#ARC Review || The Feeling of Forever by Jamie Howard || Let’s Talk Positivity

The Feeling of Forever by Jamie Howard

Published Feb 7, 2017
eARC via NetGalley + St. Martin’s Press
Juliet St. Clair has spent her life under Hollywood’s spotlight. While being America’s favorite girl next door has had its perks, having to testify against her stalker to put him behind bars certainly wasn’t one of them. But when she thinks about walking away from it all, she can’t help remembering the enormous pile of medical bills her family is drowning under. Bills that just keep on coming.
Felix Donovan had it all–stunning good looks, gorgeous women, and a spot as the drummer to a band that’s sitting pretty at the top of the charts. Until one life-altering decision left him paralyzed from the waist down. He doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he wins this year’s Sexiest Man award, but the one thing he immediately does is send out a Non-disclosure agreement. Hiding his condition from the public is hard as hell, but he’s not ready to face the world while he’s still struggling to accept his new reality.
Except this year’s Sexiest Woman–Juliet St. Clair–never looks at him with pity, only desire. But falling for Juliet means a permanent spot in the tabloids, a decision Felix isn’t sure he’s ready to make. And when Juliet’s stalker re-emerges from her past, Felix’s secret isn’t the only thing at stake, it could cost Juliet her life. 
Hello collection of beautiful people—quite literally. We open this story at the photography session for the Most Beautiful Woman and the Most Beautiful Man. Juliet is gorgeous, and is severely frustrated that no one sees past her surface (she’s curious, and a reader, and addicted for Fringe). Felix was just in a horrible (sort of?) accident that left the lower half of his body immobile. This is a huge hit to his ego, his sense of self, and his hope. When these two meet at the session, it’s all sly joking and surprises that they’re both more than what is shown on the outside. And I mean hidden depths, epiphanies, and pasts that aren’t meant to be relived…
This book is packed full of positivity, so this post is going to three positive point that were brought home in this book—because we all need a bit of a pick-me-up.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS; NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
Let’s be real here—bad things are going to happen in life. Some things are worse than others. Some things are much, much worse than others. You’re going to see something that someone else has that you don’t, and you’re going to want it.
I can talk about how I have positive quotes on my walls in all the colors of the rainbow all I want; this helps me when the negative thoughts get too negative. I have to remind myself that I am okay, that this isn’t the end. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I need something more. Whatever that horrible thing is, it’s going to pass eventually. It could be tomorrow, next week, or twenty years from now.
I’m sorry that it takes so long sometimes, but look the people who love you in the eyes. Hug your pets tighter. Embrace the material things you love (LIKE BOOKS!) and let yourself wander.
So many things in THE FEELING OF FOREVER were out of the person who is affected by it’s control. I admire these people for not letting their disappointments consume them, for transforming their sadness into bravery and into hope. They were able to recognize that the moment they were living in is only a split second in time. I really like that notion.
(All that being said I REALLY want a book with our MC’s sister. I feel like she’s actually here to kick some serious butt.)
LOOK FOR THE PERSON WHO SEES ALL OF YOU; THEY’RE OUT THERE
I don’t know about you, but this girl is def not aromantic. I need romance like hot milk needs some scoops of chocolate. For me, there battle cry should have been “give me romance or give me death” though, not going to lie, liberty is real nice. Especially if we’re chatting about Lady Liberty.
When you’re looking for someone who sees all of you, I think it’s important to remember that that person may not be a romantic someone. It could be a best friend or a family member. I think that person is an incredibly important to have in anyone’s life. Who is anyone without al the preconceived notions that society shoves on their shoulders?
Whoever that is, hold on to them tight.
This is the story of people holding on tight, not giving up, and of resisting the easy path.
BE FEARLESS IN THE PURSUIT OF WHAT YOU DESERVE; IT’S OKAY TO MESS UP A BIT
Be blunt. Our MC isn’t afraid to lay her heart on the line, but she doesn’t do it in a way that makes you think that she expects anything in return. It’s more like “this is how I feel” and I love it. I think that’s brave, and I think that gets her more of what she wants in life. Which, as we all can acknowledge, is pretty fantastic.
Do the things that make you happy in life—whether that be acting, or watching Netflix, or reading all the books and learning all the things. Be productive and strive for success, but take the time to do the things that bring you that infinite joy.

