Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On the Fence by Kasie West

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I have heard a lot of great things about Kasie West's books. I have owned a lot of them for a while, but never picked them up because I have to be in the right mood to read contemporary books. Around Valentine's Day, I decided to read some contemporary to get into the spirit of the holiday. Therefore, I decided to pick up her book On the Fence. I thought it was just an okay book.

On the Fence was a cute, fluffy contemporary. There wasn't a real depth to it, which drove me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I did like the book. However, it was a bit too predictable for me. I think how fluffy the book was made it a little too hard to be believed. Certain scenes, like the one between the main character and her boss Linda, were resolved too quickly for my liking. I think there should have been a more in-depth conversation about what the main character did to Linda. Instead, she brushed it aside like nothing happened. When the book finally did get some depth towards the end, it went really dark, which I appreciated. What is revealed towards the end was completely unpredictable. I didn't see it coming at all, which is one of the things I really did like about the book.

I think the thing that I disliked the most about the book was that the main character was unlikable. She was a complete jerk to everyone around her. In fact, I almost dnf'd the book at the beginning after she said something terrible to her friend. I couldn't believe she said it. Towards the end of the book, she started to get a different attitude and became much more tolerable. However, I never really did end up liking her. Even after she became more tolerable, it seemed like she didn't learn her lesson. She still had a crappy attitude towards a few people around her.

Even though I didn't enjoy everything about On the Fence, I did think it was an okay book. It was one of Kasie West's first contemporaries. I have several of her other books. Even though this book wasn't one of my favorite contemporaries, I hope to read her other books soon. It should be interesting to see how her writing has evolved. I hope the books that she has written recently have more likable main characters than this book did. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read to get a couple hours of entertainment.

I give On the Fence: 3/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.kasiewest.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kasiewest
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5027236.Kasie_West

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fairy Tale Reform School series by Jen Calonita

Synopsis for Flunked:
Would you send a villain to do a hero's job? An exciting new twisted fairy tale series from award-winning author Jen Calonita.

Full of regret, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Flora, has founded the Fairy Tale Reform School with the mission of turning the wicked and criminally mischievous into upstanding members of Enchantasia.

Impish, sassy 12-year-old Gilly has a history of petty theft and she's not too sorry about it. When she lifts a hair clip, she gets tossed in reform school-for at least three months. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its sweet mission. There's a battle brewing and she starts to wonder: can a villain really change?

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Charmed:
Charmed is the exciting sequel to the wildly popular Flunked -- second in the brand new Fairy Tale Reform School series where the teachers are (former) villains. "Charming fairy-tale fun." -Sarah Mlynowski, author of the New York Times bestselling Whatever After series.

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.

Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her. As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom. 

Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Tricked:
Things are changing at Fairy Tale Reform School.

At least, that's what Gilly's heard through the Enchantasia rumor mill. Word is, notorious trickster Rumpelstiltskin has taken over management from Headmistress Flora, and he's locked down the school tighter than the Pied Piper's pants. Not that this news concerns Gilly. She's been released from FTRS and is now suffering through attending Jack of All Trades School, where she gets to learn about different kinds of shoe leather and ways to measure feet. Truly riveting stuff.

But when Gilly's little sister Anna gets whisked off to FTRS thanks to her troublemaking new friends, Hansel and Gretel, Gilly knows she's got to get Anna out of there. There's only one thing to do; make some serious trouble and get thrown back into FTRS.

It's time to out-trick a trickster.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Switched:
Things at Fairy Tale Reform School are great. Rumpelstiltskin has been ousted, and everyone is buzzing about the fact that Beauty and Prince Sebastian (a.k.a. the Beast) have joined the teaching staff. Everyone, that is, except Gilly, who can’t seem to focus on anything but Anna. How is it that her beloved sister somehow went bad and joined up with Rump? And why doesn’t anyone seem to care? Sure, the Royal Court says they’re working on it, but they’ve got exactly nothing to show for it. 

But when new kid Jack joins FTRS with tales of his own family being snatched by Rump, Gilly knows she’s in good company. Jack wants answers, just like Gilly. And if the Royal Court can’t get the job done, then maybe it’s time to break some rules...

