The Silver Chain by Primula Bond

The Silver Chain by Primula Bond is marketed to lovers of 50 Shades of Grey. As a girl who needs a 50 shades fix every once and awhile, I requested it from Netgalley…only to be monstrously disappointed.

17904056Bound by passion, she was powerless to resist.

One dark evening in London, photographer Serena Folkes is indulging her impulsive side with a night-time shoot. But someone is watching her – mysterious entrepreneur Gustav Levi. Serena doesn’t know it yet, but this handsome stranger will change her life forever…

Serena is fascinated by Gustav, the enigmatic owner of the Levi Gallery, and she soon feels an irresistible pull of attraction. The interest is mutual, and Gustav promises to launch Serena’s photographic career at his gallery, but only if Serena agrees to become his exclusive companion.

To mark their agreement, Gustav gives Serena a bracelet to wear at all times. Attached to it is a silver chain of which he is the keeper. With the chain Gustav controls Serena physically and symbolically – a sign that she is under his power.

As their passionate relationship intensifies, Gustav’s hold on the silver chain grows stronger. But will Gustav’s dark past tear them apart?

First, this book is set in London, England, which is no big deal, and written by a British author, which again isn’t a big deal — I do it all the time. However, this book is dripping with British terminology and idioms. Basically, as an American, I had a bloody difficult time trying to figure out what was going on! Despite my handicap, I ventured on.

The premise of this book surrounds this silver chain, which I was initially intrigued by because it alludes to bondage and the like. However, this chain might as well have been a slave chain, and NOT in a good way. Instead of a delightful romp including bondage, it read more like statutory rape. The main character, Serena, is a 20-year-old girl who gets involved with a 40-year-old man named Gustav (Eww). I tried to look past the age difference but it just made anything they did together that much more creepy and disturbing. This book wasn’t romantic it was more like To Catch A Predator minus the online relationship. I had a really tough time getting into this book. In fact, I forced myself to finish it since it was an ARC.

Serena was the only character with any semblance of substance. Despite her disgusting taste in men, her story was interesting and her photography was really cool. I only had a problem with her towards the end when she kept getting upset about Gustav’s ex. First, there was no build-up prior to these outbursts to justify her feelings, and second, it was more like a plot device to create conflict than anything to progress the story. The no kissing thing was stupid, and again, their sex scenes were more like manipulation and rape.

Unfortunately, I hated this book. Gustav’s character was flat and bi-polar and Serena was naive and misled. The sex scenes were disturbing and the story itself was so bizarre, it wasn’t believable. Believability is HUGE for me when I’m reading a story. If you can’t convince me your characters and your world are real, I can’t enjoy the story. Bond tried to throw in this plot twist at the end but I was so completely over it. I don’t care what happens next and I won’t be reading the sequel.

STARS: 1 out of 5

Thank you Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Releases and Recommendations

It’s Tuesday! The most amazing day in the whole entire week. Why? Because that’s when books are released into the world. Today, I’m looking forward to a finale and a sequel that I have been anticipating since I finished its predecessor.

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson and The Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas are both being released today, August 27.

11431896The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

I’m so excited to go back into Elisa’s world. I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns and the sequel, The Crown of Embers, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third and final installment of the Fire and Thorns trilogy. We are left off in such a whirlwind in book two that I can’t wait to see what Hector does when he realizes what Elisa has done and how the heck Elisa is going to save him.

17167166An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

I LOVED the first book. Throne of Glass was a great start to this series and I can’t wait to see what Sarah Maas has come up with next. I’m hoping for a little more romance and sexual tension between the characters and a whole lot more ass-whooping. From the reviews I’ve seen, I won’t be let down. Excuse me while I make me way to the nearest bookstore.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes was a very pleasant surprise. I heard great things about it but after reading the Game of Thrones series recently, an epic tale with a similar “falling kingdoms” theme with a lot more sex, violence and bloodshed, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with a toned-down YA version. However, I found it delightful (and in no way close to Game of Thrones).

