ARC, Four Star Book, LGBT, retelling, thriller, ya

She’s Too Pretty to Burn ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

An electric romance set against a rebel art scene sparks lethal danger for two girls in this expertly plotted YA thriller. For fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver and Kara Thomas.

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.

– Goodreads

4.5 stars for this twisty thriller! Unreliable narrators abound, you never know who you can trust. Mick, Veronica, and Nico are all messed up. You could see any and all of them being the killer at some point.

I read Wendy’s Kill Club and loved it, so I was super excited to delve into her YA work! This is an amazing YA thriller. The character read at a teenage level. There’s problems with parents, friends, sports teams. All this on top of installation art – which happens to be illegal, and oh yeah, murder. Multiple murders.

I read this in less than a day, which is a feat for me. I could not put it down. I couldn’t figure out who to trust, and that just made me want to read it more and more.

The ending was great. It wrapped up nicely, but still left you wondering. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I felt it was the perfect ending.

Definitely recommend if you love unreliable narrators or ya thrillers!

Will you be checking out She’s Too Pretty to Burn on March 30, 2021? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time..

fantasy, Four Star Book, retelling, ya

🐺 Red Hood Review 🐺

🐺 Title: Red Hood
🐺 Author: Elana K Arnold
🐺 Publisher: Balzer + Bray
🐺 Publish Date: February 25, 2020
🐺 Book Form: E-book
🐺 Pages: 368
🐺 Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, YA
🐺 Dates Read: Apr 11 – Apr 17
🐺 Rating: 🐺🐺🐺🐺.5

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

– Goodreads
Image by TheProseAndCons

Before we get into this review, I just want to point out Words and Whimsy is speaking with Elana K Arnold THIS SUNDAY at 8PM EST! Come join us here! It’s bound to be a great discussion!

Red Hood was the first book by Elana K Arnold that I have read, but now I have to go back and read Damsel! Red Hood was SO GOOD!

I don’t think I’ve ever eyeball-read a 2nd Person POV before. The only other one I can think of is You by Caroline Kepnes and I did the audio for that one. I know in the discussion, some were turned off my the 2nd POV, but I felt it put me more into the story. I was so immersed. It makes me want to look for other 2nd POV books!

The story follows Bisou, who gets her period and things get weird. Both for her, and the book. Like, the end of the first chapter is CRAZY. I’m not going to go into it, because spoilers, but omg. Never read anything like it and don’t think I will again. It’s WILD.

I was so immersed in the story. I loved learning about Bisou’s heritage. There’s a POV shift in part two, and it was like being told a bedtime story, albeit a very messed up one. It was so interesting to me.

Bisou has been through a LOT, and she handles it so well. She’s vulnerable, but strong. I loved following her. The side characters were great, too. Meme was my absoloute favorite.

This is a very feminist story. I loved the girl power, that girls are strong, and we can overcome the wolves. We’ve all met a wolf. We’ve all been victimized by one. Bisou handles them with such ferocity you’re left wondering who is really the predator, and who is the prey. This is also the only Little Red Riding Hood retelling I’ve ever read, and I loved it!

I recommend this to anyone who loves YA retellings, feminist novels, or books with super strong female protagonists. You won’t be disappointed!

Have you read Red Hood? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, ARC, contemporary, Erotica, fantasy, Historical Fiction, retelling, Romance, Sci-Fi, thriller, ya

February 2020 TBR

It is FINALLY February! I don’t know about you guys, but January seemed to drag on FOREVER! Especially this last week. But it’s a new month, and I’m going to try to hit it hard with my reading!

Below I’ll show you the 15 books I have on my TBR and the criteria I’m using them for! Book Battle stars anew today, and I’m hoping to lead my team to victory! Come join in the competitive reading fun here!

  1. Book by an Author Named Jane – Harmony by Addison Jane
  2. House on the Cover – The Girl’s Weekend by Jody Gehrman
  3. Book Set in England – We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo
  4. Retelling – Second Star by JM Sullivan
  5. Set in the Past – Chasing Starlight by Teri Bailey Black
  6. Club Read 1 – A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
  7. Club Read 2 – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  8. Criteria Choice 1 – Book by Tricia Levenseller – The Shadows Between Us
  9. Criteria Choice 2 – Book With a Dress on the Cover – Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  10. Female Author – A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  11. Book That Has Been on Your TBR for Over a Year – Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  12. Book About Love – Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Fibson
  13. Book You Keep Hearing About – Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
  14. Standalone – Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
  15. Black MC – The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

So, eleven of my books are ARCs. I’d love to put a dent in my ARC pile! The club reads are sequels – we can read any books in the series! I received a lovely finished copy of Blood Countess so I’m excited to check that one out as well!

