RoseBlood by A.G Howard | Book Review

217a4-rosebloodROSEBLOOD BY A.G HOWARD

Genre: YA Paranormal, Retelling

“Today you become someone new. From this moment on, you belong to the underworld, from which you were born. You are something monstrous, but beautiful. Something fierce, yet fragile. You are Thorn. The part of the rose that is unloved… that everyone fears for its ability to bring a soul to bleed.”
-A. G Howard, RoseBlood

Synopsis:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Goodreads| Amazon

review

As soon as this book was published I went to the library right away because I have been waiting sine I finished Ensnared. I am a huge fan of A.G Howard, her writing and the beautiful worlds she creates. 

At the beginning of the story I was a little nervous. I know this was a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, but I felt at times it was taking to much from the original story just at the beginning. That quickly changes and I got pulled into the beautifully described world and the events that were going on. The book was so unique and involved so many layers. It was full of the creepy gothic feel and took a turn I was not expecting.

Of course like many books out in the world there was romance. I have to say I really enjoyed this one and loved how it all unfolded. Rune was a strong protagonist, she had been threw so much and grew so much. She really came into her own throughout the book. The development of all of the characters was so well done. The story of the Phantom and Thorn was heartbreaking and complex. I enjoyed all of the side characters as well especially the animal companions. They really added a lot to the story and made the book more complex 

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The world was amazing with beautiful and heartbreaking stories woven together. This is definitely a unique book that cannot compare to anything else I have read. The incorporation of music and the small cameos from the original were nice touches. Although it was a retelling Howard did an amazing job creating a story all of its own. It caught me by surprised multiple times and threw in some interesting twists to the story. It left me in awe and completely satisfied.

RATING-4

You might also like:

Splintered Trilogy by A.G Howard

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell | ARC Review

GARDEN OF THORNS BY AMBER MITCHELL

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Entangled Teen in return for an honest review

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Synopsis:
After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.

Goodreads| Amazon

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

From the very beginning this book dives right in and takes off with thrilling intensity. The concept of the Garden and all that these captured girls go through in this traveling burlesque troupe was so captivating and made me want to continue from the very start. There are secrets, intrigue and kingdoms at war.

I thought Mitchell did a wonderful job with the opening of the book. I was so drawn in from the first page. She was able to maintain my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat until the end, although I did think it faltered a little in the middle. The character development of the main character Rose was so well executed. She had issues and unlike so many YA novels she actually had to work through her issues and face her own demons which was refreshing. I find that in so many novels the issues are presented and then quickly are dissolved. Rose was a strong female heroine and definitely makes the whole female independence a strong motto.

The other characters were really well developed and so well described that I could picture them perfectly. The thing with such great character development is I feel like Mitchell fell a little short on the world building. There was so much room for great world development being a fantasy novel and even more about the Garden. I was really intrigued by the concept of the Garden and wanted more from it.

I had just a few other issues with this book and without giving too much away, I thought the romance at times was too much. I really liked the way it ended but at the beginning it came on too strong and didn’t follow Roses beliefs but Mitchell managed to straighten it out and actually make me really happy that it was in the story and added a great component. The last problem I found was with how quickly they threw Rose out on missions and how she was trusted with little to no training.

Overall, I found this story to be very unique and nothing I have read before. It did not shy away from the gruesome details and wasn’t afraid to not let a strong female overcome obstacles and shine. Garden of Thorns was a fast read and kept me on the edge of my seat, never knowing what was going to happen the whole time. It made me experience a wide range of emotions and actually had an ending I cannot complain about. I really recommend YA fantasy readers who enjoy strong female leads and times of war and unrest to pick this book up!

You might also like:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse | Book Review

26030682GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT BY MONICA HESSE

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Source: Novl in return for an honest review

“Maybe we can’t barter our feelings away, trading good deeds for bad ones and expecting to become whole.”
Monica Hesse, Girl in the Blue Coat

Synopsis:
Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.

Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.

Goodreads | Amazon 

review

I feel like I should give it some more time before I write this review. I am still unsure of the rating I want to give this book. First off I waited way to long to read this book that is for sure. I was sent an ARC of this book by Novl for review last year and put off reading for some reason. I’ve been on a historical fiction kick.

