Rating: 4.5 STARS
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Standalone/Series: The Naughty Princess Club #1 - (can be read as a standalone)
How I got this book: ARC from St. Martin's Press
Meet the Naughty Princess Club: a brand new series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that introduces readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that ensue when three women start a new business to make it rain.
Once upon a time Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he’s run off with all their money…and the babysitter.
Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they’re mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippity-boppity-boo.
But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy’s happily ever after? At the Stroke of Midnight is a hilarious, empowering story where princesses can save themselves while slaying in stilettos.
Tara Sivec is the queen of adult comedy!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing makes me laugh like Tara's romantic comedies.
"Okay, I get it now. If he had said it makes his frickle hard, that wouldn't have been as hot."
The characters are fun, real and crazy (in the best possible way)! The one-liners in this book had me laughing so hard I snorted. I love the ladies in this book. Cindy is strong-willed, ballsey and sexy but years of oppression force her into the mould of a prude. It takes a crappy wake up call, new friends and a man who lights everything on fire with his smoulder to give Cindy the push she needs to take back control of her life. And she does it in style!
"You will tell me everything about why you walked over here an hour ago just to talk business and suddenly I find you riding him like Seabiscuit."
Fans of Tara's Holiday's series will also be happy to spot the little Easter Egg from two of our favourite Holiday's characters in this book.
This book is perfect for anyone who needs a side-splitting laugh with a heavy dose of grin-inducing romance, a hero to swoon for and three badass leading ladies (plus the other awesome ladies in this book) who pack punches, kicks and more dirty talk than a ship full of sailors. Fans of Tara's Chocolate Lovers/Chocoholics Series and Jed Had to Die will devour this book!
"My God, you have eye chlamydia! See, I told you it wasn't an urban legend!"
If you love princesses, but wish they were a little more 'real' you need to read At the Stroke of Midnight! I can't wait for Belle to tackle the Beast in book number two!! I'll be over here still laughing at this book while I wait, and ordering myself a few tequila t-shirts ;)
Rating: 4.5 STARS
How I got this book: Bought
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
I've heard so many good things about this book that when I spotted in Waterstones, I HAD to pick it up!
I finished this book last night and I still don't know how to describe how brilliant it is (although this could be because I've only had one cup of tea so far this morning)!
One of Us Is Lying has EVERYTHING! Intrigue, mystery, teen drama, angst, romance, gossip, murder and humour. The author even manages to work in messages about LGBTQ+ issues, mental health awareness, and abuse - it's an incredible YA novel that covers so much ground, even though the plot line itself seems relatively simple. (Think Cluedo for teens!)
The five main characters (and supporting cast) are fantastic and from the first person narrative, we're able to connect with each and watch them evolve over the course of the novel.
I could barely put this book down, reading it in just over a day and it's one of those books, I just know is going to stick with me, especially since I'll definitely be re-reading this one.
I was initially drawn to the book because it was hailed as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars and the author does not disappoint. That's exactly what it's like, but so much better than I expected!
I suppose the only slightly disappointing thing is that I figured out who was behind everything pretty early on except for one twist I didn't realise until the other characters did, but the way the narrative flits between each character keeps everything interesting and building in intensity throughout the whole book.
There are a couple of things with this book that I don't completely agree with, but I'll let you make your own opinions.
SHIP ALERT: There's a wonderful 'ship' in this book that is perfect in so many ways. These two characters are my absolute favourite thing about this book!
A glowing 4.5 stars from me! I can't wait for the author to release another book!
Rating: 5 STARS!
How I got this book: ARC from Hachette Children's Group via NetGalley
I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter ... it's liquid gold.
When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom.
She's wrong. Rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility.
From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.
As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all...
It's a dirty business getting clean...
I found this book whilst trawling through NetGalley and quickly read through the sample chapter. I loved it immediately! The protagonist is sharp, witty and ferocious when dealing with such a difficult subject matter and I was laughing almost immediately.
After reading just one chapter, I was completely invested in the main character and couldn't wait to read more. Thankfully, I was approved for a full ARC copy that I dug back into with relish.
This book is bursting with teenage angst, grit and drama (think Gossip Girl) but it's so much more than that! It's diverse, deep, thought-provoking and above all else, realistic AF!
Lexi is sarcastic, fiery, self-deprecating, badass and a complete mess. She’s 100% relatable despite her privilege and she won me over from the very beginning purely because she made me laugh.
The British humour coursing through this book is fresh, unexpected and a perfect juxtaposition to the gritty, real, and varied themes and issues explored through Lexi each character she meets on her journey to recovery.
