Thursday, February 22, 2018

J says :) #8

Let’s talk about…
Beauty and the Beast!

Who doesn’t know and love a story about Beauty and the Beast? I know I do, so naturally I wanted to write and share my love for it right here and now :) It has everything, don’t you think? Lets check all the boxes, shall we? Amazing story? Check. Adventures? Check. Magic? Check. Main heroine who does the saving and not just wait to be saved? Check. Main hero full of flaws at first but with a transformation throughout the story? Check. Wonderful secondary characters? Check. Beautiful music? Check. If you add to it a heroine who loves to read and a big-ass library in a castle? Come on… Any questiones, why I love it so much? Didn’t think so :)

This story is an inspiration to a lot of movies and tv shows, but my favourite was the obvious choice - waaaaaaay at the beginning, and yes I’m talking about the disney version :) and if I’m being honest I was terrified, when I found out that they’re doing a movie version, but… I loved it! Seriously, everything just clicked for me there – so I’m proud to say I enjoyed it even more than the original, a little bit more but still :) You should definitely give it a try, if you haven’t already. I watched it more than once and have to say, after writing about it so much, I’m totally gonna have to re-watch it again, oh the horror :)

But this is a blog “mostly about books”, so I’m gonna give you a couple recommendations, if you’re in a mood for a little Beauty and the Beast kind of a story :)

Beast 
(written by Alana Albertson)

This story is really close to the original, and not just because of the title. We have a war hero, the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient, a national treasure, but really he’s just a broken, scarred man, who feel like he lost everything. One night at a costume party he meets beautiful Isabela, and after one night together they make a deal. Her father will write his war memoir, if she will pretend to be his girlfriend for the Marine Corps Ball. Their story is about real life, full of problems but with a potential for a happy ending. Is it a fairy tale? Not really, because even Grady says about himself: “I think you’re a good girl who wants to get wild, who wants to be tempted, and cut loose. Use me. I’m not your fairy tale prince, I’m your beast”. 

Kiss of steel 
(book #1 in London Steampunk series, written by Bec McMaster)

In this story, on one hand we have Blade – who’s known as the Devil of Whitechapel, and on the other hand we have Honoria, who desperately needs some help. So what can she do if not go to the one person who can scare the monster who’s after her? That’s right, she makes the best decision she can think of, and go to the one place in London that most people avoid – Whitechapel district. She makes a deal with the devil, but neither one of them expected the direction in which their story would go. Is he the devil, most people think he is? Or is he something else entirely...

Tempt me at twilight 
(book #3 in The Heathaways series, written by Lisa Kleypas)

So just think, Harry is a mysterious owner of a hotel, he has a lot of staff and even more power. When he meets Poppy, he knows that he would do enything to make her his. So when their flirtation compromises her reputation, Poppy – who always wanted a normal life, shocks everyone by accepting his proposal. Does it ring a bell? Come on, I know you get it :) If you add to it, that she’s the one to teach him to open his heart and love, it’s so obvious…

Nobody’s hero 
(book #1 in Burned Lands series, written by Bec McMaster)

Here in the Wastelands there's only one rule – don’t be caught out after the sun sets… And of course it happened to Riley ;) but if it hadn’t, this book would be waaaay shorter and definitely boring. So back to the story, this rule is to protect people, because after dark the monsters come out to play… enter Lucius :) a handsome stranger, who has plans of his own. He kidnaps Riley to take revenge on someone from his past, ok I didn’t say it was a brilliant plan ;) anyway with every passing hour of their journey she knows him a little bit more, and finds out he’s not a beast she thought he is, after all. Luc never played a hero, but suddenly a part of him wants to, and it’s all because of her…

The player and the Pixie 
(book #2 in Rugby series, co-written by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid)

Sean is a total beast, and by beast I mean asshole, seriously that would be my answer to you at the beginnig of this book, at the end… not really. But let’s go back, so Sean is a rugby player, who’s been called an asshole, frequently, by everyone. His total opposite is Lucy, with her rainbow hair and a quest for inner peace. But when their paths collide, something happens, and she’s kind of forced to make a deal with him. What kind of deal, you may ask? Well the teaching kind… that’s all I’m saying. But I can honestly say that at the end of their journey we learn that not everything is as it seems and I really said to myself awwww more than once :)

Angel’s blood 
(book #1 in Guild Hunter series, written by Nalini Singh)

