Nobody’s Goddess, from Amy McNulty (Never Veil #1)

[alternative title: OMG THIS DYSTOPIAN IS ACTUALLY SO CLEVER OMG!]

Hello, guys! How’s everyone doing on this beautiful Sunday? I had a good amount of free time on Saturday, so I managed to prepare some reviews for this week in advance – go, me! Hahaha! In resume, the next posts will probably be scheduled, but I’m here all the time to talk, so please free to comment your heart away and I shall answer as soon as the time zones allow me to! ❤

But enough jibber jabber, I have important business with this post: dear readers, please meet Nobody’s Goddess, first book from the Never Veil series, by Amy McNulty!

I had read this book earlier this same year, but it was so mind blowing I couldn’t find the words to write a review – also, Amy told me the third book would be out in October, so I allowed my brain to be stunned for months and only made a re-read to accompany the last book in the series. Best decision ever ❤ Oh, I got this particular copy from Chapter by Chapter when I participated in their blog tour for Nobody’s Lady =) Thanks again, guys!

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the story

They say there is a man out there for every woman – in this case, quite literally.

Noll lives on a good sized village with a rather peculiar trait: men’s lives are dedicated to serve women. Or, more specifically, their respective goddess. Until they have their love returned for the women of their dreams, the men have to walk around in masks.

This is only the tip of the iceberg: women can choose to reject their men, but they will have to live alone and knowing no other men will ever love her. Also, if a woman without direct blood ties sees a man that has yet to have his love returned without a mask, the man will vanish within air.

Things have been like this forever, but Noll is sure it’s some kind of curse. She never quite fit in with the village girls, preferring to run wildly with the small boys, playing at wrestling and wars. One by one, the curse claimed her friends. As they found their goddesses, they abandoned Noll and everyone else. All her friends, except Jurij. Her beloved Jurij. Her sister’s man.

As things get out of control in Noll’s life with the approach of Jurij’s marriage, Noll accidentally falls into the waters of her favorite cavern… And finds herself at her own village, thousands of years ago. She finally has the chance to change her destiny, but at what cost?

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the analysis

Just remembering those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

Can I just start by saying OMG? Because I think that’s an exact definition for Nobody’s Goddess from beginning to end, seriously. This book stole my breath away twice in all the right moments and the cliff hanger on the last chapter would have killed me both times if I didn’t have the next book on me as well, haha! I’m not a huge dystopian fan, but this book has brilliant dystopian touches mixed with a lot of fantasy and OMG Amy McNulty is just totally ingenious writing anything she wants to! I promise I’ll gather my shit together and start my analysis, but this was a high-five stars book! ;D did you see what I did there?

i demand the highest of fives supernatural sam winchester

Ahem, now that I’m more controlled, let’s talk about narrative: first person from Noll’s perspective. I can sense some jaws dropping from people that follow me for a while, as I just gave five stars to a book in first person and be prepared to feel your jaws dropping lower: I fought with Noll almost all the time. Our love/hate relationship was epic and extreme, but still I loved the book. The story was just too good, even with all the rage in Noll’s head, haha! The pace of the story is also really good and very fluid.

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The plot was brilliant. McNulty plays with her reader, dividing her twists in two categories: the ones you see coming and the ones that take advantage of your self-satisfaction at being right about the sequence of happenings in the story and push you to your knees in the ground until your face is touching the earth too. She understood so well my double personality about being able to guess and being unable to guess things, I just want to hug her. Tight. And never let go.

you're wonderful

The fantasy/dystopian aspect of the story was marvelously developed and McNulty created an unique world, discussing at the whole time the genres wars. Are women better than men? Are men better than women? No, for both things. Each time one genre has too much control over Noll’s village, things go terribly wrong and I loved it. This whole series is a lesson in human equality of all kinds, but I’ll develop this argument better on my review for the third book, haha!

Now, characters. I hate Noll like, with a force. The teen angst present in this book was, in my opinion, her best moment, as it was allied with ignorance and made her bold besides stubborn. I also didn’t care for her family or Jurij – in fact, I hate Jurij too, more than Noll. The only characters I loved in this book were the lord, whose name will be kept in secret due spoilers, and Alvilda ❤

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I’m a difficult soul to bound, you see.

Also, I wanted to comment on the change of covers of the series right before the release of Nobody’s Pawn, the last volume:

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I particularly already loved the first cover, but the new version is so much more passionate! I loved the model and the art ❤ In fact, I won’t shut up about it on Amy’s inbox, haha! She must have already blocked me at this point or started screaming just to see the word “cover” on texts, haha!

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Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that McNulty brought me something new when I got to read Nobody’s Goddess. It wasn’t about Noll’s teen angst, it wasn’t about the love, it wasn’t even about the gender equality. It all came down to what we decide to do with the choices we are given. No one ever thought they had a choice to fight the system, but Noll chose exactly that. No women had ever dared to confess their loves for other man that weren’t their own and Noll chose to do exactly that. No one ever questioned the way things were before and things only got to change when Noll set them into motion. Don’t get me wrong, she’s one of the most selfish people I have ever seen, but she is brave, she is daring and she changed her fate.

