Review: Spelled by Betsy Schow

Spelled by Betsy Schow

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after. 

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story. 
First Line: "Stupid princes," I mutter as I stalked down the green-flecked quartz-and-marble hallway.
  Review: Okay, you all know I am guilty of judging a book by its cover and that was the case with Spelled. Beautiful cover, a re-telling of Wizard of Oz I had very high hopes for it, I wanted this book to be fantastic and epic in every way! Unfortunately, when you spend the whole book hating the main character it's impossible to even have a "like" for the book.

The book starts off with Dorthea's selfishness. She doesn't want to own up to her responsibilities as Princess so she makes a wish to make things go her way and literally turns her whole world into chaos. Even after that, all she cares about is her. She was a spoiled brat, I mean the biggest brat I have ever met and I was hoping for some major character growth but the most I saw was an inkling of growth here and there not much. If it wasn't for the characters around her I would have easily marked Spelled as a DNF but thanks to Prince Kato (who literally spends the majority of the book as a chimera) and Rexi the servant I wouldn't even be giving it the two stars that I am. 

I also found the world building a bit lacking and overall very little character development. Things are very over the top in Spelled, I don't know how else to describe it and honestly, I think it would have worked but I couldn't get past my hatred for the main character to enjoy much of anything else.

I guess the more I think about it the one thing I did like was the puns in the book I liked the creativity of it but even that eventually became overkill with the over usage of it throughout the book especially when it came from the mouth of Dorthea. Sorry as you can see I just had a really big issue with her and still can't get past it.

Overall obviously, this book wasn't for me.  

Memorable Quotes:

~"That's the thing about love: the best kind isn't easy or instant, and you often get roughed up a bit on the way."

~"Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are."


Review: The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma

The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma

Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She's even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.

When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya's entire life changes.

Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.

As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.

The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart. 
First Line: "I've been drugged."

Review: The Rearranged Life is a forbidden romance type of novel, but I found it to be more than that it was also about standing up for yourself and doing what makes you happy and realizing life isn't always going to go the way you planned.

Nithya is an Indian girl born and bred in America. Her parents are pretty traditional Indian parents, they believe in arranged marriages, not the sort where she has no say so but where they find and approve the guy and then if the two hit it off they get married. They are not for love marriages at all so poor Nithya can't follow her heart without breaking her parents. It's crazy how well I could relate to Nithya, I also married someone out of my culture and shocked everyone in my family so I definitely understood the inner conflict she was facing when it came to that. She has always been the perfect daughter doing everything her parents want and making a lot of sacrifices to keep her family happy but what happens when your family expects you to make the ultimate sacrifice...love.

When Nithya meets James you can tell there was an attraction there from the get go but she knows better then to act on it so she tries to keep it strictly platonic too bad her heart didn't get the memo. While James is growing on her Nithya's family has plans to pair her up with Nishanth a son of an old family friend. I'm not going to lie when I met James I loved James when I met Nishanth I loved Nishanth, but you can easily tell which guy was meant for her, one she had feelings for the other it was more of an obligation.

I loved seeing Nithya's character grow throughout the novel and I felt James was a big part of it, he challenged her and she was able to be herself with him without wondering if he was going to judge her or not, honestly it was like she felt more free with James. I mean how can you not root for the two and hope she makes the choice that will lead to her happiness.

Overall Sharma wrote a beautiful story with a sweet romance and endearing characters.

Memorable Quotes:

~"I want you. I want to be rebellious and safe, wanted and challenged, broken and whole, and I want it all with you.I am all in."

~"He has seen me at my most vulnerable, in a disorganized mess in class and in a heaping ball of tears on his floor, yet he sees greatness in those experiences."


Review:Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols

Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake? 
First Line: " I left calculus a minute before the bell so I'd be the first to arrive at the student council meeting."

Review: It's so hard when a series you really enjoyed has come to its end. I really enjoyed the Superlatives series and am so happy that Echols finally gave us Sawyer's story it was everything I wanted. 

I was a little weary when I saw he was paired up with Kaye who is a bit judgy and quick to come to assumptions but getting to know all the pressure that was put on her by her insane mother I get it and you got to see her character grow throughout the novel. You also see her deal with the drama of her boyfriend Aiden who is a total ass, I don't get how this girl stood around and let him treat her the way he did and how she was so blind to Sawyer and how into her he was since well forever.

Sawyer was everything I imagined him to be plus so much more. Unlike Kaye, Sawyer comes from a pretty bad situation, he knows what it's like to struggle in life. In the previous books Sawyer is pictured as a flirt but secretly he has liked Kaye for two years and everyone but Kaye sees it.  If you want to talk about total opposites Sawyer and Kaye are it and like opposites they balanced each other out, so yes they were actually perfect for each other. Both characters were flawed and brilliantly written.