12954620In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

This story begins with a murder which quickly unravels the three kingdoms, a little too quickly which you’ll see my reasoning below. I found this story refreshing, covering a wide range of issues both emotional and physical in young people’s lives. The story was incredibly unique and I quickly lost myself in this character-driven saga.

The characters really make this book what it is. I could argue that there was a lack of world-building but the characters were all so interesting and unique that I could care less about the world around them. From the royals to the lowest peasants, the broad spectrum of characters really drove the plot from diverse perspectives. The best (and perhaps cruelest) thing the author has done is make them all likeable and relatable with the exception of a few of course (*cough* Magnus’s Dad *cough*). I feel as if Cleo got the short end of the stick; you’ll see what I mean when you read it, but Magnus had his own issues and heartbreak to deal with. Theon was a favorite of mine and I couldn’t help but love Lucia. I can’t wait to see how each of these characters, whom I all love, will make it out alive as war permeates the three kingdoms. A few didn’t make it and I found myself in tears despite the lack of build-up. The injustice was heartbreaking. I couldn’t figure out who to root for because I wanted all of them to live!

My biggest complaint was I wanted more. The story jumped from plot point to plot point without much in the mix. I wanted the scenes between lovers, sisters and friends drawn-out to give each character its due. It was almost rushed leaving a disconnect between the reader and the character, but I can imagine when it was published there was an editor along the way cutting out scenes left and right because they weren’t “necessary.” I can only hope for more character development in the next book. I anticipate the growth of these young characters as they grow into their destinies.

I really enjoyed this book but I’m looking forward to the next because I feel it will be ten times better. Now that the world has been set up and the characters properly introduced, the next book can take off into whatever craziness the authors would like to take us.  The next book, Rebel Spring, will be released on December 3, 2013.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world! This week I’m anticipating the release of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

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“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I’ve heard great things about this book. It sounds so unique and heart-poundingly awesome! I can’t wait to see if it really lives up to the hype.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

This book is an amazing example of what the New Adult genre has to offer. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire was intense, electrifying and enthralling.

11505797Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

This book is the right way to do good girl falls in love with a bad boy, simply because Travis is a good guy deep down. This book sucked me in and didn’t let me go until the last page had been turned, at which point I flipped back through to revel in the world of Abby and Travis for just awhile longer. These two left an impression on me. Yes, it’s one of those crazy stories with lots of drama and ‘misunderstandings’ which leaves both people broken-hearted even though they really meant “I love you” not “I hate you,” but it all comes together in the most romantic and thrilling love story. It’s an emotional roller coaster I wanted to be on and would gladly get back on again. This story, although predictable in the end (hello, of course they end up together), left me on the edge of my seat. There were so many twists and each character had their secrets and personality flaws that brought out the best and worst in each other.

Abby was such a great character, the girl with a dark past trying to start anew. I loved reading her perspective. I loved that she didn’t fall for the bad boy within two pages like most cheesy romance novels, but she fought the feeling like a logical person until the illogical realization that she was in love forced her to act on her feelings. Let’s face it, Travis is a complete douchebag in this story. That’s another reason why this book is so good. Throughout the book, Travis redeems himself in the eyes of the reader and Abby. I absolutely loved it. However, my one complaint is Travis was a bit one-dimensional, either that or he had a serious psychological dependency issue that needs to be treated. Regardless. I loved Travis. I loved Abby. I loved their story.

I was also incredibly intrigued and pleased about Abby’s secret. It just made her that much more badass. I also adored her relationship with her best friend, America. You know you have a good friend when they’ll do all the things America did for Abby.

Towards the end, it did get a bit ridiculous. They started doing things that were not realistic or responsible, but who am I to judge? As long as they were happy in the end, I didn’t mind. So, if you’re hungry for a romance that will grab you and never let go, read Beautiful Disaster. This book truly is a guilty pleasure, and at five stars, this is a New Adult romance that shouldn’t be missed.

STARS: 5 out of 5.