Review for Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

TITLE: Fairest
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
NARRATOR: Rebecca Soler
PUBLICATION DATE: Jaunary 27, 2015 / January 27, 2015
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Audio
PAGES: 272 pages / 6 hours 36 minutes
FORMAT: Hardback / Audio
SOURCE: GoodReads First Reads Program / borrowed
RATING: 3 bows


We all know Queen Levana as the evil dictator who is trying to take over Earth, but here is her past. In this novel, we get to back things up and see the teen years that shaped Levana into the Queen we all love to hate. We get to see her overcome her sister’s taunts and rise to power. It’s an interesting journey, to say the least!

From the moment this book was announced, I knew I’d have to read it. I adore the Lunar Chronicles and it’s still quite a few months before Winter finally arrives, so I needed something to tide me over. I was also very apprehensive. I hate Levana. I want the bitch to die and die bloody. I want to watch as they torment her and kill her slowly. I want that, really I do. I was worried that we’d get redeeming charactaristics here, worried that I’d start to sympathize with her, maybe even feel sorry for her and I did not want that to happen. For all of those with the same fear, that will not happen. Yes, Levana has a sad childhood, being tormented by Channary, her elder sister, but that doesn’t really gain her sympathy because she is already well on her way to being a psychopath from page one of this. And her actions get increasingly disturbing as the novel continues. She is obsessed with her guard, Evret, and she takes that obsession to the extreme. She isn’t initially obsessed with ruling the kingdom, but it eventually shows up and once her mind latches onto that idea, nothing will deter her. The woman tries to murder her own niece, a goddamn toddler.

The rest of the cast is really insignificant. We get brief glimpses of Selene and just a few moments with Winter, the only two besides Levana that really play a role in the rest of the series. The only two I really care about. I felt bad for Evret because he is forced into a terrible situation and he has no way out. Levana will never let him leave and have his life with Winter. That is never a possibility, so he soldiers on with his life and tries to make due with what he has.

I think I was doomed to feel mediocre about this from the start. I am very (VERY) character driven and since I just want Levana to die, I wasn’t really invested in her life or what she did. There were a few tense moments with Evret or the moment when she “kills” Selene that I did want to keep going, but for the most part, this wasn’t something that held my attention. Again, this isn’t due to a lack of awesomeness on Meyer’s part, just a lack of interest on mine.

I originally won a copy of this gorgeous hardback from GoodReads and planned to read through it, but then I saw that Rebecca Soler was doing the audio edition and I’d have to listen to it. I’ve been listening to the prior books with my husband anyway, so why not enjoy this together as well? To really show how little of my interest this held, let me just put it this way. This audiobook is tiny, less than 7 hours and it took us 2 months to finish it because we just had no interest in getting through it.

It gets three stars because it isn’t bad. It had it’s interesting moments and I did like learning a bit more of Levana’s backstory, but I just didn’t care enough overall to love it like I have with the rest of the series.

Audio Notes:
Rebecca Soler is now my husband’s favorite narrator. She has done a wonderful job with this series in particular. My lack of enthusiasm here is not due to her performance. Though she doesn’t really get to stretch her vocal muscles as much as I’d like here because it’s mostly Levana’s narration and her voice is the only one needed, I still think she does an excellent job.

***Thank you to Goodreads and Feiwel & Friends for providing me with a hardcover copy of this in exchange for an honest review.***

3 bows
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Review for Game For Marriage (Game For It #1) by Karen Erickson

Game For Marriage by Karen Erickson

TITLE: Game For Marriage
SERIES: Game For It #1
AUTHOR: Karen Erickson
NARRATOR: Deanna Hurst
PUBLICATION DATE: January 11, 2013 / January 13, 2015
PUBLISHER: Entangled Publishing (Brazen) / Audible Studios
PAGES: 170 pages / 7 hours 36 minutes
FORMAT: Audiobook
SOURCE: Review copy via Wordsmith Publicity
RATING: 3 bows

Sheridan Harper is the textbook definition of struggling artist. She loves her work and is very talented, but she is barely scraping by. So when Jared Quinn makes her an offer that promises a lot of money, she really doesn’t have any choice but to take it. After a one night stand with explosive chemistry, Jared’s publicist makes offers her a truckload of money to fake a marriage to Quinn so they can improve his image. The only problem? The contract has a no-sex clause and despite how much they fight it, both parties feel the attraction.

Okay, so that description sucks and I am well aware. Maybe after reading this, you guys will understand why I am taking a that review-writing break. Why am I writing this as I am on said break? One of the conditions of reviewing this audiobook was to have the review up within 30 days of the download and I endeavor to be a woman of my word. I’m also a tiny bit scared that I’ll take a longer break from reviewing than I originally intended and I don’t want this review to be late. It’s bad enough that this is not going to be a 5 star review as I did not love the book. Let’s not add injury to the insult of a mediocre review.

