Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Purchased

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Rating: 2 stars

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Review:

No one is more disappointed than me to be writing this review right now. Since early last year I was looking forward to picking up An Enchantement of Ravens. The cover is easily one of the most gorgeous covers ever (duh, Charlie Bowater is an artistic goddess) and the synopsis had me hooked. I was the smallest bit apprehensive because it’s a fantasy standalone and short as heck, but I had faith I would love it anyway. Unfortunately, no. I did not like this at all.

My biggest issue was how under developed the characters and the romance was. Everything was skimmed over, which essentially made the romance an insta-love that made zero sense. I mean, when Rook’s painting was completed and Isobel was missing him, she realized she was in love with him. I’d love to know when on earth that happened. They exchanged looks a few times and she moved his head once to get him at a better angle where there was a physical connection between them. How does that constitute falling in love? What did I miss? For god’s sake, I’ve had a bigger connection with any person I’ve randomly bumped into on a squished rush hour bus than those two had.

Not only that, but I have so many questions about every single character. Everyone was brushed over in the simplest way and we got to know no one. There were so many opportunities to enrich the story with the backstories of the characters and how they tie into the novel itself. But we didn’t get any of that.

If this was any other book, I would have fallen in love with the main male character. Not this time though because we knew nothing about him. Sure, he felt sorrow and we got a sentence as to why. But a sentence isn’t satisfying. I want his backstory. He’s lived for lord knows how many years, surely lots of things have happened in his life.

Another thing that disappointed me was that I was not at all expecting this to be a journey/travel type of novel. Most times I don’t enjoy those and this case was no different especially because everything was skimmed over so quickly.

Last thing, and the thing that probably frustrated me most, was the ending. Of course I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything for the people out there who were in my position a year ago and want to read this. BUT OH MY GOD. I AM ANNOYED. SO. SO. ANNOYED.

Overall, this was a novel with so much potential but fell completely flat for me. The opportunity to make this a novel full of fae backstory, romance, and court politics was there. We just didn’t get any of it. It left me bored and not caring about the story or the characters.

About Margaret Rogerson:

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Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms.

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Review: A Bad Breed by Kat Ross – Blog Tour

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Title: A Bad Breed
Author: Kat Ross
Series: Gaslamp Gothic #3
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2019
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 5 stars

Pricolici.

A creature out of folklore. And nightmare.

January 1889. When a Romanian village suffers a series of brutal attacks, occult investigator Anne Lawrence is dispatched to the forests of the Old Country to hunt the killer – only to vanish without a trace.

The trail leads her mentor Vivienne Cumberland deep into the Carpathians to a remote monastery. As a blizzard rages outside, trapping them all with the pricolici, Vivienne risks sharing the fate of the woman she came to find. But is the culprit truly a werewolf … or something even more dangerous?

A man bent on revenge. And a love that was never meant to be.

Imprisoned in a decaying castle, Anne finds herself ensnared in a web of dark enchantment, at the mercy of a mysterious captor with a beast inside – and a memory as old as the ancient legends.

As the weeks pass, Anne learns his real identity, and slowly uncovers a complex and deeply passionate man. But is she willing to pay the price for falling under his spell?

Author’s Note: This darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, but can be read as a standalone with no need to start with Book #1, The Daemoniac.

Review:

This book is everything I needed in my life. It’s the perfect blend of fantasy, romance, and suspense. And don’t let the fact that it’s a retelling worry you because I know many people can be skeptical of books that say they’re a retelling. There are definitely elements of Beauty and the Beast, but A Bad Breed is so much more than that.

This is the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. There are course some references to things that I’m assuming happened in the previous novels (I haven’t read them… yet), but there won’t be anything that leaves you confused or has you feeling like you’re out of the loop.

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how incredible this book was. It was a ride in the best way possible and I wish I could read it for the first time again. I flew through it because the entire thing was captivating. It had me on the edge of my seat.

One of the best things about this novel, besides the romance aspect that relates to Beauty and the Beast, nothing was predictable. There were so many things that would happen that would shock me. It’s been a while since I’ve stayed up because I can’t put a book down to props to you Kat Ross.

Kat Ross’ writing was incredible. The settings she created in each country were so vivid. It was easy to picture all of these beautiful places that were home to such haunted characters. The characters and the romance as well were fantastic. I find in fantasy, I tend to ship characters less than usual because I’m so focused on the fantastical world, but oh my god. Kat Ross hit it out of the park with every single aspect of this book and I can’t wait for the next one.

I’m so happy this book came into my life because it was perfect. And if you’re looking for a gothic fantasy novel with a touch of romance and suspense, then please pick this up. It will definitely make your reading life better.

About Kat Ross:

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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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Review: Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen – Blog Tour

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Title: Fake It Till You Break It
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

Review:

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the fake dating trope is the best trope of all in young adult books. I don’t make the rules, that’s just how it is. And I am happy to say that this is another novel that does the trope so well.

Jake and Mia’s mothers are best friends and because of that they have grown up alongside each other. The older they get, the more their mothers think they would be the perfect couple and try to push them together at the smallest opportunity. Jake and Mia have had enough of being thrown into each other’s lives and decide to fake date in the hopes that if they have an ugly enough break up, their mom’s will get off their backs and leave them to live their lives as they please. There’s only one tiny problem: they didn’t actually count on liking each other.

I like how the fake dating trope was done a little differently this time. Their main goal was getting their moms to cool it, not to make some other crush jealous so that they could be with that person.

This was a very family-oriented novel and I enjoyed that. Families aren’t always very prevalent in YA novels. When they are it’s usually pretty great, and that was definitely the case in this one. Mrs. Adler and Mrs. Le were so funny. And clearly great mothers.

The best part was the romance between Jake and Mia. It was so wholesome and sweet and cute. They were like an old married couple, but mixed in was the innocence of falling in love for the first time.

