This blog is no longer active but Little Paper Rose will still review books on Amazon and GoodReads. I'll continue to be available for review requests.

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Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Published: September 9, 2014
Pages: 416
Series: (Unknown but possibly)
Source: purchased

Goodreads summary: Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.


I don't think the title, cover, or synopsis makes the story justice, whatsoever. I would've easily passed up on this. The depth, tension, and strength of this book doesn't come across in the summary. The mention of "a dare" and "dating" made this sound like another contemporary novel with a female protagonist in an unfavorable situation, crushing on someone off-limits.

Nothing prepared me for the intense, captivating, enthralling ride. I read it in one sitting until the wee hours of the morning, wide awake despite exhaustion prior to turning that first page. And I was exhausted when I finished, in a really good way. The happy, pumped sort of exhaustion.

This is a military book and I loved the crap out of it.

Sam is one of the first female students ever at the military academy, and the reality is harsh. Really harsh. There are continuous reasons to turn the page as fast as you can and root for her. You'll get attached to characters. You'll learn a whole lot.
And maybe (if you're in that state of mind) you'll even, sort of, not really, definitely not (wouldn't survive a day) wish you were there because you'd want to meet that hopelessly crush-worthy guy.

Sam is a force of determination, bravery, and courage. I sat on needles for her through many parts and I'm stunned how a character can make me so insanely, inexplicably proud. I admire her to no end.

There wasn't one uncertain character. Everyone had their own impact, their own place, their own voice. The character were well-written and memorable. Even the characters you despised you enjoyed reading about, because they were believable.
I especially appreciated the raw, shaky friendship between Sam and the girls, and Sam's authentic relationship with the boys. Kelly, Drill, Rev, Jonathan, Amos, Huff, and more... love 'em guys.

A thank you to Hensley for writing this fantastic book.

My one and only question mark, to those who've read the book, I didn't quite understand why Sam was the chosen victim. Why her specifically from day one? Why were they hardest on her even before she'd proven to be "an issue"?



Short reviews: Hidden Wings + Broken Wings by Cameo Renae

Title: Hidden Wings (#1)
Author: Cameo Renae
Published: January 16, 2013
Pages: 204
Series: Hidden Wings
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: Seventeen is a life changing age for Emma Wise. As her family's sole survivor in a car crash, she is left with a broken arm and a few scrapes and bruises. But these are only outward marks; inside, her heart is broken and the pieces scattered.

Whisked away to Alaska, to an aunt she’s never met, Emma starts over. Secrets unveil themselves and now…she doesn't even know who or what she is.
A centuries old prophecy places Emma in the heart of danger. Creatures of horrifying and evil proportions are after her, and it will take Emma, her aunt, and six, gorgeously captivating Guardians to keep her safe. But, if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday... things will change.

For those who are looking for a quick, young, and uncomplicated storyline. However, I found the writing to be incredibly unrefined and without structure or finesse. Everything felt very scattered. The protagonist was a little unbelievable and the characters lacked emotional depth, making them hard to connect with. This is a quick-paced read to pass the time.



Title: Broken Wings (#1)
Author: Cameo Renae
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 296
Series: Hidden Wings
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: Emma’s world is falling apart, and Kade, the only one who seems to hold her together, is missing. With death lingering right outside their door, decisions must be made before it’s too late.
The Midway has refused to send help, so they are left to seek out the only other who can stop Lucian.

A perilous quest sends Emma and a few Guardians into the Underworld, where the unimaginable abide, to beseech the Prince of Darkness himself. Lucifer.
Now, they must endure the deadly levels of Hell, which not one …mortal or immortal… has ever survived. Prepare for love, loss, and the unexpected.

Despite only feeling so-so about the first installment, I went ahead and picked up 'Broken Wings.'

I was intrigued by Kade and the promising plot, and ended up exceptionally underwhelmed by the unbelievable and convenient quest into Hell. It left me completely unfazed and I found myself skimming the book, either bored or just wanting to finish it.

The deal with Lucifer's son was a fun twist, though, as a character he was incredibly unrealistic. The ending was abrupt and I almost would've purchased the third book just to finish the half-hanging scene, if I hadn't known better. This will be it for me.


