Sunday, December 27, 2020

MY BEST BOOKS FOR THIS YEAR THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED - PART I


Here are some of the books that brought me joy in this hellish year. I hope I've included something for everyone. 

A brand new fantasy by Rebecca Roanhorse, which is, by the way a fabulous start to a brand new series. Some Courtney Summers, because, really, I love a good downward spiral. A fantastic romance by Kelly Siskind, where, if you're looking for romance you can't go wrong, and, last but definitely not least, an old favorite: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden, since the next installment comes out in the fresh new beginning that will be 2021 and I'm beyond excited to read it. 

Links to Goodreads are provided. Alas, I get paid nothing if you click on them, so feel free to click away. 

Happy Reading! And if you've found some joy in books this year, I welcome any and all recommendations. 



Cracked Up to Be by 

Perfect Parker Fadley isn't so perfect anymore. She's quit the cheerleading squad, she's dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she's failing school. Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she's playing games, but they don't know that the real reason for this whole mess isn't something she can say out loud. It isn't even something she can say to herself. A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault. If she can just remove herself from everybody--be totally alone--then everything will be okay...The problem is, nobody will let her. *****


Growing up with an adoring father for a boxing legend isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It looks more like hospital visits, bloody noses, and cracked ribs. Isla Slade now works as a physiotherapist, helping athletes heal their bodies. Except for boxers. She has no interest in reliving the stress of her teen years. Dating someone in the boxing world? She’d rather snort wasabi powder.

Until she meets Preston Church. Preston manages heavyweight boxing darling Brick Kramarov. A brute who’s built tougher than his name, with a cocky attitude to boot. She wants nothing to do with either man, but her father begs her to help them prepare for a huge Vegas fight. She doesn’t expect Preston to recite romantic poems and slowly break her resolve. His fascinating mind gets under her skin, even if his star athlete reminds her how much she hates boxing.

Too bad it’s Brick coaching Preston how to woo Isla, falling for her from the sidelines. Once she finds out, she’ll have to decide if she can risk loving another man who puts it all on the line for the knockout. *****

A god will return. When the earth and sky converge. Under the black sun. In the holy city of Tova. 

The winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. 

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain. 

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade. *****





The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls #1) by 

Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.


After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless... you’re immortal.
  *****





Thursday, September 17, 2020

THE GATES OF GUINEE COVER REVEAL

THE GATES OF GUINEE by Alys Arden is my most anticipated read and, seriously, I'm so ready for 2020 to be over. January 19th, 2021! I can't freaking wait!

I gush about this series a lot. I mean, A LOT.

For my review of THE CASQUETTE GIRLS (BOOK 1) click here: My Review of The Casquette Girls

If you are new to the series, now is the time to catch up! Do it!
Links to the first three books here: BUY ME
(I make no $ from these links)

Scroll down to see the gorgeous cover!

And if you want to READ the FIRST CHAPTER (and of course you do)

RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE HAS IT EXCLUSIVELY: 


!!! GO HERE: http://bit.ly/TGG-RM !!!!


RELEASE DATE: 19 JAN 2021 (available for pre-order now)


TITLE: The Gates of Guinée (The Casquette Girls series, book 4)


AUTHOR: Alys Arden





DESCRIPTION:


As the Ghost Drinkers seep into the crevices of the Crescent City, leeching the French
Quarter of magic, the local witches are consumed with a new fight for survival. Adele
has one chance to save everyone she loves, but it will mean breaking away from her
coven and trusting a vampire.


For the first time in four hundred years, Niccolò Medici feels on the precipice of finding his
stolen grimoire. But in order to restore his family’s legacy, he’ll have to succumb to his
darkest desires.


New York transplant and first responder Isaac Thompson will stop at nothing to protect Adele,
even if he has to give in to his Spektral magic to unearth the truth about Nicco’s monstrous past. 


For those who choose to pass through the Gates of Guinée, the rules of the Afterworld
are simple: Don’t eat the food. Tell no lies.


In a whirl of lucid dreams, fetish markets, and ancestral reunions, only those who bare their
souls will survive this ghostly hunt, or else they’ll join the land of the dead permanently.


Teetering on the razor’s edge between everything she desires and utter madness, only her
heart and her magic can lead Adele back home... if only Callisto Salazar hadn’t stolen
her Fire, and the most secretive one of them all hadn’t stolen her heart.

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SQUEEEEE! Isn't it gorgeous! AHHHHHH!

Happy Reading, y'all,
Chelly

Thursday, August 15, 2019

THE BEAUTIFUL by Renee Ahdieh



The Beautiful

(The Beautiful #1)

by 

From Goodreads:
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.
 

