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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-10-17 16:56
Tempt by Natalia Jaster


Holy smokes Batman - this was a scorching read! *fans self* It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Natalia Jaster's books but this one might just be my favourite yet (and that's a massive compliment because I totally adore all of her other works!) I loved absolutely everything about Tempt: the characters, the setting, the story... it was sheer perfection. Hades and Persephone retellings are totally a weakness I never knew I had. Throw in an enemies to lovers trope and I am in literary heaven!


Full disclosure: I'm on Natalia's ARC Team but this in no way has influenced my rating. I was so happy to be sent this little beauty. It went a long way to cure me of the book hangover I had been suffering from and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time!


Now, enough waffling... onto the review!


At the end of Torn (the second book in the Selfish Myths series), Wonder first set eyes on Malice, the malevolent exile god whose appearance managed to rattle the normally unflappable deity. Malice too seemed to be affected by Wonder. This interesting little altercation left me salivating for their backstory so when I found out the next book would be about them, well I was very happy, to say the least!


Wonder is part of a class of gods and goddesses that have dared to go against their makers. Love fell for a mortal boy, Anger fell hard for a failed goddess. Now it is Wonder's turn.


A celestial battle approaches and any advantage could mean the difference between life and death. Wonder knows she will need to gather as much information as she can in order to defeat her enemies. The only problem is that she will have to put her trust (and fate) in the hands of Malice, a former god now exiled and a prisoner of the gang.


The two of them have to break into a subterranean library relying on only their wits to get them where they need to go and each other. A precarious situation, for sure. Wonder isn't sure of Malice's intentions and is even less sure of her own conflicting feelings for the sharp-tongued exile. For Malice is the spitting image of her lost love - a mortal whose downfall she played a huge part in and for which she still carries a load of guilt.


But Malice couldn't possibly be her lost love, could he? It just wouldn't be possible... still, stranger things have already happened and as she gets closer to Malice, she begins to see that what she thought wouldn't have been possible is becoming more and more likely the more she gets to know Malice.


The two grow closer as they spend time in their favourite domain: both of them are scholars at heart, and Wonder sees new sides to Malice each day they are ensconced among the forbidden tomes. However, Wonder will find herself torn between the love she once felt for her mortal boy and the ever-increasing feelings she has for his celestial doppelganger. She will have to make a choice and in doing so may forever break her own heart...


Alright, I was intrigued for Wonder and Malice's pairing, I will not deny it, but I wasn't prepared for just how swept up I would become in their story. Their relationship was everything I never knew I needed. I was full-on swooning! 


I have always had a soft spot for Wonder. I love bookish types and her character just always appealed to me right from the very first book. I was intrigued by her backstory and the suffering she endured as punishment for her supposed transgressions.


Malice also drew me in from his first appearance in Torn. I do love a bad boy but Malice was something else entirely. He was a villain - no doubt about it - but I really wanted to know what made him the way he was and when I realized he was destined for Wonder I was very curious to see how his redemption would play out.


I was not disappointed. His growth is this book was nothing short of phenomenal. Wonder played a part in this but it wasn't just love that was responsible for his recovery and eventual healing. Learning about his past and shaking off the demons that came with it was very satisfying and cathartic.


There was nothing I didn't enjoy about Tempt. The story was amazing and Wonder and Malice are now my very favourite power couple of this series! It was great also catching up with Love and Andrew, Merry and Anger, and Sorrow and Envy (can't wait for their book!) The story is falling into place nicely, the stakes are high and the characters are poised for action. They are on the precipice of war - not just to change the fates but for their very own survival. I can't wait to see how this is resolved in Transcend (and isn't that title fabulous?)

Source: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1695808215
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text 2019-05-06 14:22
TOUR, EXCERPT & #GIVEAWAY - A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone #1) by Scarlett St. Clair
A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone #1) - Scarlett St. Clair

@XpressoTours, @ScarlettStClai1, #Adult, #Mythology, #Retelling, #Romance


Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.


Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2019/05/06/A-Touch-of-Darkness-Hades-Persephone-1-by-Scarlett-St-Clair
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review 2016-03-30 13:33
Review: The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi

Release Date: April 26, 2016
Source: Netgalley
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin

The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi | Goodreads

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

The Star-Touched Queen is a beautifully written gem, lush with an epic romance and imaginative details of an Otherworld inspired by mythology. Sights, scents, textures, and more are captured under Roshani Chokshi's deft hand such that the world and the characters truly come to life. This will not be the only book of hers that I read. (If you are interested, I'd recommend reading one of Chokshi's online stories (I read The Star Maiden by Roshani Chokshi). That will give you a sense of her writing style. If you love her writing style, you're more than likely to really enjoy the book. Alternately, you can also read the first five chapters of The Star-Touched Queen here.)

First and foremost, I would give The Star-Touched Queen to fans of Cruel Beauty and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The Star-Touched Queen was "pitched as a Hades and Persephone-style romance infused with Indian mythology, about an unlikely princess who must overcome her sinister horoscope and embarks on a quest to unravel her true identity and find the one she loves." You may already see why I made these comparisons but anyway-- the set-up, I think, feels similar to what happens in Cruel Beauty, where Nyx ends up married to the Gentle Lord and things are not as she expected. Here, in The Star-Touched Queen, Maya doesn't expect to end up married. There is a similar level of exploring the meaning of their new marriages alongside worlds and romances that are inspired by mythology. On a detail level, of course the books are very different; plus, Nyx is bitter about her fate, whereas Maya wholeheartedly embraces the idea of marrying someone who wants her to be his equal. Marriage is her escape--and while Nyx discovers that later, Maya knows that from the start, and she's a different lead to follow. Still should have overlapping fanbases. As for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you can imagine that with the Hades and Persephone pitch, there is talk of an Other/underworld in The Star-Touched Queen - talk of death and fantastical creatures like demons, which fits with DoSaB. Also likely to appeal to DoSaB fans are the lush writing and epic romance within The Star-Touched Queen.

