I have never been so angry to have read something on my Kindle app rather than in a physical book before. When I tell you that I wanted so badly to throw my phone when I got to the cliffhanger ending of this book….I yelled in frustration, making the baby in the apartment above me start crying. And all I could think was “same baby, same.”
This book was fantastic. Shattered Altar by Nicole Fox, I have never clicked on a sequel so fast in my life. Just when you think everything might be okay, boom! Nope. So, I’m going to recommend this book, and trust me, it’s gonna end up in time out. I highly recommend getting a physical copy of it just to be able to put it in book time out. I swear.
Shattered Altar is about a young woman, Olivia, who’s on her way home from New York to see her family for the holidays. Well, as in usual fashion, her flight gets delayed and she goes off in search of coffee. A stranger sits down next to her at the cafe in the airport and they get to talking. Dude is sexy and she starts thinking that it might not be so bad to live a little like her sister Mia urges her to do. Aleksandr, or Aleks as he prefers to be called, takes her to find good coffee in the airport since they’re on the same delayed flight. Though I wasn’t sure how 5 hours passed so quickly, the sexual tension between Olivia and Aleks was obvious. As soon as we got to his POV, I knew he couldn’t be trusted, he stated as much, but as the reader, I didn’t know why.
This book is filled with ups and downs and twists and turns and the frustration on both Aleks and Olivia’s parts that comes with falling for someone you shouldn’t. There’s forced marriage, blackmail, intrigue, missing persons who aren’t actually missing, and possibly an accidental pregnancy. It’s so good. You have to go read it.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
What was your favorite part of the book? My favorite part of the book was the beginning and the meet-cute. It was so surreal and for a moment I thought we were edging into the way I had originally written the beginning of Blood Song, so it was a bit trippy for me. It changed quickly after that so there wasn’t any chance of it being anywhere close to the same story, but I was drawn right in. I also really enjoyed the scenes at the lake.
Did you race to the end or was it a slow burn? I read this book in just a couple of days. I could have finished it last night but I watched a couple episodes of a show with my kids instead. This book sucks you in and keeps you reading to find out what will happen next.
Would you want to read another book by this author? I have already downloaded the sequel and want to type this as quickly as possible so I can get back to it. Nicole Fox seems to have quite the backlist going and I want to devour them all. Especially if they are as good as this one.
How does the book title work in relation to the books contents? At first I was confused at how the title related to the story, but now that I’ve finished the book, it makes so much sense, and I already know how the second one will relate to the story I’m imagining. I cannot wait, I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet how much I want to read the sequel…and it’s not on the summer reading list you guys!
Who do you most want to read this book? Stephanie of course. She would love this. Otherwise, anyone who loves the mafia don trope, you will love this. If you’re afraid of the steamy or the spice, stay away, but if not, read this. Please. Add it to your summer reading list. I promise you won’t regret it.
Are there lingering questions from the book you’re still thinking about? So many. What will Aleks reaction be to finding out that Olivia is gone? What new challenges will Olivia face now that she’s been taken somewhere “Safe”? What is going to happen to the person that helped Olivia escape? Are Olivia’s suspicions confirmed? Will Aleks and Olivia admit their true feelings for one another? As you can see, I have a lot of questions.
Which characters did you like best? I absolutely love Olivia and Aleks. I love watching them try to fight what’s right in front of them for obvious and logical reasons. Too bad love doesn’t care about logic. I also really enjoyed Olivia’s sister Mia and Aleks best friend, Demyen. I think he’s the perfect foil for Aleks. He calls him on his bull and isn’t afraid of him, though he respects him not only as the Bratva Don he is, but as a friend and that is much more important in that line of work, one would think.
Did you like the heat level of this book? Dude yes. I loved it. My favorite part of it, nothing was forced or coerced. It was all done willingly. There was no fraud involved in the spicy scenes. The heat level was fabulous.
Was the couple’s connection believable? If so, at what point did they click for you? Okay, I was a sucker for them in the beginning, and fell head long into their connection. There was obvious chemistry happening between them. After the startling turn of events, I liked that they both fought that obvious chemistry and that Aleks never used his position of power over Olivia to get anything sexual from her, not even a kiss. I liked that the internal struggle of falling for someone you had no business falling for was present and that they fought it. I like the inclusion of shame for Olivia that came with every time she gave in just a little bit, or thought about it. It made it more real. More believable. I also liked that every time they fought, a little more of their true feelings came to the surface.
What do you think happens to the leads after the ending? I think that after Aleks finds out that Olivia is gone, heads will roll, literally and figuratively. Especially after he finds out where she ended up. I think that Olivia is going to quickly realize that Aleks was telling the truth when he said he was trying to keep her safe and that running was probably the worst idea she’s ever had.
I gave this book 5 stars because obviously I wanted to throw it at the awall and it needed a book time out so often. The writing was great, I enjoyed the story, and very mjuch look forward to reading more of Nicole Fox’s work.
This book got a 5 flame heat rating. The spice was on point, just enough detail to really make it believable, but not too much graphic descirption to cross over into erotica areas. Also, it was never coerced or forced and that made all the difference for me. Despite everything, if it ever had been, that would have crossed too many lines for Aleks to be a redeemable character in my book.
Okay, so that’s the review for Shattered Altar. Read it. Enjoy it. Be prepared to throw it at the end. Seriously. Do yourself a favor, get the second book as well, because you’re going to want to tstart that one as soon as you’re done with the first one. I’m out for today, as always my beautiful people, be safe, drink your water, don’t eat yellow snow, and have an adventure, even if it’s just on the pages of a book while you enjoy the nice weather.