Girl in the Blue Coat is a YA Historical Fiction novel based during the German occupation in the Netherlands during WWII. This book is full of heartbreak, mystery, loss and the underground of the war. The beautifully written book was not at all what I expected it to be and I found it to be a great moving story.

The characters are well developed and complex in each their own way. I enjoyed seeing the revelations that each character came to throughout the novel and relationships that were created. Hanneke has been through a lot already since the start of the occupation living with the guilt of her actions and the stress of providing for her family. She grows so much throughout the story . The complexity of the characters and their struggles and fight drive forward the novel.

I am not sure what else to say about this book because it was a quick read although filled with a lot of emotions. I did enjoy this story, but felt like it had a few slight flaws for me that could not make it an amazing 5 star read. There were times when I felt like the story dragged and was a little repetitive. I needed a driving force to the story that was lacking, but the characters and their development did make up for some of that.

Overall this book explains the darkness of human nature and the flaws that each of us carry with us but also the bravery and strength that can come in the most unlikely of times. This book is perfect for historical fiction lovers especially those who enjoy delving into the WWII era stories. It is full of surprises and mystery and completely threw me when I thought I knew where it was going.

RATING

1

You might also like:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys | Book Review

25614492SALT TO THE SEA BY RUTA SEPETYS

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

“War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.”
Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea

Synopsis:
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope

Goodreads | Amazon

review

Sepetys has done it again. She has created a beautiful work of historical fiction that she put so much time and research into and surprised me again with an event in history I was not aware of. The story is based during the era of WWII, but focuses on people and stories that at least in my experience do not get enough attention. She brought to life the struggles of a few different teenagers whose lives intersect that each come from a different background, struggle and each carrying their own secrets.

The story was so well developed and the character development was done in such a way that you create an understanding and love for each of them. I could feel the pain and the setting and atmosphere completely drew me in. I could not put this book down. The style it is written in and the jumping between characters drives the story forward and left me needing more.

Overall I found this to be a hauntingly beautiful story that was heartbreaking at times, but shows such a strong display of hope and kindness. I could gush about this book forever but just think everyone needs to read it. The reason this did not have a 5/5 crowns for me was because I struggled with one of the characters. I found his story to not hold up to the rest of the characters and just found him annoying. He did have a purpose in the story, but I just found him irritating. This book is a perfect choice for anyone who loves Historical Fiction and the WWII era, or just a beautifully written story about the struggles of 4 teens.

4.5

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates |Book Review

25489625BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME BY TA-NEHISI COATES

Genre: Nonfiction

“I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Synopsis:
In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society. In this short memoir, the “Atlantic” writer explains that the tragic examples of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and those killed in South Carolina are the results of a systematically constructed and maintained assault to black people–a structure that includes slavery, mass incarceration, and police brutality as part of its foundation. From his passionate and deliberate breakdown of the concept of race itself to the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, Coates powerfully sums up the terrible history of the subjugation of black people in the United States. A timely work, this title will resonate with all teens–those who have experienced racism as well as those who have followed the recent news coverage on violence against people of color.

Goodreads | Amazon 

review

I was in Baltimore during the riots in 2015 over what had happened to Freddie Gray. This was the time when the distance became real to me. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere Michigan that was a very monochromatic community. I feel like with the current state of our world and the horrible events that have been taking place it is important for those to be educated. I had never experienced such hatred or discrimination first hand and was blind to it. I hate that this was the case and I want to be an ally and educate others. Coates allowed me to open my eyes even more and through his words feel his hurt and pain. It is a pain I will never truly understand and I do not claim to know how Coates feels, but I think this is such an important book for everyone to read. The writing is phenominal. It is so deep and raw and you can tell that so much emotion and time was put into this work.

We are all blinded by fear and have those perceptional lenses that were developed at such young ages. The way we were brought up and what we were taught is not always universal or right for that matter. The perception of race, right and wrong and even who we are and want to be was formed by our upbringing and our surrounding. With the coming changes in 2017 I think it is important for the U.S to take the time to try and learn and understand from each other. You can truly never know where the other person is coming from because everyone has had different backgrounds and experiences. It is books like Coates that can open the discussion.

