Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Pushin' With Sarah J Maas

The final day of Book Pushin' Throne of Glass is upon us. The final post, the big shabam, the conclusion of love has Sarah herself here to answer a few fun questions! 

First of all, I have to say THANK YOU times infinity for gracing us with your presence here at Belle of the Literati today! I was SO excited to ask you these questions and I'm even more excited for your answers. Without further ado, let's do this!

Kelly: OK, I'm going to name a character and I want you to give me 1 to 2 words or a short phrase that immediately comes to mind when you think of them...

Kelly: Dorian

Kelly: Nehemiah
Sarah: *cries in corner*

Kelly: Arobynn 
Sarah: Douchecanoe.

Kelly: Rowan
Sarah: Immortal, arrogant, tattooed badass.

Kelly: Celaena
Sarah: My eternal homegirl.

Kelly: Chaol 
Sarah: Loyalty, courage, honor. And nice buns.

Kelly: Aedion
Sarah: Prince of Pecs. And sass.

Kelly: Maeve
Sarah: …is not someone I’d want to mess with.

Kelly: Aelin
Sarah: Fire-breathing bitch-queen. ;)

Kelly: Sam
Sarah: *goes back to crying in corner*

Kelly: Manon
Sarah: My patronus. Or, a veliciraptor given a human-ish body. :P

Kelly: Fleetfoot
Sarah: The only guaranteed survivor of this series.

Yeeeees! Those are all so great! Now let's apply all those amazing characteristics to real life...

Which character would you....

Kelly: Want to be stuck on a deserted island with? (Interpret that as you will hehe)?
Sarah: Rowan, so he could shift into a hawk and fly away to find help. :P

Kelly: Go out for a night on the town/drinking with?
Sarah: Aedion. (Though I doubt I’d survive his level of partying.)
Kelly: Yasssss!! Will you be my wing woman, Sarah? For Aedion, of course. You'll already be out with out him sooooo hook a sister up :)

Kelly: Stay in and watch movies with?
Sarah: Chaol!
Kelly: LOVE this answer! I bet he snuggles really, really well.

Kelly: Go shopping with?
Sarah: Lysandra & Aelin (together)!

Kelly: Have your back in a fight?
Sarah: Rowan. Or Aelin. Or Manon. ALL THREE, OKAY?
Kelly: My thoughts exactly!

Kelly: Go to the ballet with?
Sarah: Aelin! We could be sobbing messes together.
Kelly: I can def see this happening.

Kelly: Have dogsit Annie for you?
Sarah: Dorian!

Kelly: Confide your secrets in?
Sarah: Chaol.

Kelly: Pick up guys with? (if you were single, of course)
Sarah: Aedion. Or Asterin Blackbeak.
Kelly: LOVE this!!

Kelly: Go to for advice?
Sarah: Aelin!

Kelly: Cry to?
Sarah: Dorian!
Kelly: Aw!!

Kelly: Text the most inappropriate yet hilarious things to?
Sarah: Aelin! Or Aedion.

Kelly: Finally! If you could describe your series in a one sentence, what would it be?

Sarah: So long/epic/sweeping/swoony/sad/intense/badass/magical/dark/bloody that I literally sat at my desk for 10 minutes, trying & failing to find a way to sum it all up in one sentence.” (…yes that’s actually my sentence, lol.)

Kelly: That looks perfect to me! Thank you SO MUCH, Sarah! I loved your answers and think they are just perfect...kinda like your books! 

I hope you guys have enjoyed my week long love affair with Throne of Glass series! Don't forget to check out my other posts throughout the week, especially if you enjoy hot guys. Hubba hubba.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Claim Me // Character Couture

If you have not been to Sarah's Pinterest page I am going to direct you there now! Usually I highlight fashion that I think characters would wear but Sarah's Pinterest boards are so on point there is nothing I could do to even come close to that. Instead, I'm going to 'dress'...the men of Throne of Glass by fantasy casting them *gasp*. These pictures speak for themselves so...enjoy...