So I wanted to read Promises and Pomegranates by Sav R Miller, because I love all things Hades and Persephone. I’m super behind on Lore Olympus right now (And if you haven’t checked that out on WebToon then you should. Rachel Smythe is amazing you guys. It’s also available on Amazon in paperback and hardback.) Anyway, so I wanted to read that. I’d seen it on BookTok, and pretty much everywhere in the reading groups I’m part of on the book of faces. However, because I’m sometimes every bit the blonde I was born, despite my current hair color, I downloaded Vipers and Virtuosos before I downloaded the right one. In my defense, I was looking at like seven different books at the time. I still haven’t read Promises and Pomegranates yet, but it is on my list.
Vipers and Virtuosos is a modern retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice. I’ll be completely honest, as much as I love mythology from every culture, this was not a story I remembered a lot of. I honestly remembered only one or two facts, but they didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I knew Orpheus went to get Eurydice from the Underworld and he failed because he looked back, but that was it. I couldn’t remember why he went or why he wasn’t supposed to look back. So, I looked up the myth, this morning, after finishing the book, and before writing this. So, to sum it up quickly, I’ll tell you the myth so you don’t have to look.
Essentially, Orpheus is believed to be the son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope. He’s extremely gifted with music, mastering the Lyre at a very young age. One day he’s playing near a river and a crowd gathers to hear him. Among the crowd is a wood nymph named Eurydice. The two fall in love, and hardly spend a day apart. Eventually they decide to get married. Hymenaios, the god of marriage, presides over the vows and everyone celebrates until it starts getting dark. As the couple leaves the feast, they are set upon by Aristaeus, a Shepard who had wanted to claim Eurydice for his own. His plan was to kill Orpheus and then take the girl (which in my opinion is just piss poor planning on his part). Anyway, Orpheus and Eurydice run away from him, though eventually she trips and when Orpheus looks back he notices two things. The first, that Aristaeus is no long following them and second, that Eurydice looks almost gray. She’d accidentally stepped into a vipers nest as they ran and was bitten. Aristaeus saw it happen and gave up, cursing his luck and Orpheus.
Orpheus is so distraught when his wife dies that he decides he’s going to go to the Underworld and plead his case to get Hades to give her back. So, armed with his Lyre and his voice (and his father convincing Hades to at least hear him out), he heads into the Underworld to find Hades and Persephone. After explaining the situation to them, Hades openly weeps, Persephone’s heart melts, even Cerberus isn’t unaffected. Hades agrees that he can have Eurydice back. All Orpheus has to do is to leave the Underworld and she will follow him. Hades warns him not to look back until she reaches the light, or all will be lost. Orpheus, despite hearing his wife’s footsteps behind him and his overwhelming desire to see her, manages to make it to the light. However, when he looks back to hug his wife, she is still in the shadow and is pulled back to the Underworld.
When Orpheus tries to go and speak with Hades a second time, his path is blocked by Hermes, who was sent by Zeus to deny him entry. Orpheus wanders around singing terribly sad songs after that and basically not talking to anyone. He refuses the advances of other women, and only finds peace while he rests on a rock. One day, he’s resting on a rock when he’s set upon by a group of scorned women who are upset with him for not accepting their advances. They chop him into little pieces and toss him and his lyre into the river. His head and his lyre make it to Lesvos where he is given a proper burial by the Muses who reside there. His spirit however, is reunited with Eurydice in the Underworld.
Not exactly the happy ending he had in mind I think. So, armed with that knowledge, let’s get into Vipers and Virtuosos shall we? Look, be warned of spoilers and such going forward, like always, but this time there are Trigger Warnings for this book as well. As much as I loved it, there are people out there who will most likely have some triggering moments and I would hate for that to happen because I recommended a book without telling you. So, best I can figure, these are the Trigger Warnings you need to watch out for: Kidnapping, Stalking, Brutal attacks, Sexual Assault (though only accused and in vague details, everything that happens on screen (so to speak) is consensual).
Aiden James is hailed as the “Modern Day Orpheus”. The son of a washed up pop star and a record executive, he started playing guitar at a young age and is quite popular. At a gala event, he bids on Riley Kelley, though he doesn’t know her name.
Riley Kelley was brutally attacked, and she doesn’t remember much about it, but the scars that she still bears because of it. Her mother died that night, and her older brother Boyd is the one who takes her in. Two years after the attack, she goes to New York with her school and ends up attending a live auction gala with her roommates. She didn’t want to go, but somehow manages to catch the attention of Aiden, who buys her for the rest of the night.
Instead of the night he’d planned, Aiden and Riley spend time together hanging out. He’s quickly growing attached to her, and she to him. They end up at a tattoo parlor, and though Riley won’t tell him her real name, they both end up with tattoos that represent the nickname he’s given her. Riley’s gets the word “Angel” on her thigh near her scar, and he gets a halo on his thumb. Though Aiden is covered in tattoos, this is Riley’s first. After the tattoos are finished, Aiden and Riley end up dipping their toes into a sexual relationship, though they do not go too far and Riley runs away afterward. She’s freaked out because of past trauma that she can’t remember.
Aiden is hopeful he can find her the next day, and Riley takes off back home to Maine. Both find out that day that Aiden has been accused of sexually assaulting Riley, though it wasn’t Riley that made the accusation. Riley wants to come forward to clear Aiden’s name, but her brother warns her that should she do that, she could draw the attention of the people that attacked her two years prior. She’s bound to her silence, even though it will ruin Aiden’s life. Eventually, she fakes her death and runs away.
Three years later, Aiden catches up to her in the small town in Colorado where she’s been hiding out from her past. He intends to make her pay for ruining his life, and part of her knows she deserves it, though she didn’t make the initial accusation, and no one can figure out who did. Though his intent is to stalk her and ruin her, Aiden doesn’t count on falling in love with her, or she for him and that changes everything.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
Is this genre (Dark Romance) something you read a lot? Not often, but I don’t mind it. I actually enjoy it from time to time and this book is a wonderful example of the genre.
