Tag: Romance (page 1 of 10)

BOOK REVIEW – The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi

BOOK REVIEW – The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani ChokshiThe Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
by Roshani Chokshi
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

Review:

The words that spilled from the pages was breathtaking. The story that took place was beautifully enchanting. Yet every time I put the book down, I never felt the urge to pick it back up again. And I never once caught myself thinking about the story or the characters outside of reading. Which isn’t normal for me, at all. So I was left feeling torn towards The Star-Touched Queen. Since I’m stuck in the middle, here are some of my scattered thoughts about this uniquely, beautiful book –

✮ Fabulous world building –

I could glimpse the moon folding herself into crescents and half-smiles. When I looked up, I could imagine an existence as  vast as the sky. Just as infinite. Just as unknown.

The world building was fascinating, and I loved learning everything I could about Indian folklore. They were both richly described, and I felt as though I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to learn more. Those two elements were my favorite things about this book!

✮ I loved how fate and choices was a strong theme –

I pushed myself off the wall. I knew all the rumors, and I didn’t care to hear them again. Their words crawled over my skin. I wanted to shake off the insults, the laughter, the shadows. But all of it clung to me, thick as smoke, pushing out the blood from my veins until I pulsed with hate.

In the beginning, we learn that one’s fate and love revolves around horoscopes. And it’s taken as the literal truth. Which was awful for Maya, our main character, because her horoscope was viewed as horrific and tragic. It caused prejudice towards her, and others who had a less than desirable horoscope. But as the story progressed, we saw how not only fate but choices too played an integral part in the story and Maya’s life. It was fun watching everything unfold.

✮ Ambiguous scenes –


I see only night and smoke, dreams and glass, embers and wings. And I would not have you any other way.

There were moments where not everything was explained. And while those moments were filled with beautiful words, I was left with nothing to grip onto. I’d end the scene confused and left wondering what in the world just transpired?! Each time I tried to shrug it off and keep going. Which is a littler harder than it sounds, because I’m one who would prefer to have a solid understanding with what’s taking place in a scene. So I did struggle with this aspect.

✮ Not connected to the romance –

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

I never connected to the romance. I liked Maya and Amar separately, but when they were together I never felt much emotion. I would get a small smile from time to time, but I definitely didn’t get that butterfly inducing, wishing they would just get together already feelings. I think part of the reason I didn’t connect with them was that I was always left wishing that I had more of a backstory. Yet that never happened.

So I’ve decided that I do need to try another book by this author. I have a feeling that will push me into the love or pass category for her future releases. But if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something unique and beautifully crafted!

BOOK REVIEW – Thunderstruck by Brenda Drake

BOOK REVIEW – Thunderstruck by Brenda DrakeThunderstruck by Brenda Drake
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Stevie Moon is famous...at least to the subscribers on her comic review vlog. At school, she’s as plain as the gray painted walls in the cafeteria. So when Blake, the hot new guy at school, shows an interest in her, she knows trouble when she sees it. Been there. And never doing it again.

As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster's been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.

Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she's not willing to give him even the time of day. He'll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie's defenses than the demi-god of thunder?

Review:

Thunderstruck was such a cute story.  It revolved around Norse Mythology and the pages were filled with friendship, drama, first love and some mystery.  I quickly read it in two sittings and I found myself smiling a lot.  While it had a younger vibe and a few adorable yet cheesy moments, I enjoyed Thunderstruck and it’s characters!

He wanted to get lost in her. Forget he was from another world. A world where she could never go. A world he no longer wanted to return to without her.

Blake, the son of Thor, was my favorite out of all of the characters.  He was to recover a horn, and bring it back home.  But Blake found himself distracted by Stevie, a girl who goes to the same school as him.  And while I thought the son of a god would be charming and charismatic, it didn’t always work out that way lol.  He was soooooooo out of his element on Earth.   He was awkward at times, used too proper of English, and he didn’t understand slang (the Netflix comment was my fave rofl!). There were moments that I was laughing yet also cringing for him.  But thankfully Stevie was able to see past all of that, just like I was able to.

He just didn’t seem like he belonged on this planet, which was a weird thing to think, but it kept playing in her head.
Really, Stevie. You’re not living in a comic.

Stevie was an adorable girl who had a vlog and loved cosplay.  And I assumed her and Blake would easily end up together, that’s not exactly how it went down.  It all became convoluted when Blake wasn’t sure who had the horn.  And because of that, he ended up hanging around another girl a lot.  Her name was Grace, and I was not a fan.  So a love triangle formed.  And there was definitely a lot of drama.  I’m one of those that loves drama (I use to watch soaps back in the day), so I was a happy girl.

