Review: Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson

Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy, #2)

Publisher:  AEC Stellar

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: Timely Death Trilogy, Book 2

Pages: 277 (Paperback)

Release Date: March 27, 2014

Rating: 071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png

Summary from Goodreads:

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

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coffee to goCoffee To Go: Let’s put it this way–I had an early class the next morning and I still couldn’t put it down. Thompson packs some crazy intense moments into the plot along with some really adorable ones. Minus some plot confusion, SBS was a genuinely enjoyable read.

Characters—

Jessica: If you know anything about Jessica in the last book, she’s completely different in this one. I feel like Jessica’s memory loss really adds depth to her character. It also makes her relationship with Eric stronger, in my opinion. To fall in love twice seems to me a very deep love. An improvement from Minutes Before Sunset is plot reliability where Jessica is concerned. There are a few scenes that had me on my toes in the most perfect way possible–Thompson uses a great mixture of foreshadowing and surprise to bring a lot of Jessica’s thoughts and scenes together.

Eric: He sounds so much more like a teenage boy in this book! In Minutes Before Sunset, I thought he sounded a little feminine, but I think we learn more about who Eric really is in SBS. Probably one of my favorite aspects of this entire novel is seeing Eric’s growth. I don’t want to spoil it for you guys, but it’ll really bring a smile to your face. On top of that, his gallantry will make you swoon. Ugh. Yes. Gents take notes, please.

Robb & Zac: I think that the words “mysterious” and “ominous” apply to both of these guys. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be unsure of at least one of these guys’ character until the very end. Although these two aren’t always in the spotlight, their supporting roles are vital to the story. Thompson was brilliant with these two.

Crystal: She’s a great best friend. She probably wouldn’t be my best friend, but I really appreciate how steady of a character she is. Every novel needs a character that’s transparent and reliable in the midst of the story’s conflict, and she’s it.

Camille/Teresa: I felt that Camille (let’s stick with that name) was a pretty static character in Minutes Before Sunset, but Thompson reveals a lot about her in this book and I grew to really respect her. The reader will definitely get a glimpse into her complexities.

The World—

Thompson spends SBS focusing on setting the stage for the Timely Death finale as well as building each of her characters, both in depth and in intrigue. As far as “second books” go, she does a great job. SBS definitely does not fall into the dreaded “second book slump.” The reversed images/ideas of Light and Dark still play a large and interesting role in this book. For more info on the world in which SBS is set, check out my review of Minutes Before Sunset here.

The Themes—

I didn’t really nail down any specific themes, but I did see an emphasis on maturity and obedience to elders. Fate also stays very prevalent in this second novel.

Final Thoughts—

I liked it. I didn’t love it, but it was an enjoyable read. Firstly, I admire how accurate the titles are to each book. You’ll see why once you read it, but she does a great job choosing them. Thompson makes you care for her characters. That is pivotal on whether one will enjoy a story, and she’s successful here. My only real complaint is the plot fogginess towards the end. I felt like I knew what was happening, but it wasn’t actually happening. It was almost like I was in a dream-state during the structural climax. I’m hoping that the battle scenes and all that jazz with the prophecy become sharper in the finale book. Although honestly, I’m most excited to see more of Eric and Jessica!! They are climbing their way up on my list of fave book couples! 🙂

Memorable Quotes—

“I was in love with her, and she was in love with me, but our relationship–our identities–would kill us both if the Light figured out whom she was and used her against me.”

“The fantasized kiss was stolen time from the dreams…”

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

****I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. So I can honestly tell you that it’ll be worth it to go check out Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Source: Bought Kindle Edition

Genre: High Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Series: Throne of Glass

Pages: 404 (Hardcover)

Release Date: August 7th, 2012

Rating: 071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png

 

Summary from Good Reads:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

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Coffee To Go: Loved it! Go read it and you won’t regret it, I promise. The world is both glamorous and dark. Celaena is complex and the emerging plot is even more so. This story will keep you guessing until the end and doesn’t spell out all the answers for you. It leaves you excited for its sequel (Crown of Midnight) and doesn’t even have a cliffhanger. I’m excited for more of the action, mystery, and romance that dominate Maas’ writing!

Characters—

Celaena: Don’t get on her bad side. She’s ruthless, has a dark past, and has seen more at eighteen years old than most see in a lifetime.  I love a heroine who can truly take care of herself. You will see character transformation in her, although it’s very subtle. She’s a survivor, through and through. I love that she can still appreciate the romance of a ball and the beauty of a gown even in the face of multiple enemies, both seen and unseen. However, her assassin skills (or lack of) confused me. First she’s perfect with every weapon and then she’s vomiting while training? Hmm. I do admire her perseverance; she knows what she’s capable of and won’t stop until she gets there.