Sam Cortland
Matt Lanter

Source: 1 / 2

Dorian Havilliard
Terrance Coombs

Source: 1 / 2

Chaol Westfall
Scott Eastwood
Source: 1 / 2

Rowan Whitethorn
Henry Cavill
YES! Before you start a riot I'm WELL aware Rowan is not dark-haired but use imagination and look at that face and're welcome.
Source: 1 / 2

Aedion Ashryver
Jessie Pavelka

Source: 1 / 2 / 3

How did I do guys?...How did I do? *smirk*
I know you're distracted now but don't forget about...
Book Pushin' Throne of Glass
Lit in Lyrics
Words Have the Power to Change Us
And tomorrow, Sarah will be visiting! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Will Not Be Afraid // Words Have The Power To Change Us

A major element of what makes these books so amazing is the writing. Sarah J Maas' writing is eloquent and epic and brings the feels. Her words are visceral and they feel real and I just feel so, so inspired when I read one of these books. They are also funny and clever and the banter....gurrrrl the banter is always on another level. These are my favorite quotes from the books and if this doesn't sell you then I really cannot help you. 
Assassin's Blade
‘She was fire, she was darkness, she was dust and blood and shadow.’

'You're a damned idiot...You're a moron and an ass and a damned idiot...Because I'd pick you."

'I lied! And you know I lied, you stupid bastard!'

'My price was his oath that he'd never lay a hand on you again.'

‘There was no way in hell she was going to move to the southern continent without all of her books.’

‘I will not be afraid.’

Throne of Glass
‘You could rattle the stars.’

‘Libraries are full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.’

‘Celaena…get up.’

'Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.'

'You could rattle the stars,' she whispered. 'You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most'

'My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name's Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I'd still beat you, no matter what you call me.'

'With each day he felt the barriers melting. He let them melt. Because of her genuine laugh, because he caught her one afternoon sleeping with her face in the middle of a book, because he knew that she would win.' 

'I'm not married,' he said softly, 'because I can't stomach the idea of marrying a woman inferior to me in mind and spirit. It would mean the death of my soul.' 

'Names are not important. It's what lies inside of you that matters.'

Crown of Midnight
‘Dance with me, Celaena.’

‘The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realized she was home.’

‘You remind me of what the world ought to be. What the world can be.’

'The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.'

'She smiled sadly. 'You'll figure it out. And when you do...' She shook her head, knowing she shouldn't say it, but doing it anyway. 'When you do, I want you to remember that it wouldn't have made any difference to me. It's never made any difference to me when it came to you. I’d still pick you. I’ll always pick you.'

'It was like coming home or being born or suddenly finding an entire half of herself that had been missing.'

'There had never been any line between them, only his own stupid fear and pride. Because from the moment he'd pulled her out of that mine in Endovier and she had set those eyes upon him, still fierce despite a year in hell, he'd been walking toward this, walking to her. So Chaol brushed away her tears, lifter her chin, and kissed her.'

Heir of Fire
'She would remake the world—remake it for them, those she had loved with this glorious, burning heart; a world so brilliant and prosperous that when she saw them again in the Afterworld, she would not be ashamed. She would build it for her people, who had survived this long, and who she would not abandon. She would make for them a kingdom such as there had never been, even if it took until her last breath… ‘Get up,’…Celaena reached across the earth between them and brushed her fingers against Aelin’s. And arose.'

‘She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow for no one.’

‘She was Aelin Ashryver Galanthynius—and she would not be afraid.’

''Because I am lost,"' she whispered onto the earth. "And I do not know the way.'

'Gods, he was brilliant. Cunning and wicked and brilliant.'

'And somewhere far and deep inside her, an ember began to glow.'

'It was the Song of Eyllwe. Then the Song of Fenharrow. And Melisande. And Terrasen. Each nation that had people in those labor camps. And finally, not for pomp or triumph, but to mourn what they had become, they played the Song of Adarlan.'

'Get up.'

'Tell them it's time to fight back.'

