Saturday, October 20, 2018

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani

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The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
 

I don't even remember what it was that drew my attention to this series but I am glad that I read it. Initially, I wasn't sure how I would feel about it because it is a middle grade book but I think that it can be enjoyed by an older audience as well. The School for Good and Evil was a darker book than I had originally expected. It reminded me of a darker version of Shrek in that it takes fairy tales and flips them to the point where all is not as it seems. The side of evil may not be as evil as it seems and good may be more stuck up and shallow than anticipated. 

I loved the themes in this book! I was impressed with the author focusing on friendship, beauty beyond the surface, and being able to be brave and set your own path in life. I loved that neither side was what it seemed in this book and that everyone can be good or evil. It just depends on what you do about it. Will you let others tell you where you fit or will you forge your own path that may not be perfect but is yours and yours alone?

I also found the story itself to be enjoyable and entertaining. I thought that the characters were well done especially Agatha. She was by far my favorite for the simple reason of being about to relate to her easily. I enjoyed her cynical, courageous nature. She was selfless and kind. I didn't like Sophie as much because she just seemed like a shallow piece of work. I grew to like her in the end but I found her annoying throughout the majority of the book. I'm excited to read the next book to see where the author takes the series next. There is a clear ending to this book so I can only guess how Agatha and Sophie's story will take readers next. 







Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad's recitation, and only the "good parts" reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He's reconstructed the "Good Parts Version" to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it's about everything.

I can't believe how much I loved The Princess Bride! I felt like seeing the movie so many times and loving it would put me at a disadvantage. When it comes to movies that are based on books, I tend to hate the movies. They seem to take so many liberties and in the end don't seem to be based on the books at all. I thought that this experience might be the opposite where in reading the book might make me dislike the movie. I was surprised to find that The Princess Bride deviates from the norm. With the exception of some wording choices and a few additions of things in the book that were left out of the movie they were extremely similar. 

I found that I loved the extra details in the book. I fell in the love with the idea of the Zoo of Death and the extra information that was given about Inigo and Fezzick. I also appreciated what was done with the character of Prince Humperdinck. He was much more menacing in the book which gave it a different tone that I enjoyed. I didn't like Buttercup at first but learned to as the book progressed and she grew more as a character. 

I think that there is really only one complaint that I have about the book. I HATED the prologue. It just seemed so clunky and confusing. I had thoughts of DNFing the book because there was nothing that I enjoyed about this part of the book. I eventually decided to skip the rest of it and move on to the actual story which greatly improved my attitude towards the book. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang

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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
 

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was not as dramatic as other romances can be which I loved. It felt more real to me but with a smidgen of angst thrown in for good measure. The Kiss Quotient is definitely not a YA due to the graphic nature of intimate scenes between Stella and Michael. If something like that doesn't bother you then I would definitely recommend reading this sweet romance about learning to accept yourself and others. 
Stella seems to believe that the way to a man's heart and into a relationship is threw learning how to be intimate. Intimacy seems to cause her extreme anxiety and do she seeks out Michael for help to be better and more comfortable in the bedroom
I loved each of the main characters. Michael is so patient and tender with Stella as the book progresses which endeared him to me. Stella stole my heart from the beginning of the book though. I felt for her as she struggled to calm her anxiety and interact with others. She is what made this book real for me. I'm a sucker for main characters with flaws because no one is perfect in real life. Relationships are not always sunshine and roses. You have to put in the work. Each of these characters were flawed and Stella found it hard to communicate at times with Michael because everything was literal to her. 



  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright

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Based on a true story.
Seven-year-old Chellamuthu’s life is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in India, sold to a Christian orphanage, and then adopted by an unsuspecting couple in the United States. It takes months before the boy can speak enough English to tell his parents that he already has a family back in India. Horrified, they try their best to track down his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends.

Meanwhile, they simply love him, change his name to Taj, enroll him in school, make him part of their family—and his story might have ended there had it not been for the pestering questions in his head: Who am I? Why was I taken? How do I get home?

