#LoveOzYA #AWW2020 Book Review: “The Blood Countess” by Tara Moss

Title: The Blood Countess (Pandora English #1)
Author: Tara Moss
Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 15/09/2020– 22/09/2020


You know when you really wish you enjoyed a book more than you did? Yeah, this was one of those.

There’s a lot in this book – ghosts, vampires, and zombies to name a few – and I can’t help but think it would have been better to introduce some of them later on. As it was, I didn’t really feel that all the supernatural elements got the introduction they deserved.

I enjoyed the glimpses into the NYC fashion scene, something I know Tara Moss writes of with experience. And I really enjoyed seeing Pandora research the BloodofYouth beauty cream and expose it. Maybe that’s because I’m a nerd like that and would do the same kind of digging.

I was excited when a sexy Civil War-era ghost showed up in Pandora’s new home. I’m a sucker for a ghost romance… but that all happened very quickly and didn’t really have any build-up, which was a bit disappointing. And speaking of lack of build-up, the main antagonist was introduced quite late in the piece and was then defeated really easily.

This is a series opener, and I have a feeling that now this book has done a lot of the setup, I could enjoy the subsequent books more. While I didn’t find this to be the most gripping YA paranormal, I haven’t entirely written off Pandora English just yet.

This review is part of my 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#LoveOzYA #aww2019 Book Review: “Lucid” by Kristy Fairlamb

Title: Lucid (Lucid #1)
Kristy Fairlamb
Genre: Paranormal/contemporary
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 27/04/19 – 05/05/19


I was intrigued by the premise of Lucid, but I have to admit it started off quite slowly for me.

While the blurb is all about how main character, Lucy, experiences real people’s deaths in her dreams, the first half of the book is focused more on the burgeoning romance she has with new boy, Tyler. Yes, Tyler was featured in her dreams about a year ago, and yes, they share a connection through their dreams, but to be honest, it felt like I was reading a straight contemporary. There’s nothing wrong with contemporary, of course, but I was expecting something else.

Fortunately, this does pick up at about the 60% mark. This is where Lucy’s begins to recognise the extent of her powers, and that they’re not simply bad dreams. I think the series has been set up in such a way that some of the repercussions of this power will be explored in the second book, but this one is mostly about Lucy’s relationship with Tyler and how that changes her.

I still enjoyed reading it, but I suppose I was hoping for some more exploration of the implications of Lucy’s dreams and the power they come with, and where that power comes from.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lakewater Press for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of my 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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“This is the kind of dream you don’t wake up from, Henry.” // Review of “Famous Last Words” by Katie Alender

Title: Famous Last Words
Author: Katie Alender
Genre: Paranormal mystery/thriller
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 23/02/19 – 25/02/19
Rating: ★★★★


Okay, so I have a confession to make. Several reviewers I follow on GoodReads gave another Katie Alender book, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, pretty average-to-negative reviews. I’ve seen that book at the library a number of times and always avoided  it because of that. If I had noticed the line of text underneath Katie Alender’s name that said “Author or Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer”, I may very well have not picked up this book. And that would be sad.

I’ve been reading a lot of SFF, and while this book still had ghosts in it, the contemporary setting and the thriller aspects made it a good break from the more epic stuff I’ve been reading. I really liked that this had a pretty traditional  take on ghosts – dripping taps, knocking on doors, strange dreams – rather than a ghostly figure who can actually communicate.

I did guess who the killer was (well, I had too suspects but it wasn’t hard to narrow it down), but that honeslty didn’t affect my enjoyment. I ploughed through this book in a couple of days, which isn’t something I’ve been inclined to do lately.

I did wish some of the characters were delved into a little more, particularly Willa’s mother and new stepfather. It is mentioned that  the famous Hollywood director came in an swept the small-town widow off her feet but it seemed quite strained a lot of the time. And it is never fully explained why she did turn into such a 1950s housewife once she married him when she had a successful career before (though it is clear at the end that she is finding her way back into that again).

I actually realised after reading this that  I have another of Katie Alender’s books on my TBR. I’m keen to bump it up the list now. 😀

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