Book Review: This is Beautiful

 

checkmate_7_This is Beautiful.jpg

Title: Checkmate: This is Beautiful
Series: Checkmate Duet Series (Logan & Kayla, #2)
Author: Kennedy Fox

Rating ★★★★☆
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2pbTtV1

Synopsis 

The anticipated conclusion of the Logan & Kayla saga in the Checkmate Duet Series from a secret duo under the USA Today bestselling author pseudonym, Kennedy Fox!

This second-chance romance will have you gasping and cheering this two on from the first to the last page! Are you ready to play the final game?

***

Kayla Sinclair is a saint and real life Angel.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and inspires me to be a better person.
Rescuing dogs, feeding the homeless, volunteering at the local food pantry are just a few of the ways she gives back to others, although no one has ever been there for her.
Falling for her was inevitable, losing her will destroy me.

Letting someone in didn’t come easy, but she made me want to try for the first time in years.
Her bubbling personality and kind spirit make it impossible to forget a girl like her.
But when tragedy strikes and she loses all memory that our relationship ever existed, my worst nightmare comes to life.

I’ll do anything to remind her of the love we shared. I know it’ll be an uphill battle, but I won’t walk away without a fight. Whoever said all is fair in love and war never played by my rules.

Checkmate, Angel.

Review 

Argh I’m so excited to finally have the conclusion to this series, I can’t believe the cliffhanger the previous book with on, good lord that was cruel 😀

I think this might be my fave out of the Checkmate books, it felt honest, and it felt real in a way that was very relatable.

The characters were great, I loved the development that Kayla went through after her accident, and it was refreshing and so great to see her put herself first, something that more women, in my opinion, ought to do. She stood up for herself as well, and spoke her mind, moreover she took the plunge and went for her dream, a very admirable thing to do.

Also, can I get a doggy dealer like Kayla in my life?

It was interesting to see how she wanted to pursue a friendship with Logan after it was revealed to her that they’d been a couple before her accident.

Speaking of Logan … oh my word. YES, where can I find me one of those please and thank you?

I can’t even imagine what it must be like to see your loved one, and then realizing that she doesn’t recognize you, let alone remember everything you had together.

Logan has the patience of a saint, he stays close becomes her friend, and lets Kayla set the pace.

It was great that the focus, for the most part, was on their mutal relationship and how they were trying to come to terms with their new reality. I will say though that some of the drama seemed a bit dragged out, and a bit repetitive, with some sudden and rather unexpected guilt from both parties as well.

That being said, this was a perfect way to end the Checkmate series, Logan and Kayla have become my absolute favorite of the three couples, and I’ll never look at a sprinkled donut the same way again 😉

Thanks to the author for generously providing me an ARC to review.

 

Advertisements

Book review: The Hating Game

 

IMG_1440.JPG

Title The Hating Game

Author Sally Thorne

Rating ★★★★★

Synopsis 

Nemesi

s (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Review

“It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.” – The Hating Game

Argh this might be one of my favorite romantic comedies ever, I absolutely loved it.

The two main characters Lucy and Joshua are co-workers and mortal enemies. They are executive assistants to the owners of “Bexley & Gamin” publishing house, and the two of them have been enemies since the very start.

The story is told entirely from Lucy’s POV and she is a wonderful narrator. She is kind, funny, and a genuinely good person, who has taken a chance when she left the security of her hometown, and struggles with the what ifs. She was extremely relatable that way, and how she hides her loneliness by being a people pleaser, always wanting people ot like her. Lucy considers whether or not it would be a good idea to go home – go back the the known and familiar, if she ends up losing her job, but she persists (YASSS).

Josh on the other hand, came across as stoic, arrogant at at times a little cruel, but with a great sense of humor, and a love of colorful shirts. He comes across as an asshole most of the times, but as the story evolves, you get to peel away the layers of this man and both of the characters.

The two characters were just beautifully written, they had insecurities and flaws and they stood up to each other, they fought, they had passion, tenderness and just hilarious banter.

The banter between the two was amazing, and the games they play, oh boy. I laughed out loud several times, and I clutched the book tightly in my hands when the sexual tension was at all time high, pretty much screaming to myself KISS DAMMIT KISS!

I can’t believe this is a debut novel, but that being said, I am so excited to read more from Sally Thorne! I NEED MORE NOW.

You know those books that just make your heart sing and then you clutch it to your chest after finishing it, while you exhale a big sigh of giddy happiness? This was the book for me, I honestly wish I could read it all over again for the first time, but I’m a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers-trope 😍

So if you’re looking for a enemies to lovers story, with great characters and great writing, do yourself a favor and read this wonderful book ❤️

Book Review: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

IMG_0298.JPG

Title(s) Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

Author Leigh Bardugo

Rating ★★★★☆

Synopsis 

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to clai
it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Review 

I ended up buying this duology after seeing it all over Instagram, and it’s been on my shelf for quite some time. I finally decided to read them last week, and oh my goodness!

The story had me a bit confused at first, everything was very fast-paced and it felt a bit like you had to know something about the worlds made by Leigh Bardugo, which I didn’t.

