REVIEW: Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Series: Fairytale Retellings #1

Read: February 6 – April 10, 2017

Format: ARC eBook

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: March 15, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 342

Reading Challenge(s): Fairy Tale Retellings

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

* * *

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

* * *

Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Beauty of the Beast is a slow-burn romance that features a descriptive, richly detailed, and atmospheric writing style.


REVIEW

Beauty of the Beast is a realistic historical fairy tale retelling. I’ll let you figure out which fairy tale. 😉

From the start I was lost in this epic tale. The setting (though over described for this particular readers tastes) was epic and beautiful. The heroine kind and caring. The hero, beyond damaged. And the villain? Just when you loathe him beyond imagination, the author gives you a taste of his backstory and you almost don’t hate him as much. Almost.

It was fun to read this book and compare events and scenes to the Disney version, at times they were nearly identical, but at other times they were brand new. I much preferred the brand new, because it was something… new!

I loved the backstory of Prince Adam, how he was forced to watch his family murdered, how he was burned and badly disfigured. It was at times TOO well described. Leaving me feeling a little sick. (I mean that in the best way.)

I honestly didn’t care as much for Isabelle, I’m not sure if it was her use of Mon Dieu all the time or what. But something about her kept me from fully connecting. She was well developed, so I think its just me. Isabelle and I probably just wouldn’t be good friends if she was a real person.

Raphael, the villain, is a selfish, arrogant, drunken jackass. I was absolutely repulsed by him. I couldn’t believe Isabelle would ever have agreed to marry him, no matter how dire her situation. In other words, he was a great villain.

I liked that Demeter also added in a couple of “wicked step-sisters” for Isabelle. It was a nice touch, one of those changes from the Disney version that I appreciated.

The love story built slowly. So slowly that I can’t really pinpoint the moment their relationship turned into “something more”.

I would recommend this for fans of sweeping epic historical romances. Those looking for the magic and wonder typically found in a fairy tale will be disappointed that there are no evil witches and curses. A word of warning though, this book gets very dark in a few places.

 

An ARC of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

“Why are you trying to prove?” she managed to choke out. Her voice sounded faint and weary; she didn’t recognize it as her own.

“That you are mine. And you belong to me.”

 

Adam was a flesh-and-blood enigma, a beautiful mystery that she ached to unravel.

 

Adam’s eyes flashed open and captured her own. In a rush of movement, he closed the space between them and seized her mouth in a blistering kiss. It burned. Claimed her soul. Whispered a thousand unspoken secrets.

 

A chill seeped into her bones—one that had nothing to do with the rain and everything to do with her blossoming feelings.

 

Rivulets of water dripped from the dark strands of his hair and tracked down his cheeks; they resembled the tears he refused to shed.

“You, Isabelle, have reminded me that goodness and beauty still exist in the world.”

 

Deliberately. Softly. She poured all her longing, all her loneliness, into the intimate movement. The kiss began as a featherlight caress, a whisper of a butterfly’s wing, that left her throbbing for more.

 

“You’re a dreadful dancer,” he murmured against her ear. Paired with the husky baritone of his voice, the insult sounded rather like an endearment.

 

Isabelle stopped dead in her tracks while a premonition eclipsed her thoughts. Her flight or fight instinct kicked into place. She was being watched… hunted.

 

Alas, should he live to see a hundred years, he’d never forget the sight of the king and queen’s severed heads on spikes… how the mob had paraded them about the courtyard, the crowd cheering and waving their tricolored freedom flags. Those memories were forever burned into his thoughts, into his very being. 

 

REVIEW: Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

Series: Laurel Falls #1

Read: April 6-13, 2017

Format: eBook ARC

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Loveswept

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 268

Reading Challenge(s): TBR 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, don’t miss the start of this captivating small-town romance series! Laurel Falls, Montana, features spectacular mountain scenery—but it takes a rugged cowboy to convince one woman to slow down and enjoy the view.

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Leaving Yesterday started strong with a hero and heroine I liked. Right off the bat I could tell they were both good people, each with their own set of baggage, each deserving to find real love.

