The Tortured Souls by Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Genre: YA paranormal
Publication date: June 29th, 2014
Publisher: Sea Dragon Press
Sometimes Rest in Peace isn't an option.
Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it's ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.
When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie's longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.
But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he's never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.
Kacie can't ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.
Tortured Souls was okay. Nothing super special about it stood out to me, but at the same time, the things I didn't like didn't make the book seem like a bad one. The first half was really rocky. Kacie's POV felt forced to me, and she seemed like a bland character. She didn't question the new developments in her life, even though it seemed like she should have. Everything seemed to flow too easily and I couldn't find a central conflict. The second half of the story was more interesting and had more conflict, but it didn't become a great books. It still felt forced (though less so than in the beginning) and I have a really tough time loving anything about a book or connecting to its story when it feels that way.
Overall, I didn't love this book. Was it bad? No. I liked the romance most of the time and I found the story interesting towards the end. However, I just didn't connect to the characters and the story in a way that could have made me enjoy the book more.
The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas
Genre: Coming of age historical fiction
Publication date: July 20th, 2014
In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and independence.
Half a world away in England, a young boy's idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend--but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.
The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.
'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' meets 'Downton Abbey,' this remarkable tale of friendship, danger, and coming of age will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.
A prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY.
The Hidden Blade was a great prequel that has made me interested in reading My Beautiful Enemy, a book that is in a genre I've never read before (adult historical romance). I really liked getting to know Leighton and Ying-Ying as they faced their own challenges as they grew up. There was a lot of diversity in this book that was refreshing to read. The settings were rich, especially Peking, and I really liked the different cultures that were involved. The book moved a bit slow for me at times, but that seemed necessary. Other times, I was confused on the timeline and what ages the characters were in certain moments. Those were the only two negatives that stood out to me a lot, though.
Overall, The Hidden Blade was worth reading. I decided to read it because it looked so good and it was available as "Read Now" on Netgalley. I'm glad to say I made a good decision giving this one a shot! Now I just hope that the sequel is just as good (or even better)!