Series: Dead Things #2
Published by Self Published on 7/15/16
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Source: Blog Tour
My content rating: Mature YA (Sexual situations, Violence, Torture)
17-year-old November Lonergan spent her whole life feeling like an outsider. She was right. She’s a reaper like her mother; like her two cousins, Kai and Tristin. The supernatural world believes they are part of a prophecy to save them from an evil known as the Grove. Ember just wants to survive high school and fix the fallout from bringing back her friend.
Old enemies are lurking; waiting for their opportunity to strike but the pack has a new problem. A group of legendary hunters has resurfaced, threatening the reapers and anybody who stands with them. They are making good on their threats too; attacking those closest to the pack.
Their only hope of defeating the Legionaries involves trusting a stranger to perform a dangerous spell to advance Ember and her cousin’s powers. But Ember has a secret; a secret she can’t tell the pack. One that leaves the pack vulnerable.
An attack on pack allies, leaves one member of the group injured and another missing, along with a mysterious girl named Evangeline who may play a bigger part in this than any of them realize. As the Legionaries are closing in, the pack must trust their enemies, enter hostile territories, and play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a psychopath. Their entire plan lynches on a dangerous bargain, but rescuing one member of the pack could mean losing another in their place…possibly forever.
NOTE: Since this blog tour is for the second book in the Dead Things Series, I’m featuring the second book first in my post. My only real spoiler for the first book is hidden behind a spoiler tag so that newbies to the series can read both reviews. Scroll down to see a bite-sized review of the first book in the series as well!
This second book in the Dead Things Series was much darker than the first – sometimes extremely dark – but I have to confess that I loved that about it.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Very dark dreams. The title of this book is no lie. In this second book in the series, we get to see what’s become of Mace View Spoiler »after Ember was forced to kill him to save Quinn. We saw at the end of the first book that Ember had actually restored Mace’s soul, so this book tells us what happens to said soul « Hide Spoiler. It isn’t pretty. In the midst of seeing Mace’s current predicament, we also learn the full details of what happened in Mace’s distant past that led him to his choice to become a sluagh. Mace’s chapters are pretty horrific – the things that he faced were painful and stomach churning – if you didn’t have any love or sympathy for Mace in the first book, I’m guessing Dark Dreams will change that. As terrible as they were, Mace’s chapters were my absolute favorite part of this book and kept me turning the pages to see how all he endured led him to make the choices he did.
- Romantic developments. In the first book, there were a few different romances brewing – chemistry was abound between Kai and Rhys, Quinn and Tristin, and Ember and Mace. For the purposes of not spoiling things from the first book, I won’t say which of the romances truly get off the ground and which are thrown into chaos, but I will say that it’s a combination of the two. In this second book, we get to see how those relationships are shaped by the climactic events of the first book – each of the couples is affected in some pretty major ways, and all three couples struggle to overcome some pretty hefty obstacles. Even though I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Ember and Mace in the first book, I found myself rooting for all three couples in this second book!
- Pack mentality. Just like in the first book, the secondary characters in this book are not secondary – in fact, I’m not even completely sure who qualifies as a secondary character, since the books are told in so many different POV’s (which I didn’t mind at all – I liked getting all of the different perspectives!). Themes of love, friendship and loyalty are huge in these books. Ember is embraced as a member of the pack – and that bond goes deep!
What Left Me Wanting More:
- Slightly slow read (but not slow pacing). Both of the books in this series took me longer to read than is typical for me. For one thing, they’re relatively long at over 500 pages each. But they’re also pretty complex – these are not the types of books you breeze through. There’s a lot of paranormal history to ingest and a ton of magical and storyline details that are really important and can’t just be glossed over. But I wouldn’t say that the books have slow pacing, and I really enjoyed them – but since I’m a quick reader, I tend to feel a tiny bit of frustration when I feel like I’m moving through a book slowly. This is obviously a personal preference type of thing, and many people will probably love every moment of the intense worldbuilding.
- Some grammar errors. The first book in the series had a decent number of minor grammar errors – mostly homonym substitutions (too instead of to, etc.) and apostrophe errors. The second book had less, but I still definitely noticed some – BUT it’s possible that the grammar errors might be fixed in the final copy of the second book. (I’m fairly certain the copy of the first book I got was not an ARC, however, so those errors are probably there to stay). I will say, though, that the overall quality of the writing was very good – so these errors weren’t overwhelming and didn’t stop me from enjoying the books – which is saying something, since my editor instincts tend to kick in when I read!
So, if you’re looking for a paranormal read with bite, I definitely recommend you pick this series up! I give this second book 4.5/5 stars.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things by Martina McAtee
Series: Dead Things #1
Published by Self Published on 8/31/15
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, LGBT
Source: Blog Tour
My content rating: Mature YA (Some sexual situations and violence)
17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.
They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.
As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.
This book was a fantastic introduction to a very dark magical world. I loved all of the paranormal elements to the story – there are shifters, banshees, reapers, witches, demons … this list could go on and on. But McAtee manages to meld it all together well and give us a supernatural world that’s both frightening and fascinating. When Ember is kidnapped by her cousins, she has no idea what’s in store for her – and when she finds out, it’s more than a little overwhelming. Figuring out who to trust when just about everyone would like to use her in some way – or kill her – is nearly impossible. Ember’s discovery of who she truly is and what she is capable of throws her life into chaos in a lot of ways – but it also helps her to make sense of a lot of pain in her life that she previously couldn’t understand.
There are lots of elements of family, friendship and loyalty that are explored, which I loved. There are also a few romances in bloom. I wasn’t completely on board with the relationship that developed between Mace and Ember because I felt like there wasn’t enough substance to it, but I was rooting for Tristin and Quinn. Kai and Rhys were definitely my favorite couple, though – probably because the romance between these two is most developed and takes center stage quite often. (I should note that it’s a M/M romance, but none of the storyline has to do with characters coming to terms with their sexuality or anything like that – which is kind of refreshing.)
Overall, a great book, though the complexity of the worldbuilding and the paranormal elements make for a little slower read. I give it 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received these books from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About The Author:
Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughters, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. She wrote her first story when she was five with an orange crayon on a legal pad she stole from her mom’s office. She’s been writing ever since. Her influences include Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Joss Whedon, L.J. Smith and even J.K. Rowling. Living in South Florida provides her with plenty of material for the weird worlds she writes about. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows involving reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures.