[681]: Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

29519517 Twisted Palace by Erin Watt
Series: The Royals, #3
Everafter Romance | October 17th, 2016
Source: Bought, Kindle Edition
New Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.


SPOILERS AHEAD: 

I can’t even with this book. Someone should’ve warned me that it will make me so mad and that I’m better off skipping. The general feeling I went through was extreme anger at had constantly pondered how evil everyone is!  And what the hell was that, Ella? Where the fuck was the spunk you were famous for from the first two books? It’s like you’ve decided to let everybody walk all over you. Gah.

In case it’s not obvious from my ranty opening paragraph, I did not enjoy this book one bit. [Insert GIF of Bradley Cooper from Silver Linings Playbook throwing a book out the window here.] Sigh. 

The end of the second book had Reed getting picked up by cops for allegedly killing Brooke. As if that wasn’t enough to have us salivating for Twisted Palace, Ella’s supposedly dead father showed up out of the blue. And then there’s the whole, Ella-is-still-a-virgin-because-Reed-wouldn’t-put-out thing — all these added to the general anxiety and excitement for this series finale. So of course,  I had to make time for this book. But as far as series endings go, this was horrible. I’m not talking about the writing at all. I’m talking about how miserable it was. Unfortunate, considering, many have anticipated for this release and to have us go through what we went through was just awful.

In the spirit of honesty, I skipped a shit load of things I couldn’t bring myself to read: Steve’s assholery, Dinah’s bitchery, and Ella’s bid for martyrdom. There is nothing worse than having an overwhelming feeling of anger while reading a book. And since I was reading it on my iPad, the swiping got too real, y’all. It was not fun and it defeats the purpose of finding the joy in reading.

As far as mysteries go, the authors didn’t provide any red herrings to chase. Which was frustrating enough because I felt like everyone trying to solve the case was chasing their tails. I’m glad, however, that Ella and Reed weren’t the ones who solved the mystery of the killer’s identity. Because I hate convenience in mystery.

With that being said, I stand by my earlier sentiment that this was a miserable installment. The ending was clean, abrupt, and unfortunately, unsatisfactory.

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[647]: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

23314731 Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers, #1
Caped Publishing | July 21st, 2015
Adult Fiction | Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate, and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore, she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?


I know, I know. I’m reading this series out of order. But the beauty of  The Winston Brothers is that the order doesn’t matter. Just read them lest you’ll miss out on this breed of bearded hotness. Also, have I mentioned how much I hate facial hair? Like, I make my husband shave as soon as I feel the prickles of his stubble. But for some reason, I can’t get enough of bearded men in my fictional world. Weird, huh?

This is the first book to The Winston Brothers series. It’s the story of  Duane, the other half of the twins in the family. While Beau can charm the habit off a nun, Duane, on the other hand, can exact the same results but with him being all broody and surly. Jessica James has been in love with Beau all her life. But in a case of mistaken identity, she found herself sexually molesting the wrong brother. To her horror, she’d mistaken Duane for Beau. She’d hated Duane for as long as she’s been in love with Beau. But after the shock wore off, Duane and Jessica acknowledged that there was something there no matter how firmly resolved Jess was to denying it.

What Jess doesn’t know was that Duane has been in love her from afar. He thought it was time for him to man up. But when he did, Jess was skittish at best for reasons other than that she in want with the wrong brother. See, Jess has grand plans of getting out of their Tennesse town and seeing the world. That’s why she doesn’t get involved in relationships. She doesn’t want to be tied down. So they make a deal. One year then they cut ties. Just like that. Snorts. As if that agreement ever works in the history of relationships. The world has other plans. Jessica slowly falls in love with Duane. Or maybe she’s always been. Maybe her resentment all these years belies the fact that she was obsessing over Beau because he was the safe one. They have other problems, though. Duane got himself tangled with the Skulls, the motorcycle club his dad was the president of years ago. Thanks to Jethro, he might have no choice but to break up with Jessica just to keep her safe. Other than the fact that the Skulls have threatened everyone that he loves, Duane also refused to be the reason for the death of Jessica’s dream.

