Author: Chelsea (Page 1 of 111)

BOOK REVIEW: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

BOOK REVIEW: Love on the Brain by Ali HazelwoodLove on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a new STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.

Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project - a literal dream come true - Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school - archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

But when her equipment starts to go missing and the staff ignore her, Bee could swear she sees Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas... devouring her with those eyes. The possibilities have all her neurons firing.

But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there's only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?

The real villain is love: an unstable isotope, constantly undergoing spontaneous nuclear decay.
And it will forever go unpunished.

The way that this one hurts me to write….look. I really, thoroughly enjoyed this. I did. And, up until a certain point, I was in love-AGAIN. I was trash for Hazelwood’s first novel, and I even went in not expecting much because I HATE when people compare to an author’s first work-it’s not wholly fair. Not all books can be the same, and not all books have to contain that same aesthetic. But, here is the KICKER, we CAN expect to feel the same things. We CAN expect some sort of gravitational pull and we CAN expect to not read the same type of book we read before.

“Anyway, Harry Potter is tainted forever, and I’m not getting a cat.”
“Why?”
“Because it will die in thirteen to seventeen years, based on recent statistical data, and shatter my heart in thirteen to seventeen pieces.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

LOL! My morbidity and humor all wrapped up into one, this is exactly how I talk ^^^^ (see? I loved so much about this)

I’ll admit time and again that I am an avid serial reader of books that are all similar-but the deal is they have to be just as heart-wrenching and have moments that take my breath away-I don’t care how similar they are. And, honestly, that wasn’t my issue here-if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But I didn’t even think of similarities when I was reading this-that was what I say to all of those that think this is comparable to TLH-fair. But no, my real issue here is that where book one made science PART of the story and it wasn’t too over the top, here it just…bogged it down. And, besides that point, it wasn’t the science that got to me-nah, I can skim better than anyone and it doesn’t effect my rating- no, when I started to get mad, it was because Bee became a total ASS when she was in the office. This is when my enjoyment faltered and I started to almost detach from the story….I never hated this story. Never. But I did hate Bee.

I frown. He sounds very . . . in charge. Self-assured. Not that he usually doesn’t, but it’s having a new . . . effect on me. Oh my God. Am I a damsel in distress?

I never speak ill of MC’s because an author generally does a great job of centering a book around that MC where we don’t have a right to really fight what’s going on because it just goes. That’s how it’s meant to be. But here…she was just so…angry. Angry at the world. Angry at her field. Angry at Levi. Well…maybe angry isn’t the word. Annoyed? Biased because of some preconceived notions? I don’t know. But it just…it always took me out of reading smoothly. I just wanted to NOT have to hear her repetitive coin phrases and terms applied to men in the field. I think it’s fine that this author has chosen this as her fight when she writes these novels-it’s a real issue and she wants to tackle it-fine. But I DO feel, and I know I am not alone here from what I’ve seen, that if you want to fight these battles….shouldn’t you not be a stereotype yourself? To give into that anger and just make it your absolute life force? I don’t know. I feel she was SO aggressive with it that it was hard to read and even harder to like Bee. We get it. You hate men and you hate how you are treated…so do something about it.

FUN FACT ABOUT me: I am a fairly mellow person, but I happen to have a very violent fantasy life.
Maybe it’s an overactive amygdala. Maybe it’s too much estrogen. Maybe it’s the lack of parental role models in my formative years. I honestly don’t know what the cause is, but the fact remains: I sometimes daydream about murdering people.
By “sometimes,” I mean often.
And by “people,” I mean Levi Ward.

NOW I may get hate about that last comment because I am in no way able to identify with this field nor what these women in STEM go through on a daily basis to earn some recognition. What I will say, however, is that I still believe it just could have been written…better. And, frankly, this flows into how she treats Levi. She treats him like a dog, honestly.

It’s just so so so so clear he’s more than into her, and even after a certain point when he states that he does not, in fact, hate her, she still says so many phrases-repeatedly-like ‘well I know you’d rather not be hanging out with someone you despise’…girl. Like…chill. Every page. Every chapter. Your arch nemesis does NOT drop everything to come help you because he loathes you. Even as a dumb teenager I’d have understood what THAT is about. Her maturity level? It’s the size of a gnat.

I guess this is it—being in love. Truly in love. Lots and lots of horrible, wondrous, violent emotions. It doesn’t suit me.

My Sarah Hogle humor at play again ^^

But Levi…ohhhh my Levi. Much like Adam (who is still my fav because… Adam) he just is so sweet beyond words. Silently volleying for your success….would do ANYTHING to help you or just be there for you. One thing Ali does is just create the most amazing men that make me unable to breathe. Adam and Olive literally knocked me out of my seat, and I wish I would have had a duo to support rather than just Levi in LOTB. I just could not get behind Bee in any way, even though she has the most hilarious Sarah Hogle-esque inner monologue. I am TRASH for Sarah Hogle, so I held onto Bee a long time before I gave up on her because she just has the funniest way of saying things. And, even after I decided I wasn’t a fan, she still made me laugh and smile occasionally.

