Perfected

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Perfected

“Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.”

-Taken from Goodreads.

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This had a very intriguing world building, though not much was said about how it came to be. After all, in the present society slavery is abhorred. How, then, did it become once again acceptable to own someone else? That was a bit context that would be interesting to have.

Ella, because of training and her conditioning, came across as a bit naive. In her case, it was to be expected, and I felt her reaction to what was happening to her were adequate.

I didn’t really like the ending, though. So far, it seems this is going to be a stand alone novel. I really, really hope that’s not the case, as I’d love to see the events of the ending unfolded and developed. After all, as it’s often the case with stories set in dystopian societies, this one is showing some cracks. I’d really like to see whether they will be mended or just fall apart.

All in all, it was a very entertaining read, that made me want to know more about that dysfunctional society.

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Stormbird (Wars Of The Roses #1)

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Stormbird (Wars of the Roses, #1)

“King Henry V – the great Lion of England – is long dead.

In 1437, after years of regency, the pious and gentle Henry VI, the Lamb, comes of age and accedes to the English throne. His poor health and frailty of mind render him a weakling king -Henry depends on his closest men, Spymaster Derry Brewer and William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, to run his kingdom.

Yet there are those, such as the Plantagenet Richard, Duke of York, who believe England must be led by a strong king if she is to survive. With England’s territories in France under threat, and rumours of revolt at home, fears grow that Henry and his advisers will see the country slide into ruin. With a secret deal struck for Henry to marry a young French noblewoman, Margaret of Anjou, those fears become all too real.

As storm clouds gather over England, King Henry and his supporters find themselves besieged abroad and at home. Who, or what can save the kingdom before it is too late?”

-Taken from Goodreads

No matter how long or how far I stray into other genres, I always go back to historical fiction at some point. This time, I chose the Wars of the Roses, an event that interests me quite a bit, as I lived in York for a while.

I do not claim to be an expert in British history, so I can’t say anything about the accuracy of this book. What I can say is that this book is not a portrayal of the Wars of the Roses, but it does set the stage for what is to come.

There were some subplots that did not draw my interest that much. Jack Cade’s ill-fated revolution (so far) was one of them. On the other hand, I loved it whenever Margaret of Anjou or Derry Brewer made an appearance.

As I’m not that familiar with British history and its characters, I missed a list of characters, with a brief who’s who.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Outside In (Insiders #2)

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Outside In (Insider, #2)

“Me?

A leader?

Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew.

That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion;between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again;while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside.

And something from Outside wants In.”

-Taken from Goodreads.

As it is often the case with final books in dystopias, this one fell a little short. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first one, and I also felt that not all questions were answered.

Furthermore, I also missed some kind of recap. Names were mentioned, and I’d have no idea who they were or what they had done in the first book. Because of this, I had some trouble toward the end to keep track of who was who.

Trella, I felt, was a typical heroine, requiring some not so gentle pushes to leap into action. Once she does, the story becomes far more interesting and faster.

I was hoping the story would be taken in another direction, and that answers about Inside (what is it? How did it come to be?) would be given, but that was not to be.

Deer In Headlights (Good Gods #1)

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Deer in Headlights (Good Gods, #1)

“**18+**

Aphrodite never loses, not when it comes to love.

Immortality has its perks and its downsides. Boredom, for one, is unavoidable, but instead of playing Backgammon, the Greek gods devised a game using humans as pawns. Remember Shakespeare? That was Apollo. Bonnie and Clyde? Aphrodite versus Ares.

Aphrodite is on deck, and she’ll defend her domain of love by using her magic to get the two human players together. Time is not on her side, and she’ll have her work cut out for her as her opponent does everything in his power to keep the players apart.

Game one is against Apollo, who chooses the loner Dean, a rock star who takes dark and brooding to the next level. His band has finally gotten a break, and he can’t screw it up, not for another one night stand, and especially not with his new drummer’s girlfriend. He swore to the band that he’d keep it together, but from the minute he first sees Lex, it takes every bit of willpower he has to stay away. But Dean’s will is nothing for the Goddess of Love, who’s certain she has a fighting chance to win with Lex as her player. The artist and poet is perfect for Dean, if only she can open her heart and find a way to love for the first time.

