Review for Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

TITLE: Heartbeat
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC / Hardback
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Purchased
RATING: 5 bows

A heartbeat is the only thing keeping Emma’s mom alive. She’s brain dead with no chance of recovery. She’s only being kept “alive” to support the life of the infant growing within her. This was Dan, Emma’s stepdad’s decision, and Emma is beyond angry at him and the rest of the world for this. She just wants to talk to her mother. She knows her mom could help her sort out her emotions, but that’s never going to happen. Then she notices Caleb Harrison. He’s the town bad boy and the old Emma never would have cared. The new Emma notices something familiar in his eyes, a grief that no one else seems to understand. And being with Caleb makes her feel alive again, finally. She doesn’t spend every second with him consumed by the longing to discuss her issues with her mom again. As they days tick by and the countdown to her dead mother’s c-section continues, Emma has some hard decisions to make and some terrible realities to come to terms with. Can she make the best of it or will she continue on her downward spiral?

I don’t know that I could handle Emma’s situation as well as she does. She is incredibly close to her mom and her step-dad and then her mom dies and suddenly all Dan (her step-dad) cares about is his unborn child. Emma is no longer a consideration where her baby brother is concerned and her opinion is unwanted and unnecessary. And she’s forced to go and see her dead mother every single day. Every day she has to look at her dead mother’s corpse as she incubates a tiny life inside her. A life that Emma can’t help but resent. This little thing is responsible for her mother’s death. Her mother was a high risk pregnancy because of her age. Her mother only got pregnant again because Dan wanted a baby and it killed her. So how is she taking it? Not well, as you can imagine. This former straight-A, goodie two shoes suddenly doesn’t care about anything. She doesn’t do her school work or even pay attention in class and she spends her afternoons staring at her ceiling grieving the loss of her mother and Dan’s betrayal. She flat-out ignores Dan and his attempts to fix the situation. This irritated me at first. It seems childish. But the further in you get, the more you can’t help but side with her. Dan is doing his best, that is true, but sometimes you’re best isn’t enough, is it? The further in you get, the more you realize that he doesn’t chase after her when she walks away. He doesn’t beat down the door she locks him is face. He tries, but he isn’t giving it his all and Emma knows that more than anyone.

I loved Caleb almost instantly. He completely understands Emma’s plight and his own might be worse. His little sister died a few years back and his parents credit it as his fault. It isn’t really. She got hit by a car while riding a bike and she wasn’t wearing a helmet so she was gone instantly. How they believe it was his fault is beyond me. He wasn’t driving the car that hit her and he certainly didn’t encourage her to ride in the road with no helmet, but they act like pushed her in front of the car. They are downright cruel to him. He lashes out in the only way he knows how, drugs and crime sprees. That’s how he got that bad boy reputation. He’s incredibly sweet to Emma and they connect in a way that neither of them expect. He is there for her in a way that no one else is. Even Emma’s best friend, who sticks by her despite the drastic personality change, doesn’t quite understand what she’s going through. But Caleb does and he makes a point to be there for her when she needs him.

This heartbreaking story had me from minute one. It’s written in short chapters that I flew through to find out what happened next. You want to see that confrontation between Emma and Dan. When you get there, trust me, it’s better and worse than you imagined. You just want things to work out for her and we know they want. I know we are all secretly thinking that this is fiction and her mom can wake up, right? But she can’t. She won’t. Her mom is truly dead and the baby is the only reason she is on life support. This little baby, the one Emma was so excited for, is suddenly the enemy. Emma can’t see how this could possibly be what her mom would want. Dan can’t see how Emma would believe her mom would want them to do anything less. And their perspectives can’t seem to mesh. Emma is steadfast in her beliefs and so is Dan, but something has to give. The ending is bittersweet and fits the novel perfectly.

This is my first Elizabeth Scott novel. I can honestly say I’ll be grabbing any and all of her books that I come across for cheap. This was heartbreakingly amazing. While you see all the reasons she should get over it and move on and love her baby brother, you can’t help but sympathize with Emma. This poor girl just can’t seem to go back to who she was before. If you are looking for a happy, snarky novel, this isn’t it. What you get here is so much deeper and more raw. It’s a captivating story and one I’m glad I got the chance to read!

