Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Two Reviews of books by Amber A. Bardan

*Seeing as how it's been a while since I've posted a long review of these types of books, I'll put out a warning that these are NOT teen/YA novels!*

King's Captive

blurb:

For three years, I've belonged to Julius King. 
Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.  
Because I'm not here as a guest. Not even close. I'm a prisoner. I'm his. 
Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous. 
There are parts of me he wants that I can't give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too. 
Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can't let him have any piece of my heart. I won't. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  
I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me.

 
* * *
 
I went into this needing a break from my typical YA genre. I do that. I read genre's in bursts and then break and read another to clear my head. Still, I did NOT expect to like this as much as I did. In fact, I added it to my In Love list on Goodreads almost immediately after reading. (If any of you are curious, you can head over to by goodreads and check out that shelf. I only add books I'm totally in love with, which doesn't mean every book I've given 5 stars). Anyway...
 
I'm so glad that I picked this book up. It was totally random for me, I've never read this author before (and now seriously regret that I've lived so long without), and while I was hoping that I would enjoy it, I wasn't holding my breath. I'm the type of person who goes into these things hoping for a decent story to go along with my smut. Sure, I like reading the dirty as much as the next person who picks up an erotica novel, but I also want it to make sense. This book had an amazing plot, well rounded characters, a fast pace, and twist after twist! Throughout the entire thing, there was only one part, at the middle, that bothered me and felt out of place. Generally, for an erotica, there are about a million things that I don't like plot-wise (or, more often than not, lack there of), so being annoyed at only one thing wasn't a deal breaker for me. I'm going to tell you about it though, because it did really bug me, so SPOILER ALERT!
 
Obviously, with all the plot twists in this book, some things that happen are going to come off one way and then later on be revealed to be something entirely different. This is great. I love this aspect of the book. One hundred percent. However, when a character does a complete one-eighty during one of these moments, just so that later one when the truth is revealed, it makes sense she didn't over react, that annoys me. It doesn't seem legitimate, because, hello, SHE doesn't know that what she thinks is happening isn't! Only the author does. Sarah fights against Julius every turn she get's (if only mentally, but that's huge), and she's constantly thinking about how bad she believes him to be. Yet, the second that she finds out he "adopted" her brother...she's, for the most part, cool with it. She's confused at first, sure, but then....cool. That annoyed me. Yes, it's great he's taking care of your brother. Awesome. But that also means he's more than just kept you from him all this time. He's had him with him on the mainland, and didn't tell you. Imagine all the stories he could have shared, and all the birthdays you didn't have to miss because you could have, at the very least, skyped them. Yet, Sarah, who finds a reason to mistrust and hate him at literally every turn, let's this go. Like it's no big deal. Like the guy who, inadvertently (but in her mind still had a huge hand in it) got your father killed, kidnapped you, and wants to force you to marry him, then adopting your brother isn't weird. No. She let's it go and that feels so out of character to me, that it just annoyed me for the next twenty or so percent of the story. Okay, I'm done. That's my only complaint.
 
Everything else was amazing. I was completely sucked into their world, and I immediately went out and bought more by this author. The sex scenes were hot, and well written, and there was a hefty story to go along with it. This wasn't just quick smut for the sake of getting off, which for me anyway, makes all the difference. I love books and story and plot, so as great as reading about sex is, I don't read solely for those. Some of you will disagree, and that's cool. If you like story in your erotica though, good story, then I highly recommend this!
 


 
 
And onto the next...
 
Twice as Hard
 
Blurb:
 
They caught me. Naked, shivering and dripping after a spontaneous swim in the forest. Two rugged men whose hard gazes captivated and scared me all at once.

They warned me. Told me I was on private property and I needed to obey the law…or I would be punished.

The idea of them both punishing me, pleasuring me, kept tormenting me. I couldn't want them. I shouldn't. But I did.

I didn't mean to trespass again. I thought I could retreat without notice. But they're coming for me.

