Tag Archives: NetGalley Review

Book Review: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

Candlewick Press
TBP July 10, 2018
352 Pages

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside.

But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.- Goodreads

This book has been on my tbr 2018 edition since I heard about it last year. So when I got approved for an arc via Netgalley, I put everything down to take a stab at it.

Man, was I disappointed.

About 30% through the book, I couldn’t stand Lucie’s voice anymore. I understand her revenge and her wanting to see how the revenge plays out. I even understand her slight mercy. But she has this tone that becomes redundant. When she sees the beast changing and becoming the “person” she hoped the Chevalier would have been, she fights with herself to stay mad, to stay hateful. After what he did, it shouldn’t take a whole lot to state in hate mode. I actually was surprised by the change of heart. Yes, they were technically two different people but how Lucie was able to look at the beast and not remember what he has a human had done…. I have no idea.

The book moves fast enough. It doesn’t take a lot of time for you to see his transformation to a beast and to a likeable beast. The story begins off one way but then you’re literally disguised how quickly it turns left. The author wrote a very intense scene, that I had to put the book down for a moment to regain my composure. This is why I didn’t understand how Lucie was able to jump ship.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was how the author spun this retelling. The point of view, Lucie, is completely different from what I have read. She is literally the third party to the classic fairy tale and it was interesting to see her point of view. However, for a story about revenge, there wasn’t enough intensity and anger that I had hoped for.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read but it could have better.

2 Pickles

Emotional Read: Standing Sideways by J. Lynn Bailey

J. House Publishing
Published Dec. 12, 2017

When Livia Stone suddenly loses her twin brother, Jasper, she must learn to navigate her new life alone. As she faces tragedy and starts down a road toward 
self-destruction, Daniel enters Livia’s life—at a moment when she needs it most. 

Standing Sideways is a poignant, relevant, and touching story of survival, courage, and compassion that will have readers crying, laughing, and most of all, debating the issues affecting the lives of parents and teens alike on a journey of hope and forgiveness.- Goodreads

I sat on reviewing this book for a while. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. For some specific reasons, it is hard for me to say that this was a good book as in the story or if this was simply a good representation of various forums of grief.

These are two different things for me. Because you can have a good story that wraps you into several layers of emotions, keep you waiting more and allows you to live in that world. A good representation of anything can provide key points, be obvious or not, to show you something and doesn’t necessarily have any other purpose other than to show you specific things.

I don’t feel that it was a good story. I feel that way because I wasn’t invested into the characters not even once. Livia is defined by her grief and there really isn’t anything beyond that. Therefore, I can’t really tell you what type of person she is or even the people around her. Their actions are based of her and yeah she does do somethings that are wrong but to me there was no substance. Therefore, I felt the story was lacking.

But, at the same time, I felt that it represented grief and strength on different levels in a really good way. You see how Livia handles her grief and how that grief affects her friendships and her family relationships. You see other people handle their own grief and hers as well.

What I liked about this book was how the author took care to show different ways of comfort, release, anger and different phrases of moving on. It was important to see that because you don’t really see a lot of teenagers expressing their grief in different ways out than anger and being reckless. Do not get me wrong Livia was not grieving in the most healthy way but her way gave attention to what other teens may be doing.

Overall, I am going to leave this as non rated because even after doing this review, I still don’t know how I feel about this read.

Book Tour: Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm

Entangled: Teen
March 5th 2018
432 Pages

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

Jumping right into this, I had an issue with Ava. For someone who has spent most of her life in foster care, she is a brat and that is the first impression you get from her. She claims to love her new family so much, that she throws a tantrum and throws it in their face that she is not blood. Its horrible really and for the rest of the book, it left a bad taste in my mouth and I generally did not like or care for her throughout the book. Ava proved to be a very judgmental and stereotypical character. But I kept going through the book. What was the saving grace was the fact that the story is told through different point of views.

