Important Notice:
Due to time constraints, I am not accepting any review requests. Thank you for your understanding.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Blog Tour Book Review: Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell

Author: Courtney Peppernell
Series: N/A
Audience: +16
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: 04 Oct 2016
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: The Royal Polar Bear Reads
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Pillow Thoughts is a collection of poetry and prose about heartbreak, love and raw emotions.
It is divided into sections to read when you feel you need them most.
Make a cup of tea and let yourself feel.

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from The Royal Polar Bear Reads in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or affect the content of my review in any way.

I've never had a great relationship with poetry. As I told Rafael when he first approached me for this blog tour, I like my prose as sappy, and as happy as it can get, and my poetry as dark as possible. I can't explain it, but I always found it difficult to interpret sweet, happy poetry. So I went into reading this book with apprehension. I was a tad scared, especially since I haven't read a poem since high school.

I am pretty sure I was scared for nothing. The best part is that this book doesn't have just straight-up poetry, there are some parts that read almost like a story, like a journal entry. That's probably one of the most fascinating thing about this book, is that I never stopped to think "Oh, I'm reading poetry", but it felt more like letters in some way. Also, some of the poems felt really personal, like the author was sharing a piece of herself that no one before has seen.

I like that the book was divided in sections, for the times you're sad, or in love, or lonely etc. I enjoyed reading the transition between tones in the poems, and I liked how, in some ways, you could kinda tell when a new chapter was getting near by the tone of the poems.

Some poems managed to move me quite a bit. I won't admit to crying, but I was moved. I also loved the fact that, reading this book, I never felt forced to think of a certain type of "loved one", which is another reason why I stayed away from poetry. The majority of the poems in Pillow Thoughts allow the reader to pick in a way how to interpret them, and you can think that the speaker is talking about a very good friend, or maybe even a sibling, not just a lover. Or at least that's how I felt, which made me love the book more.

I can't not talk about those illustrations! Those were the cutest jellyfish I've ever seen, and I love how they seemed to be a part of the whole book. This could also be due to the very first poem, that personifies this creature, giving it a name, You. So it's not that big of a stretch to think of those illustrations as regular characters, that seem to emphasize certain aspects of the poems.

The absolute best part of this book? The fact that, when you think about it, the message is so simple, and yet something we all need to hear from time to time. We all need to hear that we're beautiful, we all need to hear that someone out there loves us for who we are, we all need to hear that we can heal from past hurts. I feel like that is the beauty of this book, that it manages to make you hear that message. And it's in a very sneaky way, because by making sure the reader knows about You the jellyfish, it makes the message a bit easier to hear, than if the speaker hadn't done that.

I went into reading this book with skepticism and fear, being guided by my previous experience with poetry. I don't think I've ever been this wrong or this pleasantly surprised by a book. If you love poetry, or even if you want to try out something new, you should definitely read this book.

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Courtney Peppernell is a best-selling LGBTQ author from Sydney, Australia. Courtney has been writing her whole life and focuses on Young Adult novels and Poetry Collections. Keeping Long Island is her third title release, and the first under her new book brand, Pepper Books.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Obsessed With Covers #39: The Valiant, Ash and Quill, Traitor To The Throne

Y'all know how much I love a pretty cover. I think about...40% of the books that end up on my shelves (be they physical or digital) do so because of the covers. Call me shallow but you have to admit that a pretty, shiny cover will catch your eye faster than a dull, boring one. Two, simple rules that I'll follow:

  • 1, 2 or 3 (no more than 3, though) covers per week;
  • books should be new-ish; no more than 2 years old.
Oh, before I share the covers that made me drool or want to stare at them for hours and hours, I have to say something. This is a semi-original idea. Why semi? Because almost every book blogger has something similar. The only thing I came up with was the title. If by any chance there's another blogger with a similar feature with the same title, I assure you I'm not stealing your idea. I'm just THAT bad with titles. Believe me, I'd love to be smarter and have a witty name for this feature, but I don't. So, no copyright infringement/theft/steal or anything of the sort was desired. All I can say is sorry :P


Hey there everyone! Before I share some new-ish, cool, pretty covers, I have a question for you. In your honest opinion, is there such a thing as "cover-lust slump"? Like can you get tired of pretty covers? Not tired, maybe tired is the wrong word. Indifferent? I've had this... thing over the past few weeks, where I just didn't notice pretty covers anymore. Sure, I notice them, but it takes a while for me to notice them, and I wonder why. I wonder if this is in any way related to bookstagram. Because my feed is constantly full of pretty covers, and I wonder if somehow that makes me immune to noticing them, as opposed to before, when I didn't get to see those pretty, gorgeous cover arts every day, therefore making them more noticeable. Am I just weird or is this a thing you noticed? 

Anyway, moving on to the pretty covers.

I grew up in the 90s, which, in case you're wondering, means tons of Xena, The Warrior Princess marathons. So there's no way for me to think of anything other than Xena when looking at this cover. Based only on the blurb, Fallon makes me thing of a mashup between young, villanous Xena and innocent Gabrielle, with a sprinkling of whichever amazon warrior was your favorite from that show. I'm really excited for this book, and I have to say, my expectations are super high. I also like how the model seems so in control and badass, and so threatening, even though her sword is on the ground, and she has just what looks like a knife or a tiny sword to fight with, and no shield, no other weapons, not even proper armor. I would have wanted for her to not have that model-ish pose with her feet, but the cover is still amazing. And I love the crowd in the background, they look so still, they look like they're either turned to stone, or they're just waiting for something great to happen.

