Blog Tour for The Double Life Of Incorporate Things (Magic Most Foul #3) by Leanna Renee Hieber (with review & giveaway)

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The Double Life Of Incorporate Things by Leanna Renee Hieber

TITLE: The Double Life Of Incorporate Things
SERIES: Magic Most Foul #3
AUTHOR: Leanna Renee Hieber
PUBLICATION DATE: November 28, 2013
PUBLISHER: Deus Ex Victoriana
PAGES: 250 pages
SOURCE: Blog Tour
RATING: 4 bows
BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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“Just when we think our nightmares are over, the Society has invented a new horror. Around every corner a shadow, behind every whisper a demon. If we don’t end what the devils began, we will die haunted…”

The Magic Most Foul saga takes a deadly turn as The Master’s Society unveils its next ungodly avenue of paranormal experimentation. First, souls were split from bodies. Then the dead were reanimated. Now, a mind-altering chemical has been unleashed in Manhattan. Demonic trauma and terror escalates for the dashing Lord Denbury and brave, feisty Miss Natalie Stewart. Together with their stalwart friends and unlikely heroes, they take the fight directly to the Denbury estate, where a collective evil has awakened. But are Natalie and Jonathon prepared for all the sacrifices that shall be asked of them? With their very lives and the sanctity of their mortal souls at stake, these lovers are past the point of no return…


I set the paper down slowly enough to see the thin edges shake as the full, personal impact of the newspaper article hit me.

“Natalie, what is it?” Jonathon asked, staring at me with those eviscerating blue eyes of his. I opened my mouth but no sound came out. Damn my unpredictable, inconstant voice.

For the past many months now, I’d been pummeled by one strange event after another, pulled into the center of a paranormal whirlpool. At least in this case, we had an inkling, some sense of the next onslaught. Still, a foreshadow was hardly a comfort. We couldn’t have guessed the scope.

Now it wasn’t just myself or Jonathon Whitby, Lord Denbury in danger, with the occasional collateral victim. Now it was a crowd. I knew the Association. I adored them. They weren’t hooligans or criminals, they were gentle souls, artistic and individual. Overdramatic, yes, but a threat? Hardly. This maligning was the work of The Master’s Society, turning lambs into lions in ungodly experiments, leaving them for fodder in sensational, indelicate journalism. It could only get worse. Exponentially worse.

“It’s begun,” I finally managed to reply quietly, sliding the paper across the lacquered console table behind the sofa toward Jonathon’s reach. “Another phase. They’ve gone after the Association. And the papers will vilify those poor dears, every last one of them. Jonathon, the demons won’t give up…”


Leanna Renee Hieber

Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her fiction career began with Dark Nest, which won the 2009 Prism Award for best novella.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer’s Best Award (Young Adult category) and is in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, prequel in the Strangely Beautiful series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy). This currently out of print series will be reissued by 2014.

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in the Magic Most Foul saga of Gothic Victorian romantic thrillers (Sourcebooks), hit the Kid’s/YA Indie Next List as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. The book has been praised by Seventeen and Pixie Magazines, Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune and more, selected as a “highly recommended” title by Scholastic. The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart continues the Magic Most Foul series and has been praised by Booklist, RT Bookreviews and more. She is serializing the finale, The Double Life of Incorporate Things on her blog in true Gothic Victorian fashion.

Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies such as Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, “Too Fond” featured on and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy (March 2013, Tor). Her new Gaslamp Fantasy series with Tor/Macmillan, THE ETERNA FILES, launches 2014. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been selected for multiple book club editions.

Represented by Nicholas Roman Lewis, Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of the original Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year.

A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. When not writing or on set, she’s telling ghost stories, frequenting Goth clubs, corset shopping, channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards and adventuring in full Victorian regalia. She resides in New York City with her husband and their beloved rescued lab rabbit.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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In this final installment of the Magic Most Foul series, we see Natalie and Jonathan battle their foes one last time. The couple is determined to end the society responsible for the dangers drug labeled “The Cure” which claims to cure the ailment of Melancholy and working on resurrection of long dead spirits. Not to mention the raising of murderous demons. But in order to shut them down, Jonathan must once again play the role of the demon that once wore his face, which makes everything indefinitely harder because he hates the role and Natalie can see he plays it a bit too well. Is there still a bit of the demon left in him? Will good defeat evil, or will evil prevail?

Natalie has lost a bit of her confidence in this novel. Though her and Lord Denbury are still completely in love, there is friction in the relationship that causes Natalie much stress. Is it possible she could lose the man she fought so hard to free? They work it out in the end, but they struggle for a while. Natalie has to really take others into account when making decisions here, more so than before. She is quickly realizing that her every decision affects everyone around her. She’s still haunted by nightmares, but those nightmares feed her clues that will *hopefully* help her band of misfits bring down the society. What really made me continue to sympathize with was her constant concern over Maggie. Even though Maggie made some bad decisions, Natalie has a great need to make things right between them.

Then there is Lord Denbury, who is just as charming as ever, if a bit more controlling. He’s trying to state his independence, which is admirable, but it constantly requires him to leave Natalie out, which doesn’t please anyone involved, reader included. Jonathan doing what he thinks is right is swoon-worthy, but the overbearing need to protect Natalie that was absent before rears it’s ugly head here. He gets over it by the end, but it’s more than a little irritating.

Nathaniel Veil, my other favorite character, gets a bit more facetime here. Can I just say I love him? Here is a man that follows his own path and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it. He’s so compassionate about helping those who are similarly afflicted with melancholy. I loved watching him try to protect his group of friends.

This novel is the perfect ending to the trilogy, except the one character death. The writing and story-telling is just as beautiful as it has been in previous novels. Trying to puzzle out what the society was up to and their master-plan had be on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to get my hands on the spin-off series that’s up next!

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Review for The Twisted Tragedy Of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul #2) by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Twisted Tragedy Of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber

TITLE: The Twisted Tragedy Of Miss Natalie Stewart
SERIES: Magic Most Foul #2
AUTHOR: Leanna Renee Hieber
PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2012
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
PAGES: 332 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

You would think that after all they went through in Darker Still, Natalie Stewart and Jonathan Whitby, Lord Denbury, had earned a reprieve from the dastardly spirits that wish them harm. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Their plan to get away from the negative magic, taking a vacation of sorts with Jonathan’s old friends turns out badly when they realize that Samuel, Jonathan’s pal, is unwittingly involved in the society that trapped Jonathan in that painting. So now, our dear Lord Denbury is back to London to do some investigating and Natalie is going back home to deal with a very upset father. It’s obvious something new is afoot and that the old demon is not yet finished with out lovely couple. Can they finally defeat this foe or will their inevitable doom come sooner rather than later?

Natalie is a feisty heroine determined to save Jonathan (and herself), regardless of the cost. She has finally regained her ability to speak, though her voice does still desert her on occasion, but she’s lost a bit of her fire. She’s still haven’t the clairvoyant dreams, predicting things she hopes never come to pass, and she’s terrified they’ll never be free of this mess. All she wants is to have a normal(ish) courtship with Jonathan, then marry and have that happily ever after that we all dream about. But the demon that possess Jonathan is still haunting her, along with the new nightmares about resurrection.

Jonathan was just as charming as all the British lords in historical romances normally are. Proper, with a hint of the rake hiding beneath the surface. It’s hard to not feel sympathy for him, after being locked in a painting for years and now having to impersonate the monster who trapped him there, it’s a miracle he doesn’t lose his mind. He’s obvious affection for Natalie is so cute. I adore him. He’s definitely on my list of swoon-worthy males.

The side characters are all interesting in their own right. Mrs. Northe with her paranormal abilities and saving the day tendencies is a character I’d love to know more about. Her life with her late husband, her youth, and all things past because I feel that would be an intriguing tale. Rachel, who can’t speak or hear people, but hears spirits speaking to her, is also fascinating. This poor girl gets tormented in these pages, but they’ll sort it out. Then there is Nathaniel Veil. ::swoons:: He’s plagued with melancholy. He is an actor and playwright, starring in a play about the sadder things in life, doing versions of Poe and the like. He’s so flirty! If Denbury wasn’t perfect for Natalie, I’d be throwing myself onto Team Nathaniel straight-away!