But although the idea of the story drew me in, what kept me from fully enjoying the book was how narrow the storyline really was and how there wasn’t enough depth in characters. I wasn’t invested in them and that made me feel some type of way. The romance, cute but not enough for me to ship for them. I liked the build of the story but wished for more mythology. I felt that the author took too much time on little things as opposed giving the characters a deeper history and stronger voice. As for setting the author get points because I saw everything and felt that you know what maybe this could be a thing.

The pace of the novel wasn’t too bad. The author jumps right into the story and I appreciate that. It does stall and plot weakens after a few chapters. The book is just too long and not enough drive to want to finish it.

However, overall I was disappointed in this read because it didn’t provide enough history/mythology, the intensity wasn’t really there, the characters lack substance and the romance wasn’t exactly romantic. Do I think this was a decent start to a series? Kind of. There is a lot of promise and as I see a bunch of conflict in Ava and surround characters’ lives, if the author throws in more past trauma, more once a upon a time this happened, and more chemistry, this will be a great series to look after. I wanted to like this book but it was drawn out without enough passion.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Delacorte Press
Published Feb. 10, 2015
448 Pages

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.

As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.

And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.

Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.-Goodreads

This book was hard to swallow. There was a lot going on and the author moved in a few different directions. Let me start off with the positives:

I loved the three different point of views the author provided. It provided a story that was well rounded and it didn’t leave a lot of room for what if and questioning. This is not to say that it was a straight forward read either. It wasn’t but what I liked about the different point of views, is that it explained so much without explaining everything.

Another point that I enjoyed about this book is how fast it begins. The author doesn’t add a lot of fluff in the beginning and I am alright with that. Some stories do not need to build from nowhere.

However, with that being said here is what went wrong with that. The author is extremely vague with what happens after Quin takes her Oath. Vague may not be the right word but nonexistence would be better. You know something happens. You know something bad happens but the author doesn’t talk about it and it pisses you off because is weak. So very weak. Most of the book is about what happens after the Oath was taken because it changes everything. The fact that the author didn’t include that even and beat around the bush around it was the biggest disappointment in this book.

Another issue I had was the love triangle. There was really no need for it and the love did not seem genuine at all. The romance aspect of this read was a let down, considering there was a love triangle.

Also I didn’t like Quin. I can’t even give you reasons why but I did not like her. I actually liked John and wished there was more of him as opposed to Quin being the focused. I would totally read a book that was solely John’s voice and interactions.

Beyond those main issues, the story-line went from the present to past to the present. If that is not your thing, then you will not enjoy this read. I wish the transitions were better, I wish the intensity level of this book was on high and I would have preferred a more constant pace throughout the novel.

Not a bad read at all but not something I was completely satisfied with.

2 Pickles

Book Review: You Own Me by Mary Catherine Gebhard

Published Fe.b 14, 2015
360 Pages

Lennox is on the run from her ex-boyfriend. She had to drop everything, tell no one, and move to a new town, alone. She expected to be lonely, she expected to be afraid, but she never expected to meet a man named Vic who drove her crazy with lust and anger and called her “Lenny.” If it’s at all possible, Vic is more twisted than the man she ran away from. 

She should ignore him, but they’re drawn to each other like magnets. Lennox ran from from Seattle to Santa Barbara to get away from violence, to create a new life, and to be something simple. Instead she’s found herself wrapped up in great friends and an epic love. This new life is the opposite of everything she wants, but it might just be everything she needs. -Netgalley 

Do not let the cover fool you. You’re not going to get a deep read about a woman working to better her life and escape from an abusive past. You don’t get a woman is extremely cautious about life. She thinks about it and even stresses out about it but no. She just goes with it.

Lennox has some issues that she doesn’t exactly resolve before going to be with someone else. She comes off as one of those people who cannot be alone and needs someone with her in order for her to feel like life means anything. You can stretch it and say at the end of the book, she grows and becomes stronger and blah but she didn’t. She learned how to deal and then she folded as soon as her happy ending came.

