Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 1 of 86)

BOOK REVIEW: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

BOOK REVIEW: Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

 

*New Mommy Review #2*

Maybe Walt Whitman was right. We all really do contradict ourselves and contain multitudes. How do we even figure out who we really are?

I’m not going to lie-I’d much rather be writing about a book I’ve read closer to this moment, but if I don’t go back and write reviews for all the books I’ve read-and loved-in the past few months, it will make me CRAZY (Well, crazier than usual…). Alex, Approximately was one of those books that you read quickly-but not like your typical YA contemp-you don’t just read it and cut through it and, once finished, never look back. No, this book was one of those that you devour, inhale every word….and just, I don’t know, exhale slowly in a contented breath. It’s a book that not only makes you giddy and happy, but makes warmth radiate from the inside out. It fills your heart with something akin to true love-believable true love-and you can’t quite let it go.

“Bailey, I spend most of my days looking at you through that tiny square screen up there. I’m just grateful to be in the same room. And the fact that you’ll even let me touch you at all is the freaking miracle of the century. So whatever you want or don’t want from me, all you have to do is ask. Okay?”

Now, I’m not a moron. The chances of this book happening in real life are nill and none-I just meant that the progression of the romance not only felt natural, but light-hearted and full of something I’m not sure I feel very often anymore when I read. And, fun as this book was, it was heavy in all the right places.

But despite all that . . . look what he did. Look what he did. For me? And he’s sitting here, in pain, falling apart, and all he’s worried about is that I’m sorry I gave him my number and don’t want to go out on a date with him?

In true YA fashion, though, it wasn’t without it’s pitfalls. Let’s be honest here: Not many girls would miss the obvious signs that Porter Roth was, in fact, online Alex. It was clear as day. And I did think that if there was a problem with this book, it’d be Mink. She was a tad naive for my tastes…but I never felt full-on annoyance, which seems to be a recurring theme lately on all the books I choose to pick up. With what little time I have to read, I’m sure not as forgiving as I used to be.

A couple of yards before we hit the ground, he speaks up in a voice so quiet, I can barely hear him. “What I said the other day about you having champagne tastes?” He pauses for a moment. Mr. Reyes is smiling, waiting to unhitch our bar. “I just wanted you to know that I like the way you dress. I like your style. . . . I think it’s sexy as hell.”

And Porter-I just loved him so so much. Sweet, funny, a tad asshole-ish….but absolutely loyal to the core. He gets his heart broken. He would do anything for Mink. He even has the sweetest apology scene. And, ya know, he can be a tad alpha-male which, hey, I love me a good ‘defending my lady’ scene -*whispers* There were 3 (holds up the non-existent but ever useful three finger emoji). PLUS, he is a tad wittier than our dear main character-I’ll say that much…though, he got a little clearer sign, I’ll admit.

He kisses my forehead. “Know what I’m scared of?”
“What?”
“That I like you way too much, and I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’re going to realize that you can do lots better, and you’re going to break my heart and leave me for someone classier.”

And I seem to be LOVING this type of book right now (is it a trope? I don’t want to toss that word around unnecessarily)-the one where people meet online or in letters (Punk 57, Letters to the Lost, Eliza and Her Monsters, and others I’m forgetting like a moron) and then meet in person, hit it off, and don’t realize they are the same person. I can’t help it-I’m a hopeless romantic and these seem to be hitting all the right buttons for me this year. Note: 2017, the year of the YA Romance cyber stalkers. See: Chelsea totally buying into this melodrama-and LOVING IT.

If we’re meant to be, and he’s the person I imagine him to be, then things will all work out fine. He’ll be wonderful, and by the end of the summer, we’ll be crazy in love, watching North by Northwest at the film festival on the beach, and I’ll have my hands all over him. Which is what I spend a lot of my free time imagining myself doing to his virtual body, the lucky boy.

And, frankly, I liked Bailey’s voice. She was funny, sarcastic, and I found that I related to her quite a bit when it came to her sarcasm. She was snarky and quick-witted. Whadya guna do? 😛

…”Like a horse, you know?” He holds his hands up on either side of his eyes. “You plow ahead, and you make a lot of progress that other people wouldn’t make, but you can’t see what’s happening on either side of the road. You have blind spots. You ignore things that are right next to you. Your mom did that all the time.”

I had so much to say about this book when I first finished-I had a whole review plotted out in my head, I was so anxious to let my thoughts be heard. But, as it is…TIME. TIME TIME TIME. But, and maybe this is a tad cliche, I think it truly says something when I read a book, have no time to write a review, and STILL come back a month (or more) later and attempt to post one. Obviously this book meant something to me, and obviously it was worth coming back for. Maybe that says the most of all.

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BOOK REVIEW: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

BOOK REVIEW: Just Listen by Sarah DessenJust Listen by Sarah Dessen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

*New Mommy Review #1* (Meaning: Not great, but at least I’m getting some thoughts out there…)

In all honesty, this book started out so great. I was comparing to one of my all time favorites, Some Girls Are, almost immediately. But where SGA got more intense as it went along, JL fell apart, for me, as it continued.

I lost interest in our main character, was beyond annoyed at her childish reasoning for each situation where she simply only had to say ‘just give me a minute’, and, ultimately, I just got bored. I loved Owen, but even he wasn’t enough to save this boring and anti-climactic story. Hell, I couldn’t even put him in my unforgettable male leads shelf because he was in it so little. Sigh.

Frankly, the same thing happened with her other book I read-it was going so well and then the author just veers the story completely away from what I would have done and, frankly, it’s obviously a case of ‘this author just isn’t for me’.

Pretty writing, albeit a bit stale, and fleshed out characters you want to know more about…I just couldn’t love this story. When things finally started to get interesting she ran away. And, hey, just not enough Owen (IE not for me).

Oh well. Better luck next time…though, it probably won’t be a book by this author.

View all my reviews

GIVEAWAY-Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

I am so honored to be hosting a giveaway for one of the most highly anticipated reads of 2017! Check out below to see exclusive content, videos introducing the characters and the world, and an awesome giveaway! I hope you guys enjoy the post-make sure to follow the link to enter our two week giveaway ending on 5/10. Good luck! 🙂 <3

GIVEAWAY-Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
by Laini Taylor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around--and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries--including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Dreams are crazy things; Most tend to be obscure, unearthly images that leave you baffled upon waking. Or, you know, you simply forget the moment you wake. The star(s) of my dreams tend to be random instances from years ago, drawing upon old relationships that have long since been terminated and I have no desire to rekindle-old friendships where it ended badly, yet you have no clue what you did wrong. I dream about old best friends so much it’s unsettling. I tend to let dead horses lie, so why do these old friends pop in my head so  much? Is that a saying? I probably phrased it wrong. My point is-dreams are odd and they come from your subconscious out of absolutely nowhere…and leave you a bit disturbed after, no matter how realistic they may seem. And then there are those dreams where you are in a totally normal-ish situation, yet in a totally unexpected, ODD, creepy place. Those are my most common dreams-these dreams? I’m more than happy to leave behind.  

But I think dreams more often refer to what you want out of your life, what you wish and pine for-what you work so hard for. And I’ll admit, I’ve had plenty of dreams-Too many to count. But, until recently, they haven’t come to fruition. 

Just last month my biggest dream (after being married to my high school sweetheart) came true-I had a little baby girl and she is literally the light of my life. My husband and I are over the moon. And it’s crazy…because this was my dream-not his. He always agreed to my dream, but he dragged his feet-but come last July, he finally agreed and we were so happy to begin trying…except, you know…we got pregnant literally the first try. 

I was shocked, elated. There are no words for the amount of happiness I felt. But I was equally terrified to tell my husband-after all, it was literally the first attempt and I couldn’t be sure how he’d take the news. Turns out? He was beyond words ecstatic-we stayed up all night talking about it. He guessed it was a girl, I guessed a boy. Wouldn’t you know it, he was right. 

So here we are, 10 months later-and it’s not nearly as terrifying as I had imagined it would be (9 months is a looooong time to fret about being a bad mother). She sleeps through the night, eats great, and is one of the strongest babies ever-she lifted her head right after being born! And she has a beautiful, full head of brown hair. Did I mention that literally all I do is brag about her? Yeah. Well, I imagine that won’t end any time soon! 

My dream came true….but there are so many more now. I think that’s how dreams work. My dreams kept being fulfilled (husband, house…now baby), yet I always want more. Now I dream of our next baby (a sister or brother) and  everything I plan to do for our current baby girl. Nothing will ever be good enough for our girl-and God help the boy(s) that tries to win her heart-Dad will have NO part of that. 

