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This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

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Book Description:

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?
Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

My Rating: 5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received This Raging Light by Estelle Laure for free via HMH Books in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways/work materials do not impact my reviews.**

I received this ARC from work and boy am I glad I decided to snag this one!  This Raging Light is emotional, raw and so inspiring!  I could not put it down!  If I weren’t getting slammed at work, I would have finished it the first day I picked it up.  Still, it only took me a few days and what a great few days it was.

When I first picked up this book, I really was expecting a dark, depressing ride through a story of 2 girls abandoned by their parents.  After I finished the first chapter, I was put in my place and found that this book was going to have it’s fun moments as well.  Even with the unfortunate circumstances that these girls have dabbled in to so far, I’ve still managed to giggle and relate.  At this point, I was only going in to the book with little curiosity.  After the first chapter ended, I needed to find my way to the end of the story.

I think Estelle Laure does a fantastic job with mapping out the relationships between Lucille and Eden – Lucille and Digby – Lucille and Wren… she made them real.  A real best friend shuts down for unknown reasons at inconvenient times.  A real crush who’s involved in another relationship will give out mixed signals, will be confusing as all hell, will not be what you need them to be WHEN you need them to be.  A real sister-to-sister fighting for survival will do all that they can for each other but will also come with peeves and hardships.  I don’t want to read about the super awesome bff who’s always happy and is always there for you even when there’s a gun to her head or the crush that drops everything the very second the girl hes crushed on finally shows interest.  Save that for the fairy tales.

I will be watching this author for more books in the future (so please write more :] )

If you want a real book full of struggles, break downs, conflicting emotions, good day one minute – bad day the next, if you want a book that focuses on REAL relationships whether is be with family or friends or love interests, get your hands on this book when it comes out on December 22, 2015!

Happy Reading! xo

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Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

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Book Description:

At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.

My Rating:  3.5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz for free via Random House Publishing in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

I would like to start this review by pointing out that this is my first Dean Koontz book – ever.  Being a first time reader of his, I was not left disappointed.  This book was fun to read and I love the use of vocabulary.  I was given plenty of new words without it taking away from the story.  I can’t stand when author’s try to get to fancy with their words.  This book starts off with the first 100 or so pages basically reiterating the jacket description.  This is what makes this book so interesting because from there on in, you’re taken for a ride of dark turns and crazy loop-de-loops!

That being said, I’m kind of happy that I can’t quote this book being the copy I have is an ARC, otherwise half of what I’ve read would be quoted already!  There were lots of clever/relatable moments that I think many people will agree with.

This book has short chapters – THANK YOU!!  Sometimes when I read, I get interrupted – a lot.  Sometimes I can’t read as much as I was planning.  This makes for an easy put down and an even easier picker backer upper (? this makes sense in my brain lol) this allows me to always know where I leave off and remember what happened.  I really can’t stand when I’m forced to stop in the middle of the chapter because the chapter is 40+ pages long.  I usually have trouble finding where exactly I left off so I end up rereading several sentences and then once I find my place, it takes me a minute to remember why I’m reading what I’m reading as opposed to starting from the beginning of a new chapter and having it start anew or recap for me.

Not only did I love the chapter break downs, this book was written from multiple POVs jumping from adult Bibi to young Bibi to her husband Paxton…. which was done so well.  It’s by no means confusing.  It’s clear who you’re reading, whose perspective and you remember what happened the last time you read as them.  Very well done as this can get confusing real fast and make for an unenjoyable read.

And not that this is relevant to the story but I enjoy the size of the book.  It felt good holding it and added to my experience overall.

This book comes out tomorrow, 12/8/2015 and I HIGHLY suggest you grab it!  Even if you’ve never read Dean Koontz like myself, get it.  I will definitely be looking in to more of his work after this.

Happy Reading! xo

**FUN FACT:  This picture was purposefully taken next to a Navy Ship (my husband’s in the Navy) – Bibi’s husband Pax is a Navy SEAL so it was only appropriate 🙂

2015 November Bookhaul

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I literally bought 0 books this month and somehow I still acquired a decent amount.  Unfortunately, most of them were ebooks which sucks because I really dislike reading ebooks (although I’m still grateful) so it’s gonna be hard getting through some of them and I might end up pushing them to the side for a bit for that reason alone 😦

On to the books! I’ll have a list below of each book pictured, where I got them, paperback or hardcover, special editions and how much my total purchase at each place was! If you have any more questions – or comments – about this months haul, please feel free to leave/ask them below 😀 Happy reading!

Total Books: 10
Total Spent: $0

Thanks to LibraryThing & The People Hosting The Giveaways FREE
1.)  The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1 & 2 by Antara Mann; ebook
2.)  The Brazen Blade by Billy Wong; ebook
3.)  Flames of Auriel (Not Shown) by Erin Bedford; ebook
4.)  World of Shawn by Jordan M Ehrlich; ebook
5.)  The Wish Thief by CD Verhoff; ebook

Thanks to the author FREE
1.)  Mystical by Michael Weekly; ebook

Physical BooksFREE
1.)  Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz; paperback; thanks to Random House
2.)  After Alice by Gregory Maguire; signed hardcover; thanks to Shelf Awareness
3.)  Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis; hardcover; thanks to Crown Publishing
4.)  The Truth by Jeffery W. Johnston; paperback; thanks to Sourcebooks

