Book Stop – ARC Review – Ignite by Donna Grant

Ignite by Donna Grant

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Expected Release: April 30, 2019

Series: Dark Kings #15Dark World #35

Requested and Received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the publisher St. Martins Press, in exchange for an honest review.

I felt this book was a solid 3 stars for me. I want to start off by saying this book does not work very well as a stand alone it is number #15 in a series and so has 14 books worth of back story and experiences that the characters have gone through, as well as 14 books worth of buildup of an ongoing secondary plot line.

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Book Stop – ARC Review – House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Expected Publication: August 6, 2019

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Random House Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read and review this work.

4.5 stars.. Whew I’m pretty sure this kind of blew me away. I’m still reeling, sitting here wide eyed and shell shocked. I was not expecting this fantasy with its bits of darkness, hints of horror, and touches of madness. Mind trip… that is what this book was. I went into this thinking it was going to be a simple retelling of a childhood tale but this is more Grim than fairy.. Maybe even more Grim than Grim themselves. I actually had to untwist my mind before throwing together this review. The anxiety and suspense almost put me down…

In this dark reinvention of the tale of The 12 Dancing Princesses the author Erin A. Craig brings hints of horror to a classic fairy tale. Annaleigh, our FMC, watches as yet another sister is given back to the sea. Its a curse the townspeople say.. First her mother and then 3 of her elder sisters, all have died under suspicious circumstances. Annaleigh is determined to find out what is going on and save the rest of her family. As she makes some discoveries everything seems to be leading toward dead ends literally. Not only that Annaleigh has noticed her younger sister making really disturbing drawings, and seeing things.. and now Annaleigh has started seeing them too. Being led to a dimensional doorway “of the gods” the remaining sisters turn towards balls and dancing all night long to distract themselves from the life of mourning they have been cursed to live. Annaleigh though, must unravel the mysteries surrounding her sisters deaths, as well as break this curse before her sisters dance themselves all to death… or maybe its all in her head…

There are some really intense scenes in this book some of which are incredibly heart pounding. The author definitely has talent for twisting things back and forth on top of each other until you can’t tell which way is up and you end up ass over ankles. I’m not sure if I’ll ever want to reread it again.. because once was enough for me to remember forever…
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Book Stop – A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
January 29th 2019

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

Series: A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not read the blurb before reading this book. I just saw a lot of hype and jumped right in, so for me it was exciting when I discovered it was a retelling if Beauty and the Beast. I really like how the author made the retelling both obvious and original at the same time, reinventing many of the concepts but keeping the main points recognizable! It was good! Indeed it was!

Our FMC Harper, is kidnapped during a botched rescue attempt in which she was trying to prevent the mapper from grabbing a different woman. Once grabbed she is “whisked” away to a world of impossibilities. I will say that the “denial” phase was starting to get a little old, but the author did finally move on. Super hostile to her kidnappers, she isn’t taking any crap from any one. Rhen our MMC lives a cursed season, over and over again until his beast form overcomes him. He has long since given up hope that someone could fall in “real” love with him…and this may be his last chance. Thrown together Rhen and Harper decide to team up for a cause greater than Rhen’s curse, the saving of his kingdom that has long been neglected due to his beasts actions. An invader has begun conquering and terrorizing the people and Harper isn’t having it. I think that the most mind blowing thought that has stuck with me in this story is how the author has Harper point out to the beast that yes he has had all these attempts to make all these women fall in love with him.. but at which point was he ever willing to fall in love back? Never.. so he hadn’t ever really changed because once again he was just trying to get what he needed and not give love in return! 🤯. Never looked at it from that exact perspective before. I mean it was obvious that even in the Disney version the beast falls in love with the girl but it never occurred to me that in this version the reason no one had fallen for him is that he wasn’t willing to give of himself and in essence hadn’t learned his lesson…

In this story the FMC has a really mild form of Cerebral Palsy. The author did not elaborate on this illness and barely even called any attention to it. I’m not sure if I loved that fact or if I was irritated by it. Cerebral Palsy has such a wide range of symptoms varying in severity. Without more details on the actual character’s symptoms we can’t even form an accurate opinion on how it effected her during all her trials which bummed me because I feel like it lessened her greatness and at the same time it was almost like the author was intentionally not trying to call attention to her illness so that no preconceived notions could be formed, and Harper couldn’t be pigeon holed into greatness “because” she overcame an illness. The book portrays Harper as great because she is just a Bad A FMC, not because she had to overcome her trials *and* a disability. I understand that. Either way this had no real effect on my enjoyment of the story, I just personally would have liked to know more about our character’s CP.

