Book Review: The Nutcracker Curse!

My God, I SUCK at posting and keeping up with everyone’s posts! My main problem is this horrendous fatigue that doesn’t seem to improve with sleep/rest. Oh, and having to participate in other soul-sucking activities such as going to work, etc. Well, eventually I’ll be caught up on everything, so that’s all the bitching I’ll do. I can only do what I can do! 😉 Anyways…

Before finishing up The Ardere Series that I have been reading and reviewing, author Margo Ryerkerk wrote and released a fun little series called The Cursed Fairy Tale series! She wrote three books, each one based off of a fairy tale that she put her own twist on. Each book kind of tied into one another, which I thought was nice. Though I am not big on fairy tales and am for the most part largely unfamiliar with the stories/plots, I was willing to give them a try! I reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Nutcracker Curse, back in December. Here’s the blurb for the book:

12 days.

4 realms.

Break the curse.

Or turn into a nutcracker.

Princess Clara thought she knew the main threat to her freedom.

She was wrong.

At seventeen years old, Clara isn’t ready to marry, and yet that’s what she must do as the crown princess of Austria.

However, getting to know the foreign princes visiting her kingdom becomes the least of Clara’s worries when she picks up a bespelled nutcracker and unleashes a deadly curse. She has twelve days to find and feed the nutcracker the magical nut Crackatook. If she fails, her soul will be trapped inside the toy for all eternity and her body will turn to wood.

Instead of relying on her suitors or the king’s men to find the cure, Clara saddles her unicorn and sneaks out of the palace. Her childhood friend Philip notices her leaving and makes her choose between returning to the castle or allowing him to come along.

Reluctantly, Clara agrees to him joining her, and soon, they are off to lands filled with mythical creatures.

Will they survive all trials and find the Crackatook in time? Or will Clara’s soul become trapped in the nutcracker and her body turn to wood?

Filled with adventure, love, magic, and a strong heroine, this clean YA Fairy Tale is the perfect festive read!

The Nutcracker Curse is the first book in the Cursed Fairy Tales series. Each book can be read as a standalone. However, for greatest enjoyment, the novels should be read in order.

If you like K.M Shea, Melanie Cellier, and Kiera Cass, you’ll love this!

And the gorgeous cover:

42857937

Here’s what I wrote about the book on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

Let me preface this review by saying this: I am not really a fan of fairy tales. I don’t even know anything about the Nutcracker fairy tale that this book is based off of. Despite this, I wanted to read this book because I am a huge fan of Margo Ryerkerk’s other books! 🙂

This book switches between the points of view of two characters, Griselda and Clara. They are stepsisters who have been separated from each other for 10 years because Griselda has been imprisoned. Naturally, Griselda can’t stand Clara and wants to seek revenge on her, so she decides to release the Nutcracker Curse on Clara.

Meanwhile, Clara is a princess, and she’s not exactly thrilled with being one. She is restless and wants to do her own thing, but her father wants her to get married and become prepared to be a ruler someday.

When the curse is released on Clara, she is told she has 12 days to break the curse. If she fails, her body will turn into a wooden figurine, and her soul will become trapped inside the nutcracker forever. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?! Anyway, the only way to break the curse is to find a magical nut called the Crackatook and feed it to the nutcracker. Instead of sitting idly by, Princess Clara decides to take her life into her own hands and find the Crackatook herself.

She goes through a lot of trouble to do so! I won’t give any spoilers away, but she encounters many trials to get to the Mouse King, who is guarding the Crackatook in the Inverse Kingdom. The Mouse King is… terrible, to say the least.

I really did enjoy this book, despite being unfamiliar with the original tale. The book ended in such a way that there is an opening for a sequel, so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I rated The Nutcracker Curse 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Mr. Ugly!

Back in November, I received a message from a cool dude on Goodreads named Wol-vriey. He asked if I wanted to review one of his newest books, Mr. Ugly! I’m always willing to help authors out, so I agreed! The synopsis for Mr. Ugly is as follows:

SHE RETURNED FROM HER CELL TO GIVE THEM HELL!

