Sunshine by Nikki Rae Review & Free Book

by Nikki Rae
285 Pages
Self Published, January 26, 2013
Genre: Paranormal, Teen & Young Adult, New Adult & College, Romance

Reviewed by Desiree Putaski

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.


"Some monsters disguise themselves so well you don’t realize that they’re monsters until it’s too late. You check all of the usual places: under the bed, the closet, behind the shower curtain, that suspicious, dark corner of your room. No, some monsters don’t look like monsters at all. But they are, have been, and always will be there." 
*This review containers some spoilers*
Being a teenager is hard enough. Getting through high school and figuring out what your next big step is going be...not exactly easy and most of the time pretty scary. But when your life is an emotional train wreck it doesn't make it any easier. Sophie Jean is 18 and starting her senior year in high school. Her mother, Momzilla (I think it's my new favorite word!), wants to live in her own perfectly crafted world. Unfortunately Sophie creates a ripple in that pretend world where everything must be perfect. Sophie isn't normal... Solar Urticaria - in short she's allergic to the sun. She doesn't leave the house without a trench coat, dark sunglasses and every possible exposed patch of skin slathered in SPF 120. Momzilla wants to "fix" her, but there's no cure. The doctors say she might "grow out of it" but there are no guarantees. Dr. Helmet agrees to take her on as a patient thinking some new experimental treatments might just cure her. She hates them! Each procedure is worse than the last; each ending with the same results, an allergic reaction to whatever drug or treatment he tries. 

While her mom is bent on fixing her, she has plenty of people on her side. Her older brother Jade, her stepfather Adam, best friends Boo and Trei (pronounced Tree) and her youngest sister Leena (who is only 5, but you get nothing but unconditional love at that age). Her other sister, Laura, is a "momzilla clone", which doesn't make life at home any easier. Jade tries to get her to opt out of the scheduled treatments and is always there to help her put back the broken pieces after each failed attempt. Plus he knows a little bit about rocking mom's boat! He set her world upside down when he came out and announced he was moving in with his partner, Stevie (who is also a great support and just like another brother to Sophie). Between Jade, Stevie and Adam, they try to buffer Sophie from her mother's psychotic tantrums...sometimes it works and other times....well, it's not so pretty. 

Boo and Trei are awesome! Their Asian parents fell in love in the 70's (free love and all that) and decided it was a great idea to not name their children until they were old enough to name themselves. That's always a fantastic idea! (Not sure why I never thought of this...but then again, I'd probably have a dinosaur, little kitty cat, and Super Sonic running around at that point!) So here we have Boo (Peek-A-Boo) and Trei. Their parents are no longer married (I guess free love only goes so far), but these two seem to have come out the other side of the divorce okay. They are eclectic in their style. Boo is openly gay and not afraid to flaunt it; Trei tries to keep him in line but it doesn't always work out so well. But they keep Sophie in line and try to keep her from derailing...but they don't know all her secrets. The only thing that keeps her sane, that provides her any solace most of the time is music. These three little misfits form a band, An Anachronism (ok, so it wasn't named until later in the book, but I thought the name was really fitting). Sophie plays piano (but she can't read sheet music and this is sometimes a point of contention between her and Boo) and sings, while Boo plays drums and guitar and Trei plays violin. It's eclectic and different...just like them! 

Sophie's only real relationship...the first and only time she thought she was in love... ended in disaster. Jack obviously felt she was moving their relationship along too slowly and thought he would just take what he wanted from her. It wasn't the first time he'd forced himself in some way on her, but it was definitely the last and most violent. Again, Jade and Stevie were there to help her pick up the pieces and try to put her life back in order. She never told a soul exactly what happened that night. She didn't want their pity and put a lot of the blame on herself. She was afraid if they knew exactly what happened they wouldn't want to be around her anymore. 

Myles Lott is the new boy at school. He's cute, ok so she actually thinks he's pretty hot, but he keeps to himself and that's quite alright with Sophie because she has no plans on getting to know him. She doesn't want to let anyone into her messed up life. She's actually seen him before, at the bookstore in the mall where she works, with some friends of his. Alex and Adrienne do not go their school, and we get to see them interact very little in this book and don't know a whole lot about them. Boo is set that their little group needs to take Myles into it's folds (ok, so maybe his motive at first is because he thinks Myles is pretty darn hot himself). Everybody needs friends right? 

Sophie tries to keep her distance from him. She really does. But something seems to always be throwing them together. They share classes, a lunch period and she is assigned to help him catch up with the rest of the class for English. Since gym is out of the question for Sophie (whether the activity is outside or not, it's just safer to keep her inside), she has an extra study hall. Seems that Myles shares that with her too (and Boo is quick to point out exactly where Myles can find her during this time - you'd think he was trying to get them together or something!). They make plans to get together over the weekend so she can catch him up, but it seems he's already learned all that material at his last school. She decides that she can try to be friendly....maybe not be friends with him, but at least be friendly. A shared moment at the hospital after another unsuccessful treatment for Sophie, where Myles reveals that he has demons of his own to face (he doesn't lie to her, but doesn't tell her the exact truth either, we learn this later, but Sophie just thinks he is being abused by someone based on what he shows her). He tells her he used to be like her, he couldn't go out in the sun, but he outgrew it. He tells her he's not normal either and it's at this point that Sophie begins to feel like maybe Myles is someone she could grow to trust and accept. 