I loved the retelling and am definitely intrigued on what direction the next book will take!

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Book Stop: ARC Review – A Game of Survival by T.R. Tells

A Game of Survival by T.R. Tells

Publisher: Self

Published: December 12th 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Series: A Game of Survival #1

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I joined an ARC review team for this book via Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.

Triggers: Rape and Abuse of children and young adults.

I’m going to say 2-2.5 for this story. I really felt like the story started off really strong with a really dramatic entrance, but as the story progressed it as almost like there were too many ideas trying to converge into the story all at once and it became confusing, non cohesive at times, and honestly it felt like maybe the author didn’t know where the story was going until it got there. I also feel like the blurb was misleading and nothing like what story really turned into. The blurb gave me a “Children of Blood and Bone” feel but this is nothing like that.

We start out with our FMC seemingly being a magi, in a world where magi are being persecuted, but then we find out she is roma and we touch on what that means here and there but its never really explained and woven into the story cohesively. Apparently they aren’t the same thing. I also felt like there were many times throughout the story that the dialogue and plot line seemed to really drag on and even drift away from any end game or goals. There were several times when I had to make myself go back and figure out how we had gotten a certain place.

Thea our FMC kicks off our story pretty roughly, her sister telling her to be a boy as she is dragged off by the kings guards rounded up like all other magi. Her last words telling her to survive.. So she does, barely, doing some really awful things. Her rage causes her to weaken to allow demons to inhabit her. She ends up with a group of child thieves living basically on the streets stealing to survive. She is constantly getting caught. The inner demons/conscience talking to her trying to make her choose bad or good or just arguing with themselves in her head made scenes confusing at times. Eventually just as things are looking up they take a nose dive straight to hell as their rag tag group are found and basically used as sex slaves and thieves. The book skips forward between parts and Thea has even more people to look after as well as a lead to her sister. In all honesty, we start off headed in the direction of revenge but never get there and in the end it seems like we are going to be in the midst of a battle of the gods.

Usually I’m a huge sucker for some mythology, but the Norse mythology and how it was woven into this particular story with the “Roma” which was described more like gypsies those are from a whole different set of mythology “Romani” and the concepts sort of clashed for me. Then there was also the whole “demon” concept which comes from a whole different set of ideals. There were several concepts that I did like in the story, however, one being the whole conscience ideals. The story really seemed to take a lot from the Native American proverb of the 2 wolves existing in each man, one being good the other evil and the one you feed is the one that wins.

Really the mashup made for a really confusing read and it was hard to just grasp what the main plot of the story was until the very end. I kept trying to grasp one idea and hold on for dear life but this book was not having it. The frustration of trying to remain focused on the book made it just ok for me.
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Book Stop – Kindle Unlimited Binge Review Week – The Goods

I’ve been on a binge through Kindle Unlimited these last couple of weeks and I’m finding that it is really hit or miss most of the time. I’ve noticed KU getting some new stuff lately and I’ve definitely found some diamonds in the rough. Here are a couple of the really good ones!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: November 15th 2011

Series: Shatter Me #1

Genre: YA, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whew, this book was a pretty intense start to the series! I was engrossed from the very beginning. I think the writing style was so impactful and dramatic, it was almost impossible to turn my gaze away! We do have a very slow revealing backstory but answers are coming so I never felt cheated or too terribly lost, but I am an impatient person.. I did feel that super young teeny angst, but it really didn’t bother me in this book like it does in others. I just feel like so much is going on, its hard to know where everyone stands especially when we don’t yet have all the information. I did like how the FMC, Juliette stayed true to her character throughout, there was no meekness to Bad A right off the bad. She didn’t turn vengeful or harden herself despite all of what is being done to her.

