Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

9413044Blurb from Goodreads

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned-to her old life, her family, her boyfriend-before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance-and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

ebook, 240 pages
Published: January 24th, 2012 by Balzer + Bray
edition language: English
series: Everneath
genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
I’ve been hesitated reading this book for two years because 1) it has mix reviews. I often avoid book with mix reviews. I just feel like I don’t have enough recommendation that this book is worth enough to read. And book with hype sometimes “freak me out” because I often being in the minority and don’t get what the fuss about. 2) My last Greek mythology series, specifically retelling of Hades and Persephone was an epic fail. Coincidentally it also has mix reviews and hype among readers. So when my dear friend, Sarah recommended it to me and at the same time most of my friends reading the last book of the series, I was curious. That’s when I decided to give up ignoring it. So here is my thought about it.The characters
Nikki is the main character and the narrator of this story. I think she’s a brave girl, in a way. I really liked when she stand up against Lacey and her friend when she heard they were talking about her. She isn’t a popular girl in her high school. Although there isn’t anything that mention that she’s a nerd/geek, I think there’s a bit geekiness in her which makes me liked her even more. Regarding with herself and her relationship with Jack, she’s kind of moody, impulsive and wishy-washy. There were a couple of times when she acted instantly without thinking of the consequences which made her regret it later.Cole is an Everliving. A former human who belongs to Everneath and needs to Feed from human soul for the rest of his immortal life. He’s a guitarist from a popular rock band. He’s the one who made Nikki gave up her life in order to erase her pain. They are get attach to each other because of it. He can be persuasive, sweet and evil at the same time. I really liked him, especially in the beginning of the story and feel sad for him for most of the time. I think I liked him more than I liked Jack because he’s more complex and complicated among other characters.

Jack is the good, kind and sweet character in this story. In some part he’s too good to be true and kind of bored me, especially when he talks all the sweet talk to Nikki, about how he couldn’t live without her, missed her like crazy and whatnot. But at the same time, I liked that he’s persistent and never give up on his relationship with Nikki.

The story
As a retelling of Hades and Persephone, I’m happy that it’s much better than The Goddess Test series. I can

I can say that I liked and enjoyed reading it much more than when I read Henry and Kate story. It can make my mind keep wandering and questioning the story, signs that I’m into it, while Henry and Kate made me cringed and got headache most of the time. The more I read it I can see that it isn’t just about Hades and Persephone but also about Orpheus and Eurydice. I really like the idea to combine 2 stories in one perspective. I think it makes this story quite different and unique from other retelling. Well… at least for me since I never read something like this before.I liked that the story is divided into two parts, Nikki’s time before and after being a Forfeit. The way she tells her story is what I liked the most. She’s always counting down the moment before she becomes a Forfeit and when she has to go back to Everneath. In the end, the end of one life means the beginning of Nikki’s other life.

However first part of the story, especially when she still has months in the Surface, goes too slow. She only has 6 months on the Surface to do what she has to do, her reasons to choose to Return but most of the time she’s moping around and do nothing. Doesn’t even try to pay more attention to Mary which is kind of obvious there is more to her than what it seems. She only starts doing something when Jack begins talk to her again. It feels like she couldn’t do that without him. Even at that time she still holds important things from him a couple of time which is kind of annoyed me. I also don’t understand why they don’t talk about the reason that made Nikki become a Forfeit as soon as they able to be friends again. And then everything seems go faster when she only has one month left in the Surface, suddenly she thinks a lot of thing and tries to get the answer soon and everything feels in a rush.

The romance
Despite this book is under paranormal genre, I think the most prominent thing is the romance part. It’s obvious there’s a love triangle between Jack, Nikki and Cole. When I read about love triangle, I rarely take side of whose team I am, though sometimes I have my own likeliness. Now I do understand why most readers are gushing about it and are torn between Jack and Cole. Both of them have something that I liked and also disliked. They do good things as much as bad thing for Nikki and I understand why they do that. It is so good it’s hard for me to choose who I like most. That’s kind of unusual for me because usually it’s easy to fall for one of the characters in the story.
But if I have to be honest, I liked more Nikki and Cole relationship than Nikki and Jack. Just like Cole said, it’s hard to connect with Nikki and Jack relationship. Their relationship is based on long term friendship hence it feels save for them (and sometimes boring) while there is fire, love/hate feeling with Nikki and Cole relationship. Hence it makes them more interesting.

So the conclusion is the book has everything I love, Greek mythology with hieroglyph clue what needs to be solved, good storyline, awesome characters, but I think I need to see how the sequel goes. So I’ll save my star for it and give this book 3.5 stars.

Result: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars

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Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

7824322Blurb from Goodreads

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Kindle Edition, 355 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Speak (first published January 1st 2011)
edition language: English
genre: Historical Fiction, Teen
My Thoughts
To be honest, I didn’t know much about the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic countries and the way Stalin ruled. Reading this book is like opening my eyes and my mind of what happened to many countries and their citizen under the Soviet annexation. I know this is a fictional story with fictional characters but knowing that what happened to the characters were really happened in real life makes me wondering why I didn’t know much about it, at least not as much as I know about German, Hitler and Nazi.

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.

