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Book Review: Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, ABRAMS Kids, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Teen, Fiction

Plot: The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River. It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.

Opinion:

Hookers, suicide, and skimmingoh my!

Along the Indigo: A tale so doused in grittiness, it almost feels lighthearted.

A book set in present times with a town that feels stuck in the 1800’s. There is romance, there is death, and you can bet your bottom dollar there is a whole lot of detail just DRIPPING in “oh yikes”. It might just be the most depressing book that will make you weirdly happy and overjoyed.

Emotionally confused? Perfect, you’ll fit right in here.

Sixteen-year-old Marsden wants nothing more than to leave her cursed town, Glory, and to start a new life with her little sister Wynn. Living in a boarding house that provides extra services to “Johns”, Marsden works as a cook in the kitchens while her mother serves as one of the prostitutes. Now that Marsden is getting older, the boarding house owner (Nina) is taking an interest in Marsden and trying to recruit her to become one of her “girls”. But Marsden only wants to get out of Glory, and the only way she can do that is by skimming. Down from the boarding house lies the covert, a piece of land that is believed to be cursed after her great-great-grandfather murdered his family before pulling the gun on himself. Now the covert is a place the locals go to commit suicide, and Marsden and her family are looked upon by the residents of Glory as lepers. Marsden walks the covert every morning in search of bodies, and upon finding one, she will take whatever money she can find before reporting the body. But the newest body she comes across is the brother of one of her classmates, who shows up at Marsden’s door one day with an interesting request.

Weirded out by that description? Good! I assure you, this is a strange story and I don’t blame you for thinking wtf. Maybe I’m just a creepy little woman-child, but I live for these abnormal stories. So when I saw this on Netgalley I thought this book looks like a winner, and low and behold, I was right as usual. Although I am seeing mixed reviews on it because some readers can’t get past that little ol’ “prostitute” thing, and I wrote prostitute as “prostitute” because come on guys…she’s just a prostitute. I am here to calm your sensitive nerves to tell you this, there is a YA/Teen story okay? You won’t be getting any graphic prostitute moments, I promise. These are nice prostitutes. Some of the best, I’m sure.

anyways

This story really isn’t as bizarre as it sounds. To be completely honest, it’s one of the best stand-alone stories I have read in a LONG TIME. It’s different, it’s dark, but it’s lined with a sunshiny innocence that makes it feel…normal? Yes, normal. Elsie Chapman has a gift, and that gift is that she can make weird ass s**t seem completely casual. My first impression about a chapter or two into Along the Indigo, was that it felt as if it as written YEARS ago. Though it is set in present times, I couldn’t help but imagine Marsden in a ratty white dress living in a house full of women in corsets and bustle skirts. I loved that I got this impression though because it made the grittiness of the events so much more sinful. I kept picturing an old ghost town with a crooked sheriff and handsy old drunk men stumbling out of the local saloon. If that’s too inconceivable, think To Kill A Mockingbird…that actually makes more sense.

Marsden Eldridge is the main character, and MY OH MY has that girl had a rough life. Not only does everyone (including her own family) think that the covert and the Eldridge family is cursed, but they are also treated like they don’t exist. Nobody in town will hire them, which is why Marsden’s mother works as a prostitute for Nina. Eight years prior, Marsden’s father was found in the Indigo and it was reported that he drowned on his way home from gambling one night. Now Marsden’s only goal is to save enough money to get her and her sister Wynn out of Glory, in hopes that they can start fresh. Skimming bodies is how Mars makes most of her money, and it is a task she has been doing for years. It is a truly dark and heartbreaking thing to witness through the eyes of Mars, and you can’t help but still love her…even though she’s stealing money from dead bodies.