I honestly think that, in a time of so many uncertainties for the whole world, it’s important to remember we are still free to choose, even when everything points you to a “choiceless” path. If we think hard enough, we can always find the perfect solution for our sufferings – we just have to accept the consequences of our actions later. It’s easier to say you won’t take action because there isn’t anything you can do to make things better, but trust me when I say the only thing we can’t fix is death. Most of the time we are indeed powerless in our environments and it sucks on galaxies levels, but Noll shows us that, if we keep ourselves centered and keep trying to do the right thing, we will eventually have what we want. Not because life rewards us, but because we conquered it.

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Wow, am I not incredibly deep those last few days? Haha! Sorry, I’ll end up making you guys wish I wasn’t back at all, haha! Maybe I just need to go back to therapy or to write a self-help book and win shitloads of money. Whichever comes first, haha!

I chose some quotes from the book to woo you into reading it, so let’s finish with them =)

“It wasn’t much, but I controlled what the wood would be. And no one told me I didn’t really get to choose.” – Noll

~*~

“A few well-placed stabs from Elgar The Blade to his abdomen might ‘improve my temper’.” – Noll

~*~

“I was cursed by the gift of choice.” – Noll

~*~

“I could live without love. I’d accepted that by now. I wasn’t sure I could live without freedom.” – Noll

~*~

“I feel compelled to do anything I so much as think you want done. It is a battle within me not to slit my own throat at this very moment.” – The lord

~*~

And this winning lines between Noll and the lord of the castle:

The Lord: You were born to torment me.

Noll: I think the same of you.

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Overall, if you like YA, Fantasy, Dystopian and heart gripping plots, you have to add Nobody’s Goddess to your bookshelves right now! ❤

5star

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Thanks for bearing with the philosopher me once again and for reading yet another overly long review! George R. R. Martin rubbed off a little in me since the challenge, ugh. See you around and love you, guys!

assinatura

Hexbreaker, by Jordan L. Hawk (Hexworld #1)

Good night and hello again! As I promised earlier, I’m back with another gay book review, haha! This time, is another marvelous work from one of my favorite authors ever: Jordan L. Hawk! She was awesome and kind enough to send me a copy of Hexbreaker, first book in the Hexworld series and her newest release that hit stores as we speak, in exchange for an honest review ❤ As soon as I discovered the existence of Hexbreaker, I was already fangirling like crazy, so it is no wonder it took me only a day to finish it. It could have been less, but the house insisted on throwing a tantrum and not cleaning itself alone, forcing me to stop my reading in the middle to tend to it, ugh!

But the moment has arrived, so let’s talk about my new sweet darling Hexbreaker 😀

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the story

19th century, New York City. But not quite as you know it…

In a world full of magic, shifters – mostly called familiars – and witches, Cicero is a cat working under the Metropolitan Witch Police. As most of familiars, Cicero had yet to find his witch and forge a magic bond, so he stayed under the Magic Police’s protection along several other shifters.

As his animal form may suggest, Cicero is all grace, ego, beauty and sassiness. A true intellectual with passion for any kind of art, a bohemian at heart. A liberal lover, an independent creature that dreaded and fantasized about the moment in which he would encounter his witch (haha). He knew his time was running and he would have to pick someone in case his witch didn’t show up, but what if his witch turned to be a beast in permanent human form? What if his witch would be some random bully with only muscles and no brains at all? Cicero wouldn’t put up with the abuse – but also didn’t want to deal with the rejection, that hit so close to home.

A literal opening of door proved all his fears true in the wardrobe-sized person of Tom Halloran, a bulky ogre. A copper. A man with no brains and zero magic ability… According to tests.

His witch.

Tom Halloran is one of the last honorable coppers left in the regular Metropolitan Police Department. After an awful episode under his watch, he gathered his courage and got his superior’s permission to report to the Metropolitan Witch Police. Tom is a man of many secrets with a terrible stained past, but he never gave up standing for those who needed him. He wouldn’t allow something that awful to happen on his watch and neighborhood again.

And if solving the case meant he would have to put up with some weird and moody fellow and his tantrums, so be it. Tom was sick of seeing blood being spilled by his family’s mistakes. He was sure that he and the cat Cicero could make their forced partnership work if Cicero looked past Tom’s simple ways and appearance.

The only thing both men agreed on was that they would never think of losing their hearts along the way.