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

5 bows
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Review for When The Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

When The Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffires

TITLE: When The Rogue Returns
SERIES: The Duke’s Men #1
AUTHOR: Sabrina Jeffries
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
PAGES: 416 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Isabella Cale has set up a nice life for herself in Scotland, with an imitation jewelry making business creating a profit and a daughter whom she adores. Everything is going rather smoothly until her husband shows back up. Ten years after he abandoned her, she wants nothing to do with him. After all, he helped her family steal royal jewels and then vanished with his share of the spoils. But when she sets eyes on him, he seems furious with her for setting him up and deserting him, which she most certainly did not do. Is there more to this story than the main two are aware of? Can they find their way back to each other?

Isa is the hardworking type of heroine that we don’t see overly much in historical romances. Working women were shunned in that time period, so it’s completely understandable that they were dependent on their husbands or fathers or various other relatives for their livelihood. After she was abandoned by her husband, she refused to continue living with her controlling sister and brother-in-law, not with the happiness of her future child hanging in the balance and she convinces a fellow imitation jewelry maker to become her partner in the business he was moving to Scotland. She has worked and toiled to build their business and is now considered a respectable woman. She has even caught the eye of a Baron, though she knows nothing but friendship will even come from it. She was strong and determined to protect her child, regardless of any consequences.

Victor, her husband, is the upstanding citizen that was left holding the bag after Isa’s sister and brother-in-law made off with the jewels. Since there was never any concrete proof, he could not be hanged for the crime, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t interrogate and torture the poor fellow. He harbors such bitter rage over the theft and Isa’s abandonment that it never even occurs to him that maybe she was just as much of a pawn as he was. He’s not the most swoon-worthy HR hero I’ve read, but I definitely could sympathize with his situation.

This is my very favorite type of historical romance novel. Lies and misunderstandings separating our beloved couple and then smackdown confrontation and love when the two figure out they were mislead or duped. I love the dancing around each other trying not to reveal too much of their current situation while fighting the ever-present desire for each other. I love (love love) reading the confrontation where both parties learn of the deception and go all lovey-dovey because they realize they both are still in love. I love that whole bit.

Sabrina Jeffries has never been my favorite writer of this genre, but she is quickly gaining my respect. This novel in particular was intriguing and addictive, even if the love scenes were a bit mediocre. I found it impossible to put this book down, anxious to find out if Isa’s sister (and brother-in-law) were going to find her and what would happen when they did. Also how Victor would take the news that he had a child he was unaware of. Sooo much drama, but the best kind of drama. The kind that keeps you coming back for more instead of rolling your eyes in exasperation.

I know I keep saying this, but I really must make reading these more of a priority. I know I love YA (and NA), but there is just something more magical about this particular genre. I don’t know if it’s the writer’s talent or the setting or just the storyline itself, but reading these are my biggest comfort read. It’s like slipping into an old pair of jeans that magically still fit perfectly even though you are not the same as you were when you were them in the past. You can find everything you’ll ever need in a historical romance here and I highly recommend it to all my historical romance readers!

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

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Review for Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

TITLE: Uninvited
SERIES: Uninvited #1
AUTHOR: Sophie Jordan
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Davy Hamilton is a musical prodigy. At the age of three she sat down at a piano and started playing perfectly, with no prior practice or training. Her life has always been set, she’ll graduate from high school and attend Julliard, where she has already been accepted and do something musical with her life. Or so she thought. When her test results comeback saying she is a carrier for the HTS gene (the one that causes homicidal tendencies), everything changes. Suddenly everyone in her life is shunning her and she is forced to change schools and be around other maniacs with the kill gene. There had to be so kind of error, but she knows that that can never be fixed now and she must try to make the best out of this terrible situation.

Davy is that perfect girl with all the right friends and the hot popular boyfriend that most people fantasized about in high school. It was more than a little fun to watch the rich popular girl get knocked off her pedestal, though the more you come to care about her, the less fun it becomes. She’s such a strong character, but she losses all her confidence when the gets labeled a carrier and she almost losses herself in the struggle to keep her shit together. I imagine everyone would go through a similar transformation if life as they knew it was ripped from their grasp.