That all being said, this was an honest to God adorable feel-good book ripe with loads of snarky humor (which I live for). I just wish that I hadn’t felt so…disconnected sometimes while reading. It was just too much in this one, and I legitimately *felt* the agenda while reading. Again, I will likely be fought on that point, but I do not care. I loved so much about this novel, I still have a couple editions in the mail I can’t wait to receive but, other than that, I think I’ll just longingly gaze at my Levi and Bee art print (and cherish it because I am OBSESSED WITH IT) and pine for the love of that art print to manifest into all-consuming love for this story. Levi deserved better, period. He was the kindest, most longing, most loyal man, and he deserved better than that jerk. I guess we just love who we love. And sorry-I’m not afraid to say it.

******

AGHH THE WAY I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS!

Let’s get it, Bestie! TO THE BATMOBILE! We riddddeeeee!

(Yes, you, Arielle. Get in the damn car)

BOOK REVIEW: The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber

BOOK REVIEW: The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie GarberThe Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2)
by Stephanie Garber
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she'll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can. . . .

Jacks shot her a glare.
“Don’t look at me like that. I saw the way you looked when you arrived here with your arm around her shoulders.”
“How did I look?”
“Like you would kill for her.”

So many books come and go in my life that I tend to move on quickly, forget them. Some have lasting power, sure. Some make me pine for them until their respective series are complete, then they disappear from my mind as quickly as a wisp into the wind. Some authors write just well enough I love the books, buy a copy, and obsess for a bit…but years fly by and all of a sudden I can’t remember why I loved it so much at the time. Then there are some authors that have something special that makes their stories sticky like glue, stuck in every fiber of your being with the realization you may remember every. Single. Detail. And every. Single. Character. Until your body has left this earth-the literal day you die.

Evangeline’s heart was still racing, and she wondered now if it wasn’t scared or nervous but if it was just trying to catch up to all the moments before they disappeared-before he disappeared.

And, look, okay-Dramatic much? I don’t know if this series is an ‘I’m obsessed in this moment’ or an ‘I will die with these pages crumbling to dust in my cold dead hands’ type of story…but, currently, it’s sitting pretty high alongside a few favorites I’ve never forgotten a single detail about-and those date back to childhood. So….I don’t know. I truly hope this is in the latter category, because as of right now? I am crumbling, tumbling, disintegrating into a pile of ash as I slowly lose my mind over what this evil. Chaotic. Out to freaking KILL me author has done to my not-so-innocent soul. That’s right. She got me. She got me BLEEPING good.

She knew Jacks was far too dangerous a person to truly fall for. But she could no longer deny that it was happening. She couldn’t deny that she wanted him. Just enough to keep her from pulling away every time he touched her. Enough to keep his name near the tip of her tongue even when he wasn’t in the room.

I’ll admit-again that I went into this Garber novel kind of…ugh…kind of expecting the worst. Again. Again. Again. But listen, hear me out-So many times. So. Many. FREAKING. Times. These authors produce epicccccccc over the top amazzinnnnngggg first works in a series and, being the first book loving kinda gal I am, I fall hard. I fall fast. I fall like clockwork repeatedly, unbearably, incessantly hard. Ask any of my friends-as far as series go, I’m a dreamer. But, over time, I’ve become cynical. Bitter. I don’t trust many authors anymore because yes, they produce well-written novels, but they fail to create that everlasting magic that sings to your soul and rings true to your chaotic heart so that when your mind needs an escape, it doesn’t escape to some other drivel, it escapes to THAT author’s books….and, okay, so SUE me, after being so shocked by Jacks’s first book, I didn’t think it possible that I’d find myself here, obsessed, again. Yet….here we are. HOW. HOW. HOW IN THE WORLD DOES SHE DO IT.

Maybe that was really why she thought she was falling, because the feeling plummeting toward something uncontrollable with nothing but Jacks to hold on to had never actually stopped.

And what we seem to have here is a perfect case of an author creating an absolute SMASH HIT of a series that won so many people over and I think there are like…..10?….different editions. I don’t know-there’s a lot. And yes, I loved them-I did. But I’m a huge believer in third book syndrome. I almost always hate the third book (hey, it used to be the second, but now I’ve come to love the chaos of book twos, so hello fellow book two appreciators) because it’s almost like the author doesn’t know how to fit things into a box neatly to tie of all loose threads, but not make it too easy, contrived, convenient. Too clean. Too neat. And I think that happened with Finale? I loved it, but I didn’t get my big Dante scene, and I’m also super horrible about needing my heroes that still (yes he still had LOADS to prove of himself) aren’t on the complete up and up of deserving our heroines getting their *divine moment* (Arielle, heh heh). This did not happen. And I think….I THINK…this may be why I lost the obsessed bug I felt while reading the series.

Evangeline felt a rush of blood to her ears, yet she could still hear a tiny voice telling her she was about to make a mistake. But what was the mistake-trusting Jacks or running from him?