Review: Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Title: Hunting Lila (Lila #1)
Author: Sarah Alderson
Published: August 4, 2011
Pages: 320
Series: Lila
Source: purchased

Amazon Summary: 17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them…

I liked the characters. I had fun reading about Jack, Alex, and Lila as a trio and was intrigued by The Unit. I really enjoyed Lila's relationship and interaction with her brother which made Jack's reaction when finding out about Lila's ability not very believable or consistent with his character or "loving brother" persona.

The whole Lila / Alex deal was entertaining, until all things Alex and all his details or words or how much she wanted him started to resemble a slight obsession. It was too distracting.

The funny thing is, why I liked Alex was also the reason why I didn't feel that him and Lila were a believable match. Alex was mature and cool-headed. And Lila felt too young and stubborn in comparison. I could definitely see why she'd be infatuated with him, but I couldn't see him having romantic feelings for her, at all. It just didn't match up.

The storyline was promising and the plot twist interesting, however, a little too convenient for my taste. Because [SPOILER ALERT: the bad guys turning out to bet he good guys just as the protagonist is captures, isn't too exciting.]

And I gradually just ended up losing interest in the story.

'Hunting Lila' is an entertaining read for those looking to read a girl-likes-boy kind of book with supernatural abilities and little action scenes.

I won't continue the 'Lila' series as of now but will check out more of Alderson's books.



Review: World After by Susan Ee

Title: World After (#2)
Author: Susan Ee
Published: November 19, 2013
Pages: 438
Series: Penryn & the End of Days
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?


Since the sequel picked up right where 'Angelfall' left off you got to experience Penryn's off-the-bat feelings about everything.

It was painfully authentic how she struggled to cope with what her sister had been turned into. Despite Paige's horrifying transformation there's still an uncertainty about her and if the little girl could still be there. You're taken on a snaky path of revelations and learn what actually happened to Paige, the deal with the scorpion creatures, and the grand plan of it all.

I enjoyed 'World After' for the same reasons as 'Angelfall'; Ee's compelling way of telling a story and the evenly pounding pacing with bursts of action and unpredictable turns. The courageous, sensible, and likable heroine. We get to experience Penryn's fierce independence, because (besides the momentary company of her bizarre yet tremendously entertaining mother, or so) she's getting in and out of trouble on her own.

Then there's the sword. How I ended up really caring for a sword, is beyond me. I was intrigued by its way of communicating through Penryn's dreams and Raffe's memories - I think more of the latter would've been amazing and might have distracted from his absense, meanwhile opening him up to Penryn and the reader. Seeing the memories with Penryn through his point-of-view, was gold.

Raffe isn't present until late in the book, and boy, I missed him. Although I applaud Ee for a realistic, solid, and aching relationship build-up, I just craved his presence. And banter. That's why I fell in love with the first book. It's funny how I bonded more with the sword than Raffe now.

However, for those who haven't read the book yet, obviously you have to. Because Penryn and Raffe may or may not be in a beach house, in front of a fire, having heart-twisting and witty dialogue that made me want to jump around or squeal into a pillow. There may or may not be a little stripping involved, too.

The ending did leave me hanging a little and I can't imagine where it'll go from here.



Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall (#1)
Author: Susan Ee
Published: May 21, 2011
Pages: 283
Series: Penryn & The End of Days
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.


There are two kinds of amazing books: the ones you can't stop raving about, and the ones that leave you at a loss for words. 'Angelfall was the latter for me. I don't know what to say and I'm sure everything and more has already been said about this phenomenal book.

The post-apocalyptic world by Ee, where angels are the enemies of the people, was fantastically well-written. The world-building was mind-blowing. From the moment I started reading 'Angelfall' I could not tear away. Ee takes you on an insane journey, from start to finish. Perfect pacing, solid writing, crazy storyline. 

Penryn was plain kick-ass, instantly adding to the list of my favorite heroines of all time - fearless, yet vulnerable and relatable. I don't think I've ever read a book with such poignant and interesting characters. Besides strong, sharp, mesmerizing Raffe, I was immensely impressed with Ee's portrayal of Penryn's schizophrenic mother and their relationship.

Back to Raffe. I mean, seriously! Have mercy. He was intriguing, witty, real, and unpredictable. Romance is not a focus and I wouldn't have wanted it to be, because then I wouldn't have been so caught off guard and frantic when a kiss may or may not have occurred. And I wouldn't have been taken aback by what Raffe may or may not have said afterwards. And I wouldn't have realized how much I cared about these characters.