Sean O’Rourke is that bad guy you momma always warned you about, or is he? He’s the classic bad guy with a heart of gold, who has had the carrier label since a young age. He even has the carrier brand around his neck because society deemed one of his actions so dangerous that the world need to always be aware that he was a carrier. As much as I wanted to be irritated at him for being a bit cliche with the bad boy imagine, he’s ability to always save Davy’s ass melted my heart. Against his better judgement, he always comes to her rescue, while spouting those annoying “it’s better if you stay away” sentiments. He gets over that eventually, but I wanted to punch him every time he even implied it.

This novel has all the things I look for when I’m reading, like good characters, interesting story, great writing, all that jazz, but what really gets me here is the philosophical question it presents about the characters. Are these people really violent deviants who are genetically coded to murder and pillage or do the majority act out based on the fact that society pushes them into that role? Yes, it’s obvious that there are a number of carriers who truly deserve the label and are violent beyond reasonable understanding, but aren’t we more than our genetic code? Don’t we have the choice, in most cases, to act as violently as our hormones command us to or to stop and think about our actions? If society is going to treat us like shit regardless of if we fight our urges or not, why bother? These poor people are shunned and abused by society as a whole and even each other. You’d think they’d band together to create a support group, but there are too many who’d rather just accept the role society has placed them in and act out than fight the injustice. And things that are normally acceptable, like slapping your ex-boyfriend for being a jackass, are now a sign that you really are a carrier for the kill gene.

This is my first Sophie Jordan novel. I know, this chick manages to write books in all three of my favorite genres (young adult, new adult, and historical romance), so I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get around to reading her novels, but if they are all this good, sign me up! This novel had very few issues for me, no love triangle, no instalove, and no cliffhanger. The ending doesn’t wrap everything up in a nice little bow, but things end on a hopeful note which is all I ask for. My only minor issues are the cover and the length. Despite the fact that this is almost 400 pages, it felt short. When I flipped to the last page on Luna, I couldn’t believe it was over. There was still so much more territory that needed to be covered! It’s not that it felt underdeveloped, but I was just craving more. The cover also doesn’t really match the story at all. I don’t see at all how the levitating girl gives any indication of what this story is about. Maybe I’m wrong, but it just doesn’t fit to me.

This is one of the more unique YA novels I’ve read it a while. Jordan manages to wholly captivate her with her story and leave them desperate for me. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next novel in this series, as well as anything else attached to this talented woman’s name. If her new adult novels or her historical romance novels are half as good, I’m in for a real treat!

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

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Review for Secret (Elemental #4) by Brigid Kemmerer

Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

TITLE: Secret
SERIES: Elemental #4
AUTHOR: Brigid Kemmerer
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: KTeen, an imprint of Kensington Publishing
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows

Nick Merrick has always been the dependable one. He seems to do everything, keeping his grades up, helping Gabriel with his school work so he can get into fire-fighting training, help Michael with the landscaping business so they don’t have to live off ramen noodles, and keep his brothers from tearing each others heads off with things get too heated. But Nick is about ready to break because he doesn’t know how much longer he can hide his secret, especially when he can’t seem to stay away from Adam, his “girlfriend’s” dance partner. He’s terrified to break the news of his homosexuality to his brothers because he wouldn’t be able to handle they rejection, especially Gabriel’s. Add that stress to the ever-present stay alive scenario with the Guides constantly out to get them and our Nicky has quite a been to handle. Can he keep it all locked in or will he allow someone else to help him?

It seems like every time I read one of the Elemental series, the book that particular brother is mainly about becomes my favorite Merrick and this is no exception. Nick problems felt so real. Unlike the rest of the books, this almost reads like a contemporary romance because you don’t go into a lot of the Elemental stuff. Sure, it’s there and the threat of the Guides is present, but this is much more about Nick’s journey to come out of the closet than anything else. He’s such an easy character to sympathize with. I think he was a bit stupid to worry so much about his brother’s reactions because it’s obvious to anyone that they would support him through anything, but I can also see why anyone would worry, because there are a lot of close-minded people out there. Watching his relationship with everyone here was completely enthralling, but it’s the interaction with his brothers that gets me. This entire series has captivated me in the way we see them, which shocks me as much as anyone else because I’m usually all about the romance, but there is something mesmerizing about this close-knit group of brothers that keeps me coming back.

