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Posts Tagged: Series: Standalone

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead Books on 13 January 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Ashbury, England // Whitny, England // Train between Ashbury & London (2012, 2013)

First Line(s): There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins isn’t my typical book these days as I do lean more towards the YA but I do love a good mystery. So when I heard that THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was going to be a movie and all the love for the story I thought that I would give it a try. I was initially intrigued by the story and found it to be very readable and I thought that I was in for a really good book. Then the middle happened and the book just lost all of its steam. It started to drag and I found myself not wanting to pick it up. That coupled with how easy it was to predict turned a story that was filled with promise to one that was just meh by the end.

At first I felt sympathy for the various POV characters but that too fizzled out over the course of the book. They were all flawed and that added realism to them but there was nothing to redeem them. Rachel starts off as a character that you think you can be friends with. But then as the layers are pulled back she just becomes pathetic and so very hard to like. By the end of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN I really didn’t care what had happened to the missing girl and kind of wish that all the characters would be killed off.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was a readable story but it wasn’t an enjoyable on for me. I figured it all out before the 50% mark so there were no great reveals and part of me wishes I’d just skipped to the end to verify before DNFing the story. I don’t get the hype for it and as such I am not sure if I’ll watch the movie. I like my mysteries to be engaging and filled with some sort of action but all I got from THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was a static story that never really went anywhere.


Add Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn to Goodreads.

Add In the Woods by Tana French to Goodreads.



Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Setting: Wonderland

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

First Line(s): Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.

First things first…there are FOUR days until HEARTLESS!

Can you believe it?!? The wait is almost over!


We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland even if we’ve never read the book by Lewis Carroll we at least know the Disney version about a plucky girl who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on a most extraordinary adventure. There are songs and shenanigans and run ins with the evil Queen of Hearts. When you watch the movie or read the book the Queen is always cast as a villainous character and as a viewer its easy to sympathize with Alice and cheer her triumphs. But you don’t always think about why the Queen is so evil or that maybe Alice isn’t as nice as you originally think. We grow up conditioned to think about fairy tales in a certain way that it can be a bit shocking to see alternate versions of the stories we love. We see this in the stories of Gregory McGuire and on the show Once Upon a Time and now here, in HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer we get to see a new side to the Queen of Hearts. Not only does HEARTLESS make you think differently about a story you thought you knew but its also a bit of a unicorn in the world of fantasy books in that it is a standalone book.


HEARTLESS is a story that will suck you in from the start. This book is such a different sort of story from Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles and yet you still get her signature writing style and her ability to spin a beautiful story. HEARTLESS is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, its a prequel. Its a story that came about because Meyer’s asked the question why is the queen so evil? Was she born this way or did something happen to make her this way. Catherine (aka the Queen) is a girl much like the readers of the book she has hopes and dreams and a love for baking that will make a reader’s mouth water throughout this book. She’s of a noble family but she dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and maid.


But we all know that’s not how the story ended up and I loved Meyer’s take on the story. I love the characters that she created and how she incorporated some old friends. It was a wonderful mix of original and new and told in a way that I think would make Lewis Carroll proud. HEARTLESS is a book that will suck you in with its whimsy and you’ll fall in love with Cath. You’ll turn the pages hoping against hope that somehow the ending of this story will be different and that Cath will get her bakery and her happily ever after. You’ll hope that in the end you’ll learn that the Queen of Hearts is a different girl altogether. But not all stories have a happy ending and sometimes your heart has to break. And boy does Meyer’s play with your heart but everything that happens needs to happen and despite the lack of a HEA its still possible to love this book. In fact, its kind of hard not to like this story and I highly recommend it.




Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they’ll be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes.

Fierce Reads will be posting weekly challenge updates and adding more links and information for some challenges as we get closer. Click here to take a look at the schedule and join in the excitement!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review2 Comments

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyHim by Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen
Series: Him,
Also in this series: Us
Published by Self-Published on 28 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 268
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Also by this author: The Deal, The Mistake, The Score, Us, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Coming in from the Cold, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Boston, Massachusetts // San Radael, California // Lake Placid, New York // Toronto, Ontario, Canada

First Line(s): The coffee shop line is a little long, but I know I’ll make it to the rink on time. Some weeks just click.

Over the last year or so I’ve discovered and become a fan of Sarina Bowen’s writing. More recently I discovered Elle Kennedy and then to learn that the two were collaborating on a book together? Well, I knew that was a book that I needed to read. The moment the egalley of HIM arrived in my inbox I knew I had to start it and that is exactly what I did and I didn’t stop reading until I’d finished the book and the clock was ticking into the single digits. But the loss of sleep was worth it because HIM was everything that I was expecting and maybe even a little bit more. Yes, there were things that I had issues with (hello awkward and pointless breakup) but overall I loved the vibe of this story and the connection that existed between Wes and Jamie.

From the very beginning HIM had my heart aching as both these characters struggled with events that had happened four years prior and wondering if there was a way to move forward. These two didn’t always make the right choices but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you just can’t see clearly and its easier to ignore an issue than to face it. And boy did I love how Wes and Jamie faced their past issues. I loved their journey throughout this book and though there were times when I wanted to shake them both and make them talk it out I get where they were coming from. Falling for your best friend, be it male or female, is never any easy thing to do and Bowen and Kennedy handle all the complexities of it so well.

Him Quote

HIM is filled with many a hot and steamy moment so its definitely not for everyone but if you like kissing in the rain and all that comes after well, then you’ll want to have this book on your shelves. HIM manages to hit all the right notes in what I like in a story and even with the weird, awkward breakup moment I still loved the overall story. The epilogue was a little too cutesy but I LOVED…like LOVED LOVED LOVED seeing Jamie’s family and it made me wish that they all had a more active roll in the book. They were just so much fun and with their short stint on the page they provided so much entertainment. There were also times when HIM reminded me of Sarina Bowen’s other books, especially The Understatement of the Year (my review) but I am ok with that because its another story that I adored.

HIM was total book crack for me and I am not ashamed of it. Bowen and Kennedy created a wonderful story and I hope to see them collaborate again at some point in the future. They are a solid writing team and as a reader you wouldn’t know that this story had two authors if it weren’t for the two names on the cover. This book felt like a Sarina Bowen novel and it felt just as strongly as an Elle Kennedy one. This book was just pure fun and as I said above once I started reading it I just couldn’t put it down. Seriously folks, this is one you are going to want on your shelves so go forth and get it now because it was just one deliciously, hot and steamy and heart achy read.



IR - Him

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Come Back to Me by Mila Gray to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)


Monday, June 29, 2015

Audio Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Narrator: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 09 April 2013
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Family, Friendship, GLBT, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hours and 29 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository

Place(s) Traveled To: El Paso, Texas // Mesilla, New Mexico // Tuscon, Arizona (1987-1988)

First Line(s): One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. All I knew was that when I was looking for readalike recommendations for Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (my review) this was a title that was mentioned often. As I was in need of a new audio and the BPL had a digital copy to borrow I took it as a sign and requested. I then quickly feel head over heals for Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana. Ari is a loner and so he doesn’t know what to make of Dante when he approaches him and offers to teach him to swim. Ari tries to push Dante away but its not long before the two share an unbreakable bond. The narrator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, made for a perfect Aristotle and I think that he captured Ari’s voice perfectly. Miranda got all of Ari’s angst and inner turmoil as he tried to figure out his place in the universe.

Aristotle and Dante is a great coming of age story as the two friends grow up in the late 80s in that odd in-between state of no long boys but not really adults either. There is lots of confusion and struggle as they try to become their own person even as their parents don’t always want to let them go. Aristotle and Dante is a lyrical read and Miranda’s narration just really brings the words of the story to life. And the words that make up this story! Oh my stars, Sáenz writes such a beautiful story that I just wanted to quote ALL THE THINGS because almost every line had some meaning or resonated with me in some way. That beautiful prose along with Miranda’s excellent narration helped give me all the feels with this book and even now, just thinking of the story, it makes my heart ache in that way that I love.

Aristotle and Dante Quote

At its core, Aristotle and Dante, is a book about friendship as well as a book about identity. Its easy to forget the struggles of being a not-quite-adult but Sáenz does an amazing job of capturing that time in a person’s life. I loved Ari and hearing his inner thoughts but where this book shines is in the richness of the language and the secondary characters. Ari’s parents, Dante, and all the others really flesh out this story and bring it to life. When listening, you are immersed in Ari’s world and you become part of the story. I didn’t feel as though I was an observer I felt like I was right there in this world and I hated when it ended.