Set in an apocalyptic/dystopian type setting our FMC, Juliette has been imprisoned in a mental institute for a really long time now. Thrown in for being “different,” her touch being her very own kryptonite. Days fade into weeks into months and so on, until one day her routine is changed forever when they throw in a roommate, a boy, Adam. She remembers Adam, from before her imprisonment. Just as she starts to grow closer to Adam, she is taken from her prison cell, to be used by a monster who wants her ability, her touch. It turns out Adam has his own secrets, surprisingly Adam is also maybe the only person immune to her ability. Danger lurks everywhere as her captor becomes increasingly erratic and obsessive where she is concerned. Together her and Adam attempt to escape… but where is there to go where they cannot be found? Is there hope for a better life out there? What has the world become while she has been locked away with her tiny window.

I honestly wanted to dive right into book 2. I can’t wait to see where this series is headed! Now I feel like the real story is about to begin and I hope we continue to get some backstory and answers along the way!
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Verity by Colleen Hoover

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Hoover Ink, Inc

Published: December 7th 2018

Genre: Romance, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book kind of blew me away! Twisted and creeptastic ride into imagined self absorption and sociopathy. I was expecting romance.. I was not expecting this gut wrenching, horror/suspense and the bone chilling confessions revealed in this book. I was so intrigued and at the same time disturbed and horrified out I just couldn’t stop reading, all the while peeking through fingers because I didn’t want to see anymore. I felt such a wide range of emotions so quickly I was catching some whiplash from my own mood swings. Afterwards I felt rode hard and put up wet.. and well basically speechless lol, sitting there in my shock.

Introvert writer and FMC, Lowen, is recovering from her mother’s death when on her first day out she witness a gruesome pedestrian vs car accident. Helped by a handsome stranger they speak and have a heart wrenching moment where they each confess their tragedy’s, his being the loss of his daughter, before going their separate ways only to amazingly meet up later in a meeting where Jeremy wants to hire Lowen to “co-write” and finish a series of books that his wife, also an author, started and is unable to finish due to a car accident. Against her better judgement she takes the job and journeys to their home to dig through “Verity’s” office and start her work. Upon arriving she sees a family on the edge of madness and despair, Verity needing 24 hour care, unable to move, speak, or interact at all with her environment. Jeremy barely handling his depression over his 2 lost daughters, and his remaining son Crew caught up in their tragic life. All is not what it seems however, this is truly a house of horrors. As things begin happening that make Low start to doubt that Verity is actually in the condition she seems to be in, she begins reading Verity’s “autobiography” and discovers some horrifying details about the authors past, as well as her relationship with Jeremy. At the same time she experiences this weird envy to be her. As details begin unfolding the terrifying truth comes to light, but her heart is already set on another woman’s husband… But what is truth and what is lies.. and is anyone really a good guy? What will you choose to believe in the end.

This book got me all kinds of twisted by the end and then chewed me, tied me and spit me out! Such a great read, though intensely nerve racking!
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I am always looking for KU ideas so feel free to send some recommendations my way or tell where to steer clear!! Thanks for stopping by!

Book Stop: Oldies But Goodies -My first Love, Historical Romance – Velvet Montgomery Annuals Quadrilogy by Jude Deveraux

Whew that title there quite the mouth/handful! I feel like re-reading series that you have loved in the past is crucial! Not only do we, as readers, sometimes need a little push out of slumps, we also need a reminder of why we love to read. It gives us a feeling of nostalgia and a reminiscence of past feelings. Occasionally, I will come to a different opinion based on my own experiences, or maybe I never really understood what an author was trying to put out there until I finally had the knowledge I needed to comprehend it. I re-read this series in February for the Gimme a V Challenge on Goodreads! Sorry, not sorry, Jude is still one of my all time favorite author’s! I’m pretty sure I own almost everything she has written! These books, along with a few others, some even by other authors, created a freaking mess of a monster when it comes to historical romances… oh so long ago! Even after many rereads my love for these stories continues and this family of Jude’s is one of my favorites!

