First Loves in Firenze (Love + Gelato – A Book Review)

Love + Gelato
Author: Jennifer Evans Welch
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

Love and Gelato

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt



I made the wrong choice.

Carolina “Lina” Emerson is staying in Italy this summer with her father who she just met for the first time. It leaves her distracted from the wonder and magic of Italy. How did she not know about him until just recently?

While settling into her new home at an American cemetery for WWII soldiers, she tries to understand why her mother sent her here, but more than anything she just wants to go home. Then she meets charming Ren, her neighbor behind the cemetery.

After being given a journal, her mother’s, Lina and Ren begin an adventure to visit all of the places her mom did, experience art, find a secret bakery, all hoping to recreate the best summer of her other’s life as well as understand why she had Lina come here. However, Lina didn’t expect to be shell shocked by its contents that change her life forever and the residual emotions of loss. With Ren, she figures out some things she’s not sure she wanted to know. And as she tours Tuscany, she finds that people come from all around for the art and gelato. Sometimes they find so much more.

Lina, think. You’re alone in a foreign country, a certifiable giant has just stepped forward as your father, and your home could be the setting for a zombie apocalypse movie. Do something.


This book marks 4 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. This isn’t my typical book since I’m really into the Paranormal genre, but I couldn’t help myself because I love Italy.


This book was so sweet and beautiful so so pure. This book began on such a sorrow filled note, but I really loved that it turned into something more, something that could spring a new beginning with opportunities for newness and renewal. Handling the grief of losing a loved one is hard. You’re losing a part of your being, but this isn’t the focus. Lina is given the chance to understand and walk in her mother’s footsteps and keep a part of her close while discovering new things about herself.

Italia. Firenze. I spent Spring Break in Florence during my Senior year in college and I loved every second of it. From The Duomo to the Boboli Gardens to the Ponte Vecchio and SO MUCH MORE. It was all so splendidly placed throughout the story, really creating Florence and the rest of Tuscany. The shared history of the places wasn’t forced at all either. And the bright and lively color from the city to the sunsets to the food and the people of the country truly brought it to life. It was like I was back in Florence all over again and my heart just swelled with longing.


Lina isn’t some rebellious teenager. She’s just a girl who’s hurting, confused and feeling really lost. Ren helps her find her way, which is great because it can be scary being in new place you don’t want to be with no friends. He’s goofy, kind, and adorable that you can’t help but fall in love with him. He introduces her to new possibilities and of course, gelato. And let me tell you, you’ve never had gelato if you’ve never been to Italy. There is a difference between what you find at the supermarket versus what you get at a gelateria. It’s the air and the place and the feeling that surrounds you.

Lina’s adventures with Ren isn’t all that I got to experience during the book. There were also her mother’s adventures from her journal too. The journal entries were sprinkled throughout as Lina adjusted to her new life. Each one pulled me in deeper and deeper and I was completely captured, just like Lina, with how wild and spontaneous the woman was. I really loved getting this peeking at her mother’s life. We always wonder if we’ll follow in our parents’ footsteps and doing so by this journal felt good. Felt right.

Italian Hillside

There were many parts that I teared up at. There are discoveries that will pull at your heartstrings. I didn’t non-stop cry here, but I was feeling pretty shaky by the end. Family triumphs and first love finds always do that to me! Both are so special because they hold such a dear spot in your heart. So, no tears. But A LOT of heart pounding.

Every once in a while, I love reading a book like this. It’s special. There’s a purity and proof that there’s light in life. There are no major plot twists or major danger on the horizon. It’s just growing up and first loves and wonderful innocence.

Do I recommend this book? Si!



“From here on out there will only be before and after today.” (Lina, p. 2)

“My life was about to change. Again. What happened to normal, boring days?” (Lina, p. 272)

“The ring. The denial. The lie.” (Lina, p. 312)

“A life without love is like a year without summer.” (Howard to Lina, p. 376)


Below are a few other photos from my trip back in 2015. Such a beautiful country.  A week in Florence was too short.

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More to come soon…


P.S. Song today? Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepson


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Supernatural Hands On Learning (Shadow Falls: Reborn – A Book Review)

Reborn (Shadow Falls: After Dark #1)
Author: C.C. Hunter
Published: 2014

On Goodreads


My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Vampires, chameleons, and witches, oh my! With a side of ghosts.

