Author: Farrah Naseem
Published: December 3, 2011
Goodreads Summary: When Sasha Stryker meets Ariston Kavanagh, she is entranced by his good looks but mystified by his odd behavior. After all, he keeps asking her how she sees him even though he’s standing right in front of her. Yet, she can’t deny the strange and powerful attraction she feels towards him.
At the same time, her ex-best-friend-current-nemesis Connor Macho starts showing a romantic interest in her as well. Is Connor truly attracted to Sasha, or is this another move in his war against Sasha and Ariston’s relationship?
Sasha finds out the whole truth when she is attacked by a lioness one night! To her utter bewilderment, her savior is a white tiger that morphs into the last person she wants to be indebted to.
This encounter shatters her notion of the world as she knows it and her love affair comes to a crashing halt when all truths are revealed. Just as she’s trying to cope with the truth about Ariston and Connor, other nocturnal creatures called Friaries try to kidnap her for their own nefarious purpose.
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- Christina enjoyed this title and places it on her third shelf!
**Note** An eBook of this title was submitted by the author to The Book Hookup, but did not influence this review in any way.
The Lowdown: Sasha Stryker is a fifteen-going-on-sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a rural area. She’s the resident geek at her school, but doesn’t really have any qualms about it. She’d rather have her brain than all the beauty because being dimwitted isn’t all that special really. Besides, who needs popularity when you have awesome best friends like the eclectic and quirky Amber Kirkendoll and the dependable, yet charismatic guy-next-door Ethan Macho. However, her relatively boring existence comes to a screeching halt when night when she meets Ariston Kavanagh. Though she doubted his mental health due to his unusual antics- and his gentlemanly interest of her- upon their first interaction, she soon learns to enjoy his company. The more time they spend with one another, the deeper in love they fall. Only, Ariston isn’t the only one suddenly vying for Sasha’s attention. Her ex-best friend and current high school playboy, football captain, Connor Macho, is trying to reinstate his role in Sasha’s life. Confused because he’s ignored her for the past two years, she isn’t sure if Connor’s affectionate displays are merely because Ariston’s in the picture or if there is really something there. What’s even more frustrating is that is seems like everyone Sasha cares about is keeping secrets and they almost get her killed.
Author Ego-Booster: I really loved all the characters. Every person seemed to have something about them that made them feel real, and I loved getting to know each of them. Sasha, especially, was quite the fireball, know-it-all. She was always at the ready with a snarky remark, and though lacking in the self-confidence department, she really came across as a strong heroine that I could root for in the end. As far as swoon-worthy guys, Ariston Kavanagh fits the bill. He’s tall, golden, handsome, and charming, though it edges a bit on the cheeseball side of cute at times. I loved how “out there” Amber was and how Ethan was the constant bodyguard hottie at Sasha’s side, always ready to swoop in and save the day. Connor… tended to be a bit of an ass, but once he showed his vulnerable (albeit sarcastic) side, I couldn’t help but fall for him a little as well.
Once we finally got into the meat of the story- the paranormal parts- I was quickly rooted to what was going on and curious to how the story would work out. It’s an original plot, though admittedly, I haven’t done a whole load of reading on Were-creatures. Still, the series seems promising. I only wished we had gotten to see more of this aspect of the story, but more on that later on.
The Drawbacks: The pacing of the story seemed to lag in the beginning and seemed a bit disjointed at times. Even though the emails between Sasha and her cousin were comical, I couldn’t understand what purpose they served and I felt like the story was held back during those exchanges. I hope there will be an actual explanation for these conversations in the future. Like I stated earlier, towards the end of the story after Sasha’s discovery of the Were-creatures and Friaries, I felt like everything clicked and moved at a better pace. I only wish I had gotten either more interaction between Ariston/Sasha/Connor or more depth from the paranormal world.
Another small thing that brought me up short several times was the European expressions (namely “bloody” and “brilliant”) written throughout because this story is suppose to be set in the United States. At first I was able to ignore it because Sasha was a huge Hatter Potter fan, so I thought it was just one of her quirks, but then I started recognizing it being used by other characters in the story. It’s not something of huge significance, but rather something that took me out of the story a bit when I came across one.
I also noticed a few grammar mistakes and tense changes that took me out of the plot as well.
The Verdict: Overall, it was quite an enjoyable read. I really liked the paranormal side to the story and think Ms. Naseem has written and interesting, original book. I’m curious to see where she takes the series from here, especially with the secret thing exposed about Sasha at the end.