Releases and Recommendations: The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine, which will be released on Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

30255943An epic fantasy inspired by the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from the New York Times bestselling author ofThe Shadow Queen.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence that he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

I’ve only read one book from this author, Defiance, and I wasn’t totally sold on the writing (nor did I continue the series). However, it’s been many years since then and I’m intrigued by this plot. I did not read The Shadow Queen because I’m sick of snow white retellings, but with each installment being a standalone, I figured I’d give this one a try. Plus, she had me at “bastard twins.” It sounds bloody fantastic!

First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then by Emma Mills was such a cute read and a much needed break from the heavy and dark material I’ve been reading lately.

23310751Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

First and Then is advertised as Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights. I’d say that’s an accurate statement. I particularly enjoyed the lack of understanding between the heroine and love interest. The tension between them built until the very last page.

This book is a light, high school romance with all the frivolities that comes with it – gossip, football games, and homecoming dances. It was very well done and I never once found myself rolling my eyes. I sometimes worry that I’m “growing out” of YA, but it hasn’t seemed to happen yet.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, light read. I know it brought a smile to my face and I gobbled it up in one sitting.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, which will be released on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

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Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

I enjoyed the idea of a Troll prince in the Malediction Trilogy so I’m open to a hot goblin king. I’m a sucker for the “forced” marriage trope, and with the added element of music, I’m even more intrigued.

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Where has this book been all my life?

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins is the epitome of my kind a drama – a fight to the death (possibly) for the princess’s hand in marriage. This trope makes me practically giddy and Higgins pulls it off splendidly.

22428707“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I was impressed. The slow build of the romance, the steady climb of anticipation, it was effortless. Gosh, it was just such a joy to read.

I particularly loved the duel POV with this story. Aerity is self-sacrificing and loving. Paxton is rough around the edges but loyal to a fault. Seeing their reaction to each other through both sets of eyes made this slow-burn connection work. It was so realistic given the shortened timeline. I also enjoyed Paxton’s fierce protectiveness for his younger brother. That added another layer to Paxton that made me love him even more.

Even though Aerity was the only female up for grabs in this great hunt, it was surprising to see additional romances growing in the wings. I’m not going to lie, I was all for it. I wanted to play matchmaker for each of the young women vying for affections.

The hunt is a huge part of the plot, and it played a big part in the story, which was cool. I loved hearing about the hunting, the anticipation and anxiety, the sharpening of arrows and the preparation to kill the beast. That could easily have been brushed aside but I enjoyed that extra bit of violence.

By the end, I was only disappointed once I’d turned the final page. I wanted more. I wanted to see what happened next. The Great Hunt is the first in a duology, and the next book, The Great Pursuit, won’t be out until March 2017.

If you’re a fan of slow-burn romance and exciting action in a fantasy world, this book is for you.

STARS: 5 out of 5

July Recap and Book of the Month

July was a rough month for me. I read A Court of Mist and Fury and it basically gave me the world’s worst book hangover. I’m still recovering.

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 Book of the Month*

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas  – 5 star review

One of the best books I have ever read. Hands down.

*based on books reviewed this month

July Reviews (Total-5)

Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn

Dark Prince by Eve Silver

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

June Anticipated Releases

None. Too busy mourning finishing ACOMAF and suffering from a horrendous book hangover.

Upcoming Reviews

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

 2016 Reading Challenge Progress

2016 Reading Challenge

I have read 75 out of 100 books. (Read 12 books this month.)

Currently Reading

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Boarded By Love by Toni Aleo

I’m not a fan of the cover, but what I’ve read so far is really fun and engaging. I haven’t been wanting to put it down. Plus, I’m on a sports fiction kick, specifically hockey.

Next on my TBR

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This was tough to decide. I’ve been such a mood reader recently and I’m on a New Adult and PNR kick.

Current Bookish Obsession

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Quotes from ACOMAF – The writing is so beautiful. I want to hang choice quotes all over my library.

What I’m Watching

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I’m a HUGE Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, and by the time you read this, the world will know who Bachelorette JoJo picked. However, I’m already excited about Bachelor in Paradise, the spin-off where Bachelor/Bachelorette cast-offs mingle in Mexico to try and find love. Bring on the drama!

What I’m Writing

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I’ve set a personal goal to have my first round of edits complete by September. Wish me luck!

My Book Slump – An Unfortunate Misadventure Told in Mini Reviews

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I am in a major book slump. I blame it on A Court of Mist and Fury. Nothing can compare to its brilliance and I’m having trouble reading anything in the YA Fantasy genre because of it. After reading a book that sets the bar really high in a genre, I have to take some time away so that I don’t immediately dislike everything else. Sometimes I have a Kanye-esque I’m-going-to-finish-reading-you-but-ACOMAF-is-the-best-book-of-all-time moment, which is incredibly bias and unfair to unsuspecting novels on my shelf.

In an effort to get my groove back, I ventured into different territories.

First Stop: New Adult Romance. Because a steamy romp fixes everything, right? Wrong.

23288101Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .

I started with a gritty, motorcycle club book with Ride Hard by Laura Kaye. Bad Boy meets good girl, sparks fly, book slump cured. Maybe? Laura Kaye is an author that I love, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately, the story of Dare and Haven was too predictable and I didn’t engage well with the secondary characters. (Also, I’m binge-watching Sons of Anarchy and that show is killing my will to live with its cruelty. It’s badass, but evil. It may be affecting my level of enjoyment in MC fiction.)

It was a sweet story of one damaged soul saving another, but it didn’t have the level of desperation and emotional turmoil that I was expecting. Their relationship was a bit stagnant and cold between moments of heat, and the perception of disinterest left me, well, disinterested.