Rafael is an Archangel – people, vampires and angels, they all call him cold, merciless and cruel. He is not just a beast but also a monster to many of them. But not to Elena, sure she sees him as he is – strong, powerful and unreachable but to her he’s something more. Elena is beautiful all right, she’s unique and exotic, but as a member of the Guild, add to it that  she’s a hunter born and you have a powerful combination. Their story is really great, just trust me :) What I love most about them is that she makes him a little bit human, and that’s not a bad thing, you’ll see…

When beauty tamed the beast 
(book #2 in Fairy Tales series, written by Eloisa James)

Linnet is a real beauty, so of course since I’m writing about her in this post, she’s betrohted to a beast ;) Piers is an Earl who lives in a castle in Wales. Everyone knows he has a temper, which he displays by constant sarcasm and just beeing an ass. There, I’ve said it ;) Also it’s told that he’s immune to charms of any woman, but Linnet is not any woman… Did I mention that this book has not only a vibe of Beauty and the Beast, if you look closely and know Dr. House, youll definitely see some resemblence, and I’m not talking only about a cane…

Heart of fire 
(book #1 in Legend of the Storm series, written by Bec McMaster)

Dreki are mythical beasts, they’re legendary sort of dragons, but for your own sake don’t call them that ;) They were mostly known from stories, but Freyja is to busy trying to take care of everything to have time for that kind of tales… But it all changes, when a cerain creature steals her last ram, then all bets are off. She decides to confront this beast and give him a peace of her mind. Rurik is of course fascinated by this fearless woman and the rest is history… what can I say, this duel, through the entire book, between beauty and the beast was legendary…

Lord of the abyss 
(book #4 in Royal House of Shadows series, written by Nalini Singh)

I have to confess that it was the only book in this series that I read, and it was waaaay back so I don’t remember much. But what I do remember is that it was really good :) also it fits perfectly for this week theme so I just couldn’t resist. So… Micah is a beast, quite literally, because he was cursed, and now he’s a monster feared by everyone. Oficially he’s Lord of the Abyss, which is basically like the Angel of Death, but what’s important is that through it all, he kept his heart and kind of innocence. It’s all protected by a thick armor, but one person cas see through it – Liliana. Maybe she’s not a classical beauty, but if you look at her through Micah's eyes, you’ll see how special she is…

Making faces 
(written by Amy Harmon)

You could say that it’s a story about a beauty turned beast. Ambrose had everything, the looks, wrestling career and many loyal friends. Then something happened, he went to war, and came back a changed men. I’m not talking about his physical changes, which were severe, I think worst were his emotional pain. It’s a hearbreaking story, which made me cried a lot, and I’m not exaggerating, really have lots of tissues prepared. It’s not an easy story but it definitely is beautiful. It’s a story about five young men going to war and only one of them comes back. It’s a story about a loss and how to deal with your life after traumatic experiences and personal tragedy. It’s a story about Ambrose – a broken boy and Fern – a girl who changes everything… If that’s not a story about beauty and the beast, though maybe not a typical one, than I don’t know what is…

Born of Legend 
(book #9 in The League series, written by Sherrilyn Kenyon)

To avoid any spoilers you have to trust me here, it is a story with beauty and the beast vibe. I felt it reading this book, I really did :) It’s not obvious at the start but the more you read about Dagger and Ushara, the more similarities you’ll find. It’s not an easy story, but definitely worth reading. It’s about change, and how a little act of kindness can be a turning point for someone…

That’s it for today guys :) hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing about Beauty and the Beast retellings. As you can see, this story can be understood in many ways, not always literally, but it definitely has that incredible vibe, that just works for me :) But one thing you should remember, not everything is black and white, what I mean is we all have a beauty inside us as well as the beast…

J

Tag thursday #2 ;)

Welcome, welcome, to a new installment in a brand new series :) #TagThursday is a monthly thing, appearing every last thursday, where me and my sister J will give you book recommendations based on one theme :) and today it's *winter* :) since it's february and the last month when we can honestly say that has winter-ish vibes ;) so we have five categories for you guys :) hopefully you'll find some new books in here :) as always, if I have a full review for a book mentioned here, I will leave the links at the end of the post :) so let's jump into all the books :)