Della Tsang. Spunky. Flighty. And, a badass vampire.  At Shadow Falls, a private school for the supernaturally impaired, she learns how to control her powers. Though you’re not really impaired if you have kick-ass powers, are you? Didn’t think so.

Della and newcomer, Chase, come across two dead bodies in Shadow Falls. Della’s determined to find out who and what killed these innocent people and she’ll break all the rules to do it. This isn’t the only problem on Della’s plate however. Her cousin Chan is missing, her Dad has a twin that he’s never talked about, and her romantic life has taken a downward nosedive. With everything stressing her out, she’s also being haunted.

Della struggles to achieve her dreams and find some normalcy, but it just isn’t happening. In her gut, something dreadful is on the horizon and her life is on the line.

Della Tsang is spunky and driven and FULL of sass. I mean to the brim, bookworms. She is all work and barely any play as she works to solve several mysteries that are circling around her. She’s not alone. With her two best friends, two camp counselors, and an on-again-off-again shapeshifter with a deep, sexy southern drawl, Della is going to find out what is going on with all of the crazy in Shadow Falls. That’s not to say she won’t stir up a little trouble of her own along the way, of course.


One of the elements of the book that really drew my attention was the the Supernaturals. Supernatural rules go out the window here. The traditional rules we all know and live by like the three laws of physics are tossed out the window. For example:

  • Vampires can go out in the sunlight.
  • Vampires have a heartbeat.
  • Vampires can fly (which, okay, is one of the oldest tricks that an original vampire can do, but it was strange to see).

These are only a couple of the different traits that caught me off guard, and this is only with vampires. Vampirism is considered a virus in this world and is called V1. There are shapeshifters, chameleons, fae, and so many more races of supernatural in the book. It’s really different than what I know and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just tricky to understand and treat like it’s common knowledge. Kudos to Hunter for being incredibly unique and diverse!  She did phenomenal with being sure to detail each supernatural’s powers.


Hunter did an amazing job in juggling multiple plots, too. There’s more than one thing happening for Della in this book, so the focus splits up quite a bit, but it’s so well done. Never once was I confused when one issue transitioned to a completely different one. Each time it was smooth and done with ease, like nacho cheese.

Just like there were so many different things happening from a haunting to solving the death of two humans, there were several characters involved. Kylie (chameleon) and Miranda (witch) are Della’s best friends and then there’s Steve, the hot shapeshifter and Chase the new vamp on campus. I may have mentioned this a little already. There are many others. I haven’t seen this many characters in a book in a long time. Della’s surrounded by so much family and people that care about her. Granted, she’s pigheaded, stubborn, and feisty as all hell, but she’s caring, loving, and determined to get her dreams to come true. Very similar to Damon Salvator of The Vampire Diaries if I’m being honest. I can relate to these qualities a tad. It’s why I got such a good laugh throughout the story. Some of her worries were so ordinary and relatable. I will say this on a side-note, Della had times when she acted like a petulant little child and I wanted to smack her silly for it.


Shadow Falls was beautiful. Very misty and green and lush. The grounds of the school were very open. This private school isn’t set up like normal ones. Students get their own cabins. The cafeteria is separate from the main school building, or so I guess. The main school building is its own operation. Everything is so very open. I really liked it. It gives a sense of freedom to these students.

There were times that certain topics were drilled into the ground to the point of no return. Not good. There is a limit to how much a topic should get drilled in. It was run over and over to the point of aggravation for me. Della would go word for word with her arguments and thoughts as if it was the only thing she could think up, which sucks. She seems pretty smart. And, the word, chauvinist, is her favorite word. I figure it out pretty quick when she said it about ten different times….

I skimmed over such strong and repetitive parts because they were the same nearly every time.  Not one bit was reflective or even changed up.

More so, I wasn’t very surprised very much by the events that unfolded. The build-up was great, but they fell flat because of how much they were drawn out. I was just left with a feeling of meh.

Would I recommend this? It’s not a terrible book. It’s fun and fast paced. Della is a quick-witted girl and strong to handle everything that gets thrown her way. However, this wasn’t very memorable. It’s book 1 in a series and I don’t know if I want to read the other ones.