Aristotle and Dante isn’t a perfect read and there were times when I felt it was a bit disjointed but overall this was a story that I fell in love with. Its a book that I wished was longer so I could spend more time with this amazing cast of characters. Its also a book that I rushed out and bought a physical copy of and immediately re-read all of my favorite bits almost before the last word of the audio was spoken. This was a book that may not appeal to all but for me, I was in the right time and place for it and it was everything I didn’t know that I wanted in a book. This book. Oh this book. I really don’t know what else to say but if you trust my opinion, even the tiniest bit, then you need this book in your life.


IR - Aristotle and Dante


Add Anything Could Happen by Will Walton to Goodreads. (Review coming soon) – Similar themes of searching for ones identity.

Add Simon vs, the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.) – Similar themes of friendship, character voice, and feels.


A book and a song

Every so often I stumble across a song that just makes me think of a book. This song often makes for a good soundtrack to the story in some way. For Aristotle and Dante that song is I Lived by One Republic.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Review: Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Labor of Love by Rachel HawthorneLabor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne
Published by Harper Teen on 10 June 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Also by this author: Trouble From the Start

Place(s) Traveled To: New Orleans, Louisiana

First Line(s): “I see a spectacular sunrise.”

***This review contains some spoilers. Read at your own risk.***

Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne is a book that Andi of AndiABCs has been telling me to read for a while. So much so that she eventually gifted a copy of it to my kindle and when I needed a happy book to read I decided this was the one. Labor of Love is set in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina and the city is still rebuilding. Enter in Dawn and her friends Jenna and Amber who all take time out of their summer to be part of a home building project. Dawn is a last minute addition to the trip as her initial plans included spending the summer with her boyfriend tour various water parks. That is until she catches him cheating on her and she decides to join her friends instead. One of the first things the girls do in New Orleans is to visit a psychic who tells them all things that they are unsure they want to hear but it leads them all down unexpected paths.

One of the things that the psychic tells Dawn is that she’s going to meet someone soon and fall in love. As she’s anti-boy and anti-dating at the start of the trip she doesn’t believe it. Then she and her friends meet Brady, Tank and Sean and sparks start to fly between them all. No, not a crazy menage but they all pair off into almost too perfect to be true groupings as each guy seems to be the perfect match for each girl. Even Amber who struggles with her feelings for Sean as she has a boyfriend at home. Dawn is attracted to Brady and vice versa but the two are both reeling from hurts and so they make a pact to only be together for the summer. No strings, no long term commitments just experience the here and now with no feelings involved. Which we all know is just a recipe for disaster waiting to happen because feelings always come into play in these situations and someone always ends up getting hurt.

Labor of Love Quote

The hurt, and break up of the non-couple, is brought about by the actions of Amber, who I never really liked, and Dawn because sometimes you are your own worst enemy when it comes to a situation. Amber, freaking out over her feelings for Sean decides to run away from New Orleans and return to Texas where she’s disappears for most of the book. Things are lighter and happier during that time without all of her angst getting in the way. But then she returns and she brings with her Drew, Dawn’s ex, because she thinks they should get back together. No matter that Dawn said that would never happen no matter how sorry he ever said he would. But Amber knows best and is all confused when Dawn gets mad at her for pretty much telling Drew that she was pining for him and wanted him back. And this is about where in the book I started to heavy sigh and roll my eyes and wish that Amber never came back to New Orleans.

There is drama and angst and of course Dawn and Brady break up because their is a misunderstanding and Brady is thinking he’s reliving a scenario with his last girlfriend and doesn’t want to repeat it. What I did like was that Dawn owned up to her mistakes and then worked to rebuild the trust between her and Brady. She never pushed and she also communicated her feelings and more importantly apologized for her actions. There was a lot of growth on her part and it was good to see in a book. It was also good to see that Brady didn’t immediately forgive and forget immediately.

Overall, Labor of Love was just an ok book for me and this may have been the time in which I read it which was really sad. The characters seemed a bit wooden at times but I did grow to like Dawn and Brady and their story. There were things I didn’t like and had issues with and this one took me far longer than it should have to read but it wasn’t a terrible story. While it won’t ever be my favorite Rachel Hawthorne it does make me want to continue reading her backlist titles.


IR - Labor of Love

Add The Fill in Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Welcome Caller This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Welcome Caller This is Chloe by Shelley CoriellWelcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Published by Amulet on 01 May 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble

Place(s) Traveled To: Tierra del Rey, California

First Line(s): I loved being a burrito.

