Book Review | The Beast of Beswick

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Beast of Beswick

Author: Amalie Howard

Format: Paperback (owned)

Pages: 375

Categories: Historical Romance

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it’s hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies―with lips better suited to kissing than speaking―who brave his castle with indecent proposals.

But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of―a tender of marriage with her as his bride. 

Thank you to Entangled: Amara and Bookishfirst for giving me a chance to win a copy of this book!

In this historical romance we have Lady Astrid Everleigh, a blue-stocking spinster, trying to save her younger sister, Isobel from a marriage with someone despicable. Her plan? Why to marry the Beast of Beswick, of course. Thane is grotesquely scarred from war injuries and is somewhat of a recluse, hiding away on his estate. As a Duke he needs to marry and beget heirs, so why not Lady Astrid as his wife?

These two clash right away, just like in the Beauty and the Beast story and it’s a steamy read that will keep you warm for winter!

  • There are tropes galore in this story but I love it. I don’t mind the usual tropes in romance, I mean, it’s why I love the genre. Here we have a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast, and I adore it. Astrid and Thane clash right away! Astrid is intelligent and capable, and Thane is a grouchy Duke because of his scars. The sparks are always blazing between them. I loved their interactions in the story and banter.🔥
  • Speaking of hot…there are lots of steamy scenes in this story and they are good!
  • I enjoyed the characters! Astrid is no quiet, demure miss, even if Thane describes her as a tightly coiled spinster at first. Her mind is quick, her tongue quicker and I love how she never backed down from his moods. Thane comes of grouchy and scary but he’s a war hero – he’s seen some things and experienced a lot of pain in his life. Coming back home scarred is even worse, especially since society pegs him to be a beast. And I loved Thane’s Aunt Mabel haha, she definitely lived a spicy life.
  • The happily ever after was lovely, the epilogue made my heart happy.
  • The Earl of Beaumont, who is the scoundrel Astrid is trying to keep her sister away from – sort of goes away without fanfare. It seemed to easy, I guess I was expecting him to do something nefarious, because there were threats, but…🤷🏻‍♀️.

I was here for the Beauty and the Beast inspiration, the heat this book brought and of course the happy ending. The main characters have so much sparks exploding between them, I absolutely enjoyed it! This is the first book I have read from this author but now I’m glad I can add another historical romance author to my must read list.

ARC Review | Lady Hotspur

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Lady Hotspur

Author: Tessa Gratton

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 592

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

Categories: Adult Fantasy, LGBTIA+, Shakespeare Henry IV Retelling, Romance, Political Intrigue

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IVLady Hotspur continues the saga of Innis Lear, centuries later, as revolution, love, and a betrayal corrupt the descendants of two warring kingdoms.

Hal was once a knight, carefree and joyous, sworn to protect her future queen Banna Mora. But after a rebellion led by her own mother, Caleda, Hal is now the prince of Lionis, heir to the throne. The pressure of her crown and bloody memories of war plague her, as well as a need to shape her own destiny, no matter the cost.

Lady Hotspur, known as the Wolf of Aremoria for her temper and warcraft, never expected to be more than a weapon. She certainly never expected to fall in love with the fiery Hal or be blindsided by an angry Queen’s promise to remake the whole world in her own image—a plan Hotspur knows will lead to tragedy.

Banna Mora kept her life, but not her throne. Fleeing to Innis Lear to heal her heart and plot revenge, the stars and roots of Innis Lear will teach her that the only way to survive a burning world is to learn to breathe fire.

These three women, together or apart, are the ones who have the power to bring the once-powerful Aremoria back to life—or destroy it forever.

Thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Did I request this book based on the cover? Uh, definite yes. I love the cover and the book blurb caught my interest too. Now, this is a companion novel to Tessa Gratton’s book, The Queens of Innis Lear which I never read. The book summary also says this is a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, which I never read also.

It took me a week to read this book. A week! Each time I read it, I was like, I’m only at 10%? Are you kidding me? So when I searched the title on Goodreads and saw it was a 592 page book, it made sense why I felt like I was getting nowhere in this story.

The story is told through three main perspectives: Hal, Hotspur and Banna Mora. These three were a tight crew of Lady Knights who fought under King Rovassos until they rebelled and helped put Hal’s mother, the kings niece, on the throne. The first half of this story is set in Aremoria. The second half of this story takes place in Innis Lear and there we have a chapters from Rowan and Connelly. Later on we get a few other chapter perspectives from Charm.