The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux

The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: January 1st 1991
(first published 1981)

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance

Series: Velvet Montgomery Annuals Quadrilogy #1The Montgomery/Taggert Family (Chronological order)

Reread Review
Leaving this at 4 Goodreads Stars.. probably 3 Deveraux stars though for me at least. I notice a lot of salt in the reviews, and I feel like I should remind everyone that this was written in the height of the bodice ripper era, as well as set in a time when women were viewed as nothing but property and sold to the highest bidder. This happened irl, in fact in some countries this still happens. I feel like some of the outrage seems a little over dramatic considering these points. There are a ton of historical romances that have these types of settings and the reason for it is most likely because that is actually history.. What I love about Jude Deveraux is even when the males in her books may act this way, she always makes her heroines stronger, better, and wiser than them and eventually they learn the error of their ways.

Judith, our FMC, of course is no exception, with the brains, as well as the go get it done attitude, she knows how to put a man in his place… eventually. This is actually the 3rd Montgomery book. I love rereading this series because I just love going back to the beginnings. These books started so many lines of Montgomery’s, leading to so dang many wonderful new series! In this book, Gavin Montgomery has to grow up very early, practically raising his 3 brothers after their parents die, and managing the estates as best he can.. which isn’t all that well.. In love with Alice, the epitome of womanhood in his eyes, she can do no wrong. Little does he know she is a scheming wench of the worst sort, and even a little Psycho. She turns his marriage proposal down and he is forced to marry another, the rich Judith who is basically sold to him by her father because he is desperate for male grandchildren. They meet on the wedding day and everything seems set for a HEA, however Alice has other plans and throws all kinds of wrenches in everything. Things just seem to domino effect for the worse afterward. Gavin of course, manages to practically mess everything up and make things a million times worse because he is probably the most unobservant, obstinate, and idiotic male in existence lol. Judith must open Gavin’s eyes to what a real woman is about, before its too late and he looses her forever…

I’ve read this series dozens of times over the years and Gavin is probably most like the very first Montgomery hero in The Black Lyon. In fact this story is quite similar to that one. Love doing rereads!
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Highland Velvet by Jude Deveraux

Highland Velvet by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: first published 1982

Series: Velvet Montgomery Annuals Quadrilogy #2The Montgomery/Taggert Family (Chronological order)

Reread Review

Jude Deveraux is a freaking master… that’s all there is too it. This entire story is so complex, and yet when you pull everything away the whole book is about an arrogant hero and a stubborn heroine neither wanting to bend to each other and causing each other all kinds of problems. When I say that in other books a couple doesn’t have much adversity to “temper” their love its this kind of adversity I mean most I think. You know the kind of love that isn’t perfect.. it starts with lust, progresses to near hatred, begrudging respect and eventually after hardship and camaraderie comes love. I feel like that is “most” like love in real life except it it doesn’t end at that sentence.. the cycle starts over every day.. every week.. and so on and so forth. Both our heroine and hero are like-able and yet so flawed but eventually they realize their faults and own up to them!

This second book in the Velvet Series stars Stephen Montgomery and Bronwyn McAran. Both reluctant participants in a marriage contrived by the King. Of course Stephen sets off on the wrong foot because of events from the last book so better late than never right? Not to Bronwyn, who has the biggest pride and stubbornness of any female Scotland it seems. It is a battle from the beginning, a tug of rope that constantly moves back and forth neither wining and both starting to look ridiculous and wrong most of the time. Only by accepting each other and their faults can they move forward and give up their flaws to grasp a real love to last through time!

Another thing I really love about the series is that events are happening/overlapping with the other brother’s books so its like reading a really big book with all their prospectives as they explain away certain things. I just love this author and am excited to continue my reread of the series.
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Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux

Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: June 1st 1991 (First Published 1983)

Series: Velvet Montgomery Annuals Quadrilogy #3,

Reread Review
In the past this was one of my favorites in this series because I loved Raine! I find that during my reread of this series that though, I still liked Raine through most of the book, he was quite exasperating! The arrogance and the pride.. OMG eye roll worthy! Yet another thing about Jude Deveraux’s books that I like is that the males are far from perfect. Even if they seem that way for a bit.. just wait they are going to do something ridiculous soon lol. This book continues the love to hate, hate to love, give up and love momentum lol. The biggest adversaries really in these books are the characters and their flaws! That is just so real to me because in life it is also true!

