Author: Arielle (page 2 of 4)

BOOK REVIEW – Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW – Love and Other Words by Christina LaurenLove and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The heart may hide, but it never forgets.

The first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco reading books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

It never occurred to me that love could be anything other than all-consuming. Even as a child, I knew I never wanted anything less.

WELL, WELL, WELL. Another freakin home run by these lovely ladies. I honestly had no idea that they had come out with another book until a few days ago when I was browsing Amazon, desperate for a book to read. I gave birth to my daughter TWO weeks ago today (!!!) but instead of having all this time at home to read, I seem to be a little preoccupied (lol go figure). However, when I came across this and read the synopsis, I knew that this would be the book to get me back on track….Surprise, surprise I read it in a day.

He’s my person. He’s always been my person. My best friend, my confidant, probably the love of my life. And I’ve spend the last eleven years being angry and self-righteous. But at the end of the day, he tore a hole in us, and fate ripped it wide open.

It’s a story of the past and present lives of Macy and Elliot. How they met and eventually would fall in love—to the present where we find out they haven’t talked or even seen each other in about ten years. They bump into each other in a random coffee shop and the rest of the chapters in the present are about them slowly reconnecting.

“You had to have known that I’d been here, waiting.” 

There were two major aspects to this book that I loved, especially because they were executed perfectly: the boy next door/ friends-to-lovers tropes and the flashback chapters. There have been so many romances that I’ve read with flashbacks that have been done horribly wrong. Either there just isn’t enough substance to them and I’ve felt like I have been left in the dark OR the major point of conflict in the past that leads to why the couple is having problems in the present is a stupid misunderstanding that I can’t believe is realistic in any way. That was not the case here. Without giving anything away, I found that Macy’s reason for getting the hell out of dodge when she did was entirely reasonable (even if it was heartbreaking and I wish for Elliot’s sake that it hadn’t taken that long for them to talk about it). I also just was obsessed with those past chapters in general. Ugh. I mean come on, how could I NOT fall in love with these characters who fell in love over READING. In a cute little nook. Packed with books. And they always ask each other what their favorite word is every time they meet up. I HOPE MY DAUGHTER FALLS IN LOVE LIKE THAT. I would literally die lol. 

I did also love the present chapters too, don’t get me wrong. It was so wonderful seeing these too reconnect after all those years. Macy is actually engaged to another man, too, but of course Elliot never crosses any lines and there isn’t any cheating. Basically, the two realize that it’s pointless being with other people when they can only give a fraction of themselves over. Macy struggles with it a little more because she’s seen her father lose her mother and how much pain that caused him. She doesn’t know if she can handle any more heartbreak in her life so she decides an easy, comfortable relationship is something she’d rather be a part of. That is, until she sees Elliot again…

I don’t know what else to do, so I simply mouth the word Yes. Yes, I’m yours. Yes, I’m ready. Yes, I love you.

Seriously, please read this book. It’s such a sweet story of two young people that are soul mates who have connected over books and words and who find their way back to each other even after tragedy rips them apart. I really think it would be impossible to be disappointed.

BOOK REVIEW: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

BOOK REVIEW: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams ChimaThe Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
by Cinda Williams Chima
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell—the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her...

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

“You have to take chances, Raisa. What seems safest on its face may not be in the long run.” 

It was SO GOOD going back and starting this series again. Ever since I finished all of the books the first time around, this has been a go-to series that I recommend people looking for quality YA fantasy. I’m even more excited to keep going, too, because from what I remember the books just keep getting better and better as the series progresses. Whether you’re looking for wizards, a strong beginning of world-building, clashing groups of people, interesting characters (the list goes on)—this book, and entire series for that matter, has it all.

And when you’re in the gangs, loving somebody is like putting your heart on a plate and serving it up to your enemies.

