Bind Up News! The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

I have made no secret about how much I love The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey. There’s good news for those of you who have yet to read them!  The publisher is making the first three volumes available for $9.99!  Yup!! For 10 bucks, you can read Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud, and Out for Blood in one convenient volume with a new cover!  That’s over 800 pages of Drake hotness for $9.99! 

 

MEET the Drakes:

A darkly romantic, irresistibly alluring family of royal vampire blood

READ Alyxandra Harvey’s Ruling Passion:

A haunting, humorous saga, now gathered into one juicy volume!

RULING PASSION

By Alyxandra Harvey

Publication date: September 27, 2011

978-0-80272-802-9 / $9.99 / 816 pages

www.alyxandraharvey.com

Bind up contains: Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud, and Out for Blood

(Previously published separately as The Drake Chronicles)

"A refreshing take of the familiar teenage vampire drama . . . Harvey builds an engaging world of vampire cultures balanced wit a smart mix of darkness and humor."

Publishers Weekly

“A fabulous and fast-paced read! The action is superb . . . this is the perfect

escape read."

Romantic Times


You can read excerpts from all three books by visiting the links below:

Hearts at Stake: http://issuu.com/bloomsbury/docs/heartsatstake/1

Blood Feud: http://issuu.com/bloomsbury/docs/bloodfeud

Out for Blood: http://issuu.com/bloomsbury/docs/outforblood/1

If you haven’t read The Drake Chronicles yet, you don’t know how much fun you are missing out on!  Use the handy widget below to order your copy today.  The book will be in stores September 27, so you can also visit your favorite bookseller for a copy.

Review: The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout

 

Title: The Boy at the End of the World

Author: Greg van Eekhout

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

ISBN: 978-1599905242

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Fisher is the last boy on earth-and things are not looking good for the human race. Only Fisher made it out alive after the carefully crafted survival bunker where Fisher and dozens of other humans had been sleeping was destroyed.

Luckily, Fisher is not totally alone. He meets a broken robot he names Click, whose programmed purpose-to help Fisher "continue existing"-makes it act an awful lot like an overprotective parent. Together, Fisher and Click uncover evidence that there may be a second survival bunker far to the west. In prose that skips from hilarious to touching and back in a heartbeat, Greg van Eekhout brings us a thrilling story of survival that becomes a journey to a new hope-if Fisher can continue existing long enough to get there.

Review:

Wow, was this a great read!  I wasn’t expecting to have my socks blown off, but they were.  This is the perfect book to entice reluctant MG readers to read.  The pacing is swift, the characters are wonderful, and the suspense never takes a backseat as the plot progresses.  It keeps building and building, until it is impossible to put the book down.  And then when it was over, I wanted more!  The ending is very, very satisfying and this is a completely self-contained work, but I would so love it if we could revisit with Fisher again.

So, why is this book so awesome?  To start with, the characters have so much depth, and after Fisher starts off on his journey to survive, the reader becomes totally invested in his continued success at living.  It’s a harsh world that Fisher awakens to, and it’s scary and dangerous.  One false move and he’s failed his mission.  As the last human alive, it’s critical that he not give up and die.  And it is so hard to keep going when the world around him is so treacherous.  That alone kept me turning the pages; Fisher is at such a huge disadvantage that it doesn’t seem possible that he will live for more than a few days.  He turns out to be so much more resourceful than even his robot companion gives him credit for, and he survives one death defying mishap after another.

When the story begins, Fisher is abruptly jolted awake in his pod.  The Ark where he was born is under attack and is being destroyed around him.  He knows nothing.  It’s like he’s newly born.  He knows his name.  He knows the world is a dangerous place.  He knows he’s alone.  And that’s it! Na-da!  Nothing else to help this kid survive in a world gone mad.  As he flees into the wilderness, he’s joined by Click, a damaged custodial robot.  Fisher is the only one to make it out of the Ark alive.  He is alone.  He thinks he is the last human on the planet.

Fisher and Click set out on an adrenaline rushing adventure.  Fisher just wants to stay alive, but he hasn’t been given much in the way to help with this seemingly monumental task.  He has the personality of a fisherman, but no tools to fish.  As his journey continues, there is no place to fish, either.  He has a daily struggle to forge for enough to eat.  Even catching enough insects to satisfy his raging hunger is a challenge.  He never gives up, though, and that is what I loved about him.  In the face of such incredible odds, he never gives up. 

