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Friday, April 13, 2018

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren
Age Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

Buy Links: Amazon

4.5 "Eleven Years of Angst" Stars

Why is this book being marketed as WF when it's so clearly a romance. An awesome, slow burn, BFF to lovers, single POV Contemporary Romance? I don't get what's happening, but who cares because I really, really loved this book. I would've added another "really" (and probably the missing half star) had it not been for the big reveal. That was so bad that I spent a while contemplating retrieving the half star I already gave.

I realize this is a bad start to a review for a book I loved, but...

I absolutely LOVED 99% of this book, and I knew I'd probably love it from the beginning. 

I could not have connected with the voice more, since it was told in first person present tense from the perspective of a character that was instantly likable. It didn't hurt that Macy's mother was Brazilian (though I caught some pretty evident Portuguese mistakes in the book. Just saying) and that I always get Grey's Anatomy's vibe when I see the word "resident".

Macy became a favorite quite fast. I loved her maturity (even when she was running away from the love of her life after running into him after 11 years) and her personality. But if I'm being completely honest, Elliot was the star of this story for me.

Elliot who loves to read and knows pretty words and wears glasses and listen to his best friend talk abouth periods without acting all grossed out. Elliot was perfection. He's the kind of friend I wished everyone had in their teens. He is the friend that becomes your person (another GA's reference that hit me in the feels). I wish he was my person, too.

Throughout the entire thing I was madly in love with Elliot. And I was madly in love with narrative choice. I often dislike when books alternate between chapters in the present and past tense. It takes me out of the story and feels like too much backstory. Until it's done right. Here, it was done perfectly.

I can't imagine this story having the same impact if we didn't go back in the past and met Elliot when Macy did. If we didn't go with her every step of the way as she found in Elliot the best friend a person could ask for and the kind of love that can never, ever die.

I just have to put it out there: They're love was epic. 

Proof of that is that after eleven years apart--eleven years with no contact whatsover--the moment they see each other, they know that's it. They know their love never died, and what Elliot did next was just... Damn it, boy, you were going hard after my heart.

All the angst involving Macy and Elliot reuniting and rediscovering their love was just perfection. So was watching them fall in love for the first time through the "Then" chapters. I also loved how they deal with their present relationships in a mature, no-cheating-involved way. How Macy's relationship with her father was so sweet and loving and healthy. How Elliot's family was loud and loving and welcoming. Just talking about all of that makes me want to reread the story.

But then, the big reveal about what tore Elliot and Macy apart eleven years ago comes toward the end. And BOOM. I feel like an air-leaking balloon. It's almost painful to think about how wrong that reveal was. How unjust to the love story and to the characters. It's actually so unbelievable that I'm trying to convince myself the authors/editors and everyone involved just overlooked the fact that they inserted a segment of a different book in this lovely story. It just doesn't fit THIS story at all.

I could understand the second part of the reveal, and I even thought there was a way to make that second part the only reveal needed (the only excuse needed) for those two to be apart for so long. But the first part needs to go, so I'm deleting it and twisting the reveal in my head so it doesn't spoil the perfection that was this book.

Despite that reveal, I still highly recommend this book, especially for fans of slow burn, angsty romance that hits you right in the feels!!!
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Release & Review - Risen by Cole Gibsen

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: Risen
Author: Cole Gibsen
Release Date: March 27th, 2018
Age Category/ Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…

My aunt has been kidnapped by vampires, and it’s up to me to save her. Only…I had no idea vampires existed. None. Nada. I’m more of a reader than a fighter, and even though I’d been wishing to escape my boring existence in the middle of nowhere, I’d give anything to have it back now if it meant my aunt was safe. 

Then there’s the vampire Sebastian, who seems slightly nicer than most of the bloodsuckers I’ve run into so far. Yes, he’s the hottest being I’ve ever come across, but there’s no way I can trust him. He swears he’s helping me get answers, but there’s more to his story. Now I’m a key pawn in a raging vampire war, and I need to pick the right ally.

But my chances of surviving this war are slim at best, when the side I choose might be the one that wants me dead the most.

Buy Links: Amazon
2.5 “Teen Vampires” stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Entangled Teen.

