Beast by A. Zavarelli

33787861Rating: 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.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767-_uy200_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.

Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

30688517Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: InCryptid #6

It’s official: Antimony is my favorite of the Price siblings! Consequently this is my favorite book in the series. Unfortunately Annie is paying for her sister’s mistakes and was sent to infiltrate the covenant. It made for an entertaining read because I was just waiting for something to go wrong. There was no way Annie would last long among a group of ruthless killers without giving something away. Let’s face it: the only way to join the bad guys is to truly become one.

Annie could kick ass much like Verity, but she is more down to earth. It’s funny that she holds so much animosity towards Verity since they are alike in many ways. She was loyal, smart, and quick witted. I loved it that Annie did everything on her own. It’s rare to find a heroine who doesn’t need a male sidekick to survive, but she was completely alone. Calling her family to help her out or even to bounce ideas off of never even crossed her mind. Considering the sticky situation she was in, it was impressive.

Most of the covenant people were despicable. Now Leo was somewhat likable, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Then again the Price’s have a habit of making covenant men change their ways. I’m not saying they were dating or anything, just making a point. Sam wasn’t covenant, but Annie met him because of them. He was awesome! Sure he was a bit of a dick and swore, but what’s not to like about that?

I wasn’t sure how all of this was going to play out in the end. The covenant put Annie in a spot where her values were tested in more ways than one. There was a major surprise at the end involving the covenant. I don’t believe what they predicted will happen the way they want it to, but we definitely haven’t seen the last of them yet.

I felt so damn bad for Annie at the end. It was an honorable but incredibly hard choice to make. Why did her family do this to her? I don’t mean Verity although the ball got rolling because of her but her parents. Who does that to their kid? The risks were extremely high with minimal benefits at best. Now her life is fucked thanks to them. The things Annie mentioned at the end about why she is doing what she’s doing, well I was wondering at the beginning of the book why her family didn’t take any of that into consideration. How did they think this would end for her? Then again they may have something up their sleeves that she doesn’t know about. All I know is I am dying for the next one!

Thank you so so much to Netgalley and DAW for giving me this arc in exchange for an honest review!!!

The Magic by Donna Augustine

51qd3yjek0lRating: 4.5 stars

Series: The Wilds #4

A great end to a series that had bit of a rocky start. Dahlia aggravated me with her poor decision making, but I couldn’t help but like her. She did grow over the course of the series. Her actions were indicative of her age. As much as I hated some of the things she did, they were all done with good intentions. She valued the lives of others more than her own, and it was admirable.

Dax will be dearly missed. He finally opened up, well, just a little bit really but enough to be more endearing without being OOC. He was brutally honest, stubborn, and bossy but fair enough that he never came off as a jerk. Why can’t more leading males be written like him? He was so close to perfect.

Nothing was left unresolved by the end. How the world came to be in such a state of chaos was revealed. I liked the way it all went down. I hate it that it was the end. I really liked the world and the characters and it sucks knowing nothing new will ever be written about them again.

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

17333174Rating: 5 stars

Series: Kate Daniels #9

So much happened, and it was completely unexpected! There wasn’t a dull moment. Lots of humor. Roman was the perfect wedding officiator/organizer. Why doesn’t he have his own series? I love that guy. Finally there was plenty of page time with Roland!!! He’s fascinating. I want to hate him but I can’t. Julie’s relationship with Roland was explored although I’m still not sure that bastard hasn’t corrupted her in some way no one is expecting. The reappearance of a certain character was great. I did not see that coming at all, but it was a very interesting twist.

Kate is one hell of a kick ass woman! She was on her own a lot. It was a good change to have her and Curran operate independently. People were there for her, but she made all of the important decisions by herself. It really felt like she was the guardian of Atlanta. Her magical skills were off the charts! Lots of introspection in this one since power was beginning to corrupt Kate while she tried to remain true to herself. I liked seeing her evil side emerge.

There were two things I didn’t like about the book. One is that Hugh wasn’t in it. It wasn’t a big deal, but he was mentioned a fair amount, which made his absence more notable. The second thing is the predictions from the witches. I’m not a fan of stories where events are dictated by a predestined fate. Kate’s future isn’t set in stone, but knowing something was likely to happen seemed to lead to the eventuality of those events. That was a minor annoyance. The rest of the book was so damn good that it didn’t matter.

Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire

51whx4kpkdlRating: 4.5 stars

Series: Toby Daye #10

Many rulers on the west coast had a conclave to determine what should be done with the alchemical breakthrough Walther discovered in the last book. Of course nothing goes as planned when Toby is around. It didn’t take long for before the nobility was either being attacked or killed. The political part of the story emphasized how divided opinions are amongst the nobility about the fairness of their laws and changelings. The murder mystery definitely brought some much needed action and entertainment to the story. Not much happened to advance the overarching storyline, which as a die hard fan of this series was a disappointment. If something useful had been learned or if there had been a sex that was not glossed over, I would have given this 5 stars.

I miss the times when Toby was struggling to make her way in the world. A lack of respect is something she will always face because of her heritage, but as she keeps making friends in high places it’s not quite the same. It’s still good; it’s just different. For someone who lacks diplomacy skills she has managed fairly well in the political arena. Although her abilities have piqued the interest of some, it’s just as much a liability as it is an asset. For every friend she gains, she gains 3 new enemies. Toby was just as entertaining as always and pushed the limits of what is socially acceptable.

Tybalt’s role was much smaller than in the last few books. It was necessary for him to keep his distance from Toby for political reasons, but damn I missed having him around more. The Luidaeg had plenty of page time though. She’s always good for a laugh or for frightening the nobility. Toby did have the opportunity to ride her blood, but I have no clue what the significance was of the scene she glimpsed. Quinton was around a lot. After reading Full of Briars it’s hard to mesh his inner thoughts with his behavior in this. They’re not the same. I like him, but couldn’t help but wonder what type of thoughts were going through his head as events unfolded. Was he really as open minded as he appeared to be? WTH is he going to think when he learns the truth about his heritage?

The pacing was slow for the first quarter of the book and progressively became more action packed after that. I’ll always love this series, but I’m dying for something big to happen. Certain scenes in this were unforgettable, particularly one towards the end with Toby and Tybalt. Toby made amends with another character, but I have mixed feelings about that. It’s not one of my favorite books in the series, but it was much better than the last one.