Snow blizzard
a book that gave you chills


A: for me it has to be "And then there were none" by Agatha Christie :) it's a very creepy mystery novel where a group of people in invited to an island, but when they arrive, the owner is nowhere to be seen, they find a creepy rhymed note and one by one they start to die... I freaking loved that book ) till the very end it kept me on the edge of my seat, and gave me chills multiple times :) it reads like a phenomenal movie :)


J: I have to say I know plenty of creepy stories that can definitely give you chills, but here I decided to go with something else ;) I’m gonna go with sexy chills and I recently read just the book to recommend you, it’s called “The List” by Tawna Fenske. Full disclosure – it’s a sex list, that Cassie made up to impress her sisters by convincing them she’s not just boring soil scientist. She made it on her laptop and of course technology failed her (it wouldn’t happen if she used a pen and paper). She had to go and ask for help in a nearby computer shop, and that’s where she met Simon. And he – like every good person would - is more than willing to have some fun while helping Cassie turn her made-up adventures into reality. I had chills the entire book, but most of all when they get to the one particular item – have sex outside, in a snow… I know, cold already right? But not to worry, this book will definitely get you hot! :)

Hot chocolate, with whipped cream, sprinkles... 
*sighs* where was I? ;)
a book that gave you all the warm and fuzzy feelings


A: my immediate pick for this category has to be "Simon vs the homo sapiens agenda" by Becky Albertalli :) it's a recent read of mine and this cute contemporary gave me that warm and fuzzy feelings throughout it all :) the hero, Simon, is in high school, but he hadn't told anyone that he's gay... the only other person who knows is Blue, another boy from his school... because they've been exchanging e-mails, but now everything is in danger, because someone discovered Simon's secret and is threatening to expose him :) ok, that sounds quite dramatic, which this story is definitely not, so just remember that it's an absolutely cute story that you have to read, if you haven't already :)


J: I picked “Our Forever” by Elena Matthews, it’s a story about a widow / single mom – Jo and her neighbor / musician / cupcake business owner – Drew. Their connection starts off rocky, but eventually with passing time, there is a spark that transforms into a flame and then an inferno. Drew’s main goal is to convince Jo that forever is possible for her if she just give it a try… So maybe not an easy romance, but definitely worth reading. This story will make you laugh, cry and everything in between, and it’s really sweet, not only because he calls her sugar :)

Snow angel
a book that left a lasting impression


A: I decided to choose one from my recent reads, and it's "Marriage of inconvenience" by Penny Reid, the seventh and final book in her Knitting in the city series ;) it's not out yet, but I can include it here, cause I was lucky enough to read an ARC and this contemporary romance left such an impression on me, that I am waiting impatiently for the release day, just so I ca re-read this book, this time as in audiobook format :) I don't have the full review here on my blog, but if you want to know mroe, you can find it on Goodreads right here -> READ ME <- :)


J: I wanted to pick something recent as well, but my mind took me back to one of those books that just stay with you for long after you read it. It’s “The Fire Between High & Lo” by Brittainy C. Cherry. I don’t even know what to write… this book just broke my heart, but in the best way possible, if you know what I mean. If you’re looking for something more, something to leave a lasting impression I don’t know a better book for this job…

Winter wonderland
a book that takes place during winter / has winter-ish vibes


A: one can argue that "From Lukow with love" by Mariana Zapata technically does not takes place just in winter, but the main characters are both ice figure skaters, so since there is a lot of ice durinth the entirety of the book, I'm still counting it ;) it's a slow burn hate-to-love sort of situation and I inhaled it basically in one day :)


J: my choice, “Wolf Signs” by Vivian Arend is perfect for this category. It’s a first book in Granite Lake Wolves series and I loved it. Why is it a great choice here, you may ask... well because it takes place in Yukon wilderness on a ski trip to be exact, so lots and lots of snow all around :) when Robyn’s brother has to cancel on her, she decides to go alone, the fact that she’s deaf never slowing her down, and it definitely doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. But when she meets Keil everything changes. Because together they’re even stronger… So if you like sarcasm, wolf packs, mates and a little adventure give this book a chance, you won’t regret it!