I'm still waiting for that new vampire book series that will leave me as obsessed about these mythical creatures as the first three seasons of The Vampire Diaries or the first time I read Twilight did.

Then I saw Risen on NetGalley and it used those two titles as comps: "Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…"

Of course that led me to searching Youtube for Stelena videos.

That led to major hangover after.

Anyway, Risen delivered on some of its promises, but it unfortunately didn't create a vampire addiction. The main character didn't have an interesting enough personality to hold my attention, the romance was too insta-lovey, and Sebastian wasn't the badass vamp guy who made me fall madly in love with him. I also had problems with the dialogue and how stilted it felt at times.

Even though Risen didn't turn out to be as exciting as I was hoping, I'm someone who has been waiting for YA paranormal to come back for a long time and I'm not ready to give up. So bring on the next vamp book!
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Friday, March 16, 2018

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - High Voltage (Fever #10) by Karen Marie Moning

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: High Voltage
(Fever #10)
Author: Karen Marie Moning 
Age Category/Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
There is no action without consequence…

Dani O’Malley was nine years old when the delusional, sadistic Rowena transformed her into a ruthless killer. Years later, she’s tough, hardened, yet achingly vulnerable and fiercely compassionate, living alone by her own exacting code. Despite the scars on her body, driven by deeper ones carved into her soul, no one is more committed to protecting Dublin. By day, she ensures the safety of those she rescues, by night she hunts evil, dispensing justice swiftly and without mercy, determined to give those she cares for the peace she has never known.

There is no power without price…

When the Faerie Queen used the dangerously powerful Song of Making to heal the world from the damage done by the Hoar Frost King, catastrophic magic seeped deep into the earth, giving rise to horrifying, unforeseen consequences–and now deadly enemies plot in the darkness, preparing to enslave the human race and unleash an ancient reign of hell on Earth.

There is no future without sacrifice…

With the lethal, immortal Ryodan at her side, armed with the epic Sword of Light, Dani once again battles to save the world but her past comes back to haunt her with a vengeance, demanding an unspeakable price for the power she needs to save the human race and no one—not even Ryodan who’d move the very stars for her—can save her this time…

Buy Links: Amazon

4.5 “High Fever" Stars

The Fever series is my favorite book series ever, and I will never get tired of it. That is all.

No. That's not all, obviously. But I won't write a long review because my thoughts are never coherent when it comes to these characters and this world I love so freaking much. All I want to say before is that I miss Mac and Jericho (because, yes, they still are my OTP), I'm completely obsessed with Dani and Ryodan, and I suspect I'm just going into another major book hangover. Honestly, I don't know why I read Fever books right after they're released because it always leaves feeling me depressed at the thought I'll have to wait another year or longer for the next one. I imagine that's how people felt when the Harry Potter books came out (I read them much later on).

So, yeah, this was another winner for me. Sorry for those who don't like Dani and Ryodan. Sorry for those who think KMM should've ended the series after the first 5 brilliant books. Sure they haven't been as spectecular, but when you have a world like the one she created and characters that can make you feel as much as they do after ten books, I have to say: Keep writing!

One thing, though. High Voltage read a lot more like fantasy romance than urban fantasy, but see the gif bellow if you think I cared:

This book gave me ALL THE RIGHT FREAKING FEELS, so I'm using gifs for the rest of my review. This was me when:

1. Chapter One ended

2. Dani thought about Ryodan:

3. Shazam was Shazam:

4. Chapter Seventeen happened and almost gave me a heart attack:

5. Chapter Twenty brought me Dani's dress and that car ride:

6. Jericho made a brief appearance:

7. Mac made an even briefer (is that a word?) appearance:

8. This quote gave me life: "He ran his thumb over the screen as if he might somehow touch Mac through it. And I thought, Holy hell, Jericho Barrons has a…not a vulnerability but yes, that. A weakness, a need. Mac. I’d seen it in her, too."

