Five Minute Friday: THE JEWEL

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The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

*****

What did I think?

Oh where to begin. I will admit, I actually look at ratings of books on Goodreads. These reviews don’t sway me in anyway, but I use them to decide which book to read if I’m undecided. I’ve wanted to read The Jewel since I was lucky enough to get a copy from BEA 2014. There was so much early buzz about Amy Ewing’s debut that I knew I had to read. Fast forward almost four months, and here I am ready to read when all I see on Goodreads are ratings of 1-3 stars. Hmmm…this is interesting to me, but still I read. I read this in a few days, seeing that I had multiple baseball games, a sick hubby, and laundry to do; making my normal weekend reading nonexistent.

Well, I have to say that some of the reviews were dead on. I mean, there are similarities to The Hunger Games and The Selection. For me, I also see ties to stories like Cinder and Beta. This means nothing to me, because ultimately the crux of the story is original.

What did bug me about The Jewel is this:

1.  There is NO FREAKING WAY Violet didn’t know about pregnancy. In this world, having surrogates should mean that all girls know. This was unreal to me–it didn’t quite fit.

2.  The relationship/romance was way too…forced. There’s a part where trust is broken between two love birds and it’s like, “huh?!”

3.  The break up and the anger that ensues. Again, very weird to me.

 

So while I totally get some of the low ratings, this whole “like a book hate a boo” thing is totally subjective. In the end, I gave The Jewel 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and I won’t be reading the sequel, but I didn’t hate the book.

Dying to Devour: Jennifer Armentrout

“Dying to Devour” is a weekly event where I will post the books I’m super excited to read. Some will be books on my TBR pile, while some will be ones I’m dying to be released.

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This week, I’m devouring Jennifer Armentrout!

First of all, I absolutely adore Jennifer! But I am also a very bad blogger. I’ve had a copy of Stone Cold Touch since BEA 2014. Why haven’t I read it? Because I don’t have a copy of White Hot Kiss. It’s time to do something about this problem. This week, I’m going to get myself a copy and get reading. YAY!! I know I won’t be disappointed, because every book I read by Jennifer I devour!

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One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

 

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Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

Monday Musings

Getting back into a WIP that you’ve put in the closet for a few weeks is such an interesting feeling. One I’ve never experienced.

Now that I’ve decided to pull BLOOD LETTERS (working title) out from retirement, I need to have a plan of attack. For this, my first stop is my lovely and oh so patient CP—Valia Lind. Why? There is a particular reason I closed the drawer on this story in the first place and I need help to figure out what that thing is.

Me? I think the story is pretty good. I mean, don’t all writers like what they’re writing? If not, what’s the point? What I need is someone to tell me what I’m missing. That think I can’t see. The thing that had me stop writing in the first place.

I think we all go through this. We all feel like something isn’t working, but can’t find that glitch ourselves. THIS is exactly we ALL need a critique partners who we work well with. Someone who will be honest AND supportive. I am the luckiest writer in the world to have three writers who I can count on to make my stories the best they can be.

Want to find out what they’re up to? Follow them on Twitter:

@tracygoeke

@SeanGrigsby

@ValiaLind

Five Minute Friday: ROOMS by Lauren Oliver

Okay. This ARC has a story to go with it. This past year at BEA, ROOMS was one of the most highly anticipated ARC drops. Now if you’ve ever been at BEA, people get a little crazy over ARCs. This year, everyone was pretty calm. We knew exactly where and when Lauren’s new title would be. So what did we good bloggers do? We lined up at the publisher’s booth and waited. Seems reasonable. Right?

Nope.

We were asked to leave.

You heard me correctly. Our line was forced to disband because we were in the way. After being yelled at twice, I walked away. And then came back to join in the ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS that ensued next. Yup. Had we been allowed to stay put earlier, there would not have been an issue. Then when it came time to move through the booth and pick up a copy, we had to choose between ROOMS and THE MINIATURIST. It was a very difficult choice, but in the end my CP and I each took a different book thinking we’d share them.

So, you might ask…was it worth all the drama to get my hands on this book?

So far, so good. I’m currently on page 30 and I’m like that I’m reading an adult book. It’s a nice change of pace.

 

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Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

 

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