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YA Wednesday: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

YAWednesday

The Nightmare Affair

Summary From Goodreads: 

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

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The Nightmare Affair caused much inner turmoil for me. The book has wonderful paranormal aspects, a rich and complex world and plenty of hilarity. However, the characters and I did not get along very well, many of the actions of the characters and their dialogue were childish and the ending was lackluster. So ya, I’m not sure what I should focus on more to determine my overall feelings beyond “mixed” or something similar.

So, lets start with the paranormal awesomeness since I want some positive vibes to at least start us off. You want ALL the types? You came to the right place! There are nightmares, witches and wizards, hags, sirens, fairies, well you get the idea. Arnett utilizes many of these paranormal creatures to their fullest potential and then some. She gives depth and a twist on each one to make them fresh and unique. Yes, there is a focus on a few types, but if you’re looking for a few new ones to read about you came to the right book.

The world in The Nightmare Affair is equally as awesome as the characters that inhabit it. The school really came to life for me and while some of the goings on weren’t wonderful I definitely would love to check a place like that out. Ooo and the creepy graveyard and the super freaky crypt? Loved those! Arnett definitely has a knack for creating a captivating world.

Dusty, the MC, gave me mixed feelings. While I enjoyed the edge she often had and her witty jokes there were parts about her that drove me crazy. One example of that would be her going crazy for seemingly every attractive boy she encountered or that gave her the time of day, it was just sad. Also, despite Dusty being an outcast because she’s a nightmare she is way too trusting. Meeting a person for the first time? Practically acts like they have a trust formed from years of bonding. It’s bizarre. Oh and the constant “woe is me because of my mother’s reputation” thing got old really fast. So ya, I kinda liked her but she bugged me at the same time. Eh.

Now, the not-so-fun parts. Love triangle? Check. Insta-love? Mega-super-sized check. The romance was pretty predictable, the direction it went obvious and the ending rushed and without purpose or build up. It was just a mess for me and the amount of times I had to hear how hot this guys is, how sexy the other one’s abs are, just stop it. Bleh.

Predictability. Unfortunately the plot was pretty obvious. The first encounter with one of the major secondary characters might as well of had “BAD GUY ALERT” stamped on it with red flags and flashing signs and lights. Some of the “twists” at the end were just as bad, especially with the crypt. I won’t elaborate because of spoilers and all but really this was what left me unsatisfied with the book overall. I could get over the romantic mess and Dusty’s quirks but when the book’s direction is clear 1/3 of the way in I am not going to be adding it to my love list.

So ya, I didn’t love the Nightmare Affair, but I didn’t hate it either. The flaws were pretty glaring but there were good parts that I did enjoy. It is Mindee Arnett’s debut so I’m curious to see how her writing develops from here. There is plenty of potential for the series but some tweaks and some surprises that aren’t quite so obvious would be welcome. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #131/200

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Review: My Sister’s Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer

My Sister’s Reaper

Summary From Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, or let Mara die … this time for good.

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Another mixed bag type of book for me. I really thought the premise was interesting and that if done the right way it could make for a great book. I mean bringing your sister back to life, reapers chasing you and magical powers make for a pretty good combination on paper. The execution here though…well I’ll just get into it.

My major issue with My Sister’s Reaper, unfortunately, is the main character Zadie. You know that proverbial box of rocks so many people seem to be dumber than? Ya, you can add Zadie to that list. Funny thing is that multiple times in the book other characters comment on it, and if they are aware of her…lack of brilliance, you can sure bet the reader will be. Why the author felt the need to constantly poke fun at how dumb Zadie is, even if it is in jest, is beyond me, it demeans your own MC. However, it isn’t just that she isn’t overly intelligent, she also feels very flat. Oh sure, she’s got the stars in her eyes going on with the main love interest, but other than that? Nada. Her sister is essentially a walking zombie for the majority of the book (not in the literal sense, emotionally) and while she shows some initial concern eventually she just let’s her do her zombie-esque routine. Um, you are leaving her at the house alone? Especially with some of the things she’s been doing? Ya that’s smart, very loving, whatever. I don’t like her, nuff said.

The sister is in the previously mentioned zombie mode for most of the book so we don’t glimpse much of her personality. I’m guessing that we’d see more in a second book but we really get no feel for her character at all. The love interest is loyal enough in the end but he has borderline stalker tendencies and he’s not the most trusting, oh and he is prone to jealousy, bleh.

