REVIEW: Blanca & Roja – Anna-Marie McLemore (ARC)

36952596Title: Blanca & Roja
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Rating: ★★★★★

“There will always be two daughters. But we will always take one back.”

Anna-Marie McLemore continues to write such creative books full of magical realism, and I think Blanca & Roja may be my new favorite of all her stories. Lush writing, beautiful descriptions, and a cast of wonderful characters form this book that is simply breathtaking.

“The woods stole boys and gave them back only when they wanted to.”

The setting and writing in Blanca & Roja give it a very fairytale-esque atmosphere, and it was magnificent. The author does a great job of including the elements of Snow-White and Rose-Red, and yet the story remains unique. There is a diverse cast of characters, and there is so much to love about each one of them. All four POVS have a distinct voice and contribute beautifully to the story. The writing is lyrical and magical and really draws you in from the first page. 

An unforgettably beautiful story of love and hate, jealous and friendship, and the bonds we form with others, Blanca & Roja is must for those who love Anna-Marie McLemore’s other books. No one writes magical realism quite like her. 



REVIEW: You – Caroline Kepnes

20821614Title: You (You #1)
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Rating: ★★★★

“And the bullshit thing is, if someone saw the three of us, well, most people would think I’m the weird one just because I followed you here. And that’s the problem with this world, with women.”

This has to be one of the most unique and eerie thrillers I’ve ever read. Told entirely from the second person, You is a dark, gritty, and completely creepy story in which the narrating protagonist is stalking you.

The writing in You absolutely brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever read another book quite like this. There is something to be said when an author can make you feel tense and anxious while reading, and yet at other times root for and sympathize with a sociopathic stalker. 

“I take your little head in my hand – sorry – and smash it against the wall – sorry. You are going to be so sorry too when you calm down and realize what you made me do.”

You also had me second guessing the way we all use social media. A lot of people – including myself – geotag their locations, and it’s alarming to think about just how easy stalking becomes. If online dating and meeting strangers at bars didn’t already make me uneasy, it definitely would now that I’ve read this. You is a dark, messy, page-turning book that sticks with the reader. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel, and I can’t wait to binge watch the tv series once all the episodes are out! 

REVIEW: The Governess Game – Tessa Dare

36111620Title: The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2)
Author: Tessa Dare
Rating: ★★★★

“You are the worst example of false advertising. I was led to believe I was hiring a prim scold. Then I learn you’re remarkable and bold and interesting.”

I’m glad this met all the expectations I had going into it. Like all her books, The Governess Game was witty and funny and totally swoon-worthy. First of all, Tessa Dare is out here writing my dream life: meeting a handsome wealthy man at a bookstore and eventually falling in love? Where do I sign up, please?

Neither of the moved. Alex bit her lip. “We’re going to kiss instead, aren’t we?”
He caught her in his arms. “You’re damned right, we are.”

Tessa Dare always writes characters that I can relate to, and this was no exception. Alex is the perfect heroine, and I’m convinced we are the same person:

  • Has an obsession with astronomy.
  • Frequents bookstores.
  • Runs into a hot guy once and spends months fantasizing about him.

In all seriousness, I really adored Alex. The chemistry between her and Chase was smoldering and they were such an excellent match for one another. I also really loved her interactions with Rosamund and Daisy, and the tight-knit bonds they created with one another. Speaking of which, the girls were a delight to read about! Their antics and behaviors definitely had me laughing, even has I imagined the frustration both Alex and Chase must have been feeling at times.

As I anticipated, I was not disappointed by The Governess Game. Tessa Dare continues to be one of my favorite writers, and my go-to author when I want to pick up or recommend a historical romance. Her stories are always charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and most of all, heartwarming. There is so much to love about this book, and if you’re a fan of light-hearted historical romances like me, I would definitely recommend this!

REVIEW: Rule – Ellen Goodlett (ARC)

37946451Title: Rule (Rule #1)
Author: Ellen Goodlett
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher. 

I’ve seen this book being hailed as Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars, and now that I’ve finished reading it I can absolutely agree with that description. While it may not be all that unique, Rule had an interesting premise and a story full of political intrigue, secrets, and lies. 

Rule begins when three very different girls are brought to the capital and learn they are the bastard daughters of a dying king. All three girls are keeping secrets, and it soon becomes clear that someone else in the palace knows of their dark deeds. These new half-sisters not only have to determine who is blackmailing them, but they are also in competition with one another for the throne.

Zofi – Lives with a band of Travelers, who never stay in one place for long. She’s brash, confident, and skilled in the Blood Arts. At the beginning of the book I wasn’t too keen on her character, but she grew on me as the story continued. 

Akeylah – Raised in the Eastern Reaches by an abusive father, she’s quiet and a bit naive. I enjoyed reading her chapters although I do think she’s a little too trustworthy of other people, which I think is going to get her in trouble later on.

Florencia – I loved Ren the best out of all the sisters. She grew up as a lady’s maid in the palace, and so was already familiar with the inner court workings and has a small advantage on the other girls. She was smart, calculating, and determined. 

The story moves fairly quickly and I had no problem staying entertained by all the secrets and schemes. I loved how the story kept me guessing throughout, and even by the end we’re left with unanswered questions and plenty of speculation. And that cliffhanger! If I wasn’t already intrigued enough to pick up the next book, that definitely did me in. Rule is a promising start to a series sure to be filled to the brim with secrets, political intrigue, and twists. 

REVIEW: Four Dead Queens – Astrid Scholte (ARC)

40367270Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher.

The world needs more standalone fantasy books like this. Four Dead Queens was an absolutely thrilling story full of suspense and action. It was the perfect blend of fantasy and murder mystery, and I can already predict how popular this will be upon release. 

Four Dead Queens was a page-turner from the very beginning. The excellent writing, intriguing world-building, and nonstop action made this an incredibly hard book to put down. I loved the concept of four Queens ruling their kingdoms separately, yet together from one central location. Each kingdom was unique with their own cultures and strengths and they were really interesting to read about. 

I really liked the way the story was structured as well. The book is told through alternating chapters between Keralie and each of the Queens’ points of views. They were very cleverly written and added to the intrigue of the murder mystery. The action picked up tenfold towards the end, and the huge twists completely caught me by surprise and really heightened my enjoyment. 

This book is on a lot of people’s radar, and for good reason. With great writing and dynamic characters, Four Dead Queens is a suspenseful, thrilling fantasy that’s guaranteed to keep readers turning page after page. A spectacular debut from Astrid Scholte; I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!