Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 1 of 101)

BOOK REVIEW: Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

BOOK REVIEW: Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie GarberLegendary (Caraval #2)
by Stephanie Garber
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever...

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.

“Not everyone gets a true ending. There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

Some books are instant reads. Some books take a while to sink in. Some books you know you need to wait until you’re in the right mood. And some books-some books will be good no matter when you start them. That is this book.

“Scar, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I swear there is nothing going on between Dante and me. You know how I feel about boys who are prettier than me.”

But, in this case, it was also that other book that I wasn’t in the mood to read until recently. And do you see what the result was? Do you understand how it wickedly dipped it’s claws into my heart, gouging me from within, causing rivulets of blood to seep into my soul? We all know Garber loves her blood, though, am I right?

For it was also said the Prince of Hearts was not capable of love because his heart had stopped beating long ago. Only one person could make it beat again: his one true love. They said his kiss had been fatal to all but her—his only weakness—and as he’d sought her, he’d left a trail of corpses.

I needed this book when I was at my lowest of lows, when no other book was doing it for me, when I didn’t even know it was the cure. I’ll admit that, while everyone probably knows I’m an emotional mood reader, this book took a little longer for my interest to pique. Was it because I had gotten the Caraval ARC so long ago that the new release seemed underwhelming because of time? Was it because my daughter was born only two months before and I just was too exhausted to pick it up, then lost track of time and forgot all about it and eventually decided ‘eh, I’ll pick it up when I pick it up since it’s not shiny and new anymore?’ Was it really a time thing? Or was it something deeper? Did I know my heart would yearn for the more complex, yet so wonderfully simple, things in life the older and (dare I say) more mature (sophisticated?) I got? No matter the reason, I wasn’t ready for this book, and if I had read it sooner I’d have ruined it. That’s what I do know.

So enter Tella.


I’m not the type of person that likes when main characters change, so I was having a somewhat hard time reconciling the fact that I was no longer going to be following Scarlett and Julian as closely. But once this book got past the first couple chapters-I was hooked. The love interest, to me, didn’t seem like he was going to bring anything new to the table, and perhaps he didn’t, but all of sudden, when we got to that ball, early on, I was done. In fact, that scene was pivotal in so many ways it shaped the tone for the rest of the story.

Scarlett was Tella’s person—the one someone in the world whom Tella could always count on. Tella might not have believed in falling in love, but she had literally bet her life that Scarlett loved her. Tella would destroy the world before she allowed anything to happen to her sister.

Tella is headstrong. Tella loves adventure and men and living life to the fullest-and she loves her sister so dearly she trusted that she’d come through for her during Caraval. But Tella doesn’t believe in love. She doesn’t believe in giving herself over to someone so fully they can hurt you. Unless it’s her sister, or, in this case, her mother, expending that love to anyone else is a risk-and she’s not willing to take it. But Dante is dark and alluring and he always seems to come through for her. And I’m so trash for it-I really am.

Tella had exchanged things with other young men, but never hearts, and though she still had no plans to relinquish that part of her to Dante, she was beginning to understand how hearts could be slowly given away, without a person even realizing. How sometimes just a look, or a rare moment of vulnerability like the one Dante had just shared with her, was enough to steal a fraction of a heart.

And that’s the thing with this series-I feel like I can’t say much about anything, yet the art and the fangirling and the obvious love for it is everywhere, so how do people not know things? I’ll stay true to myself and not spoil anything…but man do I want to. Scarlett is on her own secret missions, Julian knows something he’s not telling anyone, Tella meets a mysterious new guy, Jacks, who is more than meets the eye, and the stakes of Tella winning the game are so high-they might just cost her her life. This book is so out of this world imaginative without being crazy (I lie-it’s so crazy), I can’t help but to fall deeper and deeper in love with it the more I think about it.



The seamstress shook her head, again muttering something about Tella having no idea what sort of game she was playing.
But Tella knew exactly what type of game she was a part of: one that would destroy her and the people she cared about if she didn’t win.

There’s just something so deep and moving, to me, when a male character plays like he can’t be the hero for the heroine and, in this case, truly means it and exercises it. But they are always always first in line to save the damsel in distress, to do sacrificial things that don’t seem like a big deal to them but are actually the world to the heroine and, actually, extremely deadly, and who would stop time, move the world, and alter the stars to make sure the girl doesn’t die and…these heroes speak to my heart, make my soul soar, and make a giddy fangirl out of me. And, even better? I love when the hero and heroine have a witty repartee going. And I love love love when the girl has another guy nipping at her heels, making the hero have to show a little grit of the teeth, a little tensing of that square jaw, and a flash of jealousy in those heavenly eyes. Again-trash for it.

DROWN IN IIIIT

And Julian like…I can’t help but be obsessed with him as well, too. His story is so amazing, to me, the way he would do anything for the girl he loves, even though he has serious commitments elsewhere-in this book we see Scar and Julian’s relationship tested, and Julian falters a lot…but I think we’re in for an epic end to that love story and I’m so here for it-I always loved these two, and I loved that we got to see it here. And that’s the thing-I never care for other couples when it comes time to move on, but we can’t truly move on from these sisters. They have two sexy as hell brothers, and I need both of their HEAs in my life, OKAY?!

“If you’re here to learn about Legend,” he said, “I can tell you more than anyone inside there.”
“Would you tell me who he is?” Tella asked.
“You know I can’t do that.”
“You could if you were Legend.”
Dante’s voice rumbled with a laugh. “If I was Legend I’d definitely never tell you.”
“Because you don’t trust me?”
“No,” he answered slowly, gently tugging her even closer. “I’d hold on to my secret because I’d want to keep playing the game with you, and if I told you the truth it would spoil all the fun.”

And the peril. Like…no it’s not crazy but there are so. Many. Scenes. That take my breath away, that made me gasp and smile simultaneously (because I’m a sick individual, we know this), and one scene even resulted in epic proportions unmeasured in recent history. Well, okay, I’ve had some good peril moments lately (and I bet in book 3 we’ll get mooooreeee), but there are two scenes that make my life complete. I love them. I need them. I want more of them. I shall return for them and re read them over and over and over again-I do so love a good hero saving ‘not his girl but he sure loves this girl’ scenes. I don’t think there are enough well written scenes that test the hero’s willingness to die for the girl…we need more of this, yes? Yes. Always. Infinitely. Never enough.

Tella claimed she didn’t want love—she liked to say love trapped and controlled and ripped hearts apart. But the truth was she also knew love healed and held people together, and deep down she wanted it more than anything. She enjoyed the kisses, but a part of her always wished that whenever she walked away from a boy he’d run after her, beg her to stay, and then promise he’d never leave.

And, because of said romantically perilistic scenes that had me so happy I could have peed my pants, I immediately took to the Twitter verse I’m so horrible at to find special editions of each (I am in such huge trouble here. SUCH HUGE TROUBLE). And. Every. Caraval and Legendary and Finale edition. That’s right-I’ve spent way too much, and gotten way too much merch. And I STILL haven’t found it all-but I’m SO CLOSE I CAN TASTE IT. My Finale luck has been immense, But that’s due to my awesome foresight (and UK Bestie, the unshakeable Pea) and ability to realize I need that bright red cover in my life, and all it’s brothers and sisters right next to it-all shapes and sizes and colors and ethnicities-we’re all equal here, okay? One love and all that jazz? I don’t discriminate-paperbacks, hardbacks, colored pages, signed pages, UK editions, different colored editions, book box editions…I want them all, I need them all. But, alas, I’ve failed on at least two-I’m hoping my luck changes! EEPS!

…there was more to life than staying safe.

So, here we are. I’m just a girl, loving a book, falling harder for a series many are obsessed with, spending more money than I have on merch and pining away for the final book. But maybe that’s the thing-my body wouldn’t let me read the second book so quickly because it knew I’d need the last book as soon as possible. But honestly, really, do you think this was an accident? Fooled you all. I had it planned the whole time, you sillies.

Now who’s the genius.

**********************

Why. Why did I wait so long to read this book? Where has this book been all my life?

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of my slump flying far, far away.

RTC

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BOOK REVIEW: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

BOOK REVIEW: The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

“You are in the right place, at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that is enough.”

Books have the power to transport us. To transform us. To take us anywhere in the world we want to go. We can live different lives, become the hero, become someone we’re too scared to be in real life. We get to be the best version of ourselves, and it’s all nestled in the pages of books. But who tells us those stories? Are the storytellers the heroes themselves? Do the authors live their best life, or are they living out a fantasy right alongside us, bringing their dreams to life, letting us immerse ourselves into their delicately woven illusions? That’s the power of storytelling…and it’s the heart of this book.

The circus is one of those phenomenons that either strike you odd or ignite your whimsical, child-like side that can’t help but be addicted to it’s splendor. I’ll admit I’ve never had an opinion either way-yes, I went as a child, but no, not often and not enough to truly obsess about it. But during college, I picked up a book centered around a circus because it was coming out as a movie-Water for Elephants. I loved it. And I can’t say I immediately needed more books about a circus, but I wasn’t who I am now. I didn’t think to expand on a topic that was new to me, that appealed to me, because I simply didn’t understand that I could. The thought didn’t even cross my mind.. I didn’t obsess like I do now. And…well…I can obsess like no one’s business.

And here’s the thing-circuses are, like, a coveted theme now. Caraval, Legendary (which is what lead me here because I NEED MORE CIRCUS), and, obviously, as mentioned above, Water for Elephants. And, ya know, I just can’t seem to find that many circus books that appeal to me. Everyone is obsessed, there are movies that touch on it, and yet, these are the only circus books that speak to me, and they are all vastly different. One is about running away with the circus to chase your dream and finding out the circus is far darker than you could ever have imagined. One is whimsical and flowery and completely mysterious-a game within a game within a game. And then, inexplicably, one is literally made because of a game. The sole purpose of the characters’ lives…is to win a game against an unnamed opponent. So here we are. My point in all this was-it’s a total fandom and I’m just now jumping on the bandwagon, but I fell hard after Finale (especially), and now I have nowhere to go, like I’ve hitched my wagon to a horse that’s reached the end of it’s journey.

I wouldn’t change it for the world-I’ve piqued with Tella and Scarlett, Dante and Julian, Jacob and Marlena, and, most recently, Marco and Celia. It’s been a slow journey over the years, building up into something inexplicably magical and wholly unattainable, when you get right down to it. Nothing will ever live up to this wonderful batch of books. And, with this latest discovery, I feel so wholly…uplifted.

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

When I finished this book, it was like the air was vacuumed from my lungs-I was breathless. Speechless. I was crying, FFS. Like…why? It wasn’t as if this whole book wasn’t beautiful-it was-and the romance??? My God the romance. It was everything. The atmosphere? Otherworldly. Mesmerizing. Dazzling. Glamorous. But it was as if a piece was missing. I adored it, mind you, but it felt unfinished, in a way. I couldn’t explain it. I was missing that unforgettable ‘wow’ factor everyone seemed to have grasped onto. And I didn’t get it because I had gotten what I wanted-the peril. The romance. The break down. The ultimate sacrifice. Yet my heart wasn’t full. But then. Then.

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.”

I can’t explain it. I still can’t, even after sleeping on it. Words have truly failed me-And words are what help me express what’s built up inside me, helps me move on and feel whole after finishing a book I love, or, in some cases, didn’t love. But, the best I can explain it is like this: Imagine you got everything you wanted…but didn’t know what you needed to make you feel complete. You just knew something was missing. And then. THEN. The end. The narrator. The representation of what it means to tell stories. To create worlds. To bring everyone together through intricately woven layers of words that bring vivid imagery to your mind, but still letting people see it as they wish, played out in their own minds as they want to-the story is the same, but everyone gets there differently-different images and different people and different ideas.

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

The way words are made so powerful with a few sentences…it makes your not-so-full heart suddenly overflow with words-so many words-too many words-Emotions, ideas, realizations. It makes the romantic peril so much more. The end of the game’s meaning becomes vastly larger. The people surrounding the players come to life so vividly, like you didn’t even see them the whole time, even though they were so clearly there. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. All I know is I’m gone for this book, and it’s like it all clicks into place, all at once, and this book is groundbreaking, jaw-dropping, and axis tilting. And never in my life has this happened to me. Ever.

Brilliant. Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. Spellbinding. And still I find my review inadequate and feel as though I’m a kindergartner posing as an adult. But let’s get to the reason this novel spoke to me (I mean yes the end, but the romance still owns my soul).

“Celia, wait,” Marco says, standing but not moving closer to her. “You are breaking my heart. You told me once that I reminded you of your father. That you never wanted to suffer the way your mother did for him, but you are doing exactly that to me. You keep leaving me. You leave me longing for you again and again when I would give anything for you to stay, and it is killing me.”
“It has to kill one of us,” Celia says quietly.”

I don’t even know how to explain what Celia and Marco have, and I surely don’t know how to explain what their game truly entailed-it wasn’t what I expected in any capacity, and I find it almost jarring. It was technically a battle, yes, but was it really? To me it was watching from afar, gazing at someone that you could never possibly have, yet falling for them anyway, trying to dazzle them without them realizing it and, more importantly, you not even realizing it, yourself. Not realizing you have fallen for that someone yourself and that you’re trying to impress them more than actually win the game. And, surrounding that, we have characters that I didn’t think I could possibly be interested in, yet I had just as much of my heart at stake with them as with Celia and Marco.

“I have tried to let you go and I cannot. I cannot stop thinking of you. I cannot stop dreaming about you.”

Okay. Well. Not AS much, but technicality.

And the sacrifice on top of sacrifice and technically forbidden love. The slow build. The feeling of falling for someone without trying to, fighting it every step of the way until you realize you’re already too far gone. And, the end, when you reveal what we all already knew but needed confirmed-that wish tree. Revealing your deepest truth.. I got intense and immeasurable feels, tears sprang to my eyes (still, though, not as much as at the end, inexplicably), and it was like the saddest but happiest conclusion. Amazing. And still, I have no breath left to breathe.

And, I do feel I need to say this, but I feel as if I’m stealing someone else’s words. Arielle is the reason I tried this book again, so I obviously looked at her review before giving this one a go. And I’ll quote her indirectly to address one of the more appealing aspects of this book-the chapters that use 2nd person POV to make you feel as though you’re walking around the circus yourself. She nailed it on the head-it’s so surreal, and it almost doesn’t work and you kind of question it, but, in the end, it immerses you into the story and it makes you feel as if you’re a part of the world, which only heightens your senses and makes the feels more intimate. And, okay, that was EXTREME paraphrasing and lots of my own thoughts mixed in, but you get the idea. You feel like you’re in the circus and, in the end, that adds to the breathlessness and utterly profound feeling, too.

I’ll admit this one isn’t for all. Yes, I will be pushing it on people, much like many of my favorites. Though, it takes someone special, someone willing to fight through not only an extremely slow burn romance, but a slow build-up to anything really happening, as well. But, once again, this new Chelsea has found a book that’s slow paced and somewhat day to day, a book she’d have hated back in the day, a book that she will cherish forever. This book is made for us readers and storytellers, it’s like a love note to those who want to voice their dreams…and it’s so utterly magnificent and glamorous that I can’t help but continue to ramble, continue to push, continue to buy all the editions of it (woo buddy I’ve got a pretty one coming!)-and what else can you really ask for in a story? I mean, honestly.

****

Words cannot express the emotion I felt upon finishing this book. This was so much more than a romance-and I never say that. This is for all the readers who feel they are never heard, understood. Who feel they are out on an island with no one to listen to them. For those who feel the world has lost it’s whimsy. Who feel that storytelling is considered a lost form of art. This book has such a deep, profound message that you can’t truly unfurl until the very last page-and, somehow, it makes this book so much better. So much more meaningful-it strikes you deaf and dumb and speechless. And, most importantly, it gives a voice to the readers and story-tellers who strive to keep words alive.

I was breathless when I closed this book. I had tears in my eyes. A story seared into my soul.

Dazzling. Enchanting. Breathtaking.

A forever favorite.

There are truly no words to express the depth of respect I have for this book and it’s creator.

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW: Bring Me Their Hearts (Bring Me Their Hearts #1) by Sara Wolf

BOOK REVIEW: Bring Me Their Hearts (Bring Me Their Hearts #1) by Sara WolfBring Me Their Hearts (Bring Me Their Hearts #1)
by Sara Wolf
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

 

 
I want nothing more than to stay in this moment, my hand in his. But that’s an impossibility. A weakness. I am a monster, and he’s a human. I want his heart, and I want his other heart. His affection, his blood. I want it all.
But if I take one, I can’t have the other.

Ahhh what a conundrum. This book was just…silly. I’m sorry, but a story that obviously was in capable hands of being well-written (it was, but it wasn’t) was so repetitive and confused in it’s tone that I couldn’t fall head over heels for it-even though it contained everything I love in a fantasy.

Was this a fantasy, though? I guess it was…It just felt more paranormal to me, and I am NOT a fan of paranormal-at least, not anymore. There’s just something so tacky, to me, about it. But, I don’t want to start off on the negative-let’s talk about what worked here. For one, Prince Lucien. He was, in full truth, the reason I pushed (And I do mean, pushed) through to the end and didn’t DNF. And I, like, never DNF a book.

He just had some of the most tortuous moments, the most endearing personality, even though I think he fell too quick and too easily, in my opinion. I mean, he starts off so guarded and then begins flirting with her awfully easy. But that’s neither here nor there, because he was literally the shining light of this identity crisis of a book. I’ll admit that I was drawn in by the perilous edge to it all, but it fell short in tone and what it was trying to be.

Right here, right now, even if it hurts—I can pretend to be perfect, human, free. Whole.

One minute they are all bantering and laughing and joking with JLA type conversations, then the next, someone is dead or being killed. It’s just so effing weird. And I know this happens in real life but-like-what? She and he would be dancing, then there’s a stampede, a little girl is being trampled, and her eye being torn from its socket. Again-what?

They can belittle me, they can mock me, they can tear me apart. But they can’t kill me. Only my own mistakes can do that.
Only I can do that.

One minute the prince doesn’t trust her-yet his bodyguard sure seems to like her???-and then he meets her in the streets and they are buddy buddy because of a hidden secret. But, again, I implore-how could a crown prince, after years of these types of marriage hand-offs, be so easily fooled by a pretty face, someone trying to kill him?

It was so easy a week ago. But now he has a face. Now he has a story. Now he stands here, looking at me as if I’m the greatest mystery in the world, his eyes both sad and hungry—starving for something he’s never known the name of.
Challenge. An equal. A friend. He’s starving for it all.
Starving for me.

And yes, I’ll admit it, the end was pretty good-but also it made me laugh. And it made me mad, the things she said to him, even though it was legit and I normally love it. It made me flinch and, frankly, hate her a little, in that moment. I just-he was my favorite person in this story and for him to be hurt in any way-it stings and it really rubbed me the wrong way- even though, again, I eat that up normally.

I suppose the biggest problem with this story, for me, stems from her monster. I think it literally killed this book. She’ll be falling for the prince (duh) and then it’s like KILL HIM RIP HIS FLESH FROM HIS BONES and it just does. Not. Fit. It’s on every other page. And how many times does she have to reiterate:

But I am a heartless, and this is my job.
But soon, he will be dead by my hand
He doesn’t know it’s his last night
I am a monster
He doesn’t understand the monster lurking beneath

And so on and so forth and what have you. Legit-You hear this All. The. Time. And it makes me so sad because subtlety would have made this so beyond epic I wouldn’t be able to stand it. If she had reiterated less. If the Prince wouldn’t have fallen so easy (though, it wasn’t insta-love in any fashion). If her monster would have (I’m sorry, I swore not to cuss anymore in reviews but) STFU. Do you understand how chilling it could have been if the monster appeared every once in a while, just creepily lurking under the surface, us all knowing it’s laying in wait? And if she would have-maybe-mentioned twice that she had a job to do instead of every other page? This book would have truly been excellent-well, aside from the identity crisis. But, honestly, getting rid of the monster inside her would have cleaned up the silliness a bit.

I don’t know. I really don’t. The villain was actually great-very evil, indeed. Though, I’ll say this, too (view spoiler)???? I’m sorry-LOTS of people would do this and it’s silly that that struck a chord in him-It’s called having a heart, buddy. Oh. Wait. Lmao. Whatever. Pun not intended but it’s well-received, I think.