So let's fast forward because otherwise I'll just give away the whole book and then what's the point of you reading it right? They hang out, the group accepts Myles... Myles likes Sophie...Sophie likes Myles.....Momzilla strikes again.... Sophie moves in with Jade and Steve....Adam moves out of the house.... Laura stops acting like a momzilla clone.... Sophie misses Leena and Adam. Oh, I should add in (because I am hoping that somewhere we find out what this means) that Sophie doesn't remember her childhood. She only knows what she's been told. Memories shared with her by other people. She has dreams about things that have happened....but only after she's told about the event. I really do want to find out what that's all about! She never knew her real dad, not his name, there are no pictures and she, of course, has absolutely no memory of him at all. I am hoping that somewhere down the line we find out why. 

Myles and Sophie decide to try dating; what can it hurt to go to dinner and a movie, they are friends at this point after all. Myles sets up some pretty awesome dates for her (I almost want to date him!) and things are moving along smoothly. But we all have demons and sooner or later we have to face them, whether we want to or not. When someone from Myles' past shows up to hurt Sophie, he has to tell her his secret... he's a vampire. 

Ok, now I am not going to lie...when this little secret came out I immediately thought of Twilight. And again, I can't lie, I have read all of those and seen the movies and told my husband every little detail of every book and corrected parts out loud during the movies. We have a girl who doesn't fit in, who meets a boy who doesn't fit in and they find each other and find that they fit in with each other perfectly. There are a lot of similarities. But, this story is darker....there are a lot more secrets being kept. Biggest difference for me....Myles doesn't sparkle! But we won't get into that discussion because I might just get lynched if I make the wrong person angry with my opinion on sparkly vampires! 

So Myles is over 400 years old...Sophie can look past that. Myles is a vampire, this doesn't seem to really bother her all that much either. Michael wants to kill her. Ok, so this she has a HUGE issue with! So Michael is an old vampire, no one really knows how old, but his blood is poison; to both vampires and humans. We don't know the connection between Michael and Myles, but Michael is angry! He kidnaps Sophie and tries to kill her... well, during her imprisonment he says a lot of things that seemingly make no sense whatsoever...but Myles and his friends get to her in time. Sophie is in a "car accident" (so everyone thinks) and Myles leads her to believe that the situation with Michael is under control, he can't hurt her anymore. She draws her own conclusion to this statement. 

Fast forward, fast forward.....Myles has a friend in New York that owns a club that likes her bands music and wants them to move there and play at his club. It's graduation time and what else does Sophie have to do with her life? So, An Anachronism is moving to New York! It's all set up, they have a place to live (this friend must be pretty cool because he owns apartments for the bands to live in!) and they get to play their music and get paid for it! Sophie is ready for the next adventure in her life. 

So now.... it honestly took me about three chapters to really get into this book. There were some parts where I really just wanted to smack Sophie upside her head and tell her to snap out of it!! I rolled my eyes and said "Oh good grief" on a few occasions too (I have a teenager, who happens to be a senior in high school and truthfully the drama of it all is just too much sometimes! Granted boy drama is different from girl drama...but he does have a girlfriend and she creates her own amount of drama!). But I did get into it. And I did learn to really like the characters. Sophie and Myles are good together (even if they do spend way too much time saying "I'm sorry" to each other...that never stopped being annoying).... Boo and Trei are friends you wished you had.... Jade and Stevie are the brothers you wished you had.... Adam is a great guy who put up with momzilla crap for too long, but he's good to Sophie... Leena is the cutest thing next to newborn kittens...and Laura eventually comes around too and instead of wanting to shove her in a closet I actually like her. 

While there were points where the story ran a little too close to other vampire stories... it has it's own twist. I like the writing style. There are a lot of questions I was left with (but I went into this book knowing there was a second one so I am hoping to get some answers in that book)... there were some places where I felt like we were just given "information dump". Every bit of information about an event or character that the author could come up with was thrown at us. It overwhelms, but doesn't always answer the right questions. Why doesn't she remember her childhood? Who was her dad and where did he go? Did he die? Run away? Did momzilla chop him up at feed him to the fishes? Why does Michael want her dead? Why can't Myles tell her everything? 

Yea, so my husband thought I was a little bit crazy (but hey, he's the one who married me and if he hadn't figured out I was slightly crazy after all this time he can't blame me...I am not a master at hiding the crazy!) because I was seriously sitting on the couch asking myself those questions out loud. I can't wait to dig into book two and hopefully get some answers! Overall, I liked this book. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes vampires, young adult, supernatural (I hate to say paranormal, but I guess by definition, vampires are outside the realm of normal or explainable by there ya have it), it's not so much a romance, even though it's there... that's not the main theme. Now here comes the part I hate the most (not about the book, just about the process)...rating. I'd love to give every book I read 5 stars, because truthfully if you take the time to write something and put yourself out there for the whole world to read...well, you deserve 5 gold stars just for being brave! But this is me trying to convince you to read this book and I don't want anyone to come after me if they read it and hate it... 

I give this book a strong 3.5 stars and that's ONLY because it left me sitting on the couch, rocking back and forth, chanting "Why why why!!" There were just too many questions put in my head and not enough answers for them. There is good, strong character development, great supporting characters and a good story line. Perhaps my questions will be answered in book two. 

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About the Reviewer:

Desiree lives in Hampton, VA (for the time being anyway). She's a military wife, married to her best friend and busy raising three little heathens (well, still raising two anyway, one is now 18 and getting ready to leave the nest!). She is a stay at home mom and spends a lot of time having conversations with her two rescue puppies. She stays active with volunteer work through the PTA at her children's elementary school and helping out in the classroom whenever possible. She loves history (and lives in the perfect place for it!), scrapbooking, and of course reading. Her greatest adventure was living in Alaska for four years and they hope to move back there one day.

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