Snowball fight
a book with an epic battle


A: for this one I absolutely had to choose "The edge of the abyss" by Emily Skrutskie :) since this is the second novel in The abyss surrounds us duology, and the battle I'm thinking takes place in the second half of it, I can't really say anything so as not to spoil you anything... :) what I will say is that it involves giant sea monsters and pirates... and it's truly epic... this whole story would make an absolutely fantastic series of movies... here's hoping it will come true some day ;)


J: I chose “Kiss of snow” by Nalini Singh, it’s book #10 in Psy-Changeling series, about SnowDancer alpha named Hawke and young Psy soldier in his pack Sienna. Because of the spoilers and fear of saying too much I’m a little limited ;) but what I can say is this, there is definitely an epic battle in this book. Both wolf and leopard packs join forces to save their territory. But they’re not alone, they have help, but that’s all I’m gonna say. As a bonus I can add that even though everyone has their job, the most important one will fall to one of my favourite characters in this series and it will blow your mind. But this book is so much more than one epic battle, so you should definitely read it, if you haven’t already :)

Reviews mentioned in this post:
- Our forever -> READ ME <-

XOXO

A + J

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: "The abyss surrounds us" by Emily Skrutskie


Book 1 in series The abyss surrounds us
Main character: Cas

This is one of the many books I got recently in my biggest book buying binge ever... at least for now ;) I first heard about this duology from a very trusted source and it came so highly recommended, that after checking out the free sample from Amazon to see if I will like the writing style, I decided to get both books at once :) originally I thought I would dive into the sequel right after finishing this first installment, but sooooo many things happened in it that I needed a moment to digest everything :) so I'm gonna jump genres and read something completely different, but make no mistakes... I'm gonna read the second one very soon :) but for now, let me tell you a bit more about this story :)

Soooo... what initially sold me on this book was: sea monsters, pirates and girls falling for each other... that's basically all I needed to know ;) but I'm assuming that you guys need some more details, so let me elaborate ;) the heroine of this book, Cas, is a Reckoner trainer... Reckoners are these giant, genetically modified sea monsters that are breed and trained to protect specific ships and guard them from pirates... she trained with one her entire life and now is on the verge of their first official mission... but something goes horribly wrong... and during said mission Cas is taken captive by Santa Elena, captain of one of the pirate ships... because Santa Elena has a plan of her own... with an unhatched pup that Cas is supposed to train to even the odds for them... the whole thing takes place in a futuristic version of our world, where certain events lead to some big changes... I don't want to get into all the details, because it's better explained in the story :) now that we have some basic informations out of the way, let me tell you all the reasons why I loved this book :)

I have to start with the writing style... it's truly fantastic, especially when you take into consideration fact that it's a debut novel... it pulls you in from the start and doesn't let go... the author paints such vivid pictures that most of the time I felt like I was within the pages of the story... living all of the adventures with the characters... not to mention that the whole novel is filled with complex people... expect the unexpected you guys, and that you will be surprised more than once by the turns of events... I definitely was ;) Cas is such an interesting main character... I loved her... absolutely adored her... she's strong and smart and doing the best she can under circumstances she found herself in... she's such a kick-ass heroine :) is there a romance in this story? well... yes and no :) now let me explain ;) there's definitely chemistry and a very unique connection between Cas and Swift, one of the pirates... Swift is one of those very complex characters... when you think you know her, there's always something more to surprise you... not to mention that actually nothing happens between them throughout the most of the book, and that's because... and I cannot express how happy I am that it was clearly said in the book on multiple occasions... that since they are not on equal footing, nothing can happen between them until that changes... because Cas is still a prisoner and Swift is one of her captors... but I'm not gonna lie, I am very curious how that relationship will change in the second book... especially after *that* ending... *sighs* on the one hand I want to dive into the sequel straight away, but on the other hand... I truly think I need a few days to gather my thoughts and think through it all... becase this book was sooo good... and I need to really appreciate all of it, so I won't speed read everything and then remember nothing in a week ;) I hope I convinced you to give this absolutely unique gem a try, because it's soooo worth it :) I am already crossing my fingers that some day it will become like a really good movie, cause I would love to see this epic story come alive on the big screen :) but for now, we just have to take what we can and read it ;) so definitely go pick it up ;)

XOXO

A

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: "The book of secrets" by Melissa McShane


Book 1 in series The last oracle
Main character: Helena

I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book :) this is the first book in a new paranormal series by Melissa McShane :) I am definitely a fan of her writing style and she did not disappoint with this new story :) but don't be fooled by this innocently looking cover... the actualy story is much darker than I expected... don't get me wrong, I loved it, but I figured it would be wise to warn you a little bit ;) so let's jump into some more details about the actual plot and our heroine :)