I am no flower to be ravaged at your whim, angry wolf—I am your hunter, bow cocked and ready. I am a Heartless, one of the creatures your people fled from in terror thirty years ago.
I let the smallest, hungriest smirk of mine loose on him.
If you were smart, you’d start running, too.

Every other character was so overly dramatized that it became unbelievable and comical. I liked the guard, and he was good intended comic relief, but too trusting in my opinion. Prince Lucien was the best character overall, but I feel like he deserved to be a part of literally any other book in the world because this one was kind of a stinker, our main character annoyed the crap out of me ( I really liked her sometimes, but joke joke joke joke joke and they started to become reminiscent of my all time least favorite- Oh holy alien babies), and the girl that helps them? My LORD she is so overly dramatic I wanted to punch her every time she entered the book.

So, all in all this wasn’t a win for me. I had just gotten surgery and I felt tired ALL THE TIME, especially when I picked this up. Which could be a side effect but…how in the world did I finish Outlander all bright-eyed and bushy tailed? Seems fishy, to me. And it just had so much potential…wasted. And yet..I gave it a 3. Welp…2 would really suffice BUT… that end was JUST good enough to rope me in (DAMN YOU, PERIL I AM A SLAVE TO THEE) besides that twist that was predictable and eyeroll worthy and Prince Lucien deserves my support. Ha-whadya guna do??

***************

My God why? Just…no. This was…cringeworthy, at best.

BUT. I will read the next-I mean…Prince Lucien.

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererCall It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

 

**ARC sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I won’t lie to you guys-I begged for this book. It wasn’t classy. It wasn’t dignified. And it was honestly a bit pathetic-but IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. This book? It’s gold. I loved every minute of it.

I was sitting in Tennessee, on vacation, and legitimately had zero time to read. My daughter has always been a peculiar sleeper, and the circumstances of our vacation led to my husband and I’s sanity to be tested. She’s turning two this month-don’t make me cry-and really only began sleeping in her own crib every night in October. It was a miracle-I never have questioned it, and I refuse to look back. But, that being said, we have finally gotten used to sleeping alone again, and it’s glorious, to be honest. What’s not glorious? Sharing a bed with your now used-to-her-own-bed toddler.

To say we got no sleep? Yeah. VASTLY downplayed. SO, seeing as I got a beautiful physical ARC (I took three physical ARCs, don’t know WHAT I was thinking) I was SOL when it came to speed reading at night as I’ve come accustomed to again. But, luckily, my saint of a husband offered to help her nap every day, and I got to read for two hours or so every day off and on, pending my family’s interruptions (there were aplenty)(and let’s be clear-he only offered this because it was MY family and who doesn’t need a break from in-laws lol he’s no saint. I lie).

That being said-I picked this book up and DEVOURED IT in less than three days. Quite a feat, if you ask me, what with all the interruptions and no time to read! But that’s the power of a Kemmerer book-you know you’re in for a morally gray and addicting ride.

I fell so hard for Rob, because how can you not fall for one of this woman’s main leading men? She creates the most tortured and lonely souls I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I love what she did with his character. I literally had to question every motive, every move, every play-yet never wholly disagreed with what he did. That’s a true author-to make you wonder whether something is right or wrong, yet never telling you if it is or isn’t. In all honesty, he was wrong. Every time. But then you would hear his reasoning, see it through his eyes. Live it like he did-and I found myself saying [almost every time] I’d have done that. But that’s the ambiguity of it-It’s for you to decide, and she didn’t make it easy. Each character in this story has a difficult decision to face every day, and I loved reading about these confused and lost souls.

Rob’s father screwed everyone in town over that invested with him, making Rob seem guilty by association since he interned there. Either way, he’s now a social pariah when he used to be the most popular guy in school (it sounds familiar, but it’s done oh so well!). And his home life? It’s terribly sad and without a doubt broke my heart every time he was home or talked/thought about it. Then we have Maegan. ‘Typical overachiever’ and now an outcast besides her best friend. Caught in a scandal and compromising other students in the process, she is deemed lowest of the low, just after one simple mistake when, before, she was simply dubbed a goody-two shoes.