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
*NOTE: This a review of the entire series.*

Even though I'm 27, every now and then I like to read a middle-grade novel. There's something magical about a good middle-grade book. I love getting swept up in a story of good versus evil, where the good guy always wins in the end. It just leaves you with a warm and cozy feeling. I was looking through the books on my Kindle and saw that I owned all of the Fairy Tale Reform School series, and decided to binge read it. I loved it. I flew through the entire series in less than a week.

I think the FTRS series is one of the best middle-grade series I've read recently. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, if Harry Potter had fairy tale creatures in it. There are many similarities, such as a constant change of professors, moving hallways, and a school setting. However, FTRS series isn't a Harry Potter copycat. It takes those tropes, and turns them into something completely unique and fun to read about. I loved trying to figure out how the kids were going to solve their problems. Just when I thought the books were getting predictable, it would take a completely different. route and surprise me all over again. 

At first, I thought the series should have ended after the second book. I thought that there was no way the author could keep the series interesting without jumping the shark after the way book two ended, but I was completely wrong. She shocked me with how well she continued the story with the addition of Rumplestiltskin and the Stiltskin Squad. It kept things fresh, and got me re-interested in the storyline all over again. The very subtle political references had me cracking up laughing. My only complaint is that books three and four were a bit slow at times, but I think that's because the reader is introduced to so many new characters and plot mechanics. Everything changes, and with that comes a lot of world building.

I loved the FTRS series so much. It's one of my favorite middle-grade series I've ever read. Possibly one of my favorite series in general. I thought Switched was the last book in the series because it's the last book shown on Goodreads, but I hope it isn't. Switched left a lot of unanswered questions. I hope the author writes at least one more book in the series so we can get answers. I am looking forward to the spin-off series, Royal Academy, which comes out in late 2018. I can't wait to immerse myself back into this world, and hopefully see some more of my favorite characters. I recommend this series for anyone who wants to read a great middle-grade series with some fun fairy tale and fantasy elements.

I give Fairy Tale Reform School series: 4/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.jencalonitaonline.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jen.calonita?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenCalonita
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/jencalonita/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jencalonita/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/114528.Jen_Calonita

I received this series from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Dragon's Boy by Jane Yolen

Before the legendary Arthur became king, he took lessons from a dragon . . .

Artos is a lonely child, teased or ignored by the other boys in the castle of Sir Ector. One day, he follows Sir Ector’s runaway hound into a mysterious, dark cave, where he encounters a dragon who offers him the gift of wisdom.

Both frightened and intrigued, Artos becomes the dragon’s student and gains what he’s always longed for: the friendship and respect of other boys. Under the guidance of the dragon, Artos’s life begins to take shape in a way he could never have imagined. But has Artos really learned everything the dragon has to teach? And what does the dragon mean when he refers to him as “Artos Pendragon,” or “Arthur son of dragon”?

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved Jane Yolen's books. When I was about thirteen years old, I picked up Sword of the Rightful King. It's the first King Arthur retelling that I remember reading. I remember loving it so much that I read it in about two days because I couldn't put it down. Recently, I came across a book by her called The Dragon's Boy and wanted to give it a try to see if I still love her books as an adult. I thought it was just okay.

I have to admit, if I would have been the intended audience about twenty years ago, I think I would have loved The Dragon's Boy. As is, I thought it was just an okay book. I liked it, and found it fun to read. However, it didn't blow me away. I've read books that are a lot better about King Arthur over the years. I also found all of the characters to be unlikable. The main character, Artos, was a brat for most of the book. He was very selfish, and a jerk to those around him. The only side character that I really liked was Lady Marion, and she wasn't in the book very much. 

Even though I didn't find The Dragon's Boy mind-blowing spectacular, I did enjoy it. Once it ended, I wanted to know more about the author's interpretation of the relationship between Linn and Artos. I might have to read/re-read some of Jane Yolen's other King Arthur books and refresh my mind on her take on the tale. I think this would be a good book for children that are interested in the King Arthur legend, but have never read anything about it before. It's a great beginning stepping stone to other King Arthur retellings.

I give The Dragon's Boy: 3/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://janeyolen.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/janeyolen?lang=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5989.Jane_Yolen

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Follow the White Rabbit by Kellie Sheridan

For centuries, Wonderland thrived as the domain of beautiful bedlam and unapologetic madness. It was a place like no other. All it took was one girl slipping in through the cracks of the universe to start chaos spiraling toward order. In the 150 years since Alice’s visit, the realm has become tainted—almost normal. Rabbits in waistcoats and playing card minions are little more than creatures of myth, and Wonderland is literally falling to pieces.