You know, the plot may sound simple and something that’s been recycled into something else, but Penny has a way of giving life to her stories and characters that make them fresh to the readers’ eyes once again. Her novels have an immersive quality to it that’s a number one requirement in romance novels.  What I enjoy best about these novels is the family dynamics between siblings. They all have each other’s backs no matter what. I especially love Cletus and the way he watches out for all his siblings. He’s hilarious and slightly obsessed with his sausage (don’t ask). This series is so much fun. If you haven’t read any of Ms. Reid’s books, then you’re missing out on fantastic stories you’d want to keep going back to when you’re in need of a feel-good, laugh-out-loud reads. Highly recommended!

 

 

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[633]: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

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Tell Me Three Things

by Julie Buxbaum

I love and hate this book in equal measure. It is a dangerous book to read because it has the ability to put you in a deep reading rut. I feel like I should apologize to The Raven King because I can barely get through its first hundred pages; which is a damn shame because I’ve been waiting forever and a day to read it. Needless to say, I haven’t been able to finish a single book since finishing this one. And for the life of me, I just can’t move on. Depending on the type of reader you are, Tell Me Three Things can be hazardous to the health of your TBR pile. It’s either going to reaffirm your love for the written word or as in my case, it will stunt your reading groove.

Truthfully, I’m envious of those who haven’t discovered the sweetness of Tell Me Three Things. The romance, the characters, the storyline, and the dialogues – everything about it is a reminder of why I can never stop reading YA. Some books with a high school setting typically have the opposite effect on me. Most of the time, I can barely tolerate it. But this book exemplifies the type of contemporary YA I will keep coming back to.

It features a couple of characters who are adorably awkward in their own ways; the loss of their loved ones contributed to them being socially stunted – introverts, in their own respects. Somebody Nobody, for one, was living a double life. His other persona, though gregarious on the surface, was a reluctant participant in the social hierarchy in which he occupies a closer to the top wrung. He shies away from it which makes him a novelty and irresistible to girls and boys alike.

In contrast, Jesse stumbled on pretty much every facet of her new life. Having recently lost her mother and her dad consequently marrying almost soon after, her new life in Los Angeles is a far cry from the comfort of Chicago. She lives in a mansion. She goes to a prestigious school where everyone is practically a typical Californian. To top it off, she has a stepbrother who would rather forget that they ever existed. The only saving grace that stopped  her from running back to Chicago was the correspondence from an online good Samaritan who felt the need to befriend her, albeit, anonymously. Somebody Nobody gave her guidance and tutelage with regards to the working annals of her new school.

Though the author did her best to give us viable suspects on the identity of SN, I half-expected, half-hoped who he was. The contenders gave me pause, made me think of the possibility at least.  There’s Liam who was responsible for her part-time job at the bookstore his family owns; Caleb – the all around goofball and friend to Liam. Then there’s Ethan – a loner, aloof, an enigma with a predilection to Batman t-shirts. I loved “trying” to solve the identity of SN. Let me tell you that it’s not going to take you long before you catch on. But the mystery is just gravy, in my opinion.

Indeed, this book is a mine of story niches. It’s lovely and touching; funny and smart. I love watching Jess figure out how to navigate her new life despite grieving for her mother and dealing with abandonment issues from her father. I love watching her slowly accept the reality of having a step family. I eventually loved her step brother whom, when push came to shove, would protect her from the token Mean Girls of the school. Characters, even secondary ones, grew on me. They made me laugh and made me grin like a fool at inopportune moments. I especially adore Jesse’s interactions with “my suspect”.

Once in a while, I find a book like this that becomes an instant favorite within a couple of chapters into reading it. It’s in the way the story is constructed; the characters imagined. It’s in the ease in which I fall helplessly in love with everything that’s unfolding before me. And once in a while, there’s a book like this that makes me lose my appetite for everything else on my shelves. For that reason, I almost wish I never read the book in the first place. Almost, but not quite.

