Review: Heart of The Fae by Emma Hamm

Review

Title: Heart Of The Fae

Author: Emma Hamm

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Series: The Otherworld #1


Synopsis: Once upon a time… 

A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne. 

Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools. 

With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.

This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart.

My thoughts (1)

“The first-born son of the Seelie King faded into myth, then legend. Then nothing at all”

When a deadly plague has infected her beloved, Sorcha will do whatever it takes to save them. Making a deal with a dangerous Fae, Sorcha sets out on a journey to the mythical island Hy-Brasil in hope of accomplishing a most impossible task: return with the banished prince. Determined to finish what she set out for, Sorcha soon realizes this task is nearly impossible but will not return home without the exiled prince.

“I am not a woman, but sword and shield. I will carve my own path, or I will force others to create it for me.”

This was an incredible retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I absolutely adored this story and Sorcha. She is fierce, brave, and imperfect. And a force to be reckoned with. 

“In that moment, she gutted him. No one had looked at him like a person in such a long time, without pity or fear. She just opened her eyes and smiled at him. As if he was finally where he belonged.”

Eamonn( the “beast”) has such a tragic backstory. Betrayed by the ones closest to him he is exiled to an island for the rest of his life. With a hard exterior(ha) we get to see all his layers, from angry to sweet. Eamonn and Sorcha had sizzling chemistry and although it was a bit cheesy here and there, I still absolutely loved it and couldn’t get enough. 

This was a Beauty and the Beast retelling in a way I’ve never read before! It was full of Irish mythology, characters you root for, and beautiful lands and so unique. I’m a sucker for a good retelling. I can’t wait to read book 2! Emma Hamm is an incredible author and I’m so glad to have discovered her. What are you waiting for?! Go read this beautiful tale now!

5 out of 5 stars

The Accidental Beauty Queen Blog Tour + Guest Post+Excerpt + Review + Giveaway

blog tour, giveaway, Review
Gallery Books | Trade Paperback Original
ISBN: 9781501197604 | $16.00
E-ISBN: 9781501197611 | $7.99
Audio-ISBN: 9781508283553 | $17.99

Title: The Accidental Beauty Queen
Author: Teri Wilson
Genre: Romance
Release Date: December 4th, 2018


Synopsis: In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize.

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

My thoughts (1)

When Charlottes twin sister Ginny has an allergic reaction the evening before the start of her beauty pageant, Ginny asks Charlotte the unthinkable: pretend to be her in her place until her reaction goes away. With nothing in common except looks, Librarian and Harry Potter lover Charlotte was only here for a vacation. Against her better judgement Charlotte agrees to help and finds herself swept away into the glitz and glam of pageantry; and liking it.

I swallow. Hard. And I remind myself there are worse things in the world than looking like my beauty queen twin. Especially in this instance.

I am a huge fan of Miss Congeniality and this book was just as amazing. I loved Charlotte and found her to be extremely relatable. Rather than follow in her sisters’ path of being a beauty queen, Charlotte prefers books and quiet rather than the glamorous lifestyle of pageantry. Charlotte and Ginny had a fairly strained relationship since the passing of their mother that got more and more strained as they grew up and their paths went different ways. When Charlotte decides to help Ginny and be around her more, we see their relationship start to heal. By the end of the book, I was so happy to see the twins mending their relationship.

The romance between Gray and Charlotte was amaaaaaaaazing. Not too fast, not too slow, just right. Gray is not only a fellow book lover and described as a Mr. Darcy(swoon), but also a judge for the beauty pageant Charlotte is in. What could possibly go wrong, right?!

The Accidental Beauty Queen was a cute, fun read that I finished in one sitting. I may or may not have cried (I did, don’t judge me) at the end. I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS OKAY.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

4 out of 5 stars


Excerpt:

My sister has always been the pretty one. The Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo.

It’s been this way for so long that I’ve never questioned it. It’s never even bothered me much. It just is.

Ginny is my sister, and I love her, no matter how different our lives are. And trust me, they’re about as opposite as you can imagine. But the chasm between our worlds has never been quite so glaringly obvious as it is now, because instead of restocking books on their respective shelves, I’m standing in an elevator at the posh Huntington Spa Resort in Orlando, Florida, on the first Monday afternoon of summer.

