Book Review of The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

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Title: The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 4/5

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Back cover:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien’s own lair–the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks–Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose–one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

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

I don’t know if you all know this, but I love vampire books 😛 So when I saw this book, I had to pick it up. Then @PenguinTeen was having a readathon with this book so I had to join.

Taking place in the beautiful area of New Orleans during the 1870s, this gem of a book (with the second book coming out in July) kept reading for hours on end. I needed to know what was going to happen next, and couldn’t put it down. It is gorgeously written and the prose is excellent. Celine is a very witty character and I love all her development.  I also loved Bastien and found him to be an awesome character.

The only problem I had with this book was that it didn’t quite explain everything that happened or tie up some loose ends. Although there is going to be a second book, where it left off made sense for the second book, but we don’t have all the answers for what was happening in the first first place.

I definitely recommend this book if you love New Orleans and vampire stories. I definitely can’t wait for the second book!

~Dani

Book Review of Never Date A Siren by Byrd Nash

 

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Title: Never Date A Siren

Author: Byrd Nash

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

When Brigit ran away from her helicopter parents, all the dryad wanted was an uncomplicated college life.

A contemporary fae YA fantasy with twists and surprises.

But being a fae among humans isn’t easy. When she’s kicked out of her apartment by her Troll roommate, stealing a bedroom from a human appears to be a simple plan.

Unfortunately, he has problems of his own – a messy break-up with a Siren means without her help, he will die.

A quirky fae fantasy about true friendships and magical companions.

Meet a hopelessly dim coco mat and a sarcastic cat, who may be too busy taking a bath to save you.

This book was a great start to a series. I loved how Nash weaved in different fae folklore together. The interactions between the different types of fae was very clever and unique. I haven’t ready too many fae stories, but I found this to be quite original.

Poor poor human Logan got caught up in a Siren’s magic. The description of what it would be like to hear her call, be stuck in her clutches, and have to figure out a way around it was really cool. I can’t wait to read more about these characters.

Brigit was a really cool main character. She is very smart, follows the codes of the fae, but is able to do it in a way to get what she wanted. If you want an awesome female character, this is your book!

All in all, I definitely recommend!

~Dani

Book Review of My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

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Title: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

Author: Rachel Cohn

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 3/5

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Back cover:

“I’m here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World’s future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS – the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her 16th birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahara, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington, DC, to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hypercritical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn’t exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of ubercool international kids who spend money like it’s air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who’s frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.

This story had a lot of potential, but I felt it was lacking. I liked the idea of Elle not finding out who her dad was due to the strict culture beliefs in her dad’s side of the family. It reminded me a lot Ouran High School Host Club as Tamaki couldn’t be with his dad until the grandmother knew he was the only way to be the successor.

I liked Elle’s background, coming from a semi-okay background to her mother getting into drugs and her life came crashing down. That gave depth to the character…

But when Elle moved to Japan, she was quite a snob and disrespectful to her father’s way of life. Yeah, I’d be pissed if my grandmother didn’t like me because I wasn’t full Japanese, and that was understandable, but there were many other things where she was just rude, selfish, and snobby.

The other problem I had with the plot was that nothing really happened and then all the real conflict was at the 75% mark and it was all resolved within the last few pages. And some stuff wasn’t even resolved or talked about again.

I felt this story had a lot of potential, but it fell short.

~Dani

Book Review of The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant (Books 1-4) by Mimi Jean

 

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Title: The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant

Author: Mimi Jean

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

NOBODY MESSES WITH HIS LIBRARIAN. . .
Who killed Michael Vanderhorst’s maker? It’s a darn good question. But when the trail brings Michael to hellishly sunny Phoenix, Arizona, his biggest problem soon becomes a cute little librarian he can’t seem to stay away from. He’s never met a bigger danger magnet! Even her book cart has it out for her. And is that the drug cartel following her around, too? “Dear God, woman! What have you gotten yourself into?”

Things go from bad to worse when local vampires won’t play nice.

Can this four-hundred-year-old vampire keep his librarian safe and himself out of hot water? Can he bring his maker’s killer to justice? Yesterday, he would’ve said yes. But yesterday, he didn’t have a strange connection with a librarian. Yesterday, people weren’t trying to kill her.

