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REVIEW: Mad About The Hatter by Dakota Chase

Title: Mad About the Hatter
Author: Dakota Chase
Date Published: August 20th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, LGBT
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

This isn’t his sister’s Wonderland….

Henry never believed his older sister, Alice’s, fantastic tales about the world down the rabbit hole. When he’s whisked away to the bizarre land, his best chance for escape is to ally himself with the person called the Mad Hatter. Hatter—an odd but strangely attractive fellow—just wants to avoid execution. If that means delivering “Boy Alice” to the Queen of Hearts at her Red Castle, Hatter will do what he has to do to stay alive. It doesn’t matter if Henry and Hatter find each other intolerable. They’re stuck with each other.

Along their journey, Henry and Hatter must confront what they’ve always accepted as truth. As dislike grows into tolerance and something like friendship, the young men see the chance for a closer relationship. But Wonderland is a dangerous place, and first they have to get away with their lives.

Rating: 2/5 Stars
★★✰✰✰

“It’s named that because many parts of it are wondrous, but also it’s a wonder anyone ever survives some of it.” (39%)

      At first glance this books sounds like a dark read, which is why I picked it up, but it’s not.  Mad About the Hatter is a cute, light read full of kisses, cookie wars, and a place called Drawrof where everything is backwards. It’s where Henry and Hatter explored multiple places in Wonderland on their way to the Red Queen’s castle, and explored even more as they tried to get away from her clutches. She’s quite evil you know, so much so that everyone in Wonderland is affected by her reign of terror and chopped heads.

“There was a decidedly pink cast to this guard, as if he’d spent far too many years outside patrolling the Queen’s borders, his color slowly bleaching out under the brutal kiss of the Wonderland sun.” (1%)

“He wondered is the other guards’ red heads were still attached to their red bodies, or gracing a series of pikes decorating the Queen’s croquet lawn.” (1%)

      While the Queen is made out to be some vicious, horribly violent person who kills at the littlest incentive, there’s really not much to back that up. Yes, she continuously cries out about chopping off heads, and her subjects are terrified of it, but we don’t actually witness it. We don’t see this incredibly dark side of her, just a side that seems like a petulant child who wants one thing and one thing only: heads to roll. Cat easily persuades her not to, though, so even that lacks real threat. I suppose it only made her people dislike her more, and it was a bit of a disappointment because the fear and darkness she could’ve brought would have made this story so much more engaging!

“If she grew any angrier, Hatter worried her head might explode. Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing, thought Hatter, but she’d make a horrific mess, and I’m in the splash zone. (8%)

“No one explains anything to the Queen. She’s built of nothing but maliciousness and stubbornness held together by a few threads of narcissism and a nice big helping of conceit.” (46%)

      The caterpillar was high whenever he was in a scene, which is why he spoke in confusing riddles and made essentially no sense at all. He was entertaining, especially when his pipe is taken away, but that’s about all he was good for. He was a pit stop, just another look at Wonderland and how odd it truly is. That, and he did something at the beginning that kickstarted another little pit stop. I won’t spoil you though.

      The romance was almost instant, though no action was taken until further on in the book. The romance is okay overall, but it lacked the proper buildup, it sometimes took place in the worst spots, and it was too cute and light which just seemed a bit overboard with how cute and light everything else already was. It was still enjoyable, but it had a lot of potential.

“How is it, with war raging so close by, with chocolate malt cannonballs flying and icing guns firing, that I can be thinking of kissing him?” (43%)

      The writing was a bit odd in a few places, using strange slangish word choices that just made the passage seem childish or just… wrong somehow. Also, for the plot, there wasn’t much going on. Henry and Hatter never actually got injured, and the Queen didn’t really make much of an effort to go after them, even though she sent her guards. The creatures and deadly places they went to? They somehow got through all of it unscathed, and even when you think they’re about to be eaten and have to fight for their lives, they merely find a simply solution of turning their backs. It made the story less exciting, because there wasn’t much to look forward to when you’re an action junkie like me.

