Book Review: The Black Witch – Laurie Forest

synopsis single

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.


My Thoughts 2

This will be the hardest review I´ve ever written. Not because I´m not able to find the right words to describe my feelings towards this book – It´s more because I´m not able to form any thoughts without spoiling this story. And I feel that whatever I will say will most definitely spoil a good portion of the story. * sigh *

That´s why I´ll just tell you to read the synopsis very carefully. What´s revealed there is more than enough to either whet your reading appetite or to turn you off. black witch

What I will throw into this review is the fact on how controversial this book is. I see lots of people hating or loving `The Black Witch` ( The Black Witch Chronicles #1 ) by Laurie Forest. I found the story itself great. So great I´m actually looking forward to read more. You won´t get your every day, typical witchy read with this one because the story is dark and carries topics that evoke strong feelings from readers.

The characters are, in my opinion, strong and very diverse. Also good to mention would be the slow character development. Although this is something that usually brings me to the brink of insanity I found myself enjoying the slow growth. It added depth to the story. To a story that´s already interesting and exciting.

Now, as for the controversial issue: I don´t mind books that tackle strong and often unlikable topics. I can oversee these while reading and just appreciate a story for what it is: A story about a witch. ( that´s in a nutshell, y´all. I can´t go into more details, I SWEAR!) It´s a fantasy with magic and all.

With that being said- If you´re a reader who wants their Heroes / Heroines squeaky clean and completely flawless then `The Black Witch` might not be for you. There are no hearts and flowers or rainbows and unicorns here. Also- If you´re the sensitive type then just go ahead and skip this read. There´s no reason to read this book knowing full well you´ll be appalled.

If you´re like me and can set your own personal beliefs aside then go for it. Have fun with the story. Just keep in mind that it´s not for everyone. You´ll either love it, like it or hate it.


 

The Cover – 5 Stars: This is the type of cover I would love to see more often. It´s quality. The whole thing is just harmonious.

The Story – 4 Stars: The story isn´t anything new but I did enjoy the vibe it gave. Plus the writing was great.

The Characters – 4 Stars: Although I did have a few hiccup moments I ended up loving these characters for who they were. Without them- the story wouldn´t have been what it was.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Excited for the next installment.

4 stars

Buy the book! Amazon.com ◊ Amazon.co.uk


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Book Review: Emerge ( Evolve #1) – S. E. Hall

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“You never have to be without me, Laney, never.” 

He lied…my everything I ever knew, trusted, wanted…I am, in fact, without him. 

On my own and out of my shell, I learn new things about life, friendship and…myself. 

Like what you’ve always known may not be what you’ve always wanted. 

Dane Kendrick awakened things within me that I never knew existed, unraveling and uncovering the real Laney Jo Walker. 

I’m a NEW adult…so is my story.

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My Thoughts 2

This book…. I swear on all that´s pink and fluffy… was THE most unromantic romance I´ve ever read in my entire reading career.

Let´s start at the beginning, shall we? This book was a gift from a friend who said:

“OMG! You HAVE to read `Emerge`! It´s the perfect romance and it has a love triangle in it. You love those. You´ll adore this book!” 

Then my friend said the magic words. Something that always gets me to drop whatever I´m reading.

“This is exactly like Thoughtless! Kellan Kyle is NOTHING compared to Evan Allen!”

 

Dangerous because I hold `Thoughtless` by S. C. Stephens above all other romances. Ain´t no Hero has ever been worthy enough to reach Kellan Kyle´s level of perfection.

So I read `Emerge`by author S. E. Hall. I dove into this book with extremely high expectations and fell flat on my ass after I finished the story. And boy, did my fall hurt like a bitch. I´m still in agony. emerge

`Emerge` ( Evolve #1 ) is NOT like `Thoughtless`. In fact- It´s not even similar ( which, in my opinion, is a good thing. It means the author didn´t get “inspired” ).  `Emerge` is a YA / NA ( can´t really tell the difference with this one. It´s a blurred fluff ) romance that´s about a love that wants to last but doesn´t. The reason? College.

I guess it would be wise to mention the synopsis is also a little more dramatic than the story actually is. Which is also a bummer because I expect a synopsis to give a hint of what the story is about and not to be misleading.

