Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

The Beautiful by 
Renée Ahdieh

  • Pub. Date: October 8, 2019
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
  • Pages: 448
  • Series: The Beautiful #1
  • Rating:5/5
  • Goodreads/Amazon

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

Review: I haven't picked up a book having to do with Vampires in a long time and I didn't realize how much I needed them back in my life until I got my hands on The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh.  Ahdieh took us into the world of a dark and wickedly ravishing New Orleans with writing so lush and vivid I couldn't stop turning the pages and found myself reading the novel late into the night sacrificing my sleep and I love my sleep time so any book that can get me to do that deserves five stars. And I just have to say THAT ENDING!!! Talk about a cliffhanger...wow.

Let's start with the characters, I loved Celine, Sébastien Saint Germain, and Odette the most out of the many noteworthy characters in the novel. Celine, she is courageous, spirited, and fearless. I also really loved how she didn't give a damn about fitting in with proper society. Moving on to Bastien, he has this whole dark mysterious ruthless vibe going on for him when you first meet him but I loved seeing his story unravel and I feel that there is still so much more we need to learn about him as much as I loved Celine he was far more interesting to me. As far as Odette I really did love her, for the most part, there was a moment when I questioned her motives also I know she isn't the MC but I do hope that she is more fleshed out in the next book because she really is one of those characters you wish had her own book. 

Now that I think about it one thing I would love to see overall in the next book is that I wish the supporting characters were more fleshed out.

I did enjoy being transported back into 1872 New Orleans, the attention to detail by Ahdieh was perfection. The writing was beautiful and lyrical and I didn't expect anything less from Renée Ahdieh.

I have to say I'm a huge fantasy reader and this felt more like YA Romance with Fantasy thrown in the mix, a quick read and I can't wait for the next book to be out. Overall if you love romance, vampires, and an author who can weave an amazing story The Beautiful is a must-read.


Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

  • Pub. Date: September 1, 2015
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • Pages: 327
  • Series: Vengeance Road #1
  • Rating:4.5/5
  • Goodreads/Amazon

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

Review: I don't like Westerns. Not a fan of the movies so I never really cared much for the books either so you are wondering why in the world I decided to read Vengeance Road, honestly because of that cover. Yep. Total cover lust here. Luckily the book was fantastic, I loved it and I can say I'm more open to reading books from the Western genre because of it.

The author did an awesome job with the writing and the dialogue, it all felt so realistic to the time and setting which helped draw me in very quickly. Right off the bat, I loved Kate, there is nothing more I love than a badass female protagonist. Kate was strong and capable of doing what needs to be done without having to depend on anyone and I loved how she had no problems shooting it up with the boys if it meant a life and death situation, she never hesitated which was refreshing.

I found Vengeance Road to be quite unpredictable surprisingly, I really thought I had it figured out but nope, the author threw in a huge plot twist which had me going like WTF! Well, I wasn't expecting that! I loved Kate and the adventures she went on with the Colton brothers riding by her side and a few other interesting characters she meets along the way. 

Overall this was an unforgettable read and even if you don't like Western's I say step out your comfort zone and pick up Vengeance Road you won't regret it.


$50 Blast Giveaway – Just a Name by Becky Monson

Just a Name by Becky Monson  

Holly has a plan for everything. But she never could have planned for this. If there’s one thing Holly Murphy loves, it’s a solid plan. She has her entire life figured out—or so she thinks. But when life pulls the rug out from under her, she’s left to deal with a canceled wedding—hers, to be precise. And the promotion she’s worked toward for years is now in jeopardy because the team she supervises doesn’t like her management style. Thinking that Holly is too tightly wound and needs a break from everything, her boss demands she take a vacation. But how can she take a vacation when her promotion is on the line? Trying to help out, her best friend, Quinn, suggests she still go on her honeymoon and conduct a nationwide search to find a man with the same name as her ex-fiancé to use his plane ticket. Leaving Holly to wonder if she’s the only sane person left on the planet. Yet when her boss gets wind of the idea and loves it, Holly finds herself in a corner she can’t get out of. And when handsome Nate Jones from Newport Beach gets picked to go with her, she wonders if this whole thing won’t be so bad after all. Can Holly learn to let go? Or will this crazy adventure send her running right back to her safety net?

Get your copy on Amazon

Praise for Just A Name “Just a Name is a delicious escape! I devoured every character, every moment, and every quirk and couldn’t get enough. This book is Becky Monson at her finest!” -Author Whitney Dineen “Becky Monson has outdone herself with Just a Name. It’s FANTASTIC! I’m still swooning.” -Author Jennifer Peel “Fans of romantic comedies should grab a copy of Just a Name; it has the perfect balance between sweet and sassy.”-Readers’ Favorite "Full of fun, swoon, and humor, all topped with unexpected twists. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in these pages!" -Katie's Clean Book Collection "I loved it. Becky Monson is so good at writing humor into her books. Sarcasm and wit reign supreme right along with a slow growing romance." - Aimee Brown from Getting Your Read On.