“Ditto for the sun;” (74%)

“Cat tended to make everything more complicated and confuzzling than it needed to be.” (93%)

      I did like the strangeness that Wonderland held, though. It was incredibly imaginative and with all the magic infused in the story, it was great to read about. I just wish there had been more danger in the places Henry and Hatter explored, because then they would’ve been more ominous with deadly traps popping up at every corner and hill! There was so much potential! It has the basic structure for a dark tale, which I enjoyed, but then it takes a twist to cute kisses and simple solutions.

      Overall, it was an okay read, but it wasn’t for me.

REVIEW: Fractured Memories by Jo Schneider

*I received a digital copy of the book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Fractured Memories
Author: Jo Schneider
Series: (Jagged Scars #1)
Publication date: May 2oth 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she’s the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy’s strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.

The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
Fractured Memories is an action packed, fast paced, dystopia. It’s a world where a disease called ‘starvation’ (because once you eat ‘bad food’, you starve no matter what you eat) kills half the world’s population and turns many into ‘Skinnies’ (they’re basically zombies. They eat raw meat) until they too die. It’s where said Skinnies attack Wendy’s compound on the day of her 16th birthday and kill everyone she knows. At least, she thinks so. She can hardly remember the event after being rescued by people of another compound lead by a man named Mike. And from there begins Wendy’s plan for revenge.

The Skinnies were downright creepy. At one point, they talk and it gets clearer that they’re not in their minds. Who would be after suffering such a disease? But either way, they’re much like a pack of rabid wolves, lurking in packs and attacking any food source they come across. Even if that food source stands on two legs and a had beating heart.

Which brings me to say that the action? Yeah, it was <b>fantastic</b>! Just from reading I’ve learned so much more about fighting. Mainly because the main character, Wendy, is best at fighting (since she’s had to fight practically every day of her life by either training or protecting her compound when she was old enough) and so her observations and new techniques are something we really pay attention too. Mainly because we’re rooting for her the entire time. We also get to see different styles of fighting though, during training and during the fights Wendy takes part in. She’s skilled in thinking quickly and finding a way out of a bad situation. She can flip men thrive her size! She’s strong but weak as well, breaking down at times and having all those flashes mess with her sanity. That’s what makes it easier to connect with her and envoy the story.

Wendy is actually a really great character. She’s practically overcome by the need for revenge when she realizes she’s the only survivor. She wants whoever did this to her to pay and she ready has an idea of who did it. They won’t be getting away this time. She has a fantastic hold over her emotions and control, and she can easily take five men down. How badass is that?! She’s also really strong both mentally and physically. She’s terrifying when angry though. Which helps her in the long run because no one sees her coming when she’s angry. They hardly see her coming when she’s in control.

I also really liked the other characters. Especially the group Wendy grew to call her friends. Cal, Kev, and Arie are probably the best group of friends for Wendy to be a part of. They’re loyal, they care, and they even followed her in the end because they wanted to make sure she was all right. They’re good for her and have helped her a lot. I’m definitely excited for the next book just to see them all together again!

Overall, I really enjoyed Fractured Memories and I definitely recommend this to you lovers of action, dystopia and post apocalyptic books.

~Sage<3

ARC REVIEW: Hell And Back by N.P. Martin

*I received a digital ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Title:
 Hell And Back
Author: N.P. Martin
Series: (The Watchers #2.5)
Publication date:
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
  Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon):

After being captured in Hell by her own mother—who works for the King of Hell himself—Leia Swanson is finally released from her nightmarish prison in the dreaded Depths, the deepest, darkest part of Hell.

Soon after, Leia finds herself working for the King, the very demon she came to Hell to kill, and soon discovers that Hell is not only more twisted than she first realized, but also more complicated, especially when she has to work alongside her mother as an enforcer and intelligence gatherer, fighting against the many enemies who want to take down the King.

It isn’t long before Leia finds herself walking a dangerous line between being a loyal servant to the King and continuing to plot her escape from Hell, along the way trying to convince her reluctant and damaged mother to help her. On top of all this, Leia’s inner demon wants to take control of her, and she must also find a way to rescue little Alice, who has been sold into sex slavery.

Leia is on her most dangerous and complicated mission yet. If she fails, eternal suffering awaits her in the depths of Hell.

