Review: Twisted Beauty

Twisted BeautyTwisted Beauty Kindle cover

By Kristen Flood
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance

 

THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN LOSING EVERYTHING . . .

IS FORGETTING WHAT YOU LOST. 

KRISTEN FLOOD, author of Seeking Incandescence and The Museum, pens a riveting adult romance with a poignant examination of love, identity, and forgiveness.  

THE BEAST 
Once the powerful prince of Renol, William is a shell of the man he once was. Living under the curse of a powerful witch, William has spent 100 years making deals on her behalf and mourning the loss of his first love.  

THE BEAUTY 
Belle has spent her life confined within the limits of her city, Paylor, and is now bound to a man she does not love. When she dares to venture outside the city’s gates in search of something she’s lost, she finds more than she ever expected.  

As Belle and William embark on a journey of love and mourning, passion and forgiveness, they discover that sometimes what we lose isn’t as important as what we find.

My Review:

About a month ago, I told all of you about Twisted Beauty. And then I got to read it. I love fairy-tale re-imaginings. It always seems like Beauty and the Beast is the most popular of those, Cruel Beauty being one of my favorites.

Twisted Beauty is an adults version of the retelling. Yes, there is smut. Tasteful smut in the fact that I didn’t turn red at the embarrassment of reading those particular scenes like I usually do (seriously, I’m 26, why do I always react like a 13 year old girl when I read smut?).

What I really liked about Twisted Beauty was how the beast was created. Now, usually the beast has some kind of physical deformity that makes people afraid of him. Sometimes he really is just a big ole’ beasty (Disney…) but this time, the beast’s monster characteristics were internal. He is a monster because of what he has done and will do. I haven’t seen too many retellings where the beast is internally a monster. That’s something new to me.

I will say this…this book needs to be edited. I had the urge as I was reading to edit the darn thing myself and send the author my notes. I kept getting pulled from the story.

But I loved this book. I pushed through my grammar-nazi tendencies and got the reading done. And then I read it again. And then I stared at the cover for about 5 minutes.

I loved William as a beast. He’s part demon, so he’s hot as all get out, and he’s a dealmaker, which makes him very scary. Think of bookies: can’t pay back what you got and that’s your life.

Belle is, a surprise. She wasn’t simpering, she wasn’t whiny. She just…was. I liked her and I didn’t like her. No, that’s not right. I am neutral in regards to Belle. There were times when I wanted to smack her, and others when I commended her on what she was doing. Certainly she was caring, and kind, to a fault. But she wasn’t one to give up on people she truly cared for.

The twists and turns at the end were surprising. The end is definitely open-ended and I want to know more about Aaron’s story (trust me, he’s the pompous ass we always find in books). He’s a nice little wrench thrown into the mix.

4starHere’s waiting for the next one.
4 stars. Only because I need this book re-edited. Grammar, people. It is important.

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On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2o5gOci
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About the Author

meKristen is a YA science fiction author and poet. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri where she spends her time binge watching Supernatural with her best friend and editor Anne Becker. Outside of the TV world, Kristen finds time to do other important things like procrastinate on twenty page papers due to her teachers at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Kristen feels the need to test her limits by making this procrastination a semester event.

Kristen wrote her first book, The Museum: A collection of dark poetry at twenty-two. Now twenty-three she has released the first installment of her SI series, Seeking Incandescence. Not only is Kristen a young author but she is also a young wife and mom. Kristen has been given the opportunity to write, attend school, and substitute by her supportive husband. Her son, Lucas, is what pushed Kristen into the crazy world of publishing.

 

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Review: Angelbound by Christina Bauer

Angelbound

By Christina BauerAB Audiobook cover - Square
Series: Angelbound Origins #1
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: December 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Blurb:
*Now an audio book!*

Eighteen-year-old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your everyday quasi-demon, half-demon, and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she has not lost a battle yet.

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights are not enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it is not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and does not like the answers she finds. What happened 17 years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is?

Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what does a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla is not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla is going to shake up Purgatory.