Okay, so if you can’t tell, I really enjoyed this book. It has some intrigue, some hidden elements. It had romance and (some) diversity. It had a believable plot that moved at a nice speed. I’m not super picky when it comes to that though. Overall, just do yourself a GIANT favor and grab yourself a copy when it comes out. Or, better yet, pre-order it.
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#ARC Review || Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins
ARC via Publisher + Netgalley
Goodreads || Amazon
Published: January 10, 2017 || St. Martin’s

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

When Lady Celeste Beauchamp suddenly dies, she leaves her entire estate to four ladies who, if they’d been born male, would most likely be at the very top of their field. These ‘bluestockings’ are the feminists of Victorian society, smart beyond belief, free thinkers, and just generally too amazing to comprehend. Luckily, they’re surrounded by the relatives of Lady Celeste, who was also a female scholar. These relatives adored her. When our leading lady, Miss Ivy Wareham, receives a letter from the deceased claiming that she’d been murdered and that Ivy and her nephew, the handsome marquees who is dead set against any of the four lady scholars inheriting the estate, with finding out who wanted her dead. Mystery, romance, scandal, and feminism. What could be better?
Reason Number One.These ladies are fierce as hell. They challenge the ideals that confine woman in Victorian society. By questioning the differing standards that men and women are held by—the word ‘ruin’ being placed on women and not men, and thereby treating females like rotten meat instead of living, breathing people—they make the people around them also re-evaluate how the world is run. I adore this more than I adore the romance. And y’all, I freaking love romance.
Reasons Number Two.THE ROMANCE. Did I not just inform you that the romance has me swooning? CONSENT IS CLEAR AND EXPLAINED. There are ramifications for actions. *muffles laughter* And Y ’ A L L, choices are given and not forced upon people. These folks don’t act like pretentious assholes when it comes to the romance. Who knew a working moral compass and the genuine ability to listen to what people are saying are helpful contributions to a relationship? Seriously? Who freaking knew?
Reason Number Three.The mystery. I am SO here for it. Unexplained death? The murderer still at large? WHO IS IT? What secrets are lurking in the mansion? What is lurking in the shadows? Our linguist turns into a regular detective for this segment of awesome. Her puppy-dog like sidekick follows closely behind.
BONUS: this is because I love all y’all. I ALSO LOVE THE FRIENDSHIP. Even more than romantic relationships (or however you wish to see them) basic friendships are incredibly important. These ladies are not accepted by the world that they live in because they are females who are smart and refused to conform to what the society believes a woman to be. In each other they find shared existences, experiences, and people who really appreciate and accept who the others are, and what they love. Isn’t that what everyone wants? Total acceptance? Understanding? Camaraderie?

Overall, this book was stellar. I laughed and swooned. How much more can I ask for?

#ARC Review || Hit Man by Michele Mannon || I May have a Thing for Mercenaries? Maybe?

Hit Man by Michele Mannon
eARC via NetGalley + Publisher
Goodreads || Amazon
Published || December 6, 2016

He always gets what he wants.

The seasoned seducer, who probably charms the panties off of every woman he meets. Diego is handsome. Arrogant. Dangerous. Far more dangerous than anyone I’ve ever met. And with one look from across a crowded room he has me; hook line and sinker, I’m his for the night.

Diego is not a man to mess with, I know that. I just can’t seem to resist his kiss, his touch. But can I trust him with my heart, with my body?

I’m being hunted for something I may or may not have seen, and Diego is my only way out of a world of death and destruction. If only I can believe his dark promises.

Happy Christmas Eve to all who celebrate!

Verdict: I’m in love; somebody hold me

Lord have mercy, but do I ever love mercenaries and romance and accents and YES talk dirty in different languages. And then maybe translate so I know what you said. And then switch back to the foreign language please, because it sounded a hell of a lot hotter that way. SWOON. In Michele Mannon’s newest novel HIT MAN there is all of this and soooo much more. Like things being blown up. A woman with novel aspirations so do amazing things. Incredibly amazing things. Of course, then there’s the hit man who-much to his dismay-is falling head over heels for her. Things don’t go as planned, and people get caught in the crosshairs of unimaginable horrors…

Let’s begin this review journey with some character analysis: Aubrey and Diego. As you may have figured out via pronoun usage, Aubrey is out resident do-gooder and Diego is out hired exterminator of human beings. Obviously his job has left him a little rough around the edges—and he claims he’s loved only three people in his entire life: his mother, father, and sister. When Aubrey comes crashing into his mission in a suspicious way, he takes it upon himself to figure out what this American is doing. I’m sure you know what follows: things are shot into the sky, cartels are run by powerhouses, and government conspiracies. It’s all rather dramatic in the best way possible.

And then we’ve got Aubrey, who, despite all of her amazing intentions, is fantastic at getting herself into situations that most people wouldn’t walk away alive from. Of course, they don’t have a hit man following them around like a protective puppy dog.

So cute. 

As you can probably tell, I love both of these characters so much. I think it’s kind of hard to craft a human with real flaws that don’t seem overdone, or oversimplified. You’ve got to make them 3-D. Diego and Aubrey are. Full color. Living. Breathing. Freaking hot as hell. Make incredibly poor decisions. Are actually really rude.

BUT. Despite being rude is all about consent when it comes to sex. So, you know, ALL THE STARS. This right here is a HUGE thing for me. It’s a button pusher, as well it should be for everyone. Something shouldn’t be done to/with your body without your permission. The fact that Diego made sure that the active consenting of sex was clear was my favorite. Like, yes. Please pass this valuable skill on to every human being ever. PLEASE.

All that being said, I did grow annoyed with these two folks on occasion. This is the reason for the deduction of the half star. I think four and a half though is a quite nice rating.

I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It did take me a bit to get to it, and then a bit more to commit to actually reading it. Then, still, I had finals in college. However, now that I’ve finished, I kind of want to read it all over again. YES. It was that 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.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo || A Playlist by Yours Truely

Y’all. I finally got my greedy paws on Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo like a week ago, and GAH. Was I ever missing out. Obviously I need Crooked Kingdom faster than you can say Kaz is a dream boat and Nina is a goddess on earth and we just need to bow down.

My darling little murderous petunia. And then, of course there is Inej who is just too good for this world. I think I’m loving the totally raw and completely brutal Grisha universe as much this time around as I did with Shadow and Bone (The Darkling, my babe. I’m still swooning over the make me your villain and until you have no other shelter but me. I know. I have issues.).

You’re probably wondering why I’m still rambling on about hot guys and gorgeous girls and world building/destroying. FINE. I’ll get to the music.

Let me know what you think on Twitter (or comment!) and suggest some mad beats of your own.

The Music

Beautiful Lies: Birdy || I feel like this song is equally Inej and Jesper in reference to why they say with Kaz after all this time, as well as Kaz to Inej. Running from yourself much? Or are we just embracing the mess that is this world?

Let’s be numb together

The Good, The Bad and The Dirty: Panic! At The Disco || AKA, How to Survive in the Dregs

If you wanna start a fight
You better throw the first punch
Make it a good one

Catch Us If You Can: Elle King || Gonna be real honest here and just say that this lyric reminds me of Wylan and Jesper. “Maybe I like you’re stupid face.” Or something like that. I feel like this relationship, should it happen, could be explosive. Fireworks, y’all. Fireworks.

If you’re a wildflower
I’m a grenade

Neon Lights: Dancing Years || This song summons of the aura of the inner workings of either Wylan or Kaz.

I pour my make-up on my face and go,
I’ll know that I’ll be alright.

Thank God for Girls: Weezer || All those stupid faces should just be grateful that they’ve got such sensible females looking out for their asses. Inej. Nina. I love y’all. (also maybe she’ll be the one giving the stab wounds. just saying.)

And tender loving kisses on your stab wounds and when you come home
She will be there waiting for you with a fire in her eyes

Lost in You: Three Days Grace || First off, I adore this song. Actually, I just adore Three Days Grace in general. Those voices. I can’t. Gorgeous. Back to this particle song inference to Six of Crows. There’s a scene in the book where I just want to scream out Kaz’s name and throw this song at him. Kind of like how I’m pretty sure Nina wants to shove these two together like PB+J. Or maybe she’s too focused on her own love life.

I told myself that it wouldn’t be so bad
But pulling away it took everything I had

Before I Die: Papa Roach || Inej praying to her Saints. Enough said. Gah, this girl. Like I said: too good for this world. I think the way she maintains her faith is stunning.

I’m begging on my knees
Is there a God to save me

Okay babes:

That’s all I’ve got. Listen to these songs on Spotify. Tell me some that you would add. Fan over all things Leigh Bardugo. Live your best life.

#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 || 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 || The Bear Who Loved Me by Kathy Lyons || Not Gummy Bears

The Bear Who Loved Me by Kathy Lyons 
eARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Amazon || Goodreads
Published || September 6, 2016

WHEN AN ALPHA MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Between singlehandedly running her bakery and raising her teenaged nephew, Becca Weitz thought she had a decent grip on “normal.” Then her nephew vanishes, and life as she’s known it changes forever. Local legends are true: bear shifters exist . . . and her nephew is part of their clan. As is Carl Carman, the sexy, larger-than-life man who has sworn to find her nephew-and the other young shifters who’ve gone missing.

As the leader of his clan, Carl is surrounded by enemies. He’s learned the hard way that keeping a firm leash on his inner beast is key to survival, though his feelings for Becca test his legendary control. Then danger stalks too close, and Carl realizes he must unleash the raging, primal force within to protect everything he holds dear. But can Becca trust his grizzly side with her life-and her heart?

Well, my darling babes and babettes, I’m in love. In this lovely first installment of a sure to be just as breath-taking series, Becca and Carl race both time and hearts to discover what is happing to all the young shifters suddenly disappearing. Coming into the shifter world is hard, but having your nephew/ basically son stolen in the dead of night, and then some teddy bear of a man come to tell you (in the middle of frosting, no less) that said nephew is a grizzly shifter and he doesn’t know where the hell he is—well, anyone would just about have a heart attack. Becca is a champ, however, and works at learning her war around. In the process she may just steal this stone-cold grizzly’s heart.

Whew, y’all. That was a mouthful. Not only did this book spark a post, but it also set alight a spark in my heart (after I took a few huffy, angry breaths over said post idea). It was warm and fuzzy and tingly. Actually a whole lot like that peppermint chapstick that Burt’s Bee’s make. Yummy.

Back to the book. I’m not sure if y’all are aware of this (and if you’re a new follower, hey babe, get ready for a big reveal) but I have a HUGE freaking (like of astronomical proportions, may actually be an issue, maybe I should go talk to a doctor) weakness for shape shifters. You can throw almost any—ALMOST, Y’ALL—book with some shifting of shape in it and I’ll hand over three shiny stars and a semi-panting review.

However, here’s what made me really like The Bear Who Loved Me. This book reminds me of a book from my beginning of Love Me Some Reading-hood. Are y’all familiar with Rachel Hawthorne at all? Even better, are you aware of a hella hot shifter in the second book in the shape-shifting series by her who goes by the name of Rafe? And rides a motorcycle? And is my First Love.

Y’all this book took me back. No, Rafe isn’t a bear. He’s a run of the mill wolf. But the series, much like this book, had psycho evil maniacs who liked to do freaky no-nos that made the aura all mysterious. Yes, I know that was super vague, but y’all need to trust me on this. This stuff is what good books are made of. This was an adult-y version of my first love. The characters were wonderfully fleshed out. The plot, while a bit slow-moving, was still something that I read in a sit-down. I think there was a bit of setting up done for book two (WHICH, PUBLISHER, YOU SHOULD DEF SEND ME A COPY PRONTO) which I’m suuuuuper excited for.

The Bear Who Loved Me is a good book. A good shifter book. With twists. A spunky female lead. A dude who (while could occasionally use a good knock of common decency) is smooth AF.

This is me telling you to do yourself a favor and get a copy. Like, yesterday.

#ARC Review || The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis || How Deep is Your Love?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen
Goodreads || Amazon

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

“My violence is everywhere here” (ARC)”

How does one even begin a review of a book that is literally EVERYTHING that they were hoping for? There’s this poem by Rudyard Kipling that you should read, mainly because the second half of “the female of the species” phrase is super revealing in terms of the context of the book. Plus it’s also just a really fun poem. Mwahaha.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is the story of Alex, Peekay, and Jack. The story begins with Alex telling the reader how she kills. Alex is damaged by the Criminal-Minds worthy murder of her older sister. Her sister’s name was Anna, and she was both Anna’s protector, and the one to calm her when she felt too much. Her story is what I wanted from the New Adult book Marrow, by Tarryn Fisher. While I liked that one, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is a story that will stick with me for a long time. And it’s all because of Alex. She may actually be one of my favorite characters out of any book ever.
She’s incredibly unique. I haven’t read a character like her except for in Marrow.
Alex is the discourse of right and wrong, she is the line between sanity and the insane, she is the vengeance and redemption. She knows who she is, and she’s more than aware that she is capable of murder, and is able to do so again. When Peekay and Jack invade her life, she does not suddenly become a whole new person. Peekay is the preacher’s kid, and their working together at the animal shelter brings them together. Jack is the beloved sporty hot guy of the high school, and senior year marks a fascination with Alex that he can’t shake off. They both want to know her.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is about social injustice (think rape, sex offenders) just as much as it is about murder, a wolf in human skin, and the main character interacting with people her own age—really just people in general– for the first time. The book is all about the gray areas.
The story itself is incredibly authentic. I was connected to the town, to each of the character’s families. I was made to wonder, wanted to look through my high school year book, which of my classmates was the one who quietly avenged those wronged by society. In the center of Alex’s turmoil with her own (being, should I call it being?) being there was still a high school with academics and teenage drama and Life After High School.

The fact is that this book is beyond beautiful, and brutal, and heart-wrenching. And I love it.

“I’m this raw, bleeding thing feeling everything for the first time, the joy and the pain” (ARC).