One of the newest bodies that Mars comes across is a young man named Rigby, who is the older brother of one of her classmates, Jude. After his death, Jude shows up at the boarding house in search of Marsden with a strange request. He suspects that Rigby had buried something in the covert as a child, and he wants permission from Marsden to go into the covert to find it. Here begins a complicated friendship and romance. I adore Jude and Mars. Jude is incredibly sweet and caring towards her, and their relationship is very unique and special.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I’m going to stop right there. I have seen a lot of mixed feeling, on this story, but I personally loved it and couldn’t put it down. It is SUCH an interesting story with so many layers and emotions packed into it. Though so much of what happens feels crazy and abnormal, the author does a wonderful job of making sure the reader can relate to Mars and her family. If you guys have liked some of the weirder books that I have reviewed, you MUST read Along the Indigo. This story leaves you in a twisted dreamlike state that can only be described as “comparable to seeing your ex get lit on fire. Kind of sad and scary, but mostly pretty f*****g enjoyable”.

5-stars

 

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Blog Tour · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel Blog Tour

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MSF 2D High ResPublication Date: December 6, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Goodreads

Lying is a symptom shared by the most convincing, cunning and ruthless individuals such as psychopaths and narcissistic manipulators. They have an invincible sense of self-importance and an addictive urge to project an image of power and perfection at all cost which are fuelled by the rewarding tools of charm, diversion and … clever deception.

Like anything in life, whether the skill is morally laudable or not, skills require training, effort and hard work. The danger lies in the brain progressively adapting to the dishonest behaviour and the longer the lies, the harder it would seem to be able to change the conditioning of one’s sensitivity to telling the truth. The truth and nothing but the truth or at the very least the intention to do so most of the time therefore appears to be a basic requirement for any interpersonal trust.

In my new stand-alone novella, I explore the idea that when crossing the line between truth or lie too often, it becomes a curse the person is eventually unable to shed … (H.A. Leuschel)

Excerpt

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I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.

‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.

‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’

‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my attention.

When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.

Purchase My Sweet Friend Here!

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About the Author

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Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches yoga.

Helene Leuschel | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Feb. 19th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo) http://www.readsandreels.com

Brizzle Lass Books (Excerpt) https://brizzlelassbooks.com

The Repeat Mom (Review) http://Thethreepeatmom.blogspot.com

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review) https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Review) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Jill’s Book Blog (Review) https://jilljemmett.com

Feb. 20th

Books and Belle (Excerpt) https://booksandbelleblog.wordpress.com

Beware the Reader (Excerpt) http://bewareofthereader.com

Jenacidebybibliophile (Review) https://jenacidebybibliophile.com

Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com

Cover to Cover (Excerpt) http://www.liisthinks.wordpress.com

Feb. 21st

Girl Masked (Review) http://girlmasked.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt) www.bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com

The Starving Book Worm (Review) http://thestarvingbookworm.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

Feb. 22nd

Splashes Into Books (Review) http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review) https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt) https://www.muretbookworm.wordpress.com

Feb. 23rd

The Orangutan Librarian (Review) https://theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Love Books Group (Review) http://lovebooksgroup.blog

Just 4 My Books (Review) https://just4mybooks.wordpress.com

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Mother of Shadows (The Chosen Book 1) by Meg Anne

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*WARNING: Strong sexual and mature content*

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author, Meg Anne, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/YA/Adult/Fantasy

Plot: Helena’s life had always been quiet. In fact, she liked it that way. When her childhood friend returns home and tells her that she is the prophesied ruler of the Chosen, those blessed with the gift of magic, her quiet life goes up in flames. Suddenly Helena finds herself surrounded by a circle of protectors, each having sworn their loyalty to her since her birth. All except for one: her Mate. It’s not enough that she learn how to use her magic and undergo a trial to prove her worthiness; in order to claim her title, Helena must also find the man who carries the other half of her soul. Exiled due to a past he had no part in, Von is the last man the Chosen expect Helena to select. Despite their protests, his soul calls to hers and there’s no denying that he was made for her. But the prophecy stands and all isn’t as it seems. There’s an enemy lurking within plain sight who will stop at nothing to destroy her.