Things I liked: The hero and heroine. They were both strong and independent and meshed well together. I loved the nickname he had for her (Commander Princess). I liked the town, I want to visit and see the mountains and springs and stay at that rundown abandoned old inn! This book also had great, fully developed side characters who have been set up to get their own novels.

What I didn’t like so much: Those side characters I mentioned? While I loved them all, I wasn’t a fan of the POV shifts into their heads. Call me a traditionalist, but I’d rather my romance novels stick with the h/H POVs and leave the side characters to the side. I don’t want in their heads yet, learning all the details of their personal stories. I think this would have benefited with either a revised blurb indicating that there were more stories here than just the main characters romance, or reclassifying this as…. something else. A contemporary drama maybe? I don’t know. It just wasn’t what I expected and that sort of put a damper on my reading experience.

All that said, this was an enjoyable story about enjoyable characters. I would gladly revisit Laurel Falls to see what happens for those secondary characters as well as to see how things are going with Trace and Rafferty. (I really hate her name by the way. But it is the perfect trust-fund baby name.)



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

“You don’t know how to fix my car. Do you?”
His eyes flashed. “Never said that. I can fix anything, sure as shootin’.”


“My bullshit meter has a low threshold. We’re bound to strike sparks off each other.”


“I don’t live here, Trace, and I’m not staying. We’ve established that. As soon as you put in my new transmission, I’ll be gone. So what if they do talk? Nothing happened, well, except for that kiss.”
“Except for that kiss? Doesn’t sound like I tried hard enough there. Maybe I should give it another shot.”
“Trace…”

 

“He needs help picking out a shirt.”
Reese looked puzzled. “Are the fashion police after you or something?”

 

“So tell me something bout yourself not many people know.”
“I believe in alien abductions.”

He huffed out a laugh.

 

You’re always so careful, holding back. Always doing some deal for your dad. You’re his closer, his hit woman.

Stacking The Shelves #1


I am now known by many for my Goodreads addiction. I wish I could say that I don’t buy books, or request ARC’s from NetGalley, because I have so many from my Goodreads addiction, but that would be a lie.

I’ve been meaning to start a Stacking the Shelves post for a while now, which is why there are so many books in the photo above, I’ve been saving them in a stack to eventually photograph. I finally did it.

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly thing that Tynga’s Reviews started. You can find out more info on her blog, HERE, and also see other bloggers book stacks.

I’ve also decided to rate the books I receive 1-5.
1 meaning there’s very little chance I’ll ever actually get around to reading this book.
5 meaning unless something else arrives that I HAVE to read, this near the top of the list and there’s a likely chance that you’ll see a review of said book from me at some point.


Come Sundown by Nora Roberts – 3
I’ve never actually read a Nora Roberts book. A lot of people entered for this so I was surprised I won. I likely won’t read it before it’s release date, but I do plan to read it at some point.
Goodreads | Amazon

It’s Always The Husband by Michele Campbell – 4
I remember thinking this one looked REALLY good when I entered. I was pretty happy to win. I’m hoping to read this sooner rather then later. I don’t read enough mystery/suspense novels.
Goodreads | Amazon

Snowbirds by Crissa-Jean Chapell – 3
This cover just doesn’t call to me. I am interested in learning more about the Amish though, and it sounds like it could be a good mystery/suspense/thriller so I’m hoping I get to this one.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – n/a
Okay, so I actually already read this one through NetGalley. And I LOVED the cover, but the book not so much. You can find my review HERE. I may re-read this in the future if I get my hands on the sequel.
Goodreads | Amazon

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up by Dan Lyons – 4
Hatchette Books sent the BEST promo kit with this book, it was so fun and creative, I won’t soon forget this one! Plus it sounds really interesting, the real life misadventures of a 50 year old man trying to survive in the new open office style Internet start up. Plus the cover is really fun.
Goodreads | Amazon

Buddhist Economics by Clair Brown – 2
This book actually seems like it could be pretty cool and I do want to read it, but I don’t gravitate toward non-humor non-fiction, so if I’m being honest, I likely will not read it.
Goodreads | Amazon

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin – 2
This is chic lit. I don’t have a very good relationship with chic lit so the odds of me actually reading this one aren’t good. If I end up reading and liking Something Borrowed (which I’ve been borrowing from a friend for year, then I’ll probably read this one.
Goodreads | Amazon