Now. Here. We have this dude who was an utter JERK in the Caraval trilogy (ie he was our plot device to further Mr. Dante) and just…I didn’t get him. I didn’t get him at. ALLLL. I even remember my bestie texting me so excited and tagging me on this new Garber novel ‘featured in the world of Caraval’ and I just…didn’t care. I went ahead and went through my nerdy ways and ordered every edition possible because okay they were so so SoOoOoO pretty. Why? I’ve got issues. That’s why. And, as I stated in my book one review, I think-deep deep deep deep down-I knew. I knew what this series would come to mean to me. That my blasé attitude would lead to my ultimate demise and why NOT get those pretty editions *just* in case. Yeah. Ha. Anyone who has ever missed out on a Garber series pre-order knows the pain of trying to collect ALLLLL the pretties post publication. Bankrupt, anyone? Yeah. That wasn’t going to happen to this guy, nosiree.

“The answer is no, and it will always be no.”
Jacks crossed his arms and leaned against the bedpost. “If you really think that, then you lack imagination.”
Evangeline bristled. “I do not lack imagination. I merely possess determination.”
“So do I.” Jacks’s eyes flickered with something malevolent. “This is your last chance to change your mind.”
“Or what?” Evangeline asked.
“You’ll really start to hate me.”
“Perhaps I look forward to hating you.”
The corner of Jacks’s poisonous mouth twitched as if the idea vaguely entertained him.

Sigh. So. Why all this craziness? Well, I’ll tell you. Jacks-if you cannot tell-has become (among many other men, (shut up, shh, I don’t care, shhhhhhhhhh)) the center of my universe. And, naturally, Stephanie has made it her personal EFFING mission to rip my soul to shreds. TO LITERALLY OBLITERATE IT into tiny fissures that crack not only my heart, but make sure they bleed to my other organs and crack the bones, too, because why not?? I literally don’t know when or how or WHY this woman has chosen to prolong what I had thought/been told/ assumed was a duology…but she did it without ANYONE (far as I’m aware) knowing and I just…as I watched the percent slowly [not slow at all, actually] dwindle to nothing I knew deep in my ever loving soul that this was either going to be a TERRIBLE ending (which it was) or a TERRIBLE ending CLIFFHANGER that I had to wait (unwittingly) until next year to cease the ache that I call an erratic heartbeat. And…I still….days later….am in a deep, intense fog about what I’m supposed to do with my life because every. Single. Time (how many times am I going to type the same things over, really) I flash back to this book and it’s end I get a flash flood of such intense feelings it takes my breath away, I can’t breathe, and I immediately get a shot of adrenaline to my veins. Frankly it’s both wonderful and absolutely, terribly heartbreaking. Maddening. It’s torture. ABSOLUTE TORTURE because I THOUGHT I WAS ON MY WAY TO THE END BUT SHE SURPRISED ME WITH THE MOST AMAZING CRUEL CLIFFHANGER EVER AND THEY ARE MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BUT IT SHOCKED ME SO THAT’S A CHEAP SHOT SO HERE WE ARE.

She used to think love was like a house. Once it was built, a person got to live in it forever. But now she wondered if love was more like a war with new foes constantly appearing and battles creeping up. Winning at love was less about succeeding in a battle and more about continuing to fight, to choose the person you loved as the one you were willing to die for, over and over.

I’ll try to calm down so you can read an actual review of the actual book, but I’m sorry-this woman killed me. Anyway. I digress. If anyone follows me at all, or read my first review of OUABH, they would see that-much like this review-I was shocked and living it up in my feels. I said some things-predictions, if you will-that I wanted to happen. I guessed about what Jacks was going to have to go through. How he would fall madly. How he would get jealous-he’s a fate, after all, I said. I stated that there had to be [I needed] some ‘chaos, heartbreak, and destruction’. And…I simply called that this book would be an absolute evil little gem, if I were to generalize it. At least, to make this successful, for ME, it would HAVE to be an evil little monster of a book, because Jacks isn’t your typical morally gray hero (again, I imploringly ask, WHAT EVEN IS JACKS???)-he needs some angst thrown in. Some spice. Some denial. Some mind games…some flare.

Evangeline forced herself to stop beneath the amber glow of a garden lamp shaped like a bowing flower. Cold bit her cheeks and licked her hands, but Jacks didn’t so much as shiver as he strode toward her, indifferent to the bitter air that froze the tips of his hair and lashes. He slid through the icy night like a slow-falling star, all unearthly eyes and graceful moves.

Ha. HAHAHHAHAAH oh you get that. Yeah you get it. You’ll see. And I’ve never quite been both so happy and so mortified to be correct in some of my guesses and predictions. I kid you not, I am NEVER right. So, I guess you could say I read Garber like a book (HAHAH). But she had the last laugh, in the end.

“I hurt everyone, Little Fox. But you have to be alive to hate me.” His eyes iced over. “I do not want you dead, and I’ll kill anyone who tries.”

