Monday 7 October 2019

Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)
By Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Publishers: Hodder Books
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Source: For Review
Pages: 448
Goodreads: Add to TBR
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

The Review: Anyone who knows me knows that my love for reading first came from reading paranormal books.  Over the years, my reading tastes have changed and while I do now favour fantasy books over all others now, I’ve never forgotten about paranormal stories. It’s honestly been so long since I’ve read a good vampire story until I read The Beautiful which if I may say, may even be my favourite read of the year. 

Set in 1872, the story follows seventeen year old Celine Rousseau who moves to New Orleans after fleeing from her home in Paris following a terrifying encounter. It’s in New Orleans Celine wishes to start to a new life for herself where she can try and make a name for herself a dressmakers. But it’s not long after her arrival that Celine gets tangled up with the La Cour des Lions after catching the eye Sebastien Saint Germain, the leader of the group. La Cour des Lions is a dark and mysterious place that Celine cannot help become intrigued by. It’s there one night that a girl is murdered and all signs point to Sebastien, however New Orleans’s streets are full of terrible and dangerous creatures.

This book is phenomenal and so unputdownable. The world that Renee Ahdieh has created is captivating and enthralling. The plot was very original and although a little slow at times, I was still hooked and didn’t want to put it down. I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans and the author describes the city beautifully, it’s made me want to visit even more. I honestly felt like I was walking the streets while Mardi Gras was happening. 

The characters are unforgettable and very likeable. I love that Celine is such a strong character, one that definitely stays true to self and one that could be a role model. Bastien is mysterious and dark and really enjoyed getting to know the real him. The romance between Celine and Bastien is a slow burn but one full of tension which I absolutely loved. 

There are plenty of secondary characters for you to fall in love with as well. And while I’m still trying to figure some out, I cannot wait to see how the story goes for these characters. And the vampires are something else. It’s definitely unique and something I’m very intrigued to read more about. 

I honestly just want more of everything. This book was over way to quickly and I really wish I had taken my time with it because it was a fantastic read and one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. 

Thank you to Hodder Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

                                                                                    Rating: 5 Flowers - Amazing

Thursday 3 October 2019

Blog Tour: The Wrong of Side Kai by Estelle Maskame

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The Wrong Side of Kai
By Estelle Maskame 
Release Date: September 19th, 2019
Publishers: Ink Road
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Goodreads: Add to TBR
Vanessa Murphy doesn't do relationships.

With a father who doesn't notice her, it's easy for her to sneak around with her latest fling, Harrison Boyd. But when an explicit video of Vanessa hooking up with Harrison is leaked the morning after she ends things with him, her life is thrown into chaos.

And Vanessa wants payback. Enter Kai. With his own vendetta against Harrison, Kai proposes revenge, and the two pair up to ruin Harrison Boyd's life. At first, they are nothing more than an illicit partnership. Teammates working towards the same mission.

But – between late-night stakeouts and crime committing – Vanessa is drawn into Kai's life. And, as the two grow closer, she finds herself letting Kai into hers.

Extract from The Wrong Side of Kai

There’s a few minutes until first period, so everyone is milling around in the hallways, a constant buzz of voices as everyone talks about the killer weekend they just had. My guess is that Madison Romy’s party is the hot topic. Half the senior class was there, and those Westerville Central football players turning up and kicking off a brawl definitely makes for some serious gossip.

But I notice something is off. As I squeeze my way through bodies, I can feel it. The pressure of a thousand eyes on me. I keep my head down, trying my best to ignore it, pretending I’m imagining it.

But no, I’m seriously not.

I slow down, lifting my gaze to look around. Even so, it’s not immediately obvious. People are moving around, pushing past me, groups of friends leaning against lockers lost in their own conversations. But I still catch the quick glances. The subtle sniggers. The one group of junior guys that busts out into laughter as they all turn to look at me. What the hell?

I give myself a quick once over just in case I’ve been walking around with my bra on show or the zipper of my jeans open – at least that would explain Malone’s weird remark – but nope, nothing. Did news spread that Harrison and I are done? That he kicked me out of his truck and left me behind at Heritage Park? Sure, it’s gossip, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s not like we were actually dating, and I didn’t think people cared that much about Harrison and me.

I keep my head down and continue along the hallway to my locker. My heart is beating faster than usual as I fumble with my combination. I taped a mirror to the back of my locker door in freshman year, and it’s always been a lifesaver. I scan my appearance once more, but my hair is fine, my makeup is fine, my clothes are definitely fine, everything is fine. So why the hell is everyone looking at me so weird? And now that I think about it, why have I walked the entire length of this hallway without anyone talking to me?

“Looked like you had fun at Maddie’s party,” a deep voice says from behind.

I spin around so fast my elbow clunks against the metal lockers and I find myself face to face with Anthony. Noah is by his side, a few other guys from the team huddled in close behind them, pretty much trapping me against the lockers. It’s suffocating, but I’m not surprised. They’re Harrison’s friends. They’re going to taunt me the same way they did when I first cooled things down with Noah. That’s what guys do – it’s that dumb pack mentality they have.

“Um, yeah, I did actually,” I say, and they all snicker, their laughter ringing hollow in my ears. My eyebrows furrow as I watch them exchange knowing looks, rolling their eyes and generally behaving like the dicks they are. I’m not sure what’s so funny.

“How come you never once gave me a striptease?” Noah asks, leaning in close as he juts out his lower lip like a kid feeling left out. He places a hand on my hip, and the smile he gives me is gross. “I would have been cool with that, you know.” Anthony and the guys cackle, their laughter howling down the hallway so loudly that it echoes.

I grit my teeth and shove Noah’s hand off me. Fucking Harrison telling all his friends about our business. It’s not like I don’t know guys talk about this stuff. Hell, I do the same with Chyna, but still. The thought of half the football team knowing what gets me off makes my stomach churn.

Slamming my locker shut, I push my way around Anthony’s bulky frame and walk away from them, my pace quick. My heart is thumping too hard in my chest. I’m freaked out.

“Oh, come back, Vanessa!” Noah calls after me. I know most of the people in this hallway are listening at this point, and my cheeks are scorching red with heat. “Anthony wants his turn on the Murphy-Go-Round! He’s heard it’s a great ride.”

Assholes. I hate what they’re insinuating. Sure, I like to fool around, but what’s so wrong with that – besides inevitably dumping any guy who ends up asking for more from me? It’s fun. I can take my pick of the hot guys. I like the excitement. The guys act as if I have a list with a hundred different names on it, when the reality is there’s only a few. I’m pretty sure Noah has hooked up with too many girls in this school to count, including me, so to hell with him and his double standards. Those standards aren’t mine, but I’ve learned to accept that they’re just the way things are. I make sure the remarks I get every once in a while don’t bother me anymore.

But they bother me today.

As I push my way down the hall, I hear that stupid word: Slut.

I don’t catch who says it. Some girl, but I don’t even try to pinpoint who the voice belongs to. My mind is in a whirl. Something’s going on. Something bad. I can feel it in the air. An odd sense of me versus the world, like everyone in this goddamn school is against me. I feel powerless, exposed; my skin is as thin as tissue. What’s worse is, it’s usually the exact opposite. I don’t know where this feeling has come from, but suddenly I want to curl into a ball, making myself as small as I can be, and hide.
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