Friday, March 24, 2017

On My Shelf: The Dark Secrets Series by Elizabeth Chandler


On My Shelf is an awesome feature hosted by Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives that anyone can join. The idea is to spotlight a book from your TBR shelf; it's a fun way to discuss books with fellow bloggers and, with their help, decide which books are must-reads... and which ones can wait a while longer.

    

"Two girls haunted by the past... and destined to relive it." 

The Dark Secrets series is another series that I grabbed from BookOutlet. Shocker. I think I should change the intro above to say "hosted by Teresa, powered by BookOutlet." These covers are so pretty, and I like that there are two books in both the first and second volumes.

Have you read the Dark Secrets series? What are your thoughts? 
Do I drop everything and start reading -- or put it back on my shelf for later?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you next week! 

© at A Belle's Tales

  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #63: Bang by Barry Lyga


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,
that showcases our most anticipated upcoming releases.


Title: Bang 
Author: Barry Lyga 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Expected Publication: April 18th, 2017 
Pre-order: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. 

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is as true and as relevant as tomorrow's headlines, the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed.

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This sounds heart-wrenching, but we love Barry Lyga so much that we have to give this a read.

What book are you waiting to get your hands on?

© at A Belle's Tales

  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Release Day Review: The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman

Title: The Hope Chest 
Author: Viola Shipman 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Source: Publisher 
Published: March 21st, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: From the beloved author of Indie Next Pick The Charm Bracelet, a story about an heirloom hope chest and the connection it inspires among three people in need of hope.

The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.

Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary. 

But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.

With each item—including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges. 

A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.

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Don and Mattie have been married for almost 50 years; but as Mattie battles debilitating ALS, Don fears they won’t see their 50th anniversary. A couple so incredibly in love they’ve shared an amazing life together with their only regret being that they were never able to have children. Their love is a testament to never take a single day for granted.

Single mom Rose is still grieving her mother’s death, still reeling from her divorce, and struggling hard to pay bills and hold onto the house her family loved so much. Her little girl Jeri is the one bright spot in her life. Rose is about to start her new job as a caretaker, a job that could help keep a roof over her and Jeri’s heads; but Rose is about to find something much better than just a new job.

A couple who couldn’t have a family meet a mother and daughter that are missing theirs. These four people come together and find more love and hope than one heirloom hope chest can contain.

The Hope Chest is a beautiful and sentimental story. Though not the type of book I normally read, when I began reading this story, I couldn’t help but think how much my mother would enjoy this. Mattie and Don’s relationship reminds me so much of my own parents’ relationship. To still be that in love and to have your best friend by your side after so many years is certainly something that most of us wish for. Each chapter represents a keepsake from Mattie’s hope chest, keepsakes she thought she’d never be able to pass down to a daughter or granddaughter. Until now. As each item is pulled from the hope chest, a story is told from Mattie’s childhood, as well as stories from Mattie and Don’s early years. The glimpses into the past are extremely sweet and poignant. While the story itself is a heartbreaking one, it is also a hopeful one. There’s a wonderful reminder in this book about how much we should cherish our older generation. There is so much that we can learn from them and so much that they still have to give. The book does touch on faith near the end, something that I found lovely but not something that would be off-putting to those who don’t share it. The Hope Chest also proves that you don’t have to share someone’s DNA to be their family.

I’ve never read Viola Shipman’s work before, and I was surprised to find out that Viola Shipman is a penname for Wade Rouse. He chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman who inspires him and his writing. That warmed my heart, and his love for his grandmother and her life stories shines through his words.

Though this is not my usual genre, I continued to think about how much my mother will love this book. And as I neared the end, a funny thing happened… I realized that I loved it, too.

“There is always hope where there is love.” 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales

  

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a great weekly meme now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It's where we share what we're currently reading and what we're starting next. 

Previously read: 

   


Currently reading: 

   


Up next: 



Previous posts: 

It's been a few weeks since we've done one of these!

100 Words and a Quote Reviews: (Room; The Impossible Knife of Memory; The Bird and the Sword)
Mckenzie's Review: 10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac
Mckenzie's Review: Future Threat (Future Shock, #2) by Elizabeth Briggs
Review: Gizelle's Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog by Lauren Fern Watt
Review: Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10) by Patricia Briggs
Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Review: The Pain Eater by Beth Goobie
Mckenzie's Essay: What Makes Macbeth a Tragic Hero?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th Anniversary Celebration and Review
Review: The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop
Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Review: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings, #1) by Rachel L. Demeter
On My Shelf: What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan



Congratulations to Chiara G., who won the Buffy 20th Anniversary Giveaway! She won a DVD, a book, and a coloring book! Thank you to all who entered!

But the winning's not over! There are still 8 days left to win a book of your choice in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!



What are you reading this week? 
We hope you have a happy Monday! 

 © at A Belle's Tales

  

Friday, March 17, 2017

On My Shelf: What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan


On My Shelf is an awesome feature hosted by Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives that anyone can join. The idea is to spotlight a book from your TBR shelf; it's a fun way to discuss books with fellow bloggers and, with their help, decide which books are must-reads... and which ones can wait a while longer.