Much like Jacks, Evangeline adopted some new behaviors, but she was still the same sweet, hopeful girl from book one. And while the naivety was gone, she was a bit TOO on the nose in assuming things one way or another. Yes, this is what you see, but what is the TRUTH, really? Are you actually seeing ALL of the truth…or what someone else wants you to see? And I will admit there were some repetitive moments/ thoughts/ themes…but I just didn’t care because this was nothing short of a magnificent book.

It might have just been all the wine coursing through her, but for a moment, Evangeline didn’t feel as if she were in a ballroom, she felt as if she were in the center of a hundred stories. Love stories and tragedies and tales with endings lost to time. And suddenly, her worries felt lost as well, swept away by a feeling that her life was one of those stories. She’d known it vaguely, but it wasn’t until then that the enormity of it hit her.

And, you know, I was nervous. We covered this. So I was quick to judge the beginning like, alright here we go-predictable. That lasted all of two seconds before I was blown right out of the park with such a freaking CLEVER way to cause strife that I couldn’t help but gasp and clutch my imaginary pearls and simply APPLAUD this beautifully twisted author’s mind as she wove together a story I’d have NEVER thought possible as I read book one. I mean-One-BRAVO. Two-THE SIGNIFICANCE. Three-THE HEARTACHE. Four-the utter ingenuity Five-THE WAY. THIS WOMAN. MAKES EVERY. BOOK COVER. COUNT. I see you, Stephanie. I see you-and I like this evil little flag you fly. I am SO happy you have spread your wings and chosen violence. May you wake up EVERY DAY and aim to wreck my soul. With this writing, I’d follow you ANYWHERE.

“We shouldn’t do this,” she said.
“I’m just asking you to stay the night.” His lips left her neck as he murmured, “You won’t even remember.”
Evangeline tensed in his arms. “What do you mean, I won’t remember?”
“I mean…it’s just one night,” he said softly. “In the morning, you can forget it. You can go back to pretending you don’t like me, and I can pretend that I don’t care. But for tonight, let me pretend you’re mine.”

So, you know….just a few of my thoughts *sarcasm*. If you even made it this far, that is. Look. I know I acted a fool. I know this is typical Chelsea doing typical fangirl OTT stuff…but what is life even about if you can’t flail and obsess and fangirl to your friends, people who read your thoughts, or to anyone who wants to listen that day. I know I exude crazy (that’s fine. It’s fInNnNnNnEeEeE) but I stand by it. If I am clinical, if I am not being crazy-watch: I won’t remember or think about that book come next year. Poof. Forget about it. So, like my long-winded reviews. Or don’t. But know one thing-if I am THAT crazy about a book then I am passionate enough about it that I am willing to put myself out there with all my unbridled, uncensored (I did NOT use the F word excitedly as I would have liked to, but…) thoughts and craziness so that someone, somewhere that MAYBE was on the fence about said novel might give it a try. If I can save one soul from missing out on a book that they would love, then I’ll have done my job and I’ll have done it successfully-and I sleep well at night knowing that.

His words were low and quiet; she wouldn’t have heard them if she hadn’t been so close. And it struck her how intimate words could be, how they could be spoken only once, for only one person, and they would never be heard again, they would disappear like a moment, gone almost as soon as you realized they were there.

*****

NOW THE COVER ARGGHHGDEGDFGF

There is literally nothing else I want to read

***

Can I just, like….have this please?

Please and thank you?

Jacks? PLEASE??

BOOK REVIEW: The Awakening: As Told by the Boys by Caroline Peckham & Susanne Valenti

BOOK REVIEW: The Awakening: As Told by the Boys by Caroline Peckham & Susanne ValentiThe Awakening: As Told by the Boys (Zodiac Academy #1.5)
by Caroline Peckham, Susanne Valenti
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

**This is a retelling of book 1 of Zodiac Academy from the perspective of Orion, Darius, Caleb, Seth and Max**

The Vega twins are alive.

Those five words circle in my mind like an oncoming storm. They change everything about the future we thought had been set in stone. They challenge everything we were raised to be and the stability of the entire kingdom.

They’re coming to our academy looking for the life that was stolen from them, but we can’t let them take it back.

So much hangs in the balance and we can’t risk the arrival of two naïve princesses destroying everything we worked so hard for.

I have trained in dark magic, overcome all challenges and stood in the shadow of Lionel Acrux for far too long already. I won’t let them come between me and his downfall.

Which means they have to go before they discover how powerful they truly are.

This is a retelling of the first book in the Zodiac Academy series from the point of view of Orion and the Heirs and should be read after you have finished the original story. It includes scenes from alternative points of view as well over 50k words of additional content and scenes which have never before been revealed. So prepare to step into the dark minds of the Zodiac boys and watch out for the heartbreak and carnage that will ensue

I looked right back, drinking her in, taking in the fire that burned in her soul and the heat which seemed to simmer between us. This girl was going to be trouble. I could tell already. The best kind of trouble there was.