When a rotting corpse suddenly appears and starts butchering Raynham’s youths, there’s really only one question that needs answering:

Is this faceless and rotting monster Peter Howard, or isn’t it?

Problem is, Peter Howard died 15 years ago. So how can he possibly be back from the dead and murdering people with such relentless and sadistic brutality?

Peter’s mother Malicia, who’s just been released from the lunatic asylum, may have the answers to the crazy puzzle, but the two detectives investigating the deaths don’t even know the right questions to ask her yet.

Mr. Ugly: It really doesn’t matter if you lock your doors; you simply aren’t safe anymore.

And here’s the cover:

42643592

Ain’t he cute? 😉 This seemed like just the type of book I’d be interested in, so I couldn’t wait to read it! Here’s what I wrote about it on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Based on the cover of this book, I figured Mr. Ugly was some type of zombie… but he was so much more than that! I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I’ll try to hit some of the main points of the book.

The first character we meet is Malicia, who was recently released from a psychiatric institution. She definitely is not crazy though…. no, she is powerful, cunning, and very vindictive. Malicia is hellbent on making the people in the town of Raynham pay for their sins. Upon returning home from the institution, she unleashes something very powerful and very deadly.

Gruesome killings begin in the town (and I do mean GRUESOME!). The killings are done by a zombie-like creature dubbed Mr. Ugly because he is so fucked up looking, he barely resembles a man. Soon, it is revealed that Mr. Ugly is actually Malicia’s dead son Peter, resurrected to wreak havoc.

I admit, when it was revealed how Peter died and why Malicia is so upset, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her character. It’s amazing how far she goes off the deep end! I became really invested in the story and I’ll admit, I was kind of bummed when it was all over!

This book had several moments that made me laugh despite its brutality. Wol-vriey has a way of providing vivid descriptors that really place you into the story. Maybe I’m a little bit twisted, but one of my favorite lines in the whole book is “Like a punted football, a man’s severed head was rolling toward them from the main entrance.”

This was a brutal, gory novel that was so much fun to read! Wol-vriey does not hold back from describing even the most awful scenario. He definitely has a talent for the macabre. Great book!!

As you can see, I loved this book. It was unique, grotesque, and had some really fucked up moments in it. I gave Mr. Ugly 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Rising of Three by Ashley McCleo!

Rising of Three is the final book in The Starseed Trilogy by Ashley McCleo. I posted my review of it on Goodreads back in September, but I’m re-posting it on my blog so I can give the series some extra exposure!

Here’s the blurb from Rising of Three:

Mysterious claimings, kidnappings, and disasters are occurring the world over. Sara McKay knows that can only mean one thing–the fata, magical beings from the planet Hecate intent on ruling Earth, are growing stronger.

With the help of their pneumas, benevolent fata souls residing inside Sara and her sisters Lily and Evelyn, the McKay witches of Ireland prepare for war.

However, with Sara no longer playing peacekeeper between Lily and Evelyn, strong insecurities stemming from Sara’s past make a reappearance in her life. Once the most powerful triplet, she struggles to master the lifesaving skills the pneumas introduce and fully integrate with the supernatural soldiers flocking to Fern Cottage.

Will Sara’s instability help Noro and King Dimia drive a wedge between the triplets the fata forces can exploit? Or will Sara’s issues be just the thing the Triplet Army needs to win an otherworldly war?

And the beautiful cover:

40382565

Here’s what I said in my review on Goodreads:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 🙂

The final book in the Starseed Trilogy did not disappoint! In Rising of Three, Lily, Evelyn, Sara and the rest of their family and friends embarked on the final leg of their journey to defeat Noro and save the Earth from the fata. The sisters have come into their own as far as magic is concerned, and they train hard to be ready for the battle. Because they are starseeds (that is, they have a pneuma living inside them from another time and planet), the fate of the world rests on their shoulders. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I won’t say much more about the pneumas. They are very… weird but interesting!

