*I received both of these books from Xpresso Book Tours for review.
Title: The Season of Lightning
Author: Kate Avery Ellison
Publisher: Kate Avery Ellison
Release Date: February 20th, 2015
Emma meets Robin Hood in this antebellum-esque historical fantasy set in the same fantasy world as A Gift of Poison.
Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a famous retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady's companion, and being tormented by the family's handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing silvras, the oppressed lower class, Verity's world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it.
My Review!After really liking Of Sea and Stone, I was excited about this story! It sounded good, and I knew the author could write from previously reading a book of hers. I'm glad to say that I enjoyed this one a lot! It definitely wasn't perfect, and I wanted a bit more development on the romance and the world-building, but I quite liked it.
The main character's voice made it easy to read along with the story. I liked Verity's spunk in a time where women considered the inferior race. I liked the fight she had in her, and how she defended herself. She wasn't perfect. She grew up in privilege. She doesn't totally understand how the world works, but she's learning. She's curious. She's open to change, and she grows throughout the story. She becomes so much stronger, in herself and in her beliefs. She has moments of complete stubbornness, of recklessness, and vulnerability. She is still a girl who likes going to balls and provoking her father's friend. But Verity is someone you want to root for.
Now, about that friend of her father's, Lord Roth... I didn't much like him in the beginning. He loved picking at Verity, and he treated her like a child who didn't know what she was doing. I mean, at times, that was true. But he seemed so much older than her, though he really isn't. And I'm not so sure all that time of him tormenting her makes up for the fact that he apologized and said it was because he'd loved her. Plus there wasn't much development with the actual ROMANCE part. I'm hoping that will be further explored if there is a sequel!
This book was full of secondary characters; ones I liked and ones I could have done without. I really liked Verity's friend, Trilly, a slave who gained her freedom by being a part of their household but who kept secrets. Lila was like a mother figure, though she cared more about Verity finding a suitable marriage than about anything else. Her father was not a very nice guy, and he was a product of that time which meant he wanted Verity to settle down and stop inserting herself into what she shouldn't (aka men things). There were many other characters who didn't have big roles in this book, and they were kind of flat. But if there is a sequel (I'm not sure if there is yet), I hope that they will be developed better.
The mystery surrounding the plot was the weakest part in this. I knew who the Hawk was within moments of meeting the character. I mean, there were times I doubted it, but I had a pretty clear idea that was right. It took a bit of that suspense away, and it was less about the Hawk and his deeds and more about the politics behind everything. That was kind of boring. It also didn't help that I barely knew anything about the world this book was set in. The world-building was lacking and a map could have helped immensely, or even a bit more detailed information surrounding the countries (counties? states? I don't know). We were kind of thrown into it all without a lifejacket. It made it hard to get into the setting.
I really liked the story I read, the one with a relatable MC and a world that felt different but was reminiscent of the antebellum period. I don't know how accurate the whole "Emma meets Robin Hood" portion of the synopsis was, but the book was good. I hope there's a sequel! I would definitely be interested in it.
Author: Sheena Hutchinson
Publisher: SL Hutchinson Publishing
Release Date: April 27th, 2015
April Landau thinks she has everything she’s ever wanted. Her high school sweetheart, a house she can’t afford, her bipolar tabby cat, and she’s all set to begin her Junior year of college. Just when she least expects it, her life gets thrown for a loop. When things between her and her long time boyfriend unravel, she becomes stuck in a downward spiral of emotion. Finally, opening her eyes to the fact that she may have given up more than she ever could have imagined in this relationship. She finds herself struggling to keep her head above water.
Enter April’s next door neighbor— Jared Hoffman. He’s her complete opposite. A high school drop out who was forced to take over his parent’s business after their untimely death. It’s no surprise this tragedy affected him greatly, causing him to recede almost completely from society.
But he has one secret. A secret he’s been carrying around for years.
What happens when their worlds collide? Can an old friendship be the one thing that brings these two back to life?
A new adult love story filled with drama, sex, death, and the complications of all of the above.
My Review!*Minor spoilers.
I can't even with how upset I am at this book right now. It started off fine, I was enjoying it. But then little annoyances started to add up, until I was slogging through the boring drama in the book. I mean, it wasn't all dramatics. There was a fair bit of cheesiness involved, as well as very little IMPORTANT and EMOTIONAL dialogue between the couple. And it all added up to an epilogue that made absolutely no fucking sense.
Let's start with the main character, April. I didn't like her. She was shallow, dense, immature, and had zero personality. Her character was just so bland. I found myself not caring about her, though understanding some of the choices she made. And she may have been a fighter, but she was passive where it counts. In letting a guy walk all over her, and not standing up for herself and her decisions more. I didn't like how she let people treat her, and I just felt that she still didn't have a sense of who she was by the end of the book. She didn't grow. Not to mention, she slut-shamed all of the women who were a threat, to both her ex and her crush. That wasn't cool at all. She lost major points for that.
I didn't even like Jared. He just, he never stood out to me. And he kind of treated her like a child most times. Also he had moods and was never honest with her about anything (not counting the quick and seemingly random "I love you"). Oh, his best friend is being a dick? Well, he's just been through a lot. That's not an excuse, and neither is ignoring how much your BFF is making your girlfriend uncomfortable. And what he did at the end? I'm sorry, but fuck that. I didn't like April all that much, but she did NOT deserve what he did to her. She should have made him grovel for that, and not apologize and literally chase after him until he finally decided to get over himself and LISTEN. You don't just walk away from someone for four months and then make them fight for you.
Their romance was all cheese and had no emotional depth at all. I don't think they even had ONE deep conversation. As much dialogue as there was in here, it didn't really leave the surface level. Even when they started sleeping together, even when they became a couple, they never truly talked. I never believed in their romance, and I wish it had been developed better. Not to mention, I am still so fucking upset with that ending and with what Jared did that I don't care how long they've known each other or how in love they are, I'm not a fan of this relationship at all.
Speaking of what could have been developed better, the relationships with the secondary characters were lacking. The characters were all cardboard cutouts, and I liked only a few of them (but still better than the two above). They would just kind of show up at random times, make it seem like April actually has a life and friends, and then leave again. None of them ever really stayed in the story. And there was this, I don't know, secondary story-line involving two of the side characters. It felt irrelevant to this book, and it does not make me want to read their story after this.
The plot was so boring. I had trouble just wanting to continue, because nothing was happening. Nothing that exciting, and I think my feelings (or lack thereof) for the characters made me not enjoy it at all. And after the accident, everything just seemed to drag on and on and on and... That led up to the worst epilogue in the history epilogues I've ever read. Talk about not knowing when to stop writing a book. Because I was upset about Jared's decision, I didn't give a shit in hearing what he was thinking during it. I found that, and the epilogue, to completely erase the perfect ending before that. Why did it need to go on? Why did we need Jared's POV for the months that didn't matter? It was ridiculous!
This was a YA novel disguised as an NA one with how immature the characters acted and with how young the MC's voice sounded. I had been excited to read it but ended up pushing through just because I had to write this review. I am so fucking disappointed in Discovering April.