Friday, August 18, 2023

Feature Friday ARC Review: House of Marionne by J. Elle

 

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Penguin Teen
Release Date: 
August 29, 2023
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: ARC 

THE STORY:

Rich is the blood of the chosen

17 year-old Quell has lived her entire life on the run. She and her mother have fled from city to city, in order to hide the deadly magic that flows through Quell’s veins.

Until someone discovers her dark secret.

To hide from the assassin hunting her, and keep her mother out of harm’s way, Quell reluctantly inducts into a debutante society of magical social elites called the Order that she never knew existed. If she can pass their three rites of membership, mastering their proper form of magic, she’ll be able to secretly bury her forbidden magic forever.

If caught, she will be killed.

But becoming the perfect debutante is a lot harder than Quell imagined, especially when there’s more than tutoring happening with Jordan, her brooding mentor and— assassin in training.

When Quell uncovers the deadly lengths the Order will go to defend its wealth and power, she’s forced to choose: embrace the dark magic she’s been running from her entire life or risk losing everything, and everyone, she’s grown to love.

Still, she fears the most formidable monster she’ll have to face is the one inside.
LINK: Goodreads 


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: DECADENT

TAG LINE: 
Bury your secret or die for it.

OPENING LINE: Yagrin ran a finger along the blade and sucked in a deep breath.


REVIEW:

Huge thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me with an advanced reader copy!

HOUSE OF MARIONNE is a fantastical story that blends feminine rage, forbidden dark powers, and a magical society of debutants. There were also Dark academia vibes and a mystery with a dash of romance. The story follows Quell, who spends her life quite literally on the run from herself with her mother as she tries to keep her illicit deadly powers a secret.

But when her safe haven is snatched from her, Quell is forced to seek refuge at her grandmother’s foreboding estate. There, she must ascribe to the debutante society known as the Order and undertake 3 rites of membership in order to suppress her magic forever. Insert Jordan, her enigmatic and intimidating tutor.

Jordan is our “shadow daddy” extraordinaire. I mean, who doesn’t love a good shadow-wielding hottie? I just wished he was fleshed out a bit more and there was more chemistry between him and Quell.

As for Quell’s mother: the woman kept her on the run and was cryptic as hell. But Quell didn’t bug her with questions?

HOUSE OF MARIONNE is a well-paced YA romantic Fantasy laden with dark Bridgerton vibes. All in all, HOUSE OF MARIONNE was a very enjoyable, interesting read.


TROPES/ELEMENTS:

✨Assassins 
✨Secret magical societies
✨Enemies-to-lovers
✨Deadly magic
✨Dark academia
✨Morally gray characters



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


J. ELLE is the New York Times bestselling author of young adult and middle-grade fantasy fiction and a 2022 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth and Teens. Her work has been translated into three languages. The former educator credits her nomadic lifestyle and humble inner-city beginnings as inspiration for her novels. When she’s not writing, Elle can be found on the hunt for new desserts sans Chocolat, looking for literally any excuse to get dressed up, and road-tripping her way across the country with her two dogs in tow.


Happy Reading!
 
Friday, June 23, 2023

Feature Friday ARC Review: The Shadow Sister by Lily Meade

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: 
June 27, 2023
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Horror/Thriller
Source: ARC 

THE STORY:

Sutton going missing is the worst thing to happen to Casey, to their family. She’s trying to help find her sister, but Casey is furious. And she can’t tell anyone about their argument before Sutton disappeared. Everyone paints a picture of Sutton’s perfection: the popular cheerleader with an entourage of friends, a doting boyfriend, and a limitless future. But Sutton manipulated everyone around her, even stole an heirloom bracelet from Casey. People don’t look for missing Black girls--or half-Black girls--without believing there is an angel to be saved.

When Sutton reappears, Casey knows she should be relieved. Except Sutton isn’t the same. She remembers nothing about while she was gone—or anything from her old life, including how she made Casey miserable. There’s something unsettling about the way she wants to spend time with Casey, the way she hums and watches her goldfish swim for hours.