I guess the best way for me to go about this is to start with the characters themselves. We get two main POVs from Raissa, the princess heir to the Fells and Han, a “reformed” street lord who spends half of his recent time either trading mostly legal things for bits of money for his family or up on Hanalea with the clans. While neither of them is perfect in this first book, or by the end of the series, it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with them (PARTICULARLY HAN). 

“Mercy is never unbecoming, mate,” Cuffs said.

Raissa is a unique princess character in that she a mix of characteristics from all of the different stereotypes that you generally get in YA fantasy. She can appreciate the frivolous things in life like kissing multiple boys and a good party BUT because she is part clan and has spent time outside of court, she longs for more. After hearing from her old friend (now corporal) Amon that things aren’t all what they seem in the heart of her city, she wants to find out more. And not just in the sense that she feels utterly trapped and wants to go out adventuring (which I mean..she still does)…but she wants these things not just for herself but to actually get to the bottom of how her people are living in the hopes that she will be made a better ruler for it. She feels like she’s in the dark (she DEFINITELY is) and she’s constantly grasping for the light. She doesn’t want to keep the wool pulled over her eyes and that’s a pretty big deal if you ask me.

He expects nothing, she thought, because he’s never had anything. And nothing was expected of him. He was free in a way she never would be.

Han…..Han in a word is charismatic. I think that’s why so many people love him so much. It’s impossible not to! As I mentioned earlier, he was a former street lord who now tries to stay on the right side of the law (not that that’s really possible). He wants to provide a better life for his mother and younger sister and is doing the best that he can until he runs into a wizard and *maybe* ends up threatening him because he is threatened and I mean how could he have helped it really because he WAS in fact a street lord. ANYWAYS somehow he ends up with this magical amulet and things basically start to go to shit for him from there. People on the streets close to him start to die and ~things~ are revealed about the past that shake the very foundation of the past that he has always known to be true. In short, this books sets up for the next three to become very interesting.

“Perhaps you subscribe to the notion that princes actually have control over their own lives. I beg to differ. We strut the boards, improvising like mad, only to learn that the script is already written, and we’ve got it wrong.” 
“Not always,” Raisa countered. “I have to believe that sometimes we can write our own.”

The best part of all of this is that when Han and Raisa cross paths, it isn’t under the best of circumstances and Han had no idea that she was royalty at all. ESPECIALLY since they both are headed towards the same place at the end of this book. *laughs maniacally*

Magret’s eyes kindled with pride. “You’re just like she was,”she breathed.
“Like who was?” 
“Like Queen Hanalea herself.”

BOOK REVIEW – Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma Chase

BOOK REVIEW – Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma ChaseTangled (Tangled #1)
by Emma Chase
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.

Women fall in love quicker than men. Easier and more often. But when guys fall? We go down harder. And when things go bad? When it’s not us who ends it? We don’t get to walk away.
We crawl.

This book was seriously so much fun! At this point in my life I’ve read a crap load of romances and I can easily list off what formulas do and don’t do it for me. As long as the book and characters have that little something extra to set them aside, chances are I’m going to genuinely like them. This one for instance was a classic hate-to-love story BUT the thing that this book has going for it is that it’s entirely narrated by Drew. I’ve read a lot of dual POVs before, but I honestly can’t think of any that are by the male perspective. It was a HILARIOUS idea. Throughout the book if he or his friends would say something sexist, inappropriate, etc. he would do a little aside and kind of be like, “sure, I sound like a total douche right now, but you know it’s true” or just explain himself in some way that had me kind of shaking my head like, ‘okay, yeah, he’s right, I get it’ and then laughing to myself. I basically was laughing out loud for what felt like 75% of the book and when the world around is you stressful and chaotic, that can be a very good thing. 

Then I flip Kate the finger. Immature, I know, but apparently we’re now both functioning at the preschool level, so I’m guessing it’s okay. Kate sneers at me. Then she mouths, ‘You wish’. Well—she’s got me there, now doesn’t she?”