What She Knew sounds like a captivating thriller; and though I've never read this author before, I have two of her books on my shelf. A missing child, a police investigation, search parties, and a mother who realizes that nothing is what she thought it was certainly all sound intriguing. Can anyone give me some insight into this book and its author?

Have you read What She Knew? What are your thoughts? 
Do I drop everything and start reading -- or put it back on my shelf?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you next week! 

© at A Belle's Tales

  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings, #1) by Rachel L. Demeter

Title: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings, #1) 
Author: Rachel L. Demeter 
Genre: Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retellings, Gothic Romance  
Published: March 15th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

* * *

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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“‘You were gifted with your mother’s strength and gentleness, Isabelle. Both her strength and beauty. 
Never abandon those things, ma petite. But greatest of all, you have her heart. Guard it well.’”  

Last year, I fell in love with a book called Finding Gabriel by author Rachel Demeter. So when I found Ms. Demeter had written a retelling of my favorite fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, I was over the moon. And Beauty of the Beast is everything I hoped it would be. Now let me just say, this is not your Disney version. This is a mature fairytale; at times it is dark and twisty, and the author gives full disclosure that this story does contain an instance of sexual assault committed by a villain. It is intended for readers 18 and over.

With a Gothic feel, Beauty of the Beast is set in the kingdom of Demrov and tells the haunting story of Adam Delacroix, a man with secrets and a painful past. Scarred and reclusive, Adam has isolated himself in his castle and withdrawn from the world who believes him dead. With only his dog Stranger for company and the occasional visits from his only friend S├ębastien, he’s given up on humankind and spends his days in solitude.

“‘If I’m a monster, mademoiselle, it’s because man’s cruelty has made me so.’” 

Isabelle Rose is caring for her very ill father, Bernard, while enduring life with her spoiled and manipulative stepsisters. Isabelle is engaged to Vicomte Raphael Dumont and faces an unhappy life with the detestable brute. She has no love in her heart for Raphael, and why would she? He is despicable and cruel. But he is the only hope she has to spare her father a life of poverty and give him a chance to recover from his illness. When Isabelle and her father journey to the Merchants’ Fair in a last attempt to find security and freedom without having to rely on Raphael, they are caught in a harsh winter storm and forced to seek shelter in a dismal, crumbling castle. Adam’s castle.

And what unfolds from there, readers, is for you to discover.

This story, while edgy and dark at times, is also hopeful. The scenes between Adam and Isabelle are poignant, lovely, and very sensual. If I were a blogger that included a heat rating in my reviews, I can assure you this page would be aflame! *fans self* The writing is lyrical and striking. I couldn’t help but be transported to this time period, and the beautiful imagery and world building were divine. I adored the inclusion of the music; it lent somewhat of a Phantom of the Opera twist to this stunning tale.

“‘It was a way to speak when no one was there to listen.’ … 
‘I have been listening every night. Even when you don’t play… 
I still hear your music… And I feel it.’” 

I don’t read many historical romances anymore, but I had no problem sinking into the world this author created. I was hit with a volley of emotions while reading Adam and Isabelle’s story, and I absolutely love this grown-up retelling of my favorite fairytale. I recommend this book for adult fans of Beauty and the Beast, as well as lovers of Gothic and historical romance. I can’t wait to see what Rachel Demeter writes next!

“Love is joy, love is suffering, love is tenderness, love is beautiful. Love is you.” 

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales

  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Release Day Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Title: Never Let You Go 
Author: Chevy Stevens 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Source: Publisher 
Published: March 14th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought? 

Chevy Stevens targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more in a novel that explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

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The minute that Never Let You Go was in my hands, I thought I’d take a little peek… just browse the first few pages. And that was the last I saw of that day. This book pulled me in that fast, and I was hypnotized. There’s no putting this one down. I love how brilliantly this story is set up. Not only do we alternate between past and present but we also get both Lindsey and Sophie’s perspectives.

When Lindsey married Andrew, she thought he was the man of her dreams. She slowly began to realize he was a thing of nightmares. The more he drank, the scarier he became… the more possessive, the more jealous, and less of the man she thought she knew. The night Lindsey escaped with Sophie was the night Andrew was arrested – but not for what you might expect. Now, eleven years later, Lindsey and Sophie have made a life for themselves. But when Andrew is released from prison, things begin to happen. Someone is watching Lindsey. Someone wants her dead. Will she ever be free?

I loved this book. One of my favorite movies of all time is Sleeping with the Enemy, and this book captures that vibe flawlessly. I really connected with these characters. Sometimes I wanted to shake Sophie and say, “Listen to your mother! Bad things happen when you don’t!” – but my heart also broke for her and what she’s been through. I adore Lindsey. It was so nice to see a woman overcome such heartbreak and have so much determination. She also has the strength to reach out to other victims of domestic abuse and to learn how to defend herself and those she loves. She’ll never give up, and I admire that so much. I love the author’s writing and the pacing of the story; the twists and red herrings were done brilliantly. I had my suspicions from the get-go; and though I guessed correctly, it was just that: a guess. I don’t believe it makes this book predictable in the least, especially when all is revealed and the reader gets to watch everything unravel.

This book is about more than manipulation and betrayal; it’s about strength and courage, even forgiveness. It was exciting yet poignant. It was a complete thrill ride, and I have a new go-to author.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales