*ARC Review* Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2)- Danielle L. Jensen

52715971. sx318 sy475 A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

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My Review

“The weak will always be tempted by the promise of strength. Especially when their strength has proven itself weak.”

Sequels make me a little bit nervous. There is so much that it has to live up to, plus it can make or break an entire series. It’s definitely not a job for the weak. This held its place quite well and it was just as spectacular.

There are things about both books that I love but this one was darker, gorier, and had a gang of female guards. It was a girl gang that I totally wanted to join and need to read more about. It had me glued to every single page and I never wanted it to end.

This book lets you meet Lydia and Kilian and they are two characters that are a force. I did like Killian more than Lydia but she grows on you to where you adore both of them in the end. They both wear their hearts on their sleeves and you’ll appreciate that when the time comes.

Dark Skies was a fantastic book and now I’m impatiently waiting for the third book because this can’t be the end. This ended in a way that we just can’t accept. We have questions that demand answers!! If you loved Dark Shores, you’ll definitely love this one.

stacy

*Arc Review* Catherine House- Elisabeth Thomas

51934838A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense—the debut of a spectacular new voice —about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

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My Review

“We know not to fear death. Because even in death, there is life. Death is not the black night, but its white moon. The honeyed egg of rebirth.”

This was one of those debut novels that I knew that I needed to read sooner rather than later. I’ve tried my damndest to get my hands on an early copy and I finally succeeded.

From the first couple of lines you know that you have something special and by a couple of pages I knew that I was hooked. This is one of my favorite books this year!

Elisabeth starts off and makes you feel comfortable. Then when you think everything is okay, she turns the tables and makes you question everything. You’ll start to feel haunted by this captivating tale. It’s one of those books that creeps up your spine and engulfs you wholly. You’ll never be the same again.

Catherine House is the gothic mystery of literary fiction that will unsettle you. I loved the way the book was written and how it made me feel/think as I was reading. My brain is still swirling after I finished it.

This is a story that Jordan Peele wishes he would have written.

*Arc Review* Lie With Me- Philippe Besson

40539136The award-winning, bestselling French novel by Philippe Besson about an affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France, translated with subtle beauty and haunting lyricism by the iconic and internationally acclaimed actress/writer Molly Ringwald. 

We drive at high speed along back roads, through woods, vineyards, and oat fields. The bike smells like gasoline and makes a lot of noise, and sometimes I’m frightened when the wheels slip on the gravel on the dirt road, but the only thing that matters is that I’m holding on to him, that I’m holding on to him outside.

Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back at the relationship he’s never forgotten, a hidden affair with a gorgeous boy named Thomas during their last year of high school. Without ever acknowledging they know each other in the halls, they steal time to meet in secret, carrying on a passionate, world-altering affair.

Dazzlingly rendered in English by Ringwald in her first-ever translation, Besson’s powerfully moving coming-of-age story captures the eroticism and tenderness of first love—and the heartbreaking passage of time.

My Review:

“This feeling of love, it transports me, it makes me happy. But it also consumes me and makes me miserable, the way all impossible loves are miserable.”

Lie With Me was that gut-wrenching read that makes you have trouble catching your breath. This was such a beautiful and harrowing story of young desire in the 1980s. You’ll have trouble keeping the tears from falling.

Even days after I finished this, my mind kept going back to this and it broke my heart all over again. I had to up my rating because of that. I can’t get this beautiful story out of there.

Philippe is talking to an interviewer at a hotel when he spots someone. A someone that resembles someone from his past. As he calls out his name and goes after him, he wishes with all his heart that this someone is Thomas. As fate would have it, it’s not but it’s someone else that will help him fill in the blanks of the past.

As the past comes spilling out of Philippe, what transpires is something so deep and wonderful that we don’t want it to end. In his younger years, he strikes up a secret romance with Thomas as love blooms between these two boys. After all this time, Philippe remembers everything and hopes that Thomas does as well. Things start to come together and what was once young love turns into fond memories that no one will ever forget or want to.

Lie With Me was one of the most gorgeous reads that I have ever read. There was something about this that touched my soul and I’ll never forget it. Besson paints a tender and beautiful tale of first loves and desire. It’s a really quick read that you will devour in one sitting because of its pure perfection.

If you get a chance to read this, do it. I dare you to tell me that this didn’t make you weep!!

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stacy

*Review* The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding Alexandra Bracken

33785202   I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness.

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.

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My Review:

“A jealous brother or sister will kill one of their siblings and hide their bones. But when the bones of the victim are found, they sing the truth of what happened.”

This was my first ever time reading a book written by Bracken and I wasn’t impressed. It had a lot of hype around it and it just didn’t live up to it. It had a really strong start but it fell too soon.

If you pay attention to some details in this book then you’ll pretty much have it all figured out. Hell, even the back of the book gives a lot away. Mysteries should stay that way up until the end but I had a lot figured out way too soon.

With a synopsis like what this has, this could have been amazing. But nothing stood out and I found it quite boorish. And writing a book for younger readers with this many pages is intimidating for that age range.

Alexandra Bracken has what it takes to blow my mind but this one wasn’t it. I won’t cast her off too soon but I’m not going to read one of her YA titles just yet.

 

stacy

First Line Friday

Welcome to First Line Friday where we share the first line in a book.

I’m going to be doing teasers for upcoming books and our first one is Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas!!

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“This house was made for someone without a soul.”

Synopsis: 

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First, there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

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*Featured Image is not my own. Borrowed from Scholastic.*