+5 Romance Novels – these won’t be included in the total. I get these from work but I do not keep them, instead, I pass them on to my momma to read because she loves romance novels – and I do not… *shudder*

2015 November Wrap Up

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Total Books = 4
Average Rating = 4

Uuuuuberrrrr slow month for reading.  Between the holidays and work and other lifey things there just wasn’t as much time as I normally have to devote to this wonderful world *le sigh*

With that being said, here’s my sad, little finished reads for the month of November:

1.)  Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – 5/5
2.)  Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – 4/5
3.)  The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1 by Antara Mann – 5/5
4.)  The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 2 by Antara Mann – 3/5

Hope you guys who celebrate had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1&2 By Antara Mann

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*I’m combining my reviews for Episodes 1 & 2 because Episode 1 was so short, it would be silly to make it stand on it’s own*

Book Description Ep. 1:

A genie’s life is full of wishes – the wishes of those who own him, that is.

When his owner, the powerful yet ugly witch Ezemelda, is called to celebrate the coming-of-age of King Nruk’s daughter, her prophesy of the princess’ future goes against everything Nruk desires. Promising a special spell to reverse the curse on the princess and change her future, but won’t cost him a cent, Ezemelda has more than the future of the kingdom in mind.

What’s the cost of signing a contract with a witch?
And, what does it mean for the genie of the lamp?

Book Description Ep. 2:

Ever since the witch Ezemalda and the Genie escaped him, the Dark Prince has plotted his revenge. Now it comes in the guise of the mortal countess Sybil van Dyk. After selling her soul to the the Dark Prince, she seeks to reverse her enchantment at the magic workshop of the Genie and the witch. As they work to set the countess free, the Genie and Ezemalda embark on a new adventure in their battle with the Dark Side, not suspecting what signing a contract with the Dark Prince on new moon portends.

**I would like to start off by saying I received both copies of The Witch’s Kiss Ep. 1&2 for free via a LibraryThing member giveaway in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

My Rating Ep. 1:  5/5

This novella was crazy fun and fast read (only 25 pages)!  It reminded me so much of old fairy tales having involved creatures from witches, dwarves, goblins, genies and more to involving concepts such as dark and light – so many ingredients make for a fantastic recipe!

But with that being said, it had a nuisance that I can’t ignore: the main character’s name –  Ezemalda.  This reminds me way too much of Ezmerelda so every time I read Ezemalda, I had to correct myself because I always read it as Ezmerelda.  Ezemalda sticks to the tongue.  Too much work for a main character’s name.

Other than that, very entertaining – was excited to read the next episode!

My Rating Ep. 2:  3/5

This book started with promise and completely lost it’s way which really bummed me out.  I will not be continuing on to the third episode at all.

Let’s start off on a good note, as always:

I adored the repository!  I wish I could find books in a bookstore by calling out keywords and having books just fly to me.. that would be glooorious ❤

The little drunk owl, I’m dying  – so funny

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This episode had a nice twist to it though, involving the moon clause.  Nooooo!  I felt so bad haha but I won’t ruin it for any one who’s interested in reading this.

And that’s about it for the pleasantries.  Here’s where we start the decline to the depths of book hell:

The details – they weren’t much.  I really wish there were more as far as drawing out the environments for the readers!  I totally bet this author could construct gorgeous landscapes and creatures if she just took a little more time to describe things instead of throwing us from one room to the next without any transition or mere description such as “cellar” or “bedroom.”  The reader’s aren’t given much to envision so good luck and start getting creative guys!

Another HUGE irk in mah birk is the Harry Potter like reference.  If you’ve read this you KNOW what I’m talking about.  The “You-Know-Who” that people are too afraid to say and the one person who sees that as giving him power so refuses to use “You-Know-Who…”  come on now…

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But we’re still not at the point where I’m ready to throw in the towel.  At this point, I was still very interested in continuing on to the 3rd episode.  The thing that completely made me throw in the towel and make me feel like I wasted my time on yet another poorly written ARC/Giveaway was the sexual ending.  DAFUQ DID THAT COME FROM?!  Now, I’m no prude by any means but 1.) this came out of absolutely frickin no where and 2.) rape is just crossing the line for me.

But gaiz, the 3rd book doesn’t redeem itself by any means.  I read the synopsis, because up until this weird turn of events, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, but the 3rd book is all about some passionate love making and the genie becoming a hardcore rapist… that’s where I end this train.  It’s one thing to be sexual but I picked a fantasy book not a fetish romance… I don’t want anything to do with rape, thanks.

And just so you don’t think I’ve completely lost it, here’s the synopsis from Goodreads for Episode 3:

NEVER BEFORE HAS PASSION BEEN MORE DANGEROUS.

Furious that once again the Genie and the witch Ezemalda escaped his clutches, the Dark Prince enlists the help of Lilith, the dark queen of sexual magic in his quest for revenge. Tricking them with a drink, Lilith bewitches Ezemalda and the Genie with obsessive sexual dreams. The Dark Queen’s plan backfires when Ezemalda comes up with an antidote, but she will not be stopped and implants a dangerous idea in all the kingdom’s subjects. With everyone around them now convinced that the Genie commits terrible acts against women, even rapes them, he and Ezemalda have to find a new way to stand against the dark forces and clear their names.

**DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THESE NOVELLAS/STORIES/BOOKS**