For starters, at five feet seven, I’m by far the shortest person of the half dozen or so on board. This is a rarity for me. As an elementary school librarian, I’m accustomed to towering over people for the majority of my waking hours. I’m also used to sitting in tiny chairs and using tiny, blunt-edged scissors, but that’s beside the point. Five feet seven isn’t short. . . .

Unless you’re riding an elevator packed with beauty queens.

I don’t know what I expected when I signed on to spend a week cheering for my sister at the Miss American Treasure pageant, but it wasn’t this. The preliminary competition doesn’t start for another two days, so why are they all wearing crowns and sashes already? And what is going on with their shoes?

Beauty pageant contestants wear heels. I know this, obviously. I mean, I’ve seen Miss Congeniality at least twenty times over the years, thanks to Ginny. But these are beyond high heels. Gracie Lou Freebush wouldn’t have lasted a minute in them.

No offense to Sandra Bullock. I’m just saying.

I tighten my grip on the handle of my suitcase, suddenly extremely conscious of the state of my hair. Orlando is one of the most humid places on earth, and the half hour ride on the airport shuttle was not kind. For once, I actually feel sorry for Ginny. It’s one thing to be expected to look perfect onstage, but hotel elevators should be a safe space. I, for one, plan to be roaming the halls in a spa bathrobe and complimentary slippers en route to the vending machine for the majority of my stay.

But to each her own.

Besides, Ginny chose this life, just as surely as I chose mine. She also gets paid more for one sponsored Instagram post than I make in a week, and when I remember this, I keep my sympathy in check.

The elevator comes to a stop on the fifth floor, which has clearly been reserved for the pageant, because we all disembark in a glamorous, glittering herd.

Myself being the exception.

No one seems to notice my presence, though. The Hogwarts T-shirt I’m wearing might as well be an invisibility cloak. Fine. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here for the chance to stay in Ginny’s luxury hotel room for a week, for free, and completely nerd out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I’m also here for moral support, of course. I plan on being at every single pageant event, cheering like a maniac while inwardly cringing in horror at the very thought of prancing around in only a tiny swimsuit and a crown. But since the competition doesn’t start until 5:00 p.m., that leaves my mornings and afternoons free to hit up the theme park. I’ve emptied my paltry savings account and invested in a five-day unlimited pass. Bring on the butter beer.

But first, I must locate our room amid a sea of glitz and sparkle. According to the text Ginny sent when I landed, we’re in 511. All of my elevator pals are in rooms along the same stretch of corridor. Half the doors on the floor have hangtags on the knobs that read, Do not disturb! This Miss American Treasure contestant needs her beauty sleep!

I roll my eyes mightily.

Dangling from the knob of room 511 is one such tag, but I highly doubt Ginny is actually sleeping because I can hear the television booming through the door. I knock extra hard so she can hear me above the din of whatever reality show she’s probably watching.

Just please God don’t let it be the Kardashians.

An explosion of barks answers my knock. I take a deep breath. I’ve somehow forgotten all about my sister’s French bulldog mix, Buttercup. Ginny adopted her a month ago as part of her “platform.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. She’s a pageant queen, not a politician. But according to approximately five million posts on Ginny’s Instagram, she volunteers regularly at her local shelter in support of her animal rescue policy.

If memory serves, last year her platform was anti-bullying. But so many other contestants on the pageant circuit had already thrown themselves into the anti-bullying movement that she felt pressured to switch to something else. In other words, she got bullied into giving up her anti-bullying platform. Oh, the irony.

The door to the hotel room swings open, and Ginny is standing there in a white spa bathrobe with her hair piled on top of her head in a messy-yet-artful twist. She’s got one of those serum-soaked sheet masks stuck to her face—the kind that make regular people look like something straight out of a bad horror movie.

Except Ginny isn’t a regular person. So instead she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow enjoying a quiet day of self-care.

“Charlotte, you’re here!”

“Yep. My flight was right on time.” Thank God. I’m ready to make the most out of day one on my unlimited pass.

“Come on in.” She holds the door open wider.

The room is a double, with side-by-side queen beds and a balcony overlooking a pool flanked by umbrella-covered lounge chairs, a tiki bar, and two perfectly symmetrical rows of palm trees swaying in the balmy Florida breeze. Any spare moments I have this week that don’t include Harry Potter will be spent right there, with my feet up and a piña colada in hand. It’s been so long since I’ve taken an actual vacation that the mental picture I’ve just conjured nearly makes me weep.

