Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review: Frost by Marianna Baer

Title: Frost
Author: Marianna Baer
Genre: Horror Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Elements: Ghosts
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, Harper Collins
ISBN-13: 9780061799495
Release: September 13, 2011
Rating: 3.5/5

Tagline(s): ~None~


Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—eccentric Celeste Lazar. 

What Celeste lacks in social grace, however, her brother, David, a recent transfer student, makes up for in good looks and charm. But while he and Leena hit it off immediately, Leena finds herself struggling to balance her growing attraction with her fear of getting hurt.

As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House: frames falling off walls, doors locking themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And although Leena strives to be the peacekeeper, soon the eerie happenings in the dorm, an intense romance between Leena and Celeste’s brother, David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind…or in Frost House itself? 

Frost is a stunning and surprising tale of suspense from debut author Marianna Baer.



Leena Thomas was looking forward to living her senior year in Frost House with her best friends, but a classmate's unfortunate accident caused her to be assigned to Frost House, too. Celeste Lazar is known for her eccentricities. While collecting a bird's nest for a project, Celeste broke her leg causing her to need a first floor room and was assigned to Frost House as Leena's roommate. When Leena goes to check out her room she meets David Lazar, Celeste's brother, while he was setting up Celeste's side of the room. David recently transferred to Barcroft and he immediately hits it off with Leena. As strange things begin happening in Frost House; stress, jealousy, and fear put an strain on the relationships of the dorm residents and those around them.


At the core of the story, the theme of Frost is fear. Each character is driven by their fear of events happening around them. Leena's fear of being hurt and the stress of Celeste's situation cause her to take drastic measures to calm down. Celeste fears Frost House itself and the strange things happening there and to herself. This fear causes her behavior to become even more erratic. David fears what people will think of his sister and himself considering their family's history of psychosis. To prevent that and protect his sister, David plans something potentially dangerous to get her moved out of Frost House.

Whether these fears are caused by something supernatural or psychological, the outcomes are dangerous and potentially life-threatening.


Told from Leena's point of view, Frost takes us through her first semester of senior year and the strange happenings at Frost House. We never really find out whether the cause of the events is supernatural, psychological, or some other factor. Some could argue that it was the ghost of the woman who died there trying to get Celeste to leave and Leena to stay. Or some could argue that it was totally psychological and their minds were playing tricks on them. Frost keeps you guessing well after the last page. 


Frost House is an old Victorian house that was later converted into a boy's dorm. After feeling a need to live there, Leena talked to the dean to see if her and her friends could be assigned to live there their senior year. Permission was granted and Frost House was changed to a girl's dorm, but they also got an unexpected roommate in Celeste.

For Leena, Frost House is a refuge. She feels comfortable and safe there.The place she's most drawn to in Frost House is the closet in her room. The smell and feel bring feelings of nostalgia; memories of a better, happier time. 

For Celeste, Frost House is hell on earth. She's tortured and abused by unknown forces. It gets to the point where she feels she'll die if she stays and believes the house is haunted by the woman who had died there so long ago. 

For one girl, Frost House brings peace and safety, for the other it brings only fear and torment.

My Final Thoughts:

I like how we are left to come to our own conclusion on what was really causing the events in Frost House. We are never told one way or the other. I think it was a little of both: part supernatural, part psychological, with a little help from some carbon monoxide. I think the CO weakened Leena and Celeste's minds so much that it opened a doorway for the ghost to communicate. But that's just my opinion. 


Chapter 42, Page 396

Part of me is still there, I believe. In that way, Frost House will always be my home. But not the rest of me.

About this Author:

Marianna Baer received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA in art from Oberlin College. She also attended boarding school, where she lived in a tiny dorm called Frost House, which was subsequently torn down. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Frost is her first novel.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Title: Lord of the Vampires
Series: Royal House of Shadows #1
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Elements: Vampires, Witches, Ogres
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne, Harlequin Books
ISBN-13: 9780373618668
Release: August 23, 2011
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): Once upon a dark time, they were the only hope to bring their kingdom back to the light.


