Blog Tour | The Cad and the Co-Ed by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway

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The Cad and The Co-Ed, a quirky and sexy romantic comedy from Penny Reid & L.H. Cosway is available now!!

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THE CAD

Bryan Leech is a cad.

Or, he *was* a cad.

No one is quite certain.

Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.

The only problem is, no one believes him.

THE CO-ED

Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed to put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.

The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.

THE PLAN

Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.

Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.

But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable?

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Review

My rating: 5 stars

The Cad and the Co-ed follows Eilish Cassidy and Brian Leech. Eilish and Brian met at a wedding and spent a romantic night together, but Brain didn’t remember her or their night the next morning. Eilish soon finds herself pregnant and runs cutting everyone off (except Sean, her favourite cousin). Fast-forward a few years, Eilish has graduated in physiotherapy and lands a job in Sean’s team. Guess who she has to work closely with? Brain Leech, the father of her son and the man who broke her heart. Brian has turned his life around, no more drinking and waking up without any memories.

While this trope is not a favourite of mine, I enjoyed this book a lot. A LOT. When Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway come together unicorn’s poop cupcakes. This is definitely a cupcake. I don’t know what magical writing bond these two have, but I never want to see it end. They need to forever write collaborations together.

I absolutely loved Eilish. She worked hard to provide for herself and her son, and she knew when she was in over her head she could always count on Sean (ahhh Sean). She didn’t take any bullshit from her mother or that so called friend of hers (who I could not stand). And, while she was afraid of telling Brian the truth, she did when she saw he had grown responsible and mature.

Brian, oh Brian. What can I say about you? I fell in love with you from the start. Brian hit rock bottom and instead of staying there he decided he didn’t want to and changed his life. He worked through his alcoholism and straighten his life around. And he was always there for his mother, despite her alcoholism (that could have affected him).

Brian was intrigued by Eilish the moment he met her all those years later. While Eilish tried to stay away she couldn’t. I found their story realistic and beautiful. Reid and Cosway penned down their journey beautifully. If you love a smart, funny, emotional romance this is the book to go for.

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Connect with Penny:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyReidWriter/

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Twitter: @ReidRomance

Newsletter: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/

http://www.pennyreid.ninja

Meet L.H. Cosway:

L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favorite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

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Connect with L.H. Cosway:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LHCosway/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jVTDk8

Twitter: @LHCosway

Newsletter: https://goo.gl/vkhYHN

Website: http://www.lhcoswayauthor.com

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Blog Tour: Review | Beard Science by Penny Reid

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Beard Science

by Penny Reid
Winston Brothers #3
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Humor, Romance

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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play | Smashwords

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

‘Beard Science’ is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

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My Review

My rating: 5 stars

Beard Science follows Jennifer Sylvester and Cletus Winston. Jennifer Sylvester has been playing a role her whole life, and she’s getting tired of it. When she accidently stumbles upon something that may help change her life she plunges forwards. She blackmails Cletus into helping her find a husband. Cletus decides to humor her; soon he finds himself genuinely wanting to help her, however, not in finding a husband but rather finding herself.

Jennifer Sylvester is not the Banana Cake Queen, but rather a very remarkable, relatable, and unique protagonist. I understood (to an extent) her wanting to make her parents proud by becoming their version of who she should be. But, I loved that she decided she wants to live for herself – albeit it included a husband. I loved how she slowly removed their clutches to find herself. It was a beautiful journey.

Cletus has been my favourite since the first Winston Brother book (I still love you a lot Billy and Duane). I love the way his mind works, I’ve never read anything like it. He is a true cinnamon roll and I shall cherish him forever. I adored his personal growth as well – I found it very cute how he determined that Shelly is the love of his life upon meeting her and that it was the best time to meet the love of his life. I also loved that when he figured out he is in love with Jennifer he didn’t fight it, he just accepted it. It was so refreshing reading that, it’s old reading about character’s fight their feelings.

It was absolutely magical reading about their relationship and how it progressed. Jennifer was never on Cletus’s raider and after he got to know her, he regretted not knowing her earlier. And, Jennifer has always known Cletus, she sees him for who he really is, who he hides from the world. And their journey together was awe-enchanting to read. I find myself wanting to re-read it already, and it’s only been out a few weeks. Thank you so much Penny Reid for giving us such a masterpiece.

 

About Penny Reid

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SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).

By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

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Review | Memories of Ash by Instisar Khanani

memories of ash by intisar khanani

Memories of Ash
by: Intisar Khanani
The Sunbolt Chronicles #2
Publication Date: May 30th, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

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Review

My rating: 5 stars

Memories of Ashes takes place a year after Sunbolt – Hitomi has been learning under Brigit Stormwind. Until one day a rogue mage hunter visits to escort Stormwind to the Council for a trial. Knowing Blackflame is behind the charges Hitomi decides to break Stromwind free.

MoA is one of the best books I’ve read this year; I am still on a high from it. I cannot even begin to describe my love for it. This high fantasy is nothing like I’ve read before – it probably has to do with romance usually playing a major role – but in this there was hardly any. A full length novel about a girl travelling the land with the help of allies.

Hitomi is a really likeable protagonist – she’s strong, witty, loyal, intelligent, and flawed. Hitomi has a habit of getting into situations without much planning, and while that may usually seem annoying it isn’t with Hitomi – she acknowledges that it is a flaw – and to do the right thing is more important to her. Despite regaining some of her memories she was still haunted with the deaths she caused and refuse to take anymore; it was very humane of her.

The political plot was quite interesting as well, usually I steer clear of politics but Khanani’s writing made it really fascinating. The fight for power, the will to save one’s own skin even if it means losing one’s soul, the deception and manipulation, were really well immersed with the story. There was so much to learn – if something is not fully unveiled it is best to trust one’s gut.

While this was not heavy on the romance, this did have some really beautiful bonds – whether they’re familial, friendships, or alliances. This was a breath of fresh air from the usual fantasy books I’ve read. The bond between Hitomi and Stromwind gave me some paternal feels, and it was nice for Hitomi to have someone to guide her after being alone so long. I didn’t realise how much I missed Kenta until he showed up; I loved their relationship in Sunbolt and I love it even more after MoA. Val and Hitomi’s relationship is so unique and special – the trust between the two is beautiful.

I know I said I’m happy that this barely had any romance, but I’m a romantic at heart and I need to share my opinion. In Sunbolt we were introduced to the Ghost, and I feel in love with them after reading their first scene. Hitomi and Ghost give me so many Kaz and Inej feels. Though there was only mentions of the Ghost I’m hoping we’ll meet him again in the next book. I’m definitely rooting for these two, and I hope we get like a secondary/tertiary romance plot with them.

Khanani’s writing is remarkable; she kept me on the edge of my seat, fully immersed in the story, without a care of what was going around me. She has the perfect mixture of plot, world building, and character development. We were introduced to many new characters and they weren’t without reason, everything tied up. I am in awe with her writing.

I received an arc of this from the author in exchange of an honest review.

About the Author

Intisar Khanani

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar’s current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.

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Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt | The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

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The Player and the Pixie

by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

Publication Date: April 12, 2016

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Humor

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Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

How can someone so smokin’ hot be so bad in bed? I mean, Sean Cassidy is absolute rubbish. RUBBISH. He is the epitome of walking, talking false advertising and I want a refund! Plus he’s an arsehole. So… what is wrong with me that I can’t stop thinking about him?

The Pixie and the Player is a full-length, romantic comedy novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the second book in the Rugby Series.

THE PIXIE

Lucy Fitzpatrick doesn’t like rugby. As the little sister of Ireland’s most infamous rugby player, Lucy can’t seem to escape the championship-sized shadow cast by her big brother, or her mother’s frequent attempts to micromanage her future. Her rainbow hair is as free-spirited as her quest for inner peace, yet overbearing expectations keep bringing her down. And when she’s down, her compulsive little problem lands her in seriously big trouble.

THE PLAYER

Sean Cassidy is a cold-hearted brute… or so he’s been told. Frequently. By everyone. His blonde locks, baby blues, and rock hard bod make ladies the world over drool with desire. As the rugby world’s second most infamous player, he should be basking in his success. But Sean has never been content settling for second place, and his frequent confrontations with Lucy’s big brother leave him cold. And when he’s cold, his compulsive little problem lands him in the lap of Lucy Fitzpatrick.

THE PLAN

Sean has a problem only Lucy can solve. Lucy has a problem only Sean can fix. The solution seems obvious: you scratch my back, and I’ll bail you out of jail. But when their business arrangement unexpectedly leaves Sean scorching hot and Lucy on the precipice of inner peace, can they convince the world—and Lucy’s big brother in particular—that this is the real deal? Either way, both the Player and the Pixie are about to teach each other some pretty monumental lessons about family, life, but most importantly, love.