“This is gorgeous. Ginny, thanks again for inviting me.”

“Are you kidding? I’m so glad you’re here. Dad and Susan aren’t coming until the finals.” Her smile falters. Behind the face mask, I can see her full lips tip into a frown.

I know exactly what she’s thinking. “You’ll make the finals. I know you will. You’re a shoo-in for the top twenty.”

Ginny always makes the finals. She’s up onstage every year alongside the winner and the runners-up. She’s just never managed to crack the top five.

“This year will be different,” I assure her.

She nods. “It has to be.”

As much as I hate to see my sister devoting her life to chasing a silly crown, and even though I positively loathe the pageant scene, my heart gives a little tug. Sometimes I forget why she got started in all of this. But every once in a while, when Ginny’s composure slips, I remember that this is her way of feeling connected to the mother we barely knew. The crushing sense of loss that inevitably follows always seems to catch me off guard. It’s in those moments— moments like this one—that I understand her dream.

I paste a smile on my face. “It will. I promise.”

I have no right to make that kind of promise. After all, I’m not judging this thing.

Truly, why would anyone want that job?

But it’s so rare to see my sister like this that I can’t stop myself. She’s always been the poster child for confidence.

Which just goes to show how much this particular pageant means to her. More than all the others combined.

“You’re right.” She nods with renewed vigor. “Of course I’ll make the finals. This is my year.”

“Definitely.” Pep talk over for now, I head toward the bed on the far side of the room—the one that’s still neatly made and not covered in anything bedazzled.

Every item on Ginny’s bed shines like a disco ball, including her official Miss American Treasure tote bag. I’m beginning to understand why she uses one of those sleepmask things like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I might need to invest in one myself.

As I cross the room, Buttercup launches herself at my wheeled suitcase, growling and nipping at it as it drags behind me. By the time I’m within a foot of my bed, she’s fully attached herself to it and I’m hauling both luggage and bulldog.

“Is this normal behavior?” I ask. It can’t be, can it?

Ginny waves a dismissive hand.

I give Buttercup a little nudge with the toe of my Adidas sneaker. She backs away, peering up at me with her bulgy little eyes. They almost seem to point in two different directions. Like plastic googly eyes.

We stare each other down for a second, and then she resumes her attack on my luggage.

“Is she always so”—I pause, struggling for an appropriate adjective—“headstrong?”

Buttercup and I have never been properly introduced. I only know her via Ginny’s Instagram, where she’s usually doing something less destructive and far more adorable.

“Buttercup is shy,” Ginny says by way of explanation.

I look down at the snarling dog. “Sorry, I’m not getting shy here.”

“You’re stressing her out. She’s not used to strangers and new experiences. She’s a rescue dog, remember? The poor thing sat in the shelter for four months before I adopted her.”

Ginny checks the position of her sheet mask in the large mirror over the bathroom counter. It’s a double vanity, theoretically big enough for both of us. But Ginny’s massive amount of toiletries take up the entire space. “Did you know that seven million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, and half of them end up being euthanized?”

I did not know that, and it’s a horrible, horrible statistic. But her canned delivery prevents me from absorbing the news with the proper level of emotion.

She’s slipped into pageant mode. She’s rattling off more devastating facts and figures about homeless pets, all the while posing with her hand pressed to her heart and her head tilted just so.

I glance at Buttercup. Something tells me she’s heard the speech before.

“Maybe less euthanasia talk in front of the rescue dog?” I suggest. No wonder the poor thing is stressed.

“Oh my God.” Ginny blinks. “Do you think she understands?”

“I have no idea, but why take the chance?” Besides, I can’t handle Ginny’s platform-level intensity right now. I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m.

“I suppose you’re right.” Ginny scoops Buttercup into her arms.

I take advantage of the cease-fire, lift my suitcase onto the bed, and remove my things, paltry in comparison to the vast wardrobe Ginny has stuffed into the closet and all but one of the dresser drawers. Fortunately, I travel light.

Clotheswise, anyway. Beneath the layers of jeans and T-shirts, four hardback novels line the bottom of my bag. I remove all four and arrange them in a nice, neat stack atop the nightstand closest to my bed.

When I look up, Ginny’s shaking her head. “Are you sure you brought enough reading material?”