Kyle was leaning against his passenger side door. “Now, wasn’t that sweet? Kill a troll, hack up its body and dump it in the bay, then kiss a cute girl. All in one night.”
“What do you want, now?” Blake rounded the hood to the driver’s side. “Don’t you have someone else you can bother?”

Another character that helped cause a lot of drama was Kyle.  He was Blake’s brother and in the beginning I wasn’t too sure where his loyalty resided.  I kept getting annoyed at myself because Kyle came across as someone who I shouldn’t necessarily like.  Yet I did.  He was the annoying brother who would never go away.  Heaven help me for liking him lol.

“Why me?” Her words were as silent as a feather falling from a dove. When she looked back up the moonlight touched her face, her cheeks flushed and her dark eyes glistened with tears held back. And he didn’t care that he told her his feelings, because they made her look like that— beautiful.

Now underneath it all, was Norse Mythology.  And maybe this is more my issue than anyone else’s, but I’m clueless about Norse Mythology.  So when a character’s name would appear, I didn’t understand who they were.  It’d say if they were related, but I would have loved to have a little bit of a backstory on who was who.  Thankfully I was reading on my kindle, so I would highlight the name and read more about them on the Wikipedia pop-up box.  But I do wish some of that info was within the actual story so I’d know who we were meeting or who they were dressing up as.

This time he turned his back. Because he would do anything to save her, even betray her.

The creatures, characters, mystery, and action made this book such a quick, fun read!  I was completely entertained, and the story went by too fast.  I’m always bummed when I devour a story too quickly.  Ohhh one more thing before I go, while it’s a YA book, I felt like it would be a great step for those ready to leave MG and step into YA.  

PS This is SO random but Trevon (Stevie’s best friend’s boyfriend) reminded me so much of Murray, Dionne’s boyfriend, from Clueless for some reason.  So I was always smiling when he was gracing the pages.

*ARC kindly provided by Entangled:Crave via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Black Bird of the Gallows is definitely one favorite books from this year! So check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway, enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg KasselBlack Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece―and he’s not human.

What's more, she knows something most don't. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

Review:

Black Bird of the Gallows was hauntingly addicting, and I found myself completely mesmerized as the story unfolded.  The creatures and curses were not only unique, but an eerie combination that at times terrified me.  There were so many moments of subtle humor that had me laughing out loud and kept a smile on my face.  And when you add to that characters that won my heart, well Black Bird of the Gallows easily became one of my favorite books from this year!

What are you?” The question slips out— suddenly, vitally relevant.
For a moment , we just stare at each other, our mingling breath making white puffs in the cold air. He drops his gaze. I know, then, the answer is horrible. He’s kept his secrets for a reason, and that reason may be as scarring as the scene before us.

The book started out with Angie learning she has new neighbors.  And her first interaction with Reece, a boy about her age, had so many unexplainable moments.  He was speaking to a man whose face constantly changed, crows seemed to follow yet be playful with him, and he reminded her of something she couldn’t quite pinpoint.  Despite all that, they started towards a tentative friendship.  While there was a few bumps in the road, the way it developed felt so sweet and innocent.  But there was also moments between the two of them that made my heart race.  And I’m not one to usually talk about butterflies, but I SO did have them!  Watching Angie and Reece together made me feel like I was falling in love for the first time all over again.

I hold my breath and watch the crow glide away. It melts into the blackness, silent as a ghost. Lonely as the night.
Dark as a boy’s eyes.

Yet their relationship was forbidden.  It shouldn’t have grown the way it did.  It seemed like they were destined for broken hearts.  And because of them growing closer, creatures took interest in Angie.  That could only lead to horrific things.  You see, Reece’s arrival in her town was a horrible sign, since he’s a harbinger of death.  Once he was in her town, there was a shift in the demeanor of the town’s people.  Violence and chaotic events started to become more commonplace.  Then it all started to take an even darker turn.  I was terrified yet intrigued with how it would all play out.  Especially in regards to the bees.  When I fully understood the bees *shudders*, I realized that I will forever be haunted by them.  I can’t ever look at a honeybee normally again. *sobs*

He leans his terrible face close. Way too close . “He watches you. Why?”
My heart smashes against my ribs. His nightmare face is inches from mine, but no breath comes from that changing mouth. No puff of white in the cold darkness. Only the disorienting scent of honey and a skin-crawling drone that sounds an awful lot like bees. A lot of bees.

