Tag: Retellings (Page 1 of 4)

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
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Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.


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

Rhen puts his hands on my arms and leans in. When he speaks, his voice is very low, very quiet, just for me. “My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.” He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. “That monster killed them all.”

This book is everything I knew I wanted and needed in my life. And, also, this book is everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in my life. Yes, it’s a Beauty and the Beast re-telling (the most used and, in my opinion, most successful Fairy Tale retelling) but it was far different than anything I could have hoped for or anticipated.

This is the most reckless thing I’ve ever done.
Wait. No. The most reckless thing I’ve ever done was attack a guy on the street with a tire iron. So I guess this is fine.

In many ways I did long for the more traditional approach, such as hanging out in the castle together, etc., but, from what I can tell, the author was trying to accomplish something far greater for our two heroes and I think it would have came off as boring, comparatively. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them to have more time together, because I felt that, sometimes, we lacked that. But, as a whole, this book made my feels go crazy and I was on the edge of my seat the entire story.

This feels like the cruelest season of all, to present me with a girl with the fierceness to stand at my side—yet with a home and family she needs to return to so badly.

Every moment was just so beyond addicting, such as it always is with Kemmerer’s writing, but there was something just so cool about her writing a fantasy-a fairy-tale retelling from the woman who creates the most deliciously tortured male leads, like, ever. Declan is a BBF I will NEVER forget, and now Rhen is way up there for me, as well. He was just so alone. My poor lonely soul *tear*

I give her a nod and turn for the door.
“Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says. Her words are not a surprise.
I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

And the dynamics between Rhen, Grey, and Harper? Oh my gosh, words cannot even describe how strongly I fell for this trio. My heart, my soul, and my entire being longed for this story to never end because there could never be enough of their story. For real, though-my biggest complaint with this story??? I. NEEDED. MORE.

More Rhen and Harper. More Rhen and Grey. More Grey and Harper. More. More. MOAR. I cannot stress that fact enough-I’m starting another book tonight, but my heart remains with these characters, this curse, and the love that might or might not have blossomed between Rhen and Harper. And this is really hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to spoil anything…so I can’t say why I wanted more. It just….I need it.

Rhen has made it to his feet. “You cannot harm her,” he says. “You swore.”
“I swore not to kill them,” Lilith says. “I swore not to interfere with your attempts at courtship.” She steps closer to me. “That,” she says, “is all I swore.”

And can we talk about that torturous storyline? I’m not exaggerating. I absolutely ADORED when Lilith (I hate her but loved what she brought to the table) came around to bother Rhen. Many of you will call me a sicko, but I was a sucker for the struggles Rhen faced and how Lilith tested his limits and went over his boundaries. There’s something about a character in the worst moments of their life that make a story more candid-and I lived for these moments…for better or worse. And why couldn’t I have gotten that oneeee thingggg I realllyyyyyyyy wanted at the end?! GRR. I kind of did…but it was toned down and boo.

I stay close to Rhen and keep my voice low. “Do people always do everything you want?
“Not always.” He turns to look at me, his expression inscrutable. “Clearly.”

I’ll leave most of the story alone so as not to spoil it, but I want to draw the comparisons between the Fairytale and this book, because I actually found them wonderful. Rhen was the beast, obviously. Grey, I believe, was Lumiere. Lilith had to be a mix of the witch/the mirror. Harper’s brother and mother were Belle’s life (the mother was the father in this case, but she had a true sickness, she wasn’t mad as they said the father was). There was dancing!

Adorable. Harper was clearly Belle (I know, Captain Obvious), and the curse was the same-to find true love to break the curse….but with a HUGE, nasty twist for poor Rhen: Instead of being a beast full-time, at the end of every failed season, he turns into a beast (a different one every time) that ravages those around him and all his people, only to come to after the fact with blood staining his clothes and hands…and everything resets for the next season. Rinse. Repeat. For eternity. Yikes. But no library. That sucked haha.

This story was about Harper making him see what he can do to save his people. It was about finding who you were meant to be, no matter the cost, and it was about a Prince who never could find true love…until a girl called him on his games and demanded more. Sincerity. Love. Kindness.