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[631]: Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

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Twenty Questions for Gloria

by Martyn Bedford


Gloria is a 15-year-old girl suffering from an early onslaught of ennui from life. Her parents didn’t seem to care one way or another about her. And though they would protest otherwise, their actions speak to the contrary.  Some days, Gloria didn’t care. But lately, she’s been having a difficult time ignoring the resounding loneliness that echoed in the hallways of their home.

Then Uman showed up; a mysterious specimen of a boy. Tall, lanky, and handsome in an effeminate way. Intelligent with charisma that puts everyone in some sort of spell. It just so happens that he seemed to have taken an interest in her as well. For days he hounded her until he inexplicably lost interest. Arbitrarily, that’s when Gloria’s fascination with him grew, and their friendship took a new form. When Uman suggested leaving everything behind, Gloria didn’t even flinch. With a tent, a few quids, and a deck of cards to guide their way, Gloria and Uman embarked on a journey to free themselves from their shackles: Uman, to a tremulous past. And Gloria, to an unremarkable existence.

Twenty Questions for Gloria throws you into a shroud of secrets and mysteries right from the get-go. When Uman walked into the picture, my thoughts quickly veered towards paranormal persuasion because his charm and wit were unusual for his age. It doesn’t help that he can’t seem to say a single truth about himself, and has an uncanny ability to  persuade everyone around him to do his bidding. It was as if everyone was under a spell. But as you delve deeper into  the story, you’ll learn why he is what he is.

The storytelling followed the questions being asked by the detective inspector in charge of investigating the disappearance of Uman. There was some British colloquialism used but they barely impede the rhythm of the story. When Gloria came back (relatively in one piece), she knew that she’ll never be the same person she once was. Throughout the exposition, Gloria and her mother would face some home truths about each other and their family as a whole. While Uman was judged as the instigator in the beginning, some light would be shed as to just how much involvement Gloria contributed to the events that happened in days that they disappeared. Each question is answered in a form of revelation; exposing the parts of Gloria and Uman no one knew – not even themselves.

There are so many reasons why this book had me in its trance. Uman is a very charming character. He was fascinating in such a way that one would be fascinated by a sociopath. I also needed to know where he ended up, and how Gloria found her way back home. The life of a vagabond is full of strife. Even more so if you’re only 15.

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[621]: Twisted by Emma Chase

17977710 Gallery Books | March 25th, 2014
Series: Tangled, #2
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
GOODREADS | CHAPTERS | AMAZON


There are two kinds of people in the world. The ones who look first, and the ones who leap. I’ve always been more of a looker. Cautious. A planner. That changed after I met Drew Evans. He was so persistent. So sure of himself – and of me.

But not all love stories end happily ever after. Did you think Drew and I were going to ride off into the sunset? Join the club. Now I have to make a choice, the most important of my life. Drew already made his –in fact, he tried to decide for the both of us. But you know that’s just not my style. So I came back to Greenville. Alone. Well, sort of alone….

What I’ve come to realize is that old habits die hard and sometimes you have to go back to where you began, before you can move ahead.

TWISTED picks up two years after Tangled’s end, and is told from Kate’s POV.


So here we are back for more. This time, through Kate’s point of view. This isn’t a rehashing of what had happened in Tangled, but a continuation of their story. I’m not going to lie, if it wasn’t for the eventual resolution of their story, I would be leaving a scathing review. But since I was able to take more good than bad, I decided to give it a middle grade.

Once again, we’re treated to the hilarity of Drew’s twisted view of the world and life in general. The sex is hotter than ever and even more adventurous. They can’t get enough of each other and Drew seems to be showing signs that he’s really changing his ways. So why then do we find Kate broken hearted at the beginning of the story? Well, you’d have to read it, of course.

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

Gah. I saw it from a mile away. I saw the minute that these two used miscommunication as a conflict device to perpetrate angst. Kate, what was so hard about saying, hold up, hold up. What the fuck are you talking about? No. You need to listen to me first before you go and hire a stripper to purposely hurt my feelings. Did you not learn your lesson from the first book?