Despite the Ghosts by Dylan Newton – 2
While this book sounds like it might be interesting, the cover SCREAMS low-budget indie book, which makes me think the editing might not be up to par. I may read this one, or it may fall by the wayside. Only time will tell.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Twilight Wife by A. J. Banner – 4
I LOVE this cover! The book itself sounds really good too. I don’t read enough psychological thrillers. This one sounds like it might be right up my alley with a woman who begins having visions (memories?) that lead her to believe the life she’s living isn’t the truth.
Goodreads | Amazon

NOVA by Margaret Fortune – 3
I could love this book or I could hate it. A reviewer I usually see eye-to-eye with gave it a 3.5, so I’m hoping I love it. I’m not sure where it will fall in the priority list. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but it is YA, even though the cover doesn’t look YA to me.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Cajun Doctor by Sandra Hill – 3
I don’t read a lot of straight up romance, but if I do have a hankering for one I think this would be a good choice. It takes place in bayous of Louisiana, a place I know nothing about, so I think that might be a fun place to “travel” to. Plus I love the colors/contrast on the cover.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Princess Problem by Teri Wilson – 4
This book is super short. And it has a princess. I’m a sucker for anything with royalty. The cover is super cute too.
Goodreads | Amazon

A Cowboy’s Wish Upon a Star by Caro Carson – 3
Just like royalty, I like movie stars. It’s that glamorous life I’ll never know that I’m drawn to. If I’m in the mood to read a (short) romance, this might be one.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins – 4
LOOK HOW CUTE THIS COVER IS!!! If I want a cute little contemporary romance I would snag this book up fast based on this cover.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – 4
Again – royalty! This one is a beast so I probably won’t be reading it very soon, but I absolutely plan to get this one read!
Goodreads | Amazon

 

EBOOKS:

Tainted (Demon Withinn #1) by Ginna Moran – 5
Buying this book was Katie @ Just Another Girl and Her Books fault. I read her review of…. the third book in the series and she really liked them and they’re paranormal and…. it was only 99 cents so I bought the book and I’ll give it a try. (Side note: The cover has been updated on Amazon since I bought the book 9 days ago. I LOVE THE NEW COVER!)
Goodreads | Amazon

Hunter’s Curse: A Destined for Dreams Short Story by Ginna Moran – 3
I always snag freebies from authors I’ve purchased books from. If I like Tainted I’ll quite likely read this one. Plus it’s short.
Goodreads | Amazon

Destined for Dreams by Ginna Moran – 3
See above. If I like Tainted, then I’ll read Hunter’s Curse, then I’ll read this one! (This was also a freebie at the time!)
Goodreads | Amazon

The Nightmare Inflictor: A Destined For Dreams Short Story by Ginna Moran – 3
I actually just found this freebie when I was putting together this post! See above.
Goodreads | Amazon

Royal Day Out: A From The Notebooks of a Middle School Princess e-short by Meg Cabot – 5
It’s Meg Cabot. And a freebie. Of course I’ll read it. Even though it’s for younger kids than I normally read!
Goodreads | Amazon

Shadowland (Mediator #1) by Meg Cabot
I own the paperback but I’ve been waiting FOREVER for a good sale price on this series for my Kindle! $1.99? SOLD! (If you don’t know this one, it’s a fun teen YA about a girl named Suze who can talk to ghosts, then moves across the country and ends up living in a bedroom haunted by a super hot and chivalrous 1850’s Spaniard named Jesse.)
Goodreads | Amazon

Size 12 Is Not Fat (Heather Wells #1) by Meg Cabot
I actually have yet to read this whole series by Meg Cabot, but I listened to the audiobook of the last book first and LOVED it! A former pop princess’ mother steals her fortune and she’s left to live a normal life working at a college. Somehow she always ends up entangled in murder investigations.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

NETGALLEY ARCS:

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown – 5
This is called a “double dip” because I also won it from Goodreads. Hopefully this is a good psychological thriller
Goodreads | Amazon

