Bad girls burn hot…
Red is the color of Kia Alcott's hair.
It's her temper, which blazes hot and always gets Kia into way too much trouble.
And it's the color of fire. Fires that Kia can start…just by thinking about them.
When her latest "episode" gets her kicked out of school, Kia is shipped off to her grandmother, who works for the wealthy Blackwoods. It's an estate shrouded in secrets, surrounded by rules, and presided over by a family that is far from normal…including the gorgeous and insolent Ethan Blackwood.
Ethan knows far more about the dangers of the forest surrounding the estate than Kia can ever imagine. For this forest has teeth, and Ethan is charged with protecting the outside world from its vicious mysteries.
But inside, even the most vibrant shade of red doesn't stand a chance against the dark secrets of the Blackwood family…
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||3 MB|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada, with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women's rights, and ice cream.
Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with her husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos, and books.
ALYXANDRA HARVEY studied creative writing and literature at York University and has had her poetry published in several magazines. When not writing, she is a belly dancer and jewelrymaker. She lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario with her husband, hawk, and two dogs. www.alyxandraharvey.com www.heartsatstake.com
Read an Excerpt
By Alyxandra Harvey
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Alyxandra Harvey
All rights reserved.
Sometimes an electric fence wasn't enough.
As much as I hated checking the wards, I felt like I could finally breathe only when I was miles away from the house and my father. The castle loomed over everything, and although the forest was just as dangerous, at least I could pretend I wasn't trapped out here. Pine and cedar crowded around, touching me with green fingers as I maneuvered the ATV over the uneven ground. The woods always went unnaturally silent when the wards were fed. No one wanted to be the thing they ate.
The red cardinal was too slow. His wings flapped violently, but momentum carried him forward even as he recognized something wasn't right. As he crossed the invisible line, magic immediately sparked through him. For a brief moment, it flared visible to the most untrained eye. The cardinal went stiff and fell to the ground. The wards had done their work: fencing the estate with magic that tracked or prevented creatures of all kinds from leaving. I usually imagined it like a line of lasers or a force field out of a Star Trek episode.
The feathers were beautifully, impossibly red, made of blood and fire. The curve of the black beak was deceptively gentle. Dad would expect me to lash the bird under one of the wards until the fence became strange dark art made of bones and feathers and bits of fur. Death and blood served both as a warning and energy for the protective magic.
Today, I dug a small hole in the earth instead. When I picked up the bird, it was still warm, like a feathered ember. I buried it, a small unnoticed rebellion. Magic might need to be fed so that it wouldn't run out, but I could at least choose how I fed it. Sometimes a smear of my own blood was enough. Dad never realized how many of my scars were due to feeding the wards instead of fighting monsters. He'd be pissed as hell.
I continued along the edge of the property, an arbitrary line drawn by men in business suits in an office in town. The forest was the forest and it only cared about its own ferocious appetite. The Blackwood wards looked innocuous enough: palm-sized Gorgon heads with snakes for hair. Unlike the myth of Medusa, they couldn't actually turn people to stone, but they worked on the same principle. The magic inside kept people and beast alike away from the estate.
I wished it worked on me.
I wondered if Kia would notice anything, if she managed to get this far into the forest. Most people didn't. She didn't seem like most people, though — I could already tell she saw more than she let on. And in this place, that was as dangerous as anything else the magical wards banished.
I painted dozens of hidden Gorgon heads with a mixture of blood and bone dust — most from the butcher shop, others best left unexamined. Magic flickered and flared, intensifying. Even though I'd done this once a month since I turned ten, the hairs on my arms still lifted, prickling like needles.
The more magic you used to keep monsters away, the more monsters were drawn to you. It was a delicate balance. Who knew what else had already gotten out?
Or in?CHAPTER 2
"You're not serious." I stared at Abby. Her hair was loose, and she was wearing a simple black dress and shoes that had never seen garden soil.
"I need your help," she insisted, a steely glint in her eye. Behind her, Sara's cheeks were red and Clare was running back and forth between the fridge and the stove top looking slightly insane. What appeared to be half a pig's rib cage sat in butcher paper on the counter. "This is what living here means."
"Abby," I groaned, dropping into one of the kitchen chairs. "I've barely unpacked." And I already knew exactly what it meant to live here: rules and more rules. Don't touch anything. Don't make too much noise in your room. Don't come through the front door; use the back door or the side door. Don't talk to Ethan's aunt Simone. She wouldn't reply anyway. Mostly she had caregivers who pushed her around in a wheelchair while she stared at nothing. I'd only seen her once and I had no idea what was wrong with her.
"I can waitress, but please don't make me waitress for Ethan and his snotty friends." I'd met them a few hours ago. Justine, Justin, and Colt were as polished as he was, but a great deal more rude, if that was possible. When I'd accidentally walked into the pool house while they were swimming, Justine told me "the help" wasn't allowed. Sloane was the only one who was bearable: she actually smiled and wasn't condescending.
"Give them a chance," Abby insisted.
"Yeah, I don't think so," I muttered, my voice muffled when I hid my head under my arms. The table was cool and smooth on my forehead. I couldn't tell if my eyes felt hot.
"Then suffer in silence, because you will do this," Abby insisted.
"Who am I, Cinderella?"
"I'm fresh out of fairy godmothers," she said. "And pumpkins."
She really had no idea why it was mortifying for me to have to serve Ethan, never mind his friends. "I wish you'd warned me," I said. Not that I would have been any more willing. But I would have come down with some kind of flu. Or a broken leg. Anything.
"Do you have something nice to wear?"
"Not nice enough for something like this," I said.
"Wear your school uniform, then, and take out your nose ring," she said, checking her clipboard. "Clare, how are we coming along with the dinner?"
"Fine," Clare replied cheerfully. There were splotches of blood from the meat on her apron.