Another interesting thing about this is it’s told via Nick’s perspective (obviously) and his fake “girlfriend,” Quinn’s perspective. The obvious choice would have been to alternate between Nick and Adam, but Kemmerer is having none of that. While I would have enjoyed being in Adam’s head for a while, seeing deeper into Quinn really balanced her character out for me. I have never hated Quinn, but she was never been my favorite character. I always found her drama a bit much and though it still gets under my skin a bit here, I can finally understand her situation. Her living situation is far from ideal. Her family is downright abusive and she’s trying to get away from them, but has no where to run to since her best friend is too wrapped up in her boyfriend to make and effort and Nick’s so stressed from everything else that she doesn’t want to burden him. It was pretty obvious early on that she was going to end up with Tyler, but watching him jump from psychotic jackass to caring sweet guy was interesting. I don’t know if I can ever really support the couple because Tyler has done a lot of fucked up things, but we start to see him redeem himself and I’m interested to see if he can really turn everything around.

Everything here is just as good, if not better, than the previous novels. I adored everything about it. It makes me want to create a 6 star rating just because it was that good. This is the first novel I’ve read where the main character is gay and if they are all this good, sign me up! It’s not that I have a problem with the subject, just that none of them ever really caught me attention. But Nicky here has had my attention since the first book, so I’m all for whatever kind of story she wants to tell and I get this epic thing and, damn, is the term rabid fan-girling strong enough? I have no personal experience to backup my opinions here, but Nick’s journey felt very realistic to me. I hated seeing him struggle, but that made it more believable and I love that he continues to struggle even after he decides he wants to be with Adam, that everything wasn’t instantly rainbows and sunshine just because he found a boyfriend. And, if I wasn’t already in love with each of his brothers, their reactions to the news would have pushed me over that edge. Chris with his sweet caring nature and quiet understand and Michael with his pride in his brothers success. Gabriel’s inital reaction left a lot to be desired, but I truly believe that had less to do with the fact that Nick is gay and more to do with the way it was sprung on him. Trust me, he makes it up to Nick in the end.

So I made no secret of the fact that Spirit pissed me off in many ways, but this completely makes up for that. Well, okay maybe that’s the wrong word choice, but I would gladly suffer through Hunter’s trials and tribulations (and heartbreak) to get to the epicness that was this book. It was so good that I really want to stop what I’m currently reading, ignoring the massive stack of E-ARCs that will be keeping me busy until June and just read it again. That, in and of itself, is the highest recommendation I can give because I don’t re-read many novels. Seriously people, I know I ranted to no end about Spirit and how it ruined to series for me, making me regret ever recommending the series because I knew whoever I recommended it to would get to Spirit and be monumentally disappointed. While I stand by the fact that it was a terrible novel with terrible things occurring within those pages, I find that now I would recommend the series because the rest of the books make up for that fuckup. This particular book makes up for it and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you’ve read the rest of the series or not, this book (& Nick) will win your heart!

****Thank you to KTeen, an imprint of Kensington Publishing, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Into The Still Blue (Under The Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Into The Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

TITLE: Into The Still Blue
SERIES: Under The Never Sky #3
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PAGES: 400 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Perry and Aria have moved not only the Tides, Perry’s tribe, but also all the Dweller’s they rescued from the pod, into the caves down by the beach. The aether storms are getting worse and it’s predicted that within a month, they will no longer to be able to set foot outside the cave without death or serious injury from it. The Still Blue must be found because the cave’s supplies are dwindling. Aria & Perry set off to rescue Cinder from Sable & Hess. They believe he is the key to entering this safe space of land, though nothing is certain. On this journey, they find out more than they ever wanted to know, that Cinder really is the key to the Still Blue, but can he survive the crossing? And can Perry live with himself if he doesn’t?

We get one final glimpse at this whole gang and I’m left wanting so much more. Perry & Aria grow closer and stronger, nothing major changes with them here. Roar slowly climbs out of his grief over Liv, though I don’t see how he can manage it. Brooke is less bitch-y and nicer to everyone, even helping the dwellers some. Soren becomes a bigger player, helping the gang get to Sable & Hess’s camp and hacking in. And Cinder, poor Cinder, is strong and brave.