What did you think about the modern retelling of the myth? Not knowing much about the myth while I read, kept me wondering what was going to happen in the story. I was curious how everything would pan out. After reading the myth, I’m glad that both have a happy ending, even if they end a different way from one another. I love it. I think that Aiden definitely embodied Orpheus and his and Riley’s feelings for one another definitely resemble the all consuming obsessive love that Orpheus and Eurydice shared.
What was your favorite part of the book? I love the initial meeting of Aiden and Riley. It’s the perfect meet-cute and sets up the rest of the story wonderfully. I love that they both seem to come alive in one another’s presence. They both have their demons but somehow those burdens seem lighter when they’re together. As a fangirl, it’s every fan fiction my teenage self ever wrote. The idea that you could meet your celebrity crush and have an amazing time with them. Ugh, swoon worthy. Which makes everything afterward so much more tragic.
Did you race to the end or was it more of a slowburn? I raced to the end. I finished this book in three days. I loved it. I kept checking the page count to see how much room was left to solve the riddles and problems that kept creeping up. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next and see how the relationship between Aiden and Riley would progress. There were other relationships I wanted to see develop as well, but that was the main draw.
How does the books title work in relation to the books contents? I love the combination of the original myth (vipers) and the story now. It worked so well. It was catchy, and maybe that’s why I chose it by mistake, the title was intriguing. What did the two have in common? Titling a book is hard, it worked through probably four or five different working titles before settling on the title of my first book, so I get it. I loved it. And it works so well with the other titles in the series.
How did the story impact you? Do you think you’ll remember it in a few months or years? I think I will. I love mythology, though I’m more familiar with Celtic and Norse mythology these days, I did start with Greek and Roman myths. I also love retellings, of anything. A couple of weeks ago I did a review of Thorns and Roses, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (one of my favorites) and it was great. On my TBR list, is a retelling of Peter Pan. So yeah, I love them. I think that I will remember this one. For quite awhile. I plan to buy this entire series in paperback because the covers are so beautiful and I think one of my eldest daughters (who is almost 18) would love this series. Just maybe not for a couple more years. This is one that I will be recommending to people.
What are your thoughts on the books structure? Did it serve the story well or did it hinder it? The structure worked perfectly. You start during the attack on Riley, so while she doesn’t remember it, the reader has an idea at least of what happened and why she’s so skittish of everything. The back and forth chapters from Riley and Aiden’s perspective also help a lot. You get to see into his head, and hers, throughout everything and watch as their emotions and feelings change and how they mentally overcome their demons, or embrace them, as the situations occur. I think that if it was set up differently, something would be lost.
Did you like the “Heat” level of this book? This is a dark romance, but the heat level, my god. It was burning and I loved it. As someone who enjoys erotica from time to time, it bordered that line very closely at certain parts, but the detail was perfect for the scenes. It worked so well, and was so steamy, that sometimes I put it down if I was in public. I read the most eroticly explicit fan fiction in public without batting an eye, but there were a few times that I switched to playing a game on my phone instead while I was reading this, but I couldn’t wait to pick it back up.
Did this book compel you to read the others in the series? Most certainly. There are currently four books and while they are all standalone, I loved it. I want more of this. And apparently there are three other books that aren’t part of the Monsters and Muses series and I can’t wait to read those as well. That’s six books added to the TBR pile that’s constantly growing. I’m pretty sure I caught glimpses of the “Hades” character in this book and now I want to go read that to see if I’m right.
Is the couple’s connection believable? At what point did they click for you? I think it is. Now if this situation happened in real life and not fiction, there would be so many red flags, however in a fictional situation, it was amazing. I also love that therapy is mentioned more than once and is something that Riley gets. It helps that mental health is portrayed in a good light as much as her and Aiden accept their demons. I love that trend that I’m starting to see in modern fiction, as someone who sees a therapist regularly, I’m happy to see that. So yes, in a fictional world, they click immediately and their relationship works. Now, again, Riley isn’t guilty of what Aiden thinks she is, so as that realization sets in, his original plans are abandoned, though she’s content to let him ruin her in ways she can’t even fathom. And maybe in the end he does, just not the way he intended.
I gave this book 5 stars. I cannot find anything wrong with it at all. The story was interesting and kept my attention well. It was a quick read, or at least I devoured it because it was well written. The structure works, and the author doesn’t sugar coat the bad traits these characters have. They aptly see themselves as monsters and know that these desires aren’t normal. I love that. It added just enough realism to make this story believable. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Dark Romance and Retellings of Myths. I now want to read everything from this author.
This book gets the highest heat level available to me. As I previously stated, the heat level in this book is off the charts. So hot, and so well written. Again, the believability of these characters and their situations is amazing. I love how well this was done. The intimate scenes didn’t detract from the story in any way, in fact I feel like they enhanced them. They added something more to the dynamic as things progressed between them. It was easy to believe that if the characters could just get beyond the past hurts they both carried that they’d make a very happy couple.
Okay this has been quite a long review, I’m not sorry for that. I highly recommend it! You guys, if the trigger warnings are something you can handle, and you like Dark Romance, and a little bit of enemies to lovers, my god, do yourself a favor and read this. At the time of writing this, it’s available on Kindle Unlimited, which is where I read it, and also in other formats. I will be ordering it and the others in the series to sit on my shelf and be beautiful and so I can hand it out to people that need to read it. Okay, I’m out of here, enjoy your Thursday. As always, be safe, drink your water, don’t eat yellow snow, and have lots of adventures!
I was challenged by Stephanie, my cohort in the Book Club for Complicated House Plants, to read her favorite book and then we’d watch the movie together. Then my daughter Xe (pronounced: zay) came to stay with me for a few months. Upon learning I was reading The Glass Castle, she got really really excited because it is also one of her favorite books. She was unaware there was a movie, so we invited her along to be part of this adventure with us.