This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush.
If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.

I loved this book. So much. Is that not clear? There were a few moments that got to me, though, and the one that sticks out the most is this trigger: View Spoiler » And that was the only specific moment it showed-what purpose did this serve? To make me madder? Well, it succeeded. Other than that, I loved what Rhen had to go through, but that bothered me.

A sound chokes out of my throat. I want to weep for an entirely new reason. The burning pain has reached my head, and my eyes begin to cloud with stars.
“You are responsible,” she says, her terrible voice fading away. “You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.”

I sometimes thought that Grey and Harper’s relationship got more time developing than her and Rhen’s…and I’m not sure that was ever not true. But his relationship with Rhen was also a big part of the story, and it just showed how truly wonderful Grey was in every way

-he was such a comedic relief that I lapped up in every moment. I wondered if this was going to be a love triangle…and it wasn’t? As time passed nothing arose that worried me in that way, but, in the end, I was thinking-so…was I right?? Did he like her?? That was a bit odd, as well, I will say. And I fear people will say she had more chemistry with Grey, but I am ride or die for Rhen and Harper and it didn’t effect me one bit-I just know how fickle we readers are and I fear this is a reaction I will see from many of my friends or other reviewers. I’ll deny them wholeheartedly, of course, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone other than me.

I step closer, until her skirts brush my legs, and I rest a hand on her waist. “I am inviting you to dance, not dragging you behind a horse.” I sigh dramatically. “Must you look so tortured?”

Okay. This review was not what I wanted it to be at all-this is in part because I wrote my review at work and people kept interrupting me and it made me severely scatter-brained…and partly because I am a bit confused on my feelings toward the end. I. WANTED. MORE. Lol. Clearly.

And this is totally Rhen-Sorry not sorry.


Okay. Okay. So….I pos-i-tute-ly LOVED THIS….but that end??? Like-I don’t-What?

Tell me there’s more? Because my thirst cannot be quenched when it comes to my baby Prince Rhen and my baby Grey!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE!


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BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

I had a lot of fun reading this book! So check out my review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary TingJaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.


Jaclyn and The Beanstalk was a magical tale filled with adventure, love and family.  It was an entertaining take on Jack and the Beanstalk and I loved how creative this story was at times.  While it held some of the same elements as the original tale, it was interesting watching how it veered off onto its own path.  When I reached that last page, three shining things stood out to me, and they were:

How in the world can a tiny little bean help me?

The creativity in this retelling:

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night?

While this book shared a lot of similarities with the original tale, its bright spot was how there was a unique twist on almost every single one of those similarities.  This time it was a girl named Jaclyn who was given the beans and inadvertently grows the beanstalk.  There was also a Jack in this story and I absolutely loved him….more about him below!  Instead of a giant, there were monsters and they were nightmare inducing.  Everything that surrounded them was a huge mystery that we got to unravel.  I’m not going to say anymore than that because there were a lot of surprises along the way and it was a lot of fun seeing how it all played out!  


“This is my destiny. This is my story.” I knew this to be my fate in every vein, bone, muscle, and in my soul.

Jaclyn was who we followed on this adventure and who was given the magic beans. But she was so much more than I thought she would be.  Her father had trained her to be a fighter and I loved how fierce and brave she could be! While she had some growing up to do, we got to watch her mature as the story unfolded.  She was on the right path and I loved how she always had faith in herself.  So I had fun cheering her on!


“Name your price,” Jack said, panic struck in his eyes. “Take me. I beg you let her be.”

Jack was a childhood friend of Jacyln and we got to meet him as the story progressed.  From the moment we met Jack, I liked him right from the start. He was mature, strong and definitely swoon worthy.  Especially since he knew what he wanted, which was Jaclyn, and he had no problem speaking his mind. I loved how protective he was of her and how he could also joke so easily at the same time.  He was a wonderful book boyfriend and I know a lot of people are going to be caught up in his charm!

