#ARC Review || The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles || Searching for a Friend When Everything Goes to Hell

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
ARC via Publisher
Published: January 31, 2017
Goodreads || Amazon

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

It all begins with Zoe’s dad falling down the depths of a cave and never coming back out. Fast-forward and we encounter X. As in unknown variable. As in one of the most adorable, naïve guys that I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. All X has ever known is the Lowlands, someplace that basically equates to hell. Our lovely main dude is tasked with killing the humans whose souls are basically evil and dragging them into the ever-neath before the Lords, who do who the hell (haha) knows what with them. When he meets Zoe, something in the air just changes. And he makes a choice that could very well change his fate, along with her’s, and that of everyone they care about.

With that brief summary out of the way, let’s talk a bit more about Zoe. She’s seriously cool. Not as cool as Ripper, but cool enough to make a zombie of a human look twice. After he dad dies she is sort of stuck in this give-and-give relationship with the world. And she’s just so dang tired of it. However, she’s positive. She tries to keep her annoyed but adorable younger brother happy and safe. She maintains a healthy relationship with her best friend, and a decent relationship with her ex, who she broke up with after it all went down.

She’s a bit of a fixer. I think that’s why her and X work so well together, and develop the romance that they do. With everything that’s thrown at them they’re still just young adult in a strange, magical world having to make hugely impactful decisions. Decisions that no other being ever really has to make.

Besides the gorgeous writing, there’s a bit of a moral story to this tale that is just the freaking cherry on top of the awesome sundae.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, Jackie, why did you not even give the book four stars when all you’re doing is going on (and on and on and on) about everything awesome in THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING? Well, dear reader, I’m getting there. Because I really do have some complaints.

I didn’t really buy the romance. It felt a bit forced on both sides, and also a little bit like clinging to the last bit on sunlight before the glowing ball of cosmic gas sinks beneath the horizon. X never really knew anyone to have a romance with besides her, and Zoe….I mean I just though the girl was making a few not so fantastic choices. Granted, she’s actually been through more horrid stuff than I’m able to comprehend. So, there’s that.

I also had a bit of a problem with the layout of the story itself. I can’t give much away without spoilers, so I’ll just say this: it felt a bit disjointed.

Overall, I liked it. I liked the write and Ripper the best. For a seeking a friend when everything goes to hell kind of book, I’d say this one is pretty good.

#ARC Review || A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom || Tragic + Wonderful

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
ARC via Publisher
Published || February 7, 2017 by Poppy
Goodreads || Amazon

In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

You know what I wish we all talked about more? I wish we talked about mental disorders. There’s this stigma around those who’s minds spark up differently that someone else’s, and it seems to me that this maybe because of lack of understanding. The main character of A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL mentioned this more than one.

She said she is not like her Aunt, or like her brother– even if her mood wanes and waxes more similarly resembling her brother’s than her Aunts. It’s important to recognize that no one person’s symptoms are exactly like the other. This books does a slow reveal on just about everything, and for this, well, it was glorious. 

What do I mean by the slow reveal? Everything—relationships and lives and heartbreak—in this book is riddled in secrets, may that be conscious or otherwise. Everything—those relationships and lives and heartbreaks—were something to behold. It is messy, and scary, and wrenched at the strings of my still-beating heart. It broke it. A thousand times over. That is another thing this books does well. I saw it in NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST too. Obstacles. Facing life with them. People in your life facing them with you, but not sure how to broach them.

This book is about bipolar disorder, and it is about Mel Hannigan. It’s how bipolar disorder, or any mental illness for that matter, is not a One Size Fits All Deal. I mean, no one has the same brain as another person, so why would how that brain work be any different?

A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL is also about friendship. I think Lindstrom approached friendship is a really cool way. We sort of have the Before friends and then we have the After friends. Before and After the bipolar disorder made itself known, I mean. The reader gets to see how the Before friendships worked, how they contributed to making Mel the darling, self-conscious human she is today. The After friendships are the protective sort.

After the fall-out. After the deception, and the lies, and the low-key betrayal. After the mistakes, and the fear. 

One other part of the book that I loved besides the way mental illness was approached along side different kinds of friendship was (I know; I know) the romance. It wasn’t hot and heavy; this guy is going to save me. He isn’t. I personally believe that people are an important aspect in allowing one to come to the realization that they are worth saving. People help to bring to light the irrationality of some rationalizations. This is what David is, to a certain extent. He’s also someone who did not see the Before or the After. He’s a fresh set of eyes who sees Mel as nothing more than she is in the moment.

