Frenemy of the People

Frenemy of the PeopleTitle: Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Gay & Lesbian, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 264
Published by Bold Strokes Books on 2014-05-13
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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From the back cover...

Clarissa and Lexie couldn’t be more different. Clarissa is a chirpy, optimistic do-gooder and a top rider on the school’s equestrian team. Lexie is an angry, punk rock activist and the only out lesbian at their school.

When Clarissa declares she’s bi and starts a Gay-Straight Alliance, she unwittingly presses all of Lexie’s buttons, so Lexie makes it her job to cut Clarissa down to size. But Lexie goes too far and finds herself an unwitting participant in Clarissa’s latest crusade. Both are surprised to find their mutual loathing turning to love.

A change in her family’s fortunes begins to unravel Clarissa’s seemingly perfect life, and the girls’ fledgling love is put to the test. Clarissa and Lexie each have what the other needs to save their relationship and the people they love from forces that could tear them all apart.

My Review

I have mixed emotions about this book.  Parts of it I truly loved and other parts… not so much.  Let me preface this by saying that I love, love, love seeing YA fiction that addresses the LBGTQ community.  There needs to be more of it!  That is 100% of the reason I requested this title through NetGalley, not to mention the ridiculously awesome cover.  As a pink-haired mama, I appreciate the haircolor!

The story was told in the alternating points of view of our two main characters, Clarissa and Lexie.   These are two girls that couldn’t be more different.  Clarissa is the epitome of a middle-class girl, into horses and her friends, not really considering much beyond her own life.  She spends a lot of her time looking out for her older sister, Desi, who has Down’s Syndrome and is one of my favorite supporting characters.  Lexie is straight-edge punk, ready to save the world, although she has a secret and unexpected love for butterflies.  Clarissa seems to be a bit on the immature side quite sheltered.  Lexie, although she comes from a wealthy family, is a bit of a rebel, sometimes even a little pretentious about her rebelliousness against the establishment.  As characters,  I love them both.

It’s the sexuality aspect and how it was presented that bothered me.  The way in which Clarissa came out seemed so lackluster.  One minute she is gossiping with her friends, the next… she’s bisexual.  It was undeniable once I thought about it.  I was drawn to girls the same way I was drawn to  guys (Loc. 111).  And there it was.  She spent the rest of the story announcing it.  It just didn’t come across as authentic to me, probably because of the naiveté she often showed.  It sometimes made her same rather shallow.

And then there is Lexie, whom I loved as a person.  But I felt that at times she was almost a caricature of a “lesbian,” a stereotype.  Vegan, activist, punk rock, activist, social outcast.  There are nothing wrong with these things, just that, right or wrong, they have become associated with the social definition of a lesbian.  It just felt like Lexie’s character fed into a stereotype rather than a true person.

The story line was excellent, however.  There were some real issues and conflict that had nothing to do with the sexuality aspect, sometimes rather deep.  There were some clear statements on family dynamics, both through the relationship between Lexie and her parents and Clarissa’s with her own parents.  These are things that I think most all of us have dealt with at one time or another.  I also love that Desi was created to be a real person, not as an aside in light of her cognitive issues.  Fantastic!

Some Quotastic Goodness

Now, the name gay-straight alliance implies it’s a club for gay and straight students, but actually that’s just a name!  Ot’s also open to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.  I’m not sure what transgender is yet, but I found a website that’s going to explain it to me (Loc.219).  <– Uh, what?!

Did lesbians have to be unfriendly (Loc. 334)?  <– The stereotyping…

I felt like I was about to crack, that I couldn’t endure one more thing going wrong in my life (Loc. 1645).

You’re sweeping me off your feet with your rhetoric, comrade (Loc. 2112).

My Recommendation

I had issues, yes, but aside from that,  I enjoyed the story that was the root of it. I think that YA fiction needs more LBGTQ characters!

3.5Mugs

About Nora Olsen

I write for teenagers. I live in New York State with my lovely girlfriend Áine Ní Cheallaigh. My debut novel The End was published by Prizm Books in December 2010. My second YA novel, SWANS & KLONS, was published Bold Strokes Books in May 2013. FRENEMY OF THE PEOPLE is forthcoming from Bold Strokes Book in May 2014.

Madly & the Jackal

Madly & the JackalTitle: Madly & the Jackal by M. Leighton
Series: Madly #3
Genre(s): Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, New Adult
Pages: 277
Published by M. Leighton Books on 2012-05-25
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase
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From the back cover...

How deep does love run? Deeper than the ocean? Deeper than memory? Deeper than magic?

Following their plan to save Atlas, Madly and Jackson return the spirit of Wolfhardt to his prison beneath the sea. But even the best laid plans couldn’t account for the surprises they find. This time, Lore aren’t their only challenges. 

Madly is special in ways no one could have guessed and dark forces seek to control her. They want her power, but first they must weaken her. They need her beaten. Vulnerable. Near death. And alone. But that task isn’t an easy one with Jackson at her side. The strongest of their kind, the only way to separate Jackson from Madly is to destroy his love for her, to erase it from his mind. And his heart. 