This is a gender bent story where Dukes, Earls, Princes, and Kings are female. The story is centered around Hal, Hotspur and Banna Mora as they try to decide who is the true ruler of Aremoria and if the prophecies about these three women will come true.

  • The gender bending aspect is awesome. Kings in Aremoria can be female. The women in Aremoria, especially the Lady Knights are bad ass soldiers, they love to fight, took pride in their leadership (well Hal had some issues) and fighting skills!
  • My heart is in Innis Lear. Aremoria felt like a regular kingdom, nothing special, but Innis Lear and it’s magic? I was immersed in that world. I liked when Hal, Hotspur, and Banna Mora who are battle ready soldiers, step into this magical land and start hearing nature all around them. Innis Lear has witches, wizards, prophecies, and ghosts even! The world building was fantastic.
  • This book is female infused all around, from the passionate lesbian relationship between Hal and Hotspur and yes there is sex in this book, lots of it actually. Hal and Hotspur’s relationship burns so fast and hard that it’s sad when it falls apart, but Hal had some issues to work through.
  • Out of all three women: Hal, Hotspur and Banna Mora – Banna Mora’s story kept my attention more maybe because she blossoms on Innis Lear. Hal’s story arc has the most change in it though because she’s the life of the party but she hides behind her charming smile. Hal doesn’t believe in herself and she’s suffering from PTSD and drowns in her misery until she turns things around. As for Hotspur, she is the one in the middle of the two and must make some hard choices.
  • This book is long at almost 600 pages and the pacing constantly threw me off. It would be slow (the beginning) and then I’d be interested in a character, but then the perspective would change, then I’d lose interested again, and I’d put it down. It took me a week to read this! I almost gave up on it. The writing also would be rushed and abrupt and then it would be beautiful especially when it came to describing Innis Lear. I just felt like it didn’t flow well in some parts.
  • Hal, Hotspur and Banna Mora had to make political marriages…to men. Sigh…so I was all about the lesbian, feminist take of this book and then they had to have sex with men and I was like…🤷🏻‍♀️. REALLY? Banna Mora had Rowan so I mean, go her…but Hal and Hotspur who are so in love had to do their royal duties. 😒 Obviously it’s royal politics and things work out in the end though, but still.
  • I wasn’t attached to any character. The trio of Hal, Hotspur and Banna Mora is a great dynamic, two opposing characters and one in the middle who will decide the fate of everyone. But I wasn’t attached to any of them. I was team Banna Mora though if I had to pick a side. But what made them good friends? Because they were knights together? Maybe more backstory of when they were knights together would have been good to set the foundation for their story.

This book wasn’t for me, there were parts I enjoyed, especially when the story was set in Innis Lear. The world building of Innis Lear is amazing, it’s what kept me reading the story and makes me consider reading The Queens of Innis Lear. This book will not be for everyone but it did have some bright spots in it. The story has prophecy, strong women, a lesbian love story and a straight one too. But for me it was all about the magic of Innis Lear, the rest of the story fell flat for me.

First Lines Fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Hello wonderful people! It’s Friday, our first week of December is almost over and wow, it’s 19 days until Christmas! Woohoo! It’s very exciting!

I went to the library this week and broke my borrowing ban. Oh well! I couldn’t resist haha. So I’m going to choose the first line from one of those books. Ready?

“Be still, Little Priestess.”

Did you get guess it? I love this cover! And I can’t wait to read this. Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it?

Book Review | When the Stars Lead to You

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: When the Stars Lead to You

Author: Ronni Davis

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 394

Categories: Romance, Depression, Suicide, Young Adult

Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love. 

I chose this book as my YA Book of the Month choice for November. I wanted to read a contemporary YA book with romance and look at that cover. 🤩

Devon and Ashton meet one summer and it is insta-love, but at the end of summer it was also insta-heartbreak. Two years later, Devon is pretty much over him until Ashton ends up at her school. The feelings and memories come rushing back for both of them but Devon doesn’t want to get her heart broken again. Devon is at the top of her class with dreams of being an astrophysicist to study the stars! But Devon and Ashton get swept up in their feelings. Underneath it all though, Ashton isn’t so stable and Devon finds out the challenges in their relationship go below the surface.