Raine Montgomery has been declared a traitor to the crown after becoming enraged finding out that Roger had taken Stephens bride Bronwyn, and taking the kings soldiers down to wage war on Chatworth! Raine finding nowhere to go and refusing to own up to his mistakes is now living in the wood with a group of other cast outs! Alyx raised in a small village has spent her whole life on a pedestal due to her uncanny vocal and musical talent. Treated like a saint because of her “gift from god.” That is until slimy Lord Pagnell happens by one day during her voice practice and decides to take her for himself.. Little does he know Alyx doesn’t put up with no crap, and after putting him in his place her world turns upside down as she battles the system serf vs lord for the first time and realizes she can never win. Her only choice is to run away into the forest to Raine and his camp. Posing as a boy her and Raine immediately begin their relationship of constant bickering as each character is incredibly stubborn and neither will bend an inch.. That is until Raine discovers there is more to this “boy” in his tent! Sparks fly, as a battle of wills ensue which may actually pull them apart…

This book is happening simultaneously with the 4th book so its kind of odd but there are some tiny spoilers there if you can catch them! I also love that there are multiple references to The Black Lyon in this one. Including Alyx’s Lion belt which was a big part of that story! On to book 4!
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The Velvet Angel by Jude Deveraux

Velvet Angel by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: January 1st 1991 (First Published 1983

Series: Velvet Montgomery Annuals Quadrilogy #4,

Reread review
Sigh Miles! My favorite Montgomery brother in this series! I can’t ever decide if he is the best or worst rake ever written! Its a toss up! This book in particular has been my favorite during the rereads! Its crazy that with each book I have discovered different reasons for why I love this author’s works! In this book I realized I love Jude’s writing because it never ends at just “I love you.” Its like first comes hate, then comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a whole hawtmess of crap after that they have to work through all while dealing with their own character flaws and assumptions! In this book though all our wonderful females come together and bring their own talents to the table to rescue our boys.. because they are men and where would they be without us girls! (Rotting in dungeons probably.)

Elizabeth Chatworth, Roger’s sister is captured while rescuing a “songbird” and wrapped up and hand delivered to Miles Montgomery as a ploy to pit the Chatworths and Montgomerys further at each other’s throats. Elizabeth, however, can hold her own, she grew up with Edward she knows how to dip and dodge a defiler of women! Miles is instantly enchanted with this one woman who not only says the word no, but screams hell no! Keeping her and journeying to Scotland is his ploy to show her Montgomery’s aren’t the bad guys all the while planning to woo her! Elizabeth slowly learns how men are supposed to act but it seems as though it is too late, the hatred between their families seems way to much to overcome, as they battle their feelings for one another, their families hatred and anyone else who wonders in! Elizabeth must really search herself and her horrific past to find her confidence, and heal her heart just in time to maybe save her brother and his new lady and rid these families of this hatred forever!

This was one of the more entertaining books in the series with lots of laughter, food fights, belly dancing and finally all our female characters coming together to save their men! Love this series!
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Ok so I need Ideas from you guys! Let me know what are your go to’s! The oldies but goodies you’ll keep around for all time! Thanks so much and have a fantabulous hump day tomorrow 😉!

Book Stop: ARC Review: A Wicked Reputation by Liana Lefey

A Wicked Reputation by Liana LeFey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Publish Date: February 25, 2019

Series: Once Wicked #3

Genre: Historical Romance

3.5 stars rounded up because even though the plot was pretty straight forward and simple it was a really fast enjoyable read! Sometimes I just need a reminder of why I fell in love with historical romances in the first place and this book sent me straight there. The balls, the gowns, the gossip, the attitudes, the drama, and…. the passion!

This is book 3 in the Once Wicked series and can without a doubt stand alone. I have not read books one and two but after reading this book I would not be opposed to going back and seeing who books one and two are about! This book was almost a play on being the opposite of what historical romances normally entail. In this book is the illusion that the daring scandalous courtesan is after some unsuspecting benefactor rather than a rake after some sweet innocent. I liked the difference though I’m not sure that, realistically men dragged their known mistresses off to ton balls.. that seems a little too scandalous to be accurate historically, but it made for a great read! I had no problem falling right into the story, and even though the secrets were slow reveals I was caught up pretty quickly in the intrigue of it all. I am all for a rule breaker, and any woman that can bring a rake to heel, so this book was a win for me!