The Glass Castle is a memoir by Jeannette Walls that details her life growing up with her siblings, Brian, Lori, & Maureen and her parents Rose Mary and Rex Walls. It tells the story of their life growing up in the deserts of California, Arizona, and Texas before moving East to West Virginia. With parents who are always a little out of touch with reality, the kids grow up a little out of the normal parameters that we think of today. Struggling to make ends meet and almost consistently wondering where their next meal will come from, it takes a toll on the children.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
Rex and Rose Mary Walls were unconventional parents, but were they abusive? Why or why not? S: Does it have to be a yes or no question? Can it be both? Were they abusive? I would say no. They never struck their children, but did they put them in situations that required them to find different solutions? Yes. They taught them to fend for themselves; survival of the fittest. But are they also traumatized from their childhood? Yes, there’s some PTSD going on. But all in all it made them stronger adults. A: Yes. Mostly because they were neglectful at the very least. They wanted what was best for their kids, but refused to do anything that would actually better them. Always on the road toward the next adventure, regardless of whether or not the kids had exactly what they needed. Though the kids were smart, they lacked the basic necessities on regular occasions. X: Oh, yes. There’s not even a question about that cause how do you let your child burn making hot dogs when they’re three? Your three year old shouldn’t be anywhere near the stove. And when they’re visiting Rex’s mom, the scene with the brother [Brian] there was certainly some abuse there. He let his kids stay with her?
Why does Jeannette see more ambiguity in her upbringing than her siblings do? S: I think because she had the closest relationship with their Dad. Seeing all the things he did and loving him through his addiction, and wanting to do better in her adult life. But even as an adult she still didn’t know how to do that. A: I think it’s because she tried to see the best in her parents, instead of focusing solely on what they lacked. It gave her a bit more perspective when it came to her parents, but I agree, she struggled with that into adulthood. X: She was very close with her dad, she saw more of the good side of him than her siblings did. Her relationship with her mom wasn’t as close as the one with her dad, but even then I think she was very understanding when her parents did do stuff wrong.
Many children grow up in poverty and have parents that abuse substances. Why were the Walls children able to rise out of their circumstances? S: Because living through situations like that as a child teaches you how not to be. It makes you want to better your life so you don’t have to live the same way or you don’t have to put your children through the things that you encountered. A: I think they saw their parents as a beautiful example of what not to do. That’s how I did it when it came to my dad’s drinking. X: I think they were able to rise out of their circumstances because they saw their dad drinking a lot and didn’t like it. So they knew what not to do when they got older. They always stuck together too.
How do you think you would have reacted to being raised like a Walls? How would it change your perspective or approach to life? S: I don’t think it would change so much seeing as how I grew up similarly to them. I wasn’t as nomadic, but at the same time to be on the poverty level that they were on, it makes me a little more grateful for the things that I have today. A: I think I’d value things like running water, food whenever I wanted it, and a comfortable bed a lot more. Especially indoor plumbing. I think the reaction of Lori and Jeannette when they first get the apartment in New York is perfectly described as a paradise to them where as we might see it as sub-par from our own perspectives. X: I don’t even know. I can’t imagine if my life had been like that. I probably would have felt bad about myself, even if that was selfish. I would definitely appreciate things more because I feel like I take a lot of things for granted.
Why did the parents follow their children to New York? Why did the children keep seeing them? S: Because they’re a family and families stick together no matter how messed up they may be. Rex and Rose Mary love their kids and wanted to know that they were okay as adults as well. A: I think that they just wanted to be with their kids. I agree that they’re a family, and family sticks together. Once all the kids were in New York, it was only a matter of time before they burned out their connections in Welch and joined them in New York. X: I feel like just as much as the kids needed them when they were younger, they needed them as well. They obviously love their kids, and even though they abused them when they were younger, a parent loves their kids. I think that they wanted to support their kids.
Discuss Rose Mary Walls. What did you think about her description of herself as an “excitement addict”? S: I don’t think she’s so much an excitement addict as she was selfish with her own wants. And that did portray her as an adventurous person, but I feel like that adventure was forced by Rex not keeping a job and her not working and them being forced to Skedaddle all the time. A: I don’t think that she was an excitement addict so much as she loved her husband. It was one of those things she told herself so that she could continue being positive. X: I think it’s not as much excitement, as she liked the adrenaline. You could see it when her and Rex would get into these big arguments that right after they’d be in love again.
How did the new scenes of Jeannette as an adult square with your read of her from the book? S: Her portrayal between the book and the movie was not equal in any way. I think she was more sheltered and reluctant and not as eager to claim her parents as hers. I think in the movie maybe the people she was around influenced her feelings about her parents than in the book. A: I felt like they were slightly disjointed. Like they didn’t quite fit. Like the target version of something versus the Walmart version. You have to look closely to find the difference but it’s there. She was quieter in the book, kept her head down and worked her way out of her situation through the determination of sheer will. X: In the book I feel like she’s not as outgoing as the movie makes it out. I feel like she’s a little more reserved. And I think in the book it shows when she first sees her mom digging in the dumpster that she’s embarrassed of her parents.
How did the scenes of Jeannette as an adult change your perspective of her or her relationship with her family? Did it work for you? Why or why not? S: It did to a certain extent. I feel like in the book her and her siblings were a lot closer than they were in the movie. They at least communicated more than they appeared to in the movie. A: The movie made her seem a little more stuck up than in the book. You could see she felt affection toward her family, but the book explains it so much better. It was different. X: Like Steph said, they were definitely a lot closer in the book and you saw how their relationship from childhood to adult hood grew and it was probably even bigger because they share that trauma. I feel like the movie showed them as separated and they hardly saw each other. I wish they had showed the relationship with the kids more than the relationship with the dad because the relationship with her siblings was a lot bigger.
