Book Review | SILK by Chris Karlsen

4/5 stars

It is the time of Jack the Ripper, the widowed Queen Victoria sits on the throne of England. The whole of London is on edge wondering when or where Jack will kill next. The Palace, Parliament, and the press are demanding the police do more to find him.

In another part of London, rough-around-the-edges war hero, Metropolitan Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone has his own serial killer to find. Inter departmental rivalries, politics, and little evidence to go on hamper the investigation at every turn. In a battle of wills, Bloodstone presses forward following his instincts in spite of the obstacles. (c) goodreads

Thanks to NetGalley and Chris Karlsen for sending me a copy of this book!

Browsing through NetGalley, this book really caught my eye. I mean, the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I also have a weak spot for historical fiction. I wasn’t disappointed.

I felt that the characters were developped very well, and as the POV’s switched, it was interesting to see how one character viewed the other. There weren’t any dull characters, and I cared enough about them to sympathize and want to know what happened to them.

The overall story arc was engaging, and there were a lot of twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting. Karlsen weaves together an intricate woven story, complete with a melodic writing style.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction or murder mystery.

Book Review | THE PROUD AND THE PREJUDICED by Colette L. Saucier

4/5 stars

All My Tomorrows is losing the ratings war. For headwriter Alice McGillicutty, the past year has had enough drama. Her mother passed away, her last relationship ended in disaster, and now poor ratings are catapulting her long-running soap opera toward cancellation. For comfort and creative inspiration, she begins reading The Edge of Darkness, an old melodramatic paperback she found among her mother’s belongings.

When scandal rips Hollywood bad boy Peter Walsingham off the tabloids and into her studio, Alice doubts the small screen is big enough for his ego – or his entourage. In their battle of pride and prejudice, will Peter’s vanity and arrogance compel Alice to write him out of her script, or can she find a role for him in All My Tomorrows?

This contemporary romance not only follows Alice and Peter as they wrestle with misunderstandings, pride, and prejudices, but also the trials and travails of Alexandra, the heroine of the absurdist novel The Edge of Darkness. Full chapters of the book-within-the-book are included as Alice reads and allows that story to influence her own.

Though the plot of the primary novel is reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, Peter and Alice are no Darcy and Elizabeth but fully-formed characters from the twenty-first century.(c) amazon

Thanks to Netgalley and Southern Girl Press for sending me a copy of this novel!

I really put off reading this book after reading a couple paragraphs. I forgot that the book had alternating plot lines, and reading the first part jsut didn’t interest me enough. I thought it was going to be a really slow moving boring book set back in the 1900’s. As you might have guessed, I was completely wrong.

As mentioned above, the book has alternating plot lines. One is the first POV that you encounter, which is the book that Alice is reading. This is written in first person. The second plot line is Alice’s life itself. I wish that Alice’s perspective had come first, because I feel like that would have hooked me into the story faster. Don’t get me wrong, each story line gets to be very interesting, but Alice’s modern day would have me hooked right off the bat.

Although I enjoyed both plot lines, I’d have to say that Alice’s became a little too cheesy for me. Of course, since this was written a little based on Pride and Prejudice, it would have the same story arc, but it still made me groan a little at times. Still, it was a cute read.

For anyone picking up this book because they’re Jane Austen fans- it’s not really like P&P. It follows the basic story arc and some key elements, but other than that, it is of Saucier’s imagination.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and for any romance lovers this book will definitely be worth your time.

Book Review | LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll

5/5 stars

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.(c) goodreads

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this novel!

Let me say that I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel. Based on the synopsis, I went into it expecting a very different outcome. Also, with the cover, I definitely didn’t prepare for the suspense and mystery this book contained. If you’re turned off by the cover and feel like you won’t enjoy this novel because of the synopsis, go pick up the book. It’s amazing, and I’m going to tell you why.

First of all, the writing style was so captivating. There were many flashbacks, where Ani, our main girl, went back and relived her moments in high school. Knoll was able to seamlessly weave these scenes together, and manage to keep the back and forth very smooth and understandable.