What happened to Sutton? The more Casey starts uncovering her sister’s secrets, the more questions she has. Did she really know her sister? Why is no one talking about the other girls who have gone missing in their area? And what will it take to uncover the truth?
LINK: Goodreads 


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: CREEPY

TAG LINE: 
She came back. Is it a miracle . . . or a curse?

OPENING LINE: My sister is a bitch, but that doesn’t mean I want her dead.


REVIEW:

Huge thank you to Sourcebooks for providing me with an advanced reader copy of THE SHADOW SISTER!

THE SHADOW SISTER follows Casey, whose sister comes back from the dead. Changed. Still, before Sutton’s strange reappearance, they have a huge fight that left Casey furious with her “perfect” sister. However mean and manipulative Sutton was, though, Casey never wanted her dead.

Now Casey must maintain her family’s image and pretend everything is great again while she tries to come to terms with Sutton’s sudden reappearance and strange behavior. All the while trying to uncover her sister’s secrets. What really happened to Sutton? And who is this creature whose taken her place? But how far will Casey go to find answers? Just how much is she willing to sacrifice?

THE SHADOW SISTER is a creepy, fast-paced YA Horror/Thriller with angst and mystery. The premise is interesting and my kind of creepy. The pacing is just right for the unfolding of the mysterious story, and the characters are dynamic. All in all, THE SHADOW SISTER was quick, interesting, and worth the read.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


I was born and raised in Washington state (the one with coffee, not congress), the second oldest and only girl of four. I like to think I was a cool kid (my mother was an ice cream lady, I mean… come on), but that is debatable. I believe stories have power. I strive to live by the motto of a life inspired by fiction. I come from a background of extreme poverty (I've been homeless twice!) and live with a chronic illness, so I know just how powerful hope can be when you're on a difficult journey. I believe anyone can achieve their own happy ending, no matter how bleak things may currently seem. I'm a passionate advocate of at risk youth outreach and reading programs. My debut novel THE SHADOW SISTER and an untitled second novel will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in 2023 and 2024 respectively. My ultimate career goal is to be hired to write a modern YA reboot of Scooby Doo.


Happy Reading!
 
Friday, June 2, 2023

Feature Friday ARC Review: A Ship of Bones & Teeth by Karina Halle

 

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Self-published 
Release Date: 
May 25, 2023
Pages: 466
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance
Source: E-ARC 

THE STORY:
A standalone adult dark fantasy pirate romance re-telling of The Little Mermaid from the New York Times Bestselling Author of River of Shadows and Blood Orange.

Princess Maren is a woman with a secret.

Ten years ago, she sold her soul to the sea witch Edonia, giving up a life underwater in exchange for the love of Prince Aerik on land. But after a decade of abuse and misery inflicted by the cruel prince, Maren wants nothing more than to leave him and her royal role behind and find Edonia to reverse the spell.

An opportunity for escape presents itself when the prince and princess are traveling overseas and are taken hostage by a band of notorious pirates, led by the fearsome Captain Ramsay "Bones" Battista. Maren has heard the sordid stories about the infamous pirate--not only is his ship supposedly haunted and crewed by the damned, but that no prisoners ever survive.
 
Fortunately for Maren, she learns that the captain also has a score to settle with the sea witch. With any luck, Maren may be able to get her old life back, even if it's being held in the captain's wicked hands.

But Ramsay gets more than he bargained for when he learns who--and what --Maren is, and that her appetite for revenge, freedom, and bloodlust rivals his.

Meanwhile, Maren finds herself falling for the pirate's dark nature, even as she discovers that Ramsay has a secret more deadly than her own.

When it comes to the high seas, not all monsters lurk beneath the surface.
LINK: Goodreads 


RATING

SPICE RATING: 🌢🌢🌢/5 chilies

ONE-WORD REVIEW: CAPTIVATING

OPENING LINE: There was no moon the day I decided to sell my soul. 


REVIEW:

Huge thank you to Karina Halle and her PR team for an ARC of A SHIP OF BONES AND TEETH!