Abby and I went up to the main dining room, where one of the maids was perched on a ladder, dusting the chandelier. The chandelier. There were flowers everywhere, roses and orchids in glass bowls and tall slim candles dusted with gold. "Serve on the left, clear from the right," Abby said. "And always go around clockwise."
Clockwise, as if they were the sun we revolved around.
"You'll do fine," she assured me, misreading my expression entirely. "Remember to smile and be polite. And I'll leave keeping the water glasses filled as your job."
"Sarcasm will not be needed as a condiment," she said. "Now, why don't you go change into a new shirt? That one has creases. And don't forget to tighten your tie."
I changed but I didn't take out my nose ring. Ethan and his friends could deal with it. It was bad enough I had to do this; I wasn't interested in being a paper princess on top of it. I hid in the kitchen for as long as I could. The air was warm with competing spices — sage and rosemary from the potpies Clare was making and cloves and cinnamon from the tartlets Sara was baking using apples from the castle orchards. Giant silver urns on a wheeled cart waited to be filled with coffee. Maids bustled in and out.
"What are those?" I asked Clare when she switched to the contents of a huge cast-iron frying pan. She slid soft beige lumps onto individual plates garnished with toast points and herbs.
"It's foie gras," she explained, wiping a splatter of oil off the rim of a plate before one of the maids could whisk it away. "Goose livers." She stood back for barely a moment, looking proud. "Want a taste? There are some bits in the pan."
"Okay, gross." I grimaced. "So, no."
"Don't know what you're missing."
Upstairs, it was even worse than I'd thought.
The dining room was like something out of a fairy tale, the soft candlelight glittering off gold frames and the crystal beads of the chandelier. The guests were as polished as the silver cutlery. I'd never seen so many diamonds and pearls. Even Ethan's dad wore an old-fashioned tiepin crowned with a diamond. Ethan's aunt Simone sat silently, her eyes glazed over. There was a nurse standing behind her and a cashmere blanket over her legs.
Ethan looked as dashing as usual in a hand-tailored black pinstriped suit. I'd never have known he was slightly insane, jumping out of house museums and lurking in corridors. He hadn't said much to me since then. Of course, he looked perfectly at ease in the posh surroundings, while I felt like a little kid at the grown-up table in my school uniform. I forced my shoulders back. Thanks to my dad's job as a plumber, I could work a drill and install new hinges on kitchen cupboards. I could do this, too.
The conversation flowed over the tinkling of crystal glasses. Abby motioned for me to top off everyone's water glasses.
"Watch it," Justine sniffed when a drop fell from the spout of the water pitcher, soaking into the pristine white tablecloth.
I'd learned long ago that some girls hated me on sight and it was best never to let them know I cared. It was obvious Justine had a thing for Ethan, but it was just as obvious that he did not have a thing for me. Maybe that we now lived in the same house was enough to make her jealous. Tonight she was dressed as impeccably as Ethan, with her hair in a glossy waterfall down her back. Her twin brother, Justin, and Colt sat next to each other, laughing over their appetizers. They might not be laughing so hard if they knew they were eating fatty goose livers.
Sloane looked bored and annoyed, which was exactly how I'd look, too, if I didn't already know Abby expected me to smile. Sloane wore a long white summer dress under a dark green coat with military togs and tails in the back. Her red hair fell to her elbows. She rolled her eyes at me, commiserating. I'd have liked to roll my eyes back, but didn't. I couldn't afford friends. Not after what happened with Riley.
I filled Ethan's glass next. He didn't look at me. I pictured ice cubes sliding down the back of his collar. There was another girl next to him, her braces shiny and new. She looked about thirteen and I was pretty sure she was related to the twins, Justine and Justin. They had the same flawless brown skin and slightly snubbed noses. Their names were ridiculous.
It suited them perfectly.
Tobias was clearly uncomfortable in a suit. He didn't glance at me, either, but I wasn't offended, since there was a book open on his lap under the tablecloth. He didn't look a thing like his cousin. For one, Ethan was blond and golden as vanilla cake, and Tobias was like rich hot chocolate. And for another, Tobias actually smiled. Still, Ethan's arms were lean and strong, and his chest was noticeably defined, even under his formal button-down shirt. It was actually physically difficult not to stare at him. Jerk.
Dinner went on forever. My feet started to hurt during the salad course and there were three more courses after that, followed by dessert and coffee, and, later, cheese and sweet wine. I was going to grow old in this stupid dining room.
"Thanks," the girl said when I took away her plate and balanced it on top of Justine's. I wondered if I could stack a third plate or if the whole pile would go crashing to the very expensive hardwood floor.
"You're not supposed to talk to the help, Ariel," Justine told her sister, disgusted. "Didn't you read all of those etiquette books Dad gave us?"
"I think it's ruder not to say thank you," Ariel said, frowning. "Isn't it?" She looked up at Ethan through her lashes. I could practically see her pupils turning into cartoon hearts. "What do you think, Ethan?"
Ethan winked at her. "I'm siding with you, kid."
"You don't even know what I said." Ariel giggled.
"Doesn't matter." He lifted his glass to her in a toast.
Damn it, he could be charming when he wanted to. It was easy to see why Ariel would have a crush on him. And Justine. And most of the girls at school. He was girl kryptonite.
I continued to refill the water glasses, and when I reached Holden, he frowned, touching my wrist. "Did you burn yourself?"
"No, I'm fine." I jerked away, nearly knocking over his glass. His fingers tightened around me, concerned. I was used to burns on my fingertips and palms, but this one was odd even to me. It was like a shower of sparks, or a comet's tail. I didn't really blame him for staring, much as I wanted to slide under the table and disappear. Drawing attention to anything fire related was not in my best interest. And he did seem interested. Was my skin hotter than it should be? What if I sparked again?