The other aspect of Fisher’s personality that I love is his loyalty.  He and Click encounter a baby mastodon, and instead of killing and eating it, Protein becomes a member of Fisher’s little entourage.  When Click or Protein are in grave danger, Fisher ignores his mission of staying alive and always tries to help his new friends, even when it puts his own life in peril.  He is one brave kid!  There were a few times when I thought that someone was going to meet an untimely end, but Fisher’s bravery and resourcefulness saved the day.  The book is so suspenseful that I didn’t want to put it down, so I didn’t!  I stayed up far past my bedtime to finish it, because I couldn’t bear to not know how things turn out for Fisher and his odd assortment of friends.

I am not saying much about the plot because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers.  That was another fun part of reading the book; I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.  The Boy at the End of the World is one of the best Middle Grade books that I have read this year; it was a wonderful escape from the stresses of real life, and I am looking forward to Greg van Eekhout’s next project.

Grade: A

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

 

Title: Small Town Sinners

Author: Melissa Walker

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 978-1599905273

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver’s license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church’s annual haunted house of sin, Lacey’s junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn’t know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

Melissa Walker has crafted the perfect balance of engrossing, thought-provoking topics and relatable, likable characters. Set against the backdrop of extreme religion, Small Town Sinners is foremost a universal story of first love and finding yourself, and it will stay with readers long after the last page.

Review:

Wow, this book turned out to be totally different from what I was expecting!  I usually try to avoid books that center around religion, because I don’t have strong views on faith.  It is often hard for me to relate to characters like Lacey, who are secure and certain in their beliefs.  The daughter of a pastor in a small town, Lacey is a model daughter.  She isn’t rebellious, she follows the rules, and she takes great pride in her family’s standing in the community.  She would never do anything to tarnish her reputation and she toes the Evangelical line.  Until the day when a stranger moves to town, and everything that she was taught to believe has her wondering why things are the way they are.  Why are some people treated one way, and others in a less favorable manner?  Why?  Once she starts to ask that question, everything threatens to fall apart, and it leaves her scared and confused.

I enjoyed this book because it is a convincing coming of age story.  Lacey has one goal for the next school year, and that’s be cast in a leading role in Hell House, an annual event sponsored by her church to highlight sin and attempt to bring more people into the congregation.  When Ty Davis, the new hottie in town, starts to question the portrayal of sin in the play, Lacey begins to have questions as well.  When a close friend is caught up in an unfortunate set of circumstances that threaten her future prospects, Lacey wonders why both participants in the sin aren’t punished equally.  When her best friend is bullied at school, and then at church, she begins to wonder again.  Why isn’t the bully being punished, and why is he allowed to torment her friend, even in the sacred confines of the church.  Both of these events put Lacey at odds with her parents, and make her doubt the foundation of her beliefs.

Some tough subjects were tackled in Small Town Sinners, and while not every aspect was convincingly resolved, it made for great drama and believable reasons for Lacey to begin to open her eyes to unfairness and to start developing her own ideas and thoughts about how life and her religion should play a role in her life.  As she tries to explain to her disappointed and disapproving father, she doesn’t see the world in black and white anymore.  There are now shades of gray.  Not every situation has a neat and tidy answer, and not all sins are equal.  That’s what I loved about Lacey and it’s what kept me so engaged in the book.  She is a very intelligent and compassionate young woman, and all she wants is for everyone to be happy and to find solace and completeness in their faith.  Unfortunately, she begins to see that her world view is too simplified, and that her parents’ world isn’t necessarily her world.

There were times when I was uncomfortable with  Lacey and her friends.  I could not understand their blind devotion to the church, and at times I became frustrated with them.  They made excuses instead of admitting that some people weren’t acting in a way consistent with the teachings of the church.  Though this made Lacey’s rebellion against her parents even more remarkable, it did grate on my nerves occasionally.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka

 

Title: The A Circuit

Author: Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

ISBN: 978-1599906348

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse shows. It’s a world with its own rules and superprivileged lifestyles. Teens travel the circuit all year, showing horses that cost as much as some homes.

Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student-every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She’s used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn’s resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there’s Zara. She’s the wild child of a famous rockstar, but she’s ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?

Readers who enjoy peeking into the elite world of Gossip Girl or The A-List will feel right at home in this new series with its friendships, drama, and privilege set against the backdrop of competitive horseback riding.

Review:

Warning – Very long and rambling post; my apologies

It seems like I have waited forever to read this book!  When I first saw it, with that pretty horse on the cover, all shiny clean, wearing show tack, and ready to put on a show, I wanted to read it, even though I am usually disappointed by books with horses.  Most of them have left me underwhelmed, because the horse facts are wrong.  Before I had horses, that never bothered me. I read horse stories all the time, and loved them.  Now, in my life with horses, I don’t enjoy them as much, because most of the time, they don’t feel authentic.  I know that Georgina Bloomberg shows competitively, so I had high hopes for this book. Probably too high!  But I enjoyed it so much!