Shelley Coriell’s Welcome Caller, This is Chloe has been on my radar since before it was published back in 2012. But life being what it is I never picked up a copy and then sort of forgot that it was on my wishlist. Then within the span of a couple of days two different people gifted me with a copy and so I took that as a sign that I needed to read it sooner rather than later. Welcome Caller deals with a common YA book trope in that the main characters BFF turns on them and the MCs social world sort of collapses. Chloe is a popular girl and unlike most popular girls she is genuinely nice so it made me wonder why she was ever friends with Brie in the first place. As Brie seemed to be hateful just to be hateful and her reason for turning on Chloe is so superficial that I thought that my eyes might roll out of my head.

Eye rolls aside though I really did like Chloe and I enjoyed her story. I liked her new guidance counselor and how she sort of tilted Chloe’s world upside down by making her do a project that was a bit outside her comfort zone. Because by doing so she learned a lot about herself and her capabilities. I also really liked all of the characters at the radio station. They were quirky and unique and really fit well together. And then of course there is the love interest, Duncan, who is sure to find fans with those who liked Patrick Sheldon or Corey Livingston.

Welcome Caller This is Chloe Quote

While I did like that Chloe was a nice girl there were times when she was a bit too passive about the things going on around her. There were times when I wish that she’d stick up for herself more like when there was an issue with her Grandmother and Chloe was held responsible even though she’d done nothing wrong. Not to mention that I also wish that she stood up to Brie more although I do like how Brie didn’t have the total dominance that she thought she did on the school. That being nice does count for something.

Welcome Caller This is Chloe was a really sweet read and just what I needed at the time. It was a fun story and I loved Chloe’s radio show. I enjoyed her growing friendships with the rest of the misfits and her relationship with Duncan. This book made my heart ache in all the good ways that I love. There are also some serious moments to the story that really helps to round thing out and make this even more realistic than some YA books out there. This book may be 3 years old but its still fun and timely and I’m only sorry that I didn’t get to it sooner. It was fast paced and well written and I really need to check out other books by Coriell. Welcome Caller This is Chloe is a book that I’d recommend to all who like realistic contemporary fiction.


IR - Welcome Caller This is Chole

Add Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith ZeitlinSophomore Year Is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Parents, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble

Place(s) Traveled To: Athens, Greece // New York, New York // Heraklion, Crete, Greece

First Line(s): Just before the clock ticks over into a brand new year, one that is going to be completely different from any I’ve experienced before, my dad and I get on a plane – my first overseas flight – heading to Greece.

Whenever I plan a trip somewhere I love to read books that are set in location when I can so it was very fortuitous that not long after I started making plans to go to Greece I was asked to review Meredith Zeitlin’s Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. The book is told from the POV of Zona who is a Sophomore in high school and who is being cruelly uprooted from her friends and home to travel with her father to Greece to finish up the school year. Zona’s father is a journalist and is going there to work on a story and also to help build a bridge between Zona and her mother’s family. At first Zona is a bit of a brat about the whole thing but she does quickly come around and grudgingly tries to make the best of the situation.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me can be considered a companion to Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters (goodreads) as there is some character cross over but you don’t need to read it in order to enjoy Sophomore Year. For the most part I liked the narrative of Sophomore Year is Greek to Me and often found Zona to be a smart and funny character. I did get annoyed with the mock articles that were peppered throughout the story as Zona was a budding journalist like her father. I also liked the addition of her Greek family and those sections of the story. Where this one kind of lost me was the lack of a real romance to the book. There was a love interest for Zona but it was never developed much and just sort of fizzled. Which in some ways is understandable as Zona was only in Greece for a few months but often times its the romance that seals the deal for me in a book.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me Quote

The romance wasn’t the only story line that fizzled out during the course of this book and so that made for a bit of a disjointed story. Things were started but then just sort of dropped in order to move on to other events. Then there was this big dramatic thing that totally took away from the light-heartedness that was begun over the first part of the book. There was just so much that was tossed into Sophomore Year is Greek to Me but none of it was ever fully allowed to develop so the whole story just feel a bit flat for me. Everything was just rushed and so I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied with how it all ended.

