Book Review: Beast A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

Image result for beast a tale of love and revengeChateau Beaumont is said to be cursed but Lucie ignores the warnings not believing that the handsome master of the keep, Jean-Loup is anything but kind and brave.  She is soon relieved of that notion and in revenge, she seeks the help of a wise woman who changes the master into a Beast as ugly as his soul.  However, Beast is not all that he appears to be for no evil man could tend the roses as sweetly as he does, attempt poetry, or express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie.  Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was.  Lucie hopes that the Beast has replaced the chevalier permanently until a young woman shows up with the power to break the curse.  I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This book was published on July 10th, 2018.

This book was an interesting retelling of the age-old fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.  The characters were compelling and in a world filled with magic where everything is not so black and white.  Beauty and ugliness are blurred along with beastliness and humanity.  I liked the book but at times I was bored by it.  However, the unique retelling and plot plus stunning characters still recommend the book.

I was drawn into this tale by the main character, Lucie who suffers greatly at the hands of the Chevalier of the grand estate of Beaumont.  Her growth from hatred to understanding to love was intriguing to read about and the author excellently portrayed her growth as a character.  However, I could not stand the fact that she spent a major Image result for boring gifportion of the book as a candlestick.  It was boring to read about how as a candlestick Lucie would sit in a single place for weeks just ruminating.  There were a couple chapters where I wanted to set the book down. But I powered through and it was worth it to reach the middle to ending chapters.

In these, we realize that Rose also known as Beauty may be more than just a frightened maiden entranced by the Beast.  And the Beast is more than just a frightening creature.  His humiliation and gentle side show through and the constant rejections from Rose are heartbreaking to witness within his character.  I loved the Beast and through every riotous emotion I followed and understood him.  

The Beast was a phenomenal addition to the story but what I really adored was the world building.  The author created a setting in which magic is possible in an extravagant world told from the point of view of a servant. The roses of the Beast and the Chateau in which he lived were wonderfully described and I could almost smell a hint of roses in the air.  It was stunning for the author truly created a gorgeous world.

In the end, I would recommend the book.  It wasn’t a favorite, though and I would rather read other books before this one.  However, it was worth it to see a unique take on an age-old fairy tale.

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Book Review: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

Jack barely remembers his mortal life before the deal.  So he focuses on his job of guarding a gate to the Otherworld, a world crawling with every horror, haunt, and spook imaginable.  He has spent decades moving from town to town not allowing a soul, human or inhuman past him .  But that changes the day he meets Ember O’Dare.Image result for the lanterns ember

Ember O’Dare is a stubborn seventeen-year-old witch whose draw to the Otherworld is forceful.  Deciding to resist no longer she sets out to see this forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious vampire, setting a course that will change both worlds permanently.  Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.  I recieved this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The book’s publishing date was September 11, 2018. 

The Lantern’s Ember was a phenomenal book that I knew I had to read since it is by a stunning author.  Not to mention the cover is breathtaking.   And I am so glad did.  The tale that unfolded in this book was gorgeously thrilling and I could not set the book down.  The book was filled with a wild array of characters and the world-building was unique to say the least.

The main character, Ember was courageous and ingenious and reading about her tale and world was a fun experience.  She drew me to her because of her kindness and my need to understand why her magic was different and stronger than other witches.  However, I was getting annoyed with how many times she passed out during the entirety of the book which was several times more than it should have been.  Besides this annoyance I adored Ember’s character who brought the book to life.

Besides Ember, the book was filled with an array of various characters.  And for a while there was three love interests: Ember’s best friend, Finney, the lantern, Jack who has been watching over her from childhood, and the charismatic vampire, Dev.  Besides that the book contained, witches, several kinds of vampires, werewolves, automatons, trolls, vampire bats, the boogeyman, wizards, pirates, and more magical creatures.  They all added to the stunning world-building and diversity of characters who traveled and adventured with Ember through the Otherworld.