Overall, I believe I enjoyed this, but I didn’t love it and I definitely feel a bit unsatisfied. The story was great and interesting, bringing the characters back to life in this installment, but I hated the way the ending play out and the deaths. I’m pretty vocal on my hatred of character deaths, especially ones that I feel were avoidable. That’s one of the many reasons I will never read the Divergent trilogy because I know that’ll just piss me off to no end. The second half felt overly predictable.****SPOILER****Of course Soren and Brooke are going to develop a thing for each other. Of course Sable is going to betray everyone who dares to partner with him. And of fucking course Cinder has to die. That make me so angry. You just killed a goddamn kid. A KID! Who did nothing wrong. I get the whole sacrifice for the greater good, but just fucking don’t. There had to be another way.****END SPOILER****

Aria finally gets to learn about her father here and that was an interesting twist. I think it was the only one I didn’t see coming immediately. I wanted to hate him, and though he made it easy in the beginning, neither I nor Aria could really hate him. You also get to see even more of “good” Soren, which made me endlessly happy. I loved the turn of events, getting to see hims how the good side and have a legitimate reason for going psycho. I really would like to see more of his side of the story, how things worked inside the pod through the events of Through The Ever Night.

If you are just looking for a novel that wraps up the story and gives you more of Aria & Perry, than this is exactly what you are looking for. The story ties up relatively well, giving the majority of the characters the happily ever after they were seeking. It is a bit too predictable and has a few too many character deaths for me to truly love it, so I’m just a tad disappointed. If character deaths isn’t an issue, than you’ll adore this as much as it’s predecessors, otherwise, have a few tissues at the ready!

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

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Review for Playing For Love At Deep Haven (Enchanted Places #1) by Katy Regnery

Playing For Love At Deep Haven by Katy Regnery

TITLE: Playing For Love At Deep Haven
SERIES: Enchanted Places #1
AUTHOR: Katy Regnery
PUBLICATION DATE: January 10, 2014
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: From Author
RATING: 4 bows

Nine years ago, Zach Aubrey broker Violet Smith’s heart. After she confessed her love for him, he literally ran from her after telling her he didn’t feel the same. She never really got over him, but she managed to move on. Zach was always in love with Violet, but at 19 the emotion scared him shitless and running away seemed the best option at the time. Now, due to a scheduling mishap, Violet and Zach find themselves sharing a vacation house in Maine for two weeks. Violet is determined to stay away from her past feelings for Zach and he is determined to prove to her that he has always loved her and they deserve a second chance. Can they make it work? Or will the past and their more mature personalities stand in the way.

I was pretty excited to start this. I’ve been in a very romance-y mood for a while now and this fit right into what I was wanting to read, and it didn’t disappointment me. Violet is easy to identify with, both in how hard she initially fell for Zach and her desire to not fall for him again. I’m not a poetry fan….like at all, but her desire to write it over novels was incredible. I’ll be the first to admit that unless it’s put to a great guitar riff, I’m not going to even give the poem a chance, but I really wanted this character to go back to doing what she loved. Better to write amazing poetry than a mediocre sophomore novel, right? She changed so drastically to fit into Shep’s (her dead boyfriend) life and I loved watching her rediscover herself.

Zach was….interesting. He managed to be completely confident and completely insecure simultaneously. Or maybe insecure isn’t the right word. He was more of completely vulnerable. He knows he fuck up when he ran from Violet and wants nothing more than another chance because he’s so desperately in love with her and he puts it all on the table. He lays it all out there and lets Violet make the decisions…with a little pushing from him. I didn’t instantly swoon for him because he’s a bit of a man-slut in his rocker ways and that’s not something I find particularly attractive, but I can respect the author for keeping it real and having him embrace the rocker lifestyle. Had he stayed celibate the entire time he was away from Violet, it would have been impossible to believe. Beyond his promiscuous ways, he was pretty hot, with hard muscles and tattoos and piercings and savant-level musical talent. His ability to show Violet his remorse over his fuckups had me looking past his flaws and rooting for these like nobodies business.

This novel really shines with it’s characters. Violet and Zach are both so perfectly flawed and imperfect that you can’t help but relate to them, even if you don’t have much in common. I’m really big on character-driven stories, so if you are like me, this is definitely something you’ll want to check out. The plot was a bit predictable, because we all know they are going to end up together by the end****SPOILER****And that Violet will eventually find out about Zach buying her poetry contract****END SPOILER**** but it’s a romance novel, so we aren’t really reading it for shocking twists, are we? We are reading it for the guaranteed happily ever after, the romance, and the smut. On all three counts, this delivers. My only issue was an overabundance of smut. You are reunited with the love of your life and there is chemistry out the ass and you devour each other, great. I’m happy for you. You spend days rolling around in bed, avoiding the world? A bit of a stretch, but fine, enjoy it while you can. I just felt like there was one too many sex scenes. We get it, you can’t get enough of each other, but can we take a break, pretty please? They were all well written, I just felt the number was a bit overpowering.

