Monday, February 11, 2019

Everless by Sara Holland: I've Missed Reading Fantasy


In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

It’s been a long time since I’ve dipped my toes in the troubling and deep waters of Fantasy novels. 

It’s not hard to forget how slow-moving the genre can be. This novel wasn't any different. It moves rather slowly. The world-building and what came of the story made up for the slow start.

Jules is on a mission; when she discovers what her father's been doing to keep them both afloat. He's been selling his time. She’s determined to go back to the town that banished them; to earn time and save his life. In this world, time is bought and sold to the highest bidder. The unique world of Everless is probably the best part of the book. 

I found this story pleasing to read: A tease of romance, coming of power--and greed made this story move.

I missed all of the things that make fantasy special: the magical elements and unrealistic realism. 

Everless is an intriguing take on time; that ends in a cliff-hanger, leaving the reader panting for more. I'm ready for the action to kick off in book two.

Highly recommended—especially for its unique plot, an intriguing debut with potential; to be a great series.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Kingdom Cold by Brittni Chenelle ARC Review

Attempted murder, that's how sixteen-year-old Princess Charlotte's engagement starts. It seems like the only thing she has in common with Prince Young of Vires is their mutual discontent.

When her kingdom's attacked, Charlotte's parents renegotiate her hand in marriage to a handsome stranger with a sinister plan. With the people Charlotte loves dying around her, and her kingdom's future at stake, the only person she can turn to is the prince she betrayed. But, should she save her kingdom or her heart?

One must fall.

3.5 out of 5 stars
A story that is as cold as the title implies with its wars and schemes--and as warm the love enclosed within it, Kingdom Cold, is filled with twists and unexpected turns—gripping the reader from beginning to end. 

A planned wedding, a disgruntled princess, a hopeful prince, looming war, and budding love earn this indie fantasy its place among traditionally published novels; in the same genre at twice its length and fan base. 

Kingdom Cold took me by surprise. It held none of the amateur quality I expected it to have. It was well-written and flowed well. Though some things happened rather speedily, or too frequently, the author made sure there was never a dull moment. For a minute, I thought the novel would wrap up every single conflict with a nice little bow but the author gives it an ending that is both jarring and unpredictable.

Don’t expect a HEA but expect to be thrilled by characters that are mature beyond their years. Expect much action, romance, and intrigue. 

In spite of all of its “good” parts, I would have liked to see this novel written as a series--possibly even a novella where we can catch up with the characters.

For a debut, this book is solid and doesn't need comp titles to get a reader to pick this up. 

Thoroughly pleasing, fast-paced and royally romantic (I wanted more time with the romantic interests.) this novel is a winner. The author is something to watch, she’ll only get better from here.


Monday, December 24, 2018

The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos: It's a Hard One

Macy's school officially classifies her as "disturbed," but Macy isn't interested in how others define her. She's got more pressing problems: her mom can't move off the couch, her dad's in prison, her brother's been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn't speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms—complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that's both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can't tell her incarcerated father that her mom's cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy's machete.

3.5 out of 5 stars
The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary is as disturbing as its name implies.

While in an effort not to trivialize or pretend as if teenagers don't go through hard things, I'd timidly but strongly suggest this novel for older teens. 

Macy is disturbed or is she? Forced into a life of neglect, poverty, and dysfunction--it's hard to decipher "crazy," behavior from a cry for help.

Macy's mom is as present as she is absent and her father is incarcerated. She has a best friend, Alma who's life is just as complicated as Macy's. Her other bestie, George wears a helmet and is a gentle giant.

Told in a series of chapters, some short and succinct, and some poem-like, The Disturbed Girl's
Dictionary is a hard-hitter of a novel never dallying in the sweet but delivering the truth in a harsh, and sharp tone. Some of this novel is down-right cringeworthy and eye-shutting. 

For a debut novel, the author had no qualms about telling this story with all of its real quirky craziness.

The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary though better suited for older teens is a story worth reading if not for enjoyment, but to peel back the layers of the realities like these that are normally covered or ignored.

A worthwhile gritty read not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo: The Internet is A Nasty Place


Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.

Three out of Five Stars
Easy prey’s story is directly relevant to its title. It tells the story of how when you prey on others, completely disregard the people you hurt, you just might become easy prey yourself. 

The internet can be a nasty place. I think many of us have experienced its nastiness in some way shape or form. Easy prey shows this in seemingly real time.

Jenna, Mouse, and Drew are paired off in law class. As a group, they must tackle the effects of the internet by reviewing a case in which a girl’s photos are posted online, and the guy gets no punishment. See, Jenna has been before and would prefer not to go there again.

This time, however, she plans to be on the right side of it, and to prove once and for all, that the girl suffering is the victim and deserves justice, even if it means she must get it by unconventional means.