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Extras:
• Audiobook sample: https://youtu.be/yADVDpUK8I8
• Book trailer: https://youtu.be/roznLuuUY1c
• Video of author doing the voices: https://youtu.be/6mfmw1VT1IU


My Review:

First off…I am obsessed with demon/angel lore. There’s something about this definitive battle between good & evil that makes my spine tingle. So when I saw Angelbound, I just had to read it. And I was not disappointed.

I was confused at first, because the setting is very earth-like, but I guess Purgatory has to look like something and a run down city is as good as any other. But I loved how all the different races brought a different feeling of time and place, such as in the Thrax race is very medieval in customs and fashion. But then you Have Myla’s race that is is very modern in fashion. Well…sweatpants and t shirts.

Myla’s race is very much slave-like- the uniforms, the servitude lessons in school (total farce), the service system post-high school. The quasi’s are all slaves to the demons. But the 5 races are supposed to be in an accord now, right? Since the rebellion? Nope…like all typical Hell Kings, this one wants everything.

Greedy little bastards.

So what is Myla’s part in all of this? She’s literally one of the few things standing between a purely evil soul and Heaven. Now here is what gets me. Myla risks her life in the arena fighting souls to keep them out of heaven. She knows and understands how important it is that she never loses, ‘cus there are some pretty nasty people in the world and she knows it.

So why the heck does the big, bad, holier-than-thou Prince Lincoln think he’s so much better than her? Because she’s part demon? That is straight up angel-lore racism. He’s already judged her based on her genetics, instead of her skills or who she is as a person.

Thankfully the Lincoln’s mind starts to change when he removes his blinders for 5 seconds to see Myla as Myla and not as a descendant of a demon.

I loved the character of Cissy. She’s the little bit of sweet and bubbly you need in a book. Myla is witty and sarcastic, humorous in her own way. But Cissy gives off the lighthearted humor you need when you just know that a book is going to get dark.

The cover is eye-catching, the writing was wonderful and fit well with the projected age of the characters.

Overall I give 4 stars. 4star

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About the Author:
AB Christina Bauer picChristina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. It is now available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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Review: Bridges by Maria Murnane

Bridges

By Maria MurnaneBridges cover FINAL smaller
Publisher: Wink’s Ink
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

My Review:

If you were here last week, you know that I fell in love with Maria Murnane’s Wait for the Rain. This week, I got to review Maria’s brand new Bridges, just released yesterday. 

Bridges continues with all the feels. Definitely resonates with me, where I’m at emotionally as a writer. Just like with WFTR, Bridges has me all mixed up and thinking about things.

But that’s what makes a good book, right? The ones that make you question and think.

So here’s the deal with Bridges…The trio from WFTR is back, this time in New York for a weekend for a non-bachelorette party for Skylar…the one no one thought would ever get married.

The story is told from Daphne’s POV, along with all of her struggles a year after WFTR ends. KC is still a tiny ball of fire, with a huge secret, and Skylar is in blissful heaven having found the perfect love for who she is.

Just like before, we get to see some twists and turns, hilarious situations, and real people dealing with real problems that people have every single day.

I love Maria’s books, because she makes you sit down and think. The situations are realistic, sometimes a little over the top, but not so much that it can’t happen. It’s just sometimes, people shy away from those situations. The women portrayed in Bridges change, again, together. The time span is ridiculous for it, but the women do actually change a bit.

Now, please keep in mind, that people do not just change overnight. It’s portrayed that way here for the purposes of the story. But the change and growth can happen. Maybe not overnight,  maybe not in a few weeks. But it can and will happen.

Maria, thank you so much for letting me review Bridges and Wait for the Rain. I enjoyed both, immensely. I am no where near the age portrayed in these books, but I felt connected to the characters in a way that doesn’t happen very often with books. Usually I read for the escape. Bridges and WFTR are now my go-to’s for hope and insight. Thank you.

