BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra BrackenLore by Alexandra Bracken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

*Note that these quotes come from an uncorrected eARC and are subject to change upon publication.*

Review
“I know my fate,” she whispered to him.
And I will change yours.


I’ll tell you what, Alexandra Bracken never ceases to amaze me with how well she writes. I may not always entire love the story, but writing wraps me up and has me feeling things throughout the entire span of the novel.

This one in particular was not exactly what I had expected….and that’s to say that I guess I didn’t even entirely know what to expect other than this was going to be pretty heavy on the Greek mythology. While I’m no expert by any means, I have always had an interest and appreciation for it and I am an AVID reader of Lore Olympus on Webtoon (sorry Castor, I have an unapologetic hate for Apollo from that, lol). So, that being said, even though I personally didn’t remember what every god and goddess stood for, or what great deeds each hero had accomplished, I really enjoyed doing my own research as each character arrived on the page. Even if I wouldn’t have, there is enough information and context clues that that wouldn’t have really been necessary, anyway. I’m just a tru librarian to my core and always need to know more, more, more.

“It’s a good thing, then,” Iro said with a small smile, “that neither of us has ever been afraid of a fight.”
She opened the door, only to turn back. “By the way, that sword has a name. Makhomai.”
I make war.

Lore smiled.


The biggest part of this story that I didn’t expect was just how fucking VIOLENT it was going to be. Now, I’ve talked about this a lot with Chelsea, and both of us has said that ever since we’ve had kids, we can’t read the same thing as we used to. This, I think????, was a prime example of this. Since it’s in the summary, I’m not spoiling anything by saying her family dies a brutal death. Now, this may sound bad but if It had just been her mom and dad, I think I could have been okay….but no. It was also her two LITTLE SISTERS. Not going to get into it because it makes me sick to my stomach even thinking about but I will just say that the sheer violence that continually crops up in this book is hard to read.

Bracken does not shy away from details and I could vividly picture each death, each cut, each blow. It just got to be a lot for me and that really took a little bit away from the story for me (honestly though I should have known better and prepared, Ancient Greek was savage and we all know it).

Alone. She was alone…
“Stay with me.” Lore let out a choked cry, sobbing for breath and relief at the crush of it all. Don’t leave me…
They didn’t.
She felt her family around her–the soothing touch of them, brushing her cheeks, wrapping around her center. And beyond them, the presence of unseen eyes.


Other than that though the only thing that tripped me up was the fact that in my head this wasn’t a standalone so I wasn’t picturing everything wrapping up so neatly at the end, lol. Also my bad.

ANYWAY, let’s get on to the good stuff. The characters. It shouldn’t surprise you when I say she wrote an excellent leading lady (Lore), a best friend I wish I had (Miles), and ~the~ love interest (Castor). Also many other great supporting characters, AND villains (hooooo let me tell you that betrayal fucking STUNGGGG), but the mains are my favorite of course. I do wish we could have gotten a little more of Lore and Castor…I don’t know…happy interacting in the present??? but I lived. Still many heart-pounding, butterfly inducing moments.

The story, as I said, wraps up neatly by the end and while I at first was like waittttt, this was too easy??? I’ve been thinking about it more and I’m like nooo, girl. Lore has seen SO MUCH death. She needed an ending like that. I also liked the ongoing mention of the Fates and the talk and dwelling on what people are fated to become and how fate can’t be changed and how Lore at the end finally thinks to herself “There was nothing fated. Lore had not been chosen for this; she had chosen to come here herself. Every step she’d made, every mistake, had led her here.” I just think that was such a HUGE moment for her to realize that her life DIDN’T have to be ruled by these crazy ass gods/goddesses or the Agon. She made her own decisions and could be the person that she chose to be. Ahhh gives me shivers just thinking about it.

So, overall. I did really enjoy this but sadly my tender heart can’t take the violence anymore and I had to take a star off. Totally a personal preference (but it does also make me wonder if this is really being marketing for YA lolll).

“You may be a god,” she told him, relishing the sight of his struggle. “But I’m the Persides.”


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read an eARC of this novel in exchange for my honest feedback.♥

BOOK REVIEW: To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

BOOK REVIEW: To Love and to Loathe by Martha WatersTo Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The author of the “hilarious...joyful, elegant” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) To Have and to Hoax returns with an effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel about a man and woman who never agree on anything—until they agree to a no-strings-attached affair in this Regency-era romp.

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

Review

THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD I’M OBSESSEDDDDDD.

Okay….As you may remember, I had been sent a link to an e-galley for To Have and To Hoax late last year and almost passed it up because I had never read a historical romance before. Long story short I picked it up on a whim, devoured it in a day and have since went back to read different passages over and over again.

