Review of “The Forever Girl” by Rebecca Hamilton

The Forever Girl by Rebecca HamiltonA review by Maria.

I would first like to thank author Rebecca Hamilton for allowing Fangirls Read It First to read a copy of The Forever Girl.

Sophia is a practicing Wiccan in a small town. With the small town comes the small minded prejudices because both of Sophia’s parents died in sudden and suspicious ways. Not to mention another man in Sophia’s life died mysteriously as well. Sophia had quite a reputation, and not one she wanted. She also started hearing voices talking ­­in her head. She meets Charles, a supernatural being, and suddenly she’s thrust into the world of the supernatural and will learn more about herself and her history than she could ever have imagined.

A qualm I had about this novel is that Charles and both his friends and enemies were all a brand of vampire or shifter. But different, more elegant names like Cruor, Strigoi, Spirit Elementals, Earth Elementals were used for the paranormal beings. Even though the names were lovely, it meant keeping track of all the different types of vampires and shifters introduced very maddeningly difficult.

Another issue I had was the large time jumps in the story. Charles and Sophia met each other unpleasantly. All of a sudden months had passed and they were hanging out, and then living together, and suddenly they were dating. I felt like key moments in their story were being skipped over for the sake of the story’s momentum.

As a main character, Sophia was a strong independent woman. She had experienced so much pain in her life but was still overcoming it with friends and a steady job. Once she started hearing voices, she reached her breaking point. She tried to confide in a friend and was shunned. It was very easy to understand why she felt like she was going crazy, and why she felt like she couldn’t confide in anyone else. I felt like we could have learned more about Charles as a character. He was strong, smart, paranormal, and loyal. But since he lived for so long, it would have been nice to hear more about his history instead of just small bits here and there.

The romance and tension in this novel along with the danger and excitement were wonderful but took a little while to go get fully started. I loved all of the magical elements in this novel. The history of the Salem Witch Trials was a great addition to this story along with Sophia discovering more of her history and powers.

I was very excited to read this novel because I’ve especially loved books on Wiccans and paranormal beings. I wouldn’t say I loved this novel but I didn’t hate it either. My feelings for it fell somewhere in the middle. It took about 60% of the novel for me to start really enjoying it, and from there I was hooked.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Full disclosure: The Forever Girl is a current free offering for our editor-in-chief’s Patreon account. This book was offered to Fangirls Read It First after that deal was made. The EIC only conveyed to reviewers that she found the author nice. She did not attempt to sway this review!

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Review of “The Perfectionists” by Sara Shepard

The Perfectionists by Sara ShepardA review by Amanda.

The Perfectíonists is the first in a new series by bestselling author, Sara Shepard. Ms. Shepard is best known for her Pretty Little Liars series, now a television show, and The Lying Game series.

Five high school girls in Beacon Heights, Washington – beautiful, brainy Ava, athletic Caitlin, “It Girl” Julie, musical Mackenzie, and secretive Parker ­ with nothing in common, have formed an unexpected bond over a shared enemy. Rich and popular, bully Nolan Hotchkiss has done terrible things that drastically affect each of the girls’ lives. Grouped together in film studies class, the girls brainstorm the hypothetically perfect way to kill him. Their plan evolves into a non­-deadly prank in order to get revenge. Everyone is shocked when Nolan turns up dead after a party ­ in exactly the same way that they had planned… but someone close to them is working very hard to make it look like they did.

Sara Shepard has found a formula that works and she is sticking with it. The overall plot follows very similar lines as her two previous series’, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. The protagonists are mostly typical, upper ­middle class high school girls who accidentally create a mess for themselves and anyone close to them, and then find out that they are actually in the center of a much bigger plot. The true villain(s) remains unknown to the girls until the very end. Their well­-intentioned attempts to do the right thing only makes the problem worse. Romantic entanglements add even more drama and intrigue to the already convoluted plotlines.

Having read and enjoyed both of the aforementioned series, I found myself distracted by the myriad similarities, especially in the beginning. The details are where the differences lie and those are why I continued to read. I expected that there would be game­-changing plot twists, but still managed to be surprised by the paths the story took. I liked the book, although the formulaic writing kept me from loving it. I will give the next book in The Perfectionists series a try when it is released.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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