What this novel really excels at is the luscious writing. Hieber is a master of this beautiful style of writing that captivates you. Maybe I’m biased because I spent my teenage years devouring historical romance novels, but there is just something magical about this time period and Hieber always manages to do it justice. The novels only real fault is I feel like it was trying to tackle too much in just one short book. We’ve got the Natalie/Jonathan romance, then Jonathan impersonating a demon, Rachel being used for nefarious purposes, demonic possession, resurrection, and more. I feel like we should have focused a bit more on the resurrection than trying to look at the larger picture just yet. Also, it seemed like this one was just a tad more religious than the previous one. It didn’t feel pushy, just Natalie’s Christian faith was more prevalent than before.

It does suffer just a bit from middle book syndrome, not quite living up to Darker Still’s awesomeness, but it’s still completely enjoyable. Jonathan makes it worth it, not to mention meeting Nathaniel. This isn’t exactly what I was expecting, but a bit more. It contains that mystical quality that I loved in the first one. It has love, adventure, and a bit of humor, what more can you want?

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Review for City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: City Of Glass
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments #3
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PUBLICATION DATE: March 24, 2009
PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Divison
PAGES: 541 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

You would think that after two full-length novels, Clary would have, at the very least, found a way to wake her mom, but that is just not the case. The third book in the Mortal Instruments series starts with Clary going on another quest to find a warlock by the name of Ragnor Fell who can wake her mother up. Then there is always the added plot of finding a way to defeat Valentine, which eventually seeps in.

I have to say that after reading this, though I intend to finish the entire series eventually, I cannot imagine it ended better than this did. Everything ties up in a neat little bow, giving everyone a happy ending…well, everyone who is still alive gets a happy ending. Therein lies the problem.

My first issue with this was the deaths. Yes, the war with Valentine has been bloody and there has been no skimping on the character deaths before this novel, but there was one that I found intolerable. ****SPOILER****And that was Max. Seriously, he was just a little kid who didn’t get much time in the series anyway, so why fucking kill him? Don’t say it gives Isabelle the motivation she needs later to go after Jace and Sebastian/Jonathan/whatever the fuck you want to call him, because that bullshit. Hodge’s death didn’t make me all warm and fuzzy, but I felt it was an acceptable loss considering the bad he had done in book one.****END SPOILER**** The deaths alone bring the star rating down. If a certain character had lived, I would have given it five, but I’m so fucking tired of pointless character deaths, in books, movies, and shows, that I just cannot give it five stars.

On the whole, the novel was just as enthralling and enchanting as the other two, with good writing, witty dialogue, and a big enough mystery to keep you guessing until the very end. I knew that the sibling issue between Clary and Jace would finally be revealed and I must say that I didn’t see the way it played out coming. Some plot twists were a bit more transparent, but not one really got me, so bravo Clare, bravo.

I think my two favorite things about this was finally getting Jocelyn’s history, from her perspective and all the couples finally getting together. The biggest is Clary and Jace finally being able to be together without feeling like it is an abomination. Jace really stole the show in this one, in my opinion. The way he confesses his love, despite everything else, and the speech he gives to Clary at the end was just….

…okay, so maybe I got just a little carried away there, but what can I say? I love Jace and though I know many people were against Jamie Campbell Bower being cast as him, I think he’s perfect for the role and exceedingly pretty, so bite me. Back to my original point, I loved that the main couples do end up together. We finally get to see ****SPOILER****Alec and Magnus be together, in front of the other Shadowhunters and the rest of the Lightwoods, which was amazing. I love Magnus, he’s probably my favorite character or at the very least, he ties with Jace for favorite. We also finally get to see Jocelyn with Luke, which we were all routing for. Simon doesn’t end up with anyone, but it’s obvious he has a choice between Isabelle and Maia, so it’s up to him.****END SPOILER****

This novel is an excellent conclusion to the storyline of the first three novels. I don’t know what the main conflict of the next three will be but I can say definitively that if you don’t like longer series, you can legitimately stop here and not be left wanting. As for me? I am planning on reading the next three, but I’ll be treading lightly because the longer a series continues, the more opportunity there is for it to go south. Wish me luck!