When I found out that this book was being written, I prowled the author’s social media pages and NetGalley/Edelweiss for the day that I would be able to request this baby. BY SOME MAGIC I was approved right away and got down to business.

What I found was that I now completely swear by Martha Waters. I will read literally anything she puts out and you can quote me on that. I mean come on. Not only do I love her writing and characters and stories but she is ALSO a librarian. At this point we’re basically kindred spirits, lol.

But in all honesty, this book was just…..so, so good. I really thought that not much could top her first book but this one truly did. While that one featured a second chance romance where the couple basically played a game with one another to get the other to notice again, and that sort of thing can be really appealing….it can also be kind of frustrating. We as the reader are getting both sides of their stories so we KNOW that they love each other still and we KNOW that what they’re doing is so silly and pointless but until they both come to terms with that, we’re just at the mercy of them getting their heads out of their asses.

THIS ONE THOUGH…..ahhhhh….”enemies” to lovers. This trope will forever hold a special place in my heart. As we saw in To Have and to Hoax, Diana, the young widow who is close friends with Violet, has bet Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, and James’s good friend 100 pounds that he will get married within a year. The two have forever been “at odds,” always at each others throats with a quick witticism or jab to be thrown into what could easily have been a civil conversation.

One day, Jeremy comes to call on Diana with a most embarrassing issue. After sleeping with a married man’s wife, he had been accused of certain shortcomings within the bedroom and proposes that Diana with her no-bullshit attitude (and the fact that she’s a widow) might help him figure out if there was any truth to the woman’s angry words. She reluctantly agrees seeing as that might open the door for her to future lovers (and maybe partly because she MAY have always thought him to be extremely attractive). It all goes down during a country house party that Jeremy has every year.

Between their STEAMY AS HELL encounters, Diana trying to set him up with one Lady Helen (who seems deplorable but also….maybe not?), us learning more about the “true” Jeremy…there was no lacking in ANYTHING. It was funny, it was emotional, it was hot, it gave me butterflies. I loved every single page, paragraph, and sentence of this book and am now pining for more, more, more. Martha, please tell me that we get an EmilyxBelfry book, a SophiexWest book, and maybe even one for Penvale??? I’ll all eyes and ears, lol. 🙂 100% would recommend.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for a change to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Brightest Night (Origin #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: The Brightest Night (Origin #3) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutThe Brightest Night (Origin #3)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

He is the darkest star.
She is the burning shadow.
And together, they will bring about the brightest night.

Less than a year ago, Evelyn Dasher was a normal girl, living a safe, rather unremarkable life―a life that was a total lie. Now she’s learned the truth about who she was and what she is.

Hidden within Zone 3, she knows that if she loses control of her dangerous abilities again, she not only puts everyone in the secret community at risk, but also the beautiful, deadly inhuman Luc. He will do anything to keep her safe. Lie. Barter. Beg. Kill.

But there are truths that not even Luc can prepare for, and as Evie’s abilities evolve, the consequences of everything he’s done turn devastating.

Luc is stepping into the darkness. But Evie might already be lost to the shadows.

Review:

We just all have a little bit of a monster inside of us. How could we not when we love someone like we do?

The Brightest Night was breathtakingly emotional and beautifully captivating.  From that very first page, I was pulled right into their world and couldn’t put this book down.  Love, friendships, action, ghosts from the past, and scenes so emotional that tears poured down my face splashed across the pages.  If you’re a fan of Jennifer L Armentrout, the Lux Series or Paranormal/Sci-Fi stories then definitely add this one to your tbr!  I can’t recommend this book and series enough!

We had no idea what was going to happen from hour to hour, and I just wanted the beauty of this, of him, of us together, and there wasn’t a single thing wrong with that.

The Brightest Night started exactly where The Burning Shadow ended.  Evie and Luc were in Zone 3 with all of our favorites.  I was shocked learning the scope of what Evie was and what the Daedalas planned to do.  But I wish someone would have said, just hold on because that’s nothing.  What’s to come in this book will blow your mind!  I gasped multiple times, screamed NO so loud I woke up my husband and even stared at a wall because I couldn’t believe something happened.  Many truths come to pass, and each one rocked me more than the previous one.  The way this book unfolded was absolutely brilliant!

“Well, that’s kind of offensive. I’m totally trustworthy,” Luc argued. “And I give great gifts.”
Daemon crossed his arms. “You once tried to gift Kat and me a llama because, according to you and literally no one else, they’d make a great family pet for a baby.”
What?
Luc’s smile turned thoughtful. “They will protect a herd—”
“A lone child is not a herd, Luc,” Daemon sighed.

