Radiance by Grace Draven

★★☆☆☆

Radiance by Grace Draven

Ahhh, it pains me to give this book two stars, but three would imply that I liked it more than what I did.

I enjoy Grace Draven so much. She was one of my great finds and whatever she writes I will read. Master of Crows set a high bar, I think. I was expecting something along those lines in regards to a combination of world building and romance. In comparison this book pales in comparison to the world and story that was built in Entreat Me and Master of Crows. What you have here is essentially a tale of two characters and their growing affection toward one another, looks aside.

The characters are likable enough, but with several other reviewers I have to agree that the whole “He is ugly/She is ugly” gets a bit old. In this book there are two races, our leading lady is a Gauri [think human,] and our leading lord is a Kai [think along the lines of Anubis.] Immediately they are set aback by how ugly/horrifying the other is. You are not meant to forget this as it is currently rewritten on how odd the other is, how ugly he is or she is, how weird it is… They even come to jest about how ugly they are to one another. I came to understand it’s how they show affection and yet… it just got a bit tiresome.

While there are background things going on I didn’t feel as if either character had that much depth to them, the story seemed to tread water constantly, just buying time until the end. It was an okay story, but not what I was expecting.

It’s a quick, easy read.. but not much happens in it. Which it pains me to say this, because I have read everything Grace Draven has ever written! This just wasn’t for me though.

Under different stars by Amy A. Bartol

1 out of 5 stars

Under different stars

“He was telling us that your voice will give comfort when the night becomes its blackest,” he replies. “And I’ll protect that voice with my body, my mind, and my spirit . . . because without it, I’m alone in the dark.”

Ugh. Just, ugh. I wanted to gag this entire book but hey I stuck it out stubbornly with a morbid curiosity if this was going to be as horrible as I thought it was.

Turns out, it was.

I really wanted to read this and have something to dispute with the bad reviews I had read, because hey on Goodreads it does have an over 4 star rating! but… I can’t. Where do I begin to constructively criticize this book?

Let me begin with Kricket. Miss Independent with a chip on her shoulder. I get she’s had a difficult life since she ran through the system and is running from DSS when we first meet her, however, the sarcasm and biting remarks gets old…fast. She has a disgusting personality that is just far too hard and scathing. I get she’s had a tough life and has been on the run, but I feel like Miss Bartol went over the top with some personality traits. Instead of being real and well “human” she constantly resorts to sarcasm.

Then flash forward… when she meets our other main characters,  trey, jax and wayra, somehow they’re all buddy buddy..there is no real connection there that becomes developed, it just happens and you’re left wondering why on earth this snarky little muffin isn’t a little bit more leery!


Enter the feels, they begin to happen and attachments are formed, because Kricket is um..charming and who can not help but fall for the [constantly reminded of this,] platinum blonde Kricket?!

I feel like the characters needed more depth, something deeper than sarcasm, stoicism, and constant bickering..the book had a lot of potential..it just didn’t ever really get there for me.

The over all world was thrown to the side, the background story and history of it all, because Kricket stole the show with her platinum blonde hair and amazingly hot bod.

This book was shallow to me, in every possible way. Shallow story, shallow characters.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

3 out of 5

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I am swiftly becoming a Hoover fan, because while she is not a perfect writer, while her words aren’t flowy and the writing itself isn’t the best the emotions really are. Hoover seems to “get” how to inflict emotion on people.

I enjoyed Ugly Love so much, it was the second contemporary romance I’ve ever read in my life, so I had the bar set high for this one. I’m not in high school, I never got into the drama of high school and I kept to myself. So when I began reading this I rolled my eyes and thought: “Yeah I’m not going to relate to this at all.” But sadly, there are a lot of portions I could relate to.

While some may argue about the sexism thrown throughout the book… slut shaming, an overbearing male interest, the idiocy of both teens, etc… It’s not pretty aspects of life, but unfortunately they are there.. and it happens. So does bullying, so do stupid choices and tragically other ugly aspects of life occur, too. Hoover portrays them. Are the characters perfect? No… is the book flawless? No… Are humans in general? No.

I actually think “Sky” our leading lady here is pretty numb in the brain at times, she nearly does everything against what a parent teaches you. Taking a drink from someone she doesn’t know, talking to a guy she doesn’t know. She ignores warnings and it’s not smart… Guess what? It happens, this isn’t a guideline on how to act, [maybe it could be used as a guideline for how not to act or speak to strangers?]

“Holder” tends to be a typical overbearing male, the kind that I guess everyone is used to in a novel by now, he’s a teen and typically male teens don’t have their wits about them. They say stupid things, they act on instinct, they don’t get it, it’s a learning process!, but you discover why and although this is no reason to BE overbearing, or smothering her… you can see why he would.

Once everything is aired out and the truths come into the light it is fairly devastating, that’s where you can rock back in your seat and clutch your chest thinking, “Oh my gosh, Holder… Sky… SKY!” 

I read this book rather quickly, it took me about three hours to complete. It’s an easy read and it doesn’t make you feel good, so don’t read it if you’re looking for a feel good book. Once I finished this book I had a lump in my throat and definitely had a book hang over.

Again, this book isn’t perfect, the characters aren’t, the writing isn’t… but somehow Hoover gets to you. Every. Time.