Is it possible to steal Jackson’s love from Madly? Or is their love the only truly unbreakable thing?

My Review

Hands down, this is my favorite Madly book so far!   There was so much to this one and I couldn’t put it down.

Like everything I have read by this author, the writing just grabs me!  Everything she does is beautifully written and this is no exception.  There is so much emotion, regardless of whether I am crying, swooning, or laughing!  I always get so carried away and I love it!

Madly and Jackson… what can I say?  For a girl who is not generally into romance-centric story lines, I unabashedly swoon at these two.  It isn’t all sunshine and flowers, but it is intense and the stuff of dreams.  There is so much I could say about that relationship, but I refuse to spoil it!

But what makes a great romance in a book is a great story surrounding it.  And Madly & the Jackal has exactly that.  There is so much action and mystery and unanticipated moments.  The intrigue of it all kept me turning the pages long after I should have been asleep.  There is a bit of a cliffhanger, too, that leaves me wanting.  Recently, although it has been almost 2 years since this book was published, M. Leighton announced that a 4th Madly book is on its way and I couldn’t be happier!

Some Quotastic Goodness

You are the most amazing man I’ve ever met and I love you so much I sometimes feel like I can’t contain it inside my chest.  Don’t ever say I deserve better.  You are the best there is (Loc. 1049).

“There are two things I was born to do.  One is to protect Atlas,” Jackson began.  He paused, tracing a fingertip from my temple to my jaw.  “The other is to love you.  If you don’t believe in anything else, believe in that.  Trust me.  Trust in me (Loc. 76).

My Recommendation

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!  I HIGHLY recommend this series!!

5Mugs

About M. Leighton

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you’ll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren’t roaming in that direction, she’ll be riding wild horses, skiing the slopes of Aspen or scuba diving with a hot rock star, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.

You can visit her blog for her YA novels at .

Madly & Wolfhardt

Madly & WolfhardtTitle: Madly & Wolfhardt by M. Leighton
Series: Madly #2
Genre(s): Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, New Adult
Pages: 266
Published by M. Leighton Books on 2011-07-12
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase
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From the back cover...

Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants. 

The first spirit to arrive is that of Ulrich Wolfhardt, a man that was once obsessed with wolves and a young maiden he would follow through the woods. After a bite from a wolf, Wolfhardt’s obsession with the girl became an unnatural hunger and the young maiden’s grandmother cursed him with a fate worse than death. And now he’s back…with a vengeance and a bite that can infect others as well.

Madly must learn the identity of Wolfhardt’s descendant and stop him before he kills again and spreads his curse across the earth. But the only person strong enough to help Madly is Jackson, the Sentinel who vowed to protect her and the one person capable of breaking her heart. Can Madly resist forbidden love long enough to save the world from Wolfhardt? Or will she have to sacrifice her heart and her destiny to save the ones she loves?

My Review

Madly & Wolfhardt is the second installment in the new Madly series, the first full-length novel.  Mermaids and werewolves, traditional lore mixed with new mythology… fantabulous!

I loved the first novella, but the story really begins in this book.  I love, love, LOVE old lore remixed into something new.  We have a bit of Red Riding Hood in this book, but not in the way that most would expect.  I love fairy tale retellings but using the Lores as the way to do it is genius!  It is such an unlikely pairing, werewolves and mermaids, but it really works.  After reading the book, it seems now like a natural fit.

And then there is the swoon factor.  I am not generally a mushy gushy love story kind of girl, but Jackson and Madly… they could change my mind!  He is THE BOOK BOYFRIEND!  There is some serious chemistry going on there and it is fabulous!  Their relationship is somewhat unexpected for reasons that I won’t share so as not to spoil anything.  Jackson is so serious that, at first, he seems like an unlikely romantic hero.  But  there is so much going on beneath the surface.  Madly is frustrated with him and it shows!  Good romantic drama!!  Add to all of that a unique love triangle and it makes for a good story!

There is so much action in this book, with lots of twists and turns.  Its hard to talk about it without spoilers, but there were a lot of unanticipated moments.  There is also a cliffhanger that left me wanting more RIGHT NOW!!

Some Quotastic Goodness

Spend more time with Jackson?  Alone?  In the woods?  Um, yes please!  Just try to stop me (Loc. 241).

The first touch of his soft mouth was feather light, little more than the kiss of the wind on my skin (Loc. 375-376).

“There are, no doubt, all sorts of creatures in existence that we know little to nothing about.  And there’s no more perfect way to keep the world ignorant than to suggest that the presence of the supernatural is simply a fairy tale or a ghost story.  It’s quite brilliant actually (Loc. 622).

“I love you, Madly James and if I never see you again, know this:  someday, whether it’s today or a hundred years from now, I’ll die with you on my mind (Loc. 4379).

My Recommendation

Fantastic read!  If you like fairy tale retellings, mermaids, werewolves, and swoony romance… I highly recommend this series!