Rising of Three is told from multiple viewpoints, though we get an extra look inside Sara’s mind this time around. I have to say, I actually did not enjoy her segments very much. She was, for the most part, a complete downer and also a martyr. More than once she either put herself in danger or did things at questionable times because she felt like she needed to. I felt more annoyed by her than anything.

Regardless, I love the way the triplets band together and always have each others’ back, especially considering they did not grow up together. This made me happy because they are three completely different people, but they stick together because they are family.

The final battle was pretty long and intense, and there were a couple deaths that really bothered me. The aftermath of the battle is pretty unique, but again, I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say that the way traitors are dealt with is extremely satisfying!

I’m sad that this book marks the end of the Starseed Trilogy. I really enjoyed this series and can’t wait to see what Ashley McLeo comes up with next!

I gave Rising of Three 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Siren Falling by Ashley McCleo!

Hope all of my U.S. friends had a Happy Thanksgiving! Though I am goth all year round, I do love the holiday season 😉 My husband and I have been decorating our house for Christmas, and it just puts me in a cheery, happy mood! I do have a little goth tree in my bedroom, though! Anyway, on to the review!

I’ve already posted my review for the first two books in the Starseed Trilogy by Ashley McCleo, an author who so graciously shares her books with me and allows me to read and review them! Before I post the review for the final book in the trilogy, I’m going to post a review for a novella written about one of the side characters in the book, Selma. Here is the blurb:

Our stories aren’t always ones we’re proud of, but they’re still our stories.

Selma de Avila, a gorgeous siren cursed with a quick temper is finally realizing a life-long dream. Despite her mama’s beliefs that sirens are particularly susceptible to the vices of city life, Selma is determined to leave her sleepy Spanish island for New York City–the city she believes holds her destiny.

Once in The Big Apple, Selma quickly ingrains herself into high society, all the while trying to find love, conceive of a career, and live the life she’s always dreamed of.
But everything goes awry, including her tight control over her magic, when Selma runs into billionaire Andrew Van de Berg at the Faerie Fall Ball and sparks fly.

The problem? He’s married.

Despite knowing Andrew is off limits, Selma can’t seem to avoid him. Every encounter with the playboy billionaire riles up her powerful magic and manipulates her body and mind. Within days of meeting Andrew, she’s siphoning magic all around New York, enchanting total strangers, and altering the courses of lives, to appear steady and in control of her own life.

Will Selma be able to put an end to Andrew’s persistent attentions and regain mastery of her magic? Will she ever discover what truly called her to New York? Or will her magic take over, toppling Selma into siren madness and pulling the men of NYC behind her?

And the cover (pretty, but I don’t like it as much as the other ones! I think Selma would be much more beautiful without all the henna and the headdress that is covering half of her face):

36896793

Here’s what I wrote for my review on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

Siren Falling provides us with a little backstory for Selma, who in the Starseed Trilogy is a warm, vivacious character that you just want to hug and be friends with. This version of Selma? Not so much. This is who Selma was before the triplets knew her, and she’s not exactly a pleasant character to read about. I knew she was going to be trouble from the first line in the book: “Selma gazed upon the pristine beach, imagining skyscrapers and thousands of people striding down wide sidewalks in place of turquoise waters and palm trees.” Seriously?! You want to give up easy, coastal living for a crowded city?

Well yes, yes she does, because poor little Selma is bored and wants to be off on her own. From the get go, she manipulates people to get what she wants and tries to justify her actions. THEN she gets busy seducing all the men around because, you know, she’s a Siren, and she needs to do that!

I realize that she put many men under her spell, but I rolled my eyes every time a man called her/ gifted her with something lavish/ left their wives for her. How could Selma not see that she has a problem here?!

Even when shit goes down with her friends (I won’t go into details so there are no spoilers) I literally do not feel sorry for her. I feel like she’s getting exactly what she deserves. Eventually, Selma calms down and realizes she is totally out of control, and she leaves city life behind her in exchange for a more quiet life with a commune of women. No men allowed!

