Book Review, Fae, Paranormal Romance, Vampires

Victorian Mistress by Jesse Stuart

My Rating: 5/5 Stars (Can I give it 10 stars?!)

Summary via Jesse Studio: “Charlotte Maguire gets you right in the heart. Literally. 

Charlotte ‘Lot’ Maguire is a thief on the streets of Victorian London until she meets Brandon O’Connor and spies a route to an easier, well paid, life. Except Lot isn’t made for the life of a Victorian lady and can’t resist the lure of trouble. With corrupt businessmen in the drawing rooms, vampires in the gentlemen’s clubs and her old associates in the alleys she doesn’t have to look far to find it.”

My Review: Full of clever metaphors, unique vampire romance and a badass female protagonist, you won’t want to miss out on this fast paced freebie! 

Lot is one of my new favorite female characters. She’s independent and strong, but still opens up little-by-little to the idea of love. She’s everything you wish you were and everything you beg for from a female character. 

Victorian Mistress is brilliant and beautifully written. Edited by the author, there are little-to-no errors and mistakes throughout, which is impressive. The story isn’t bogged down with unnecessary narrative or dialogue. It all flows well together, moving the plot and building the palpable world Stuart created. Each character has a unique voice. The tension throughout the dialogue and narrative pulls and pushes you from scene to scene with little room to breath. It’s fantastic! You won’t want to put it down until you’ve consumed the ending. 

You can read this book for free at Victorian Mistress on Wattpad, or on the author’s blog, Jesse Studio. Follow Jesse Stuart on Twitter @sisterquill

Book Review, Re-Telling, retelling

A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary via Amazon:Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends. But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.”

My Review: A fun, fast paced YA retelling of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. 

Save for a few long-winded paragraphs of narrative, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. I really liked Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson together. It’s great Holmes is a girl in this story. And though some readers criticize her as having the same personality and characteristics of Sherlock, I think that’s what I liked most about her. 

For those who know the Holmes and Watson stories well, this might not be as exciting to read–or maybe you’ll like it even more. I can understand the desire for something new in a retelling. But, for me, this was a riveting adventure. I didn’t mind how it followed some of the original stories, since I didn’t know them well to begin with. 

I picked this book up, read half of it in a day and finished it in only a few hours. The pacing is phenomenonal and the writing style makes it easy to read. There were a few info-dumpy paragraphs I skipped, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Book Review, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Kiss Me Kill You by Larissa C. Hardesty

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary via Amazon: “Emmy Duivel believes in true love: heart-stopping kisses, candlelight dinners, and a connection that lasts forever. But not the kind of kisses that land your date in the hospital. Emmy always knew she was different, but not in the supernatural sense. Not in the succubus sense.

Paul Andinn had only one job: watch over Emmy and make sure she doesn’t expose the supernatural world. It should have been easy, but the moment he looked away, she kissed that boy, and everything changed. He should be more upset. But he can’t. Not when he’s falling hard for her.”

My Review: This is definitely for a younger audience, and there were moments I wanted it to be more mature–especially since there are club/dance scenes, lots of physical contact, and the occasional mention of sex. I would have loved for this to be geared toward a more mature YA audience, and those moments to be expanded upon. 

I enjoyed the tension between Paul and Emmy the most. It’s great they work with each other, in a sense, but are also pitted against each other. I would have loved to see one more dangerous scene between these two before the climax. 

This book lacked more discovery, narrative and dialogue on The Powers. There’s mention of “religion”–what Emmy’s mom and Lily call it, but I was left with questions about The Powers. Even with Paul’s POV, there were times it wasn’t enough backstory. 

Speaking of Paul, I don’t think his POV did much to move the story along. It was interesting to see his view of things, but it didn’t really reveal anything to me that couldn’t have been shown or discovered by Emmy herself. I almost wish this story was purely Emmy’s. 

What I really liked was Lily’s plot twist. And without giving away spoilers, I can’t explain why. But this was great. If Paul didn’t have his own POV, his character would have worked in a good plot twist too. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. As much as I love the cover, though, I thought this might be about Vampires, not a succubus, before I read the summary. I look forward to seeing the difference in this book vs. the second-to-come, to find out more about The Powers and how Emmy will save her friends and family. 

I won this paperback and kindle version in a free giveaway. 

Apocalyptic, Book Review, Dystopia, dystopian, Zombies

Prescient by DS Murphy

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary via Amazon: “What if I told you you’d be dead in a year? That a food corporation would experiment with genetic modification, and nearly destroy the human race. Would you believe me? Sounds crazy, right? Because nobody can see the future. Nobody but me. And what I see isn’t pretty. A dystopian wasteland. Bodies rotting to nothing in the streets. Humans on the brink of survival. The wilderness eating away at what used to be my hometown. A shadow organization rounding up children. Bands of warring tribes. And let’s not forget the modifieds – the zombie-like remains of what used to be the human race…

My Review: I loved everything about this story except the ending. It was perfect; the pace was great, keeping me engaged up until the mini-cliffhanger. I despise cliffhangers, even if it is trying to pull you into a second book. I suppose the overall conflict of this first book was wrapped up by the end, so that makes up for it. But, I felt it ended too abruptly for me to feel satisfied. I’m left with this urge to keep reading, but the irritation of how the first ended… it’s all very conflicting. 

That being said, the world building was great, the backstory and explanations didn’t get in the way of the action or dialogue. 

The beginning was a bit too slow. Starting the story with the teens sitting around the room smoking might have been a better way to go. There was a lack of build-up to this moment, and it didn’t keep me engaged as much as the rest of the book did. Throwing me right into the tension, conflict, and then suddenly–woah, something strange is happening–would have hooked me in quicker. 

I’m not sure what I feel about the protagonist. There are so many questions left unanswered in this book, I’m kind of frustrated with her by the end. She’s been told exactly what she needs to do to stop the apocalypse from happening, but is in denial or scared and won’t do it–even though she’s consistently looking for a way to fix the future. It’s in front of her, handed to her. So, she’s whining to/about, and frustrated with, her side characters, her sister, and herself, looking for a way to fix things, but refuses to do the one thing that will. This drags on, and it’s maddening. It makes her a little weak, in my opinion. I know she’s just a kid still, but she doesn’t have a choice at this point. 

Time traveling books are really irritating sometimes, especially if things are on a loop–a paradox. I’ve never been a huge fan of time travel (this excludes historical fiction), but this book made it a little more intriguing and unique. The reason behind the apocalypse was also unique–at least, I’ve never read anything like this before, so overall, I enjoyed it. 

Book Review, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

And I Darken by Kiersten White

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Short Summary: A fictional retelling of Vlad the Impaler, with a gender flip. Lada is a brutal princess. She bides her time in the Ottoman Empire with her brother, Radu, until she can return home to claim her throne. 

My Review: Pleasantly surprised, though not at all what I was expecting it to be. I’ll be honest, I preordered this one for its beautiful cover and was hooked by the first few pages of the sample. 

I love the idea of gender swapping Vlad for Lada. She’s ruthless as a child. However, as she gets older there’s a bit of a lull where her character starts to change because of a potential romance building. I think this tenderness takes away from the unlovable Lada, who the readers are hooked by in the beginning. I’m hoping book two brings back her fiery passion, the unrelenting princess–since, in the end, she’s decided to sacrifice the one thing that might have tamed her. 

I didn’t enjoy Radu nearly as much as Lada, though I did appreciate the feelings he develops for a man close to him. I thought this conflict added great tension to the story and pushed Radu to be braver and stronger. 

There’s nothing I didn’t like about the author’s writing style. However, there were times the pacing slows, and I skipped full paragraphs of drawn-out explanations or backstory, which I would have cut out completely. 

Overall, the writing is fantastic, the story is unique, the title is badass and so is the main character. I’ll be purchasing the second book (and repurchasing this one since it’s full of sand and salt water from the beach).