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About The AuthorMaria-6-smaller

The story of how Maria became an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years, and she’s now the bestselling author of the Waverly Bryson series (Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two, which garnered a starred review in Publishers Weekly), plus Katwalk, 2015 International Book Award winner Cassidy Lane, Wait for the Rain, and Bridges. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her mailing list at www.mariamurnane.com

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Review: Wait For The Rain by Maria Murnane

Wait For The RainWFTR final cover

By: Maria Murnane
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
Published: Feb. 24, 2015
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Blurb:
Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

My Review:
Ever wonder what’s on the other side of a closed door? Is the happily married couple really as happy as they project? Did your neighbor’s marriage end because someone was cheating or did they just grow apart? Is the woman who wears the smiling mask hiding the same insecurities as you?

Wait For The Rain is, in a word, a glimpse. Have you ever noticed that when people talk about being divorced it’s because they were cheated on? Not in this book. It’s all about a woman who married too soon and lost herself to that marriage. Now, two years after the marriage ended she’s still dealing with the grief of a failed marriage, a stagnant life, and hopes & dreams put completely on hold simply to make something work.

**if you ever have to force something to work, it will fail.**

This is one of the books can be a helping hand if you’re ever in a situation like this, or similar. I think a lot of people make compromises for the lives they lead, giving up or making excuses simply because it’s easier. But what do you lose in the process?

So let’s get analytical. There are three friends meeting up on St. Mirica island for a turning 40 reunion. Daphne, the MC, hasn’t told her friends the extent of her emotions, or the fact that her newly ex-husband is getting remarried. She’s having to deal with that on top of jealousy of the new wife (she would have to share her daughter with this woman now, something many people deal with daily). Next up we have Skylar, the strong, confident business woman who lives life her way and no one else’s. Finally we have sweet, bubbly, KC. She’s a tiny little dynamo who is definitely a yes! girl.

Each of the characters presents a very different personality, values, and views of life that once in a while intersect before veering off again. There is definitely someone you can relate to in this book.

Daphne is the poor lost soul we follow throughout the story. She is often presented with little words of wisdom, people, and situations that help her remember who she was before she gave all that up for her marriage, providing the proverbial dusting rag to the reflection beneath all the mess.

Whenever you question a feeling or doubt, a situation, if you’ve failed as a parent or in you career…this is definitely one of those books that can help give you a little insight. It cannot give you the answers, but it can put you on the right path if you read between the lines for the message.

2afa0-5star5 stars.

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About the Author:Maria-6-smaller
Maria Murnane spent several years working in high-tech PR before deciding she needed a change. She quit her job and went to Argentina by herself for what was supposed to be a two-week trip before figuring out what to do next. Instead, she ended up staying for a year to play semi-professional soccer, and while down there she also decided to write a humorous novel called Perfect on Paper based on her experiences as a single woman in San Francisco. Fast forward a few years, and she’s now the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series (Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two), as well as Cassidy LaneKatwalkWait for the Rain, and Bridges. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com

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Review: Only For Him by Cristin Harber

Only For Him

by Cristin Harber51h-ib7fGWL
Published: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Mill Creek Press

Blurb:
Grayson Ford and Emma Kinglsey–close since they were kids, opposites in every way. He’s the stuff high school crushes are made of, Mister Popular, and captain of every team. She’s artsy, cute, and not in his league, though fully aware of Summerland’s “I Dream of Dating Grayson Ford” support group.

I can’t say no. The girl’s had my heart since before I knew it went missing.

He hides a life of hell. His father hates him, his mother’s gone. Emma is his only savior, yet she doesn’t know her power over him. She’s the only girl he wants, the only one he could ever tell–though he won’t.

I’m stronger, bigger, more of a man than he’ll ever be, but because I ruined his life, I’ve taken his crap, his attacks, the vulgar nature of his existence.

Until she discovers Gray’s embarrassment, his humiliation. Emma fights for him and for a chance. Theirs is a Cinderella story that she believes impossible. But as the layers peel back, it’s just a guy who needs a girl in order to keep breathing.

My mind is already doodling Mrs. Grayson Ford in imaginary notebooks. He has no clue where my head is at… But, given that I didn’t see what just happened coming, maybe I have no clue where his head is at either.
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Review: Not Today

Damn, I got that song stuck in my head again.

Anyway…I will not be doing a book review today. I’ve just been too exhausted this pat week to do any reading. I haven’t really done much of anything besides sleeping and watching Lil Miss play.