Review for City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: City Of Ashes
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments #2
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PUBLICATION DATE: March 25, 2008
PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Divison
PAGES: 453 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

I’ll be honest, there is a lot going on in this sequel. I really don’t know how to summarize this plot, because, like with most middle books, there is just too much happening. The most basic thing I can say is that they are still battling Valentine and things get really complicated, really fast.

I had a hard time getting myself to both start this and continue reading it. Not, mind you, because of any problem with writing or character development, or any of the normal nonsense that gets in my way, but because I knew that still particular installment wasn’t going to end with Jace and Clary happily together. Reading my little sisters review told me quite clearly that, regardless of how well written and entertaining this book is, I just wasn’t going to love it. The love triangle aspect is played up even more in this one, where Clary obviously believes Jace is her brother and starts dating Simon. Can I just say that sibling thing is bullshit? I know it seems like they are and all the evidence points to that end, but just fuck no. I can feel it in my bones that it’s just not true and deep down, I think Clary and Jace know it too. But that doesn’t stop Clary from being horrified by the feelings she has for her “brother” and the whole dating Simon thing that just irritated the fuck out of me. I’m sorry, I love Simon, but we all know he is going to end up with Maia. That much is completely obvious after one fucking meeting between the two. Besides I want Simon to be happy and having Clary settle for him will never make him happy.

I really hate reviewing middle books, it’s so fucking difficult to put how I feel for them into words. This one manages to more or less escape that middle book syndrome, being entirely entertaining and action packed in its own right, but I just hate being dead center in the middle of the story, you know? Or better yet, still just at the being since now this tale is a now a six book series instead of the originally planned trilogy. There is so much that’s happened that I don’t approve of ****SPOILER****like Simon becoming a vampire****END SPOILER****, but there is still so much to come that I don’t exactly know how I feel. It’s hard to rate middle books properly because how I will feel about the series overall is entirely dependent upon how it ends. I can’t love it if Clary and Jace don’t end up together. Speaking of endings, I can just say that the ending of this one fucking sucked? The whole Jace/Clary/Simon triangle and the ending conversation in the epilogue between Clary and Jace and just….grh!

So, I’ll just say this, it was an enjoyable ride and I can’t wait to start the next one…in fact that what I’ll be doing this afternoon, before reporting to college for my first day of fall semester.

Review for City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: City Of Bones
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments #1
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PUBLICATION DATE: March 27, 2007
PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Divison
PAGES: 485 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

Clary is just a normal girl with a quirky best friend and no clue that there are fairies, vampires, werewolves, and all manner of mythical creatures are roaming the world, until Jace Wayland walks into her life. Once she meets him, everything changes and the jury is still out if it’s for the better or not. Then her mom gets kidnapped and she is thrust into a world were everything depends on finding a mythical hidden item in order to bargain for her mom’s life.

I originally gave this five stars, but then downgraded it because it contains a love triangle and cliffhanger and I abhor those. I’ve seen a lot of hype on the blogosphere lately about the upcoming film and purposely waited until close to the movies release to read this because I knew as soon as I finished I’d be dying to see the film and I didn’t want to have an excruciatingly long wait ahead. I can honestly say that I understand the hype now. I really enjoyed this. It’s got that addictive quality that makes it difficult to put down once you start and that is quite a quality to possess.

As for the characters, I didn’t initially love Clary. She seemed decent enough, but too similar to so many other YA heroines. No Bella Swan syndrome (thank Satan), but nothing about her stood out. Short, slim, flat-chested, artsy, and relatively intelligent seems like a common theme these days. I’m happy to report that by the end, I did come to like her character quite a bit. That whole always fighting for your friends/family no matter what thing gets me every fucking time.