The first half of the book already had my full attention, the second half totally slammed me. There are some pretty graphic, nightmarish, did-I-just-read-that scenes. Utterly shocking twists and turns. If you won't read this book for its action or characters, you'll want to read it for the plot. Really, you'll want to read about these angels. You'll want to know if Penryn finds her little sister. Because it is that intense.

I'll start the sequel in about thirty seconds. 'Angelfall' is action-packed, well-written, and character driven - the recipe for "must read."



Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection (#1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Published: April 24, 2012

Pages: 336
Series: The Selection
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.


It was okay.

I was excited to finally give 'The Selection' a shot, unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. I was most astonished about the lightness of the story - it was easy, breezy, and girly. I'd call this a chick-lit any day over dystopia.

I found the idea of actual ranks in the society quite interesting but it didn't seem to mean much except for determine a person's wealth, or lack thereof, and attitude (the richer were snottier.)
Did they live amongst each other or was it divided? Were there certain rules and laws in favor for or against you depending on your caste? Why was it that the castes had to stick to their specific line of occupations? Etc.

My guess is that most of those rating this book three stars or less had hopes for the dystopia, world-building, or riveting plot, which 'The Selection' did not deliver.

I was shocked to get halfway through the book and realizing the story had basically been about the protagonist, America, just walking around and talking to people. The entire book turned out to be about her just walking around and talking to people. In other words; nothing happened. There was no high point, no low point, no plot.

The rebels attacked and everyone would just sit in a room and wait it out. Everyone is in grave danger and people are crying or passing out, but they're essentially just sitting in a room. The reader is told about the danger, but never get to experience it. Cass could've given the story a kick if she'd chosen a less convenient route in these matters.

America enters the Selection to help her family, making it clear she's there against her will and dislikes the whole thing, though, I don't agree it conveyed in her behavior. She was very inconsistent, seemingly unable to make up her mind about things. Though, generally calm, she'd suddenly be rude or dramatic towards Maxon.

Maxon being a character I just could not connect with or really find a reason to like. I didn't see Maxon the handsome prince, I saw an awfully formal, one-dimensional teenage boy. I couldn't find anything alluring about him at all.

And we have Aspen rounding up the love triangle. I don't prefer reading about protagonists with boyfriends, simply because you, as the reader, don't get to fall in love along with the heroine.
Instead, you're already supposed to like him, which isn't a given you will. And I didn't necessarily. Not because Aspen wasn't okay, but because I never knew why America and Aspen were good together. I didn't see it and I wasn't told about it. They just were.

So America loves Aspen with all her being and might be falling for Maxon, and I have no idea why this is or how it's come about. None of it was convincing for me.

The book and the writing was okay, it just featured a much underdeveloped story with an uneventful plot. I won't be continuing the trilogy but would still recommend 'The Selection' as a beach read.



Review: Losing Logan by Sherry D. Ficklin

Title: Losing Logan
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
Published: May 2, 2014
Pages: 230
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: What if the one thing you never meant to hold on to, is the one thing you can’t let go of?

Normally finding a hot guy in her bedroom wouldn’t irritate Zoe so badly, but finding her childhood friend Logan there is a big problem. Mostly because he’s dead. 

As the only person he can make contact with, he talks Zoe into helping him put together the pieces surrounding his mysterious death so he can move on. 

Thrust into his world of ultra popular rich kids, Zoe is out of her element and caught in the cross-hairs of Logan’s suspicious ex-girlfriend and the friends he left behind, each of whom had a reason to want him dead. The deeper they dig to find the truth, the closer Zoe gets to a killer who would do anything to protect his secrets. And that’s just the start of her problems because Zoe is falling for a dead guy.


How crazy good it feels to give 'Losing Logan' its five stars.

First off, I want to say that the story isn't depressing, it's actually strangely heartwarming. I smiled a lot while reading it and chuckled at the impressively witty banter. Secondly, what you won't learn from the premise is that 'Losing Logan' has so much emotion. The plot is simple but the soul of the book is all intertwined.

Zoe was relatable, authentic, and independent. She was sassy and snarky in the most humorous ways. We learn that Zoe and Logan were childhood friends but drifted apart once Logan became popular and Zoe did not. This sounds like the typical case of "you turned popular, I turned geek" and I highly appreciate Ficklin for not making Zoe such a character - she was the total opposite, fearlessly awesome but closed-off.