This series is phenomenal! I could not put it down! If you love vampires, I highly recommend this series. It is one of my favorites now, and I can’t wait for the last book in the series!

Book 1 review:

We are introduced to Michael and find he is visiting Phoenix to pick up his friend, and maker’s, ashes. Right away, we are given a mystery: who killed him? Why was he murdered? There are many questions running through Michael’s mind, and since he is a vampire, he always loves a good mystery. It keeps life interesting.

Then he meets the librarian. She is like a damsel in distress and keeps falling into those weird situations. Poor poor Miriam. Michael has to figure out how all of it is connected, and to kill the people who killed his friend. Luckily he calls in his friend, Lulu, who is my favorite character, to help him figure this out.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, but it wraps up what is going on nicely, but you have to read more…

Don’t read below this line unless you want spoilers!

Continue reading

Book Review of The Lady and The Thief by Megan Derr

 

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Title: The Lady and The Thief

Author: Megan Derr

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 3/5

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This is book 5 in the Deceived series, although I don’t believe they need to be read in order

Back cover:

Adeline has been at the mercy of others her entire life: the aunt and uncle who constantly remind her she should be grateful they took her in after her parents died of a tragic illness. Her guardian in the city who constantly reminds her that she should be grateful they’re giving her a coming of age in the city. The suitors who make it clear she should be grateful they’re lowering themselves to even consider her.

The only person who’s ever made her feel wanted was Lisette, the maid she once fell in love with. The maid who fled in the night with stolen goods, including the pearls that are all Adeline has left of her mother.

Then, while at yet another ball where she feels alone, out of place, and trapped between choosing happiness or doing what’s expected of her, Adeline encounters the beautiful Lady Wisteria—whom Adeline knows better as the maid Lisette…

I found this story to start out really good, but then about half way through it sort of gets confusing and goes back and forth for the romance. I really like the characters and found them to be well written, but it seemed like the two main characters couldn’t make up their minds. I felt it to be a little indecisive and it wasn’t my cup of tea.

It was, however, a cute girl’s love/lesbian story that I think people who read that genre would enjoy. I was rooting for the characters and wanted to know more, even if I felt that they weren’t being decisive enough. I recommend for those who like a complicated love story.

~Dani

Book Review of The Dark That Dwells by Matt Digman & Ryan Roddy

 

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Title: The Dark That Dwells

Author: Matt Digman & Ryan Roddy

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Release date: July 10, 2020

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Back cover:

An immersive new space opera featuring an unforgettable ensemble cast, set in a sci-fi world with a fantasy twist.

In this evocative science fiction series, four strangers are swept up in a gripping adventure of thrilling battles, ravenous creatures, and the return of forbidden magic.

Ranger.

Warrior.

Tyrant.

Arcanist.

As their paths interweave in love and hate, redemption and revenge, one threat will eclipse their greatest fears: a being of utter darkness and its imminent return.

This is a great, interesting space opera mixed with some magic! It had an ensemble of characters but it was easy to keep track due to the different voices each had, and the use of symbols for switching POV. Instead of *** they used a fox (yay!) and some other symbols so you had a mental note of who to think about. I thought it was really cleaver! I just wished Ban was the fox symbol (even though Fall had a reason he was a fox) for obvious anime “Seven Deadly Sins” reasons. 😛

But all in all, the world was really clever, the military aspect was well research and made sense, but wasn’t overly technical where you couldn’t understand what was going on. It had a nice mix of fantasy that was really cool to have in sci-fi. I thought it was really interesting and if you like Space Opera and Sci-fi military, I definitely recommend!

~Dani

Book Review of Elemental by Tam Chronin

 

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Title: Elemental

Series: The Godslayers

Author: Tam Chronin

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

I was just a child.

A wizard came to my town. He came to find me. In a fiery blast I lost my home, my friends, my family. The entire town was obliterated.

I grew up a fugitive, surviving on the charity of others. As I hid, my powers grew. The nightmares grew as well. Something was welling up from within me. Something that could not be contained.