Insta-love. If you follow me at all you know my stance on this. I don’t like it, at all, I never want to see it. Also, weak attempt at love triangle you do not amuse me, go away as well.

While the lore of the magical world behind the scenes is done in a little too much of an info-dump style for my taste it was interesting. There were multiple types of magical creatures introduced, some combinations that either aren’t in many books or are completely Dreyer’s own and they incorporated elements into the mix which I’m all for doing. The displays of magic are pretty cool as well, if a bit repetitive. While this is likely the strongest part of the piece it seemed like it was more for setting up another book. The little experimental phases, the training (very repetitive), and a few other details made it clear that if Dreyer wants to she can extend the series no problem.

Final battle. Without giving spoilers I will say that this was well done if only quite obvious in its execution. The displays of magic here are, of course, the coolest as they have to be bigger and stronger than ever. As an ending it works and is the strongest section of writing in the piece.

Overall this book was just meh for me. I didn’t hate it and as I was reading the book I didn’t lose interest or anything. However, the characters and I never meshed, especially Zadie who I found plain annoying. The pacing was good but the love interest that fueled all to much of the plot wasn’t great and he was a bit creepy to be honest. Cool magic-fueled ending was the highlight both in the writing and plot but it couldn’t save the piece for me. Not one I’d recommend personally but I didn’t dislike it strongly enough to say flat out don’t read it either. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #104/200

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Review: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

Insomnia

Summary From Goodreads

Her eyes saved his life.
Her dreams released his darkness.

After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can’t take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he’s made eye contact with. If he doesn’t sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker’s furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he’d go. And when someone begins to terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker’s memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.

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Insomnia is the first book in what feels like ages that I have torn through without pausing. I completed it in an afternoon stopping only to tweet a couple things before diving back in. The story was as addicting to read as Mia’s dreams are to Parker in the book. I simply couldn’t stop.

Parker was an amazing main character. Johansson made sure that the reader really feels his suffering, his pain and how difficult it is to go through life without ever achieving that blissful sleep. She also refuses to fall into cliches, he isn’t some model of innocence or someone you always feel sympathy toward. Parker has an edge to him, a darkness and it doesn’t always play nice. He acts like a jerk, doesn’t always do the right thing even when he knows better, he’s human, but maybe the more primal version of one at times. When you are that sleep deprived your nerves would be shot, it’s not that the reactions he has at times are surprising, it’s just beautifully realistic that he has them.

The secondary characters are fabulous as well. Finn, the best friend, brings the humor that is so needed to lighten up some of the more serious scenes. He’s got great energy and being a bit of a dork works perfectly to contrast the rest of the cast. Addie has a sharp wit of her own despite being reserved a lot of the time. Her character is one that is slowly fleshed out rather than all at once which as she is the main romantic interest (more on that in a sec) is refreshing.

Which brings me to Mia. That point I just brought up? Ya, that’s right, the main character’s savior is NOT the main love interest! *cheers and applause rain down from readers everywhere* No cliches here folks! Mia is a tortured soul. She tries to hide it but her armor quickly falls and reveals her true character. You can’t help but feel bad for her. I can’t reveal too much about her without spoiling the book but I certainly hope she has a brighter future ahead of her after this book, she deserves it. We really don’t find out too much about her personality outside of a few glimpses, and I look forward to seeing her more fleshed out.

The plot is fascinating. This journey you take with Parker as he combats his inner darkness along with the physical and mental strain of never sleeping is amazing. His pursuit of Mia really was chilling. I was never sure of how his character would turn out and if he could survive the next day. We learn more about his powers over dreams and what he can and can’t control. Oh and if you want unexpected twists this is DEFINITELY the book for you. I can’t even. That ending was pretty shocking. You just have to read it.

The world building is a little harder to describe. While the regular one isn’t overly special, the dream world that Johansson shows us is as intricate as they come. Layers upon layers of different possibilities remain even by the end of the book and it will be very interesting to see what new things could be revealed in later books. Will Parker gain more control over the dreams he inhabits? Will he be able to really help people or will this darkness take control? Each dream, and consequently dream world, is as unique as the person having it, the options are endless.

