Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

For the past few months I've been hearing non-stop good things about Mary Lindsey's Haven, and even though I had a copy I was hesitant to start it. I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much as everyone else.

As it turns out, I shouldn't have had a worry in the world, because Haven is AMAZING! Seriously, I should've listened to the everyone and read it sooner! 

Haven is told through Rain's POV. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with male POVs; however, in this situation I really enjoyed it. I thought Mary did a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a teenage boy. It seemed realistic as well as authentic. 

It also didn't hurt that I loved Rain from the moment he was introduced. Rain is confident as well as tough and maybe just a tad bit arrogant. He's never had the easiest life; however, with Aunt Ruby he's been given a second chance, one he hopes he won't screw up. His relationship with Aunt Ruby warmed my heart. They had such a natural, easy-going aunt-nephew relationship, and I loved seeing them form their own makeshift family. Additionally, I loved Rain but I think I loved Freddie even more. Freddie is 100% her own person - she does want she wants, says what she wants, and doesn't worry about the consequences. Her sarcastic tone won me over. I especially loved how FINALLY we have the girl calling the boy a ridiculous nickname. In this case, she called Rain "sprinkles" and it made me laugh every single time. I liked the variety of other side characters introduced as well. Also just throwing this out there: I would do almost anything for a book about Petra. I feel like she has a lot of good stories to tell. 

Haven contains one of my favorite things: a mysterious small town. Mary did such a great job of setting the scene. I found it easy to picture New Wurzburg. I also liked how it was a town with a lot of secrets. Everyone seemed like they had something to hide. Additionally, the town itself gave a creepy feel. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, dying to know what was lurking in the shadows. 

The plot in Haven is fast-paced and twisty. I especially enjoyed the supernatural edge to it. I won't say what supernatural beings are involved; however, I will say that their world is incredibly well developed. Additionally, I liked how nicely everything came together. There were so many times at which I chalked up a weird event to be nothing, but later on I realized it was essential to what was happening. It blew my mind time and time again and kept me coming back for more. There were so many times at which Mary completely threw me for a loop. 

Last but not least: the romance. Freddie and Rain had such great chemistry. I loved how they pushed and pulled at each other's buttons, especially at the beginning. Rain was determined to win Freddie over. There was also no insta-love feel to it, which is always a major win in my opinion. 

Reminiscent of Beautiful Creatures, Mary Lindsay's Haven weaves together an enthralling supernatural mystery. I can't wait to see what Havoc (book #2) brings! 

4.5 stars!!
Haven is now out!

Source: Hardcover provided by publisher for review - thanks EntangledTeen!

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Sunday Post/Stacking the Shelves (32)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and focuses on new books that were received/bought/borrowed this week while the Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and focuses on recapping your week. 

New Books: 

For Review: 

Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy 
The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey 
Lady Gone Wicked by Elizabeth Bright 
The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall
As She Fades by Abbi Glines 
The Art of French Kissing by Brianna R. Shrum 

Much thanks goes to Entangled, Sourcebooks Fire, Fierce Reads, SkyPony books, and Simon and Schuster! 

From Giveaway: 

Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield #1) by Kate Watson
Shoot the Moon (Seeking Mansfield #2)by Kate Watson

Thanks Kate & SMADA's Book Smack


Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm 
eBook deals are my weakness, especially when said deal is only 99 CENTS!! 

Books Read this Week: 

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade: It's been a long time since I've read a book by Kade (back in her debut year, which was 2010!!) but now that I've read this one I want to go back and read all of her backlist! Finding Felicity was sweet, heartwarming, and hopeful. It had a college setting, which I LOVED, and it focused more on growing up/moving on than romance, which I also liked. Look out for this one in March!

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennet: I was planning to read this one in March, but I couldn't hold off any longer. Just like Alex, Approximately, Starry Eyes was laugh-out-loud funny, swoony, and angsty! I could've read about Lennon and Zorie's adventures for days. Plus this book has ME (someone who has SWORN off camping in any style) craving a camping trip. That's when you know Jenn's descriptions are on point!