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the analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

First things first: I am sorry for the giant blurb, but this is the kind of story that you feel like asking your friends to gather around a fire while you tell it, haha! Second, I’m so not impartial regarding Jordan’s work BECAUSE SHE RULEZ! Hexbreaker was my fitfth book by her and I loved every single one of them ❤ If Ava March is my queen for gay sugared historical romances, Jordan is my queen for gay paranormal historical romances *–*

I had great expectations for Hexbreaker and Hawk managed to surpass them all and still leave me gapping at the final twist. I kind of guessed the culprit pretty fast, but the motives and who really pulled the strings remained a mystery for me until the last second. AND IT WAS GREAT! I loved every minute of this book and now I just need to grab the prequel too or I will have an attack or something! (Yes, there is a prequel, more info here, haha!) Once again, Jordan got my heart, squeezed tight, threw it to the wall and said goodbye with a blown kiss. Results? FIVE BEAUTIFUL STARS!

The narrative style was third person ( ❤ ), with switching points of view between Cicero and Tom. I loved how much sentiment, feelings and depth Hawk manage to put through Hexbreaker’s pages, sucking the reader in and refusing to let go while you were away from the book. Not for the first time when it comes to her work, I found myself vacuuming my apartment and thinking so hard that you could see steam coming from my ears. Who? Why? What am I missing on this picture? Who is safe to trust, who can I blame?

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This was my level of concentration on what my body was actually doing lol

I find amazing the amount of power that Hawk has over my mind each time I pick one of her books to read. I can’t disconnect, I can’t let it go, I need to get to the very bottom of the mystery or the problem in order to start breathing again. You may want to grab a chair, it’s reflection time.

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Being a book blogger, it’s normal for me to read quite a lot. I already read quite a lot before becoming a blogger, but since then, I’ve been breaking personal record after personal record in reading matters. And despite being lucky enough to enjoy a big part of what I read, there are a handful of books that seem to work some kind of black magic on me. As I read them, I feel like I’m not into my body anymore. There are no pages, paper, screens, hands, eyes. Nothing. Just a wild swirl of emotions that once was me and the story unfolding in my head. And if I’m interrupted, I feel physically difficult to move my body. To get my legs working, my eyes adjusting to the world. And it feels so… Wrong. My own body feels out of place. I feel like I could just detach myself from it and walk away. Fly, I don’t know. I feel like I have to fight to remain in my reality and not fall back into the book’s one. Like my reality was the fictional one, the hard place to get into, and not the other way around.

Hexbreaker was one of the books that stripped me from my own body. To the point that I didn’t hear my phone ringing right next to me, that my dad had to poke me hard in the forehead to let me know about dinner and that my mom had to throw a blanket over me because I was under dressed to the weather and wouldn’t hear her commands to put on a hoodie and socks.

And when I get back and realize what has happened, how hard I fell for the book, I feel in my bones why reading can be the best experience of one’s life. The best moment of one’s  day. That breath of fresh air into a dull existence without any real excitement. When I open a book, I become Bilbo Baggins going out on an adventure. And nothing else matters outside of the pages in my hands, no matter if they are literal or digital.

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Sorry for the major reflection, haha! My whole point is that I suffered from lured mind into book pages in all my Hawk’s reads so far, just with variation of stages in its seriousness. Hexbreaker for sure is the champion so far on the list, haha!

Back to the story. As you may have guessed, the plot is brilliant, with a nice degree of complexity to it and a perfect mix of elements. Romance, mystery, humor, thriller, drama, action, paranormal… It all entwined in such harmony in Hawk’s writing that I felt like that New York was real and in front of me. Hawk’s combines very well obvious events with jaw-dropping twists and doesn’t waste a single scene over her chapters. Every small thing has a purpose, a catch to it. We still have some questions, but this is a series and I know that Hawk won’t leave us in the dark 🙂 No pressure, haha!

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The characters were bewitching and surprised me a lot. I knew I’d like Tom since the moment he appeared, but liking Cicero too was unexpected. I usually prefer my gay protagonists all males that happen to like other all males and Cicero was clearly a diva. But he grew on me so quickly that I didn’t even noticed when I started pinning for him too =O Only Tom made it to My Bookish Boyfriends list, but I’d love to have Cicero as a Bookish Bff. I’m sure we would laugh a lot together, haha!

I loved how perfect Tom was in his imperfections. He isn’t your typical dashing knight in a shining armor or the prince charming. He’s a regular poor guy, built for hard labor, too big, with the minimal scholarship and no fashion sense whatsoever. And, just like Cicero, I found him to be quite refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the classical handsome and perfect princes and knights, but sometimes is nice to see new scenarios, haha!

he's really really hot

I’m also now very interested in Dominique and Rook’s story. They are the main couple in the prequel novella mentioned on the beginning of this review and I am ashamed to confess that I still hadn’t the opportunity to buy it, oops! So poor of me.

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I really need to fix that, ugh!

Oh, and can we just stop for a moment just to appreciate this cover? It is so delicate, classy, sexy and colorful! *—*

Also, I’d like to highlight how well Hawk handed the sex scenes on the book. They are few and all have a very distinct purpose: to show how Cicero and Tom’s relationship was growing stronger with time and how they slowly fell in love with each other behind the lust. Dear Jordan…

i request the high fives

Overall, Hexbreaker is a swoon-worthy romance packed with surprised and magic. If you like historical romances, paranormal books, shifters and seat-grabbing books, just drop my blog and go get your copy, haha!

