Reviewing BooksForAri -Laura Thalassa’s “The Queen of All that Dies”

The Queen of All that Dies (The Fallen World, #1)The Queen of All that Dies by Laura Thalassa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For an enemies-to-lovers story, this one is fairly gruesome and unpropitious. Severe emotions and deeply dark motifs left me aghast nearly every chapter.

And by the gods, I enjoyed this book so much! SO FREAKING MUCH!

Imagine a future, post-apocalyptic reality weakened by war and shattered as a symptom of one man’s jockey for world-wide control. Now imagine being a young woman practically raised in the flames of his destruction. And after imagining ALL that, what kind of creature would you be when you collide with the fire-starter: a phoenix of new beginnings or a hellhound of revenge?

The story is fast-paced and saturated with thought-provoking scenarios. The author twirls around cliches, like a professional dancer, determined to give YA (MAYBE NEW ADULT – I FEEL LIKE THE SEXY SCENES MAKE THIS NEW ADULT) readers the wonderful thrill of being swept up by the music of her words, and skillfully leading her audience through ominous pathways. I was so taken with the storyline. As I followed along with Serenity’s version of events (a majority of the story is told from her POV), I couldn’t help but feel like her future was constantly shifting with every decision made. I feel like she knew that too. We were stepping into the unknown together, in a world that no longer had rules, made up of inhumane people and comprised of an amoral society constantly shifting to meet the whims of their new king forcing young, ferocious Serenity to build herself in a place that cannot bare to maintain her foundation.

I think people that want fluff and hidden perfection should stay away from this book. There’s nothing wrong with loving bad boys that have secretly been good the whole time. Shooooooot, I happen to love the fallen angel characterization that YA authors seem to favor lately. But the nefarious creature that lives inside me absolutely needed a book like this. It’s a twisted plot with complex characters, and what makes it even better is the dystopian setting. I’ve heard that a villain is the hero of their own story, and that truth is extremely applicable here.

Clever, original and heart-breaking, I just couldn’t stop myself from devouring this book and immediately starting the next one.

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Reviewing BooksForAri – Vic James’ “Gilded Cage”

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: A free advanced digital copy of this book was received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow.

Just.

Wow.

This is my attempt at making this review as spoiler free as possible, please bear with me during this brave endeavor.

Okay… *deep breath* So, when I read the synopsis, my expectation of the book was completely skewed. Because the romance was the plot mentioned first and then the revolutionary and then the ambiguous wild-card character, I automatically assumed that this would be the hierarchy for the amount of time spent on each character in relation to the plot and, subsequently, that it would be a clear indication of each of their significance. Add on the fact that the prologue tainted my perception from the beginning, and bam – I went through the first portion of the book expecting things that weren’t going to happen.

Well, color me pink with pleasure! Shame on me for going into a story with presumptions. There’s romance, but it’s not the main artery in this network of plots – so it’s a bonus, not the focus. There’s revolution, but it’s so nuanced and ubiquitous that your blood thrums along with the growing dissention. And then, of course, there’s Mr. I-could-be-destruction-or-salvation-but-who-knows that throws ALL OF YOUR THOUGHTS INTO DISARRAY. *heavy breathing*

I am so freaking happy with this book. I am ecstatic that I got to read it before it was released because I know I want a physical copy in my personal library so I can re-read and annotate it. Every few chapters brought to light new information that slightly altered the reader’s scope. The concepts introduced took on a broader, and more heady, tone as I digested the author’s words. Each storyline was a slow, slow burn that got me to feel for the characters and their circumstance before engulfing everything in flames. While I didn’t particularly like a few of the characters, I understood each of them and I fully appreciate the author’s dedication to character growth and three-dimensionality. It made for a compelling and wretched story of privilege, inequality and strife.

Most of my favorite books took me less than a day to finish, but this one took me a little over a month. Why? This actually correlates with some of the points I made above. The author packed so much information into the each part of the story. The setting, the people, the world… It was… a bit too much at times, for me. The story is set in England (a place I’m not familiar with) with modern details (I was constantly trying to pinpoint an exact time) and there wasn’t any clear divide on who was ‘good’ or ‘evil’ (which drove me absolutely crazy). Throw in the common excuses of work and daily chores, and you have a recipe for delayed literary completion.