I tried to pull away, but he didn't let go. Instead he turned my wrist toward Justine's mom. "It looks painful, don't you think?" She just looked sad. I'd look sad, too, if I had to live with Justine. "Mrs. Alameda is a doctor," Holden explained, since even I knew flashing the maid's wounds at your dinner guest was probably bad etiquette.
Ethan's aunt made a noise in the back of her throat. It was roughly the same as the frantic animal sounds inside my head. I felt like a wolverine ready to chew her own leg off to get free of a hunting trap.
"It will heal," Justine's mom said softly, as I tried not to look like I was freaking out. I needed to get out of here. Now. "Keep it clean." They exchanged a glance as if they were having a second conversation underneath, one that I couldn't hear. Ethan's aunt made another sound, this one more agitated. Her mouth worked as if she was fighting to speak. When Holden looked over sharply, the nurse hurried forward with a pill she pulled out of her pocket.
"I'll get more water," I said, finally pulling free while he was distracted. I hurried away, praying there was no smoke, no embers sparking around me. My palms and fingertips hurt, the kind of burn that feels as though your skin is peeling off. I ducked into the hall and jammed my hands into the silver water carafe I'd been carrying and told myself there was nothing to worry about.
I didn't believe me.CHAPTER 3
Monday mornings sucked as much in the fresh country air as they did in city smog.
The drive to school in Sara's cupcake van took me about half an hour, and was filled with more wildlife than I was used to. I'd already been roped into making deliveries for her to the cafés in town. I wasn't complaining — not only did it mean I didn't have to use the limousine Holden had offered, but I'd also make some money for comic books. Assuming anyone even delivered out here.
I saw a flock of wild turkeys, which scared the crap out of me when they waddled onto the road, and a deer lying in a ditch. I could see its exposed rib cage, where something had eaten through its flesh. I looked away, missing the subway more than ever. I passed cottages, more pine trees than a Christmas theme park, and outdoor supply shops. The main lake was three times the size of the Blackwoods' private lake. Docks and expensive boathouses jutted out onto the water.
Havencrest Academy took up most of a block, the lawns trailing to a beach and more forest. There were outbuildings and a boathouse where rows of canoes waited in the grass. The parking lot was filled with expensive cars and two vintage motorcycles. I wasn't just stuck in a small cottage town; I was stuck with the elite. Girls with perfect hair paraded up to the front door, passing guys with white smiles and tans. Everything about them was glossy and perfect.
"I'm in hell," I muttered. It was surprisingly difficult to convince myself to get out of the truck. Tough Kia Alcott of the bad reputation was nervous about trust-fund kids.
I went up the walkway, trying not to feel stupid in my school uniform. The front hall screamed old money, from the black-and-white marble tiles on the floor to the chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and it didn't smell like sweat socks and French fries like my old school. I slipped between the other students, ignoring the sidelong glances, since they were hardly unexpected.
"I hear she got expelled," someone whispered loudly.
"I heard she burned down her last school," someone else added. "Look at her scars."
I whipped my head around, pinning the girl with a straight, unblinking look. "It was the parking lot, actually." And my best friend, but I wasn't about to say that.
She jerked back, startled. I was probably supposed to politely ignore her or run crying to the bathroom or something. And technically, it was the neighbor's rose garden that really got me expelled, but she didn't need to know that. Old lady Greyson threatened to sue the school over the damages. She didn't care that it was an accident — she only cared about her prize-winning roses. And she already hated living next door to a high school. She called the cops over every little thing. As if it was my fault someone built the school there.
I clenched my hands into fists when my fingertips started to burn.
I'd tried keeping my head down after the accident, tried to fade into the background and act meek. It hadn't taken long to realize I was better at mouthing off. So, new plan: being snappy and obnoxious was a good way to make people keep their distance. No one asked questions when no one wanted to get to know you better.
"Don't let them see your fear," Sloane said from behind my shoulder. There were flowers in her hair.
"I'm not afraid. Shut up."
"Please, I can practically smell it on you."
Excerpted from Red by Alyxandra Harvey. Copyright © 2015 Alyxandra Harvey. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
From the first moment (and I'm talking about the cover), this book set a tone, an eerie mood, that I couldn't pass up. Red has one of the best covers that I've seen in a long time, in any genre, so I had high hopes for this book. I was ready for haunting, powerful storytelling and the kind of story that could have Florence + the Machine as a soundtrack. In some ways, this book definitely lived up to my expectations. At times, there was an eerie, creepy quality to the story. The magical creatures and supernatural powers of the characters, of course, reinforced that feeling. The castle and the forest made up the perfect setting for this story because readers usually give such places an air of mystery. The vibe of this story was definitely on point. Unfortunately, the length of the book didn't allow the reader to delve into any aspect of the story. I think that this genre often has to negotiate a delicate balance between background and action. Sometimes choosing action over background (or vice versa) could determine whether a book is good or great. This book, for me, required a bit more character development, but I don't think that the length of the book allowed for it. The story moved forward at a good pace after the first third of the book so there probably wasn't a lot of time to develop these characters to the fullest. (I have to admit, though, that I may be judging this book with the wrong scale as I'm not a huge YA or YA fantasy reader so I'm not familiar with the genre conventions.) Ultimately, for me, Kia and Ethan were cool characters doing cool things but, I just wasn't invested in what happened to them or what they were doing. There were moments that almost got me to care but those moments always fell just a tad short. Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy YA Fantasy with a strong female lead. Reviewer's Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All errors are my own.