Sheridan was someone I could pretty easily empathize with. Though I can’t draw (or paint or color or doodle) to save my life, I understand the situation she was in. Struggle to get all the bills paid is a pretty common situation to those of us in the upper lower class/lower middle class life. I could immediately see why she would want to take the deal. But then she starts annoying me. The no-sex clause, first of all, was a moment of pure idiocy. It’s obvious you want to sleep with him again. It’s also obvious that Jared is a man-whore of the highest order. He can’t sleep with anyone else during this year or the press will paint him a cheating scum-bag and you aren’t allowing him to sleep with you. Are you expecting him to take a year-long vow of celibacy? That seems like a disaster waiting to happen and we both know it. Completely ignoring that fact, it’s clear that you want to sleep with him again and it’s equally clear that a lack of bedroom activity is not enough to keep you from falling in love with the man. It’s just an idiotic plan from top to bottom, so you should go ahead and wave the white flag now. Basically, from the moment she was offered the deal, I wanted to shake her.

I wasn’t that much more fond of Jared. He’s arrogant and controlling. He is determined to make everything his fault and he refuses to accept help. He makes a big deal on how everyone is counting on him, but when they bring someone in to take the stress off him, he resents it and gets mad. Also, he acts like a caveman when it comes to Sheridan. He shows the occasional sweet side, but most of the time he just wants to throw her over his shoulder and haul her into his bedroom and never leave. I found that….irritating.

My biggest issue with this is same one I’ve had with the past few romance/erotica novels I’ve read. I’m so sick of hearing about how huge his cock is. I get it! I understand that the man has a dick the size of my forearm. Mental image received. I don’t need to hear about it ad naseum and I certainly don’t want to either.
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I understand this is a fantasy for many a housewife, but what part of that sounds appealing? It sounds rather painful to me. Also, life is just about sex.
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There are many things that cause people joy beyond the physical pleasures, but I feel like that is all the contemporary novels focus on lately. Maybe this is why I’ve stuck to YA for so long because YA never puts all the focus on sex. There is the meeting and getting to know you and mutual interests. There is a general building of a relationship in contemporary YA. Not necessarily in other parts of YA where instalove is everywhere, but I digress.

This is also a novel about a hot man meeting a beautiful woman and each loving the other’s perfect body. The pretty people make sweet sweet love and, I’m sure, will some day have gorgeous children.
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At some point, is anyone else going to get tired of this? I mean, I get it, fantasy-world, we want the guys to be super tall with six-pack abs and a gorgeous face. Fantasy-world us would be slim with hug tits, a nice ass, flat tummy, and slim thighs. But life isn’t a fantasy and isn’t it exhausting trying to live up to that image? What kind of message does that send? Women doing millions of crunches because we believe no “hot” guy would want us as is. Men spending hours at the gym because what “attractive” female would want them if they don’t have a six pack and enough arm strength to carry them around. Besides the idea of fantasy is that we can live it out ourselves in our heads and how can we do that if we believe the leading man would want us once he glimpses our not perfect body? ::end rant::

Basically, this had some good in it. I did listen to it quite quickly, so it was interesting enough to keep me going. I did have that hope that the main two would eventually work things out and ride off into the sunset. I am vaguely curious about the rest of the series. But I didn’t love it like I expected to. In fact, I didn’t love it at all. I like it, but definitely not love.

Audio notes:
Deanna does a pretty fair job narrating this. There is nothing about her that stands out as irritating in my mind. I enjoyed her voice and her pacing. I didn’t especially love her, but I did enjoy her work. I would definitely be okay with listening to more of her work.

****Thank you to Wordsmith Publicity and Karen Erickson for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for Alpha (Alpha #1) by Jasinda Wilder

Alpha by Jasinda Wilder

TITLE: Alpha
SERIES: Alpha #1
AUTHOR: Jasinda Wilder
NARRATOR: Summer Roberts & Tyler Donne
PUBLICATION DATE: April 29, 2014 / May 27, 2014
PUBLISHER: Seth Clarke / Seth Clarke
PAGES: 450 pages / 11 hours 49 minutes
FORMAT: Audiobook
SOURCE: Review copy via Audible
RATING: 3 bows

Kyrie St Clair is out of options. She has lost her job, she is behind on her rent, and she has people depending on her to get the bills paid. So when a check for ten grand shows up in the mail, addressed to her with no return address and a memo simply reading “you”, she cashes it. She has no other choice. When a second check shows up, with a more ominous “belong” on the memo line, she is even more worried, but she cashed the first, so she might as well dig her hole deeper. A third reading “to me” completes the statement and Kyrie knows she is in a world of trouble. But nothing happens. She receives a check each month for an entire year before a man in a suit shows up at her door to collect her. It’s time to pay her debt and she has no choice but to go with the man to meet her fate. What will that bring? You’ll have to read to find out.

