Review | Reaper by A. Zavarelli

Reaper
Title: Reaper
Series: Boston Underworld #2
Author: A. Zavarelli
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: June 03, 2016
Genre: Adult, Romance
Pages: 260

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sasha.

He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal.
An Irish mobster.
Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package.
But there’s also something off about him.
He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions.
Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word.
But we share a secret, he and I.
And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have a problem killing me too.

Ronan.

I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again.
When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too.
But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows.
Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay.
I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her.
The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.

My Thoughts-01

Time for another steamy read! I’ve decided to continue on the Boston Underworld series because I’m in the mood for dangerous mafia stories and dark, lethal, broody, and sexy Irish guys. Reaper is a lot darker than it’s predecessor, Crow. And a lot more brutal, I think, as our hero—Ronan—is the mafia’s appointed reaper. His job is to torture and kill people for information or torture and kill people for betraying the mafia. Either way there’s a lot of maiming and violence in this book, given it’s theme. And most of it is very graphic that there were particular scenes that I find a bit jarring.

This book could pass as standalone but I would still recommend reading Crow beforehand. We already knew Ronan from the first book as Lachlan’s right hand and Sasha as one of the strippers at a club owned by Lachlan’s group. And we knew that there’s this strong unspoken romantic pull between them even then. Well, this book lets us know them in a deeper level. We saw just how broken these two were and how they found the light in each other. Read More »

Review | The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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Title: The Fate of the Tearling
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #3
Author: Erika Jokansen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 478

Blurb from Goodreads:

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

My Thoughts-01

Tell me there’s going to be a book four! No? Well, drats! I’ll just go and drown myself in tears then. Considering how much I disliked the first book of this series, I never thought I’d get so invested in its world and its characters. This book in one word? Irresistible! How can I put it down when it’s spilling all the answers I’ve been dying to know? Spilling it in a riveting way, if I may add. Because there were lots of unexpected cards played in this stunning conclusion to this trilogy. And then everything just interlaced beautifully with each other and connects with a perfect fit.

The Fate of the Tearling definitely outshined the first two books. It was just… more. More growth, more intense action, more problems to deal with. What I enjoyed the most about the whole thing is getting more answers about Tearling’s early history and seeing how it gradually started to move away from William Tear’s ideal of peace. And of course there’s the revelations about the characters I’m most curious about—Row and the Fetch. I’ve had my eyes on the Fetch since the first book so imagine my excitement when this one opened up with his POV. Even if I wasn’t so curious about the Fetch, I think, his would still be the perfect POV to start this story with. That’s because the mystery that surrounds him has a way of reeling readers in.Read More »

Review | The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Invasion of the Tearling

Title: The Invasion of the Tearling
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Release Date: June 09,2015
Genre: AdultFantasy
Pages: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

Kelsea Glynn is the Queen of the Tearling. Despite her youth, she has quickly asserted herself as a fair, just and powerful ruler.

However, power is a double-edged sword, and small actions can have grave consequences. In trying to do what is right – stopping a vile trade in humankind – Kelsea has crossed the Red Queen, a ruthless monarch whose rule is bound with dark magic and the spilling of blood. The Red Queen’s armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and it seems nothing can stop them.

Yet there was a time before the Crossing, and there Kelsea finds a strange and possibly dangerous ally, someone who might hold the key to the fate of the Tearling, and indeed to Kelsea’s own soul. But time is running out…

Erika Johansen’s fierce and unforgettable young heroine returns in this dazzling new novel of magic and adventure, set in the beguiling world of the Tearling.

My Thoughts-01

This is why I’m thankful for not giving up on a series so easily. The Queen of the Tearling was a bit disappointing but this book is a huge improvement. The first book might be annoying for it’s lack of much needed explanations, but it actually served as a good foundation for this installment. There were still some subtle issues that I found along the way but I think this series has gone into a surprisingly unique and interesting direction. One that had me engrossed and left me wanting to know more about the world, the magic, the mysteries, and the characters’ fate.