My dreams may not be in line with everyone else’s, nor would I say they are conventional for this day and age where career comes before self…but that’s me and it has always been me-I refuse to change. I have everything I’ve ever dreamed for-and more.

What are your dreams? What do you dream about? Are they odd, crazy, weird….do they make you wonder where in the world they came from? Or, have any of your real life dreams come true? Sound off below in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

 

ONCE UPON A DREAM: Keep the nightmares at bay with this dreamy prize pack! (Re-tweet and follow to enter giveaway! here )

One (1) winner receives:

  • copy of Strange the Dreamer
  • sleep-mask and aromatherapy pillow sleep mist
  • and a luna moth enamel pin to watch over your dreams!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Little, Brown & Co.

 

Visit the Official Site

Follow @TheNovl on Twitter and Instagram

Follow @LainiTaylor on Twitter

Hashtag #StrangetheDreamer

 

Check out a sneak peek here:

Read the Prologue on EW

Read Chapter 1 on Mashable

Read an Excerpt on TheNovl

Bonus Content!

Which Godspawn are you? Take the quiz!

Download a variety of quote-art here.

 

About the Author

Laini Taylor is a New York Times bestselling author and a National Book Award finalist. She is the author of the global sensation the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, andDreams of Gods & Monsters, and the companion e-novella, Night of Cake & Puppets. She is also the author of the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the highly acclaimed Lips Touch: Three Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter Clementine.

 

 

So….is Strange the Dreamer on your MUST READ list for 2017?? Or perhaps you’ve already read it (and hopefully loved it). Share below! I know I cannot WAIT to try this one out-I’d love to hear your thoughts on Strange!

 

“I partnered with Little, Brown to share this giveaway.”

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BOOK REVIEW: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi

BOOK REVIEW: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani ChokshiA Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2)
by Roshani Chokshi
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

 
“Vicious and sweet,” said Vikram, shaking his head. “Beastly girl.”
“You like me, don’t lie,” I teased.
“I couldn’t lie if I tried,” he said quietly.

 

It just so happens that I was given this ARC by the publisher back in December….I just was way too tired and ‘out of it’ to truly enjoy the lush story-telling of this novel. So every time I would pick up this beauty to read it, I’d get distracted or start to fall asleep…on the prologue. It was clear to me I wasn’t going to be able to read this book while in the height of my pregnancy. I did, however, get to finish it two days before I went into labor! So here I am, finally writing a review for this crazy, intricate book.

 

The problem with guilt was not how it attacks the present, but how it stained the past.

 

I can’t say there weren’t moments where I was scratching my head-because I did that a lot. But it was never in a bad way. This author, from what I’ve always heard, writes in a deeply poetic way that you just need to be in the mindset for-I definitely gathered this from the moment I started. This isn’t your average YA fantasy-I feel it’s a bit deeper than that. Keep that in mind when choosing to start this novel-it completely changes the tone of both the book and how you feel whilst enjoying this story.

 

“You’re a monster,” she said.
I secured the necklace. “We all have to be something.”

 

When I think back on why I enjoyed this book so much (I read it almost a month ago) it always goes back to the characters. I had heard so many good things from my close friends that loved this book about the witty Vikram and I took that with a grain of salt-I mean, no book boy is ever really as good as people say (Okay, whatever…I lie, but still-everyone’s perception is different) and I almost always feel a tad different. Now, whether that means I loved them more or less is dependent upon the book-obviously.

 

Vikram had tried bribing them. At one point, he offered Gauri’s hand in marriage, which earned him two sharp jabs in the ribs. For equality’s sake, he offered his own hand in marriage, but that ended all bargaining negotiations on the spot.

 

So, when thinking of this story, did I love Vikram as much as others? Absolutely. Did I obsess over him as much as my friends? Perhaps not-but he became an instant BBF all the same. Ha, just goes to show I’ll never change. I had thought he was supposed to be tortured and somewhat sullen, almost an enemies to lovers type deal, but turns out that wasn’t the case. She hated him, but he was just cautious of her-you know, because she is from a different kingdom and all. No, he was a sarcastic prince that made me smile from ear to ear, laugh at the most random moments….did I mention I have a prince fetish? Oops.