At first, I sympathized with Kyrie. It’s hard not to with the situation she is in. Her dad is dead, her mom is crazy, and someone has to pay her and her brother’s college tuition. She has been dealt a hard hand, there is no doubt about that. But, with bills piling up for her tuition, her brother’s tuition, her mom’s medical care, and basic living expenses, why the hell would you choice a career path for a social worker?
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Regardless of the fact that you need a masters degree to even get in the door in that profession, it won’t pay enough to take care of your own college debt, much less support anyone else. The very first thing she should have done was change her career path. It doesn’t really seem like the right choice for her. At no point did I see her as an overly caring individual meant to spend her days helping the less fortunate. I’m not saying she should give up all her dreams, but part of the growing up act is realizing what you can and can’t have. Also, tell your brother to start helping out! He is just as capable of getting a job to at least contribute a little!
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And the further I got into the novel, the more irritated I became with her. I understand you have no real choice in this situation, but for someone so determined to stand on her own and pay her families bills, you sure do hand over that control pretty quickly. Roth makes it clear that you are free to leave whenever you wish, so why not?

Speaking of Roth, I can’t say I’m a fan. I didn’t dislike him, but I’m not a huge fan of that whole Alpha male thing and this guy is a bit too controlling for my liking. He actually wasn’t too terribly bad on the alpha male side and he demands that Kyrie knows everything is consensual and he won’t even hurt her. I don’t understand his fascination with her. She’s not that amazing, but I digress. You don’t learn very much about him and anything I say could be counted as a spoiler since you don’t learn much until closer to the end.

Plotwise, this was fine, if predictable. There are certain twists you see coming miles away. If you are looking for a story to shock you with plot-twists, this is not it. I went in expecting a little more meat to the story. I went in expecting a story with a bunch of sex and instead got the novel equivalent of a porno. I realize that I asked for that in some ways because this is labeled an erotica novel, but I felt like it was a bit over the top. In all fairness, I’m not sure if this is because it really is worse than you’re typical erotica novel or if that was just the added effect of listening to it on audio. When reading, you can skim over parts and skip things, like excessive endearments or exclamations (trust me, I’ll get to that in a moment), but you can’t do that with audio. Or, I imagine you could, but it would be tricky to do so without missing something important.

If I’m being completely honest, there were several things that bothered me about this and it’s quite possible that it’s just me being picky. Regardless, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them. The #1 thing that irritated me above all else was the repeated mention of how huge this guy’s dick was. I got it the first time you said it, okay?
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This is an erotica novel, so you can mention it a time or two more, because…well, just because I’m in an giving mood.
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But this goes above and beyond. I’ll leave out my opinions on romance novels going overboard with the whole “I want a guy with a cock so huge that it literally hurts me to fuck” cliche. Maybe I’m sheltered, but I just don’t understand the appeal.
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But this novel mentions it every at least once every 20 minutes after the first time she sees it.
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I’m not exaggerating on that. She goes on and on (and on and on and on) about it. I UNDERSTAND! The man’s dick is the size of my forearm. Mental image is a check there. I DON’T NEED YOU REPEATING IT AD NAUSEAM. It got old, really fucking fast (tehehe, did you see what I did there?). And just when you thought she has accepted this fact, she’d go on and on again.
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Even if I let that particular pet peeve go, I have a logistics question for you. If he is so big, does it not follow that she will be tight to him?
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Obviously she is not used to getting it on with someone so well endowed, since she makes such a big deal about it? Also, let me clarify here that when she says “big,” she is referring to girth as well as length. It’s like putting a rubber band that is made to fit around a cucumber over a soda bottle. Will it stretch to accommodate? Most likely, but it’ll be a tight fit!

The other thing that annoyed me was that Roth was so damn handsome. Yes, I understand that this is a fantasy and all (hence the enormous cock), but why must the man be so pretty that it hurts. That kinda kills the fantasy for me because it’s so far from the realm of normal. If I fantasize about someone gorgeous like Matt Bomer, I’m eventually going to be less focused on the smexiness and more focused on what the hell Matty is doing with someone normal like me. Especially considering the man I picked for me fantasy land is very very gay.
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In all seriousness, I’m sick of reading about inhumanly pretty guys. Can’t I have an normal guy? An average guy who is attractive but someone flawed? And by flawed, I don’t mean deeply mentally and emotionally scarred by a depressing past? Is that too much to ask?

Basically, I was a bit disappointed with this. I will definitely be steering clear of the audio versions of erotica novels for a while.
If you like erotica with it’s over-exaggerations, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. If you are looking for something a bit deeper to connect with, look elsewhere.

Audio notes
Ummm…Summer was okay? I didn’t love her or hate her, she was just in the middle somewhere. Decent narrator with average pacing and voice differentiation. There was nothing particularly amazing about her performance, but that very well may be because of material given. I’ll keep my mind open for her and definitely give another novel narrated by her a chance. As far as Tyler goes, you don’t get much to go on. For those who see two narrator names and expect this to be told in dual perspectives, please let go of that notion now. It isn’t. You get a itty bitty bit of Roth perspective at the very end and I’m not overly impressed with the tiny bit Tyler did. He was mediocre at best. I won’t avoid a novel narrated by him, but I’m definitely not going to seek it out.

****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood #2) by Victoria Scott

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

TITLE: Salt & Stone
SERIES: Fire & Flood #2
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 3 bow

Tella Holloway has become much stronger than she was at the start of the Brimstone Bleed. A trek through a jungle and across a desert will do that to you. Now, as she prepares to go into the second half of this deadly race to save her brother, she wonders if she is really strong enough to make it through. Can she really defeat all these people? Can she, a girl who spent her life in search of the perfect dress and cup of coffee, really go head to head with a group of adults and really come out victorious? And could she have survived the first half without Guy’s help? This second installment of the Fire & Flood series comes with just as much peril and self-doubt, but an altogether stronger Tella. Let’s see if she can haul ass and save her brother’s life.

It’s been a while since I read Fire & Flood, so my love for Tella had to be made over. I remember loving her sassiness in F&F as well as her pandora, but I didn’t quite remember her exactly as she is. At the beginning of this, I was annoyed at her. She keeps trying to step out from underneath Guy’s shadow and lead the group and that isn’t what I wanted to see. I wanted to see her follow Guy’s lead and maybe watch a few hidden make-out scenes. Every time she went against him, I wanted to smack her. And then she learns that he doesn’t believe she can stand on her own, that he isn’t sure she could have made it this far without him, and she’s is devastated…and more determined than ever to stand on her own two feet. During that whole speech, I was a little conflicted. I mean, on the one hand, you kinda have to agree with him. She doesn’t know how to survive on the land and may well have starved or died of dehydration without him. On the other, that is a harsh thing to admit and Tella is always stronger than anyone gives her credit for. Then, she starts making smarter decision and slowly earns everyone’s respect and I was finally okay with her stepping out. But it wasn’t an immediately response. The thing that always won me over from moment one was her love for her Pandora and that is amplified here. She reaches out to all the Pandoras and does what she can to protect them as they would her.

Despite his harsh words and general unwillingness to talk, I still love Guy. He’s constantly doing whatever he can to keep Tella safe, even when Tella doesn’t want him to risk his neck for her. Even if his actions are misguided, he still shows a great deal of care for Tella’s well being and it’s obvious that he cares for her, even if he can’t bring himself to say the words.

One of the things I applauded Scott for in my review of Fire & Flood was the novel’s brutality. This is no different than that. While I still applaud Scott for not holding back, it still broke my heart in many ways…as I’m sure it broke hers. We get more character death here and that’s harder to take because I’ve become even more attached to them by now. You all know I’m not a fan of character death. While I am aware that at story of this caliber requires character death (because it’s preposterous to believe they can all make this deadly trek without casualties), that doesn’t make it any easier for me to read. Besides the character death, the Pandora deaths are what really brought me down to a sob-worthy level. Just to be clear, I don’t want novels to make me sob. I respect that it takes a certain skill to bring your readers to such a state where they feel the need to shed real-world tears over a fictional event, but that is not what I seek when I look for a new novel. ANYWAY, by the time you reach the end of this, you know where it’s going Pandora-wise. We’ve really all felt it heading this way since the first introduction of the companions, but we were just hoping we were wrong, that Scott would find another way to devastate us. Trust you’re instincts on this because that is exactly where it’s going and you were spot on. And it’s heartbreaking. Devastating doesn’t seem a strong enough word. I won’t say more than that and the fact that it broke me.

Beyond the character death and the brutality, this novel is spectacular. I was able to continue reading it and enjoying it despite my issues and that’s saying something. The writing and plot blew me away, just like they did in the first novel. This is so very different than Scott’s Dante Walker series and I really liked that. It’s a very intense little book. I was one I could never binge read because it’s too potent. That is, until the last 100 pages when I didn’t care if my brain melted because I had to know what happened next. Does Tella win? DOES SHE? I’m not telling! But I’m excited about what comes next. Though this ends on a cliffhanger (is anyone really surprised by that?), I’m excited to see how the group works to take down this crazy company that is killing people for sport.

The low rating here is mostly due to character and animal death. I can be forgiving at times and I know some think it’s unfair to rate a book I enjoyed 3 stars because it’s a mediocre rating, but that’s just how it works for me. Animal death is something to grabs me more than character death. That’s my real-world personality showing through because I’m a big animal lover and I don’t like the thought of them being abused. Beyond that, this is a great follow-up to Fire & Flood. If you enjoyed that, you’ll love this. Just, you know, be prepared because no one is safe and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

****Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for The Liberator (Dante Walker #2) by Victoria Scott

The Liberator by Victoria Scott

TITLE: The Liberator
SERIES: Dante Walker #2
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: August 27, 2013
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
PAGES: 331 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 3 bows

Dante Walker has officially jumped sides. He is no longer a badass collector of souls for Lucifer. Instead, he liberates souls for God. He’s first assignment? Liberate Aspen’s soul. Aspen is exactly like he was before he jump sides and it is hard to fight the desire to lapse into his old ways of partying and sinning. He has to stay strong because if he fails this assignment, he’ll have to say good-bye to his liberator cuff and Charlie AKA the love of his life. Can he keep his cool or will he blow his chances to stay on Team Heaven?