A SHIP OF BONES AND TEETH was a darkish, gothic, and spicy twist on a beloved childhood fairy tale, and it did not disappoint. The world-building was sweeping and gothic and sucked me in. When I found out Karina was doing a Pirates of The Caribbean and the Little Mermaid mesh-up, I could not have been more excited. When I heard Halle was doing a dark, spicy retelling of The Little Mermaid, I knew I had to read it! And I was totally right! As always, she did not let me down! Just like I could not put this damn book down—I was traveling when I read it for 7 hours straight. Best. Flight. Ever. The story was enchanting and thrilling and dark and didn’t let up. The pacing was perfect, and the balance between action and tension and mystery and spooky vibes and romance was sublime. The characters jumped off the page and stole my heart, the whole morally grey lot of them.

π’΄π‘œπ“Š’𝓇𝑒 𝒢 𝒻𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝒾𝓃 π“‚π“Ž π“ˆπ‘œπ“Šπ“, π’»π‘œπ“‡ π“Œπ’½π’Ύπ’Έπ’½ 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 π’Ύπ“ˆ π“ƒπ‘œ π’Έπ“Šπ“‡π‘’.

Captain fucking Ramsey “Bones” Battista . . . what a hot slab of man beef πŸ₯΅. My God, what I would do to take a bite *IYKYK πŸ˜‰* out of him. He was a possessive and mysterious hunk with a panty-melting mouth.

𝐿𝒾𝓀𝑒 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š'𝓇𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 π“‚π‘œπ‘œπ“ƒ 𝒢𝓃𝒹 𝐼'𝓂 𝓉𝒽𝑒 π“‰π’Ύπ’Ήπ‘’π“ˆ, 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π‘’π“‹π‘’π“‡π“Ž π“‰π’½π‘œπ“Šπ‘”π’½π“‰, π‘’π“‹π‘’π“‡π“Ž 𝓃𝑒𝑒𝒹, π‘’π“‹π‘’π“‡π“Ž π“Œπ’Άπ“ƒπ“‰ π’Ύπ“ˆ π’Ήπ“‡π’Άπ“Œπ“ƒ π“‰π‘œ π“Žπ‘œπ“Š, 𝑀𝒢𝓇𝑒𝓃.

Maren was the little mermaid in the story, but way less docile—in fact, she was a bloodthirsty badass. But she had to find her way back to herself after decade-long, abusive marriage to the cruel and violent Prince Aerik who she gave up her life as a Syren for. Her character journey was so fun to read as she went from a lost girl to a forceful, empowered, ruthless woman.

Marne and Bones’ chemistry was off the charts from the first encounter. The banter? Loved it. The sexual tension? Delicious.

π’΄π‘œπ“Š'𝓇𝑒 π“‚π‘œπ“‡π‘’ 𝓉𝒽𝒢𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 π’Άπ“ƒπ“ˆπ“Œπ‘’π“‡ π“‰π‘œ π“‚π“Ž π“…π“‡π’Άπ“Žπ‘’π“‡π“ˆ. π’΄π‘œπ“Š'𝓇𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 π’Άπ“ƒπ“ˆπ“Œπ‘’π“‡ π“‰π‘œ 𝓉𝒽𝑒 π“…π“‡π’Άπ“Žπ‘’π“‡π“ˆ 𝒾 𝓃𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 π“€π“ƒπ‘’π“Œ 𝐼 𝒽𝒢𝒹. π’΄π‘œπ“Š'𝓇𝑒 𝒢𝓃 𝑒𝓃𝒸𝒽𝒢𝓃𝓉𝓂𝑒𝓃𝓉, 𝒢 π“‰π“‡π‘’π’Άπ“ˆπ“Šπ“‡π‘’, 𝒢 π“…π‘œπ“Œπ‘’π“‡π’»π“Šπ“ π’Έπ“Šπ“‡π“ˆπ‘’ 𝒾𝓃 π’Ύπ“‰π“ˆ π‘œπ“Œπ“ƒ 𝓇𝒾𝑔𝒽𝓉 𝒢𝓃𝒹 𝐼 πœπ’Άπ“‚ π‘œπ“ƒπ‘’ π’½π“Šπ“ƒπ’Ήπ“‡π‘’π’Ή 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝒸𝑒𝓃𝓉 π“Šπ“ƒπ’Ήπ‘’π“‡ π“Žπ‘œπ“Šπ“‡ π“ˆπ“…π‘’π“π“.