Okay, now enough about the comparisons and more on the book itself. From the start, it's easy to sympathize with Maya, our heroine. Because of her sinister horoscope, Maya has been mistreated by her father's harem and court. They mistrust her and her fate; and I think that it's always easy to sympathize with someone who's less privileged because of their birth. Plus Maya herself is a delightful heroine who, despite the great cause for bitterness, remains optimistic about finding a way for her sinister horoscope to not define who she is or what her future will be. As for the world, Roshani Chokshi hits the sweet spot: she included plenty of details to set the mood and stage for the romance, and the creatures and magic system are elaborated on enough so that you, too, can imagine yourself there and the kind of choices you would have to make. Meanwhile, there's still room for more in the giant world she's built, which means Roshani Chokshi has been posting some cool extras on The Star-Touched Queen website. But maybe you really want to know about the romance. Oh, readers, it is glorious. The romance in The Star-Touched Queen has glorious feminist leanings such that the equality between Maya and her husband is always emphasized. They are equal partners. Romantic one-liners are frequent, but they're also backed up by action -- fighting for that epic love in name and deed. Like I said, beautifully written gem, lush world-building and epic romance.

(If you've ever seen the Broadway version of Aladdin, remember the magic carpet ride with all the lights and the epic romantic singing and the shifting stage. That's what reading this book felt like to me. Wondrous, magical; a whole new world to explore and evoke your imagination.)

I think my only complaint would have been that I wanted more. I wouldn't have minded if the book were a little longer to answer some questions I had-- but I think that's always a great complaint to have of any book. Assuming you liked the book, the more you want, the more successful the author was in hooking you. And that's exactly what happened for me and The Star-Touched Queen.

I hope that you all give this book a chance. It was on my YA 2016 debut TBR list and I nominated it for Most Anticipated 2016 Book for the Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards. It did not disappoint.
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review 2014-06-04 18:12
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Abandon - Meg Cabot

[An old review. This was an ARC I picked up at a conference.]


This is the first book of what is going to be a trilogy. Since I knew nothing about this book before I started reading it, I didn't realize this and, for some reason, thought it was a standalone novel. I expected an actual ending and was disappointed when I didn't really get one. So, now you're forewarned.

It always seems to take me a while to warm up to one of Meg Cabot's books, and this one was no exception. I spent the first half of this book annoyed with the enormous amount of foreshadowing. Pierce goes on and on about her death and the terrible things that happened after her death, and it just got to the point where I wanted her to finally, finally stop being vague and just say what happened. I actually found myself thinking, "I know dying must have been tough and all, but just get over it and get on with the story."

There are so many flashbacks and references to past events that it's easy to forget that the story has an actual present that is a whole two years after Pierce's death. Nearly the entire first half of the book deals with Pierce's past, and it wasn't until after all that, during a scene in which Pierce is at an assembly at her new school, that the book really grabbed my interest. Like Pierce, I wanted to know what the big deal was with Coffin Night. I wanted to know what was going on at her school, what various people were hiding from her, and how things worked at her school in general.

Notice how I haven't said anything about wanting to know more about her and John? Usually, I automatically glom onto the slightest hint of romance in a book, but something about Pierce and John's relationship didn't grab me that way. Now, that's not to say I was completely uninterested in the romantic aspects of this book or in John as the love interest. It's just that, considering how excited I was when I read that the book was based on the myth of Persephone and Hades, I was surprised that the romance didn't resonate with me more.

I've liked a lot of dark, broody, suffering heroes in the past. Some that come to mind are Thierry in L.J. Smith's Soulmate, the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast story (and just about anything based on the story), and Eiri Yuki in Maki Murakami's Gravitation. These kinds of romantic heroes can have a scary, possibly almost insane edge to them at times, but there's usually also something about them, something about the way they interact with the "heroine" (oh, poor Shuichi - sorry, I couldn't think of a better word) that makes a romantic relationship seem like a viable option. Although John and Pierce definitely had their moments, I didn't really feel the romance for a large portion of the book. That changed a bit near the end of the book, but I wanted the romance to be stronger throughout the entire book, not just near the end of it.

Part of the problem, I think, was that so much of the focus of the book was on Pierce that it was hard to see John as more than just the scary, violent surface he presented. There were hints that John was lonely, he had a super protective streak (which really only added to his scariness), and Cabot gave readers a bit of his history maybe two thirds of the way into the book, but none of it was enough, not for me at least. Pierce's reaction to John didn't manage to drum up any anticipation in me, either - although it was clear that part of her was attracted to him, even though she seemed unwilling to recognize it, the larger part of her was just worried about what he might end up doing to those around her, whether they deserved it on some level or not.

Even if I had decided to just accept that John was the romantic hero of the book and was worth falling for, I had one other hurdle: I couldn't quite believe that John would fall for Pierce. Supposedly, he falls for her because, of all the people he's ever met, she's completely selfless. She thinks about others before herself. At the point in the book where this first came up, I couldn't really believe it, because Pierce didn't seem so much selfless to me as she seemed completely clueless that the things that could hurt and bring discomfort to others could also do the same to her.

I did eventually come to accept the reason given for why John fell for Pierce, and Pierce did grow on me. This book had some things that appealed to me and hints of things that I could come to like better later on, enough so that I do want to read the next book in the trilogy but...I can't shake the feeling that this book could have been much better than it was.


(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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