Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

 

 

18350798

Photo via Goodreads.

Rachel Vincent has done it again with Menagerie!

This book was perfection in just over 400 pages! I wasn’t sure what to expect going in with such an odd idea behind the book, but it was incredible! Rachel Vincent never lets me down!

The book follows Delilah, a human who is forced to perform in the Metzger’s Menagerie of strange creatures. When she is pulled away from her normal, everyday life to suddenly becoming a circus animal, how will she take it? Rachel Vincent helps you find out!

Overall, I loved this book. I found the first half of the book very slow to get through, but the second half was a breeze. While it did take me a while to get through the first half of the novel, it’s still worth it. The first half isn’t boring, it’s just a little slow with introductions, character development and shocking plot devices. The second half has a lot more action and intrigue in it.

I loved this novel! I would recommend it to everyone and anyone! People who love fantasy, supernatural, shapeshifter, and story’s that open your eyes to touchy subjects will love this story!!

Five out of five stars!

Quick Book Review: The Darby Shaw Chronicles (Books 1-3) by Liberty Speidel

25579808

Photo via Goodreads.

 

The Darby Shaw Chronicles was a great mystery read with just a pinch of fantasy/supernatural!

At first I wasn’t super hooked into this book – I didn’t really know what I was getting into. It was a detective/crime story, but then suddenly the main character had supernatural powers. In the beginning it seems like some cheesey plot line just to get more people to the book, but once you actually get into the novel (about half way through the first book) you realize how genius the idea actually is.

As cheesey as it seems when the supernatural reveal happens in the beginning, Liberty Speidel then does an excellent job expanding the story and eventually series.

I did love these books. Each book got better, and they left me wanting a fourth one! Liberty builds her characters so you feel for them, but are also very cautious. With all the politics involved in both crime and supernatural possibilities, I felt very informed and not confused at any time during the books.

I would definitely suggest this book to anyone looking for a crime or supernatural novel. It’s the perfect mix of both, with the tiniest splash of romance in there.

If there is anything Liberty Speidel could have worked on, it would be the supernatural reveal. I did find it cheesey compared to the rest of the book, which seems to be siding on serious half the time and light hearted the other. But, this wasn’t a major issue, it just seemed like a change in tone compared to the rest of the books.

Four out of five stars. I can’t wait for the next book!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Review: School Ties by Tamsen Parker

30196041

Photo via Goodreads.

Just when you think Tamsen Parker has reached her peak, she introduces a new forbidden fruit that left me breathless.

Title: School Ties
Author: Tamsen Parker
Date Read: August 21st-September 6th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 11th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!

Introduction: I love Tamsen Parker (and that’s no secret) and every time she writes another book I am grasping desperately to try to get a hold of it. So when I was able to get my hands on School Ties (since Tamsen is totally amazing!!) I almost fangirled myself to death. And then I read the book, and I was silently begging Tamsen to stop (and by stop, I mean stop giving me a heart attack with her super sexy stories!). She stepped her game up with this novel! A pinch of BDSM and sexy time, a few splashes of ex drama, a handful of strong characters and then she added dump truck of forbidden romance.

Quick Summary: Erin Brewster begins to teach at a boys boarding school – Hawthorn Hill. She notices a certain student, Zach Shepard, and instantly sparks flash. Their eyes linger over the school year, and feelings flutter. Flash forward three years after Zach’s grad, and here is he back to tempt Erin. They haven’t forgotten each other, and soon enough they’ll be begging for each other’s company…

Evaluations: I had no words when I first finished this novel. I had to wait a few days to even write this because my brain couldn’t wrap around how Tamsen stepped her game up. Not only did she include her typical, hot, sexy BDSM time, but she added a flicker of forbidden romance as well? Tamsen is doing what most writers don’t – she’s growing!! And that makes my inner fangirl super happy and desperate to get her writing more! Or at least get her books more recognition!!

The book was told in both Erin and Zach’s point of view. This gave an added umph to the story since we got to see both of their thoughts and not just one. It opened up the readers to the thoughts of the characters, and we understood what was going on inside of their head. I typically don’t like multiple POVs in past books, but in this story it fit perfectly!

I also enjoyed the realistic aspects of the story – Erin starts a new job and actually feels self conscious! I can’t list enough books where the characters are glowing and perfect the first day on the job. Every time I’ve done something new (new job, new school, etc) I am definitely not glowing with self confidence! Tamsen does a beautiful job showing this, and this makes Erin so much more relatable!

The angst, drama and love in this story is just overall fantastic. Tamsen opens up more and explores! While there isn’t as much crazy BDSM/sexy time like some of her past books, it’s still great! Erin deals with drama before she meets Shep and that makes her grow as a character, so when the story finally progresses and we see more of adult Shep, we understand the struggles our main woman has dealt with.

Overall, I loved it! It’s a step up in the plot and character building department!

Plot: Tamsen’s plot building skills have definitely improved. While I love all of her old books (and their plots are uber sexy) there seemed to be more plot than sexy time in this novel! While I do love some great sex scenes, I love a wicked plot as well!

Erin Brewster’s troubles before Shep are a bit drawn out and I wanted more Zach in those scenes, but it gave a beautiful insight into the character. We saw her struggles and into her mind. I liked understanding her instead of just sex scene after sex scene. To me, it made her more relatable than Tamsen’s past characters. I felt for Erin and I understood how she saw the world.

When we got to Zach’s scenes, I felt like it was a little to late. I kept yearning and yearning for Zach and Erin to have some kind of fling or flirty scene before he left, but it didn’t happen. Yet Tamsen didn’t disappoint! When Zach was brought back, the sex scenes were super sexy and hot. The long, drawn out wait made those scenes even better.

When Zach explains his life in a sex club (and how he’s a virgin? That was a strange twist) I wanted to read more about it. I wanted to see maybe a flash back chapter or an insight into that part of his memory. His explanations were so interesting, and I felt like his back story could have been a novel all on it’s own!! If anything, his back story felt out of place without the chapters to back it up, but Tamsen still made it work! I would love for Tamsen to make an ebook or side story explaining that, similar to how she made more books in India’s series to see other aspects of that world.

Characters:
Erin Brewster – She’s a realistic and relatable character, which is great for a sexy, BDSM book. She gets nervous and has second thoughts and deals with real issues. I loved that! She wasn’t just some sex toy in the book for the man. The woman tries her best when dealing with her issues in the first half of the book. While I’ve seen other reviewers put down this aspect of the story, I felt like it fit her character. She married a man to keep her job, because she’s young and wants her job. I know many people who are in new jobs and let themselves get pushed around because they need their job. She then stays with the man she marries so she can keep the job. While in real life I would have kicked that guy to the curb, she’s young and she’s really trying.

Zach Shepard – Zach was an interesting character, and for a romance and BDSM book it was odd to read his POV, but that also made this book stand above the others. I didn’t expect to see his side of the story, but we did! As stated earlier I would have loved some more chapters relating to his back story. Him being a changed man was interesting, and makes sense since he went away to another school, but I would have liked to see more of it. He was definitely a hot character, and I could place his personality on a few guys I know, so relatable-ness was met on this character! Seeing Erin and Zach both work through forming a relationship was also nice, so I thoroughly enjoyed his character development.

Themes/Creativity: I wouldn’t say there were any distinct themes in this novel (it’s a romance, BDSM type book) but there was creativity for days in this book! Seeing Erin’s issues before she meets Zach is definitely creative compared to other books. I’ve read many romance novels where the main character complains about her past issues, but I’ve never seen the book actually display them. I also really enjoyed seeing both Zach and Erin’s POV in this novel. I liked seeing Tamsen step up her game with adding forbidden romance with BDSM in this novel and I would love to see her experiment more with these different topics in future books!