Diana, ruined by a petty rumor from her betrothed is cast out by her uncle and left to fend for herself, rather than deal with any dishonor fighting said rumor could bring. Innocent but unable to prove herself Diana must figure out a way to make ends meet. Entering into a mutually beneficial relationship in which Diana gains financial freedom in an intricate plot to protect her benefactor’s secrets, she posses as his mistress and learns the ways of a courtesan. Traipsing about court flaunting her status in her uncles face bringing herself some semblance of revenge she is well versed in the arts of coquettishly maneuvering herself out of others clutches and for those she can’t out maneuver her charming benefactor takes care of on the dueling field. That is until everything she has been building threatens to collapse when, overly curious, Lord Lucas Blackthorn becomes enthralled with her, and is not as easily convinced of her act. Not only that, but the feelings he awakens in her threatens to destroy her newfound family, and makes her remember all the things she once wanted so long ago.

Great, fast, simple read. Very easy to sink into and become involved. The characters were pretty rounded and the feelings seemed intense. I am excited for this series, and I hope to run across more by this author!

I requested and received a copy of this for honest review purposes via NetGalley and the publisher Entangled Publishing, LLC. Many thanks for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this work.
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Book Stop: ARC Review: Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Shadesilk Press

Published: August 8, 2010

Series: Vivatera #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy

2.5 stars rounded up here. Whew, this book is sitting on what I feel is a mountain of potential with the plot concept/premise. Unfortunately for me the way it was executed really put a damper on all that potential. The main problem, for me, is that all the backstory and world building actually occur at the end of the book, almost like an afterthought. Throughout most of the book I was agonizing over the lack of backstory and world building, thinking this must be a spin off of sorts.. I checked twice to make sure it was actually the first in the series. Even if an author wants to do a slow reveal on word building and backstory and maybe keep certain things to the end as a mystery there has to be something in the beginning alluding to the fact that eventually we might get some answers. There were also several instances where climactic parts of the story would vaguely end without much detail and cut to another chapter. I personally obviously like details and explanations of how things have occurred.

These things in particular needed to be at the beginning.. or at least hinted about, and revealed throughout the plot: A hint of or the actual prophecy at the beginning of the book, or at least a description of the different races so we know what they are throughout the book, that way when they do something “different” it makes some sense, or explaining vaguely towards the beginning.. maybe in a prologue or something the events that have lead us to now, like the old kings history, or the history of how the magic came to be in this world, or the history of the stones themselves…. Not having this information really hurt the plot in my opinion because it took away from the actual story which was really interesting and could have been riveting.

We have some really abrupt insta love in this story. That isn’t really my thing but I can get on board if it seems to have some sort of foundation but here it really didn’t have enough of anything. It was a tad jarring even where it popped up in the story, it seemed to be necessary for Naomi to exit camp but not for Reynolds? Either way, I feel like there should have been more prior to the proclamation.. like maybe a recognition, or maybe even dreaming about a boy hero.. or something.

That all being said.. There was enough explanations at the very end of the book to answer most of the questions I had and to ease some of my anxiety and frustration. I am sad at where the book ended, things were just starting to make sense and we come to an abrupt end just as I started to feel we were actually getting somewhere. I am torn between wanting to see what will happen next for these characters and not wanting to put myself through it..

Received a copy via NetGalley and the Publisher Shadesilk Press in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Stop: ARC Review: The Stone’s Heart by Jessica Thorne

The Stone’s Heart by Jessica Thorne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Bookouture

Published: January 19, 2019

Series: The Queen’s Wing #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Scifi, Romance

I requested and received an AR copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher Bookouture for reviewing purposes. Many thanks for allowing me to read and review this work!

I must be honest. I did not read the blurb for this book before requesting it. Having read the first in the series I jumped at the chance to further explore the world. That being said it kind of threw me when I realized that though Bel and Con are present in this new adventure the book was more a continuation of the world with new character’s story brought to the forefront. In my opinion this book could probably stand alone, but having read the first one did add some enrichment, and backstory in. I love that we got some minor continuation of Bel and Con’s story but at the same time a whole new set of circumstances for our characters here.

