Format: Kindle Edition

Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Posted February 26, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerUnearthed by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Unearthed, #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 9th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.
In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

The Plot

Earth intercepts a message from an ancient Alien race that is supposed to be extinct, about the technology on their planet Gaia and how it can be an earths doom or salvation. I was super excited for this because space, aliens, another planet, sounds fun right? I found myself a bit confused. This book had some science fiction notes to it, but a large part of it felt like it took place on earth. Most of the book follows these two teenagers, each other on Gaia on their own accord to save one of their family members back home. Mia is a scavenger and wants to bring back a power cell in hopes to buy back her sister from a contract she locked herself in. Jules wants to save his father by unlocking the secret behind the second message that they uncovered, warning the earth about possible dangers. They enter a temple and together they must solve puzzles in order to uncover what this alien race is hiding. But everything is set in this rock temple that feels more like they are back on earth than anything. I really LIKED the concept of this book, I thought it had a lot of potential, but the plot in book one felt a little odd until the end. Most of the book we follow these kids solving these puzzles which can feel tedious reading about.

The characters

I had no issues with the characters for the most part. I like Mia and I liked Jules and I liked that the author kept them true to their nature most of the book. Jules is book smart, Mia is street smart. She knows how to lie and deceive in order to stay alive and ends up throwing Jules under the bus several times in hopes of keeping them alive when danger started nipping at their heels. The characters weren’t always likable for me, but I think that’s what drew me to them. They felt human, they both had a bit of a selfish reason to be there and both lied to each other in order to try and benefit themselves. But it was also nice to see them evolve as characters by the end of the book and realize that they are going to have to set their differences aside in order to save humanity.

Romance

The romance was awkward. Did not work for me at all. I would have been fine without it in this book. I don’t generally like relationships that are built on lies and both of these characters lied and deceived each other at the beginning of the book. Also, it was awkward with all the goo goo eyes the two were throwing at each other and felt a bit of instalove for me really.

Pacing

Oh gosh the pacing felt terribly off for most of the book. It was awkwardly slow. I didn’t care to read about the puzzles because I found that I was rereading what they needed to do in order to understand how they were solved. It’s different when you are watching a movie, over your brain trying to scramble to make sense of what is happening. Also, because this was from two POVS, Amelia’s and Jules there was a lot of stuff that kept being super repetitive and I felt like the author kept rehashing things we already knew over and over again, it got boring up until like 70% of the book when it finally started to pick up. I enjoyed the last 70% of the book, the pacing picked up, it got exciting, and I found myself pushing more to finish it.

The ending

I don’t even know where to go with this. It confused me. I can kind of guess what is going on in general, but the big reveal at the end was a bit odd and I am not too entirely sure if I care for it. Remember, I was really looking forward to the whole alien, science fiction part of this book and I am not really getting much from it yet. Hopefully the conclusion will be so much better, because I am looking forward to see how it ends.

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Review: At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec

Posted February 24, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara SivecAt the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec
Series: The Naughty Princess Club, #1
Published by Swerve on February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 261
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Meet the Naughty Princess Club: a brand new series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that introduces readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that ensue when three women start a new business to make it rain.
Once upon a time Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he’s run off with all their money…and the babysitter.
Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they’re mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippity-boppity-boo.
But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy’s happily ever after? At the Stroke of Midnight is a hilarious, empowering story where princesses can save themselves while slaying in stilettos.

Cynthia was the perfect housewife, the perfect mother, the perfect member of the Fairytale Lane community – until the day her husband ran off with the babysitter, took all their money, served her divorce papers and left her with a house to pay for.

Cynthia tries desperately to keep her image up, until she goes to a community block party dressed as a princess and meets two other “Princess” with financial problems.

When the trio gets invited to a party with a request of wearing those customs, they show up thinking they are entertaining children, when in fact it is a birth of a grown man and they are mistaken for strippers. A grown man PJ Charming, that both infuriates Cindy as well as making her feel something more.