Uniqueness: I’ll combine the uniqueness with creativity together. Most of the unique aspects of this novel were also the most creative aspects.

Strengths: Character growth, the plot, the realism of the situations in the story – these are all wonderful strengths in my eyes. I enjoyed Tamsen’s growth in writing, and I can’t wait to see more!
Weaknesses: The lack of Shep’s background story felt like the biggest weakness. I would have liked to read more on that! It wouldn’t have added anything crazy to the novel and it wasn’t a necessity, but I would still like to read it!

Score: 5 out of 5. Despite the little issues here and there, I loved the book. I didn’t really see any weaknesses while reading the book, it was only after when I thought about it and compared it to other novels that are somewhat similar that I started coming up with “problems”. Tamsen did a fantastic job, and I’ll be reading this book over and over again! Tamsen stepped her game up and did a wonderful job with this book! It’s an addicting read that I read in one sitting, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s rare for me to literally sit down and finish a book all in one sitting, I can name only two other books I’ve done that with – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and Hamlet by Shakespeare. That definitely puts Tamsen high in my books, when I literally restart the book on one day and finish it in that same sitting.

Quick Book Review: The Little Washer of Sorrows by Katherine Fawcett

25257570

Photo via Goodreads.

 

The Little Washer of Sorrows was an excellent collection of hilariously crafted tales.

This book is a compilation of many funny stories. This world of fiction is written in such a way that you do not see the ending of each story coming. I loved not knowing what was going to happen, and seeing the hilarious spin Katherine Fawcett puts on these funny stories.

Some of these stories are better than others, but they all left me feeling amused and impressed. Quite often it is easy to see an ending coming, but Katherine took me by surprise every time. Even when I thought I guessed the least likely scenario to happen, this wonderful author managed to twist the ending in a completely different angle.

This playful book was fabulous. I can’t think up one negative thing about this book. Each story is just the perfect length and doesn’t seem to be lacking any information. These stories also aren’t to long – they are the perfect length to keep the reader interested.

The stories do not seem to connect, so if you want to skip around the different stories you can.

I would definitely suggest this book to others! Especially to those who want a good, comedic read that doesn’t need much commitment!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: A Hold on Me (Dark Heart #1) by Pat Esden

25810168

Photo via Goodreads.

 

A Hold of Me was an interesting take on the fantasy/supernatural genre.

This book goes in many different directions, and leads you to places you wouldn’t expect. It’s definitely not your cookie cutter fantasy novel, but it definitely did not wow me.

I found the plot was very wavy – I wasn’t exactly sure where it was going or why certain scenes were involved at all. Half of the book could have been removed and I would have gotten to the same ending. There were many useless scenes that left me confused.

Our main character is interesting and not a weak character. She has a great background story and definitely has layers. Her loyalty towards her family is clear, and she holds onto her values regardless of the situation. She is headstrong and believes in herself, which is great for a main character.

Some of our cast of characters is kooky and interesting – they leave you wanting to know more about them. I would have liked if these characters were built more upon in this story instead of involving useless, silly party scenes to prove that this is for the young adult genre.

Pat Esden does a miraculous job creating the location and scenery of the novel. It was very spooky and interesting. Her descriptions are wonderful, and if anything I would give that specific part of the novel five stars. Her ability to create an intriguing setting is superb!

Our author definitely includes themes in this novel – family loyalty and good vs evil. I assume this will be continued upon in the next novel. The author did make sure this book ended to create a second book, as there were many doors left open.

The book’s pace is very slow. I got bored several time and had to keep putting it down and picking it up again to be able to read it. As fantastic as the writing itself is, the author needed to include more action or drama to keep it moving.

I did like this book, don’t get me wrong! It is a fantastic fantasy novel, but it was not aimed directly at me. I like fast paced books with drama, romance and action. This novel had those, but not at a fast pace.