As She Fades by Abbi Glines: After my wish was granted on Tuesday, I dove right in to this, because when it comes to new Abbi Glines books there is no such thing as waiting. I liked As She Fades. It was an easy, quick read, but it wasn't any Sea Breeze or Rosemary Beach book by a long shot. While I'm okay with that, I wish it had that kind of magic :( 

The Penthouse Pact by Cathryn Fox: After reading some long books this week, a book under 200 pages was a treat. Billionaire books are my guilty pleasure, and this one was definitely enjoyable. But there's definitely been some others I've liked better! 

Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller: So up until this point You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone was my favorite 2018 debut, but this one is truly giving it a run for its money! I LOOOVED this book! It's about growing up, letting go, being brave, and standing up for yourself. I loved the art world. I loved the setting. And I especially loved the characters! What I liked the most, however, was the ending. It was bittersweet - not a complete HEA by any means - but it was beyond the perfect fit. Add this one to your TBRs - you don't want to miss it, especially if you love books by Sarah Dessen. 

Life Update: 

I feel like I've been a bad blogger lately. I'm so behind on commenting back, and I haven't been tweeting nearly as much as I would like :( I'm hoping this week to finally get my butt in gear, but sorry to all those who have been commenting! I promise I'll be visiting/commenting back soon. 

Other than that it was a relatively good/quick week! A friend from undergrad visited on Monday and brought Dunkin' with her, which was nice. Their blueberry muffins are my weakness. I got my nails done yesterday, and that was a nice treat too. I went with a darkish purplish color - something different from my normal red - and I'm really liking it.  

How was your week? Read any good books? Let me know in the comments! :) 


Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Vanessa knew that dance was in her blood, but she had no idea the world of elite ballet was center stage for the darkest of secrets-until her sister mysteriously disappeared from the world-renowned New York Ballet Academy.

Three years later, Vanessa follows in Margaret's footsteps, lands the role most girls at NYBA would kill for . . . and gets trapped in a sinister spiral of secrets. Back-stabbing bunheads, a fiercely unrelenting choreographer, and the sexy male lead of the troupe-they all want something from Vanessa. And though she revels in the attention, what Vanessa truly craves are answers. Instead, she feels as though she is losing her footing at every turn. Is she doomed to relive her sister's strange fate?

Riveting and sexy, Dance of Shadows twists the cutthroat world of ballet with a psychological thriller, in a dance you won't be able to resist.

Yelena Black's Dance of Shadows has been on my TBR for a long time, and I recently decided to give it a chance. The cover was stunning, and I can never resist a boarding school setting, especially when the said school is in New York City. 

Dance of Shadows started off strong. The mystery was interesting, and I was dying to know how it would all end. Was Vanessa's sister willingly missing? Or was there something more sinister at play? What was up with the intimidating teachers? And the biggest question of all - why did all the lead female cast members disappear under mysterious circumstances? These questions are what kept me reading until the end. I also think Yelena did a great job of fleshing out the setting, and I liked that it included a ballet/dance component. 

Unfortunately, the longer the book went on the more I began to lose interest and the more I began to see some major flaws. 

For one, the characters never came to life, in my opinion. I kept waiting and waiting for development to occur, but it never happened. Did I root for Vanessa? Yes. Was she likable? Yes. However, I never felt like I "got" her. I also had a hard time keeping track of her friends. They never had distinctive personalities. 

For two, we have a case of an insta-love. I'm not a complete insta-love hater. Sometimes I think it can work really well in the book; however, here it just got to be a bit too much. Vanessa was gaga over Zep - and I mean GAGA - as soon as she saw him, and honestly I never saw the appeal of him. Zep was a creep. He treated like Vanessa like trash more times than one and only wanted to see her when the time was convenient for him. The second of which is such a huge warning sign, in my opinion, but Vanessa usually justified his actions. 

Overall, Dance of Shadows had a lot of potential; however, it never truly lived up to it. While the ending was shocking, I don't feel all that driven to read the sequel. As horrible as it may be to say, I just don't care about the characters enough to spend more time on their story. So I would recommend this? Not particularly - there's many other boarding school mysteries I would suggest before this. However, I could see fans of ballet and theater possibly enjoying it.

2 stars!!

Dance of Shadows is now available! 

Source: Publisher 

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