Opinion:

*Ding ding ding*…. Addiction alert!

This series…is like a Cheez-it, a salt and vinegar chip, a girl scout cookie, a Hersey’s Kiss! YOU CAN’T HAVE JUST ONE! You can’t just read a few chapters and put this book down, you MUST devour the entire story in one sitting! I love a fantasy story where a female lead is a complete and total badass in a fight., but I REALLY love when that same female turns into an all-powerful demonic queen (for good of course). You go girl!

A prophecy has been foretold that a Damaskiri would rise and become the most powerful of all magical beings, even more so than the first of the Chosen. But with the acceptance of her title as ruler, the Shadow Years would begin, and her true power would be tested. Those gifted in magic may wield one, and sometimes more, of the branches; Earth, Water, Fire and Air. But only the Damaskiri may wield magic of the Spirit branch, thus making her the strongest of all the mother’s chosen.

Helena has spent the last 20 years believing that she was one of the few who were born without magic, an ungifted, and in turn living a simple and quiet life. But the return of an old friend brings shocking news; Helena is the Damaskiri and she was hidden away at birth in order to keep her soul pure and innocent. Now with her new title, Helena is thrust into a world where she carries the weight of so many on her shoulders. Only she can keep the darkness from touching the lives of those she cares about, but only if she is able to keep the darkness from reaching her soul.

Dedication for every girl that still carries a dream in her heart, this one is for you.

-Meg Anne, Dedication – Mother of Shadows

This series feels a little bit like Throne of Glass and a little bit like Sowing by Angie Grigaliunas but is a unique and interesting series all on its own. The idea for this series is really creative, and for some reason I am all about a series with a prophecy lately. Helena is in her 20’s and is told by her childhood friend Darrin that she is now the Damaskiri, who is the ruler and most powerful of magical beings. She is taken into the palace and thrown into lessons, given a circle of men who are her protectors and advisors, and must find a mate.

Oh yes, you heard me! A mate! Enter: Von. Von is that male character we all know and love. The ginormous brooding warrior who has a bad reputation and a sarcastic attitude. I love the introduction to his character, which is at this festival where any male may come forward and present Helena with a gift in an attempt to be her mate. As soon as Helena meets Von there is an instant connection between them, but I thought their relationship went WAY too fast. I understand that their souls instantly recognized each other, but where was the “getting to know each other” stage? I would have preferred the beginning stages to have been stretched out a bit more, but what can you do. I adore Von, especially because he had such a terrible reputation at the beginning. Not to mention he is a fierce warrior and extremely gentle with Helena.

“Smiling to herself, Helena closed her eyes and wondered how anyone would think Von was heartless. ‘Because I was until I found you.’”

From the beginning of the story, the author does a series of “switch backs” from the present to past moments. She executed them well and there wasn’t any confusion for me, even though the “switch backs” were only separated by a new paragraph. I did find the first part of this story to be a bit confusing though, in that the author doesn’t explain the Damaskiri and the chosen all that well until later. It’s one of those things where you must keep reading to figure out what everything means, but you eventually pick it up. The MOST confusing for me however, was the lack of indication for how much time was passing. Between Darrin telling Helena that she is the next Damaskiri and her trial to see if she is worthy, I literally have NO CLUE how much time has passed.

There also wasn’t a lot of moments for the reader to see Helena training and learning about her abilities and how to act now that she is basically Queen. The reader is sort of just told that she is learning things. Due to the speedy nature of this book, I am left feeling a bit disconnected from the characters. I would have liked to have a bigger idea of who Helena and Von really are by seeing their interactions more, not just being told by the author what their traits are. Furthermore, where exactly is this place located? Are we in another world? Another time? I can’t even recall if a city or kingdom name was ever mentioned.

