Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

 New York Times bestseller!

Has everything you’d want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“Absolutely spellbinding.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

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.

My thoughts:

It is very easy to tell someone that the only way to break a curse is to fall in love. However, what people do not tell and this is the main catch, is that it is not so easy to fall in love.

This is the problem that Prince Rhen of Emberfall is facing. Having made one mistake in his youth, he is cursed to relive the eighteenth year of his life again and again and again. What was his mistake you may wonder? He courted an enchantress and cast her away. Spurned due to this and seeking revenge, she curses him. The curse can only be lifted when he finds true love.

Doesn’t this sound like a typical fairy tale but with the roles reversed? The prince has to find his princess. However, nothing is as easy as this explanation and this is not just any fairytale. In this new age re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, the author brings to us a new age spin on things. Once the curse begins, the prince has the duration of the autumn season to find his true love. If that doesn’t happen, he turns into a monster and becomes quite dangerous.

The author brings to us a tale of sorrow and grief that is hidden behind the walls of the castle and unknown to the people of the kingdom. The only story that the people know is that their king seems to have abandoned them. The Prince’s guard is the only other person around and the only one granted with the ability to move from this time/place to the present day Earth and bring back girls for the Prince to court.

During one such situation, we are introduced to Harper. Harper witnesses a kind of kidnapping and tried to stop it. It is in this situation that she is brought back to Rhen’s world. The author then brings to us a wonderful tale of friendship, loyalty and eventually love. The characters are well developed and you cannot help but fall in love with them and their story. If I continue to write more, I will only gush about the story and reveal all the plot twists. To avoid that I will stop here and conclude.

A very well thought out book, this is a must read for all! I cannot wait for Book 2 and I am sure most of you will feel the same.

Book Review: Once Upon A [Fallen] Time by Samreen Ahsan

About the Book:

Once Upon A [Fallen] Time (Stolen Series II)

2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colourless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

This is book 2 of [STOLEN] SERIES.

My Thoughts:

Samreen Ahsan brings to us a smashing second book in the series. This book follows up where the first one left off, but takes us deeper into the past. In the first book, Myra only had dreams and glimpses of Edward, but in this one, she finally crosses over to the past. The author takes us on a journey through Edwards world as Myra tries to navigate her way. Edward tries to keep her hidden from the king, but it is not so easy. When the king finds out about her, it is her wit and knowledge of this past time that keeps her going.

The author brings to us a wonderful tale of love and mystery, weaving the past with the present. In the present, Myra’s family and friends are missing her and no-one knows where she is except Steve. Even though he tries to explain it, no-one believes the ‘story’ he tells.

In the past, Edward is fascinated by Myra and as she passes some time there, changes start to occur. Some color starts to appear in his otherwise dark life. The author once again handles the characters very well and weaves an intriguing plot!

A must read for all romance lovers out there and of course for fans of the author!

Book Review: P.S. from Paris by Mark Levy

About the Book:

P.S. from Paris (UK edition)

They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love—and the City of Lights—just might find a way.

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

From Marc Levy, the most-read French author alive today, comes a modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book mostly due to the connection to Paris. It is a city that I have come to love and I wanted to see how much of it I could connect with through the book.

The story follows Mia, an actress from UK as she gets away from the film industry, her husband and everything that is a part of her reel life. She needs a break and to re-assess what she wants from life. She ends up in Paris, at the doorstep of her best friend Daisy.

The reader is also introduced to Paul, an architect turned writer, who moves from the US to Paris to get away. He does this just after his first book was published as he doesn’t know how to deal with the fame. We also meet his best friend and the best friend’s wife, who are wonderful additions to the character ensemble.

The author takes us on a pleasant journey through the streets of Paris, from Montmartre, the artists square to the view from the top of the Opera. The locations are well described that for people who have been to Paris, it is a trip down memory lane, and for those who have not, it will spark the flame of discovery and the urge to visit this beautiful city.

The book deals with some important issues like self discovery and growth, trust and beyond all that love. Mia learns to open herself up to new experiences and possibilities. She takes a decision regarding her marriage and spends time working as a waitress at her friend’s restaurant. She happens to meet Paul by accident, through a date setup via a dating site. On Paul’s side, this is done by his friends as they think that he is not focusing on himself and his life. What turns starts off as a surprise and a joke, blossoms into a strong friendship between two people who want to experience more in their lives.

As we follow the two main characters on their journey of discovery, we travel a little with them as they deal with the consequences of their respective livelihoods. We also see love blossom as well as the uncertainty that follows it. The bonds between characters and the trust they have in their friends is something to learn from. The story is very well-written, it is fun, intriguing and is quite a pleasant read. I absolutely adored this book and recommend this to everyone.

Book Review : The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair

About the Book:

Book Review: The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop

When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?

