Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan | ARC Review

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE BY NATASHA NGAN

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: November 6th 2018

Source:  James Patterson Books in return for an honest review

“I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.”

Synopsis:
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

Goodreads | Amazon

*I would like to thank James Patterson Books and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

This Asian inspired fantasy explores a unique caste system, a forbidden romance and some darker topics while showcasing a complex beautifully developed world with a cast of characters that have you feeling all types of emotions.

I am not even sure where to really start with this review, this book was packed full of everything that makes an amazing fantasy novel. I found the world interesting and unique and although it shared slight similarities with the more common European fantasy, it opened my eyes to a culture that I am not familiar with and loved being immersed into. The attention to detail and the dedication to developing the world and setting for the world in which Lei and the other Paper Girls were thrown into was done gorgeously. I found myself needing to google different foods, and clothing styles that I was not familiar with, but felt like I could visualize it before I search it.

I loved the wide variety of characters and personalities present in this story. All of the paper girls really grew on my by the end even though I was not a fan of some at the beginning. I loved that we got to learn about their backstory and some of the reasons they  were participating as a paper girl. Lei showed a strength that isn’t seen in many fantasy novels, so many times the focus is on physical strength, but Lei’s strength was an inner one, filled with courage and bravery. Sometimes the inner battles and emotional trauma can destroy you faster than the physical pain. The romance, I called from the beginning and I was so for it and rooting for it the entire time. It is the first time I have read a f/f that did it so well! Not only was it a f/f but it was forbidden which had me wanting it even more! Also let me just say this real quick, I was loving Zelle! There is so much I could say about the rest of the girls and other characters, but that would make this such a long post.

The concept of the caste system was such a nice touch to the book and felt like real life issues played a role in creating/developing this aspect of the story. The hatred and a certain caste being seen as lesser is a mirror to our own society. With that also the views of woman in the story I feel like has a large reflection on what is happening in the world today. It is always nice when a book can take a novel and in a roundabout way relate back to real life,  I think it is important for younger kids to read books like this to not only get immersed into a different culture but be able to see the monstrosity of society told in a different way so they can make the connection.

Overall I thought this book was amazing and exactly the fantasy book that I needed. It was unique, emotional and beautifully descriptive and well written. I did have a had time with some of the trigger warnings and the fact that these young girls were used as concubines and all the cruelty that was present in the book, but sometimes I feel like that is needed in stories to open the eyes to what goes on in the world, human trafficking is becoming such an issue and makes me so sad. This is a must read this fall! It had some beautiful quotes and some strong words about not giving up. I cannot wait for the next book after the way this one ended and holding out for more of Lei and the other paper girls story!

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Light Years by Kass Morgan | ARC Review

LIGHT YEARS BY KASS MORGAN

Genre: YA, Sci-fi

Publication Date: October 9th 2018

Source: NOVL

Synopsis:
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.

Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain – but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy – even if he has to steal someone’s identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong – he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret – she’s infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it’ll be her life on the line.

These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy – but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think…

Goodreads | Amazon 

I am obsessed with the tv show The 100. I own the ebooks by Kass Morgan, but never got around to reading them yet. When I saw this book coming out I knew I had to pick it up. A diverse set of characters with drama, secrets and competition all taking place in space, how could I say no.

From the very first page Morgan pulls you into the life of the characters with the interesting story of who they are and where they come from. In a world very different from ours it was intriguing to learn more about these planets and what life is like in space. I have to say I do wish at times that there was more description and time spent on the world building, but I can say one thing, Morgan does real well with the character storylines and telling more than one at a time.

I loved how the book was told from 4 POVs and each one was so different and had such a different background and voice. Their storylines intertwine with each other, but each of the 4 are so diverse and have secrets and opinions they are keeping from everyone else. I love that you get to see it all play out with the rotating POVs. It is hard to pick just one to be my favorite, but I really liked the character development and storyline of Orelia.

I flew through the book with the suspenseful, drama filled plot that keep you wanting to know what was going to happen. The short chapters with alternate POVs also helped to drive the plot and story along. I had a hard time setting the book down and got really invested in the characters. It also had an ending I didn’t expect and definitely has me needing the next installment.