I also was a big fan of the way it took a good 20% of the end of the book for Drew to make up to Kate. I feel like most of the time when the guy fucks up, he shows her one kind gesture to sweep her off her feet and all is well. Nope, Kate does NOT let up easy here. Drew has to work his ass off to show her that he’s serious about her and I really appreciated that. I would very much recommend this as a lighthearted read that will have you laughing almost the entire time!

Assume nothing. Even if you think you know everything. Even if you’re sure that you’re right. Get confirmation. That whole “ass” cliché about assuming? It’s right on the money. And if you’re not careful, it could end up costing you the best thing that’s ever going to happen to you.
And another thing—don’t get too comfortable. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to lay it on the line. Even if you’re happy. Even if you think life is happy. Even if you think life is freaking perfect.

BOOK REVIEW – The Raging Ones (The Raging Ones #1) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

BOOK REVIEW – The Raging Ones (The Raging Ones #1) by Krista and Becca RitchieThe Raging Ones (The Raging Ones #1)
by Krista Ritchie, Becca Ritchie
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

We found each other in the winter wood. 
He threw his arms around me like I’d been his long-lost friend. I hugged him like I was meeting my soul again. There are some moments and some feelings that I can’t even explain. I’m a young man of medicine and science and logic, but the sentiments I wield for Mykal transcend all three.

Dang you guys this was good. I mean I don’t know why I ever was worried because I have read and loved just about every single other book by these ladies. BUT in my defense, they had never ventured into the world of YA before and that can be a much different thing than the romance that we had been used to up until this point. I can very happily say that I am here to announce their debut into the world of YA is a stunning one (and I hope you all think so too!)

“But what will I do until then?”
She smiled as bright and lovely as the smile she wore on her deathbed. “You will live Franny. You will live hard…” She cupped my face.“Fast.” She rested her forehead on mine. “And full.”

The first thing that deserves note is the genius plot. Our main characters Franny, Court, and Mykal live on a planet that is always cold (f that) and a society that is separated into three different classes called the Influentials, the Fast Trackers, and the Babes. When everyone is born, everyone receives a death day and based on how old you will be when you die, you are fitted into one of those categories. Influentials will live to an old age and are able to go to school and make a good living for themselves because they simply have the most time, Fast Trackers ususally only live to be about 29 and are therefore forced into the labor jobs that don’t take long to learn but usually live the fiercest, and Babes of course only get a few years and are love and cherished for as long as they can be.

“You keep saying that you make my life dismal and bleak. But my world never felt as bright, as worthwhile and full, until I met you.” 

What I thought was the most interesting was that compared to other books/movies based on people who have a countdown to their death, these people enjoyed knowing. They each had their specific roles in life and found comfort in knowing when exactly they were going to die. I mean on one hand I get it because you would never have to worry about the unknown—you would never get sick enough or injured enough to die before that specific date. You could plan to live life to its very fullest in the allotted time you were given. 

His smile stretches his cheeks like they’re my cheeks. I can’t stop feeling. Can’t stop starting. Gods bless that’s beautiful.

In the case of Court, Franny, and Mykal though, they dodged their death day and are somehow irrevocably bonded (literally) because of it. They can feel each other’s emotions, pain, tastes, etc. THIS is where I knew that the story would be solid right from the beginning. If those of you who have read this, haven’t read their other Calloway Sisters andAddicted series, you will have missed out on the AMAZING interactions they are able to portray between couples/friends/families in their books. You can never not feel the love, hate, hurt—any emotion on the spectrum. I don’t know what it is but their characters and their relationships are my favorite parts of their writing. I was worried about the possibility of a love triangle but it was for nothing. Court and Mykal do have a stronger and deeper emotional and physical connection (no secret, we see this right away) but the one they share with Franny becomes just as important. I really wonder how it all will play out, especially with ~certain~ revelations that come out at the very end of this first book.

I feel them. For the first time I realize they’ve been my strength, my hope, and they can be my peace. I just have to let them help me. And to do that, I need to grow the courage to speak.