The movie centers on Jeannette’s relationship with her father in particular. Why did they have a special relationship? S: I feel like because she was the only one out of the kids that he gave a Nickname too they were closer and being a middle child, she definitely understood his addictions. She believed in him, and the glass castle, longer than everyone else. A: He was closer to her than to her siblings. I think he loved them all equally, but if he had a favorite, it was Jeannette and her relationship with her father shaped her entire life. X: I think the question he asked a lot throughout both the book and movie was “do you still believe in your dad” and she always said yes when he asked. They had more intimate conversations than he did with the other siblings.
How did Naomi Watts’ version of Rose Mary compare with Rose Mary in the book? Was she abused by Rex? Was she as good a parent as Rex? S: I think they were equally shitty parents. I feel like she was portrayed in the book as a slightly more caring parent than in the movie. Only because in the book her and the children had more meaningful conversations about Rex’s addiction. I don’t feel like he technically abused her, because she knew about the situation at hand and did nothing to better herself or her children even though she had several opportunities to do so. A: I felt like they left too much out of the movie for the character to pop. She came off more like someone who didn’t care in the movie, where as in the book we see that she does care about her children a lot, she’s just not a great mother. She’s the kind of person who would make an interesting friend, but not a good mother. The movie also didn’t show too much about how she struggled with depression and wrestled with doing the right thing. X: I feel like they romanticized her as a mother more in the movie. In the books you could see she was as equally neglectful as Rex. When you watch the movie you think she’s just stuck but really she kept herself there. Naomi Watts’ version was terrible. I feel like they should have shown more interactions between the parents because they put a lot more in the book that showed Rex’s more abusive side.
What was your favorite part? S: My favorite part of the movie was Christmas when they had nothing to give the children, and Rex took them out and gave them each a star (or planet if you’ll have it) because that’s something that couldn’t be taken away from them. And he was actually a smart man, so he was informative in telling them about the star or planet they chose. A: When he gifted the kids the stars. That was smart, they may not have had much, but he gave them something that no one could take, and that was something they remembered fondly about their dad. He encouraged their adventures and reading. That was the greatest part. Despite everything they tried to teach the kids and they were all very intelligent, which probably made everything so much worse somehow. X: My favorite part, which they didn’t add in the movie, was the tinker bell doll, because when she was trying to see her pretty face in the fire she melted. And even though her doll melted, she still loved it.
Any last comments about the book or movie? S: Hands down best book I’ve read, I’ve related to it more than any book I’ve ever read. A: It was a good book, I enjoyed it a lot. I can see why it’s Steph and Xe’s favorite book. X: Pretty much what Steph said, it’s the best book ever, it’s my favorite book. The movie was nice but it did not stand to my expectations.
Stephanie: Five stars for the book hands down. Five stars for Woody Harrelson playing Rex Walls in the movie. And 2.5 stars, 3 if you’re lucky, because it was considerably inconsistent with the book.
Amber: I gave the book four stars, because it was really really good. I would actually give it 4.5, but I didn’t make graphics for half stars. Sorry. It was a good read, I don’t read memoirs often, and this kept me intrigued. I can see why Steph liked it, and Xe also. I loved it and I would read it again. The movie get’s three stars. Maybe. Woody Harrelson get’s five stars.
Xe: The book is five stars, immaculate, a masterpiece, the holy grail. But for the movie, I’ll give it a three. It’s only at a three because of Woody Harrelson’s immaculate portrayal of Rex.
Well, that’s it for now. This is the first non-fiction book for the Book Club, so let us know what you think. What’s your favorite book? Alright my friends, I’m off. Be safe, drink your water, don’t eat yellow snow, and have an adventure.
Xe: Woody Harrelson should have played all the characters. Steph: I concur. Except for Jeannette, who the child actor was Mountain Goat all the way. Amber: *Shakes head fondly*
Do I really have to tell you guys how much I love beauty and the beast? Like every single version of it. All the time. Beauty and the Beast is amazing to me. Like almost every girl I know, it was the library for me.
Anyway, so when I ran across A Ruin of Roses and heard that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast…but with dragons. You guys, I jumped over to Amazon and downloaded it onto my Kindle app really quick. I had to finish a couple of other stories before I could read it, but I was so excited. (And now that I’m done, I’ve downloaded the second one and you guys, can I just tell you how excited I am?) So, without further ado, let’s get into it shall we?
So like in the version of Beauty and the Beast that we all know and love, this story has a tragic sort of backstory, this one makes about as much sense as the one in the movie too. So, the kingdom is split into different parts based on the type of shifter that you are. Though by the time we get to the story, no one has that ability anymore and the entire kingdom is closed off and we’ll get to why in a second. So the Prince of the Dragon Shifter portion of the kingdom is rumored to have been married off to someone in one of the neighboring kingdom, and has been gone for years. The Queen died a long time ago, and the King makes a deal with the Demon King and a curse falls over the kingdom. The castle is surrounded by a creepy forest, you can’t travel out of town anymore, it’s all a big mess.
Fast forward a decade or so and we catch up with Finley who is attempting to take care of her family after her mother gets sick and dies and her father is now sick. So, she’s a bit busy. Part of what is causing everyone to get sick is a side effect of this curse that’s been handed down by the Demon King. The only thing that helps them is a drink made from the leaves from a very specific plant that is only found in the forest. (Of course it is….) So Finley sneaks into the woods, past the briars and heedless of the beasts that roam the forest at night and have already killed more than one villager.
She is successful the first time she goes into the woods, but the next time she goes back, after an interaction with our Gaston type character, and she actually gets caught, and it isn’t pretty. It’s the “Beast” that catches her and after an interaction he drags her back to the castle to be his prisoner and we walk into a whole world of crazy. Seriously, I cannot even tell how much I wasn’t prepared for what happens.
