Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Lia is the First Daughter - the only daughter - of her people and because of that title, she is required to marry the Prince of Dalbreck. But Lia doesn't like tradition, and after being shunned at her request to meet the Prince in person before their wedding, Lia decides to take matters in her own hands.

She doesn't make it to her wedding. Instead, her friend, Pauline, and Lia make a run for it. Lia knows she is going to be hunted by her father's men, along with the kingdom of Dalbreck's men, but Lia just can't convince herself to marry a stranger for an alliance she had no say about it. That is not her life, and she wants to marry for love, rather than to avoid a possible war.

When they make their destination, Lia and Pauline get a job working at the pub and tavern in the town, and stay in a small, dusty room. Lia is loving it. She meets two newcomers after awhile and finds an attraction to both of them - for two different reasons. Because Rafe and Kaden are complete opposites, but both of them gain Lia's attention right away.

Lia is loving her new life full of hard work and no royal majesty's thrown her way. This is the life she has always wanted, and she made it happen.

But the two boys she likes? Yeah, neither one are who they say they are. In fact, one is the prince that she jilted. And the other is an assassin that was sent by Venda.

Things are about to drastically change for Lia, and she is going to have to decide how to handle everything to make sure it ends in the best way possible.

Oh, sneaky, sneaky, sneaky Mary E. Pearson. I swore I had it all figured out about the mystery of the two boys that appeared in Lia's life, but I was COMPLETELY wrong!!! And I am always never wrong!!! So kudos to Pearson, because I was so stunned and shocked and I LOVED it!!

This book was soo, soo, soo good! I am kicking myself for waiting three years to read it, but I really wanted to read the whole series together rather than waiting for it.

And honestly I'm glad I did because that ending was just so high tense and I cannot wait to see what happens! And now I don't have to because I have the second book in my hand.

I'm so glad that Lia decided to do what was best for her, and not for her father's business proposal to the neighboring kingdom. She is a person, she has feelings, and she deserves to make her own decisions rather than be bossed around by everyone around her. Plus she doesn't even have the gift that everyone wants her to have and that would have made for some awkward revelations down the road...

Both boys have their smoothness. I swear I knew who was who, but when it was revealed, I had it completely wrong! I did have my favorite boy out of the bunch, but I'm not even going into that for this review in case there are other readers out there like me who are behind the times, haha.

Overall, I enjoyed this story so much and will definitely be recommending it to other readers! And I'm very excited to get into the second book to see what adventures await for Lia!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: The Billionaire's Deal: The Complete Story: An Alpha Billionaire Romance

The Billionaire's Deal: The Complete Story: An Alpha Billionaire Romance The Billionaire's Deal: The Complete Story: An Alpha Billionaire Romance by Crystal Kaswell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Ever since Kat's parents died in a car accident, Kat has not had a break in life. She has had to take care of her younger sister, Lizzy, and find a way to support both of themselves. Kat wasn't able to go to college or enjoy the last few days in high school, but instead has been struggling to find a good job to help pay the bills and the house mortage. Basically, at 18, she had to grow up really quickly and really wants a chance to get caught up in life.

When she bumps into Blake outside of a terrible job interview, Kat doesn't know what she is in for. Because Blake is a billionaire who has a proposition for her: he wants her to be his fake girlfriend. His mom is dying, and he wants her to think that Blake is happy in love before she dies. Blake is willing to pay a lot of money for this fake relationship, and sadly Kat is in a position where she is willing to lie to strangers to get that money to help pay for Lizzy's college tuition and other important things.

So Kat gets all primped and primed for her new life at a girlfriend of a billionaire, but things go differently than she expected. For example, her job decides to fire her because of all of the attention she is getting and now people are just hounding her workplace waiting to talk to her.

Things are going pretty well for Kat, plus the sex with Blake is fantastic. But soon Kat realizes she wants more for her future, and being in a fake relationship is starting to take a toll on her. She is going to have to make some tough decisions soon about what she wants in life.

This book was okay for me. I definitely love New Adult and erotica, and this book definitely had both, but it was a little disconnected for me to really enjoy. I don't know, the characters were a little stiff for me, plus we all know that Blake won't fall in love, so he was very distant and so serious all of the time.

I did feel for Kat that she had to go through all of that heartbreak at such a young age and figure out how to be an adult when she should have had years of fun and being young still. And to have to be the legal guardian of her younger sister so they wouldn't get separated would be so gut wrenching to go from a big sister to a parent figure.