The romance is, as I´ve mentioned above, almost non existent. Sure, a reader reads about a young couple who fall in love and have to find a way to maintain that love. It´s told. It´s hard to feel, though. I blame this on the writing.

There´s no doubt in my mind that the author wanted this to be an epic love story but the lack of emotional description didn´t allow me to get emotionally attached to these characters or the story. This was something that frustrated me beyond words. Don´t say you love her… SHOW HER! Don´t say you can´t live without him… SHOW HIM! SHOW US READERS!

Then there´s my all time least favorite thing about characters:

The over use of nicknames. Honey, beautiful, cutie, sunshine, baby,…. Don´t get me wrong. Nicknames are good. But it´s not acceptable to include nicknames in a dialogue… all the time. There are quite a few scenes where the Hero rolls out at east 4 different nicknames for the Heroine. One nickname per sentence in one scene / chapter.

Another thing I dislike is when characters address other characters by their full names.

“Evan Mitchel Allen.”

What am I supposed to do with this information? I mean- I have a middle name too, AND I´m from the “south” and no one has ever gone out of their way to call “Morgana Julia Peters!” no matter what situation I was in. It´s annoying when this happens. This is useless additional information that doesn´t enhance the romance in any way.

As for the writing: I wasn´t a fan of the writing but I wasn´t totally against it, either. Very simple. Very curt and cut down to the basics.

The characters… * sigh * I did mention that a love triangle is included in this story. A love triangle that doesn´t feel like one because technically, there isn´t one. This is a story about a girl who can´t tell the difference between up or down. Laney, a no bullshit Heroine who´s has no redeeming qualities. And this can also be blamed on the lack of character description and development. And even if the Heroine were well developed, I doubt I my feelings for her would be different. Very unlikable.

The same applies for the Hero / Heroes. A reader meets Evan first ( Laney´s first love or first friend ) and he´s supposed to be this to – die – for – guy with a perfect chart. He wasn´t. Because actions speak louder than dialogues. Enter Dane ( Hero #2 ) and a reader gets the same problem.

I´m definitely a spoiled reader when it comes to romances. I want the whole package all the time because I´ve read books that actually have the whole package. `Emerge ` wasn´t what I would call a well-developed romance.

 

With that being said… I´m going to leave this on a good note and say that I would recommend this read to readers who want a light and less demanding romance.

Would I reread this book? No. And I will not continue the series, either.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars: Not bad. I like the color choice.

The Story – 2 Stars: To much of the unimportant stuff. Not enough of what was needed.

The Characters – 2 Stars: Absolutely not.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Disappointed.

2 stars


This book can be purchased on Amazon.com


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Book Review ( Before & After ): Easy- Tammara Webber

Out of all the books I´ve read since book blogging, `Easy` (Contours Of The Heart #1) by Tammara Webber is the one I don´t have to reread in order to remember the story ( THE WHOLE STORY ).

`Easy`was published back in 2012 and I was one of the quick little chicas who got their greedy little hands on the new release. Not because the story sounded good. No. I saw the hottie on the cover and thought ” Where have you been all my life, emo kid?!”

( Some useless information: I love men with hair. I´m probably the only woman left in this hygienic, polished world who loves a man with all body hair ) The fact that the guy on the cover had hair, and rough hands, and a tattoo peaking out on his wrist ( More useless information: I´m a sucker for guys covered in ink. Ink and hair ) had me feeling all kinds of desperate.

Knowing `Easy` was a romance was a nice bonus. I just wanted to stare at hot stuff.

Needless to say- I read the book in 2012. 6 years later, I noticed I had 2 paperback copies of `Easy` on my bookshelf.

To this day I cannot remember how I ended up with 2 copies. Doesn´t matter anymore. We´re here to compare my thoughts from 2012 to my 2018 thoughts.

Are we ready for a Before & After Book Review?


 

synopsis single

Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret.
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth – and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

 

before and after

Back in 2012 I was high on New Adult romances. I was so into the college romance phase and wanted nothing else to read. I couldn´t get enough of the simple and charming novels authors published back then. `Easy`belonged to those reads I lived for.

