A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I'd heard a lot of great things about this one, so I was setting myself up for a bit of disappointment. While I liked most of the characters, I was kind of hoping for a heroine who didn't need to be rescued by her vampire lover. Still, Diana was a strong, stubborn character...so even though there were some portions where she relied on Matthew, she did hold her own when faced with angry witches.
During the first chapters there was more telling than showing. It set up a lot of Diana's past, but I'd rather spend 20 extra pages seeing it happen, rather than being told it. I will say that Harkness must have done an immense amount of research, and it showed in her writing. Things were extremely detailed, and that managed to keep my attention throughout all 500+ pages.
Overall, it didn't meet my high expectations, and fell victim to some vampire cliches. I did appreciate all of the detail Harkness put into it, however.
The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
I can't say that this book ends happily, that would have been horribly unrealistic. In a way, I wanted things to work out with her father (who I wanted to smack upside the head in basically every scene he was in), but tying everything up nicely would have ruined all of the growth we saw in Valerie. Instead, the book leaves readers with the understanding that the impact of the shooting has altered who Valerie is. She's changed completely from the girl in the flashback scenes, and she's ready to begin a new life.