And while I LOVED the storyline, I was even more obsessed with Reece and Angie.  Oh my gosh you guys, Reece may be one of the most tortured souls I’ve ever read about.  He gutted me.  He broke my heart and then shattered it into the tiniest of pieces.  But he also had the ability to completely captivate my attention and melt my heart.  And did I mention he was full of secrets?  He was such a complex soul and was deliciously addicting!  I loved, loved, loved Reece!

Reece goes perfectly still. “You are important to me,” he says finally. “More important than anything any cursed creature thinks he could do to me.”

And then there was Angie.  From the moment Angie stated that she preferred footwear that wasn’t practical, I just knew her and I were going to be bffs!  But seriously, she had such a huge heart and a good head on her shoulders, I easily liked Angie right away.  While she had a troubled past, she tried her hardest to not let that define her.  And I was so grateful to see she had a wonderful support system with her two best friends and father.  The relationship she had with her father was realistic, and I loved that he played an active role in her life.  It was so refreshing to see that in a YA book!

His lips brush against mine in the whisper of a kiss. It’s different from any other. It tastes of certainty and sadness and promises that can never be made.

With curses, love, friendship, trust, and sacrifice, Black Bird of the Gallows truly had it all!  It was a page turner, it was impossible to put down, it made me sob out of happiness and sorrow.  And did I mention it reads as a standalone?!  So now I will patiently wait until I can read every single future release from this author.  She has made me a fan for life, and I’m so grateful I got to pick up this book and discover what was inside!

*ARC kindly provided by Entangled Teen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Purchase Links:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

And to the first 100 people who leave a review on Amazon for Black Bird of the Gallows & fill out this form, you’ll received a Book Nerd T-shirt.  You can fill out your info here.

 

 

About Meg Kassel:

Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 
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BOOK REVIEW – The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2) by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW – The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2) by Wendy HigginsThe Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2)
by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In The Great Pursuit, the dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great Hunt, Wendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom.

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.

The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.

Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.

Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.

Review:

***Spoilers for The Great Pursuit.  You can read my review of the 1st book here.***

The Great Pursuit was a fabulous conclusion filled with action, adventure, love and political intrigue. Deceit, lies, betrayal, hope, sacrifice, love, and friendship were splashed across the pages and I fell madly in love with this duology. My favorite things by far were –

✮ Everlasting Love –

“What will happen to us, Pax?” she whispered.
A deep sense of desperation to grasp their time together rose within her. This could be it. This could be their last moment alone together.
He held her tighter and pressed his forehead into her abdomen. “I just want to keep you safe.” – Aerity and Paxton

I was so nervous and constantly trying to figure out how Aeity and Paxton could be together. She’s betrothed to Lord Alvi, so how could she get out of that? How could she be with Paxton? My mind kept pondering those questions, because I’m neurotic like that lol. But as I watched Aeirty and Paxton, the risks they took for one another had me on the edge of my seat. I was breathless with how much they were each willing to sacrifice for the other. Their love was so beautiful. And their moments together made my heart race. They were definitely a couple I was rooting for, and I hoped against hope that they could beat the odds that were stacked up against them.

✮ A True Leader –

Determination rang out inside her, clearing away all doubts and fears before they had a chance to surface. She had no time for any of that. – Aerity

Aerity proved herself time and again what a competent, fair ruler she was. But thank goodness she made a few selfish decisions, because she deserved them! The challenges and hardships she faced seemed all consuming at times. And I easily found my heart breaking and struggling right along with hers. Yet she was a smart, strong woman, so I always had faith in the choices she made.

✮ It’s Not Just About Princess Aerity and Paxton Seabolt –

Vixie propped a hand on her hip. “If you wished to ward him off, you could have simply kissed me. I’ve heard that strategy works well.”
Tiern’s eyes rounded, and Vixie pressed her fingers to her lips to hold back a laugh at her boldness.
“Perhaps next time I will, little sea star,” he said threateningly.

Just as I became attached to so many others in The Great Hunt, it felt as though those characters played an even bigger part in this book. I became obsessed with not only them staying alive and their happiness, but also their love lives too. See there’s two other couples I was rooting for. This first was Tiern and Princess Dixie. Ohhh Tiern, sigh. He was just as fabulous at making me swoon as his big brother, Paxton. He was charismatic, charming, sexy and their banter and fights lit up heart! The other couple involves Lady Wyneth, but you’ll figure out the man I was rooting for when you read this book. *winks*

✮ A New Favorite Character –

“By the seas, you are rather cute in an ugly sort of way, aren’t you?” Harrison sighed and passed him up to a giggling Aerity. – About Furball!