This was such an adorable book. If you’re looking for the perfect YA contemporary that will make your heart full and happy, then pick up this one. It’s worth the read.

About Jenn P. Nguyen:

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Jenn Nguyen fell in love with books in third grade and spent the rest of her school years reading through lunchtime and giving up recess to organize the school library. She has a degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and still lives in the city with her husband. Jenn spends her days reading, dreaming up YA romances, and binge watching Korean dramas all in the name of ‘research’.

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Review: Vow of Silence by Melynda Price – Blog Tour

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Title: Vow of Silence
Author: Melynda Prince
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: May 27, 2019
Genre: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4.5 stars

A killer is hiding in Plain sight…

The hunt for a serial killer leads Homicide Detective Josiah Troyer back to his Amish roots. To catch a madman preying on young women, Joe must return to Lancaster County and regain the trust of a shattered community.

The FBI knows Joe is the best chance they have of solving this case. By returning to Lancaster, he will face shunning, and resentment from the people he once called family and friends.

Hannah’s heart was broken when Josiah abandoned her eight-years ago to live with the Englishers. Forced to wed a man not of her choosing, her husband’s untimely death has left her struggling to put her life back together.

When unspeakable tragedy strikes again, Josiah unexpectedly returns, investigating the murder of her sister and two other young Amish women. Hannah quickly discovers the man that’s come back is not the same one she fell in love with.

Gone are Josiah’s easy smiles and gentle ways. He’s harder, colder—a true Englisher… But not even shunning can stop the attraction from consuming them both, and Josiah soon opens Hannah’s eyes to a world of passion and pleasure she never imagined. Choosing Josiah would mean walking away from the only world she’s ever known.

Josiah’s investigation begins to unravel when he discovers the killer is closer than he thought. Soon, he’s in a race against time to save the only woman he’s ever loved before she becomes the next victim.

Review:

This books you guys. This freaking book. It was so good. I flew through it, constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next with both the mystery and the romance. I was on the edge of my seat because it wasn’t too predictable. My first guess as to who the killer was wasn’t correct. The writing made it seem like there were quite a few options as to who the killer could have been and it made the story more compelling to not know from the start.

Second-chance romances are very hit or miss for me, because if it didn’t work out the first time, the past should probably stay in the past. But holy crap, I was rooting for Josiah and Hannah from the moment they met again. They were that kind of couple where you just knew they were meant to be together.

Melynda Price is such a good writer. The suspense, the romance, and the POV from the killer were all excellent and I’m looking forward to reading other books from her.

I highly recommend this book. It was a good mix of suspense and romance and both will have you flipping those pages at record speed to get to the conclusion.

About Melynda Price:

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Melynda Price is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her novels have finaled in and or won many awards such as the RONE, USA Today BBA, Golden Quill, National Readers’ Choice, Write Touch, and New England Readers’ Choice.

What Price enjoys most about writing is the chance to make her readers fall in love, over and over again. She cites the greatest challenge of writing is making the unbelievable believable, while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion and unique twists and turns. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and two children where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua and a hot cup of coffee to write.

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Review: In Other Words by Jennifer Woodhull – Blog Tour

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Title: In Other Words
Author: Jennifer Woodhull
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-published by Jennifer Woodhull
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

Dexter

We became close friends in college. When Sinclair returns home to Dallas after two years in New York, I introduce her to my best friend Cole. The good-looking playboy ballplayer is the perfect kind of guy for the woman I’m sure would never be interested in me…even if seeing them together breaks my heart.

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He was the nerdy PhD candidate. I was the cheerleader. We made unlikely friends. Moving back home after two years away, he looks hotter than ever. When I start dating his ballplayer best friend, things get complicated. He doesn’t see me as girlfriend material…but I can’t get him, or my feelings for him, out of my head.

Review:

If you’re looking for a great friends-to-lovers romance to pick up, then you should absolutely pick up Dex and Sinclair’s story. Two wonderful characters who have one of the sweetest romances I’ve read about.

My favourite thing about Dex was how real he was. Sure, he was basically described as the dream guy, but he used to be gangly and nerdy (his words) and had moments where those insecurities came out. Where he wasn’t always sure if he was the perfect guy.

A lot of time when the male leads seem to think a little bit less of themselves and put the female character on a pedestal, she isn’t really that great to anyone but him. But I absolutely adored Sinclair. She was smart and kind and nerdy and loved Dex throughout their entire friendship, even when he didn’t see himself as the kind of guy who deserved her love. They deserved each other and I mean that in the best way.

The one tiny thing that irked me was the fact that neither Clair or Dex could seem to figure out that the other one was also in love with them. It wasn’t as if there were a few moments spaced out between their friendship that had a ‘will they or won’t they vibe.’ Every single interaction of their friendship made it sound like they were already a couple or one more touch away from confessing their love and finding the nearest surface to bang on.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I thought it was a sweet friends-to-lovers romance and I would highly recommend adding this one to your summer reading lists.

About Jennifer Woodhull:

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Jennifer Woodhull is an author of romance with lots of wit, plenty of heat, and lots of heart. She is known for writing immersive settings that take readers to a wide variety of locales around the world. Her heroines are funny, strong make bad decisions, and get in their own way sometimes before finding their path to happiness. Her heroes are driven, funny, sweet, and sometimes complicated. Jennifer lives in Tennessee with her real life book boyfriend and their yellow lab who can be more persuasive than any roguish villain when he’s after a snack. A lover of travel, Jennifer has been known to plot novels and write pages of dialogue on her phone from planes, trains, and automobiles (though not while driving, because safety first).

Jennifer’s works include her debut Promise Series, the breakout hit The Dating Alternative, and the funny, sexy summer release, Sour.

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