March 10, 2015

Red Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for RED by Alyxandra Harvey! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book - and don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen


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…
Red is an addicting young adult paranormal novel that follows our main character - Kia Alcott - as she moves in with her aunt, who works at a huge family estate. The move definitely wasn't her idea  - her dad pretty much ships her off after she (accidentally) sets fire to her school. She doesn't understand how, but she knows that she set the fire - with her thoughts. Try explaining that to your father and the principal, and see how far it gets you. With nobody believing her and after several anger management classes, Kia finds herself moving to the Blackwood's estate. Kia figures that the Blackwoods will be another rich family who looks down on others, thinks they're better than everyone else, and flaunts their wealth. In part this turns out to be true, but Kia knows that there's something going on at the estate. She's not sure what exactly, but she knows whatever they're hiding is a deep and dark secret. Of course, the Blackwoods have a son the same age as Kia - his name is Ethan - and just her luck, he's gorgeous. But his attitude sucks and he fits right into her stereotype for the typical hot rich kid. Kia gets glimpses of what she feels is the 'real' Ethan and wonders why he's wearing so many different masks - and what he's hiding.

This book had me intrigued after reading just the description - who wouldn't want to read a book that has a firestarter main character, a rich family estate with some big dark secrets, and a hot guy? It definitely hinted at being more than this - that the Blackwood's aren't your typical family, rich or not, and I really wanted to know what these secrets were and what was really happening at the estate. I wasn't disappointed in any way with the book - in fact, it surpassed any expectations and hopes I might have had for it. It was absolutely better than I had imagined. I loved Kia as the main character. She's so easy to identify with right from the beginning. We get to know her on a really personal level - her thoughts, emotions, fears, hopes, dreams, and inner dialogue are comTpletely open to us as readers. She's a complex character dealing with typical teenage issues - family problems, trouble at school, not being believed when trying to explain herself. There's also a very unusual side to Kia - she's a firestarter, a person who can start fires just by thinking about them. Which she didn't even know she could do until she caught fire to her school and was then sent to live with her grandmother at the Blackwood estate. I loved Kia's snarky attitude as well as her witty comebacks, tough exterior, insecurities she tries to hide, and so many other attributes. The secondary characters in the book - Kia's grandmother Abby, Holden Blackwood, Ethan Blackwood, and all of his friends - Justin, Justina, Tobias, Sloane, and Colt - were all incredibly well written with each one having their own distinct personalities, flaws, strengths, and problems. Although they are technically secondary characters, the author gives them so much detail that they come to life in the book - almost as much as Kia. Ethan, of course, is the love interest in the book - so we get to know him on a really intimate level too, just like Kia. I liked watching Kia and Ethan get to know each other - from the false facades they wear to getting to know the 'real' side of each other, and watching how their relationship turns and grows throughout the book. 

There are so many aspects to this book that I love and could ramble on about for days. I was utterly fascinated by the concept of Kia being a firestarter and what it entailed. We get to learn the secrets of the estate and the people involved in bits and pieces throughout the story, but each morsel was both confusing and highly alluring at the same time. I loved learning every single little piece about what went on at the estate - from the history of it all to how it effects the characters in the book. I can't really go into more detail than that due to spoilers. I'll just say that I was completely engrossed in the secrets and the rest of the package that goes with them. It's a huge part of the story, and I wish I could talk about it more. It added a whole new level to the book and also gave the plot a depth that couldn't have been achieved any other way. 

There are so many supernatural and paranormal aspects in the book, and I think that introducing and combining these uncommon concepts puts the novel on a whole new level in the genre. It's wholly unique and gives a breath of fresh air into a genre that seems to have gotten stuck in some trending ruts. I found this book to be completely original, gripping, fun, and thrilling all at the same time. The author achieves this by using her incredible writing abilities - the story is one that could've gone either way - a flop or a big hit - depending on how it was written. Luckily, we got the author who knew how to handle this world that she created and guided us through it with growing fascination and lots of questions that would be answered in the end. I absolutely loved the author's writing style. 

The story is told from the first person point of view - that of both Kia and Ethan  - who get alternating chapters told from their perspectives. I loved getting to know each of them on such a personal level and to experience everything that was happening in the book from their standpoint. I thought it was interesting that the same scene could be experienced by both Ethan and Kia - and yet they would have completely opposite feelings or thoughts about it. I also really loved being able to hear both of their inner thoughts, including their insecurities, emotions, fears, and hopes. This writing style is by far my favorite and I think that by using it, the author takes the reader a step further into the story than they would normally go. We get to experience so much more with this style - the good and the bad - and it's hard to enjoy other author's use of different viewpoints afterwards. The writing itself was fast paced and conversational in tone, which made it so easy for me to slip inside the pages and feel like I was there beside Kia and Ethan throughout the book. The world and all of the situations are really brought to life before us with the author's use of vivid imagery and detailed descriptions. Overall, I can't praise this book highly enough. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read it and discover what a gem it truly is and I'm hoping that other readers will do the same. Definitely highly recommended for fans of YA fiction, fantasy, paranormal, the supernatural, or for those who are looking for something fresh and original in the genre. It's not listed as being part of a series, but I'm really hoping that the author will write at least a follow up, if not have it as the beginning of what could be an epic YA paranormal series that readers won't be able to get enough of!

By far one of the best YA paranormal novels I've read this year and a new personal favorite!

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.

Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.

Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books. 

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook 


  1. 1. I love the title of this book (it's my nickname and what my fiance calls me. He hardly ever calls me by my name: Steph/Stephanie)
    2. This cover is gorgeous!
    3. This immediately got added to my TBR shelf because it's about a redhead! I don't think there are enough redheads in YA books!
    4. Steph, great review! If I didn't want to read it before reading your review, I do now! And I'm even more excited since you said it is now one of your personal favorites! Super excited and I'll head over to Amazon and put this in my cart for what I will buy when I get my paycheck!
    5. Thanks for the giveaway!


    1. Hi Steph (or Red - whichever you prefer!) -

      Thanks so much for the great comment! I'm glad you liked my review of the book! It's one of those ones that is hard to explain why you loved it so much, but I guess I did an okay job since you want to read it even more now! I think you'll really love Kia! Aside from her red hair, she's fiesty, opinionated, and snarky. Plus she dresses kind of goth/punk/rocker - which I think is awesome! I would totally be BFFs with her in real life. I agree that the cover is absolutely gorgeous and I think I might have to get a print copy for my shelves because of the cover & how much I loved the story.

      I want to point out a couple of coincidences between us:
      1. Obviously, our names. Both Steph/Stephanie
      2. I have reddish hair too! It's more auburn I guess, but there's definitely red in there.

      Good luck in the giveaway and I really hope you love Red as much as I did! :)

  2. This sounds really really good and I love the cover!

  3. Loving the unique cover and synopsis! I look forward to reading this! Thanks!

  4. Great review. I'm reading this this week and I'm so glad to see how much you liked it!

  5. Good review. I love YA Paranormals. This one I haven't read so at least it's on my TBR list so I won't forget about it!