The Witchfinders Sister by Beth Underdown – 5
I like the historical aspect of this, using a fictional sister to tell the story of a real man from history who tried and killed many women for witchcraft.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen – 5
This cover is absolutely stunning. I had to have the book based on the cover alone, but this is also a historical novel that fatures royalty and spies and romance.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Falconer by Elisabeth May – 5
This looks like a cool YA fantasy series. The bonus for me for this book is that it’s an older title so it counts for my #BeatTheBacklist challenge! The downside is the formatting of the ARC is so wonky I can’t use text to speech on my Kindle at work. 🙁
Goodreads | Amazon

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts – 5
I heard this book was really awesome, but I’m not so sure yet. A bunch of bastards band together and witness a crime. Now they have to prevent a civil war. It could be really good, or it might not be for me. I’ll find out soon. This one releases in June.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

REVIEW: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

Read: December 21-28, 2016

Format: ARC Kindle Book

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Abrams / Amulet Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary / Magical Realism

Pages: 384

Challenges: 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I acquired an ARC of this book from NetGalley and read it pretty quickly. The cover was what first attracted me to this book.  It’s just so… pretty with the blues and pinks and stars. I love the text and the imagery (which is entirely appropriate for the story) and… everything. The second thing that hooked me was the story concept, teen girl is pregnant… but she’s also the the daughter of a politician. I wanted to see how this drama unfolded. And honestly, it was not at all what I expected.

This is kind of an odd book. Not odd bad, just… hard to put my finger on how exactly to describe it.

16 year old Quinn is pregnant and has no recollection of ever having had sex. Sure, she’s messed around with her boyfriend, but nothing that could result in a baby! But there she was, pregnant.

This book follows Quinn throughout the nine months of her pregnancy while she tries to figure out when and how she ended up pregnant. She’s convinced it was rape and she has blocked any memory of the event. Until she discovers a secret about her grandmother.

I seriously can’t say much else about what happens without spoiling the story! I can say that I could not put this book down. I devoured it. I needed to know what happened next. At 76% I updated my reading progress on Goodreads with: “I still have no clue where this is going! And I’m loving it!” and my final thoughts were: “Wow! What a beautiful book.”

The only negative I have about this one aren’t really negatives about the story, just personal hatred for Quinn’s father. He just rubbed me the wrong way. I liked the rest of the family, but her dad is kind of a jerk.

So, I guess I’ll just tell you to give this book a chance and go into it with an open mind and be prepared for ambiguity.



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 “But I’m not lying. I don’t know how it happened! How am I supposed to figure it out if I’m telling the truth and none of you want to hear it?”

“…but I wanted to mention that my daughter had . . . an active imagination when she was younger. If she says anything that seems upsetting or unusual, please let me know . . .”

Because something was wrong, and if she could figure it out, maybe she could help.
Maybe she could save her.

If she hadn’t happened to go to the doctor, would she have been one of those girls who went all nine months without knowing? Because, clearly, there was something really wrong with her.

“…But you realize my boys would have to be superheroes? Like, wearing tiny little capes and doing impossible things.”

The words crept under her skin and stayed there, crawling around like maggots. And what other things had people said? What else did they think about her and her baby? The curiosity worked up into a frenzy inside of her. She didn’t care if the people were insane. She needed to know what they were saying.

Too many questions.
All she wanted was for someone to give her the answers.

“Seriously?” Jesse said, breaking into a jog. “You get to be friends with the ocean, and I get a pigeon?” 

 

REVIEW: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1

Read: March 9 – 13, 2017

Format: Kindle

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Genre: YA Paranormal

Pages: 416

Reading Challenge(s): TBR 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017, 2017 YA, Retellings 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.


REVIEW

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but from the moment I saw the cover I was in love. It sat on my TBR list for a few months, then I received a sale alert email and it was only 99 cents. You can bet I pounced on that one! The book sat there on my Kindle, alone and neglected, for almost 10 months before I finally decided that this would be a good choice to dig into my backlist with and earn some points for Hufflepuff in the Beat the Backlist 2017 challenge.

Let me tell you, this was $1.07 (after tax) well spent.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t in love with the beginning of this book. It was slow to start and felt very info dumpy. Then Kat showed up and the story picked up pace. The narration sort of glossed over Ali dealing with the aftermath of her family’s death, but it was done in a way that worked, so that we weren’t bogged down with her depression before the meat of the story were revealed.