Have you checked out the original Book Pushin' Throne of Glass post?
How about Lit in Lyrics? My ToG playlist?
Stay tuned tomorrow for some *cough* male fashion...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I'm On Fire // Lit in Lyrics

If ever a book series required theme music, these books would be it. There are so many amazing songs that could be used to represent all the amazing that is Celeana Sardothien and the Throne of Glass series. Honestly, a lot of them have to do with Celaena herself because let's get real, she's a badass bitch so I picked a few of my favorites and one that Sarah herself tweeted about listening to while writing. I will tell you, that song was in my head the ENTIRE time I was re-reading the entire series and then reading Queen of Shadows. It really did enhance the epicness that is this series. You also might notice that some of these songs have a...theme to them if you will...a very hot, flaming theme...*wink*

Problem by Natasha Kills--Celeana is a badass bitch and I actually use this as my own personal theme song and I think it represents her life as an assassin pretty well. (YouTube)

"I’m your dream girl
This is real love
But you know what they say about me…
That girl is a problem."

Fight Song by Rachel Platten--I think of this when *things* are starting to happen and Celeana makes decisions about what she's going to stand up and fight for. Love love LOVE this song! (YouTube)

"Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me."

My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy--Thiiiiiis-song makes me wanna get up and fight somebody! It so hard and heavy and I can just see Celeana raising hell...and maybe a little fire, too...Seriously, I can't get enough of the fact this song says to 'light it up' it's so perfect if you've read the series, you know what I mean! (YouTube)

"Be careful making wishes in the dark
Can't be sure when they've hit their mark
And besides in the mean, mean time
I'm just dreaming of tearing you apart

My songs know what you did in the dark
So light 'em up, up, up
Light 'em up, up, up
Light 'em up, up, up
I'm on fire."

Broken by Lifehouse--Celeana goes through a lot go growth and grief and I think this song represents a lot of her struggle to come back from so much pain. She fights so hard to remain whole, to remain a human with a heart and it's tragic and beautiful and ah! I just love her! (YouTube)

"I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you."

I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift--Ok, I tried to find a song for each of the men in Celaena's life and while these lyrics are not perfect I think Dorian could easily sing to Celaena. (YouTube)

"Once upon a time a few mistakes ago
I was in your sights, you got me alone
You found me, you found me, you found me
I guess you didn't care, and I guess I liked that
And when I fell hard you took a step back
Without me, without me, without me

And she's long gone when she's next to me
And I realize the blame is on me

'Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
'Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now."

Come Back...Be Here by Taylor Swift--I also decided to find a T Swift song for each guy because let's get real, this bitch has a song for every kind of relationship trauma or event. I love this tragically beautiful song and I think this is perfect for Chaol and Celeana in Crown of Midnight. (YouTube)

"I told myself don't get attached,
But in my mind I play it back,
Spinning faster than the plane that took you...

And this is when the feeling sinks in,
I don't wanna miss you like this,
Come back... be here, come back... be here.
I guess you're in New York today,
I don't wanna need you this way,
Come back... be here, come back... be here."

I'm Only Me When I'm With You by Taylor Swift--These lyrics pretty much speak for themselves with regards to Celeana and so many ways. (YouTube)

"I'm only up when you're not down.
Don't wanna fly if you're still on the ground.
It's like no matter what I do.
Well you drive me crazy half the time;
the other half I'm only trying to let you know that what I feel is true.
And I'm only me when I'm with you."

Long Live by Taylor Swift--Celaena and Aedion are cousins who love each other fiercely. Who grew up protecting one another and this song is representative of not only their strong bond but also all the people Celaena holds close. (YouTube)

"I said remember this moment in the back of my mind
The time we stood with our shaking hands
The crowds in stands went wild
We were the Kings and the Queens
And they read off our names
The night you danced like you knew our lives
Would never be the same
You held your head like a hero
On a history book page
It was the end of a decade
But the start of an age."