At the core of this story is Luc, Evie and so many people errr Aliens, Hybrids and Origins whom we love from not only this series, but The Lux Series too.  The happy moments had me flying so high.  I loved watching their lives unfold, catching up with everyone and I laughed more times than I can count.  I even had happy tears over some of their moments together.  They felt like a big family that would pull together at times for one another.  It all warmed my heart.  And yes we even got to hear more of Luc’s fabulous cheesy pick-up lines ha!  But I’m thankful for all of these happy moments, because there were also ones that shattered my heart.

I was something they thought they could use to take over the world, then why couldn’t I be used to fight back?

I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  So I was extremely nervous for Evie at times.  I was terrified how her power would affect her, but I loved watching her grow in leaps and bounds.  I was so proud of Evie for learning more about herself, her abilities and even how she interacted with Luc.  She was someone I respected and could look up to.  It became even more obvious how she had captured Luc’s heart so easily.

“I loved you before I even knew what that meant, and I loved you even when you were gone, and I loved you when you became someone else,” he said— pleaded, really. “And I fell even more in love with you when you walked through the doors of Foretoken. I’ve never stopped loving you. I never will.”

Luc was the ultimate book boyfriend!  He was fierce, deadly, and would do whatever it took to protect those he loves.  There’s literally nothing he won’t do to protect Evie.  But on the other side, he could be so calm and collected with her.  His patience, gentleness, and the amount of affection and love he showed her melted my heart.  Luc was sexy, intense, passionate and most definitely sigh worthy.  And when he was with Evie, they felt like the ultimate power couple.  I loved how they talked and confided with each other.  It felt like even if the world was falling apart around them, they would still be standing by each other’s side.

His forehead pressed to mine. “I need to forget that we’re both stained with your blood.”
Closing my eyes on a shuddering breath, I cupped his cheeks. “You have me.”
Luc kissed me, and there was nothing slow or tentative about the way his mouth moved or how his lips parted mine. The kiss deepened, and there was an edge of desperation to it, a hint of lingering fear.

I can’t say more than what I have, but just know that The Brightest Night will keep readers hooked and has a heart stopping ending!  That ending was powerful and shook me to my core!  So if you love fierce and loyal characters, a story line that has tons of heart, and moments that will make you laugh, smile and cry, then you definitely need to pick up this series.  Now I’m patiently waiting until we can see how the series ends with the next book!  I can’t wait!

He pulled out a sour apple Blow Pop. “The Daedalus have more like her, and when they decide to break up this little militia you have going on here, even someone who isn’t particularly intelligent would know what a good idea it would be to have her on their side.”
The world just stopped spinning on its axis. Pigs were flying. Santa was real. Hell had even frozen over.

PS I love Grayson’s love of blow pops!

Love was the thunder in our hearts, the lightning in our veins, and it was what kept us together where we landed, even after our skin had begun to cool and our breaths had slowed.

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)


The Darkest Star #1
Reviews:

Jen
 
The Burning Shadow   #2
Reviews:

Jen

The Brightest Night
   #3
Reviews:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW: Not My Romeo (The Game Changers #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills

BOOK REVIEW: Not My Romeo (The Game Changers #1) by Ilsa Madden-MillsNot My Romeo (The Game Changers #1)
by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a smart and sexy contemporary romance about a smoking-hot professional football player and the small-town girl he can’t resist.

We start off with a lie on Valentine’s Day.

My blind date isn’t the studious guy I expected: he’s a drop-dead gorgeous player with sinful amber eyes. Somehow we end up at his penthouse. I blame the gin and tonic.

The next day I learn he’s Jack Hawke—bad-boy professional quarterback with a murky past. The NDA he has me sign should be a warning that he isn’t a regular person. Please. I sign it Juliet Capulet, so goodbye, famous football player with abs of steel, and good luck tracking down this small-town librarian.

But Jack keeps showing up in places I least expect him. Just when I’m sure he’s gone, he waltzes into my community theater and wins the part of Romeo to my Juliet. How’s a plain, mostly innocent girl like me supposed to resist a man like him?

Is Jack my real Romeo…or will this gorgeous football player only break my heart?

Review:

Not My Romeo was fun, flirty and smile inducing.  I was absolutely giddy with how this story played out, I fell hard for the characters, and I devoured this book way too fast.  If you’re looking for a romance story that has a lot of heart and steam, then definitely check this one out!  I can’t recommend it enough!

What kind of person pretends to be someone else’s date?
Who exactly did I have sex with?