I loved the characters in this book. Kat is absolutely over the top and amazing. She reminds me a little of Janice from Mean Girls. The other girls in her posse were sort of forgettable, their personalities overshadowed by the more important characters. Cole was an utter ass most of the time, but I still found him absolutely charming. I was intrigued by the strange connection he and Ali share. The clues about their connection that are dropped later in the book really make me want to continue this series.

There is definitely a Twilight vibe to this book, but it’s not a bad thing. Unlike Bella who needs someone to save her most of the time, Ali is a totally kick ass chick she doesn’t really need someone to save her, but will accept the help.

I absolutely loved this world that Gena Showalter has created. Zombie’s that can only be seen by a special group of people? Because they’re on the spiritual plane? Um, yes please! This whole world is so unique and creative, I want to know more. And to add a secondary baddie for Ali to have to fight on top of the zombies? Perfection!

I feel the need to add that this isn’t a traditional retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I’m actually not an Alice fan, so this was perfect for me. There were certainly parallels to the classic tale though, so I would still consider this a retelling – though a very loose one.

 

So, should you read this book? If you’re looking for a YA book featuring a kick ass heroine, a steamy bad boy love interest, a completely new and unique spin on zombies, AND a satisfying ending that still leaves the door open for more books in the series, then YES. This is the book for you.



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

The forced incarceration at night drove me to spend as much time as possible outside during daylight hours, whether I burned to lobster-red or not.

 

A scream ripped from my throat, followed right on the heels of another and another. I lost track of everything around me, clutched my ears to stop from hearing the utter horror in my voice, and fell to my knees.

 

My thinking on the matter: Mr. Buttle—whom I would forever call Mr. Butthole—was on a power trip, but whatever.

 

“When she and Cole get married in a beautiful prison ceremony, because we all know that’s where Cole will be, she’ll be able to help your cause.”

 

“Have you ever been in a fight?” With his free hand, he pinched a lock of my hair and rubbed the strands together. “Because you look like something out of a fairy tale.”

“The wicked witch?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Please. The princess.”

 

She battered her lashes at me and lowered her voice to a smoky rasp. “Cole, you big strong minimal. I know the boogeyman thinks you’ll jump out of his closet, but I think you’re—Hey, are you listening to our private conversation, Marcus?” she ended in a shout. “Yeah, that’s right. Run.”

 

Someone so egotistical shouldn’t have been so charming. But then, I loved Kat, so there you go.

 

Because I hadn’t been on an evening drive since the accident, and couldn’t help but clutch the seat, my stomach a writing vomit bubble ready to burst.

 

He’d be doing the world a favor if he never wore a shirt again, but I wasn’t going to tell him that part.

REVIEW: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Wow. Time got away from me. I’ve had this book read and reviewed for months, waiting to be posted. And then life happened and before I knew it, this release day had come and gone!

Well, better late than never, right?


The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Series: The Bone Witch #1

Read: January 8-15, 2017

Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Challenges: 2017 YA, Flights of Fantasy 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Oh Bone Witch, where do I start? Where do I start….

I expected this book to be about a young woman who discovers her powers as a necromancer after accidentally raising her newly dead brother from his grave. I expected her to go on and learn to use her powers and have adventures along the way.

What I got was a book about geisha training.

Seriously. At least half of this book described all the lessons our heroine, Tea, had to endure on her road to becoming an Asha. (Asha = Geisha. They even sound similar.) During this large portion of the book very little happens. I wish I was kidding.

If I wanted to read a book about geisha’s, I would have read a book about geishas.

Now, all that said, there were a lot of good things about this book. You just have to wade through the boring geisha—sorry, Asha—lessons to get there.

For starters, this book is dual POV in a very unconventional way. We start with a nameless bard finding Tea on a seashore full of bones. He convinces her to tell the story of how she came to be there. The other POV is Tea, the Bone Witch on the beach, telling the bard the story of how she came to be there. So, that was cool.

I also really liked the lore in the book. I liked the idea of the False Prince and his Daeva (monsters that never truly die). I liked the magic and powers. I thought all that was developed nicely… it was just overshadowed by too much geisha-Asha mumbo-jumbo.