More than a decade later, Taj meets Priya, a girl from southern India with surprising ties to his past. Is she the key to unveil the secrets of his childhood or is it too late? And if he does make it back to India, how will he find his family with so few clues?

This is not a book that I would normally pick up and read. I had no thoughts about it going into it. I thought that the beginning of the book was interesting. I enjoyed getting to see what life was like in India for a family that was not well off as well as what the culture / religion was like. There were quite a few times when I wanted to yell at Chellamuthu because he was doing things that I knew would have consequences that he wouldn't enjoy. As the book progressed, my heart hurt for him and the different trials that he was forced to endure because of the actions of others. 

I think that what I liked most about this book was the focus on identity and family. How much of your identity centers around knowing where you came from? Taj goes through a period of forgetting and then remembering again. It is only after this point in the story where he feels he is whole again. It was both a devastating and touching story about a boy who was taken and who was trying to find his way home again. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blood Drenched Conquest (Ryze #3) by N. Isabelle Blanco

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Soleria 

When a human male breaks your heart, it can feel like your life is ending.
When an immortal goddoes it . . . well, I learned the hard way that can lead to actual death.
The last few years I’ve been isolated except for my two best friends Ismini and Evesse.
Until they both went missing.
Until I started searching for them and connected with the last thing I expected.
A pair of white eyes.
He ruined me. All because I was stupid enough to give in.
Too weak to fight him.
His scent.
His taste.
Everything about that god possessed me. I knew he’d be the end of me. I knew it.
I couldn’t stay away regardless . . .
And he drove me to suicide.
Now I’m back.
I’m different.
A monster I cannot recognize.
A monster thirsting for blood . . .

Ianthen 

The end of the last war is a day I’ll never forget.
How could I? It’s the day my best friend prophesied I would one day die.
I, the primal God of the Hunt, the first of his kind, dead. Gone.
All because of a female.
I lived nearly fourteen millenia waiting.
No, running.
Until shebarreled into my dream and turned everything upside down.
I ran again.
I hurt her.
I tore out the very heart I would die for.
Because of my actions, I had to watch her die.
Now she’s back.
She’s more different than any of us could have ever predicted.
Lost to the obsession for Conquest that has awakened in her veins.
A female I’m determined to save before death finishes consuming me.
 



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Review
*ARC recieved in exchange for an honest review*
N. Isabelle Blanco provides an interesting take on Gods and Goddesses in this third book of the Ryze series. There are more elements added into Blood Drenched Conquest that are hinted at in the previous two books. This book focuses more on Soleria and Ianthen's relationship dynamics and how they come to meet. I had been wanting to know more about Ianthen since the first book. He intrigued me due to him being a hunter and also a wolf. This adds a different dynamic to how he relates to those around him as well as his relationship with the opposite sex. I didn't like Soleria as much as the other female leads in the series thus far but enjoyed that she is a witch which gave her a different take on realizing that there are Gods and Goddesses. Ianthen was definately my favorite part of this book. I loved getting to know him better through his back story and seeing him interact with everyone. I'm glad that the author decided to have snippets from the other couples we have already met in the first two books of the series. I loved getting to know them as characters and would have been disappointed if they didn't at least make an appearance in Blood Drenched Conquest. 


AUTHOR BIO

N. Isabelle Blanco is the Amazon Bestselling Author of the Allure Series, the Need Series with K.I. Lynn, and many others. At the age of three, due to an odd fascination with studying her mother’s handwriting, she began to read and write. By the time she’d reached kindergarten, she had an extensive vocabulary and her obsession with words began to bleed into every aspect of her life.

That is, until coffee came a long and took over everything else.

Nowadays, N. spends most of her days surviving the crazy New York rush and arguing with her characters every ten minutes or so, all in the hopes of one day getting them under control.