Our FMC in this story is Petra, who after the last book and her efforts has been promoted to general for Bel and Con’s military. Bel and Con still preparing for wedding attempt #2. Petra is tasked with guarding Zander, Bel’s brother, while visiting for their wedding. Petra and Zander have some history which is brought to light. Zander arrives from the Empire, followed closely by Lord Teel, one of the Empress’s most favorite courtiers, and company. Turns out Zander may be on the run from the Empress’s plots and schemes and interestingly enough to Con, ever the nerd <3, the Empress has some technology and mecha they are somewhat familiar with. As Petra becomes more involved trying to protect Zander not only from the Empress’s schemes but also from her own past, Lord Teel manages to wheedle his way in. As if all this isn’t enough an old foe of Anthaese long since buried, has reawakened and is now claiming vengeance in the form of a religious uprising. We really got to learn even more about Anthaese’s history in this story and we get to see more of our “dragons” as well as some set up for further dragons.

I felt that the story itself was good and very enjoyable combining the magic of the world with the scifi tech. What kept me from loving it, I think, was the new characters I think. I think it was the lack of diversity of personalities and a lack of depth, neither Petra nor Zander are incredible or stand out really. There was just a lack of passion and intensity throughout the whole story that I think would have been very emotion provoking had it been present. The action and adventure were there, but it was just a little superficial failing to really grasp me and keep me invested even during the most climactic parts. I think that if the author had played up Petra, Zander and even Teel’s characters more and made them deeper it would have had a stunning effect. Even Bel and Con didn’t suck me in quite like in the first story. Where I would have experienced such profound heartbreak and even horror during certain parts of this story, it just didn’t really hit me emotionally like the scenes should have.

I really like this world and look forward to seeing what the story has for us next, however I would really like to see some passion, and intensity in the characters in the next story. Make me really feel it.
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Book Stop: Freebie Friday: Library Hookup Reviews!

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Published: January 17th 2017

Series: Carve the Mark #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy, SciFi

I need to start off by saying that Veronica Roth broke my heart once before so I’ve been avoiding her work whilst taking time to stitch myself back together. I rarely if ever read reviews before I try a book… sometimes I may have to pause the book to go read some reviews especially if I feel like I have a really harsh criticism just to see if it is just me.. In this books case, however, I read the reviews before hand and was set up to force myself to finish it.. but I was so surprised. I had no problem staying super engrossed in the story which moved at a pretty decent pace in comparison to other things I have read. In fact I really liked it. There are parts of the book that seem pretty hopeless and in a lot of books that will bring me down to the point where I start to dislike them but the characters resilience, and determination really made up for those times I thought. The only problems I really had was the lack of backstory really about the worlds and this war that seems to be playing out.. this universe? controlled by this “current,” is pretty complex and it would seem like it has a really rich backstory especially between the people I would have liked a little more of that. I also saw a lot of reviews about the racial connotations and I am embarrassed to say that I read those reviews before hand and completely forgot all about it during the story and it never occurred to me that was going on so I don’t really feel its as “obvious” as they made it seem… either that or I’m just oblivious lol.

The concept we start out with in this story is that every person has a future, but only some have fates. Fates basically being a prophesied future that cannot be changed. What they never stress or tell you is that they can be interpreted a million ways of course…. like all prophecies but no one is supposed to know their “fate” until after death. People, also still have some sort of choices almost like their personality or decisions would effect out the wording on the “fate” is interpreted by life itself. Our MMC Akos and our FMC Cyra come from opposite sides of “the divide.” Akos from a Thuvhe family, 3rd son of the Oracle. Going about his happy life but his mother always hinting at some greater purpose, with a sad demeanor. Up until the day comes where fates were read aloud and his world was turned upside down by the Shotet people, his father murdered and him and his brother kidnapped. Cyra, the daughter of the Shotet King, is cursed by her “currentgift” to always feel and cause pain becomes a tool for her evil elder brother who is determined to conquer his fate and not fall to the Thuvhe ruling family. Ryz her brother has lost his humanity it seems in his desperate attempts to control his people and thwart fate itself. Cyra and Akos are thrown together him being the respite to her curse, but things aren’t exactly what they seem in this world, nor do we honestly know who the real enemy is….

We still have alot of questions plot wise, and some serious intrigue going on here… I have my theories but I don’t want to give any spoilers. One thing is for sure Veronica Roth has no problem killing off some characters… This book was completely engaging for me, nerve racking as well. We are left with a big reveal cliffhanger.. love those (insert sarcasm) lol. Can’t wait to see where this is headed.