On the other hand, the “big twist” near the ending sort of came out of nowhere. There really wasn’t any direct build up for it and it took me a moment to figure out what the heck was really going on. There were clues throughout the story, but they read more like backstory than anything that was actually relevant. It was…. strange.

I also had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. The servant girls at the Asha house were pretty interchangeable in my head. I couldn’t tell you the name of most of the other characters either.

The very end of the book leads me to believe there may be a promising sequel. If the author can cut down on the training and get to the action, I think it could be a good book.

So, should you read it? If you are looking for a good dose of magic and action and adventure you will be sorely disappointed. If you are looking for an interesting and unique world and can look past long periods of nothing happening while our heroine goes through training, then you might just like this one. Oh, and if you’re really into geisha you’ll probably love it!



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QUOTES

Had I known the color of my heartsglass sooner, I might have been better prepared.

They said bone witches gave sleeping sicknesses to innocent princesses with the prick of a finger, and they said bone witches ate the hearts of children who strayed too far into forests.

Asha means two things in old Runic. The first is ‘truth’; the second, ‘spellbinder.’ That is what we must do—we bind the magic and force it to do as we command.

“You knew; still you were affected by the charms I wear. Now imagine the subtlety it can wreak on an unsuspecting world.”

I was trapped between two minds, and at that moment, I was a part of the creature just as it was a part of me.

“If there is one thing I have learned from both our trades, it is that we must always be in the business of forgiveness, lest we become consumed by our anger.”

REVIEW: More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

Series: Friends #2

Read: February 20 – March 2, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: YA Romance

Pages: 320

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.


REVIEW

I received a copy of More Than Friends from Goodreads First Reads. I took one look at that cover and wanted it. It’s so pretty!

Alas, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. I read through it fairly quickly, it was a page turner, but I guess I just prefer books with less teen drama and different plot devices.

As far as the characters go, I liked them. Both Amanda and Tuttle. They both had depth and character flaws. They felt real. Tuttle in particular. He comes across as the perfect golden boy, but once you get inside his head you realize he has a lot of baggage. A LOT of baggage!

It’s been a while since I was in high school, and perhaps I just wasn’t / didn’t hang out with the kinds of kids in this book, but I was surprised that a book with such a tame cover would contain so much sexual content! As a parent, I would not be happy to catch my own young adult reading this book, which seems to glorify sex in high school and make it seem as though everyone is doing it. And yeah, maybe I’m letting my prudish side show, but those are my feelings. I prefer my teen fiction to remain clean. If anything happens it’s behind closed doors/fade to black, as well as being between two characters who actually know where they stand with one another, because throughout this entire book Amanda didn’t know if she was actually with Tuttle or not.

As a whole, this is a well written book filled with teen drama drama drama, but there is far too much sexual content IMO for a YA book. I’d have much rather seen them at least in college.


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QUOTES

It’s like I’m always waiting for the bomb to drop. For the joke to be on me. No one in a million years would ever match me with Jordan Tuttle. Not even me.

 

Ugh. I’m actually pissed people aren’t noticing me when I don’t want them to notice me. I make no sense.

 

“Wait a minute. You apologized to her?” Livvy shakes her head. “Why.”

“Because what I said to her was wrong. It bothered me all night. I had to tell her I was sorry.”

“You’re too nice.” She’s still shaking her head.

Maybe you’re not nice enough, I almost tell her, but I don’t. That’s opening a whole new bag of trouble.

 

Whispering “sorry” under my breath—because yes, I do talk to my car sometimes, thank you very much—I turn the key and the engine starts right up.

 

I have no photos of Jordan and me together. None. And in this social media driven world we live in, if there’s no photographic proof, then it didn’t happen.

 

“Passion only lasts so long, especially with those two. They are a prime example that you cannot sustain a relationship based merely on passion.”

REVIEW: Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch

Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch

Series: The Bad Books #2

Read: February 26 – March 1, 2017

Format: ebook ARC

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Genre: MG Fantasy

Pages: 288

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, TBR 2017, 2017 Beat The Backlist, Flights of Fantasy 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some people have all the luck.