“I don’t fit in here. But I didn’t fit in at home, either.” (Jenny to Della, p. 71)

You have to counter the bad with the good. If not, you’ll get lost in the evilness of it all. It can darken your soul and you’ll lose all joy in life.” (Holiday to Della, p. 102)

“Boobs, smiles, and ghosts…” (Della, p. 110)

More to come soon…


P.S. Song today? Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson

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I’m Going to Kill Whoever Moved My Stuff (There’s Someone Inside Your House – A Book Review)

There’s Somebody Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

There's Someone Inside Your House

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Everywhere. They were everywhere. Those who had left them and those who had been left behind.

A year has passed since Makani Young has moved to Osbourne, Nebraska, a sleepy, corn filled town. Truly boring unless you hang out at Sonic. Still, her past—the reason for moving here to live with her grandma—still haunts her, though she’s got a group of great friends, and maybe-possibly-not really, she has Ollie, the boy she likes that might like her, but she’s still figuring that out.

Makani is shaken after a classmate is found, grisly murdered. The school buzzes with suspects, rumors, and theories about who could’ve killed them. Then suddenly, more murders follow, just as gruesome and disturbing as the last. Terror seizes the small town as the killer continues to elude the police. The town becomes restless and students wonder who’ll be next, but Makani may already know…

Secrets are abound! Makani Young is terrified, like every other student at her school, as her classmates are coming up dead and it’s nasty. In a small town it’s even more terrifying because everybody knows everybody, which means one thing. She knows the killer. Everyone does. But, who is it? That puts everybody on edge even more. People are dropping dead and she’s wondering if it’s because these victims had something to hide. If it’s true, does the killer know what she’s hiding? What she can’t even share with her close friends? The reason why her parents barely talk to her, and why they sent her to live with her grandmother?

So many questions!

(And, nope. I can’t tell you the big secret(s). I try not to be spoilery.)

Perkins brought back the horror slasher with one fell swoop aka this book and I was absolutely thrilled. Thrilled is an understatement. My brain squeaked and then that squeak left my lips as a squeal. I’m a major fan of Scream, I Know What You Did LastSummer, Psycho, and many others I could list off. I’m a fan of the slasher genre. It’s its own special brand of horror. In some cases, it encapsulates gore and in others it’s about the body count.

That being said, slashers ≠ mystery. It’s true! With a mystery, it’s all about finding out who killed people after all is said and done already. With the slasher, the killing is still happening and your characters are worried that they may be next on the chopping block. The fog of fear is still hanging over all of the characters as they try to survive the murderous rampage as they work to discover who the killer is. And maybe it’s just me, but discovering the killer in a slasher is much more shocking.

There's Someone Inside Your House

Moving on! Makani Young was such an interesting character. While she was holding onto a part of her old life albeit and terrible part, she wasn’t dramatic or overstated. She leads a rather ordinary life with the exception of Oliver-Ollie-Larsson. I really liked that because it made the story so much more realistic. That, and how small and boring and corn-fed Osbourne, Nebraska is. The town represents so many towns across America! They’re small, sleepy, some don’t even do that well. They’re just crap-town, America. I live in one of these right now. The realism of both the characters and the town the story was set in was fantastic.

There's someone Inside Your House

Just as there was so much darkness in this book, I mean it is a horror, but there was also a lot of humor. So many references and well-put jokes really lightened the story at the right times. It was so natural. So was the awkwardness of trying to figure out feelings. Makani does a lot of that and it’s completely typical. She doesn’t spend the whole book pining for Ollie. Everything gets settles pretty quickly, but she does try to navigate this new territory. I really liked that it wasn’t the main point of attraction.

Speaking of, this serial killer is whack! Loco. PSYCHOTIC. I can’t say it enough. I was totally creeped out! BUT! I really liked how Perkins jumped POVs. Done from third person, there were multiple characters that were followed. I got to see how this killer worked and what he did. Also got to be there for the victims’ last moments which really got my heart pounding.

There's Someone Inside Your House

Do I recommend this book? Heck, yes I do! I even got myself a signed copy (extra squee).

