Author: Nikki Rae
Series: Sunshine #1
Publication Date: 1-28-2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dark, Romance
Source: ARC provided by author in exchange for honest review
18 year old Sophie Jean is pretty good at acting normal. Sure, she’s not exactly happy, but happiness is nothing compared to being like everyone else. She can pretend she’s not allergic to the sun. She can hide what her ex-boyfriend did to her. She can cover up the scars she’s made for herself. Ignore anything. Forget anything. Then Myles enters her life, and he has more than a few secrets of his own. When accident after accident keeps happening to Sophie, she can’t help noticing that he’s everywhere. That he knows too much. That she’s remembering too much.
It’s one thing covering up her own dark past, but does she really need to worry about people finding out just how much Myles likes her? Or that despite how much she doesn’t want to repeat past mistakes, she kind of likes him back? Not to mention the fact that she now has to conceal that Myles drinks blood-that he says he’s about four hundred years old.
She almost forgot about that part.
But Sophie has no plans to ruin the normal life she has created for herself. She can deal with this little glitch, no problem. Even if word has gotten around to the wrong vampire about Sophie and Myles, even if she’s putting the few people she loves at risk. Suddenly, those who were monsters before are just people, and the monsters? They’re real. Now being a normal human being is the least of her problems. Now she has to stay alive.
This book came out of nowhere and surprised the hell out of me. When Nikki contacted me to ask about me reviewing Sunshine, I have to admit that I was a little hesitant. I’d never heard of this author or these books before, but the glowing Goodreads reviews and high rating convinced me. Plus, it’s really hard for me to say no to a dark romance. That’s sort of my thing 😉
But something weird kind of happened…I didn’t quite realize that it was paranormal! Either I noticed at first and then promptly forgot, or never quite grasped the concept in the first place for some reason, but I had quite a shock when, a third of the way through the book, it wasn’t exactly the dark contemporary that I’d been expecting. I didn’t think that the paranormal elements ended up being bad, but for me personally, it didn’t add all that much to the plot. I was loving the story before it became paranormal, and continued to love it after, but never really “got” why it was included. It seemed almost out of place. I’m sure that those elements will become more pronounced as the series continues (due to how this book ended), but as of now I’m left with a lot of lingering questions and I kind of wish that, if Nikki wanted to write a paranormal book, she wouldn’t written a paranormal book…instead of dark romance that was about 10% vampire. It just didn’t seem that important to the story at all, although I’m interested to see how it will all play out.
What I did love about this book was the romance. And the characters. Oh my gosh! I related to Sophie’s character so much. She’s a snarky girl who’s had to deal with a lot of shit in her life, and I couldn’t help but feel extremely empathetic towards her. It really resonated with me because of some personal experiences I’ve had, and watching Sophie slowly grow and come out of her shell was so rewarding. Sophie was such a realistic character and so easy to connect with. And Myles! That handsome devil. I adored their sweet friends-to-lovers relationship. He took such good care of Sophie, and even I kind of fell in love with him a little bit! And I really liked the side characters as well! Every character in this book is very strongly developed and had their own unique personality that I grew to (at least for most of them) love and appreciate. I especially enjoyed Sophie’s relationship with her brother Jade, as I love reading about sibling relationships.
Another thing I really appreciated about this book was how LGBT characters were dealt with. It’s one of the only books I’ve read in which there are gay characters who are just…there. Their gayness isn’t discussed and doesn’t become an “issue.” And there’s three of them! That made me so happy.
The only other little things that I didn’t love about this book are that I found the writing at the beginning of the book to be a bit choppy and the dialogue slightly immature. But a couple chapters later, it seemed to resolve itself and the book really came into its own. I almost completely forgot about the slightly rough start because I quickly fell in love with the writing as it continued. A couple parts even got me a little teary-eyed! Sophie’s voice was very strong and, at times, so beautiful.
The other small thing is the weird character names. It doesn’t really matter, but it took me a little bit to get used to the people being called things like “Boo,” “Trei,” and “Barbie.” Eventually, though, it didn’t bother me anymore and the characters almost began to actually fit their names as time went on.
Ultimately, this book was awesome and I’m so happy that I took a chance on it! I’m definitely going to be continuing with the series and I’d highly recommend it to fans of dark romances, YA that borders NA, light paranormal plotlines, and very relatable and developed characters.