Then we have the main attraction, Jace. If you read my updates, I think it’s pretty obvious that I liked him from the start. There is just something about a hot, cocky, snarky, badass that just never fails to attraction my devotion. He kept me laughing through this somewhat serious book with his one liners and comebacks and complete confidence in his sexiness. And you can’t help but feel for the guy once you learn his back story. Team Jace, all the way.

The other is the other point in this particular triangle. Simon. I sympathized with him from the get go because he’s affection for Clary is rather obvious and I knew she’d never choose him. It’s almost an unwritten rule in the love triangles that they never pick the nicer guy who has always been there for them. Simon’s cute and totally geeky. He’s always ready with a Star Wars or D&D reference and even though I liked Jace more, I do hope Simon eventually finds his happily ever after.

All the other characters were equally interesting, from Luke to Hodge to Isabelle & Alec. I especially enjoyed Magnus Bane. Hodge’s character gets an irritated eyeroll ****SPOILER****because OF COURSE he’s the fucking bad guy, or at least, of course he is working for the bad guy. He’s casting choice for the film alone told me. He’s played by Jared Harris and he’s NEVER a good guy. I felt a little disappointed because that’s a running theme in everything lately, to have the “friend” be the bad guy or the helpful side character. I get it, it’s a good plot line and it keeps you guess, but could be leave it out for a bit?****END SPOILER****

The writing was great, the plotline wasn’t overly original, but it definitely wasn’t the same one we keep getting over and over. What really irked me was the love triangle? Square? Pentagram? For the first half of the book it felt like everyone liked Jace and/or Clary and it got old really quickly. Luckily they are all over it by the end, so we don’t get too much time angsting over it, but it was still annoying. ****SPOILER****The sibling accusation between Jace & Clary didn’t garner more than an eyeroll. I know it isn’t true and even if I didn’t have a little sister who let me in on that secret before I started this, I still would have known. There is too much passion between the two and this series has too many fans for that to be the case. Just no. No Flowers In The Attic for me, thank you.****END SPOILER****

On the whole, this is an immensely enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone looking for an addictive thrill-ride, with some interesting, if a little predictable, twists.

Review for School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

TITLE: School Spirits
AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins
PUBLISHER: Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group
PAGES: 297 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

Izzy Brannick’s life has been anything but ordinary. She has been trained to fight monsters since she was old enough to walk and she’s pretty good at it. After a botched first solo job (really, how hard should capturing a vampire alone be?!?), Izzy’s mom decides to give her an easier task, catching a high school haunting ghost and laying her to rest. For this task, she must enroll in high school, a much scarier task altogether. Izzy quickly learns that this isn’t your typical haunting….and that when this is all over, her newfound friends will be hard to leave behind.

This novel is exactly what you’d expect a spinoff of Hex Hall to be. It’s mysterious and monstrous and funny and endearing and heartbreaking. Izzy isn’t as quick with the one-liners as Sophie was, but she’s just as spunky and funny and relatable. She’s easy to sympathize with as she navigates the treacherous halls of high school for the first time, making friends and trying to pass all her classes. Trying to balance that with witch hunting with the school’s paranormal group who are so clueless it’s all Izzy can do not to laugh in their face.

Torin was another great character and a great mystery. You never quite know what he is up to or what he wants, besides being freed from his mirror prison. The affection between him and Izzy is obvious but it’s unclear if it is of a romantic nature for the most part. I personally think the love triangle aspect will be played up in the next novel (especially considering that’s how it happened in the Hex Hall series), but I guess we’ll wait and see.

My favorite character though, has to be Dex. I thought I loved Torin’s character, and then Dex showed up and my mind was completely changed. I LOVE Dex. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

He’s funny and smart and self-assured and doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about him, except his small circle of friends. He’s just so damn quirky and adorable and, just wow. I’ve never been one for fashion, but this boy with his pinstripe pants, purple pea coat, and an endless supply of scarves fashioned into cravats definitely won my attention right off the bat. Any guy who even knows what the word cravat means in this day and age would probably catch my attention! ::swoons:: For once, it isn’t the guy who rushes in to save the girl, because Dex isn’t really capable of that, with is severe asthma, but damned if he still isn’t noble as hell.