Though these things were a bit annoying to me, in the end they really don’t hinder my opinion of the story all that much. Where the author lacks in a bit of extra explaining, she fully makes up for it with where she takes this story. I never once found myself bored or uninterested in what was happening, which I find is VERY hard for an author to do. As Helena starts to become stronger and take on her role as the Damaskiri, a lot of sinister moments begin to happen that jeopardizes her people and her relationships. Eventually Helena and her circle, Von and his warriors, and a smattering of others travel to Von’s home. On this journey, this story REALLY begins to form. There is some EPIC battles and the reader gets a glimpse into what Helena can really do with her magic. Mark my words guys, you don’t want to cross this woman when she’s angry. YIKES. In the major battle that happens the reader is introduced to Shadows, which is a corrupted spirit of a chosen. By this point, the reader is subjected to a lot of death and darkness…and it is gripping!

I don’t want to give too much away, but this story leaves you with a HUGE cliffhanger. UGH…what a way to leave the reader (well done Meg). Overall, I really loved the first book in this series. Though I had a few issues with it, I was able to look past them easily and really enjoy the story the author created. There is magic, battles, romance and a TON of witty comments in this story. I found myself laughing constantly from the things these characters would say to each other. With that, I leave you with one:

“Twisting his head, he pressed a tender kiss into the palm of her hand. Eyes closing at the contact, she savored the feel of his lips against her skin. As her hand lowered, her fingers curled into a loose fist.

‘I think I’ll save that for later.’

His lips quirked in amusement, ‘And why’s that?’

‘Just to remember what it feels like to have you eating out of the palm of my hand.’”

4-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Book Wrap-up · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

January 2018 Book Wrap-Up

January Wrap-up

Hello readers! Today I bring you my Book Wrap-up for January 2018!

I have given myself a goal of 75 books to read for 2018 (via my Goodreads challenge). Last year I tried for 100, but I sadly didn’t make it. So for this year, I made it more attainable for myself. Who knows, maybe I will go above and beyond 75. We shall see… 😉

As for January 2018, I read/reviewed 6 books, which I am kind of bummed out about. That’s it? Yikes. I need to step it up!

Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike

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Shatter follows up the incredible first book in this two book collection, Glitter. Though it doesn’t look like there will be a book three, I am wishing with all my might there will be. These books ROCK! This story blends present times and the 18th-Century, set with the corsets and big wigs! Our main character is Queen and living in the Palace of Versailles, but she is doing everything she can to get out. This book is packed with murder, jewels, backstabbing, and romance. I LOVE these books. ❤

The Healer by C.J. Anaya

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The Healer is the first in this series and it gets kicked off fairly well. I have read books two and three already (look for my upcoming reviews) and am currently on book four. I thought this was a great intro to what this series is really about, and I am still happily lost in the world this author created. Hope has the ability to heal people, but she keeps it a secret. But when two mysterious boys show up at her school who know of what she can do, her world drastically changes. We eventually learn that Hope is involved in a prophecy and that these two males are Gods. Let me tell you guys, swoon-worthy.

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

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This sadly wasn’t a big thriller for me. I am a HUGE fan of Amanda Hocking and will read just about anything she writes. So when I saw this on Netgalley, I NATURALLY did an instant request. Between the Blade and the Heart is basically about a Valkyrie’s and their purpose to send immortals back to the underworld. I wasn’t overly impressed with the result, and I probably won’t continue to read the series. Amanda usually blows me away with her fantasy stories, but this one didn’t. 😦

A Quiet Kind of thunder by Sara Barnard

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THIS is such a sweet story guys, definitely the first heartwarming read of 2018. A Quiet Kind of Thunder follows Steffi, a selective mute, and Rhys, a new student to Steffi’s school who is deaf. The story gives the reader a glimpse into the relationship that forms between these two characters, and the struggles they have in a world where most people can speak or hear one another. These two go through a lot together, and it was a truly endearing book to read. It was something different than what I had ever read, and I really enjoyed it.

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

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AH! THIS!