“Don’t judge. I’m on vacation, remember?”

“Exactly. You’re a librarian. Your vacation should be book-free.” Ginny makes a zero sign with one of her perfectly manicured hands.

“How are we even related?” It’s not the first time I’ve asked that question, and I know with every fiber of my being that Ginny wonders the same thing sometimes.

How could she not?

“Before you dive into one of those, can you take Buttercup for a quick walk?” She grabs a Barbie-pink leash from her nightstand. And—surprise!—it’s heavily bedazzled. “Pretty please.”

“What? Why me?” My gaze flits toward Buttercup, who’s now positioned on Ginny’s pillow with her plump rear facing me. “She doesn’t even like me. Stranger danger and all that.”

Ginny rolls her eyes. “Stranger danger? You spend too much time with little kids.”

True. She dragged me to yoga once, and I kept referring to easy pose as crisscross applesauce.

Still, Buttercup doesn’t seem any more thrilled by the idea than I am. Also, I’ve already begun typing the address of the theme park into the Uber app on my phone. I’m supposed to be dodging a fire-breathing dragon in Diagon Alley right now, not walking a petulant French bulldog.

“I was kind of hoping to head over to Harry Potter World so I could be back in time for us to have an early dinner. Don’t you have pageant stuff today?” I’m pretty sure she has a date with some spray tanner this afternoon. Her skin tone matches mine right now, and I know from experience that Ginny is usually at least four shades closer to orange when there’s a pageant on the horizon.

“Yes, and of course you can head right over there just as soon as you walk Buttercup. She hasn’t been out since early this morning. I can’t do it—I’m not allowed to leave the room without my sash on.”

I blink. “What?”

“Contestants can’t leave their hotel rooms unless they’re pageant-ready. Outside of this room, I have to wear my sash at all times.”

I don’t even know what to say, but suddenly the army of beauty queens from the elevator makes more sense. “That’s crazypants. It’s like you’re some kind of pageant hostage. Put your sash on, and take her out yourself.”

Ginny sighs. “Dramatic much? This isn’t some tiny regional pageant. Miss American Treasure is the big time. She’s a role model. You know that.”

I do. I probably know more about that than any of those chattering elevator girls.

“I can’t go out there like this,” she says.

“Fine.” I take the leash from her hands. She’s clearly in no condition to leave the room, although I would pay money to see an Instagram post of Ginny wearing the sash and her sheet mask at the same time.

“Thank you.” Her slender shoulders sag with relief. “I owe you one. We’ll have a great dinner tonight, I promise. It’ll be just like old times.”

Old times?

I don’t believe her for a minute. When we were kids, our favorite dinners included sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese. I can’t remember the last time I saw a carb cross Ginny’s lips.

“Come on, Buttercup,” I mutter.

The portly little dog growls the entire time I’m attaching her leash to her sparkly pink collar. This should be lovely.

“We’ll be right back.” I cast a glance over my shoulder as I lead Buttercup out the door, and Ginny catches my gaze in the mirror.

She gives me a little wave. I wave back, and for a moment, I go still. Rooted to the spot. Ginny’s sheet mask is gone, and her face is bare. Clean. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her makeup-free. Without the airbrushed foundation, the contouring and highlighting, the carefully lined lips and the double layers of false eyelashes, she looks a lot like me.

She looks exactly like me, actually. Same nose. Same eyes. Same heart-shaped face.

Same DNA.

Because even though my sister has always been the pretty one, the beauty queen—the Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo—she’s also my twin.

where2buy

Purchase Link: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Accidental-Beauty-Queen/Teri-Wilson/9781508283553


5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BEING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR

TERI: I’ve published quite a few books over the past few years, and of course I’ve learned so much during the process—about the publishing industry and myself, as well. Here are 5 of those things:

  1. Writing the book is just the beginning

When I signed my first publishing contract, I had no idea how much work it takes for a manuscript to become a book. From the editing process all the way to marketing and sales, it takes an entire team of people and a whole lot of effort.

  1. Love your story

I know some people will probably disagree with this statement, but I think it’s really important to write a book you love. Write what you are passionate about. At the end of the day, it’s a business and some types of books sell better than others, but I believe if a writer is in love with their story, it will shine through in the writing. Don’t write to trends! You could end up being pigeon-holed into something for a long time.