Oh, this was great. It’s been a while since I have read anything by this author, so I was going into this book blindly. Yup, I totally just wanted to read this because of the author. I knew I was going to get crude humor, great characters, and some steaminess.

I loved the trio, I loved the way Ariel bought out Cindy out of her shell so she could be an independent woman again instead of living under her husband’s life. With Ariel’s and PJ’s help, Cindy gets her independents back, takes control of her life, listens to things she wants and rebuilds the relationship with her daughter.

I loved Ariel the best, she had the mouth of a sailor, but she was also such a great supportive friend and the reason Cindy was able to break out of her shell.

The housewife to an exotic dance was an interesting trope that I myself have never explored before, but watching them navigate how this new experience and building their business around it was amusing and laugh out loud funny.

It’s a story of self-discovery, independence, growth and strong female relationships. It was just the kind of light book I needed in my life right now.

The only issue I feel like I had in this is the way PJ treated Cindy at the beginning was a bit annoying. I did not feel like she deserved it. Also, when her ex-husband shows up in the end, that whole scene I felt, could have been resolved much quicker.

I wouldn’t say that this is for everything. This book has a lot of cursing humor in it, with some steamy scenes in the end. If you are uncomfortable with it, it’s a warning in advance. Otherwise, if you are looking for something that will leave you in stitches, this is definitely a fast paced, fun ride and I cannot wait for the other two stories.

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Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Posted February 15, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonNext Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Series: standalone
Published by Berkley on February 6th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 394
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...
Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...
Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.
Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Elisa Perez has always dreamt of returning to Cuba after the revolution. Her and many others who have left for exile in America were waiting for the day that Castro would no longer have control of their beautiful country so they could make their way home. The day has finally arrived, but Elisa Perez never had the chance to witness it.

Finally making it onto Cuban soil after many years of her grandmother’s stories, Marisol Ferrera is both excited and saddened that she does not get to experience Cuba with her grandmother as Elisa passed away recently. But she wants to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish and that is to spread her ashes in Cuba. One problem, Elisa never told Marisol where she wants her ashes spread and as Marisol debates where would be the best place to lay her grandmother to rest, she comes to discover a lot of hidden family secrets since the revolution.

Oh gosh, this book. My first dive into this authors work and I do not regret it. This. Was. Fantastic. Slow moving at first yes, this book took a bit to get into, but once I was fully invested, I absolutely adored it!

This is told in two different time lines. We get to see how Marisol fairs in modern day Cuba, uncovering secrets about her grandmother that she was never told as well as possibly falling in love. Plus, we get to experience Cuba in the 1958 and how the revolution happened as well as Elisa Perez beautifully poignant story.

I loved Elisa’s story, it was beautiful and heartbreaking and I found myself more invested in her romance over Marisols. As Elisa accidentally falls in love with a revolutionary called Pablo, her family is sitting pretty, but scared of what will happen to their country. Coming from a wealthy family, Elisa is a daughter of a sugar baron and her father a huge supporter of Batista. When Batista escapes Cuba after losing the war to the revolutionaries, Elisa’s world is completely shaken and thrown upside down.

The twist in the end totally shattered my heart. I felt that it was coming as everything started to unravel, but I still felt unprepared. Cleeton is such a fantastic writer and storyteller and does such a wonderful job at weaving Cuban history into the storyline. I felt like I learned a bit more about Cuba and what the country was before the revolution. I also felt sad that it isn’t what it use to be after years under Castro’s rule.

The way Cleeton writes about the passion Cuban’s feel for their country in this book is both overwhelming and emotional as evident in the current timeline with Marisol and Luis. Luis is Ana’s grandson. Ana is Elisa’s best friend who stayed in Cuba despite the revolution and it is through their families hardships and passion due we witness the struggle and perseverance of families in Cuba.

