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Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum

“Good things do not happen to boys who lie.”

This book was DARK and I mean REALLY DARK.

James Hook is a young boy living in London with his mother and father. Though he is young, he has always dreamed of becoming a man. To sail the seas and to smell like the salty ocean air just like his father. One night he decides to venture into Kensington Park and there he meets Pan. Peter Pan. And he has an amazing offer that James can’t refuse. A trip to Neverland.

What he thought would only be a nice short holiday vacation to Neverland with an easy going, fun and strange boy his age. Ends up being a nightmare he has never dreamed before.

Peter Pan is a complete asshole.. Sorry for my language but it’s true as that’s all it really comes down to. He immediately changes personality after taking James to his faraway land. He murders. He lies. He’s cocky and extremely controlling and there’s one thing you CANNOT cross when it comes to Peter, you cannot break his rules and that’s unfortunate for James.

Rule #1: You’re not allowed to know things Peter doesn’t know.
Rule #2: You’re not aloud to be taller than him.
Rule #3 (the most important rule): Absolutely no growing up

“Peter’s mood became blacker and blacker until every fairy had wisely disappeared from the party, and the air smelled vaguely like smoke and sulfur.”

He’s the freaking devil I tell ya..

This book is separated into several parts and we get to see the span of years that James spends in Neverland. I found the first part to be very slow and boring. It was hard to get into but the story became much more interesting and action packed as James became more independent and well.. grown up.

The book actually reminds me of a cartoon. Starring James as the Wildly Coyote who keeps trying different ways to kill Peter Pan, the Roadrunner but keeps failing because Pan is too quick and speedy. Yup. Definitely..

If you want to read a book that is just hopeless, depressing, full of despair and where nothing remotely heart warming happens, this book is for you.

3 out of 5 stars

Thank you Brianna for a copy to review.

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Button Hill by Michael Bradford

When I pick up a middle grade book, I expect a lot of adventure and a ton of humor and this book is packed full of that!

Button Hill is about a two siblings, Dekker and Riley, who are forced to live with there super creepy and cryptic speaking great aunt Primrose for the summer. Little do they know that aunt Primrose is keeping secrets about a strange old grandfather clock with a skull on it in the cellar. When Dekker decides to play a trick on Riley and leave her locked in the cellar for just only moments, (stupid older brothers..) he soon regrets it when he realizes Riley has disappeared. Along with himself soon after investigating.

Michael Bradford has created a world with strange creatures and even stranger customs. The tale is suspenseful and just scary enough to engage the older readers as well. There were many points in the story that I even felt to be very squeamish and almost brutal in a way. I loved the rich, atmospheric setting.

I feel like the end didn’t wrap up as tightly as I would have liked but it was still a very strong and fleshed out story! I can see this book being a gem for the right reader.

4 out of 5 stars

Thank you for sending me a copy to review.

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The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

Odette is a beautiful young maiden who is the niece of a respectable merchant but she has a secret that needs to be kept hidden for the sake of the poor and starving residents of Thornbeck. She is poaching deer at night.

Unfortunately for her, someone is catching on. That someone is Jorgen, the local forester, who’s job it is to catch poachers and punish them.

These two are joined together when Odette is searching for a wealthy man to take her hand in marriage.

I have been eyeing this book on my shelf for so long now. Melanie Dickersons book covers are so beautiful and super intriguing!

With that said, the book starts pretty slow and not a whole lot happens so it’s very uneventful. It just really lacks a hook unless you consider the two main characters going back and forth for 200 pages about this poaching secret. It was very difficult to care about where this weakly-plotted novel was heading. There is no action, and the characters don’t have much personality. They all talk the same, they all react the same.. It’s a VERY laid back book but I do love the authors eye for detail when it comes to setting up the scenes. The dances and balls sounded beautiful, as well as anytime clothing was described.

I feel like I may have hyped this book too much in my head that when I finally picked it up to read, I was really disappointed.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you Melanie for sending me a copy to review.

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Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

A brand new book to add to my slowly building Contemporary shelf! This book sounds super cute and full of fun and adventure. This book releases on April 12.

Synopsis:

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

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Wolf’s Red by Ashlyn Mathews

Synopsis:

Red Little has a bone to pick with the big, bad wolf for stealing her mechanical heart. When she storms to his cabin and demands he returns it, she soon realizes he’s after more than just her heart.

Axel Wolfe wants answers only Red can provide. She was there when half of his pack perished at sea. The one that can shed light on why his surviving men recall nothing, yet Axel remembers every detail of that nightmarish day. He suspects the truth has to do with the sea nymph’s miraculous ability to walk on land.