This got a little deep for a book review and I did not go into everything I wanted to because I know this is a hot topic and I dont want anything I saw to be taken the wrong way because I am having trouble putting my thoughts together. I just believe that this was a truly moving piece of literature that should be a must read for everyone. I need to start reading more diversely and educating myself on everything that is not in my wheel house of knowledge or experience.

5s

After Alice by Gregory Maguire | Book Review

24331115AFTER ALICE BY GREGORY MAGUIRE

Genre: Adult Fiction

“All of life hinges on what one does next, until finally one makes the wrong choice.”
― Gregory Maguire, After Alice

Synopsis:
When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

Goodreads | Amazon

review

I was extremely disappointed in this book. It was almost a DNF book. I finished this book over a month ago and even as I sit here and try to write this review I am struggling to bring myself to do it. Writing this review is like reading the book. If you did not know I absolutely adore Alice in Wonderland so I was so excited and was anticipating reading this book for so long. It was the hugest let down I have ever read.

The story was suppose to follow Ada, Alice’s friend after Alice wandered down the rabbit hole. It was based in the same setting just following different characters including Alice’s sister (family). The idea seemed like it would make for a great story, but I feel like Maguire failed me.

The language at the beginning of the book made it really hard for me to understand and follow. Just getting past the first 20 pages was a struggle. As the book went on it got easier to understand, but I felt like it was taking a lot of the original story when it was talking about Wonderland. It lacked originality and really did not reach the full potential that I think this story could have.

My other main issue with this story was that it was extremely disturbing and a little offensive. I have no problem with darker books but this took a strange turn and was offensive to people with disabilities and or color. I just did not agree with a lot of how Maguire was saying things and handled certain situations.

Overall I do think the concept of tell the story of Alice through her friend was a interesting twist. It was showing the story of what happened After Alice went down the rabbit hole.  How it affected everyone else around her. It used a lot of the same imagery and nonsensical whimsy that was found in the original story. I think Maguire was trying to do too much by not only attempting a retelling, but trying to make a statement about Victorian Oxford as well. It was a mess and just not what I wanted or expected it to be. There was just a lot that I was not comfortable with and found it boring and a drag to read.

RATING-7

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins | Book Review

22557272THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BY PAULA HAWKINS

Genre: Adult Mystery

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps”
― Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

Synopsis:
EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Goodreads | Amazon

review

I am going to start with this first… I thought Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was better. I have heard a lot that this is a book you either love or you hate. I felt meh about it. I sometimes have a hard time reading mystery novels because the part that I love is the end. At the end of mysteries is when all the crazy gets figured out and there is always some sort of big twist and unexpected ending.

I read this book kind of fast, but I think it was due to the fact that I had a lot of free time and the nature of how short the sections were. The narrative jumps between mainly two different characters and adds a third about halfway through. In my opinion that was the best part because you get a different perspective from each character that is so bias and a bit unreliable. Besides this fact the story kind of dragged for me and I had a tough time getting through the dry monotonous that was the beginning of the book. I was driven by the motivation to figure out what had happened.

As with most mystery novels I was trying the whole time to figure out who had done it and what had happened. I have to say this book stumped me. I thought I had everything figured out but was completely wrong. I really enjoyed the ending. It was suspenseful and had me on the edge of my seat. 

Overall I thought the book was okay. The ending of the book saved it for me. I did enjoy the characters, it is great to read imperfect characters that are dealing with inner conflict and real struggles. I thought the nature of the characters being unreliable really added to the overall mystery feel of the story. If you enjoy mystery novels or even Gillian Flynn’s writing I think you should give this a try. I am also excited that this just came out as a movie and I cant wait to watch it and see what they did with it.

RATING-2

The Cruelty by S. Bergstrom | ARC Review

 

29102898

THE CRUELTY BY S. BERGSTROM

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Source: The publisher in return for an honest review

Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2017

Synopsis:
When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to survive in this new world she must become every bit as cruel as the men she’s hunting.

Goodreads| Amazon | Audio Clip

 

A fast paced action packed mix between Taken and The Wanted.

Gwendolyn Bloom is a well-cultured feisty teenager who is just trying to make it in a preppy and snobby school in NYC when her father who is a U.S Diplomat gets kidnapped.