There's Someone Inside Your House

It was intense, dark, funny, and splendidly realistic. The writing was incredible. Perkins really did great with each individual character and captured just enough gore. That tense feeling when you hold your breath and your chest tightens is so different than when your waiting for your favorite characters to finally kiss. The surprises here are eye-popping and deadly.


“Girls often had secrets.” (Makani, p. 13)

“Hello, paranoia, my old friend.” (Makani, p. 39)

“A real dead body looked different from the ones on television or in the movies. There was nothing artful about it. Nothing positioned. Haley’s body looked lifeless—but not like life had been taken away from it. Like it had never had life.” (Makani, p. 103)

“Overnight, every student had become a potential target.” (Makani, p. 127)

More to come soon…


P.S. Song today? Shine by Collective Soul.

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True Lies and the End is Nigh So Hold On Tight (The Dark Calling – A Book Review)

The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles #5)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2018

Dark Calling

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

We watch. We endure. We prepare for the future. One day this game will end, and we’ll be ready.

Evie Greene is still reeling from news that will change her life and the lives of everyone she knows. It could even change the entire game, but she doesn’t quite believe it. And nobody believes her when she comes forth about it. Something is wrong. Really wrong. Somebody she trusts is lying to her.

With doubt crawling into her head, Evie makes a break out into the Ash because it’s no longer safe in the castle. With unlikely allies, she searches for anything that could help her find answers to many of her questions, including whether or not Jack really did survive Richter’s quake.

With a strange power falling over the Arcana, Evie may have to invoke the red witch to save those she holds dear. Her next move in this deadly game could give her what she needs to defeat Richter or…end her life.

In a world teetering on the edge…With enemies at every turn…Darkness beckons.

Reviews to the books previous to this one in the series are listed below.

Poison Princess

Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

Day Zero

Day Zerohere

Arcana Rising

Arcana Risinghere

Congratulations to the first book ever to drive me to drink.  Well, not alcoholic status, but I did need a few drinks after this. The farther this series goes, the more I get wrecked. And baby, this installation to the Arcana Chronicles wrecked the living hell out of me. As my best friend said, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

Dark Calling

The great and dangerous game of Arcana has shifted. Evie Greene’s life is in even more peril as she learns of a great change in herself and in others, including Aric. With her life in danger, she flees, desperate and alone until she runs into unexpected acquaintances. With Joules, The Tower, and Kentarch, The Chariot, they move fast to figure out what has come over their allies and enemies and what’s turned their cards upside down.

On the verge of death out in the Ash, they run into old friends and new enemies. The Hanged Man finally comes into play and he’s not holding back. Taking many of Evie’s friends under his power, they must find a way to free them while also worrying about when Richter, The Emperor, may attack next. But, Evie’s powers are on the fritz and she may have to turn to her alter-ego, the red witch, in order to stay alive. She’s still confused about whether the one person who can pull her back from that dark abyss is alive or not.

The Dark Calling may take them all…

These characters have come so far and grown a great deal. I couldn’t be more proud of Evie. Sure, she’s still got that girly touch where she isn’t the greatest or most powerful fighter, but when she unleashes her powers she is the most deadly thing in the room, hell, on the planet. She is not somebody to trifle with. The bomb that was dropped in her lap at the end of the last book, Arcana Rising, really amps of the stress level for everyone, especially me. The young woman is a champ.

Aric’s past feelings really came back to haunt him and Evie. I have a big feeling that bothered many people, but I’m not one of those people. I figured he had lingering doubts and issues with his and Evie’s past lives and it’s why I’m not a major fan of their relationship. I can see what she sees in him, though, so I understand why she can’t fully toss him away. It’s the history. It’s always the history.

And Jack…fate has it out for this one. I couldn’t have been more excited about his return. He’s still the hothead I know and love, but he’s not the same guy he was in the very beginning when he first met Evie. He doesn’t fly off the handle as he once did. Only on those that threaten him and his. He’s more focused on the big picture: Evie and how much he cares about her.

While still incredibly young, these characters have been incredibly strong and have struggled through so much that they’ve each been on the brink of death more than once, and Cole is having me feel way too much about them.

Many reunions happened during this book and I was beyond ecstatic. So much giggling and happiness that I couldn’t contain myself. Everyone has been so scattered over the last two books and it’s had me a bit torn up.