What’s on your TBR this month? Have any thoughts on mine? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

contemporary, fantasy, Four Star Book, retelling, ya

The Afterlife of Holly Chase Review

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
She didn’t.
And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.
But this year, everything is about to change…

– Goodreads

This was the perfect holiday read. I was so glad it won the discussion poll over at Book Battle! I was a little hesitant at first. I’ve never read an A Christmas Carol retelling, and I wasn’t sure how it would work. Cynthia Hand did an amazing job of keeping the spirit and key elements in the original story and mixing them with a little fantasy! Honestly, this is something I will probably reread every holiday season.

So we start with Holly. She isn’t a good person. But what does that matter? The three ghosts visit her on Christmas Eve. She thinks it’s a crazy dream or a prank. The next day, she’s dead. Now 5 years have passed and she works for Project Scrooge. They are the ones who pick the hero each year. The ghosts come to them and try to get them to change for the better. This year the Hero is young – like Holly’s age. He’s cute. Is he really that bad?

Holly develops feelings for Ethan, which is totally against all the rules. She just can’t help it. She has to be near him. But falling for Ethan also opens up wounds of her own. Will she be able to keep changing for the better?

I read this book in just over a day. It was so enthralling and fun. I loved the forbidden romance. I also loved how Holly kept growing and changing. I don’t want to give away the ending – it was good! But I just wanted something… different. But I see why Cynthia ended it that way!

If you haven’t read The Afterlife of Holly Chase, you need to put it on your TBR for this holiday season! It’s already on mine again.

Until next time…

ARC, fantasy, Four Star Book, ya

The Guinevere Deception ARC Review

  • Title: The Guinevere Deception
  • Author: Kiersten White
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • Publish Date: November 5, 2019
  • Book Form: E-ARC
  • Pages: 352
  • Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling
  • Date Read: Oct 31 – Nov 10
  • Rating: ★★★.5

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

-Goodreads

Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was the first King Arthur retelling I’ve read, and I enjoyed it. I don’t know why it took me so.long. to read this. 10 days! Parts were a little slow, but not slow enough to take me 10 days to read. I don’t know what was going on.

This was an interesting story. Guinevere was sent to Camelot to marry Arthur and protect him at all costs. She knew that was her goal, and that’s what she was going to do. She took some risks to protect him. Some worked, some didn’t. She was strong and level-headed. I loved her!

The supporting characters were also great! I loved her maid-turned-friend and also Arthur’s cousin. At points Arthur was a little flat for me.

Some of the writing seemed almost childish. That could have just been me though. From the start, I read Guinevere’s voice in a childish manner. Very simple speech, almost? I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. I loved her actions, her dialogue not so much.

This was book 1 of the Camelot Rising Trilogy and I can’t wait to read book two! I would recommend this to anyone who loves King Arthur or just a good ole YA Fantasy!

Until next time..

fantasy, Five Star Book, retelling, Romance, ya

A Curse so Dark and Lonely Review

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. 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.

– Goodreads

Oh, my heart. Oh my need for book number 2 (A Heart so Fierce and Broken on sale January 2020!)

Thanks, giphy!

What I liked:

Everything!! Oh man. What a stark contrast to the last novel I read. I couldn’t put this book down. You know, being a granny and all, I stayed up till 1130 PM to finish! That is UNHEARD OF! My friend, Jordan, has a great taste in books. She kept saying this one was amazing, and she was absoloutely correct. I don’t know why I waited so long to read! When I read a book, I always start a note in my phone so I can list likes, dislikes, and just random facts I want to hit on in my review. I was so engrossed in this story my list is BLANK! I didn’t want to quit reading long enough to jot anything down.

Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie as a kid. I think that’s the case with all us book nerd. Brigid did an amazing job weaving Beauty and the Beast with fantasy.

The beauty was a girl with cerebral palsy. Harper was strong and fierce and didn’t let her disability get in her way. She was an amazing representation of a condition I don’t see often in books.

The beast was so interesting. When Rhen changed each season, he became a new terrifying beast. Sometimes with scales, sometimes with wings, sometimes with fangs. His character and growth were so captivating to me – the same goes for Harper.

I loved seeing their relationship grow and blossom. I loved seeing their plans and Harper’s heart grow for Rhen’s people.

Side characters. I loved them all. They all were developed with stories you would be interested in hearing. Grey, Rhen’s commander, played a huge role in this story, and I think he will be the main character in A Heart so Fierce and Broken and I am shook! I CANNOT wait!!

What I didn’t like:

Nothing. I mean, I loved every aspect of this book. It’s a must read for fantasy and/or Beauty and the Beast lovers!

Would I recommend?

