Friday, July 17, 2015

[Cover Reveal] Fairy Tale Confessions Collection

Fairy Tale Confessions Collection
Genre: Fairy Tale
Published: October 1st 2015 (Amber Leaf Publishing)

Fourteen bestselling authors twist up your favorite tales. Will your favorite have a happily-every-after?

Get ready to meet some sexy, not-so-valiant princes, punk-rock princesses, villains turned heroes, and truly vile monsters, causing havoc within our favorite happily-ever-afters.

Read about Dancing Princesses getting their groove on in a disco club, a seriously sexy Rumpelstiltskin, and one alluring Puss-in-Boots, plus many, many more captivating characters in these fourteen all new short-stories.

In association with RT 2016 come meet the twisted fairy tale girls: M. Clarke, Amy Daws, L.P. Dover, Elizabeth Montgomery, Shannon Morton, Brynn Myers, Wendy Owens, Sarah J. Pepper, Cameo Renae, Kellie Sheridan, Jessica Sorensen, Kristen Strassel, Tish Thawer, and K.R. Wilburn. If you’ll be in Vegas for RT 2016, join hosts, Sarah J. Pepper and Tish Thawer at the Fairy Tale Costume Party where you could see a traditional Snow-White, or a completely gothed-out Belle roaming the scene, win dinner with Prince Charming, and snag gift baskets from all the participating authors.

Brought to you by:

Friday, July 10, 2015

[Review] I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun
Jandy Nelson
YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Published: April 2015 (Walker Books)
Format: digital
Pages: 429
Rating: ★★★★☆
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Warning: Spoilers!!
(Go to the TL;DR section for a spoiler free short review)

This story is one unlike I've ever read and maybe that stems from my low count of contemporary books, but one I ended up enjoying immensely. When I picked it up, I really wanted to do it for the high concentration of metaphors to make fun of the writing, but that plan slapped me in the face when I got involved in the story. Then I ended up liking it, dare I say loving it. Maybe I won't go that far yet. But guh!

I want to dive into the character of Noah first. He was such a different specimen. At first, I hated reading his point of view because of all the try-hard writing and his whining. It was so desperate to be different and purple, but after I thought about it for a long time, I decided this was the best way to go for his character. It really reflected the way he saw things, especially since he was an artist. I, myself, do not claim to be an artist; I feel that the crazy way he saw things and experienced them directly reflected the way his mind functioned. He was a prodigy and he wanted so much more than he had. He wanted to be the best he knew he had the capacity to be. I felt bad for judging him as dismissing him as arrogant and selfish. I had to remind myself of his age multiple times and how that factored in to the way he acted. In the end, I felt that all of him rolled up into a bundle was messy and imperfect and I loved him. I loved his relationship and cared about what happened to him.

Jude, I feel, was an okay character. I didn't dislike her or like her, really. I didn't enjoy her love story at all. I felt it entirely unnecessary. It was too sudden and chalked up to reasons that didn't make sense to me. I did like that she consoled herself with the idea of her grandmother. She was always seeing her and talking to her and I suspect this is a coping method. It seems plausible to me. I didn't understand how her mother was the one breaking anything and making Jude's life difficult. That seemed a bit silly to me, but overlookable. Jude as a character in her own skin was interesting. She was fearless and I loved to see that Jude reemerge. I dislike how her character seemed wasted on some lame love story with some lame guy, she had so much more potential. Her art skills were the most interesting part for me. It seemed to be a passion that she didn't feel comfortable pursuing, and at some point one she wouldn't let herself indulge in.

The writing! Woah! If you noticed up there, I complained about all the flowery prose and metaphors. Well, I am going to eat my words and say that was something that made me stick with the story. If you know me, you know that I love overdone writing. Usually I don't go for metaphors, though, I go for details. This probably was part of my problem to begin with. Some quotes were hard hitting to me and I really related. I even jotted a few down for safe keeping to look at when I want a brief admittance to the characters (Noah) again. I found that the writing depicted the mood extremely well and made you really feel what the character was feeling.