My Thoughts: This book was absolutely superb! The detail, characters, storyline and cover all wrapped together to really make this an exceptional YA book. I loved the darkness in the story, mixed with the romance, plus a bit of fun. It reminds me of one of my favourite YA authors - Sasha Hibbs. Just like her books, the dark and the light are both blended together to support the story and the characters have both depth and personality. There is so much to the story, well beyond what you see at first glance. The story begins with a girl who is part of the paranormal - she is able to burn things, when her emotions are burning as well. Her fire power is seen as a burden by her family, so she is sent off to live with her grandmother, where things are odd, creepy and steeped with the supernatural...coincidence? I'm thinking not! Soon, Kia learns that her power of the red is more than a burden. In the right moments, it can be a gift, possibly even a life-saver. She meets Ethan - who is, himself, shrouded in a dark evil, blackness. He is strange, distant and rude. However, we soon come to discover there is so much more to him. As we glimpse into the real Ethan, we begin to see that the woods and the Blackwood family itself has more darkness than poor Kia can even begin to imagine. As she starts to fall for the only one she didn't expect to, will she have to choose between what she should do and the one she loves? I thought the characters were fantastic. Kia was a strong, smart and inquiring young lady. She doesn't just take what is on the surface. After discovering her power, she understand wholly that sometimes people are what they appear. She learns to piece together the real world around her and we watch as she grows even stronger as a young woman. Ethan is also excellent. I love the level of detail that was put into his character, with the layers of emotion, secret and pain that he has wrapped round him. I didn't expect him to come out being the character he did, and it left me in an odd state - do I trust him/don't I, Do I like him/Is he a jerk? The pace of the story was brilliant. It kept me intrigued and very much pulled into the story, the entire time. I was able to have breaking moments, to take in the detail and enjoy the romance, but there were plentiful faster paced moments, to give me a great feel for the urgency in the situation. I loved the darkness that was woven into the tale, as it really made the story for me. I love a good, dark read. Overall, this story was excellent. I enjoyed it very much and would highly recommend it to YA readers who enjoy a dark paranormal read, with a side of romance and a heap of brilliance!
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.) “Everyone thought I’d started the fire on purpose. And there was no use in trying to convince them otherwise. They’d never believe the truth.” This was a good YA paranormal romance, with some weird paranormal creatures in it. I liked Kia, even if she did seem to have a talent for getting in trouble! I felt quite sorry for her in the way she kept accidentally setting fire to things, and having to move in with her grandmother and change schools couldn’t have been easy. “I’d learned I didn’t need kindling – I was kindling.” The storyline in this was pretty good, and I liked that we got some really weird paranormal creatures in here like Wendigo’s and Phooka’s! “The more magic you used to keep monsters away, the more monsters were drawn to you.” There was a bit of romance, and I thought Ethan and Kia were a really cute couple, even if Ethan’s father would never have allowed the relationship. “His mouth was every kind of sweet drink and every bite of dessert I’d ever had.” The ending to this was pretty good, and I liked that we got some action! 7.5 out of 10
Kia Alcott is moving to live with her grandmother at the Blackwood estate after being expelled from her school for setting rose bushes next to the school on fire. The longer she remains on the estate, the more she begins to question the mysterious things taking place around her—and the gorgeous, aloof Ethan Blackwood is not making matters any easier. Ethan is more aware of the secrets lurking in the woods that encompass the plethora of acreage surrounding them, and his job is to protect those who may wander in and not let the monster within lurk out. Is Kia’s strong resilience enough to save her from what lies beyond the fence? Even her fiery exterior may not be enough to protect her. “So what if I was the granddaughter of the help, with dyed cherry-red streaks in my hair and a chip on my shoulder?...I sounded like a stereotype from a gothic novel.” Kia Alcott was a feisty, sassy main character. She was strong and refused to give in when all the odds were stacked against her. Her determination to discover the dark secrets of the Blackwood estate strengthened her reserve, making diving into her world effortless. Not only are the Blackwoods hiding something, but Kia also has her own secrets—discovering why she was whisked away to live with the grandmother she barely knew added to the mystery and intrigue that I quickly began to associate with this book. “I had secrets now, dangerous ones, so maybe it was best that I stuck here on a secret lake no one knew about.” The book was told in alternating points of view, which offered insight into Ethan’s mind and how he handled Kia ingratiating herself into his life. Ethan not only had a darker side to him—the side that hunts monsters in the night—and Kia discovered his kaleidoscopic persona as she began to let herself get to know him and why he was the way he was. It would have been impossible for me not to fall in love with Ethan, and Harvey has, once again, written a charismatic male lead that I fell in love with instantly, like I did the Drake brothers from The Drake Chronicles. I found Ethan competing with some of my favorite male characters for my attention, he became so illustrious and alluring. “It was easy to see why Ariel would have a crush on him. And Justine. And most girls at school. He was girl kryptonite.” The combined personalities of each character added something different to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as the friendship between Sloane and Kia grew, as well as Kia’s relationship with Ethan, which is another reason I believe the alternating points of view became vital to the development of the story. “She was different from the other girls I knew…She was fiery and raw and totally distracting.” This book was absolutely wonderful, and I can’t wait to find out if there will be more books following Kia and the Cabal. The enigmatic setting and creatures that roam left me reaching for more, especially after the shocking ending. I have always been a fan of Alyxandra Harvey’s books, and Red made it onto that list with the others. Once you pick up Red, prepared to be ensnared by a story that will refuse to let go until the very end.