There’s always more at stake than winning the game when you’ve lived for thousands of years. The Olympians are the original dysfunctional family, surviving eons of love and lust, betrayal and lies, as friends and enemies, through feuds and wars. From the douchebag Ares, who’s forever trying get Aphrodite into bed, to her best friend Persephone, who she can always count on for a hearty helping of bacon on a bad day, the gods will take you on a lighthearted trip as they toy with humans, laugh and fight, lose love and gain power.”

-Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Indie Inked for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was, overall, and okay read. The best aspect of it was not the developing relationship that is portrayed, but the dynamics between the gods. While they still play with humans, they also play one against the other. And it was interesting how the author chose the myths of Daphne and Adonis to make it clear.

As far as characters go, Adonis was the most annoying of this book. His story is tragic, but there is nothing to be done about it. Except, of course, to hold a grudge, which is exactly what he does for I don’t know how many centuries.

The human world plot was quite predictable, and I could have seen the end coming for miles. The gods’ plot was far more interesting, thanks to the twists worked into it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1)

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Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)

“Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.”

-Taken from Goodreads.

I don’t really know why, but I had higher expectations for this book. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pleasant and quick read. I felt that, while the plot was good, the characters were a bit lacking.

I don’t think I could be friends with any of the characters in this book. Harper, for instance, was too much of a perfectionist and an overachiever, with no real reason for that (I think there might have been a reason, but I almost missed it, it’s not that well explained). As for the rest of the characters, I felt they were quite forgettable.

The strong suite here was, for me, the plot. More specifically, the Paladin thing, and even that felt odd, for some reason.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Ruin And Rising (The Grisha #3)

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Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.”

-Taken from Goodreads

This was, for me, one of the most anticipated releases of the year. In terms of world building, this is one of the most creative I’ve seen in a while (I’d say there’s only one better than this one, which would be the ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ trilogy). It made me wish I could be a Grisha (an Inferni, preferably), just like Rowling made me long for a Hogwarts letter.

It is always difficult to say goodbye to a great series. ‘Ruin and Rising’ was no exception. While it was a satisfying ending, there were some things I do wish were different.

I wished, for instance, that the Darkling’s plot had ended in a grander manner. I wished that Baghra’s end was different. However, I did feel that Alina’s and Mal’s ending was perfect, albeit bittersweet.

Now that this series is over, I guess the only thing that’s left for me to do is to cherish it and wait patiently for the author’s next book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

All’s Fair In Love And Cupcakes

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All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

“She’s written a recipe for her future, but does it include love?

Katherine ‘Kat’ Varland is a small town girl, born and raised—and every day, her dreams of owning her own bakery get further away. She has no money, and the cupcake shop she bakes for, Sweetie Pies, seems to get smaller and smaller. Kat might be the sweetheart of Bayou Bend, Louisiana, but she longs to make a name for herself where she can flourish as Kat—not as the girl baking someone else’s recipes.

As head coach for the Bayou Bend championship high school football team, Lucas Brannen is used to winning—everything except his best friend’s heart. He finally gathers the courage to make a gesture and show Kat his feelings by signing her up for the popular reality TV show Cupcake Combat. But his plan backfires after he realizes the cash prize for the winner also includes a one-year baking contract at one of New York City’s most famous pastry houses.

The situation grows sticky when Kat enlists Lucas’s help as her baking assistant for the show. Lucas is torn between helping Kat live her dream and selfishly wanting to keep her in town. His plan has always been a dozen acres of land and a farmhouse in Bayou Bend—but Kat is blinded by the stars in her eyes.

Will Lucas and Kat risk their chance at love in order to achieve their individual dreams? Or will they find that sometimes the most delicious happily-ever-afters begin and end in the same place?”

-Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19860960-all-s-fair-in-love-and-cupcakes”

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Zondervan Fiction for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The synopsis was very interesting, as it involved the baking world. I love baking, but would never, ever, be able to deal with the pressures of professional baking. I do love it when books portray characters that are professional chefs, bakers etc. It is, for me, a fascinating world.

The real thing, however, fell a bit short of my expectations. The baking competition didn’t get as many pages as I’d have liked, and the relationship development was a mess. The two main characters were far too insecure for my taste, and kept going back and forth so many times I wanted to scream.

I was relieved when things were finally resolved and all that going back and forth was over.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.