That said, I did like Zona’s journey over the course of the novel. I like how she really discovered things about herself, her mother, and where she came from. I liked the relationships that she built with her Greek family and I loved the strong bond that she had with her father. Its always nice to see a strong, healthy parental relationship in a book and Zeitlin does an amazing job with that.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me was a bit of a slow start for me but the pages did go quickly when I sat down and focused on it. This isn’t a book that I think I’ll ever re-read but it wasn’t a terrible book. I liked the setting and enjoyed seeing Greece through Zona’s eyes. I liked Zeitlin’s writing style and do plan to read Freshman Year at some point. In some ways, I think that Sophmore Year is Greek to Me might appeal to younger audiences but older readers may struggle a bit as I did.



IR - Sophomore Year is Greek to Me

Add A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Cruel Beauty,
Also in this series: Gilded Ashes
Published by Harper Audio on 28 January 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adaptation, Assassins, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Greek, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Free Download
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Also by this author: Gilded Ashes

Place(s) Traveled To: Arcadia

First Line(s): I was raised to marry a monster.

Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairy tale and when I received an advanced copy of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I was intrigued but never seemed to find the time to pick it up. Recently though a few people began to recommend this book to me and I had also downloaded the audio via Audiobook Sync’s annual program of 2014. I was having trouble settling on a new audiobook recently and was looking through the titles I had received from Audiobook Sync and thought I’d listen to a small clip of each of the titles I’d downloaded last year and then choose one. Only when I started the audio of Cruel Beauty I found that I couldn’t turn it off. The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was enthralling. And while she sometimes mixed up her voices I found that I didn’t mind overmuch as I just loved the way that she told this story and brought it to life.

As I listened I also learned that Cruel Beauty wasn’t just a Beauty and the Beast retelling. There were also hints of other fairy tales mixed in Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, and East of the Sun West of the Moon to name just a few. Cruel Beauty also contained not just fairy tales but Greek mythology and this mix of stories added depth and uniqueness to the story. I enjoyed this story and loved Nyx’s struggle as she dealt with her internal struggles over what she was raised to do and what she wants to do. I enjoyed Nyx’s interactions with Ignafex and was intrigued by there relationship. While her relationship with Shade and her sister just annoyed me. Oh how her sister annoyed me. For someone who was supposedly so good she harbored a lot of ill will in her heart.

Cruel Beauty Quote


For this one I am partial to the audiobook and I am not sure if I’d feel differently if I’d read this one in print instead. As I said above I found Elizabeth Knowelden’s narration to be enthralling and she’s the one who kept me listening and engaged in the story through that slow beginning. She’s the one who kept me listening when I got really annoyed with Nyx’s sister and with Shade. Knowelden is definitely a narrator that I am going to be looking into more because I’d love to see how she narrates other stories.

For me, Cruel Beauty had a slow start and was a little repetitive at times but repetition is something that is becoming more and more common in books these days so I think its something that I have to learn to deal with and accept. What I really liked about Cruel Beauty was how it ended. The ending wasn’t something that I was expecting and yet at the same time it was fitting for the story that Hodge was telling. Things were wrapped up nicely and I like knowing that this is a standalone book. I love me a good fantasy story and it can be so hard to find a standalone fantasy. I like that Hodge has a companion story to Cruel Beauty in her novella, Gilded Ashes (my review), but do think that it is a story that should be read before this one.

If you like Greek mythology and fairy tale retellings then you should really give Cruel Beauty a try. Its a beautifully written story and one that I enjoyed. The mystery aspect of it is a little simplistic and easy to figure out but I didn’t mind that as I enjoyed the time that I sent in this world. Its a world that I wouldn’t mind revisiting and a book that I will most likely re-read at some point. This one wasn’t quite what I expected and I enjoyed it more than I thought. Its a story that I’d recommend especially for those that listen to audiobooks.


IR - Cruel Beauty

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa KantorBetter Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
Published by Harper Teen on 17 February 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Family, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Also by this author: Maybe One Day

Place(s) Traveled To: Milltown, New York // New York, New York

First Line(s): “I’m going to miss you.”

When I read Melissa Kantor’s debut novel, Maybe One Day (my review), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it considering one of its main themes was one that I don’t like to read about much. Cancer. So it was with high hopes that I picked up her sophomore title, Better Than Perfect. I was hopeful for some of the same magic and story of friendship that Kantor captured in Maybe One Day along with a fun romance and a story that would just give me all the happy feels. Sadly, Better Than Perfect didn’t live up to my expectations and I hated that it included another trope that I don’t care for all that much, cheating. Throughout most of the story Juliet has a boyfriend and for the first portion he is away in France with his family.