It was a case of mistaken identity, that turned hilarious, and I was pulled right into the story.  Elena was at a restaurant, looking for her weatherman blind date.  Jack thought she was the blogger his PR guy had mentioned.  One thing led to another and after a wild and sexy night together, the truth came out.  Neither of them expected to run into the other so quickly afterwards, but fate had other plans.  Again and again.   This story brought me so much joy and I found myself hanging onto every single word, waiting to see what happened next.

I want him to lose control with me, to think back on this and wish he had me forever.

Elena was someone I adored and she was so easy to relate to…..I mention the quarter inch in my height and randomly use the phrase throat punch too lol.  I loved her voice, her take charge quirky attitude, and she felt like someone I’d known for years.  Elena was a librarian in a small town, and her pet pig, family and friends meant everything to her.  But she had this other side to her, which not everyone knew about.  Elena designed beautiful, one of a kind lingerie.  And she had no problem throwing a remark out there about her vibrator lol.  But from the first day Elena met Jack, it set her on a different path and completely shook up her quiet, small town life.

I gaze down at her, laughing more, then sobering as emotion claws at me, soft yet somehow terrifying as it tiptoes its way inside my chest. A knot forms in my stomach, and I can’t seem to take a breath, and it has nothing to do with running.
It’s the girl in my arms who’s got me freaked out.

Jack Hawke was a famous football player who had a bad rap.  But tortured didn’t even begin to describe Jack.  People used him, few could be trusted and his past and childhood made my heart hurt.  So I was rooting for him every step of the way.  I was hoping he would be brave when it came to trusting others.  But even though Jack was jaded, he was so thoughtful.  Not only for everyday things, but in the bedroom too, sigh.  Jack reeled me right in and was the ultimate book boyfriend!

I close my eyes, holding him. Does he feel this too? How good we are?
You’re mine, he said.
But . . .
For how long?

When Jack and Elena were near each other, I loved how easily they connected and talked.  But I also loved that their chemistry was instantaneous.  It was scorching hot.  The details when they were together made my heart race faster.  But underneath that heat was an emotional story, one that made me have tears in my eyes. This book had the best of both worlds and it included a cast of characters that warmed their way into my heart.  From Topher, to her little pig Romeo, to Devon, Aunt Clara and even Giselle, there was so much heart in these pages!

I walked out.
And he didn’t follow.
Right.

Not My Romeo was a sexy, feel good story that I absolutely loved.  There were so many laugh out loud moments, and I loved how there was also a deeper emotional side too.  If you love epilogues and HEA, this book will make your heart soar.  So if you’re looking for a romance book to pick up, definitely check this one out!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerThe Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1)
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Laini Taylor and Brandon Sanderson.

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

Review

As soon as I saw that Kaufman and Spooner were coming out with another book/series together, you better believe I marked it as to-read/I NEED immediately and requested it as soon as I saw it pop up on Edelweiss. At this point, I’ve read just about everything by the both of them together and with other people as well. There’s something about the way they balance both memorable, heart-pounding romance AND death and destruction that really just ~gets~ me.

This one, though, was definitely one of the most unique…As the title suggests, our two main characters, North and Nihm, come from literally the opposite ends of the sky from one another. Nihm is a living goddess on earth and North is a prince in a floating land in the sky. Both as equally as important to their own people as they are to hopefully saving the entire human race.

What really got me here was the mix of fantasy and science fiction. You see, while Nihm’s people have gods and goddesses and practice magic, up above in North’s land it’s all about science. When he falls to the Surface and meets Nihm, he is skeptical for any kind of magic she uses and is constantly trying to reconcile it for some kind of advanced chemical reaction. In most books of this nature, it’s either one or the other. The people either have magic or do not or they either live in some kind of advanced futuristic setting and have this crazy gear that we could only hope to see here on earth some day. The mix of the two was so intriguing and it made for some really good points of conflict between the two.

Other than that though, I found the characters (as always with these two writers) to be extremely likable and memorable. I think I liked Nihm more just because she was so BA and cared for her people so much. That’s not to say North didn’t, I just felt like there was *more* to Nihm in this book. I really liked the romance between them too–the connection they felt. Sometimes something like that can feel too rushed or too cheesy but I thought it felt extremely real in this one. ANDDD can we just talk about the deliciousness of them not being able to touch?! I mean I did want them to be able to and for us to get a good kiss scene in this one but I think it’s almost better that they didn’t to draw it out even further?!?!?!

Finally, I am so intrigued by the prophecy and who it was really referring to and who the other cloudlander is….I of course do have a theory. 🙂 Very ready for book 2!

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to have an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest reivew!

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