Book review: The Foxe and The Hound

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Title The Foxe and The Hound

Author R.S.Grey

Rating ★★★★★

Publication Date June 1st 2017

Source I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis A full-length STANDALONE romantic comedy from USA TODAY bestselling author R.S. Grey.

When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.

It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.

That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.

With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.

Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.

It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.

It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.

Review

OY with the covfefe, this book was great!

Ahem is this thing on? Taps imaginary microphone … Because you need to listen up, this is an amazing contemporary romance novel and you need to read it asap!

I’ll just admit it right away, I have a soft sport for R.S.Grey’s books, she always writes great characters and they way she builds up this slow-burn atmosphere is incredible. I always find myself almost crushing my Ipad, practically shouting for the characters to do something about their obvious chemistry, and this book was no exception.

Madeleine is a wonderful, quirky 27 year old real estate agent who, like many other milennials, is just trying to get by. I found myself relating to Madeleine in a lot of ways, I know what it was like to just scrape by, wondering how on earth I was going to get money for next month’s rent, and just feeling like everything was against me.

Madeleine has a wonderful man in her life, someone she can always trust. Her lovely, mischievous puppy Mouse. I need a Mouse in my life, doggos are everything! Madeleine can rely on her her gorgeous puppy, who seems to grow bigger by the minute.

One thing that is missing in Madeleine’s life, is a man. I loved the fact that even though it has become some sort of, I won’t say taboo, but somewhere along those lines,  to actually come out and say that you want to be in a relationship, that you want a man, Madeleine isn’t afraid to say that she’s looking for someone special

Enter Adam Foxe, a gorgeous, tall, brown-haired, muscular vetenarian who has just moved to town.

Thanks to Mouse, some mutual friends and oftentimes pure coincidence Adam and Madeleine are thrown together at every turn.

This book has everything you could want, I mean dogs, a hot vet, a female character you can relate to, humor, a battle between attraction and reluctance? Yes please. This book had these things in spades. There was so much back and forth between these two, and it was glorious, because of the fantastic chemistry between Adam and Madeleine.Teaser#1.png

This book made me snort, it made my heart hurt and it made me so happy that you have an author like R.S. Grey who weaves these brilliant stories together filled with both fluffy and heavy emotions.

Make sure you pick up this wonderful romantic comedy, you won’t regret it and seriously, I need to know more about Adam and Madeleine’s life!

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: Melody’s Key

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Title Melody’s Key

Author Dallas Coryell

Rating ★★★☆☆

I received this book from the author in exchange for a review, this will in no way influence my thoughts on the book.

Synopsis

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”

Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

Review 

Do you like a slow burning romance? Descriptive, poetic writing? Then this is the book for you!

Over the course of the story, we follow the main character Teagan. She  works at her parents’ hotel, having turned down a scholarship to Columbia, to help save the struggling business. Moreover, she carries a deep dark secret that she hasn’t told her parents.

Teagan is unfortunately a bit of a walking cliché, she is the usual “beautiful girl, who doesn’t know that she’s beautiful.” She struggles to find happiness, she struggles to find inspiration.  You see she is not only beautiful, she is also a talented artist (that’s how she got the full-ride scholarship to Columbia), and as if that wasn’t enough, she’s also a gifted musician, singing, writing and playing. Inspiration suddenly hits when a young pop-musician Mason Keane arrives at the hotel, trying to escape the rustle and bustle of his busy life. For some inexplicable reason Teagan can’t stand the sight of him, she feels that she has to avoid him at all costs and everything he does annoys her.

As I said earlier, it’s a slow-burn, and Teagan is slowly charmed by Mason and they built a relationship.

It’s through music that two find a common ground, and find a place where they cane explore and get to know each other. The lyrics in the book are all written by the author, and you can listen to them on his youtube channel, just search for Melody’s Key – Dallas Coryell.

The book briefly touches upon some rather serious issues including depression, self-harm and rape. Nothing gets too explicit, but I just wanted to make sure that people know that before diving into the book.

The writing in this book is wonderful, the atmosphere is incredibly well described, but it also drags on, it makes the story very long, very descriptive, and honestly a lot of scenes were drawn out way too long, and made me less interested. And, there were way too many words written in CAPS, honestly, they were all over.

You quickly figure out the plot, and despite the fact that the last 100 pages are so are action filled, you also feel that the it becomes a bit predictable, and the ending felt a bit too rushed for my taste. I felt like there were still things that need to be explained and wrapped up, but instead it felt a bit abrupt.

