Review of The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

5 STAR REVIEW
I honestly wish I could give it more.

Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Gena Showalter for providing me with a free copy of this book for my honest review.

I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings and this one did not disappoint at all! I loved Gena Showalter’s writing for years and this book was great!

The female main character of the book Everly has been raised in the mortal world by her mom and stepdad with her twin sister Hartly. She has no idea that she’s a fairy princess and that she possesses strong powers, powers that could get her killed. Her world gets turned upside down when they both find out they have powers and are taken to the world of Enchantia. Everything that happens to Everly is done because of what the fairytale or prophecy says is going to happen and everyone must figure out if she is the Evil Queen or not.

This story was kind of hard for me to get into at first but once I started I couldn’t put it down (can you say binge reading). I loved all of the characters but I especially loved Everly. She was such a sweet girl and only wanted the best for everyone and had a hell of a time when she had to be mean or kill someone. I loved the background thinking she had in some very intense parts and I loved how snarky and sarcastic she was, kind of reminded me of myself. And don’t even get me started on the romance between her and the Prince, holy swoon.

The fight scenes in this book were also incredible. Gena goes into so much detail in her books that you honestly feel like you’re right there with them and I honestly flinched at a couple of the spots when someone got hit, it seemed that real to me. I think that was one of the best parts about this fantasy novel was how descriptive and creative everything, it sucks you into the story and doesn’t want to let you go.

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Review of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

5 STAR REVIEW

This might honestly be my favorite book I’ve read so far in 2019.  Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite Disney movie ever so I was so excited to see a new retelling of it come out. Everything was so vivid and detailed in this book that you could picture everything as it was happening and the characters were amazing.  My only complaint about this book was how it ended, now I’m dying for the sequel to come out.

Harper is living a hard life with cerebral palsy, her mom slowly dying from cancer and her brother Jake having to deal with unsavory loan sharks after their Dad abandons them and owes some not-so-nice guys a lot of money.  One night while Harper is playing the lookout for Jake she sees a man with a passed out woman and she doesn’t think his intentions are good.  Trying to fight him off Harper winds up in Emberfall, a magical castle where she meets Rhen.  Rhen has been cursed and is forced to repeat the same season over and over as a monster until he can break that curse, by finding a girl to fall in love with him.  Harper wants nothing to do with Prince Rhen and only wants to return to her family that she hopes are alive.  As she starts to spend time with Rhen and his Commander Grey she begins to understand their world and what’s truly at stake if the curse can’t be broken.

This was my first novel by Brigid Kemmerer and I’ve read quite a few retellings of Beauty and the Beast and this one by far was the best I’ve read.  I absolutely loved the character of Harper and how brave and courageous she was even with cerebral palsy, she never let that hold her back.  With all the crap going on in her life she is still so unselfish and only thinks of others and truly comes to care for the people of Emberfall once she gets to know everyone.  

Another favorite character of mine was Grey.  While most people would be swooning over Prince Rhen and how romantic he was to Harper I’m Team Grey over here.  He seemed like such a tough guy (“Scary Grey”) but really underneath all of that armor he was a total sweetheart.  I did enjoy the romance between Rhen and Harper but did anyone else honestly hope that Grey and she would get together?  His character was so adorable, his moments with the children were swoon-worthy, and how he came to care about Harper so much was adorable, Harper was exactly what he needed in his life after enduring the curse for so long. The ending of this book absolutely killed me in reference to him but then I found out that there will be a second book in the series and I might have squealed just a little bit.  

This was one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read and I’m so dang excited for the next book to come out.  Not many authors can recreate a Disney classic so well but this book was amazing!

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-curse-so-dark-and-lonely-brigid-kemmerer/1128064594?ean=9781681195087#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Brigid Kemmerer is the author of dark, contemporary Young Adult romances like MORE THAN WE CAN TELL and LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA novels like THE ELEMENTAL SERIES and THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington). Her next book will be her first foray into YA Fantasy, with A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, available January 2019 wherever books are sold. Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Review of The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Minotaur Books for the copy of this book in exchange for my review!

I went into this book without having read Sandie Jone’s first novel (unlike the rest of the world) so I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into.  I was not expecting all of the whip-lashing twists and turns and the constant guessing game of who’s right and who’s wrong.  

The story is told from two different characters, Alice and Beth, and I’m glad that you got to hear the backstory with Beth and what was going on in the present tense with both of them.  Parts of this book were completely predictable while other parts were throwing me for a loop.  I thought I had everything figured out around page 108 but I was way wrong when the book threw another twist at me.  

The dialogue between the characters kept me engaged in the story and I loved each of them for their own reasons, even the “bad” characters.  

This is a very fast domestic thriller and I honestly finished it in less than 12 hours.  I now feel like I need to pick up her first novel The Other Woman and devour that one as well!

Review of A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson

Thank you so much to Nelson Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my review!

I have read many true crime stories but this was my first true crime memoir.  This was a very interesting read for me as it happened in my home state of Kansas and I got to watch it as it unfolded.

Synopsis:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

4 STAR REVIEW

This story hits pretty close to home for me as I live only about 4 hours away from Wichita, KS.  I remember watching the news as it happened and watching the movies based on the heinous crimes, it was stomach-churning.  I don’t know how I would have managed if it was my dad that had committed these crimes.

A few parts of this book were confusing to me as the author touched on things that had happened in the past or memories but didn’t really go into details about them.  

You couldn’t help but feel terrible for Kerri Rawson as she had to go through this.  Her dad was such a well-respected guy in their town, church president, and a Boy Scout leader and he lead this total double life that no one knew about until he was caught.  His daughter had to carry the burden and get looked at funny all because of what her father did and that’s what made me the saddest of all, that she was getting repercussions from his crimes that she had nothing to do with.  