About the Author:

Award-winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college, and is a book hoarder, a coffee drinker, a linguistics geek, and an eternal optimist. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction with smart, sassy, funny heroines, and she also enjoys blogging about the adventures of her mischievous Labrador retriever, Capone.

Abigail is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult novel, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was named a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Learn more about http://abigaildrake.com

My Thoughts:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop introduces us to chemist Grace O’Leary who is working on her PhD thesis. When she is framed for helping a student to cheat, she is stripped of her TA privileges and shunned by many of her peers. Looking for a break and a change of scenery, she volunteers to visit her Aunt Lucy who had a mild accident and to provide her support.

The reader is introduced to a variety of characters, but they are brought in quite abruptly. There is not a lot of background information provided about them which leads us to wonder how they are connected to the main character.  Much of Grace’s situation is a cliche, she meets a handsome young man who lives in her Aunt’s town, she is struggling to deal with the pressure of completing her thesis and finally, there is the mystery of who caused her aunt’s accident.

The events that occur seem sudden and disconnected. There are times when the reader will wonder how certain characters are even tied in or have information. It took me a while to get into the book and to really piece together the story.

However, as the story progresses, it becomes easier to understand the plot even though the characters were not very easy to relate to for me. There is magic, mystery and romance all mixed together rather haphazardly. But, this book proves to be a rather light and simple read if one does not try to focus too much on the plot. The friends that Grace makes and the support she receives in the end make it worthwhile to read about.

Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

About the Book:

The Priory of the Orange Tree

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

My Thoughts:

I found this book while browsing through Instagram. There was a lot of posts about it and so much of praise. I knew that I had to read the book. It was the best decision I made.

Samantha Shannon weaves a world of fantasy, magic and dragons, that makes for a very compelling read. The story follows a great number of characters across various parts of the globe, mainly referred to based on the directions of North, South, East and West. Each direction has it’s own set of countries, rulers and stories. The author weaves them all together slowly, unraveling parts of the mystery and introducing us to many people.

As the story progresses, the reader has no choice but to keep going on. It is so well written, that the reader can imagine the scenes with ease. This helps to connect with the people and their surroundings. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery, love and magic. There is also some betrayal, a lot of hope, a strong sense of duty and bonds that grows among people from being united against a common enemy.

The story follows the lives of Ead, Sabran and Tané. Each have their own stories, their own secrets and a big role to play in this narrative. In addition, we have a lot of supporting characters who play pivotal roles in shaping the happenings in the story. The characters are strong and well crafted making it easy for the reader to connect with them and understand them. Each of the characters are tested when their faith comes into question, as well as when they are forced to take decisions that would change the course of their lives forever. This has been very beautifully depicted and the companionship between some of the characters is heart-warming.

I absolutely loved this book and the journey I took with the characters as they navigated their lives and finally moved towards the fight with an ancient enemy. I strongly recommend this book to all the readers out there! This is worth the read!

Cover Reveal : The Voyages of Trueblood Cay

VTC_coverThe Voyages of Trueblood Cay

Being an especial accounting of his life at sea, as told by Gil Rafael

Release Date: January 24, 2019

SYNOPSIS

“What’s for you won’t pass you by. Not on my ship.”

Pelippé Trueblood is a giantsblood—one of the great mariners of House Tru. Raised on the mighty ship Cay, he’s chosen at nineteen for a perilous voyage predicted in ancient prophecy. Young and unseasoned, Trueblood fears the gods may have picked the wrong man for the job. Worse, prophecy demands he be accompanied by Fen il-Kheir, and nothing in Trueblood’s life at sea has prepared him for this dangerous new crew member.

Fen is a kheiron—a creature with the ability to shift between man and horse. With a dark past, little love for humans and less love for ships, Fen proves a reluctant passenger whose secrets about Trueblood could jeopardize not only the voyage, but the future of the world.

A feud of the gods. Ships built by giants. Spice that makes the world beautiful. Flying horses. Murder and misery. Belonging and bravery. Sailors, centaurs, warriors, queens, courtesans and storytellers. A tapestry of mythology and human experience, The Voyages of Trueblood Cay is both Javier Landes’ love letter to his life, and Suanne Laqueur’s most adventurous love story.

Publisher’s Note: Gil Rafael is the pen name of Javier Landes, who is a fictional character in Laqueur’s Venery series. The Voyages of Trueblood Cay is the novel Javier is writing throughout the series. This novel-within-a-novel contains subtle references to people and situations in Venery, however it’s not necessary to have read the series beforehand. Trueblood Cay can absolutely be enjoyed as a standalone. (Contains adult situations written in adult language.)