Requiem for a Dream by Lux Aeterna--I have had this song on my iPod since I was in high school and danced competitively. This song gives me chills EVERY time I hear it and I kid you not, it's close to once a week. It is epic and powerful and so full of intensity that it oozes out of the speakers. It's also haunting and slightly desolate sounding which, let's be real, is a fit for more than one scene in this series. I can just see somebody lighting up somebody's ass while this song is playing in the background. (YouTube)

Barbossa is Hungry from The Pirates of the Carribbean Soundtrack--Sarah tweeted this song and said she listens to it while writing sometimes and it is EPIC! And so totally perfect to hear in your head while reading a fight scene or about them just being the badasses that they are. I downloaded SO many songs from this soundtrack after hearing this one and if you want to feel like an inspired badass...listen to this. (YouTube)

Do you have any songs you relate to this series?
Or are there songs that inspire you to think about a certain series while reading?
Don't forget to check out the original Book Pushin' post for the Throne of Glass series! 
Stay tuned tomorrow for my FAVORITE quotes from the series! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Claim You, Throne of Glass // Book Pushin'

It is no secret on this blog that I love the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. I've been wanting to do a Book Pushin' series on these amazing books for a long time but I just never felt I would be able to do it the justice it deserved. I recently finished Queen of Shadows and felt so incredibly inspired to try to put into words and images what I feel for this series. I STILL feel at a loss for words but I shall try to convey to you lovely reader, why you should read this series...

The Heroine
More than anything, the heroine of this tale will change you. She will inspire you and make you wish you had a revolution to join. She is complex and flawed, as are we all. She makes brilliant moves and questionable decisions but that's what makes me love her so much more. None of us are perfect and the growth that Celeana goes through and the growing pains she endures are painful but necessary. We all go through difficult times and I think Celeana represents the strength and pain and growth each of us have inside. She's brilliant. I mean, an absolutely brilliant young woman. She loves to read and every person that is reading the book can relate to. And this bitch is fierce. Like, I want to be Celeana Sardothien when I grow up. She is hands down, the baddest bitch I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. She has a perfect juxtaposition of strength and vulnerability. She is fiercely loyal to those she loves but if you cross her...ooooh, you better watch your back because she will unleash her rage with a vengeance. It's something I can personally relate to, these polarizing traits and, again, it makes me love her that much more. 

The Story
This story is...something special. I've said it in previous reviews that these books are so much more than one singular element. They are about doing the right thing, growing up, making tough choices, fighting for freedom, falling in love, grief, magic, mystery, intrigue, and figuring out what you stand for. What do you stand up and fight for? There are actually no words that I can use to be able to accurately convey the beauty and inspiration that are between the pages of these novels. This world is dark and the leader is evil and the struggle is real. The struggle to survive in this world where magic has been obliterated, slave camps are real, and every surrounding nation has been wiped out by one king is desperate. Nobody is safe and trying to fight back is usually hopeless. While the story is not complete yet I can tell you that where it goes is all things epic and beautiful.

The Characters
While I flailed above about our main girl Celaena, all the other characters are just as amazing but in different ways. They are all complex, unique, and deeply layered. There are few series I can name where I love every single character of a series with my whole heart and this is one of them. I am seriously invested in every single character that Maas introduces us to in her epic fantasy. There is a lot of buzz surrounding the multiple--yes, I said multiple--hot men in this book and where Celaena's heart truly lies and while this is an important aspect of anybody's life, I have no team except Team Celaena. Why? Because this story is so well-written and these characters are such beautiful people that I am just excited to see what happens next. I can see Celeana ending up with any one of these worthy males and I know who she ends up with is who she is supposed to be with. This is an epic adventure with characters so incredible that I'm just content to see where the story goes and what our characters do matter what happens. 

The Romance
By Queen of Shadows, there are several different speculations about the man who will win Celaena's heart. While these books' themes range from oppression and slavery to rebellions and freedom fighting, I'm not gonna lie and tell you that your heart will not swoon because...oh, my gods it will SWOON! Many times. Many, many times. Maas has an amazing balance of swooning and inspiring moments. She perfects the art of making you want to stand up and fight for something bigger than yourself and at another moment be fully invested and thinking only of sexytimes. The men of Throne of Glass are all incredibly different. From beautiful princes to immortal warriors to gruff Captain of the Guards to arrogant generals, your heart will sing for one, some or all of them. I personally root for all of them at different times, in different moments, in their moments. I love them all and stay tuned for my fantasy cast of the won't want to miss it. 