This was awesome!! Such a great concept and unique characters. I loved Kia. She has such a fiery spirit, literally! Fires always seems to happen around Kia and it's getting harder and harder to keep her secret. When she accidentally sets fire to her school, she is shipped off to live with her Grandmother. Thing is, her Grandmother lives and works in a huge Mansion that belongs to the mysterious Blackwood family. Once there Kia knows that things aren't as they seem and the Blackwoods are keeping secrets, but are these secrets better left secret!! So ya, Kia was such an awesome heroine. She is trying to keep her secret but with people like Ethan around her, she finds it hard to control her temper. She is a strong, no nonsense girl. Then we have the enigmatic Ethan Blackwood. At first he comes across as cold but we see things from his perspective and we get a sense of what his life is like. He is destined to be one thing but wants to go the opposite way. He tries to stay away from Kia because he knows what will happen to her if his father finds out. He also know how dangerous the woods can be. Ethan was such a sweetheart. He is strong but has a good heart! I loved the relationship developing between Kia and Ethan. It was such a relief to not have insta love! The concept of the story was amazing. I loved the idea of the Zoo. I loved all the different magical creatures in the forest. I loved the creepiness of the forest also. When Kia was in there it had my pulse pounding!! I loved the lore and the history of the place. So ya, I pretty much loved everything about the plot. Anyway, Red was another awesome book from the very talented Alyxandra Harvey. I've pretty much loved everything I've read by her. She always manages to grab you from the very start. Red is no different. It's a fast paced and thrilling read. From the captivating plot to the engaging characters, Red is a must read. I really hope that the author will develop this into a series because I would definitely jump back into this amazing world.
A mix of Greek and medieval mythology set in modern times, Red truly is an easy read. It flows well and has just enough happening to keep a reader’s attention. There isn’t much of a build up here though – much like Kit, readers are thrown right in. This is not a book bogged down in detail. However, I would’ve appreciated just a little more backstory to the Cabal, Holden, and especially the weird and wonderful creatures that roam the grounds. Mermaids, minotaurs, and werewolves, oh my! Overall, the book has a ‘this is just how it is’ attitude to it and I can’t help but feel like something more was missing. Likewise, I wanted more of Harvey’s characters, especially the supporting characters. I liked getting to know main characters Kit and Ethan – the chapters alternate between their points of view – who are both vulnerable and relatable. Kit’s growing powers and Ethan’s struggles with his family’s legacy create an engaging read; add in their budding romance – that develops as fast as the book – and Harvey has written a well-rounded paranormal romance. But I would absolutely choose to read more of Sloane and Todd, who are mysterious and amusing. Even ‘mean girl’ Justine, who at times seemed no more than a plot device, but then at others, a much deeper and interesting character. Each was standout and had a story that could benefit further development. I don’t know if Harvey is planning more books in this universe. While the ending is, for all intents and purposes, wrapped up, there is plenty that has the potential to be a great series. I for one would pick up the next book. Red is a fast-paced and interesting story that can keep a reader hooked until the end.
Kia is a firestarter...she accidentally sets her school and her BFF on fire. Now she's expelled and her BFF won't talk to her...go figure!...... Kia is sent to live with her grandmother who's part of the 'help' at the Blackwood mansion. It's a 'cottage' town with a private school, snobby rich kids, a fairytale looking castle, and the woods. There's something weird going on and Kia wants to figure it out. There's a shadow secret group called the 'Cabal' that the adults belong to and want their kids to carry on their traditions. Ethan is the Blackwood heir..he's the only one who really completed the 'trial' and wants to stop all things associated with the cabal. His girlfriend died trying to complete the trial and others have been hurt and he's tired of the whole thing. There's secrets...hidden and not so hidden dangers...a mystery and a love story....Great characters...you feel for Ethan as he tries to protect his friends and Kia trying to come to terms with er gift/curse. Good story, characters you care about and a satisfying ending.
Could be longer but still a good book to read.
This was a almost riveting story. It had the makings of an amazing book... Except, that the character development was definitely lacking. Background development was lacking. It would have been much better if it had been a longer book or even a series. I'd have loved to have seen deeper into their world. I feel the book just wasn't set up for that, and in this case it left a lot to be desired.
Kia Alcott is cursed. She has an unusual talent which is the cause of her current problems. Will she ever understand why she is a fire starter? Now she finds herself sent away. She is going to live with her grandmother. She doesn't know her and doesn't want to be on this isolated estate. Suddenly her life gets even stranger. Who or what lives in the woods? I was captured by the supernatural creatures that are locked away in the zoo kept by Holden Blackwood. This wealthy family is not what I expected. The father is cold, cruel and manipulative. His son, Ethan, rebels against his father's control. He's haunted by death and violence. What a brooding hero! I enjoyed the attraction and romance between Kia and Ethan. This story is a dark fairy tale that made me look over my shoulder to see who or what was lurking behind me. Abby was not what I expected from a grandmother. What a feisty woman! Kia is powerful and unafraid. She is a worthy heroine. She and Ethan are well matched. The setting added to the dark, ominous feeling as did the mythical menagerie and Ethan's friends. Alyxandra Harvey did a great job! Red was filled with surprising twists and non-stop action. I was a nervous wreck.
Red's synopsis sounded intriguing to me, and that cover is gorgeous! Alyxandra Harvey is an author who's been on my to-read list for quite a while, and I'm thrilled to say I'm a fan. I really liked Kia right away - she's snarky (I'd snark right along with her any day!), clever, and oh yeah, can start fires with her mind. As you can probably imagine, that's a problem, especially because she can't control it - she gets kicked out of her school and sent to live with her grandmother, Abby. One of my favorite television series of all time is Heroes, so when Kia decides not to tell the truth about things she's getting in trouble for even though they aren't her fault, I totally get that. She's afraid the truth could go one of two ways - no one would believe her, or she'd become a government experiment. In Heroes, the characters had extraordinary abilities like Kia, and they were hunted down by the government, so Kia's reasoning was solid to me. I kept wondering why Kia calls her grandmother Abby instead of Grandma. They saw each other once a year before Kia goes to live with her, so they don't know each other all that well. But still, it seemed odd to me. I liked Abby. Ethan runs hot and cold. At times I liked him, and other times I didn't. He can be kind and generous but also just plain rude. Because he's in the know about the mysterious woods from the start and Kia isn't, I guess he was going for the tough love thing? Maybe he thought he was helping her out? But he can see there's more to her than she lets on, and he's smart. There's much more to her than meets the eye. Red is fast paced with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested and turning the pages. You can feel Kia's struggle to control her ability, and I wanted her to come out with the truth but understood why she was hesitant about the idea. For me, Red is a quick read, and I was engrossed from the beginning. Kia had a lot to do with that. I just really loved her character from the first page. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good young adult paranormal read. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the Drake Chronicles Series by Alyxandra Harvey. Because of my love for that series, I snapped my advanced copy of Red up right away. Harvey didn't disappoint. Red was a creative concept with the perfect blend of supernatural, friendship, family and love. There were several twists in the plot that kept me guessing until the end. I have to say, I was pleased with most of the events that took place as the story was tied up. Without giving away too much of this fantastic book, I have to give kudos to the author for the start of what is sure to be another awesome series. My only complaint is that this book was far too short. I would have liked to see more character development and more information on the supernatural side of things. In short, I can't wait to read more of this series as it comes out. It was a great introduction to a creative world Harvey has constructed. This book gets five glittery stars for how surprisingly good it turned out to be!
