Tag Archives: YA paranormal

Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Daughter of Chaos

by Jen McConnel

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Red Magic #1

Source: Purchased

Book Summary:

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy.

book thoughts

“Slowly, I raised my eyes, sweeping my gaze up her inky black robes that shimmered like water, past the blood-red stone dangling from her throat, and up to her golden eyes. They weren’t human, but from what I remembered of the myths we studied at school, Hecate had never valued humanity. Her eyes were the eyes of a night predator—an owl or fox—and they held me spellbound.

“Darlena. Darlena, I have been aware of you for some time now.” Her words came slowly, creaking into existence and lingering. I was frozen with fear. “Child, you stand at the brink. A choice must be made.”

I had incredibly high expectations for this book and I am happy to report that it surpassed all of them. Here is well-written witchy fiction jam-packed full of accurate mythology, but with its own intriguing twists. As a Wiccan myself, I adored how magic, gods and goddesses, seasonal rituals, etc. were woven in with everyday life. It all just felt so normal but at the same time…well, magical. Witches are portrayed as real people, with lives and jobs and families, who just happen to have awesome powers.

The main character, Darlena, experiences tons of growth. She is slightly frustrating at first (I imagine that was intentional). A bit of a rebel without a cause, perhaps. But she handles the obstacles her declaration of red magic throws at her with more strength than she knew she had, and it is highly satisfying to watch her come into her own. I liked that Darlena’s best friend, the Black Witch Rochelle, and Darlena’s ex-boyfriend, the White Witch Justin, feel like authentic characters, but at the same time represent the struggle Darlena feels within herself. The romance between Darlena and Justin was sweet and never overpowering. It made sense, and though Darlena’s reactions were frustrating at times, I still felt for her, and could see why she cared for Justin, since he was so supportive and really non-judgemental for a White Witch (which to me is how a White Witch should be).

Darlena’s parents play an active role in her life! It is clear that once a witch declares, she is essentially an adult, so while Darlena’s parents give her space, they are still involved and invested in her, something we don’t always see in YA. Darlena’s mother especially feels like the mortal embodiment of her patron, the mother-goddesses Demeter, swearing to help her daughter no matter what.

Gods and Goddesses abound in this book. I loved it. Their portrayal is at once very human and accurate to their existing mythologies. Hats off to the author for that! I was disappointed that once again, my own patron goddess, Hecate, was cast in a negative light, but it worked for the story and since it’s s trilogy, who knows, she may yet be redeemed. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. We do get a sympathetic portrayal of Hades that I found incredibly touching. We even see the vulnerable side of Aphrodite. The gods and goddesses were definitely one of the things I loved best about this book, especially when they were helping teach Darlena magic. The magic itself was excellently done. Much of it felt authentic to the way magic is practiced today, but with the author’s own unique flourishes.

The other thing I loved was the way magic, even red magic, chaotic as it may be, was portrayed as neither good nor evil. Darlena is determined to use red magic for good and watching her go about achieving that propels the story forward and makes for a great journey. I would have liked a bit more information on Black Magic – it is said to not be evil, per se, but I’d still like to know more about it. Just to sate my curiosity. Much more magic in general, please! I need more.

This is by far my favorite read this year and I suggest you go pick it up and then, like me, eagerly await the sequel.

5paperhearts


Grabby Paws: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in the RED MAGIC paranormal YA trilogy.

Why I have grabby paws…

Okay, so not only is it about witches, but it’s about Hecate! And it’s first in a series! I cannot properly express the level of excitement I have for this book. Actually, maybe I can. I am so excited about this book that I’m actually pre-ordering it. I hardly ever pre-order books, so this is a big deal. I think the last one I pre-ordered was The Indigo Spell.

My pre-ordering may even be rewarded because the author Jen McConnel (who is awesome by the way) is holding a contest for people who pre-order the book. Click on the button above to find out more and enter.

Want a teaser?

Click the picture above for the full teaser.

Want another teaser? Go here. 🙂

Are you as excited as I am yet?!

Releases March 25th


ARC Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

White Hot Kiss

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: The Dark Elements #1

Source: Won an ARC from Two Chicks on Books. Thank you!

Book Summary:

One kiss could be the last 

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever. 

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

book thoughts

So yes, the cover and title are pretty bad. I actually had zero interest in this one when I first heard about it, because from the title and cover I assumed it was New Adult Contemporary Romance, which is definitely not my thing. But then I won an ARC from the awesome and generous Two Chicks on Books. It was in a mystery box, so I picked it up and read the description. With that cover, I was still worried it might be mostly sleaze romance, and not so much paranormal, but since it was written by the highly regarded Jennifer L. Armentrout, I tried the first page.

And was of course hooked. The main character’s voice reminded me a bit of Rose from Vampire Academy (another series whose covers and titles don’t remotely live up to the story). Now don’t get me wrong, I love romance. I find it much easier to become invested in a story that has it. I can’t get invested in is a story that is basically all sexual tension and zero emotion. Likewise I’ve never been very interested in Contemporary Romance, because the emotional stakes always seem so much higher when I get to watch the two lovers overcome the supernatural crazy. And this book definitely had supernatural crazy to overcome. Because of her half-demon blood, Layla can’t kiss anyone with a soul, for fear that she would suck it right out. She grapples constantly with a gnawing hunger she can only keep at bay with heavy sugar intake. She’s been taught to hate her demon blood, and to know that because of it she can never be more than half-warden (gargoyle) Most painfully, she can’t marry and give birth to more wardens, because of her tainted blood.

When she meets Roth, a “soulless” demon who she can (and wants to) kiss, she’s tempted. But she’s grown up believing all demons are evil, even the demon part of herself. But what she thinks is just a physical attraction to the kind of relationship she never thought she could have, eventually grows deeper and more complex as the two are forced to work together and trust each other. There was a bit of a love triangle, involving Layla’s best friend/adoptive warden brother Zayne, but it was a sensible one, and I can guess where it’s going (or at least where it better be going).

I worried that the Christian mythology would be too black and white, but the issues of good and evil, innocence and darkness, family and belonging were quite complex and well-explored. Having a soul, even a “pure” one, did not necessarily make you better than a “soulless” demon, much to Layla’s surprise.

There was just enough high school interaction to ground the story, but thankfully it was free of the typical silly drama that sometimes serves as filler. Layla’s two human friends were entertaining and it actually felt like they added to the story, and even progressed the plot at times. And the plot certainly kept me guessing, just the way I like. Some mysteries were left unresolved, but since this is the first in a series (yay!), I’m not worried. 🙂

5paperhearts