Overall this is such an indulgent space drama, based in a boarding school, that is perfect for a fast fall read! I think this is going to be a really great series that has all the elements you would want in a book series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the book/tv show The 100 by Kass Morgan or The Thousandth Floor by Katherine Mcgee!

Seventh Born by Monica Sanz | ARC Review


SEVENTH BORN BY MONICA SANZ

Genre: YA, Fantasy,Paranormal

Publication Date: Sept. 4, 2018

Source: Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review

Synopsis:
Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.

Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.

The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.

Goodreads | Amazon 


*I would like to thank Entangled Publishing and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

 

Seventh Born was like visiting an old friend. It had those elements from the stories and series we love. For me it was pulling inspirations from Harry Potter and Vampire Academy, taking place at a boarding school, magic, mystery, a dab of romance & forbidden love . Not to say I am comparing it to those books, but it was definitely reminiscent of those stories for me and gave me those warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. Monica Sanz worked some of her own magic in developing a setting and backstory that was so intriguing and mixed with the elements of magic and mystery, it kept me on the edge of my seat, devouring the book.

Sera was an amazing main character that has her own flaws, but is really trying to find herself and her place in this world in which she doesn’t belong/wanted. I loved her determination and loyalty. I think her confidence and strength are exactly the qualities that a female lead should have in a book to be a great role model for young girls. She is my favorite character, but I quite enjoyed some of the others, they were complex and well thought out with depth that also gave you a concern for what would happen to them in the end regardless of some events that took place.

This book definitely came as a shock to me and surprised me with how quickly I got drawn into the story and how much I need to rest of the series like last week. Overall I don’t know how I can wrap up my feelings about this story without it being a complete gush. From the backstory and history of this world to the present day happenings and unsolved mystery, It created such an atmosphere and places you within the story trying to figure out what is happening right along Sera. There was a wide array of characters each with their own struggles and personalities that have you invested in the people as much as the plot. The overall atmosphere is what you would expect from a mystery novel, it is dark and a little creepy and then add in the fantasy elements, creating such an unknown which drives forward the story. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think it has elements that could appease a wide audience and believe the story deserves attention!

 

Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel | ARC Review

 

KEEPER OF THE BEES BY MEG KASSEL

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Entangled Teen Publishing in return for an honest review

Publication Date: September 4th 2018

Synopsis:
Keeper of the Bees is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

Goodreads | Amazon

 *I would like to thank Entangled Teen Publishing for the chance to read and review this book in return for my honest opinion!*

The unique mythology that was first presented in the companion novel, Black Birds of the Gallows, is continued in Keeper of the Bees. We are first introduced to the curse of the bees in the first novel, but are keep quite in the dark about the backstory and details. I enjoyed the first book and found the mythology to be quite intriguing and the story to be unlike anything I had read before. I felt like it left so many questions unanswered and found many of those answers in Keeper of the Bees.

I enjoyed this story so much more than the first. Dresden and his story had me wanting more and to know the why and how of what he was and how he became that way. Although I had slight issues with the romance (a little too insta lovey for me) there were parts of it I understood and like seeing the development. I quite enjoyed the relationship between Dresden and the other harbingers.

Overall this book was a quick read that was layered with mystery and creative mythology that had me guessing until the end. I definitely liked this one better than its companion novel and I am interested to see if there will be another focused on the last mythical being that is only touched on. There is romance, murder and the impending doom that follows the harbingers.

 

Uncharted by Erin Cashman| ARC Review

UNCHARTED BY ERIN CASHMAN

Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal

Publication Date: September 4 2018

Source: Page Street Publishing in return for an honest review

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.

One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.

Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.

Goodreads | Amazon

 *I would like to thank Page Street for the chance to read and review this book in return for my honest opinion!*

This story was a unique blend of Irish myth, mystery and family/friendships. It came as a complete surprise to me as I had not heard much about it before I was sent the ARC. I was drawn in from the very beginning with the mystery that was set into motion and has you guessing the entire story of what is actually happening. I thought I had it figured out multiple times, but was shocked with the twists and turns. There is such a dreamy element to this story and it is enhanced by the layer of Irish myth that is woven throughout the story. I thought Cashman did a fantastic job with the development of the myth and loved the fantastical elements that were dreamed up to build this story.

Other than the mythology and fantastical elements that helped to drive forward the story and the mystery, there was secret societies, family, friendship, and romance. I loved that Cashman was able to incorporate so many different elements into the book and I thought it made for such a unique and rich novel! Annabeth and Griffin were such interesting characters. The family ties and the characters background together were really intriguing and were played out so well. It was those ties that were important to the storyline and were an aspect so well crafted by Cashman. Although I did enjoy the characters and their development through the story my favorite part was the background story.

Overall Uncharted had captivated me from the very beginning and did not let me go until the very end. The mystery and secrets pull you into the story of Annabeth, Griffin and their families and it is the ongoing mystery of solving the issues that arise and the fantastical elements that provide a dream like vision that have you transported into the story. I highly recommend this book and think it is a must read of 2018!

 

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf | ARC Review

BRING ME THEIR HEARTS BY SARA WOLF

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Source: Entangled Publishing

Synopsis:
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

Goodreads | Amazon 

I do not even know how to write this review because I have so many thoughts and feels about this book. Let me start by saying this book was so unique and has for sure made it to my top favorites of the year, if not the top spot. It had everything I love in a good fantasy, an interesting world, paranormal/magical elements, and characters with such big personalities. This book had not only a great storyline/plot that had you wanting to know what was going to happen next but it also had such well developed and unique characters. There was so much work put into the characters that even the side characters or ones that made small appearances had me having so many feels about them. There were many twists and turns in the story and I was always guessing where it was going to go. Wolf put so much backstory into the book as well that I didn’t ever feel like I didn’t understand what was going on. Especially with the new idea/paranormal creature known as the heartless.

I loved what Wolf did with the paranormal/fantastical characters, she really made them her own. She took the commonly known idea of a witch and turn it upside down. Creating a society of witches and heartless that are at war with the humans. I really enjoyed the play on the “witch hunt” idea and it was so cool to see it play out in a fantasy setting. I am also a big fan of the big dresses and courtly intrigue.

Now let me tell you all about these characters! Zera was my favorite kind of female lead. She is strong headed, snarky and all about being her own person. She is dealing with her personal struggles, but also has such a big heart (for a heartless) and care so much about others. Lucien was a surprising character and definitely caught me off guard multiple times. I really enjoyed the kind of person he is and how he follows his own way of life. The romance was a nice slow burn and everything you want from a enemies romance.

I just cannot get over how much I enjoyed this book. It took me awhile to read it because I didnt want it to end. It pulled me out of a book slump and I was so happy that I read it before many other people because I was able to completely create me own opinions and enjoy for a short time my own feelings before others started to share thoughts (one of the best thing about reading ARCs) But now I want all the people to read an experience this amazing book so I have others to talk about it with. I absolutely love the idea of the heartless and cannot wait to read more about Zera when book 2 comes out!

The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak | ARC Review


THE QUEEN UNDERNEATH
BY STACEY FILAK

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: May 8th 2018

Synopsis:
The Above and the Under have a tenuous truce that is shattered after the death of both their respective rulers. Gemma, the new queen of Under, must throw history aside and team up with Tollan, the heir to the Above throne, in order to take down a power that seeks to rule them all.

Their group of rebels is comprised of an assassin, a sex worker, and a palace servant from Above, and we follow their unique perspectives as they are forced to question previously held beliefs. But even with war looming, romance still grows. Challenging gender roles and the expectation that every prince must have a princess, Tollan discovers love with Elam—a young man, a sex worker, and one of Gemma’s closest friends.

Goodreads | Amazon

 *I would like to thank Page Street for the chance to read and review this book in return for my honest opinion!*

I am not sure where to start with this review because I wanted to like the book so much. I was super excited when I got sent this book for review and its said to be a spin on Sleeping Beauty. I have to say I was caught off guard while reading because it is marketed as a YA, but I would say it is a little mature to be considered YA. I believe the world building fell short, I was so intrigued by the world concept and loved that the underneath was filled with assassins, thieves and prostitutes and that the above was complete opposite. I needed more. There was so much that could have been done and Filak set the stage for a world that had so much potential. The book was just too short and didn’t achieve what I felt like it could have. I felt like there could have been a ton more character development as well. I really think Filak could have made a whole series off of this concept. That being said I thought their were some great characters and really enjoyed Gemma. There were some references to Sleeping Beauty, but I am not sure I would have marketed it as a spin off. The biggest thing I had an issue with was how often the word “prick/prickling” was used. I have a huge problem with repetition of words, but I also just thought it was excessive.