This was one of those reads that were split right down the middle into one half that I couldn't stand and the other, enjoyable. For this kind of read, I never know what to say in a review and how to rate the book. I feel like I'm forced to decide which half of the read to represent the whole book. I suppose it depends on how enjoyable I found the one half to be. But it really does disappoint me when this happens - it just shows how much potential the book had. To put it simply, I got bored. The first half of the book really dragged for me. I found myself wandering off just to distract myself and the number of times my thoughts started to wander was astonishing. Thinking back I don't know how I carried on reading. Nothing seemed to grab my attention. The characters fell really flat and that, in turn, just made me not care about anything that went on. Not any secrets that were revealed, character deaths or supposedly exciting things of the sort that usually has a reader on the edge of their seat. In the second half however, things started to pick up. There was a whole lot more action happening and the characters had actually started to open up a bit, and that made me take a little bit more notice. This is where things get really frustrating for me. Did I actually enjoy it that much, or was it in comparison to the first half of the story I found it a breath of fresh air? Thinking back, i couldn't wait for it to be over. So I guess that answers that question.
When I first seen the cover for Red, I was hoping it was a really dark, creepy retelling of Red Riding Hood. It’s not marketed as one but it could pass as for it. Red is about a girl named Kia, who can start fires with her mind. She’s sent to live with her grandmother after she get in big trouble at school. Her grandma works for a really wealthy family. The estate is large, creepy, and is full of secrets. Kia gets caught up in the middle and chaos ensues. Red started off so quickly. I thought it would take some time to build up but Alyxandra Harvey drove right into it. I was caught really off guard by how I was just thrust into the story so fast. It took a couple of pages, but I ended up really liking how the book started. The whole book was pretty fast paced. It’s about 198 pages so there wasn’t a lot of time to slow the plot down. Sometimes I felt like the plot was so fast paced that some things weren’t completely explained. I wanted a little more explanations and some more details. The characters were very classically YA characters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I wasn’t surprised by them. Kia was a pretty cool character. She spoke her mind and didn’t take any crap. She’s really snarky. Her ability to start fires with her mind is what made her different from other characters in YA. I really liked that part of her and how much she actually tried to control her fires. Ethan was kinda on the boring side for me. I wasn’t blown way by him but there’s wasn’t anything that I hated about him. He was just a “normal” mysterious, broody male lead in a YA novel. But he wasn’t a complete jerk so I liked that a lot. Overall, I had a really good time reading this book. It was a fun, quick YA read. I do wish there was a little more explanations and substance to the plot. But I’m a critical reader by nature so if you’re not super critical, I doubt you’ll find any problems with this book. I adore the cover and the overall concept. If you’re looking for a fast read in between “serious” books, I recommend Red.
Red was a very entertaining paranormal read. Throughout the novel there is an air of mystery through the dual point of views because you want to know the background to these two interesting characters, Kia, who can start fires with her mind, and Ethan, whose family is a part of this mythological hunter society. Kia is a girl with a mysterious past and a lot of sass, making her an intriguing character right from the beginning. She doesn’t conform to the norms of society and speaks what’s on her mind, two things I love in a character. Combined with her new friend, Sloane, and her dynamic really shines. Ethan is a boy who lives a double life. On one hand he is a playboy, on the other hand he is a boy who lives in a world where dragons are real and he has to be the one to hunt them. The paranormal world Alyxandra Harvey creates is one full of mystery and myths. You’ve got a secret cult that collects mythological creates and a girl who can fight stories with her mind. While it was a little unrealistic how the characters willingly accepted the paranormal qualities of each other, I can overlook it. “Red” makes you feel attached to the characters and keeps you on your feet the whole time. I read this book in one sitting and I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see where everything was leading to. At times I wasn’t sure the direction the book was trying to take and it was a tad bit predictable, but nevertheless it was extremely enjoyable. There were so many plot twists and turns that just powered me through the book. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to read a quick paced paranormal book with a touch of romance. I would like to thank Entangled Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book. I highly appreciate it and enjoyed the book.
