It Ends With Us- Review

It Ends with UsIt Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***possible spoiler ahead***
Excellent story, great writing, lots of heart. I’m not sure when I will read another one of Colleen’s books because it took so much of me emotionally to read this one. I loved that it’s written from a side of abuse no one seems to see. The victim is always thought of as weak when in fact it’s really not that simple. And the abuser is not always a monster. I hated that I fell in love with Ryle, and just like Lily I couldn’t get myself to hate him. Not completely. This ambivalent side of domestic abuse was masterfully dealt with by Colleen Hoover by placing the reader in a similar emotional position when it came to Ryle’s and Lily’s relationship. And thank you Ms. Hoover for giving me a happy ending. I would have been destroyed if that wasn’t the case.

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A Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics- A Review

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits, #1)The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three and a half star. First, I absolutely love the title. In fact that’s what first drew me in, but the actual story is so worth a read. I enjoyed the progression of Catherine’s and Lucy’s love for each other and also Catherine’s self-discovery journey out of a bad marriage to a relationship that freed her from all the shackles imposed on her by a controlling husband and a patriarchal society. The descriptions were beautiful and detailed even though they sort of interrupted the flow of the story for me at times. That surprise at the end made my day (you’ll have to read it to find out), some kind of karma. I was outraged right along with the two female main characters by the way Lucy and her work were treated by a society of men who were too afraid to admit women were their equals just as I loved the strong feminist tone of the whole story. For my reading taste it was a bit slow at times, thus the half star instead of a full four stars, but that’s just a personal preference, not a reflection on Ms. Waite’s work. Well done.

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Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic-Review

Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic (The Dowser #3)Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is so much fun. I already have the next one on cue. Love the cast of characters with their less than perfect and often hilarious relationships and the emotional turmoil that Jade carries inside of her over her evil sister who she still loves. I loved pretty much everything about this book but I must say that the addition of the teenage dragon just cracked me up. Great book.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin- Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How come there aren’t more than five stars to rate a book???? I don’t have words to express how much I loved this book. Anyone who makes me cry and cuss out the author in my car while parked before going to work is an extraordinary writer. And Sarah Maas did just that. I was so brokenhearted that morning after reading one of the last and most emotional chapters, that I was in a bad mood all day. Love, love, love. Enough said.

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Rebel Jewel- New Release

Author: Natalina Reis
Title: Rebel Jewel
Series: The Jewel Chronicles, book 3
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: August 31, 2019
Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art
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Available now!
Milenda never wanted the responsibilities that came from being a royal heiress. After three years in exile, she’s called back home to ignite a revolution. A revolution that will spill innocent blood and endanger her husband and baby daughter.
After a lifetime in captivity, Jaali only wants a quiet life with his wife and daughter. But the gods have other plans, ones that promise a wave of destruction. To rescue their people from the Elders and free the enslaved, Milenda and Jaali must put aside their fears, summon all their courage and wits, and march head-on into a bloody revolution.
Even if their love for each other carries them, unscathed and victorious, to the end, the revolution may yet destroy the lives of the ones they hold dearest.
Rebel Jewel is the third and final book in The Jewel Chronicles. A unique interracial romance set against a breathtaking fantasy world with complex characters and twists at every turn. Let Rebel Jewel take you to another world.
 

Amazon US:  https://amzn.to/2zbsZZJ 

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The Jewel Chronicles Series
book 1
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book 2

Author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, and Loved You Always, Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.

After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.

Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.

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Excerpt

The smell of blood suffocated him. There was no running from it. It surrounded him, tightening its nauseating grip on Jaali’s senses, clinging to his nostrils, not letting him go.
Where is Milenda? Jaali scanned the area around him, his glance bouncing off objects and undefined shapes, straining through the red fog closing in on him. Even the mist was tinted with blood, snaking over the wet ground, the exhale of a hidden monster. Milenda was nowhere to be seen. His heart pumped harder, the drumming echoing in his ears, deafening and frantic.
He tried to move, but invisible hands held him steadfast, feet rooted to the dirt-covered ground, unseen shackles around his ankles, breaking through skin and digging into his flesh.
No, not again.
With all the strength he had left, Jaali pulled and pushed against whatever held him in place, the sting of wounded flesh shooting up his legs, a feeling all too familiar to him. He was enslaved again. He thrashed harder, blood now running down to his bare feet, warm and frightening.
A shadow emerged from the fog. Milenda! But, no, it couldn’t be. Its frame was too tall and broad. Jaali opened his mouth to yell for help, but the word never left his lips. Panic rose inside of him, insidious and overwhelming. Why had they returned to Afrika? He had warned his wife it was too dangerous. Too many people wanted them dead.
The shadowy figure took shape as it approached him—brown legs the size of tree trunks and long arms to match.
No, no, no.
The sight of an impressive bald head choked him. It couldn’t be. The duivel was dead. And yet, there he was, striding toward him like an out-of-control transport. Jaali yelled out, his voice freed from whatever was muting it, and pulled harder on the invisible chains holding his ankles. To no avail. The shackles held steady as if glued to the ground.
The slaver proceeded toward him, a cruel smirk curling the corners of his lips. “I’ve got you now, my beautiful boy. You can’t run this time.” Mnyama threw his massive weight into his stride, coming closer and closer to Jaali. “It’s been too long. Ready to give me some of that milky goodness?”
“You’re dead,” Jaali screamed, his voice absorbed by the thick fog. “It’s not possible.”
The large man took a few more steps, a growl-like chuckle leaving his lips. “Well, I’m not. And I missed you, little white boy. My friends missed you too.”
From the thickest part of the fog, where the blood seemed to have coagulated into disgusting blobs, a few more shadows appeared, coalescing into several human bodies, both male and female—all unwelcome echoes of his past. The slaver had brought his cronies.
“No, you’re dead.” Jaali’s voice came out as a sob, a heart-wrenching plea to whatever gods were listening. “I killed you.”
The group of human shadows united in their progress toward him. “It’s about time we have ourselves a good orgy.” Mnyama glanced at his friends. “Any preference about who does the boy first?”
He couldn’t be sure the ear-splitting scream he heard came from himself. Jaali closed his eyes tight and, like a mantra, repeated the words, “It’s not possible. You’re dead, duivel. This is only a nightmare.”
“Well, you should have stayed in Isvärld,” a familiar female voice said. “You wouldn’t be going through this again.”
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White Hot Kiss – Review