The pacing and flow was really nice. Every time the PoV would change, I'd find myself disappointed because I wanted more. The reveling of important details was never too early or late. The only time I find myself complaining is the ending of the book. It felt too rushed. I feel more pages would have sufficed. The ending also seemed too perfect and this really bummed me out. I like bittersweet endings with openings for thought to fill in.

Overall, I would recommend this book to all the disbelievers. I was one myself and now look at me. ٩(๑❛ワ❛๑)و


+ writing, dear lord! the writing!
+ compelling characters
+ feels, so many feels
+ progression
+ art is a big deal
+ words depict mood well

- ending parts
- Jude's love interest (no offense)

Final Rating: ★★★★☆

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

[Review] Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
Rosamund Hodge
YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Published: January 2014 (Balzer + Bray)
Format: digital
Pages: 342
Rating: 3 of 5
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Warning: Spoilers!!

Nyx was a fun character - snarky and determined, but when you really look at her, she was so confusing. She could never make up her mind and didn't try to infiltrate at all like she was supposed to. She trained basically her whole life to marry Ignifax and then when she finally is married to him, she allows her anger to take over her multiple times. She doesn't try to hide her rage. I found her to be a weak and immature girl that tried her best to act strong but simply couldn't control her emotions. It do find it endearing that Ignifax could look past her faults and still love her.

Shade was the shadow of the Gentle Lord and bound to him. He was a captive of a curse and due to this, Nyx empathized with him. She found herself to be rather drawn to him and this feeling of companionship caused her to kiss him in a moment of thoughtlessness. I mean, that's all good and well. I don't particularly commend the idea of kissing random men, but I get it. But the problem arises when Nyx starts to read into it. She deceived herself into the idea that Shade loved her and she loved him. I seriously doubt that she did, I suspect that the lack of emotional support she received in her life drove her to believe this.

Ignifax, the Gentle Lord, was much better to me, but that could be because we weren't in his head. He had experiences with people that made him dislike humans for their pettiness. But he seemed to understand how corrupt the people that wanted to make deals with him were and thought they deserved what came to them. I honestly agree with him. It was their own foolishness that caused them problems. Past his initial characterization of being sort of a jerk, Ignifax turns out to be a charming and intelligent man that wants companionship.

The love triangle aspect was sorta annoying, but I forgave it for reasons that are revealed at the end.

I did feel that the relationships between the characters could have been expanded upon. It felt like they were glossed over and left to a time skip to say, "they spent time together." I did like how all the lust was called "lust" and not sugar-coated with the word "love" for a long time. I seriously wish that this was a New Adult or Adult book because I would have loved more of the "steamy" scenes. At the point in the story where Nyx and Ignifax were in a relationship, it really bothered me because she would hit Ignifax a lot. I know it didn't hurt him, but the emotional implications behind her actions can hurt more than the actual act itself. She did apologize at one point, so there's that. One other thing that bothered me, though, was when Nyx returns home and her sister tells her that if she truly loved her, she would kill her husband. Nyx was so quick to agree and I really hate that. Her character seemed so much more than that and I feel that maybe this could have been accomplished in another way.

The writing itself was very lovely and I will probably be reading Hodge's other books. The pace was alright. The beginning was boring and full of information, but it was important to read. The middle had parts that dragged and were repetitive. The ending was... I don't know how to describe it. It was trippy and I still don't really understand how it worked. I know what happened, it's just I don't get why it worked out like it did.

The world building, though, was odd and confusing. I liked the mixture of Roman/Greek mythology, but it was mentioned so often. I don't know why it would be as it didn't add anything to the actual story at points. I feel that it could have been less defined, especially since I don't really know that much about it and it just served to confuse me for a brief moment and didn't add much to the story. The magic element was also confusing to me. I just think it was badly explained at first, but as the book went on, I started to understand how it worked a little bit more. This take on Beauty and the Beast was new to me and I really did enjoy it, even through all of my complaining. I enjoyed how Hodge seemed to mix together more than one fairy tale, as well.