Not many series impress me enough that their male POV counterparts amount to much or grab my attention enough to read them. And perhaps to many this one didn’t either. But, we’re talking groundbreaking measures here, people-I HATE long series because, honestly, most authors just can’t make them interesting or well-written enough that they keep my interest. But, for some reason, this series stole my heart and it never really let it go-from the first hot mess of an awakening where the celestial heirs met the lost Vega twins who tipped their world on it’s axis, through the tremulous fights, bullying, and romantic endeavors-both good and tortuous (Which is to say, EXCELLENT), all the way to the absolutely breath-taking and soul-crushing Heartless Sky where all our most coveted desires came to fruition, but with a cost almost too high to bear. The tears, people…the absolute wrecked soul-wrenching tears.

Green eyes peering into my soul and the brush of lips against mine so hot and powerful that I could taste that kiss right down to my core. A name in the dark which sounded like a plea or a promise and words which hung in my mind like they’d been spoken from the stars themselves.
Choose wisely, Dragon born. The greatest treasure is the hardest won.

*Don’t mind me and my bb Dragon*

So, when I finished book seven and knew there was a book from their POV, one where we can get some iNsIgHt into these assholes’ minds during their reign of terror over the girls, I was all for it. But, like many things, I wanted to savor it and keep it for a rainy day when I would need my Dragon feels and, honestly, I didn’t want to rush into it and not have it to look forward to. Though we had six books with all the boys’ perspectives, it left far too much Darius out and it was literally never enough-it will NEVER be enough when it comes to this absolute book HUSBAND.

How much easier my life would be if this really was just the end of me.

Shh. I don’t care that he’s a walking, talking red flag-he. Is. EVERYTHING. And to say that is such a monumental thing. I know-I KNOW-I get obsessed with my fictional men.

I KNOW THIS. But it is far and few between they get under my skin so desperately that it feels like I would have to surgically peel my skin back to remove them from my veins-my bones-my very marrow….and I can’t really say why other than perhaps morally gray men with super toxic but totally purely devoted and in love [but in denial] men MAY be my own special wheel-house and anything less than ‘red flag’ may bore me, nowadays. What it do, baby.

I slid a hand up her spine, moving it towards the back of her neck as I watched her mouth and prepared to claim it. Claim her. Claim everything that went with that choice, because it didn’t even feel like a choice at all, more like an urgent need which demanded to be answered.

I only say this because Jacks from OUABH is also my current obsession and he’s nothing less than a red flag and absolute trollop, as well, so I think I may have a top tier *type*. That also being said, lest we forget Cardan is my top book boyfriend? The salt? The nixies? The sneers and *light* bullying? Literally the entirety of the company he keeps? Though, I must say, he is so mild and tame, comparatively lol. Poor little sugar bb prince.

“Maybe you should have picked an easier House to join,” I warned in a low tone, pushing her a little more. “I don’t get the feeling you’re cut out for the trials of this one.”
“Well you made it in,” she said with a shrug, her gaze flicking over me dismissively and making my blood heat. “So it can’t be that hard.”

I digress. This is supposed to be about the boys’ POV, and it is…kind of. But keep in mind I have all these emotions I haven’t truly been able to express because I read all these so quickly in a violent haze of obsession that I didn’t and couldn’t make time to write a review for all seven books. So, honestly, this is the review to end ALL reviews for books 2-7 of Zodiac Academy, and I can’t help but gush because, really, I have to wait until December for the end and that is just BULLSHIT.

There was a question hanging between me and her. A want which we both felt and ached to satisfy. But there was a whole chasm full of reasons for us to deny that need too. Not that I gave a shit. Because every fibre of my being was screaming for me to claim her and make her mine with an urgency that made my head spin.

Basically what we have here is the heart of all the books: the boys. Don’t get me wrong, but the Vega girls are truly good souls-one fiery and stubborn AS FUCK, and one sweet and kind, but fierce in a way the boys absolutely and severely underestimated. No, truly, these guys may have been the cause of so much pain and heartache and turmoil, but their arc from book one to seven really is a showcase of how being put in a position to defend all you know, the people who are in danger around you, how being under a dark coercion and put in a position that has other lives at stake if you don’t follow those dark commands, how it changes a person and brings out the worst of what they can be.

I swear I could practically hear the universe holding its breath like there was so much hanging on the choice we made now.

I will admit that you have to have that darkness inside you and be inclined to do it for such ‘support’ of friends to work (I stand by the dark coercion not being a fair shake to my dragon but, again, I’d die for him, so) and to commit such heinous acts (here’s looking at you, Seth and Max), but I loved seeing what they were willing to do for their friend. And, more than that, even though it hurts now, you get to see how they really did like the Vegas,

One of the seniors used his earth magic to seal the way closed behind her and I had to grit my teeth against the desire to tell him to stop so I could keep watching her walk away. Damn this girl. Damn this fucking girl. She was clawing her way under my skin and I was almost certain she wasn’t even trying to do it.

we get to experience these moments knowing full well what is to come, how they bond, become best friends, how they all work together for the greater good….and, I’m going to betray every woman out there when I say this, all of this enhances the good moments that are earned in the future. What?!!! iT aDdS fLaVoR !