To show me the pleasure in pain. To show me just how right forbidden can feel. And to love me twice as hard as I ever fantasized.
 
 
* * *
 
This book is about so much more than the blurb let's on. So much more. And I loved every single page of it. Bardan is a word wizard, seriously, for being able to pack in so many different things into such a short book (it's about 110 pages). Obviously, seeing as how this is an erotica, there's lots of sex. But there's also a really interesting and complex story going on involving all of these characters that help breath an extra layer of life into it. It isn't just about the sex, as great as those scenes are written (and wow are they). I loved all of these characters and found myself rooting for them. They had such great, individual, and believable personalities, that it made it impossible for me to put this down to even use the bathroom. I read the whole thing in one sitting, because I just wanted to know what was going to happen next. I like reading erotica because it's real in a way that some regular romance books don't get to: I like that we can see them be intimate and kinky and out there, because the world isn't made of vanilla. But, with that in mind, I'm also huge on plot. I love books in general, and all genres, so it's no surprise that even when I'm reading an erotica, I hope for a good story to go along with my smut. Bardan delivers. And not just with this book either. I've now read three and I can tell you, I am hooked. I saw this plot twist coming, but even then, how it's done is so seamless. There's kink, but there's also a heavy layer of love, and erotica writers aren't always able to capture those two things together. Basically, if you love good story telling, and also happen to love good sex scenes, pick this up! 
 
 
 
Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway below!!! There's a free entry for everyone so don't miss out on a great opportunity to get a free book and possible check out a new author!!! :)
 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

X. Culletto Interview + Giveaway

Hey guys,

I've got another awesome giveaway for you, plus an author interview! This book is a YA, sounds interesting, is 189 pages, and YOU could win a copy for free! (If you're reading this on the 19th, there's still time to enter the giveaway for author Emma Jaye, a few posts below)! This current giveaway will last about a week, and five lucky winners will get ebook copies in either .mobi, ePub, or PDF! I've included a free entry, so all you have to do is click a button for a chance to win! Sounds great, right? Wait until you read what the book is about!

Here is a blurb of the book, Understanding the Stars:

Alexandra Blackwood is minding her own troubled life when she unknowingly gets caught up in an extraterrestrial conflict. Ronan, a human with his own alien-entangled past, has been keeping an eye on her and sets out to help her escape looming abduction, and maybe win her heart.

 
* * *
 
X. Culletto has graciously agreed to an interview as well, so read on to find out more about this author and this book! Then go all the way to the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway for your chance to win!
 
 
1.) When did you first start writing?

I've always had a knack for writing, which is part of the reason I decided to become an English teacher, but I didn't start creatively writing until about 4 years go.  It's sparked such a passion in me now that I think I'll still be going at it when I'm 80.

2.) Tell us a little bit about the book you're offering for giveaway. (Preferably
something not in the blurb).


This is the story of Alexandra Blackwood, an eighteen-year-old about to graduate from high school. Unbeknownst to her, she has been the victim of an alien experiment. She has been secretly monitored for the past few years of her life and now Ronan, a human her age, comes to her rescue. Intergalactic trouble has been brewing and he convinces her that she needs to flee with him to save her life. Through a series of emotionally-driven decisions (and mistakes), Alexandra tries to sort through her complicated feelings toward Ronan.


3.) Which character was your favorite to write in this book? Why?
The protagonist, Alexandra was my favorite because she has such a clear voice to me. When I was writing it didn't really feel like I was creating her, but that she was just telling me her story.

4.) Which character was your least favorite? Or, if this is too hard (it would be for me!) which was the most difficult?
My least favorite character is an alien named Malsor. He's of the Kema'dor race, who are the book's "bad guys". Even though he's thoroughly repulsive, I tried to give him and his companions an honorable reason for acting the way they do. After all, every villain is a hero in his own eyes.


5.) Have you always written in this genre, and do you plan to continue? Or is there a genre you hope to one day try writing?
This is my first book (YA sci-fi), and I definitely plan to stick with this genre. I love YA books and science fiction has always been the most fascinating genre to me.

