Cruel Beauty by Rosamind Hodge

I was raised to marry a monster. The day before the wedding, I could barely breathe. Fear and fury curdled in my stomach. All afternoon I skulked in the library, running my hands over the leather spines of books I would never touch again. I leaned against the shelves and wished I could run, wished I could scream at the people who had made this fate for me.

Nyx has never really felt love for her family especially since they chose to sacrifice her for the good of their world.

A hundred times I wished I could ask him, Why did you kiss my lips? Why don’t you kiss me again? But the words always stuck in my throat: they were too needy, too selfish, too foolish—and how could I ask for more, when he had already given me so much? I still wasn’t sure that I loved him. Love—the kind that was holy to Aphrodite—was not something I had ever allowed myself to think about much. If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?

With Ignifex her feelings only become more complicated, can she really fall for the one person she has been raised to hate? Raised to kill?

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I have to say that I really liked the premise of this book, but some of the execution was sub-par. For example Nyx was a strong, but confused heroine who struggled with fulfilling her duties. While she did have growth I felt that her character definitely was not fully developed and she could have been so much more. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that some things that happened were never really explained (I don’t want to spoil). For one character to know what they know and not really act on it really bugged me. The last thing that really bugged me was the ending, while it was great and gave closure; it also left me confused as to what really happened and how it happened. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, the author was for the most part able to paint a picture in my head a lot of the scenes were pretty cool. Also I loved that at any given point any character had the potential to change, all the main characters in the book were the villain at some point (which was cool because it kinda kept you guessing). Anyway, this book can be read as a standalone and go check it out 😉 .

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The Jewel (Jewel Series #1) by Amy Ewing

I never quite understood those girls, the ones who bought into all the caretakers’ lines about how important we are, how we are fulfilling a long and noble tradition. I once asked Patience why we couldn’t come home after we’ve given birth, and she said, “You are too precious to the royalty. They wish to take care of you for the rest of your life. Isn’t that wonderful? They have such generous hearts.” I said I’d rather have my family than the royalty’s generosity. Patience didn’t like that very much.

Violet isn’t swayed by the promises of prestige that come with being bought at auction and birthing royal babies. All she can see is the last nail in the coffin that contains her freedom.

Once to see it as it is. Twice to see it in your mind. Thrice to bend it to your will. I picture what I want in my mind—a heat builds in the center of my palm at the same time the ache begins at the base of my skull. I can feel the life of the tree, a moving, shimmering thing, and I pull at it, tugging on it like strings on a marionette, drawing it out. A tiny lump forms under my palm, a green leaf peeking out between my fingers. The tree resists a little and I gasp as fire rips down my spine, and it feels like needles are being shoved into my brain—my back arches and my head spins, but I’ve experienced worse pain in my four years at Southgate, and I’m determined to succeed in this. I force myself to focus, biting my lip hard to keep from crying out, coaxing the threads of life one by one, like strands of gossamer, pulling them out, shaping them, and the lump grows bigger, until it fits comfortably inside my hand. A lemon.

I give this book a 3.7 out of 5 stars. I really liked the way that the author described the world in which they lived, as well as the different people’s role within said world. My favorite character was Violet, I like that she wasn’t fooled by the things they taught in the ‘school’ where she was pretty much raised. She took care of her friends and people in general, but she also stood up for herself and even pushed the boundaries of her captivity. I also really appreciate the Duchess as a villain. I really like that she isn’t one dimensional, while what she does has something in it for her she also thinks that by doing what she is doing it will ultimately help others as well. I’m actually looking forward to what she does and what happens to her in the future. This book is the first of a series, luckily it’s looking like it’s just going to be a trilogy (ending in sight!) and the second book The White Rose is already out!


The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


“You’re being paranoid and it makes you look suspicious.” “Well, you didn’t see Black Knife drag that old man from his house because he’d used magic to hide his family while the Nightmare gang tore through the neighborhood.” Magic was forbidden in the Indigo Kingdom, and Black Knife didn’t care how it was used. Self-defense, healing, greed, murder: it was all the same to him when magic was involved. “You’re awfully sensitive about him.” Melanie didn’t have magic. To her, he was no more a threat than the police. But to others . . .

Wil wasn’t always an orphan fighting in the streets. At one time she was a princess with two loving parents, but one night changed all that and took everything she held dear.

“Help!” A shout came from down the street. I drew my daggers, sprinting toward the shout and terrified screams, and then the thud of a body slamming into a wooden fence. Ezra, one of our youngest boys, dropped to the ground. His sister, Quinn, shrieked and ran for him. Connor and Theresa stood in the street, blades drawn as they backed away from looming shadows. I skidded to a halt. Five huge men bore down on the Ospreys. Connor’s round-eyed gaze darted from the attackers to me. “Wil! Mel!” “Oh, saints.”