Two out of five stars – based off the slow pace that left me wanting to put the book away several times.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Private by Kate Brian (Private #1)

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

381489

Photo via Goodreads.

 

Private by Kate Brian is a dramatic, teenage angst drama perfect for the Young Adult audience.

This novel is a great turn in the Young Adult genre. Why? Because it’s not supernatural. I love that this book is not part of the supernatural trend, and it is all about teenagers and their petty drama.

We follow 15 year old Reid Brennan in Easton Academy where she is a scholarship student among many rich kids. It is full of the typical teenage drama – popular cliches, boys, silly drama, high school angst and gossip.

It is entirely what you expect it to be – dramatic and fun! An outside girl is trying to fit in with the popular girls, and of course she will do whatever she wants to be apart of them! And of course you throw a hot, bad boy into the mix and the drama and gossip gets juicier.

I absolutely loved this book. It moves at a fast pace – something is always happening! Sometimes it’s romance, sometimes it’s drama, sometimes it’s both! But it doesn’t leave you feeling bored!!

I find it hard to pick up a Young Adult novel that doesn’t go on and on about plot lines we don’t actually need. Private gets to the point, pulling every piece of drama out of Kate Brian’s magical dramatic bag.

It does have it’s low points – our main character does not have a back bone like many teens to do today. She is pushed around easily and her emotions get the best of her. School work isn’t mentioned that much, but in a soap opera type book who cares about the grades and studying parts of Reid’s “real life”?

It’s a great read for someone who wants a teenage soap opera. It is for sure, very entertaining!

I would suggest it to anyone who likes novels such as Pretty Little Liars, but with less murder. If you are not interested in petty drama, silly high school drama and soap opera like plot lines, it is not the book for you. It is a book that requires little thought to read, and I find it great only for the amusement – I don’t have to follow any crazy plot lines or insane theories. It’s just a soap opera! So do not expect Gone Girl with plot twists and awesome endings. It is definitely your cookie cutter drama. Our main character is going to complain about being a teenage girl and she’s not going to try to change. Our cast of characters are all very cookie cutter as well, we don’t have any awesome background stories – this book isn’t going to be made into an Oscar-worthy movie, that’s for sure.

This book would sit well with young readers – it’s the type of book they need at aged 13ish. It’s relatable to that age group, but if you are an older teen or an adult it will seem pretty lame. It’s not realistic to the adult mind, but to a pre-teen reader who deals with this type of drama at school, it’ll hit a home run right to home base.

It’s quick. It’s scandalous. And it’s mindless for the adult reader.

Four out of five stars! I would love to pick up the next book soon!

Quick Book Review: Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #2) by MQ Barber

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

20912368

Photo via Goodreads.

 

If I could give this book 10 out of 5, I would. It is probably one of the most incredible romance novels I have ever gotten my hands on. And by romance, I mean erotica.

This novel is centered around Alice and her two handsome, hunky roommates Henry and Jay. But there’s something different about them…they really enjoy having three in the bedroom.

The story follows Alice engaging in some fun time with her two roommates, and boy is it hot.

If you are looking for some hot, dramatic erotica with two super hot men this is for you! This book will definitely satisfy some females who are looking for a book that is all about taking care of the women in the bedroom and not the man!!! It is kind of like your BDSM 101 course, as it is slowly starting out with some of your basics in the genre.

Our one love interest is kind of a puppy dog and is very silly, while the other speaks professionally (which can either be very hot or seem very stupid depending on how you like your novels).

This novel isn’t meant to win some crazy literary award or go for an Oscar, so don’t expect it to woo you with her literary language and metaphors. It is a hot romance!! Keep that in mind!

Overall, I enjoyed it. The book is not meant to be a realistic take on your average bedroom play. But it does give your imagination some very happy thoughts.

Five out of five stars! I want like a thousand more books in this series please!