The plot twists twisted my guts up into all kinds of interesting shapes. If you recall, I mentioned I might’ve been wrecked because of this book. The plot twists would be one of those big reasons why. I read this book from sunup to sundown on one of my only days off last week. I could not put this book down. It was amazing and heart-pounding. I’m still picking my guts off of the floor.

I’m still very convinced that Jack has a major part to play before all is said and done. He was brought into this from the very beginning for a reason. And while I am theorizing (and geeking out) here, a part of me thinks he’s part Arcana. Like, he’s been accidentally created. While human, he’s been brought into this game of life and death chess. Many Arcana have fallen, but he’s somehow still standing. I’ve got such a fuzzy feeling about him. I’m still working on my theory.

Dark Calling

The book moves fast, though over the span of weeks, just like the books previous. And you still follow through the POVs of Evie, Aric (Death), and Jack (The Hunter). The new POV that I got a new glimpse through was The Hanged Man. The man is a total creep and downright vain.

Dark Calling

The imagery always gets me. Activating my senses and putting them on high alert. The use of onomatopoeias really pulls you in closer. Cole also uses short and to the point sentences to show how quick the action scenes move, adding to the intensity of the story. It’s one of my favorite things! And the setting is all new! Evie and her gang of misfits (which they really are) travel out to the ocean, or what’s left of it anyway, and discover Jubilee; a settlement where the last remaining waters of the ocean is, and where ships have collided and capsized. This community isn’t the godsend that it seems to be. People are being offed on the plank and plunged into the dark, cold depths of the water. But, with no place else to go, Evie has to take her chances here to regroup. This place really reminded me of exploring the Titanic under water because that’s how this place works. You scavenge and get paid for it. It’s dangerous and there are always people that don’t make it back. There’s also a strange magic hanging over the place that is dangerous, so Evie and the other Arcana have to be careful with their powers.

Dark Calling

I highly recommend this series. I really do. The action, paranormal angle, romance, angst and that feeling of always being unsure which day will be your last is all encompassed in it. Cole really kept it all original here. I’ve never read anything like this. I’m enthralled and probably on an unhealthy level. So many of my heartstrings have been broken, but also mended…and then broken again. I can’t get enough. I know that when this series comes to its end I will be a complete mess. I’ve never been so in love with a series like this.


“Go. Out into the wastelands.” (p. 11)

“Remember: Your mind has dominion over your body.” (Kentarch to Evie, p. 113)

“My hope lied to me, whispering in my ear, ‘Believe these men, and you will reunite with your wife.’ Tell me, Empress, do you trust the whisper of your hope?” (Kentarch to Evie, p. 115)

“Noble cuts like a blade to the heart.” (Jack to Evie, p. 138)

“Now, where were we? Oh, yeah, I was telling you how every Emperor gets an Empress. Which means you ass is mine.” (Richter to Evie, p. 156)

“My mother once told me that diamonds were born of pressure, but I never understood what she meant until I met you.” (Evie to Jack, p. 180)

More to comes soon…

P.S. Song today? Into Dust by Mazzy Star.

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Wilting in an Ashen Wonderland (Fever – A Book Review)

Fever (The Chemical Gardens Trilogy #2)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: 2012


My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt


Escaping the mansion was just the beginning.

Getting as far as their legs can take them, Rhine and Gabriel are finally free. More dangers lurk as they make their way to Manhattan, Rhine’s home, to find her brother. With Gabriel at her side, she’s more determined than ever. It’s never felt so close. She has to be strong, both for herself and everyone else.

With Gatherers close to recapturing her and other people willing to sell her to the highest bidder, she has to do things she never though she was capable of. But when she’s struck with an ill fever, she has to rely on others to help take care of her and soon enough she isn’t sure she’ll live long enough to see her brother again or to see freedom.

The start of life is always brutal, isn’t it? We’re born fighting.


This book really kept up well with its predecessor: Wither. The story expanded into something even more horrifyingly beautiful. DeStefano is still using that talent she has with description to pull me in. She brings so much realism with its phenomenal detail to her characters surroundings and how she incorporates the five senses.