Now Wil fights for survival and she is determined to return to the castle and fix all that has gone wrong with her country. But things aren’t always black and white, not in life, not in fighting and especially not in love.

I give this book 4.2 out of 5 stars.  My favorite character in this book is definitely Wil, she is strong and determined and I love that she isn’t willing to sacrifice her morals to get what she wants faster. I also like that she is smart (except when she misses the obvious) and willing to fight for what she believes in. I liked the character development in this story, they learned from their mistakes… or didn’t but what they did made sense. They didn’t do anything that had me like this character would never do that, I could see them changing and growing (always nice). While some things that happened were expected, I loved how well everything flowed together and how smoothly the storyline went. BE WARNED there is a CLIFFHANGER at the end of this book! I can’t wait till the next installment to see what happens…

The Guilded Chain (Surrender #3) by Lauren Smith


You are cordially invited to the engagement party of Hayden Thorne and Fenn Lockwood—” With a pained gasp, Callie Taylor ripped the expensive cream card and blinked hard against the thick tears that started to drip down her cheeks. Fenn, the man she’d loved her entire life, was getting married to her friend Hayden. It was too much to process over the sudden and shattering pain inside her chest.

After her crush of multiple years suddenly finds the woman of his dreams, Callie is left with her heart in pieces.

There was a wildness to her anguish that was breathtakingly gorgeous and something in him had rumbled, like a deep quake beneath the earth. Her pain had unsettled him, and few things ever unsettled him. So he’d decided to stay a few days to make sure she was going to be all right. Of course, if anyone asked, he was only staying to check on the cabins. That was his story and he was sticking to it.

But when Wes Thorne sets his sights on poor, innocent, heart-broken Callie; things start to change quickly… for both of them.

I give this book a 2.7 out of 5 stars. I have to say that after reading the last two books in this series I was a bit disappointed with this addition. I didn’t feel as connected to these characters and I felt that they lacked the depth of their predecessors. Another thing that I was saddened by was the fact that the story for Wes and Callie didn’t run as smoothly and was a bit predictable. On the other hand Smith still has a way of describing things with just enough detail that you can have a clear picture of scenes and events in your head with out overwhelming you with extra tidbit (which is a big plus!). My favorite character in this book would probably be Wes, because he knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to fight for it. While I did like Callie, I felt that she was a bit too cliche. She was super innocent (and naive) and she never really stood her ground when she and Wes had differing opinions. While I did have some trouble with this book particularly some events that happened in the end (can’t tell you because… spoilers) overall I was able to finish the book and was even surprised at one point. This is the third book in a series but it can be read as a standalone (though there are references to the other books).

Check out my reviews on the first two books in the series!

The Gilded Cuff

The Gilded Cage

Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson

AVAILABLE 2/2/2016!!!

I told April not to make a big deal out of my homecoming, but I can see the decorations as soon as Jenny opens the door. Pink fucking balloons, like my prison release is a baby shower. I gave birth to a violent criminal record. Congrats!

Eric just got paroled and is trying to stay on the straight and narrow.

“You should apply to an art school,” I say. “Get financial aid.” “Felons can’t get financial aid.” “Oh.” “I’d have to save up my money.” “Are you going to?” “I’m thinking about it.” He seems sincere, and I’m struck by a strange feeling. It goes deeper than sexual chemistry and wiggles underneath my resentment toward him. I admire the way he’s overcome so many obstacles. He had a tough childhood, joined a gang and went to prison, but he was never a bad person. He deserves a fresh start. He’s ten times the man Chip is, with a fraction of the opportunities.

Megan sees in Eric what he can’t see himself and encourages him to reach his potential. But Eric’s past is determined to drag him back to a life of crime.

I give this book 2.8 out of 5 stars. I have to say that I really hope that this is a continuing series, because I was left wanting. While I did have some closure there are definitely some very important questions that need to be answered. My favorite character in this book would have to be Eric. I loved how he was always trying to be better and protect those he loved. I don’t always agree with the ways he chose to protect them though, especially when he hurt them in the process.  While I found Megan to be interesting I wasn’t in love with her. I felt that she didn’t do enough, she was always complaining in my opinion (I would have liked her more if she did more to fix her problems). On the other hand her best friend was really fun and kept me laughing, I really hope she gets her own book. Anyway I did like this book, but there are too many questions left for me to really call it a standalone. The relationship is given closure but some of the problems brought about are left without conclusion.