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read one of Armentrout’s books for a long time and I finally got to it. I’m so glad I did. What a great story. It has everything I love in fiction: drama, humor, fantasy, and romance. I am truly sorry for Layla and I have no idea how she is going to decide between the two swoon-worthy men in her life (because it’s not hard enough being a half-demon, right?), bad-boy Roth or wholesomely hot Zayne. But I already ordered the second book. With books this good is it any wonder that there are so many of us, mature women, reading and loving YA? Thank you, Ms. Armentrout for a great read.

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A Court Of Mist And Fury-Review

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maas ripped my heart apart before she put it back together only to tear it to pieces again. This book is a wild, heart-wrenching ride that often left me breathless. There are no words to describe it. It is pure intense heartbreaking and soul satisfying magic. Don’t miss it.

Note: Not for young adults. I wouldn’t let a teenager younger than 18 read this.

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Austen—A Romance Trope Creator?

Austen—A Romance Trope Creator?

Jane Austen

The other day I was looking for one of my favorite TV adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma (the one where Mr. Knightley is played by Johnny Lee Miller) on Netflix (don’t bother; it’s not available there) and it got me thinking about how Austen basically created some of the most popular romance tropes to this day. Nothing new, I know, but I had never thought about it that way before.

Of course, not everyone is a fan or has read Austen’s books but I love them. She was ahead of her time, writing strong, willful women who fought for (and won) what they wanted and loved. It’s no wonder her popularity has survived for so long.

But less thought of when discussing Austen and her books is the fact that she was the “inventor” of at least three of the most popular tropes in romance literature today. The romance style is largely reviled by the “serious” readers today as crap or smut, but Austen is here to remind us that romance can be, and often is, a weapon against society’s prejudices and preconceived ideas about women (among other things). Not to mention the fact that romance can be well written and worth of as much praise and attention as any other genre of literature.

romance book

Pride and Prejudice, arguably the most famous of her works, is an enemies to lovers romance. Elizabeth Bennet begins as hating and being disliked by the handsome but brooding and often obnoxious Darcy. We all know how that ended.

In Persuasion (possibly my personal favorite) Anne Elliot unwisely shuns Captain Wentworth despite her love for him, but eventually gets her second chance with him. A second chance romance.

Emma is clearly a friends to lovers romance. Emma has a best friend in Mr. Knightley and despite her attempts at matching every single woman in town with the perfect bachelor, totally misses the fact that the one she loves has always been right in front of her.

Mansfield Park is both an example of forbidden romance and love triangle with poor young woman Fanny who is loved by one man but in love with her cousin who is promised in marriage to another woman. In fact, this is also a friends to lovers romance since Fanny was best friends with her cousin with whom she grew up.

Nowadays these tropes are still being written with varying degrees of success. I am personally partial to the friends-to-lovers and second chances tropes and have written a couple books along those lines. Which kind of proves that a good love story never goes out of style if Jane Austen’s vast popularity even today is anything to go by.

Do you read romance? Do you have a favorite trope? I’d love to hear from you.

Love potion

Books Sale and Giveaway

 

GIVEAWAY

NATALINA REIS - GIVEAWAY

In celebration of sales of two of my books, my publisher is running a rafflecopter for your chance at winning $100 Amazon GC. Whoever wins has to share it with me. Just kidding 😉

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LAVENDER FIELDS

Natalina Reis Author’s incredible M/M paranormal romance opens up the world of angels in a whole new light.

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Sky Heavensent may be able to fly and guide the souls of the recently departed to the gates of Heaven, but he’s just as flawed as you or me. He loves with his whole being and doesn’t hesitate to break rules to defend the man he loves. And he’s fully prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if that’s what it takes to save his love, Caleb.

With Lavender Fields’s mix of fantasy, humor, and drama, it’d take a miracle not to fall in love with Sky and Caleb’s sweet and spicy romance.

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The Wicked King-Review

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)The Wicked King by Holly Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a book. I’m a little weird about reading books that are very popular because I have been disappointed before, but boy, am I glad I picked up The Cruel Prince because it led me to the even more fantastic The Wicked King. Holly Black is a true black belt of the writing craft. Jude and Cardan will live in my memory for a very long time. They are perfectly imperfect and their relationship, with all its twists and turns, both shocks and entrances. I found myself going from an “aww” to a “What? What the hell just happened?” sometimes on the same page. The world Black created, however fictional and the stuff of dreams and nightmares, feels familiar and organic as Black’s mastery comes through in the way she describes it in much detail without ever breaking the flow of the plot.
It’s going to be hard to top this one but I have all faith that Holly Black will be more than up for the challenge. Now, what can I read while waiting for November’s release of Queen of Nothing?

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