The romance is very slow building. No insta-love here! I enjoyed it as the pairing wasn’t completely obvious throughout the book and it didn’t overpower the cool (and creepy) elements Insomnia had to bring. It was sweet and I’d love to see it continue but you never know what will happen with teenage romance…

My only issue with Insomnia was the very end. Like…the last couple chapters really. The reader gets dumped on with a bunch of loose ends that clearly have to be tied up in a later book. While I completely understand needing aspects near the end to keep the reader excited for the next installment, it felt a bit forced. Could the transition into these new plot points have been a bit smoother? Perhaps. It was the only point in the book where I was like “eh, I’m not sure I love this part” which really is unfortunate because I was thinking five stars for Insomnia all the way as I was reading until then.

Overall I really enjoyed Insomnia. As I said there was only real flaw and that was throwing some info dump/loose ends in the last couple chapters. Otherwise just awesome. Characters were wonderful. Romance was sweet. The plot was intriguing as were the dream worlds and the twists thrown in were wonderful. The creepiness of Insomnia felt very real and I can’t stress how important that was to this book’s success, the believability and execution of all that sleep deprivation could do to a person were excellent and vital. The most impressive thing? This is Johansson’s debut! How amazing is that?! She is sure to impress with her coming books in the future and I can’t wait to read them. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #102/200

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Debut-a-Thon

Debutathon

Wouldn’t ya know it I’m going to attempt to do another readathon! I know, you are shocked, amazed, flabbergasted even! However, I did preface by saying “attempt” because I happen to work the next three days, so the only one I have off during the Debutathon (awesome name by the way) is Sunday. Regardless! I shall try and read a book or two as I have plenty of lovely debuts released in 2013 (the only requirement) so that I may enjoy the awesomeness that most of the blogging community already has. Yay for more review material? I do have a few I’m really excited to get into so hopefully I’ll find time (and energy) in the days I have to work so I can read more than one. If you’d like to join up just click the pretty photo above and follow the instructions! Without further ado, my list! (stats at the bottom per usual)

Insomnia by J.R. Johansson – Released June 8th, 2013

The Culling by Steven Dos Santos – Released March 8th, 2013

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett – Released March 5th, 2013

My Sister’s Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer – Released June 18th, 2013

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton – Released June 1st, 2013

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Stats

Currently Reading: My Sister’s Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer

Books Finished: None

Pages Read: 120

Amount of Time Spent Reading: 1hr 24min


Waiting on Wednesday #10

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May

Set For Release On: September 19, 2013

Summary From Goodreads

18-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined to a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery kills her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season. Between a seeming endless number of parties, Aileana slaughters faeries in secret. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, every night she sheds her aristocratic facade and goes hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But she never even considered that she might become attracted to one. To the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Nor is she at all prepared for the revelation he’s going to bring. Because Midwinter is approaching, and with it an eclipse that has the ability to unlock a Fae prison and begin the Wild Hunt.

A battle looms, and Aileana is going to have to decide how much she’s willing to lose – and just how far she’ll go to avenge her mother’s murder.

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How freaking awesome does this sound?! I’m slowly immersing myself in the steampunk genre, as much as I can get my hands on, and this would be a fantastic continued foray into that kind of world. Add the fantastical with faerys and you have quite the story! I do worry about the romance, but my hope is that there is no insta-love and it develops naturally, well…as naturally as a human/faery romance can. Also, how about that cover? Freaking awesome, especially when you pay attention to that gun she is holding, got to love steampunk weapons!

Does The Falconer appeal to you? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post and I will make sure to stop by! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Waiting on Wednesday #9

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

Insomnia (The Night Walkers #1) by J.R. Johansson

Set For Release On: June 8, 2013 

Summary From Goodreads:

It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?

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Can you believe this is a freaking debut?! When I found out about Insomnia during a twitter chat (as well as a bunch of other fantastic debuts) I had to pre-order it immediately. My initial reaction to the summary was “this seems like the reverse of David Levithan’s Every Day with a darker edge to it, awesome!” so that’s already a step in the right direction don’t you think? Now thinking about it there are some similar elements here to Ethan’s character in The Brightest Kind of Darkness series, so that’s another potential parallel for you. I guess I’ve been reading a bunch of mind-bender type books lately, I can’t wait to read this one too! By the way, I don’t do this in my WoW posts normally, but if you want to pre-order this like I did it is available on Amazon for only $5.55!

Does Insomnia appeal to you? Do you already have it pre-ordered or will you now for that crazy low price? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post and I will make sure to stop by! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! :)