I shuddered a breath in horror. Smoke shaped like the devil’s hand with long fingernails reached for the sky.
It had begun.

I was happy to see that this book wrapped up nicely and that there was an epilogue that jumped into the future.  In that epilogue there was an element that left the possibility for a future book possible, so that idea was a lot of fun to think about!  So if you’re into retellings, check this book out.  But I have to give a heads up that there was a lot of biblical references throughout the story.  It influenced so many aspects, including the characters.  I still had a lot of fun with the characters and watching how the story played out, even though I’m not the biggest fan of having that in the stories I pick up.  And while this book is YA, it would be a great first step for someone coming from MG!

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


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About Mary Ting:

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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BOOK REVIEW: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

BOOK REVIEW: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Soon there’s sun in the distance, or perhaps even moonlight. Everything is muted and as Lira swoops her blade down on mine once more, I let it all fall away. My mission, my kingdom. The world. They exist somewhere other than in this moment, and now there is only this. Me, my ship, and a girl with oceans in her eyes.

The sea calls, sun shimmering on its tranquil surface. Cylinders of light bouncing over every rip and tear of the water’s veneer. Eyes clash, a heroic act bends and twists fate into a finite moment. Hearts drum to the beat of the ocean’s waves, as rapid and tremulous as any tentative alliance formed, swept away with the thought of a shared loneliness. Two aching souls. Like calls to like. And the inevitable betrayal…hardly a betrayal at all, for how can it be a betrayal when it was right in front of your face the whole time? Two monsters in their respective worlds…two monsters who share the same dream.

His hand moves from beside mine, and I feel a sudden absence. And then it’s on my cheek, cupping my face, thumb stroking my lip. It feels like the worst thing I’ve ever done and the best thing I could ever do and how strange that the two are suddenly the same.

Guys. I adored this book. And the writing-it was seriously out of this world. Savage. Unrelenting-the most vicious kind of poetry. If I could write, and, believe me, the last few books I’ve read have made me pine for it so, this is exactly how I’d want to write.

In Midas, the ocean glitters gold. At least, that’s the illusion. Really it’s as blue as any sea, but the light does things. Unexplainable things. The light can lie.

I can’t explain what makes a book tick for me (I lie, I could go on for days)-sometimes it’s a tried and true pattern. Sometimes it’s a random pick that is in a totally different style genre than I’m used to. And sometimes, sometimes they just click . And that’s what happened here.

As I stare at her, I see nothing of the wraith-like girl I pulled from the ocean. Whatever spell had threatened to transfix me when I saved her is broken now, and I can see quite clearly that she’s no helpless damsel. She’s something more, and it makes me too curious for my own good.

I picked this story up because of not only it’s content, but because of the rave reviews and incessant fangirling that came along with my friends devoted love and support. But, like with many things, I get nervous-it’s hard to fall in with the hordes of fans that hype up a new release (no matter how much you had previously wanted to read it). You feel a pressure to love it that much, to not feel broken because you didn’t connect like the rest of the world.

Staying still, in one place and one moment, will make me miserable. In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me.

And, I’ll admit, I did feel the pressure even though I waited a month before I tried it. For one, it was just SO dark at first. I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t what I read, in the beginning. Flesh and blood and death and just…evil. Pure evil. It was as intense as it was shocking, and after coming off of so many wins in the lighter faring genres (two contemporary, one lighter fantasy), this was a cold shock to my system.

I’m not a good man. I don’t think I’ve been one for a long time.

I felt the pure, murky vileness seep from every inky page the sea queen graced, cutting off my ability to apprehend disbelief that this was going to be as light as I suppose I anticipated. The ruthlessness of Lira, our MC, was no joke either, making my eyebrows furrow and my mouth make this weird shape that I’m sure had me looking like a frowny, gapey fish (or slack-jawed mermaid, if we’re to stick with them our story’s theme, here). I didn’t know if my fragile little heart (HA) could handle the intensity with which each of our characters handled their prey. Turns out?
I’m not so nice after all

I kid…I’m never nice. When it comes to my books, the more pain, the merrier. I’m sorry, but there’s just something so appealing about a broken, hero/heroine in need of saving, amirite??? But here…I don’t know what happened. I guess going in thinking ‘la la la, little mermaid, la la’ was my largest issue-unprepared doesn’t begin to express the depth with which I felt betrayed by my inner evil self. Trust me, it won’t happen again-my guard won’t be let down so easily next time.