 

“I prefer the poisoned food.”
“You may be rewarded yet,” he said. He popped a handful of pomegranate seeds in his mouth. He froze, some of the juice spilling from his lips. “Oh no,” he breathed, clutching his chest.
“Vikram!” I screamed.
He held up his hand. “I meant to start with mangos.”

 

So it’s extremely obvious that this book wasn’t so much about the plot, for me, but the characters. It was a bit obscure, in my opinion, so I took solace in the characters’ hilarious banter and romantic interactions. Vikram and Gauri had the best banter I’ve read in a while, holding up to some of my favorite bantering couples-it made this long book seem like it was over in a minute.

 

“My apologies. Is it your bellicose-let-me-drain-your-blood face? Could you not master an expression that looked less like an outraged cat? ”
“Better than steepling my hands and looking like an overgrown spider.”
“An overgrown spider who is rarely wrong.”
“My bellicose-let-me-drain-your-blood face has saved your life.”
“And this overgrown-spider pose is about to save yours.”

 

But Gauri is probably the base of why this book was so alluring-Vikram opposed her and was sly as can be…but I think he was much more tolerable in the beginning of their uneasy alliance (and nicer sooner) whereas Gauri made it harder. She was constantly on alert, always threatening him and, in her mind, thinking of ways to be rid of him (ohhh but he was too cunning). This added an extra layer of animosity between the two, adding tension and a romantic build up that pays off greatly in the end.

 

“I thought you were going to stay away from me,” she said.
He looked at her, this princess who seemed so dangerously sharp that he might cut himself just brushing against her shadow. “I don’t know how.”

 

And while the characters were the main draw to the story, for me, the story wasn’t without its addictive elements, as well-obviously. My biggest problem stems from the games. I do agree with my friend, Brittney, that this almost has a Caraval type feel. And while that’s fine, I don’t know that I was in the mood for games that aren’t in fact…games.

 

She laughed. And Vikram, who had never wanted for his life to slow down but only to move faster and faster to the next thing, found himself craving to live in this second.

 

Whatever. Call me a square, but I love structured, clear cut games and tournaments in books. I don’t like when the games aren’t clear and when they don’t have clear cut rules, winners, prizes etc. etc. Or, I don’t know, I love the life and death games (Sorry. I’ll just always be a HG type girl…). In this story, I felt the games, and the plot, for that matter, were a bit obscure. And, frankly, I don’t always love obscure.

As was the case with Caraval, though, I did enjoy it here-I just don’t know that I expected it-Which, hey, isn’t this book’s fault, now is it??

One final thing-I’m not a fan of one person being a certain pov and the other being in a totally different pov. I don’t know why it bothers me, but every time it switched I thought about it, and I just don’t like this minuscule distraction-I’m not sure what the point is, but for some reason it happens a lot in stories. I’m one of the few who can’t see past it. I still loved the story, it just served as a distraction I didn’t love.

 

“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash,” he said. “Sometimes it means taking whatever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving out your life with the pieces you’re given.”

 

A wonderful story full of twists and turns, games that leave your mind reeling, banter and a slow burn romance that is totally worth the wait, and writing that immediately enthralls you, this story is a winner. It’s hard to say whether this book will be for everyone, but its promising enough I would suggest everyone give it a try. The characters are worth every page you choose to read, and, frankly, Vikram is worth more than that. I hate that it took me so long to read this ARC, but I’m just glad I’m fulfilling my duty. This book was worth the wait, and I’m glad I can voice just how fun it was-this is not one I’ll soon forget.

BOOK REVIEW: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

BOOK REVIEW: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee AhdiehFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
by Renee Ahdieh
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

**ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review**

 At that, the Wolf started to laugh. It began softly, like the rumble of a drum. Then it rose to a steadying rain. It wasn’t a rich kind of laughter. Its sound didn’t fill Mariko’s ears with its honeyed resonance. But it was clear and deep, much like the color of his eyes.
And a part of her couldn’t help but think-were he another boy, in another time, in another place-Mariko would have liked to hear Okami’s laughter.
Would have enjoyed being the cause of it.

Renee Ahdieh stole a place in my heart long ago with Khalid and Shazi’s story. Their love enraptured me from the start, weaving deep into my soul with each passing page. Their love overcame so many obstacles, took leaps and bounds through story-telling and a deeper understanding of a curse that could not be controlled. And now, Renee has captured my heart again through Mariko’s perilous journey to infiltrate the deadly Black Clan not as a woman…but as a man. One of their own.