Helena is in her early twenties, and we meet her during her job interview in a peculiar little book shop... what she doesn't know is that said book shop is a big deal within the paranormal community and sort of in the neutral middle of a magical conflict... not to mention the oracle... yeah... :) she gets the job, but unfortunately for her, her boss is murdered during that first day... she sort of inherits the shop with all its magical abilities and has to deal with a lot of consequences following that one event... I am sitting here right now and thinking really hard what more to tell you... I don't want to say too much, cause I really liked how we learned more and more details about the magic and paranormal aspects of this story right alongside Helena, so I think I will leave you with those few vague details... what I will say is that I am definitely intrigued and can't wait to know more about the world :) now when it comes to Helena... she definitely embraces all the craziness that's happening around her with lots of courage and intelligence... :) I really liked her as the heoine of the story :) even though she's very young she acts more mature than I expected her to :) especially with everything that happens ;)

Overall I gave this story 4,5 stars :) I really liked it and am looking forward to continue on with the series, but there were things that I did not completely enjoy... one of those things was actually a person... Viv, Helena's best friend... I wasn't a fan of her, she kind of annoyed me, and I thought that her behaviour most of the times was quite immature... but who knows, maybe she'll grow on me once I see some more character development ;) fortunately the book is full of very interesting and complex secondary characters that again, I am very curious to know more about in future installments ;) like I mentioned before there is no info dumping, which means there's not like one chapter where we get the whole explanation and rules and such, so there's no way to actually remember everything... instead, we slowly learn with Helena about everything :) since this is the first book in a series, there's need for world building :) and this story does a very good job with it :) like always, Melissa's writing style is very entertaining... she keps creating these so very different from one another books, with characters that I fall in love with... once again, she made me laugh and gasp in surprise more than once... like I said before, this is a much darker story than I expected, so be prepared for some scary parts ;) personally, I loved them :) she definitely kept me at the edge of my seat, and I'm hoping we will get the sequel very soon... cause I need to know what happens now! :) so if you are looking for a unique bok that will keep you guessing, definitely give this one a try :)

XOXO

A

Review: "Elite" by Carrie Aarons


Author: Carrie Aarons
Title: "Elite"
Standalone, but... ;)
Main characters: Colton and Eloise

I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book :) this is a standalone story but... if you are familiar with Carrie's books, you may see a familiar face or two... but don't worry, you can read this novel without any previous knowledge whatsoever :) but if you want to know more, you can meet Eloise in "Priviliged", another book by Carrie Aarons :) she's a secondary character in that one and the main couple from that book makes a brief appearance here :) now that we have this little explanation out of the way, let's jump into some more details about our main couple and the plot of this story :)

Eloise is british, but after studying for two years in college in Paris, she decides to take a semester abroad, in one of the american universities... that's where she meets Colton, a basketball star and the big man on campus... they have this hot attraction between them from the start, even if they don't make a move about it straight away... there is a bit of dancing around each other before they finally ignite ;) I'm not really sure how to express my feelings about both of them... it wasn't that I hated them, but I didn't love them either... yes, there were times when their behaviour annoyed me, but also moments when they were so sweet and lovely... *sighs* I have very mixed feelings about all of that, and let me tell you why... :)

This review may be summed up with my rating: 4 it's-not-you-it's-me stars ;) as in... these type of stories are not really my cup of tea... and that's ok, cause we all have our own personal preferences :) and even though I haven't fallen in love with it, it doesn't mean I can't appreciate a good book when I see one :) because this story will be perfect for a lot of you :) if you're a fan of "Gossip girl" and adore stories with drama, scandals, angst, intrigue and so on... you will inhale this one in record time :) I'm just not the biggest fan of them :) so there might have been an eye roll or two while I was reading the book :) again, please, don't get me wrong... I have nothing against it, and I am more than happy for all of you who will adore it :) but for me it was just too... a lot of things... :) too much too fast happening between our main couple... I would love to see their relationship progress more slowly... some things were resolved a little bit too quickly... others were glossed over... but on the other hand, there were some resolutions that surprised me, in a very positive way :) not to mention that I am always a fan of an epilogue at the end of the story that allows us a little glimpse into the future of the characters ;) and as always, Carrie's writing style was entertaining and a pleasure to read :) so if you are looking for a scandalous and delicious read full of intrigues, definitely pick this one up ;) you'll love it ;)

XOXO

A