6.) If you were being attacked by ninjas, which character from this book would you want with you, and why?
Gamafor, without question. He's another alien being in the book, and only appears once, but he's so far advanced in so many things ninjas would be no problem for him--assuming he had the motivation to help. :)

7.) Name one of your favorite books written by another author.
My favorite book has always, always been Ender's Game. I read that during my teen years, and it shaped the person I've become. 

8.) Do you have any other projects currently in the works?
Yes!  I'm so excited for this next book, called Girl Vs.  It's a post-apocalyptic book with a super strong heroine.  It's coming along much more quickly than "Understanding the Stars", which took over three years to write. Following the completion of Girl Vs. I plan to write the sequel to "Understanding the Stars" called "Following the Stars".

9.) What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book mostly from the fact that, even though there's no solid evidence yet, even science believes there is life out there. I wondered what they might make of us, if they were to watch us, and the story grew from there.

10.) Any other comments, or things we should know about this or any other upcoming projects?
The "Understanding the Stars" audiobook is coming out in about a week, and I just love what the narrator (a very talented actress named Lori Prince--she was on Law & Order) has done with the story!  She read more levels of depth into the characters than I had even imagined were there. It will be available on Audible.

11.) Any social media sites, or a website/blog, we can follow to get more information on your work?
Twitter handle: @Xculletto
 
 
Thanks, X. Culletto for answering my questions!
 
 
All right, everyone! Don't miss out on your chance to read this YA Sci-Fi! Enter the giveaway below! :)
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shade's Lady (Reapers MC, #6.5) by: Joanna Wylde

Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the world of the Reapers Motorcycle Club…

Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.
Right from the first.


* * *
 
 
 
I read the first book in this series a while ago, and wasn't a huge fan. Still, when I found out about this, I was really intrigued, so I figured why not give it another shot? Besides, this is a novella, so shorter than the full length books in this series. If I didn't care for it, at least I wouldn't be reading a three hundred some page thing.
 
So glad I took the chance! I loved this! It had a little bit of everything, action, romance, humor, and yes, obviously sex. Lots, and lots of sex, but without diminishing from the story, which was great! And I really enjoyed the story, too. The characters were interesting, believable, and didn't come off as stereotypes. Aside from being slightly repetitive about certain topics, like how there aren't many jobs in their small town, and how she ended up in jail that one time, the book flows really nicely. It kept my interest, and now I'm considering giving the other books in this series another shot!
 
You do not have to have read the others in order for this to make sense. At all. If you're looking for something fun (the main character Mandy is hilarious), hot (Shade. Need I say more?) and sweet, with a good storyline to boot, I highly recommend this one! Besides, at only 120 pages, what do you have to lose?
 

 
Last day to enter the giveaway a few posts below! I lot of you have checked it out, but not many have entered! There's a free entry, so you don't have to do anything more than click a button! Don't miss out on your chance to win free books!!!! :)
 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Unfiltered by: Lily Collins

Blurb

In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She's learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.


* * *
 
Really, I give this a 4.5, but seeing as how there aren't half stars, I'll round up.

This was an interesting book that dealt with important issues. I love how Lily addresses other young women, and how she wasn't afraid to put herself out there, mistakes and all. I think there's definitely a lot of very important material in here, and if I'd still been in high school reading this (or even still in the midst of some of those insecurities she speaks about) I would find this extremely beneficial.

Also, just realized I finished this just as the clock struck midnight and it's now her birthday. :) Ironic.
 

 
Don't forget to check out the giveaway two posts down! There are only two days left to enter!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Caraval (Caraval, #1) by: Stephanie Garber

Blurb:

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.


Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
  

* * *
 
I love this book. I was looking forward to it, because it sounded interesting and fanciful, but I didn't expect to LOVE it, especially not as much as I do! This book was filled with great characters, an amazing, magical setting, and an engaging plot. I easily fell for the characters, and I loved all of the descriptions of Caraval. The author really captured this world, and it was so easy for me to picture it and travel through out. If you're a fan of the book, The Night Circus, I feel like you'll really appreciate this one. And if you're not a fan of The Night Circus, I still think you'll like this because it flowed a lot better. Also, the time line is linear, which helped to keep a fast pace. There wasn't a single chapter where I was bored or wishing for the story to move along. The twists were also interesting, and it was fun trying to decipher what was real and what really was just the "game".
 
Despite all the things that could go wrong, if Caraval was real and it came to my town, I wouldn't hesitate to join in! Highly recommend for a fun, magical read that takes you to a fantastical world where magic, and mayhem, reign!
 

Don't forget to check out the giveaway below and enter for a chance to win not one, but TWO ebooks!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Emma Jaye: Author Interview + Giveaway

Hey guys,

I told you guys that I'm going to try and flood the blog with a few giveaways to make up for my absence, so here's one to kick us off! Author Emma Jaye has been awesome enough to not only do a giveaway, but also an author interview!

The giveaway is for ebook copies of TWO of her books, a sci-fi titled, Discovery (Hybrid #1), and Optical Illusion (Paint #1). Three winners will get an ebook copy of each of these books in epud, .mobi, or PDF (whichever format you prefer)! This giveaway only last's one week, so enter before you miss out on your chance! Here are the blurbs for each book:


Discovery:

Enmeshed in a universe that wants to use her, a rare alien/human hybrid must find her way through political intrigue, lust, violence and ambition to discover who and what she is.

Chesara's extraordinary ability means she is coddled, pampered and in high demand from the wealthy of the Universe as she can heal illnesses and injuries far beyond the skills of medical science. Being pursued for herself, rather than her ability is a new experience, and one that thrills her to the core. Unfortunately things that seem too good to be true, usually are.

Contains graphic scenes M/F and some violence. It is intended for a mature audience only.


Word count: 72,000 plus 10% excerpt from Hybrid 2: Experiment.

This book was formerly published as Cat Clan Hybrid part 1.  


Optical Illusion:

Smile, wiggle, lie, apologize, and run for the hills.

That's the formula Chris has used all his life, but this time, he has something he’s never had to lose before, a family that cares. The problem is, his new brother’s very edible friend isn’t fooled by his act. If his secrets are revealed, they won’t want him and he has nowhere else to go.

Thanks to a suicide bomber, ex-military police sergeant Jase Rosewood is back in the English countryside. His plans for quiet recuperation are ruined by the effervescent, go-go dancing twink who has everyone wrapped around his little finger. Luckily for the gullible Matt, Jase can smell a liar a mile away, and Chris Bacon, if that’s even his name, stinks to high heaven. Assigned ‘Chris-sitting’ duty while Matt's on honeymoon, Jase has a week to discover what is hidden beneath the bright camouflage. It's a job, just like any other, so why does it feel so different?
Unfortunately, Jase isn’t the only one drawn to the boy who can’t stay still, but instead of wanting to reveal his true colours; they want to dull them forever.

Contains issues of physical abuse, but not between the central couple.


* * *
 
Here is the author interview, followed by the rafflecopter for you to enter the giveaway! Questions and comments welcome! And don't forget, I've got more giveaways/interviews coming in the next few weeks, so keep checking back! :)
 
1.) How long have you been writing?
 
I started putting the stories whirling around in my head down on paper in 2010 and started publishing in 2011. It started as a hobby when I got my first kindle and thought, I can do better than some of these. Now I’m virtually full time and have 22 published novels, one novella and several anthology short stories.
As an indie author, you never stop learning and refining your writing technique and marketing skills.
 
 
2.) Tell us a little bit about both of the books you're offering up for the giveaway.
 
Discovery (Hybrid #1)
Chesara has no idea she is a possession until she is kidnapped, but who will her heart, the devilish kidnapper Lord Tenset, or her loyal bodyguard?
Tagline - Their mistake was assuming adding human DNA would make a Dakaran slave compliant. A m/f/m romance.
 
