Monday, January 9, 2012

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Jessica, #2)Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Jessica Packwood found out she was a Romanian vampire princess, she had the shock of her teenage life. Turns out that was the easy part. Now, married to Prince Lucius Vladescu, she has to claim her throne and convince a vampire nation she’s fit to be their queen. But Jess can’t even order a decent meal from her castle’s Romanian staff, let alone deal with devious undead subjects who would love to see her fail.

And when Lucius is accused of murdering a vampire Elder and imprisoned without the blood he needs, Jessica finds herself alone, fighting for both their survivals. Desperate to clear her husband’s name and win his release, Jess enlists the help of her best friend Mindy Stankowicz and Lucius’s mysterious Italian cousin, Raniero Lovatu. But both of them are keeping some dark secrets. Can Jess figure out who to trust – and how to rise to power – before she loses everything, including the vampire she loves?

Full of romance, mystery, and danger, the highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side shows that sometimes a princess has to earn her “happily ever after” – with a sharpened stake in hand.
I LOVED this book! Beth Fantasky does an excellent job of developing her characters, and she is a master at keeping her readers interested. Her work continues to draw me in, and I can not wait for her next book!

*Warning: Spoilers for Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side are in this review*

First, if you have not yet read the story of Anatanasia "Jessica" and Lucius, you should do so at Beth Fantaskey's website, as Jessica Rules the Dark Side does not include their wedding, though does reference it. Now that that's said, I can move into the spoiler free summary:

Antanasia Dragomir Vladescu (aka "Jessica Packwood Vladescu") was not ready to become queen of the clashing Dragomir and Vladescu clans (with the Vladescus being more powerful). But a princess has many enemies, and her new husband, Lucius, wishes for them to quickly ascend to King and Queen so that Jessica will be protected under the full royal guard. In the meantime, Jessica is trying to adapt to her new, violent vampire culture. To help her, she enlists the help of her best friend, Mindy, and Lucius's cousin Raniero (the vampire who had danced with Mindy at Lucius and Jessica's wedding) comes to the castle shortly after, with the intent of helping Lucius and looking out for "Mindy Sue". To make things even more complicated, Lucius is accused of destroying an Elder and faces the punishment of destruction himself if he is found guilty. Jessica must now try to find evidence that her husband is innocent, and determine who really killed the Elder before time runs out.

I must admit, I love how strong Jessica is. This novel is primarily about Jessica growing as a person and learning to stick up for herself (but there is still plenty of romance, mystery and adventure in there, too). I really love the fact that unlike a lot of young adult romance novels out right now, our main character doesn't need her prince to do everything for her. She is an independent young woman who is learning to hold her own and stand up for what she believes in. This novel is a perfect example of how an amazing romance story can still hold equally strong partners.

I also loved the side story that develops circling around Mindy and Raniero. I won't say too much regarding that in fear that I will spoil it, but trust me when I say that their story will make so much more sense if you read the wedding story.

All in all I would absolutely recommend this to any YA Paranormal Romance lover! (But do read Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side and the wedding story first!)

Beth Fantaskey's Website:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb- males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape- to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than loosing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Wither was a unique and interesting read that kept me captivated, and at times, horrified. The setting of the book was one that I struggled to accept. The idea of teen brides being forced into polygamous marriages for the sole purpose of continuing the human race honestly freaked me out. A lot. I had heard great things about this book, however, and I decided to give a try. I'm glad I did.

The story of Rhine captivated me from the start. She was brave, and smart, and stubborn, and I admired her strength in the face of adversity. At first I hated Linden, but I found myself later pitying him as I realized how ignorant he was to the real world. As for the sister wives Jenna and Cecily, I pitied them in the beginning and then I began to see them as they truly were. The character development in this novel was stunning.

As long as you can look past the creep factor of young teenage polygamous brides, I would recommend this book to lovers of unique and creative stories.