“You made a mistake picking my House. You won’t be able to escape me now.”

YOU DO NOT GET TO JUDGE ME. NONE OF YOU. There would not be a whole ass support group for each book and each series these evil women create if there were not a bajillion other people who agreed with me. All this being said, though, it’s very hard to see when we are first reading the series. Why do they do what they do? Why do they HAVE to? Who even cares? Well, even though I find it to be a cop out and an after the fact excuse, it doesn’t make it any less canon and they wove it so seamlessly that no one can call that out because, frankly, it just makes sense. This series and it’s plot holes are always filled (sometimes books later!!!) so well that you can’t help but shrug and say, whatever. It works. This is just what is is.

She had been a pretty dream for a foolish moment, but now I was waking up to my reality and the bruises staining my flesh were a stark reminder of what that was.
The Vegas had to go.
And I had to make that happen.

Another of my favorite things ever-moments or actions or sayings or things being hinted at AND NOT FORGOTTEN-being expanded on so well in later books that the breath gets knocked from your lungs and you physically can’t breathe. If you’re into that sort of thing, that is. (Ya know, just epic LOVE declarations in various forms, and the like.) Frankly, I judge you if your heart didn’t palpitate at ‘there is only her, there is only him’, Darius’s Phoenix and Dragon tattoo, Star-Crossed love, and so. Many. Other. Things. I judge you. Openly. How even dare you if this shit doesn’t light your fire.

I raised my eyes to look at Roxy Vega, finding her wary attention still very much fixed on me and liking that a little too much. What was going on beyond those big green eyes? What thoughts filled that pretty head of hers when she set her gaze on me?

Sure, there were some repetitive moments-we ARE in the minds of simple men, really, but I couldn’t help but love that we got to see how quickly Darius and Orion were attracted and-honestly-truly interested in a relationship with Tory and Darcy from the beginning. It’s pretty clear in the original story from the girls’ perspective that they have *starry eyes* for them, despite all the pomp and posturing, but to see their inner struggles and absolute obsession with them…it made things so much grander. Brighter. So much more fun to look at through those lenses.

That girl was my downfall in the making. I just had to make sure she never reached that potential.

Also, another reason everyone needs to save this story for after they read book seven-they are honestly hilarious. I don’t know that I’d have smiled so much or laughed as loud or as often had I not truly known the heirs as I do in later books. There is something truly special in watching their weird brother bond and the way they interact with one another behind the scenes. How they bicker and fight and what they truly think of their lives and what they are expected to do. I loved it-even if I had to read from freaking Max and Seth’s perspectives back when they were total douche canoes.

And for some strange reason, her calling me an asshole was the highlight of my damn week.

And, here, I wondered if seeing it from their POV might change my mind about them earlier than, say, book five for Seth and book six for Max. But…no. Alas, they are still assholes and I still do not forgive them for being book 1-5’s most obnoxious heirs. Though, many may be shocked to see my current ranking as far as the heirs go, if we’re talking book five on:

*~*DARIUS*~*(C’mon now)
Seth (wHaAaAaAt)
Caleb (dude got boring once Tory moved on)
Max (Still not my favorite, but I do like him)
And, if Orion was an heir, he’d be seated right below Darius. Have no fear, friends.

My head snapped up and I glared at my reflection again, drinking in the similarities between the man in the mirror and the one who had haunted my nightmares for too fucking long. He’d wanted me to become a monster? Fine. I’d be his monster.

So, I don’t know-is it obvious I was going to love this when 90% of it was from Darius and Orion’s POV? Yes. But the fact is that it’s well written, too, much like the other books and it fills in so many fun holes (ugh. You know what I mean) that you can’t help but cherish those early feels you were developing when you see how things were on the other side in some of your favorite moments (the mail scene, the dance scene, the woods scene where they are plotting to ambush Tory)

I didn’t want to fall into the trap of arguing with her again while I was holding her like this. I just wanted to steal this moment from the universe and forget about all the shit that was hanging between us outside of right now.

so many small moments amplified into something amazing…and I just loved seeing it. I loved seeing Darius soften when he looked at Tory (or get all lusty, but that was more predictable, to be fair). I loved Orion’s grumpy ass trying to theorize why Darcy was a siren (both of them, utter morons ‘aLmOsT lIkE a PuLl)

“Any ideas on their Orders?” he asked.
“I think Darcy might be a Siren,” I said and his brows arched.
“Oh yeah? Why do you think that?” he asked.
“It’s just a vibe. Like she’s trying to manipulate my feelings or something,” I muttered and he nodded slowly.
“Yeah now you say it, Roxy could be one too,” he said thoughtfully.
“Really? You felt it from her as well?” I asked hopefully, latching onto this explanation with both hands.
“Yeah, like a sort of pull…”
“Exactly,” I agreed and relief fell between us.

and it was just a balm to my shattered soul. I literally could not be happier that I found this series and I got to experience it with my best friend. Even though she took forever-shame. Shame on you.