Once upon a time...the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs...and time is running out....

Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate "The Dark Seducer" had become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina---stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remained was a primal need for freedom, revenge---and the only woman who could help him.

In her dreams, a wanton vampire called to Jane Parker, drawing her to his dark sexuality and his magical realm. But for a human, all was not a fairy tale in Delfina. Jane was the key to Nicolai's memory...but exploiting her meant dooming the only mortal he craved.



Nicolai is the eldest son of King Aelfric and Queen Alvina; and the crown prince of the kingdom of Elden. Having lost his memory and freedom after the fall of Elden, Nicolai has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina. Knowing only that he must leave Delfina and go to Elden to kill the Blood Sorcerer, Nicolai enlists the help of Jane Parker.

Jane Parker recently regained the use of her legs after a terrible car accident that took the lives of her family and left her scarred. She's been dreaming of a vampire named Nicolai who oozes sexuality. After reading a book about him and his captivity, Jane wakes up in a place she doesn't recognize and Nicolai is very real.


One theme in this book is Nicolai (and to a point, Jane's) memory loss. Nicolai's memory is wiped clean by the evil princesses sexually abusing him. Jane suspects that she's met Nicolai before since some things in his world look familiar, but she can't remember meeting him before she ended up in Delfina. We find out later about who erased their memories and why.

Another theme is Nicolai's burning need to kill the Blood Sorcerer. Before dying, his father cast a spell filling all four of the royal heirs with the need for vengeance. I'm sure they would all feel the need to avenge their parents and kingdom even without the spell, but the spell ensures it. The timepiece Nicolai has tells him how much time he has left to kill the Blood Sorcerer, but having been in the palace of the kingdom of Delfina where time moves slower, twenty years have passed and time is running out.


The plot is told from the alternating perspectives of Nicolai and Jane.

Their memory loss adds the element of mystery to the story. Past events, first meetings, and other memories are slowly revealed as Nicolai starts remembering everything. His powers also start resurfacing as Jane's blood undoes the magic spell concealing his memory and powers. We also learn a little tidbit about Jane that even she doesn't remember. So we're along for the ride as events come to a head. There's even a few surprises to look forward to.


Delfina is ruled by the Queen of Hearts and her vile daughters, Odette and Laila. Nicolai is held captive as a sex slave and repeatedly abused by the princesses. I'm sure if Nicolai wasn't being driven to return to Elden, he would destroy the entire kingdom instead of just it's rulers. The place fills him with so much hate and rage that the only thing keeping him from a full blown rampage is Jane and the need to escape and protect her.

And Delfina is definitely not a friendly place for humans. They are used and abused almost as badly as the servants and sex slaves, if not worse.

My Final Thoughts:

The story and character relationships seem to move pretty fast, but actually started way before the first line and meeting. We just don't know it because the characters themselves don't know it yet. I love how everything just fits together. Some people might think that Nicolai's possessiveness is a major turn off, but it's really not. It seems that with vampire and werewolf/shapeshifter characters that their possessiveness is so not a turn off at all. I think it makes the story and relationship between Nicolai and Jane more intense. I also thought it was cool how Jane slowly (**SPOILER, SPOILER**) turns into a vampire after that first time drinking Nicolai's blood. A lot of other cool things happen because of Nicolai's blood. I just really loved this book. It's a great start to the Royal House of Shadows series.


Chapter 11, Page 161

She's mine. Mine! You will die for touching what's mine.

Chapter 18, Page 249

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I might be a vampire so I don't give a shit. I'll heal.

About this Author:

Gena Showalter sold her first book at the age of 27 and now, four years later, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirteen books, with eleven more on the way in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, cutting edge young adult novels, and stunning urban fantasy.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated in French, Italian and Korean. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.