Each new cover added to The Great Library series is amazing, but this one might be my favorite one. I love how tragic it looks, how gloomy it all seems based on just this cover art. It kinda makes me feel like not only is The Great Library, and the entire Library system at risk, but also the lives of Jess and his friends. I still have to read the second book, but I am intrigued to see what happens now with the characters, as well as with the Library. 

My first ever adventure video game I ever played, again back in the 90s, with the 2D graphics and strange music, was Prince Of Persia. I still can't remember how to make those high jumps and keep from falling into the swords, but that's another story. That's what I think of when I see this cover. A female version of that game, and I would have wanted to have that growing up. I adore this cover, to be honest. I know I was in love with the original cover art for the first book in the series, but the new cover art is even more gorgeous. There's something so incredible about it, between the colors, the movement, the model, the little embellishment underneath the title, everything. It's kind of like a still from a movie, and I desperately want to watch/read that movie. 

What about you? Did you see any covers that caught your eyes lately? What about my weird introduction to this post? Do you think there's such a thing as "cover-lust slump"?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review: Blood Red Kiss by Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, Gena Showalter

Author: Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, Gena Showalter
Series: Immortals After Dark #1, MoonBound Clan Vampires #2.5, Otherworld Assassin #2.5
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: September 20th 2016
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Good things always come in threes—and this paranormal romance anthology featuring steamy stories from New York Times bestselling authors Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, and Gena Showalter is no exception!

Get ready for a collection chock full of vamps, demons, aliens, and plenty of sizzle!

In Kresley Cole’s celebrated story “The Warlord Wants Forever,” the first in her scorching Immortals After Dark series, vampire warlord Nikolai Wroth will stop at nothing to claim his Bride, the one woman who can make his heart beat again. But can beautiful Myst the Coveted accept an enemy vampire as her own?

Tehya has spent the last twelve years as an accidental wolf, but is truly a vampire at heart. When she gets injured, Lobo sneaks her inside MoonBound’s headquarters and nurses her back to health…with potentially deadly consequences. Desire collides with danger in “Forsaken by Night,” a MoonBound Clan novella from Larissa Ione!

In Gena Showalter’s Otherworld Assassins novella, Dark Swan, Lilica Swan isn’t quite human or otherworlder; she is the best—and worst—of both. She is willing to do whatever proves necessary to save her sister from the seductive and deadly Alien Investigation and Removal agent, Dallas Gutierrez, even bond her life to his…effectively wedding him. But without consummation, the bond will fade. Can Dallas resist his insatiable desire for the powerful beauty? Or will she lead to his ultimate downfall?

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Pocket Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating of the book or the content of this review in any way.

A few years ago, before I started book blogging, I discovered the world of paranormal romance. Around that time, I fell in love with Ione's demons and Cole's valkyries. Then last year I stumbled across Showalter's alien hunters. Fast forward a few months, and then Blood Red Kiss is a thing, putting three of my favorite authors into one book. Can you say heaven?

As someone already familiar with the world of the Immortals, I knew Nikolai and Myst's story. I've already read it, and I vaguely remembered some of the details, but I was nevertheless excited about reading it. Myst is a wonderful character, and it was interesting to read about her now, a few years after being introduced to her, and see how the way I saw her changed from the first time I read it. And of course I see her differently. I was able to focus on her flaws, and I think her pride might be the biggest one. She's proud, but she's also the most loyal person, because she'd be willing to do anything for those she loves. And Nikolai is still intriguing, he's still mysterious, but he's also a tad vengeful. They shouldn't fit together as well as they do, but I still get a funny feeling when I read about them saying "I love you" to each other. And then there are the rest of the Valkyries, which are, as usual, a riot to read about. I'm planning on doing a reread of this series, tp see if there are any new stuff to be discovered about Nix, try to catch a glimpse of my love, Lothair, and generally reacquaint myself with everyone.

I can't remember if Lobo appears in the first MoonBound Clan Vampires book. I'm inclined to say yes, but I can't be 100% sure. I loved his story though, so, so much. It was interesting to see how Ione decided to combine vampires and werewolves and make this amazing, new take on their mythology. Lobo is a sexy guy. But he's also a tortured soul. I love reading about him finally getting to say what he needed to say, what his former clan needed to hear for a very long time. I love these big moments, when someone regarded as inferior gets to say his or her side of the story and the people on the receiving end of the harsh truth get to be stunned and basically ashamed of acting like they're the kings of the world. And Lobo gets such a moment, and I couldn't be happier for him. I loved the beginning of the novella, with him and Tehya, his wolf, running and playing in the forest.

I've only read one book in Gena Showalter's Alien Huntress, but I loved the idea of this world a lot. I also like the fact that there's a bunch of connected series surrounding this world. I enjoyed reading Lilica's story so much. What I loved about this story is that it explores the same issue from different points of view. You have Dallas who sees Lilica as a potential threat and her sister as someone who needs to be hunted down, you have Lilica who's trying to prove her sister is not so guilty as she seems, and then there's Lilica's own sister who proves to be completely different than what either thought she was. I loved reading about Dallas and Lilica, but I am super, super curious to read about about Lilica's sisters after this novella.

And in case you need one more reason to love this book, there's a fantastic part in this book showing the way these three authors procrastinate... I mean *ehem*... brainstorm. It's funny to get to experience that, but also super, super intriguing, because they drop some interesting hints about what's to come in these three series.

Lately I've had the need to "go back to basics", in a way, to find why I fell in love with reading in the first place, and this book reminded me why. Believe it or not, it wasn't the fun, hot, sexy times in the book that did it. And believe me, there where a lot of hot, sexy times in it. But the stories in general, the creation of new worlds, using mythological elements and figures, supernatural creatures, and creating new creatures, new elements, it's just what attracted me to reading in the first place. I definitely loved this book, and I cannot wait to see what these three ladies have in store for their series in the future.

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