Logan was like a rock in the story, which is ironic since he's dead and the one depending on Zoe. Though, somehow she ends up needing him just as much. His character radiated a sense of warmth and calmness. I definitely grew attached to him, to the point that I wanted to pause in the middle of the book and write Ficklin to beg her to re-write the plot and have Logan come to life again. I mean, it could happen.

The absolutely hilarious and frustrating banter between the two won me over from the start. I couldn't stress how much I loved it.

I read 'Losing Logan' in one sitting, not only caught up by the characters but by the plot line and mystery surrounding Logan's death. There were little surprises here and there, for sure. I did manage to predict the killer (not because of the clues, but my own logic just asking why this person was there in the story at all.)

What isn't mentioned in the premise is the reaper following Zoe or Logan around, which was quite creepy and suspenseful. I was a little disappointed how everything turned out and ended up having a few questions about it (mostly just: well, why?)
I guess I'd been hoping for a crazy sub-plot. The ending was a tad unsatisfying and rushed. I would've loved a few more pages with Zoe and Logan, just to round everything out. The epilogue, however, almost-maybe made up for it.

There is a love triangle and I think Ficklin's execution of it was utterly beautiful. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

'Losing Logan' was fun, mysterious, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love.



Review: The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

Title: The Vanishing Girl (#1)
Author: Laura Thalassa
Published: March 15, 2014
Pages: 338

Series: The Vanishing Girl
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: Every night after Ember Pierce falls asleep, she disappears. She can teleport anywhere in the world—London, Paris, her crush’s bedroom—wherever her dreams lead her. Ten minutes is all she gets, and once time’s up, she returns to her bed. It's a secret she’s successfully kept for the last five years. But now someone knows.

A week after her eighteenth birthday, when frustratingly handsome Caden Hawthorne captures her, delivers her to the government, and then disappears before her eyes, Ember realizes two things: One, she is not alone. And two, people like her—teleporters—are being used as weapons.
Dragged off to a remote facility where others like her live, Ember’s forced to pair up with her former captor, Caden, to learn how to survive inside until she can escape. Only Caden’s making escape seem less and less appealing.
But even as Ember falls for the boy who got her into this mess, she knows that she is running out of time. Because the government has plans for those like her, and those plans might just cost Ember her life.


A pleasant surprise.

I was hooked from the very first chapters and could not stop turning the pages.

I loved Thalassa's smooth and confident writing style and even pacing; everything carried out effortlessly throughout the story. She balanced action, mystery, and romance gracefully. There was just a flawless amount of small moments and big moments.

Ember as a protagonist immediately captured me - she was solid, level-headed, and humorous. I quickly gained confidence in her and trusted her actions. She held her own. I loved the narrating voice.

When you make a character as sexy, straightforward, and banter-driven as Caden, you'll drive the reader to either roll their eyes or chuckle at the things he says and does. Either it works or it's just annoying. I definitely chuckled. He could easily have been overdone and cliche, and I'm ridiculously relieved that he wasn't. This guy was on fire, but in a strangely endearing and enigmatic way.

Ember and Caden were good together and even though they were with each other, more or less, from start to finish, it worked. I adored their banter. However, I truly hope the gushing and craving of one another doesn't get out of hand and distract from the actual plot.

The characters in 'The Vanishing Girl' were all believable and interesting. I really liked that whichever character meant for a certain role weren't outright as expected; there was always a little more to them.

Everything regarding the teleporting, the training, and the missions were enjoyable and I can't wait to learn more about Adrian and the stones.

I finished 'The Vanishing Girl' in one go. Despite the abrupt ending I had a fair sense of satisfaction, and will definitely pick up the sequel this fall.



Review: Revival (The Variant Series #1) by Jena Leigh

Title: Revival (#1)
Author: Jena Leigh
Published: November 14, 2012
Pages: 282
Series: The Variant
Source: purchased

Goodreads summary: Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.

The first thing about 'Revival' that got my attention was the quality writing - Leigh has a smooth and natural writing style. I liked it a lot. Her point came across easily and the writing just felt very thought-out and uncluttered. The storyline flowed, having the perfect mixture of intrigue, banter, and the supernatural.

I enjoyed the fun parts as much as the serious ones and how Leigh kept the story balanced between the two. 

'Revival' was shortly narrated from different character's third-person point-of-view (but mostly the main character, Alexandra) and I loved it, which I rarely, if ever, do. It gave the story so many layers and I cared to get to know the other characters because they were all so darn likable!

