Roseblood by A.G. Howard

28818314Title: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard

Publisher: Amulet Books
Published Date: January 10, 2017

Buy Link: http://a.co/40XXFxw

Blurb: In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

My Review:  Roseblood was an unexpected surprise in January’s Owlcrate.  I mean, they give you hints about what you’ll be getting and I knew it was going to be a classic retelling, but from some of the teasers I was thinking it would be a ‘classic retelling’ in the vein of Pride and Prejudice or something of that nature.  I never in a million years would have guessed that it was going to be a Phantom of the Opera retelling!!!  I hadn’t even imagined one existed….now I’m wondering about others.

First, let me tell you, I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera…and it is by far my favorite musical ever.  I love everything about it.  And like the rest of the world, I was taken by the Phantom.  I love the music.  I own the movie version with Gerard Butler (and will be watching it again sometime soon).  And I truly loved being surprised by this book!

What I Loved:  This book wasn’t so much a re-telling as it was a world built off the original story.  I loved the pace set by this book.  I felt like the elements of the whole story were revealed perfectly, and it flowed quite nicely.  The setting, the characters, the story, all of it kept me captivated.  There were no mention of the actual musical’s songs or dances, the book still brought to memory my theater experience.  I enjoyed that.  As I said, this wasn’t a re-telling exactly, but there were scenes included that well-enough reflect the story we all know.

The romance between Rune and Thorn was so sweet and beautiful.  There are underlying layers to their relationship, things that in real life (or at least ME in real life)  would have had a hard time just simply accepting; Rune does accept easily, however the pacing of the relationship was still just right.  And without a touch of ‘unsavory events’ this couple still made my heart beat faster and me sigh with that contentment you get when reading about first love.

Not So Much:  There were a few holes in my opinion.  Or maybe not holes, but places where at first Rune was completely oblivious about things, and then suddenly she is completely in the know using terminology that she shouldn’t quite understand (as far as I could tell).  I don’t know if I missed something while reading, or if it was supposed to be in those gap-times where the characters do spend time together but it’s not written in the book in detail…however I did think, ‘wait…how did she know that, or come to that?’

The Verdict:  I loved this book!  There’s not much more to it than that.  It’s a clean read, I would let my 11 year old daughter read it if she wanted to.  (And she would LOOVE Diablo, the opera cat, if she did).

Obsidian – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian (A Lux Novel – Book 1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610078

Blurb (From Goodreads): 
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My Review:

Pay attention book bloggers – this one goes out to you! Last week I did a quick search on my WordPress app on Book Reviews, just to see what would pop up. I can’t tell you the blogger who did it, but I ran across a review for Obsidian and knew that I had that book for kindle, so I stopped to read the review. This review wasn’t a 5 star all praise this book in all its ways, it revealed some thing that the reader didn’t care for, but she gushed about Daemon and a few other aspects of the book. As a result, I searched for it in my library (because who KNOWs when I bought it, but it was pretty buried in my list) and started reading it.

Note – I don’t usually read reviews…but I might start after this. I just really hate spoilers, I like to be surprised by stuff…and some bloggers have a difficult time with this. I read a review during this same search that basically spoiled an entire book (that I had already read) with her discussing what she liked/disliked about every part of the book. I have moments when I want to do this too..and I’m starting to wonder if we should call these blog posts “Book Discussions” rather than “Book Reviews” to alert the reader?! Anyway.

What I Loved: So, alien books aren’t actually my ‘thing,’ I’m not sure why, since in the last few years I’ve read a few good ones, but they just aren’t the first books that I tend to grab first. But I did really enjoy this take on Aliens. I didn’t fully understand what they could do and why – well, I vaguely understood why I guess – but I also just know it’s a book and it doesn’t have to make complete sense to me. The back-story of how they came to exist on earth and what had been established was flushed out to a satisfactory degree for me. All of the fight scenes were enjoyable to read, I didn’t get lost in the movements and what was actually happening, which can happen sometimes when there is a battle going on.

I totally loved Daemon and Katy’s back and forth constant battering of each other. It was some really good heat between the two of them.  The fact that they were both fighting attraction kind of helped dial up the heat quite a bit.  Some of my favorite scenes where the ones where Daemon was displaying jealous.  And w-o-w, the kiss scene.