I remember I had a vague idea of what the story was about. Two college kids fall in love. That was it. The book cover interested me more back then. `Easy`was so much more, though.Easy

A slow burn romance that has a touch of innocence to it. That is- until a life changing event happens to Jacqueline ( Heroine ). Then there´s hardly anything innocent about this read. It´s about struggle and moving on. It´s about making the right choices and taking action.

And the romance. * sigh * Boy, I wanted myself a Landon / Lucas so bad for myself. He was the perfect mysterious Hero.

I remember finding this a fantastic short read with fab characters and a wonderful ending. I was in love.

Fast forward 6 years….

My feelings have changed. Not for the book cover, though. * cough * In those 6 years I found out the book cover model´s name and age ( the only book cover model I´ve ever looked up in my entire life ). My feelings towards the story changed. I´m not in my college romance phase anymore and I also have a different perspective of New Adult romances.

36 year old me thinks this is a good read. A cute romance with cute characters who deal with a realistic issue. Even the slow burn love between the characters feels different. Compared to other more modern New Adult romances, this book feels more like it belongs in the Young Adult genre than anywhere else. Because it´s way more innocent now. It´s tame. Don´t get me wrong- I´d still buy this book and I´d still love it but I wouldn´t go nuts over the whole package anymore.

With that being said…

Would I still, after all these years, recommend this book? I would. Because it belongs to one of those mandatory romance reads.

Would I reread this book? I don´t think I can. I spent a great amount of time discussing this book to death back in the day. I know this book inside and out.



The Cover –  5 Stars: The 5 stars go out to the emo kid. * sigh *

The Story – 4 Stars: It´s good. It´s romantic. It´s the whole package but less exciting.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Happy.

I remember giving this book 5 out of 5 stars in 2012. Right now, I´d give this book a 3 -4 stars, with leaning more towards 4 stars.

4 stars

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com


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Book Review: Optimists Die First – Susin Nielsen

synopsis single

Life ahead: Proceed with caution.

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.


My Thoughts 2

A love story for cynics!

This book was a frustration purchase. I was bummed because I couldn´t find a book in the book store so, on my way out I grabbed the first thing that caught my eye.

`Optimists Die First` by Susin Nielsen. To be honest- I had no flipping clue what this book was about. I´ve also never heard of the author before. I just gave the cover a once over and bought it. A risk purchase and it was SO worth it. optimists

I totally enjoyed `Optimists Die First`. It was witty, sweet, quirky and just overall a great read that left me with a good feeling.

I won´t bother giving you a rundown on what the story is about. The synopsis above is all a reader needs to know. Because I´d really hate to ruin this story by adding spoilers.

What´s good to know is that this story is predictable but not in a negative, annoying way. A reader can either see the outcome or feel it. Either way- That outcome happens and it leaves on a sweet note.  We´ve all read this type of book before.

I´m pretty sure some might find this trope filled story a tad washed out and some might find this read to be refreshing because it deals with issues that are relatable in a humorous yet serious way. `Optimists Die First` is just one of those reads where you either find it really cool or super annoying.

I, myself, am a super picky reader. I have high standards regarding certain stories / books. I think going completely blind into this read was the best thing that could have ever happened to me because I literally had no expectations what so ever. I didn´t have a chance to get my hopes up or to be spoiled by other reviews.

What I appreciated:

  • The fact that this was a short read.
  • The writing. I just love it when books are written well.
  • The mental illness rep.
  • The characters! I lived for Petula and Jacob!
  • The ending.

Let´s focus on the mental illness rep for a second. I´m truly not a fan of reading about characters who suffer from any type of mental illness because that´s something that has been used OVER and OVER again. I feel that these days, characters aren´t able to exist without some sort of mental illness.

In `Optimists Die First` the mental health issues Petula ( Heroine ) dealt with felt realistic. Even how she managed her life, her thought process… everything about her felt real. I liked that a lot and cannot stress out enough how great it felt to read about a character / characters who was/were genuine and flawed but in a beautiful way.

Also, I believe this book could be helpful to others dealing with mental health issues. `Optimists Die First`shows that life is what it is. Life is unclear. It´s unpredictable. And the only thing anyone can do is just hope for the best.
All in all a sweet read I fully enjoyed.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. A nice YA read with light parts and parts for a reader to think about. There´s also a romance, but not the type you´d expect.