The Otherworld was a magical world that lived alongside the normal world but its people were not human.  The world was filled with every kind of haunt and spook that one can think of but no humans were allowed to enter.  The world was far ahead of the normal world in technological advancements and it was exciting to read about some of the things we take for granted running off witchlight in a magical world.  In the end the world-building was truly a masterpiece.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it to all.  It brings to life the origin of Halloween in stunning fashion that was simply unputdownable. 

Book Review: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

Image result for Bring Me Their HeartsZera is Heartless.  As an unaging and unable to die servant to a witch Zera doesn’t have a heart and yet that is all she craves.  Her witch, Nightsinger has complete control over Zera and Zera serves her unquestioningly until Nightsinger asks her to infiltrate the noble court.  Her task to take the Prince’s heart and in return she will gain her heart and freedom.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the court and the nobles.  With every girl jockeying for a position at his side he wants nothing to do with the spring brides.  Until Lady Zera is presented with her inelegance and smart-mouth shes’s out for his blood.

Soon a game of cat and mouse begins between a Heartless and a boy who has everything.  The winner gets the loser’s heart.  Literally.

Bring Me Their Hearts was an amazing tale of struggle, heartbreak, and the darkness offset by light that makes up humanity.  The characters were stunning and their struggles were utterly real and heartbreaking.  The world the author created was unique and I adored reading about the struggles of a girl who believes herself to be a monster.  I could not put Bring Me Their Hearts down and when I reached the devastating end I came away wanting more of Zera and Lucien’s story.  The end was a massive cliffhanger and I desperately want another book because this story was stunningly brought to life.  What really made the book, though, was the characters.

The main character Zera constantly struggled beneath the weight of being heartless.  It was devastating to read about the hunger that constantly clawed at her and how she fought it.  She covered the darkness within her with jokes which made for some entertaining back and forths with other characters.  However what made her real was her desperate need to be cared for and loved. She wanted that, to not feel like a monster.  Zera believed herself to be a monster and yet throughout the book we begin to see her emerge and attempt to be human again.  She learns to love and it was a beautiful thing to read as Zera changed and grew beyond her heartlessness.  The character growth was phenomenal and I completely adored Zera’s character.

Related imageThe other characters were just as finely wrought what with their pain and heartbreak.  The emotional depth the author instilled throughout the book was outstanding, especially in the Prince.

Lucien, the Prince, wants to care for his people and he wants to live up to his sister’s memory.  We watch throughout the tale as his internal walls slowly break down for Zera.  However, at the end of the book, it is heart-wrenching to read about how he finds out that Zera is heartless and to see her as a monster.  Throughout the book, we watch as he grows and finds the courage to try to change his nation once and for all.  His character was outstanding and I simply cherished him as the love interest.

The other side characters were just as sensational as the two main characters.  They each fought their own demons and the book in no way hides that.  Some overcome their demons while some continue to fight theirs but it made each character unique and real.  The world was stunning and the characters all the more so.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes, yes, a dozen times over.

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Image result for cruel beautyNyx has been raised to kill the tyrant, Ignifex, the demon king who has enacted his cruel bargains for hundred of years.  She is the one meant to kill him because of a reckless deal her father struck with him. Her mission is to kill him and reunite her kingdom which is sundered from the rest of the world.  However, Ignifex is not what she expects.  He quickly worms his way past her defenses and his castle of twisting mazes soon enthralls her.  But everything is not as it seems and as she uncovers more of Ignifex’s secrets Nyx begins to find herself unwillingly drawn to him.  But even if she can love her enemy how can she refuse her duty to kill him and save thousands of people?

Cruel Beauty was a wildly dark tale that completely entranced me through it’s vivid characters and sundered world.  I could not put the book down, desperately wanting to know what would happen.  The tale flew by in a whirlwind of opposites, betrayal, love, truth, and lies.  Endlessly the book kept distorting into new plot twists and vivacious creations.  The world and the heroes who were all guilty in their own ways worked together to form a tale from which I did not want to emerge.

