Jun 12, 2013

{Tour: Review + Giveaway} of Defy the Dark by Saundra Mitchell & More

Defy the Dark by Saundra Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GENRE: YA Paranormal
THEME: Romance, Magic, Paranormal, and Science Fiction
RECEIVED: Epic Reads

Defy the Dark, an all-new anthology edited by Saundra Mitchell. Coming Summer 2013 from HarperTeen!

It features 16 stories by critically-acclaimed and bestselling YA authors as they explore things that can only happen in the dark. Authors include Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Hawkins, Carrie Ryan, Aprilynne Pike, Malinda Lo, Courtney Summers, Beth Revis, Sarah Ockler, and more.

Contemporary, genre, these stories will explore every corner of our world- and so many others. What will be the final story that defies the dark? Who will the author be?


I haven’t read or reviewed many anthologies before and to me it’s hard to pinpoint everything without spoiling too much. I’m going to try my best and give an idea of what I enjoyed about each one and hopefully it will help recommend some great story telling. At the beginning it does mentioned that there was a contest for a new author to debut their story in this book. For me since I have the ARC I didn’t get a chance to read it, so I look forward to reading reviews on that story when Defy the Dark is released.

The first story is Steepstalk by Courtney Summers: This was a twisted tale that confused me at first. The reader follows a young girl who is obsessed with a boy she as fallen for but can never be with. The protagonist has an interesting POV and will take the reader through her obsessed thoughts. I loved the ending because it left me wanting more and so curious to what she’s going to do next. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be on this girl’s bad side.

The next is called Nature by Aprilynne Pike: Pike is an author whom I have read before so I’m familiar with her writing. She created a unique dystopian world. The readers will follow one girl who is just at the right age to be chosen on her new path, Nature, Nurture, or Labor, she has been chosen for Nature. I liked the protagonist and watching how the world was structured. But I wasn’t able to connect as well as I would have like with the characters and it was missing something in the plot that I cant put my finger on.

The Dark Side of the Moon by Dia Reeves: I haven’t read anything by Reeves before. This was an interesting paranormal story following two teens that are at band camp. It was actually a fun story with magical elements and a boy trying to impress his girlfriend’s parents and this is where things get a little crazy.

Ghost Town by Malinda Lo: I’ve read a lot of great reviews on Lo’s books but never actually read anything by her yet. This story was super creepy, but as a fan of the television show Ghost Hunters it was definitely one of my favorites. This story follows the new girl in town Ty, who is hurt by a mean prank by a girl at school. There is the story of a hunted place where two women died and Ty comes in contact with something eerie.

Eyes in the Dark by Rachel Hawkins: I really enjoy Hawkins Hex series and was super excited to read her short. This was another paranormal story that follows two young teens that get into a scary situation, let just say creepy red eye creatures in the dark forest. My only issue with this story was I didn’t like the female character that does something immature.

Stillwater by Valerie Kemp: Loved this story, I felt this was the most science fiction among all the paranormalish shorts. It’s about a small and strange town in Texas who has two families that are connected. From each family there are two children who discover a secret and pretty much cant fall asleep or they might forget about it. Kemp is a new author I’m looking forward to reading more of her books. Stillwater could defiantly be a full-length story and it left me wanting to know what happens next.

I Gave You My Love By the Light of the Moon by Sarah Rees Brennan: I can never resist a werewolf story and a bonus there are vampires. It has romance elements and about two teens meeting while camping. The boy helps the girl who was bitten, which I’m sure everyone can piece it all together. Even though I feel its been done before I liked this one just because it’s a classic paranormal tale and really well written.

Night Swimming by Beth Revis: I felt I was missing something when I started this one. I actually gave up because I just couldn't get into the story. This was a DNR short for me.

Almost Normal by Carrie Ryan: Ah! I loved how intense this was and really gets the adrenaline pumping. Let’s just say I’m not a zombie fan and would be in major freak out mode if this happened. Once again following a group of teens at the beginning of an apocalypse. There are bits of romance elements but we get some insight on to how scary their lives are about to get.

There's Nowhere Else by Jon Skovron: This story has some great potential for a full length. I loved the idea of body jumping and not understanding that there may be consequences for this. I wished this one were a bit longer because I felt I was missing something at the end… or I just wanted to read more. But great male lead who has to make a tough choice.

Naughty or Nice by Myra McEntire: I haven’t read McEntires young adult series but this one made me really want to start it. I loved the creepy monster aspect that creates an odd situation for two teens Bex and Henry. Both have been friends since they were little and can’t wait for their school trip that brings them a little more adventure than they hoped. This is another one I wished was a bit longer, I liked the romance and humor that was much needed for me with the dark tone of the other stories.

Shadowed by Christine Johnson: More unanswered questions but still an interesting story. A fantasy tale with some romance that is a bit insta-love. A curse must be broken, a bit of light a dark elements and a two character I really liked. As I said this anthology is full of endings that are left with questions, this ending was a bit of a bummer.

Now Bid Time Return by Saundra Mitchell: Another favorite, I always wanted to read a good story that has the myth of the Northern Lights. This one follows Dacey whom has won a contest to take picture of the lights. She ends up meeting a boy that isn’t from her time and seems to know her. Love, love this one! I hope Mitchell will write a longer version of this; she’s a great writer that I’ll be watching out for.

The Moth and the Spider by Sarah Ockler: This was probably the darkest story out of all, dark being the not scary type. Cali the protagonist is in a dark place in her life feeling lonely, until she gets a call. I’m not really sure what this story was aiming for but I wasn’t too fond of it.

Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce: Pearce is a great character writer; I felt this showed a little hint at what he does best. Two characters from two different worlds, a young miner named Will who becomes friends with a creature called a Knocker. Great writing and something I would love to read more about.

Lastly, This Was Ophelia by Tessa Gratton: This was probably one of my least favorites, which is sad since I love Grattons writing. It’s about a girl who likes to dress as a boy who falls for a guy who likes kissing boys. The young girl “O” likes the freedom she gets from being a male but everything changes when she meets the mayor’s son. I liked the character “O” but the story fell flat with Halden the mayor’s son. I haven’t read Hamlet but I’ve heard this is a take on that story.


As I have said before I haven’t read many anthologies so this is my small glimpse of the stories I liked and disliked. I highly recommend checking out each of these authors as the all have something special in their writing.

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  1. Sounds like an excellent anthology. So many epic authors!! Definitely one to check out.

  2. I really want to read “There’s Nowhere Else” by Jon Skovron. I think the story of this boy being able to change bodies is amazing. It´s like Astral travel or something

  3. I love anthologies and I haven't read most of these authors so I can't wait. I have a pretty good feeling that I'm going to love these stories which will only open me up to even more books to hunt down and obsess over. Yay! Thank you!

  4. Christina K. in the rafflecopter

    Valerie Kemp's looks so so creepy!! LOVE small town settings:)

    I too love Tessa Gratton - hope I like her story more:)

    Thank you:)

  5. Thanks for the detailed review! I've been looking forward to this anthology! :)