Dante is still a character that irritates me. Actually Dante may irritate me more here than he did in The Collector. Everything about him bugs me. As a Collector, I kept hoping I would see him actually be the “man” he claimed to be. You know, the bad guy? Swearing and being a general jackass. Once he became a Liberator, I knew that wouldn’t happen. Call me crazy, but I hate censored swearing. When something happens, all the real words help and anything else sounds stupid. Either commit or don’t do it at all. I obviously curse like a fucking sailor and I hate moments when I have to reel that in for work or other reasons. I like colorful language and, in the end, they are just words. Either way, Dante drove me up a damn wall. He’s so fucking cocky and annoying and I really began to hate him here.

Charlie wasn’t much better. She goes all stupid in the beginning, doing things that are so far out of character that I had a very difficult time believing she would do them. Charlie is the “good girl” and that mentality is ingrained. It’s not something that you can just shrug off. I was never a huge Charlie fan, but I liked her well enough in The Collector and I wanted that to continue here.

Then we have Aspen, the soul Dante is meant to Liberate. I don’t have an opinion on her. I don’t feel like we know enough about her by the end to really form an opinion. All we get is what Dante sees and thinks and I feel like there is much much more to her than that. She is hiding things and I wanted to slap her and tell her to let go. She also jumps onto the Charlie bandwagon very quickly in my opinion. Chick is basically a heathen. She shows no religious affiliations, but I’m supposed to believe that she just trusts Dante enough to believe his and Charlie’s story and the existence of deities? Okay, this may have been more a problem for me and my atheist ways than the average reader, but I felt like she needed more convincing.

The whole God/Devil thing is actually a bit difficult for me. The fact that Dante rarely ever calls them by their names, instead referring to God as Big Guy and Lucifer as Lucille, drove me fucking nuts. Dude, you are agent of God now, at least say his damn name properly. I’ve read angel and demon books before and I have no problems with them, so I can’t say exactly why this irritated me, but it did. Dante also plays that whole tortured, I don’t deserve to be saved because I’m a “bad” guy card here that made me want to scream.

Really, I should have never requested the eARC of book 3 of this series, The Warrior. While I enjoyed The Collector, I didn’t love it like everyone else did. I did love Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott (and I’m desperate for the sequel), but this series just irks me. I did give in, however, and was approved for it, so I had to muddle through this one first. I figured it would be the same 4 star level The Collector was, but it irritated me a lot more. Or maybe I was just more forgiving when I read The Collector? I really don’t know, but either way, this got on my nerves.

It gets 3 stars because it wasn’t horrible and it had it’s good moments. The writing is pretty good. It just wasn’t for me. I took me almost a month to finish it and that speaks volumes. Basically, if you liked The Collector and Dante in it, you’ll like this. If Dante irritated the fuck out of you in The Collector, then that is only going to continue here.

3 bows
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Review for Of Monsters & Madness by Jessica Verday

Of Monsters & Madness by Jessica Verday

TITLE: Of Monsters & Madness
AUTHOR: Jessica Verday
PUBLICATION DATE: September 9, 2014
PAGES: 288 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Freebie shelf at Malaprops
RATING: 3 bows

Annabel Lee has just been summoned to Philadelphia by her father. Her mother sadly perished before they could make the trip and now Annabel feels all alone. She hopes that she’ll make a connection with her father but he turns out to be cold and almost cruel. Then she meets Allan, her father’s assistant, and he is so very sweet she can’t help but like him. But it’s clear that something strange is going on in her father’s lab. She is desperate to find out the secret but also scared of her father’s reaction to her snooping. And there is Edgar to consider, always lurking about. Can she uncover the secret and stay out of trouble or is she doomed to be caught and punished?

Annabel was a character I sympathized with, but also found a little annoying. Her fascination with medicine was great because that’s not something we see a bunch in YA. It makes sense, seeing as her mother was a doctor’s assistant and she assisted her mother. What wasn’t so great is how she lets her father bully her around. He looks down upon her interest in medicine as a bad thing even though he is the crazy scientist. That makes sense because this is a written in Poe’s lifetime and woman didn’t get involved in medicine then. What bothered me was how she lets it make her feel. I get that, in the beginning, all she wants is to please her father and that means giving up things that make him angry. By the middle, however, she should realize that he’s crazy and mean and his opinion shouldn’t matter.

Allan and Edgar, well I’m not entirely sure of either of them. Edgar is obviously a creeper….
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and I just hated him. I think you are supposed to. He seems to be the main bad guy, but I was never entirely sure. It almost felt like things would flip and you’d suddenly see Edgar in a new light as the good guy. That never happens, so I don’t know how to feel about him. Allan was sweet and cute, but I wasn’t ever really sure. He keeps writing poetry, which was expected because he is modeled as Edgar Allan Poe, but it always gave off a stalkerish vibe. His whole relationship with Annabel felt a little insta-lovey. He saves her from drowning, so that’s a connection, but the whole thing just felt off.