  1. The best thing about a career in writing romance is the relationships you will form along the way

I’ve met so many wonderful people in the course of my writing journey. Most all of my closest friends are involved in the publishing world. I highly recommend writers befriend other writers. A support system in this industry is a wonderful thing.

  1. Sometimes it takes a book some time to become successful

When my first trade paperback, Unleashing Mr. Darcy, was released, sales weren’t that great. The reviews were wonderful, but we were having a hard time trying to reach readers. For a while, I felt like the book was a disappointment to people on my team and it made me feel pretty awful. But two years after its release, Unleashing Mr. Darcy was made into a very popular film by the Hallmark Channel and now it is my bestselling title. You just never know what will happen!

  1. Writing will always be the ultimate reward

Some books will sell more than others. That’s just the nature of the business, but writing and creating something that you love and that you’re proud of is priceless. I write because I love it, and that’s been the one constant during this entire crazy ride.


About The Author

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


GIVEAWAY

Want to win your own copy of The Accidental Beauty Queen? Just like this post and leave a comment on this post to be entered to win! Winner will be chosen at random on 12/15 and notified.

Review: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Review

Title: Dance of Thieves

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre: YA/ Fantasy

Series: Dance of Thieves #1

Release Date:August 7th 2018


Synopsis:A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.”

My thoughts (1)

Told from the POVs of the two main characters, Kazi and Jase, Dance of Thieves was a riveting tale that captured my full attention from the very first page. Kazi is a fierce, badass female. Going from a street thief to an employee of the Queen, Kazi and her two equally fierce comrades, Wren and Sonave, are sent on a top secret mission to find a fugitive believed to be in hiding in the mysterious lands of the Ballengers.

Following his fathers untimely death, Jase Ballenger is the newly appointed leader. Proud, powerful, and ready to lead his people, Jase and Kazi find themselves thrust together in an unexpected turn of events.

“This was more than an unexpected turn. It was an unchecked slide into hell.”

I know I say how I dislike insta-love but I honestly adored Jase and Kazi’s relationship and they must be protected at all costs. They were both flawed individuals with secrets and secret agendas but I LOVED THEM OK. They are my precious.

“I do want tomorrows with you, Jase. I want a lifetime of tomorrows.”

I am often weary when reading a novel that takes place in a universe from a series/book I have not yet read, mostly because I always find myself getting completely confused with characters, events, places, etc… With Dance of Thieves, this was not the case at all. Mary Pearson delivers the layout of this novel wonderfully, describing events that had previously occurred in just enough detail as to not be overwhelming and instead focusing on new events occurring and new characters being brought into this world.

And oh lordy, that ending tho

I will say I’m kicking myself for not reading the Remnant Chronicles and have made it a priority to promptly purchase the 3 books and immerse myself into the world once more while I impatiently await the next book ( Vow of Thieves ) in this series to arrive ( September 2019 ).

This was a 5 out of 5 stars read! I completely loved it and have a feeling it is going to send me into a very painful book hangover.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: Solace Island by Meg Tilly

Review

Title: Solace Island

Author: Meg Tilly

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Suspense

Release Date: November 6th, 2018

Series: Solace Island, #1


Synopsis: “Dumped on the eve of her wedding and looking for a quiet place to lick her emotional wounds, Maggie Harris joins her sister on Solace Island, where she hopes to recover from the stunning betrayal. At first, Maggie resists Eve’s impassioned argument about relocating permanently so the sisters can open their own local bakery. What she definitely doesn’t need on her road to recovery are Eve’s efforts to fix her up with their mysterious and alluring neighbor, Luke Benson–even if he is incredibly handsome and desirable.

Just as Maggie starts to get comfortable in her new surroundings, a car tries to run her down in the middle of the street. If it weren’t for Luke’s extremely quick reflexes, Maggie could have been killed, leading her to wonder just who exactly Luke Benson really is…

Luke thought he’d left the violence of the high risk security world behind. But he can’t stand by while Maggie’s life is threatened. Luke will do anything to keep her safe–even moving Maggie and her sister into his house with its state-of-the-art security features. But with the secrets between them and an unknown threat stalking her heels, Luke will have to think fast to prove to Maggie that she can trust him with her life–and with her heart.”