One qualm about the smut though: Ramsay was dirty, nasty kinky, and I would have loved to really see that on page. We were only given hints of his darker, kinkier nature, and I was dying to read more.

π‘€π“Ž π“ˆπ“…π’Ύπ“‰ π“π’Άπ“ƒπ’Ήπ“ˆ π‘œπ“ƒ π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π’»π‘œπ“‡π‘’π’½π‘’π’Άπ’Ή, 𝒢 π“ˆπ“π’Ύπ“‹π‘’π“‡ π‘œπ’» π’»π’Ύπ“ˆπ’½ π’·π‘œπ“ƒπ‘’ 𝒾𝓃 𝒾𝓉. 𝐻𝑒 π‘”π“‡π“Šπ“ƒπ“‰π“ˆ 𝒢𝓃𝒹 π“‡π‘’π’Άπ’Έπ’½π‘’π“ˆ π“Šπ“… π“Œπ’Ύπ“‰π’½ π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π‘œπ“‰π’½π‘’π“‡ 𝒽𝒢𝓃𝒹, π“Œπ’Ύπ“…π’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” 𝒾𝓉 π’Άπ“Œπ’Άπ“Ž. "π’Ÿπ‘œ 𝒾𝓉 𝒢𝑔𝒢𝒾𝓃," 𝒽𝑒 π“Œπ’½π’Ύπ“ˆπ“…π‘’π“‡π“ˆ, π‘’π“Žπ‘’ 𝒹𝒢𝓃𝒸𝒾𝓃𝑔 π’Ήπ’Άπ“‡π“€π“π“Ž. "π’―π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ 𝓉𝒾𝓂𝑒 𝒾𝓃 π“‚π“Ž π“‚π‘œπ“Šπ“‰π’½, π“…π“π‘’π’Άπ“ˆπ‘’." 𝐻𝑒 π‘œπ“…π‘’π“ƒπ“ˆ π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π“‚π‘œπ“Šπ“‰π’½, π“ˆπ’½π‘œπ“Œπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” π“‚π‘’π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π“‰π‘œπ“ƒπ‘”π“Šπ‘’, π“Œπ’Άπ“ƒπ“‰π’Ύπ“ƒπ‘” 𝒾𝓉.

See what I mean? I. Am. Sweating. Over. Here.

All in all, I really enjoyed A SHIP OF BONES AND TEETH  and could not put it down. This is a must-read!



π’―π“‡π‘œπ“…π‘’π“ˆ & π’¦π’Ύπ“ƒπ“€π“ˆ
✨Captor/Captive
✨Forced proximity
✨Enemies to lovers
✨Morally grey characters
✨Villain gets the girl
✨Monster heroine
✨Found family
✨High-stakes adventure
✨Hidden identities
✨Dirty talk
✨Sp@nking
✨Bond@ge
✨Br@nding
✨R3v3ng3

πΈπ“π‘’π“‚π‘’π“ƒπ“‰π“ˆ
✨Kinky f#ckery
✨Spooky vibes
✨Gothic fantasy
✨Magic
✨ Sea witches, mermaids, pirates, & more

𝒯𝓇𝒾𝑔𝑔𝑒𝓇 π’²π’Άπ“‡π“ƒπ’Ύπ“ƒπ‘”π“ˆ
✨Abus3
✨Murd3r
✨Grief and loss
✨Viol3nc3 and gor3
✨Explicit s3xual scenes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
Connect with Karina

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3LCSTIw
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vo9pq4
Instagram: https://bit.ly/3LHKB21
Join her Reader Group: https://bit.ly/3wAzpQt
Stay up to date with Karina by signing up for her newsletter here: 
https://bit.ly/3PAEqQy
Website: http://authorkarinahalle.com

Happy Reading!
 
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