I’ve avoided this review for a while. It’s a hard one for me to write because I have genuinely loved all the other stuff I’ve read by Jessica Verday. The Hollow trilogy is amazing and that short story she wrote for the Entrhalled anthology was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. I was overjoyed when I was approved for this eARC. I get to read Verday’s newest novel?
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It’s about Edgar Allen Poe and Annabel Lee?
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Happiness is an understatement. But I didn’t love it. It’s not horrible, but it’s not up that Verday awesomeness level that I’m used to. The plot is a slow, the mystery is predictable, and the romance was just mehish. It felt like it was missing something. Add to that the fact that it ends in a cliffhanger fashion, but there is no announcement of any type of sequel and you can see why I’m making a frownie face. That’s how this story ends? You gave me absolutely no closure! What was the thought process for ending it there? Mmmm….I’ve built everything up to the boiling point, what should I do next? Ooooo…I know! Stop right here and make them wonder for all eternity what happens next!
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I think I might have enjoyed this a little more if I hadn’t had such high expectations for it. I was expecting awesome and I got mediocre and that was such a letdown. Jessica, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. I wanted to love it, I really did, but I don’t. For everyone out there interested in this, just beware that the ending doesn’t resolve much. I don’t know about you, but that really bugs me. It’s probably my love for Jessica that keeps me from rage rating it a 1 star because I’ve given one star rating for much less. It’s an interesting story, but it’s slow and it doesn’t give you that happily ever after I’m always searching for.

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls #2) by Krystal Wade

Wilde's Amry by Krystal Wade

TITLE: Wilde’s Army
SERIES: Darkness Falls #2
AUTHOR: Krystal Wade
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press
PAGES: 317 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 3 bows

Katriona Wilde’s life was turned upside down in the last novel. Now, she’s trying to live with that, rescue her love, and build an army to fight a war. She feels ill prepared, but pushes forward. She is forced into a shakey alliance with Perth, the man she is supposed to marry due to a betrothal beyond her control. That isn’t ever going to happen. She will be with Arland, as soon as she rescues him and Perth can either deal with it or not. But Perth isn’t really the problem. The feud between the people of this magical land is. She has to unite them. She has to have an army to fight a war. How will she ever make that happen?

Instead of doing my usual spiel about each important character, I’m going to…..
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Well I don’t know what I’m going to do, but not that. I feel like I can’t really go in depth about any particular character because I don’t really care about any of them. Or maybe that’s not true. Maybe I’m just irritated about them. Kate has that special little snowflake thing going on, which is fine…except I’m incredibly tired of that. There’s one person who can save us all or we all die painfully. Oh? She fell in the tub and pushed her head and is now dead?
Well, fuck. I never truly loved them, but now there are so many that you can stand in a book store and point in any direction and I assure you there will be a book in that area about a special little snowflake.

The only character I really liked a little was Perth, which I don’t think was the intended reaction. He is the only one that shows growth. He is genuinely trying to help and improve even though it goes against everything and it could get him killed. He is also witty and funny and I felt so bad for him because we know he’s not getting the girl.

One of my issues, besides the special little snowflake thing, was the way it was written. This is the second book in a trilogy. I have read the first one, but it was a llllllllooooonnnnnnnggggggg time ago. This isn’t really written in a way that makes it easy to understand if you haven’t either just finished the first one or don’t have enough braincells to accurate remember the majority of the first one, regardless of when you read it. This is a problem for me. Upon finishing the first one, I found I didn’t like it overly much. That was back when I first started reviewing and I requested the second one mainly to give it a chance to improve and then the third one because, hey, might as well finish the series, right?
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But then life happened and I got approved for more books and these kinda feel by the wayside because I wasn’t really overly enthused about them. My very convoluted point is that these can definitely not be read as stand-alones. You need the first one and since my recollection of Wilde’s Fire is fuzzy at best, I was more than a little lost many times.

I had to listen to this thing entirely on audio. Had I needed to actual read to get through it, I have a feeling it would have taken me a lot longer to get through. I feel like not only is it plagued with SLS syndrome, but it’s also got that middle book thing going on. Things happen, but not a lot….besides lots of character death. Which usually bugs me, but since I couldn’t remember who half the people where or Kate’s connection to them, I was mostly okay with them. There is some fighting and stuff, but nothing that felt like it mattered.

It gets three stars because there is nothing specifically wrong with it, I just didn’t care much for it on a whole. What I’m trying to say is that if you didn’t love the first book, this one isn’t going to be an improvement. It’s more of the same. If you loved the first one, I see no reason you won’t love this. I already have the audio for book three, so hopefully I’ll get to that sooner rather than later. I don’t hold high hopes that I’ll love it, but anything is possible!

****Thank you to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for Stray (Untitled #1) by Elissa Sussman

Stray by Elissa Sussman

TITLE: Stray
SERIES: Untitled #1
AUTHOR: Elissa Sussman
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2014
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 3 bows

Princess Aislynn has spent her life trying to follow her Path. This dictates that she will refrain from using magic because only wicked girls do that and she will await her 16th birthday with grace and dignity. Upon that day, she’ll meet many suitors and must find one to marry within a year or she will be Redirected to life as a fairy god-mother. But Aislynn has a difficult time adhering to the rules because her magic is powerful and hard to keep under control. She will not deviate from her Path, no matter how her body craves the magic and all will work out well, right?