That, as well as the fact that she introduced a lot of characters within the first few chapters had me feeling a bit confused and to be honest, lost.

However, you quickly catch on and wow, it just turns into a fast-paced adventure!

The books take place in what seems like an alternate Netherlands, and it’s an intriguing environment. There are street gangs, brothels, corruption and in the midst of all of this, you’ll find a diverse set of characters. The characters are flawed, they’re convicts, runaways, thieves, sexworkers, murderers, you name it and you’ll find one among this cast.

The characters really made this book for me, they were gritty, they were honest and they were flawed. Thanks to the alternate POVs you’ll get a beautiful insight to what’s going on with these characters.

There’s the leader of the gang – Kaz – Dirtyhands – a fearless anti-hero, who is a criminal genius with a secret past.

Kaz narrowed his eyes. “I’m not some character out of a children’s story who plays harmless pranks and steals from the rich to give to the poor.”

There’s the wonderful, absolute badass Inej, who has so much guilt about the choices she’s made to survive.

Nina – a fire-cracker with powers, Matthias the warrior and the relationship between these two is just UGH.

Wylan – just adorable, and has had to adapt and come to terms with lots of things in his young life, oh and he blushes all the time gaaah!

Jesper – the joker with the perfect aim, and a love of gambling.

I cannot gush enough about this cast, each of them have a backstory that will shock you and then draw you in. They’re multi-layered and the females in this story have a wonderful relationship. There’s no love-triangle, there’s no competition over who’s the prettiest, or who can get the man, they are equal and they help each other, instead of tearing each other down, and that was amazing to witness.

There’s also an element of romance in these books, but it’s never something that takes over. It’s natural, and it doesn’t disturb the rest of the story. There are stolen glances, sexual tension, lots of blushing, but it never overshadows the plot and that was great!

Crooked Kingdom dragged a bit on for me, there was a lot that could’ve been left out and that’s why I’ve given the books 4/5.

But honestly just read them, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Book review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

16096824.jpg

Title A Court Of Thorns and Roses

Author Sarah J. Maas

Rating ★★★☆☆

Synopsis Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Review

Ahhh this is the first kind of Beauty and the Beast retelling I’ve ever read, and I really enjoyed it.

And this book has pretty much everything you could ever wish for! There’s magic, betrayal, romance and danger, all ingredients that make up a delicious story.

The world in which this story takes place was original and greatly described, and I was sucked right into the univserse filled with faeries, humans and different courts.

Feyre, the human girl – whose perspective we hear the story from, takes care of her family by hunting. She lives with her father, and two sisters, in a small house barely scraping by.

Feyre kills a particular animal and it turns out to be a crime, and she is taken to the Spring Fae Court, where she is forced to live with Tamlin  – oh be still my heart and Lucien that cheeky bastard.

It takes a while for the three to warm up to each other, and sparks start to fly between Feyre and Tamlin. Their relationship gradually builds over the course of the story, and it is a glorious thing to behold. I like the fact that they take their time to come to terms with their feelings and it evolves in a very natural way.

The story dragged on a bit for me, it took a while before the something really happened, but my goodness when it finally did, holy Cauldron! But really, I wanted more action!

That being said, the writing was great, and every character and every scene were written with so many vivid details that you had no trouble imagining what it looked like.

I am so excited to continue this series, have you read it? What did you think?

 

 

Book review: A Monster Calls

IMG_9742.JPG Title A Monster Calls

Author Patrick Ness

Rating ★★★★★

Synopsis The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

Review

How do you begin to describe and gather your thoughts about a book that turned your heart to shreds?

As much as I wanted to this review right after finishing this beautiful book, I simply couldn’t. Tears were running down my face, I was a sobbing mess and I had to leave it for a few days to clear my head.

Imagine waking up night after night at 12.07 am from the same nightmare, until one day you wake up and find a monster in your bedroom. This is exactly what happens to Conor, a young teenage boy, who has had recurring nightmares that began after his mother started her treatments for cancer.

When he wakes up one night and finds a monster in his bedroom, he is convinced that he is still half asleep, but the monster is so vivid, so real and when he finds physical evidence from it the next day, he slowly starts to come around to the notion that the monster might actually be real.

It soon becomes apparant that Conor must feel as if he is carrying the problems of the world on his shoulders. He lives alone with his mom, and because of her illness, Conor has taken on the responsibilites of caring for the home, making sure to eat his breakfast and cleaning after himself and he makes sure to go to school on time.

You quickly get the feeling that Conor is a lonely boy, he seems and feels invisible to other’s around him, however throughout the book he also shows his humorous side and his strong defiant spirit. Even more so, you get to see a childlike hopefulness that is so incredibly difficult to read about, and is something that just makes you want to grab him and give him the world’s biggest hug.

The monster arrives at time where things seem to be going downhill, and it wants to know the truth about Conor’s nightmares, in order to get the young boy to talk, the monster wants to tell Conor three tales.

Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.

Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

The tales at first seem random, however they all reflect people and situtations from Conor’s life, and although it takes time for Conor to comprehend them, the tales show the readers and Conor that life isn’t always as straightforward as we could hope, there are twists and turns that causes us to make decisions that may seem incomprehensible but actually make a lot of sense.