So what do we have? Variations of friendship. An approach to mental illness that shows that, like friendship, these things vary. And, finally, we have Mel trudging through her own set of rough waters. All these different things make this book what it is. What is it? Well, it’s fantastic, and tragic, and wonderful.

#ARC Review || Pack Enforcer by Lauren Dane

Pack Enforcer by Lauren Dane
Published || December 1, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon || Website
ARC via Publisher + Netgalley

This wolf mates for life…

Nina Reyes knows trouble when she sees it, and Lex Warden, Enforcer for the local werewolf pack, is nothing but. When her brother gets in too deep with some dangerous wolves and comes to Nina for help—dragging super alpha protector Lex into her life—she can handle it. She might have put her grifter past behind her, but she’s still got what it takes. If only she didn’t find Lex—his body, his scent, even his domineering nature—so intoxicating.

As Enforcer, it’s Lex’s job to protect his people. Nina might be more capable of handling herself than he initially thought, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe from their enemies. His need to protect her is more than just pack business—Nina, a human, is his mate. Bedding her once is not even close to enough; to satisfy his wolf, he needs a true bond.

The heat between them scares Nina, but sometimes the reward is worth the risk, and the thought of living without Lex terrifies her more than any threat the werewolf mafia can pose. Lex will do anything to keep her safe. And when the Rogues catch up to them, he’ll get a chance to prove it…

Y’all, I’m in Houston writing this review right now, and I’m freezing my toes off. And I have socks one. While reading this, I strongly recommend brewing yourself a cup of coffee, and, if you’re feeling as adventurous as I am, add yourself a nice hot chocolate package. I guarantee you won’t de disappointed. The ending of this book though? That might disappoint you a little. At least if you’re like me and like a side of drama with your morning pancakes.

After all hell breaks loose from Nina’s already unraveling life, she encounters the bold, the testosterone-ridden, and the wolfy Lex Warden. He’s the pack enforcer, and he’s all over Nina like Catholic on the Pope. Nina’s more than the cute as a button, nerdy to the core florist that she projects to the world: she’s actually a hardcore hacker. When these two collide: sparks folks. Of the acutest kind.

And, yes, I do mean cute. (hehehe)

Okay, y’all, I’m just going to come right out and say it: as much as I like a whole bunch of the concepts in PACK ENFORCER, some things just rubbed me the wrong way. The pet name that Nina insists on using—some of them were a bit much. In the beginning it was an endearing part of her quirky personality, but eventually I was all like gag me with a spoon. Y’all couples do you, but that was just so not my cup of tea.

The other thing that I just wasn’t happy with was the fall following the climax of the novel. I mean, when we’ve been building up, getting invested into this Thing, shouldn’t more be expected? Instead of this total flat falling-ness. I wasn’t happy. Literally I just looked at my Kindle for a bit thinking “Is that it? Really?”

Both of those things being said, there were plenty of things about this book that I loved: Nina’s independence, Lex’s protectiveness but inability to keep Nina from doing what she wants, our resident Alpha whose both amused/ longing in reference to Nina. The characters were awesome. I’ll take one of each, please. There was also this really cool addition to the pack dynamic which, when you read about it, will just add a whole new level to the family structure that we’ve all come to know and love with werewolf books.

Gah, I love werewolf books. Shape-shifting in general, really. This one is no exception. That being said, I had some issues with said book. These issues won’t stop me from saying that reading it is a pretty great idea, but I personally won’t be reading it again.

#ARC Review || Iron Cast by Destiny Soria || Music, Mania, and Social Liberties

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria 
Amazon || Goodreads
ARC via Andye @ readingteen.net
Published || October 11, 2016

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

It’s the early 1900s and hemopaths are subjected to being ostracized from their fellow Bostonians. Two of these afflicted are Ada Navarra—a songsmith who can play a man to the depths of his sorrow in a few notes—and Corinne Wells. Miss Wells is an heiress, a wordsmith, and fiercely loyal to the few she bequeaths such an emotion on. They’re an unlikely duo. They’re also inseparable, and have the kind of friendship most can only dream of. They’d choose each other before everyone else. Together, they face the streets of Boston and those who want people like them locked away, and betrayals of the more incessant kind.
I would just like to say this before I say anything else about this beautiful, bold, and diverse book: WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT I—THE GIRL WHO PRIORITIZES ROMANCE BEFORE PRETTY MUCH ALL ELSE—WOULD LOVE A BOOK THAT IS ROMANCE LIGHT THIS MUCH? NOT ME. BUT I DO. AND HOLY CHEESE AND CRACKERS, MY LOVES, IT’S SO, SO AMAZING.
The base of this book was the friendship between these two stellar, unique, and completely complicated darlings. Soria combines social issues with the fantastical nature of blood disease, making the book seemingly fly off the pages. I felt transported to 1919. I felt curiosity. Yes, I did look up the complications with Russia from the time. Yes, I did look up hemopaths.
Books should make you want to learn more, broaden your horizons, and allow you to behold a different perspective than the one that you constantly see the world from. IRON CAST is that and more.
Let’s do a brief re-cap for those who skimmed the first few paragraphs: the BEST kind of friendship, history being thrown in the air, magical realism (can I call it that? People who sway minds in an otherwise ordinary 1919 Boston? Hmm.) like OMG so great woop woop, and bravery, and betrayal.
If that list doesn’t have you running to your local independent bookshop and begging them to grab some copies to stock their shelves, I don’t know what will.

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Do yourself a favor and run to that bookstore.




#ARC Review | Spindle by EK Johnston | Slow Spun Storytelling

Spindle by EK Johnston 
Goodreads || Amazon
ARC via Andye @ Readingteen.net
Published December, 2016

The world is made safe by a woman…but it is a very big world.

It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron, and by the creatures the Storyteller Queen made to keep them contained.

But the prison is crumbling. Through years of careful manipulation, a demon has regained her power. She has made one kingdom strong and brought the other to its knees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with the final blow: a curse that will cost the princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.

The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate plot to break the curse before the demon can become a queen of men. But the web of power is dangerously tangled–and they may not see the true pattern until it is unspooled.



This is what I expected: color and lights and evil of the darkest kind (the kind that sets your soul on fire, and causes earthquakes, and predators to hunt) and a girl who was going to triumph in her own right. And while I got some of it (sort of?) I didn’t get near the amount that I was hoping for. 

This is what I got: I got a slow-paced story, characters who I felt almost nothing for, and a dark spirit who did approximately nothing with her day-to-day activities. She waited. And waited. Annnnd waited. I got a group of friends trapped in the middle of no where on a journey to somewhere, and really, I was just bored. After the perfection that is A THOUSAND NIGHTS, this fell flat. I desperately wanted to love the characters, but I really just didn’t. Like, at all. I can say maybe this, maybe that all day long—I assume you’d rather me explain myself.

So, the question, dear reader, is how could I love the first book in this sort of duology, and not the second book that, for all intents and purposes, is in the same vein.

WELL THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION. THANKS FOR ASKING.

The evil wasn’t evil enough. This was like I was making black tea, but had the brew time of a green tea. (5 minuets versus 45 seconds) WHAT I AM SAYING THAT, WHEN A CHARACTER IS SUPPOSED TO BE DEATH INCARNATE, MAKE THEM SO THAT THERE ARE ICE CRYSTALS IN THEIR EYES AND SO THAT WHERE THEY WALK, THINGS TURN INTO CRISPS.

The people who were supposed to be all ‘save the world’ were just sort of there. Little Rose and her compatriots. I wasn’t really feeling it.

The quest was not really a quest but more like aimless wandering with some chit-chat. Give me a reason to want the to succeed. Give me a reason to not want to set the book back on my shelf and come back at a different time.

To be fair, my dislike for SPINDLE had, in part, to do with I was so not in the mood for it. I was still able to recognize that the prose the author brought was killer. Gorgeous descriptions. It just fell flat in the connection aspect.

Arguably, that’s the most important part.

In the end, while I did finish reading it (hoping and wishing and wanting it to get better) I wouldn’t read it again.

#ARC Review || Left at the Alter by Margaret Brownley || Happy Release Day!

Left at the Alter by Margaret Brownley
Published: November 1, 2016
eARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Amazon || Goodreads 

Welcome to Two-Time Texas: 

Where tempers burn hot

Love runs deep

And a single marriage can unite a feuding town
…or tear it apart for good

In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler…but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood’s marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace. But when she’s left at the altar by her no-good fiance, Meg’s dreams of dragging her quarrelsome neighbors into a ceasefire are dashed.

No wedding bells? No one-time town.
Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there’s something about Meg’s sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in…even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart.

Who knew being Left at the Altar could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

Welcome to the Wild West. Gunslingers and petticoats. Boston lawyers and jilted brides. Fierce female leads and..well..Texas.

Two feuding families were supposed to end said feud with the marriage of childhood best friends. When Meg is stood up, the new lawyer in town is there to witness it all go down. He’s also the legal representation for the jilter, and has the hots for the jiltee. LEFT AT THE ALTER is the tale of Grant and Meg, the town with two times, and overcoming tragedies.

I’m just going to start my opinions with this: this is what I needed. I miss my family and my books and my friends. LEFT AT THE ALTER is a good scoop of Blue Bell chocolate ice cream on a hot summer day. It’s comforting. Not something new, or fantastical. It’s not going to leave your earth shattered. What is it going to do? It’s going to make you remember sitting pool side with your toes in the water, when you can’t stay out of it because it’s hot AF outside, and the pool is way too cold to jump into. It’s going to feel a bit nostalgic with a good dose of family ties.

And while I say it’s not earth shattering, but, instead, supremely cozy, I mean it in the way that only some books can actually do. I was rooting for the characters, but not emotionally invested. I was expecting the best and I got to watch the twists and turns unfurl. It’s fun. And all over the place. And surprisingly girl power for the time period. I really want to hear Meg’s youngest sister’s story since she’s a suffragette, animal lover.

Then there’s the romance. I didn’t completely buy into it, and that’s pretty much why it’s a three-star and not a four-star. It’s cute in the way puppies are cute, but it just did not really work for me. I think the reason that it didn’t was because, while I do genuinely like the characters, I don’t really feel like I know them well enough for me to be in love. I like being in love, and with Meg and Grant, I just totally wasn’t.

Besides the romance, the actual plot follows the lawsuit Meg’s dad lobs against her jilter and how Grant deals with juggling his emotions and the case itself. He’s trying to find out what there’s to love about Texas, and how to not fall for Meg.

To rephrase Meg’s words, Two-Time is all about the people, the endless sky, and sea of bluebonnets. Those who love it stay forever. And Meg? She’s here to stay.

I liked LEFT AT THE ALTER. I read it in one sitting. And, if I’m in need of a quick pick-me-up, I’ll read it again.

#ARC Review || The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia || R+J with Car Racing

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
ARC via Andye @ Reading Teen
Published: October 4, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Some books leave me ridiculously happy in an almost stir-crazy kind of way. The Lovely Reckless is one of those books. This kind of joy is the best, most addicting kind. The notion of addicting joy is incredibly true when your (okay, I) had a mood plummet of sorts just before I started the book. As a matter of fact, that’s why I picked up the book. Why I so often pick up books. It’s like a hug from the universe and instant friends and compatriots who sort of just really get you and your struggles.
Not that I share the struggles of Marco or Frankie, or pretty much any one else in the book for that matter, but the whole being human, and being unseen, and picking yourself up by the bootstraps—that’s something everyone can relate to.
The Lovely Reckless is a modern and oh-so-sexy Romeo and Juliet with car chases, tragic back stories, and a cast of lovers that will have you grinning into your book pages. I give it the Jackie stamp of approval.
So let’s talk characters since I’ve basically given you a pretty vague outline of the plot (mwahahaha).
First off, we’ll talk friendship. I’m going to be blunt here: Frankie was a pretty horrible friend after her boyfriend was brutally murdered in front of her. This, as you might imagine, left the girl traumatized. Understandably, all she wanted to do was not think about it. Whenever she saw her best friend, Lexie, all she could think about was her dead boyfriend. Lexie stuck with her through this as she tried to re-align herself with the world. She’s a good friend. I like her (most of the time). There’s also Cruz, who I may actually be in love with. She’s an amazing racer girl who’s struggling with life a bit (GIVE HER A STORY!) and I like her. She helps Frankie find herself a bit in her new school.
We’ve also got the hella hot street racer Marco. With the two of them, it’s kind of insta-you’re-super-intriguing and then yup-it’s-love in a hot second. I didn’t have a problem with this for some odd reason. It probably has something to do with plot twists and bad people and the whole R+J aspect which I am hard-core digging. Love.
At this point you’re probably thinking that I had no issues with this book what-so-ever, and to be straight with you, I don’t. That being said, I do with I got to read a bit more street racing. It seemed that is supposed to be a huge part of Marco’s life, and Cruz’s for that matter, and I just wish I got to see that side of them more. There were maybe two or three scenes with all that jazz, but it wasn’t super fleshed out. There are a few books out in the world that do an AWESOME job with street racing depictions. Tweet me if you want to hear them!
I also wish that I got to see the rough-and-tough part of Marco along with the sugary sweet, total swoon-worthy man that I’m head over heels for. People seemed to fear him a bit, and I’m just over here with my head propped on my hand drooling as he does all sort of things to make my knees go wobbly. WHY DO YOU FEAR HIM, PEASANTS?

Anyways, I love it. There were things I would add, but nothing that I would change. Overall, I recommend this book from the bottom of my heart. You want swoons? This book will give them in spades. You want to see a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare with all the heartache and sorrow of a girl in the modern world? This book has it. It broke my heart and built it up again. Give me more. I want mooooooooore.

#ARC Review || Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco || Guts and Blood and Romance

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
ARC via Andye @ Reading Teen
Published September 20, 2016
Amazon || Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

“I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?” 

I adore gore. I like my Halloween (all of October, bring on the ghouls and vampires and werewolves) reads to be feisty and bloody and filled with feminist power. Stalking Jack the Ripper was a slam dunk for all of these criteria. When were adding a darling Victorian backdrop, a cold case, and an equally snarky and swoony main guy? I am so here for all of it.

When our darling Audrey Rose loses her mother, she begins to develop a fascination with the dead. With her Uncle as a mentor, her father desperately trying to shield her, and her brother trying to keep her happy, she’s struggling to find her balance between the work she loved (dissection) and the life she’s being shoved into living. When she runs in to her Uncle’s super dashing and super angsty apprentice, Thomas, he makes it known that he’s along for the ride that is her own personal quest to solve the case of Jack the Ripper.

In this she puts together the puzzle pieces, pulls apart bodies, and is betrayed just as often as she trusts.

SQUEEEEEE.

I’m so sorry. I just had to. This book deserves squealing and skipping and swooning. Talk about a good book. People lurking in the dark, ladies up to their elbows in guts and blood, and a twist in the classic real life mystery: Jack the Ripper. This is one of my favorite murders to read about. It’s so gruesome—showing some of the darkest parts of the human psyche. It’s so interesting—I mean, how could a person rip open another human’s body so brutally and steal their organs? What possesses someone to do that? Are they in their right mind? Can someone be in their right mind if they are able to commit such a horrific act of violence?

These are the thoughts that Audrey Rose is bound to have during her investigation. 
The characters, mainly Audrey Rose and Thomas (but I do so adore her fierce cousin too, a true lion wearing sheep skin), are incredibly well fleshed out. I felt like I knew them both. Their fears and hopes and confusion were mine. This, I believe, is one of the most important things in a book. You’ve got to be able to root for something. Why else are you reading the book? 

#ARC Review || Venators by Devri Walls || YES

Venators by Devri Walls
ARC via author for an honest review
Amazon || Goodreads
Published October 1, 2016

Six years ago, Grey Malteer was attacked by creatures he thought couldn’t possibly exist. They repeated a word, calling him a name he’d never heard before…Venator. Since then, his life has been a hellhole of secrecy—hiding old pain alongside strange new abilities.

Rune Jenkins has an itch, as she calls it, but it’s more than that. It’s an anger that builds up like the inside of a boiler whenever she’s around anything remotely supernatural. The pressure is growing steadily worse and she can’t understand why. All she knows is—her control is slipping.

By order of an unknown council Grey and Rune are pulled through a portal in the St. Louis arch, landing them in an alternate dimension where creatures of myth and legend exist. A realm that calls them, Venators.

Made up of centuries old fae, vampires, werewolves, elves and succubi the council’s corrupt nature becomes obvious as they seek to wield the newly returned Venators as weapons. Wedged in an impossible position, Grey and Rune must decide their fate—do they go against the council’s wishes and help the innocents of this unforgiving land, or face the possibility of execution by the council.

First of all: yaaaassssss.

This—THIS—is what I have been waiting for. Wing of Nestor, looking out. Because the queen of high fantasy is back and better than ever before. The first book in the series follows Grey and Rune as they are taken to a different world and subjected to the will of the ruling group of supernatural powers: succubus, fae, wizards, vampires, and incubus. As they find their place in this world, they have to battle internal fears as well as a powerful magical queen-like figure. (SHE HAS A DRAGON). VENATORS is the best mix of fantastical worlds, romance, and discovering how much of a force to be reckoned with you can be.

Rune is amazing. I’ll just begin my actual review portion of the rant with that. She’s so real and scared and fierce as all get out. After being dragged into another dimension in hopes of saving her brother from supernatural forces, she herself is forced to re-evaluate her priorities. I adore how she reacts when she’s confronted with things that she’s not used to, and, frankly, shouldn’t be possible. Her relationship with the other characters is built up in a way that is believable.

It’s sort of like this: you’ve got to do what you have to do (in this case, save her brother from the forces of evil) and it’s okay to be freaking out (vampire biting is a no-no, and screaming is a natural reaction when something is way weird) along the way. I love the take-it-as-it-comes savior folks, but I also want the ones who I can relate to. I mean, let’s be honest, not everyone is going to be totally okay with dragons and blue not-humans being a real life thing.

This honest (sort of) human being, her (once again, sort of) friend from her normal life, and the (sort of) allies they meet along the way. This, my darlings, is what I call an adventure. This is why I love Devri Walls. I like the world-building, and the characters who are magical, and the guys who are swoony. So much YES.

And VENATORS had that.

#ARC Review || Stolen Away by Jennie Marts || Cute but Predictable

Stolen Away (3, Hearts of Montana) by Jennie Marts
aARC via Publisher + NetGalley for an honest review
Amazon || Goodreads
Published September 26, 2016

Elusive charmer Cash Walker is a tough-as-nails cowboy, except when it comes to the shy woman who shows up with a pretty smile, a wounded spirit, and a goat riding shotgun in her passenger seat. 

Recently divorced from an abusive husband, Emma Frank has come home to Broken Falls, Montana. Lost, alone, and unable to escape the bullying tactics of her ex-brothers-in-law, she finds solace and friendship at the Tucked Away farm and with the handsome cowboy who believes in her and who helps her find her own courage. 


There’s a darkness in Cash’s past that’s kept him from ever letting anyone get too close, but he can’t seem to stay away from Emma, who seems to be the one to finally break through his tough exterior and steal this cowboy’s heart. 

After escaping an abusive relationship, Emma Frank ventures back down to the town she grew up. There she runs into the man she had a crush on through high school, Cash Walker. All grown up, Cash has a few issues of his own weighing down on him. Emma can’t seem to shake off the tendrils of the past. STOLEN AWAY is about how these two people survive and thrive and grow. This is all the while the reader get’s some intrigue and suspense, begging the question: how do you get away from someone who is wherever you look, and, when you do get free, how do you begin again?

The Characters

I THINK WE NEED TO GIVE BEST CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT TO THE KITTENS BECAUSE THEY’RE JUST SO DANG CUTE AND FUZZY. But in all seriousness, this book did good letting me get to know the characters, who they are, and what makes them who they are. Emma’s been through some super horrible times, and so has Cash. Both varying degrees of similar abuse patterns. This makes it so that they have a human that understands where they’re coming from when they say they feel unlovable and broken. They’re not alone.

Besides them, there are also all the snazzy chicks and dudes from about town who help to keep Emma safe from her ass of an ex husband.

The Plot

The heartbreak! The drama! The learning to love again! The letting yourself be loved again! The twists and turns!

I may not completely adore this book, but it definitely kept me entertained. The premise was easy to follow, not overtly complicated (which, in my honest opinion, is both a good and a bad thing), and did not lack in romance.

I didn’t highlight the quote (I know, I’m cursing myself too) but in the beginning, Emma said something about re-building/discovering herself before getting into anything. Although I wish she had stuck with that idea a little bit more though the book (but, let’s be real—how many can resist a sweet+hot cowboy?) I think she did re-find herself, and heal. It may have not been the way that I was hoping, but it was how I was expecting.

Which isn’t a bad thing. But, the plot followed that. And, really, I liked it. She’s a heroine we can all root for. Her and her kitten pal.

So, In the End

While I do genuinely like the characters, the book wasn’t one-hundred percent for me. There were ups and downs. I wasn’t completely feeling it, and it was SUPER predictable. Not a bad thing—just not really what I was in the mood for.