  • The cover definitely caught my eye. I love the color palette and the title sounds romantic.
  • There is sex in this book, and I do like that Devon’s mom raised her in a sex positive environment. When Devon and Ashton are leading up having sex, Devon’s mom asks her questions. They have an honest relationship which is very refreshing and her mom hands her condoms and information. I love their trusting relationship.
  • There are deep subjects in this story, but it gets revealed slowly. Ashton deals with depression and it shows the impact of it on their relationship. It shows how Devon chose to help him and it threw off her focus at school. But the depression is talked about in this book and explained and that’s what stood out in this story. I think the therapy scenes for both Asthon AND Devon, was very impactful.
  • Devon is bi-racial and Ashton comes from a rich white family so there was some tension there that added challenges to their relationship. Ashton’s family had certain requirements for the girls he dated but I’m glad he stuck to Devon, at least…this time around.
  • I loved the parts in the book that went into Devon’s passion: astronomy. I thought those parts were fascinating.
  • Triggers: this is a trigger filled book because there is heartbreak, a death of a family member, depression and attempted suicide.
  • I struggled through the beginning and middle because I thought okay, another insta-love story with a break-up and here they go back together again but the story at least got better near the end. Unfortunately by then I was just reading to finish it but learning about Ashton’s depression really kept me in the story.
  • Although their love is all consuming (they think about marriage in the future) I felt detached from Devon and Ashton. Their romance was quick, getting back together was quick and I just didn’t get swept away in it like they did. There were sexy scenes that didn’t give me feels at all. I can’t pin point why but I think because I wasn’t invested in these two characters until way later in the book that it their relationship just fell flat for me. It might be the writing, these two characters don’t exactly pop off the page.
  • This is not a happy story. For the most part Devon’s main struggle outside of her relationship with Ashton is trying to get into the college she wants to attend. But Ashton…he has depression, on top of a dysfunctional family life and he hits rock bottom.
  • Devon being in a co-dependent relationship with Ashton was heartbreaking to see, maybe because we know it’s going to cause heartbreak again.

The best part of this book was learning about depression and what it would take to get Ashton in a better place. I felt sad most of the time reading this book but I’m glad Devon had such a supportive cast of family and friends. As for Ashton, I wanted to reach inside this book and help him, but he needed to do the therapy work himself, like he said. The depression and therapy scenes in this story are impactful, if you can handle reading about the subject. Overall, it was an okay book maybe I needed to be in the right mood to read it.

Monthly Wrap-Up | November 2019

Hi everyone, so yes I almost forgot about my monthly wrap-up post! I read much more than what reviews got posted in November. I decided to post later publication titles closer to when they will be released because when I post them right away, I think they get forgotten.

Thanksgiving weekend was wild! I had lots of fun and took a break from reading really – I had a weekend filled with socializing and lots of food. So I need to get back in gear, stop eating desserts, and get some exercise in. I can’t believe Christmas and Hanukkah (because we celebrate both) will be here in about twenty days! Then it’s the New Year and my daughter turns 3! Where does time go? Really…

Anyway here is what I reviewed in November!

If you want to check out the reviews for these books please check out my archives or do a search.

How did you do in November?

Top Ten Tuesday | 12/3/19

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out their blogs for more awesome bookish content!

Holiday Reads

(Books You Love Reading During the Holidays)

I haven’t done one of these TTTs in awhile! This week’s topic is Holiday Reads-Books You Love Reading During the Holidays. I’m usually in the mood to read romance books during the holidays but not necessarily Christmas holiday romance. A few here and there is good for me. And of course I still read my young adult fantasy books. But because I slowed down in November, it feels like I’m playing catch up in December already, so I’m just going to list what I’m reading.

I posted about this title in last week’s WWW Wednesday but I gotta be honest…it’s been slow going. So far there is insta-love and a major heartbreak, and the couple reuniting which you can guess is not going so well. This book so far has been kinda depressing and I don’t know if it’s one I want to finish in December. 😞

I have the eARC of this book and it publishes in January so I’m reading a little but each day. It’s fascinating…a female version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV but whatever…I don’t even REMEMBER Henry IV, did I even have to read that in high school? There are lady knights!! Lady knights having sex with other lady knights! It’s a pretty amazing undertaking storewide because there are so man characters to follow. I finally hit 20% of the book (it took me all weekend). I’m determined to finish this by this week!

I really need to get a move on this story, I think I’m a fourth in. It’s a good story so far, I just was in the mood for romance and put this down to read the romance novels in my NetGalley shelf haha.

I just finished Wintersong, the first book in this series and I’m going to jump into this one before another book sucks up all my attention.

And yes because I need romance this month, I also started another NetGalley eARC. I’m on chapter two with this one but honestly, I think I’ll finish this one first out of the titles I just listed. 😅

Another eARC on NetGalley that I got started on and I’m at 30%. This is the second book in the Crown of Feathers series and I’m not feeling it as much as the first book in the series. Maybe I’m just not in the mood because it is the holidays? Not sure but I have some time to finish this one, it publishes in February 2020.

