The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

33380869Rating: 3.5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this. It wasn’t face paced, but I didn’t want to stop reading either. The writing was good enough that I still liked it despite being aggravated at some of the things going on. The first half was so good. I wanted to know what would happen next because it was obvious whatever goal Hector was trying to achieve was going to blow up in his face. Nina was so innocent. I felt bad for her. I didn’t like what Hector was doing, but I understood it.

Things changed about halfway through. I liked Nina and Hector much better then. They both grew and matured. The amount of drama that ensued was too much. It was frustrating and not in a good way. The one thing this story had not needed was another love triangle thrown in in the second half especially since it was obvious Nina did not have feelings for the other guy. Nina’s behavior was aggravating at times and seemed somewhat OOC compared to the earlier part of the novel. She had always been the type to do what she wanted regardless of whether or not others approved. Some of that defiance disappeared. Most of the truly dramatic parts towards the end could have been completely avoided if Nina would have been honest with herself and spoke her mind. The end was satisfying, but I wish there had been less angst in the process of getting there.

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

24763621Rating: 3 stars

It was really good at first. Then it fizzled out about half way through. In the beginning, there was some goblin lore, and it all seemed like it was building up to something fascinating. About halfway through it became a straight up romance. All of the other storylines were dropped. The goblin lore no longer mattered. Some things seemed completely pointless in hindsight such as Hans being the story at all.

The writing was beautiful, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of other things. There weren’t enough details about the world and the goblins. Some things were alluded to but never followed up on. The pacing was too slow. The book really could have been shorter. So much page time was spent on Liesl’s obsession with music. I did not give a shit. It was boring as hell to read about.

Liesl was admirable in her desire to put others needs before her own. It was cool that she wasn’t a great beauty although several characters mentioned that she was, but the emphasis was on her plainness. Putting herself in great danger wasn’t something she generally did, but she had a habit of not thinking things through, which got on my nerves at times.

The goblin king was the best part of the book, but even he wasn’t too interesting by the end. His misery and history were not explored enough. At first he was mysterious, charming, and manipulative. By the end he was just a sad guy.

The ending was unconventional, but it wasn’t satisfying either. It was one of those weird things where it was sad and happy at the same time. It didn’t feel complete. There were still things I wanted to know. This ending would be okay if it were the first in a series, but I believe this is a standalone. Then again even if this were a series, I didn’t like this enough to want to read the next one.

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

619bct1f69l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Tradd Street #5

I didn’t like this book nearly as much as the last two. Things are different now that Melanie and Jack are married with kids. Despite them finally being a couple, they still didn’t feel like a team. They didn’t work together as much as they did in the other books. Jack didn’t make as many witty comments that get Melanie all flustered. He is my favorite character in the series, and I wanted more of him. Melanie is anal retentive and obsessive compulsive about certain things, but it’s funny and endearing. It’s expected that there will be some drama since no one can live up to her lofty standards. But does there have to be a quasi love triangle in every book? The other man/woman never goes anywhere serious as a potential love interest, and it’s obvious it won’t. I’m okay with them having problems, but I want them to be sure that they are 100% committed to each other for a whole book.

Although I love the cast of characters which made the book worth reading, this wasn’t the best mystery ever. About half way through I figured out what really happened to Hasell and who Jayne really was. The clues about Jayne were numerous and obvious. There wasn’t anyone else whose child she could possibly be. I wasn’t thrilled with the plot probably because I’m not a fan of secret baby storylines. A few other minor things were easy to figure out. It got annoying after awhile that the characters weren’t figuring any of this stuff out. More things got on my nerves than normal, but I will gladly read the next book if there is one.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saint by A. Zavarelli

6735f79dd0e929d0661a385a678328bfRating: 4 stars

Series: Boston Underworld #4

I didn’t want to put this one down. I even skipped out on eating lunch the day I got it because I preferred to spend every second possible reading it. Scarlett was hellbent on getting revenge, but things weren’t going as planned. Someone she despised put a major kink in her plans. Sometimes I didn’t know how to feel about Scarlett. I was completely on board with her revenge plan because those bastards deserved it. Her plans for Rory kinda made me hate her at times. OK maybe not hate but really strongly dislike. So for a while I’d like her. Then I’d get mad at her. It kept going back and forth like that.

I adore Rory. He’s a badass sweetheart. Most mafia men are not nearly as nice as he is. He really stands out from the crowd. That’s why Scarlett’s attitude towards him pissed me off. It was so easy to see he wasn’t like the other men in her life. It was totally in his character to not give up on Scarlett. He was well aware she could be his destruction, but all he cared about was helping her.

This was my second favorite book in the series. Crow is still my favorite. It was angsty at times, but not enough that it got on my nerves. The chemistry between Rory and Scarlett was good. I’m curious to know more about Storm. I expect she’ll get her own book eventually.

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

27015399Rating: 5 stars

Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1

Wow! I can’t stop thinking about this book. I’m already tempted to reread it. In terms of quality, plot, etc. it was only worth 4 stars. It’s been so long since I haven’t wanted to put a book down and have been completely enraptured by it. It finally happened with this book, so it gets 5 stars.

It’s hard to put into words why I liked this so much. It wasn’t perfect. It’s not ideal for a relationship to begin with the H kidnapping the h. The chemistry was there right from the start despite Griffin being an arrogant bastard. All things considered, Cat wasn’t treated badly aside from not having the freedom to go where she wanted. Any feelings she developed were real. Nothing occurred to cause Stockholm syndrome. Other people’s reactions to Cat’s objections about being held captive pissed me off. They acted like it was no big deal because Griffin was rich and powerful and she’d have a good life with him. Whether that was true or not it shouldn’t matter. Others had the nerve to get annoyed when she complained about being held captive, which made it hard for me to believe in the innate goodness in some of the side characters.

Cat was an amazing heroine! This book was great because of her. She didn’t put up with shit from anybody whether she could best them or not. Many heroines are tomboyish, which she was. Feminine is definitely not a word I would use to describe Cat, but unlike other tomboy heroines, she knew how to act and dress like a lady and didn’t shy away from it when it mattered. Most of the time she chose to be herself, which was blunt, bold, bossy, and sarcastic.

I shouldn’t like Griffin. I really shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it. The guy is charming as hell. Half of the things he did were aggravating, but it’s the kind of aggravating that’s both infuriating and endearing. Despite his arrogance, he was a decent guy. He never needlessly killed nor was he cruel. He was way too bossy and needed to taken down a peg or two sometimes, so I thoroughly enjoyed it when Cat would smack him when he acted like a self righteous jerk.

The world building was an original twist on Greek mythology. Cat’s magic was interesting, although if she resembles a specific mythological god or demigod I haven’t figured out who it is. As to Cat’s true identity, well that was so easy to figure out although it hasn’t officially been revealed. The clues have been numerous and aren’t cryptic.

Although I love most of the characters and their lighthearted banter, I wish they weren’t so easy to figure out. The bad guys are pure evil or at least do a poor job of hiding their disdain for the people they dislike. The good guys are so good it’s almost sickening. The women in Griffin’s family are particularly irritating. They mean well, but they’re incredibly naive and need some sense knocked into them. I agree with what Griffin’s family wants to do as the new rulers of Sinta, but most of them are so damn clueless when it comes to politics. It’s hard to believe they overthrew the previous rulers in the first place let alone have the ability to maintain their position.

I know most of this review sounds negative, but I loved the book! The issues didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The romance was perfect. It wasn’t slow moving, but Cat didn’t jump into anything without giving it serious thought first and putting up some resistance.