What I thought:

Disappointing. That's how I'd sum this up in one word. 
As a huge fan of vampires, I was really excited to see vampires making their way back into the spotlight. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn so I dove into this expecting to love it. But there were so many stumbling points. 
Celine Rousseau's horrible secret is, unfortunately, a very repetitive thread that's woven through nearly every scene, and, perhaps if the author focused on a different aspect of said secret, or handled it differently, I might have been on-board. But nope. No spoilers, but her entire characterization is based on this dark secret that doesn't stay a secret very long, and I thought it really clashed with the persona that Celine put forward. 
Overall, I found Celine to be unlikable, but in the bad way. She takes turns thinking very highly of herself and judging herself for her past actions, all the while not really seeming all that conflicted. I don't think it helps that most of this story in told to the reader and that the writing stays pretty flat. The antagonist's POV chapters were probably the lowest point. The voice didn't work at all and I actually rolled my eyes a few times. Add in a love triangle that feels unrealistic and forced and I found myself putting this book down mid-paragraph a few times. If not for it being the only book I brought on a three-hour flight, I might have DNFed it.  
As far as the mystery is concerned, the climatic scene at the end had me scratching my head. I think the most important aspect of any mystery is that it can be solved by the reader--even if only in hindsight. I mean, the antagonist is on the page, so there was ample space to drop breadcrumbs, but if there were clues, I missed them entirely, which made the big reveal not satisfying at all. 
There were a few bits of scenes that showed real promise, which made this book all the more frustrating. I think it really could have been a great story if it had gone in a different direction and the author had taken the time to flesh it out. As it stands, I can't really recommend it. If you are looking for an amazing YA vampire novel set in New Orleans, I'd suggest The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden. Not giving up on this author though. 

My Rating: ** (1.5 stars)


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RATING SCALE: 
 5* = OMFG loved it. Will read it again. Touch my book and I will cut you. 
 4* = Really good. Highly recommend. Miiiight reread. Maybe. Don't touch my book. 
 3* = Good. I liked it. Go ahead and touch it. 
 2* = Not for me, finished but struggled. Didn't connect. Here, have a book.
 1* = DNF. Couldn't do it.

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Click on the cover to link to Goodreads and leave your book recommendations in my comments. Comments make me smile. And if you review books too I'd love a link to your blog! :) 
You can find me on twitter: @ChellyPike and find more reviews here: https://chellywrites.blogspot.com.
And, if you want to, feel free to press that follow button. :D
Happy reading,
Chelly


Friday, January 4, 2019

Best Books: My Top 5 Reads of 2018

*Insert drumroll here*

Here are my favorite reads of 2018. Click the picture to link to my original review. Click the title to link to Goodreads.


The Cruel Prince

(The Folk of the Air #1)


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The Bear and the Nightingale

(Winternight Trilogy #1)


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Click on the cover to link to Goodreads and leave your book recommendations in my comments. Comments make me smile. And if you review books too I'd love a link to your blog! :) 

You can find me on twitter: @ChellyPike and find more reviews here: https://chellywrites.blogspot.com.

And, if you want to, feel free to press that follow button. :D

Happy reading,


Chelly

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

WICKED SAINTS by Emily Duncan



Wicked Saints

(Something Dark and Holy #1)



I loved the world and the magic system and the monster boy. Speaking of the monster boy... This book reads like a love letter to the Darkling, and I'm totally on-board for that. I just wish the story didn't feel so familiar. Yes, the magic system is unique, and I really enjoy how Nadya accesses her powers and communes with her Saints, but, at times, the story started to feel somewhat derivative. And by somewhat, I mean a lot. The parallels... If this series ends the same, I'm gonna be mad, y'all. 

But, back to the beginning. The first scene is action-packed and still manages to introduce the characters and give a good feel for their personalities. I was totally hooked. I wanted that pace to continue, but, alas, things slowed down. Don't get me wrong. There are a few more action-y moments, but they're interspersed with some down time.

So the middle sags a bit. It does build toward something. However, the thing we are promised does not materialize on the page, which, not going to lie, was disappointing. Then there were unlikely alliances that seemed way too easy, cemented by a pivotal character who feels very cliche. The pacing at the end picks up speed a lot, so much so that I'm still not entirely sure about everything that happened. There were a few stream-of-consciousness sections that I legit skimmed. Sorry. I kind of got what the author was going for, but there wasn't enough on the page to really make sense of it. 

Mostly, I think my biggest complaint was that I didn't feel immersed in the story or the characters. We're told stuff, but not really shown that much. The author just sort of skims the surface and there were plenty of moments when I wanted to see things fleshed out better. That said, there's plenty of room for more development in the next installment. Yes, I will be reading it. I'm curious to see where this goes. Some of my favorite series started off slow for me, so I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt. 
ating: *** (3 stars)

* I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher. This in no way influenced my review. 
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RATING SCALE: 
 5* = OMFG loved it. Will read it again. Touch my book and I will cut you. 
 4* = Really good. Highly recommend. Miiiight reread. Maybe. Don't touch my book. 
 3* = Good. I liked it. Go ahead and touch it. 
 2* = Not for me, finished but struggled. Didn't connect. Here, have a book.
 1* = DNF. Couldn't do it.
________________________________________________________
Click on the cover to link to Goodreads and leave your book recommendations in my comments. Comments make me smile. And if you review books too I'd love a link to your blog! :
You can find me on twitter: @ChellyPike and find more reviews here: https://chellywrites.blogspot.com.
And, if you want to, feel free to press that follow button. :D
Happy reading,
Chelly