I understand that not everyone becomes the strong of strong woman, who can slay dragons after being torn apart by one. I get that. But I wanted that for Lennox. She needed it.

The romance i.e. the love did not feel natural. Lust from beginning to end is the most and only appropriate response for Lennox and Vic. But the tacky romance could be forgiven but what wasn’t forgiven was the inappropriate attempts of humor the author tried to pull. I should have known once I saw that how I wasn’t going to really enjoy this book.

I would go longer with my dislike for this read but it isn’t worth it.

1 Pickle

Book Review: #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Tor Teen
TBP: Feb. 13, 2018
228 Pages

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life. -Goodreads

Before anything, I would like say that this book was inspired by #alexfromtarget If you do not know anything about that story, you can take a look here to see whats its about.

I was excited for this read. Black teenager, who works for the CIA undercover. Sounds fantastic. However, I was disappointed in this book not initially but as the story progressed.

  • It took place in a day.

I really enjoyed the fact that the story was not drawn out and the author was able to build a world and story that last literally less than 24 hours. For me, it showed skill and creativity. And overall, it added some intensity and that help drive the story. But the downside to this was I felt some things were missing.

  • The story was far from narrow.

The author complicated the story as much as she can without it being distasteful. I liked that about this book. What you think you do or what you can guess isn’t exactly how it is going. There are some instances where what you see is what you get but not for everything.

  • #prettyboy didn’t cut it for me

Not only was there not enough description of Peter, the book pretty much only mentions the hashtag twice. Considering that it throws the anti-social Peter in the spotlight, I wanted there to be more about it. His class for the most part do not really react to his new found fame. They really don’t care and his fan base is only on twitter and not even close to real life. Yes, I understand why the author did this because it really does tie the story together but considering it is part of the title and it changes Peter’s day, I wanted more attention on it.

#prettyboy Peter was a unlike-able character

Didn’t like him. He had no real personality. He doesn’t know anything about fitting in, which is where considering that he is in the CIA and this isn’t his first run. He is more bite than bark. He needs way more training.

Although the short time frame of the story provided intensity, it didn’t last and at a certain point, I was just ready for the bad guy to be caught. However, the author was able to suck me in at the end and want a book two.


2 Pickles

Book Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

Harmony Ink Press
Published Aug. 22, 2017
180 Pages

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.- Goodreads

I have mix feelings about this book and I have mix feelings about book two and it didn’t even come out yet. Jumping right into this, when I began the book I was all over it. Tashi is an interesting character because he/she makes decisions that are based so much more on emotion rather than common sense, faith or basic knowledge. The decisions come off really selfish and surprising especially at the end. Tashi also isn’t as passionate as I would have liked nor is there growth in that area. Tashi’s emotions from beginning to end feel really misguided and it was frustrating to read because Tashi could have been a bad ass.

The story centralizers around relationships, oddly enough. Be it Tashi’s relationship with the tiger, Katala, Xian and Tashi’s partner/friend. Although the author makes it seem as if the war and the battles are the focus, it really isn’t. It is the backstory because while Tashi falls in love with Xian, the author throws it in there that he is enemy. I wanted more about the war and the battles won and lost. I wanted more fight and blurred lines between love and duty. There was a really great battle scene but like having your first taste of sugar, I wanted more.

My excitement for the book didn’t last because things began to become redundant. The relationship between Tashi and Xian didn’t have the chemistry or passion one would expect with first love and at the end you really don’t know where the two actually stand. And as important as Tashi’s relationship with Katala and her partner, you see less and less of it as the book goes on.

Now my mix feelings about book two is it isn’t in Tashi’s point of view. That bothers me because the ending just kind of ends. I want to know what Tashi is doing at this point and my interest in her partner isn’t even there.

Overall, it was alright. I liked it but at the same time I’m on the fence if that makes sense. I just wish Tashi made smarter decisions and the book wasn’t so relationship based.

3 Pickles