First off, this book is soap opera with horses.  If you don’t like horses, think they stink, can’t imagine shoveling their poop, The A Circuit is probably not for you.  Most of the action takes place at the show grounds or the barn, with minimal time spent elsewhere.  When the characters aren’t at the barn, they want to be at the barn.  That feeling certainly resonated with me!

Told through alternating points of view, the story focuses on three teens: Tommi, Zara, and Kate.  Tommi and Zara come from money, while Kate, the daughter of a cop, has had to work day and night for the opportunity to ride.  She doesn’t have a horse, but she is able to show the barn owner’s string, or catch ride for clients.  I liked Kate.  I felt for Kate.  I understood Kate.  Horses are like a drug.  When you aren’t around them, they are all you think about.  Chilling at the barn, forging that bond between yourself and an animal that weighs half a ton and could stomp the life out of you if it got a burr up its butt.  Why do we work ourselves to the bone to experience this rewarding, though occasionally unnerving pursuit?  I have no idea, but if I ever figure it out, I will write up a post about it.

Zara rubbed me the wrong way, and I wanted to beat her with a riding whip or strangle her with a lead rope.  Which ever was closer would have worked.  She has no respect for anyone, including herself.  She is out of control, and she takes her anger out on everyone, including her horses.  She doesn’t beat them, she is just very rough and demanding with them.  It made me angry.  The general rule is ask for a little, reward a lot, but this is a foreign concept to Zara.  She has no discipline, and I wonder why she rides at all.  She wants to ride and train on her terms, and she should have been sent packing the first time she put a horse in harm’s way.  But no, money talks just as loudly in the horse world as it does anywhere else.  Unfortunately.

Both Tommi and Zara take their horses for granted.  Both of their fathers pick up their training and show tabs with nary a fuss.  Tommi, at least, is trying to think of a way to keep doing the horsey thing after she finishes high school, despite her family’s insistence that she attend a prestigious college and get a high profile job.  That’s just not her thing.  I admired her drive to find a way to pay her own way, and was even more intrigued with her self-doubts.  Was she good enough to train a horse capable of showing on the A circuit?  Her self-confidence takes a beating, and I am so curious to see how she progresses – really hoping for a sequel for this!

Without spoiling anything, I was so disappointed with both Tommi and Kate when they are involved, indirectly, in a display of blatant stupidity that injures a horse.  That is so not cool!  Their silence was painful for me, and they both took the easy way out of a difficult situation.  To me, they didn’t learn from a mistake that could have gotten someone killed.  You can’t goof off around horses; their size makes them dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.  I get a little sick when I think back on that scene in the book. So senseless and such a waste, and nobody has proved to me that they learned a darned thing from it!

The A Circuit was everything that I had hoped for, and more.  It is a soap opera set in a barn, with a group of angsty teens and their horses in starring roles.  Their little dramas kept me engaged in the story, and the show scenes made me wish I was at the fairgrounds. 

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge

 

Title: Dogtag Summer

Author: Elizabeth Partridge

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1599901831

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Twelve-year-old Tracy-or Tuyet-has always felt different. The villagers in Vietnam called her con-lai, or "half-breed," because her father was an American GI. And she doesn’t fit in with her adoptive family in California, either. But when Tracy and a friend discover a soldier’s dogtag hidden among her father’s things, it sets her past and her present on a collision course. Where should her broken heart come to rest? In a time and place she remembers only in her dreams? Or among the people she now calls family? Partridge’s sensitive portrayal of a girl and her family grappling with the complicated legacy of war is as timely today as the events were decades ago.

Review:

This book gave me so much to think about, and it kept me glued to the pages the entire time I read it.  Protagonist Tracy is easy to like, and her confusion about who she is and where she came from just leaps out of the book.  Her helpless rage is convincing and understandable, as is her inability to communicate her feelings to the people she loves.  Because she doesn’t know how to talk about her doubts and her fears, she instead keeps pushing her family and friends away.  This is a heart-wrenching read, because it’s hard to think about a young child enduring what Tracy had to.  Her story is relevant to any war situation.  During the horrors of fighting, it is always the most vulnerable who suffer the most.

Tracy has been adopted by an American couple, and the half-Vietnamese kid seems happy and carefree on the outside.  Inside, however, she is a bundle of confusion.  After finding an old ammo box in the garage, she is assailed with questions about herself.  She remembers bits and pieces about her life in Vietnam – she had a grandmother who loved her, she lived beside a tea-colored river, and her mother worked for the Americans in the laundry at their base.  What she doesn’t remember is how she got to her adoptive home, and once she opens the ammo box, she is like Pandora.  The box has been opened and her questions, like the ghosts of her past, won’t leave her alone.