I force myself to stay awake, check everything online, cook and clean. But I don’t really have much energy for much else.

So here we are…no book review. Hopefully, I’ll have a new review for next week. I just gotta get off my butt and back in working order.

 

Review: Framed & Burning: Dreamslippers Boxed Set

A BOXED SET OF THE AWARD-WINNING NOVELS IN THE DREAMSLIPPERS SERIES + A BONUS STORY!

Dreamslippers Series Boxed Set
By Lisa Brunette
Genre: Mystery, Female Sleuths, Romantic Suspense

boxed-setSERIES OVERVIEW

What if you could ‘slip’ into the dreams of a killer? This family of PIs can. They use their psychic dream ability to solve crimes, and that isn’t easy. 

In Cat in the Flock…
Following a mother and girl on the run, apprentice dreamslipper Cat McCormick goes undercover inside a fundamentalist church. Is its enigmatic leader guilty of domestic violence? Did his right-hand man really commit suicide?

In Framed and Burning…
It was supposed to be a much-needed vacation in Miami, meant to snap Cat out of a persistent depression. But when her great uncle’s studio goes up in flames, killing his assistant, Cat must find out who’s really to blame.

In Bound to the Truth…
The dreamslippers don’t quite trust their client. Did Nina Howell really fall under the spell of a domineering, conservative talk show host—as her wife claims?

PLUS explore Amazing Grace’s back story in the bonus story found ONLY in this boxed set!

For readers who enjoy strong female leads, quirky, well-developed characters, and a dash of dating drama with their mystery. Fans of J.A. Jance, Mary Daheim, and Jayne Ann Krentz will love Cat and “Amazing” Grace!

My Review: Framed & Burning Book 2
Mysteries are tricky business. Mysteries in themselves are usually layers upon layers of truths, lies, and half-truths all woven together to tell one larger story. But we become so engrossed in the corner of the image that we cannot see the bigger picture.

Reading Framed and Burning, I was entranced from beginning. I’m a pretty observant person so I picked up on some things early on, kept a watch on them from the moment they were introduced. But there were several times I doubted my intuition when another layer was tacked on.

There are lots of genres where you can have only a few characters to move a story along, with background characters acting as blurry shadows filling space. But in mystery novels, There are a countless amount of people to keep track of.

We start this story off from the victim’s POV (3rd person), and then we move through the three (3) Dreamslippers POVs. With each passing chapter we learn more of each of their abilities, the glamorous and not so glamorous corners of the art world. We spy the insanity within, the chaos within each artist as he or she works at her craft inspired by tiny crumbs and paper pieces in lint or happy children on the other side of a fence, beckoning you to a simpler time.

The heart-wrenching stories that some of the characters want to keep hidden, buried deep in Del Rio, or lived again and again in nightmares replaying themselves in your failures.
We have three (3) main characters: Mitch, Cat, and Grace.

Mitch is the artist. Cat is the cynic. Grace is the eccentric.

Each character sees their dreamslipping ability as something different. Mitch could care less, Cat sees it as a curse that gets people killed, and Grace sees and uses it as a gift. Cat is the great-niece of Mitch, granddaughter to Grace. She is, of course, the youngest and least experienced using the dreamslipping and has had the worst experience with her gift, blaming it for the death of her childhood sweetheart. Mitch and Grace are siblings. They’ve each made their way in life, using their talents, natural and supernatural. And those talents have brought good and bad things to each of them.

Along with success we find jealousy, loathing, contempt….Mitch has the idea that there is plenty of room in the world for all art. But humans are inherently competitive and greedy. So they try to take down Mitch in his prime, but he wins out, becoming a coveted artist. Thus, begins the journey to find an accidental killer.

The story is woven perfectly to tell each person’s story in that person’s personality. We have the seriousness in Cat’s narratives, the eccentricity and grounding in Grace’s, and the disjointed, emotional feel of Mitch.

The nominations and awards this book has received were well-deserved.

Five stars!

BUY IT HERE!!

About the Author:

new-headshot-2016-lisa-brunetteLisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called “military brat,” she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother’s books by Daphne du Maurier and Taylor Caldwell. 

A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.

Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.

With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

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