The Sea Queen curves downward, her tentacles brushing my hand, lips like broken glass on my ear. “Stupid girl,” she whispers, and then—as though it’s the worst thing she could utter—“ stupid human girl.”

But then, that ruins all the best surprises, doesn’t it? Which leads me here: Lira and Elian are my life. There. I said it. The slow burn that erupted like wild fire in my system was a result of wicked awesome story-telling unparalleled by many when trying to conquer a re-telling of any form. And conquer she did. I’ve never read such a vivid, beautiful, amazing retelling ever. The way she twisted and weaved the story so that it was more bloodthirsty, more dreadful, more hopeful, whimsical, daring-it blew my mind.

How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.

I wasn’t trying to compare because, well, come on. Disney does many things well, but slow burn and destruction and peril and general mayhem aren’t at the helm of their money boats-they are, but in a Disney way. But, you could still see some things that nodded to my darling Arielle, my beloved Ursula, my loving prince Eric, and even her two conniving eels. Now-tell me-how could you NOT be interested?

“Wants to be free,” her companion says.
“Free from the queen.”
“Free her heart.”
“Take a heart.”
“Take the queen’s.”

But they were so subtle. And it was little things here and there, but they were so wonderful. I’d be dying a little, you know, dying in the best, bookish obsessed way possible, and then I’d be like-OMG! That’s kind of like what happened there, and isn’t she just so clever and cunning? (One scene comes to mind near the end where (view spoiler)

just thinking of these vivid details makes my heart erupt in the best, most offbeat way-seriously. And, honestly, it made me love her all the more.

The whites of the clouds dotted with bronze as leftover shimmers from Midas float across my eyes. But soon the world comes bursting back, vivid and unyielding. The coral of the fish and the bluebell sky.

But onto the characters and why they made my heart stutter in impossible-and not so impossible-ways. Tell me. Tell me how you make my heart go crazy when all Elian has to do is snark at our evil princess…and her snark right back. And it makes me giggle and squee and do ridiculous, girly things? How can an author do this? Because they’re enemies-how can we find this endearing? Why does bickering and banter and, quite frankly, threatening bodily harm make our hearts beat so? (half this paragraph was in question form, ummmm…)

“What about your own language?” he asks.
“It’s better.”
“It’s more suited to me.”
“I dread to think what that means.”

I’ll tell you why-because we’re fickle fickle girls (and guys, whoever) and we like bad bad things lol. We THRIVE on the hate to love trope. We CHERISH the moments that pile up and begin to forge a bond between our two antagonistic MC’s. We are loathe to admit we’re easy…but tell me, who doesn’t love a prince and princess who hate each other, but end up falling for one another, inevitably, anyway?

We’re like squirrels, gathering up all these little nuts (acorns?? I don’t know), gathering and bunching and storing away any little heated look, caress, shared moment, heroic act, proof of loyalty that’s slowly beginning to build-and EXPLODE when it all comes crashing down, when the worlds collide, their hearts open up…only to be crushed under the heavy boot of deception and lies. Necessary lies, mind you, but lies all the same. We’re suckers for it-and it’s the BEST feeling.

“Gods.” Kye recoils as I slash open Lira’s dress. “Is she going to live?”
“Do you care?” I snap back. It isn’t his fault, but yelling at Kye feels a little like yelling at myself, and I need to be yelled at right now. Because this is on me. If Lira dies, then it’s on me.
I can’t believe you came back for me.
But I left her first.