I found this story so compelling because I never stopped to think of something that is very obvious – adopted kids had a life before they were adopted.   There was a there before there was a here.  Tracy’s there is filled with both soft, gentle memories, and more traumatic nightmares as the warfare escalated in 1975 Vietnam.  She lived through some truly horrific moments, and to protect herself, her mind shut down and simply forgot about her ordeal.  The ammo box, and the set of dogtags she finds, blows the lid off of her memories.  Through a series of short flashbacks, her past is slowly revealed, linked together like beads on a necklace, to expose her past again. 

Tracy’s adoptive father, a Vietnam vet, is also suffering from PTSD.  I found it very moving when Tracy confronts him, begging him to share his memories with her.  She is the only person who could possibly understand what he was going through, but, like Tracy, his defense mechanism is to shut everyone out.  Tracy is persistent, however.  The horrors of the Vietnam War belong to both of them, and Tracy won’t stop asking questions until she gets some answers.  Who is she? What were her parents like?  Where does she belong?

This MG read is touching and emotionally satisfying.  I am dismayed that it isn’t getting the buzz it deserves.  If you are going to read just one MG book this year, read this one!

Grade: A-

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

 

Title: Sean Griswold’s Head

Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1599904986

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father’s newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it’s working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He’s cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

Review:

I immediately connected to Payton, and understood her conflicted feelings about her father’s illness and her parents’ attempts at hiding it from her.  Last summer, I went through something similar.  While I am much older than Payton, and I am not the youngest child, my parents choose to not divulge my dad’s test results to me.  When they finally did call to tell me that something was wrong, I learned to hate this phrase, “We wanted to let you know what is going on.”  That is never a good phrase, and when you hear it from a parent, brace yourself.  After venting to them about keeping me in the dark about his cancer diagnosis, they have been completely upfront with his health, which I appreciate very much.  I know that I will always be a kid to them, but I didn’t like being blindsided any better than Payton did.

Payton is a bundle of misdirected rage after learning that her father has MS.  He will never be the same, and she can now see how vulnerable he is.  It is scary and she is afraid for him, so instead of facing her fear, she instead unleashes her anger.  At her father, at his silence about his illness, and at herself.  She knows that she is being awful, but she can’t help herself.  This made me feel so bad for her; she loves her father so much, but she doesn’t know how to deal with the new reality of his life.  He is weaker, he tires easily, his disease has no cure.  This would be traumatic for an adult, so Payton had my sympathies.

Because her parents are worried about her, Payton is forced to visit the school counselor.  Ms Callahan gives her an assignment to help her deal with her feelings – pick a Focus Object and write Focus Exercises in a daily journal.  Payton doesn’t see the point of the whole Focus Object thing, but she dutifully focuses on Sean Griswold – or his head, more specifically.  She and Sean have sat near each other forever, but she has never given him much thought.  Now, every thought is on his big blond head.  Slowly, she starts to notice the rest of him, and before she knows it, Sean and his head have become very important to her.

While I liked Payton, I loved Sean.  This kid has got his act together.  Kind and compassionate, he is everything that a distraught teenage girl needs to get her head screwed back on the right way.  He even introduces her to cycling, and suggests that she enter a charity marathon to help raise money for multiple sclerosis research.  How can you not fall in love with a guy like that??  At times he was a little too perfect, but his level-headedness was a nice contrast to Payton’s irrational behavior.

Payton’s snarky narrative adds humor to her messed up new reality, and keeps the tone of the book from getting too heavy.  There are points where I got a little choked up, and I wished that Payton would just let her parents give her a big hug so they could all start repairing the gaping bridge that yawned between them.  I loved the gradual change in her outlook on both her life and her father’s illness, and liked her better for her new found maturity.  She wants to do what’s best for her dad, but she doesn’t know what that is.  While she is raging at him because of his deceit and because of his illness, she is also distancing herself from everyone she cares about.  Payton is a disaster in the making, but she has to find the key to her own salvation.  It is gratifying when she does.

Sean Griswold’s Head is a touching read, and Payton’s quest to find balance in her suddenly unsettling world will have you cheering for her success.

Check back later for a chance to win a copy of the book!