My Rating: 5 stars

Review

The Player and the Pixie follows Lucy Fitzpatrick and Sean Cassidy. Sean has an antagonistic relationship with Lucy’s brother, Ronan, which is why they do not find themselves in each other’s company. However, one conversation changes that. The growing tension between them is too hard for them to resist and they find themselves in a relationship neither had anticipated.

Lucy moves to New York to start afresh, away from her mom’s scrutiny. Things seem to be looking up for Lucy until she visits home and has to live with her mom again, causing her anxiety and forcing her unhealthy coping mechanism to revive. Sean Cassidy is the outcast of the Rugby team; he is a talented player, but his undesirable personality causes him to become the black sheep. He lives a lonely life – his icy family and unsatisfying one night stands. Until one day he bumps into a girl with rainbow hair.

“It’s sandalwood,” he replied. “Here, give it to me.”

I handed it across the table and he swiped his fingers in, extracting a small blob. Before I could react he took my hand and smoothed the cream into my wrist. His hands were very….large. My fingers felt completely encapsulated, minuscule by comparison. A tingling, nervous feeling buzzed in my belly as his fingertips massaged my sensitive skin. When he was done he lifted my wrist to his nose and inhaled deeply.

“Smells good on you,” he said. I was momentarily lost for words.

The sexual tension between Lucy and Sean grows each time their thrown together, while Lucy does not want to acknowledge it Sean is ready to extinguish the fire. There is only so much Lucy can take – with Sean being everywhere and the looks he gives her. Ultimately Lucy does what she’s been dying to do.

While Sean’s kisses drive her crazy, his love making could not have turned her off faster. He is terrible at sex and he knows it, however, no one stuck with him long enough to teach him and he’s never really bothered much before. But, that was before he met Lucy.

“The moment you walk into a room you brighten it, Lucy Fitzpatrick, and I for one feel like the luckiest bastard in the world for having known you.”

What starts as a few erotic lessons turns into something more than either expected. Lucy feels really conflicted about her growing relationship (or lack thereof) with Sean Cassidy because of his animosity with her bother, but Sean is not ready to let go. For the first time he’s with someone who really knows him and makes him feel. He’s not ready to lose that.

“I think I’ve missed you all my life”

Sean and Lucy’s relationship is one of the best developed relationships I have ever read. While their relationship is fun and sexy it also very deep and emotional. The way their walls came down is written very naturally. I loved reading about them grow both individually and together. They brought out the best in each other.

Cosway and Reid are a riot. Alone they produce art, but together they produce a masterpiece (or should I say masterpieces). Their writings complement each other so well, I can’t tell who’s written what (and that is the best part). I’ve already started re-reading this. And that teaser for the next book has me salivating (see what I did there ;)).

Excerpts

Excerpt #1

*Sean*

I didn’t know what I was doing.

Requests, things I wanted, words I would never speak or allow myself to think were now uncontainable.

It’s the sex, I reiterated. Again. I’d used this explanation, now on repeat, as a simple justification for the complex cacophony of my mind.

“Be with you?” Her long, dark lashes fluttered, beating like distressed butterfly wings against warming pink cheeks.

I licked my lips, tasting her there. “Yes.”

She stared at me, confused. I was also confused. And oddly frightened.

Because it wasn’t the sex.

Several seconds ticked on as we studied each other in breathless silence. She found her voice before I did. “What does that—”

“Lucy?” Annie’s voice was paired with a soft knock on the bathroom door. “Are you okay?”

I opened my mouth to whisper a clarification to the question Lucy hadn’t quite posed, because I was compelled to tell her it wasn’t the sex. We didn’t have to have sex. We could just . . . talk. Or play cards. Or touch. Or look at each other from across the room.

We could merely be together.

But she covered my mouth with her hand. Her features arrested with unmistakable panic.

“Yes. I’m fine! I just . . . started my period is all. Made a mess in my jeans, like a crime scene.” Lucy hollered in response then grimaced. She immediately mouthed I’m sorry to me. Her cheeks flushed red.

I lifted an eyebrow. She rolled her eyes, ducking her head with obvious embarrassment. I pressed my lips together so I wouldn’t laugh.