Unfortunately, Clay isn’t one of them: He’s the only camper at Earth Ranch without a magical talent. As if feeling totally useless isn’t enough, Clay has to figure out what to do about Brett, a castaway boy who has just washed ashore and is determined to keep his presence a secret. Even as Clay helps his new friend hide in the remote volcanic island’s wilderness, another fiery mystery begins to emerge, with all signs pointing to the impossible idea that dragons once roamed the island…and may still. Can Clay and his friends turn their luck around in time to uncover Price Island’s secrets–and save it from a scorching end?

Danger, adventure, mischief, mystery, old foes, new friends, and a delightfully elusive narrator make bestselling author Pseudonymous Bosch’s latest novel completely irresistible.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

I acquired Bad Luck as a READ NOW from NetGalley. Back when I was devouring books one after the other and didn’t need to worry about my score because I was going through them so fast. Then my work situation changed and suddenly I wasn’t going through books so fast. Suddenly I had less time to read, and a pile of books from NetGalley that weren’t really catching my interest.

Shame on me. When I took on the #BeatTheBacklist challenge my goal was to clear out my NetGalley list. Looking at all the little thumbnail covers none of them jumped out at me. I knew I wanted something clean, so I held my breath and dove into this middle grade book.

And then I was kicking myself for not starting sooner. Upon closer inspection of the cover (darn you little thumbnail images that hide details!) there’s a DRAGON! That right there gives a book an automatic star. Probably. Okay, not really, but it certainly is a sign that I will probably enjoy the books contents.

So what’s this book about? Clay is a boy who attends Earth Ranch, a summer camp for misfits who happen to be magicians. Like, the kind of magicians with real magical powers. Earth Ranch also happens to be located on an island in the middle of nowhere. When Clay comes across a boy washed ashore, things get weird. Soon the island is swarming with men in search of the missing boy, but Clay and his friends are sure something else is going on.

This is a solid middle grade read that was enjoyable for this girl who has not been in middle school for… well, a very long time. There were bits of middle grade potty humor, but nothing too over the top, just enough to remind me “oh yeah, this is a middle grade book targeted at boys”. I loved the footnotes the author included, filled with humor. I loved the dragon. I loved the excerpts from the book about taming a dragon scattered through the novel. Though it was nothing too complex, I loved the plot.

This is a book I’ll be giving my 10-year-old daughter to read and, just maybe, purchasing the rest of the books.

Don’t overlook this series. I can’t speak for the first book, as I haven’t read it, but now that I’ve read this one I plan to!



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You can find book 1, Bad Magic, here:

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QUOTES

 

A sunburned boy pointed at him. “Hey, penguin, wrong cruise—North Pole is the other way.”

“You mean South Pole,” Brett replied automatically. “No penguins in the north. Just… elves.”

And next time, try a higher SPF, he thought. Lobster.

 

…But at Earth Ranch the campers tended to confuse crime with magic. Both things, after all, involved the breaking of laws—the one the laws of the land, the other the laws of nature.

 

Clay knelt by the boy’s side and put his hand on the boys cheek. It was cold and clammy. But was it dead clammy? Or just clammy?

 

Always remember, dear apprentice Dragon Tamer, that you are not and never will be a tamer of dragons. A dragon is not a lion in a circus. A dragon cannot be trained any more than it can be caged. It is foolish to think so—and almost certain death if you try.

 

Although dragons are infinitely smarter than people, they are also simpler. Push a dragon and it will push back. Treat a dragon gently and it will treat you gently. Try to kill a dragon and it will try to kill you.

No, it will kill you.

This is not justice. Nor is it unjust. It just is.

 

“There is no need to shout, puny human creature.”

 

On the other hand, part of being a scientist, as she understood it, was accepting empirical evidence when it was presented to you. You didn’t simply deny the existence of a thing because it didn’t fit your theory of the universe; the existence of the thing meant that your theory of the universe was flawed. And a dragon—a real dragon—what an amazing discovery that would be!

 

(From the footnotes)

According to DC Comics and some Greek pottery, Themyscira was the home of the Amazons, the all-female warrior tribe of ancient Greece. Not to be confused with The Amazon River, which derives its name from the same source. Nor with the giant, bookselling website, which, though seemingly invincible, may yet someday fall prey to a vengeful tribe of warrior women out to reclaim their rightful name.

