Tuesday, May 31, 2016

ARC Book Review: Blossom and the Beast by R. S. McCoy

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: R. S. McCoy
Genre: YA Retelling
Published: 2016

I am so happy to be working with R. S. McCoy to bring her book out into the world. Blossom and the Beast has officially been released today! As a lover of all things fairytale (especially Beauty and the Beast) I was thrilled when McCoy contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing her paranormal retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This book is a very unique retelling and I feel like it has a little something in it for every reader out there. 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Blossom Frane is only weeks away from her transformation. On her eighteenth birthday, she’ll find out her future branch of society and her totem, the animal form she’ll be able to take at will for the rest of her life. Like her brothers, she’s expected to be a brown bear of the religious branch known as Terra. 

In the Alderwood forests, Blossom’s bear blood is a valuable asset. Any day now, a rival clan leader will step forward and offer her father a hefty bounty in exchange for her hand in marriage. Blossom can do nothing more than sit back and wait to be traded to the highest bidder.

Determined to spend her last weeks exploring the Alderwood, Blossom sneaks away and manages to find Kaide Landel, a rising political star of the Pyro branch. Known for his violence and disregard for the religious teachings of the Terra branch, he’s all wrong for the bear clan’s prized daughter. But when the politician uses his wealth and influence to secure her hand, Blossom has no choice but to leave her family and marry him—if she lives that long. 

The main character, Blossom, is a free spirited girl who wants nothing more than freedom. She is everything you want in a main character. Fierce, determined, and a big heart that is loyal to her family and friends. I loved Blossoms attitude. When Kaide comes along dragging her into marriage and a new life she takes it in stride. She continues to be an inquisitive pest. Seriously.  The Alderwood is completely different from Pyro. Everything from clothes, to totems.But Blossom could care less. She's determined to make the best out of every situation. 

I loved the idea of the totems and world in this story! That the animal they are represents their strongest character traits. Finding out Kaides totem was something I was so excited for. And Blossoms totem? Yeah WOW. The different parts of their world and their strong suits was something I enjoyed seeing throughout the story. The portals and the mix of the natural world with the new ways of their wold was crazy to see. 

Kaide and Blosom made my heart stutter. THEY ARE SO PERFECT!! Kaide was a quiet, strong type and Blossom is an inquisitive, vibrant girl. Though you would think she would't fit at all with Kaide's world she surprises everyone by thriving in it. Their relationship was so well developed. I was expecting a quick romance with instant love but it wasn't. Blossom isn't the type to give away her heart lightly and Kaide is patient enough to wait for her. 

My only problem with this story is how it slowed in the middle. We had a lot of tension in the beginning and the end was very fast paced but the middle it was like we were waiting for something.  I would have preferred if we had gotten a bit more at the end. A little more of an explanation but it was like we just hit it and it was over. It didn't hinder my love for the story though.

Speaking of the end can I just say wow. The ending was nothing like I was expecting. I thought I had the whole story figured out but at the last minute I was swept off my feet by a whirlwind of new plot twists and anxiety. Yeah lots of anxiety. And anger. And tears. I need the second book NOW. Please and thank you.

I usually end with a 'who I recommend this book to' but at the beginning I said it had something for every reader. And it does in fact have everything. This retelling of Beauty and the Beast is like none I've ever read. Go grab your copy and enjoy falling into a unique, paranormal world full of bears and peaches (odd but true:). 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: C. J. Redwine
Genre: YA Retelling
Published: 2016

My two favorite books to read are Fantasy and retellings. Retellings hold a special place in my heart and when I find a good one I'm ecstatic. Retellings can be hard because, of course, they are a story based on another story. Sometimes the author can follow to closely and you know exactly where that story is headed. C. J. Redwine did a superb job with The Shadow Queen.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Our main character, Lorelai (I love that name btw), is a fierce girl determined to get her kingdom back. After the death of her father shes on the run with an exiled guard and her brother. I love lead females who are strong but don't come off as to much. Which in my opinion can be hard. We don't need a guy to save us but we also don't need to be the one saving the guy or worse scorning the whole male population simply because they are male. Lorelai was the perfect combination. She was strong and determined but also vulnerable and willing to accept help when she needed it. 

I Loved the magic in this book. In books we sometimes run into the same story line, or the same old trick but this book had a fresh feel to it. There was such a solid build. We had kingdoms, and history, and different types of magic for each one (I had so much fun with the map included in the book). Dark and light magic. Earth magic as well as air and earth. Shapeshifters and giant serpents. There was just so much this book had to give! But sometimes this became a little much. There were a few times whilst reading when I'd get overwhelmed with all the information, but it wasn't enough to make me stop reading. 

This story is based on Snow White. You can see similarities throughout the story but I think the author did a good job of putting her own twist on it. Of course we had our evil queen, runaway princess, and a huntsman. But our huntsman was a prince with the weight of an endangered kingdom on his shoulders. Our Queen was a lonely woman with a greedy heart. And our Princess was a grieving, magic wielding heir to a throne. All kinds of new things came in to play with this story and I had so much fun seeing what would come next.

The ending of this story gave me so many feels. It just made me so happy. Just happy tears you guys.

If you enjoy retellings, magic wielding girls, and dragons then I recommend this story to you. At times it may be a little slow and overwhelming but its definitely worth it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Killing Jar by R. S. McCoy

I am so excited to be a part of R. S. McCoy's cover reveal for The Killing Jar! I've read the synopsis and personally, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Without further ado, I present the cover!