While on the run, something much more sinister than the virus is digging into Rhine’s bones. She doesn’t like to be weak, but can’t stop this illness that has her breaking out into a fever. Gabriel, at her side, helps her as best as he can, but wonders if they should just return to the mansion so she can receive the top medical care in the country. Rhine refuses, though secretly she shares the same thought. How can she find her twin brother in this state? Somehow. She’s giving everything she’s got.


Finally, we are out of the mansion and into the ashy world. Rhine and Gabriel end up in a lot of new places as they get farther and farther away, but the places that are focused on the most is a carnival where Rhine and Gabriel are forced into yet another form of slavery and an orphanage that becomes a kind of home. Each place is a wonder, but they’re also trapping prisons just like the mansion. I was so taken with the facade of lights and splendor in the carnival and the orphanage really showed just how hard the world is outside of wealth. It’s dark and dismal and much like a graveyard. Very reminiscent of Silent Hill in my opinion; all ashy. Each new place shows how disconnected from the wealth that Rhine had been kidnapped into and Gabriel had become accustomed to.Fever

There was so much growth for Rhine and Gabriel. Rhine really pushed her limits to new places. Even when she broke down with an indescribable illness she strives to figure out how to help her friends and worries about them, that she’s possibly destroyed their lives in the process of trying to save herself. She is no pampered princess. Meanwhile, Gabriel, who escaped the mansion with her, has totally stepped up! I’m so surprised. He still so sweet and his faith in her is never faltering, but there were moments when he threw a damn good punch. As Rhine is protective of him so is he over her. More so, if you recall me making a curious wonder about love being introduced, I was right. It’s so gradual and subtle, which I really REALLY love. These two are making me melt.


Other characters? Not so much. Linden and Cecily do make their return which made me squirm in my seat, but so does Vaughn. Then there’s the slimy Madame who sells her girls for whatever she can get. A real high class woman there. Not. There are no shortage of villains. There’s also no shortage of heroes for Rhine and Gabriel. There are a few people who help them on their journey and it renews that hope for Rhine that not everyone is an evil Judge Doom (Watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit if you haven’t. Judge Doom is super fucking creepy.).

Still on this ride from Rhine’s up close and personal POV, this book took me much further into Rhine’s head and everything she reflected back on in order to make future decisions. Seeing the gears twist and grind in her head was really heavy. This was beyond simple survival. Even more was when she hallucinated and dreamed while ill. It was horrifying and I felt so much for her. She is one strong cookie.


With all of that in mind, would I recommend this book? Yes. It’s horrifyingly haunting and an utter fantasy of a dark world with only a single twinkle of hope that lies within on sixteen year old girl. I was immersed more and more as I read. And I will say that there are plot twists and cliffhangers. They will whip you good.



“Ah, love. That’s what the world has lost. There’s no more love, only the illusion of it.” (Madame to Rhine, p.15)

“There are so many of us, so many girls. The world wants us for our wombs or our bodies, or it doesn’t want us at all.” (Rhine, p. 39)

“What does it feel like to know exactly when you’ll die?” (Greg to Rhine, p. 163)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? On Your Side by Thriving Ivory.


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Forever Until There’s Nothing Left (Wither – A Book Review)

Wither (Book #1 of The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: 2011


My Rating:Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt



What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Because of a deadly virus, women die at the young age of twenty and men at twenty-five. It’s not unheard of that girls are kidnapped right off the sidewalk by Gatherers to be sold and married off to wealthy men, but Rhine never expected it to happen to her. Then suddenly she and two other girls are married off to the rich Governor Linden Ashby and she’s brought into a life of lavish and exquisite slavery. She can have anything she desires, but Rhine is determined to escape by any means necessary so she can get back to her twin brother, Rowan.

“This is my story. These things are my past, and I will not allow them to be washed away, I will find a way to have them back.” (Rhine, p. 22)


This book marks 3 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. This was Lauren DeStefano’s debut novel I was instantly drawn in because of how dark and twisted the world she created is.


Rhine Ellery’s life of survival turns into one of privilege and wealth overnight. She doesn’t want to be in this beautiful mansion and she certainly doesn’t want to be getting married, not at sixteen and not when she’s only got four years before the deadly virus takes her. She wants to be with her brother, Rowan. Now, she’s locked up like a princess in a tower. To get free she’ll have to act like she cares for her husband, Linden, though he genuinely loves her. One of the attendants, Gabriel, helps her with her goal and as she grows closer to them and her sister wives, she starts wondering what’s an act and what’s not. Can she escape? Is she sure she truly wants to?