Overall the series as a whole is great. If you are looking for a quick sweet romance check out this book and all the others in the series. Although I can tell you right now Sawyer's story is the one you will be craving from the very beginning.

Memorable Quotes:

~" I wanted to tell you how bad I am for you. I'm going to corrupt you. I wanted you to understand that and feel it for yourself."


Q&A with Darynda Jones

What was the hardest part of writing The Dirt on Ninth Grave?
Trying to figure out how much of Charley’s personality would still shine through despite the fact that she has amnesia! It was really tough. I wanted her to struggle, to be afraid and alone, but I needed her to still be Charley. That balance was difficult.
How many rewrites do you go through before you get to the final draft?
That kind of depends on the book and how bad I’m pushing my deadline. I like to get at least one complete deep edit in before turning a book into my editor, but I edit scenes as I go as well. Then there are revisions and copyedits. I do one last thorough read during page proofs, the last stage of the process for me as a writer, and the last point at which I can make changes.
Have you ever modeled any of your characters on people you know?
Many times! Although it’s usually a characteristic or a physical attribute rather than a complete embodiment of an acquaintance. For example, I have a Deaf kid named Quentin in the series, and while I stole the name from my youngest brother, the physical characteristics and some of the character’s personality were pilfered from my oldest son.
Out of all the books in the Charley Davidson series so far which one would you say was your favorite to write?
I now understand the oft-quoted phrase, “The one I’m working on now.” It’s true. Once you write a book, you kind of put it behind you and move on to the next. To be honest, I hardly remember writing any of them. It’s all a blur.
I do have a scene that sticks out in my mind, however. It’s from Third Grave Dead Ahead and it sticks out because I was scared to death to write it. I didn’t know if I could pull it off, so when I did, I was ecstatic. It’s the torture scene. :)
Other than writing what are you passionate about?
My family, my dogs, my friends, and food. I really like food, unfortunately. But writing is such a strong force in my life. Not just the act of doing it, but studying it. Studying story structure, character development, word choice, other writers and their lives. All forms of storytelling fascinate me and I crave it like air. I can be blown away by a line of dialogue or a razor sharp description or a twist I didn’t see coming. Writers are my rock stars.
Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'?
Holy cow! Really? Okay, this is hard. I don’t think I can NOT write, but reading and writing go hand in hand. There’s a quote by Stephen King that says ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write,’ and I firmly believe that. If for some reason I absolutely had to choose I would give up reading, because I could get my story fix through movies and television, but that is a cruel question. Hehe.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Besides THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY DARK AND UNDESERVING HEART FOR MAKING ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE? Truly, readers have no idea what they mean to us lowly writers. We are eternally grateful!

About The Dirth on the Ninth Grave ( Charley Davidson #9)

In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.


Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.  
First Line: "Five enemies."

Review: I've been looking forward to this book since Snow Like Ashes which was a favorite of mine, but I have to admit Ice Like Fire definitely felt like the case of the middle book syndrome. It's hard not to compare this to the first book in the series, Snow Like Ashes was all action and anticipation while Ice Like Fire was just blah, at least, the first seventy percent of the book. 

As far as the characters go, Meira wasn't as likable in this one she seemed weaker not much of her being the kick ass girl we met in the first one. Also a lot of inner dialogue about her trying to save her people which was well pretty blah, I didn't care for it. Just when I thought there would be no love triangle guess what?!?! There is one and I am pissed. I'm all for a good love triangle(which very few authors can pull off) but I hate it when authors make us fall for a guy who is clearly the better guy only to make him out to be an ass in the next book. Even though there was reasoning behind why Theron was acting the way he was which we find out later on, I just didn't care for the love triangle that has now popped up again between Mather, Meira, and Theron. I personally don't feel Mather deserves Meira and thought all this was cleared up in the first book.

The majority of the book was spent traveling and finding the keys to open the chasm which now has been found. I thought finding the keys would be a sort of adventure, but it was all way too easy and seeing how that was the first half of the book or so I was bored. All the action that I was expecting didn't come until the last thirty percent of the book only to leave us with another cliffhanger.

Overall even though Ice Like Fire was not what I had hoped it to be I'm still going to be picking up the next book in the series because with the way things ended I have a feeling the next book will be pretty awesome at least I hope so.

Memorable Quotes:

~" I think if we wanted to...I think we could have survived being unraveled."-Mather

~"Whatever it takes. Whoever I have to be. I will not let this world fall." -Meira

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