Even though I found Selma quite reprehensible for a lot of the book, I have to applaud Ashley McLeo’s writing skills! I was totally invested in the story and wanted to keep reading. I would absolutely be interested in more novellas featuring different characters, because the Starseed universe is full of quite the cast of characters!

I gave Siren Falling 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Souls of Three by Ashley McCleo!

A couple of months ago, I wrote a review for the first book in the Starseed Trilogy, Prophecy of Three. All my reviews for the Starseed Trilogy are up on Goodreads, but I wanted to get them all posted on my blog to give the awesome author, Ashley McCleo, some extra exposure! Anyway, the second book in the series is Souls of Three. Here’s the blurb for it:

Evelyn Locksley, water witch, siren, and heiress is back home in New York City. She’s having a blast, running the boardroom like a boss and frequenting hot clubs for some scandalous siren practice.

That is until Evelyn is taken hostage by fata cronies, the Acolytes of Hecate. Locked in a magically warded basement Evelyn witnesses the Acolyte’s strength and begins to doubt that anyone on Earth stands a chance against the fata.

***

Lily Whiplark is still reeling over the loss of her beloved family member, at the hands of the Acolytes. After hearing of Evelyn’s flamboyant and selfish behavior in New York when she’s supposed to be in Ireland training for a supernatural war, Lily’s grief morphs into fury that not even triplet peacekeeper, Sara, can quell.

When Lily learns of Evelyn’s abduction will she be able to put their vast differences aside to save her sister?

***

Will the sisters be able to overcome their rocky past to band together against the fata and Acolytes of Hecate?

And the gorgeous cover:

35991193

Here’s what I wrote for my review on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review! 🙂

I couldn’t wait to read Souls of Three, the second novel in The Starseed Trilogy! The characters are so well crafted and fun. This book continues shortly after the point where Prophecy of Three ended. The triplets (Lily, Evelyn, and Sara) are somewhat split up since both Lily and Evelyn wanted to go back to their respective families before continuing their magical training with their birth family.

In the beginning of this book, Evelyn really annoyed me. She seemed as self- centered as ever, though I was surprised to see how much she actually cared about her family’s business. Without giving away any spoilers, A LOT happens to her in this book, and I was pretty sympathetic toward her character in the end.

Lily also has her own problems she is working through in this book, and I felt like she was a bit bratty and self- centered as well at times. The neat thing about Lily is that she realizes she is acting this way, and grows as a person throughout the book. It’s great to see a character who is actively working on making herself a better person.

In this book, we learn that the universe is perhaps in greater danger than everyone first thought because of the fata. The triplets quickly become more comfortable with their powers- though I feel for them, because the weight of the world seems to rest squarely on their shoulders.

Anyway, this book was so entertaining, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one! 🙂

I gave Souls of Three a rating of 5/5 stars. Soon, I’ll post a review of the final book in the series, as well as a novella. Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Prophecy of Three by Ashley McLeo!

Sorry in advance to those of you who don’t care for book reviews, since I’m doing two of them back to back! A few months ago I started receiving ARC copies from another talented writer named Ashley McLeo, who is currently writing the awesome Starseed Trilogy! So far, I’ve read two of the books and one novella, and they have all been amazing! All my reviews are posted to Goodreads, but I’ll post them again here as a courtesy just in case anyone is interested! Again, I’m not trying to go into a deep analysis here… I just want to give a brief overview of the book and what I thought of it! 🙂

The blurb from Prophecy of Three is as follows:

It begins with a burning library, a frantic witch, and an enchanted prophecy. It ends with the birth of the three.
***
Lily Whiplark returned home from college expecting nothing more than an epic summer solstice party followed by months of blissful relaxation after her devastating breakup with her boyfriend Liam. Instead, she’s handed a ticket to Ireland to meet her birth family. In the rolling hills of Ireland, Lily’s life takes a thrilling turn when she discovers she’s one of three women fated to save humanity from an alien invasion. What’s more, the events of her birth are connected to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, historical witch hunts in Europe, and even the legendary rift between Adam and Eve. Despite the promise of danger, Lily agrees to train in the magical arts. But will it be enough? Will she be brave enough to learn all that is required to rectify Eve’s betrayal and save humanity from magical otherworldly forces intent on chaos?