Really, if a romance novel is going to have an issue, an overabundance of smut is probably the best problem to have. This novel turned out to be exactly what I was looking for, a heartwarming tale of second chances for love and happily ever afters. I know I’m overly picky, but really, what more could I have asked for?!?

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Review For Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

TITLE: Cruel Beauty
AUTHOR: Rosamund Hodge
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

In this fantasy retelling of Beauty & The Beast, Nyx was born with a single purpose, marry the lord who oppresses her people and destroy him. Since birth, she has been in training to fulfill this destiny and on her seventeenth birthday, she goes through with the plan and becomes the lord’s wife. Still resentful of her family for allowing her to be sacrificed, while babying her twin, she is eager to complete this task to prove that she isn’t as useless as her father seems to imagine and he’ll regret never loving her properly. However, Ignifex, the dark lord, is not what she has always envisioned, being charming and even kind to her. Will she finish her destiny or will she fall for this one man who seems to accept her for all the truly is, cruelty and darkness included?

Nyx is so very different from any other YA heroine I’ve read about recently. She is utterly devoted to her cause but harbors such contempt and hatred for her family that it is difficult to keep it all in. She knows that none of what she is being put through is her sisters fault but at the same time cannot help but feel rage at her for never trying to take her place or save her. Does no one love her enough to want to keep her from sacrificing herself for the greater good? Apparently not because no one even hints that there is something wrong with the situation. She holds all the anger and venom inside, but it still occasionally slips out. So once she’s with Ignifex, she feels fine expressing her rage at him because he is, after all, the evil lord, right? He makes deals that bring horrendous consequences and he Sundered the land so there is no longer a sky, just a domed ceiling. But the meaner she is, the more she realizes that maybe there is more than meets the eye. I applauded her for her darker side most of the time, but there were occasions when she was overly cruel to Ignifex and I just wanted to smack her. I get that it’s your destiny to destroy him, but you don’t have to be a bitch after he saves your life!

Ignifex was something else altogether. His logic about the deals he makes was so undeniable. After all, people came to him requesting either horrible or impossible things and he gave them what they wanted, at a price. He was really just a facilitator, a middle man, and it certainly wasn’t his fault that people didn’t always grasp the full cost of what they wanted until it was too late. He’s outwardly handsome and charming, always ready with a witty comeback to whatever Nyx throws at him. He’s really just trying to make the best of his situation.

The other important character here is Shade, a captive of Ignifex…or is he. I can’t really talk about him without getting spoiler-y****SPOILER****I knew from the beginning that he was a part of Ignifex, that they were the same person split in two.****END SPOILER*** I wasn’t really a Shade fan, he always seemed to have his own agenda and it wasn’t always in Nyx’s best interest. ****SPOILER****That part where he almost kills her and we learn that he killed so many of the other wives had me flipping out. How Nyx forgave him is beyond me. I wanted to stay as far from him as possible****END SPOILER****

This has a love triangle, but it’s really a love triangle because…well I can’t really explain, but just trust me, k? It’s a completely fresh take on Beauty & The Beast. It’s a bit confusing on the fantasy elements, but that may just be because I’m not very big on fantasy because their worlds always seem to confusing. I think what really drew me to this was the relationship between Ignifex and Nyx. These two are so similar even though their backgrounds are so different and they truly see each other for who they are. Ignifex seeing past Nyx facade of nice, dutiful daughter, and Nyx seeing beyond The Gentle Lord who oppresses the people to the man behind the mask, so to speak. It one of those epic loves that, in the end, breaks all the rules.

This retelling of my favorite fairy tale had me digging Luna (my kindle) out at every spare moment, even going so far as to read while I waited in line at the bank, just to get a bit more. Hodge has creating a beautiful world that is breathtaking and heartbreaking. It’s a fantasy novel that those who aren’t really fantasy fans can wholly enjoy. I recommend it to anyone with a love of Beauty & The Beast or anyone looking for a story a bit off the beaten path!