It was a nice read, but it was also an unnecessarily long read, several pages could have easily been left out, and it would have improved my reading experience a lot. However, if you’re looking for a slow-burn, romantic book, this one is definitely for you 🙂

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.

 

 

 

February wrap-up

IMG_7411.JPGAnother month gone by, is it too cliché to say that time just flies?

It probably is, but honestly it’s true, especially as you get older, days just become a blur.

I’m happy to be done with February though, I am ready for spring and just a tiny bit of warm weather.

This month I’ve read some pretty spectacular books, I’ve given out three 5 star reviews, something that rarely happens.

 

My February reads that were featured on here are:

“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

5/5 stars  Review

“You” By Caroline Kepnes

5/5 stars Review

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern

4.5/5 stars Review 

In total, I’ve managed to read 12 books this month. 9 ebooks and 3 physical ones. I always manage to read a lot more ebooks than regular books, I read them so much faster. But physical books will forever be my favorite, they manage to stay with me for so much longer 🙂

Which is also one of the reasons why the only books I’ve reviewed so far, have been books that I’ve read the old fashioned way. At some point I’ll start reviwing the ebooks that I read too, but not until I feel like I have more time on my hands.

My favorite one would definitely have to be The Nightingale, it was incredible and so beautifully written.

How was your February?

Book review: The Night Circus

Title  The Night CircusIMG_7331.JPG

Author Erin Morgenstern

Rating 4.5/5

I’ve decided to try something new instead of just writing, writing, writing. I got the inspiration from adear friend Anniek and how she divides her reviews into: plot, characters, writing style and conclusion. We’ll see how that goes 🙂

 

Plot

Two brilliant magicians have to train two protégés of their own choosing, and have them battle.

The protégés are children when chosen and they are trained by each magician, learning different skills.

The two opponents as they become have no clue who they are up against, they don’t know who the other opponent is and they are also left in the dark about what the contest is actually about, they only know that they are to show off their magic.

This is where the circus appears and this magically enchanted place becomes their battlefield. This is where the magic happens … I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself!! 😀

There is a lot of guessing throughout the book, you keep wondering what the end game is, how will a winner be chosen, why are we jumping back and forth in time, what can they do, etc.

And then in the midst of all of this, a love story also starts to unfold between the two opponents without either of them knowing what the outcome of the game is.

I found myself constantly guessing, and I wanted to skip ahead to see what would happen!

Characters

There are several characters to keep track of in this story (around 15 I think), I’ll just mention a few, otherwise this will be waaaay too long.

One of the main characters in the story is Celia Bowen, and I decided to highlight her, as she grows up with the circus and you follow her story from childhood.

As a young girl Celia’s mother dies and she goes to live with her father, Hector Bowen – one of the brilliant magicians. Celia appears to have natural abilities when it comes to magic, and her father wants to take advantage of those and he does so by training her from a very young age.

Celia is one of the opponents in the game, and she is a performer in the night circus, where she has her own tent.

It would be silly not to highlight the other opponent in the story, an orphan boy, whose name is Marco.

Marco is taken in by the other brilliant magician and trained mostly throught books and practice. He does not appear to have natural abilities, but rather learns to manipulate the world around through hard work and determination.

His role in the circus is not as obvious as Celia’s, as Marco actually stays put in London where he works as an assistant to Chandress, the proprietor of The Night Circus. But as the story goes on, you find out just how much he contributes to the cirus.

As mentioned there are around 15 characters in this story to keep track of, and they all have a significant role to play in the circus, however I’ll let you discover them yourself, if you decided to read the book 🙂

Writing style

Magic is a constant in “The Night Circus” and the writing of the story itself is also purely magic. You are drawn into The Night Circus, and it is described eloquently that you can practically smell the popcorns popping, feel the bright lights on your face and sense the atmosphere after you purchase your ticket at the ticket booth to enther this asthonishing place.

Honestly the setting and mood sold the book for me, and Morgenstern’s style of writing fits the story so well, however it was also a challenge, as it goes back and forth in time, weaving together characters, plotlines and settings, and it takes a bit of effort to keep up.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a story where there are additions in a second POV speaking directly to you as the reader, who is about to enter the circus, and that really added to the magic of the book.

Conclusion

This was a brilliantly written book, driven by its amazing setting and atmosphere. And those two aspects really kept me invested.

The plot was interesting, I liked the love story that starts to unfold as well, and you never quite knew where the story would go, which was fun. The ending was rather interesting as well.

If you are into magic, beautiful prose and descriptive settings, then join the circus as it arrives without warning, and who knows? Perhaps you’ll be a rêveur  of the circus as well 🙂