Issuing me a quelling look, Lucy released me and skittered out of the stall, whispering, “Stay here and count to three hundred.”

“Oh! Do you need anything?” Annie’s voice was less muffled and I surmised she’d opened the bathroom door.

“Ah, no. Have it all sorted now. Thank God Tom has these nice absorbent napkins instead of those troublesome hand driers. Although I feel like I’m wearing a nappy. They’re bad for the environment, so I should talk to him about replacing the napkins. Maybe make a few available for emergencies . . .”

Lucy’s anxiety-riddled chatter faded as the bathroom door clicked shut.

I released an audible exhale. My heart was beating as though it might leap from my chest. I needed to catch my breath. Neither had anything to do with being caught.

What the fuck were you doing?

It was the sex. She’s phenomenal in bed. You’ve never had that before. It was just sex.

I nodded, reiterating the logic of my justification for the uncharacteristic behavior. If I repeated it enough, perhaps I would believe it.

I didn’t count to three hundred as instructed. I counted to one hundred and twenty-three, then realized what I was doing.

“You’re mad, Sean,” I muttered, shaking myself and promptly leaving the ladies’ room. I checked the cufflinks on my dress shirt—a nervous habit—and strolled back to the table, eyeing the assortment of eejits gathered.

Excerpt #2

*Lucy*

Later that evening, I got ready for the party. My dress was cream lace, sort of floaty, and I wore my hair down with a single daisy clip at the side. I was sitting in a VIP room at the back of the venue with my brother, his fiancée Annie, and a couple of Ronan’s teammates. We were enjoying a few bottles of champagne and discussing the success the Irish squad had enjoyed during the year. Mam was elsewhere, socializing with the other team mothers, and I was glad. I just wanted to enjoy my night without her saying something about how unattractive or embarrassing I was.

We were all having a great time until the door swung open and Mr. Tall, Blond and Up Himself walked in. That would be Sean Cassidy to those not in the know, Sleazy Sean, as nicknamed by the rugby club. I tried to always see the good in people, but he and my brother didn’t have the best relationship. Not only had Sean slept with Brona, Ronan’s ex-girlfriend, but he was also universally acknowledged to be an arsehole.

It went against everything I believed in to say, because I liked to think everyone was redeemable in some way, but Sean just wasn’t a nice person. He actually seemed to be proud about the fact, like he wanted people to dislike him.

The conversation died down, everybody casting surreptitious glances at Sean who swaggered his way up to the private bar and loudly ordered a bottle of bubbly. That’s actually what he called it, but speaking of bubbly . . .

Almost of their own accord, my eyes wandered over his broad shoulders, muscular back, and down to what must have been the most perfect bubble butt I’d ever seen. You know how sometimes male athletes develop those really defined, rounded but masculine derrieres? Well, Sean Cassidy was most definitely rocking one of those, and I couldn’t resist the urge to ogle it. It was pure muscle and simply bite-worthy.

I snickered to myself when I realized I’d almost commented on it out loud. Okay, I’d officially had too many glasses of “bubbly” as Sean so douchebaggedly called it. He must have heard my snicker because his attention landed on me. He stared at me for a second, arched a condescending brow, then dismissed me all in an instant, returning his attention to the bar.

Huh.

After about thirty seconds everyone went back to their conversations, trying their best to ignore Sean. Ronan had told me once that Sean was the kind of person who thrived on attention, so ignoring his presence was probably the best course of action to take.

It was my own fault I couldn’t stop staring. We’d never spoken before. In fact, I’d only ever seen him from afar at parties like this one, or on television when there was a match on. But right now he was close, close enough for me to realize just how devastatingly and legitimately handsome he was: light blue eyes, a strong jaw, nice lips, attractive nose.

Sigh.

Why were the beautiful ones always such pricks, huh?

He leaned back against the bar, having uncorked the champagne bottle and poured some into a glass. He wore a shit-eating grin as he stared right at Ronan, holding the glass to his lips, his pinky popped. I knew he was getting to Ronan when my brother muttered to Annie under his breath, “Is he fucking shitting me?”

L.H. Cosway

L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favorite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Penny Reid

SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing). By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

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Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Six of Crows
by: Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows, #1
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

SPOILERS INCLUDED.