Isn't it gorgeous?! I'm loving the design. Further details, quotes, and images below! Feel free to email me and squeal over the cover:)

Title: The Killing Jar
Author: RS McCoy
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Cover Artist: Kit Foster Design
Release Date: May 28, 2016


Earth is dying, circling the drain on life support. The future of the human race depends on space exploration, but they’re running out of time. Parasitic insects are systematically killing the best scientific minds but no one knows why.

Mable Wilkinson is the last hope to figure it out, she just doesn’t know it yet. For years, her resourcefulness, intelligence, and penchant for problem-solving have put her at the top of a very short list of researchers, only she doesn’t want to be part of it.

Cast out at sixteen, Mable wrote off the problems of the world long ago. Now, her focus is on Hadley, her adopted little sister, and teaching her to survive in the cut-throat underground. Instead, both Mable and Hadley fall into the hands of the program’s recruiter, Silas Arrenstein, and he’s determined to have one of them. Mable can join up with the man and program who killed her brother, or she can leave Hadley to the same fate.

Links to keep up with news on The Killing Jar and all future books by R.S. McCoy:

Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/YItp1

The main character! I love stories that have strong sister bonds in them and it looks like we are going to see one:) I'm also getting Katniss vibes from the blurb. anyone else?

Our main guy! Does she really hate him? Is this a love intrest? Does he always look this fantastic? I really, really want to know.

This image and this quote make me swoon so I thought I'd share it with you guys. Is anyone getting really curious cause I know I am

Heres and image with the dates for new releases! I'm currently reading an ARC of Blossom and the Beast and it's so good! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Author: Mary Shelley 
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Published: 1818

I have never been interested in this story. I'm not sure why I picked it up (curiosity?) but I'm glad I did. This story is one that appeals to our need for revenge. Our desire to put the blame on someone else. To take out our problems on someone else. I felt such an overwhelming pity and hatred for the monster of this story and at the end of the book it was a feeling of despair.  

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

My dear Victor Frankenstein,
You are insane. 
A mind blown reader.

Basically me the first third of the story. Why? Why do something as crazy as collect body parts and assemble a human? Or can it even be considered a human?  Frankenstein's monster had the same parts as a human. He eventually learns to communicate as one. But there was something missing. What makes us human?Something throughout the story is telling you that this creature couldn't possibly be human. At every turn he is destroying something, or thinking something that had you recoiling in horror. But there are humans out there capable of such actions or thoughts. So what makes you human? This book explores that question and leaves you questioning everything you've ever thought about humanity. 

This book is considered a classic horror. A lot of people go for this book because of that and are disappointed. This isn't some Hollywood horror film with a spirit coming out of the walls or floating candles. This is something worse. Victor has created a living, thinking creature that is stronger than the average human being. He then leaves this abomination on its own and spends months waiting for it to show up. That, in my opinion, is a horror. The feelings of deep hatred and self loathing. The fear and anxiety as you wait for something so gruesome to make an appearance. 

(I did not, however, consider this a romance. So if you're reading this book for the romance don't. There is very little love and happiness in this book.)

The monster. *start of long winded explanation* The monster is in fact not Frankenstein. He is Victor Frankenstein's monster. Hence Frankenstein's Monster. If you had no clue about what I just wrote don't worry about it. I didn't know up until a few years ago and in almost every retelling or movie the monster is called Frankenstein *end of long winded explanation*. As I said in the beginning of my review the Monster made me feel both pity and anger towards it. When Frankenstein first creates the monster it can't speak. It was almost like a baby and at times that is what made me pity it. It didn't understand what was happening or the difference between right and wrong. But eventually our monster becomes educated and uses his strength to push Victor around. All my feelings of pity flew out the window at the first murder. Our monster was smart. He was clever with his words and used just the right amount of intimidation to get what he wanted. But at the end of the book I felt depressed. I didn't feel pity or anger I was just depressed. 

This book is not something that can be pinned down. It's very much up to the reader how to perceive it. Mary Shelley created a master piece that, though at times can be boring, keeps you hooked and your mind working. I'd recommend this to a reader. If you're trying to get into classics -- leave this for later. But, if you enjoy books and have taken on some of the bigger classics--  read this one. Its something that I think you need to read to fully understand and appreciate it yourself. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book Review: Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2016

I met Alwyn Hamilton at a book event in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was such an awesome person to talk to and I started the book as soon as I got my hands on a copy. I was on my toes, jumping up and down in anticipation by the end of the first chapter.

Goodreads Synopsis

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

The setting for this story has to be what made me love it so much. It was so unique and unlike anything I've ever read before. A mix of middle eastern and the old west? Um yes please. The desert, which fits into both of those settings, was a force of its own. It felt like it was a character itself. The way it was always there and how they were either fighting against it or with it all throughout the story. Only the strong survive and Amani is a girl destined for the desert. 

This story had everything and then some. We had gun slingers and sword fighters, magical stories with djinni and mythical horses, rebel princes and orphan girls. I love a good magical setting (hi fantasy addict here) and Alwyn Hamilton put just enough of the magical, mysterious middle east into her western story. 

Amani is now one of my new favorite female leads. Even though she has lead a difficult life she's determined to escape her overbearing Uncle and lead the life she wants to lead. . Her development throughout the story was so much fun to see. Her transformation from a girl looking out for herself to someone willing to put her life on the line for people she doesn't know was perfect. Hers skills with a gun and the way she didn't need anyone to save her. Don't even get me started on her relationship with Jin!!

This is a short review but honestly there isn't much wrong with this book. I could right paragraph after paragraph about the things I loved in this story. As awesome as this one was I'm a little anxious to see what happens in the sequel. We had so much build up and by the end of the book all our clues were figured out and our bad guys put in their place. I really don't want to be disappointed in the next book so I'm crossing my fingers it will be just as good as the first.