“Stories don’t always have happy endings.”

This stopped him. Because they didn’t, did they? That’s one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

The monster forces Conor to share his truth about the nightmares that he has been having. I don’t want to spoil you, but the truth is a difficult one to read through, Conor deals with issues and feelings that are difficult for everyone to go through.

It is such a brutally and honest book about grieving, about illness and about life and it really resonated with me. I’m still fortunate enough to have both of my parents, but I almost lost my dad four years ago due to a brain hemorrhage and he’s never been the same. I recognized Conor’s feelings, I recognized his hesitance of sharing the truth, and when the truth finally came out, I recognized that one as well.

You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

This quote hit me so hard, even now four years later, it still resonates with me, and sometimes I still feel this way, especially when things become too difficult to manage, or when I look at my dad and no longer see the man who raised me, but rather the shell of someone I used to know. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, I’m so thankful that he is still here, but he’s not the same anymore and sometimes those angry, sad and annoyed feelings just take over.

“And if one day,’ she said, really crying now, ‘you look back and you feel bad for being so angry, if you feel bad for being so angry at me that you couldn’t even speak to me, then you have to know, Conor, you have to that is was okay. It was okay. That I knew. I know, okay? I know everything you need to tell me without you having to say it out loud.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

This book is one of the reasons why I read, it makes me feel, it makes me angry and it makes me hopeful that everything is going to be alright.

Book review: The Handmaid’s Tale

IMG_9818.JPGTitle The Handmaid’s Tale

Author Margaret Atwood

★★★★★

Ever since I finished this book last week, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts and feelings regarding the story. I had to take it slow, while reading the book just to ensure that I absorbed everything. It was intense, it was enraging, it was scary and it is relevant.

The book is from 1986, which coincidentally is the year where I was born, and it is so incredibly relevant, particularly with president 45 in the US.

In the Republic of Gilead, the former US, we meet Offred, who is a Handmaid.

Offred used to be regular woman, just like me and so many others. She was married to Luke, and they had a precious daughter.

However, when the Religious Right came into power, the oppression of women began. They were stripped of their rights, their bodies, their identities and their names. Offred is not her real name, but the name she was given in the new society. She is a Handmaid in the home of an Commander and wife, where her sole purpose is to birth them a child.

See, in this society, births are declining due to toxins in the environment, many women have thus become infertile. If by any chance, a woman in Gilead, is not infertile, you will become an oven for those who can’t bake themselves!

Yes, it is against their will, the Handmaids serve at various commanders’ houses, like breeding mares making their rounds producing foals for their owners, and they’re only valuable as long as their ovaries work.

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

The book was disturbing, and this dystopia is a nightmare waiting to happen. Throughout the story, Atwood’s world is slowly building as the story unfolds, and it is a terrifying portrait of the oppression and injustice that these women went through and what some women go through today!

That might be the scariest thought that these events, these roles that the women have, in this book are real some places in the world, they are babymaking machines, they have no say in what happens to them, their bodies or their lives.

It is so important that we remember that, even in our priviliged corner of the world.

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

 

 

Book review: Caraval

FullSizeRenderTitle Caraval (Caraval #1)

Author Stephanie Garber

Rating ★★★★☆

Remember, it’s only a game … 

With a sentence like that in a synopsis, how can you not be drawn to this story immediately?

I’ve seen so many posts about Caraval in the #bookstagramcommunity and seen rave reviews for it, and let’s be honest the cover of this book is incredible, a bookstagrammer’s dream!

So I had to get it, not really knowing what kind of story I was in for, and what a ride it was.

Plot 

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval … beware of getting swept too far away.” 

The Dragna sisters, Scarlett and Donatella, have never left their tiny island where they live with their cruel and powerful father. Scarlett is set to marry a count in a marriage arranged by her father, and due to the upcoming wedding, Scarlett once again dreams of attending Caraval, a once-a-year performance, in which the audience participates until the very end.

Scarlett has been writing letters to the creator of Caraval for years and years without getting a reply, but now she not only receives a reply, she receives an invitation to join in on the performance.

Alongside her sister and a mysterious sailor, Julian, they whisk away to the show.

And that’s when it happens, Donatella – Tella, is kidnapped by the creator of Caraval, a mastermind called Legend, and soon it becomes clear that the show revolves around finding Tella, whoever finds her first, will be crowned winner.

Scarlett is desperate to find her sister, and she has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is just an elaborate performance. Real or not, Scarlett is thrown into a world filled with magic, love and heartbreaks, and she only has five days to find her sister, otherwise Tella will be gone forever.

The world of Caraval was so intriguing and the set-up was brilliant, I found myself drawn to Scarlett, but even more so to the character of Julian and the budding romance with one of the sisters (I’m a sucker for romance, alright?!)

The relationship between the sisters was a compelling one, and the way they both tried to save each other from their father’s abuse.

All in all, it was a great book, with wonderful writing, however it fell a bit flat, after all of the hype I’d seen. I thought it was going to be something more, something more spectacular, and the ending was a bit of a let-down. That being said, it did have a twist that made me very eager to read the second book in the series.