NOT FOR PEARL CLUTCHERS. Look, if you don’t like a lot of raunchy sex (for seemingly no reason), though this is a series and it did set the stage for some interesting developments. It’s an enemies to lovers, raunchy, story that is good. I loved it, I did.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
What genre is this book? This book, while a re-telling of a fairy tale, is labeled as the following genres: Fantasy Fiction, Erotic literature, Romantic fantasy, Paranormal fiction.
Did you race to the end or did it take you a little while? I really wanted to race through this book, but I had to put it down quite a bit. The writing style was a little off my taste but I was able to put it aside and make it work. The story is good, if you can get past the readability of it. That was the biggest challenge I had, which happens sometimes.
Are there lingering questions from the book you’re still thinking about? It ends on a cliffhanger, so I have some questions about that. Meaning that I’ll probably read the next one just to figure out what happens next. That’s usually why I keep reading something, unanswered questions, and if the storytelling is good. I’m a sucker for a good story. I also want to know about the rest of the kingdom, what happened exactly and how did we get to this point?
Which characters did you like best? I actually rather like Nyfain. And Finley’s older brother, Hannon. I felt he had a firm grip on their reality and was doing the best he could do since he was in charge of their family now that their father was sick. Nyfain was a great representation of the beast. He’s got a lot of layers and he truly seemed to care for Finley. I’m interested to see what happens next.
Did the plot proceed in a way that felt natural? Or did you feel manipulated by the storyline? I felt like I knew where it was going, at least on some level because it was a re-telling. However, I was always relatively surprised when something new happened. I thought there were places where the storyline seemed a little contrived and that there were movements where things seemed gratuitous. They didn’t need to be there and the story would have been the same, and yet, they were there anyway, maybe for shock value, who knows?
Would you fall for either of the leads? Honestly, no. I don’t think that I would. Which is weird for a romance novel. I mean, I want to see them together, and I want them to be able to fix the kingdom, no matter what it costs, but I personally wouldn’t be attracted to either of them. Now, Finley’s brother Hannon, a man who stands up and takes responsibility for his family no matter the personal cost, that’s a guy I could fall for. Maybe because I’m older, I don’t know.
If it’s part of a series, did this book compel you to read the next one? I do want to read the next one. I want to know what happens to Nyfain. I want to know what Finley is going to do to help. I want to know how they’re going to fix the kingdom, which I said already I know, but I need to know what happened. Contrived as some of this book may be, I will most likely finish the series because I want to know what happened. The cliffhanger at the end serves it’s purpose perfectly. It’s not exactly a happy for now end, and certainly not a happily ever after ending, but I need to know what’s going on.
Did you like the heat level of this book? Though at times unnecessary, I did actually enjoy the heat level of this one. But it was more the connection between Nyfain and Finley. The growing heat between them as they progress, was fantastic. I enjoyed it.
Was the couple’s connection believable? I think so. It’s clear that there is something there, on a soul level that they’re both drawn to, but I like that they don’t just give in to it and allow it to dictate their actions. Instead the relationship between Finley and Nyfain grows because they want it to, not because of whatever cosmic connection they have. In fact Finley actively tries to avoid it. I love that aspect of their relationship.
Did the book strike you as original? I think that knowing it was a re-telling of something else before you read it, you’d be likely to think it wouldn’t be original. Despite the mixed reviews of the way it was written, or what you think of the amount of sex and the language used, the concept for this story is amazing. It’s an original idea that follows the framework for a tale as old as time. And I loved the idea of that concept before I even read it. It’s easy to forget it’s a retelling of a favorite story if you let yourself get lost in it.
I gave this story four stars. I liked the story, I was able to overlook the writing style, which again is just a personal thing. I did like this story a lot more than it probably sounds like I did. That said, dealing with the writing style, the parts that just seemed unnecessary, caused me to rate it below a five. (I’ve never said this, but if anything ever gets a 3.5 or lower, I just won’t review it here. As a writer, I know how much negative reviews can kill the motivation and muse, so I won’t review anything lower than a 3.5)
This book got a four on the heat level again, simply because I feel like the use of smut or scenes that depict intimate relationships should be done so with a mind to the needs of the story. I have written everything from closed door/fade to black to incredibly detailed erotica. I use whichever would be best for the story at the time. I think that on certain occasions, this heat didn’t fit what the story needed. Again though, the heat was good so I didn’t knock it down any farther than four flames.
So, that’s all for today’s review. If you like this kind of story, go read it. You’ll either love it or hate it, but you won’t forget it. I’m out for now. As always, be safe, drink your water, don’t eat yellow snow, and have an amazing adventure!
So I read The Spark by Vi Keeland, and as you know, Vi Keeland is one of my new favorite authors. This book was awesome. I loved the Male Main Character, Donovan, he’s dreamy and the perfect guy, as far as I’m concerned. So read on and get to know not only Donovan but Autumn as well.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
Donovan Decker is a lawyer with a complicated past. He accidentally swaps luggage with Autumn Wilde and when they go to switch it back, they end up spending the weekend together. Though they don’t have sex during these couple of days, it’s quite intense for both of them. When Autumn disappears at the end of the weekend without giving Donovan any clue of how to find her.
The story then skips almost 10 months and Donovan’s boss asks him to take a pro-bono case. Since he’s trying to make partner, he begrudgingly accepts the case. When he gets to the precinct, he’s sitting and waiting for the social worker before he can meet with his underage client. When the social worker arrives, it’s Autumn. He’s excited to see her, but not so excited when he finds out that she’s casually seeing his boss.