One mistake can change your whole life, the way you’re viewed, and can influence each new decision you have to make, and we get to see what the aftermath is like for both someone who made a one-time mistake that marred their chances of getting into ANY college when they were a shoe-in before, and someone who didn’t do anything wrong, nor know anything about it, yet pays the steady cost of betrayal every day, both at school and, more devastatingly, in his own home.

I always love the star-crossed lover books where a popular guy is paired with an unpopular girl, or vice versa, on a project, so this was right up my alley. Except, here, we have two totally different social groups coming together…but they’re both now outcasts, and I loved the twist on that trope I love so much. And, even more than that, I love that Kemmerer could explore trust among two ‘wrongdoers’, along with betrayal, friendship, attraction-and standing up for what you believe to be right. I loved it. It’s all so convoluted and twisty and turny in the sense that Maegan doesn’t know what to think about Rob, whether he was involved or not, and where his morality is questioned as he finds himself turning into a modern day Robin Hood.

The family relationships and friendships were handled well, in my opinion, and I even thought it was well rounded out…I’m never tough on these situations, though. So long as there is a conflict, characters fighting-both together and separately-to figure out a solution, a resolution to said conflict, and a general mending and moving forward of severed relationships in result to the conflict, I’m happy. And I don’t need the dwelling on it, either, which is where people get mad. They want to hear more, see more, expect more…but it’s YA and relationships are messy-especially with family-people are just too harsh. But to each their own.

There was even a HUGE trigger issue in this book, for me, and it was handled as well and as authentically as I think it could be-that being said, I was satisfied. (view spoiler), thus, a trigger. Literally my only complaint but not really complaint? I wanted a LITTLE more in the epilogue. More HFN than HEA, but I loved it all the same.

So, once again Kemmerer proves why I love her so dearly and makes me a loyal slave and follower. Don’t even question when this comes out if I’ll have it on my shelf-it’s already preordered. And you should do so, too.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by LJ Shen

BOOK REVIEW: Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by LJ ShenVicious (Sinners of Saint #1)
by L.J. Shen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

 

You were always mine.

Not so long ago a friend insisted I read The Kiss Thief. I’d been ignoring it with good reason (that reason being that I’m always always always let down by contemporary NA, it seems), but decided why not? I trust my friend. Thus began my journey through a book I didn’t think I could possibly love, leading to a curiosity that couldn’t be satiated until I got my hands on another of this author’s books-Is this woman my NA soulmate?

My Grandma once told me that love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances.

Turns out? This woman is a wizard, and I am under her spell. I was extremely sick with a savage head cold my Little gave me, and I generally can’t read when such occasions occur. The words are fuzzy, my brain doesn’t compute quick enough, feels are lost when they would have slayed me any other normal day. But. BUT. Somehow, even though the words didn’t go to my brain fast enough, this story broke through the fog and STILL gave me feels that were unparalleled to any NA I’ve read in recent memory. THAT is the work of something larger than myself, and I love this author for it. Bravo for being the first and ONLY author to write a book that broke through a sickness induced word coma.

I shook my head quickly. “I’m just not sure how you can be both nice and compassionate and a terrible asshole all at the same time,” I muttered.
He smiled. “It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it.”

I loved The Kiss Thief-more than was safe for my own health-but when I picked up this book? It sang to my soul and dragged me down into the watery grave of obsession, because I literally could not get enough of each word spoken on every page. It was like there weren’t enough words, yet they were all so perfect no more could be said. Which is the best kind of predicament to be in, naturally, for a book DEVOURER such as me. But now, of course, I’ve spiraled into a void I can’t get out of, because literally no other book is going to compare now. Like, ugh.

The bottom line was I hated him. I hated him so much it made me sick to my stomach that I loved the way he looked, on and off the field. Hated my shallowness, my foolishness, at loving the way his square, hard jaw ticked when he fought a smile. I hated that I loved the smart, witty things that came out of his mouth when he spoke in class. Hated that he was a cynical realist while I was a hopeless idealist, and still, I loved every thought he uttered aloud. And I hated that once a week, every week, my heart did crazy things in my chest because I suspected he might be him.

