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Book Review: The Siren by Kiera Cass

Title: The Siren

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: N/A

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: Love is a risk worth taking. Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again. Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. And though she can’t talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny…and Kahlen doesn’t want to. Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean’s rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen’s feelings, she’ll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart. -Goodreads

The Review:

No one is more surprised than me how much I freaking loved this book.

Cass and I have a bit of a hit or miss relationship where I’m either 100% on-board fangirling… or throwing the book in disgust. Luckily, The Siren fell into the former category – something I wasn’t led to expect based on some brutal early reviews I read for the book. I have a theory as to why it caused such harsh reactions for fans of Cass’ work:

The book is less about the romance, where the main love interest is kept on the periphery for most of the book, and more about the relationship girl has with her sisters, mother ocean, and (most importantly) her heart. It’s a book filled to the brim with inner conflict as Kahlen struggled to come to terms with her lot in life and find her place in the world. I can see how most readers (misled by the romance-heavy nature of her previous series) might have gotten bored with the plot as it drifted further and further from the love story. As someone who is kind of sick of seeing the same recycled romance in YA, The Siren screamed to me something profoundly different and I enjoyed the shit out of it.

I think this is one I might actually want to reread. Certainly it deserves a spot in my collection (coveted and limited space at the moment). I don’t think it’s a book I could recommend with confidence because it’s a very specific, atypical YA that doesn’t fit the mold, but it definitely fit the bill as the refresh I needed in the genre.

Recommendations: I wouldn’t recommend this necessarily for fans of Cass’ other work because it satiates an entirely different craving. Instead I’d probably hand it to the lovers of those tragic “girls in pretty dresses in a slightly dystopia era” series (which I call “elegant dystopia”). I’d also hand this to someone expressly tired with typical YA romances.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch (+COVER REVEAL!)

Let us know what you think of the cover for Unraveled (Perfected, #3) by Kate Jarvik Birch, which releases April 3, 2018!

This cover reveal is brought to you by Entangled Teen.

Nik’s Notes: I am soooo excited for the conclusion to one of my favorite YA series (Perfected even made my top 10). I signed up for a cover reveal and blog tour because I’m incredibly passionate about this series (it’s weird, and I like weird). I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, and I think the publisher did an awesome job on the cover! That vibrant green will look beautiful on my shelves next to the other two. :)

About Unraveled:

Ella isn’t anyone’s pet anymore, but she’s certainly not free.

After exposing the dark secrets about NuPet’s breeding program, forcing them to repeal the law that allowed genetically modified girls to be kept as pets, she thought girls like her would finally be free. She never dreamed that it would backfire. NuPet may have convinced the public of their intentions to assimilate pets back into society, but Ella knows it’s a lie.

They aren’t planning mass rehabilitation…they’re planning a mass extermination.

Now, with the help of a small group of rebels, Ella and Penn, the boy she’d give up her life for, set out to bring down NuPet for good. But when her group gets implicated in a string of bombings, no one is safe. If she can’t untangle the web of blackmail and lies that extends far beyond NuPet’s reach, she won’t just lose her chance at freedom, she’ll lose everyone she loves.

Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of Unraveled (Perfected, #3) by Kate Jarvik Birch today!

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About Kate Jarvik Birch:

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals, including: Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids.

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by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

The Glass ArrowTitle: The Glass Arrow

Author: Kristen Simmons

Series: N/A

Genre: Teen Dystopian

Rating 1.5/5 stars

The Overview: The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

The Review:

I was warned about this one. One of my favorite book bloggers posted a review explaining why she did not enjoy this novel… and I read it anyway. To be fair, I’d already been approved for a digital arc, so I was kind of already committed to reading it, underwhelming review or not. It turns out, my fellow book blogger was totally right… this was not a very strong book.

I really love the idea for it – women living in the wilds, on the run from hunters who’s goal is to capture them and sell them to the city as breeding stock. You see, evidently the women who live in the city are incredibly infertile, so the wilds women are high commodities. I thought it sounded fascinating, and reminded me of some of the other similar books I’ve read and loved recently (Wither by DeStefano, The Jewel by Ewing), but it just did not deliver. All of the books in that specific sub-genre require a bit of the “just go with it” attitude, but the plot structure and world building for this one just had so many things wrong with it that it was hard to read. For every rule she gave on how the society functioned, I could think of a couple of reasons why it wouldn’t work. And the thing is, I wasn’t actively looking for inconsistencies, they were just so blatant that my brain couldn’t help but point them out.

It wasn’t just the illogical nature of the plot that took away my enjoyment of the book (although that was the main thing). I also thought the book suffered from poor pacing and a bit of repetition. I don’t think there were enough plot points to sustain an entire novel and probably would have liked it a lot better had it been a short story. The plot points that were there still have me a bit perplexed – very little of the story had anything to do with the overall arc and climax of the book. It almost felt like I was reading three different books in one (or short stories –  bam!) and none of them related to each other very well… It was weird.

Eventually I got fed up and just started skimming during the last fifty pages of the book. But I did finish it, which I thought ironic considering how many issues I had with it. It made me go back and really think about what compelled me to keep going. It wasn’t what the author was writing, but rather how she was writing it that kept me reading. I enjoyed the style and thought Simmons had a lovely voice. She made me care about the main character and I had no trouble immersing myself into her perspective. I would love to see this author tackle something that requires a lot less world building and concept so she could focus on the element that, in my opinion, she does very well.

Overall, I was really underwhelmed by this title and it was a bit of a struggle to get through it. I was really excited about the concept and the writing style, but don’t think it ever lived up to its potential. I don’t see myself hand-selling this one anytime soon. Maybe it’s just me though – go check out the “this is her best book yet” five-star reviews on goodreads before making any rash decisions. ;)

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by Niki Hawkes