Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review Tour & Giveaway: Cruel Summer by KR Conway

Cruel Summer by K.R. Conway
(Undertow 0.5)
March 16, 2015
231 pages
Genre: YA Paranormal
Contains: some mature language, some sexual references, child abuse triggers
Source: eARC for Hoest review

Kian O’Reilly is flawless as a killer. 

Well-practiced in the art of making murder look like an accident, he is selfish, wealthy, and totally arrogant as a soul-stealing immortal. But when he ends up stranded on Cape Cod with a stolen car and a dead drug dealer in the trunk, he thinks his luck couldn’t get any worse.

That is, until Ana Lane shows up.

Gifted as a mechanic and surfer, feisty Ana is not a fan of the entitled Frat Boys who show up every summer, messing with local girls. Believing Kian is one of those typical rich brats, she fixes his car and ruthlessly dismantles his cocky ego . . . which intrigues the dangerous soul thief.

Determined to spend more time with the prickly mechanic, Kian sets out to understand what makes Ana so fierce. Soon, however, he uncovers the painful truth behind the real Ana Lane, and the decision to save her, may destroy them both.

** This is the prequel novella to UNDERTOW and is based on the story of Kian and Ana the summer they met. While it can be read at anytime in the series, it is meant to be read after UNDERTOW and STORMFRONT.** 

I loved both Undertow and Stormfront, so when I heard we would get the full backstory on Kian and Ana, I was thrilled. Though we get glimpes and hints at their past from the other books, there is so much we don't know. While Cruel Summer is considered a prequel, as its events happen prior to Undertow, I really enjoyed reading it after Undertow and Stormfront. There is something compelling about Kian and Ana's mysterious past, and the discoveries and reveals along the way, and then getting the full story afterwards. So I would suggest reading at least Undertow first, and Stormfront as well if you can. But if you're dying for their story now, go for it.

Now, as Kian and Ana's story goes, I really enjoyed the building up of their friendship, trust, and then the moments when they realize their feelings have gone beyond what they could have imagined. Knowing them from before, their connection and chemistry could always be felt, but this story really brought that bond to life. At times I worried that Ana was too young, but then again, her life and experience have really matured her, and the way Kian respected her, was able to ease my worries. What I loved about them was that they were able to balance being funny, sweet, snarky, protective, and loving. Their relationship was multi-faceted. I also loved that they brought out the very best in each other.

We also get more history to Ana's friendship with MJ and the slow building of trust between Kian and MJ. Unfortunately, we also get the history of Ana's relationship with her father. Knowing he was cruel, and then witnessing it, are two different things. I thought Conway really dealt with the issue of child abuse well, and all the conflicting feelings a child, as well as a child's friend, would be feeling toward the person and the situation. Then the additional plot pieces about Ana's father's debts and history there, we uncover many more happenings around Ana that were not as innocent as she thought. It's a harsh confrontation of reality for poor Ana, and though she and Kian reach such a beautiful height of trust and love in their relationship, we know that things will end badly soon enough.

I really enjoyed Cruel Summer. I thought this would be a quick little novella, but the depth and extent of storyline far exceeded my expectations. But even with the sad ending, luckily we know where Kian and Ana's story goes in Undertow and Stormfront, so if you're like me, you'll know what happens next (and want to do a re-read), or if you're new to the series, you'll want to dive in with the rest of the series (because it's great!) I'm looking forward to whatever happens next in this series.

Series Links & Suggested Reading Order:
Undertow (Book #1)

Stormfront (Book #2)

Cruel Summer (Book #0.5)

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I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS.

In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth.

I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope - that's not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.

K.R. Conway Links:

Book Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

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