CRUEL BEAUTY: ROSAMUND HODGE REWIND AND REREAD REVIEW

Hello lovelies! Today I have something sort of new and special planned. Recently, I’ve been in the mood to reread some of my old favorites and I thought it may be kind of fun to do some reviews of books that I never got the chance to discuss the first time around. The first one on the list is Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, so let’s get going!

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

RATING: 5/5 STARS

Beauty in the Beast is by far my most favorite fairytale, so anytime a new retelling comes out, I definitely jump at the chance to get my hands on it as soon as I can. Cruel Beauty was an absolute gem to read, and I think it may be one of my favorite retellings ever. To start, this book does a fantastic job building off the original story. The way she took the base fairytale and added in these fantastic magical elements and a wonderful, unique love story.

The characters in this story are twisted, and completely different from most. Nyx is strong, but she is also has this dark side that pairs so nicely with that of Ignifex. Ignifex was the sort of beast that seems bad on the surface, but as his character developed and we got to see more and more about him, we saw that even with his dark parts, he has some light in him.

Like most Beauty and the Beast retellings, there’s definitely some friction between our characters. They disliked one another in the beginning, but seeing their relationship develop was great. In this story, there is some mystery and questions about why Ignifex is what he is, and as the two work together to figure it out, they begin to grow closer. Over the course of their relationship, they began to form feelings for one another, and I loved every second of it. The plotline of this book is extremely unique and includes demons, along with several other facets that blended together beautifully.

This book was just as amazing the second time as it was the first time. Sometimes, the second go around points out flaws that we miss in the exciting rush of reading something for the first time, but with Cruel Beauty, I thought it was just as stunning, and I honestly think that I picked up on so many special things that made me adore this book even more. If you haven’t read this one yet, and you like Beauty and the Beast, I would highly recommend this one. Even if you don’t like Beauty and the Beast, I would definitely recommend at least giving this amazing fantasy novel a fighting chance.

Love,

Taylor

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THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO: HUNTLEY FITZPATRICK REVIEW

Hey lovelies, its review time! Today we’re going to be discussing The Boy Most Likely To, by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This one is a contemporary romance with some of the same characters from My Life Next Door, which I really loved. In this one, we get to see Tim and Alice’s story, which was so different from what we saw in the previous two novels Huntley has written.

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

RATING: 4/5 STARS

I think that one of my favorite things about Huntley Fitzpatrick’s books is the way she writes relationships. With her books, she creates not only amazig romantic relationships, but also family and friend relationships that make my heart so warm. I’ve always loved contemporary books that include friendships and families, instead of strictly focusing on the romance, and that’s exactly what this one did. In the beginning, Tim moves in with the Garretts, and while he is with them, he develops all of these amazing relationships that totally transformed him as a character.

Tim was a character that changed entirely from the beginning of the story. In the beginning, he wanted to be a better person, and the reader was definitely able to see growth after he was hit with some serious adversity. He formed such strong relationships, and I loved reading about all of the love he recieved while he was with his second family. Alice was a strong willed gem. She fought for what she wanted, and supported the people she loved with an unwavering hand.

As a couple, they had such a great dynamic. They were able to help each other, and lean on one another over the course of the entire novel. Their romance developed at such a perfect pace. It wasn’t instalovey at all, and they became friends before the making out ensued. This story also used dual perspective, which allowed us to see what both of the character were thinking throughout the entire story. Sometimes with dual perspective voices get mixed together and it’s hard to tell the difference, but in this one that was never an issue.

This book was a fantastic addition to the Huntley Fitzpatrick regime. I thought that it was well written and absolutely adorable. The reason it didn’t get a full 5 stars was because I didn’t like it quite as much as I did the previous two books, but I still thought it was great. If you’ve read this one, I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share!

Happy Reading!

Taylor

THE FORBIDDEN WISH: JESSICA KHOURY REVIEW

HEY LOVELIES! I am so so excited for the review I have planned today. We’re going to be discussing The Forbidden Wish, an Aladdin retelling that I absolutely LOVED. It was so good y’all, and I can’t wait to discuss it, so let’s get going.

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

RATING: 5/5 STARS

To start off, this book had so many things going right for it. The plot was phenomenal, the characters made me so happy, and the dialogue was absolutely priceless. This book sucked me in from page one, and I could hardly put it down. I thought the writing was so beautiful, and the way the story tied itself together was done so well.