For Gwen, Rose, and Lucky, Wonderland is home, and yet they know little of its former glory. When the Alice prophecy resurfaces, they’ll have one chance to use Wonderland’s own legends to bring a little mayhem back into their reality. For she who controls Alice controls the fate of Wonderland.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favorite classics. I love it in any format I can get it, whether that be books, movies, tv shows, or video games. I've read a lot of Alice in Wonderland re-tellings over the years. Therefore, I'm fairly picky when it comes to reading them. Unfortunately, Follow the White Rabbit, while enjoyable, didn't meet my high expectations. 

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading Follow the White Rabbit. The plot was interesting. I enjoyed the concept of a "normal" Wonderland. It was almost like the reverse of the classic story. Having a fresh take on the classic that I had never seen done before was great. I wish there was a bit more world building though. I wanted more details about how Wonderland was brought to normalcy after everything that had happened with Alice, and before the reader meets the new main characters, Gwen, Rose, and Lucky. 

Even though I wanted a little bit more from Follow the White Rabbit, I did enjoy it. I didn't see the sequel on Amazon, but I plan on reading the sequel when it is released, and seeing how the main characters help to get Wonderland back into the crazy, kooky land that we all know and love. I also plan on reading more of Kellie Sheridan's books. I have a feeling that I will enjoy them. I hope she creates more intriguing twists on favorite classics.

I give Follow the White Rabbit: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.kelliesheridan.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kelliewrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kellie_Sheridan
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/kelloish/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/snarkybird/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SnarkyBird/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6579646.Kellie_Sheridan

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sisters of the Craft trilogy by Lori Handeland

Synopsis for In the Air Tonight:
Four centuries ago, in a small Scottish village, three baby girls escaped the wrath of a witch hunter. Today, one young woman will learn about her secret history, her heart's destiny, and the sisters she never knew she had...

With her blue-black hair and dark eyes, Raye Larsen has never fit in with the Scandinavian community of New Bergin, Wisconsin. Being adopted is part of the reason she feels like an outsider, but what really sets Raye apart is her ability to see dead people. Everywhere. 

She’s learned to keep her visions to herself . . . until she stumbles onto the ghost of a murder victim who needs Raye’s help. Enter Bobby Doucet, a distractingly handsome homicide detective who has been tracking a killer all the way from New Orleans. Could this be the break in his case he’s been looking for all along? 

Meanwhile, the deeper Raye gets involved with the case—and with Bobby—the closer she comes to unlocking the mystery of her own origins. What she discovers about herself could destroy everything she knows . . . and everyone she loves. Is finding the truth worth the risk?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

Synopsis for Heat of the Moment:
A spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift—and reignite a love long thought lost…

Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth—that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense… until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center. 

Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life… and the man she will always love.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Smoke on the Water:
Abandoned beneath a black willow tree on the banks of a northern Wisconsin creek, Willow Black spent her entire childhood in foster care. Her entire life she's had terrifying visions, and it is these visions that eventually land her in a psychiatric facility. And so Willow takes her meds and believes she is getting better. Until she meets a fellow patient who doesn't think she is crazy at all. She thinks Willow is a witch. 

Willow's psychiatrist, Dr. Sebastian Crane, works hard to resist his feeling that he and Willow are destined to be together while also working to convince her that strange occurrences aren't the result of witchcraft… until he is thrown into the middle of a storm of supernatural events that can't be explained any other way…

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
For whatever reason, I rarely read paranormal romance books. I'm not sure why because it's a genre that I usually enjoy. I have a bunch, but I always seem to skip over them and pick up a fantasy book instead. I was browsing through my unread books, and came across the Sisters of the Craft trilogy. I decided to give it a try because it had been a while since I read a book about witches, and the covers are gorgeous. Unfortunately, I really didn't like the trilogy at all. 