Elian was…he was everything I look for in my book men. A prince born to be a king, but loyal only to the water he loves-his only love. Suffocating under the weight of his duty, the need to fulfill what can’t be avoided-to become the reluctant king of Midas. He broke my heart with how adventurous he was. A true captain in every sense of the word, a pirate straight down to his bones, with a crew who would do anything to save him or sail by his side. His courageousness bonds his crew together, making them more than deckhands-they’re his friends. Oh, and did I mention….he’s the famous prince siren killer?

People know me as the siren hunter, and those at court utter those words with amusement and fondness: Oh, Prince Elian, trying to save us all. If they understood what it took, the awful and sickening screams sirens made. If they saw the corpses of the women on my deck before they dissolved to sea foam, then my people wouldn’t look upon me so fondly. I would no longer be a prince to them, and as much as I might desire such things, I know better.

And Lira-the princess of the sirens in her kingdom. Second only to the Sea Queen, Lira takes the heart of a prince every year on her birthday and-do you see where this is going here? Do I really need to go further?

Love is a word we scarcely hear in the ocean. It exists only in my song and on the lips of the princes I’ve killed. And I have never heard it from my mother’s mouth. I’m not even sure what it really means. To me, it has always been just a word that humans treasure for reasons I can’t comprehend.

When she and Elian meet, sparks fly-but where he’s flint, she’s tinder, and she wants to see him dead and heartless beneath her. But that’s hard to do when-well, I’ll not say. I didn’t know this happened and I loved everything unraveling before my eyes as a surprise. The less you know, the better.

These two together-amazing. He doesn’t trust her and she wants to be a part of his crew for the mission that is a conflict of interest for them both. Their banter, while sharp-tongued at first, becomes an easy rapport, a tentative bond that helps them further their mission. His alertness disguised as aloofness made me a loyal fan -I loved his personality and the devotion he put forth to save his kingdom and all princes alike. He is burdened by duty, but would do anything and sacrifice anything to save those around him. He is selfless in every sense of the word, and I adore him so much it hurts. Even Lira, who he almost doesn’t like, he defends and honors and tries to keep alive. He is a true hero, and I just have to stop or I could go on about him forever (is anyone keeping track of my book boyfriends in 2018?? The scale…it’s tipping over…).

And Lira, darling Lira-as vicious as she is beautiful. Merciless in her mission to change her kingdoms ways, to kill her mother…and to take the prince’s heart. She’s the Princes’ Bane, you see, the very creature that Elian seeks most in the world, aside from the queen herself, and she’s right under his nose. But who is the hunter…and who is the prey??

Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.

Lira, though, I could hang with this girl. She was something to behold. Her fury, her ruthlessness, her unrelenting need for vengeance (Elian, too, seeks vengeance for his friend, but, as you can see, this is just another bond they could form) making her almost as bloodthirsty as her mother-but not quite.

I loved her in ways I can’t explain, because she is such a grey area character, and while I couldn’t root her on…I sympathized with her and did want her to win-friendship. Devotion. Loyalty from her new friends crew members on the Saad. And the love she has for her cousin, and her cousin for her, it melted my heart. Two equally strong characters, lonely in ways they can’t express, because their lives almost seem full-but full doesn’t equal fulfilled.

And, PS, this song, every time I hear it…I think of these two (NOT the trust fund baby, met at a party, etc, but YOU GET IT (maybe)).

**I like that you’re broken
Broken like me
Maybe that makes me a fool
I like that you’re lonely
Lonely like me
I could be lonely with you

There’s something tragic, but almost pure
Think I could love you, but I’m not sure
There’s something wholesome, there’s something sweet
Tucked in your eyes that I’d love to meet

I don’t know. I just love that it reminds me of this book! (Also, upon looking at the lyrics, I heard the song wrong-it does NOT say, These ARE my people, these are my friends blah blah, but says These AREN’T (OOPS I NEVER HEAR SONGS RIGHT) but I’ll choose to still hear it my way since he adores his crew 😉 )

The rapport of the crew melted my heart in ways I haven’t seen in a long time-in fact, this story reminded me of a sea version of Six of Crows MANY TIMES OVER, even if I’m way out on a limb here. The funny banter of the crew, the jibes, the skill, the friendship-it was a warm feeling-and I’ll welcome it into my soul time and again, for this is surely a forever favorite.