There isn’t much negatives about this book. The slow pace aside at points, I do feel like the book could have been shortened just a tad bit at some spots. Also, I wasn’t sure how I felt about such a clean ending with Luis and Marisol, it just felt a tad bit too convenient for me to be believable.

Overall though, this was a great historical fiction with a mix of romance. The story that was told was interesting and the romance between Elisa and Pablo was just so heartbreaking.

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Review: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

Posted February 14, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: As Bright as Heaven by Susan MeissnerAs Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
Series: standalone
Published by Berkley Books on February 6th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.
In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life.
But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it.
As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world, not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Pauline and Thomas Bright drop everything behind Quakertown when they make the move to Philadelphia in 1918 because the city is the heart of new beginnings and promises.

Thomas has been asked by his uncle to come help him at the funeral home, because his uncle is getting old and does not have any children of his own, with Thomas being his favorite.

Now Pauline and her three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa have a chance at a better life as they navigate their ways around the new series and adapt to life in a funeral home. But then the ‘Spanish’ flu sweeps across the globe and as Pauline and the girls watch loved ones die around them, they take in a baby that had been orphaned by the disease and he becomes the source of their hope.

This was a story told in two parts. The first part deals with Pauline and her three girls as they move into the funeral home and how there is just so much hope in that move. Hope for a better life for herself and for her daughters, better schooling. That hope ends up being briefly crushed when Thomas, the father, get’s called by draft into serving at war and Pauline stays at the funeral home with the children as the flu sweeps across Philadelphia, claiming many lives.

It was interesting and engrossing following their lives in the funeral home as well as learning more about the events during this time, not matter how difficult it may have been. The flu ended up claiming a lot of lives of people they knew and the war changed the lives closest to them.

It is a story of family, hardships, lost, love and triumphs with the second half, a strong focus on the years following the events that drastically changed their lives.

I adored following the sister’s chapters separately because I adored how the author handled each of their stories, and how each sister grew with the events affecting their lives. It was wonderful, the writing was amazing. There is always something about Meissner’s writing that simply enthralls me and has me craving for more. I never wanted the book to come to an end. I liked the setting, I liked learning a bit about what happened in the American history during that time. The amount of death and from a funeral homes perspective was both cringe worthy and fascinating at the same time.

The characters were well fleshed out, each sister standing out on her own within their own chapter. Each sister affected not only by the flu, the death, but also by the war and the people around them.

The twist in the end that Meissner delivers about how their actions have also influenced others had been both brilliant and heartbreaking.

The story was beautiful and well told, though at times not easy to read just proves how well the author can get you so invested in the characters and the feelings that it something that stayed with me long after I was done with the pages.

I adore this author and cannot wait to see what she has to tell us next.

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Guest Review: Pride & Prometheus by John Kessel

Posted February 12, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 16 Comments

Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a great weekend. We are starting off this week with Sophia Rose and her review of a Historical Fiction Novel/Classic Retelling. Enjoy!

Guest Review: Pride & Prometheus by John KesselPride and Prometheus by John Kessel
Series: standalone
Published by Saga Press on February 13th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Classic Retellings
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Dark and gripping and tense and beautiful.” —Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Pulitzer Prize finalist for We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves
Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein as Mary Bennet falls for the enigmatic Victor Frankenstein and befriends his monstrous Creature in this clever fusion of two popular classics.
Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. As Mary and Victor become increasingly attracted to each other, the Creature looks on impatiently, waiting for his bride. But where will Victor find a female body from which to create the monster’s mate?
Meanwhile, the awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her.
Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.

One glimpse of the blurb telling me that this was a mash-up of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and I had to read it. Two powerhouse classics with vastly different settings and atmosphere had me so curious about how the author would pull it off.

I confess to a little trepidation, as well. Both are powerful stories with different themes so I was crossing my fingers that one would not suffer at the expense to the other.