5star

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Thanks so much for reading my review! Sorry for the size and the thoughts in the middle of it, haha! Also, an enormous thank you to the Queen Jordan, that sent me her book in the first place ❤ CAN YOU TELL I’M IN LOVE WITH THE HEX WORLD?!

Bellow, you’ll find the purchase links for Hexbreaker, my post talking about its release (there are insights of Jordan herself on it) and the other books by Jordan that I already reviewed 😀

purchase links

You can find Hexbreaker in both paperback and ebook formats!!

Amazon | Amazon UK | ARe | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks | Nook

You can see my previous post about Hexbreaker and The 13th Hex here 🙂

And here we have my full list of reviews for Jordan’s books so far:

HAWK, Jordan L.Dangerous Spirits, Spirits #2 (review here!)

HAWK, Jordan L.Widdershins, Whyborne & Griffin #1 (review here!)

Another one is already in the oven, so stay tuned! 😀

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Rowan of Rin, from Emily Rodda (Rowan of Rin #1)

Hi, again! I’m sorry, I’ve been reading a lot on the past few days and I can’t put up with my own rhythm to blog about them, haha! Today I bring to you another re-read: Rowan of Rin, from brilliant Emily Rodda!

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from my Instagram 😀

The Story

Rowan always felt a stranger on his own village. People in Rin were expected to grow up handling every physic aspect of life with perfection. But not Rowan. He was always too skinny, too thin, too scared… Useless. All the kids always made fun of him. The only thing that he never failed to do was to look after the village’s bukshas, a kind of breed between cow and sheep.

Until the bukshas’ lake rans dry and no one knows why.

Rowan knows he’s not a brave man as his father was before his death and that his own mother doesn’t believe in him to be strong, but he has to save the buskhas. The only creatures that ever believed him and never made fun of him. That trusted him.

So when he’s left with no other option but to travel to the Mountain with the other six villagers, Rowan decides that he will be brave for the bukshas.

Even if it scared him to death.

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The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

If you have read this post, you know that I LOVE Emily Rodda. I’ve read the whole Deltora Quest series (all three parts of it) and then I started reading Rowan of Rin. As always, Brazilian publishers took so long between a book and other that I stopped reading it on the second book and when I got myself the third book, I could hardly remember the story at all. Hence the re-read, haha!

Rowan of Rin was everything good that I knew I had felt on my first reading and more. With real and relatable characters, a wonderful setting and life-saver riddles, it had everything that I love about a fantasy/adventure book. Five stars again ❤

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The narrative is third person styled, from Rowan’s point of view most of time, but anyone can barge in during the book. Even Estrela, Rowan family’s buksha. I personally love Rowan, he’s an adorable kid ❤ He’s always true to himself, no matter how bad things look or sound. I’ll get there in a moment lol

Also, I love Rodda’s writing style. It’s so fluid, detailed and addictive! I’ve read this book in one single hour, as I didn’t remember how it ended, just some pieces of their adventure. (I also read the following book in one seating, haha! Only the third was spilt on two sittings as life is not fair.) I dare to say that the dystopian created and Rodda’s writing are the strongest points on this book.

Rodda’s main characters have a very good thing and a poor thing about them. They observe a lot and pay attention to so many nice things, but they tend to not think about themselves a lot. To this day, I’m not really sure of Rowan’s looks, haha! All people around him is easier to picture, but it’s like he’s a nice faceless boy. I mean, I imagine him just like the Grand Chase character thanks to the name, that is similar, but I don’t have a book official version, you know?

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This is Ronan, from Grand Chase! I miss this game so much, the Brazilian branch was closed on 2014 😦

But there’s another catch to Rodda’s characters. Each one of them is one type of person that you’ll find on a society. There’s the optimistic, the grumpy, the honest, the cheater, the workaholic, the loner, the wise… And so on. Still, they aren’t boring one you figure out which type each one of them will be, as Rowan brings the best on each of them. He rarely judges people, as he is always occupied trying to understand them. You gotta love the boy.

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Also, I really wished to know his age. Oh, well.

I feel the need of highlighting the world that Rodda created for this series. It starts small, with only the village of Rin, the bukshas’ lake and the Mountain, but keeps growing through the series, showing one more piece of it on each following book. ❤

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The first map is the only one present on this book. The other appears only on the next volume (picture taken by me from the Brazilian edition of the third book in the series, Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal)

Overall, I think this is an ageless book. If you like dystopian, fantasy, adventure and doesn’t care about romance, you have to board my fangirling boat and read Rowan of Rin!

5star

Thank you once again for reading! ❤ Have you read any books by Emily Rodda?