My thoughts (1)

After being dumped by her fiance the night of her bachelorette party, Maggie begrudgingly agrees to go on a vacation with her sister ,Eve, to a small island in the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks to recover and find herself. Swearing men off indefinitely, Maggie finds herself continuously running into the handsome Luke, the resident bread baker/total hottie on the island, and as feelings begin to develop for Luke  Maggie finds herself questioning her man-ban. Likewise, Luke finds Maggie to be equally intriguing and despite a terrible romantic past he shares with Maggie, Luke finds himself being drawn to her more and more. But Maggie’s past begins to find her on the island and as the feelings between her and Luke begin to develop, so does the danger.

Maggie was a sweet, goofy, and overall likable character who was easy to relate to and had many scenes where she made me out laugh out loud. Luke was tough but also charming and I loved the witty banter him and Maggie shared. Their relationship was totally cute and I would have loved it more if it weren’t for the feeling it was almost an insta-love between the two of them.

Solace Island was described beautifully and the imagery made me want to pack up all my bags and promptly move there as well. I enjoyed the coziness and quaintness of it all and cannot wait to read the next book in the series about Maggie’s sister, Eve. I’ve rated this a 4 stars as I enjoyed it greatly but felt the pacing of it was off throughout the book: at times moving quickly and other times moving slowly. The suspense portion of this novel did not begin to surface until about 2/3’s of the way through the story but once it kicked in, I was on the edge of my seat. And prepare yourself for a bit of a twist at the end when the “bad guy” is revealed. This was an easy, fun read with the right amount of suspense in it, perfect for a cool, fall day bundled up on your couch.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received access to this galley for free through the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review*

Review: The Black Witch By Laurie Forest

Review

Title: The Black Witch

Author: Laurie Forest

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Book in Series: #1 in The Black Witch Chronicles


Synopsis:A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.”

“Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.”

My thoughts (1)

The Black Witch follows Elloren Gardner attending a university to fulfill a dream she never thought possible rather than being married off to an unknown suitor as is the custom of the Gardnerians. Starting out, Elloren has firm beliefs on what is righteous and what is evil based on all the stories she has been taught growing up, but as the story ventures on and Elloren finds herself rooming with some of the supposed evil, she soon learns that everyone has their own side of the story and everything that has been drilled into her mind is very much biased as it is the side of the Gardnerians she has only heard.

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Like many typical fantasy worlds, you have the usual characters( wolf shifters, witches, dragons) but we are also introduced to other characters(yikes, snake faerie sounds crazy!). Set in an intricately built world, most of the story takes place at the University Elloran is attending with all sorts of characters and sub-plots introduced. I am eager to read the next in the series in hopes of wrapping up some of these said sub-plots. Elloran starts out as a naive sheltered young woman but as the story progresses her arc really takes off with her realizing how naive and sheltered she is (albeit, a biiiiit slooooowly) and attempting to fix the wrongs she committed. This is a dark fantasy with plenty of action, magic, a grand prophecy, and a bit of a slow-burning romance as well.

Okay you guys listen I’ve heard/read a bunch of opinions that people have regarding this book and so with that I just want to say that I enjoyed reading this(well, as much as one can enjoy reading about prejudice and the narrow-mindedness of people) and I am looking forward to reading The Iron Flower. It is no easy feat to write a novel revolving around so much hatred and injustice, but I felt Laurie Forest delivered it well. If you took this writing as the author promoting racism, then, um did we read the same book?

“People see what they expect to see,” he says sharply. “Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice.”

I’ve rated this 4 out of 5 stars because as much I enjoyed this, I felt it was a bit longer than it needed to be(600 pages) however, when I was reading it I was unaware it was 600 until I finished. So it was a very long book that felt long but I don’t think it felt like 600  pages long if that makes sense.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: Deviation by Christine Manzari

Review

Title: Deviation

Author: Christine Manzari

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi

Release Date: August 8th, 2013


Synopsis: “Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom. 

Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control. 

When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus. 

Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?”


My thoughts (1)

After terrorist attacks ravage the United States, a program emerges that enhances humans into Sophisticates: genetically altered humans that are faster, stronger, and smarter than the average human.  Cleo just wants to be average but being in the Sophisticates program she is anything but. Aside from being a Sophisticate, Cleo begins to show that she might be much more. When her rage burns her room and all her belongings to ash, she is sent to the Academy, a military school for special Sophisticates. Thrown into a rigorous training and new lifestyle from what she previously knew, Cleo soon begins to discover that she is not the only Sophisticate with other unique talents.