Well, never fear, the author had a different approach that really worked to blend the stories. This ended up being more of a P&P sequel mashed with the Frankenstein story. A person who has read or watched the movie adaption for Pride & Prejudice and Frankenstein would get more out of this, but I think someone only slightly familiar would get by just fine. Instead of the main Austen heroine, the author plucked out a secondary character from P&P to become his female lead across from the male leads of Frankenstein. A story swirling around Mary Bennet and Victor Frankenstein and his monster actually had even greater appeal. Mary suited the tragic heroine role more than any other of Austen’s Bennet sisters.

The atmosphere of this story is not light and it’s not a romance though it has romantic overtones. The atmosphere is toward the romantic tragedy side with a bittersweet flavor. Mary is a middle-aged spinster who is the odd-(wo)man out in her family. She’s changed and grown and become a better person though very much the Mary people will recognize, but everyone in her life is so busy about their own affairs that this goes unnoticed. She’s ripe for something new in her life- an adventure. The plight of Victor Frankenstein and his monster bring that.

Victor is nearly at the breaking point. He didn’t set out to play God and pay the price, but he did and now he has a monster threatening to kill after having already killed if he doesn’t provide the creature with a wife like him. Victor encounters the rare Mary Bennet and her family and spies his opportunity. Meanwhile, his creature watches with impatience and loneliness. He is angry at Victor’s rejection and leaving him to fend for himself in a world that is disgusted by him and reviles him.

The pace is mostly slower with a few spikes of excitement. It’s not true horror, but more gothic in air. Much of the story is more embedded in the Frankenstein tale and, as I did when I read that the first time, I sympathized with the creature more than his creator. I’m not a Victor Frankenstein fan.

I really only had one niggle and that was that I found the ending abrupt. This was probably on me because I was reeling from the last revelation that came just before that and perhaps wanted something more or different. That said, the ending was consistent with the story itself.

So, all in all, I thought this was a moving story- more thought-provoking than anything else- and definitely one I was glad to have read. I think it will have niche audience appeal toward those who enjoy the classics particularly those of a brooding, darker tragic tone.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted February 9, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Pages: 360
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Rating: 4 Stars

The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear…but some secrets won’t stay buried.
For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.
Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.

Gahh this book is hard to review without giving away much of what happens at the end of book one, but I will try.

The Long Game starts shortly after the events following from book one. Tess has found herself trying to navigate her new life after discovering more secrets about not only her family, her grandfather, but also that there might have been a fourth player involved in the murders that have happened.

Now being a fixer runs in her family, and Tess finds herself thrown into that lifestyle at school. When one of her classmates asks Tess to return the favor and help her win the class presidency, the stakes end up higher than Tess is ready for and secrets that should have been buried come falling out.

Terrorist, murders and secrets, this book really takes you onto one wild emotional ride. I found myself on the edge of my seat once again as I sat there wanting to know what will happen to Tess and her classmates. Some revelations have left me a little on a heartbroken side and we got to say goodbye to a few characters from book one.

The ending was great, though the fact that the author is not writing any more books in this series is a little disappointing, because it leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions. I felt bummed when I realized that after the ringer that we were put through we would never know how all of this was going to end, so let this be a warning to those going into the books, because I found myself debating the unfairness in being left the way it was.

Also, I was a little disappointed that despite Tess’ grandfather who raised her being such a major part of her life and book one, it was kind of ignored in book two.

Overall, this was a great series and it showed quite a lot of promise, the fact that it’s run was cut short, I think is quite a bit disappointing, especially when we are left with a lot of unresolved issues that were major in the book. But, despite all this it is well worth the read because in the end, this series was super exciting, fun and interesting. I definitely do not regret reading.

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Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

Posted February 6, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 19 Comments

Review:  Dear Aaron by Mariana ZapataDear Aaron by Mariana Zapata
Series: Santos #1
Published by Mariana Zapata on June 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 485
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

Dear Aaron follows a young woman named Ruby Santos, who knew exactly what she was doing when she signed up to write to a soldier overseas. The guidelines were pretty simple, one email or a letter a week for the length of his or her deployment and care packages were options. What Ruby didn’t expect when she finally got to writing to Aaron was falling in love with him.