The characters were charming, witty, and flawed.  Nyx, the main character is filled with hatred and pain for the family who never truly loved her and the fate that awaits her.  Throughout the book we see her grow to understand that the world is not completely black and white.  That the guilty can also be the innocent.  Her indomitable will and determination to fulfill her mission was admirable but what made her human was how she gave into feelings of malice, self hatred, regret, hope for forgiveness, and the knowledge that sometimes the world is a convoluted place.  Her character was offset by Ignifex and his shadow, Shade.  They were complete opposites of each other as two sides of a single person.  The witty banter between Ignifex and Nyx was wonderful and I quite enjoyed their game of trying to defeat the other.  The three characters were stunning and I savored reading their story.

The world building was definitely unique.  A small kingdom is cut off from the rest of the world and it all resides in a house which resides in that kingdom.  The unique castle and its many magical rooms was intriguing to read about.  The whole idea of a diminished world created a vivid setting for the tale.  Not to mention some of the story was built around Greek legends which added a wonderful mythological twist.  However, it was at times confusing as to what exactly the magic was and who the gods were and what they could do.  There were also a few plot holes that left me wondering.  It was slightly rambling almost like the castle within the book: constantly changing and at times completely absurd.  The author made up for these flaws through the amazing characters but the love triangle was still a little weird.

Despite this I loved Cruel Beauty and would recommend reading it.  It was darkly imaginative and is definitely worth the time it takes to read it.

Book Review: The Blood of Four Other Gods and Stories by Jamie Lackey

Image result for the blood of four gods and other storiesIn this collection of fourteen short stories inspired by African, Asian, and Native American myth and legend one will explore different realms of possibility.  From the cloud forest to crowded city streets these stories bring to life new fantasy.   New characters arise as brave as they are kind to counteract the forces of evil constantly threatening our world.  As these stories show the impossible it becomes the reality of possibility in the mind’s eye.  I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This book was published September 1, 2018.

This short collection of stories was interesting in a weird and not completely amazing way.  I was first drawn to the book through its title and the promise of short stories filled with magic.  I looked forward to the book and was quite excited to read it.  However, the book did not fully live up to my expectations.

First of all there was absolutely no character growth in anyone. The characters were just there and some of the stories almost seemed to just end but had no real ending.  All of the characters were blah for I as a reader could not connect to them and their troubles.  Not to mention most of the endings were either depressing, too much happily ever after, or simply not there at all.

However, the main thing that drove me to distraction was how in almost every story there was an incomplete transition where we just jump from one moment to the next and it was slightly confusing.  Like suddenly the main characters are getting married then one of them is dead due to a snake bite. 

Related imageAnother thing I hated was how some endings were just so abrupt.  It was like the author didn’t want to continue it and this usually resulted in there being no climax or plot to the short story.  For example one story was about a priestess who sacrifices herself by jumping into a volcano.  She lands on solid ground and has to climb up a ledge which she can’t see. And the story just ends with her climbing.  It made me want to cry for I wanted to know what happened to her but we will never know because the story just ends.

I will say though that I liked the ideas behind the world building and some of the stories.  I just felt that the author could have explored the worlds and characters more in depth creating short stories that allow the reader to become attached to that tale.  However, since this did not occur it just created stories that were just there and that weren’t that great.

In the end I cannot recommend this book.  It wasn’t the worst thing I have read but it wasn’t phenomenal. 

Book Review: Siren’s Lure by Frost Kay

Book Review: Siren’s Lure by Frost Kay

Image result for Siren's Lure: An Aermian Feuds Novel

Hayjen never believed in legends, myths, or rumors.  That was until he was captured and enslaved by a race that was thought to be safely ensconced from the rest of the world.  As danger stalks ever closer, Hayjen is tossed into the watery depths of the sea where he begins to question everything he has ever believed.

Lilja is intent upon vengeance.   Scythia will fall and she will bring it about for what they took from her can never be replaced. But an accident occurs and despite the laws, she rescues a dying man at the cost of exposing a secret she has kept for years.  A secret that could destroy an entire race.  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.  This book was published March 27th, 2018.