I think my biggest problem with the trilogy, in general, is that the writing and plot were very simplistic. It felt like a bad soap opera that your grandma would force you to watch with her when you stayed home sick from school. Everything was over the top, and nothing felt original. It felt like a combination of every paranormal romance I had read, like it took bits and pieces from different stories and combined them to make a plot. The one thing that I really did love about the books was Reggie and Grenade, and they were only in one book, never to be seen again. The sex scenes in each book weren't even very descriptive. It felt like an eighth grade boy was trying to write them.

The first book, In the Air Tonight, was very slow paced. It took about seventy-five percent of the book for things to really get going, and to catch my interest. The second book, Heat of the Moment, went better but I think that's because I liked Reggie so much. I really loved hearing his thoughts. The third book, Smoke on the Water, started off interesting, but quickly went downhill. I was involved until about fifty percent into the book. Then things started dragging on and on. By the time I got about sixty percent, I had to resist the urge to skim read the rest because I was that bored. What should have taken me a day to read, took about three because it just dragged so badly and I kept losing interest. The only bright part of that book was Mary. I loved her snarky sense of humor. It had me chuckling a few times.

I was sad that the first paranormal romance series I picked up in such a long time turned out to be a letdown. I really wanted to like it, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. I disliked this trilogy so much that I felt a sense of relief when I finished the third book. If it wasn't for the fact that I got all three to review, I probably wouldn't have continued reading past the first book. I don't think I will read any more of Lori Handeland's books in the future. I think her writing style just isn't for me.

I give Sisters of the Craft trilogy: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.lorihandeland.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriHandeland#
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nightcreatures
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17060.Lori_Handeland

I received all three books in this trilogy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Beg by C.D. Reiss

Jonathan Drazen is a known womanizer and a gorgeous piece of 
man I'm not letting into my heart. Ever. 

Yeah, he's rich, beautiful, charming as hell, and he has a wit as sharp as a double-edged razor... but he's made it perfectly clear that this is a short-term fuck. Three nights, tops, then we part like sexually satisfied grown-ups. 

I believe him when he says he can't love me. I'm not trying to fall in love, either. 

We get in. Get it on. Get the hell out. Done. 



(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
When I first saw Beg by C.D. Reiss, I wanted to read it, but I was a little hesitant. I had never read erotica before, especially BDSM erotica. Frankly, the idea left me feeling a little uncomfortable. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. I loved Beg.

My only complaint about Beg is that the story started off so slow. It took about twenty percent to become interesting. Usually I DNF at about ten percent if I'm not into the book by then. However, I had heard a lot of people talk about how good it was, so I decided to continue. After the twenty percent mark, it got so much better. I found myself loving the characters and the plot. As previously stated, I thought the BDSM was going to make me uncomfortable, but it didn't. I found myself really enjoying it.

Once I finished Beg, I quickly became obsessed. I loved the world that C.D. Reiss created, and wanted more of it. I found myself finishing the whole series in about five days. I can't wait to read C.D. Reiss's other books, and dive deeper into the Drazen world.

I give Beg: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://cdreiss.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CDReiss.writer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cdreisswriter
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cdreiss/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/cdreiss/
Tumblr: http://cdreiss.tumblr.com/
Wiki: http://cdreiss.wikia.com/wiki/C.D._Reiss_Wiki
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6896405.C_D_Reiss

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.


Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions - her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost - the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.


(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I am embarrassed to say that I have been reading The Immortal Rules trilogy for years now. Up until recently, I had put off reading the last book in the series because I didn't want it to end. This series is what started my obsession with Julie Kagawa's books. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I finally gathered the courage to read the book, and I loved it so much.

The Forever Song was the perfect conclusion to The Immortal Rules trilogy. The book was action packed from beginning to end. Sarem's things that he left for Allie and everyone else to find, while disturbing, kept things interesting. The book did take me a while to read, but that's because I had other things going on In my life, and not because it was boring. I also loved how Julie Kagawa perfectly wrapped everything up. She tied up all the loose ends, so readers wouldn't have to wonder what might have happened with certain situations, which I appreciated.

Even though I loved this book, I really didn't want to finish it. Finishing it means the series is over, which makes me sad. I loved these characters, and am going to miss them so much. I can't wait to read Julie Kagawa's newer series about dragons, and see what other amazing characters she can come up with.

I give The Forever Song: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://juliekagawa.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Julie-Kagawa-author-252661891438654/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jkagawa
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliekagawaauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995873.Julie_Kagawa

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.