This was cute, my first Mariana Zapata book and needless to say it will definitely won’t be my last.

Dear Aaron was a sweet, slow burn romance that follows a very inexperienced Ruby (who is around 23/24 years of age) and a 29-30 year old soldier Aaron. Both seem to be at an odd point in their life. Ruby is a seamstress and loves doing her work, but she works for two of her aunts that seem to mistreat her and Ruby doesn’t have a backbone to stand up to them until she starts corresponding with Aaron.

Aaron is a soldier that is almost done with his deployment, but serving is the only thing he knows. To his family, he feels like a failure because he didn’t follow the steps of the family business and chose the military life instead. Aaron and his father are on a bit of a rocky terms, but despite his father’s anger they still seem to get along.

When we first meet Ruby her age is a bit confusing at first because she does tend to sound like a child due to her inexperience and being sort of a pushover, but I found her character to be someone I could and could see myself in her shoes.

I love that despite knowing what was coming that the author took the time to develop the relationship and friendship between the two characters, I adore my slow burn romances.

I was also pleasantly surprised that this was a romance more primary focus was the growth between characters emotionally and as people.

I didn’t know how to feel about Aaron’s sudden flip in the book about being open in his feelings, I was actually expecting the moment to maybe go a bit differently, it just felt like an awkward transition – but it was still fine.

The writing was great. I did have the hardest time putting the book down and read it in a day.

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Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted February 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on July 7th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Pages: 372
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.
Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.
And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.
Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is about to have her entire world turned upside down. Having spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch, Tess is suddenly uprooted and moved to D.C by her much older sister Ivy Kendrick, where she is thrown into a world of politics and power.

Tess never knew what Ivy did for a living in D.C. All Tess knows was that Ivy abandoned her after their parents death and the grudge against her sister for bailing and barely calling is strong.

It doesn’t help when Tess learns from the kids at school that Ivy is a Fixer who fixes people’s problems, including a lot of problems for the parents of the teens that go to her school.

When a conspiracy surfaces that might involve more than one family of her new school and Tess’ own classmates, Tess finds herself in a very complicated situation and she doesn’t like being kept in the dark. But what Tess does not realize is just how dangerous power and politics might be.

This was wonderful. My first book by this author and needless to say it will now be my last, I am already on book two and loving it.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes really knows how to write a complicated story that hooks you from the very first page and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I had the hardest time parting with this book. I loved the characters, I loved the mystery, I loved how all the lies connected and how everything unfolded.

That shocking moment about Ivy and Tess in the end, I almost did not see coming, but it ended up being such a good twist that only made the book even more compelling.

Tess is a character that is easy to follow. She is still pretty much a teenager in her own way, but it was nice to see that despite her loneliness and grudge against Ivy, she still cares very much.

The writing for this was just great, it kept me interested, the storytelling was well done, how everything connected seemed to be well though out and it ended up being a really engrossing read that I cannot wait for more from this author.

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Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Posted January 27, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 370
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Jude was only seven years old when she watched both of her parents get murdered and both she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. After ten years, Jude wants nothing more but to belong in Faerie, despite the fact that she is mortal, but a lot of fey despises humans, especially Judes rival Prince Cardan.

Jude knows what she has to do in hopes of earning her place and respect among the fey and that is to get a place as a knight of the court. But, when Jude is trusted into a civil war that threatens the Courts of Faerie, Jude must risk her life in order to save her family and Faerie from the bloodshed.

This was my first Holly Black book and it did not disappoint. The writing was wonderful and kept me wanting to turn those pages. The world building was rich and dynamic, I really felt like I knew the place with all its beauty as well as cruelty. The character development was gradual and satisfying.

I did like Jude as a character, she was an easy one to follow – very loyal, very smart, and does not allow the fact that she is a mortal in an immortal world to drag her down. Despite being defiant and of course a somewhat of a flawed character, she knows what she needs in order to survive even if at times the chinks in her armor really show.