5Mugs

About M. Leighton

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you’ll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren’t roaming in that direction, she’ll be riding wild horses, skiing the slopes of Aspen or scuba diving with a hot rock star, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.

You can visit her blog for her YA novels at .

The Goddess Inheritance

The Goddess InheritanceTitle: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
Series: Goddess Test #3
Genre(s): Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Published by HarlequinTeen on 2013-03-01
Source: personal purchase
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From the back cover...

Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her—until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

My Review

I have really enjoyed this series and I am sad that it has ended, but The Goddess Inheritance is a lovely ending!  I think this one was the most action-packed yet.

Kate is faced with some terrible choices this time, and it made her an even stronger character.  I had started to have some issues with her during the second novel, so I was glad to see her character back to being strong and independent.  She seemed more level-headed this time, with her priorities straight.  I love that, whether it works or not, she always sets out to save those she loves.

Henry and Kate together were at their best.  There were swoony moments, frustrating moments, happy moments, sad moments.  In other words, it was pretty realistic!  They faced challenges that most of us never do and it was their relationship that kept them from going off the rails.

Cronus… what an interesting character.  Yes, he’s powerful and a bit of a psychopath, but somehow I still somehow liked him and sympathized with him a bit.  On one hand, he is a murdering bad ass, but other times he just seemed lonely and sweet.  It was an emotional rollercoaster!!

Some Quotastic Goodness

Sadness doesn’t equal weakness, sweetheart. If anything, it shows the love you have inside of you, and nothing stronger in this world exists.

I don’t need to be ancient to be worth something.

I figured Henry might smite me if I went through your underwear.

You really need to get over your martyr complex. One of these days it’s going to get you killed.

My Recommendation

Read the entire series, and then read this!  A great series!

4Mugs

About Aimee Carter

I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures (a fancy way of saying I was forced to watch a lot of old movies) with a subconcentration in Screenwriting. I write. I watch a lot of new movies. Read a lot of books. Tweet too much. Love dogs and have two spoiled Papillons.

I’m represented by the magical Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio, and on very rare occasions I blog over at WordPress. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Goddess Legacy

Goddess LegacyTitle: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter
Series: Goddess Test #2.5
Genre(s): Collections & Anthologies, Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 395
Published by HarlequinTeen on 2012-07-31
Format: Paperback
Source: personal purchase
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From the back cover...

For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimée Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness....

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal....

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another....

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others - but never knew true loss before....

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope....

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.

My Review

Goddess Legacy is a collection of five short stories, all about various gods and goddess in the world of Goddess Test.

The first story, The Goddess Queen, tells the story of Calliope/Hera from her own viewpoint.  For reasons I can’t explain without spoilers, Calliope was not one of my favorite characters throughout the rest of the book. But this short story gives you an entirely new understanding of her, explaining a great deal about why she is the way she is.  I actually began to feel for her, even if she is a bit of a vindictive drama queen!

Individual Rating:  4 mugs

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The second story is The Lovestruck Goddess, which tells the story of Aphrodite/Ava.  This was one of my favorite stories in the anthology, in no small part because I have loved her character.  It is a love story, a love triangle, and a story of pain… all in one.  This story, too, allows us to see her in a more 3D way away from Kate and Henry.

Individual Rating:  5 mugs

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The third story, Goddess of the Underworld, tells Persephone’s story.  In this series, she has been portrayed as a bit of a villain, but we get to see in her in a new light in this story.  We learn a lot more about why she acted as she did towards Henry, her love for another.  I understand the angst behind that, but I felt like that supposed love fell completely flat.  I feel for Henry, but I feel as if his character was a bit oblivious to it all.

Individual Rating:  3.5 mugs

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God of Thieves is the fourth story and the story of Hermes/James, one of my favorite characters.  I loved the story between Tuck and James and it ended with all the tragedy of a good Greek myth.  It also solidified my love for James!

Individual Rating:  5 mugs

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The final story is God of Darkness, the story of Hades/Henry.  This story really helped us understand Henry a bit better.  It is the story of his decision to fade and the deal that begins the Goddess Tests.  Henry’s broodiness often irritates me, but after this, I understand him much better.

Individual Rating:  4 mugs

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Some Quotastic Goodness

Happiness is a choice, but so is misery. Choose wisely.

It takes loneliness in oneself to recognize it in another.

Eros is my sun, Ares is my fire, but Hephaestus is my rock, my foundation, and no matter where I go or what I do, I will always come back to him. I know that now.

My Recommendation

This is a great tie-in to the series.  It doesn’t add much to the ongoing story, as The Goddess Hunt did, but it does flesh out some of our favorite characters.

4Mugs

About Aimee Carter

I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures (a fancy way of saying I was forced to watch a lot of old movies) with a subconcentration in Screenwriting. I write. I watch a lot of new movies. Read a lot of books. Tweet too much. Love dogs and have two spoiled Papillons.

I’m represented by the magical Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio, and on very rare occasions I blog over at WordPress. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!