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

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Review for The Destiny Of Violet & Luke (The Coincidence #3) by Jessica Sorensen

The Destiny Of Violet & Luke by Jessica Sorensen

TITLE: The Destiny Of Violet & Luke
SERIES: The Coincidence #3
AUTHOR: Jessica Sorensen
PUBLICATION DATE: January 7, 2014
PAGES: 283 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 bows

Luke & Violet both have fucked up pasts. Luke’s father walked out on them pretty early on and his druggie mother made him do things no child should ever have to deal with. Violet’s parents were murdered when she was a child and from then on she bounced from foster family to foster family, no one really wanted to keep the angry girls who’d spent a day in the house with her dead parents. From the first moment the two start talking, they argue and fight, but somewhere in the fighting, they can both tell that they have something in common and just maybe they can help each other.

Violet is a pretty strong character, she’s determined to be independent and self-sufficient even if it kills her. It’s better to fight for yourself than depend on someone who is eventually going to leave, right? Her resolve to trust no one was both admirable and depressing. No family and no friends can be a terribly lonely life and no one deserves that. Watching her fight with herself on whether or not to accept Luke’s help had me on edge because, for a moment, I really didn’t think she’d allow him to assist her at all, stubbornly refusing help even when going at it alone would make things worse for her. She relents though, at least letting him help her to class when she really couldn’t walk.

Luke is just as stubborn. He desperately needs somewhere to stay for the summer because he refuses to go home, but he can’t bring himself to ask his dad, who recently reappeared in his life, for help. He’s normal routine is drink himself to oblivion and find a girl willing to give sexual favors, no strings attached. He’s not the type to help someone out just for the hell of it, but from the moment Violet literally fell into his life, he can’t stop worrying about her and what made her jump out that window. Trying to determine whether or not she’s suicidal takes up more of his brain-space than he ever thought possible and he finds himself trying to help her even when it’s obvious she doesn’t want it.

Just like all of Sorensen’s couples, Violet & Luke are prefect together. When he’s with her, he cuts down on his drinking and she’s not off the rails crazy looking for an adrenaline fix. They both kind of even the other out and help cope with the fucked up pasts. Watching them fight with themselves and each other was way too enthralling and you can’t help but root for them. My problem was simply that it was a bit too predictable. ****SPOILER****From the first page that Luke mentions he mom came home covered in blood, I KNEW she was involved in Violet’s parents murders. It was so obvious that you’d have to be blind to not see it coming. How she was involved and who the guy with her was, I have no idea, maybe her dealer, but I knew it was her.****END SPOILER**** Another problem was the cliffhanger. I mean, I know I should always expect one with Jessica Sorensen, but I’m always hoping she’ll give that particular tactic a break. I think she enjoys torturing her poor fans because that ending was horrid. What makes it worse is that you don’t even realize it’s the end! On the E-ARC I read, it ends when your kindle shows 87% finished. So I’m reading and I go to the next chapter…and it’s an excerpt from The Redemption Of Callie & Kayden and then adds for similar novels and that’s it. I mean, I get that when we got to like 95% the book is over, but this one has the added bonus of allowing you to believe you’ve got more to read but you don’t. God I fucking hate cliffhangers. They are so damn frustrating, especially since there isn’t a release date for the next one yet. ::dies::

The only other issue was I thought we’d get a bit more of Callie and Kayden. I mean, Kayden is Luke’s bestie, so you’d assume Luke would clue him in on the whole homeless thing. But if he did, then I guess Kayden didn’t care. We get a scene or two with them, but not very much at all. It’s not really a big deal though and I can see why we’d want to focus solely on Violet & Luke.

Sorensen really has a talent for writing twisted characters who are so internally tortured that they can’t see a logical way out. She’s always got a talent for writing steamy love scenes and swoon-worthy male leads. Luke may be a dick to many people, but once he latches onto someone and makes that conscious decision to be connected to them, he becomes a whole different person. One thing is certain, I’m dying to get my hands on the next book (or the next two books because we all know the next one will have just as bad of an ending) because I need to know how they resolve their issues. I know they will, I know they’ll find a way back to each other, but it’s the how that’s important, right?

****Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

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