Entreat Me by Grace Draven

4 out of 5 stars

Entreat Me by Grace Draven

I didn’t have super high expectations, but I expected something great because Master of Crows was a great find! I was wondering if Draven could wow me again.

While some of the characters needed some growth I believe this was fairly worthy of the four stars I gave it. It’s a retelling of beauty and the beast with a twist, minus a few of the servants, sadly. The main character, Louvaen is a strong woman who stops at nothing just about. She is a dedicated lover and sister, who refuses to give up even though she faces a few adversaries.

Ballard, the beast, has a ruthless past and the curse he and his son are under is revealed in dribs and drabs. It’s a fast read, that focuses more on romance than the world. Perhaps if the world building of MoC was fused in this book I would have given it a five star rating.

Still, totally worth the read and I’m not disappointed.

Firelight by Kristen Callihan

3 out of 5 stars

Firelight; Kristen Callihan

“What is beauty or ugliness but a false front that prompts man to make assumptions rather than delving deeper.”

The beginning of the book brings us to quite an opening with our leading lady Miranda Ellis and leading lord Benjamin Archer, the setting to me is a little unrealistic given that Miranda is only sixteen and yet she’s found groping at a certain firmness under the shadowed figures body..

Flash forward to a cliche setting of a forced marriage to settle up a debt and Miranda finds herself the new Lady Archer.

There were hints of phantom of the opera as well as beauty and the beast. In a less well done fashion. Soon we discover that Lord Archer has been cursed! [Enter Beauty & The Beast as well as Phantom of the Opera!] He’s cursed and it is taking over his body at a rapid rate, this curse supposedly cannot be undone.

The character development was stunted, I felt Miranda strayed from her strong role and became that stereotypical romance novel woman where she begged to be lorded over. Either hot or cold, pick one lovely! Also Miranda is lovely, beautiful, which we are not meant to forget!!

I don’t have many qualms with Benjamin Archer, aside from his angst over himself. I felt the secrets were withheld too long for any anticlimactic end or rather predictable one.

In the end all was amended, I suppose. In the end it was really anticlimatic and verged more on a lesser rating of 2.5 versus the 3. The only reason I gave it a 3 is due to the lore that was twined in it and it hardly saved it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

3 out of 5 stars

Gone Girl

“I am rising to my wife’s level of madness.”

I don’t know where I should really begin with this review, because I had such a difficult time reading this book. I literally forced myself to read this and the only reason I continued to read on was due to the fact I wanted to know HOW and then WHAT HAPPENED AFTER.

Admittedly, I only read this book because it was a gift from my mother for my birthday and she was convinced that I would enjoy it. I don’t know why, this isn’t my typical genre and I really wanted to stab my eyes out most of the time.

To begin, I loathed both of the characters. I didn’t feel for either one, Amy seemed entirely fake and well.. you discover why. Then of course Nick… star boy Nick… I loathed him as well for every reason that is written IN the book.

Still, I kept turning the pages because I wanted to know why. The story overall was dull, boring and didn’t at all inspire me to continue to read outside of WHY, HOW, WHAT HAPPENS AFTER. I never saw the movie because I knew I’d end up wanting to read the book…

Toward the last part of the book that’s when I actually became intrigued. When everything becomes clear and another game begins, THAT is what interested me. Nick wound up growing by leaps and bounds in the end, while I didn’t enjoy his character still…I did enjoy that twist at the end. The end which is part of many many online debates and heated discussions in both online as well as offline book clubs. To me, the ending was the best part and no not where I shut the book and shouted “HA-HA! I am finished with you!” I mean, I really did enjoy the ending.

Would I recommend this book? Maybe. This isn’t my typical genre or style. The science behind the psychology is really what kept me going. Other than that.. this could have easily been a 1. However, I’ll throw a positive note in on this.. the ending was so intriguing that I would almost contemplate continuing the read – until I knock myself in the head and go “Did you not just complain about your brain weeping in boredom?”

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

4 out of 5 stars

“God gives us the ugliness so we don’t take the beautiful things in life for granted.”

ugly love

Upon first opening this book, I somewhat wondered what I had gotten myself into and if I was going to embark on a new “50 Shades.” Except, within the first few pages I found myself tugged into the wreckage of these peoples lives.

Before anyone starts on how “this man treats Tate…” let’s be clear, Tate Collins allows this to happen, it is her decision to embark on this agreement. This is her choice as a woman to be involved in a “no strings” relationship with a man who clearly wants nothing more, those are the rules and she understands this.

Now…

Miles Archer is a man filled with such pain and sorrow that he cannot bring himself to love, it isn’t revealed why until we begin seeing flashbacks. You steadily learn more about him and learn that there are several layers to this man, the more the story goes on the more you learn and the more you hurt for him. You know why he can’t and it’s frustrating.

This isn’t a fluffy tale, it’s a REAL tale about how ugly love can be at times, how there are so often not fairy tale loves or beginnings to true love. The good, the bad and the ugly of love.

While there were some little things that I could pick apart, like how the writing wasn’t the most exquisite but it did make it a quick fast read [I consumed it in 4 hrs.] Or how there wasn’t that much character development aside from Miles… it doesn’t matter, because the focus was the pain and the development of moving past pain. It was about forgiving yourself for past transgressions to that you may move forward. For all of that.. I give it 4 stars… because it really did hit me hard.