Holy shit. This book was pretty good. This is a story’s structure is ruled mostly by its imagery and let me tell you, it was powerful. Everything from the buttons on someone’s shirt to bubbles in the bath to what Rhine eats for lunch is so vivid and colorful. DeStefano really sucked me into this world with all of this up close imagery. I was disturbed and horrified as I read further because this rich world became dark and twisted right quick. A place that nobody is safe in. The plot just thickens and thickens each time Rhine discovers a secret. My stomach just kept churning because of the development of the story. It wasn’t terrible! Not at all! But, a lot of what went on in this mansion was pretty messed up. There was no real love in it. This is a story of sheer survival. Later on down the road could there be feelings? Totally possible.

Rhine is such a strong and smart character. Nothing breaks her stride. While she wants to protect those she cares about, she also stands up for what she believes in and never allows herself to get close people if she can help it. I was actually very surprised with the male characters. Both Gabriel and Linden. They were the damsels; both of them were brought up with silver spoons in their mouths, believing this rich life was okay and never knowing what was underneath.  It was strange because I’ve never come across something like this. And when I say damsel, I mean damsel. They were weak minded, though had strong, kind, and loving hearts. The villain of this book was so creepy! He was nice; the kind of nice you can see right through like saran wrap and see the smart, cunning man who is capable of doing anything without remorse. It was deeply unsettling. All in all, I was greatly surprised by all of the dynamics of the characters. This is certainly a bunch I’ve never seen before. It really made this a fun read.

I have to say, the story being told from Rhine’s POV does get repetitive, but in this case there is the exception. Yes! One does exist. It isn’t DeStefano, it’s Rhine that’s repetitive. She’s clinging on to her life, reminding herself of who she is so that she doesn’t forget. She pushes herself harder because of all she’s lost. It didn’t drive away from this book, but made me even more impressed with Rhine and how strong she is. She doesn’t give up. And the pressure she is under from everything around her and inside of her increases the further the book goes. You really don’t realize the value of the small or large things until your life is put on a time limit. Then every little bit matters. You have to make it last for all it’s worth. This was a primary thought of mine as I read. She holds onto everything.


I must give praise to the cover art of this book as well. I usually don’t gush over cover art, but I can’t help it. The artwork really blends well with the story with its elegant and eerie touch to beauty. It’s quite haunting and give glimpse of what this world that Rhine’s been pulled into looks like. The geometric lines and magnified/cleared imaging over the wild and steampunk elegance reminded me of the periodic table ; element squares connecting to others. And the title itself is so subtle in reference to not only what the virus does, but what this forced life of luxury does.


This is a great book. Very different and totally unique. I usually don’t go with the elegant frilly kind of story, but this was seriously dark. I was completely enthralled with this biological, futuristic novel. It’s worth a read.



“I do not want to stand out. I do not want to stand out.” (Rhine, p.3)

 “I’ll tell you something about true love. There’s no science to it. It’s natural as the sky.” (Dad to Rhine and Rowan, p. 119)

“Make that boy happy and he’ll give you the world on a string.” (Vaughn to Rhine, p. 228)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? Thnks Fr Th Mmrs by Fall Out Boy.


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If The Earth Wills It (The 100: Rebellion – A Book Review)

The 100: Rebellion (The 100 #4)
Author: Kass Morgan
Published: 2016

The 100 rebellion

My Rating: Full boltFull boltHalf bolt

There’s no such thing as peace on Earth.

Things are finally beginning to look up for everybody. After all of the hardships from environmental adjustments to other survivors of the planet’s aftermath of the cataclysm things are coming together. Now, those once deemed delinquents only sent to Earth as guinea pigs are leaders of their community. The last of the dropships have come down to Earth and they’re all getting ready to celebrate in light of reunions and togetherness with neighboring villages.

Then suddenly, the celebration is brought to an end before it begin when cultists that worship the planet attack the colonists, steal their supplies and even kidnap some of the colonists. Clarke, along with Bellamy and others set out to rescue their friends. Those captured can do nothing, but go along with these people while trying to reason with them or they may end up dead.