The only part that people *might* not like is that these ladies don’t give us all of the information right away..on anything really. At first I didn’t have a concrete vision of the planet, what the different social structures were all about, or why these three dodged their death days and became connected when no one else has. You do gain this knowledge though as you go along and once I started to, I kind of like that we were kept in the dark at first. I mean, Franny was thrown for such a loop when she dodged her death day and I felt like we were there with her, learning about how Court and Mykal have lived like that for years and how she now had a possibility to begin a new life and maybe even see the stars in the process.

“You’ve stolen my heart, you little crook.”
His smile only stretches further and brighter. “My most valuable theft.”

I hope that everyone gives this a try and that they love it, I really do. I think this is going to be one kick ass series and I am already so in love with each character and so intrigued with what could possibly happen in the next book. That’s the only hard part about getting ARCs….not only do I have to wait for this to actually come out for everyone else, but it makes the wait for book two that much longer. SIGHHH. Oh well, it was more than worth it!

ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. THANK YOU NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the chance to read this early.

BOOK REVIEW – The Girl With the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers #1) by Katherine Locke

BOOK REVIEW – The Girl With the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers #1) by Katherine LockeThe Girl With the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers #1)
by Katherine Locke
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

If you gave a girl a magic balloon, she’ll become something else.

OKAY. Can I just say that if this isn’t the best book I’ve read all  last year (I don’t think I can take that position away from ACOL) then it’s the one that’s left the biggest impact on me. And it still takes the cake as second best book. I requested this after having read ONE great review but still wasn’t fully prepared for what I was getting myself into. This book is a prime example of historical fiction and time travel done right—EVERYTHING about this book is done right. And as a person who love time travel that should really mean something.

Ellie is a modern day student who is in Germany on a study abroad trip. Her grandfather, who was actually a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, used to tell her these stories about magic red balloons and how one actually saved his life while he was being transferred from a Polish ghetto to an internment camp. Oh a whim, she goes to grab it and ends up in East Germany in 1988.

The city hummed with a frenetic sort of energy, the kind that came when people say the light at the end of the tunnel and realized it wasn’t the oncoming train. It was hope. The world was changing. We were along for the ride.

Now, I was born in 1991 and I’m going to tell you straight up that it was unbelievable for me to read about this place, one continent over, that had people living in that much fear only three years before I was born. I know that people in different places around the world are STILL living in that kind of fear but…this book in particular made me feel so sheltered. In all of my twenty six, almost twenty seven years I have NEVER known that kind of fear. And it just kills to know that I have it so easy when so many others don’t. I think that this book is a good reminder of that. What’s out there even still today.

But I digress. Let’s get to the other parts of this book that had me laughing, SOBBING, and everything in between. Well let’s see. First of all, ALL of the characters were amazing. Ellie, the main character is probably one of my favorite female protagonists of ALL TIME. Other than the small breakdown she has after being transported back in time (and I mean who WOULDN’T freak out about leaving YOUR time and friends and family) she is calm, cool, collected, sassy. UGH I  LOVE her. Kai and Mitzy are just as amazing. Oh—and by the way, this book is DIVERSE. Ellie is Jewish, Kai is Romani, and Mitzy is gay. And that’s just who they are and we get to see how being those people in that time period affects their lives in a place that is so unforgiving.

For those of you who love romance, the stuff we get in here is SO BELIEVABLE AND WILL GIVE YOU BUTTERFLIES AND SO MUCH MOREEEEEE. I just want to cry thinking about it. I don’t want to say any more honestly, you’ll just have to read it and find out yourself. Not sure what direction book two will go in or who will be in it but I am already dying to get my hands on it.

If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll believe in magic and memory. If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll never want to let go.

Overall, this book just goes to show that one person, magic or no, has the ability to change the course of history with even just one decision—exactly the kind of book that we want to be reading in this day and age.

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