The rest of the cast was just as interesting, if not as amazing. Romy is unique and geeky and adorable, if a little obsessive and strange. Watching her and Anderson dance around their obvious attraction to one another was a fun little side story! Aislinn, Izzy’s mom, was annoying and overbearing, but ultimately tried to do right by her one remaining daughter.

The story was a bit predictable to me. I pegged it pretty early on who had summoned the witch, but I still didn’t see exactly how so there is a lot of mystery. The whole thing with Dex at the end was shocking as hell! I mean hes….he was…it….well, I won’t spoil it for you guys, but just be prepared because it’s a bit of a doozy. I was pleasantly surprised that this contained neither a love triangle nor a cliffhanger. Though I think Izzy’s is attracted to Torin and just refuses to admit it, it never comes into play. As for the ending, the entire main plot of the novel wraps up nicely, leaving loose ends only on major things that you should have known wouldn’t be wrapped up in a single novel.

This novel was exactly what I needed, a book that I had high expectations for that definitely lived up to them. I recommend it to everyone who enjoyed Hex Hall and all YA paranormal lovers.

****Thank you to Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Towering by Alex Flinn

Towering by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Towering
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 3 stars

Towering is a retelling of Rapunzel. Rachel has lived her whole life in a tower, guarded by Mama, not her real mama, of course. But she says that her real mama was murdered and Rachel must stay hidden in the tower because those people might still be out there to harm her as well. Wyatt’s life is in desperate need of change. He’s mom decides the best thing for him is to ship him off to this little town in the middle of nowhere to live with her teenage best friend’s mother. But when Wyatt arrives, he is immediately plagued by ghosts and strange voices that sing to him that no one else can hear. Drawn by the beautiful voice, Wyatt sets off to find its origin and stumbles across Rachel’s tower. Then they are off to fulfill Rachel’s destiny of saving the town.

Let me just preface this review with two statements.
Statement A: This is just MY OPINION and I hope that everyone else’s opinion differs.
Statement B: This is the type of review I dread writing because I was looking forward to reading this so much and am so disappointed with it.

I was overjoyed when I got approved for this eARC. I have adored all of Alex Flinn’s previous fairy tale retellings and couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Rapunzel isn’t my favorite fairy tell, but I loved the recent Disney retelling and was overly excited to see Alex weave her magic….but it just fell flat for me. Both Rachel and Wyatt (all of the characters actually) seemed extremely one dimensional. The plot twist was extremely predictable and the whole story just felt a little blah to me. Then, once you get towards the end and the prophecy starts to unfold, it just all seemed too farfetched to believe. Crazy, right? It’s a fairy tale retelling and those are always rather fanciful and I never have a hard time buying into it, but not this one.

With Wyatt, again, he felt extremely one dimensional. His recent past has a major tragedy and I truly sympathize and cannot imagine going through something similar, but the whole thing with Astrid on New Years and not feeling anything and then Rachel magically inspires feelings upon first meeting her? Instalove. Ugh. I was also irritated because Josh goes out of his way in the beginning to be nice to Wyatt and invite him out and stuff and Wyatt just basically forgets about him once he meets Rachel. I HATE that quality. Yes I realize your significant other is extremely important to you, but they shouldn’t become your entire life! You’ll end up with Bella Swan syndrome if they leave you. X_X

Then there was Rachel, who I just couldn’t get behind at all. One on hand, hurray for having a YA heroine who saves the guy in the end instead of the other way around, but she just felt as blah to me as Wyatt. She didn’t illicit much of an emotional response from me, even when doing dangerous things. The only thing about her that I liked is I found her lack of knowledge of the outside world amusing. The only character that felt fully fleshed out was Mrs Greenwood because we get to see all different sides to her, the mother, the protector, the sad old lady, and so on. I felt pretty bad for her.