Confess by Colleen Hoover

“I’m sorry, Adam. I tried really hard not to cry.” His eyes grow soft with his response. “If you would have walked out of this room today without crying, it would have devastated me.” I stop fighting it with those words. I fist his shirt in my hands and begin to sob against his chest while he holds me. Through my tears, I try to listen to his heart, wanting to curse his whole body for being so unheroic. “I love you so much.” His voice is breathless and full of fear. “I’ll love you forever. Even when I can’t.” My tears fall harder at his words. “And I’ll love you forever. Even when I shouldn’t.”

Auburn has lost a great love in her life and isn’t sure how to move on

Owen has lost his family and the only member he has left, his father, isn’t all he seems

“Well, since neither of us feels like talking at all, do you at least dance?” He glances over my shoulder at the small, empty dance floor on the opposite side of the room. I immediately shake my head. “How did I know that would be your answer?” He stands up. “Come on.” I shake my head again and almost instantly, my mood changes. There’s no way I’m dancing with him, especially to whatever slow song just started playing. He grabs my hand and tries to pull me up, but I’m gripping my chair with my other hand, ready to fight him off if I have to.

Will these two be able to overcome their losses and face the challenges set ahead of them?

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really like Colleen Hoover as an author, I love that she is able to literally suck you into her stories. You are practically the character (there were a couple times I almost broken my kindle, I had the urge to throw it across the room but restrained myself). I have to say that my favorite characters are the two men that Auburn loves throughout the story (no, it’s not a love triangle either). I can’t tell you too much because I don’t want to spoil but man, she had some good men! Auburn herself is a bit annoying to me, I feel like she as a character should have been a stronger person, but I wasn’t unsatisfied at the end of the book (she had significant growth). I have to say that she did have a lot of manipulators in her life so that may have affected her, but thank goodness she changed (if she didn’t I really would have thrown my kindle). This is a standalone so feel free to read it all in one sitting!

P.S. A cool thing that CoHo did for this book was that she found an artist to actually paint Owen’s artwork and included them in the book!



The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

 

The Herrani believed that a god ruled not just one thing, but a whole domain of associated ideas, actions, objects. The god of stars was the god of stars, yes, but also of accidents, beauty, and disasters. The god of souls … Kestrel’s throat closed as she remembered Arin invoking that god, who ruled love. My soul is yours, he had said. You know that it is. His expression had been so open, so true. Frightened, even, of what he was saying. And she had been frightened, too, by how he had spoken what she felt. It frightened her still. The coin. Kestrel forced her attention again to the coin.

Kestrel is forced to keep her love a secret in order to protect the one she loves… but the more she lies to keep him safe, the closer she is to losing him

Kestrel didn’t miss his message. She wasn’t blind to the way he had indicated that their conversation could be overheard, nor was she deaf to his coded invitation that they could speak more freely in his guest suite. But she struggled against the pain in her throat, and said only, “Your ride here was hard?” “Yes.” “And the snow. It’s falling already?” “Yes, my lady.” “The mountain pass will close.” “Yes,” Tensen said gently, and he saw too much. Kestrel could tell that he heard that horrible note in her voice, and that he recognized it as the sound of someone fighting tears. “As expected,” he added. But she hadn’t expected this: this stupid hope, this punishing one, for who would long to see someone who was already lost? What good would it have done? None. Apparently Arin knew this, too. He knew it better than she, or his hope would have been equal to hers, and would have driven him here. Kestrel drew herself up straight. “You can find your rooms by yourself, Minister Tensen. I have more important matters to attend to.” She strode from the hall. The veined marble floor was icy beneath her feet: a frozen lake with fractures she did not care to see. She walked, she did not care. She did not.

The chances she takes to insure Arin’s safety are becoming more and more dangerous.

The chances he takes to understand Kestrel’s choices are pushing them farther and farther apart.

Chances are taken, lives are lost, and choices are made… and they don’t always turn out for the best.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really love the way the author is able to draw me into this series, she created this new world and I love that I’m able to picture it so clearly. I have to say that the first book in this series was great and this installation kept me guessing as to what would happen next. I was definitely in a lot of inner turmoil throughout this book as well. Basically Kestrel’s lies and Arin insecurities were KILLING me! I mean I understood where they were coming from but, because I knew everything that had happened I was tortured by their actions (because they didn’t know what I did). Don’t think you will get any closure at all by the end of this book, because if you read the first book you know that this author likes to end on a CLIFFHANGER and this book is no different.