I mean, I think it’s obvious I would. The story was compelling and engrossing. The characters were well developed with great story arcs that showed flaws and growth. Like I said, a must read for fantasy or Beauty and the Beast lovers.

Get A Curse so Dark and Lonely here:

| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble |

Until next time…

ARC, contemporary, Romance, three star book, ya

Beau and Bett ARC Review

  • Title: Beau and Bett
  • Author: Kathryn Berla
  • Book Form: E-ARC
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
  • Genre: YA, Romance, Retelling, Contemporary
  • Rating: ★★★.5
  • Release Date: June 25, 2019

After Beau LeFrancois’s mother wrecks Bett Diaz’s luxury SUV, his family faces an impossibly large bill—with no car insurance to help pay it. To pay off the debt, Beau spends his weekends working at the Diaz Ranch.

Beau’s prepared to work, but he’s definitely not prepared for the infamous temper of Bett Diaz, also known as “The Beast” at school. As Beau learns the secrets behind Bett’s tough exterior, he finds himself falling for her . . . until he catches Bett in a lie.

A contemporary twist on a classic fairy tale, Beau and Bett is a timely story of family, friendship, and the power of speaking out and standing up for yourself.

– Goodreads
Thank you Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

“There’s a little bit of beast in every person. And in every beast, there’s a human heart with a story of how it got to that place. A story waiting to be changed with understanding. A story waiting to be changed with just a kiss.”

I enjoyed this gender swapped Beauty and the Beast retelling. Beau’s mom stopped to pick an avacado on her way home. Bett the Beast ran into her, saying it was her fault. Beau’s dad isn’t working because of an injury, so he volunteers to work at Bett’s dad’s ranch to pay off the deductible for the damage to Bett’s car. 

Over the course of two months, Beau starts falling for Bett. He sees her for who she really is, not the Beast everyone thinks she is.  Toward the end there is a betrayal, but in typical fairy tale fashion, there is a happily ever after. 

I liked that this book was such a quick, easy read. It’s a nice, sweet, teen-aged romance. At times I felt the writing and dialogue was a little juvenile, even though these kids were 16 years old. The main characters were likeable enough, but not so much that I really felt connected to them.

If you want a quick, easy romance, this is the book for you. This is really one of those slump-breaker books. You know, you can get in, read, and get out fast – but the story is interesting enough to keep you engaged.

Until next time..

Uncategorized

Corpse and Crown Review

Title: Corpse & Crown

Author:  Alisa Kwitney

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Book Form: ARC E-Book

Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Retellings, Historical Fiction

Rating: 3.5 stars


Agatha DeLacey’s family isn’t rich or titled, so studying nursing at Ingold’s East End hospital in London is a rare opportunity for her. Despite the school’s focus on the innovative Bio-Mechanical program, Aggie cares more about the desperately poor human patients who flood the hospital, even if that means providing unauthorized treatment after-hours…and trusting a charming, endlessly resourceful thief.

But the Artful Dodger is barely a step ahead of his underworld rivals, the menacing Bill Sykes and mercurial Oliver Twist, and Aggie’s association with him soon leads her into danger. When a brutal attack leaves her blind, she and the Dodger find themselves at the mercy of an experimental Bio-Mech surgery. Though the procedure restores Aggie’s sight, her new eyes come at an unnerving cost, and the changes in Dodger are even more alarming—instead of seeing Aggie as the girl he fancies, he now views her as a potential threat.

As war between England and Germany brews on the horizon and a sinister medical conspiracy threatens to shatter the uneasy peace in Europe, Aggie and the Dodger must find a way to work together so they can protect their friends and expose the truth…even if it means risking their own survival.

– Amazon

First, let’s get this out of the way. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Teen in exchange for my honest review.

Now then. Maybe I didn’t fully read the synopsis. Maybe I stopped at ‘oh there’s a nurse treating patients at night on the down low? THIS IS FOR ME!’

I’m a nurse, so I was like, I can totally relate to this character. I would be the one in these times who would try to treat HUMANS in the age of bio-mechanicals. I would take from the hospital I worked at to treat humans at night. Like, this girl is me!

I was wrong. This ended up being more of a Frankenstein retelling. It focused more on the bio-mechanical aspect and the conflict of Germany and England pitting their best bio-mechanicals against each other to see who was superior. Unsuspecting characters turned out to be bio-mechanicals. There was a lot of sci-fi involved, which honestly, isn’t my favorite subject matter. All in all, this book was not bad. The story was intriguing. I just wished that it would have been the story I hoped for. But that’s completely on me, guys!

Final thoughts, if you like Frankenstein retellings, read this. It’s good. It has some wonky put together people in it. If you like sci-fi, give it a go.