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BOOK BLITZ + GIVEAWAY: All That Jazz, by Natasha Boyd


Hello, there! Today I bring another contemporary romance for a blitz, on Xpresso Book Tours’ account: All That Jazz, from Natasha Boyd!

All that Jazz
Natasha Boyd
(A Butler Cove Novel)
Publication date: March 22nd, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Summary

There’s something totally inconvenient about falling for your best friend’s brother. Especially when he’s turned into a pompous, arrogant, albeit annoyingly sexy a-hole that you’d like to punch or kiss to death at any given moment.

The summer she turned eighteen, Jazz Frazer accidentally lost her heart to Joey Butler, after a favor that blurred the lines from friends to lovers.

For three years they’ve pretended there’s nothing between them anymore. Jazz is finally ready to move on with the rest of her life. She’s looking forward to the end of college and fulfilling her dream of travelling the world. She’s determined that experiences and relationships will be fun, casual and easy. After all, she learned the hard way that men just don’t stick around anyway. But when her best friend gets herself into a relationship with a celebrity, Jazz has to do the one thing she never thought she’d do, call Joey and ask for help.

Repeatedly thrown together, Jazz tries everything she can to protect her heart and not fall back in love with Joey. But when Joey finally admits that Jazz is the one he’s always wanted, all bets are off.

Contemporary, friends to lovers, second chance romance. 17+ for strong language and sexual situations.

I’ve been talking with some friends, both online and offline, and maybe I have been reading the wrong contemporary books through my whole life! I’ve been encountering more and more straight contemporary titles that I’d love to read and that’s so new to me! Thanks so much to the bookblog community for this ❤

You can find All That Jazz on our usual places 😉

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

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Great? Great. But there is an excerpt, so you don’t need to only trust me and the cute art above, haha!

EXCERPT

The Summer I turned 18

“And you won’t fall in love with any of them and want to get married?”

“Nope.” I shrugged. “That would impede my career plans.”

Joey snorted, then wheezed. “Right.”

I wanted to shove the dishtowel he was holding down his damn throat.

“Right, what?” I snapped.

“Right, I believe you,” he added with barely concealed sarcasm. His eyebrows raised.

“It’s true. I don’t see what the big emotional deal is with sex anyway.”

“Because you’ve had so much of it?”

I glanced away. That was way more information than he needed.

“So the almost eighteen year old virgin is going to try and tell me she understands what sex without emotion is like?”

“Not for much longer,” I said with a haughty tone, irritated he just assumed I was a virgin, and clasped my hands in front of me on the table. “I plan on getting rid of that status as soon as possible.”

Joey yanked his chair back out and sat down opposite me, his glare intense, the blue of his eyes darkened to grey.

I pulled back at his abrupt move and his hand reached out and snared mine, pinning it to the table. “What?” I managed after a few beats of uncomfortable silence where my hand was burned alive.

Conflicting thoughts seemed to flit over his face for what seemed like long minutes instead of the few seconds it probably was. Then he let out a long breath.

“You’re playing a very dangerous game, putting so little importance on sex.”

I scowled. “What does that even mean?”

“It means …” He swallowed. “You should respect yourself enough not to give it away to just anybody.”

My face throbbed with heat as my temper rose. “I respect myself just fine. Big brother,” I hissed.

“Good,” he growled. “Because if you don’t, nobody else will.”

I yanked my hand from his. “I don’t understand you. So you’re allowed to have meaningless sex, but I’m not? Again with your double standards, Joseph. It’s unbecoming, you should watch that.”

He shrugged. “You said it. You’re like a little sister to me. I care that you don’t get hurt. And for God’s sake don’t be roping Keri Ann into your stupid quest. I’m just warning you to be careful.”

“Of what exactly?” I said through my clenched teeth. Because seriously, I was completely angry and humiliated by this stupid argument.

“You don’t even know yourself, do you?” He laughed, his strong jaw tilting back to reveal his tanned throat. “You, Jazzy Bear,” he rested his blue eyes back on me, “will fall madly in love with the first boy you sleep with.”

“I will not. And for the love of cheese grits, please don’t call me Jazzy Bear again.”

“You will. It’s written all over you. And,” he sobered as he looked at me unflinchingly, “he will break your heart. I’m sorry. In advance.”

Nice? Beautiful. Oh, have I ever mentioned how much I love book quotes all nicely done with cute arts? I do. And this blitz had some cool beautiful ones at my disposal, mwahaha mwahaha! *evil laugh*

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Okay, I’ll stop with the book quotes now, haha! Bellow, you can learn more about the author 🙂

Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romantic southern fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and has a background in marketing and public relations. Eversea, her debut novel, was a finalist for Contemporary Romance in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest, won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction and is a LIBRARY JOURNAL self-e selection 2015. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers and Island Writer’s Network in coastal South Carolina where she has been a featured speaker on book marketing. She lives with her husband, two sons and the cast of characters in her head.

Natasha grew up in South Africa, Belgium and England. She now lives and writes full-time in the USA.