During that time she meets Declan, a musician from England who recently moved to town, and they hit it off and hook up. While Juliet’s boyfriend is a bit of a dickhead and she’s better off without him I don’t like that she hooks up and leads on someone else while dealing with her issues. Issues of which she has plenty all while she trys to maintain an outward appearance of perfection even as her entire world is falling apart. For me, Juliet was a really hard character to like and I didn’t care for the fact that the bulk of this book was told through her inner monologue. I am a dialogue girl at heart and I think that if she’d had more conversations with people then maybe I would have liked this one a little better because there would have been a little less of her and more of others to break things up a bit. I just found Juliet to be selfish and superficial and I really don’t know what Declan saw in her as she never showed her real self to anyone.

Better Than Perfect Quote

Better Than Perfect was a quick(ish) read and it was well paced and written but it just didn’t have the same magic for me as Kantor’s debut. I missed the easy friendship that the characters in that book had and just thought that Juliet was too stiff and standoffish to really get to know. Even though we spent the entire book in her head it still didn’t feel as though we ever got to know the real her. She was still just the girl that she thought others wanted her to be. In all honesty, I don’t know what Declan saw in Juliet and I often felt bad for him because of how Juliet treated him. I get that she was going through some things but that didn’t mean that she had the right to jerk the poor boy around.

I am still a fan of Melissa Kantor and plan on reading her next book as I enjoy her writing style. There were just things about this one that I just didn’t care for and it kept me from fully enjoying the story. Overall though I do like Kantor’s world building and her writing as well as most of her characters. I wish that I had liked this one more as I do think that parts of it were better written than Maybe One Day and if it wasn’t for Juliet and the cheating than I may have liked this one a little more as well.


IR- Better Than Perfect

Add The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aquirre to Goodreads (my review)

Add Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell to Goodreads (review coming soon)


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: With This Heart by RS Grey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: With This Heart by RS GreyWith This Heart by R.S. Grey
Published by Self-Published on 06 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 318
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: Scoring Wilder

Place(s) Traveled To: Dallas, Texas // Corpus Cristi, Texas // Odessa, Texas // Marfa, Texas // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): On a rather insignificant Saturday afternoon, I stood in a funeral home searching through rows of urns as if I was browsing down the aisles of a super market.

With This Heart by RS Grey is the second novel of hers that I’ve read and I was really hoping to get another book like Scoring Wilder (my review). Alas, that wasn’t to be and while I did enjoy With This Heart I was often frustrated by it as well. The main character, Abby Mae, would often break the fourth wall during the narration and it almost always took me out of the story. This wasn’t a book that I wanted the character to talk to me it was a book where I wanted to be more of a voyeur peaking into her life for a brief moment in time. There was also much awkwardness to be hard in Abby Mae’s interactions with other characters, including Beck, that would often make me cringe. The mom was overly needy and clingy and while I get the reasons behind it I just got annoyed with it and kept waiting for Abby Mae to put her foot down and say something only she never did.

Abby Mae and Beck were also two very frustrating characters. They had some chemistry but there wasn’t much to build a relationship on as they never talked about the real things. Abby Mae kept big secrets from him and she was also very jealous without cause. There was so much mistrust between them that it seemed impossible for them to build a solid relationship. Plus, when it came to the pointless breakup Beck was just a little too passive and accepting of it. Why not fight for the girl? Why not figure out a way to make things work without either of them having to give everything up. Life isn’t an all or nothing deal and long distance relationships can work.

With This Heart Quote

I did like that With This Heart  was a road-trip book as I am always a sucker for them. I do think I would have preferred this one a little more if they’d gone out of Texas a bit more. But Texas is a big ass state and there is much to see and do there. Especially since there was a reason behind all the stops that. I also found With This Heart to be a quick read and I read it in a single sitting. I still enjoyed Grey’s writing style and will check out her other books in the future.

With This Heart is also a book that may have annoyed me at times but I was still engaged in the story. I still kept flipping the pages to see what happened next and most of all I did want these two characters to find their happily for nows. I may not have loved it but I did like it and if you and I read with similar tastes then you might like it too.


IR - With This Heart

Add How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski to Goodreads (Click here for my Review.)

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