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Monkey See Monkey Zoo by Erin Soderberg

 

Title: Animal Tales: Monkey See, Monkey Zoo

Author: Erin Soderberg

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1599905570

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is a fun MG read, with a spunky protagonist and her goofy little sidekick.  Willa lives in the Monkey Pit at the zoo.  She loves her family and friends, and she also loves her trinkets.  She climbs up to the ledge of the enclosure when humans drop little treasures, and she cherishes each new find.  Her mother isn’t so enamored, and she thinks it’s dangerous for Willa to climb up on the ledge.  She forbids her from ever doing it again!  Of course, Willa just can’t resist, and when a young human, Carter, leaves his treasure outside the enclosure, Willa escapes so she can return his backpack.

I love books with animals, and this one did not disappoint.  Willa is very clever, but sometimes she is a little too clever for her own good!  She is intensely curious about what it’s like outside of the Monkey Pit, so when she has the opportunity to go exploring, she jumps at the chance.  Literally.  What she forgets to think about is how she is going to get back home!  Ever intent on her mission, though, Willa puts that frightening thought out of her mind and instead tries to maneuver through the scary world of humans to find Carter. 

The world outside of the zoo is more dangerous than Willa could have imagined, but she bravely continues on her journey.  Along the way, she meets up with a scatterbrained chipmunk. I thought he was so cute!  True to flighty chipmunk behavior, his awful jokes and frenzied antics occasionally drive Willa nuts, but since he’s the only friendly face she’s encountered, she learns to deal with him and his silly behavior.  She probably shouldn’t have put so much faith in him, though.  He is utterly clueless, and his sense of direction is worse than hers.

Animal Tales: Monkey See, Monkey Zoo is a fun read with likeable characters who cheerfully get into so much trouble!  Reading along as they get out of it is very entertaining.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Entice by Carrie Jones

 

Title: Entice

Author: Carrie Jones

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1599905532

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that’s not quite how things have worked out. For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he’s been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it’s taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla? And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there’s that other small problem: Zara’s been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn’t turned into just any pixie. . . She’s Astley’s queen.

Review:

Pixies!  I never thought of pixies as scary beings, but after reading Carrie Jones’ books, I have changed my mind.  They are terrifying!  Worse, they seem to like the cold! What is up with that.  No wonder they are blue!  I would like to find a pixie king of my own, though, so I could trade in his pixie dust for spanking new books.  I think the exchange rate would be in my favor.

Seriously, though, I enjoyed Entice a lot.  It is a better developed read than Captivate, which, if you will recall, disappointed me with its abrupt ending.  I hate cliffhanger endings!  I think that every book should be able to stand on its own, so that new readers can dive in there and give new series a try.  To me, this includes having a beginning, and middle, and an ending, all of which can be built upon in subsequent volumes.  This third outing with the diabolical pixies does a much better job with this than the previous one.

Events pick up right after the end of Captivate.  Nick has been whisked off to Valhalla, Zara have been turned into a pixie, and there is a pixie war brewing, which threatens the students at Bedford High.  Zara refuses to believe that Nick is dead, and she is convinced with every fiber of her being that she can save him and bring him home from Valhalla.  She needs him.  Bedford needs him.  Frank’s evil pixies are out of control, and nobody is safe unless they are defeated.  I admire Zara and her single-minded drive to make herself stronger so that she can find a way to bring Nick back.  She loves him and will sacrifice everything for him; her humanity, her relationship with her mother, her life.  That’s pretty heavy stuff!  Even when others question the wisdom of her decisions, Zara is full steam ahead.  She is going to get Nick back, or die trying.

Too bad there is a little wrench that’s been thrown into the waxworks.  This Astley dude, and I don’t mean the singer who experienced a flash of fame during the 80s, is making Zara very confused.  He’s her king, and she is supposed to be his queen.  That even sounds complicated. With his glamour on, he’s also drop dead gorgeous.  How can any hot-blooded pixie girl resist that?  I like Astley.  No, I love Astley.  I think I like him better than Nick.  I feel like a traitor!  How could this have happened? No wonder Zara is confused.  It would be so hard to choose between a hawt pixie king and a hawt werewolf warrior!  That is not going to be an easy decision!  Gah!  I am so curious to see how this love triangle plays out.

I love Zara and how she thinks.  She is honest and brutally practical.  She sees what needs to be done, and she does it.  It doesn’t matter how scary or dangerous, she finds a way to make things happen.  She has matured so much since Need, and it has been fun to watch her to discover what she’s capable of.

I thought the ending was a tad rushed, and some of the events anticlimactic, but overall, I enjoyed Entice.  One thing I kind of miss, though, is the sense of terror and foreboding from Need.  As Zara’s confidence has blossomed, things don’t seem quite so scary anymore.  She can handle anything.  While I find it gratifying that she has become brave, strong, and self-reliant, I do miss getting freaked out as the tantalizing whispers from the woods try to tempt her into danger.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher