#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.

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#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.

#BookLook || A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink

a walk in the sun

a walk in the sun by nobentspines featuring leather man bags

My Two Cents
So, obviously anyone who says they don’t need that watch in their lives is lying to you. As for me? I need that watch and those shoes and thAT PURSE SOMEONE HOLD ME.
It’s so wonderful and blue and scalloped. 
I like it a whole bunch. 
About the Book
In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.
Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold. 
Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose. 
Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all….

People doing Bad Things with Good Intentions || A Rant to Top all Rants

Some things are inexcusable. Even if they happen to be shroud in good intentions—or at least halfway decent ones. Unfortunately, some of my major push buttons happened to show up in books that I happen to love. And I disappointed myself when I didn’t consider them more until one of my favorite bloggers mentioned it. I’m a human, and I’m learning from my mistakes. So, I’m considering it now.
So, my lovely little readers, let’s talk about bad things done with good intentions.
First we’ll start with Rhys. My darling high lord of the night court. For those of y’all that haven’t read A COURT OF MIST AND FURY (henceforth being referred to as ACOMAF) yet, please run in the other direction if you don’t feel like reading spoilers.
Let’s talk about the scene towards the end of A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES. Feyre is underground, and in so, so much pain. Rhys helps her to forget, giving her something to drink to take all of the horrible memories away so that she does not have to bear the weight of them on her shoulders.
Putting something in her drink to make her forget. Does this not sound like something that is frequently linked to rape? Sexual assault? Date rape drug, anyone? Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine are all drugs that are commonly slipped into drinks by the rapist/ sexual assailant to assist them with the sexual assault. They don’t really have any color or taste. There’s not a specific smell. Some are liquid and some can be ground into powders.
I’m sure Rhys had every good intention, while sexual assailants rarely (actually I’m going to just go ahead and say never ever) have good intentions. The fact of the matter is that Feyre, to my remembrance, did not consent to the memory wipe. No matter his intention, his hope to help, or his need to protect her by whatever means necessary, he still did something that I can’t quite forgive, even if she does not recognize it as an assault. 
For what he did, I can’t defend him. 
This is seen too often in our own world—things slipped into alcohol, soda, open drinks—and then the person waking up in pain, without a memory, or simply fuzzy stills of the night before. It should not be taken lightly. 
He did not have consent, so what he did was wrong. I love him, but I am so disappointed in him. And I think that most of us can recognize that there’s a line. He crossed it. And he doesn’t seem to be having any consequences for it. Which is SUPER annoying/frustrating/anger-inducing. 
I’m going to talk now about another book which I do really like, but had to put down because I was just so, so, so freaking angry by what the main guy did. For those of you who do not know, I just recently reviewed the book THE BEAR WHO LOVED ME. In it there’s a bear-shifter who’s tasked with revealing the whole being a bear thing to a human whose shifter nephew has gone missing and doesn’t know that there are shifters. Kind of a big reveal.
And it’s safe to say that he totally, irrevocably screwed it up. Big time.
Hint: drugging her is involved.
In order for her Not To Scream (because, that would just be complicated, yeah?) when he tells her about being a bear, and her nephew being one too (probably) he injects her with something to put her to sleep. After that he takes her back to his house and waits for her to wake up.
No that’s not super shady, extremely invasive, or infuriating at all. That would not make me question my safety. Nope.
That was all typed in the upmost sarcastic on tones.
Like, holy hell. WTF, man?
I can’t express my anger. Not in words. Maybe with some artfully placed knees to the groin. And running over with a car. I’m not a violent person (promise) but something fierce flashed in me when she faded to black.
I really hope that I don’t have to go into the reasons why this is so freaking not okay. Why this should not freaking be romanticized at the end of the novel. In fact, while I’m here thinking about it, I want to lower the rating. But I won’t. Because once there’s a rating on a book, that rating stays there.
But, good freaking lord have mercy, that is not okay.

Now that I’ve had a good rant, I want to hear your opinions. I love seeing social issues in books, but I like seeing them addresses appropriately. I don’t think these books did that. What are some books that you felt the same way? Some that you think did an awesome job? Have you read these?

#ARC Review || Cloudwish by Fiona Wood || When You Wish Upon a Star

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
ARC via Publisher
Published: October 18, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality–keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably–possibly magically–comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

CLOUDWISH arrived on my door step without be ever having heard of it before. And I read it because it was the one being published earliest out of the three novels that I received. It wasn’t because I though it sounded the best, or I liked the cover the best, or because this was the one that I though would top both of the other books. However, after having finished it, I’m not incredibly certain that the other two books that I received are going to be able to live up to the cuteness, and the importance, of the story that is CLOUDWISH.

Van Uoc is practical beyond belief, but when one simple wish made in English class turns into something she never believed possible, she’s forced to confront the possibility of magic. As well as think about the possibility of Billy, the boy of her dreams, liking her without magic. Juggling the IB program, with I am a graduate of, her floating friendships, her parents’ expectations and her mother’s PTSD is difficult enough. Trekking through real life and fantasy?

Well, darlings, that’s another monster in itself. And this girl spends her days trying to navigate it all.

Gonna be real honest here and just come out and say it: pretty sure one of the reasons I like this book so much is because of the fact that I wasn’t expecting to like it all that much. AND, Y’ALL. THAT ASSUMPTION HAD NO PARTICULAR REASONING, AND OBVS, IT DIDN’T ACTUALLY CORRELATE WITH MY VERY REAL EMOTIONAL STATE.

I mean I literally opened and read the first chapter and fell in love with Van Uoc. She’s so easy to relate to (practical and wary, yet a TOTAL romantic) and her interaction with other characters made her so likeable. She questions the world around her because that’s what she has learned, and she’s navigating through a world her immigrant parents can’t understand, but is the only one she’s ever known.

We have her, her fabulous posse of fiends, and then we also have Billy. Now I’m going to mince my words here and say that Billy, while, yes, apparently attractive, has super sketchy picks for friends and is, more often than not, kind of a nasty human being. Van Uoc is also very practical (my girl) in this measure because she’s all like ugh stupid emotions, I know logically that I shouldn’t like you because I mean pranks, and uppity uppity, and friend choice, and ignorance, and general disregard to other people’s emotions. But she’s also like he was super sweet that one time and What Would Jane Do.

I definitely never saw him through whatever candy-rimmed glasses she wore, but I can see that he has the potential to be a decent human. Maybe. Y’all are going to have to decide that for yourself, I suppose, when you read this book.

Is it or is it not magic? Will she follow her dreams or fulfill her parent’s hopes for a doctor daughter? Will she ever summon Jane Eyre into her vocal chords and speak up for herself? WILL SHE EVER KNOW IF THE WISH CAUSED THE BOY TO START ACTING FUNNY?

And, most importantly, will she ever know her family’s history? And will her mom be okay?

All of these questions, dear reader, are for you to read about in CLOUDWISH.

#ARC Review || Playing it Cool by Amy Andrews || Rough, Tough Coco Puff

Playing it Cool by Amy Andrews 
Published September 12, 2016
eARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Amazon || Goodreads || Aesthetic 

Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw… When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it’s not for reals, but Dex won’t take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake’s life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he’s focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he’d been secretly ogling. What’s a guy to do but ask her out? It’s just a little revenge against a poser, and then he’ll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them…sizzles their clothes right off.

Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real…

Please excuse me for a brief moment while I just SQUEAL all the SQUEALS for the ending. It’s a must. Pinky swear.
Okay, babes. When Harper’s asshat of a step-brother is his usual self in front of the holy trinity of hotness rugby player, Dex, things suddenly begin to spice up a bit in Harper’s life. Dex asks her out. Asshat brother sputters and acts aghast. Harper is dubious of the player’s intentions, and the rest is a give and take and fall face first into emotions you don’t really want (Dex) and also emotions that you kind of need (Harper).
Let me just talk about Harper for a bit. Because this chick is awesome, and resilient, and so full of love (side note: did anyone see that one Criminal Minds episode where the killer was trying to recreate his mother’s murder/suicide and played “I’ve got a great big bottle (bundle) of love? No? Just me?) and y’all I just think that she’s the bee’s knees. Harper is a super strong, take-no-shit character. She does not need a significant other’s love to make her whole; she’s whole all by her own damn self. That being said, affection is nice. So is having someone to wake up to in the morning, and ask you how your day was, and is genuinely interested in hearing all about the things that make you who you are.
For Harper, that’s art.
Like any good book, plot twists are a must. I think that PLAYING IT COOL did a really nice job of making the twist seem like something that the characters would, like, legit do. And not something that was done because we need to keep the book going.
Please, do not do that. If the book wants to end, let it.
The mad bliss, downfall and confusion and stupidity, the Come to Jesus Moment; all of it completely worked. By doing all of this, the author also set the reader up for the next book (need, yes, please, give me) while not deviation from Harper and Dex’s story.
Can I get a woop woop?
I’m going to pretend you did the woop woop. For my own personal ego.
Overall, following their lust/love/undying devotion to each other was SO MUCH fun. I like the characters, the plot, and the cover is, well, you can see it. I don’t know what it is about rugby. Maybe it the fact that nobody’s got any brain cells when the games over, or maybe it’s the pack mentality—whoops, those are the things that worry be about sports. Let me rephrase: I don’t know what it is about Dex (probably his weird reactions, and his abs. I mean, let’s be honest.) but that man is swoony. Swoony squared. He and Harper work. This book works.

And basically you must read it.

#BookLook || Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

book look

book look by nobentspines featuring earring jewelry

My Two Cents
Well I just looove some good quirky heels and a cute bra. Mmm. 
Those two things and I feel like I’m on top of the world. Anyone else feel power rolling off of them when they’ve got some good shoes on? 
About the Book
Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.
Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.
This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

#ARC Review || Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin || Teapot Heads and Slow Plot Lines

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Published October 4, 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Amazon || Goodreads
ARC via Andye @ readingteen.net

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

As I sit here looking out my college dorm window, typing up this review for a book I read a week and a half ago, I find myself feeling pretty much the same as I did when I finished it. Wistful, super unsatisfied, and just sort of blah about the book in general. The main difference now is that my dorm room is freaking freezing and I’m wearing sweats, fluffy socks, a sweatshirt, and drinking hot tea. 
In Texas.
In the summer months
What is this, y’all? A freezing dorm. That’s what. *le sigh*
The summation of the book goes like this: girl with a mechanical heart, apparently genius father, and dead mother is searching for someone who understands the ticking inside her chest. Her best friend doesn’t get her, and she feels like her father’s legacy is too much to live up to. Also there’s this boy who is convinced that she is his soul mate but she is just so Not Interested. She decides to invent an android. 
I liked her don’t need no man attitude. I almost always find that perspective of independence and faith in oneself appealing. She wasn’t out searching for someone to love her in a romantic way, but it was a curiosity. She was, however, pretty much searching for a friend at the beginning of the world. This, to me, was a little odd. It was also understandable. SPARE AND FOUND PARTS progressed so, so, so slowly, however, that it seemed like what I thought would be the driving part (mechanical man) was very off-in-the-distance. 
This book was slow moving. In the worst possible way. In the way that made the book feel like it just wasn’t freaking progressing. That’s not really a good thing. I can like certain character attitudes, and even relate to them, but if nothing actually occurs in the book (I don’t know: punching, traveling, inventions occurring sooner, grand reveals) then I just can’t get into the book. Reading the book felt like sleepwalking. 
And sleepwalking book emotions don’t get many stars here, folks. 
Overall, this book just was about opposite of my cup of tea, except for the independence streak the MC has! 

#ARC Review || Claiming the Enemy by Lauren Hawkeye || *fans self*

Claiming the Enemy by Lauren Hawkeye 
Published: September 12, 2016
ARC via Publisher for review
Goodreads || Amazon

Piper Dawson has spent a lifetime living by other people’s rules.
She’s worked hard to get what she wants—a residency at her first choice hospital—and no one will ever tie her down again, not even her severe yet incredibly sexy supervisor, Dr. Alexander “Ace” Lennox.

Ace is done with love. He’s had his heart shattered, and he never wants to go there again. But when he’s inexplicably enticed by the sexy, tattooed woman with blue streaks in her hair and a perpetual smile on her lip, he figures that maybe he can keep it to just sex.

The problem? He thrives on control, and Piper dances just around the edges of it.

But when they’re together, control is the first thing to go…

*clears throat*

ARE YOU IN THE MOOD FOR SOMETHING HOT, HOT, HOT, THAT HAS A SPUNKY YET GENUINE UNDERTONE?

To be completely honest, I’m never not in the mood for the book I described above. Like, literally, I can’t remember a time when I’m not in the mood for all the serious swoons. Y’all are very well awake by now that I’m a total mood reader. Rarely am I ever in a dystopian mood (albeit, THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE, as well as DELIRUIM) and I’m pretty much never not in the mood for a romance for the ages.

I’m talking epic love story, babes. Preferably with some social justice or dragons, but I’m also down for just a straight up contemporary.

CLAIMING THE ENEMY is a straight up contemporary.

A freaking fantastic one at that.

This book delves into the notion that opposites attract, the consequences of work place relationships, and outside relation dynamics. All of this, combined with the actual personalities of Piper and Ace. Having been nothing other than slightly attracted and super duper annoyed with each other before this, their not really but kind of chance encounter in a bar after work (his mother was there, y’all. Pause your thoughts.) sets their attraction on fire.

They help each other, they sleep with each other, and eventually, well, to put it incredibly eloquently like the Southern Belle I am: shit happens. Rapidly rising conflict is like adding gasoline to an already hyped fire.

This is the story of them, and it’s a dang good one.

I do, as you may have guessed, have a few things to complain about. This book felt really short and I’m not sure if I read even faster than I usually did or if the book is actually short? I finished it in an hour. I would have loved to see some of the more minor characters fleshed out more, along with having Ace’s and Piper’s backstories gone into depth a bit more as well. I may have loved them both, but I didn’t really feel like I knew them.

I was just amused by the two of them together.

That being said, I still think that CLAIMING THE ENEMY is a book worth of a spot on your to-read list.

#BookLook || The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne

Book Look: The Inside of Out

Book Look: The Inside of Out by nobentspines featuring iris jewelry

My Two Cents
That skirt is literally what my life needs. Dress it up, dress it down: it’ll look real good. And who in the world doesn’t want to look like they can literally conquer the world at any moment? 
This blogger sure as hell does.
And, of course, y’all know I love me some black lipstick *heart eyes*
About the Book
When her best friend Hannah comes out the day before junior year, Daisy is so ready to let her ally flag fly that even a second, way more blindsiding confession can’t derail her smiling determination to fight for gay rights. 
Before you can spell LGBTQIA, Daisy’s leading the charge to end their school’s antiquated ban on same-sex dates at dances—starting with homecoming. And if people assume Daisy herself is gay? Meh, so what. It’s all for the cause. 
What Daisy doesn’t expect is for “the cause” to blow up—starting with Adam, the cute college journalist whose interview with Daisy for his university paper goes viral, catching fire in the national media. #Holy #cats. 
With the story spinning out of control, protesters gathering, Hannah left in the dust of Daisy’s good intentions, and Daisy’s mad attraction to Adam feeling like an inconvenient truth, Daisy finds herself caught between her bold plans, her bad decisions, and her big fat mouth.