As an adult I took my place among the wizards. I ruled my country as a figurehead, a puppet of those with greater power or experience. I wasn’t to be trusted, or even talked to, for five long years.

The other wizards decided my fate. I was to be imprisoned, watched, guarded by the very wizard responsible for the death of my parents.

I had to lose everything, even my sense of self, before I found out who I was, and who my real enemies are.

Tam does a great job bringing her character to life. Agrad is given a lot of depth as he has his family taken away from him and he has to make it on his own. He felt really real in the way he had to cope with everything that had happened in his life, giving the story a more realistic aspect versus being pure fantasy.

Secondly, I found how the villain in this series very multidimensional as well. There is more this story, and we see throughout the book that maybe he isn’t really a villain but someone who had to live by his own circumstances. I really liked him a lot and wanted to learn more.

The world building in this book is great and I definitely recommend to anyone who loves dark fantasy!

~Dani

Book Review of The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

 

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Title: The Last Wish

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Geralt the Witcher — revered and hated — holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in this collection of adventures in the NYT bestselling series that inspired the blockbuster video games and Netflix adaptation.

Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good…and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

Included in this collection are the short stories which inspired episodes 1-5 of The Witcher.

I haven’t had a chance to watch the Witcher on Netflix all the way through for a few reasons I won’t get into, but I really liked the idea and wanted to read the books before preparing myself to watch the show. I decided to read them in the order given by Orbit instead of the publishing order.

The first book in the series is definitely top notch and I can see why it has been given so much attention. I love how the Witcher is portrayed, how well the description is given without going into big drawn out info-dumps (but if that is your thing, good for you, but I don’t enjoy that). I loved the battles he faces in this and wished that one of them, with the vampire of course, was drawn out more. I wanted to know her story but alas, it wasn’t the point of the story.

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This book really captured my attention and I read it a lot quicker than I thought it would take me. I’m excited to read the other books in the series as well and make some time to watch the show. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves the fantasy genre, whether they have seen the show or not.

Also, Dandelion is annoying and I can see why people mash him with John-Ralphio…

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~Dani

Book Review of Shielded by KayLynn Flanders

 

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Title: Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Release date: July 21, 2020

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Back cover:

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

This book was really fascinating. I loved the world that Flanders created, and the characters as well. I found them all to be really well rounded, interesting, and I felt they were believable. The romance was adorable and not too over the top like some YA. There were many surprises throughout the book, and it left me wanting more. I can’t wait for the second book and definitely want to read it whenever it comes out.

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it was in first-person, but there weren’t many uses of the word “I”. Flanders is a very good author to be able to make it feel like you understood what was in Jenna’s head, but not falling into the “I” pit that a lot of authors (including me) do. I was very impressed.

The only problem I had was that some chapters had a shift in perspective to the bad guy. I felt these pulled me out of the story and didn’t add anything. I wish that they weren’t included, although they weren’t too terrible as it didn’t affect my rating. It was more of a personal preference.

All in all, I definitely recommend!

~Dani

Book Review of Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

 

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Title: Horrorstör

Author: Grady Hendrix

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 4/5

Buy the Series Here

Back cover:

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.

Designed by Andie Reid, cover photography by Christine Ferrara.

So I thought this was a comedy zombie horror. It’s not, just a dead up. Rereading the blurb, it’s clearly not a zombie book (idk how I got that) but I did and instead it was a really really really scary book. I won’t be able to go into an Ikea for awhile…

However, my mistake does not change how I rank my reviews. I just wanted to let people know, it’s not as comical as you might think…

I thought it was a pretty original story, and quite funny as we all know how Ikea is laid out. It’s a maze, and imagine a ghosty horror happening there. It would suck. I liked the legend behind it, and thought the ending was pretty good. It made sense and I couldn’t imagine if the story took place at where it was headed in the epilogue (I won’t spoil it).

My only critique was that the characters were just typical horror movie stupid. Like, call the cops in the beginning and none of this would have happened. Also don’t build there. Just don’t. I also didn’t quite understand the cop scenario… why didn’t they show up? Was it because the place was haunted? I needed to be sorted out a little more.

I you like horror, I definitely recommend! If you wanted comedy horror, don’t do it… don’t do it…

~Dani