Optical Illusion (Paint #1) is an m/m romance, about a male go-go dancer trying to make his way in the world alone. It is dark, angst ridden and  funny. Love him or hate him, nobody forgets Chris.
Tagline- Smile, wiggle, lie, apologise, and run for the hills works for Chris until someone finally decides he’s worth chasing.
 
3.) What was the first book you wrote, and what was it about?
 
My first book was an early version of Hybrid, I still cringe at some of the classic newbie mistakes I made.
 
4.) When did you realize that writing was something you wanted to do?
 
I’ve always had a vivid imagination and spent every hour possible with my nose in a book or enjoying my own stories in my head. It wasn’t until I was given a kindle by my husband who was fed up with the house slowly sinking under the mass of books that I discovered indie publishing.
If they could do it, why couldn’t I?
Wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought, but by a significant process of trial, error and reaching out to other indies, I’m now a full time author.
 
5.) From these two series being offered, who was your favorite character to write?
 
Chesara the Dakaran, as my first main character always has a place in my heart, especially her hobby of collecting swear words and the way she leaves the confident men in her life speechless.
 
But Chris, Chris is an unforgettable character. He almost has a life of his own. Writing someone with no ‘off switch’ was a great deal of fun. He gets away with saying things no one else would, although he’s learnt to run fast when it all goes wrong.
 
6.) Who was your least favorite, or most complicated?
 
I don’t think I have a least favourite character. Who doesn’t like a good ‘baddie’? Chris was exhausting to write due to his personality quirks, he really doesn’t stop.
 
7.) What is one of your favorite books by another author?
 
I like dark, psychological themes, so for a m/f romance I’d recommend ‘Blaire’ by Anita Gray or for something that will keep you thinking… ‘And After Death…’ by Nero Seal.
 
8.) Do you ever get writer's block? If so, did that happen while you were writing either of these books? What did you do to get out of it?
 
Occasionally, but I move on with another story or beta reading for fellow authors, while the first one rumbles away in the back of my mind. I didn’t suffer block with either of these books, but I have done with other books in both series.
 
9.) Tell us something random about yourself.
 
I used to work on a tropical fish farm breeding African cichlids that were shipped back to their homeland and around the world.
 
10.) Are there any social media sites, or a website/blog, we can follow for more information on current and future works?
 
I can be found on
 
11.) Any last comments, or anything else we should know?
 
Firstly, a little plea on behalf of my fellow authors. Did you know that only about one in five hundred + books sold results in a review? Yet most people check reviews of a book before buying online. If you read reviews, please take the time to write them, if only a one liner.
Help your fellow readers out by pointing out what you liked or didn’t like about a book, one man’s meat is often another man’s poison.
Secondly, a little moan. Sorry.
I’m always baffled when people assume I have personal experience of the subjects I cover in my books. Just because I’ve written about call girls, or described sleeping with multiple partners, it doesn’t mean I’ve participated in such activities. I’ve written Sci-Fi and paranormal stories too; it doesn’t mean I have tea and biscuits with sex demons, Christmas fairies and sexy fanged aliens every afternoon…
Although I love engaging with readers on social media, I don’t reply to naughty offers on Facebook!
Thanks, Emma!
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wintersong by: S. Jae-Jones

Blurb:

Dark, romantic, and unforgettable, Wintersong is an enchanting coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Beauty and the Beast.

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

 
* * *
 
I did not love this book. No, you read that right. Didn't love it. Liked it, a lot, which might also seem strange, because usually for me that means giving it at least 4 stars then, instead of 3. Here's why I just couldn't do that however:
 
My expectations were way too high.
 