Her writing style and how she explained growing up with her family in Kansas was so well written and I found myself really liking her.  She was so real in her writing and really held nothing back.  

This was a very personal book and I commend Kerri for completely opening up her life for everyone to read.  It was an enjoyable read and I really liked hearing more about the story.

About the author:

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Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. Since her father’s arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.

Review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Its Terrifying Times by Joseph Lanza

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve been obsessed with horror movies since a very young age (thanks Mom and Dad).  I love that this author wrote basically a tell all about how the movie idea came to be and all of the history behind it.  

When the movie first premiered in 1974 some viewers were engrossed while others were disgusted.  Due to its violence and gore it was actually banned from many countries and pulled from US theaters because of its extreme violence.  Tobe Hooper didn’t let that stop him though and the movie ended up being called one of the most influential horror movies of all time.  

I loved how this book touched on what all went on in the 1970s that inspired certain aspects of the movie.  It incorporated so many political views, other serial killers in the US, and racism and sexism.  It was more than just a horror movie, it included a lot that was going on at the time.

Tobe Hooper touched on such a violent decade and made this book so much more than just about the horror film.  Even though the budget for the movie was slim, he made it work and now there have been numerous sequels to the movie that seems to have made horror movies.

His writing style and details about the history of the 70s were so enjoyable to read and I learned many new things that I didn’t know about then.  This was a great book if you’re into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and want to hear more about the backstory.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-texas-chain-saw-massacre-joseph-lanza/1131267528?ean=9781510737907#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joseph Lanza is the author of several books that center on independent film. His book Gravity: Tilted Perspectives on Rocketships, Rollercoasters, Earthquakes, and Angel Food (St. Martin’s Press/Picador, 1997) was well-received and was selected for the Los Angeles Times’ Best Non-Fiction Books list of 1997. Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films (Chicago Review Press, 2007) received positive reviews from Financial Times. He lives in New Jersey.

Review of No Place Like Here by Christina June

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4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Blink Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was my first novel by Christina June and I was hooked right from the beginning.  I know a lot of people said it was a modern Hansel and Gretel retelling, which loosely put it could be, but I thought of it more as a YA contemporary.

Ashlynn can’t wait to be back home after spending a year at boarding school away from her parents.  But then she finds out her dad is going to prison for tax evasion, and she found out not from her parents but from social media.  And to add the cherry on top, her mom is going to rehab for “exhaustion” aka depression.  She gets shipped off to spend the summer with her relatives that she barely knows and starts a summer job at a wilderness camp that their daughter Hannah works at. 

I automatically fell in love with the main character Ashlynn.  I felt so bad for her at the beginning when she found out both of her parents were pretty much abandoning her and she had to go live with her Uncle and Aunt that she hasn’t seen in forever.  The way her tyrant Dad treated her about made me want to cry and then the sweet way her Mom acted toward her when her Dad wasn’t around made me want to cry again.  But then when she actually started becoming happy and finally made friends with Hannah my heart just soared.  You can’t help but want to root for her the whole novel.  Yeah, she messed up once but what happened to her was really not her fault at all and her Dad just couldn’t drop his ways and see that.

I also really loved the character of Baxter.  He was so tentative with her and soft-spoken at first and then really opened up at Ashlynn.  He didn’t try to be the macho douchebag like Marcus, he actually helped with Ashlynn’s family problems and was always there to help her (and rescue her!) and was an amazing friend.

This is definitely a perfect summer read about family issues and learning how to trust new people even when you can’t trust your own family.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-place-like-here-christina-june/1128931453?ean=9780310766926#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

View More: http://hannahbjorndalphotography.pass.us/authorchristinajune

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

Blog Tour & Review for The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for inviting me to participate in this blog tour for such an amazing book!  Make sure you read to the end of this post for something special!

Synopsis:

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them.  As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

My Review:

4 STARS

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for providing me with a free copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour!

I’m honestly not even sure where I should start with this book, my mind and body are still trying to process this amazing piece of work.  This book has definitely left me with a book hangover and I’m not regretting it.

Emmaline lives on an island with her other and it’s the only home she’s ever known.  Her dad tells her amazing stories about Jack the scent keeper and has a machine that captures smells and puts them on pieces of paper that go into little bottles.  As Emmaline gets older her curiosity about the thousands of bottles grows and after a tragedy happens, she finds herself thrown into the real world.  As she tries to learn more about the new world around her Emmaline also must learn about her true identity and where she came from.

When I first started reading this book I was a little put off.  The way Emmaline and her father lived was very odd to me and once the scent machine came into the picture I really started getting weirded out.  But the author’s writing style kept drawing me back in and I honestly couldn’t put it down.  This book gripped me so hard and to be honest left me a little emotional.  Everything Emmaline went through and had to learn was so hard and I felt so bad for her.

The characters were all so well developed and the relationship between each of them was so different.  I loved Fisher and Emmaline’s relationship and I also loved Emmaline’s relationship with her stand in parents.  They were all so complex in their own ways but such a joy to read about.

This is a book that is going to stay with me for a long time and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read such an heart wrenching novel.  Getting to follow along with Emmaline’s journey through self-discovery and learning all of these new things brought tears to my eyes at times but also made me ridiculously happy at others.  I haven’t had a book touch me this way and I felt so many different emotions while reading it.

Thank you so much to Erica Bauermesiter for writing such an incredible book!

 

Purchase Links:

About the author:
Scent Keeper - Author Image_credit to Susan Doupé
Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works, 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
GIVEAWAY!
St. Martins Press was kind enough to send over a copy of this amazing book for me to giveaway!  Head over to my Instagram for the full rules and details!