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Book Reviews

Book Review: Deviant King by Rina Kent

Deviant King by Rina Kent
Deviant King by Rina Kent
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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.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Sudden Traveler: Stories by Sarah Hall

Sudden Traveler by Sarah Hall
Sudden Traveler by Sarah Hall
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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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’. 

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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. 

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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.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Plague by Victor Methos

Plague by Victor Methos

Title: Plague (Plague Trilogy)
Author: Victor Methos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sci-fi Medical Thrillers? Sign. Me. Up!

I’m a mega fan of Richard Preston and Michael Crichton. I love all those creepy books and movies where a virus ends the world–and since our planet rests at such a desperately delicate equilibrium presently, an extinction level event might not be bad for Earth to set itself right. I’m ahead of myself though because you don’t know what Plague is about and you need to buy and read this book.

Doctors Sam Bower and Duncan Adams have become ensorcelled into an investigation of an epidemiological runaway train. Annihilation of the human race is closer than most civilians could possibly conceive and trying to outrun this plague could amount to nothing if the wrong people turn wrangling the pathogen into weaponizing it. Can a CDC Agent who is struggling for a break in the patriarchal ruled scientific community and a microbiologist struggling with his own professional identity weather the catastrophic events of Victor Methos’ pageturner the Plague? Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Silver Swan by Amo Jones

Amo Jones

The Silver Swan by Amo Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What in hell did I just read and why is it that all the twisted screwed-up-ness of it wowed the kittens out of me?

Amo Jones’ The Elite Kings Club series rides the razor’s edge of Horror, Thriller, and Dark Romance genres. It’s a mindfuck of epic proportions and the tension and terror of more than a few parts required Ativan to read through–this is meant as a compliment.

Notorious and spoiled Madison Montgomery is escaping one nightmare via being introduced to another. She is already suffering a hangover from her mother’s recent tragic murder/suicide. Now Madi’s father has collected a new trophy wife, complete with delinquent son, with which to gift his traumatized little girl. Her new home is overrun by her new prep school’s ‘Ol’ Boy’s Club: a veritable army of hot as sin douche canoes who alternately protect and terrorize her.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Shattered Seam by Kathleen Groger

The Shattered Seam by Kathleen Groger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trippy.

One of my favorite books is the Haunting of Hill House. Shirley Jackson’s book raises the question to the reader of reality versus perception. It’s considered a horror story but at the crux of it it’s a psychological thriller. A true terror story. What could possibly be scarier than one’s mind being the true monster. Kathleen Groger dangles the same unsettling conundrum before her main character, Sam. What is more lovely is that she then offers us the same threads to hang ourselves with because this is quite possibly one of the funnest psychological thrillers I’ve read in sometime.

Sixteen year old Sam is suffering through a school holiday with her wacky uncle Eric who is a ghost hunter. He and his team have the opportunity to explore creepy Defiance Castle on the ominous Shadow Island, a paranormal location that is reported to be one of the most darkly haunted spots in America. The terrible history of the castle is owed to it’s more terrifying creator, a serial killer and maniac who tortured his way into the hearts of eager paranormal investigators. Sam’s aghast at her uncle’s enthusiasm in a junk science that scams frightened masses into misguided believers. Worse yet, she doesn’t want the people from her school assuming she is part of the circus sideshow even if the rewards would be to her benefit. There are higher stakes at risk for her to entertain his ideas, and being popular isn’t really that important to her. Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Book Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright

Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a nut for Suzanne Wright. I love her stuff, and by stuff I mean sarcastic heroines and dirty talking heroes.

Still, the last few Phoenix Pack and Mercury Pack books have frustrated and disappointed me. As much as I adore her stories, the repetitious characters and plot devices is becoming cereal-box-stale. I love characters like Jesse and Harley from Force of Temptation. However Trick and Frankie were a yawn fest. To be honest I can’t differentiate Trick from the guy with the bad pick up lines despite having read all the books. They aren’t close to being the same character but Trick wouldn’t be missed by me if he were to disappear. Lure of Oblivion wasn’t a shiner for me either. I waited excitedly for Xander’s book like a kid promised ice cream; the reality is that these later books are becoming hit and miss.

Just in time to mend my breaking heart come Bracken and Madisyn. Echoes of Fire has put me back on the happy side of life. No stale cereal in this box. Continue Reading