 Is that necessarily the authors fault? I'm not sure. Is she the one who released to the world that this was basically a Labyrinth retelling? If so, then (sadly) probably. I might have read somewhere that this was merely inspired by the Labyrinth, in which case, all this added hype about how this is a retelling wasn't really official. If that's true, then I feel really bad for the author, because this book probably would have gotten much higher ratings from other people as well. Either way though, I was expected A LOT from this book. It's not fair, but that's the truth. I am a huge Labyrinth fan. Seriously, I went to the 30 year anniversary screening. I have all the Funko Pop figures. I've got at least two copies of the DVD (including the 10 year anniversary addition). I even have a digital copy of the original book because, hello, I HAD to read that, right?! Still, I understood that Wintersong was NOT going to be the Labyrinth. I get that, it makes sense, it is it's own thing. Cool. But I did still really want to feel some of that magic that I feel when I watch Labyrinth, and I wanted (like I'm sure most people) to see a few things happen that couldn't or didn't happen in the movie.


via GIPHY
 
Like the sex. There, I said it. I spelled it out and I am not ashamed (unlike Elizabeth, but more on that later). I WANTED THEM TO HAVE SEX. Obviously, in the movie, that was not possible considering the age Sarah is and how old Bowie was at the time. Also, it was more or less, a kids movie so...Okay. This is a book though. Lots of things can happen in books that can't be portrayed on screen! That's why they're amazing! And did these two characters have sex? Yes! Was it everything I'd hoped for and more? No. That's a big, fat, no, in case you were wondering. Not only are the sex scenes vague and ambiguous, but they also fall a little flat. Now, I hate comparing authors, I really do, and I generally avoid doing so, but I feel like the only way to truly get my point across is by doing so here. I understand that the author didn't want this to turn into some heavy romance or erotica novel. I get that, and I didn't need any hardcore details or anything like that. BUT, if you're not going to give me smutty heat, at least give me passion and romance. Nora Roberts does that perfectly. Her sex scenes are clearly written (you always know that's what's going on) and they're written in a way that they're still hot, even though they lack heavy details about body parts and whatnot. After reading the first scene between Elizabeth and the Goblin King, I was left wondering, did they, or didn't they? And that's not something that should be happening. Half the reason I wanted to read this book was to finally see them together (and happy, of course, *cough*) and that doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with the movie. If it'd read the blurb on its own, that's what I would have wanted to see. Them together, again, not necessarily in hardcore, overly descriptive details, but at least in a way where I believed it and I felt for them. Here's where we go into another reason for my rating.
 
The time placement of this book. 


via GIPHY
 
This is actually a positive, and a reason I gave this book 3 stars instead of less than that. Was I disappointed that this wasn't taking place in a time period closer to our current one? Sure. But that was honestly just because, again, I expected this to be more like the movie. It wasn't, and that's perfectly okay. In fact, as someone who loves books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, I was more than okay with it. Once I readjusted my expectations, I was able to fall into the story, and all-in-all, this 400-some page book was actually a really fast read for me. The setting also makes it understandable that Elizabeth is embarrassed by her sexual appetite. Had this been set in the 21st century, her reactions would have been completely unacceptable, but it wasn't. This was written in a time when women were still, for the most part, taught that they needed to please men in the bedroom, not the other way around. Add to the fact she's never been touched by anyone before, or even given a modicum of attention from the opposite sex, and her reactions make complete sense. Did they get a bit redundant and annoying as the book progressed? You bet they did. But they started out understandable, so I won't judge it because of that. HIS reaction, however, was annoying through and through. You're the one who tricked her down here, dude. Grow a pair and sleep with her already. Geez. Yes, that means she'll "burn faster" or whatever, but what did you think was going to happen when you orchestrated this whole thing? Hmm? Exactly. The book also got super religious, which again, due to the time setting, understandable, but it seemed to really pack it all in at the end there.
 