This book won't be for everyone. It's harsh and real. It's a story about addiction in all its forms and the author doesn't shy away when things go wrong.
What I love most about this book is how there's something for everyone inside. We all have flaws, triggers, damage, issues, and compulsions, and the author writes them in such a way that I couldn't help but draw comparisons to my own life.
We're taken on a journey of self-destruction, self-realisation, hope and love with Lexi and the others, and upon finishing the book I felt like I learned something about myself and the rest of the world.
“We aren’t broken. We’re just alive.”
Rating: 3 STARS
Standalone/Series: The Hazel Wood #1
How I got this book: ARC from Penguin Random House UK Children’s via NetGalley
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
I was lucky enough to be offered a free copy of this book for review from NetGalley.
I accepted for two reasons:
1. I liked the synopsis. A dark, twisty fairytale with similarities to Alice in Wonderland sounded like something I could get behind.
2. I'd heard so much hype about this book that I wanted to see for myself whether it was all hype or if there was actually something there.
It took me a little while to finish this book. After making a start I became a little sceptical. I didn't find Alice a particularly relatable character, she's rude, a bit obnoxious (and whilst that's fine with some characters, especially a loveable villain), I had some trouble connecting with Alice to begin with. I also found the start a little confusing/slow and was tempted at one point to lay it aside.
However, I persevered and I'm glad that I did. As the story unfolds it becomes clearer why Alice is the way she is, that she literally has no idea about who she is, spending her entire life shrouded in mystery and running from something she doesn't understand.
I think perhaps the book could have been shorter as some of Alice's journey seemed a little long-winded and repetitive (i.e. multiple unconscious spells) and I wasn't a huge fan of (I want to say 'her friend' but I'm still not sure about their relationship) Ellery Finch who again, I didn't really like/connect with/understand.
What I did really like were the twists and turns that the story takes, the new information and surprises that are revealed to both Alice and the reader along the way. I enjoyed the whimsical, dark characters of the Hinterland and the idea of the Hinterland itself, with its refugees, the Spinner and the Stories. I would have loved for more of this book to take place inside the Hinterland, where we could have explored that world for much longer.
The imagery inside the Hinterland, the Halfway Wood and the Hazel Wood is really quite beautiful.
Overall, I enjoyed the main essence of the story and did find myself liking Alice more as the story progressed and her Story unfolded.
I think readers who particularly enjoy dark fairy tales (especially fans of Alice in Wonderland) would enjoy this new take on the story. I'm also interested to see what comes next from this author, I think there's a lot more left to offer.
Rating: 5 STARS!
How I got this book: ARC from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley
"It's time to find the beauty in the beast."
A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast's side of the story at long last.
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.
I am the Beast.
The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.
My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.
My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.
And now I might lose her forever.
Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast's heart.
Where has this book been all my life?
As with a lot of fellow readers and romance lovers, Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favourite fairy-tales and so the prospect of reading a re-telling of the story from the Beast's perspective was too good an opportunity to miss.
What's strange is that reading this book didn't feel like reading just another re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. It's a story that is entirely it's own and in certain aspects, extremely different than the original story.
The author writes beautifully, painting an enchanted world that springs to life from the pages. I adore the backstory, it's fantastically detailed and complex: the Fairy's motive, the Beast's life in the forest, the mirror, the house and it's servants, the garden, his gifts to Isabeau's family - it all works so well to create a compelling, driving story that I was unable to put down.
The Beast is captivating. His inner struggles and turmoil, which run so much deeper than appearances alone, alongside his longing for company and human interaction, made the story all the more compelling. The love in this story is powerful, life-changing and realistic in its growth (it's not insta-love, but love and affection that grow over time from friendship.)
In addition to plenty of backstory and a side to the beast that we've never before seen, it was also interesting to be presented with Isabeau's family, and these three other characters who add so much to the story through their own growth, tragedy and love.
Whilst reading, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to the original story, mostly in that this story offered more mature, emotionally complex, insightful details than the Disney version we're all familiar with. I also often found myself thinking of Pride and Prejudice, comparing Elizabeth and Isabeau due to their similarities in outspokenness and unwillingness to admit to their feelings. It probably comes as no surprise that the Beast's portrait and his obsession and despair brought to mind Dorian Gray.
Overall, I fell in love with this story and the unique viewpoint it offered through the eyes of the beast. It's 5 stars from me and I will definitely be re-reading this book!
It's the story I never knew I needed. It made my heart quicken, my eyes tear and my imagination run wild.
Disclosure: I fell in love with the Beast so many times reading this that I may need therapy.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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