What was your favorite part of the book? I really enjoyed Donovan. He’s a good guy and I absolutely loved how much he was willing to not only help Storm, his underage client, but actually put him on the right path with resources and by introducing him to Bud, Donovan’s mentor from when he was Storm’s age.
What was your least favorite part? I kind of hated the pseudo relationship with Donovan’s boss. The guy was kind of an ass and clearly wanted more than Autumn did out of the relationship. It was irritating.
How does this books title work in relation to the books contents? I think it’s appropriate to the relationship between Donovan and Autumn and their initial weekend together. There is a spark and though Autumn tries to hide from it, she can’t deny it in the end either.
Which characters did you like best? Which did you like least? My absolutely favorite character is Donovan. The man had a complicated upbringing that you would think make him hard and a little jaded, but it didn’t. He is the sweetest guy, who fights for what he wants, and not in a bad way. He isn’t afraid of having emotions, and though he sounds like the perfect dude, he has some flaws. I even love the quirk that he steals the smaller travel size products that hotels have in their rooms, even though he’s a successful lawyer and doesn’t need them. It’s a throw back to his childhood that he just can’t quite shake. My least favorite character is Autumn’s ex-boyfriend. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this character, but I got bad vibes from them immediately. There are notes in the margins of my book that detail that I’m having some issues with this character.
What are your thoughts on the books structure? Did it serve the book well? The book is set up in dual POV, changing with the chapters, though it isn’t always a consistent back and forth. There are sixteen (16) chapters from Autumn’s perspective versus the nineteen (19) from Donovan’s. This structure works great for the story that’s being told. Each chapter is told from first person, which works great to get the emotion of this story, which really makes it.
Are there any character you’d like to deliver a lecture to? If so, who? What would you say? Autumn’s father. How dare he. How dare he not have his daughter’s back in favor of other people? There’s more I’d want to say to him, but that will be spoilers and I don’t want to do that. Also Donovan, control your temper darling. While that was heroic, it wasn’t the smartest move. Though I love you for it.
Did you like the heat level of this book? I did actually. It was steamy for the little bits that we got. I absolutely loved it. Very hot. Especially when read by a fire.
Was the couple’s connection believable? Look, I believed that they instantly hit it off. I also believe that Autumn is a fool to walk off without a word. Though I get it, I do, but girl. Get it together. You can’t be afraid of the possibility of love forever. Come on. I believe that Donovan is head over heels for the girl that got away, and that once they reconnect, he’s driven by the what could be. The more he finds out about her, the deeper he falls. Autumn, girl. Get it together, he’s amazing.
Would you ever fall for either of the leads? If you haven’t figured it out yet, yes. I would love a guy like Donovan. He’s amazing for a thousand reasons. And hot dude. Like….my single self would say yes in a moment. For sure.
What is your favorite quote from the book? “Do you think a kiss can be better than sex?” – Donovan Decker.
I really liked this book. Steph read it with me, but she never got a chance to finish it, because life. I loved this book. It was easy to read and a fun little romance. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a good read for by the pool or for late nights or whatever. It’s good and worth it, at least to me.
I gave this book four stars. I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but some of it seemed to drag. Though Donovan was a great character with a great backstory, he deserved a little better. Autumn still had a lot of stuff to work through with her therapist, and maybe should have been doing a little more to work on herself instead of hiding in relationships that would never go anywhere. It’s a self-protection thing, which I get, but girl. Do better.
The heat level is only a 4 as well. There weren’t a lot of graphic scenes, since Autumn spends most of the book dating Donovan’s boss. But dude. That kiss at the party….ooo….I had to fan myself. It was hot. Every time they do have a moment like that, it’s just as steamy. It deserves this rating. If there had been more, it would have gotten more, but what was there, worked for the story.
Well, that’s all we have for today. Check out The Spark by Vi Keeland and tune in next week for another book review from the Book Club for Complicated House Plants. <3.
As always, be safe, drink your water, don’t eat yellow snow, and have amazing adventures!
This week I bring you one of the books I read on my Kindle App. It was available through Kindle Unlimited, and I blew through it so quickly. It took me two days, and it wouldn’t have taken that long except I was busy doing other things in between when I got to read it. If you like Vampires and the paranormal, you have to put this on your reading list. It’s part of a series, and you will not be disappointed.
So, our story revolves around Lucca Della Morte and Vivianne Gale. Lucca is a blueblood vampire and nephew of the vampire King. He’s also cursed and his hibernations are taking longer and longer for him to wake up from. Vivianne is just trying to save her brother from a Dragonshifter, who wants her to steal Lucca’s necklace in exchange for her brother’s life.
After Vivianne fails to steal the necklace the first time, she ends up enrolled at the same school as Lucca and his inner circle. She’s given a glamour so that no one knows she isn’t a vampire, but Lucca sees through it immediately. At first he is dead set on making her miserable due to her attempt at stealing his necklace, but he somehow can’t bring himself to do so.
I liked this book, and I’m reading the second one right now, which I find to be so much better than the first, but the first was good. A lot of reviews talk about how many cliche’s there are in the story, and while they are accurate, this story is chock full of them, I found it an amusing quick read.
What was your favorite part of the book?I really enjoyed the back story on Vivianne. I liked learning about that particular twist.
Did you race to the end or was it more of a slowburn?It was quick. I loved it. I finished it rather quickly in just a couple of days while only reading before bed.
What surprised you most about the book?The backstory of Vivianne and who she really is. That plot twist took me by surprise for sure.
Are there lingering questions from the book you’re still thinking about?Yes, I had several, but now that I’m halfway through the second book and I’m finding that those lingering questions are being answered. It was all background character stuff anyway, so now I’m working on that.