I know this seems like a bash, but I did enjoy the book and was immediately pulled in within the first chapter and wanted to know what was going to happen the whole time. There were some steamy parts and times I was on the edge of my seat with the twists and turns. I really appreciated that the chapters were headed with the area in the world in which that chapter was taking place, it helped to place myself and develop the world in my head. The Queen Underneath, had some kickass characters and a strong lead female which is always nice to see! I loved the rough edges she had, but also a soft side that was super caring.

Overall I enjoy the story but the main take away is I needed more and wanted more from Filak.

 

Phoenix Fire by SD Grimm | ARC Review

PHOENIX FIRE BY SD GRIMM

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: March 5th 2018

Synopsis: 
After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.

Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.

Goodreads | Amazon

 *I would like to thank Entangled Teen for the chance to read and review this book in return for my honest opinion!*

I am not even sure where to start with this review. Let me start by saying PHOENIX !!!! This is the first book I have ever read that focused on the phoenix and I thought S.D Grimm did a good job developing a story off of the phoenix and creating this whole world and backstory for the Phoenix and their purpose in our world. Now let me also say that the phoenix was not the only mythical creature that made an appearance.

I don’t want to say much about the phoenix incorporation or backstory because you learn more throughout the whole story alongside the characters, but the whole idea of rebirth and past lives has always intrigued me. Grimm was able to slowly reveal the story and have the characters put in together piece by piece with such great detail and thought. The story was complex and had a lot of moving pieces for awhile that I was pulled even deeper in trying to figure out what had happened, what was happening and what was going to be the result.

I am not usually a huge fan of multiple POV but thought it worked so well for how this story was being told and in putting together all the pieces. Each of the characters had their strengths and weaknesses. There were quite a few times I found myself screaming at Ava and the choices she made. All the different interactions and relationships really added to the story.

Overall I enjoyed this story and the way it was written. It had me on the edge of my seat at times and had me yelling at characters at other times. I loved the fact that it revolved around the idea of this Phoenix community and would love to see more books incorporate the idea of phoenix. The world building and background development were well though out and I didn’t feel like I had a lot of questions that went unanswered which is always a plus. Grimm balanced the characters and multiple POVs so well and really drove the story forward at a nice pace. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal reads or wants to experience an interesting novel containing phoenix!

By A Charm And A Curse by Jaime Questell | ARC Review

 

BY A CHARM AND A CURSE BY JAIME QUESTELL

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: February 6th 2018

Synopsis:
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

Goodreads | Amazon | Entangled

 

Leslie smiles at the girl with a mixture of pride and tentative hope. “It took us a few days to get Sidney set up somewhere else, and I’m sorry about that. But this wagon belongs to the occupant of the box.” Leslie strokes the side of the ladder that leads to the door. “What you’re going through is terrible, we know it is, though we can never truly understand. It’s a small comfort, but we want you to have a place that’s just your own, a place that you can use to escape.”

A weak, wobbly smile lifts the corners of the girl’s mouth as her gaze roves over the outside of the wagon, a shadow of the smile I saw the other night, when she was with her friend. I wonder what it would take to get her to smile for real.

“What about Sidney?”

“Sidney can make do.” Leslie’s smile broadens into a grin. “Have you seen the way he’s been eating? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him waddle out of the cook shack one of these mornings like Templeton the Rat.” She dangles a small copper key from the end of a length of faded red ribbon. “It’s like I said—the carnival owes the person in the box. This is the least we can do for you in return.”

The girl’s hand shakes as she reaches for the key, and she wraps her slender fingers around it tightly, as though she’s afraid of dropping it. I lose sight of her as she steps inside, and all I can do now is hope she likes the wagon.

I turn to head home and feel the sickening lurch as my foot lands in a slick patch of mud and whips out from beneath me. I throw out my arm. A flash of white-hot pain flares through my hand, but I manage to keep my footing. I step out of the mud that had nearly sent me sprawling on my ass, unsure as to how I even missed it in the first place. Then my hand begins to throb.

A gash runs diagonally across my palm. Blood wells from the wound, filling my cupped hand. The pain sets in, a deep pulsing starting in my palm and radiating up my arm. I glance over at the trailer and see a splash of red smeared along a sharp flap of metal. I must have sliced my hand on that as I tried to grab onto something to keep from slipping.

