My life with the Walte rboys

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina Pérez

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina PérezSweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
Published by Imprint on June 5, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural
Pages: 448
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.


So I’m a complete mess right now. I’m stuck between wanting to scream or cry. Maybe I’ll just cry very, very loudly, because I’m angry and so intensely sad. The ending of Sweet Black Waves shattered me. This book is loosely based off of Tristan and Eseult, a story that I’m not entirely familiar with, except for the fact that it’s a tragedy. I knew going into Sweet Black Waves that it wasn’t going to end with sunshine and daisies, but ugh, I still didn’t expect it to hit me so harshly.

Branwen is a complex character, who I loved immediately. She’s got a huge heart, always giving, and putting everyone, especially Essy, first. Sometimes I was mad at her, because she kept harmful secrets and made dubious decisions. I wished that Branwen had been more forthcoming sometimes, and let herself lean on others, instead of always letting them lean on her. But that’s not in her nature. She wants to fix everything, and everyone, herself, and her constant love and sacrifice made me love and care about her even more.

The Tristan and Eseult connection wasn’t what drew me to Sweet Black Waves. I immediately knew I wanted to read Sweet Black Waves, because it was described as being a book that fans of The Mists of Avalon – a huge favorite of mine – would love. I’m also obsessed with the Mabinogion, which some of the characters and their stories in Sweet Black Waves, are loosely based on. I loved Pérez’s new spin on this beloved literature of mine! You can tell that she also really loves the Mabinogion.

I thought the story was dragging a bit during the last third of Sweet Black Waves, but then thankfully two hugely significant things happened. One that thrilled me, because I never ever expected it, and I’m really excited to see how it plays out in the future books. The second thing completely broke my heart. Even though I knew something of the sort was coming, it still caught me unawares.

I read an ARC of Sweet Black Waves, but fully plan on buying a finished copy for myself.

four-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi [Blog Tour] Review

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi [Blog Tour] ReviewAlways Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi
Published by HarperCollins/HarperTeen on June 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars

When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

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Heads up: If you can’t handle, or don’t want to read stories with physical, emotional and verbal abuse, don’t pick up this book, because it explores all those things. Also, this book is mature, not just because of the abuse, but also because of the sexual content.

My thoughts

Always Forever Maybe wasn’t an easy book to read, because of its dark nature. I’ve never been in a dangerous relationship like Betts, and I’ve also never personally known anyone who has, but I could tell that the author was depicting one perfectly. I understand that those types of unhealthy relationships can escalate quickly, and that the victim doesn’t even realize something’s wrong until something really bad happens, and even then, most times the victim is still blaming themselves.

Before starting Always Forever Maybe, I knew that Betts was going to be a victim, but even so, I couldn’t stop disliking her. I felt sad and scared for her constantly, but I also felt irritated because she kept making bad, careless decisions. She locks eyes with a cute guy, and before she even knows anything about him, she’s hopping on his motorcycle, taking off to an unknown destination. Betts thought she was being spontaneous, and that by being in a relationship with an older guy, made her an empowered young woman. No Betts. No!! You were being reckless and ignorant. It got even worse when she started lying to her parents and best friend. It felt like deep down Betts knew something was wrong with the whole situation, but she couldn’t see past her puppy-love and new feeling of “empowerment”.

I was nervous the moment Aiden was introduced, because we knew that his relationship with Betts was eventually going to take a turn for the worst. Aiden was a ticking time bomb, and it was only a matter of time before he would explode and show his true colors. It was a scary and thrilling wait for all hell to break loose.

Always Forever Maybe was a short, fast read, which was great, because I remained enraptured the entire time. Plus, the speed fit the plot perfectly, because Betts was quickly spiraling into a dangerous relationship with a guy she thought she loved and knew completely, and the fast pace made it feel even more authentic.

This book was sometimes hard to read, because in reality there are a lot of people in the world who have, are, or will eventually enter a dangerous, and even deadly relationship like Bettes did, and this book forces you to think about it.


About the author

     

Writer, storyteller, editrix. Author of the Anna, Banana chapter-book series, the picture book The Teacher’s Pet, the forthcoming YA novel Always Forever Maybe, and more. Fan of dogs and ice cream.

Anica Mrose Rissi grew up on an island off the coast of Maine, where she read a lot of books and loved a lot of pets. She now tells and collects stories, makes up songs on her violin, and eats a lot of cheese with her friends in Princeton, New Jersey. As a former book editor turned full-time writer and storyteller, Anica has spoken with kids and adults across the country about all pieces of the writing process. Her essays have been published by The Writer magazine and the New York Times. She tweets about bookish things and her dog, Arugula, at @anicarissi, which is also her handle on Instagram. Find out more at http://anicarissi.com.


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four-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 413
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?



I borrowed When It’s Real from Scribd, because I was already a fan of Erin Watt’s book Paper Princess, and I wanted to see what else she had to dish up. I’m so glad I did because it was fabulous! I couldn’t put it down! I had originally borrowed an audio-book of it, but I can be a fast reader when I’m really into a book, and the narrator was not going fast enough for me. I wanted more, more, more! Plus, it was clear early on that there was going to be some moderate swears, and sexual content, and I felt weird listening to that during my work commute.