9. The letter revealed more about Ryodan's actions:

10. Every time Lor talked:

11. Chapter Thirty-One tried to end my life:

12. Chapter Thirty-Four finally brought me the words I wanted to hear:

13. All the other POV chapters got in the way of my ship time:

14. The villain was dealt with in one page:

15. Dani "evolved" and learned the truth of what she was/could do:

16. The Shazam twist came:

17. Roydan thought it was an illusion:

18. Everything about the last chapter and epilogue happened and just gave me life back:

19. I realize Fever #11 had no release date yet:

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo 
Age Category/Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Buy Links: Amazon

4.5 “I didn’t even like Ariel” Stars

OMG, how is this book not a big thing already? I totally blame the lack of publicity this book got on the fact that it came out on March 6th with a thousand other books. I mean, it was astonishing the number of YA released that day. LOL

All I can say is To Kill a Kingdom deserves your attention and love.

Honestly, I was never a big fan of Ariel and the Little Mermaid. When I think of Disney princesses, she’s one of the last ones to come to mind. So, imagine my surprise when I read the blurb and go, Ohhhhh, Ariel has turned dark and I like it.

To Kill a Kingdom is the story of Lira, a siren princess that lives to kill princes and steal their hearts to prove to her Sea Queen mother than she’s strong and powerful and cruel enough to take her place when time comes; and Elian, a human prince who lives to kill sirens. You know where this is getting, right?

Lira is a badass siren, but she shows a link to her humanity from the start, and it comes in the form of her also siren cousin. Elian is also a badass, and his charm is partially due to his respect and friendship with his crew of pirates.

This is how we meet Lira:
“I HAVE A HEART for every year I’ve been alive.
There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.”

This is how we meet Elian:

“TECHNICALLY, I’M A MURDERER, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”

The first third of the story is full of heart-stealing (literally and not) and siren-stabbing scenes, and bad attitude and good humor and “OMG, I’m already falling hard for this book” screams from me.

Then, we move on to what the curse. Not a spoiler since the blurb gives it away. Also, this is a retelling, so Lira will obviously become a human at some point. So, yeah, the evil Sea Queen curses Lira and gives her legs and a human appearance so she has to steal Elian’s heart without her powers, or say goodbye to her siren form and probably her life.

I’ll say this, the Sea Queen isn’t joking around. She’s evil and she won’t spare anyone, family or not. So Lira has a reason to be scared and to have turned into the killer she is. But humans aren’t always trash (despite what our current global situation implies), and Elian and his crew have a chance to change Lira’s mind about humans even though they have zero idea she’s a siren.

As for Elian, rescuing a drowning, naked Lira also ends up being a chance to end a war without having to kill the entire siren species. Since he also doesn’t that’s a real possibility, he spends his time searching for a magical item that will kill the Sea Queen and her daughter.

So here we have these two beings that are planning on killing each other, but end up stuck together and I’m obviously loving all of it.

The banter is incredible from the start. The humor is there, although I’m not sure everyone will appreciate it. I did. The characters are amazing! I loved, loved Madrid and Kye, two members of Elian’s crew. I LOOOOVED how Madrid was so eager to have another female pirate on the crew that she welcome Lira with open arms. I loved how Kye was protective of Elian and made sure Lira knew he was keeping an eye on her. I love how Madrid and Kye were together in a healthy, no-drama-needed relationship. I loved that Kye was protective of Elian, but he didn’t suffocate Madrid. I loved when all of that interacted and joked and teased and made me laugh.

Dude, this book made me laugh.

I can’t even with the world building. I CAN’T. It’s just so amazing. All the countries/kingdoms we visited with Elian and Lira were so rich and unique. I’m still OBSESSED with the love country that sounded like a chocolate-filled heaven. I want it!!!

And the romance?

The freaking romance!!! Five words: Slow Burn + Hate to Love.

They were perfect together and that last scene was the end of me. I’m just dead.

Seriously, that entire last chapter was perfect because it gave me everything I needed. First, my happy ending, thank you very much. Second, my ship being adorable on a literal ship. Third, an ending that showed me a powerful female main character who followed her destiny, an equally happy male main character who found a way to fulfill his dream and the two of them engaged in a healthy relationship that survives distance and is built in mutual respect for each other’s responsibilities and dreams.

And a real ending. No cliffhanger, no need for sequels. A freaking standalone. When was the last time I read a YA Fantasy standalone that had a perfect ending that left me wanting to read more, but also knowing that maybe I shouldn’t because it’s already perfect? I can’t remember.

Now that you read this long and rambly review, go show this book some love, PLEASE!

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.