Remembrance (Mediator #7) by Meg Cabot

Once upon a time (actually, not as long ago as one might think), Meg Cabot wrote a series of six books about about a teenage girl named Suze Simon, who could see and talk to ghosts. In addition, her job was to help the ghosts with whatever unfinished business kept them from moving on (hence, “mediate”). She was also romantically interested in the ghost who lived in her bedroom, which was unfortunate, as he was, well, dead.

Now, as in last year’s Royal Wedding (reviewed here), Meg Cabot grants her fans’ wishes by following up with adventures of an adult Suze, her family, friends…and an old enemy.

****SPOILER WARNING:**** This review will include spoilers for the first six books of the “Mediator” series.

Remembrance Front Cover (William Morrow)

Remembrance Front Cover (William Morrow)

THE PLOT: Suze is interning in the office of her old high school and still mediating with Father Dominic. She’s engaged to former ghost Jesse, who is a doctor hoping to open his own clinic. Things are going well for the couple until two events happen on the same day. First, Suze is contacted by her old mediating partner/nemesis Paul Slater, who is now a big-time developer. It seems he’s purchased Suze’s family’s old house…the one Jesse haunted. And according to an old Egyptian curse, if he tears it down as he plans, Jesse will become a demon. But Paul will cancel the demolition if Suze agrees to spend one night with him.

After Suze finishes telling Paul off (which does not get rid of him and his proposition permanently), she tends to an injured teenage student who is unknowingly accompanied by the ghost of her childhood friend. When the ghost, Lucia, fears that Suze is going to hurt her host, she causes earthquake-like destruction in the office. So Suze is on the case, trying to figure out who Lucia is, how she died, and why she’s specifically connected to her friend Becca.

While she deals with the case, Suze worries about Jesse losing humanity; discovers two secrets about her triplet step-nieces; and plots how to keep Jesse from finding out about Paul’s ultimatum (and probably killing him).

MY TWO CENTS: True confessions: I liked the “Mediator” series even more than I liked the “Princess Diaries” books. So it makes sense that I was more excited for this one than Royal Wedding.

It seemed a little slow out of the gate. The phone call with Paul contained a lot of exposition, so it seemed to go on a bit too long despite the banter. I felt like once the mystery was in full-swing, I was thoroughly hooked. And the revelations about the triplets were a neat added element.

I might have enjoyed the relationship between Suze and Jesse more if I had reread the first six books before I read Remembrance. Since I didn’t, I felt almost like Jesse was a secondary character instead of a lead. His job was to be noble and pure and good, which he did well, but that’s not as fun as a noble and pure ghost. Okay, yes, there was the possibility that he might turn into a demon once his former dwelling was torn down, but that just didn’t seem like as much conflict as Paul being threatening because, of course, Paul LOVES Suze and threatening is how you express love. Or a vengeful ghost trying to drown her.

If you are an adult reader who never read the YA books, I think you can still enjoy Remembrance as a standalone. I don’t think you’ll get as much out of it, though, so I really do recommend reading the original series before going on to this.

 BOTTOM LINE: A fun catch-up with favorite characters. I found the ghost mystery more enthralling than the romance between Suze and live Jesse. I’m probably in the minority, but I still find Paul a fun villain. Can we get a new YA series about the triplets? Come on, Mia’s little sister has her own series now.

TEACUP RATING: Three-and-a-half out of five teacups

ON SALE DATE: Remembrance is on sale now in paperback, hardcover, eformats, and audio.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Viking Warrior Rising (Viking Warriors #1) by Asa Maria Bradley

I have to admit it: I was drawn to this book solely based on the hot guy on the cover. I know, TERRIBLE. Don’t judge a book by its cover, etc., but come on. Look at this guy. How can I not read his book? Honestly, I was so pulled in by the guy that I didn’t even know what genre of book this was when I chose itI was thinking historical, but it’s actually a contemporary/paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

Viking Warrior Rising Front Cover (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Viking Warrior Rising Front Cover (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

THE PLOT: This is a modern world in which Norse gods exist and super-soldiers are genetically created in labs. Leif Skarsganger has been sent to earth by Odin to battle minions of Loki. Because of political maneuvering in Asgaard, Odin and Freya can’t confront Loki directly, so they send Leif and his team of warriors in their place. Leif’s berserker, or warrior spirit, almost controls him he goes into battle.

Naya and her brother, Scott, spent 10 years as prisoners in a laboratory being experimented on. She finally manages to escape with her brother, but while the experiments have given her enhanced intelligence and fighting skills, Scott remains in a coma. She creates a new life for herself while leaving Scott in a safe place with medical attention, but nothing seems to help him.

When Leif and Naya meet, he is being beaten pretty badly by Loki’s wolverines. Naya saves him, and a magical connection is formed between Leif’s berserker and Naya. Now, Leif must make Naya his bride or lose all control of his berserker and be summoned to the afterlife . But Naya has spent too long running and has too much to lose to believe what this viking is telling her about Norse gods. What will it take to earn her trust? Will she ever fit in with immortal vikings? And while she looks for a way to save her brother, she finds that she may have to save herself as well.

MY TWO CENTS: Even though my first reaction was “Wait, so this isn’t a historical?”, I slipped pretty easily into this story…and once in, I didn’t want to put it down. (Plus, you throw in words like “viking,” which makes me think of Alexander Skarsgard, and “Loki,” which makes me think of Tom Hiddleston, and I’m all in. And consider that Loki has tormented Alexander Skarsgard’s father…but that’s another story.)

Leif is likable and attractive even when he’s infuriating to twenty-first century sensibilities. Naya is a strong heroine, but the reader roots for her to find the support system/family she so desperately needs. She and Leif are a good couple, very well matched, and there are some steamy love scenes.

There is also plenty of supernatural adventure too, though, which is what makes me categorize the book as urban fantasy. There is a great cast of supporting characters…Leif’s warriors are well-defined, and the author’s website shows that future books are planned for several characters. It’s easy to become invested in this cast of characters and look forward to their next adventures.

 BOTTOM LINE: Despite not knowing what I was getting into, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to its sequel, Viking Warrior Rebel. If you like Richelle Mead’s “Dark Swan” or “Succubus” series, for example, then this book (and series) will probably appeal to you.

TEACUP RATING: I give Viking Warrior Rising four teacups out of five.

ON SALE DATE: Viking Warrior Rising will release in paperback and eformats on November 3, 2015.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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