 

Deja Revu: February 26, 2017

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Original

Meme

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Contemporary

General Fiction

Paranormal

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Paranormal

Romance

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Contemporary

General Fiction

Graphic Novel

Non-Fiction

Romance

Science Fiction

Woman’s Fiction

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Romance

Urban

REVIEW: Dead Letters by Caite Donlan-Leach

Dead Letters by Caite Donlan-Leach

Read: December 27, 2016 – January 10, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC / NetGalley

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Random house

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Genre: Literary Mystery

Pages: 352

Challenges: none

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this sharp and clever debut novel of suspense, a young woman—presumed dead—leaves a series of clues for her twin sister, which leads her on a scavenger-hunt-like quest to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

Ava Antipova has her reasons for running away: a failing family vineyard, a romantic betrayal, a mercurial sister, an absent father, a mother slipping into dementia. In Paris, Ava acquires a French boyfriend and a taste for much better wine, and erases her past. But two years later, she must return to upstate New York. Her twin sister, Zelda, is dead.

Even in a family of alcoholics, Zelda Antipova was the wild one, notorious for her mind games and destructive behavior. Stuck tending the vineyard and the girls’ increasingly unstable mother, Zelda is allegedly burned alive when she passes out in the barn with a cigarette. But Ava finds the official explanation a little too neat. A little too Zelda. Then she receives a cryptic message—from her sister. Just as Ava suspected, Zelda’s playing one of her games. In fact, she’s outdone herself, leaving a series of clues to her disappearance. Ava follows the trail laid just for her, thinking like her sister, keeping her secrets, immersing herself in Zelda’s drama. Along the way, Zelda forces Ava to confront their twisted history and the boy who broke her heart. But why? Is Zelda trying to punish Ava for leaving? To teach her a lesson? Or is she simply trying to write her own ending?

Caite Dolan-Leach’s debut suspense takes readers on a literary scavenger hunt for clues concealed throughout the seemingly idyllic wine country, hidden in plain sight on social media, and buried at the heart of one tremendously dysfunctional, utterly unforgettable family.


REVIEW

Caution: There may be mild spoilers, but I promise, NOTHING will ruin the ending.

 

Literary fiction isn’t my GO TO genre. In fact, I tend to avoid it. For the most part I don’t like that style of writing. Going into Dead Letters I knew it was a more literary book than I gravitate toward and honestly, up until about 15-20% I seriously considered quitting. By the time I reached THE END (sobbing like a baby) I was so glad I didn’t quit this one.

As the blurb indicates, Ava’s from a family of alcoholics. They’re all pretty terrible people, making all kinds of terrible life choices. It was hard to relate to them because I’m the opposite, I just don’t see the point in alcohol so I usually abstain. It actually bothered me a lot more up until the point when Ava says out loud that she knows she has a problem. Once the cards were on the table, I could respect her more.

One of the problems I have with literary fiction is that they tend to linger on seemingly random tangents. That was very much the case with this book, as present day Ava reminisced about something that happened years ago, usually involving Zelda. And much of the time they seemed unimportant to the story, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of a flashback that didn’t pertain to the clues/ending.

The clues laid out by Zelda were very clever. I found myself wondering how she was doing it. What was going on. Just when I thought I figured it out, I got a slap in the face. My theory was 100% incorrect, and though it would have been cool, this ending was so much butter. (If anyone wants to know my theory, feel free to private message me! I don’t want to spoil the journey for other readers by posting it here!)

Seriously, I can’t express my feelings for this book without spoiling it!

I’ll sum it up this way – for 95% of the book I could have cared less what happened, I just wanted to FINISH. Then the ending happened. And suddenly I was completely and totally invested in the story. Days later and I’m still thinking about it. The book shot from like, a 2.5-3 star book to a 3.75/4 star book.

So should you read the book?

If you’re into literary books – YES.

If you’re not so much into literary but you like a book with a mind lowing ending that leaves you thinking – YES.

 

 I received an advanced release copy of this book from Goodreads First to Read and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Random House and the Author.



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QUOTES

I’m an idiot and accidentally deleted all of my quotes from my phone! Yikes!