OH.MY.GOD! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I don’t know how I lived so peacefully knowing this book has been released for months and not bothered to do anything about it. I was merely surviving before this. One may think I’m overreacting, but I am not. My reaction is completely justified. If you don’t believe me just read the book.

I am still hungover from it. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthis, Jesper, and Waylan were all amazing. I’m in love with each and every one of them. It was so easy to get sucked into this. Bardugo kept me hooked from the first page. Had it not been for life I would have finished this in one go. I felt anxious every time I had to put it down. I usually don’t re-read fantasy but this is an exception; I have an urge to re-read it already. IT IS THAT BEAUTIFUL. Urghhh I need my own copy now, and it will be painful to wait 6 more months. On the plus side, Crooked Kingdom is releasing a day near my birthday. (I know what I’m getting for my birthday :D)

I went into this book completely blind. I was awestruck with the cover, plus the hype around this book made me want to read it even more. When I found out my sister’s friend owns it I knew I couldn’t waste such an opportunity. I asked her if I could borrow it and she being the sweetheart she is let me.

From the writing to the plot to the characters to the setting, everything was marvellous. Usually having many different perspectives would have been a hassle, however, Bardugo annihilated it. Each and every perspective was important and it added a certain grace to the story. Half the magic is from the various perspectives. It was glorious reading one’s thoughts and then their actions through another’s perspective. I, especially, enjoyed Kaz’s thoughts vs. his behaviour.

Kaz narrowed his eyes. “I’m not some character out of a children’s story who plays harmless pranks and steals from the rich to give to the poor.”

Kaz is the perfect anti-hero. He is much more than just being just Dirtyhands. It was incredible reading his character unfold. Inej’s strength is admirable, after everything she’s been through she still has hope and belief in her religion. Jesper’s wit and sarcasm made me laugh quite a few times. He’s the perfect dose of lightness needed in such intense heists. Nina is bold, loud, and immensely loyal. Her loyalty may not always come across as loyalty, but her heart is in the right place. I love her unabashed nature. Matthias’ character development is definitely one of my favourites; the hate being replaced with logic and compassion. Wylan is someone you don’t think of much until later on and then he becomes a cinnamon roll that needs to be protected at all costs.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

I absolutely adored the unlikely team’s dynamic. They were an odd team but one that worked really well. I love how their trust and respect grew for each other. And their interactions never failed to amuse me.

“Jesper knocking his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”

I also enjoyed all the romantic relationships.

“What do you want then?”
The old answers came easily to mind.
Money. Vengeance. Jordie’s voice in my head silenced forever. But a different reply roared to life inside him, loud, insistent, and unwelcome. You, Inej. You.

I adore Kaz and Inej’s relationship. I loved their partnership from the start (way before I shiped it romantically). Despite Kaz keeping a lot to himself there is a certain level of trust he has with Inej that he doesn’t with anyone else. She keeps him grounded – she’s his rock.

“He needed to tell her…what? That she was lovely and brave and better than anything he deserved. That he was twisted, crooked, wrong, but not so broken that he couldn’t pull himself together into some semblance of a man for her. That without meaning to, he’d begun to lean on her, to look for her, to need her near. He needed to thank her for his new hat.”

See what I mean. She means more to him than he anticipated and that terrifies him. When Inej was injured in the ambush Kaz’s worry broke me. It was the first clue to there being romantic feelings and I was a goner.

“I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

This is one of my favourite lines in the whole book. I love how strong Inej is and how she refuses to settle for less. She knows Kaz wants to be with her but she can’t let herself be with him if he’s always going to have an armour. As much as I want them together, I want them together fully not in some half-baked way.

“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”

Matthias and Nina were really pleasant to read about. I enjoyed their banter and care for one another (even when they tried hiding it). I was really curious about their history, I had a few guesses but nothing came close to reality.

I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.

I loved how Nina showed Matthias there is more to the Grisha than the hate he had been taught and opened his eyes about the truth of what was happening to the Grisha. And, when he finally gave up the hate he’d been harbouring my heart melted. At the end of the day Nina was it for him as he was for her.

“Stay,” she panted. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Stay till the end.”
“And after,” he said. “And always.”
“I want to feel safe again. I want to go home to Ravka.”
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll set fire to raisins or whatever you heathens do for fun.”
“Zealot,” she said weakly.
“Witch.”
“Barbarian.”
“Nina,” he whispered, “little red bird. Don’t go.”