Her work is available in English, Italian, Turkish, German, and Indonesian.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

And I mentioned a giveaway, so let’s talk about it, haha!

GIVEAWAY!

That’s it, thank you for reading! Are there any contemporary romances that you think I should consider reading on this new phase?? Oh, and thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for helping me reach this epiphany, haha! (And for the blitz, of course, haha!)

assinatura

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The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, from Anne Rice (Sleeping Beauty #1)

Hello! Another book down in the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, from Anne Rice (under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure), it’s the first one in the Sleeping Beauty series. This review will be short and soon enough you shall understanf why 🙂

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from my Instagram

The Story

Once upon a time, there was a princess that had been granted with everything: beauty, kindness, money and education. Cursed from birth, the princess fell in a deep sleep after stinging her finger in a spinning wheel. A hundred years shall pass before a brave prince was able to awaken her from her fate.

This is the story that you know. What you don’t know is how Beauty was awaken.

Or how her real curse began in the moment she opened her eyes.

The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

I bet you were expecting my scandal gif after such a story, right? Oh, well. The perspective of the story is a scandal. The real thing, not so much.

You see, I bought this book in June of this year and was pinning badly to read it. I love the whole fairy-tales gone bad wave and didn’t even knew that Anne Rice already attempted that more than twenty years ago. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I got. I’ll be more specific in my disappointment during the review, but I don’t see the point of talking and talking about a book that I didn’t enjoy, so I’ll try to keep this short 🙂 I still love Anne Rice, but this was just… Wrong. Two stars that shall be justified in the following lines.

The narrative was third person, but only from Beauty’s point of view. There are two chapters were Prince Alexi narrates mostly of the events in first person, but it was for contextualization’s sake, not a rule. I like third person narratives, but it got boring not having a break from Beauty’s fears and sufferings. Scene and action describing is one of the strongest points of Rice as an author, for good and bad. There were several scenes where I’d rather have been left in the dark, but oh well.

The plot was simple and, in my humble opinion, awful. As I said before, nothing prepared me for this book and I had a completely misjudged idea about it. It’s partially my fault, as it was written in the back cover of my edition that this was a “polemic fairy tale”, with “a sensual world, made of forbidden dreams and dark desires, in which traditional notions of domain and submission and gender preference are tossed to the wind”*. Again, I should have seen it coming, as I read Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. Nevertheless, I MANAGED TO BE SURPRISED, UGH.

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It was totally the wrong book for me. I’m not a fan of BDSM on a regular basis, I don’t like books like 50 Shades of Gray, I can’t stand any book that says that is cool for an individual to humiliate themselves for the sake of pleasure. To see women to be beaten up, men being raped and liking it… This is not my thing. I’m too serious about both pleasure and pain to unite both. I have to see that I already didn’t like 50 Shades of Gray when I read it, but this book puts E. L. James and Mr. Grey in the nursery. I already mentioned here once or twice how I can’t stand vulgar sex scenes, the ones made solemnly for the sex itself, without any emotional attachment behind it, out of boredom (and I’m not even talking about love, you see, I’m talking about true desire). I hate them and this book, for me, was a giant almost non-stop sex scene with barely a story behind it. I’m sorry if you read this book and you liked it, or if you like this kind of genre.

I won’t lie, I had my moments with this book. The characters were an interesting part. I liked Prince Alexi, for instance. He is nuts, but who wouldn’t be after all of his “learning”. Beauty was a disappointment in her own way. What I really like is how Rice manages to extinguish gender preferences and prejudices about who will you love. This is an aspect that I already loved in Interview with the Vampire and it kept me captivated on this book as well, despite everything. This is how love should really be: just free. Why does it matter if it’s a boy or a girl? No one in Rice’s books bat an eyelash for two boys together or two girls together, because they are people before being males or females. Honestly, society should learn a thing or two with her.

On the other hand, Rice’s too free love gets on my nerves, as you can’t ship any couple together, because they change their minds about partners more times than they change clothes. They claim that they love them all, but Johnny Deep once said something on this line: “If you are with someone and falls in love with a second person, choose the second person. If it was true love with the first, you wouldn’t have fallen in love again.” I agree with him on this one. You have to admit, at least to yourself, what do you want.

I really wanted to tear this book apart, as it crushed so many of my personal beliefs, but I read it, had my good moments with it and intend to read the next book in the series. Why? For the same reason that the book got 2 instead of 1 star: it picked my curiosity. Things were so absurd when it ended that I felt the need for understanding. I need to read the next book to try to figure out Beauty’s mind. I should totally have gone to psychology school instead of Journalism, haha!

2star

That’s it, thanks for reading 🙂 Once again, I apologize if something that I said may look offensive, that wasn’t my goal while stating my opinion, haha!

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Ps: That was my fourth book on the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!

*this passage was translated from Brazilian Portuguese to English, as my edition was in my native language, haha!