“You may not be able to control your future, but you can control how you handle it. Don’t let the fear rule you, rule the fear.”

What an excellent dystopian novel! Action-packed with plenty of drama, Deviation has been one of the best dystopian novels I’ve read this year! With super powers, romance, and ROLLER DERBY, once I started I could not put this down. Seriously though, how many books have you read with roller derby in them? I never knew I wanted it until now.

Cleo is a tough chick who was easy to relate to (except for the whole I-will-blow-you-into-smithereens-if-you-make-me-angry thing she had going on.) Although it would be cool to be able to blow things up with just your mind.

I really enjoyed the friendships that Cleo developed while at the Academy.  The romance between Cleo and the resident bad boy, Ozzy, was an insta-love and I am not the biggest fan of those ,however, it was still entertaining to read their back-and-forth banter. There were also a few phrases I noticed that were said somewhat repeatedly although now that I’m trying to think of what they were I’m having a brain fart. The pacing of events unfolding was executed perfectly and I found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens next. There were a few topics that I wanted to know more about ( Cleo’s parents?) but since this is only the first in the series, I am hopeful to learn more in the second. I give this 4 out of 5 stars! I can’t wait to begin the next in this series!

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Review

Title: Fight or Flight

Author: Samantha Young

Genre: Romance

Release Date: October 9th, 2018


Synopsis:   A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series. 
The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.
When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her….


My thoughts (1)

“Can we just ignore this tiny angry person and upgrade me now? The deep accented voice said somewhere above my head to my right.

Ava Breefort can’t believe her luck when the rude Scot from her flight back home keeps reappearing in her life. Against her better judgement she agrees to a purely physical relationship with the arrogant Caleb and as the sparks fly, both begin to come to the realization that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Ava and Caleb are both stubborn individuals and neither want to believe that either of them could actually have feelings for the other. This was a classic enemies-turned- lovers and those always get me in romance novels.

Ava is a complex character who despite appearances, is not all put together and just likes to feel in control of what she can control. She endured many hardships growing up and came out the other end stronger and better and was an awesome, inspiring protagonist. When we are first introduced to Caleb, he is an arrogant, rude dude. Now I know the author had him be so horrid intentionally, and as the story progresses we discover he can in fact be nice and sweet. We eventually( he is a very private person) discover the awful events that led to the wall he built around his heart and these events helped me forgive some of his actions (except for the one thing he said to Ava towards the end which made me almost put the book down because I was like nooooooooooooooo sir you did not just say that)

Moving on from Caleb’s faults, I will say this was a fun read! Not just a floofy romance without any depth, I enjoyed reading all about the characters backgrounds. Despite almost not finishing this, I’m glad I pushed through my anger towards Caleb and got to see how everything turned out for Ava and everyone else.  I found this to be a decent read and therefore have rated it a 3.75. If it wasn’t for the very hurtful comment Caleb made to push Ava away it would have been a 4. It just really rubbed me the wrong way!

This is my first novel I have read by Samantha Young but I think I will be checking out her Dublin Street series. Fight or Flight was not only a fun, romantic novel it also deals with other topics regarding self-love, tragedies, family(or lack of), and friends who are your family. I also completely adored Harper and Ava’s friendship and am hoping for a novel about Harper.

3.75.jpg

*I received access to this galley for free through the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review*

 

Review: The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Review

Title: The Raging Ones

Author: Krista Ritchie and Becca Ritchie

Genre: YA/ Sci-Fi

Series: Book 1 in The Raging Ones


Synopsis: “In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.
Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.
Until the day she does.
Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.
Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.
With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.”


My thoughts (1)

The Raging Ones was an enthralling sci-fi read! I was immediately drawn into this futuristic world where everyone knows the day of their death and that is that, nothing to do about it.

“Be careful of how you die, my little Franny.” she told me. “You can set your terms but not the day.”

Told from the POV of the 3 main characters, Court, Mykal, and Franny, we are able to view this strange, futuristic world with fresh eyes and fresh perspectives. All 3 have such unique ways of life it made this such a delightful read. Told in 3 different POV’s you’d think it might get confusing but it was portrayed in an excellent manner and easy to follow who was who. Sharing a bond that goes deeper than just the fact they all dodged their deathday, Franny, Court, and Mykal are linked emotionally as well. That’s right, they can feel each others emotions. From the description of the novel you might think, oh great this is gonna be just another love triangle trope but you are wrong my friend, WRONG.