The Inspiration
As I said above, this story is inspiring. The fight to take down a brutal and evil dictator who is unleashing Hell on Erilea makes me want to join the rebel forces. I cannot begin to be able to eloquently convey my soul deep love for these books and its story because it is on another level. My reading experience with these books is something truly special. My emotional range includes ugly crying, legitimate whopping and fist pumping, seething with rage, silent tears, grinning like an idiot, and sighing with the swoon. There are moments of agony and pain but there are also moments of light and hope. The hope is threaded through so many characters who have come from desolate situations and you root for them. You root for them to overcome their past struggles and pains and failures to rise up from the ashes and live in a world without brutality or fear. There is hope for a better world in these books...and the journey is everything you can imagine and more.

Have I convinced you to read?!
Are you excited to start?!
Check out my previous reviews of the series for further pushing!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Long Live The Queen

"She's an emotional train wreck,
but fuck she's a beautiful disaster."
--Dawn Ius, Anne & Henry

Genre: YA Contemporary, Re-Telling
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Goodreads Description

In this wonderfully creative retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.
Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.

Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.
I’m not even sure where to begin because I have so many feelings about this book that this will more than likely be an outpouring of flails and me begin a spaz all over the place. Ok, let's try and break this down...

First of all, I need to state the obvious and say I loved this book. From the first few pages I knew I lied to myself at 9 o’clock at night when I told myself I would just “start” the book before bed knowing full well I would probably not sleep until I finished it. I was nervous to start it, I'm not going to lie, because I love Anne Boleyn so incredibly most likely to an unhealthy level because she is just SO inspiring and I had NO idea how this was going to be changed to make her story modern…and it BLEW me away. Every piece of the plot was so perfect and in parallel to the real story that I think I was slack-jawed through most of my reading experience.

Call me an idiot, but I really had no idea how this story was going to play out in modern day and the way it was done was so relevant to today AND 100% representative of her true story. I'm not about to go crazy here--even though I want to--and dissect how and why part of the plot were perfectly representative because ain't nobody got time for that. I also don't want to start a conflict between people who didn't enjoy it. I've seen my fair share of reviews criticizing how this story doesn't relate to the true story at all...and IF I were to make a rebuttal to that all I'll say is I would maybe read a few more books and not rely on Hollywood's version of The Tudors as your sources. I mean, that's what I would say if I were going to go there...which of course, I'm not...

So where to begin? Let's start with the major players. Henry. Oh, Henry. And oh, Dawn. The best part of reading this version of this historic and epic story was getting to fall in love with Henry right along with Anne. I was actually rooting for Henry for quote awhile while I was reading! He is charming, a little dorky, and enthralled with Anne. The attention he gives her makes her feel like she's finally alive and waking up after being unhappy for so long. They share an extremely passionate and deep connection, both in this story and in history. People forget how long Henry pursued Anne. She wasn't a fling or a sudden obsession. He courted her for YEARS....years, people. Anne's story is tragic and her ending horrific but before Henry went bats hit there was a lot of love there. And love makes you do crazy things but...I digress...

Because of that love though, there was a small part of me that was hoping against hope that just maaaaaaybe things would be different this time. I do that with all my Tudor historical fiction though. No joke, every book I read from that time, it doesn’t matter that I know what will happen, there’s always that small hope that things will end up different than what history gave us…I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say? 

But I loved that the book made me feel like I wanted to root for Henry because that is true to history as well, like I said above with all the love they did share at one time. I wanted him to defy his friends and family and choose the life HE wanted rather than the life that was put out before him. I don’t know if you ever watched America’s Next Top Model, but there’s an episode where Tyra Banks yells at a contestant, ‘I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!” That’s what I felt about Henry  and when I could see him being manipulated back into the fold, I wanted him to be his own person and not listen to his awful friends and family. But alas, he’s still a right bastard today as he was then.

But again, I digress a little and let's get to the main event. Let me talk about my girl, Anne...

