keeper of the gateLet me preface this review by saying that I hardly ever read Young Adult novels. One of the exceptions I make is for novels by Paula Kennedy. I loved her last series and was excited to read this one when she asked me to review it for her. Keeper of the Gate starts out with an awkward high school girl just trying to find where she fits into the world. Plagued by an emptiness that she’s never been able to figure out, never able to find a guy, Anna can’t believe it when her head it turned by the new guy, Devin, only to find out he’s a bible obsessed weirdo. Just her luck. Devin seems to know more about her than he should and his vague warnings and Jekyll and Hyde behavior towards her should have her steering clear of him, but she can’t stay away. Her whole life changes when the truth of her past if revealed to her and the fate of the world is left in her hands. Devin was a complex character that both irritated the hell out of me as well as pulled at my heartstrings. His passion for his lord was palpable and his feelings for Anna were obviously a source of much heartache.

I absolutely loved this book! Kennedy again has developed characters that seem to have a life of their own. She was able to show Anna as an awkward teenage girl yet at the same time have her be a thousand year old (making an assumption on age) bad ass demon destroying warrior. The underworld she describes left a vivid picture for the reader as a backdrop to the breathtaking story of good versus evil and those in the middle that are charged with keeping the balance. Devin and Anna haven’t left my mind and I want to know more about their past, their future, and the history/future of the other Keepers of the Gate. This is a young adult book but I think any age from 14-adult would enjoy. I read this with my daughter (12) and she enjoyed it immensely and wants more!



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November 6, 2014
Anna, the girl with flaming red hair and attitude to match, always felt like an outcast. In her final year of high school, when she can’t even connect with the right guy, she meets mysterious bible-loving Devin and feels strangely drawn to him.

There’s more to Devin than good looks and his weird obsession with scripture, and Anna finally understands the emptiness she’s felt her entire life. Join Anna as she searches for answers about her past with Devin, struggles to accept her true identity, and begins an adventure into the City of Fire to reseal the gates of Hell.

Amaranthine is a young adult paranormal about a 17-year-old high school girl named Crimson.  Crimson is obsessed by vampires, and is a huge fan of a series of books about a vampire named Nicholae Alberic.  She realizes that Nicholae is a real vampire and sets out to meet him, and in the process she finds out she possesses a gene that will make her very unique if she is turned.

Crimson is a pretty typical seventeen-year-old.  She belongs to a little high school clique, she is in the band, she likes music and shopping, and can be a little self-absorbed at times.  Nicholae’s character confused me sometimes.  He is two hundred year old vampire, and one moment he seems much like a teen himself only to take on the personality of a more paternal figure the next.  There are a lot of likeable supporting characters in this book; one of the stand-outs is Laramie.  I guess I would describe Laramie as a mentor to Nicholae, he is an older vampire and quite intelligent.  Laramie is a scientist of sorts, and he uses his knowledge to come up with things that could be beneficial to mortals, and to make the world a better place.  He also plays a pivotal role in the story, as he confirms and gives an explanation for the gene that Crimson carries.

This is one of those books that ran hot and cold for me.  The biggest problem I had was the romance between Crimson and Nicholae.  The relationship basically began by them stalking each other, they meet, and immediately the undying love is professed.  I wish a bond would have forged between the two that turned to love later on.  As a reader, I kind of felt cheated.   However, I took an interest in the part of the story about the Amarant gene.  Although there was sufficient explanation about the gene,   I would have loved to see Rigli delve deeper into that part of the story.

All in all, the concept of the story was really good, but it just needed to be a little better executed.  I feel things will improve more as Rigli evolves as a writer.  I am sure this story will still appeal to teen readers because they will relate to Crimson, and fall head over heels for Nichlolae!



Amaranthine is a tale of the dark side of desire. Crimson Wilkinson is a seemingly normal high school senior who, bored with life, finds her kicks in reading a popular vampire series. But her boredom is well remedied when she becomes an active part in the very true vampire stories the world thought were fiction and falls in love with their author, Nicholae Albaric, the dangerously gorgeous and sweetly lonely vampire celebrity. The rush she once so longed for becomes a burden as Crimson discovers she has a rare gene that makes the carrier extremely powerful once they are made into a vampire, and she is targeted as the vampire community’s number-one most wanted, some who want to kill her before she can become a threat and others who want to use her powers to their own ends.

The Guardians of the Gate: Book One The Gate of Lake Forest is the first installment in Blackwelder’s YA Elf Romance series. What drew me in first about this book was that it was a romance told from a male’s perspective. Michael is such a likeable and REAL character that you almost seem to know him; as if he’s a neighbor, or a boy you grew up with. Evelyn’s emotions are so poignant and strong that you can’t help but to be drawn in by her. Evelyn is the new girl at school, different and so, a hot commodity. Michael finally gets up the gumption to ask her out and she agrees, after avoiding everyone. Blackwelder uses poetry to help the two young lovers express their feelings for each other, which reminded me of In Dreams Begin where poetry played a central role to the book.