Would I reread this book? I probably will.

 

The Cover – 4 stars: Saw it. Grabbed it. Bought it. I blame it on the colors and the title. I love the title. And the tagline, of course.

The Story – 4 stars: Delightful and charming in it´s own special way.

The Characters – 5 stars: I have so much love for Petula and Jacob. Even for the sub characters!

My emotional state after finishing this read: I had an overall good feeling.

4 stars

 


This book can be purchased at Amazon.com

 

Book Review: A Curse So Dark And Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

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Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.


** Copy kindly provided by Bloomsbury Children´s via Netgalley in exchange for my opinion **

My Thoughts 2

I like fairy tale retellings. So much so that I´d drop whatever I´m reading just to dive head first in a pimped fairy tale. What some might not be aware of is that this book is more than just a retelling. It´s more or less a mash up of two popular stories with a pinch of the authors own signature.

Beauty & The Beast meets A Court Of Thorns And Roses

I´m not mad about the mash up, though. I thought `A Curse So Dark And Lonely` was an interesting read. I´m pretty sure the story will find it´s devoted crowd once it hits the shelves. But for me… I wasn´t entirely impressed. A Curse so dark and lonely

Beauty & The Beast belongs to one of my favorite fairy tales. I´m just a sucker for Stockholm syndrome romances. But this book leaned more towards ACOTAR. Which is fine. I didn´t have the hots for ACOTAR ( or for the series, for that matter ) but I did like what Brigid Kemmerer did with the ideas from ACOTAR that inspired her.

(Note: I´m just assuming the author was inspired by A Court Of Thorns And Roses. I could be wrong. I could be right. It just feels like the author was heavily inspired by Sarah J. Maas´s books )

With that being said:

I did enjoy `A Curse So Dark And Lonely` to a certain degree. It has it´s adventurous moments. It´s cheasy. There was a romance.  Things I appreciate when reading fantasies.

What I truly enjoyed were:

  • The details. The author has a knack for coloring out details. I felt there was no detail overkill what so ever.
  • The strong characters.
  • The plot twist. Although the story was predictable, I still enjoyed out the story panned out.
  • This is an admirable sized story. One I read through with ease due to it´s great pace.

Yet, there were some things about the story / it´s characters I had troubles accepting:

  • The Heroine´s disability. Harper, a bad ass teenager, suffered from cerebral palsy. Although this was mentioned more than once throughout the story I still felt like it was added dead weight. Unnecessary. While I´m not against including characters with certain disabilities… I´m not for including a disability for the sake of drama. Harper´s cerebral palsy did not affect the character nor the story in any way.
  • The Hero wasn´t convincing. I´m all for screw – up Heroes to see the light but for me, Rhen didn´t come across as genuine even when he saw the light.
  • The story, as a whole, felt a little flat and it also felt like it was all over the place. This is a fairy tale retelling. I should be sitting on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I should have suffered with and for the characters and I should have lived through their personal hell. I should have, but I didn´t.

 

This might sound confusing but… I didn´t think `A Curse So Dark And Lonely` was a terrible read. It wasn´t what I´m normally used to and it certainly wasn´t what I had expected. I´m sad to say that this story didn´t touch me the way I hoped it would.

 

Would I recommend this read? For fans of ACOTAR, absolutely. For fans of fairy tale retellings, yes. If you´re picky ( like me ) then, no.

Would I buy this book? Probably not.

 

The Cover – 5 stars: I fell in love with the cover the moment I spotted it on Netgalley.

The Story – 3 stars: A little flat. A tiny bit scattered. I liked it but would have like it more if there was a little more structure and depth.

The Characters – 3 stars: I´m torn. The main characters were strong but they had sides to them that either didn´t fit or didn´t feel genuine. I liked them but I also didn´t feel enough for them.  The sub characters were great, though.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Not impressed.

I´m giving `A Curse So Dark And Lonely` by author Brigid Kemmerer 3 out of 5 stars.

3 stars


Title: A Curse So Dark and LonelyA Curse so dark and lonely
Author:  Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Children’s
Expected publication: January 29th 2019
ISBN:  1681195097 (ISBN13: 9781681195094)