Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2019 5 Star Read #6 - A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Published Jan 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Format Read: Print ARC received at Book Expo 2018

Description from Goodreads:
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.

My Review:
This was one of those times I kicked myself for not reading a book sooner! I had this book for nine months before I sat down to read it, and I did so because the buzz got SO huge, I couldn't take it anymore... and I get why.  This is a STELLAR Beauty and the Beast retelling. 

The re-imagining of how the curse worked was so well done and my heart broke for Rhen (the Prince) and what he went through over the decades that he battled the curse.  The true friendship that developed between Rhen and Captain Grey (my favorite character, for sure!) was steadfast and inspiring.  The friendship that develops between Grey and Harper, our heroine, plucked at all my heartstrings.  

And Harper, if I could have created a heroine that I would root for until the very end, it is HER.  She has cerebral palsy, but never, ever lets it stop her from achieving her goals. She is smart. She is a fighter.  She is brave, and loyal, and so kind.  This is the "Belle" that modern girls can follow.  

If you like fairytale retellings at all, give this one a shot. Please.  I CANNOT wait for book two, A Heart So Fierce and Broken

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries - series highlight

I want to wish the happiest of book birthdays to A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn today!

This is book four in an amazingly fun historical mystery series that I recently discovered and found such JOY in reading. Veronica Speedwell, our intrepid heroine, is a professional lepidopterist (butterfly scientist) and adventuress. Ahead of her time, she travels the world, has affairs when she wants to, and accidentally gets embroiled in murder mysteries and other dangerous situations more often than one might expect. 

Description from Goodreads:
Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker's brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly's house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée--much to Stoker's chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly's wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband's mind.
I'm very much looking forward to reading this newest Veronica and Stoker adventure! 

I recommend starting the series from the beginning, though! So you should start with A Curious Beginning to get to know the secret of Veronica's real identity and meet the enigmatic (and sexy) Mr. Stoker. Then, you can also check out A Perilous Undertaking and A Treacherous Curse. (Each title links to the book's description on Goodreads)

This series features a strong heroine, fascinating plots, with mysteries that will leave you guessing and a male counterpart that will keep both you and Veronica on edge... (and aren't these covers gorgeous???)

I'll have some individual reviews of the books in the series coming up soon, so keep an eye out! And if you follow me on Instagram ( I'm lucky enough to have partnered with Berkley Books to be hosting a US Giveaway for A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION! 

Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 5 Star Read # 5 - The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published Aug 2016 by William Morrow

Format Read: Print book from Personal Library

Description from Goodreads:
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

My Review: 
So, you know those books that everyone's read and recommends and you think the story just won't live up to the actual hype?  Yeah, this book was one of those for me....and BOY was I wrong.  If you need a little romance in your life, this is the book to pick up, for sure! 

I LOVED Lucy's character with a passion.  She was fun, she was flawed, she was funny, she felt deeply.  She was unapologetic in her Lucy-ness.  Even better, I LOVED Joshua.  Not in the "he's so perfect, you can't help but love him" way, but in the "oh god, he's not perfect, and I love him anyway" kind of way.  These characters were both amazing and their chemistry practically burned the pages in my hands as I was reading.  This book hit the absolute sweet spot of being hot, but without being uncomfortably graphic, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.  

This was absolutely a one sitting book for me, and I keep looking at this book trying to decide how fast I want to read it again.  That is RARE.  This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and I felt like my heart swelled with amazing perfect happiness at the end... please give this book a try if you haven't read it yet. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

February Challenge Wrap Up Post

2019* Books I Already Own Challenge
Hello Readers! For one of the shortest months of the year, I actually got a ton of reading done in February! How did you do?  I was amazed at how many audiobooks I managed to fit in between things.  And in the cold and snow, there's nothing I love more than snuggling up with a good book, a cozy blanket, my dog, and a good read. 

Though my February reads didn't rank quite as high as my January ones did on my one to five star scale, a lot of them were solidly in the middle, so that's not too bad.  I started hosting a group read of The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare on instagram, so we read book one in February and we'll be reading books two and three in March and April.  I also read a lot of romance, as I was trying out Audible's Romance package, which I ended up canceling after my free trial month.  I hope you read some good books this past month. 

Here's what I read in February:

Audiobooks I Own
Mikhail by Lauren Smith
Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck by Molly Harper - novella
Peachy Flippin' Keen by Molly Harper - novella
Rurik by Lauren Smith
How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
Love and Other Wild Things by Molly Harper
Illusion Town by Jayne Castle
First World by Jaymin Eve

Physical Books I Own 
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne *5 star*
The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale *5 star*
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare  - group read
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer *5 star*

eBooks I Own 
Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Lera of Lunos by Alex Lidell

Required Reading
(for work) Death by Cashmere by Sally Goldenbaum

Borrowed from the Library
An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

Did you read anything amazing in February?
Are you also working on reading from your own collections at home?