I hate today.

Which doesn’t bode well, since it’s only eight thirty in the morning.
This is par for the course with my life right now, since the past three weeks haven’t particularly been my favorite either. Before that—which feels like ages ago—I was feeling like I was on the right path. Like everything I had planned for myself was happening. And I actually remember thinking, “Life can’t get any better.” Clearly, I jinxed myself.
Because my life is not on track. Not even close.
Lately, every morning I wake up with hopes that this will be the day when things will look up for me. The day my life will take a turn for the better and I’ll get myself back on track. Apparently, today is not that day.
Right now, I’m sitting in an air-conditioned office, holding a piece of paper in my hands, staring at the words in front of me and trying to make sense of it all. The top of the paper, in bold lettering, says, “CT Anderson Bank,” and underneath it, “Holly Murphy—Supervisor Assessment.”
Under that are a whole bunch of words I can’t believe I’m reading. Words like “too controlling” and “micromanaging” and “not a team player.” It’s all there, in Times New Roman, eleven-point type. Coincidentally, these are some of the words Nathan—my ex-fiancé—used when he called off our wedding nearly three weeks ago. He even used the words “not a team player”—whatever that’s supposed to mean. And this was all only a little over two months before we were to marry.
Way to kick me when I’m down, Life.

Author Becky Monson By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. An award-winning author, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last... but it probably won't.  

Giveaway Details $50 Amazon Gift Code or $50 in Paypal Cash Ends 11/27/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: Give The Dark My Love by Beth Revis

Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

  • Pub. Date: September 25, 2018
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Pages: 368
  • Series: Give the Dark My Love #1
  • Rating:3.5/5
  • Goodreads/Amazon 

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island's wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn't quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her. 

All, except for Greggori "Grey" Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that's for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it's making its way toward the cities. With her family's life--and the lives of all of Lunar Island's citizens--on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague. 

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy's most dangerous corners--and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

Review:  I can never get enough books having to do with necromancy, now that I think about it there aren't that many books I have come across that have to do with the subject matter so of course, I had to get my hands on Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis.

I went into this novel expecting a fast-paced read from the very beginning and honestly, it wasn't. It was a slow build up the first half took me quite some time to get through, not that it wasn't interesting because it was but I didn't have the urge to flip the pages and read and read and read to my hearts content, I was able to put the book down, walk away and not have that urge to hurry up and pick it back up to see what happens next.  It wasn't until the second half of the novel where things picked up and my curiosity started flourishing. This also wasn't my first Beth Revis book and I know she is one hell of a writer so I stuck with it and as expected wasn't disappointed.

There are two points of views in Give the Dark My Love, Nedra and Grey and the whole time I could not understand why Grey's POV was important, I don't feel like he moved the story along in any way, we learned a little about the politics of the world through him but nothing that couldn't have been figured out through Nedra. I really did not find him interesting and could care less about his character. Is it wrong to say I hope Revis just totally gets rid of his character in the next book? And if romance is a must maybe bring someone in who is a lot more complex and multidimensional?

Now on to what I loved, Nedra is the definition of an Anti-Hero and I loved it. It is so refreshing to read novels with anti-heroes. Nedra started off with good intentions but things happened that drove her to take the most drastic of measures. I don't want to give spoilers on why but I was rooting for her throughout the whole novel. I found her life and her world intriguing which is what kept me reading the first half when things were slow.

The book gets dark, really dark, I would definitely put Give the Dark My Love in the horror genre especially the second half and I am so excited for the next book. Overall it started off slow, there were some things I didn't like but nothing that took away from my overall enjoyment of the book and I am looking forward to seeing what becomes of Nedra.


Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palmobo

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo

When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase.

Review: I have always been enamored with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and when The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow landed at my doorsteps I was thrilled. There was this dark seductive yet haunting vibe throughout the whole book and with the gloomy rainy weather we were having here in Seattle the mood was set just right for me to get into this novel.

The book grabbed my attention from page one when it started with "Washington Irving got it wrong." I was all in. I knew I had to know Katrina's side of the story what really went down and I was not disappointed. I feel Palombo gave Katrina's character depth something even the original classic never accomplished, we learn so much about Katrina and I really did love her through her struggles and heartbreaks and hard decisions, I loved her through and through.

Another character that surprisingly stood out to me in the novel was Charlotte, Katrina's dearest friend. Without Charlotte, I don't see how Katrina could have managed the whole ordeal with Ichabod.  I found Charlotte to be a quiet strength and a loyal friend I would have loved to see things from her perspective as well.

If you go into this novel expecting it to be heavy in the supernatural realm of things, it's not. It really is a story of Katrina and how she met Ichabod and what transpired between them with tidbits of the supernatural thrown in giving it the right amount of eeriness. 

Overall The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow couldn't be released at a better time with us being knee deep in Autumn now and Halloween upon us soon, I highly recommend it especially if you loved the original classic this is a great addition to your collection.

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