+ unique twist on fairy tale retelling
+ mixture of multiple fairy tales
+ complex characters
+ lovely writing
+ lusty scenes were spot on

- Nyx couldn't decide what she was doing and feeling half the time
- magic was confusing and explained badly, imo
- overkill with mythology references
- can start to drag at points
- love triangle/insta-love vibes
- confusing ending
- character relationships were lacking

Final Rating:
3 of 5

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Review] Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight
Laini Taylor
[Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2]
YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Published: November 2012 ( Little, Brown Books for Young Readers )
Format: digital
Pages: 517
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

I was quick to dive back into the story of Karou and her companions after I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Admittedly that may have been part of the reason it took me so long to finish. Sometimes I get tired of reading the same characters and their struggles. At some point, though, I started to pick up pace with the help of a few fan mixes.

The story picks back up pretty close to where it left off, but, wow! So much happened in this book! There were so many twists and turns of the plot. It always seems that nothing ever works out right for our poor MCs, which always makes for an interesting read. The plot advancement in this went all crazy! I don't even know how to explain it. You just have to read it. Just do it. And, as always, Laini Taylor has a nice way with words even if she makes me have to look a few of them up.

The character of Karou developed so far in this book. She's such a strong character, not only in all of her strengths but also in all of her weaknesses. She never backs down from what she feels is right no matter how difficult the journey will be. She bares so much weight on her that I'm surprised that she can handle it. She could simply leave the chimaera and return to her old, easier life, but she never does.

The return of Zuzana and Mik was a nice one. I dislike when authors make these side characters to just forget about them and they never reappear in the story. But that's not the case at all in this book! The bond that Karou and Zuzana have was shown to be important to both of them. The love between Mik and Zuzana is always a little awkward for me to read. They are so touchy in that love-sick mushy way, but it's not really a complaint.

And of course, Akiva. He also shows a lot of growth in this book. He's not just around to love Karou, he makes himself useful in his own world with his family. It's good to see that they can be without each other. Sometimes I feel that characters become too much of one another and they cannot exist freely. I mean, of course that doesn't mean that they don't think about the other. Akiva is pretty set on loving Karou and Karou is pretty set on trying to hate him.

The Wolf aka Thiago was such a mighty character to see return from Karou's past. He was always trying to use Karou for his own benefit and he makes for an upfront villain. He's asserting and wants what he wants without caring for the good of everyone else.

The relationship between Karou and Akiva was so strained and emotional that I really started to care about it. The past they have and the reasons they can't be around each other are hard to read because you don't want that to be the reality of the situation. I feel that Karou is justified in her thoughts because of what Akiva did to her.


+ character development like woah!!!
+ numerous side characters
+ plot advancement
+ writing
+ characters can exist on their own
+ relationships are top notch material

- a bit longer than necessary but c'mon, that's not really that bad

Final Rating: 4.5 of 5

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 (8) Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015
(click covers to link to goodreads page)

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
More Than This by Patrick Ness

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Angelfall by Susan Ee

Sunday, June 21, 2015

[Review] Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Laini Taylor
[Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1]
YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Published: September 2011 ( Little, Brown Books for Young Readers )
Format: digital
Pages: 418
Rating: 4 of 5
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

The world building in this was fantastic! Like, I cannot stress enough how well done it was. There was lore shoved in there and things I didn't know I wanted, but I got them. The myths of how the angles and chimera came to be were interesting and I like how each race had their own view of it. The settings were a nice change from the typical American, as well.

The characters were fun to read. What's not to love about a girl with blue hair? Karou was interesting. Being her friend would be an adventure every single day. Her knowledge of languages and her drawing abilities is just the surface. She was always trying to protect, but her curiosity would often get the better of her. I love her relationship with her best friend, Zuzana. They had a nice thing going, which is another reason why what I'm going to mention later disappoints me.

