Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

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Her name is Domino Ray.

But the voice inside her head has a different name.

When the mysterious Ms. Karina finds Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls’ home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the woman’s approval…and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.

But the home has horrible secrets. So do the girls living there. So does Cain.

Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because Ms. Karina doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, she doesn’t know about the danger living inside Domino’s mind.

She doesn’t know about Wilson.

For me, this book didn't live up to my expectations. I loved the cover and the description of the book but it made me expect something other than what I received. Don't get me wrong...I enjoyed the book a but I wanted more. I feel like I was expecting a rated R version and what I got was PG for the most part with a smidgen of PG-13 thrown in. I wanted to see the darker side to Domino and it was mostly just hinted at throughout the book. The only time that we get to see Wilson is at the end of the book. I wanted the author to explore the inside of Domino's head instead of her saying shut up to herself and having drama with other girls at Ms. Karina's house. I know that the author said that she was trying to explore DID but I feel that it wasn't as much of a success as I would have liked for it to be. 

Torn (Dark Legacy Duet #2) by Natasha Knight


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BLURB

Taking her is my right.
Breaking her, my duty. 
I was always going to choose Helena. I knew it the instant I saw her. 
She’s different than the others. There’s a darkness about her. Something wild inside her. And it calls to the beast inside me.
But she isn’t what I expect. With every word and every touch, she pushes me, burrows deep under my skin, challenging the rules, upending history. 
And all the while, I see how my brother watches her. He wants her, and as the rules stand, she’ll become his in one year’s time. 
Except that I have no intention of giving her up. 
*Arc provided in exchange for an honest review*
I enjoyed Torn just as much as Taken! It starts off right where Taken left off with Helena being thrown into a situation that is out of her control. She is desperate but has no one to turn to. Then as the book progresses she is still unsure who to trust and if anyone truly cares about her at all. I loved all of the twists and turns of the book. The author allows us into Helena and Sebastian's heads more so in this one which makes for an even more interesting read. This is just me being nitpicky but I loved Greg in both books so I would have loved to have seen more of him. I especially wanted more interaction between him and Helena because I found those times in the books the most intriguing. I wanted to know more about him. 


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Taken, Dark Legacy Duet #1
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AUTHOR BIO
USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are almost always guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that.


AUTHOR LINKS
Website: 
http://natasha-knight.com
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Asylum (Asylum #1) by Madeleine Roux

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Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

I feel like Madeleine Roux nailed the art of subtle creepiness in a horror book. I'm not going to lie here. I had to read this book with the lights on because this book was so descriptive that I felt like I was there in the asylum with Dan, Abby, and Jordan. i thought that it was cleverly done and there were times when I wasn't sure if I actually knew what was going on. I'm sure that that was the author's intention in order to put the reader in the mind of the characters  who are suffering through the creepiness that is the asylum. 
I think that the problem with the book for me was that there was too much focus on the teenage drama . I would have liked for the book to focus more so on the stories/pictures and old patients of the asylum. The mystery of what was happening was what pulled me into the story. I didn't care about the dating drama or one character being jealous that one of the others had friends besides them. 



Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world--or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline"Evie" Greene leads a charmed life--until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future--and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can't do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side...

In Poison PrincessNew York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces a dark and intriguing world, full of unspeakable danger and irresistible romance.

I loved so many things about this book! I thought that the use of tarot cards corresponding with human counterparts that have certain strengths and weaknesses was clever and very well done. I have never seen this done in a book before so it was a fresh and exciting concept for me to sink my teeth into. I thought that the author did a great job of having visions/drawings correspond with things so as to make the reader almost believe that characters were crazy. 
The world building had good bones to it but I would have liked for more information than just for the author to describe a few things about some of the results of the ancient prophesy. Other than some lack of detail, that was easy to come to terms with the only other issue that I had with the book was the main character. I found her stubborn and naive. I realize that she is trying to cope with a truckload of crap but I would like to think that she would have more common sense than she did. She grows as the book progresses to the point where she isn't as whiny or annoying. This leads me to believe that the sequel will be better due to continued character growth!





The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi


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Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

I have absolutely no idea why this book is not rated higher. I loved this book from beginning to end! I thought that the prose was elegant and beautiful. I was entranced by the writing style of the author and the descriptions that she used to transport readers into a story of finding who you are by going through a trial by fire. 
I have found that I really enjoy reading books that have an mythical middle eastern type setting which is what The Star Touched Queen turned out to be. I loved the side stories that are told in the story and the symbolism that they usually have for the story as a whole. It just seems like a rich tapestry  
We follow Maya on her journey of discovery not only of who she is but of what path she wants to take in her life. I loved how she was sensitive was still seemed to have a spine of steel. She is treated unfairly for something that she has no control over until one day she is offered a way out. That is not where the story ends though....
This book reminded me of hints of other books that I have enjoyed. It combined them all into something fantastic. There was magic, strange creatures, mystery, and creepiness. I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to keep reading to uncover more of the story. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Taken (Dark Legacy Duet #1) by Natasha Knight

 
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BLURB

I’m one of four Willow daughters.
He’s the first-born son of the Scafoni family. And we have history.
For generations, the Scafoni family have demanded a sacrifice of us. A virgin daughter to atone for sins so old, we don’t even remember what they are anymore.
But when you have as much money as they do, you don’t play by the rules. You make them.
And Sebastian Scafoni makes all the rules.
The moment I saw him, I knew he would choose me. Even though the mark on my sheath declared me unclean. Even though my beautiful sisters stood beside me, offered to him, he still chose me.
He made me his.
And then he set out to break me.
 
*ARC received in exchange for an honest review*
I thought the premise sounded intriguing and a change in mafia type romance stories. This book turned out to be just as exciting and mysterious as I would have liked for it to be. The author gave just enough background on the characters for readers to be able to connect with them and enough breadcrumbs to the mystery to leave readers wanting more.

I had thought that Sebastian was going to be a one dimensional character but I was pleasantly surprised as the book went on. He wasn't a very kind or pleasant person but had a cleverness and further reasoning behind his darkness than I had first suspected. I wouldn't say that I liked him per say but he was a very intriguing character. His brother Gregory holds my attention easily in the book as well. I thought that the author did a great job of making him mysterious while giving readers breadcrumbs as to who he is. It was easy to like Helena as she felt like the only character to clearly root for within the madness of the deal between their two families. She tries to keep being brave and to fight even though she is a prisoner.

I want to know more about Sebastian's family in the next book because one of the aspects of this book that kept me reading was the family dynamic. It was uncomfortable and tense between them. I had a feeling that things would escalate but I want to know the secrets and the motivations of the family members. I'm also interested in learning more about Helena's family and why they continue to go along with the deal.


PURCHASE LINKS 

 

COMING SOON
#2 Torn – Releasing November 14, 2018

AUTHOR BIO
USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are almost always guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that.
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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

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Website: https://www.nisabelleblanco.com