 And Drew. Your mistrust is so unfounded. Kate was not the one who had different girls every night before you guys met. She was the one who was in a relationship for years. She wasn’t the type to cheat, you dumbass! How in the world did one plus one equal to Kate cheating? Without even due consideration to the type of person Kate is, you went and fucked it all up again. Sighhhhhhhhh. I swear if it wasn’t for your hotness, you’d have been minced meat by now.

IN RETROSPECT

These two had their own shares of immaturity and foolishness, but such is the reality of a relationship that had a stormy beginning and was patched up by office furniture to begin with (don’t ask). I can’t really blame them for that because we’re all mad when it comes to love. I did say they made up for it in the end. And that’s the best thing about Emma Chase’s stories. She paints flawed characters in a light that we can all – unfortunately – relate and see.

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[606]: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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I’ve read quite a few books about the fae-dom in my years as a book nut. I can’t really say that I’m a fan. These paranormal creatures have always annoyed me, in as much as their worlds and rules frustrated me. They’re very tricky, these things. And the rules humans have to abide by are borderline ridiculous. Having read a number of wonderful reviews about this latest fae book from Holly Black prompted me to pick up a copy. In addition, I was curious about Ben’s relationship with a certain someone.

CHILDREN OF THE WILD

This book is about a town surrounded by a forest in contemporary America. The forest is home to faes. Growing up in this town, siblings, Ben and Hazel have known all the legends and myths that their town has become notoriously known for – some with a semblance of truth and some that are straight out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale book. In the forest was a boy encased in a glass coffin. He’d been sleeping there for years. He was the town’s main tourist attraction. Ben and Hazel have considered him their own and therefore very protective of the boy. Many have tried to break the glass but fail miserably. Until one day, when Hazel woke up disheveled and dirty without any knowledge of where she’d been or what she’d done the night before. In the forest, the coffin lay in pieces without a trace of the Prince.

Over the years, humans and faes alike have learned to respect each other’s boundaries. But when the darkest evil begins to seep into the town, and the Sleeping Prince (now awake) on the loose, Ben and Hazel have taken the responsibility to protect their town and find the Prince before the town disappears into the forest. And as they race against time, Hazel’s secret life unfolds along with the barter she made with the fae in exchange for her brother’s prodigious musical ability.

SIBLING RIVALRY

It is amazing to see the dynamics of Ben and Hazel’s relationship flayed apart with every turn of the page. You see them as being as close as they are, but altogether far apart. To protect each other is the basest of their instincts and yet, there is a competing undertone of rivalry neither of them wanted to acknowledge. They’re never contemptuous and the reader can sense their love for each other. But amidst all that, there is a wide chasm that can only be bridged by Hazel’s and Ben’s admission of their guilt, lies, and hurt.

Hazel, in essence, has grown in spite of constant parental neglect, darkness and violence. And yet, she was not as psychotic as one would with her upbringing. Ben, in contrast, was the one who had their parents’ shower of affection (at least when they remember to act like parents). But Hazel never held it against Ben.

Speaking of sibling rivalries, this two have been in a romantic tussle against each other a couple of times. But again, they never talked about it and what they’d done to cause each other heartaches. They have this charisma that is irresistible to boys. Hazel uses hers to keep the boys away. She gave them false hopes only to ignore them soon after they fall for her charms. Ben, on the other hand, spent a lot of his time pining for the sleeping Prince in as much as his best friend, Jack pined for Hazel.

THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST

Holly Black knows how to construct a dark world where mystical beings roam alongside humans. It is the kind of world building that meshes modern with the kind of visceral phantasm where one would think they’re in the throes of a drug-induced hallucination. It is scary as it is beautiful.

IN RETROSPECT

The Darkest Part of the Forest appeals to a lot of Young Adult fans. Holly Black knows how to create a digestible world; romances readers will pine for, and characters that are more relatable for their flaws.


GOODREADS | January 15th, 2015 | Little, Brown for Young Readers | Amazon | Chapters !ndigo | Book Depository


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