My heart broke when Nina starting feeling the symptoms. I could feel Matthias’ helplessness and his love for her. I really hope they make it in the next book and get their happily ever after.

“Jesper!” I’m going to kill that little idiot. “What do you want?” he shouted down. “Close your eyes!” “You can’t kiss me from down there, Wylan.” “Just do it!” “This better be good!” He shut his eyes. “Are they closed?” “Damn it, Wylan, yes, they’re—” There was a shrill, shrieking howl, and then bright light bloomed behind Jesper’s lids.”

Jesper and Wylan were really cute. I love how Jesper would tease Wylan and how Wylan would continue to surprise Jesper (and the readers).

“Nina might not be able to put you back, you know. Not without another dose of parem. You could be stuck like this.”
“Why does it matter?”
“I don’t know!” Jesper said angrily. “Maybe I liked your stupid face.”

I love how despite their initial meeting and flirtation Jesper grew to have genuine feelings for Wylan.

I had a feeling the exchange would not be pleasant but I did not expect it to go down the way it did. Now that it’s over I don’t know what to do. I just really need the second book. Why must it release in about 6 months? If only it would release earlier.

Review: Amar Bail by Umera Ahmed

Amar Bail by Umera Ahmed

A love story of Umar Jehangir and Aleezay Sikandar, set-up in the backdrop of Pakistani bureaucratic culture. It revolves around Umar Jehangir and Aleezay Sikandar. Two people both from broken bureaucrat families. Aleezay Sikandar who had her complexes, her desire in life to be loved and taken care of and Umar Jehangir, a character with multiple shades.

My rating: 5 stars

Amar Bail a love story between Umar Jehangir and Aleezay Sikandar, two broken souls from problematic families whose journeys are intertwined. Umar is the son of a corrupt bureaucrat who uses him for his own personal gain, tries to distant himself from his father by returning to Pakistan. However, there is only so much he can do, despite the control he tries to free himself. Aleezay is an only child from a broken home, forced to live with her maternal grandparents because her parent’s ‘new’ lives do not accommodate her for a long period.

I finished this last Friday and I have had a hard writing a review. There were avalanches of emotions throughout the book, emotions I still am unable to control or identify. There was also a lot to learn: how dirty politics can be, the lengths one goes through to save his own skin, how sometimes the only way to punish culprits is going against the law, and etc.

Umar is a complex character, there is no black and white, he resides in the morally grey area. There are times you want to wrap him and take him far away from the corrupt world, and others when you want to smack him silly. There is something so raw and realistic about him that despite the wrongs he committed one can’t help but still root for him.

Aleezay is a cinnamon roll, one that I’m positive everyone would want to protect. The poor girl craved for love – love she did not receive from her parents nor grandparents. They all assumed by gifting her with materialistic possessions, or calling once a month, the fulfilled their duties. Her grandparents raised her in a very closed off environment. Her whole life revolved around keeping everyone pleased; she couldn’t even think for herself – she’d always have someone’s influence in her mind.

Aleezay and Umar’s relationship was beautifully written. Aleezay’s jealousy towards Umar, Umar not letting her jealousy get in the way of their friendship, Umar helping Aleezay become her own person, Umar making talking Nano (grandmother) out of getting Aleezay married at the tender age of 17, Umar sacrificing a life they could have together (because he believes he would not have made her happy), just everything is beautifully shown. I love the woman Aleezay became with Umar’s guidance. I just wished he believed more in himself and actually gave them a chance. His fear that marriage would destroy them did not spout out of the blue, and unfortunately his fear never diminished.

What’s really heart-breaking was finding out Umar repeatedly told his friend, Junaid, that he had to marry Aleezay…well more like convinced him to meet her with the prospect of marriage. Junaid was the best man he knew and he wanted Aleezay to have the best, even if it wasn’t with him. Also, even though there were moments which lead me to believe he loves Aleezay he never outright said so. We find out at the end that he did in fact love Aleezay.

Despite my love for Umar, I still fell in love with Junaid. He truly is a great guy, and his family is also amazing. Aleezay finally received the love she had been craving for through his family and him. And, despite everything Umar did do right by her. She was likely not going to marry into such a family had it not been for Umar.

I’m not even sure what I wrote, I still have a lot of incoherent thoughts left.

PS. I read the English translation of this. I am honestly grateful that Umera had it translated.