Format: ARC || Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5
      Hell And Back is the next book in the series after Hell Is Here, which is after Hell Is Coming. It is fantastic. It definitely didn’t disappoint, and it was one heck of a ride! In this book, we follow Leia after she was thrown in the depths. We see the torture she goes through before she is finally released, and from there on, her life only gets harder. She has to contend with the fact of who the King is and who he isn’t any longer. She has to work for him and in the process, gain a bloodlust and possibly false sense of loyalty for the King. She has more than one battle: she has yet to fully understand her demon, she has to find out a way to succeed in her mission, and she has to survive with herself in tact. Because everyone knows that Hell is no place of faith, hope, and anything other than pain and misery.
      Just like in the first two books, I love the characters. I love how Leia is portrayed and how close we get to her in this book. I feel like I can predict her reactions now because of how well I feel I know her. I also love how strong she is. She may not be the same after all she’s gone through, but if anything, she’s stronger and has a better overall understanding which I’m sure will help her in the long run. Honestly, I admire her so much for not breaking, for not losing herself in the midst of Hell’s deceit, torture, and addicting bloodlust. Hell has hardened her, but not so much that she isn’t still Leia, because she is: she’s still kind, caring, strong, and loving (which was shown mostly through her caring of Alice, but also her mother). She just doesn’t cry or despair over the horrors of Hell anymore because she’s gotten used to it. You’re bound to accept the darker parts of Hell after living in them for however long Leia’s been there so far.
      Which brings me to her mother. How Leia’s mom has any humanity left in her after all those centuries she’s spent in Hell being tortured and subjected to such cruelness, I have no idea. But it’s easy to see where Leia gets her strength from. Leia’s mom is an assassin, which means she can definitely hold her own, but she still has heart. I expected her to be so different from how Leia remembered her, since she’s been in Hell for so long, but to be honest, she’s still the same. In a way. She forgets emotions, caring, love, but with Leia there, she has a light again. And the part of her she buried in order to survive in Hell starts to appear again. She’s also pretty badass, just saying.
      King Eblis is…. well, he’s as cruel as one would expect Hell’s King to be. He lies, deceives, tortures, and he’s so far into the darkness he has no humanity left. And while at times he can play the part of a caring person, it’s only ever to help him succeed in his games. I definitely loved him in the end though, where Leia and him had a moment, before Alice makes herself known (I can’t really explain the situation because of spoilers, sorry!).
      Speaking of the end, it played out so much better than what I had been conjuring up! It was… brilliant! The adrenaline, the rage, the hope, it was all so addicting and I easily lost myself in the book. I mean, I was easily hooked and lost in the story, but at that point, I was so far in I forgot I was reading a book in the first place…. I know. I’m weird. And I’ll admit, I predicted what would happen with the whole Leia-must-kill-Eblis situation, like what she would end up doing. But the rest I didn’t see coming until moments before that. It’s great!
      And now I’m being random but, to be honest, I want more of Lucas. It’s obvious at times how much Leia misses him, and that makes me want them together again because she deserves some happiness, you know? And so I hope we get more of him in the next book.
      Overall, Hell And Back is a brilliantly written book. I love the characters, the writing, the world, the situations, and how easy it is to fall into the story. So yeah, I recommend this to everyone.
~Sage<3

REVIEW: Hell Is Coming by N.P. Martin

*I received a digital copy from the author from a giveaway.

Title: Hell Is Coming
Author: N.P. Martin
Series: (The Watchers #1)
Publication date: October 24, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

Foster kid, Leia Swanson is eighteen and just getting her life together after a turbulent past that included losing both her parents when she was seven years old.

Then when people start turning into demons before her eyes and she feels a strange new power grow in her, Leia’s life begins to unravel, prompting her to visit her childhood home for answers.

Convinced a demon took her mother and killed her father, Leia soon uncovers her mothers secret past as a Watcher—a Nephilim demon hunter—and that she herself is also a Nephilim—half angel, half human.

When her twin brother, Josh is kidnapped and her foster mom is murdered, Leia is forced to enlist the help of her Uncle Frank, a man she has never even met before. Despite their rocky relationship, Frank agrees to train Leia as a Watcher and help her get her brother back while she tries to work out his shady past.

In the meantime, a powerful demon has been kidnapping Nephilim kids for his own evil ends, intent on unleashing a plan that threatens everything in existence.

Hell is coming for Leia and the rest of the world, but is she willing to give her life and possibly her soul to stop it?