The plot was predictable, the writing felt bland, and I am just wholly disappointed. I don’t know if I feel this way because I’ve changed or if it truly is a step down from the level of awesomeness that was A Kiss In Time and Bewitching. I know I’ve stepped away from YA lately, reading more NA, and I really hope that that’s why I didn’t love this like I wanted to. I hope everyone else reads it and adores it as much as her previous works. So my advice for everyone is just give it a try, hopefully you’ll love it.

****Thank you to Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

The Girl Of Fire And Thorns by Rae Carson

TITLE: The Girl Of Fire And Thorns
SERIES: Fire & Thorns #1
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20, 2011
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 423 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 2 stars


Elisa has known her entire life that she was chosen for greatness. On the day of her naming ceremony, God’s light shined on her and she was blessed with the Godstone in her navel. She thinks Mr Almighty has made a grave error because she doesn’t see any qualities in herself that would help fulfill such an important destiny. Then she is married off to a Prince of a country far away in secret and from there, her journey just gets more complicated and we’ll see if she can rise to the challenge of fulfilling her destiny.

I have so many issues with this, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with Elisa herself. I went back and forth on whether not I despised her. First she was fat, lazy, and annoying. The fat bit I kind of liked. It was great to finally have a heroine who wasn’t a fucking stick figure despite eating her body weight in junk food, but she spends so much time complaining about it and never trying to do anything about it, always drowning her sorrows in yet another pastry. Which is, once again, understandable. Who hasn’t had a really bad day and went home to use food to make it better? But it is different when it happens on every single fucking page. What makes it worse is that instead of using this chubby heroine to send out the message to teens that everyone’s body type is different and you should learn to love yourself just as you are instead of conforming to the media’s bullshit image of what a woman should look like, it’s just another whiny YA heroine who loses the weight in order to feel better about herself. And I don’t mean she starts a regiment to get healthy, I mean she is kidnapped and made to walk across a desert so naturally a good bit of the weight falls off and only then does she start to feel better about herself. It was more than a little infuriating. None of the other characters angered me nearly as much. I actually really liked Cosme and Humberto and most of the rebels. And Rosario. I loved him! So petulant and whiny and absolutely adorable in the end.

Another big issue was the healthy dose of religion you get in this. At no point in any of the descriptions or summeries is religion mentioned, but the whole reason Elisa is special is because God chose her and she bears the Godstone. For the first 100 or so pages, you don’t get through a single page without that word being mentioned. After that it slows down a bit, but it is still there. Leaving my views on religion completely out of the picture, it still would have been nice to get a bit of a warning on that. Plus, I don’t like my religion and literature to mix. Call me crazy, but religion is a touchy subject for most people and I prefer my reading material to be as far from that controversy as possible.

Then there is the main big issue, the one that even if I could overlook the previous problems would make it impossible for me to love this novel. ALL THE MOTHERFUCKING DEATH! Now, before I get yelled at, I realize that this is high fantasy and they are in the middle of a war and a certain amount of doom needs to be portrayed. I can deal with that. But what I can’t deal with is the main love interests throat being slashed. Poor Humberto dies right in front of Elisa and I almost stopped reading right on the spot. That made me so fucking mad. There are some other deaths that upset me minimally, but that one had me seeing red. I like happily ever afters goddammit and now, unless they pull some kind of necromancy, that shit isn’t going to happen.

It does get two stars because after you get about midway through, it is impossible to put down. The writing and storyline draws you in until you are desperate to finish it. I do plan on reading the sequel, but I’m more than a little wary of it. Let’s hope it improves some, shall we?

Review for The Devil’s Heart (The Chattan Curse #3) by Cathy Maxwell

The Devil’s Heart by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: The Devi’s Heart
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #3
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: April 30, 2013
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Lady Margaret Chattan is her family’s last hope. Both her brothers are on the cusp of succumbing to the Chattan curse and the is determined to break the curse and save them before it is too late. With this goal in mind, she sets off for Loch Awe, the ancient home of Fenella, the witch that cursed their family. Heath Macnachtan believes Margaret to be crazy, but she offers a fair amount of money for him to assist her and with their dire straits, he cannot refuse. But the more he helps Margaret, the more he sees that maybe she isn’t crazy and there really is the spirit of a witch out to get her family. Are they strong enough to break the curse?

