#BookLook || Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns

Goodreads || Amazon

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

This Cover May Be Swoony, but the Book? || #Review

Five Boroughs Series
Santino Hassell
Goodreads || Amazon

New York City—home of soaring skyscrapers, concrete boulevards, and the hopes and dreams of millions. A city where opposites attract and romance is found in unlikely places. From the glittering penthouses of Manhattan to the blue collar neighborhoods of Queens, values get tested, cultures clash, and connections are made. Men of diverse backgrounds examine their lives, test their sexual boundaries, and seek success in an unforgiving urban landscape that moves fast and stops for no one. Despite the odds, there’s love to be found in the five boroughs as long as they’re willing to work for it.

I think one of my main issues with these first two books is that I went in with insane expectations* I mean I wanted everything to be just as beautiful as I was hoping and wanting. (I mean, have you seen those covers) (seriously, have you? Have you?)

*adorably heroic and muscle-ridden guys, dirty situations with unusual solutions, maybe a few tangles and snares

Unfortunately, a few similar issues arose within both of the books. I sort of feel bad that I’m so completely unable to love the book as much as I want to. What were these issues? Let’s just say that one of the main characters in both Sutphin Boulevard and Sunset Park annoyed the ever-living daylights out of me.

The plot was good (I’m giving each book 3.5 Stars) and I didn’t hate all of the characters, but I really didn’t like either David or Michael. My dislike for both characters snapped over both books. Since this is a series with repeating characters, even though the main characters of the books aren’t the same, we see old friends (the kind we’d rather not see) again. And again.

Book One is all about Michael and Nunzio. They’re all about being friends for 20 years, sharing lusty (okay, maybe it’s just Nunzio) stares, and overcomplicating being together. That last one was allllll Michael. It is all Michael. I wanted to like him. I even did like him for the first part of the book. Then things went down. Lots of things. I just felt so bad for him, and I don’t want to pity him, and I can’t tell him to pick him up by the bootstraps. I found his attitude frustrating.

Much like how I found David frustrating (Granted in a different way).

However, like I mentioned earlier, I liked the plot was good. I mean, y’all, I finished them both in the same day. That counts for something? However much I liked the plot (and the scenes that did have me fanning myself/ swooning) (I MEAN RAY WAS HELLA CUTE….SOMETIMES) I just did not like David or Michael.

Overall, while I did like the book, I just don’t like it enough.

Beautiful, but Disappointing || #Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads || Amazon
April 26, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

Inspired by Indian mythology.

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones” (ARC). 

The best part of the book was all the endearing things Amar said to Maya. In fantasy books, I sort of expect the weirdly poetic phrasing (I’m not lovely? Oh, I’m like thunder and lightning and I’m a star-touched queen, and you’re going to rip the stars from the sky for me? Please, do tell me more) and bright worlds. I loved the inter-weaving of Indian stories and religion and myths. I love the splash of culture and spices and saris and magic. I love the grotesque—it’s my favorite kind of beautiful. One thing I didn’t love? The main character. I was not a fan of the star-touched queen, Maya.

Let’s chat about the plot, first off. Maya has a dark horoscope, and even with her royal background, it has put off potential suitors. Just when she is about to sacrifice herself for her father-the Raja- Amar comes swooping in like a super hot, smooth worded Dark Knight (I love the 1001 Nights, stories, and this book definitely had the same aura) and marries her. The entire rest of the story is a journey of self-discovery in a vibrant, shadowy world.

The culture is gorgeous. As a general thing, I really enjoy reading about Persian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures. I wish those were in YA more. And if y’all have any suggestions, please let me know! The Indian culture in this book was my favorite part, and Amar was a close second. Maya, she fell last.

I felt like she was supposed to be strong, but I just though she was annoying. I do understand her hope and desire for freedom. And I understand that she didn’t get the answers she was searching for immediately. However, in this life and any others to follow, instant gratification isn’t really up for grabs. Waiting to see what happens is how power is gained. I thought that Maya’s character was flimsy and that there was an unrealistic change in her once she got married. Power isn’t something you are immediately given, even by a marriage such as hers. I found myself annoyed with her unwillingness to compromise. She dealt with. She was given a pretty good hand, and she refused to recognize it. Of course, that was a part of her journey.

Overall, this book was pretty beautiful but I just didn’t like Maya. I love the bright colors and demons, and almost everything that had to do with Amar and the night sky and edible jewels. Unfortunately, it fell flat of my expectations overall.

#BookLook || Beast by Brie Spangler

BEAST

Goodreads || Amazon

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?



Love and Murder | Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | #Review

HOLD YOUR BREATH | Katie Ruggle
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Goodreads // Amazon
ARC via Netgalley + Publisher for an honest review
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: April 5, 2016

SUMMARY 

In the remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, rescue groups—law enforcement, rescue divers, firefighters—are often the only hope for the lost, the sick and the injured. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can lead to murder.

That’s why Callum, the surly and haunted leader of the close-knit Search and Rescue brotherhood, finds it so hard to let newcomer Louise “Lou” Sparks into his life. But when these rescue divers go face-to-face with a killer, Callum may find that more than his heart is on the line …

EXTRA! EXTRA!
GIRL WHO EVERYONE WANTS TO KILL MEETS MR. STRONG AND SILENT AND REEEALLLY GOOD KISSER! MURDER, MEYHEM, AND LOOOVE!
READ ALL ABOUT IT!
I am loving Casablanca’s April publications. And this is another one you have got to add to your TBR- pronto. I’m so serious. Lou is a scream. She’s got a fire burning bright inside of her and our main love, Callum, can’t resist her if he tried. Of course, he did try for a little bit. After Lou kicks up a dead body from the icy cold lake water, he just can’t seem to let the magnet for danger and death out of his sight.
And I’m really not complaining. I mean, he’s serious and never really smiles, but he’s so dang protective but doesn’t get all me-man and their relationship is just so freaking cuuuute I just can’t.
This book should be read with fuzzy socks and hot chocolate.
Okay- so what were some things I loved beside the killer characters? (no pun intended) (just kidding, the pun was intended)
One thing I though was really well done was the flow of HOLD YOUR BREATH. I’ll be honest, I thought it was going to be rushed with everything that was going on: relationship development, murder to solve, almost getting murdered, self discovery and all that jazz. But- surprise- this book was the perfect pace. Things kept moving and I kept reading and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. But it wasn’t jammed packed in a way that caused a total headache.
Another thing that I thought was really well done was the build up of the town in general. I could tell that there were more books to come just by reading the first book. I was really able to tell what characters were going to get their own little stories filled with danger and romance.
*sigh*
I really like danger and romance. Those are my favorite.
If I had one thing to complain about, it would be Lou. I loved her (really, I did), but I also wanted her to be a bit more mature. She does a few things where I’m just sort of shaking my head and wanting to slap her. I mean, I also want to hug her pretty much the entire book- so obviously this isn’t a ginormous complaint. And it builds her character and all so that’s pretty snazzy.

Love, murder– what’s not to love, y’all? For real? 

ARC Review: The Artisans by Julie Reece

ARC via Month9Books
Goodreads / Buy It
Published May 19, 2015

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

Dios mío. This book is one of the most amazing books I think I’ve ever read. The Artisans has everything I’ve ever wanted in a book, plus has me liking things I’m usually not too fond of (like ghosts and ghouls) a whole flipping lot. A modern twist on Beauty and the Beast with a dash of a few other fairy tales for good measure, this tale is one of a curse, a steampunk dress-maker in a modern world and a boy entwined in the middle of it all (whether it be by his own design or not).
When Raven’s stepfather messes with the wrong family, he’s finally in over his head. Gideon Maddox calls for him to come pay his debt, but he’s unable to go and Raven goes in his place. She strikes up a deal with the bad boy who has a troubled past and magic that goes on for days. Terribly handsome, terrible lonely and terribly hopeless, Raven is just what Gideon needs to battle the demons of his past and the ones that reside in the halls of his mansion. Raven stays at the mansion with Gideon and his two in house servants and makes clothes for Gideon’s clothing line. Nightmares keep her awake and soon she really can’t rest until she’s figured out everything. Everything about the house and everything about the boy who isn’t as bad as everyone believes.

“You are everything I never knew I wanted” (ARC).

Okay, so that was a really bad over view of the novel. Nothing can really describe how amazing this book is. I mean its romance and mystery and self-discovery and heartbreak and meaning and finding meaning and friendship and family. That doesn’t really describe it any better though, does it? Let’s just go with its amazing. So, so amazing.
The characters are fantastic: Raven, Gideon, Ben, Maggie, Dane, Cole, Edgar. I love them all. Cole is the ghost who made me like ghosts. Something I’d never thought would happen, by the way. But he’s just so completely sweet. Maggie and Dane are the best friends that anyone could have. They sort of made me ask the question how far are you willing to go for the ones you love? As a matter of fact, this whole story made me ask that question. Well, that and where can I get a Cole or Gideon or Dane? Costco? Ikea?
The mystery with the whole curse really had me going for a bit, but the way it was composed was breathtaking and wonderful. I sat down and I read it all. That’s how good this was. Now, this isn’t a debut novel. That kind of surprised me. It felt fresh. But, since it isn’t a debut that means I can totally binge of the other books this author has written.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: go read or pre-order or order it right now.
Oh, one last thing. That nursery rhyme. Be still my heart. 

Oh-So-Quoteable {Stephanie Perkins}

Anna, no one blames you. Who in the world (or cyberspace or the universe) wouldn’t be a whole freaking LOT distracted by the English French American boy masterpiece? I mean I sure was. 
AND HE IS IN PARIS AND SWEET AND IN PARIS. 
*Hops around the hotel room where this post is being written in a slightly spazzy manner*
Well, lovelies. Were you distracted by this masterpiece? Or any other of the works of art written by out queen: Stephanie Perkins? 

Hideous by Devon McCormack

Goodreads / Amazon
Review Copy via NetGalley
Published June 19, 2014 , Harmony Ink Press

Eight years ago, Luke Retter witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and sister at the hands of his demon-possessed father. He survived but lost a hand and an eye. The demon also burned its emblem into his skin, marking him as a cursed. Those who bear this mark are at risk of becoming possessed themselves, so they are monitored and enslaved by the state-run UCIS. Working as a slave is hard, but Luke prefers it to the possibility of being controlled by a demon. 

One night, Luke wakes to find his worst nightmare coming true. His father’s demon has returned. In a panic, he runs to the only person who might be able to help: Zack, a cursed who ran away from the state and created an underground community to protect other fugitive curseds. Zack helps him suppress the demon. But the city’s become a time bomb, and Luke’s demon itches to escape. 

With the UCIS closing in on Zack’s underground operation and Luke’s demon crafting its own, nefarious plot, Luke realizes that he must take a stand.

Oh lordy. Insta love, ass holes and the only character I really liked was the deeply sadistic demon who took potato peelers to fingers. *giggles hysterically* As I said before, oh lordy. This is going to be a 2 minuet review because I am really not sure how to review.
Okay, so the issues I had with this book were the characters (like any one them) were unable to develop and really didn’t show any growth through the novel at all. It was as if they were stuck. At least the demon had a semi-likeable personality. Really, I just found him deeply amusing. I may have outright laughed at a few of the things Mr. Scary Demon Dude said. Luke on the other hand, was very super fond of feeling sorry for himself and also very quick so fall in love. Like bro, how about you wait a bit before thinking about forever. Forever is a long time. Zack. I don’t really have much to say about him other than I don’t have much to say about him. I feel this gif properly displays how he views himself and life in general. 
I feel like this book had a bunch of potential, but unfortunate it felt rushed and I didn’t really like any of the characters other than the demon. 


ARC Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Goodreads / Amazon

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today best selling author of Unteachable.

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all. 


Head spinning, hear racing and really confused. Also a bit stabby. And a bit . . . how do I put this . . . entranced? Black Iris left me all of this, but also really happy. And a bit mad. Do you see where I’m going with being confused? Because I sure as hell don’t. I read this and a week after my head was still spinning. Let me just get this out of the way before I go on a rant though: Leah Raeder is insanely brilliant her writing is freaking gorgeous. Her ability to dive into the mind of those who are classified as clinically insane are fan-freaking-tastic. My problem? (And let me just say, it really isn’t an actual problem. Or complaint even) I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. And I don’t want to. That left me super confused. YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS ENTIRE BOOK LEFT ME QUESTIONING LIFE? Is that a good thing? *throws hands into air* I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE. I REALLY DON’T
Sorry. I had to let a bit of that out. This book stresses me out a bit BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MY THOUGHTS ARE. *takes a calming deep breath* Fingers to the keyboard. I’ve never read a summary for a book that fit the book it was describing as absolutely perfectly as this one did. “Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true. She’s going to show them all.” And show them all she does. She really does. Laney is ruthless. She’s a liar. She’s been lied to. She broke herself. She’s been broken. She’s a cheater. And a lover. She’s a fighter. She’s a revenger seeker, blood boiler and fire starter. Sweet lord, does she start fires. And she watches them all burn.

I bloomed into the dark thing she made me. I am a creature with a vast capacity for patience, and for violence. For watching. For waiting.(ARC)

This book touches on sexuality, mental disorders, and identity. This book touches on those concepts in a way I am not used to and, in all honesty, kind of terrified me. It terrified me because the emotions and thoughts and words were completely raw, even if not all of them were real. This book surprised me. Left me speechless. I wanted to put it down but I couldn’t stop reading it. What has a book ever done that? Holy crap this book scared me. Not like ‘boo I’m the monster under your bed’ but more like ‘surprise I’m the monster inside of your head.’ The scariest stuff is the stuff that is real. And holy crap this book is real.

I can’t really tell you anything about it without giving major stuff away. So I’ll just say this: if you want a book that is completely not like the rest, this one is totally for you.

ARC Review: Fringe Benefits by Sandy James

ARC via NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing
Published April 21, 2015
Goodreads / Amazon

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.

HOT FOR TEACHER

As the new head of the English department, Dani doesn’t have much time for anything but lesson planning and literature. Romance—or even sex? Forget about it. But then the principal introduces her to last-minute hire Nate Ryan. Finding time to mentor a new teacher won’t be easy, especially when his incredible body and equally disarming charisma are enough to make her heart skip a beat . . .

Nate may be fresh out of school, but he’s confident in his teaching skills—and in his feelings for Dani. But while she’s everything he’s ever wanted, he knows his place on her staff—and his age—may be problematic for his sexy boss. How can he convince her to ignore the gossip mill currently in full swing in the teacher’s lounge and surrender to what’s meant to be?

Happy sigh. Maybe some skipping. Spontaneous humming. Doing a jig. Bouts of confetti thrown from rooftops.
All of these are acceptable reactions while reading Fringe Benefits. You can also throw lamps if that floats your boat. I know I wanted to. Especially around his ex- turned step sister.  Go ahead and read that again. Now imagine the family meetings. Of course, I guess I can’t really say much since I adored Lisa Desrochers’s A Little Too Far. (honestly, y’all, let go of all your previous thoughts and just freaking read it)
Maybe I wasn’t paying attention (like at all) when the number in the series wasn’t the first or the second or the third. It was the fourth. And it was so wonderful. You don’t really need to read the others before you read this one, mostly because all of the books are advertised as having happily ever afters so you know it going to end, well, happily.  Everything inbetween the covers is what makes this lovely book so worth reading. So many things happen in the middle. Such as forbidden-ish love, heartbreak, falling and the possibility of soulmates. So what is wonderful about “Fringe Benefits”?
Mostly everything. The characters- the main guy and girl, the family of each of the two and the Ladies Who Lunch with their wonderful husbands. I wanted to be friends with all of them. Well all of them besides Nate’s ex turned stepsister. She was just as sweet as a Georgia peach. That was sarcasm. The dynamic of all of them though, they were all needed to make this book what it was. This book is falling in love slowly and it’s the turmoil before the fall and after and during the fall.

This books is so worth reading. The writing is beyond fantastic. The characters are relatable. At this point, they’re like family. So y’all best read this if you’re in the mood for some chick-lit.