Zahra was one of the coolest characters to read about. She was a jinni, and Aladdin and her met when he got ahold of her lamp. I really liked how she worked with Aladdin to help him with his wishes and her and Aladdin worked so well together as a team and as a couple. Aladdin was so SWOONY. I’ve always had such a crush on him, and seeing him in book form was just as great as movie form. He was thoughtful and caring, and watching him fall in love with Zahra was without a doubt my favorite thing ever.

Along with the romance being so spot on, the plot was great. This book was fast paced, and over the course of the novel it developed really well. There was a lot of action going on, and the role the kingdom played within the story tied in an additional aspect. Both Zahra and Aladdin had key roles within the castle, and a majority of the plot stemmed from there. Along with Aladdin working at making himself princely, Zahra is also working to free herself from her lamp, and as the story progressed, they created quite the mess for themselves.

Overall, this story was so so fantastic. I walked into this one not entirely sure what to expect, and I came out extremely impressed. I can’t wait to read some of the other books Jessica writes, and I will definitely be picking any future books she writes. If you’ve read this one, what did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Love,

Taylor

EXQUISITE CAPTIVE: HEATHER DEMETRIOS REVIEW

Hey guys! Today we’re going to be discussing another young adult book that I recently  read with y’all. Exquisite Captive had such a fantastic premise, and it was definitely a fresh storyline, so let’s get into it.

Forced to obey her master.

Compelled to help her enemy. 

Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

RATING: 4/5 STARS

I think my absolute favorite part of this book was the fantastic world that Heather Demetrios  built. This is the first novel I’d ever read that followed  jinni, and I definitely think it was so well done. She was able to take these jinnis and create a world that had several different aspects, and connected the characters not only in the present, but also in the past prior to when Raif and Nalia officially met.

Nalia was a really fantastic main character. She was strong willed, and she fought so hard to get her freedom and get back to her home. She did wonders working towards her goals, and she had really great interactions with both Raif and Malek. Malek was one of those characters that I had super mixed feelings about. I thought he was a really well developed character, and with that, he was hard to dislike, even if I knew he was a sort of terrible person. Raif was pretty great as well, I absolutely adred him. He complimented Nalia nicely, and I’m so excited to see how he develops over the remaining two books.

The writing for this one is really great as well, and I loved the dialogue between all of the characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this story! I will be picking up the sequel to this one super soon, and I’m really excited to see where this series ends up. If you’ve read it please share your thoughts I would love to hear them!

Love,

Taylor

A MADNESS SO DISCREET: MINDY MCGINNIS REVIEW

Hey guys, it’s that time of the week again! Today I’m going to be discussing A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. This book was definitely out of my usual wheel house, aside from the historical fiction part, but it sounded really interesting, and the cover is absolutely stunning. I had also heard praises sung over this one, so I thought it was only fair that I gave it a chance too.

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

RATING: 3/5 STARS

I’m just going to start out by saying that this book is weird. Like really, really weird. There were a lot of times where I was really confused as to what was going on, and it took me a while to catch up to what the heck she was talking about. I’m not sure if that was the plan, or if it was just a me thing, but not being able to follow it was something I took issue with.

Grace was a pretty interesting character to read about. She had some interesting character development, and over the course of the novel, she changes and revises her mold. Along with Grace, there’s Thornhollow who recruits her to help him solve cases, Sherlock Holmes style.

I think the best part of this book for me was the cases and the relationships that Grace builds within the asylum. The cases were really interesting and they made a ton of sense, and I think that they definitely what made the book keep flowing. My absolute favorite part of the entire story was the relationships she built with the other women at the asylum. All of the girls were so sweet, and the friendships they formed such a great element that I definitely wasn’t expecting.

Overall, this book wasn’t my favorite. I really liked the idea of the story more then I liked than what I was given. I think that this book had some really good elements, and I definitely see why some people loved it so much. While I didn’t love this, I did enjoy some parts of it and I don’t regret picking it up and giving it a chance. Have you guys read this one yet? If so, what did you think? I’d love to discuss it with you!

Happy Reading!

Taylor

CRASH: EVE SILVER REVIEW

Hey Lovelies! Today we’re going to be discussing Crash, the final book in The Game trilogy. Since this is the last book in the series, if you haven’t read Rush or Push, there will be some spoilers from the first two. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this one up though, never fear, I promise not to spoil any tidbits! I’m going to leave the synopsis for Rush at the top of this review, and I highly encourage you to read it if you haven’t read this series, because I really enjoyed it!

RUSH

Miki Jones’s carefully controlled life spins into chaos after she’s run down in the street, left broken and bloody. She wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby – pulled from her life, through time and space into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures.