I am pretty sure I fell in love with Anne in the second chapter--or was it the third?--when we find out she has a tongue piercing. Amazing. She was all things kickass and gave zero fucks. She refuses to cower to other, she stands up for herself, she puts assholes in their place, but she's also looking for affection and acceptance. I love, love, LOVED how she was this beautiful juxtaposition of strength yet vulnerability. She refused to be seen as weak but at her core she just wanted to be loved and accepted and how this was shown tore at my heart strings. The emotions she goes through and the manipulation she is subjected to broke my fucking heart. The trials (literal) and tribulations she goes through felt so poignant and I was able to relate to her feelings so acutely I could feel it in my chest. I just fell in love with her story and her struggle and my heart was aching towards the end. 

I know I touched on this briefly above but I have to say again that the interpretation of making Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's story relevant to a modern YA retelling was brilliant. Every piece of the puzzle fell into place and made total sense to today's issues and teenage problems. I was blown away by how this tale of politics and religious dissent and beheadings 550 odd years ago was molded into modern and fresh yet totally familiar. I loved and dreaded every second of this tragic story but it was everything I was hoping for and more. And as always...Anne Boleyn Is My Homegirl. 
If you love Anne Boleyn, amazing storytelling, and poignant emotional tales...this book's for you.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Know I Want It

"We don't get all better;
we don't fix everything that's broken.
We just learn how to work around the broken bits.
How to do the best we can with what we have, and who we are."
--Lilah Pace, Begging For It

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Erotica
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Previous Books in Series: Asking For It
Goodreads Description

The provocative author of Asking for It once again explores the dark side of erotic obsession, and the secrets that make it as dangerous as it is irresistible.

Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...
As you may or may not know, I read and fell in love with Lilah Pace's Asking For It a few months ago. When Begging For It showed up in my mailbox, I ACTUALLY screamed out loud. That is how excited I was. I honestly didn't know what to expect from Begging For It, it's always a little nerve-wracking when the next book comes out but this book, once again, took me by surprise.

Begging For It has a different feel than Asking For It but in the best way. The games that Jonah and Vivienne play that once bound them together is the component that now holds them apart. While there are a lot of revelations and dramatic situations because of their equally dysfunctional and horrible families, what stuck out most to me was the communication. These two people struggle with a very deeply rooted issue that cannot be spoken to many people for fear of ostracization but this was not the case between the two of them. I was so impressed with who open their lines of communication were, even when what they had to say to one another was painful and hurtful. When you also add in the mystery of a serial rapist running amok in Austin, we get suspense as well as honest conversation. Sidenote: I loved this element of the Stalker. It brought conflict in just the right way and opened our characters up to conversation and confrontation with decades old feuds.

Now that's not to say that all is rainbows and butterflies in fantasy land, their relationship was a constant push and pull, give and take of figuring out their own boundaries while struggling with their very real and deep feelings for one another. Pace builds these characters from the outside in and we know a lot about them and because of that, all their interactions and how their relationship progress and falters felt very organic and real to me. Their lives and pasts are not easy but they do the best they can and overcome so much. It never ceased to amaze me how truly awful their families, especially Vivienne if you can believe it, can be. But we do get a peep into the love the siblings of Jonah share for one another. This was another surprise while reading that I just loved. We got to see a new side of him that we most definitely weren't privy to before.

And while I love Jonah, more than words could say, Vivienne is a light in the darkness she doesn't believe she can ever escape. She is a truly phenomenal and complex characters. What I love about Vivienne is that her strength is a quiet one and I don't even think she knows she has it. She is a great friend, a thoughtful person, and a passionate woman. Her ability to be so straightforward with Jonah when discussing their relationship and sexual needs is refreshing. To see a woman really own her sexuality, while also being afraid of her desires to an extent, is really powerful. I know that she feels disgusted by herself at some points but it was honest and I loved the honesty.