GIVEAWAY

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AUTHOR BIO

suanne-laqueur

A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her work has been described as Therapy Fiction, Emotionally Intelligent Romance and Contemporary Train Wreck. Whatever you want to call it, her goal is to write stories that appeal to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Suanne Laqueur’sAn Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

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Email |Website |Facebook |Goodreads |Instagram | Pinterest |Amazon

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Book Review : Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and, in Eleanor’s eyes, impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose .. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

My Thoughts:

This is a story of friendship, life as a teenager and falling in love for the first time. Eleanor is shy and quiet, forced to deal with a crazy step-father and a mother who no longer tries to take the side of her children. She is also the eldest of four siblings and is constantly under scrutiny from the younger ones. We observe her as she navigates her way as the new girl in town and in school. Her life takes an interesting turn when she sits next to Park on the school bus.

The story then follows these two as they start to interact and discover their common interests while developing newer ones. This story is sweet and nostalgic, just like the author promises. It will remind you of the days of forging new friendships, making memories, sharing books and games. However towards the middle of the story, it gets a little slow mostly due to the repeated routines of our main characters. They only seem to be meeting each other everyday, enjoying silent conversations at school and spending time at Park’s home.

A part of the story that I truly enjoyed was when Park’s parents meet and start to accept Eleanor. They include her for dinner and his mother even tries to give her a makeover of sorts. Towards the end, Park’s father, who up until then seemed to dislike him to some extent, also pitches in to help the children, finally accepting that he is proud of who his son has become. It is indeed a story of self-discovery as well since the characters must break out of their comfort zones and find their way. They take decisions that will change their lives at that point and they love unconditionally and without holding back.

All in all, it is a decent read, rather slow, but if you plough through, you will end up with a smile on your face, possibly reminiscent of your own lives.

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Fangirl

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair anymore – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s learning that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

My Thoughts:

A well-written coming of age novel, Fangirl follows Cath’s journey as she navigates the world of university and discovers her identity separate from that of her twin. Lost completely in a fictional fantasy world, Cath spends most of her time writing fan-fiction revolving around the fictional characters of Simon Snow and his arch enemy Baz. Having grown up as a twin, Cath is more dependent on Wren, seemingly always in her shadow. The abandonment she feels when her mother leaves them, pushes her towards becoming more of an introvert.

This story not only brings out the contrast between the two girls, but it shows us that the world has a lot to offer if we only let it. Cath learns to find her way, forming a weird bond with her roommate, finding love and facing betrayal from a classmate. Dealing with all this makes her stronger and she learns to open up more. We are shown how the girls are quite similar yet different and the reader will come to love all the characters.

The characters are relatable and quite real, making it easy for the reader to understand them. The emotions are real and the events in the story are such that they could easily happen to any of us. On the whole this story is about getting out of one’s comfort zone and learning to live. Even though the focus is on Cath, we get a glimpse into who her twin is, how their father is coping with life and how they deal with college and growing up.

A wonderful book in the YA genre, Fangirl is worth picking up and giving in to.

Book Review: Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann

Book Details:

Book Title: Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann
Category: YA Fiction, 277 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Matt Dallmann
Release date: July 2017
Tour dates: August 6 to 24, 2018
Content Rating: G (No bad language or sex)

Book Description:

Dahlia, a centuries-old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

To follow the tour and read reviews, please visit Matt Dallmann’s page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Sept 5, 2018
Prizes: Win one of 100 Kindle copies (open to USA only)

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann

Tribal Affairs

by Matt Dallmann

Giveaway ends September 05, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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My Thoughts:

Tribal Affairs is a YA novel that revolves around the lives of Dahlia, a centuries old genie, trapped in an ankle bracelet, and a sixteen year old girl, Liana. Liana wears the bracelet for the first time on the opening night of her father’s performance. Little does Liana know that this small act will have much bigger consequences.

The story is written in two different points of view, one telling Dahlia’s story through dreams that Liana has, the other are Liana’s version of the events that unfold. Matt paints a pretty informative picture of the genie world, how they live, the extent of their powers and the various tribes that exist. We also come to know of their differences in personalities and how they look upon humans.

At first it was a little difficult to catch on to the changes in narration and the sequence of events, but as the story progressed, the characters became familiar and slowly the plot started to make sense. Through all this, Liana discovers her ancestral connection to the genie’s and embarks on a journey with Taffi, a genie who turns up at her house and who claims to want to help her. It is only later that she discovers the connection between Taffi and Stefan, the person who is solely responsible for the event that set the rest in motion : the trapping of Dahlia. Additionally, Liana works to find within herself her powers and strength with the help of Taffi and her great great great great…. something grandfather, Amon.

The story is simple and a fast read. It flows easy and there isn’t anything complicated that we need to focus hard to understand. It is an interesting read and though I did not connect with some characters, Liana and Dahlia truly left an impression on me for their strength and ability to love so deeply as well as their compassion.

I would like to thank Laura Fabiani and the iRead Book Tours team for giving me this opportunity to read and enjoy this book! If you are a fan of YA fiction and genie’s and wishes being granted, do pick up this book!