Then there is Akiva, an angel that was compelled to follow the girl with the blue hair. Honestly, I hate using the word angel to describe his race of people. It is merely a placeholder of a word. It implies that he works for a god, but in reality the idea of "angels" as we know them are completely different in this book. It's really interesting and I prefer this to what my mind conjures up when thinking the word. His role was to seal off the doors to Brimstone's (Karou's mentor and friend) shop, which plays a very large bit in the ending of the book. Akiva was ridden with inner anguish that is explained and justified. I really liked this. In books that I've been reading lately, all the main male characters seem to want to be a hero. They always want what's best for the MC right away with no hesitation. But Akiva expresses doubts and reservations about telling Karou about things she should know to make it easier on himself.

The problem I had between this pairing is that it was instantaneous love. It really hampered me from fully enjoying the story because it felt like it was such a cheat. I understand the reasoning behind it, in the case of Karou and Akiva. (spoiler!!!) But in the past, the love between Akiva and Madrigal seemed to pop up out of nowhere and then they even had intimate relations. I understand infatuation, falling prey to it myself on the occasion, but I cannot excuse these spur of the moment love declarations. Getting over this, the relationship between them was alright. Very full of butterfly moments, which gets a bit tedious to read after a while.

The writing was lovely. The sentences were woven together in a way that most YA books don't bother to take a hand at. There were a lot (a lot is an exaggeration) of random words I didn't know, which would interrupt my reading pace a bit, but I suppose expanding my vocabulary is a good thing. I also really like the way this was written, with the flashbacks unfolding the story. I like when movies jump around like that and the same with books. It could be confusing to read if you put it down, though, so there's that.

The plot is hard for me to describe because at one point there is a certain point where the story is going, then it changes. At least that's how it seemed to me. I could be wrong.

I think I've mentioned everything without giving too much away. I would recommend this book if only because of the way Taylor writes. It is so nice to read. Seriously.


+ writing!!
+ interesting and quirky characters, including side characters
+ strong female relationship
+ lore and legends
+ world building

- insta-love
- special snowflake syndrome

Final Rating:
4 of 5

Sunday, June 14, 2015

[Review] End of Days by Susan Ee

End of Days
Susan Ee
[Penryn & the End of Days #3]
YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Published: May 2015 (Skyscape)
Format: digital
Pages: 344
Rating: 3.5 of 5
End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

My nails to celebrate completing the trilogy!

On to the review!

Warning: spoilers to the max, baby

This book was sorta disappointing for me. There was all this great build up to an ending that didn't deliver.

The characters grew a nice amount and the banter was as good as always. Raffe was more present and that's a plus. Penryn accepted her place in helping the humans that survived the beginning of the end and everything up to that point. I like that, even in the end, she wasn't trying to be a hero. She was still having reservations about saving everyone, but knew it was for the best. (Just a side note: Obi was my favorite and it's a shame he had to die for Penryn to reach her full potential.)

There were parts I didn't like, but the main one that stands out is when they went to the Pit. Like, time travel? How confusing and why does that work? The descriptions of the Pit weren't the best and I couldn't imagine it at all. There was just a lot of plot convenience going on and I can't say I appreciate that.

Also, the ending. I don't agree with most of what happened. The locusts attacked before the angels because?? And then when Raffe calls the Pit lord. I understand that his sacrifice of his wings is supposed to show how much Penryn means to him, but it seemed so out of character. He worked so hard to get them back and nothing stopped him, not even his feelings for Penryn. So why now? And his Watchers seemed so casual about having been in the Pit. They joke around like it didn't cause them any harm. Also, there were a lot of them introduced at once and I couldn't keep track.

I believe I am done with my raving. I just can't agree with the way this book was handled. It felt like two books packed into one and I believe that if two books were written instead of just the one, everything would have been handled better. I am not placing the blame on the author for I think she would have been more than capable to deliver.

There were things I did like. The chemistry between Raffe and Penryn near the beginning of the book was more well done than the stuff packed into the end and I wish it had been conveyed during the rest of the book. I appreciate what was there, though. I like them together, they really compliment each other.


+ Penryn and Raffe go well together
+ character development
+ unique resolution

- weak descriptions
- ending was rushed
- out of character moments

Final Rating: 3.5 of 5