Fran Scale:

Doesn’t matter if I think you’ll like it or not-I’m guna book push it on you anyway and smile about it

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BOOK REVIEW: A Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha Young

BOOK REVIEW: A Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha YoungA Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha Young
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Space is the last thing an event planner and an astronaut need in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young.

When event planner Hallie Goodman receives party-inspiration material from the bride of her latest wedding project, the last thing she expects to find in the files are digital videos from Darcy’s ex-boyfriend. Hallie knows it’s wrong to keep watching these personal videos, but this guy is cute, funny, and an astronaut on the International Space Station to boot. She’s only human. And it’s not long until she starts sending e-mails and video diaries to his discontinued NASA address. Since they’re bouncing back, there’s no way anyone will ever be able to see them...right?

Christopher Ortiz is readjusting to life on earth and being constantly in the shadow of his deceased older brother. When a friend from NASA’s IT department forwards him the e-mails and video messages Hallie has sent, he can’t help but notice how much her sense of humor and pink hair make his heart race.

Separated by screens, Hallie and Chris are falling in love with each other, one transmission at a time. But can they make their star-crossed romance work when they each learn the other’s baggage?


*ARC Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

My whole life I’d done the chasing, the people-pleasing. No one had ever chased me. No one had ever prioritized me the way I was willing to prioritize them.

This poor soul of a book had the unfortunate circumstance of being read in a year where 95% of the time I’ve rated every book 5 stars. That is to say, I’ve had almost a full year of perfection and this book was just not…that.

It was cute, sweet, and a typical romance, but I just never truly got into it fully. I can’t say it was bad, but I can’t say it was extremely well-written either….and, again, I don’t think it was poorly written. This book was just maddeningly average and I didn’t feel much depth and I am honestly scrabbling for what to say. And while I sometimes don’t mind quick romances with a hero I really enjoy (and I really really truly did like him), sometimes it doesn’t work out that I fall as easily for it as I normally would. That is the case here, unfortunately.

A tad too predictable, a bit lacking in side characters I cared about, and just…I didn’t believe it, no matter HOW choked up a few of the hero’s quotes made me. And that’s the part that really stinks is there were some great things mentioned about self-worth and embracing who you are, about loving someone for who they are and not what they DO. There was a lot of good to unpack here, just not a lot to follow it up…and that’s where, unfortunately, the story fell short for me.

So while this book will likely appeal to a lot of people, I just couldn’t fall for it. Maybe a different time, maybe a different place in my life…but I just highly doubt it. If you’re looking for a cute, fun, quick read, then I highly recommend it for that. Otherwise, if you perhaps want more to happen, maybe save this for a rainy day.

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BOOK REVIEW: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

BOOK REVIEW: Down Comes the Night by Allison SaftDown Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.



Hal had let her believe, for the first time in her life, that it was alright to feel passionately, fiercely. And oh, she did. She did. If any feeling would kill her, it was this one. She was in love with Hal Cavendish, and he would never know it.



Allison Saft is a new to me author who came seemingly out of nowhere and stole my heart right out of my chest. And here we see such beautiful, vivid imagery, just like her sophomore novel-A Far Wilder Magic. I’ll admit that, while this novel was epic in a way I did not expect, it didn’t quite beat A Far Wilder Magic. I think there’s almost always something to be said about a first novel you read by a certain author-it sets the pace. It enraptures you with said author’s writing style, prose, and depth of those first characters. It’s always wonderful to pick up another novel by your favorite authors, but there is still always something sweeter about meeting a new author and what they bring to the table-but this was so very good as well.

The only natural light filtered in through a round window at the end of the corridor that watched her like a half-shut eye. The snow accumulating on the windowsill would soon consume her view entirely. Wren wondered if this was how it felt to be buried alive, watching as the darkness swallowed a single point of light.



I can see where this was a ‘first book’, the author finding her feet and learning what works for her and what doesn’t. And where A Far Wilder Magic had-in my humble opinion-flawless writing that you immediately became immersed in,

No one moved. No one breathed. Piecing her own experience into anything coherent was like reassembling a broken mirror, every shard a fragmented sensation, an eternity condensed into a moment.



I will say that as this story progressed, I did see where there was some writing that wasn’t as smooth and languid as her sophomore novel was.

Maybe the only difference between a monster and a hero was the color of a soldier’s uniform.



That isn’t to say I wasn’t OBSESSED with every detail-every description-every character (well, Wren and Hal)-every moment…because I was. I was so deeply enthralled with this really sad start of enemies to lovers (okay but I’m weak-bad past actions cannot deter me from falling for the vulnerable new Hal who knows he can’t trust anyone but decides to trust Wren anyway, OKAY) who have to try and trust one another to stop a darker evil from ruining the world as they know it. The chaos about to descend upon them from one small mistake was enough to give me heart palpitations all while gobbling up the epic betrayals and hurt and heartache that comes with working with your most dangerous enemy.