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Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: Delacorte Press

Publisher: February 5th 2019

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Such a great continuation of the series. This book picks up right where we left off in book 1. I feel like we are starting to get more and more information about the magic in this world but I think we have only touched the surface. For the most part, I feel like Theo is finally growing up, she is still impulsive and arrogant but she has tempered it with people to care for. What kept me from giving this book 5 stars was that the plot line seemed to drag on at certain parts and during that time there didn’t seem to be anything plot related going on.. almost like we are plotting along and ….squirrel. I get the reasons behind why they start their journey by visiting another land to collect allies but the time spent there almost seemed wasted. We did finally get to point B from point A and I say almost wasted because we did learn some things but it was a long drive.

Theo and her entourage journey to Sta’Crivero, where the King has collected suitors from all the lands to meet with Theo so she can choose a husband best suited to her needs. Since her desire is an army to boot the Kaiser out of Astrea this is her main concern. Little does she know, the scheezy king is basically auctioning her off to the highest bidder and not all the bidders are there to play fair. During their stay they visit the refugee camp and come to the realization that just because they aren’t slaves like in Astrea their quality of life is almost as bad. I love loved Theo and Soren’s relationship in this book.. Its like they cleared the air and from that point on they were completely honest with each other.. no games. It was refreshing. When suitor’s Theo shows interest in start dying, and Soren is implicated, Theo becomes desperate to both save her people and finally escape the Kaiser’s clutches all the while trying to avoid the clutches of someone just as bad. With a not so great plan, and her desperate people at her back Theo finally gets to make a choice of a queen.. her or her kingdom. The surprising part is the person giving her the choice…..and how it turns out.

I can’t believe that we are left with that ending and now have to wait till 2020 for some closure!! Here is to hoping Theo really brings it in the next book! Im also wondering if the next book will pickup right where we left off here… or if some time will have passed due to some circumstances… Uggghhh so far away!!!

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published: Henry Holt and Company

Publisher:  June 17th 2014

Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3Grishaverse #3

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

My excitement for this series has been slowly tapering off as things drag on… I’m not sure what is throwing me off. Maybe its the role confusion here? The bad guys just aren’t bad enough and the good guys just aren’t that good maybe? Or maybe its just Alina.. I had been hoping across the series to finally click with her but she is just so hard to lock down. One minute she is funny and sassy, the next minute she is morose and selfish, and every now and then a burst of self confidence comes out of no where. Its like no matter how much training she has, or how many times a chapter ends with her gaining some conviction from somewhere she is always just freaking wingin’ it. If I had to say anything she just isn’t heroine material… I feel like the story was being led by a side character and I kept waiting on her to truly step up into her destiny or this “Aha” moment but really even with all the events that happened when the story ended… There she was just ordinary… Its like the Shakespeare saying:

” Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” but in this case the character was like “oh Heck no”… lol.

We start right where book 2 left off. Alina and her “sun” followers along with her loyal Grisha gang are trapped underground, while the Apparat tries to play his leadership games. Alina is left without all her powers after her last run in with the Darkling, and she is desperate for some sort of hope of beating him so they set off to find the last amplifier. The “real” light of this book and the book before it, Nikolai, catches up with them and they head off to rally their allies. Betrayal from in their midst, leads them straight to the Darkling and yet another battle ensues in which mother and son must face off while Alina goes in search of the 3rd amplifier. We got more and more backstory on the amplifiers themselves and the man who first had the idea for them. As Alina continue’s her journey it becomes increasingly obvious that not only does she not want what seems to be her destiny but she is almost desperately trying to put off making any decisions or committing herself while she grasps for what she truly wants. As warnings catch up to her Alina realizes that the she will need the 3rd amplifier to defeat the darkness and the fold but the cost is just too much….

I really liked the plot twist at the end, but where, in the 2nd book, it seems like Alina is embracing her awesomeness and her destiny, it just isn’t happening she is back and forth giving me the whiplash. Also, I do feel like the ending was a little abrupt, like we really didn’t get to see the effects of their journey really. I think all in all it was a good series but it was not what I would call epic. I am super excited though, to read Nikolai’s story because he has been my favorite from his first scene!

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