Searching for the lost tales: the meaning of the female functions in Perrault’s fairy tales, from Mariza B. T. Mendes

Hi, there! Live long and prosper, scheduled blog, haha! Hope you people are hanging in there on this Tuesday 🙂 I can’t wait for Friday to be here, as I’ll be defending my ~famous~ dissertation, haha! But enough gibber jabber, let’s go to today’s book review: Searching for the lost tales: the meaning of the female functions in Perrault’s fairy tales, from Mariza B. T. Mendes! This book actually is a Brazilian book, I took the liberty of translating its original title for the sake of all my readers 🙂 Original title: “Em busca dos contos perdidos: o significado das funções femininas nos contos de Perrault”.

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This book is an academic one, a doctorate dissertation to be more exact, so I’ll tell a bit about the author’s theory and then I’ll do my analysis, instead of telling a story – there is no story to tell, haha!

The Book’s Theory

Mendes sears several academic theories involving Charles Perrault’s fairy tales birth, as she wanted to understand why the book made such a fuss at time and survived through generations as it did. Mendes also wanted to understand which was the social function behind the leadership of women as main characters of Perrault and how did those tales fared when they came to Brazil. The author also talks about the mystery of the paternity of the book, as Charles Perrault never said or documented the books as his creation and his son, Pierre, besides having wrote the preface of the original edition, also had the print rights for the book.

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The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion while reading the book 🙂

THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING, OMG I NEED MORE, PLEASE, WRITE MORE ABOUT IT, DEAR MENDES!!! *—* Honestly, it was such an educative and fun read! Mendes language is more technic, than a regular book, but I’m in love with fairy tales since I’m a toddler and I love to study everything that I can. Meaning: I needed to learn which were the female functions inside of Perrault’s tale in the moment I saw this book! I got this copy at my college library and now I want my own copy for hugging ends and all 😉

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Let’s get serious now. Mendes theory is well tied to previous ones about fairy tales in general, like Propp’s, Jung’s, Bettelheim’s, Soriano’s and many others and she answers all her proposed questions from the beginning of the book during the narrative. It may sound a little stupid to say that, but it is very usual to see dissertations that doesn’t or aren’t able to answer their own questions, so it was very awesome of her to manage that, haha!

Mendes tells us about the origins of the fairy tales and popular tales in general, about the fairies and magical women present on those tales and how they represent the old pagan goodness from matriarchal society, from ancient times (yeah, fairy tales are that old).

Then, she does a brief biography of who was Charles Perrault and why on earth he decided to collect and publish popular tales into a book, being a “noble bourgeois” and all. His history is no different than thousands of other bourgeois trying to elevate their social status on King Louis XIV’s France, so it is curious that Perrault had this initiative and Mendes explains us all about it 🙂

The next part is all about the fairy-tales’ book paternity, as explained, and the conclusion of all authors, including Mendes herself, is that both father and son wrote it together: Pierre collected and compiled the tales and Charles edited them and wrote their moral in verses.

After enlightening all points of the life and career of Charles Perrault and his son, Mendes starts to analyze the structure of The Tales of Mother Goose, explaining why they got so popular and immortal. The key always seems to be simplicity, haha! My favorite part is inside this analysis, as she raises a very curious question: if the lead characters of Perrault’s tales are mostly women, was Perrault a kind of feminist of his time?

I’m afraid that the answer is no, as all those tales have an edifying purpose. Women were the main characters because they needed more example on how to behave according to what society awaited from them on their social roles: they had to be kind, pure, innocent, submissive, beautiful, and permissive, and always have faith. The marriage should be the solution to all their problems and they should be punished if they didn’t obey their husbands. Family, union, was everything and Perrault found that out three centuries before we did (Mendes words translated and adapted, haha!).

I know what you may be thinking: OMG, THE HORROR, FAIRY TALES ARE A DEMON THING, WE WOMEN MUST GO FREE, BLA BLA BLA BLA.

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I see this point differently. At that time, on the 17th century, fairy-tales were used to this end because the dominant class wished so. The stories survived, but their “real” morals are gone. Perrault’s (and Grimm’s, for that matter) tales won’t trap women into any kind of fate in the occidental world if they don’t want them to. Society has changed, women have changed.

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We have two ways of looking at this: a) we all burn our dear childhood books and start Third World War officially; or b) we accept the old purpose of this stories as a part of their past and enjoy them now as just fantastical tales in wonderful worlds that inspired the best Disney movies ever.

Sorry for major reflection, haha! But I really think that everything is ever changing in the world, as did the fairy tales. It’s not fair to condemn them for the acts of their father 🙂

Overall, this book was a blast for me and can’t wait to have my own copy of it to hug ❤

5star

That’s it! Thanks for reading and sorry if I said something offensive! Not my intention at all 🙂 What are your thoughts on fairy tales?