She’d always known what they had couldn’t last. She’d tried to protect herself from the pain of losing him, of wanting him when duty would inevitably call him away from her. Time and time again, she’d measured out the distance between them. And just as many times, she’d run headlong toward him.
Her stupid, reckless heart.



This book was a bit, dare I say, macabre…but this is what made it all the more tantalizing, in my opinion. At one point, I felt a grief so strong, I just didn’t want to believe what I was reading. And, on top of that, every dang moment in that house was enough to give me chills and had me sinking lower into my couch to avoid making eye contact with the bugs [fingers] tapping on my blindness windows. I was shook.

She wasn’t weak for feeling, either. Hardened hearts were breakable. But hers had endured again and again. As much as it terrified her, Wren wanted more than anything to believe herself. But right now, she only needed to convince Hal.



But, alas, I am a wuss and I got through it just fine when they began to see that they needed to work TOGETHER if they wished to defeat their new common enemy and I didn’t have to endure near as many ‘sneaking into forbidden rooms with shadows lining the walls all by my lonesome’ nonsense. I’m sorry, this sends my pulse into a panic and I can’t help but notice my blood pressure goes through the roof. I do NOT like sneaky uppies (I’ve been reading about Seth Cappella way too long, lord help me).

“You understand you’ve made a serious commitment, yes?” She wound her arms around his neck. “I might not let you go.”
“A terrible fate, indeed, to be your prisoner.”



I already spoke of really my only complaint (just lack of perhaps dimension and expansion on certain parts), which leads me to how wonderfully my FAVORITE part was done: Hal and Wren. I’ll admit Wren was a bit hard for my taste, even though its far and away totally jUsTiFiEd, because who wouldn’t be cautious of their mortal enemy. But-seriously-hogwash, because the girl KNEW she wasn’t making the right decisions and she KNEW she felt crappy about it so…I stand to be a little sour towards her because, I’m sorry, in certain moments she did NOT deserve my Hal (again, I realize she is 1) looking out for herself 2) he’s a mortal enemy 3) it’s all she knows. I KNOOOOOWWW, but this is FICTION and I will POUT and stomp all I want).

Her whole life, she’d been accused of feeling too much.
Now she felt nothing at all.



I would be remiss, though, to not mention how wonderfully this romance, the tension, the arc of their untrusting relationship built into something just so….sweet and pure.

His eyes met hers, deep as a moonless night. Confusing warmth blossomed within her chest, unfurling into her fingertips. No one had ever looked at her like this—like she might be dangerous. She liked it. Especially coming from someone like him.



And, near the end, with all that unsavory business….I can’t help but clap because WOWowowowwowowow that. Was. INTENSE. And, during all the intense: heartfelt. Kind. Just…so vulnerable and honestly beautiful. Then, of course, my favorite-a side of absolute deranged peril that was completely and utterly unhinged and YES I wanted to personally claw my eyes out *smiles serenely because I loves it and I devours it *.

She liked the way he listened and the way he looked at her, like she was the first breach of sunlight on the horizon. He made her feel important. Like she mattered. Like she wasn’t entirely broken.



And, also, this book was home to one of my favorite *~bEtRaYaL~* scenes and it lives rent free in my head blink by blink, moment by moment. It plays out so beautifully, with such an-UGH-amazing AMAZING show of character depth and inner heart and I just…UGH. I AM TRASH FOR IT.

She’d known it for a while now. Hal Cavendish, who held her against him like he’d die if she slipped away, was no monster. She wanted to cling to this version of him—hers—and never let him go.



So..I don’t know. I guess that’s it? A whole lot of crazy and not much sense to be had, but I’d be upset with myself if I didn’t act true to myself and, if I’m being honest, one of the things I love most about this author is her ability to create tense situations for our characters that are falling in love (even though they never want to), and not pulling any punches about bad things occurring. I really do feel this isn’t done enough-or well enough-in books and I will always stand behind and book push a story that isn’t afraid to *go there* and make you wonder if our two lovebirds will truly have to deal with something unsavory. The savagery fills my cup, really, and I will lap it up greedily every time it presents itself to me. So. There you go. Take my neurotic self as you will, and I hope at least one thing piqued your interest. If this book simply isn’t for you, try her other story- A Far Wilder Magic. And if THAT isn’t your cuppa tea either, well… I don’t know. I can’t help you. Because I love her and I will ALWAYS love these two books with my whole heart. Also, how dare you.

“Maybe I’m wrong,” he said pensively. “I still have things I would kill for. But perhaps the most important things—what truly drives us—are the things we would die for.”




*~FRAN SCALE~*
Jen-Ahhh I really think you might like this!! But I adore Allison Saft shamelessly.
Cassie- Probably! I don’t predict all time favorite but I have high hopes all my friends would enjoy it! 🙂
Arielle- Hmm. I pretty much text you all the plots and quotes etc so I probably ruined it for you lol. BUT YES. I’d have said you’d enjoy it if not really like it.
Anna- *smirks in ‘you told me so’*




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