What worked for this story is the fact that it comes off as very real. Most of us or have heard of someone who’s been cyber bullied-whether it is by words, or having risqué photos posted of you online. At least one or two celebrities in this lifetime have had this happen.

While the book does a good job of tackling this, by the end of it, the reader dependent upon the interpretation, could be left with a bad taste in their mouth. 

The end of the story contradicts its overall message. If its intention was shock value it did that, but in order to accomplish what was intended it caused the same harm, it fought so hard to struggle against throughout the book.

That was a hard pill to swallow, realistic, but hard. 

Overall, it’s a decent read that does more good than harm, but a more fair ending would’ve been preferred.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Loves Notes & Pulling Doubles (The Wright Brothers, #2) by Christina C. Jones Dual Book Reviews--#BlackLove

Love that says something, instead of just looking like it. 

Love you can always trust to feel like home. 

For both of them, it’s something that has always been just outside of their peripheral, something to be observed rather than experienced. A depth of feeling reserved for people who were “into” that, those with a different outlook, those more… deserving. 

Until their paths cross. 

Lines are crossed. 

And maybe the stars are crossed too, because the connection and chemistry are so off the charts that they can’t stay away from each other, can’t avoid it... even if they think they should.

Four Out of Five Stars

Christina C. Jones' books bridge the gap between African American romance readers and the traditionally published romance novel.

It goes without saying, (I'm going to say it, though) romance is not a genre that black readers (this applies to POC in general, as well) can run to, to find many characters that look or feel like them.

Christina C. Jones fulfills that need. Her characters are utterly black--and they do so without apology and gratefully without stereotype. Thank heavens, for small mercies.

In Love Notes, you meet Jules and Troy--two people broken, and embittered by their tumultuous pasts, on a journey to finding love, unintentionally. 

Jules character is the flip side to the playboy. She knows what she wants, and if it's casual sex? She'll have it, to hell with double standards. But, what lies beneath the playgirl-esque persona, is a woman afraid of any one getting too close.

Troy is a reformed barbershop manager, with no intentions on one night stands, or booty call hook ups. The next time he sleeps with someone, it will be with someone he's serious about. 

That is until, Jules saunters into the local bar with her too cool hairstyle, dimples and slay--throwing him and his life totally off course.

I loved Jules and Troy. Between their come up and the blooming love between them, I was completely enthralled by the budding romance, and the happily ever after that followed later. 

I always enjoy the types of romance that include characters that start off totally ignoring, and refusing to acknowledge the chemistry between them. I enjoy more so, when they finally get together.

In a laid back, slow-burn way, Jones weaved a tale of romance between two people who desperately wanted love, but felt they didn't deserve it.

I loved the photography aspect of it, I've always been fascinated with photography--the lighting, the different lenses, the whole nine. I even more so enjoyed the idea of Love Notes being a real thing, I think the overall idea of love in photography is really dope. 

I appreciated the banter, and all of the interactions between the two main characters, and all of the supporting characters as well. 

Readers will be pleased with the pacing, the down-to-earth characters, and the romance of course. 

Definitely solidifies itself as a stand out romance in a lacking genre.

All Devyn wants – besides a tall, fine husband and eventually a few babies to fulfill her “about to turn thirty, running out of time, cute black family” dreams – is to finish her yearlong internship at University Hospital. She’s excited about the experience, eager to learn, glad to help wherever she can… it should be easy, right? 

Well, it would be… if it weren’t for arrogant, know-it-all, always-got-something-to-say Dr. Joseph Wright. Devyn can’t stand him, and if his attitude is any indication, the feeling is mutual… or is it? 

Joseph doesn’t “do” doctors. Or nurses. Or patients. Or anybody else who has anything to do with the hospital, for that matter. University Hospital has infiltrated enough of his life, and the last thing he needs is a blurring of the lines between professional and private. 

… until smart, sexy, sassy Nurse Devyn Echols comes along, and stomps all over those lines. 

When you’re pulling doubles with the person you hate to want so bad… something is bound to ignite.

Three out of Five Stars

Pulling Doubles, was Grey's Anatomy, if it focused solely on gynecology--and if all the characters were black. Not as multilayered, and melodramatic, but a hospital drama nonetheless. 

Far quicker to read than my previous Christina C. Jones novels; she wastes no time getting down to it. 

Devyn, is a nurse practitioner, at an internship to complete her certification--working in conjunction with the unfathomable, Dr. Wright. 

They hate each other, but the underlying chemistry, between them is delicious. The sexual tension between the two practically jumps off the pages.

While this story moved a little quicker, and ended a bit more abruptly than my liking, it still was an enjoyable read.

Overall, Jones does a stellar job of presenting black romance that is neither stereotypical or lackluster in any way. 

She's solidified herself as the queen of black romance for me, and I can't wait to read more!