I didn’t feel like there was a special snowflake alert in this book. Jude uses the help of others around her in order to stay alive and survive as well as fight a battle that seems impossible to win as a mortal. Faerie teaches her how to become cunning, quick and deceitful and it really starts to show as the character is faced head on with some ugly realities of the Courts of Faerie.

I did have an issue with the Judes relationship with Madoc, I found it a bit hard to grasp, especially with what had transpired in the past. It was a bit odd that Madoc’s eldest blood daughter remained defiant with hate for her father, but Jude and her twin sister did not show that what had happened effected them. I don’t find all that believable, even if they both were young – they were seven and it probably should have had some negative effect on them.

Judes relationship with her twin sister Taryn was absolutely frustrating at times and honestly could have killed the book for me if it wasn’t for everything else. It seemed petty, childish and just infuriating. When I found out why the feud between Cardan and Jude started, it was hard not to grit my teeth. I almost gave this 3.5 stars, but the storytelling won me over and pushed it back towards the edge.

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Three Blind Dates by Meghan Quinn

Posted January 25, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Three Blind Dates by Meghan QuinnThree Blind Dates by Meghan Quinn
Published by Hot-Lanta Publishing, LLC on January 4th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 386
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

A modern day take on You've Got Mail with a twist. This laugh out loud and heartwarming romantic comedy from bestselling author Meghan Quinn will keep you on the edge of your feet as you fall in love with each and every blind date.
"Good Morning Malibu, it’s another beautiful day on the west coast! I'm Noely Clark, your host: and I'm in the market for love…”
When the publicity team of the new local restaurant, Going in Blind, began their search for a hot, local celebrity to promote the wildly popular eatery, they couldn’t have found a better person than me.
Outgoing? Check. Single? Check. Open to finding love? Check.
I signed up immediately.
A hopeless romantic with an exceedingly demanding schedule, I've found it impossible to find the man of my dreams—so Going in Blind seems too good to be true! That’s until they start setting me up on dates—three very different, very attractive, very distinct blind dates—and only one thing is for certain . . .
I’m in big trouble.
"Good Morning Malibu, I'm Noely Clark, and I have a choice to make. The question is who will I choose; the suit, the rebel, or the jock."
*** This is a full length novel , 115,000 words, with a happily ever after, no cliffhanger, no cheating, and full of heart, humor and, steamy heat. ***

Noely Clark is a successful host of a talk show Good Morning Malibu, she has everything going for her in every department with the exception of romance. When Noely decides to throw caution to the wind and join a dating program set up by a new local restaurant, Going in Blind, in search of publicity – they set her up with three very different, very attracting blind dates.

This was a cute story. I really enjoyed meeting the three very different men in this story and how they effected Noely as a character and her romantic life. I enjoyed watching the story and the romance unfold and found it very believable and relatable.

Noely was a hard character, not to like. I found her very real, endearing and relatable. Her and her best friend were just a real joy, I loved the banter between them.

I enjoyed that this wasn’t the perfect romance from start to finish. A part of it is about Noely growing in her romantic life as she meets and gets to know these guys before she gets her happily ever after.

That being said, I absolutely ADORED the second half of the book after the three blind dates. It was so cute and sweet and ugh.

Quinn really knows how to lace humor into her books with fun, realistic characters, easy storytelling, and just overall general appeal for romance lovers. I adored that she used references to You Got Mail and as someone who liked the movie I did appreciate that.

The small gripes that I was also one that I liked, right, I know, that doesn’t make sense. I felt like Noely’s obsession over movie felt too much at times and basing your relationship around that felt a bit like a fairy tale and unrealistic at times. And also a few things didn’t work for me, but they were minor and not really worth mentioning.

Overall, this was cute and definitely great for people who really love romances. The person she picks in the end is pretty clear despite the fact that it might feel like a love triangle, but it’s really not.

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