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5
      Leia and her twin brother Josh grew up in foster homes due to their mother and father being killed by demons. No one believed Leia as she made her statement as a little seven year old though, and so she learned to keep her mouth shut. However, ever since turning eighteen, she sees things: the demons and their true faces even when they’re walking around in human bodies (which are called meat suits). She thinks she’s gone crazy. After following a trail her mother left her and scouring for answers, Leia’s world is rocked and hanging by a thread. Her brother’s missing, her foster mom is dead, and all she has left is the hope that an uncle she never met will help her fight demons and save her brother.
      If that doesn’t sound even a little intriguing, then you obviously won’t like this book as much as I did.
      I’ve actually had this in my possession for some months, and I have no idea why I waited so long to get to it. This book is amazing! It’s an action packed, fast paced, and full of supernatural creatures! It has great characters, awesome action, and a fantastic world!
      And so I’ll start with the characters.
      Leia is a great character. She’s strong, brave (so much so that she always gets face to face with danger), and yeah, she makes stupid choices at times, but she never gives up. She tries to, but she is always thrust right back into the action and realizes that she has too much to lose and she can’t stop now. She has a clear voice and I was rooting for her the entire novel. I can understand her character, why she couldn’t kill Kasey, why she let herself be tricked at times, because I feel like we really got to know her and that really helped. I can’t wait to see how she develops in the next book!
      Now Frank. After learning about his existence due to the trail her mother left her, Leia goes to stay with her uncle Frank. He’s a really great character as well. He’s strong, brave, kind, and while he doesn’t always show it in the best ways (he’s fairly awkward and anti-social around people, having been living in a secluded cabin for who knows how long all on his own with his only company a dog), he definitely cares about Leia. He helps train her and toughen her up, and I really loved seeing their relationship develop. And while at times anger and secrets were on the verge of breaking their relationship, Leia always came back because Frank is the only chance she has at getting her brother back, and Frank always let her because she’s family and he cares about her.
      Now, onto the world. It was infested with supernatural beings and I love it! There were clubs owned by demons in the ‘Perv District’, as they call it, abandoned houses where serial killer Vampires lurked in the basement, and even a place where vampires got high on human blood. It was weird, strange, and most definitely intriguing! All the normal places in our world, but instead of humans there were demons. Is that not a great world to read about? And I mean, obviously there were still humans, but the world seemed to almost be run by the supernatural, as they were everywhere and I love it! It was well written and I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it.
Overall I love Hell Is Coming and I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you love paranormal, action packed, fantasy books.
~Sage<3

REVIEW: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon

*I received an ebook copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Cutlass
Author: Ashley Nixon
Series: (Cutlass #1)
Publication date: Novenber 13th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Synopsis:
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
      Cutlass wasn’t only about pirates and revenge. Oh no, it was about Elves and Lyrics, death and deceit. It was about learning the truth and letting go of and anger and revenge because it only makes you bitter and lonely. It’s about falling in love and being loyal! It’s about freedom.
      Everything in this book from the action on the sea, to the romance on board, to the shocks of betrayal and the fantasy aspects were simply brilliant. Yes, Barren oftentimes was controlled by his anger and need for revenge, but he’s young and still learning! He’s a force to be reckoned with and has a sharp mind, he’s a man holding such a weight as murder, revenge and pain! He lost his father because his brother killed him, his mother for something he couldn’t remember! Barren could never understand why; he didn’t want to understand. And so he stalked the shores of Maris and attacked ships in hopes of luring William out to sea so he could act on his revenge. But William wouldn’t dare and so months later of no change, Barren learns of William’s engagement and kidnaps his wife. But Lady Larkin is not docile and quiet and fearful. No, she’s strong and Barren’s equal with a sword. In fact, she almost killed him the night he kidnapped her. If it hadn’t been for Leaf, his best friend, who knows if Barren would have found a way to live?
      The writing was great, though I did sometimes find myself uninterested. It flowed nicely and yes, at times it was cheesy and parts were slightly cliche, but it still intrigued me. Especially since it’s all one big adventure that no one can deny enjoying. Especially the action. I love the action!
      Overall, Cutlass is a read I recommend to fantasy lovers. Especially those who love pirates.
~Sage<3
(It’s short I know. Sorry!)