Falling on carnival grounds doesn’t happen; the charm sees to that. But my bloodied hand begs to differ.

 

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 *I would like to thank Entangled Publishing greatly for the opportunity to read this book!*

It seems like the past year carnival books have been all the rage. I find them absolutely intriguing and think they are filled with so much magic. But for some reason this was the first carnival book I read in completion. I am beyond happy that I was given the chance to review this book because I needed it in my life! This book was the perfect combination of magic, mystery, characters filled with personality and childhood vibes!

At the beginning I thought this might be inspired from Pinocchio and was getting some major flashbacks to the movie BIG. By A Charm And A Curse was so much different then I expected and found the mystery behind the charm and the curse to be so interesting. Questell really painted a detailed picture of carnival life and the ties that bind so to speak of those individuals who make up the unique performers of the carnival. The characters were full of personality and their own little quirks. I found the whole love aspect a little too fairy tale for me with the whole curse, but enjoyed the story behind the charm and curse associated with Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic.

I enjoyed that this books was driven by the characters and their personal development and growth. Sometimes when there is the background of a carnival or something like it, I feel like it is sometimes easy for the author to focus on that event or element too heavily. Not that I do not enjoy world building or magic around things such as a carnival, but I absolutely hate when the characters are flat and stagnant. I have to admit at the beginning I was annoyed with Emma as a character, yeah a lot of horrible stuff happened but she was so whiney. I loved seeing her evolve throughout the story and was her biggest fan at the end of the book. I was a fan of Ben from the beginning and adored him all the way through. He was perfect and what every girl dreams of when in search of a love interest. It was nice to see that despite what happens to Emma he doesn’t see her as different and fights like crazy for her. There were some other characters that I quite enjoyed, but really wish more time was spent on some of them. I wanted to know more and learn more about them and their background.

Overall, Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic is a carnival I would want to runaway to a be a part of! They were such a family, they cared and defended one another. It was unique and magical. There were some issue with the story, I would have loved more details about the carnival instead of such a heavy focus on the romance. Because of that the plot fell flat at time, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read and has made me want to pick up more carnival focused books!

About Jaime Questell:

JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: jaimequestell.com

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimequestell/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaimequestell

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15396319.Jaime_Questell

Newsletter: http://jaimequestell.com/events/

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | ARC Review

BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS BY MEG KASSEL

Genre: YA, Paranormal

Publication Date: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review

Synopsis:
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

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*I would like to thank Entangled Publishing and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

A love story in the midst of mass chaos. A interesting and creative YA paranormal read that presents unique mythology and characters. It dove into the world of Harbingers of Death, beekeepers, and the hidden magic within.Angie is no stranger to traumatic events, but life has been going so much better for her, that was until a hunky boy moved in next door.

I enjoyed Kassel’s writing a lot. She uses great details and paints a beautiful picture. The way the story unfolds was a great pace although I feel like the ending was a little rushed. With 20 pages left I was unsure how she was going to wrap everything up. I liked what Kassel did with the characters and mythology. It was a unique curse that I haven’t read about before in a YA novel.

I did find Angie a little annoying at times. She carried on this whole “woe is me” a little too much. I understand everything she went though and she did have a right to some of her actions and feelings, but she really hid herself too much because of this suppose title of “freak“.I thought Reece was a great character and was really complex. Kassel did a good job at filling out his character and giving him those emotions and feelings that should be associated with someone with his curse. I also found the romance to be very typical of a YA novel. It was too fast and unrealistic. It went from a crush to madly in love in 0 to 60 seconds. The romance felt very Twilight to me. One of the notes I made multiple times while reading was this reminded me of Twilight. It just has the same vibe and a similar type of storyline.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable and fast read. The unique mythology really intrigued me and was what sold me on the story. I loved the cast of characters and the friendships throughout the book. The reason it did not get a 5 star rating for me was because of the unrealistic romance and Twilight vibes. Although the story was different then Edward and Bella’s I could not stop comparing them and thinking about it throughout the book. The mass chaos and effects of the curse were fantastic additions that added to the overall atmosphere of the story. I recommend this to those who enjoy dark paranormals with mythology and romance.

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