Siren’s Lure was an intriguing short novella that is part if The Aermian Feuds series.  I have not read any of the books that make up the series besides this prequel but I was immediately drawn into the tale from the first sentence.  The world was filled with siren-like creatures, pirates, slave traders, and kingdoms on the brink of war.  Add to that stunning characters with unique abilities and charming personalities hiding pain and secrets and I could not put the book down.

The characters were what first drew me into this tale.  Hayjen and Lilja are the two main characters.  The book’s chapters alternate between their two perspectives.  They were both unique and charismatic in their own ways.  Hayjen is a man captured and enslaved.  His goal is to protect all the women on the ship and when they are rescued by pirates he keeps a sharp lookout for deceit.  He is pained at having left his sister and all he wants to do is protect Mer and return to the sister he left to fend for herself.  His serious and protective ways endeared him to the reader.

The other contributor to this tale, Lilja is a hunted creature whose very kind is supposed to be extinct.  She was banished from her family and she now rescues those enslaved so that they do not face the same fate she did.  As a younger woman, she was enslaved and she suffered mightily at the hands of her captors.  But she looks beyond her past to the future and her optimistic ways and love of books endeared her to me.

Image result for i want more gifThe characters were not the only thing that enthralled me.  The world building was unique but since the tale was so short I only managed a glimpse into the complicated world built by the author.  There were so many unique aspects that made up the universe that the small look into it was not enough.  I am determined to read the rest of the series for this single short novella has captured my imagination and dug its claws in.

In the end, I would definitely recommend this novella.  I believe it can be read separately from the rest of the series but I will find that out soon enough when I read the other books.  Read it for it is worth being in its thrall for a short hour.

Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Alosa is sent on a mission to retrieve the missing piece of a map that leads to an island full of treasure.  She orchestrates her capture by the enemy allowing for the perfect opportunity to search their ship.  More than a match for the fearsome pirate crew Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever first mate, Riden.  He may see through some of her schemes but Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve for nothing can deter the daughter of the Pirate King.

This book was amazing!  The characters were remarkable and the tale was distinctive.  The setting was also incredibly interesting for who does not want to read about pirates, sirens, and treasure?  I would definitely recommend this book which contains strong lead characters who do not back down from a fight.

Image result for pirate of the caribbean gifsThe main character, Alosa was simply kick butt and I loved how she could fight and escape quite handily.  Plus the fact she was part siren.  It added a unique quality to her character along with her other skills.  Her constant arguments and undeniable attraction to Riden was entertaining to read about.  Her character was witty, intelligent, strong, and she could move on with life even as people died.  I liked her style choices and it was hilarious to read about some of the scrapes she got into on board the Night farer.  However, her character bore past scars for her father basically tortured her for his own purposes.  He made her strong and able to endure extreme situations but he also molded her to be the pirate he wanted her to be.  Despite that Alosa’s character stood strong and true and I quite cherished her.

Riden was the perfect love interest for the tale.  We didn’t have a chance to really see him fight but we were led to believe that he was as amazing if not better than Alosa.  What really drew me as a reader to him was his ability to draw out and interact with Alosa.  He engaged in witty banter with her while easily reading her like no other had ever been able to do.  He could see the change in her when she eased into her siren side and he predicted her escapades.  He was loyal to his brother and yet he sometimes did not stand up to him.  Despite that, he covered for Alosa and it was simply intriguing to read about him falling for her.  He was the quintessential man for the daughter of the Pirate King.

Image result for pirate of the caribbean gifs you're despicableThe other pirates were deliciously without honor.  Some were superstitious, others cruel, and others were drunkards.  They each had their vices that are usually expected of pirates and I quite simply loved it. The other pirates contributed in their own ways to the tale making the book more intriguing and engaging

Beyond the characters, I quite liked the setting of the book.  The world is ruled by pirates along with dangerous sea creatures.  The whole reason for Alosa having to purposefully get captured was intriguing within itself and completely something a pirate would focus on for every pirate wants gold and treasure beyond imagining.  It was unique making an already wonderfully written tale all the more outstanding.

I would highly recommend this book and I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the second book to find out what happens to Alosa and her crew of thieving scoundrels.