The cover of the book (which is so beautiful!):

Image result for prophecy of three ashley mcleo

Prophecy of Three, the first book in The Starseed Trilogy, was quite entertaining! After a brief prologue, we are introduced to Lily, the main character. She has just returned home from college, and she is happy to see her unconventional family once again. (Lily was adopted and lives in a commune consisting mostly of women!) Shortly after arriving home, Lily is given the opportunity to travel to Ireland to meet her birth family. Despite her reservations, she ends up making the trip!

After arriving in Ireland, Lily’s world is turned upside down. First of all, she learns that she is a triplet. Her sisters, Evelyn and Sara, are there with her, and they are nothing alike at all. Second, she learns that she and her sisters are actually witches! Lastly, she learns that her birth family did not give her and her sisters up because they didn’t want them- they gave them up to protect them. This is all because of a prophecy written many years ago.

There were so many things I loved about this book! The characters are entertaining and engaging. I rolled my eyes at Evelyn for a little while, but she does have some redeeming qualities. Lily’s birth mother as well as her aunts are so interesting and seem like they would be some awesome ladies to have in your family! 🙂

One aspect I really enjoyed with this book is the fact that the story provides a different take on witches. Without going into too much detail, witches are apparently descendants of a race of beings called fata from the planet Hecate. I can’t wait to see how this knowledge plays out in later books!

Overall, I thought this was a fun, entertaining read, and I rate Prophecy of Three 5/5 stars!

Book Review: Spirit Snatcher by Margo Ryerkerk!

As I’ve done previously, I’m sharing this book review as a courtesy for Margo Ryerkerk, a really great author who so graciously gives me copies of her books in exchange for an honest review! I reviewed this book back in April on Goodreads, so sorry I’m just getting around to posting this now!

Spirit Snatcher is the third book in the Ardere series. Here’s the blurb for it:

She will venture into the enemy’s lair to save the ones she loves.

Sierra is trying to come to terms with the discovery of her family’s dark secrets and master the elements when the Culpatus begins to abduct Guardians from London’s streets.

To find out what the Culpatus has planned and where they’re taking the Guardians, Sierra has to team up with Gavin and confront the reality that her heart still longs for him, even though she’s dating Cooper.

The mission to rescue the Guardians will test Sierra, Gavin, and Cooper like nothing has ever before and take them deep into the lair of the Culpatus.

Will they manage to free their people, or will they end up prisoners themselves?

Filled with plot-twists, secrets, and romance, Spirit Snatcher will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more!

And of course, the gorgeous cover:

Image result for spirit snatcher by margo ryerkerk

Spirit Snatcher was another excellent entry in the Ardere series! The book was exciting and entertaining right from the beginning. In Spirit Snatcher, we see Sierra continue to become a warrior as she works hard to master the elements. She learns everything so quickly, which I find somewhat surprising considering a few short months ago, she had no idea she was a supernatural! Then again, maybe because she is a Fluidus, everything comes easier to her.

One thing that made me kind of cringe a little was Sierra having to “choose” between Cooper and Gavin. While Cooper seems like the sweeter choice, Gavin seems like her destiny. I can’t fault her for being a little confused- and after all, she is only 18.

By the time the final battle was taking place, I couldn’t put this book down. There is one character in particular that managed to get away, and she is a horrible person that I hope eventually gets what is coming to her! I also felt very sorry for the Umbra, because the fact that the Ardere generally look down on them as a lesser species is unwarranted.

I’d like to mention something else I’ve noticed in this book, as well as the other books in this series: the descriptive language used is so beautiful! For instance: when Sierra was getting dressed up, she had on “titian eye shadow.” Titian means bright, golden auburn (I will admit I had to look it up to see what it meant).

I rate Spirit Snatcher 5 out of 5! Since I’ve read and reviewed this book, I’ve also read and reviewed the 4th book in the series, so I’ll be posting that at some point as well!