Aislynn was a character that I felt extremely bad for. She is constantly getting the short end of the stick and she doesn’t really do anything to deserve it. It’s not like she can stop the magic flowing through her veins or prevent the awful teasing that pushes her over the edge. The problem was that even though I could sympathize with her, I really didn’t care about her. I spent a good deal of the novel confused as to who the bad guy was and why was magic so bad to really spend time getting behind Aislynn’s issues. Yes, life for her sucks, but I’ve got more important things to work out here!

That was a problem for me is that I don’t understand the bad guys motives completely. Maybe I’m just dense, but I don’t get it! It felt a bit too political for my YA tastes (or for my tastes in general because I don’t care for politics). I also felt like it was very slow. The things that were occurring were of interest, but they felt like they were happening in slow-motion. I just wanted to put things in fast-forward. I had a difficult time stopping myself from skipping ahead because I just didn’t want to hear the endless amounts of stuff being said or done. I was also expecting something fairy-tale-esque and I feel like I was letdown. The story has magical and fairy godmothers, but fairy-tales are about more than that.

It gets 3 stars because the writing was good and the characters were interesting. Also because it’s not difficult to read. This was not a novel I had to force myself to continue with. I kept going because I wanted to see how it would end and I needed to know what happened next. Unfortunately, when I requested this, I didn’t realize it was the first book of a series so I was not expecting yet another cliffhanger. I was not happy about that, if you couldn’t tell. I think that was part of my problem, is I was expected a stand-alone, so I wanted everything to be laid out and explained all within this novel and we don’t get that because there has to be content for the next book and the one after that, so we can’t be giving away all the secrets up front.

All in all, this is an interesting novel with a great concept, it just wasn’t all that I was expecting it to be. It’s marketed as a new fairy tale but it doesn’t deliver on that level and the plot takes so long to get into that I wondered a time or two if I was ever going to understand what was going on. There is a bit of romance mixed in for my love story lovers, but it’s very downplayed. There is only a little humor, so don’t expect to be giggling while Aislynn makes her journey. This is a decent novel, I was just expecting so much more. Maybe you’ll disagree!

****Thank you to Greenwillow for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for A Shimmer Of Angels (Angel Sight #1) by Lisa M Basso

A Shimmer Of Angels by Lisa M Basso

TITLE: A Shimmer Of Angels
SERIES: Angel Sight #1
AUTHOR: Lisa M Basso
PUBLICATION DATE: January 29, 2013
PAGES: 321 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 2 bows

Rayna has been seeing angels since her mothers death. Believing the visions are hallucinations, she is quickly shipped off the the mental hospital to get better. Now, she has been released with a clean bill of health (provided she take her meds) and is now starting high school. The problem? She has quit her meds and is now seeing angel wings attached to the new kid at school. Then a kid at school commits suicide and Ray’s life changes. The angels are not only real, but dark ones are responsible for the suicides. The angels need Rayna’s help to save her classmates, but is she up to the task?

Ray was a character I was on the fence about. I loved the fact that she thought she was crazy. It’s the natural response when you start seeing things that aren’t supposed to be real, but it’s one we don’t see in YA much. Most YA heroine’s just accept that the things are real with little to no convincing. My problem initially started when I learned she was off her meds. You are finally at a point that you have stopped “hallucinating” and you just decide it’s not worth it anymore? We don’t get much of a reason she stops the meds beyond the normal “bad side-effects” excuse. This always bugs me and it’s a decision I can’t understand. The meds are meant to help you and you are just giving up on that help. I get that for the plot of this novel to move forward, she has to be able to see the wings and discover that angels are real, but it was a flimsy reason for me. I know all medicine has side effects. My husband is bipolar, so trust me, I get it. But either you want to get better or you don’t and I have a hard time relating to a character that throws away her chance for better.

The males, Cam and Kade, are nothing new or excited. The same basic points in a normal YA love triangle. Cam is the good guy, the angel, and Kade is the supposed bad guy, the fallen angel, but who isn’t all that bad. These two were the start of another problem. I hate love triangles. I was pleasantly surprised when Ray’s male BFF, Lee, doesn’t make a play for Ray. I breathed a sigh of relief to avoid that particular cliche because I hate to see the nice friend character lose, but it’s not here. That avoided, I was sure the love triangle element would be avoided, but no such luck. Not long after Cam enters the picture, Kade shows up. Kade, by the way, is clearly the better choice. Cam is righteous and silent and just blah. I wasn’t a fan. Whereas Kade actually helps Ray when she needs him and pushes her to stay safe instead of pushing her to help with a cause that will obviously put her in danger.

