Wicked Beast (Wicked Ever After, #2) by Nazarea Andrews @InkslingerPR and @NazareaAndrews

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: InkSlinger PR

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James “Beast” Lutz isn’t like his friends.
He doesn’t crave control the way Charm and Mal do, and he doesn’t play the games Wolf thrives on.
He lives on his knees, all of his strength bent to the will of his Domme.
He’s never regretted that, until now.
Now, when he’s trapped in an arrangement serving a Domme who can’t keep a sub.
Now, when he’s not sure how to trust a woman wrapped in mystery and less sure he wants to.
But the more he gets to know the Domme everyone knows as Beauty, the more Beast realizes everything he thought he knew was wrong.
My knees ache, my back stings from the cane. And then she kisses me, and it’s delicate. It’s as soft as she has ever been with me, all gentle pressure and the tentative nip of teeth. It drags a groan from me and I want to reach for her.
And it terrifies me.

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About Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. Stop by her twitter (@NazareaAndrews) and tell her what fantastic book she should read next.

Pumpkin: A CinderMama Story by Ines Johnson

Pumpkin: A CinderMama Story by Ines JohnsonSeries: Cindermama #1
on March 10th 2015
Pages: 266
Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares and her son Seth are dropping off Pumpkin’s s cousin pick up their welfare funds when they run into Armand “Manny” Charmayne, who has a voter’s registration table there. Immediately Pumpkin is mesmerized by Manny’s eyes but her head knows there is no way a guy like Manny could be with her. They come from different sides of the track and she learned the hard way that fairy tale romances are just fantasy.

After an exchange of social views, Manny invited Pumpkin to work on his mayoral campaign and thus began this Cinderella style fairy tale romance.

I liked this book but I didn’t love it. I will admit that the names in the beginning were jarring. LaRon, LaRico, LaTom etc. In the beginning, I thought this book was going to be super ghetto and I was cringing. But the message ended up not being about the hood but about finding happiness after getting kicked in the teeth! So it eventually blended in with the author’s message.
Pumpkin was a woman who got trained in school of the hard knock life and Pumpkin only depend on herself. She had a very myopic view of those who used social welfare programs like it only created dependence. She was a tad judgmental in that regard but her cousins were poor representatives of responsible citizen. Manny took me a while to like because he was just too perfect. But his optimistic personality turned out to be perfect for Pumpkin’s cynicism.

What I loved about Pumpkin was how she related to her son as it was honest and pure. The supporting cast in this book added flavor but I felt the main characters could have been developed. The writing was flowed and it was a quick read. It just lacked emotional depth for me and so the story was a little flat. I do love happily ever after and this fairytale retelling had it. I also the little theme of love and magic thrown in as Manny’s family could see the aura of their true love. But fated loves take away from the leap of faith aspect since Manny was assured that this person was the one. I think I would have imagined Manny taking a blind leap of faith more. This book was okay for my first time reading this author. I will check out more from the author in the future.

*Special thanks to Patchwork Press – Cooperative via Netgalley for the reading copy, which was given in exchange for an honest review.

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oramon October 1, 2014
Pages: 322 pages
AmazonNarrator: Kirsten Leigh
What would you do if your anonymous Internet best friend turned out to be Hollywood’s hottest celebrity?

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

This book was all that. It was well written, with great characters. I appreciate that the characters were not ALL good or all bad, they were human with different emotions.

I think I took to Ella immediately because she was a lover of books and a blogger. That made me smile immediately. I could picture her hoarding ARCs and the whole interaction online. It made me think of goodreads.

Ella is so impressive as was Cinder (Brian Oliver). I really empathized wit Ella and what she had been through. I was mad at her father for a while, but I saw there was genuine effort to be better. The sisters were trying even though some of the comments were biting. Ella was highly sensitive, understandably so, so I could see where her step sister Juliet and step mother Jennifer were coming from.

I couldn’t stop listening to this book as I was waiting for Ella to heal emotionally and physically. I wanted her to find that joy of life again. This book was truly a joy because the writing was so visceral and I was just entranced with the story. This is the best cinderella YA retellings I’ve read. I will definitely check out more work by this author

Of Beauty and Beast by Stacey Jay

Of Beauty and Beast by Stacey Jayon 2013
Pages: 391
AmazonNarrator: Julia Whelan
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret... In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city's vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds. Isra wants to help the city's Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan's enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe. As secrets are revealed and Isra's sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.From the Hardcover edition.

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings and this book cover just called to me. The actual story didn’t move me as much as I had hoped.

In this story, we have Princess Isra who has been promised to Bo while beastly Gem grows to love Isra. This book wasn’t as clear cut as the original fairy tale, so it took me a while to warm to the story. In this story, Isra was a mix between Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Belle. She was a princess locked up in tower and lacking a true understanding of the world outside.

Bo is the son of the King’s advisor and I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked him or not. Either way, He was one of the few who truly had the Kingdom’s interest at heart. Bo was beastly because he had scars, which was a sign that he was tainted and thus cursed.

Princess Isra was a ruler with no real authority since Bo’s father had effectively made her a captive and his puppet in his own game of thrones. She was blind and she lacked power to make any decisions. She did get stronger and gain more insight as the story went along but progress was slow.

Gem was sent as a sacrificial lamb to the kingdom with a secret purpose to liberate his people, the scared and unwanted ones from underneath the thumb of Yuan. It took time for trust to build between Gem and Isra as they were both captives of a sort. Once they started spending time together, Gem encouraged Isra to be the queen that could actually make change. He encouraged her to teach people to see what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside. But Isra lacked strength and support for most of the story.

I didn’t really enjoy this book but I am glad that Bo and Isra got to be together in the end. It just took a long time to develop and the characters were not enjoyable. It was a slow developing story and it just didn’t hit that stride for me. I didn’t get the sense of justice that I needed to appreciate the suffering that the unwanted citizens had to deal with. I don’t know if I would recommend this book to anyone unless I knew they really enjoyed this type of YA fantasy.

**Special thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook, which was given in exchange for an honest review.