I mean…what can I NOT say about this book? It is probably one of the most important pieces I have read in my life. No joke. It is a collection of five short stories, and each story spins a tale of a different kind of manipulative person. It ranges from manipulation of others for greed to manipulation for innocent attention. One story in particular really resonated with me; a story about a young man manipulating a young girl into thinking he loved her, but he was just using her. YANKS on my heartstrings.

This book, I strongly and seriously urge every one of you to purchase. You NEED to read this. Your family needs to read this, your friends need to read this, your children…NEED to read this.

Forlorn by Gina Detwiler

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Forlorn….eh. I couldn’t even finish the book, and I kind of wish I had just so I could have given a full review. This story is about angels and demons, so naturally i thought I would love it. However, I did not. There were too many holes, undeveloped characters, and a load of cheesiness going on. I couldn’t handle it. Not my cup of tea.

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Teen & YA/Coming-of-Age/Fiction

Plot:

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life. The condition’s name has always felt ironic to her, because she certainly does not “select” not to speak. In fact, she would give anything to be able to speak as easily and often as everyone around her can. She suffers from crippling anxiety, and uncontrollably, in most situations simply can’t open her mouth to get out the words.

Steffi’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to help him acclimate. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk. As they find ways to communicate, Steffi discovers that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. But as she starts to overcome a lifelong challenge, she’ll soon confront questions about the nature of her own identity and the very essence of what it is to know another person.

Opinion:

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a refreshingly different sort of story that centers on two young teens. After stumbling upon this story on NetGalley and liking the description that was provided, I requested it with an excitement to see what I would be getting into. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. This story feels genuine and realistic, and there is an innocence around it that hugs the reader until the end.

For years Steffi has lived with a crippling anxiety that has ruled her life. Her social anxiety has caused her to become a selective mute, and she is only able to speak freely and comfortably around her family and best friend. At school the teachers are understanding to Steffi’s situation, and it allows Steffi to sink into the shadows and become invisible to her peers. But when a new boy enters her school, Steffi realizes that she might not be as invisible as she thought. Rhys transfers to Steffi’s school in the hopes of having a more normal school experience, even though his hearing impairment requires special attention from teachers. Together Rhys and Steffi find common ground by way of communicating through sign language and form an instant friendship. As they grow closer and a relationship begins to form, Steffi notices herself starting to change for the better. A Quiet Kind of Thunder showcases the hardships two teens face as they navigate through school and personal relationships, while also learning how to adapt themselves into a normal way of life.

I found A Quiet Kind of Thunder to be a very unique and endearing YA story. I found Steffi’s situation to be VERY interesting…a selective mute? WHAT?! Steffi explains that she is psychically able to speak, but her social anxiety and fears make it hard for her to form sentences as easily as others do. Due to her having a hard time communicating in front of her peers, she chooses to be mute in public and at school. The reader catches up with Steffi as she starts her first year of school without her best friend by her side, which means she doesn’t have an ally or someone to talk freely to. But when Rhys comes along and her learns that she knows sign language, they form an instant friendship and understanding.

This story really gives the reader an inside look into what it is like for teens with hearing and speaking impairments. For Steffi, her parents explain to her how hard it’s going to be to go to University and to have a life on her own when she is unable to communicate with others. For Rhys, the reader sees that a lot of times he gets lost in translation if he is unable to read lips or if someone isn’t speaking in front of him. It made me much more aware of both conditions and made me realize how much we take for granted on a daily basis.

In regards to the writing and story, I found Steffi to be very mature for her age…but maybe even, too mature? I found her speaking to be very eloquent and beyond her years, which made me feel that it was a bit unbelievable. I also found the characters of Rhys and Steffi to be a little too positive and peppy. Obviously, I am not saying that these two should be depressed and sulky! I just thought that their characters were very fluffed and over-the-top with how perky they were. The manner in which they spoke was very formal, and it makes them feel a bit detached from their emotions. These are teenagers, not adult acquaintances! It felt a bit too “cookie cutter” for me, and it made me not connect with them as much as I would have liked. This was bothering me a lot while reading and is a reason why I didn’t fall 100% in love with the story.

