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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**

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Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl **WARNING: One or Two Slight Spoilers Ahead**

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Book Description:

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected — and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it’s not Lena — and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and he’s afraid to ask.

Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.

My Rating: 5/5

I love these books so much *sobs* THAT ENDING HURT MY HEART SO BAD! Especially because I wasn’t prepared for the book to end – MEANING – there was so much additional content in the back that I forgot about, I assumed all of that was still bewk. It wasn’t. So when it ended in the fashion that it did, I was completely and totally in utter shock. I threw my book down and yelled toward my unsuspecting husby, “THAT’S HOW IT ENDS?! THAT’S IT?!” ..I probably looked like a maniac because I was also crying. I immediately grabbed the final book, I have to know what happens next, how it all ends. At the same time, I don’t want this to end. This is hands down a top favorite of mine, I’m adoring this series with everything I have! My ARCs and Giveaways are just gonna have to wait.

Now the reason I’m not giving this book a 5/5 is because once again, it started slow (if you’re confused – see the bottom of the post). And WHERE WAS MY LENA?! She was practically non existent for awhile and I need Lena.. I love Ethan but I kind of love Lena more. And Lena WITH Ethan is just, agh, perfection ❤ So I really wouldn’t give this a 4.5, more so a 4.8 but that’s just getting a little too technical..

But one thing in the beginning that made me LAWL – “Linkubus” oh my goodness bahaha so seely!

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AND DIS QUOTE:

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I love Ridley, I can’t wait to grab Dangerous Creatures!!

I will forewarn: This book in particular brings a lot of heartbreak with it.

For example, Pg.140 – the library has burnt down. Nuuuuu! I felt as attached to this place as Ethan had. Ugh, WHY?!

But I loved getting to get a glimpsed into Seraphine’s life prior to becoming Seraphine. How hard this has to be on Lena to see that there once was good in Seraphine’s heart that seemed to have never existed. I couldn’t imagine what that would be like after your mother has already tried to kill you…

But things do lighten up. It’s not all sorrow. On pg. 198 where everyone’s gathered at the table in Ravenwood and Liv comes in to play and Lena and Ethan are Kelting and Ethan gets confused between Kelting and real talking and blurts out loud, hahaha totally something I would do, how awkward XD

AND I LIVE FOR THESE:

They finally discuss “The Caster Chronicles” – we get the reference and learn what this is all about! Yahoo!

We also find out what’s going on with Ethan because he definitely hasn’t been all ‘there.’ YUS! I love how it’s tied in to the first book (his soul split in half when he died on the Sixteenth Moon – the other half was left behind in the Otherworld). Brilliant! I couldn’t figure this part out..

Pg: 383 – There’s always SO many good pieces to quote in these books, but especially in this one:

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I’m really happy what they ended up doing with Ridley! I was nervous at first, but it all worked out for me in the end. I won’t give this away, but for what I had to endure, I’m glad this happened :]

So the more I reflect on this, the easier it is to talk about and the more I realize I’m a complete idiot for not giving it a 5/5, so by the time I have finished writing this, my rating has changed.

Thank you once again ladies for writing an amazing book that stole my heart ❤

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Book Description:

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

My Rating: 5/5. . . 10/5

HOLY GUACAMOLE!! Whoever read the first book, Beautiful Creatures, and decided against reading this second book missed out! Beautiful Darkness is one of those books that has you going chapter to chapter NEEDING to know what happens next! There were SO many brilliantly shocking moments, after the first few you had to wonder if this was all the book had to offer BUT IT KEEPS SHOCKING! I, personally, adored the first book. I can admit though, it was a little slow to read at times, but none the less, it will always be a favorite of mine. This book isn’t like that. It’s a very fast, exciting read from beginning to end. The first book was all about getting to know Ethan and Lena and their details of their families and Gatlin, etc. This book, the second, is all about where they go from there and what a ride these ladies take us on!

Can I just keyboard scream for a second: WHY AREN’T THEY CONTINUING THIS AS A MOVIE?!?! I wanna see this on film sooooo bad with the same actors, the same director, UGHHH! Pull on my heart strings why don’t you?! :”'[

Let me just point out how much I love Ethan Wate:

Gramma stepped in front of Lena, closed her eyes, and touched a single finger to her granddaughter’s cheek. The moment she touched Lena, everything stopped, and I knew Gramma had used her abilities as an Empath to absorb Lena’s powers temporarily. But she couldn’t absorb Lena’s anger. None of us were strong enough to do that.  -pg. 15

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Bahahaha, can anyone else relate to this? I know I have my moments XD

Quick background to my personal life: My neighbors just put up a HUGE privacy fence! Our house is tucked back, so our neighbor’s backyard is in our front yard and the fence they put up is way over 6ft. tall. My husband and I call it “The Great Wall of Buhrke” (our last name). Ironically, the day they put this beast of a divider up, I also read this:

“Good fences make good neighbors.” -pg. 125

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You could say we’re FANTASTIC neighbors!

Most of the book, I was kind of heartbroken for Ethan. Every time Lena pulled away, she pulled my heart with her, I was all, “LENA, NUUUU!! Stahp being bad!!” I was rooting for her all the way up until the scene where Lena was snuggle-dancing with John Breed, like, dafuq was dat LE-NUH?! But one thing I LOVED that they did: They didn’t turn Ethan into a whiny pansy who’s bitch whipped by a girl. Yes, he was hurt like anyone would be, but instead of moping and running to Lena and begging for an explanation every 2 seconds, he did what a lot of normal people do. He acted out of spite. He chose his anger and acted on it by doing to her what she was doing to him. Now am I agreeing with these actions? Absolutely not, but let’s be honest, a majority of people in the real world would’ve handled this situation the same way Ethan was, so kudos to the writer’s for going down the realistic road instead of the road that would make me roll my eyes and forever loathe Ethan Wate.

And we finally found out who Ethan Wate really is!! Why he’s here, why he’s drawn to Lena, why EVERYTHING!! I was SO excited to read about this! And wait till you find out about Jane, whoa buddy, this part made me “EEEEEE!!” out loud. AND AUNT PRUE! I’m not going to give away WHAT you’ll find out but jeez louise, when you finally think the surprises are over with, another one smacks you in the face on the next page and it finally all comes together in a big “ah-ha!” moment.

Then there’s Ridley. This I was not sure I liked at first. I can’t say why, I don’t want to ruin ANYTHING with this sequel, but notice I said like(d)? Well that’s because of what happens near the end of the book, another “ah-ha!” moment where it’s all explained and for that, I ended up loving the outcome. If there was no wrap up for her, I would’ve hated what they did with Rid. It’s funny how you end up feeling sorry for someone who is so dark and did bad things.

And as if there weren’t already crazy reveals, WAIT TILL YOU GET TO THE END! I squealed, I jumped for joy, I sang, I danced…. well… not really… but I felt so bubbly I might as well have done all of that. It was the best ‘ERMERGERD‘ moment in the entire book.

I just… I have so many words for this book! Beautiful, shocking, thrilling, adventurous, exciting, sorrowful, sad, curious. . .

This book is a fun adventure from the first page to the last. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t picked it up. So if you haven’t, DO IT, DO IT MEOW! I can’t wait to see what the third book, Beautiful Chaos has in store for me 😀 I want to read it ASAP but I’m waiting until I get back from traveling for a few days because I want to give this book my FULL attention and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to read or how many times I’ll be interrupted. That’s how much I want to read the next book. It’s NEEDS my full attention