I think this has been the most disappointing historical romance series I have ever read. It isn’t terribly bad, it just isn’t amazing and since I know Cathy Maxwell can write epic love stories, I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly depressed. I guess I can applaud her for trying something new, but this series definitely proves to be that historical romance and paranormal romance just shouldn’t mix. I’m sure there is someone out there who can write amazing paranormal historical romances, but this just wasn’t it.

This novel (this whole series, really) has one shining moment and that is the characters. I genuinely liked all the main characters and despite the whole paranormal nonsense, I wished happy endings for them all. I especially loved Heath, which is why this one gets four stars. Strong and stubborn and trying his damnedest to keep his family feed and out of debtor’s prison, he knows that this farming life wasn’t meant for him but can’t bring himself to give up his birthright. Margaret was an interesting character who I didn’t love, but I liked her well enough and could definitely see why Heath fell for her so hard.

A big part of my issue was the plot. In this book especially, but the whole series in general, it just felt a bit ludicrous with the whole curse. Then end of this book particularly just felt lackluster, like she didn’t know how to end it, so she just wrote the first thing that came to mind and marked it as finished. I think people who enjoy paranormal romance may like this, but for all those Cathy Maxwell fans out there, just beware because this isn’t up to her normal standards.

****Thank you to Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Scottish Witch (The Chattan Curse #2) by Cathy Maxwell

The Scottish Witch by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: The Devi’s Heart
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #2
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 389 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 3 stars

Portia Mclean is long past the years of debutante balls and searching for marriage. Her time for that has passed and since her father left their small family with absolutely nothing to live on when he died, they have moved to Scotland, where life is a bit cheaper and maybe they can find someone who is willing to marry her beautiful, but penniless, sister. Portia works hard to keep the financially stable, which is a difficult feat when her mother refuses to accept they are too poor to waste money on fancy dresses when the landlord is demanding rent or they’ll be thrown out. Harry Chattan is on a mission. He must find a way to break the Chattan curse and save his brother, who is fading fast. Whenever a Chattan male falls in love, he dies. Not instantly, but usually within 6 months, he is buried and he cannot tolerate the idea of burying his brother. He thinks he has finally found Fenella in Scotland, but later learns it was simply a girl masquerading as her to get money. But he becomes so captivated by this imposter that he can’t leave and he’s convinced that this girl really can help.

It’s as difficult for me to write this review as it was for the first book in this series. Generally, when I read a HR from an author I’ve enjoyed, I love them. There is rarely a case where I just don’t love it and this is the second book in a row that it has happened with. I had so many issues with this. The characters were fine for the first half of the novel and then it’s like when Portia and Harry finally got together, everything went to hell. Portia went from being headstrong to blindly following Harry. Harry went from being a one night stand guy to having multiple clandestine meetings with the same woman. Even Portia’s mother changes, going from a stubborn woman with interests only for herself to appearing to truly care about her children’s happiness.

The plot was entirely predictable. You could see where it was going from page one, which isn’t normally a complaint for HR because with all of them, you know the hero and the heroine will end up together at the end, that’s always a given, but this one was even more so. Another issue I had was with the first time Harry and Portia have sex. It read less like consensual fornicating and more like rape. They just start making out and then suddenly they are fucking. He gives Portia no real warning and there is barely any foreplay. I mean, I get that Harry felt a sense of need and urgency, but he had to know that Portia was innocent and that she wouldn’t realize the implications of what she was doing or what his intentions were until after the fact. It just felt wrong.

Really, this novel isn’t all that bad, which is why it gets three stars, but I just didn’t love it. I’m going to finish this series, but I don’t have overly high hopes for the final book. Thus far, I am highly disappointed in this series and I cannot believe that cliffhangers are invading this section of fiction. I thought they were better than that…..maybe I was wrong.

****Thank you to Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****