a chance.

The beginning of Radiant Shadows began as pure confusion for me; it had been awhile since I'd read Fragile Eternity and the intricacies of the courts and the Hounds was lost on me totally and I also couldn't remember the story line of Ani from the previous book. Once again this book is not about Ash and Seth but instead about Devlin and Ani and her journey as she discovers who she is and how her life intertwines with Devlin's. I didn’t find Ani’s character very interesting, but by the end of the book, I grew to like Devlin a lot. I still can’t figure out the love triangle between Rae, Devlin & Ani. Overall, Radiant Shadows was okay and I enjoyed it somewhat but once again not much happens in this book and it feels to be more of a filler for the final book in the Wicked Lovely series, Darkest Mercy, which I’ll read just to finish the series. I hope that Marr brings all of the story threads to a definite and satisfying ending in Darkest Mercy.

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

White Oleander
By Janet Fitch
(Kindle Edition)

Astrid Magnussen, the teenage narrator of Janet Fitch's engrossing first novel, White Oleander, has a mother who is as sharp as a new knife. An uncompromising poet, Ingrid despises weakness and self-pity, telling her daughter that they are descendants of Vikings, savages who fought fiercely to survive. And when one of Ingrid's boyfriends abandons her, she illustrates her point, killing the man with the poison of oleander flowers. This leads to a life sentence in prison, leaving Astrid to teach herself the art of survival in a string of Los Angeles foster homes.

As Astrid bumps from trailer park to tract house to Hollywood bungalow, White Oleander uncoils her existential anxieties. "Who was I, really?" she asks. "I was the sole occupant of my mother's totalitarian state, my own personal history rewritten to fit the story she was telling that day. There were so many missing pieces." Fitch adroitly leads Astrid down a path of sorting out her past and identity. In the process, this girl develops a wire-tight inner strength, gains her mother's white-blonde beauty, and achieves some measure of control over their relationship. Even from prison, Ingrid tries to mold her daughter. Foiling her, Astrid learns about tenderness from one foster mother and how to stand up for herself from another.

I absolutely loved this book and it was difficult to put down.  White Oleander is a very intense story, at times so harsh that it made me cringe, not only is the writing very well done, but the detail illuminates the story but without slowing it down.

The characters are heartbreakingly real and their struggles are almost beyond imagination. On the surface this is a story about a mother and daughter, but not the usual relationship we have come to expect in a novel.  Over the course of the novel, Astrid transforms from an innocent girl to an incredibly sharp, self-sufficient young woman who ultimately manages to gain the upper hand in this complex mother-daughter relationship.  Astrid finds love as she learns (often the hard way) what love really is and that ultimately, she is a giver of love.

I can't say that White Oleander is a pleasant read, because the content is unbelievable depressing. However, it's an amazing story of struggle and survival, and this book should be on everyone's must-read list.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner By Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
By Stephenie Meyer
(Hardcover, 178 pages)

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

I was expecting more from this novella.  I found that Bree just isn't that interesting and at the end, we don't know much more about her than we did before.  

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie (Books of Faerie, #2) By Maggie Stiefvater

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie (Books of Faerie, #2)
By Maggie Stiefvater
(Kindle Edition)

James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween-the day of the dead-draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.

While I was reading Ballad I kept comparing it to Lament… and Ballad came up short.  Deirdre and James are living on the same school campus but are living separate lives.  Be prepared to be disappointed with Stiefvater's portrayal of Deirdre, she is no longer the strong heroine… she’s now miserable, weak and mostly absent in Ballad.  Anyone who was a fan of James (which I am) in the first book will be pleased; he is now the main character along with Nuala, the faerie that comes for James soul.  Overall this book was enjoyable, but not as pleasing as Lament.  I would recommend both books, especially to those who have enjoyed the Wicked Lovely series.

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Books of Faerie, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)
By Maggie Stiefvater
(Kindle Edition)

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand - one who can see faeries.  Unexpectedly, Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy named Luke, who enters her ordinary life, seemingly out of thin air. But his interest in her might be something darker than summer romance. When a sinister faerie named Aodhan shows up with deadly orders from the Faerie Queen, it forces Dee right into the midst of Faerie. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend.  Deirdre had been wishing her summer weren't so dull, but taking on a centuries-old Faerie Queen isn't exactly what she had in mind.

Lament is a story filled with magic, mystery, and romance.  Deirdre is an ordinary girl who is dealing with an over protective and controlling mother when she comes across a boy who truly sees her. Luke (the mysterious and dangerous guy) seems to know her better than most and wants nothing more than to love her, much to the disappointment of her best friend James.  Deirdre goes from wallflower to a strong character that ends up saving the boys!  I enjoyed Lament and would recommend it as a great read for YA fans of all ages.