“Is it possible to know the core of someone without understanding the shell?”

With such an intriguing plot and complex characters I was on the edge of my seat the whole time wondering WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT, ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE IT, OHMYGAWWWWD. and also just a fair warning: CRAZY CLIFFHANGER ENDING.

It me now after finishing⬆️

I need the sequel asap please and thank you.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

Review: A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Review

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1


Synopsis: “Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.”


My thoughts (1)

Wowee, wowee, wowee. Okay, once again I’m a bit late to a very popular series and author. A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first novel I’ve read by Sarah J Maas but it is most definitely not going to be the last(thankfully she has tons of books out) I’ve been putting off reading ACOTAR for a very long time and finally caved because I felt like it was just staring me down on my bookshelf. Read me,it begged. So I did. All of the book. In one day. Well, more like in half a day. YOLO

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.” 

Feyre is tasked with the care of her family; her father and her two sisters. While out hunting one evening, Feyre happens upon a deer. But she is not the only one hunting. A giant wolf is also out prowling for dinner and she decides to not only shoot the deer but also the wolf. But killing comes with a price and Feyre must pay. Thus, sets forth a series of events that lead to Feyre being swept away to Prythian, the Faerie realm. Upon arriving in Prythian, Feyre comes to the realization that there is more going on in this magical realm than the humans are aware of. A curse, magic going berserk, and creatures far more evil than the Faeries.

“I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.” 

I got some very serious Beauty and the Beast vibes from this and I loved it❤️️. Feyre is a total badass and only annoyed me a couple of times(lol), specifically in the beginning. I loved Tamlin and Lucien and all the other side characters(except Nesta) BUT. but, I am not the biggest fan of insta-love🤷 It wasn’t necessarily instant but just seemed to happen a bit quickly considering all that was going on. There is a lot going on in this besides love though! Magic! Evil, scary monsters! Fighting! CURSES! Just all around awesome! I am so excited to move onto A Court of Mist and Fury now😍

5 out of 5 stars

Review: Head Case by Niki Cluff

Review

Title: Head Case

Author: Niki Cluff

Genre: Teen/YA, Sci-Fi

Release Date: September 14th, 2018


Synopsis: “Allyson has been in a coma for the last nine months. What’s worse, she can hear everything the doctors say. She knows they’re keeping her in a coma and that she’s at the mercy of the hospital’s First-in-Human trial—a VR system implanted in her brain for a second chance at life.
Attached to the VR, Ally discovers worlds unlike home. She can do whatever she wants, but she misses her parents. With help from Harrison, a rabbit-eared boy, they work together to free themselves from Aishwarya, the mad queen of the world. But when Harrison wakes up and doesn’t come for Ally, she’ll split her soul to the brink of death to save herself.”

When Allyson is being forcefully kept in a coma for the benefit of the hospital, all she can do is lie there and listen to what is going on around her. Unable to tell her worried parents what is really happening, Ally is helpless as she overhears them agree to a decision that will place her in a new virtual reality program that’s for coma patients to participate in  which allows them to live a life, albeit a fake one. With no way of telling anyone what is really going on, Allyson is whisked away and undergoes a surgery to have a chip implanted in her.

“Welcome to your simulated world. Would you like to play the tutorial?”

Upon her arrival in the new virtual world, Ally is introduced to many other players. Among them are Chester, a cat-like mischievous boy and a rabbit-eared Harrison who Ally can’t help but feel like she knows. When the self-proclaimed red queen of this new world meets Ally, Ally discovers this world is not the safe haven it appears to be and that although the world is fake in many aspects, some consequences can be very real.

This was a really fun book to read! I was not expecting it to be a spin on the classic Alice in Wonderland but was pleasantly surprised. Ally is a great protagonist, real and likable and the side characters were great also. I wish the character development could have gone a bit more into depth, specifically, Ally’s hacking skills. I feel it would’ve really added to the story. The pacing was a bit all over with it being slow, then quick, then just right. However, the setting of the virtual world was described very realistically and Niki’s writing is vivid and thorough. I loved the ending and with that cliffhanger I am hoping for a sequel!

*I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Thank you Niki for the opportunity to read this!

4 out of 5 stars

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