“How did you get the map?” she asks.
“My charm.”
“No, really.”
“I’m really very charming,” I say. “I even roped this lot into sacrificing their lives for me.”
“Didn’t do it for you.” Madrid doesn’t look up from her deck. “Did it for the target practice.”
“I did it for the hijinks of near-death experiences,” Kye says.
“I did it for more fish suppers.” Torik stretches his arms out in a yawn. “God knows we don’t have enough fish every other day of the year.”
I turn to Lira. “See?”

A rush of adrenaline to my system, the end cemented my love further (everyone knows I’m a peril junkie) to the point of obsession, and I’m proud to say it lived up to my [not always but mostly always] haughty standards. I don’t think TKAK needs my endorsement (I mean, check out the ratings), nor does Alexandra Christo, but she has a forever fan and loyal minion here. Consider me part of your crew, Ms. (Mrs?) Christo-I’d follow you into any world (even if it’s in siren, sea queen, and mermen infested waters, but yikes, please don’t (or do, whatever-more Elian!)) and to the ends of the earth on the Saad-I’m a fool for your writing…I’m sure I’d devour it no matter the content, and that’s the most flattering endorsement I can bestow.

BOOK REVIEW: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

BOOK REVIEW: Brightly Burning by Alexa DonneBrightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

**Many thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers for sending me an ARC. This in no way influenced my review-my opinions are my own**

This is one of those times where I emailed the publisher and didn’t expect any response-and I didn’t get one. Oh well, right? But then, one night when I had been having a bad day, I came home to the most exciting and unexpected package-this beauty of an arc. I knew I had to read it right away-and I’m so glad I did.

I just loved the two main characters so much. Especially, as many will probably agree, the captain. Hugo was absolutely breathtakingly adorable. Uncertain of himself, lonely, determined not to make the wrong decisions…but with a heart of gold and a quirky personality.

When Stella gets the job on his ship, he immediately has a connection to her. They begin to get closer, to hang out at their standing ‘reading appointments’ every night, and begin to form a bond that starts to ease the ache that being the captain of a ship brings.

I’ll admit he broke my heart quite a few times. You could tell when they were hanging out he was desperate for someone he could talk to, relate to, be friends with…she would try to read and he’d continue talking to her and..agh those were just my favorite parts. Adorable.

And I enjoyed the turmoil that extra guests on the ship brought-I LIKE jealousy. It’s just the BEST relationship jump starter [when it comes to books]. Come on now, I’m not THAT crazy-it may work in real life, but I certainly don’t go looking for it nor do I condone it.

But here I am…just searching for more to say past that. This book was pleasant, it was well-written, even (my biggest fear when it comes to asking for ARCs, because I like to know what I’m putting my neck on the line for). And here-I don’t regret asking for this book, I really don’t. But I do feel bad not just adoring it like I’ve seen-because I know that, likely, it’s just a matter of taste.

This book is a fun play on Jane Eyre. And it’s set in space. Now. See. I’m neither a fan of classical books, mostly Jane Austen, nor do I read many space books. Did this work for me? It did. I really devoured it. But did I obsess over it, pine for night time when I could curl up under the covers and read it? Did I think about it all day every day just counting down the minutes until I could be reconnected with it again? The answer, sad as it may be, is no.

I’m beginning to understand that perhaps I’m not a huge fan of books set in space-only a few really stand out to me as unforgettable…and, unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. I really really enjoyed it-that’s not a lie. But, like in EVERY book I read, when I needed a HARD push, a big, dramatic event that gets larger and larger as it chugs along, this book stayed relatively even.

Which really is a good thing, honestly-especially to most people. So it’s through no fault of the author or, if I’m speaking in a creepy way, any of the characters-it’s me. I just wanted a huge eruption and a certain end…and it didn’t go that way. *shrugs* What can I say? I’m picky.