The plot was entertaining, and I liked where the author went with the relationship between Rhys and Steffi. Their conditions put stress on their relationship and the relationships around them, and I thought the author showcased these hardships effectively. It was empowering to watch Steffi grow and begin to succeed. The dynamic of how it affected Rhys was something that any couple could relate to, and I began to really feel for his character in that sense. These conditions can make a person feel very alone and isolated unintentionally, and it was sad to see Rhys begin to feel defeated.

Overall, I enjoyed this read but I didn’t love it. It was even-paced, keeps the readers attention, and is entertaining and informative. In the end, I wanted a little more grit and raw truth from these characters. That being said, I think this might be aimed at a younger audience. Though this won’t be one of those books that I put on my “Have to Read Again” shelf, I still found it to be a sweet story that had a strong amount of innocence.

3-5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie #1) by Amanda Hocking

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Amazon.com – Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie 1) by Amanda Hocking

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

Plot:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin must decide where her loyalties lie and if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Opinion:

A slaying female heroine, naughty immortals hell-bent (haha, pun) on staying alive, and long walks into the underworld. Suh-Woon.

Kind of.

A Valkyrie has the sole duty of returning immortals to the afterlife once their lives are up. As one of the feared and sometimes hated Valkyrie, Malin dedicates her life to her job. When given a target, Malin knows not to ask questions and to complete her task as quick and efficiently as possible; when your time is up, your time is up. As Malin trains alongside her mother and learns her ways, she proves that she is almost ready to go out on her own. But when a boy named Asher attacks Malin in her apartment, she learns that her mother may have let one of her targets go in the past…and the repercussions involve the death of an innocent and the fate of their existence.

Sounds like a killer fantasy tale of badass female fighters and demons, right? Well, it is. It’s packed with action, has an INCREDIBLY strong female lead, a little romance, a little betrayal, and the ever-loving descent into the underworld. Though the author, Amanda Hocking, has laced this book with everything I love in a story, I still wasn’t completely blown away. I was intrigued with the direction that it took, and it successfully pulled me in. I just didn’t feel like I HAD to keep reading it. It didn’t seem to flow as easily and naturally as the other works from Amanda, and it left me a little disappointed.

Do not let that discourage you, because I am still giving this book a semi-positive review. I can honestly report that I did find enjoyment out of Between the Blade and the Heart, and I am still impressed with the idea and plot. I think my main concern was that I felt a lack of connection to the story and the characters. Malin is a fierce and insanely awesome main character, but I don’t feel like I know her as well as I would have liked. For me, the character and world development didn’t translate properly into something relatable. Obviously, it’s hard to do that in a Fantasy story about creatures that don’t exist. But making the reader feel like they could fall into this world with just a touch to the page is what makes a Fantasy story relatable, and I just wasn’t feeling it with this one.

I think my final opinion on Between the Blade and the Heart is “Eh okay, good…but not my favorite”. Since this is a series, I probably won’t go on to read book 2. BUT, there have been many a series to turn my opinions around in the second installment, so I will have to wait and see. Honestly guys, Amanda Hocking is one of my favorite authors, so I am a bit bummed out to be writing a not so stellar review for one of her works. I know this story really worked for a lot of other readers, but it just wasn’t all the way there for me.

2-5-stars

 

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Book Review: The Healer (The Healer Book 1) by C.J. Anaya

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Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author, C.J. Anaya, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Romance/YA/Fantasy

Plot: Hope hides a dangerous secret; a gift powerful enough to heal the breach between the living and the dead. With two warring gods vying for her love, and a fallen deity determined to take her for his own evil purposes, she must either accept her destiny or take matters into her own hands.

Embark upon a journey of heart-stopping adventure in this young adult romantic fantasy filled with supernatural creatures, ancient prophecies, immortal gods, and divine magical healing powers. This romantic coming of age series is filled with love, loss, and second chances while blending together urban fantasy, adventure, traditional myths and legends, and paranormal themes to create a thrilling story readers are sure to enjoy.