When Axel shows her a different side of him that she likes too much, Red begins to question whether her freedom came at too high of a price for the wolf—banishment from his pack. As the passion between them heats up, Red must make a decision. Return to the ocean, or remain on land and get the answer to the question that’s crossed her mind since Axel stole her heart.

Can an ill-tempered and sexy Alpha wolf fall hard for a fish out of water?

My Review:

I requested this book to review because a Little Red Riding Hood retelling sounded like something I was in the mood for but unfortunately it’s not what I got.

Firstly, there is no world-building. Occasionally, I can forgive this when the scope of the novel is small which this book is but I couldn’t get over the fact that this book mostly just takes place in the woods with a horny wolf man and a girl getting it on.

This book kind of reads like a fanfic. So the whole half of this book is Axel (the wolf) I guess ‘punishing’ Red by sexually pleasuring her while she’s practically dying because he stole her mechanical heart.. wait.. What?!

“Instinct told him she neared her descent into unconsciousness. Axel nipped then sucked on her bottom lip

WTF?! Call the police!! The wolf police? Okay, I don’t know. Just get this Axel guy away, please. All of this sexual punishment is happening also while she’s telling him about a pack of wolves that defiled her.. Yup.

“Is there a reason we’re not going forward?” She asked, surprised at how annoyed she was that the big, bad wolf wasn’t good on his word of punishing her with his body.

In all honestly, this book was just a really bad porno, called Wolf’s Red.. Rocket..

What kills me the most is that this author has such great potential! When the sex scenes were finished, the book was great! The words read well together and the writing was pretty but then the characters would make sexual remarks even around children and things got weird. I didn’t hate this book but I wouldn’t rush to recommend it either.

2 out of 5 stars

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A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau

Synopsis:

A Lady is dead. Her noble line ended. And the King’s Reaper has come to reclaim her land and her home. In the marches of Aedaron, only one thing is for certain. All keeps of the old world must fall.

Elinor struggles to find her place in the new world. She once dreamed of great things. Of becoming a hero in the ways of the old world. But now she is a Reaper. And her duty is clear. Destroy the old. Herald the new.

My Review:

So going into this, you really have to keep some things in mind.

1. This is an “epic fantasy” kind of story. Described to be like Game of Thrones.. ehhhhhh… a bait for readers.

2. The story is only 66 pages long….the other 25 or so pages are just previews for other books.

With that said, I felt like the book wasn’t long enough for any words to have an impact. Then again, I was kind of thankful when it ended. I actually found myself skimming about 15 pages in. I just got bored. I didn’t buy some of the plot points, and I found it really difficult to force myself to keep reading. I just wasn’t entertained, and really did not give two hoots what was going to happen next, which obviously wasn’t good. I couldn’t get attached to any of the characters or follow the story to the extent I wanted to. It takes a lot to confuse and I was confused the entire time. I tried hard to keep track of the world. The setting didn’t feel very real to me. I guess this book just wasn’t for me. Darn..

1 out of 5 stars

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Silverlight by S.L. Jesberger

“The truth was excruciatingly painful. I was a pale imitation of my former self, and I wanted Magnus to know just how bad it truly was.”

Magnus Tryx has been lovesick for the past 10 years. His beloved woman Kymber Oryx, one of the most fiercest warriors known throughout the land, died in the battle of Marilian, buried in a mass grave. Or so he thought..

While traveling the roads outside Jalarath, he stumbles upon a pack of thieves hurting a bruised and beaten young woman who had taken home in one of the nearby caves. On closer inspection, he comes to realize it is Kymber. Her head almost shaven, her body skeletal, and white scars infesting her whole body.

This is a story about love, triumph, and revenge.

This novels strength is its powerful story about overcoming ones demons, having the strength to move forward no matter how unforgettably painful your past is. This is where our character Kymber comes in. We learn her struggle throughout most of the book. Fighting her depression to be the warrior she once was. There are many points in the story when you truly root for Kymber for her perseverance.

In terms of pacing, the book was a bit slow to start which is both a strength and a weakness. It allows for a slow, cleverly-painted picture to build up this relationship and it’s many secrets but I really just wanted more action to come into play so badly and the dialogue can be a bit cheesy at times.

Magnus… My god..
I did not understand his tactics AT ALL. His character made me angry far too many times. Thankfully his character becomes more likeable towards the end of the book but thinking on it now, I truly must have cared for Kymber to feel this way toward Magnus. Kymber made this book enjoyable. She made the story and that is why you should pick this book up.

“If nothing else, I’d learned an inescapable truth: we all carried darkness inside us. Some of us harbored monsters.”

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you S.L. Jesberger for sending me a copy to review.

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