I have to say that this book is way more trigger-happy for people than TKT ever was, which is why I told my friend to probably stay away from this one. What ignites my passion and hunger would surely repulse any sane human being-or, at least, my said friend. Vicious was…well….freaking vicious. He was crueler, less sane, and way colder to reach his goals. And, if I think about it, der??? It shocked me at first, but then I remembered something-Senator Wolfe Keaton was underhanded and dirty, sure, but he was, above all else, a good standing and well-liked politician of the public’s eye. OBVIOUSLY these two characters differ, seeing as Barron (Vicious) was just, well, a spoiled, self-entitled, destructive both physically and mentally, partying rich boy brat.

Vicious was right. I was a liar.
Because I told myself I could do casual.
When there was nothing casual about what I felt for him. Not even one bit.

Clearly a misguided (and yes, I’ll go there-misunderstood) soul, I couldn’t help but fall for him, now could I? This book gave me the closest/strongest vibes that reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time (Yes, I have issues), Punk 57, that I’ve had in a while. They’re nothing alike, yet, the back and forth, the anger, the savageness, the filthy, hot, dirty sex scenes. Come on. I’m a f****** goner, ya know? I’m TRASH for these types of books (not the sex, I just mean the enemies to lovers mixed with the story line and heat), and they are just so few and far between. And, while I loved TKT, that was technically older-ish, whereas this was, too, but we got that HS vibe as well, that underlying layer of why things were the way they were between these two, and I am so here for it. All of it. Even the bad, dirty, nasty. Because of it, even.

I love possessive dickheads in books. I do. I’m sorry. I’m a failure to womankind, surely, but I. Do. Not. Care. It’s alarmingly hot, okay?

Mine.
You’re mine.
You were always mine.
Because she was mine.

Yes to this? All of it? Can I read more of it? And I’m a sucker for it. No shame in my game, and judge as you will, cuz this chick ain’t a changin’.

But, besides all of this, I suppose this is a more ‘sophisticated’ (baha this book as sophisticated) way of me being able to enjoy YA without being considered kind of weird. It’s a past and present deal, which I generally loathe, yet it was done so frikkin’ well that, after my initial disappointment, I totally forgot because the book took me out of my own body and into their skewed version of the world, and I fell so in love none of my peeves mattered. I loved this book, wholly, and I now would not change one thing about it because-be still my beating heart-I consumed it and would re-read it in a second just to get the same feels again.

I realize that this isn’t necessarily realistic-it’s not-and that if a girl were in this situation, she obviously would need to RUN AND RUN FAST…but isn’t that what fiction is? A fantasy? A way to escape the world? No, I would not want a Barron Spencer chasing after me-he’s batshit crazy, okay-but to read about it? To just immerse myself into a nonexistent world? I dig it. It’s fun. It’s addicting as hell. And it’s shameful. But it’s my guilty pleasure read-I hardly read any of these all year long, tending to fall prey to my YA fantasies-and I am entitled to it now and again. No, I don’t think it’s a good book to let my daughter-or any young girl, for that matter-read. But it’s simple. I won’t suggest she read it. There. It’s easy, honestly-monitor what your kid reads as much as you can, and teach them what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s all we can do-the book won’t cease to exist no matter how much some people may will it , so as long as I do the best as I can for my children, then I may as well enjoy what this author has to offer-and it’s pure gold.

Yet here he was, in my house, in my room, near my bed. Even if he’d come here just to threaten me some more, he’d still made the trip. I got to him.
He was in my veins.
But I’d managed to crawl under his skin.

Now that that’s out of the way-this woman writes the hottest intimate scenes ever. At least, the hottest I’ve read in a while. And the ones from this book? They made me a total and utter mess. It was sick and depraved and I do not give one crap about it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been affected by a book in such a manner, and I’m almost (but not really) ashamed to admit…this one got to me. And I’m not even one to generally enjoy these scenes, because they scarcely measure up. But this woman? Wow. That’s all I can say without sounding like a total pervert lol.

All in all this book had it’s ups and downs, I suppose (for some), but I never once lost enjoyment, even through my hazy fog days. I looked forward to it every minute of the day I wasn’t reading it and didn’t want to put it down until I absolutely had to. To say this book gave me life when I was down and out would be an understatement, so I’ll go as far as to say it brought me back to life. There. BOOM. I said it. It made me unsick, and if that’s not worth a read, I don’t know what is.

***********

So. Fucking. Good.

RTC

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