I loved how intricate Ani was made. I feel like it actually represents how a lot of people think and act. The way she had a different face for different kinds of people was relateable, and I knew where she was coming from. Manipulating the way Ani saw people, we were able to glean several different traits and qualities of other characters as well, which just made it even easier for the reader to get absorbed into the story.

The story starts off almost casual, and as you get further along, you realize how twisted everything is, and all the secrets Ani has. As you gain more knowledge about Ani and the incident, everything starts to make sense, and you begin to notice things that you wouldn’t have earlier in the book.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this novel, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a Gone Girl-esque novel, with secrets and suspense hidden behind plastic faces.

Book Review | CENTURION by O.C. Shaw

3.5/5 stars

When everything you thought you knew about your life turns out to be a lie, who can you trust?
After witnessing his mother’s death Gabriel Smith finds himself orphaned and surrounded by strangers. Under the guardianship of an uncle he had never heard of, and convinced his mother was killed, Gabe struggles to deal with the loss of the life he knew. Thrown into the centre of a prophecy, in a world where power is everything, only his friendship with Emma gives him the strength he needs to face his future. Who are The Centurions? What is the Resurrection Prophecy? And what is the sacrifice Gabe will be asked to make? (c) Netgalley

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this novel!

I had a really hard time finding the right amount of stars to give this book. Because I did enjoy this novel, but there were some elements that just bothered me.

I liked Gabe as a character. He was funny and engaging, and he could think for himself. However, his immediate relationship with Emma was really offputting, and the way that they fell in love practically instantly felt too forced. But the way that Gabe’s perspective was written kind of made it a little better, because we could understand things from his point of view, and acknowledge his feelings.

Expanding on the writing style, I have to say I was surprised. It was very fluid and melodic, allowing readers to get absorbed into the world easily. The blending of fantasy and reality was seamless, creating a very realistic world and characters.

Not going to lie, even though I did enjoy the overall plot, there were moments in the book when I started to skim. Some parts were too drawn out for my preference. I did like the action sections though, because they weren’t so quick paced that I couldn’t understand anything. It was just at the right speed so that I was curious as to what was happening, but not completely lost.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to readers of fantasy. I would consider it more of a YA novel, although the writing style makes it possible for anyone to enjoy.

Book Review | DAUGHTERS OF SHADOW AND BLOOD -BOOK 1: YASAMIN by J. Matthew Saunders

5/5 stars

Mixing the worlds of fiction and reality, Saunders brings a vampire thriller that blurs the line between religion and the supernatural. The dual plot follows the story of Yasamin, a young women who was forced into an arranged marriage. It is 1599, and there is no one she can trust. Centuries later, Adam Mire uses his deceased friend’s copy of Dracula to follow the clues, which lead to a medallion that everyone seems to be looking for. It all leads to Yasamin and the secrets of her past. With stunning prose, Saunders weaves a tale that seamlessly incorporates action and mystery.

First of all I would like to thank Netgalley and St. George’s Press for sending me an ARC of this novel. The publication date is May 3, 2015. (PS isn’t the cover just gorgeous? I’m not usually one for faces on the cover, but this one is so striking)

I loved the way the book was formatted. It jumped from different plot lines and timelines, but somehow, it still made sense. Everything was meticulously laid out, so there was no chance of becoming lost in the jumble of different characters and stories. Being able to look at the different story lines helped create a more deeper understanding of what was going on, and the world of which they lived in.

Saunders’ writing style also helped with that. Each character had their own distinctive voice, while still in the same tone, so it was easy to recognize which plot line it was without whiplash. His writing style just absorbs you, and you get sucked in the world, and you can almost see the shadows that he writes about.

With the multiple plot lines, you’re introduced to a variety of characters. My favorite would have to be the main protagonist, Adam Mire. I liked that he was just an ordinary guy that got caught up in everything. But he wasn’t totally helpless, he was able to use his head, and he didn’t annoy me like a lot of protagonists do.

I also love that Yasamin was probably the biggest antagonist. Yet, she had her own story line, and we learned about her history, so that we could sympathize with her. Adding humanity to her character just made the book for me.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this novel, and if you’re a fan of action and mystery with a dash of the supernatural, I would definitely recommend this.