Vivienne may objectively be my favorite but the love I felt for these characters was a subtle burn into full-fledged obsession. I found myself reading Begging For It and not wanting to stop or for it to end. I've come to really know and love Vivenne and Jonah and the people she surrounds herself with and I was not disappointed with how this second book at all. These books are so much more than dark sexual fantasy and 'depraved' content, they are about strength and owning yourself and not letting anybody force you to do anything. 
Backstage Pass
If you love complex characters, honesty, and amazing characterization...this book's for you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Too Much Pride, Too Much Prejudice

GenreAdult Contemporary, Re-Telling
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 336
Publication Date: August 25th, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Goodreads Description

Kim and Harry are total opposites who happen to have the same favorite people in the world: Kim’s older sister, Eva, and her young son, Otis. Kim has never seen what her free-spirited big sister sees in a stuck-up banker like Harry and has spent her childhood trying to keep him out (must he always drive the most ostentatious cars and insist on charming everyone he meets?), while Harry’s favorite occupation is provoking Kim.

Both Harry and Kim are too stuck in their prejudices to care about what’s really going on beneath the surface of each other’s lives. They’ll never understand each other—until the worst of all tragedy strikes. Faced with the possibilities of losing the person they both love most, long-buried secrets come to a head in ways that will change both Harry and Kim forever.

As in her “hilarious, poignant, and profound” (Daily Mail) novel For Once in My Life, Marianne Kavanagh tackles the bonds of family, friendship, and love through sophisticated storytelling. Don’t Get Me Wrong is a witty and heartwarming book that will charm readers everywhere.
When I saw this book on NetGalley I was super excited to see it was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. The wonderful people at Atria sent me a review copy but unfortunately the book just didn't work for me.

The Writing
The pacing of this book just felt off and all over the place to me. It's divided up into years starting with 2015 and then highlighting events of certain years from 2006 to present day. This didn't work for me. There are jarring POV switches between Kim and Harry. There are also out of nowhere small vignette type paragraphs from Kim's friend Izzie that made no sense to the overall plot. There felt like there was zero flow not only between years but within the years as well. In fact, the whole thing felt like loosely strung together anecdotes from Kim and Harry's lives. It didn't ebb. It didn't flow. It was like one big run on sentence that I just didn't like. I felt disconnected from the story and characters and found myself skimming once I was about halfway through. We also jump multiple years at one point with a few gracious sentences given to us as what's been going on for the past 3 years. It was extremely odd and didn't help me feel connected to these characters whatsoever.

The Characters
I know this was based on Pride and Prejudice so I knew loosely what to expect however I didn't expect to dislike the main heroine quite so much. I'm not trying to be mean but to put it bluntly...Kim was a bitch. A huge bitch. And not a redeeming or fun one. She was out of control mean to Harry all the time. And while we get the sense, if you know the background story of P&P, that he has liked her all along I have no idea why. I didn't get a sense of what draws him to her at all and we still don't get an explanation as the end except the elusive, why does anyone know why we fall in love with certain people. Excuse me, but I don't live in a manic pixie dream world and you shouldn't either Mr thirty something grown man. There were zero positive qualities he could have gleaned from his interactions with Kim and she was over the top mean to him. Not snarky. Not sassy. Not cute. MEAN. It made me uncomfortable as it did ALL the people around them in all the group situations they were in when she would yell at him in front of multiple people. Rude.

Harry was okay. His one fault in my eyes was loving Kim. He was a good person. Kind and thoughtful about others. He was an amazing friend to Eva and had so many amazing qualities about him that he never saw in himself. But he loved Kim and took her abuse for nothing for years and I just didn't get it.

The Communication
Oh, here's another fault of Harry's I forgot. He's a grown man that can't tell a girl how he feels. Yes, I understand the homage to P&P but it's believable for men not to not only not tell women their feelings but to not even talk with women unless sanctioned by chaperones and the like. In 2015? Life is not so sheltered. I get the fear of rejection but this went on almost a decade. Man up, bro. I'm over this compete lack of communication. It's not cute. It's not endearing. Now shits just getting weird. I can empathize with trying to make it a parallel to P&P but this just didn't work at all. It didn't make sense for the overall plot and to add insult to injury a huge tragedy happens that gets brushed over, isn't developed, and then is just...over. It was too much emotion with so little foundation to the tragic situation. Over it.

Denied at the Door
If you like Pride and Prejudice....stay away from this book.