Browse Category by Book Reviews
Book It, Book Reviews, New Release

Book Review: In The Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen

In the Unlikely Event by LJ Shen
steal and share this
In The Unlikely Event by LJ Shen
Click to purchase

Title: In The Unlikely Event
Author: L.J. Shen
Genre: Contemporary, Second Chance, Romance
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

I feel like L.J. Shen just Pen-Warded me.

I recently said that Penelope Ward puts me through the wringer, and my Ativan prescription gets a work out reading her books. I am highly dread-filled, a true worrywart, I don’t trust authors to give me HEA even when they promise it.
L.J. Shen nearly crippled me for a good portion of In the Unlikely Event.

Young love is a mixture of hormones and inexperience. I’m old; you will have to take my word for it. Rory Jenkins is full of the dewy awakenings of adulthood, not ready to reconcile the death of the dad she never got to meet or know beyond letters. Fresh from high school graduation, she goes AWOL to Dublin to at least see where her kin live. What she finds is a warning about homicidal gray squirrels, a sexy Boheme poet, and a cold welcome that lets her know that Tolka, Ireland is not for her.

Continue Reading
Book It, Book Reviews, New Release

Book Review: Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
steal this to post on your social media
Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Click to purchase

Title: Dirty Letters
Author: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

I’m a fan. 

I think the first Penelope Ward book I read was Stepbrother Dearest—-No, it was Jake Undone. I loved both of these novels and most of the other Ward books I have read since. I won’t lie, though; I always feel emotionally exhausted on the last page because this woman writes trauma earnestly. She’s excellent at delicately, but honestly, depicting the mental health and mental illness challenges her characters must face. But I don’t find it emotionally comfortable to get though. I love the stories—-but I’m wrung out and exhausted by loving characters like Sevin, Jake, and Channing, which is why I love when she and Vi Keeland write together. I can take Penelope’s punches while Vi holds my hand. Yeah.

“I blinked a few times. No one had ever asked me such a direct question about my mental health. “Um. I have a fear of crowds and confined places.” She set the kettle down on the stove and lit the burner. “That’s okay. I don’t like clowns.”

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Continue Reading
Book It, Book Reviews, New Release

Book Review: Do You Dare? by Lylah James

Do You Dare? by Lylah James
steal to post on your social media
Do You Dare? by Lylah James
Click to purchase

Title: Do You Dare? (Truth and Dare Duet #1)
Author: Lylah James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

For the sake of a place to begin: would you like to hear about my bookgirlcrush and story savior Lila Garcia?

Do You Dare is a slow-burn romance that had me scratching my head as to what genre it was supposed to be through the first dozen chapters. This is not Erotica–or at least nothing at all graphic happens for roughly 96% of the book. There is more of a tell-the-dirty and less show-the-dirty story-driven narrative. It leaves a lot of room for character development, and that in itself is why Lila is my current bookcrush.

Maddox Coulter is afforded plenty of indulgences due to his family’s wealth and influence. His looks and talent are icing on his expensive cupcake-like existence, which is a good thing for most of these hungry bitches, but Lila already knows boys like him taste like regret. Without meaning to incite the predator, Lila dared to commit the ultimate sin; she waited for coffee while having boobs.

Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Book Review: The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armetrout
Click to purchase

Title: The Darkest Star
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Sci-fi YA
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are already a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series you are familiar with Luc; The comic relief to Damon and Katie’s angsty alien romance. Some of my most favorite parts of Origin and Opposition were due to Luc’s snarky and superior teen arrogance.

❝Luc moved to the center of the floor. “I don’t have all day, guys. I have things to do. A nap I want to take this afternoon. There’s a new movie out on Netflix I want to watch, and a goddamn coupon for a free Whopper Jr. that’s calling my name.❞

Origin: Lux Series #4

The Darkest Star is set a couple of years after the war between Humans, Lux, and Arum ending in the wholesale slaughter of entire populations of humans. In the aftermath, very tentative segregation exists between the races. Some people fearlessly mix; many don’t know that those around them are anything more than what they appear. The plot and continuity were so solid and seamless that there was no doubt in my mind that this is in the same world as the Lux Series or the Arum novel. And after writing so many books in this world JLA is fantastic at subtly dropping hints here and there that you don’t see until she starts pulling the strings together.

Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Book Review: Deviant King by Rina Kent

Deviant King by Rina Kent
Deviant King by Rina Kent
Click to purchase

Title: Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
Author: Rina Kent
Genre: Dark Bully Romance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this novel from Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

This book rolled through my email as a Cover Reveal Blog Tour and I was all over it like it was cake. OMG! Sometimes I think authors are just at home in their writing caves penning books for me. Rina Kent studied my reading preferences and was like, ‘Well, Ali will be all over this’ and created Aiden King.

If you are riding the wave of Bully or Dark High School Romance, you will enjoy the hell out of this book.

Deviant King has become somewhat of an obsession of mine. I have read three books of this genre in the last week for review. Some good, some bad, but this book had all the complexity of fine wine, and I kept going back to study it. I read this twice, read the prequel Cruel King from the Noble Savages anthology, and ran out of time to remain soaking in this Royal Elite world.

Heroine Elsa Quinn is white bread. She’s on the near side of becoming a sandwich, ultimately waiting to be put together to fit someone’s tastes. Without even being aware of her delectability Elsa has been an item on Aiden King’s menu from the start. Unfortunately for both of them, she is about to be devoured by a man with a very dark appetite. What King doesn’t realize is that sinking his teeth in his Ice Princess will only leave him hungry for more.

Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Book Review: Sudden Traveler: Stories by Sarah Hall

Sudden Traveler by Sarah Hall
Sudden Traveler by Sarah Hall
Click to purchase

Title: Sudden Traveler: Stories
Author: Sarah Hall
Genre: Short Stories

Publisher: HarperCollins
My rating:
5 of 5 stars

I received this ARC from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Sudden Traveler is a beautiful collection of short stories interwoven by the delicately threaded narrative that speaks the language of feminine identity. Each story is an exploration of the essence of female embodiment. Not focusing on sex as gender but rather the classification, agency, violation, sorority, disambiguate, and celebration of what makes a being a woman.

These short stories range in tone by the narrator of each tale. Written in a way that a mother might tell her daughter or a sister to her own; every story is told as one would hear them mouth to ear. Spoken. Some of the voices are broken and distant as they describe the defilement of their innocence. Other voices burn with fervor as the woman is forged into a weapon of her defense. And some are the soft murmurs of affection, if not acceptance.

‘The greatest betrayal of all is to disaffiliate’

The Grotesques
Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Book Review: A Hurt So Sweet Vol. 2 by Betti Rosewood

A Hurt So Sweet Volume 2 by Betti Rosewood
A Hurt So Sweet Vol. 2 by Betti Rosewood
Click to purchase

Title: A Hurt So Sweet (Elite of Eden Falls Prep Vol.2)
Author: Betti Rosewood
Genre: Dark High School Bully Romance
My rating:
3 of 5 stars

I received this novel from Booksprout in exchange for an honest review.

Because my review of this series book one was extensive and not favorable I am reviewing this second book against the first. I will not be repeating former criticisms in grudge form so any comments herein are specific to Volume Two.

You know when you are fully aware that something awful is happening but you have hopes that some divine intervention will save you from the horror? Well, the cliffhanger of Volume One did its job and allowed the moment of dire catastrophe to breathe. It gave the reader the hope that ill-will would somehow dissolve. Betti Rosewood is not going to be your white knight and just as Pandora is screwed and bound for destruction so are we as readers. We will not be saved and at this point, divinity has forsaken us all.

Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Book Review: A Hurt So Sweet by Betti Rosewood

A Hurt So Sweet by Betti Rosewood
A Hurt So Sweet by Betti Rosewood
Click to Purchase

Title: A Hurt So Sweet
Author: Betti Rosewood
Genre: Dark Romance
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

TL;DR?

I received this novel from Booksprout in exchange for an honest review.

I have looked at a lot of reviews written by others regarding A Hurt So Sweet, I am clearly not part of the majority. I firmly believe that a reviewer does an author no service in gaslighting stories that are half way to maturation. I will be critiquing A Hurt So Sweet in favor of Betti Rosewood and not in an attempt to flat out slam this novel.

I have no issue regarding the subject matter, subgenre and tropes in relation to this story. I have no prejudice regarding dark romance. I love bully books. I thoroughly enjoy broken heroes. I love despicable antiheroes who cross lines of humanity. I need push and pull between characters and conflict. But I want the complete package. I want to unwrap a book and I want to hate to love the feral madness in with I’m gifted.

The backstory in regards to the plot is that Eden Falls is a particular place with a strict patriarchal hierarchy; the First Born of the founders having ultimate and complete power. It is within the same world as Betti Rosewood’s Lords of Wildwood but outside the common society that we know from those books. I am saying that characters mentioned in both novels know one another but you would be wrong to assume that these two series share the same level of dark romance or bullying. The plot itself–while somewhat a stretch–could easily be rumors regarding a salacious ‘secret society’. 

Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Book Review: Wonderland Academy: Year One by Melanie Karsak

Wonderland Academy by Melanie Karsak
Wonderland Academy Year One by Melanie Karsak
Title: Wonderland Academy: Year One
Author: Melanie Karsak
Genre: New Adult & College Fantasy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just putting this out there–I am a huge Alice and Wonderland freak. I lurve Alice and everything Wonderland. I have copies of the books in other languages. I collect figurines. I have commissioned artwork. 

HUGE. ALICE. FREAK!

Having this passion for the Lewis Carroll novels I either crazy love or absolutely loathe the treatment other authors give to the lore of this magical world. It’s easy to misinterpret the archetypes Carroll fashioned his characters  causing the retelling to slaughter something I feel is sacred. But this book Melanie Karsak has written is brilliant. 

Also Karsak’s Alice and I coincidentally share a very similar name, mine Ali Lucia Crean (pronounced crane) and hers Alice Lacey Crane; therefor FIVE STARS!

No, really now. 

Continue Reading
Book Reviews

Review: Scary Stories Complete Set by Alvin Schwartz & Stephen Gammell

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Title: Scary Stories Complete Set
Author: Alvin Schwartz & Stephen Gammell
My Rating:
5 of 5

These books transport me to my Girl Scout Summer Camp days. There has been no other flashback quite as endearing than these troublesome tales of terror.

Alvin Schwartz has curated the finest late night spooktacular accounts to shiver your skin and electrify the hair on the back of your neck, accompanied by the uneasy illustrations of Stephen Gammell who is the artist of dozens of children’s novels the set of books is sure to become a favorite 

Despite being published over thirty years ago in 1981 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark are timeless. I’ve yet to see the movie attached to this but the trailer would have one believe that these yarns and myths are far more dark and complex than the original material. These books were written with the purpose of sharing a spoken history and lore with a young audience. I feel the film suggests a much older age restriction but these books are great for children.

Continue Reading