I loved this book from the first chapter. It’s beautifully written and was delivered in short chapter, the kind that I like because that way I feel like I can read faster than when I read longer chapter, if you know what I mean. The more I read it the more I felt it so sad and depressing. At some point I wanted to just stop reading it because it was too painful to read. Hence, the author did a great job describing and capturing all the emotions in it, through characters and setting. It was so vivid I felt like I was there with Lina, the narrator of the story.

I also love all of the characters, including the bad guys from Lina’s POV, of course. All of them have their own role and the fact that they sometimes being in gray areas made me wondering how I should feel about them. Are they really bad characters or good one?

But there are also things that keep me from giving it a perfect 5 stars. First, second part of the story was kind of dragging out.
And a tiny little thing regarding of the ending which I didn’t quite satisfied. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, it was more an open ending, I think. I don’t mind to either of them but in this story I felt like it ended in abruptly, like the author suddenly decided that it’s time for Lina to stop telling her story. However it was just a little thing compare to all the good this book has. In the end, although I felt sorry and sad while reading this book, it taught me a lot of important things about life and human being. And it surely a worth reading book.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars

Review: Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis

19172402Blurb from Goodreads

I am not a slut, although I’ve been called one often enough. Yeah, I spent three months screwing one of my college professors, but I was crazy about the guy. Then he broke up with me.

I am not a bitch, although people like to say I am. I kept our relationship secret. I’m not responsible for telling the university administrators about it, but a lot of students still blame me for getting their favorite professor fired.

I am not a drama queen, although everyone thinks I am now. When I got a few nasty messages, I just deleted them. When I got the threat, I assumed it was someone being stupid. I still think that’s all it was. My parents worry, though, so they hired me a bodyguard. Now Jack follows me around, intimidating everyone who approaches me and looking obnoxiously hot.

This is what I am. I’m Chloe. I’m a twenty-year-old art history major. Kind of shy, although I pretend not to be. Stubborn enough to stay here for my senior year, even though everyone hates me.

And I’m stuck with Jack.

He calls me “Princess,” but I’m not a princess either.

ebook, 165 pages
Published January 17th 2014 by Rachel Curtis (first published January 15th 2014)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
Do you read the blurb before you read the book? I mostly read it before I decide to read the book. But I should’ve known better that I shouldn’t too rely on the blurb before I read the book because sometimes it misleads me. When I read the blurb of this book in NetGalley I was intrigued. Somehow I thought it will contain a drama with some kind of suspense and/or thriller scenes since the main character, Chloe has a bodyguard, Jack. Apparently, it’s all about knowing Jack, literally. In this case, the title suits well since there is barely anything else aside about Chloe’s trying to know Jack the whole time. I honestly don’t know what I should feel about it. Should I disappointed because there isn’t much story in it or should I be happy since the title has already tells much. You tell me.

As you may read in the blurb, it’s about Chloe who has a bodyguard after her affair with her professor which caused him to get fired from their university. Her parents feel there are death threats to her. Therefore they hire Jack. That’s why Jack gets his job in the first place.

Although most of the story is told from Chloe’s POV, there are chapters from Jack’s too, the prelude, interlude (is told after a couple of chapters from Chloe’s POV) and postlude. In prelude, he’s attracted (but I feel like it’s more a lust than just an ordinary attraction) to her from the first time he lays his eyes on her. Apparently she feels the same which she tells me from the first chapter, from page four to be exactly.

It’s basically what she talks and thinks all the time in a whole book. Here is what she says

” I can’t think about anything except Jack and his big body and his strong hands and his rough jaw and that deep, hot, knowing look in his eyes”.

She desperately lusting on him (her words, not mine), keeps thinking about how sexy Jack is and wanting to have sex with him. And everything he says, does and even when he doesn’t do anything (she only hears his voice) makes her shiver and quiver and her girly parts clench (again, it’s her words, not mine). She tells me all those things too many times. She also has annoying habit giving me advice about “how to or what I supposed to do” when I face certain kind of situations. First couple of chapters is about a situation regarding on a hot bodyguard since she knows it well and is on man-fast.

I’m on a man-fast. Fasting from food is supposed to be good for you – clear your body, clear your mind, get you refocused on what’s important. […]. So this year, I’m fasting from men, so I can focus on what’s more important.”

Apparently she fails it miserably. And instead of focus on what’s important such as finding who send her text message and post her photos on Tumblr, she keeps lusting him and doesn’t understand why he couldn’t be with her. She said on the blurb that she’s a shy girl. I don’t think I agree with her because there isn’t anything that mention or prove that she’s a shy girl. I don’t know what to call her, though.

Jack also isn’t better than her. When it’s time for him to tell me his POV he has the same things in his mind. How beautiful and perfect Chloe is, though she’s a tiny small girl; acts and thinks like a caveman; and attack first ask later to someone who approach her. He also has an annoying habit. He keeps thinking about her, flirting with her, mad of her then have sex with her before he realizes that it isn’t good for their bodyguard-protectee relationship. This pattern happens many times.

All the while I keep thinking where is the death threat that Chloe’s parents afraid of? I think it’s just in their thought (and mine too when I read the blurb). So who did send her text messages and post her photos on Tumblr, you ask? Well…there is a bad guy here but it’s so obvious I don’t have to think twice to guess it. And when they can tell who it is, it is just so so-so I feel relieve that finally the story ended.

ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
Result: 1 out of 5 stars