Book Review | EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudson

3.5/4 stars

He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety). (c) goodreads

Let me warn you. If you’re planning to read this book, the beginning is really dry and slow. We find out that Mr. Gabriel is a demon almost right away, but it’s still very slow to read through, and doesn’t really pick up until around page 180. That’s when things started getting interesting, probably because of the new characters being introduced.

At first I didn’t really like Cynthia’s character. After a while, I started to not mind it. Now that I’m finished reading the novel, I’m not really sure how I feel about her. She’s so in love with a boy she hardly even knows, and that just seems weird to me. Not only that, but she kind of stood out in an odd way. She was one of the only characters who were actually developed. The other characters had some background to them, but not nearly as much as Cynthia, and that just made the story seem off.

However, I did enjoy the writing style. Knudsen has an entertaining way of mixing humor into her voice. Everything flowed very smoothly, and I didn’t find any pieces to be choppy or too rushed.

I also loved that there was a musical theatre subplot in the novel. Not only did we learn more about the characters, but it gave a nice break to the constant danger of Mr. Gabriel. I haven’t really seen musical theatre presented in a novel in that fashion, so it was really fresh to see.

Before I end this review, I want to say one more thing that bothered me, because I’m not sure if it bothered anyone else. It’s the romance between Cynthia and Ryan. Of course, Cynthia’s crush on Ryan is part of the humor in this story, and it worked well, but I would’ve liked to see them as platonic friends. While her friend was in danger, Cynthia was wondering why Ryan didn’t kiss her. Honestly? Maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

Overall, it was a light, enjoyable read.

Book Review | SOME QUIET PLACE by Kelsey Sutton

4/5 stars

I can’t feel sadness, anger, or fear. I can’t feel anything. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions… she sees them in human form. Longing hovers around the shy, adoring boy at school. Courage materializes beside her dying friend. Fury and Resentment visit her abusive home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, except beautiful Fear, who sometimes torments her and other times plays her compassionate savior. He’s obsessed with finding the answer to one question: What happened to Elizabeth to make her this way?

They both sense that the key to Elizabeth’s condition is somehow connected to the paintings of her dreams, which show visions of death and grief that raise more questions than answers. But as a shadowy menace begins to stalk her, Elizabeth’s very survival depends on discovering the truth about herself. When it matters most, she may not be able to rely on Fear to save her (c) goodreads

As soon as I started reading this book, I was hooked. I’d never read anything like it before, and overall, I think that Sutton did an amazing job of living up to the potential of this promising premise. Her writing style had a lyrical tone to it that works well with casual scenes and more eerie scenes. Speaking of eerie scenes, there were some creepy parts of the book that had me so paranoid, and if you’re easily creeped out like me, I would recommend not reading the book at 2 am like I did.

I love the idea of Elizabeth being emotionless. It was so well executed, and even though she could have been written static and boring, somehow, even without feeling emotions, she was still interesting. Plus it was cool to see how she handled situations while analyzing them.

I feel like this love triangle was handled well. I sort of knew which person she would end up with, and I liked that she admitted to using one of them. Fear was so well characterized, and I loved how he was depicted. Joshua, however, wasn’t really a favorite of mine. I mean, I didn’t hate him or fin him annoying at all, actually I kinda liked him, but he didn’t seem to have a depth to his character as much as say Fear or Elizabeth. This also happened to be the case for Sophia. I didn’t like how she was painted as a bully, just swiping at Elizabeth any chance she got. She had the backstory with her autistic sister, but I felt that wasn’t enough.

I loved loved loved how she could see Emotions, because it enabled her, in a way, to read minds. This allowed for us to see a range of different perspectives, while still in Elizabeth’s point of view. My favorite dynamic were between her parents. How her mother had the quiet Emotions, and her father had the loud ones.

My favorite scene of the entire book is when Charles is talking to Elizabeth towards the end of the novel. You know, when she finds out that she’s not… you know. I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it, but if you have read it, I think you know what I’m talking about. It was so creepy and I had actual shivers running down my spine. I had to turn an extra light on so there wouldn’t be any spooky shadows. It was just really chilling.

I was so impressed with this novel, and according to Goodreads, this is only the first book, so I am definitely looking forward to reading the next one!