I LOVED Furball! Oh my goodness, I adored him so much. And I’m sorry I can’t tell you anything about him, but I have a feeling you’ll love him too.

✮ Friendship –

She whispered to him, “What have I done, Lief? That was awful!”
And to her utter surprise, Lief palmed her cheek and gently said. “No, Princess. That was incredible.” And then he began to laugh.

Not only did this book display strong, female friendships, which I loved! But it also displayed strong non-sexual friendships between males and females, which I loved too. My favorite was Aerity and Harrison, who have been friends forever. We got to see many sides of their friendship, and just how far they would go to help each other out. And my second favorite friendship was Aerity with Lief. While he could be frustrating at times, with his beliefs and actions, I loved how they pulled together. I loved, loved, loved how their friendship evolved over time. It was perfect!

When I closed this book, I was so ecstatic with how everything panned out. Especially that epilogue! Oh, Wendy Higgins’ epilogues are always so perfectly beautiful. But I’m going to hold out hope that someday, if we’re lucky, we’ll hear more about Princess Dixie and Lady Wyneth’s HEA with their sexy men. Fingers crossed…….

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

The Great Hunt #1
Review:

Jen

The Great Pursuit #2
Review:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW – The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins

BOOK REVIEW – The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy HigginsThe Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1)
by Wendy Higgins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Wendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.

Review:

The Great Hunt was absolutely enchanting! I became addicted to the story-line, infatuated with the characters, and I was reminded yet again why I love Wendy Higgins’ books. And while I thought I had it figured out, oh how wrong I was. Tears fell down long after I finished that last page. So I definitely can’t wait to see how it all ends in the final book!

She knew she should say something, but words . . . there were no words. Her life, as she knew it, was over. Her future, and the freedom she’d imagined, was dead. – Aerity

I have to throw this out there, since so many reviews have talked about this – but yes the beginning was slow. BUT it made perfect sense to me. You see, the first fifth of the book set the characters, theme, and land into place. Learning all about the characters and the world they were in had a twofold affect. One – I became easily attached to all of the characters since I felt like I knew them inside out. Second – I completely understood the world and visualized everything so perfectly and beautifully. And no, there’s no info dumps or overly detailed descriptions.

They were herding the beast straight for them.
“It’s coming!” Tiern shouted from behind him. – Paxton

So in a world of castles, royalty, and forbidden magic (except in a few instances), a great beast terrorized commoners and royalty alike. The beast was enormous and could tear men’s bodies to shreds in second. To restore peace to the land, the King declared a proclamation, kill the beast, and marry his daughter, Princess Aerity. Oh, how I loved the princess! Princess Aerity was brave, strong, honorable, and underneath it all she was compassionate and humbling. She was everything that would make a fair Queen one day! But at the same time, she pushed boundaries. Especially when those boundaries related to one of the hunters that was at the Castle to kill the great beast. And that hunters name was Paxton.

“What if I said I do want you to kill the beast, Paxton Seabolt? What if I want it to be you?” -Aerity

Paxton Seabolt is my favorite type of guy. Ever. He could be a jerk at times, he easily appeared closed off, yet he gave us these moments that showed he was so much more. Moments when he was selfless, rational, thoughtful and loved his family fiercely. Yet to Princess Aerity, he came across as a closed off jerk, the majority of time. I always have faith in those types of hero’s, and all I can say is that I am completely head over heels in love with Paxton. You definitely want to meet him!

“No,” Aerity whispered. A deep longing for Paxton expanded within her. “Seas, no. Please.” Her stomach knotted so hard that it sent another shooting pain through her ribs.

But there was SO much more going on in the book than just Aerity and Paxton. There was the magical group of the Lashed, whose history and current situation was terrifying. Then there was the hundred of hunters, many from afar, that had come to slay the beast. And then there was all of the royalty in the castle. I found myself attached to so many of them, and that made me nervous since deaths happened left and right. So what started out a little slow, easily led to a tale that gripped me. The tension, plight, sexual tension, and my emotional attachment to so many of the characters made me fall for The Great Hunt. Now I’m off to read the final book in this duology!

PS My faves, besides Princess Aerity & Paxton, were Tiern (Paxton’s brother), Lord Alvi, Harrison, Zandora, Lady Wyneth and Princess Dixie.

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

The Great Hunt #1
Review:

Jen

The Great Pursuit #2
Review:

Jen
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