Their rescuers have to get to them as many lives hang in the balance. More than that, they will need to do whatever it takes to call this dangerous planet home.

The 100

Yes, I know. This is book 4 of the series, which if you read my previous review—The 100: Day 21—you know I’ve skipped a book. I’ve skipped two, actually; 1 & 3. No shame. Sometimes it just happens. Though, I do have to say, this one just like the previous, didn’t hit out of the park for me. And no, it’s not because they were out of order. Kass Morgan still does a wonderful job in keeping me informed about what’s been happening. I really love a good recap because I get nostalgic every once in a while and like to relive memories of what’s happened in the past. It really shows how far the journey has come for these characters you’ve been with since the beginning, or in case you’re starting in a random place, you get curious and go back to the beginning.

There were a few characters introduced in this addition to the series. Max, a leader of the villagers that are celebrating with the colonists. Anna, who turns out to be from one to the dropships that got lost. And lastly, Soren, the big bad leader of the cult that’s out to do Earth’s will (which is super creepy.). There were plenty of other characters, but they weren’t memorable enough for me to remember them and that really sucked. There were several times that I reminded about who our main characters were, but at this point I’m skimming past it because I’ve been told the same thing already. I just wish I’d been shown more through their actions instead.

the 100

On a side note: Octavia’s character could’ve been so much more. In the midst of being one of the ones kidnapped and trying to find a way out of this cult hell, she meets Anna. The chemistry was instant and I was amped up!  But. Yup, there’s a but. The representation of LGBT with her incredibly irked and pissed me off. It’s not because she didn’t represent it correctly in some way that it felt fake. Love is love, but it moved so damn fast and was barely acknowledged ergo representation fell flat. There was nothing aside from a glance or even romance. It’s literally Girl meets Girl –> Girl and Girl automatically dating. You blink and you miss it. There was no in-between, no discovery, no depth, making it feel utterly random, like okay, let’s just add this in for the hell of it because we need a gay character. *queue my frowny face* Now, when the circumstances are you being held hostage by a cult, I get it, but there wasn’t much to go on. I wanted to know so much more about them. This was a big moment for Octavia. I was all gushy at this prospect but got upset because it was a big poof. Maybe it was just me that felt this way…

There was still a lacking in intensity, not as much as in the previous one I read, but still. I couldn’t get attached. Each character just felt flat. Aside from how they moved forward, they didn’t move upward. There was no true growth. They were still acting like petulant children and on a planet that could eat them alive. It really bugged me! They landed on the ground before everyone else and that does put them in a better spot for leadership, but they don’t act like leaders. They still bicker and bitch and blah! I know that they’re still teenagers, but still. There’s that level of maturity and intuition you get when your life is threatened on a constant basis. They didn’t have it.

I will say that there were a few surprises at a few corners. That was quite pleasant. They didn’t toss me around and spin me, but they did catch me off guard. I’ve got appreciation for them. It was a definite upgrade from Day 21 in that area.

Shattered Memories

The tone of the characters are still relatively the same. Bland. There so much lack ing in detail. Everything felt plain. This whole world they’re in is still so brand new and it’s like the place is just shrug worthy. There’s a lack of awe. It leaves me really friggin’ confused.

Unbreakable huh

Like I said, this book didn’t do much for me. There wasn’t enough distress to make me feel like these people were in any real danger. You know that feeling you get when some serious stuff is about to happen and your heart pounds, you may even sweat a little, wondering and worrying whether your characters will make it? Its predictability made me lose any excitement I had.

Also, this could all be just because I’m picky. It hits me sometimes. Some people have really enjoyed this series. It’s one of those ones on the fence. Either you really enjoy it or you don’t. I fell on the side of those who don’t.


“You’re young. Strong. If the Earth wills it, you’ll be just fine.” (Protector to Wells, p. 46)

“Some people look at the world and see only what they can take from it. What they can can reap, steal, carry away.” (Soren to Glass, p. 141)

“After everything they’d been through, everything they’d survived, none of them were going down without a fight.” (Glass, p. 211)

More to come soon…


P.S. Song today? Suspension by Lights.

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