Not So Much: Despite that the back story and the fight scenes were well done, I did feel like the overall story had some holes in it. At some points it felt like the entire town was alien, and at other points it felt like a select few were, and the people of the town knew they were alien or at least ‘other.’ At other times it seemed like their secret was completely locked down and humans put off the whole thing as “this town is weird.” I kind of felt like the lines were blurred a bit on the alien powers also, mostly when it came to the trace, or mark that could be left on humans. I kind of felt like they knew the logistics of it, and then at some point it was like – “hey, let’s try this.” In fact – as far as the instance I’m referring too, I kind of felt like it was put there so the scene would happen – and I would NEVER want that scene removed, but the reasoning behind it seemed a bit under-processed.

Katy is so dense. I loved her personality for the most part, but how many times does one have to refer to “your kind” or call you “human” before you really get it, and not have to have it spelled out to you? She doesn’t want to believe anything, including that Daemon isn’t quite as uncaring as he seems half the time. Read between the lines! It’s only frustrating because she is only like this to drag this storyline and hot/cold heat between the characters on for as long as possible – she is a strong character otherwise. The hot/cold stuff could probably be done without her playing dumb about it.

The Verdict:    
I’m completely engrossed in this series, and just bought book 2. I want to know what happens, and I do want a little bit more Katy/Daemon heat in my life. My hope is that the story and writing just gets better as we go through the books. The book is okay for older teenagers, there is cussing. Kissing and a little bit of touching that isn’t overly descriptive.
(This Review has been cross posted from http://www.iloves2read.blogspot.com)

The 5 Stages of Falling in Love

Title: The Five Stages of Falling in Love
Author: Rachel Higginson
Genre:  Adult Romance
Publisher:  Indie Book

Blurb (from Goodreads): 

Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.

My Review:
The fact that I own this book is a true testament of the power of social media to convince us to purchase a book.  This is one of those books that popped up in my news feed over and over again with people raving about it’s greatness.  I saw the cover enough that I became intrigued more and more, despite it’s topic matter.
Here’s the thing, people.  I don’t do a lot of “real life” in my books.  Oh, I love books about love and life and I absolutely love a good “coming of age” teenage book where the protagonist must learn to live with the cards they are dealt.  But I have very adamantly steered clear of The Fault in their Stars because John Green has ripped my heart out before.  I won’t read anything by Nicholas Sparks until I can get confirmation that the book isn’t going to make me cry my eyes out.  I have to deal with the tears of real life, so I don’t really seek them out in book life.
I acknowledge that these are sometimes the most excellent of books usually.  I mean, I innocently grabbed up a Jodi Picoult book a while back, and she is an extremely talented author.  All the way up until she tore the skin from my body in grief.  I just don’t seek these books out on purpose.
 
What I Loved:
This is hard.  Too hard.  This book was very good of walking us through all of the stages of Liz’s emotions, while at the same time I hated it.  Rachel Higginson is an excellent writer.  I swear to you, she has taken my relationship with my husband and almost our origins and put them on paper…then wrote the scenario I hope never, ever happens.  Or at least waits until we are both 90 years old.  Do you know how hard it was to read about Liz’s adoration for Grady, how she has eyes only for him..the feel of his arms around her and the fact that she falls in love with him more every day, year – then her reality.  This book made me cry.
But I love the healing, the hope of this book.  I loved Liz’s children, and seeing them all work through this grief process together.  I LOVED Ben, and his patience.  Gosh, Liz’s interactions with her mother-in-law. It was all on point, true to what would it would probably it would look like for me, and made such a great story.
Not So Much:
This.Book.Made.Me.Cry!
I think I was too engrossed in the story to really come up with any constructive criticism.  This is, again, another fairly linear book – no a lot of action, or no sharp climax.  Just a pretty gradual line to reach the end of the book…however, in this kind of book I’m not sure I would like a lot of drama/action.  I’m not sure I could make it.
The Verdict:        
I’ll tell you the truth, if this book were to be a movie, I probably won’t watch it.  And I’m sorry to say this, Ms. Rachel Higginson, but I probably won’t willingly re-read this book either.  But don’t let that be a hindrance to anyone.  This book is excellently written, and worth the tears to get to the end.  This book is an adult book and deals with adult situations.  There is an emotionally based sex scene – no graphic details.