Prince Dorian: He’s a playboy with a sensitive side. He’s a prince willing to speak out against his dictator dad for what’s right, he loves to read, and wants to marry for love in a world where royal marriages are nothing more than tools for political advancement. All of that to point out his naïve idealism. He seemed shallow to me, still more a boy than a man. I liked him alright, but I couldn’t love him.

Captain Westfall: *double sigh* Built, brooding, and handsome. He’s all duty and restraint which causes others to constantly misunderstand him. I know we love those misunderstood guys! He is my favorite character in Throne of Glass. He understands Celaena more than either of them realizes which makes their relationship really beautiful and strained. I got to see him grow oh, so much as a person over the course of the novel. The more I found out about him, the more I admired him. Here’s the thing: he’s not swoon-worthy. Dare I say that he’s more than that? I wish I could explain why, but that’s for you to find out when you read the book. He’s different from most YA heroes and I like that about him.

Nehemia: Can someone say coolest BFF ever? Say hello to the inventor of feminine power. Maas uses Nehemia as a catalyst for multiple events and characters within the story. She’s as strong, if not stronger, of a protagonist than Celaena.

The World—

Adarlan, the kingdom in which the novel is set, has a medieval feel to it. Most of the story takes place in the castle, most of which is glass. The story is full of secret passageways, court politics, and banned magic.

The Themes—

Freedom

Honor

Survival

Final Thoughts—

This author knows how to write a good quote! I constantly found myself highlighting something because she got her point across so well. This book is definitely worth the read. While some plot elements seemed too perfectly wrapped up, its plot is well paced and it’s great for someone looking for an entertaining fantasy read.

Memorable Quotes—

“Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

“We each survive in our own way.”

“The giant glass building was full of shadows and light.”

“There was strength in his face that she found to be achingly beautiful.”

Book Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Publisher: Atom

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Series: Night School

Pages: 454

Release Date: January 1st, 2012

Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from GoodReads:

Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends.

But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.

When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.

And that she is not who she thought she was.

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Characters—

Allie: I loved the growth I saw in her over the course of this novel. I almost put the book down due to her angst and immaturity at the novel’s start, although I’m glad I didn’t. The author gives Allie great opportunities in which to shine. Her defining moments don’t feel forced or awkward in the plot at all, which I enjoyed. That said, she is kind of…forgettable. Hopefully she will really make an impression and becomes a stronger lead in the next book. I would have liked for the author to explain her OCD and trauma from her brother’s abandonment in more detail. It seemed like Allie only brings it up when convenient. I did, however, love her normal-ness! She’s not crazy insecure (like Bella from Twilight), but she’s not completely careless about her appearance (like Katniss, whom I still love dearly).

Jo: Jo is pretty close to the epitome of a spoiled, rich, elite heiress. Her life is beautiful and tragic. She is full of life and the perfect best friend for Allie. Sadly, she hides a dark secret that everyone seems to know about except for Allie. The author does a great job sculpting her to be a wingman to Allie but nothing more.

Sylvain: The name “Sylvain” sounds like “snake” to me. He waltzes into Allie’s life at a vulnerable and desperate time and is too perfect. His suave act is way too suspicious and he is way too aggressive physically. There is a fine line between whisking a girl off of her feet and tripping her. There’s a difference between pulling her into a secret romantic kiss in a corner and forcing her into something she doesn’t want. I do love when an author keeps me guessing about a character—predictability can be tedious. Sylvain, to me, is anything but predictable. He is sometimes creepy and definitely untrustworthy but those very things are what makes his character so intriguing.

Carter: Every romance novel must have the swoon-worthy hero. Well, hello Carter! From the very beginning of the novel, you will be counting the pages until he finally takes off the apathetic mask and confesses his undying love for Allie. Well…you’ll at least be hoping for it. A bit predictable, yes, but the author does a fantastic job of building their relationship. I’m practically squealing right now! Carter is definitely that guy who can’t handle the depth of his emotions as he’s insanely passionate about everything. You will be pleasantly surprised about his character. He, over any other character, makes the novel for me.

The World—

Conspiracy theorists come one, come all! If you’re into secrets behind secrets, this is the book for you. While some aspects of the novel might be ultra-predictable, the sub-plot is not. The overall plot to Night School contains many layers and the core layer will keep you guessing for the majority of the book. The boarding school is well-described and I get a clear visual of the campus, which is unique and timeless.

Final Thoughts—

Would I read it again? Probably not, unless I found myself without other books to read. Did I enjoy it? Definitely, for an easy read and limited options. I bought this book for almost double the price at an airport because I was desperate for something to read on the long, eight hour flight that awaited me. It thoroughly entertained me, as it is mostly outside of my usual genre and it had Carter in it. I have a character crush on him, without a doubt. I probably wouldn’t pay $17 for it again.

Memorable Quotes—

I found no quotes memorable enough, a fact that pains me.

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