Oooh you guys, Red by Alyxandra Harvey is a beautiful, ominously dark, and thrilling read set in a CASTLE. *swoon* I love books set in castles, they are so exciting since they always hold deep secrets and usually house a young and handsome guy worthy of falling in love with, like in this one, yay! At first I thought this book was based on Little Red Riding Hood's fairytale because a) the title Red and b) the girl in the cover with a red dress in the woods kind of hint on that, but as I read the summary and immersed myself into the story, I found out that it was a different storyline altogether. However, this book does read itself like a fairytale. It has magic, mythical and fantastical creatures, the before mentioned ominous setting, and basically almost every other element that defines them as such. Very cool, and creepy at times too! The main character, Kia Alcott, was an interesting person and one whose personality I'm not exactly used of meeting. She's dark and temperamental, a natural troublemaker thanks to her ability to wield fire, but cool enough to not pass off as arrogant or a dis-likable person. She's actually quite nice and smart, though I doubt we'd ever be close friends if we had the chance to meet in person. Still, I liked her company and was rooting for her to come out alive from the dreary situations she got herself into. But as much as I liked Kia, I couldn't help but love Ethan's character more. I was thrilled to be able to read from his point of view because he's the type of character that leads a life with a double personality (or more) just to hide his true self. He comes off as the cocky rich guy, but is a complete sweetheart beneath the facade. He's a brokenhearted boy who's had a hard life as the son of a crazy person who's bent on making sure all the kids of those in the Cabal keep up with the tradition- of slaying monsters or locking them up to study. The overall plot is crazily chaotic, but good, and it has unexpected twists to keep the book entertaining 'til the very end. The author did a great job in combining so many elements and I liked that she wasn't afraid of taking things a step further. The ending of Red, although a bit cheesy, was a nice enough way to wrap things up while leaving room for a sequel which I'm hoping will be written. It has to be. I need to see how things develop between Kia & Ethan plus to learn more about Kia's ability. I'll be crossing fingers. As a final note, all I have left to say is that Red is one awesome read and I think you shouldn't overlook it. You'll probably end up liking it as much as I did once you read it! *wink*
The last thing that Kia wanted was to set her school on fire... and her best friend with it. Unfortunately, that was exactly what happened. Cursed with a gift of fire, Kia is sent away to her grandmother in the country after her school expels her. Expecting to be bored while essentially living as a servant to the rich, Kia soon realizes that not all is normal with the Blackwoods. While creatures wander the woods, Ethan Blackwood comes home with blood on his hands, and Kia overhears talk of a Cabal. Fighting to control her power, Kia is watched by those who would destroy her... or use her. RED is a mixture of myth, legend, fantasy, and romance; full of excitement and adventure, I found it difficult to put this book down! Kia is a strong character, uncertain of herself but unwilling to give up, she doesn't back down from a challenge or hide behind others in a fight. Ethan, a boy Kia's age who has secrets of his own, lives in the shadow of his father but is desperately trying to be different. The story is told from both Kia and Ethan's points of view, making the story more cohesive and complete, as each character slowly discovers the secrets of the other while hiding their own. This also helps both characters come more fully alive as you are able to see into the mind and heart of each throughout the story. I really enjoyed the story in RED as well as the characters. This is both a coming of age tale and a mystery, wound together into a dark fantasy. None of the characters are exactly as they first appear, even the seemingly snobbish Justine, and you learn their backstories and motivations as the story unfolds. I was even happy with the ending, and the author has left it open just enough for a possible sequel without making the story into a cliffhanger. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. Kia tried to be a normal teenager, but unfortunately every time she became angry things got set on fire. Her last episode burned her best friend as well as her school which caused her to be expelled and shipped off to live with a grandmother she barely knows. But when family secrets are revealed, Kia learns she isn't as strange as she thought she was. There's also the son of her grandmother's boss, Ethan. She's instantly attracted to him, but will she be able to get through his wall? Will he explain the truth about his father's collection? What are they hiding? This was a truly creative story. I expected it to be purely a paranormal novel, so imagine my surprise when there were Griffins, unicorns, ogres, trolls and much more. I loved the blossoming romance between Ethan and Kia, as well as the growing friendship she has with Sloane. The story itself was pretty fast paced and I hated to see it end. The descriptions were well thought out and plausible, it made the story even that more enjoyable.
I first thought this was going to be a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and it kind of was and kind of wasn’t. I couldn’t wait to read this one as Alyxandra Harvey is one of my favorite authors! I wasn’t blown away with this one but I did enjoy it. It’s a very strange and intriguing tale to say the least. Kia was kicked out of her school for starting a fire, but it wasn’t really her fault. She is a firestarter and hasn’t learnt how to control the fire within her. Her father doesn’t know what else to do so he sends her to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother lives on this really weird estate that has a forest full of really strange things. Kia hates being in the big estate with all it’s rules and weirdness. Not to mention Ethan Blackwood, the rich boy who seems to be very rude or at least she thinks that at first. I liked Kia but at times I found her a bit to whiny, I mean I understand she has this scary new power but it just got on my nerves some times. She really comes threw with the fire when she needs too though! Ethan has a lot to deal with as his father is part of the Cabal, a cult type group that hunts some very strange animals. He doesn’t really want anything to do with it but sort of has no choice. The estate is not safe, not for someone like Kia and he tries his best to get her to leave. Ethan is a pretty cool guy, with a lot of pressure put on him because of his father. Red is hard to talk about without giving to much away and the reasons I thought it was intriguing. Kia is thrust into this new place and you know it’s different but your not really sure why. I kept reading cause I wanted to know what will happen to this fire girl in this strange and weird place. I liked the ending and what happens to Ethan’s father is so funny and I felt like he really got what he deserves..you just have to read and find out!! :) Overall I enjoyed this one and if you are in to YA paranormal type novels then I think you will find this one interesting.