AUTHOR LINKS

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2ogIF74
Facebook: http://facebook.com/nisabelleblanco
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nisabelleblanco
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-isabelle-blanco
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nyddi 
Website: https://www.nisabelleblanco.com


Austin by Lauren Runow, Jeannine Colette

AUSTIN: A Sexton Brothers Novel by Jeannine Colette and Lauren Runow! AUSTIN will hit your kindle on September 20, 2018! Don't forget to add it to your TBR and pre-order your copy now!

Title: Austin: A Sexton Brothers Novel
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 20, 2018

Book Description
Jalynn
I’m the girl who’s always picking up the pieces of other people’s mistakes. 
Until tonight.
I accidentally cause one false start, and now I’m being pulled into a guy’s car—who everyone only knows as Falcon—before an illegal street race.
He may not want anyone to truly know who he is, but he’s met his match. 
Game on, Falcon.

Austin
People know I run these races. 
They know not to mess with me, or my car.
When the identity of the girl who causes a false start is revealed, I have to make an example of her.
Letting her see who I am was never the plan.
Neither was running into her the next day as my brother’s new assistant. 
She said she wanted nothing to do with me, but when I yank her into a janitor’s closet, making sure she keeps my secret is the last thing on my mind.
She may want more than my secrets, but my racing may be the last thing I try to hide.





PURCHASE HERE-->
Lauren Runow is the author of multiple Adult Contemporary Romance novels, some more dirty than others. When Lauren isn't writing, you'll find her listening to music, at her local CrossFit, reading, or at the baseball field with her boys. Her only vice is coffee, and she swears it makes her a better mom!

Lauren is a graduate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco and is the founder and co-owner of the community magazine she and her husband publish. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.

You can also stay in touch through the social media links below.






or sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/btD6j9



Jeannine Colette is the author of the Abandon Collection - a series of stand-alone novels featuring dynamic heroines who have to abandon their reality in order to discover themselves . . . and love along the way. Each book features a new couple, exciting new city and a rose of a different color.

A graduate of Wagner College and the New York Film Academy, Jeannine went on to become a Segment Producer for television shows on CBS and NBC. She left the television industry to focus on her children and pursue a full-time writing career. She lives in New York with her husband, the three tiny people she adores more than life itself, and a rescue pup named Wrigley.
Jeannine and her family are active supporters of The March of Dimes and Strivright The Auditory-Oral School of New York.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Fantasy of Frost (Tainted Accords #1) by Kelly St. Clare

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Sometimes it takes death to show you how to live.
I know many things. What I am capable of, what I will change, what I will become. But there is one thing I will never know...

The veil I've worn from birth carries with it a terrible loneliness; a suppression I cannot imagine being free of.

Some things never change...

My mother will always hate me. Her court will always shun me.

...Until they do.

When the peace delegation arrives from the savage world of Glacium, my life is shoved wildly out of control by the handsome Prince Kedrick who, for unfathomable reasons, shows me kindness.

And the harshest lessons are learned.

Sometimes it takes the world bringing you to your knees to find that spark you thought forever lost.

Sometimes it takes death to show you how to live.
This is not my first Kelly St. Clare book but it is my absolute favorite! I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from Fantasy of Frost. I had heard that it was different from other fantasy books out there which is a tall order considering a lot of them start to blur together after a while. Nevertheless, I was excited to read something different in the fantasy genre. I wasn't disappointed! From the moment the book began I knew that I was going to have to read the entire series. The world that Kelly St. Clare created was thoughtful and interesting without it feeling too much like an explanation from one of the main characters. I was immediately intrigued by Olina not only because of the veil she was forced to wear but also because of her spirit. She was not like the rest of her race and was genuinely kind to everyone despite what she was forced to face. She refused to break no matter how much hate her mother spewed her way. 

I loved the fact that the author managed to surprise me at every turn. Every time I thought that something was going to happen she surprised me with the book taking a different turn. The only part of the book that threw me was the ending. I'm not sure where the author is going with the series exactly but I wasn't expecting that. Believe me when I say that if you are looking for a book that is different from other fantasy books out there you should pick up Fantasy of Frost. It is refreshing and really well written!