The writing immediately pulled me into the book. I wanted to be best friends with Gwendolyn and was cheering for all of her sass. The Cruelty was chock full of intrigue right from the beginning. Everything was happening so fast and you were as lost as Gwendolyn with the mystery of her father’s disappearance. I do not want to go into much detail because I do not want to ruin the story for everyone but there were tons of surprises and I never knew where the story was going. Gwendolyn’s adventure to find her father took on the experience of a Liam Neseon movie, specifically taken. There were times where it seemed unrealistic for what Gwendolyn was doing, but I was impressed with how realistic the story was and how true it held to the fact that Gwendolyn was a teenage girl with little experience.

The book had me hooked from the beginning and I had to know what was going to happen next. The story was layered with surprises and twists and showcases a strong female lead. She is a great role model for younger women to show them how strong and determined a girl can be and how she is able to do anything on her own.

5s

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THE CRUELTY BY S. BERGSTROM 

29102898

When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to survive in this new world she must become every bit as cruel as the men she’s hunting.

If you are at all interested in reviewing this book, live in the U.S and are a book blogger please email me – fallingdownthebookhole@gmail.com!

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Built by Jay Crownover | Book Review

25197119BUILT BY JAY CROWNOVER 

Genre: New Adult, Romance

“After everything the past has tried to bury us under, we owe it to ourselves to be brave, to do more than float.”
― Jay Crownover, Built

Series: Saints of Denver
Leveled (#0.5 Saints of Denver)

Synopsis:
Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn’t matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn’t return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller are as different as two people can be. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and kill it and grill it. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk while he’s denim and flannel.
The differences between the two of them don’t stop Zeb from dropping every hint he can think of that he would like to get to know her on a more personal level, but Sayer seems oblivious to his interest or is just too nice to tell him to take a hike. To Sayer, a guy like Zeb could never be interested in someone as reserved and boring as she is. She’s never been with anyone that was hot enough to melt the icy exterior she’s had wrapped around hera since her awful childhood. But what if Zeb is the one who might finally thaw her out…?

Goodreads| Amazon

review

I was a little nervous starting this book because I have yet to finish the Marked Men Series, but the Saints of Denver series can be read completely separate of the other although it does mention people from the other series. I highly recommend reading the novella Leveled before starting Built.

I found Built a little harder to get into then the start of the Marked Men series, Rule. Zeb is trying to work on making up for a dark past and making a better life for himself. Sayer is dealing with the knowledge of a new found brother, Rowdy and picking up her life to move to Denver for him. She is also dealing with ghosts from the past by putting up the icy walls.

I thought that the romance was a little weird at the beginning. It is hard for my to explain, but I just found it to be insta-y and forced. Eventually  the romance caught me and I feel in love with Sayer and Zeb, it just took a majority of the book until I got there and the relationship felt real and natural. I definitely think that the relationship that stole the show was Hyde and Zeb! I was completely gushing over the two of them together and feel so in love with the little guy! I had a harder time falling in love with Sayer and I think that is the point. She is the “ice queen” and won’t let anyone in or get to close. I found her to be slightly relatable, but there were times her decisions made me so mad. I absolutely feel head over heels for Zeb! I think he is making his way to the top of my fictional crush list. He had served some time in jail, but the reason he did was admirable (at least in my eyes). Also all the things he is doing know to put his life right is amazing. He is filled with passion and is so caring. He had me swoonying every time he talked about second chances.

I love how although this is a story focused on Zeb and Sayer, you still get to see the other characters and how their lives are going. The secondary characters in this book were amazing and even with all their problems they added great complexity and issues to the story. I did find a lot of the story to be repetitive and it dragged. There were some issues that got brought up multiple times and I just did not think it was necessary because we already were told what was happening.

Overall I found this to be a heart warming, swoony and steamy novel. Crownover does a great job writing characters that contain all different problems and personalities. Her stories are filled with emotions and definitely sexy bad boys! I couldn’t help but fall for the boys in this book. I loved seeing the development of Sayer. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys bad boys and great new adult novels!

RATING

1

Make sure to also check out Samantha’s review of Built by Jay Crownover!