Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Twisted Ever After #1
***FYI: Over at my other blog, my friend did a Q&A with A. Zavarelli. Check it out.***
Darkest Beauty and the Beast retelling ever!
This book is not for everyone. It is very dark and incredibly fucked up.
Tortured as a child, Javi grew into a deranged adult. Hatred blossomed deep in his heart for the man that made him the way he was, and that man happened to be Bella’s father. Javi decided that the best way to exact revenge on him was through his daughter. Bella knew her father’s line of work was dangerous, but she had no idea what kind of man he really was. One thing is for certain about this book: it is no fairy tale.
Bella was sweet, innocent, and sensitive. Javi turned her world upside down. The things he did were cruel and demented. He used her in every way possible, using every trick in the book to play mind games with her. There was one scene in particular where she gave up hope. It was gut wrenching. I’m not sure if the outcome made it better or worse because of the cruelty of it, making her feel fear and desperation on a level she never had before.
It was impossible to hate Javi. His erratic behavior made him hard to read and predict. There were moments where the untainted side of him showed through. Unlike other beasts it was much harder to find his good side, to see the man beneath the scars.
I almost cried two times near the end of the book. Those two events were devastating. It was one of those things where I was reading and wanted to change the words on the page because I did not want to face the reality of what was happening. It was like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it was worth it in the end.
I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3 stars
Series: Nightshades #1
The nightshades a.k.a. vampires weren’t like the average vamp in two ways. One is the way they were made. Their saliva was the potent ingredient not blood. It had to be placed directly into the heart. That would have been some sick shit before needles were invented. It definitely would have prevented accidentally turning someone. The other way they were different is their looks. They weren’t described as exceptionally beautiful. Their beauty wasn’t what made them special.
It was a good start to the series. I can’t pinpoint why but I didn’t get sucked into the story. The focus was on the vampires and the murders. I would have liked to have gotten to know the characters better. Alex was okay but now that I think about it I don’t know much about him personally. Lindy was cool and wasn’t living the standard vampire lifestyle. It was odd when she easily acquiesced to Alex’s demands. Their goals were in alignment, but I expected her to put up a better fight for her freedom and independence. It was good enough that I’ll read the next one when it comes out.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Absolutely beautiful! The writing is captivating. The story slowly builds. I admit it took me awhile to get into it, but I was hooked once I got a third of the way in. The world and more specifically the city of Weep is truly unique. It’s a living legend, a place so far off the beaten path that most people no longer believe it was ever real. Lazlo did. He always believed.
I fell in love with the characters! Lazlo and Sarai are the same yet not. They both possess an astonishing level of compassion for others. Neither of them see the world in black and white but in various shades of gray. Lazlo amazed me with his selflessness. He expected nothing from the world. He was happy with what he was given no matter how small. Nonetheless he was a dreamer with high hopes for fantastical things. He didn’t aspire to be great or do things to make a name for himself. Everything was done simply because it was the right thing to do.
Sarai broke my heart. For many reasons, she believed she was a monster, but at the same time, she knew monsters didn’t have to do monstrous things. Sarai knew from experience what it felt like to be an outcast, to be viewed as evil just for existing. Nothing she did mattered because of what she was.
“She saw only what humans would see. Not a girl or a woman or someone in between. They wouldn’t see her loneliness or fear or courage, let alone her humanity. They would see only obscenity. Calamity.”
Her power allowed her to get into the minds of anyone in the city giving her a diverse perspective no one else could possibly have. The more she learned about the people who hated her the more she empathized with them because they suffered just like she did. And that is the core of this story: hatred and how it changes people, even good people.
“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”
The story has many layers but not a lot of action. It’s about the characters and what caused them to be the people they are and how all of them developed their extreme positions. Many of the gods secrets remained hidden at the end, all of which I’m sure will be revealed in the next one. The end was devastating. It ripped out my heart and stomped on it. However it didn’t leave me without hope, but I was not expecting things to do down like that.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Most people believed magic was nothing but a fairy tale. Those who used it were killed. Curtis Vance wanted to forget about magic and those who control it. After meeting a sorceress with some special skills, he was forced to face his past. She convinced him to help her find something rare. He didn’t help her out of the goodness of his heart; he was a thief after all.
The world building was great! There was a constant stream of new things to learn about it. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out more. It was action packed with one crazy thing happening after another. The characters were deceptive, so it hard to gauge who Vance could trust.
The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. Vance and the sorceress were the main ones. I liked Vance. He was intelligent and could manipulate others to save his own ass. It was kinda hard to believe the guy had lived so long because he couldn’t do shit to save himself when physical skills were required. The sorceress was fascinating because I never knew what her ultimate goal was. She did enough good things that I wanted to trust her, but she had too many secrets. My biggest issue with her was her lack of personality.
The plot was entertaining, and I liked the direction the story went in at the end. It’s unfortunate this is a standalone. The plot was wrapped up, but it’s a shame to develop such an interesting world and only get one story about it.
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 stars
Series: Caraval #1
I was hesitant to read this because it’s YA and has tons of rave reviews. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, but this was good, damn good. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The best thing about it is that it’s YA that doesn’t feel like YA. The characters were mature. I easily could have thought they were in their twenties. In fact Scarlett was cautious, almost too cautious for her own good. She was the antithesis of a TSTL heroine.
Caraval was a magical game only held once a year in a different location each time. Scarlett dreamed of going to the mysterious games for her whole life. The opportunity to go finally came, and it didn’t turn out like she expected. The rules of the game were vague. She didn’t know who to trust or what was real. It was far more dangerous than expected.
I loved the characters! Scarlett did what she thought was best even when it wasn’t what she wanted. That’s admirable in its own way. She always analyzed the best way to handle a situation. Doesn’t mean she always made the best decision though. The main side character was Julian. I didn’t know what to make of him until the very end. He went from scoundrel to kinda sweet, but what was real?
The ending was one hell of a surprise. Didn’t see it coming at all. There was a lot more going on than I would have guessed. I can’t wait for the next one because I’m dying to know more. The ending wasn’t really a cliffhanger. The main story was wrapped up, but some things were left open ended.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
Mercy was kidnapped and taken to the lair of a powerful vampire. The question was why? The story was told from alternating Mercy and Adam’s POV. The parts with Mercy were good. Chaos seemed to follow her every place she went. It was great to have Mercy away from the pack for a while. She may not win any battles due to strength but has many ways of outwitting her enemies. I may be in the minority with this opinion but I prefer Mercy when she doesn’t have to deal with ridiculous pack drama. She’s capable of handling a lot on her own.
Adam’s POV dragged. Honestly I could have skipped his chapters because all I wanted to know was what was going on with Mercy. Everything he did to get Mercy back was political. I didn’t feel like anything truly significant was learned from his dealings with the vampires. Adam is a powerful alpha. He’s got to be one of the most boring alphas. The problem is that he’s too pragmatic to be interesting. Internally he fretted about Mercy but managed to be calm and reasonable. What he did was the right but didn’t make for a highly entertaining read.
The story was a bit convoluted by the end. The ending made sense. It wasn’t like I couldn’t understand it, but I wanted more details about how this plot was orchestrated. I loved the twist with Matt Smith. I did not see that coming at all. But seriously how the hell did that happen? Because it wasn’t one of those twists where looking back after knowing the truth makes all the pieces fall into place. There weren’t any hints at all, so it came out of left field. It’s fascinating because of what it symbolizes for Mercy, but logistically it doesn’t seem possible.