Invasion of the Tearling feels like reading two different books about two different worlds—Kelsea’s and Lily’s. It’s like two treats in one. On one side we have a medieval-like world that faces war and is bound to lose everything. On the other we have a world rich in technology but is losing humanity. It’s good that the world-building has finally started to make a solid shape in this book and light has been shed on the whys and the hows that I had in book one. Not just intriguing, these worlds are also quite surprising. In fact, this is the first time I see the modern world of technology collide with the world of fantasy and magic. And it actually worked! It was confusing as hell at first, and I even thought the first book was ridiculous, but now it all made sense. I didn’t thought I was going to say this, but man, this is actually a great idea!Read More »

Review | The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Release Date: July 08, 2014
Genre: AdultFantasy
Pages: 448

Blurb from Goodreads:

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

My Thoughts-01

This book was a mixture of likes and dislikes for me. There were certain aspects of the story that were quite gripping but there were also a lot of plot holes and missing explanations and character issues that I just couldn’t ignore. So I’m kind of sitting in the middle with my rating.

I don’t want to end this review ranting so the bad stuff goes first. I’ll try not to spoil this book but know that sometimes I get a little carried away when I’m laying my issues on the table so a bit of spoilers might slip through.

What’s Disappointing

Kelsea. There are two different angles in which a reader could see Kelsea’s character. You could choose to see her as this young queen who acted on impulse and doomed her Kingdom with a single act the minute she was in power. Or you could choose to see her as this queen with a fierce determination to right the wrong. Either way, she’s the Queen. And now it falls on her to lead the Tearling, protect its people, and free the kingdom from Mortmesne’s clutch. Read More »

Review | The Muse by Jessie Burton

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The Muse by Jessie Burton
Published by Pan Macmillan on June 30, 2016
Genre : Historical Fiction, Adult
Pages : 464

THE BLURB

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On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.

MY THOUGHTS

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: in the end, a piece of art only succeeds when its creator – to paraphrase Olive Schloss – possesses the belief that brings it into being.

Oh Saints! This book knows how to make me furious with its twists! The clues were there and I was confident I knew what’s going on and what’s coming. But when everything was laid bare in front of my eyes, this author still managed to draw some strong emotions out of me. There are novels wherein you dread the death of main characters. Here, I got so mad with the twist. Mad to the point that I wish for a painful death for a character or two.

The Muse is a riveting story about art and creativity, love and loss, oppression and resistance, loyalty and betrayals, and secrets… lots of them. I loved this book in a hundred different ways starting with that eye-catching cover that demands attention. And wonderfully, the beauty of it doesn’t end with the cover as it matches what is inside.  Read More »

Review | Yesternight by Cat Winters

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Yesternight by Cat Winters
Published by HarperCollins on October o4, 2016
Genre : Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Adult, Fantasy
Pages : 374

THE BLURB

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From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

MY THOUGHTS

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I’ve only read The Uninvited from Cat Winters and it was perfectly amazing—from the creepy plotlines to the carefully delineated characters. I instantly adored her and she became one of my favorite paranormal authors. Yesternight shares the same eerie concept as The Uninvited as well as Winters’ fluid writing style but it just wasn’t as captivating. The premise was good actually, but that ending left me unimpressed. For a story that started out solid and strong, this book had a rather sloppy and unsatisfying end to it. It was a good four star read until the final quarter of the book that felt like such a letdown. It gave me the feeling that the novel was ended in a rush. It’s as if the author built up all those nice things from an interesting foundation and just got lazy and want out.  Read More »

Review | It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

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It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books on August 02, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Standalone
Pages: 376

THE BLURB

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Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

MY THOUGHTS

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What a powerful read! This book just hit me in the heart so hard it left a mark. It was so real, and raw, and so honest. It doesn’t just inspire its readers. It educates. Read More »

Review | Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry

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Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry
Published by Ace on August 04, 2015
Genres: Re-telling, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Adult, Horror
Pages: 291

THE BLURB

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A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll…

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

MY THOUGHTS

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There are only so many ways an author can interpret Alice in Wonderland. I’ve read a few reinventions of it. By far this one is the creepiest, darkest, and most terrifying of them all. It’s rough, raw, twisted, and it moved far… far from the original childhood classic you’re used to. By that I mean this book contains a lot of disturbing images: blood, violence, murder, abuse, mutilation, cannibalism. Also, rape and sexual assault is a major theme here. If you’re sensitive with these topics, be warned. Read More »