Which characters did you like best? Karl and Aurora. I loved them, even though they’re background characters. Aurora was sweet to Vivianne when she was new and helped her out, even though she could see through her glamour as well. She didn’t ask questions and she didn’t judge her too harshly. Karl was Vivianne’s best friend, and though he tried to be secretive and seemed like they weren’t close at the beginning, everything ended up working out for them to remain best friends.
Which characters did you like least?Manu and Ronan. I just don’t know enough about them to understand why they are standoffish and rude to everyone. I don’t understand it, but if anything I’m learning that I’ll find out eventually if I keep reading the series.
Did you like the “heat” level of this book?I did. I felt like it was appropriately paced and increased. I felt the heat and I didn’t feel like it was forced. I liked it.
Was the couple’s connection believable? If so, at what point did they click for you? I felt like it was. I felt that they handled it well since they started off as enemies and slowly settled into lovers, with the pauses where they examine their own conflicting feelings was believable.
Would you fall for either of the leads?I love Vampires, so yes I would. Though I don’t think it would work out in the long run.
If it’s part of a series, did this book compel you to read the next one? I already know that it’s part of a series, and I am actively reading the second book. I went looking for it immediately. I have the third book downloaded to my Kindle app already waiting for me to finish the second book.
All in all I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read and doesn’t mind cliches. It’s a good read. I swear.
I gave this book four stars because while it was good, it wasn’t the greatest thing I have every read. I liked it, but it wasn’t amazing.
I gave this four flames for heat level. Just because the heat was good, and the spice was spicy, but it wasn’t the spiciest thing that I have ever read. So, four flames.
That’s it on this week’s book review. So, feel free to check out Dark Prince by Michelle Hercules, you won’t regret it. It’s good. Until next week my loves, I’m out.
Hello lovlies! How are you this wonderful Thursday? I’m starting a new thing and so every Thursday you’ll get a book review from me. I used to do them all of the time on the old blog, but now I think I’ll do them here. You guys should see what I’m reading and recommending, or not recommending for that matter. This week, we’re talking about The Summer Proposal by Vi Keeland.
*SPOILER ALERT* There are potential spoilers ahead, ye be warned!
You guys have seen those Ads on Facebook and other places like that about books right? Well, that’s what happened to me. I saw this ad, and the story sounded interesting so I followed the link to Amazon and downloaded a preview of the book to my Kindle app. I read the first three chapters and then immediately ordered two copies, one for me and one for my cousin Steph who loves reading as much as I do. This book had everything we enjoyed; a romantic plot, hockey, some spice, and I learned in the first three chapters that the writer was funny. There were so many times while I was reading that I laughed out loud, scaring whoever was around me.
So I took this book to Stephanie, and together we read it. It was a pretty quick read, only 330 pages, but oh did those pages have me hooked! I read through it so quickly that it only took a couple of hours while I was at my cousins, and then a Friday night by myself in my apartment. We got together and asked ourselves ten questions about this, book club style, and here are the answers to those.
Q: What was your least favorite part of the book?
Steph: I was a little disappointed that no one attended the funeral, but seeing as how it was a side character, I’m not surprised. Amber: I was too, I felt like there should have been some mention of Max attending if he did. It seemed to me like he just skipped it. Rude if they were actually friends.
Q: What was your favorite part of the book?
S: The staycation and the end. A: I think my favorite was that he never belittled her work and tried so hard to support it. I liked medicine when she was sick.
Q3: Which character did you relate to, or empathize with, the most?
S: Georgia because I’m an anxious creature like she is and I overthink everything so I can relate to how she feels during most of the book. A: Maggie. I want to be her when I grow up. She was a fabulous friend and I absolutely adored her personality.
Q4: Did you like the “heat” level of this book?
S: Absolutely! It was steamy steamy! I was certainly effected. A: Yes, I felt it was a good mix of spice and story. The spice was definitely well written.
Q5: Was the couple’s connection believable? If so, at what point did they click for you?
S: Yes, I felt like they were meant to be as soon as Max walked in and pretended to be her blind date. A: Same, I felt like the moment he gave her the Yoda to hold on to it was a done deal. They were adorable. Especially when she showed up at the Garden. S: Do you think he left it there on purpose? A: Oh yeah he totally did. He was hoping she’d return it. S: Yeah. It was a ploy to see her again.
Q6: What do you think happens to the leads after the ending?
S: They both continue to be extremely successful and have a couple of babies. A: Adorably dimpled hockey playing babies.
Q7: What do you think of the romance’s pacing?
S: Vi had me hanging on the edge of my seat the whole time waiting to see what would happen next. I loved it. A: I felt the pacing was good. It definitely lent to it being unputdownable and a quick read. I HAD to know what was going to happen next.
Q8: Would you fall for either of the leads?
S: Oh most definitely. Max is a hockey player, with dimples. I love hockey players, and dimples. A: Max is on my book boyfriend list. I’d date him. He’s sweet and amazing and loyal.
Q9: Did this book melt your heart? Make you believe in love again?
S: Absolutely. It was a testing time for me. A: Of course. It made me feel my single status so much more! I want a nice man who’s good in bed, ha ha.
Q10: Did the plot proceed in a way that felt natural? Or did you feel manipulated by the storyline?
S: I think the plot line proceeded perfectly. I liked the way it flowed and it seemed real to me. A: I think it was perfect. At first I was a little confused as to the purpose of the flashback chapters, but that became clear as I read. They were misleading though, so that was a fun twist in a predictable “I know they’re gonna fall in love no matter what they say to the contrary” type plot.
We give this book five stars. We bought two more books by the same author that we can’t wait to read, so definite five stars.
We give this book four flames. It was steamy and really good, but it wasn’t overly abundant. We were satisfied by what was there, but Gabriel the jerk blocked more of what could have been.
In summary, if you like hockey, or romance, or just good spicy scenes, we highly recommend this book. It’s hilarious and a great read. Check it out. Until next time my loves.