Opinion:

Here it is my loves, the first of many YA/Fantasy/Romance stories of 2018!

The Healer, a young girl with the ability to…What?! Heal?!? NO! Plus, two what vying for her love?? GODS?!? We might as well call this a “Heaven Sandwich”, with extra healer jelly filling just OOZING with tummy butterflies and heartbreak!

Oh, my word…it’s positively swoon worthy already! *insert dainty hand to forehead movement*

When Hope was just seven years old, she learned of her ability to heal people. By connecting with someone’s life force, Hope is able to command and feed instructions to a body’s cells in order to repair it. But Hopes miraculous ability could put her in danger, so it is her duty to keep anyone from finding out what she can do. Now ten years later, two new guys show up at her Northern California high school, and everything changes. Somehow they know what Hope can do, and to make matters worse, someone is throwing fireballs at her and trying to kill her. But with the help of these mysterious boys, Tie and Victor, Hope will realize that there is much more to her life than just an ability to heal.

Woooo! Guys, this series is turning out to be a wild one. I am hooked and I may have already started book 3, because I can’t help but devour these books! Okay, let’s begin with the basics. Our shining star of a female role in this series is Hope, and she has the ability to heal someone by connecting with their life force…or spirt/soul/inner alien (whatever you want to call it). Hope and her father have kept her secret quiet for 10 long years, but that suddenly changes. A new student arrives at Hope’s high school named Tie, and Hope feels an instant connection to him. To make things even weirder, Tie begins hinting at knowing about hope’s healing abilities. RED ALERT! Then, not an hour later, ANOTHER new guy shows up at her high school. His name is Victor, and he ALSO seems to know about Hope’s ability.

But wait guys, it gets even better!

These two handsome and mysterious boys turn out to be gods who have been searching for Hope for HUNDREDS of years, and have come to keep her safe from a fallen deity who wants her dead. You see…there’s this prophecy…

I really can’t go on much further without spilling the entire book to you guys, which is SO hard not to do. But I will give you a little more insight into the characters and what to expect.

There is a lot of great things happening in this story, and the author keeps the reader hooked throughout. I read this in one sitting, and immediately jumped to book 2! I am glad the author created such a strong and caring female lead for this story. Hope feels a bit older than her years, but she has the right amount of youth and inexperience in life to make her character feel believable. Her best friend Angie had me DYING and laughing my ass off. She is such an instigator and puts Hope in some very amusing situations, with only the best intentions. C.J. Anaya really did do a great job of putting some comical aspects in this book, and I found myself literally laughing out loud throughout.

I didn’t get to know the characters of Tie and Victor that well in book 1, but the reader REALLY gets to know them in the following books. Tie is the “bad boy” of our story, while Victor seems to be slightly more mature and kind. Honestly, Victor sounds a little boring in this book…and he is. BUT, the reader will really get to know these guys in the books following. Trust me when I say, these guys have a LOT happening with them.

Though The Healer did feel a little cheesy to me at times, I can ensure you that by book 2 the cheesiness has gone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s written well and developed thoughtfully. It just definitely has those “YA high school” undertones in it. What is interesting to me is that the main part of this story takes place in just 1 or 2 days. This sounds like it might be a little daunting, but the author really made it work. I didn’t feel like anything was rushed over or left unexplained, and there was still so much happening. She made it work!

The ending is going to leave you on a sad note, but also a hopeful one. I suggest getting the entire series at once, and preparing yourself to have a weekend of doing nothing but reading. I am currently on book 3 (I know, I’m behind on my reviews) and I am showing NO signs of slowing down. I don’t want to get to the final book, but I need it in my life. GO GET THIS SERIES! It is something a little different from the normal YA/Fantasy stories out there, and if you’re like me, you are always looking for something different.

4-stars

 

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