There are many character involved and they're all interesting and substantial in their own way. I was curious of John Grayson's story and enjoyed reading about the Grayson family in general. I even liked the villain because he was so solid.

Although Alexandra and Declan spend some time together and are clearly attracted to each other, there wasn't really more than sweet or suggesting moments, and a pinch of jealousy involving Nathan. It was all innocent and subtle.
As mentioned, I found all characters likable, however, when it came to a potential romance I'm glad Leigh didn't pursue it. The entire book is set over a period of a week. A single week. So it wasn't realistic for any characters to develop feelings for each other.

There were some unexpected twists in the story and intriguing revelations. My only problem was that there wasn't a climax. The whole story just goes evenly. I was sure that no matter how late in the book, something shocking would occur (well, it had to?), but it never did.

The awfully small and short conflict at the very end (regarding the secret government organization) was disappointing, consisting of a conversation, easily resolved by a little talking back and forth. Yes, talking - not exactly what I'd expected.

There are also a lot of unanswered questions when the book ends, threads that's been pulled throughout the story but that still hang loose. I hope the sequel will catch you up and give you more of a conclusive experience when you finish it.

Other than that, 'Revival' was entertaining and enjoyable. Definitely look out for this author.



Review: Branded (A Sinners Series #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Title: Branded (#1)
Author: Abi Ketner, Missy Kalicicki
Published: June 27, 2013
Pages: 320
Series: Sinners
Source: purchased

Amazon Summary: Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

I was so intrigued by 'Branded' and the premise, and curious how the authors would execute telling a story set in the worst of prisons. All I could see was Lexi locked up in a cell and the occasional conversation with a guard - and somehow they will fall in love.

Well, firstly, the Hole isn't like any other prison; besides the requirement to work, Sinners pretty much roam free to abuse and slaughter each other. Everyone wants a piece of Lexi, guards and inmates alike - not only is she very pretty (as we are reminded) but "Lust" is branded around her neck which makes her an obvious target.
As I was starting to realize, there had to be a really good reason for Lexi even lasting a few pages in the Hole.

There was a convenient one, at least. Not only is she locked up in a cell but she is assigned a personal guard who lives, full-time, in an adjoining room (which is pretty much a studio apartment). The door separating their rooms was never once locked and the guard she gets happens to be one of the only ones that would never think of doing anything horrible to her. So it was somewhere around here (which is in the first couple of chapters) that I started to scrutinize.

I really, really, really wished Cole (guard and love interest) had been more of a believable character.

"They [the guards] are chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole."

"I should know the hardest and most proficient guards work in here."

"Guards aren't supposed to be human. They're supposed to suck the life out of sinners and enforce the laws of the commander."

Except for him being snappy, he was never intimidating or outright cold, which is the least I would've expected from a guard, especially since every other guard (with the convenient exception of his best friend) were disgusting, unsympathetic assholes.

Cole and Lexi were instantly way too casual around each other. I was surprised how much they talked the first day they get to the cell, and that Lexi even gets up in the middle of the night to tell him she can't sleep (again, the door between the cell and Cole's room might as well have been a wide open gap in the wall) and asks if she can keep her light on, in which he replies, "Whatever."

Second day in the Hole:

"He offers his hand and pulls me upright with a smug look [after she trips]. I groan as embarrassment crawls up my face in the form of a deep, crimson flush."

Same day when under attack:

"Just leave me," I whisper into his ear..
"Never," he says in a short gasp.

Same day when safe, Lexi thanks Cole for saving her life:

"Uh, yeah." His cheeks turn a shade of pale pink.

Definitely not what I would've expected from a terrified eighteen-year-old girl who's just been thrown in a hellhole where every other person threatens to rape her, and one of the most skilled guards in there. How they behaved towards each other was incredibly unnatural and absolutely nothing had led up to it.

My main issue was that the love happened too fast without any reasonable build-up. They cared for each other before you had the chance to care for either one of them or even really get to know them. I liked the characters but they didn't live up to how they were portrayed.

Other than that, there were several semi-slow, uneventful moments for me. The story dragged a bit in the first half of the book when nothing too significant happened; there was no excitement that had me eagerly turn the pages. There is some action later on but it ended up not being as conflicted as it could've been. If you really enjoy the relationship between Cole and Lexi you probably won't have the same experience as me.

I'm curious how Ketner and Kalicicki will continue this series so if the sequel sounds promising, I might read it.