Oakley has a huge ego, is possessive, occasionally rude, and very often makes impulsive decisions, but even with all that, I still hearted him. I’ve now read a couple books where there’s a male movie star/musician/famous person, who starts a “fake” relationship with a “wholesome” girl to clean up their image. In the other books that I’ve read, the guy appears to be rude, dismissive, cocky, etc., but then deep down it’s all an act. Nope. Not for Oakley. I mean, he’s not a total a-hole, he can be generous, sweet, thoughtful, and kind, but he’s also occasionally all those other things too. I liked that his character was truly flawed, and that at the end of the book, he wasn’t completely cured of his unappealing qualities. He was real and relatable.

Vaughn also had her faults. I loved how she was super sassy and didn’t put up with Oakley’s bullshit. But unfortunately when it came to her boyfriend W,  she was very gullible and unwilling to acknowledge how much of a jerk he was. She should have dumped his ass way before Oakley entered the picture. I was so happy when Vaughn started to drift away from W and towards Oakley, because she finally started to realize that she deserved so much better than W.

The pacing for When It’s Real was spot-on, and the constant sass and sexual tension between Vaughn and Oakley had me frantically flipping pages.

This was a borrowed book, and will soon be a purchase of mine. I could definitely see myself reading it again in a year or so.

four-half-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura SebastianAsh Princess by Laura Sebastian
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on April 24, 2018
Genres: High Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


It took me longer than usual to finish this book. I picked it up and put it down multiple times, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because  other books came along that I wanted to read more, like A Court of Frost and Starlight. I’m glad I finally sat down and finished Ash Princess, because it was a good start to what I think could be a great series.

Here’s two things I liked about Ash Princess, and one thing I didn’t.

I liked:

The love triangle. I know, I know, bleh love triangle – but hear me out! This one wasn’t so bad. I think I was easily able to get on board with it, because it didn’t drive the story. Ash Princess mostly focused on Theo’s journey to rising from the “ashes”. Theo had been beaten down (physically and emotionally) for ten long years, and in the process, lost sight of her true self and her true purpose. Once a fierce will is rekindled in Theo, she constructs a plan to reignite her people’s will to rebel against their conquerors, the Kalovaxians. Theo’s not a bad-ass warrior like say, Throne of Glass’ Aelin, but she’s incredibly clever, and knows when to verbally push, and when to back off. Strengths come in all forms, and it was nice to see a new type of heroine kick ass with words instead of swords.

The magics. Yes, it was the commonly used elemental-variety, but it was also achieved in new, unique way. There’s some individuals who have the innate ability to summon elemental powers, and the others who can’t, can still accomplish some magic by holding special gems that have been imbued with elemental power. I loved this new take on magic!

I disliked:

The first third (maybe closer to half) of Ash Princess. The brutal opening with Theo being forced to harm one of her own people, was shocking and made me want to dive right into the story, but then what immediately followed was pretty boring. I didn’t really get into the story until Theo started plotting her people’s rebellion, and when she started spending time with the swoon-worthy Soren. So far Soren is my favorite character in this series, and not just because I’m #teamThoren. He’s complex, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where his story is headed in the future books. 

Overall I thought Ash Princess was a solid first book. I’m eager to read book two, because the ending of Ash Princess had a huge WTF moment and I think it’s gonna make book two even more intense and high stake.

three-half-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt,  Elle Kennedy, Jen FrederickPaper Princess (The Royals, #1) by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick
Published by Timeout LLC on April 4, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 370
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Goodreads
four-stars

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 


Before starting Paper Princess, I told myself that I wasn’t going to write any reviews for the books in The Royals series, because they were just going to be fun, easy-going, palate-cleansing reads after two weeks of nothing but high fantasy books. But then I finished Paper Princess in one sitting, staying up a hour later than my normal work-night bedtime, followed by staying up even later to start book two. I was that addicted O_O and therefore I knew I needed to share my thoughts, even if it was just a few sentences.

This is a NA series, because of the mature, sexual, lightly-erotic content, and it’s odd that I even decided to pick up book one, because I verrry rarely read NA books. I just don’t care for any type of erotic scenes, even the soft, juvenile kind. It’s just not my thing. But, just for the hell of it, I decided to give it a go, because I’d seen  a lot of praise from YA/NA bloggers that I follow and trust. They made me want, nay, need to know why it was so good.

Well.. even though the erotic parts made me wince a little *it’s really not my thing*,  after a couple chapters, Paper Princess had hooked me. I just really loved the sassy main character Ella, the 5 Royal boys who were brooding jerks (my usual weakness), and the overall story line. There was also a huge cliffhanger at the end of book one, and I couldn’t stop myself for immediately reaching for book two. I’m super glad all the books were (by the time I’m posting this review I’ve read all the books) out for my binging needs.

I’m not going to say anything else about this book/series other than, if you like NA books, that take place in a private school, with a strong, street-smart, smart-mouthed heroine, and a gaggle of rich, irritating, attractive guys – grab this book. This is a quick, addicting series, that you don’t have to take too seriously, because some of the books, especially book three, can get a bit soapy.

four-stars