The writing was decent enough, but the plot was wholly predictable. It starts off pretty interesting. The premise of the novel, with a “crazy” heroine was pretty attractive when I requested it and it starts off on that angle, with Ray fighting for sanity and completely believing she is crazy. Angels aren’t real. People don’t have wings. It’s just a hallucination brought on by the stress of her mom’s death and she needs to stay away from stressful situations (and stay on her meds!). I felt like that was a believable storyline, the type that would really happen if I started seeing blindingly bright wings attached to people that no one else could see. We get a crazy heroine, a spunky best friend, and the normal family drama that would go with the crazy. Great start, really, it was difficult to put down for the first 50 or so pages. And then it was like Basso forgot was she was doing. From that point on, it’s all the typical YA stereotypes shoved into one. We get the love triangle, the bad boy vs good boy, the “unexplanable” connection, the heroine’s need to sacrifice herself to save her friends/family, and several more wrapped into one. It felt like Twilight and Fallen had mashed together to create a new and boring tale. I don’t even understand how Ray manages to fall for Cam. He’s there a good bit in the beginning, but I didn’t feel them connect at all, whereas I could definitely feel the tension between her and Kade.

With this book I feel like the author set out to write a new and different YA angel novel and then either forgot that was her goal or became self-conscious about the ability of the idea to succeed. I feel like it was trying too hard to give people what they wanted as opposed to following where the characters lead. It has great potential, but there was just no follow through. It could have been epic and different and new, but instead feel prey to the same tired YA troupes we see constantly. I think people who loved Fallen or other basic angel stories will love it, but if you are looking for something different, this definitely isn’t it.

****Thank you to Month9Books LLC for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
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Review for The Moment We Began (Fairhope #2) by Sarra Cannon

The Moment We Began by Sarra Cannon

TITLE: The Moment We Began
SERIES: Fairhope #2
AUTHOR: Sarra Cannon
PUBLICATION DATE: September 15, 2013
PUBLISHER: All Night Reads
PAGES: 247 pages
FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 3 bows

Penny Wright has loved Mason Trent for years. He is her twin brothers best friend and, as a result, also a close friend of hers. When things between them shift to friends with benefits territory, she is sure she can handle it. Having part of him is better than none, right? Until she sees him with other women, which breaks her heart. Now, after too many months of torment, she is determined to win him over, to have him all to herself, no more sharing…and she is willing to do whatever necessary to make it happen.

Penny was a character that instantly got on my nerves and it doesn’t really improve throughout the novel. She has some growth, but I had a hard time believe anything she did that didn’t fit into my mental image of her. On page 1, she is a spoiled rich girl with little care for anything besides her brother and winning over Mason. After that point, we get to see various other talents and interests, but they just didn’t quite match my grasp of the character. My grasp could have been way off, but it is still how I felt. Every time she’d give a business suggestion or do something seemingly nice, I felt like it was the author trying to give us a reason to sympathize with Penny instead of hate her and it didn’t work for me. I have a hard time giving sympathy to…this is going to sound so bad, but to the poor little rich girl dramas. Money can’t buy everything, boohoohoo. As any bookworm can tell you, money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy books and that’s really the same thing. I realize there are a lot of problems money can’t solve, but when this brat is given everything she could possibly want or need and she still has the need to complain about everything? She eventually gets a $100 spending limit and goes ballistic. Mommy and Daddy cover everything from the roof over her head to her food and college tuition and now she can only spend $100 a week on extra?!? Who could possibly get by on that paltry amount?
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After this point, I can’t sympathize any at all. Sorry chica, but you get nothing from me by irritation and anger. Then she finds out that she has done irresponsible things and now has to deal with a very big consequence and goes nuts. Beyond the irritation at the rich snob, I also have no sympathy for those people who put themselves in the situation she is in. Mason makes it perfectly clear that he doesn’t want a relationship with her and yet she sits pining away and allowing him to use her body. Have some goddamn self-respect woman!
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And she goes on and on about how she is an adult and should be treated as such but then acts so immature and irresponsible that it’s no wonder her parents want to control her. Sorry, but you’re an idiot who apparently doesn’t know any better.

Then we have Mason. This “dreamboat” is suppose to inspire me to swoon, but really, I don’t like him much more than Penny. Selfish and stupid and just plain cruel and I’m supposed to buy that he loved her all along?
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Sorry, but no. He’s been too much of a jackass to forgive. Either that or he is the retarded level of blind. Either way, it induces no love from me.

Plot and writing-wise, this was fine. Okay, writing-wise, it was fine. Because these two were morons that I couldn’t care much about I had a hard time to loving their story…it felt a bit too easy. Boy + Girl + Drama + Running away + More Drama = Happily Ever After?
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Yeah, I’m not sure I can get behind that.

This is one of those reviews I hate to write. I wholly enjoyed Sarra’s Beautiful Demons novel (yes, Kandice, I know I need to finish that series) and I really want to read the rest of that and her other works, but this just wasn’t the novel for me. It gets 3 stars because the writing was good and I think if the characters were different, I would have enjoyed it, but Penny just wasn’t someone I could love.

I’ve harped endlessly about the importance of characters for me. Good or bad characters maker or break novels for me. I can love a novel that has horrible writing if it has characters I can really get behind or hate a novel with amazing writing if it has characters I can’t stand. This falls pretty close to that. I wouldn’t say I hated Penny and Mason, but they did irritate me a great deal. That being said, I still want to go back and read the first novel in this series and I would be interested in trying the next one. I refuse to let this one dud tarnish my joy for Sarra’s other works.

****Thank you to All Night Reads for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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