And, perhaps, I wanted a denser writing style. For a story that was somewhat dark (well..it was very dark), the writing seemed light. Like maybe there should have been more of an edge, a sharper tone at times where, instead, there was a soft, pillowy feeling and the lack of an implication that anything TOO bad could happen. I can’t explain what I mean-I can’t. It was expertly written, to be sure. No errors to be found. Yet…I wanted or needed more, and I’m not sure what that means.

The addicting and heart-wrenching moments far outweighed the underwhelming, yet I find myself drawn to remembering the things that didn’t work for me. Maybe I wanted to love this [more] too much. Maybe I had too high of expectations because everyone else is loving it-and, again, maybe I’m just spoiled, because I had a lot of fun reading it and I really liked Hugo. I thought about him, separate from the book, frequently. But, without him, this book wouldn’t have been much to me-and that’s not really a good thing, is it?

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Moonlight And Midtown (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1.5) by Christina Bauer

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY - Moonlight And Midtown (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1.5) by Christina Bauer

I had so much fun reading this Novella! So check out my 4 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Moonlight And Midtown (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1.5) by Christina BauerMoonlight And Midtown (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1.5)
by Christina Bauer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


After battling werewolves and evil aunties, Bryar Rose is ready to enjoy her new life. No more crazy aunties. Her curse is toast. And Bry’s new man, Knox, is literally a dream come true. Best of all, Bry will soon attend a regular high school. Forget those sketchy tutors! To get ready, Bry is dedicating the rest of her summer to some serious back-to-school shopping with her best friend, Elle. It’s a blast, except for one thing:

Mysterious strangers are following Bry across Manhattan.

All these stalkers have oddly familiar scents and an uncanny ability to slip into the shadows whenever Bry tries to confront them. Even worse, their presence is making Knox act crazy with a capital C.

But Bry’s having none of it. Enough of her life has already been ruined by secrets. With Elle’s help, Bry plans to confront these strangers, find out what they want, and send them packing. Trouble is, the truth about their identity won’t be so easy to manage, especially when Bry finds out how these stalkers could change her future with Knox…and not for the better.


*You can read my review of Book #1 Wolves and Roses here*

Moonlight and Midtown was a ton of fun and the perfect way to see what our favorite characters were up to.  Ultimately we got to watch Bryar and Elle’s shopping extravaganza and oh my gosh, it was action packed and a little bit crazy lol.  But we also got to learn more about the world that they lived in and watch Bryar and Knox start to find their place in life. This novella was a quick, lighthearted read that left me feeling even more excited for the next book in this series!

Nyxa takes a half step backward. “I command you to leave my presence.” But her words come out as a half whisper.
Nyxa is afraid.
As well she should be.
Knox and I share a quick look. There’s no need to speak. We both know what we want to do.

I loved getting a peak into Bryar’s struggles, since she learned what she was.  But the poor girl couldn’t catch a break and her wolf was uncontrollable. Thankfully she had Elle, her bestie, who was ready to take her on a shopping trip since she kept destroying her clothes every time she shifted.  And speaking of Elle, we also got to see Alex, a warlock and Knox’s best friend. The interaction between Elle and Alex was a lot of fun and I need to find out more about Elle’s past and why that hinders them from being together.  They’re so fabulous together!  See, I need that next book now lol.

Right here, this moment. This is what I like so much about being with Knox. He understands me like no one else ever has.

But my favorite in this series?  Knox. He was as seductive as ever.  And I loved what a good friend he had become to Bryar.  They worked together so well.  I mean, yes he was her mate, but still, I loved the way they meshed.  It warmed my heart how Knox would help Byrar out and that he was always by her side. Even though he had his own struggles……

His ice-blue eyes lock with mine as he twirls us around. “Say it again.”
My face turns about three shades of red. “Mate.”

Just like the first book in this series, this novella was beyond adorable.  So if you loved Wolves and Roses, definitely give this one a try.  It was a super quick read and it was a ton of fun.  I loved every minute of it!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by Monster House Books LLC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Reading Order & Links:

Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Wolves and Roses #1


Moonlight and Midtown #2


Shifters and Glyphs #3


About Christina Bauer:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

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