Usually, I’m all about the playing hard to get trope, but not here. See, this book slump is killing me slowly.

Next Stop: Try another New Adult by a favorite author (in case the first try was a fluke)

 

13614836A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

She’ll make him lose control…

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother’s best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can’t stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother’s wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they’re forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of “accidents” as the family tries to prove their “spark” can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first…

I know I’m in a serious book slump when a feel-good, New Adult novel from an author I love turns out to be an “okay” read. Granted, this book very well may be mediocre, but I couldn’t really get into it enough to verify from a balanced place of judgment.

Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout) is the first in a New Adult series. It was light-hearted but also frustrating. I don’t like it when the biggest issue in a relationship is a lack of communication (no matter how realistic that is) because one conversation between the main characters can resolve all the conflict in the entire book. I wasn’t feeling the usual heat that I expect from Armentrout. In fact, I wasn’t really feeling anything and that’s what made this book a dud for me.

Next Stop: Going Dark

22895913Innkeeper’s daughter Jane Heatherington is sold into indentured servitude to cover her father’s debts, sold to Aidan Warrick, a man whose handsome face and form mock the rumors that skulk in his shadow, rumors that paint him a smuggler, a pirate…and worse.

On the rainswept Cornish coast, Aidan’s business is carried out in the darkest hours of moonless nights, his secrets are many, and death follows in his wake. Isolated and alone, Jane’s only companion is the man she dare not trust, the man who looks at her with heated desire that she both fears and craves.

As she finds herself ensnared in the twisted schemes carried out within the walls of Aidan’s looming estate, Jane must decide if Aidan Warrick is the dark prince of her dreams or a monster preying on the innocent…

Note: All books in the Dark Gothic series can be read as stand-alone novels.

After failing to read a “happy romance,” I decided to go dark, gothic dark with a Historical Romance. Dark Prince by Eve Silver was an intriguing read. It had a menacing setting complete with overcast skies, tumultuous waves crashing upon rocky shores, leaf-filled cemeteries visited by ravens, and dead bodies washed ashore with no eyes. The female protagonist was damaged but determined, and the love interest was stoic yet sensitive. I got a Mr. Darcy feel from Aidan Warrick, and I admired Jane’s tenacity and kindness.

This book wasn’t uplifting by any means. The story is resolved in a satisfying manner where both of them learn from one another and become better people. It was a nice read, but still left me without a zest for that #booklife.

Next Stop: Tears, lots of tears

15507958Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Just when I was thinking my book slump was lifting, my book club picked Me Before You by JoJo Moyes for the July read.

If you’ve read this book, you know, YOU KNOW, what I mean when I say that this book was heartbreaking. I was so intrigued, so invested only to have my heart crushed into a million pieces. JoJo Moyes single-handedly sucked the joy of reading from my soul with this gut-wrenching story. Why, JoJo, Why? I knew it was going to be a sad read, but I didn’t like how certain things were shown, such as Lou’s breakdown, but then it didn’t show pertinent parts at the end.

I hate this book in that angry way where you are ugly crying with tissues but you don’t really mean it. I just need some time.

Next Stop: A cure?

I’m currently reading a YA Contemporary with extreme caution. I’m hoping this will bring me out of my miserable, negative-nancy, reading disease. My book slump is hitting epic proportions. The more I read the worse it gets, and I just kinda want to curl up and stare at nothing until I’m better.

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Any recommendations for books that will be a fix for my book slump?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I am entranced. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is everything I’d hoped it would be. It is a masterpiece.

17927395Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

For me, Sarah J. Maas is a master storyteller. I hang on every word, every beautifully crafted sentence, like it’s the last bit of joy in a world full of darkness. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was the best book I’d  ever read, but ACOMAF takes the title as the  greatest book of all time. I know I sound like Chris Harrison, where every season of the Bachelor is the “most dramatic season ever” but I truly mean that this story has a place in my heart for the rest of my days. It’s the epitome of why I read, what I love to read and how reading has made a lasting impact on my life.

If you’ve read Maas’s Throne of Glass series then this won’t surprise you, but she has a way of building up a love interest into the most unique soul mate, never to be matched or outdone, until the next book rolls around and she masterfully weaves a new angle that is subtly built with each page until its brilliance smacks you in the face. A new, better, sexier mate is pushed to the forefront, and as a reader, I could do nothing but cower in its genius. I am in awe. I am not worthy.

He said softly, “I love it when you look at me like that.”

The purr in his voice heated my blood. “Like what?”

“Like my power isn’t something to run from. Like you see me.” (p. 466)

I loved this book. I felt every emotion, every hint of desire or spark of fear. I loved Feyre’s growth as a character, and she truly grew with the deep ache of growing pains, filtering through anguish and fear, building herself back up, learning about what she truly wants and needs. There is so much I want to talk about but I can’t without fear of giving too much away.  This book is surprisingly sensual and I loved every minute of it.

“And if he grabbed me?”

There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.” (p. 469)

After finishing ACOTAR, I was left reeling with what the last chapter of Rhysand and Feyre meant, with the hint of vulnerability that was revealed. The reasoning behind it was better than I could have hoped for. There were other moments in ACOMAF, where Maas put the puzzle of this story together so well that once the pieces were put into place and the full picture realized, I was left breathless.

The ending was satisfying, terrifying and bloody brilliant. I am in agony that I have to wait for the next book, but knowing Maas, it will be bigger and better than the last so I’ll wait every agonizing moment until the next masterpiece is unveiled. If you have not read this series, it is a must read. It is magic on paper. It is brilliance in a book. It’s the book you’ve been waiting for.

STARS: 10 out of 5 (Because I can)