There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Every moment of the game is kill or be killed, and Miki has only the questionable guidance of Jackson Tate, the team’s alluring and secretive leader. He evades her questions, holds himself aloof from the others, and claims it’s every player for himself. But when he puts himself at risk to watch Miki’s back, he leaves her both frustrated and fascinated. Jackson says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival. And the survival of every other person on the planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

I gave this book 5/5 stars, the characters were great, the story was so cool, and there was so much action! Anything written after this is in reference to Crash, so if you like what you hear, then you should definitely pick the series up and then come back to discuss it with us!

A thrilling action/suspense novel for fans of The Fifth Wave about contemporary teens pulled in and out of an alternate reality where battling aliens is more than a game—it’s life and death.

Miki’s life is falling apart around her. Her dad and best friend are lying in the hospital. The Game is glitching, making missions more frequent and more deadly. And someone close to her is waiting for the right moment to betray her.

Miki feels like she’s hanging on by a thread and the only thing keeping her tethered is Jackson’s hand in hers. Yet telling him how much she needs him, how much she loves him, feels like the biggest challenge of all. And if Miki really wants the missions to end for everyone, she’ll have to let go and be ready to fight when the walls between the Game and reality come crashing down. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that she’s got a whole lot left to lose.

Crash is the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Game trilogy fans won’t want to miss.

RATING: 4/5 STARS

I’m going to start off by saying that I really liked this conclusion. I felt like it was really well done, and to me it felt like it tied up the series really nicely. It’s definitely been a while since I read the second book, so I was a little worried that I would have a hard time getting into the story since it had been so long, but that wasn’t the case at all! I had definitely forgotten some of the things that was going on within the plot, but while reading, everything seemed to come back to me.

I think my favorite thing about this entire series is all of the action that it has, and this one was no different. There was plenty of things going on, and I never felt bored. In this book, we get to learn a lot more about the Committee, and why The Game was created, which was great. Over the course of the entire series it’s always been hinted at, and seeing how it all tied in was excellent.

Since the beginning I’ve always liked Miki and Jackson, along with all of the other members of The Game. Miki is a really strong character, and she isn’t one of those characters that always run and hide behind her man. Jackson was great as well, and he was clever and supportive throughout the entire book. Miki and Jackson do a really great job working together to unravel what was going on with The Game and when it came time for them to fight, they were able to lead and guide as a time, neither dominated  over the other.

Overall, I really liked this book! It was well written, fast paced, the characters were great, and I was really content with the way it ended. If you’ve read the first two books I would definitely recommend this book, and I think that this series is a really unique change from what we normally tend to see in young adult. If you’ve read this series, please tell me what you thought, I would love to know!

Happy Reading!

Taylor

ELIXIR: HILARY DUFF REVIEW

Hey guys! I’m here with another review for you. One of my bookish goals for this year was to complete the Pop Sugar reading challenge, and this book was working towards that. For the challenges I didn’t have the books for, I decided to head over to the library and see what gems I could find there for free. One of the goals was to read a book written by a celebrity, and instead of picking up an autobiography, I figured reading a book written by one of my favorite childhood actresses was an even better option.

Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

RATING: 3/5 STARS

This book was surprisingly good! When I went into it, I didn’t have super high expectations. Not because I didn’t think Hilary was capable of writing a book, but I wasn’t really sure how great the writing would be. Overall, the story flowed really well, and there weren’t any specific times that are popping out at me where I was lost or confused because of the style. Since Hilary wrote this with some extra help, I’m not sure how much she wrote herself, but as far as I’m concerned it was pretty solid teamwork.

This book had a really interesting premise, and there were lots of little aspects of it that blended well. First of all, we have what we think is a creepy stalker guy, and that’s always fun. Along with the mystery man, Clea is having some really interesting dreams that are showing her the lives of these four girls who she seems to resemble. Clea’s dad has also been missing for several months, so Clea is trying to figured why he never came back, and she is also trying to discover her connection with the man in her photographs. Throughout the course of the book, it was relatively fast paced, with the characters always moving and learning more as the story unfolds.

Clea is a pretty good character. At times she kind of irritated me, but for the most part, she was pretty enjoyable. Along with Clea there’s Ben and Sage, and I liked them both as well! Ben was a really good friend to Clea, and the story between Sage and Clea was great, learning about how they were entwined was what kept me engaged.

Overall, this book was pretty solid. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but I enjoyed it enough, and I thought that the storyline was pretty unique. At this point, I haven’t decided if I’m planning on continuing with the series, but I’m definitely leaning towards yes! If you’ve read this book, please share your thoughts, I would love to discuss them with you!

Love,

Taylor