There you have it, 6 books I am reading when I feel like it! Haha…I don’t usually have that many open at once, but it is what it is. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s December, I’m not in a rush to read anything really unless it’s an arc that’s about to be published soon. I’m just going to try and just chill for the rest of the year. ☺️ Thanks for reading!

Book Review | Wintersong

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Wintersong (Winterstong, #1)

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Format: Paperback (owned)

Pages: 436

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Dark Fairytale

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride….

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesel can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Dark, romantic, and powerful, Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

Wintersong is a perfect fall read and winter read actually, I mean it is called Wintersong.

When I heard this was part Labyrinth (one of my favorite movies) and Beauty and the Beast (one of my favorite Disney movies haha) I knew I had to read this…and I tried when it first published but for some reason it didn’t catch my interest at the time. I heard some good things about it lately and decided to give it another go and I can see how readers can be entranced by this story! And why didn’t anyone say it’s part Phantom of the Opera too? Without the opera of course.

In this dark, sexy and magical story, the Goblin King has been eyeing Liesl since she was a child. He is entranced with the untamed music that lives inside her and he sees someone who maybe can appreciate the wildness in him. We follow Liesl and learn how close she is with her exceptionally and musically talented brother. Whereas her beautiful and passionate sister, Kathe is left to her own devices. As Winter approaches she is reminded by her grandmother about the Goblin King coming to take a wife. When he steals Kathe away and makes a bargain with Liesl, she knows she has to win or pay the consequences. Who will Liesl choose? Her family, the Goblin King or herself?

  • This book is sexy…I mean, it has sex and though it’s not explicitly described because this is a YA book, I like that it went there because this is a dark attraction between a human and the Goblin king, who is basically fae and powerful. You can’t deny the connection between Liesl and the Goblin King.
  • This story is dark and the story telling is enchanting. The writing is lyrical and poetic. I loved the folklore Constanze told about the Goblin King, it’s that spooky fairytale, not the ones with a happily ever after. There is nothing very happy in this book, Liesl is consumed with music, so much so that it brings her absolute joy but she is obsessed about it. Same with the Goblin King and how he covets Liesl and her joy with music. They both desire and want but you also see it in Liesl’s family, her brother the musical virtuoso, her sister Kathe who dreams of finer things and a rich husband. This story explores desire, and what length one goes to attain them.
  • It’s interesting that the book ends with a Beethoven quote, because music is central to this story. I mean the Goblin King plays Liesl body like a violin (ahem-ahem 🔥🥵) – talk about sensual. But music IS sensual, it’s full of emotion and this story wove it’s enchantment on me like Beethoven’s music does (he’s my favorite). Liesl is a genius composer, her brother is a gifted violinist and the Goblin King is a musician as well.
  • The love story between Liesl and the Goblin King as mentioned is scintillating. It is full of dark desire and sweetness too, but tragic.
  • I enjoyed the games Liesl and the Goblin King would play because the stakes were high. It was interesting and maybe predictable what path she chooses but she did kind of give in pretty quick.
  • Liesl and the Goblin King…had that push and pull relationship that kind of made me crazy. I wanted them to make up their minds, especially when she decides to go all in and then he backs off. I understood why it was that way, but I also got tired of it too.
  • I would like to know more about the Goblin King. I know he is all mysterious but I was getting confused about how he is the Goblin King but his looks keep changing when he is with Liesl. She sees a boy of her age and then he looks like the fae he becomes. I mean her grandmother wanted to be the Goblin King’s wife at one point and I’m just hoping it wasn’t HIM has the Goblin King that time. 😅 Because…awkward. He is a fascinating character because he used to be human, worshipped God and brought some of those customs with him into the Underground. But I’d like to learn more about him.
  • The ending was…okay? I guess in a sense it was the right thing to do, but damn did I just want them to go all in and make it work. If I was Liesl, I’d be all about being the Goblin Queen and never leave and die a dark death. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I mean, the story was dramatic in every other aspect, might as well make the ending one too!
  • Triggers: mind manipulation (I mean, the Goblin King does mess with Liesl!)

Even with the few issues I had with the story, it wove its dark enchantment around me. I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for a story about the Goblin King (ever since Labyrinth) and wow, there haven’t been any that I remember reading about. I’m about to pick up the second book in the duology so stay tuned for my review on that one soon. If you like dark fairy-tales written in a poetic, lyrical style, you might want to give this one a try.