Is the book perfect? No. Does that matter? No. BECAUSE IT’S NEW, REFRESHING, UNRUSHED, AND DIVINE. I absolutely love social hierarchy drama. I can’t wait to see where this is all going. Will it be a happily ever after? Will it be just death and destruction? Can a world change at the hands of the oppressed or must it be destroyed before it can be reborn again? I don’t know and I don’t think any of the characters know either but I will follow them every freaking step of the way.

Also, side note, I love Silyen. Please give me more Silyen, forever and ever. Vic James, if you’re reading this, please know – he is the most interesting megalomaniac I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and no matter where his life takes me, I don’t believe I will be disappointed with its direction. Thank you.

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Reviewing BooksForAri – Jennifer Weiner’s “Good in Bed”

Good in Bed (Cannie Shapiro, #1)Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: A free digital copy of this book was received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


QUICK REVIEW DONE AT THE TIME I FINISHED THE BOOK

I loved the beginning of this book! I had high hopes and was completely enthralled with this witty, sexual female that just saw happened to be heavier than average… then this woman failed me. I think that I was more disappointed in the character than the writing style. Honestly, I like the way the book was written but I just hate what it was written about. Three things that bugged me: there was a severe lack of diversity, there were scenes that were placed for shock value but weren’t given a realistic portrayal, and there was a lot of prejudice and judgmental undertones set in the writing (for example, the main characters feelings towards non-hetero sexuality). Because of these things, I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends or family, but I do see why other people may have liked it.


PROCEED FOR FULL, MORE IN DEPTH REVIEW

First things first, this is not the typical type of novel I look for when I’m browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble or scrolling through the daily specials on ThriftBooks, but I simply couldn’t resist a tale surrounding a fat girl and her sex life. As many of you do not know, I am a woman of above-average weight and slightly average height, so, of course, Baxter (my mind) leapt with joy at the sight of such a relatable read! Step aside supernatural YA lit – Arielle is delving into the world of bonafide adult fiction (or maybe slightly adult fiction)!

Cannie

The Writing:
I read this ebook in a day. And that statement, in itself, is a declaration in the name of all that is holy in literature. I have no complaints about the author. I believe the writing was done very well and in line with the type of story that was being told. The one-liners, the sarcastic set ups, the portrayal of being a food lover, were all things I genuinely enjoyed. It was an easy read and flowed nicely without too much flowery text which I thought was perfect.

The Characters:
Our main female lead, Cannie (short for Candace), had a really believable and vibrant personality. She was quick-witted and completely unfiltered. Whether she was dealing with nosy co-workers or unflappable friends, she most definitely had a response to every tidbit and had no qualms about offering her opinion on the subjects at hand. I knew I liked her from the moment she pronounced (not too subtly, I might add) that she was going to commit a murder and needed to know the Pennsylvania penal laws in the middle of the day while at work.

Bruce. *sigh* Bruce is… I, honestly, do not know. He did some really atrocious things, but he did some really sweet things, too. Mainly, I found him immature and appealingly opportunistic, but overall, I just don’t think I got much of a feel for his raw character, as everything about this man was provided through the lense of the main character and completely unreliable.

The friends… while great people, weren’t really there with enough backstory or plot to develop much of an opinion.

The love interest! I love him. Make me one of him. I like him a lot and I wish there was more build up of his character or maybe some backstory and insight into his thoughts, because even though he has such a large role, I don’t feel like I got to bond with his character as much as I would’ve liked to.

The Themes:
Alas, dear readers. This is where my decreased ratings start to make sense. The themes in this book really irked me to the point where I would physically cringe and shut my eyes just so I wouldn’t have to read the end of what I knew was going to be a very disappointing sentence. The indirect homophobia, lack of cultural diversity, and plethora of dependency motifs made me severely uncomfortable. I wish I could reach through the page and try to talk to the character. It made me curious if these traits were directly related to where the character was from or if it was a trickle down from the author’s own feelings – which again, made me uncomfortable… These things may not make another person uncomfortable and I don’t think that it affected the writing too much, which is why I included my negative comments towards the end of my review. I look for strong female characters, cultural diversity and non-prejudice premises which is probably why I spotted these things right away. It may not be something that bothers other people, and these may be points that another reader and gloss over – which is fine but I could not finish my review without highlighting the reason for a 3-star review and why I will not be continuing the series.

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