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Vexed by a Viscount, from Erin Knightley (All’s Fair in Love #4)

Hello! Today I’m going to review my last book read in August, Vexed by a Viscount, from Erin Knightley. I received this book through NetGalley and it was a delicious reading: light, funny, romantic and short. All I needed after several too complex books, haha! ❤

from my Instagram <3
from my Instagram

The story

Prudence is a girl that always has blindly obeyed her parents, not used to break the rules and social conventions of 19th century England. However, when she finds herself betrothed to an old squire, Prudence decides that being a little rebel won’t harm anyone and will ensure her some good memories for the rest of her marriage time. That’s how Prudence’s list was created, full of things to do on a two weeks’ time, before she marries.

The first item on the list is to swim naked on a lake in bright sunlight and all was well during this particular task – the lake was located on her neighbors’ propriety, but as they were travelling, she was safe to swim without being caught by someone expected. Viscount Ashby, her neighbor’s son and acquaintance, definitely wasn’t someone expected.

William, Viscount Ashby, can’t believe his eyes when he finds shy and proper Miss Prudence Landon swimming naked on his parents’ lake and soon finds out about her secret list. For some reason, Will wants to help Prudence, as he couldn’t imagine her marrying the squire. He couldn’t even imagine himself married to his own betrothed – an arrangement made by his and the girl’s parents at birth.

Between escapades and lots of fun, both Prudence and William need to make a very important decision: will they have the best two weeks of their lives and get over it or will they find the courage to fight for their freedom to be truly happy?

The analysis

Just wanted to remind that those are my impressions and opinion while reading the book 🙂
I loved this romance! It’s amusing and simple, proving that a book doesn’t need to be complex, big or even pornographic to be wonderful. I admit that I am partial to historical romances, specially England/London set ones, and that they have to exceed themselves for me to not like them, but I regret nothing, haha! This book was a 5 stars for me, even without any brilliances or anything unusual. It’s the kind of book that I love reading and served me right 🙂

The book is short, you can read it on one sitting (and that was basically what I did, haha!). The narrative is simple and fast, but without compromising the characters consciousness’, their thoughts and insecurities. The book is narrated in third person and, for the most part, we follow Prudence around, but William also has his own moments. This is nice because it leaves no holes on the plot, something that really bothers me. A+ for Knightley here!

I really enjoyed all characters, even without being able to connect with Prudence – I always was a very decided and independent person. It was easier to see me grounded because I rebelled than because I was disrespectful or something worse, haha! I never understood people that just follow orders that can change their lives without even hesitating, without thinking about it. I’m not criticizing anyone, as I do believe that each person has their way and their own reasons to do what they do, but that’s not my style, nor now, nor ever 🙂 Of course that we also have to think of the historical aspect of Prudence’s personality and that’s why I think Prudence is more than an heroin: she’s a symbol. She was always good and dutiful without not a single sign of recognition from her parents. Never allowed her true self to surface her mask of tranquility. This is the story of thousands of occidental girls in the 19th century, not only from England. They went from their parents’ hands to their husbands’ without ever being asked what they really wanted and spent the rest of their lives living lies, suffering in silence. Prudence made me reflect a lot about occidental society’s evolution and how much it’s still missing to be okay. For example, one of the items in Prudence’s list is to eat a very large piece of cake because her mother never allowed her to do so. It’s such a modern situation: how many girls don’t feel guilty for eating every day? It’s something to think about. The ghost of the “good” shape already haunts occidental women since the end of the Dark Age. Isn’t this enough already? Aren’t people tired of trying to fit all women in a same size/shape/look? I’m not here to indoctrinate people into seeing how each woman is beautiful as she is, but it’s something that I truly believe in 🙂

Sorry for the mega reflection, haha! Thanks, Erin Knightley, for making me reflect about this. Let’s go back to the characters, haha! I already talked ~ a lot ~ about Prudence, so let’s go to William: one more bookish boyfriend for me! (I do really need to start an official list just for fun, haha!) He was a sweeting and a little goofy – so realistic, haha! By the way, reality and verisimilitude were a very strong point on Knightley’s book, especially on characters. Nobody was forced or too out of the world, haha! Even the squire was very believable.

The plot was simple and well-constructed, without holes. We know what happened to all characters in the end and the reader doesn’t get lost in any moment. As I said, it wasn’t anything brilliant, but I loved it. For me, this book is one of those novel of manners, that show the routine of the time pictured.

Overall, I did miss some description on some parts, like in Prudence’s house and on the lake, but it wasn’t anything that could compromise the book. I also had a great time imagining Prudence’s closet, haha! Besides, I’m curious about the apparent sex “habits” of the squire… We get something here and there on the book and thank god that Prudence didn’t find out, but I got curious to see how bad it was, haha! I really enjoyed this book, I was missing a good historical romance on my life ❤

Bonus point: this cover ❤ I loved it so much! So beautiful, so true! I love this green dress *–*

That’s it! Thanks for reading my review and thanks to Night Shift Publishing for approving me on NetGalley! And, of course, thank you Erin Knightley and congratulations on the awesome book!

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