By the time Michael is in love so are you, with Ami Blackwelder’s tale of two lovers that may, or may not be able to be together.  Their struggles and turmoils, happiness, and tears make this book nearly impossible to put down. I immediately bought the second installment. The lore and world that Blackwelder has woven is fetching and catching. You too will be caught in the web of her words.



When a human and an elfin fall in love, what happens in forbidden romance?
Within the small town of Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, there exists a quiet forest where a world undiscovered awaits. When soccer player, Michael Cole, of high school Green Mountain Falls sees the new girl Evelyn, coy yet intoxicating, walk into his senior English class he is forever changed.

His passion for her takes him deep into her heart and deep into her mystical world. Will their forbidden love be able to sustain them as their separate worlds collide, taking Evelyn and Michael on a magical journey into adventurous and perilous realms where dangerous creatures are determined to defeat them?
High school will never be the same…

The Mers: A Mermaid Dystopian is the first book in Blackwelder’s Mer Chronicles. This book was captivating from page one. Mira doesn’t seem to fit in with the Mers, she doesn’t have gills, eyes, fins or webbing like they do. She’s just learned in school at age seventeen that humans warred with the Mers and Pirates capture them. One hundred years prior the Earth was covered in water and what little land was left was highly prized, adaptation began quickly and soon another branch of humans began–the Mers. Whether from jealousy or fear, the humans ostracized and fought them. Finally, coming to a shaky peace where the two had separate boundaries.

Mira longs to know who she really is despite the love of her adopted parents Zale and Marina, and the pull and affection of her close friend Niren, who becomes more than that. Mira’s distinctions draw him to her, and you too will fall for the loyal, loving Mer. The book is fast paced, hard to put down, and a great YA read. The main characters Mira and Nerin are well fleshed out and have you rooting for them, and feeling with them in the end. Other characters join the band and have you guessing, are they to be trusted, or not? With surprises and twists, The Mers is certainly a great read. I for one will be waiting with bated breath for the next installment.



A Mermaid Dystopian –The Mers:
What lies beneath the surface?
One hundred years from now, the world has
changed and brought with it, new forms of life.
Who are the Mers? Who is Mira?

Mira always knew she was different. Growing up with Mers, she never quite fit in. When Mira breaks the rules and takes Niren with heracross the border dividing Ellis Island and New Jersey, the border dividing two vastly different worlds, she thought the journey to find out who she really is would be an easy one.

But, as the world in Jersey proves to be a convoluted mix of aristocrats who hate the Mers, pirates who want to sell them, and magi who want to use them…finding her true identity will be a challenge, especially when her best friend Niren is a Mer willing to fight to the death.

Nicci Sefton’s Luxuria is a great story of first loves, teenage crushes, trying to fit in at a new school, and oh yeah, the most popular girls just happen to be vampires. The relationship between Derrick and Annabelle is believable and draws you in very quickly. The supporting characters are just as well written and developed as the two leads. I don’t normally read or review books in the YA genre, but I found Luxuria to be very well written and thought out for such a young author. Nicci Sefton has a bright future as an author if she continues to develop her talent with original ideas and well written stories.


When Derrick Clark steps into Madison Prep for his first day he’s not sure what to expect. All he knows is this school is nothing like his old school. Luckily he recognizes several people from his old school that had also been transferred.  The day turns out to be pretty typical until he see’s Annabell Crystal. She’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen and he’s drawn to her even more than the rest of the school seems to be. Along with her two sisters Lucy and Precious, the Crystal’s are the talk of the school. All the girls want to be them and all the boys want to date them. There is just something so different about them. When Derrick is paired with Annabell in poetry class, as well as being cast as her partner in the school play, he falls head over heels for her.  Unfortunately Annabell seems to feel nothing but irritation for him. Her disdainful attitude towards him doesn’t keep Derrick from pursuing her even against the warnings of the other students that the girls don’t date, ever.

Eventually Derrick gets under Annabell’s tough exterior and as the relationship grows he finds out their secret. The Crystal’s are vampires. Derrick refuses to give up Annabell even though she continually tells him that she is dangerous for him. But love is love. Derrick stands behind his declaration of love against Annabell’s denial of her feelings and the fact that her family has forbidden her from having any kind of relationship with him.

When a powerful vampire from the past comes to claim Annabell for himself, the relationship between her and Derrick may be the death of both of them.

Have you read Luxuria? If so, post a comment and let others know what you thought!

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