Parts of the story didn't really have an end...


via GIPHY
 
Like all that info dump about her brother? I mean, sure, it was dumped throughout the entire book, so not really an info dump in the general meaning of the word, but you get what I'm saying. We kept getting tidbits of info, but with no real purpose or finish. Like, he got burned as a kid. I thought that was the moment she kept referring to later, and even before, about bringing him back. But nope. Maybe it was just me who found that confusing but it was. And some things seemed like they were perfect set ups for further plot, like mentioning that her music being listened to above could keep her alive indefinitely. Well....then why didn't they just publish it and have her be able to live forever HAPPY with the Goblin King? Makes sense to me. Especially when we find out she could easily leave a message for her sister in the Grove telling her to do so. It was really frustrating to constantly be given these little crumbs, only to then have them either snatched back or swept under the rug.
 
This didn't feel like Labyrinth AT ALL.


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She tried, she really did, even going so far as making the Goblin King a spitting image of Jareth, and writing a scene with the talking hands (I'm also pretty sure that goblin in the market at the beginning is meant to be Hoggle, but who knows). Still, for me, it missed the mark. Again, if I hadn't EXPECTED this to be like Labyrinth, this never would have bothered me. I would have looked at those other similarities, laughed happily, and moved on to enjoy the book for what it was. BUT because I'd had it basically pounded into my brain that this WAS either a retelling or inspired by Labyrinth, I couldn't do that. The descriptions of the world sometimes were engaging, but for the most part, fell flat. The caverns were confusing, to me just as much as they were to Elizabeth, and maybe they were meant to be, but I found it really difficult to picture them. When the goblin city was described, I couldn't shake the image of the one from the movie from my head, and this consistently jarred me from the book because I'm pretty sure that's not what she wrote it as. I say pretty sure, because honestly, I don't even know. That was also confusing and hard to follow. The relationship between them started out feeling a lot like the one between Sarah and Jareth, but it slowly fizzled and became awkward and stilted. All those scenes where the two of them are just sitting around the retiring room felt forced and uncomfortable. I didn't feel a spark between them, and that made me care less and less. I love old fairytales and folklore, so the fact that this had a goblin king in it at all would have been grounds enough for me to read it. I love imaginings of the old tales, and this was certainly that. I just really wish I hadn't gone into it wanting Labyrinth, because I would have liked this so much more. I would had still taken issue with a few things, like the sex and his reactions after they're married, but I wouldn't have disliked other parts so much.
 
And that ending.


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No. No. No. NO. I mean, I get it. I do. It's about self discovery, and finding yourself, and gaining the confidance to believe in yourself, yada, yada, yada. I did say I love books like Jane Eyre, and in a time period where women weren't considered as intelligent or strong as men, yes, obviously Elizabeth's self discovery is very important. That's still a message that has merit today. But still. The ending? No. Really, I felt like a read the entire book FOR NO REASON. Literally, no reason. Great, she's an amazing composure. Pretty much already knew that, thanks. And I already wrote earlier how this could have gone down, and how it was almost forshadowed that that was the way it was going so...Disappointment, thy name is Chani. Seriously, guys. I don't think I've ever looked forward for a book more, and this...I'm sad. I finished it last night and sat there staring at nothing for a good twenty minutes. I was originally going to give this 5 stars, and then 4, and then THAT ENDING had me flip-flopping between 2-3. The only reason I settled on the latter was because it was a quick read for me. It flowed quickly so I at least was able to engage enough to read it and not have to put it down every five minutes.


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So, there you have it. To quickly recap, I gave this 3 stars because I hated their lack of chemistry later on in the book; I hated the way he acted to her once they were "together"; I hated the vague details and the subplots that went nowhere, and I absolutely, positively, HATED, that ending. But, I understood other things, like her guilt and whatnot, because of the time period this was placed in, and because of that I was able to at least enjoy, for the most part, the book as a whole. I feel like, despite the fact the beginning didn't have enough of the Goblin King, he was portrayed a lot better in it. Once we got her sister out, everything went downhill from there, including his personality.


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Basically, if you've never watched Labyrinth, and like classic literature like Jane Eyre, then I'd recommend this. If you don't like classics, and expect this to be a Labyrinth inspired/retelling...walk away. Or at least read half of it, stop, and create your own ending. That works too.