So I was very happy that she was the lucky girl who Blake decided to go with this ruse, but she is not made for the life of the rich and famous and disconnected. And she went from working two jobs to being on call for social events and gatherings. That is a lot to take in because she was always running around, and now she is bored out of her mind.

This book was just okay. I've read better books of the same story, so it was a refresher of the New Adult genre. I am glad that I got the complete story rather than parts of it, and I'm very glad that I got this an an eARC to experience the story.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review: Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke

Lucky Number Eleven Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from Red Coat Publishing and the author in exchange for my honest review.

Branch was enjoying a nice vacation at his teammates cabin in IL, when he got blindsided by Finn's sister Layla James, who was taking a vacation as well and came to the same cabin. From the moment he saw her, Branch knew he had to have her. And the more he got to know her, the more he decided she's a girl he can't wait to claim for himself.

Of course, there are a few reasons why this would be a bad thing. One, Finn is going to kick his ass if Branch touches one little hair on his baby sister. And two, Branch is a professional football player, where getting attached to a girl is not really a thing, to be honest. The lifestyle is all about partying and girls and playing ball, and hoping that they don't get killed by the other team on the field.

But Branch is more than happy to have a good fling during their weekend of relaxation and fun.

When Layla saw Branch, she knew she was in trouble. After getting out, yet again, another relationship with a different football player, she is coming to realize that maybe she should stay clear of football players for the rest of her life. But when she sees Branch, Layla knows that her new resolution is flying out of the back window.

Branch oozes sexiness and sins that Layla is all too happy to commit, and she's going to do it with a smile on her face.

But the weekend of fun and sexy times sadly comes to an end and both Branch and Layla have a lot of bigger fish to fry when it comes down to the two of them. Because something unexpected happened, and now they both have to come to terms with where they want to lives to go. And they need to decide pretty soon.

I very much enjoyed this book. Honestly, the bantering between Branch and Layla was just outstanding. I was always waiting for the next amazing thing to be said between the two of them, and I was always granted my wish when it happened :)

Those two were just sizzling the first time that Layla saw Branch through the windshield of the car at the cabin. Plus, having them start their thing at a cabin in the woods by a lake is just so romantic and set such a great mood and scene for those two. If they had met at a raving party in Chicago? It might not have had the same effect on me, I think.

Layla is a great character. I am amazed that she can make a living writing blog posts online and now I want to figure out how she does that so I can quit my job and get paid to read and post reviews! Ha, no seriously I know people do that, but I think reading and blogging would become to hard for me if I did that. I'll just stick to blogging my thoughts for myself and any surprised person who stumbles to my blog on accident :)

Branch is such a southern boy. He pretends to be a big player, but he gave himself away when he was talking about his grandmother and he is just a little sweetheart on the inside. He just needed Layla around to bring it out full force and bring his true colors out.

I'm so glad I got to read this! I'm probably not going to read any of the other books in the series, but I am glad that this is the one out of the bunch that I got because it was a very good book and I loved both of the characters. While they heed and hawed their way through the issues, it made it more realistic and the ending was just what was needed :)

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

The First Time She Drowned The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cassie is anxiously waiting for her 18th birthday, because her life can start over again. After being committed into the psych ward by her mother, even though she's not crazy, Cassie gets to release herself from the crazy place when she legally becomes an adult, no matter what anyone says.

And her mother even got her into college, so she will start classes and start fresh.

Except Cassie is having a hard time figuring out who she is. She's been having a lot of flashbacks about her past, her growing up and her family life. Cassie doesn't have the best relationship with her parents or her older brother. In fact, those three are the ones who tied her up with rope and delivered her to the psych ward.

But Cassie wants to be loved, and who's supposed to love her more than her family, right?

The more memories Cassie had, though, the more she has to figure out how to love again. Because with a new boy at school who is showing her attention and a new friend she is now rooming with, Cassie is realizing that she may be damaged beyond repair to have a new life.

There is only so much one person can go through before completely losing everything they love the most.

This book. This is an intense book. So much more intense than I could even imagine based on the title, cover and description. If it wasn't for my bookclub, I'm not sure if I would have finished it because there were a lot of things in this book that causes triggers, and one was very close to my "not reading" rule.

I feel so much for Cassie. She has a crappy life growing up as a child. Everyone was ignoring her, treating her like she did everything wrong, and they were so man to her. And all Cassie wanted was love. For a little girl to grow up without love is just heartbreaking and so sad. That is all little kids want, and for Cassie to see everyone loving everyone else except her is just terrible.

And then for her family, the people she is supposed to trust the most in her life, to tie her up and drag her to the psych ward like she is nothing but a crazy person? Just terrible.

I loved seeing Cassie in college living her life, but it wasn't really Cassie. She was only doing certain things because the people around her expected her to do it, or they really wanted her to do something and Cassie just gave in. She wasn't living life for herself, but for the people around her.

I love Liz, though. She is so compassionate and caring and Cassie had no idea what to do around her. She was so shocked by everything Liz said and did and I don't blame Cassie for her hesitation after seeing how everyone else in her life has treated her.

The ending had so many good feels and so many possibilities that could happen, so I am glad that I finished the book. But it will probably never be a book that I re-read because it is just too depressing for 75% of the book.

I'll be interested to see what the rest of my bookclub group thinks about this book!

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Until It Fades Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Catherine has had a very rough life so far - and she's only 24! After having an affair with her art teacher when she was 17 and being forced to report it to the police after her mother found out, she has been an outcast and has been treated really terribly by her small little town. It doesn't help that the teacher was loved by all and his entire family owns basically the entire town or is in charge of something very important.

So Cath is furious with her mother for making her report it, and decides to move out when she is 18 to take care of herself and to never have to listen to her mother again.

The only bad part is that she needed a job, but no one would hire her. When she was at an interview at a small diner, Cath got sick and found out that she was pregnant. Not the best interview.

But 6 years later, Cath is now taking care of herself, her little girl Brenna, is living in a little house on her own, and she is kind of getting along with her parents. For the most part. And while Cath isn't living the rich life, she is managing to make enough money to live a happy-ish life.

When she is leaving a terrible blind date, Cath comes across a sports car that got into a terrible accident. She gets out of the car to check on the passengers. The driver didn't make it, but the guy in the passenger seat is still alive. Cath is able to get him out, though how no one knows because he is unconscious, over 6 feet tall (to her 5' 4"), and his foot is stuck in the crushed car.

What Cath didn't realize when saving this man is that she saved a very famous, well loved hockey player named Brett. And since Cath has a very sketchy past that she wishes everyone will forget, being in the spotlight as Brett's hero is going to be nothing but trouble. Especially since she doesn't want her 5 year old girl to know about her bad teenage years.

But Brett is now always around. At first, Cath thought it was because he wanted to help her like she helped him, but she soon finds out that they may have a connection between the two of them. She certainly feels something for him, but it's too much of a fairy tale story to be true.

Liking and being with Brett has consequences, though, because he such a popular, famous person, who also has a movie star mother. Cath is going to have to make a decision soon if she wants to be with him, and how many of her deep, dark secrets are going to be released into the media.

I love K.A. Tucker, so when I saw this book on the shelf at the library, I knew I had to check it out and read it! And I'm glad I did, because I really liked it! It was a slow going story, but with enough suspense to keep me engaged in the story to find out all of the little secrets that are revealed throughout the novel.

Cath is a stubborn girl who definitely sticks with what she believes in no matter what anyone else says. She can handle the criticism and she has an extremely tough outer shell to ward off all of the evil things the people in her town say about her.

And she has made such a good life for her. It may not have been what she wanted overall, but she has the complete love and adoration of her little girl, and she has even made enough amends with her mother to involve the rest of her family in her life.

She is also so selfless saving Brett out of that car, especially when the fire started. I don't think I would have been brave enough to get close enough to find out of anyone was alive in there. And to have it destroy her car - that is just devastating.

The relationship between Brett and Cath was adorable. You could tell that Brett was so into her, and Cath was oblivious to everything around her. She thought it was gratitude that she saved her life, but she was the only one who thought that. Everyone else knew what was happening right in front of their eyes.

I hate that the town shunned Cath when she was a teenager. Yes, she had a crush on her teacher and yes, they had an affair. But the person who should have been punished and shunned was the teacher, since he was the adult and knew not to get involved with a student. To blame the student, to blame Cath, was just a terrible thing to do and that whole town should be ashamed of themselves. And to find out that the teacher has perhaps done it again and again? Just awful.

Brett is an amazing guy who has some inner demons and some tough choices to make about his career and life. But I did love the way he gave Cath time to figure out what she wanted, rather than forcing her to make a decision or taking away her choices. He was so gentle with her in that regard. Also, seeing him with Brenna was just too adorable. He's a natural :)

I really enjoyed this book and am so glad that I found it and read it! K.A. Tucker is great and she wrote an amazing story full of second chances and a new beginning :)

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Blocked by L.P. Dover

Blocked Blocked by L.P. Dover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from the author and Red Coat PR in exchange for my honest review.

Dallas is a hot shot goalie for the hottest hockey team in the U.S. In fact, they are well on their way to getting the Stanley Cup because their team is just that good. And Dallas knows it, which is why he is a cocky son of a gun. And to top it off, he just got signed on for a reality TV show - basically a bachelor show where he is going to be with 10 women and end up with one in the end. This is going to be the starting point of his acting career for when he is done with hockey.

So things are going pretty good for Dallas. Though when he gets in a fight and has to practice more, he is playing unfairly against his teammate Justin and his brothers. When one particular guy keeps getting the puck past him into the net - and not in the clean playing kind of way - Dallas gets fed up and is about to beat him up.

But then Dallas realizes it isn't Justin's brother he's about to beat up - it's his sister Callie. And Callie is ridiculously gorgeous.

Now Dallas is determined to apologize and get on the good side of not only Callie but also her family, because Callie may be different than all of the other girl's he's been with.

Callie knows Dallas's type and she's not impressed with him. But because he's willing to do whatever it takes to prove that he should be with her, Callie tests him with ridiculous things, sure that he will back out because of embarrassment. Instead, Callie sees a whole new person when he accomplishes her takes with flying colors.

Now Callie needs to decide if it is worth being with Dallas and the side effects she is going to face being with a playboy like Dallas.

This was a great novel!

I really enjoyed the whole story and the sport aspect, the nursing aspect, and the playboy falling for the teammate's sister aspect. Everything rolled around nicely together and it made for a great novel that I devoured in less than a day :)

Callie is one tough cookie and definitely knows how to take care of herself, even though she has brothers who want to beat people up for her. But she usually knows how to defuse the situation so no one goes to jail!

Dallas is such a playboy at first, but the second he sees Callie, he's done for. He doesn't even look twice at another woman because he is so focused on getting Callie as his and he has to work for it. He works really hard to get one shot with Callie.

I loved that there were multiple scenes of hockey, since that is one of the main focuses of this novel. Sometimes when the characters are sports players, the author tends to forget to include that into the novel and it's a bit fake. But L. P. Dover didn't forget that and made it a big part of this novel, which I loved so much.

I may go back and read the first book in the series, but I do know that I want to read the next book because OMG that is going to be a great story!!

I'm so glad that I got this book! Thank you for the eARC!

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: Jasper by Amy Miles

Jasper Jasper by Amy Miles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from the author and Red Coat PR in exchange for my honest review.

Aspen is all alone in the world. She is an orphan - no siblings, and now no parents after sickness has taken them both away. Now she lives in London, working and living with her roommate, Callie - the only friend Aspen really has anymore. Actually, Callie is more like a sister now.

Aspen works as a service girl, but she is not the girl to take on dates and expect something extra by the end of the night. She goes out with her clients, and goes back to her apartment. It's a job and Aspen makes sure that everyone understands that.

When she goes on a date with J.T., Aspen doesn't realize what she is getting herself into. In fact, that night changes everything for her. Because J.T. is really Jasper, and Jasper is a ridiculously handsome guy who is the only one that Aspen has even thought about going home with.

And because of that, Aspen knows she needs to stay away from Jasper, because he is nothing but trouble. In fact, Jasper even says that he is not the one for her, and she has seen that he has very deep, dark secrets.

When girls go missing from Aspen's job, everyone is on high alert - even Jasper. He is insistent that she stop working ad to let him take care of her.

But Aspen doesn't understand everything that is going on. She is a snooper and is trying to figure out all of the missing pieces, but nothing in her wildest dreams would have prepared her for what is about to happen in her life.

This was an interesting book. A different book. Not what I was expecting and certain things happened that I didn't really like overall, sad to say. It's not your typical New Adult novel, which would be good or bad depending on what you are looking for.

I enjoyed this book in the beginning and was really liking the story, but toward the middle and end, there felt like there were huge gaps missing and I was getting lost in the shuffle with the missing information. I started feeling disconnected from the characters and it became more of a story being told to me rather than a story that I was a part of.

Aspen is a smart girl and she is her own self. She doesn't let anyone boss her around, and she is always wanting to find information for mysteries. She talked about Nancy Drew a lot, which always made me smile and Aspen wanted to be the London's version of Nancy Drew, haha.

We have a few chapters where it's Jasper's point of view, but none of them made too much sense overall. Now that I finished the book, I understand what was going on, but during those chapters you don't really get a good insight of Jasper, and that was what I was looking for.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Like I said, it was different. I despised one particular scene which kind of made this book a downhill spiral for me, but if I were to take that out of the equation, I would say it was a good book. I may or may not seek out the second book when it is published - just depends on how I feel about it when the time comes and if I want to see what happens with Jasper and Aspen.

I am very glad I got this as an eBook and I think New Adult/Adult genre fans will enjoy this new, dark, and mysterious novel!

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review: Othersphere by Nina Berry

Othersphere Othersphere by Nina Berry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After a disastrous meeting with Ximon and one of their own died, while another student left, Dez is kind of a mess. She used to be the fearless leader who knew all of the answers, but now she is doubting even the littlest things.

When her birth parents keep crossing over to Earth by possessing humans around Dez, Dez realizes that she has to meet them and see who her birth parents really are. But she also needs to see her home, the place she was born, to finally realize what she wants in life.

But to do that is very dangerous, and she isn't going to be alone because her birth father kidnapped a student to lure Dez there. Now, Dez needs to get that leadership role back in place and make sure that she won't lose anyone else that she loves during this last and final battle of the otherworlds.

I admit, this series fell flat for me. I can't tell you why, but it just did. I think all of the characters got on my nerves a lot and they just didn't redeem themselves. I know they are teenagers and are prone to be bi-polar, but I despise people like that. That's probably why I didn't have too many friends in high school...

But not only did Dez and Caleb, who I had issues with in the second novel, do that, but also the side characters. They were so easy to blame everyone around them and they switched sides way too easily for me to be comfortable to call them friends. They are all just really flakey.

The thing with Dez and Lazar blew my mind at the very beginning. I didn't think Dez was that stupid, and honestly, how it ended with the love triangle? I wish that two of them ended up alone and miserable and the third one found a great person to be with and rubbed it in the other two's faces.

But that's just how I feel...

The story ended exactly I how knew it would and honestly, nothing really popped out as amazing during this book, which is such a shame. I was really hoping for a great story to keep with me.

That's what I get for getting swayed by the amazing covers of the beautiful red-head. But I will still keep judging books by their covers and I will have to feel this letdown of what could have been.

I am glad that I read them, but I'm very glad I didn't buy them. I think other readers will enjoy them more than I did, though, and will recommend them to any reader who likes supernatural and shifter books :)

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Review: Othermoon by Nina Berry

Othermoon Othermoon by Nina Berry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dez is struggling to keep everything normal in her crazy life. But when her mom gets possessed by a spirit in the Otherworld, Dez realizes that nothing will be normal again.

The only way to stop things from escalating out of control is to try and stop Ximon from destroying Dez's new life.

But because the other kids in her band of merry friends are not so keen on trusting Lazar, who truth be told was on the other side of the team not too long ago, Dez has to decide on who to trust and who to keep in the loop.

Because Dez wants to stop Ximon for good, and the only way to get inside their new compound is to trust Lazar. And by trusting him, Dez could be risking all of her friends' lives, and risk losing them all for good.

Sadly, Dez has been put in this situation, and she must make a decision fast, before time runs out.

So...this series...I like it. I do. I love shifter books. But for some reason, there is something missing for me... I'm reading all three books, don't get me wrong, but I dunno. Maybe I'm not connecting that much with the characters or the book just doesn't have enough to keep me going, but this book was a bit of a struggle to get through for me.

Dez is a leader, but she wasn't like that when we first met her, so it's a bit unrealistic for me that she would become the leader after she shifted when she was a shy, awkward teenage girl in high school. Plus, she's a little bit bossy. Granted, everyone looks to her to get directions on what to do when they are in a middle of a battle, but she takes this new role way too seriously, to be honest.

And I know I was a bit against team Dez and Caleb, but after this book I think I like Caleb so much more. He was justified in everything that he said and why he felt the way he did, and Dez had no excuses to give for it. She treated him very badly, and now I want Caleb to have his own book and find a girl that is worthy of him.

I'm hoping things get better in the 3rd book, and that things get to my liking again. But, then again, having it go the other way would be okay too. I'm going to read it no matter what, so we shall see what happens!

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Review: Otherkin by Nina Berry

Otherkin Otherkin by Nina Berry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dez is a normal girl who is very shy and is somewhat embarrassed... because she wears a back brace and has worn it for the last 3 years. No one but her parents and best friend Ivy knows about it. But when a boy asks her to prom and tries to show her how to dance, only to accidentally touch her back brace, Dez goes home and begins to panic. Now someone knows about her brace and she will be made fun ot.

The more and more Dez thinks about this, the angrier she gets. Until she gets so angry that she turns into a tiger.

A bit extreme, right?

Dez has no idea that she is a shifter, and can shift from human to a tiger. She was adopted when she was a baby and has no information about her birth parents.

When she wakes up in a cage next to another boy in a different cage, Dez starts to get some answers about a world she never knew existed. But a world that she is thrust into the middle of it since a group of people want to kill all of the shifters.

Now Dez has to leave the only life she has ever known and learn how to be a shifter with a bunch of strangers. The more she is around the different animal shifters (bear, wolf, rat, eagle) the more she learns about the life she could have had if she had lived with her birth parents.

But the group who kidnapped her when she first shifted is still out there, and they are hunting her down. Dez needs to figure out how to control her tiger before it is too late.

I adore books about shifting into an animal. I'm not sure why, just the idea that I would be able to shift into another form and be a ferocious animal if I needed to just sounds awesome!! So when I saw all three of these books were available at the library, I had to check them out and see what it was all about.

And I really enjoyed this story. There was a lot of background story that had to be told, so it was a bit boring during those times, but for the most part I really loved the storyline and how all of the characters were so suspicious during the entire novel - which I don't blame them. And I loved the action scenes where everyone was transforming from human to animal and fighting their way to freedom.

Dez took being a tiger very well, I must admit. Even though I said I would love to change into an animal, it would definitely freak me out. But after the initial reaction, Dez was pretty chill about the whole thing, all things considered.

The romance between her and Caleb was too forced in my opinion. Plus I really hated Caleb when he was keeping all of those secrets and that made him less attractive to me. I'm hoping in the second book their might be another live interest to make Caleb realize how great Dez is and to have him fight for her, because he was definitely wishy washy with his feelings for my liking.

I love all of the other shifters - November is a chatty little rat, but very loyal. London is very serious, but she is a wolf so I can see that. Siku has such a great personality since he is a giant bear and I love the thing between him and November. And Arnaldo is a sneaky little eagle, who I will definitely be keeping my eye on.

So far I'm really liking this book and I hope more good things happen in the next book!

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Review: Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss and HarperTeen Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Abby is an aspiring artist, and loves to paint. It is her true passion and what she wants to do for a career. Right now, during the summer before senior year, she is working at the museum being surrounded by art every day and she is also hoping to be one of the artists featured in the yearly art gallery where all proceeds go to a charity.

The only problem is that she does not meet the age ONE year!! But she decides to try since she works for Mr. Wallace and has an "in" now.

Except Mr. Wallace said Abby has no heart in her art. They are mere copies of standard pictures. He said that Abby needs to experience and grow in her artwork before she will be considered a true artist and be seriously considered in the art world.

Which broke Abby's heart because art is her life. If she's not good at it, then what's the point? But Abby's not going to give up. In fact, she's decided to make 5 entirely new paintings before the exhibit and try again, and this time, she is going to challenge herself to do 11 things on a list to live life and change her painting style.

And who better to do that with than her best friend Cooper. Who she might have a crush on. But after a failed attempt of telling Cooper her true feelings a year ago, Abby is working hard to keep her best friend instead of losing him because she has stronger feels than he does for her.

So together, they go through the list of things for Abby to try and experience and see if it will make her paintings have more heart.

But trying new things and going out of comfort zone makes Abby realize a lot of things. And most of them are not the great news category. In fact, this whole summer has opened her eyes and has made Abby realize that she needs to do the things that make her happy, otherwise is she really living?

I adore Kasie West's books and have read all of them that have been published so far, so I was so excited to get this next installment! And I loved it just as much as her previous books!!

I felt so much for Abby. First she gets rejected by her best friend who she has been in love with for a very long time. Then she gets told that her art is not that great and she has a lot to learn. For being 17, that is a lot of rejection to have already!

But Abby doesn't let that stop her. In fact, she takes all of that rejection, and she decides to fix it, rather than let people put her down with their negativity. Abby channels all of that criticism and decides to better herself and grow as a person to achieve her life long goals. And that is something to admire so much, because many people in the world do not respond in that way.

I also loved how she had to make really tough decisions, not only about Cooper and her feelings toward him, but also with her mother. After taking baby steps around her mom and trying to help her get better, Abby just exploded at her when her sickness made her miss a really big night of Abby's life. And instead of treating her mother like the glass doll everyone has been doing lately, she decided enough is enough and gave her some tough love. I loved every minute of it.

I'm really glad that Abby decided to try to make new friends over the summer. It's nice to have a close knitted group of friends, but it's also great to get out there and make more. It doesn't mean that she has replaced any of her friends, but that she is learning to go out there, meet more people, and have fun.

Abby had a really crappy summer, but it was so full of new experiences that she will take with her for the rest of her life. It made her grow into the person that she will one day become, and it made her realize that life is not always fair, but we will get through the tough times so we can enjoy the amazing times after the struggle.

This is a great novel, and I think that it will appeal to so many readers out there! I'm so happy that I got an eARC and I cannot wait for the next book by Kasie West :)

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review: Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer

Wolves and Roses Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this free eARC novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Bryar Rose is supposed to live the life of Sleeping Beauty - you know? Cursed to sleep until Prince Charming shows up and saves the day? Instead, Bry is a failed fairy tale. She takes medicine to fight off the sleep curse that she has, and her three godmothers already have her prince lined up: Philpot.

Except Bryar doesn't want to be Sleeping Beauty. She definitely does not want to be with Philpot either. What Bryar really wants is to be a normal human. Not too much to ask for, right? And hopefully, when Bryar turns 18 in three days, she will get just that, because the sleeping curse should be lifted when she turns 18. And then she can ditch Philpot and go to a normal high school and have a normal job.

This is what Bryar looks forward to the most. Oh, and sneaking into a jewel shop with her best friend Elle - you know Elle? Cinderella? Yeah, Elle steals the jewels to return to the rightful owners, and Bryar takes photos of an ancient Egyptian scroll that the company upstairs gets shipped. Because Bryar has been dreaming about this scroll, and she is determined to crack it and find out what it says.

Then Bryar meets the man in her dreams - bad boy Knox - along with the owner of the company Alec. Well...she meets them when she got into the office with the papyri illegally...

Turns out that they want her help to figure out what it says. And Alec is even willing to pay her for it, being the big bad wizard that he is. Knox is a little harder to figure out, especially when he seems not to want Bryar's help. But the werewolf can't seem to stop following her around and bossing her around.

All Bryar had to do was keep on the lowdown until her 18th birthday, but Bryar's never been good at that. And when it seems that there are a lot of people going after her for numerous reasons, Bryar realizes that she hasn't been told just exactly who she is and how important she is for a lot of people.

But she's going to figure it out real soon, and she's going to have a lot of important decisions to make before it may be too late.

I have never read any of Christina Bauer's novels before, so I was very excited to start with a new series and get a feel for her work. And I loved it! I loved the original storyline with very familiar fairy tale stories and how these characters are definitely not like the original ones they are supposed to be living.

Plus, this takes place in today's time, so they are in a major city instead of a palace or tower in the middle of the woods. It definitely added flavor to the novel overall!

Bryar is awesome. She is super smart and pretty funny actually. She knows her "duty" but hates it and wants something better for herself rather than living the life her godmothers want her to live. Plus, who would want to be shacked up with a guy named Philpot for the rest of your life if you don't even like the guy? Definitely not me.

Also, Bryar is a computer geek and she loves finding the mystery of the Egyptian papyri message. What more could you ask for in a girl? Then to top it off, she knows self defense and how to fight her way out of a sticky situation. It's no wonder Knox is infatuated with her :)

There was so much mystery and secrets involved in this book that the reader definitely isn't bored at all. There's no time! Plus there is so much action and adventure crammed into this book that I felt like I was on the go all of the time.

There were a few moments when I got confused with this new world full of werewolves, wizards and fairy's, but for the most part I was definitely along for the ride and enjoying every minute.

And can I just say that the scenes with Knox were amazing?!? I am seriously hooked on this guy and will definitely be picking up the next book to see what happens! I just wish it wasn't so far away from now to get my hands on #2, because I really want to read it now! Always the curse to getting ARC's, I suppose haha.

I am so glad that I got this eARC and if this is anything like Bauer's other novels, I can tell that her fans will definitely enjoy this one as well, along with new readers like me! :)

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Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted Uprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Agnieszka is from a small town that is 7 miles from the Wood - full of walkers and beasts who every once in awhile take children or adults who get too close to the edge of the Wood. But Agnieszka still loves the life of her village. She loves her family and her friends and the life she has.

But the time has come for the Dragon, the wizard, to collect the next girl who will live with him for 10 years. No one knows what happens. Just that when the 10 years are up, the girls are released and they move on in society. They seem to be almost too good for their little village now, and take their hefty dowry they receive and move on from their life before.

The Dragon only picks one girl who is of age 16-17 every 10 years. It just so happens that Agnieszka falls in that group. But so does her best friend Kasia, and everyone knows that Kasia is going to be picked. She is the most beautiful, the most poised, and her mother has been training her on how to survive the next 10 years in the town with the wizard. Kasia is ready when the Dragon comes, and is excited to leave the village to journey on her next adventure.

So when the Dragon is there and going through all of the right aged girls, it seems like a sure bet he is going to pick her. Except he doesn't. The Dragon picks Agnieszka, even though it seems like he doesn't want to. No one was ready for this, and Agnieszka doesn't even get to say goodbye to everyone she loves. The Dragon just whisks her away quickly, and with his magic they are in the tower within seconds.

Agnieszka doesn't know what to do. She doesn't know how to mend, how to cook, how to clean. She wasn't trained for this because they all thought that Kasia was going to be picked. So now she is blundering her way through things.

But she comes to find out that she was picked because she has magic inside of her, and as by law, the Dragon must train her to use this ability. Agnieszka thinks he's losing it, because she couldn't possibly have any magic. But the more she trains with him, the more she realizes that he may be right. But it is not the same kind of magic that the Dragon does, which makes training very hard and frustrating.

Before they can get too far in the training, there are riots and commotions of dangerous, rare monsters attacking the small villages next to the Wood. When the Dragon is out to fix this, another issue happens in Agnieszka's village, and she rushes to save them with the little magic she has been trained.

After confronting the Wood and finding out dark and dangerous things about the Wood, Agnieszka realizes that she has started an all out war between the kingdom and the Wood. And now there might not be any survivors after everything is said and done.

But Agnieszka is determined to win. Otherwise, everyone she loves and knows will be destroyed by the ancient evil that lives in the Wood, and the deep retribution they are in to condemn everyone around them.

Most wizards and witches don't get deep in their magic until at least 7 years of training, but Agnieszka is going to have to try with just a few months worth of training, with the Dragon's help.

My co-worker read this and loved it, so I wanted to read it and see what it was all about. And I'm glad I did because it was a really good book! I loved the world that Naomi Novik created and how twisted it became the more and more you read on.

Agnieszka is my favorite character. She is such a mess and is always getting dirty by one thing or another. And she doesn't give a hoot and a half. She knows she is messy, but she does what she wants and doesn't care if she messes up a dress. Or sure, she tries to keep it clean, but after 16 years she's come to expect nothing less.

So for her to start off as that kind of character who is shy and always in the background being invisible to the badass who marches into the kingdom yelling at the king to get what she needs done in order to protect the whole world from the Wood? Year, she's amazing. She doesn't even realize her power - she just wants to figure out the problem and help fix it before it is too late. And she doesn't let the wizards of hundreds of years intimidate her, but just tells them how it is and watch them while they figure out that she is right.

And she was such a brave girl for going with the Dragon when no one saw it coming. Sure, she was upset and scared, but she didn't let that stop her from what was expected of her and to find out what she had to do for the next 10 years.

But she is a wicked witch and I loved the scenes where she is pushing herself to the max to save the people around her in the Wood. There is so much power in her and she doesn't even know the half of it.

This is a very action packed novel and I was never bored through any of it. Sometimes I thought that there was a bit much and that the characters needed to rest, but Novik kept pushing them on and on to the point where I thought they would keep over with exhaustion. But that just shows how strong these characters are inside and outside.

There is so much that happens in this novel and i was very pleased with how everything ended. I'm glad that I ended up checking this book out after my co-worker talked about it, and now I have someone I can talk details with about it! :D

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