In this young adult novel, where Grimm’s Fairy Tales meet The Most Dangerous Game, we enter a world where fabled beasts and mystical creatures are a reality, but the most feared monster there is just might be the dark side of humanity. Kia is a special and dangerous young girl, but she soon realizes that there are far more dangerous things in the world than herself and if she isn’t careful, the dark creatures inhabiting the woods around her will be the least of her worries and trusting the wrong person can get her killed. No one is who they seem and everyone has their secrets, with twists, turns and surprises at every corner, Ms. Harvey takes her readers on a fun journey. I really enjoy YA (young adult) books, especially when fantasy is involved, but some of the ones I read can come across as too immature or boring and some of the plots and story lines just too predictable and mundane. It’s a fine line that authors have to toe when writing this genre, because you have to keep it innocent enough with also keeping it enthralling, not an easy feat. Personally, I need some excitement in my reads and some intrigue to keep me interested and much to my pleasure, Red, did that for me. Some of the plot was very predictable and easy to figure out before their big ‘reveal’, but Ms. Harvey managed to throw in a couple of surprises I didn’t see coming and I absolutely delighted in that! Now, where this one went wrong for me and kept me from giving it a four or five stars, was the lack of substance within the book. It needs to be said that I am an extremely critical reader and I want to love or hate the characters I am introduced to, I want to feel like I know them and I want to get lost in them, but with this book, I just didn’t. Of course at this point, it’s all personal preference and Red had all the makings of a great story, but I just didn’t love or hate any of the characters involved and never once did I forget that I was actually reading a book and get lost in it. I want to get lost in a book! I want a book hangover when I’m done! With that being said though and knowing this is primarily a YA read, I think that a good majority of readers will find this book enjoyable. Overall, I would recommend this to those that are looking for a fun, easy read. It was definitely more entertaining than Twilight in my mind (but I really did not enjoy that book) and I think it would make a fun buddy read for parents and children (children of course being 13 and older, because there is some slight violence and smooching), but more critical readers be warned. Happy Reading, until next time… I would like to thank NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for the ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
I've been a huge fan of Alyxandra Harvey since her debut novel, Hearts at Stake and have been an avid reader of her work since then, so it's no surprise that I jumped at the chance to read her latest release, Red as soon as I could, and wow am I ever glad I did! This book was such a fun-filled fantasy that is sort of a Little Red Riding Hood retelling but with a supernatural and magical twist that had me completely fascinated and consumed. Harvey has written about vampires, ghost, fey-folks and witches, but this book felt entirely different from her other books, but in the best way possible. It's a great mixture of fairytale and fantasy but with supernatural and magical abilities thrown in. It's an intriguing and mysterious story that has just about everything I could want in an escape. Magic, medieval gothic lore, fantastical and mythical creatures all set in a remote looming castle with dangerous wild secrets and characters. Harvey really went all out with this book and I loved that she didn't give us all the answers and we are made to just sit back and enjoy as the story unfolds as we learn about Kia, Ethan and the Blackwood family and all of their wicked secrets. Kia was awesome from the start, she's a sassy character who doesn't take crap from anyone and I loved her spark (pun intended). Staying with her Grandmother at Blackwood castle is a last resort since she got expelled for setting her school on fire, but it's not like Kia can help it, for what ever reason she can start fires with just her thoughts, but she's scared since she doesn't know why or how to control it. Ethan is a rather intense character that was pretty hot and cold when he first meets Kia. He has a very unique role in the Blackwood family and I absolutely loved learning about some of his more eccentric talents and activities. I loved how protective he is of Kia and his friends. Ethan and Kia may have had a shaky relationship at first, but I can't deny they have quite the sizzling chemistry. All in all, I thought this book was really very cool. The world Harvey creates is bizarrely imaginative, dark and edgy with characters I couldn't help be invested with from the first page till it's thrilling conclusion. There were some loose ends, so I'm hoping we get more. This was a fun and solid escape and I look forward to seeing what Harvey has in store for us next!
Red is about this girl named Kia whom everyone thinks is a bit of a pyromaniac. She does have a problem with starting fires but not the way that people think. She starts them alright ... and the fire literally comes from within her. Kia gets kicked out of school for setting some old lady's roses on fire, so she gets shipped off to live with her grandmother. It's not some beautiful, homey little cottage that she's going to ... it's a castle and Grandma is the vet/wood chopper/everything else for the residents of this amazing home. Soon after moving in, she notices that things probably aren't as they seem and then the story really lights up. No pun intended. Fine. Maybe it was intended ... it sounded perfect. What did I think? Well ... I'm not a big fan of paranormal ... I mean, I like paranormal novels but it's not my "GO TO" genre when I'm looking for something to read. Something about this cover and the blurb for it ... it was intriguing and I was super excited to pick it up. All of that nonsense being said, I really REALLY liked this one. I really liked the whole premise of the story ... the reader is really kept on their toes because you don't know what is going to happen next. It's always something new with each turn of the page, you literally couldn't predict the next exciting part. The writing was pretty good too. Not the best that I've read but it wasn't bad and it did keep you interested. I didn't find myself skimming pages or skipping paragraphs to just make the story move faster. This book is a stand alone. I don't believe that there will be a prequel that comes out and it was so nicely buttoned up at the end, I don't think that there will be a sequel either. And that has some serious drawbacks. One being that even with all of the info that you know about these characters, there is so much that is still unknown. It felt like you had enough to get you through to the end of the book but it lacked a depth that I think the book would have benefited from. There is such a thing as too much information but these characters didn't come close to having that issue. I just wanted ... more. I've said it a million times, I am a greedy reader. I'm a SUPER greedy reader. I want to know every minute detail that the author has to give me about characters, locations, situations and after the author gives me that, I want MORE. I want all of the details that the author has thought of but figured it would be too much for the story. Most of the time, it's not! Tell me about these characters' past. Tell me about their needs, wants, urges, passions, hatreds ... I want everything. I think this story just lacked those extra things and it made you feel like these characters were just part of a clique at school that you don't really know anything about except the big stuff. You don't know what makes them tick. Anyway, that's just how I felt. Now, by no means does everything that I've said in that last paragraph mean that the book isn't worth reading. I think that it is. ESPECIALLY if you're a person who has a hard time getting into a book ... this will keep your attention and feed that urge to read. This was my first book by Alyxandra Harvey and I'm excited to see what else this author has up her sleeve because this was good.