“Never doubt. Never fear. Never overthink.” Okami watched her as he spoke. As though he was searching for something beyond her. “That is the only way to stay alive.”

When I saw that this amazing author was coming out with a book that had components of Mulan-or hey, even just that this author was producing another masterpiece-I was ecstatic. Also, have you SEEN that cover? It’s just so pretty I can’t stand it. But with this lovely book I saw something that made my heart sink-it came out after my baby was supposed to be born. Luckily, Penguin was more than willing to help me out and get my copy to me early-But, as fate would have it, I also had my baby girl early. Sigh. I had 50% of FITM done when I went into labor and I figured I’d have no chance of finishing it, at that point. How sad is it that when I woke up in pain and just KNEW I was going to be having her that day, my first two thoughts were this:

A) ARE YOU SERIOUS-I can’t go see Beauty and the Beast tonight in IMAX ARGH

And

B) Omg my book. I’ll never finish my beautiful book that Penguin sent me

Priorities. Seriously.

But that just goes to show you how amazing this book was-After a couple weeks of figuring out my little girl’s schedule, I persevered and finished the rest in one afternoon-It’s just a totally unputdownable book.

So here I am, making time to write a review for a book that totally deserves it. With rich story-telling, deep, imaginative characters, and vivid world-building (at least to me), I couldn’t help but fall for each and every character…even those that were not so kind to our Mariko.

Each new day brought new struggles, causing loss of breath for every moment I thought she would be caught by the too-wise Okami (Aka The Wolf), by the antagonistic Ren. And yet…I also held my breath for different reasons.

 “You don’t believe your great love is out there, simply waiting to be found?”
“Do you?” Mariko pitched her voice low. Graveled with disbelief.
Ranmaru’s broad lips spread into an easy smile.” I believe the stars align so that souls can find one another. Whether they are meant to be souls in love or souls in life remains to be seen.”

Okami always knew Mariko was different, that something was off about her-Too soft, too green to be what ‘he’ claimed to be. So Okami was always watching, taunting, waiting for their newest ‘recruit’ to make a mistake. But as he gets closer to Mariko, he begins to feel protective, to almost like him/her…yet all the while Okami feels something is off-and he will find out what, no matter the cost.

Is it bad that all I wanted was for him to find out? To see that the boy he has been teaching and bestowing wisdom upon was actually a girl…a girl he could have feelings for? I held my breath at every twist and turn, just pining for her to make a mistake so I could see them kiss or SOMETHING.

I will admit that this part of the book did baffle me a bit. Just like in Mulan, I have to wonder how you can reconcile feelings for a gender swap, just like that (Meaning, in Mulan, he never knew she was a girl, then all of a sudden he did….and then she saves them all yadda yadda and he knows he loves her, in the end. Just…how?). He knew she was different…and yet he didn’t know to what extent. I won’t spoil anything, but this did give me pause…because I just can’t help but think about these things.

 It was a mistake. All of it. For as long as she’d known him, Mariko had despised the very idea of this boy.
But the truth of him?
The truth was not quite as simple. It was a silent entreaty, A wordless plea.
Don’t stop.

And because of my extreme love for these two people who had no idea they had major tension brewing between them, I forgot to mention the best part! This is most definitely an enemies-at-first-site deal at the beginning-a hate to (maybe) love thing. Mariko despises the lazy Okami, and he finds her to be a liar, an extra burden. It was comical and sweet and…ugh. I just love this book so much, CAN’T YOU TELL??

In order to hate, one must first love.

I’m truly sorry for those who like my reviews and, quite frankly, the publisher because this review is all over the place. But, hey, so is my brain-it might be for a while. I had to write something, though, or I’d have gone crazy knowing I didn’t do my part.

So, for those of you excited about this book…you should be. And for those on the fence? STOP. Don’t be. It’s an absolutely amazing story and this author knows what she’s doing. Don’t doubt her. Just sit, wait, and grab this book the minute it releases. I truly don’t see how this could disappoint…I can’t wait to read it again and again-it was a true beauty-I’m only sorry I had to read it in two parts, two weeks apart. And that my review isn’t what I normally would be able to write. Thank you again to Penguin for the opportunity to read and review this early.

 

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