Thursday, January 21, 2016

[Review] Demon Princess

Demon Princess

(Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales #1)

by Kassandra Lynn

Publish date: December 21, 2015
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary

With her father gone and her brother missing, Demon Princess Adriana has to assume the throne, temporarily becoming the Demon King. The procession is underway, and the princess is nervous yet determined … until the unthinkable happens and she is summoned! Somehow, Aldric, a mage-in-training has summoned the princess into the human kingdom. Now trapped, Adriana must hide her identity and escape before she loses her life in the hands of her mortal enemies.

My thoughts

I'm not going to lie. My first impression of this book was based on my insta-love with that cover. Then, I read the synopsis and it reminded me a lot of a book I read a long time ago, I don't even remember the title but it stuck with me all this time, so I figured I may as well give Demon Princess a try. I mean, what's not to love, there's demons, magic, danger and maybe a little romance. 

Demon princess Adriana finds herself in a bit of a pickle when she is summoned by a mage-in-training to be his summon beast. While she stuck in the human kingdom, the demon kingdom is left without a leader since both her father and brother have gone missing. 

I really liked Adriana mainly because she started out as a weeping, spoiled girl and transforms to a determined bad ass. After she has a bit of a pity party, she pulls herself together and keeps trying to get herself out of her predicament. She's a powerful demon on a leash. She's going to shows the mages that it's always a bad idea to try to cage a lion. 

The story line is very interesting and I can sense that this first book is only the beginning. Adriana is set to be the Demon King once she frees herself, and if he father and brother never come back. In history, the Demon King is always defeated by a trio of a warrior, a wiseman and a Savior blood, who she just so happens to team up with while she tries to escape. The whole time she's constantly trying to keep her identity a mystery. 

Keldrin is a sweetheart and he sees Adriana as his damsel in distress. He's constantly trying to protect her and get the rest of the mage community to see her as a person and not a beast. 
With a great plot line and likable characters, I'll definitely be looking for the next book.

** I was provided a copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review

Get it here
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why I don't normally write negative reviews

"Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."
- Quoted from somewhere on the Internets

I found that quote the other day while working on this post and I thought it fit nicely with the point I'm trying to make. If you've followed my blog for a while, or even if you're just checking it out for the first time, you may have noticed most books I review garner 3 or 4 stars from me. Now, some might say that's not an accurate way to run an unbiased blog. But I don't agree with that. So here are four reason why I don't write negative reviews.

1. My blog is more about sharing what I thought was good, rather than reviewing every book I read. My personal goal as a blogger is to give exposure to books and authors I deem worthy. I read between 80-100 books every year. I don't have time to review each and every single one, so the ones I like get priority. However, the ones not featured on Book Nerd Paradise I do rate accordingly on Goodreads and write a sentence or two about why I didn't like it on Amazon so other people who have the same issues can be aware.

If I join a blog tour and find that I don't like the book I've signed up for, I politely explain to the tour hosts why I didn't like it and that I would prefer not to write a review. I'm not going to like every single book I ever pick out.

I do tend to hold out on the coveted 5-star review though. I have a total of three in the last two years, two of those are of the same series. So I don't just give out 5 stars all willy nilly, it's very hard to earn one of those from me. 

2. They tend to be rant-y. I was one of the very few people who really disliked The Sin Eater's Daughter. I mean, I downright HATED it and was pissed I spent my hard earned money on it. So, I planned on writing a one-star review. Only, when I started putting points together in my head I seemed to go off on a rant. One of those rants where it's really just some swearing, whining and griping. But, I'm not here to rant about how much I hated something, that's what my Facebook is for.

3. Most times, negative reviews are based on personal preferences. I can respect a negative review that's based on shoddy writing. I can respect a negative review based on bad editing or plot development. What I can NOT respect is a negative review based on personal bias of the subject matter. 

As an example: There is a certain person on Goodreads (who shall remain nameless) who has written 676 reviews and rated 1774 book, with an average rating of 2.80 in less than five years. (The absurdity of that number is a topic for another time) A common theme with these very harsh negative reviews tends to be a hatred towards insta-love and love triangles. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. I hate those too and we each have our own likes and dislikes. 

But here's the thing. Almost every time, you can tell those things from the blurb or other reviewers. If you don't like a love triangle don't pick a book that clearly states there's a love triangle. You would think this is common sense, but people always seem to overlook it and then get pissed and write a negative review about it later. That's like picking up a contemporary romance and being mad there were no vampires in it.

That's not the author's fault. That's your own fault for being an illiterate moron, and a negative review is undeserved. Pick books you are confident that you will like. If you read the summary and other reviews, you'll get pretty good at find ones you're likely to enjoy.

4. That's someone's baby I've just insulted. Let's be honest, not all babies are cute. But, do you go tell the mother that their baby has a funny shaped head or their ears stick out like an elf? I should hope you wouldn't. 

Authors put countless hours into writing, editing, scraping, rewriting and so forth. Who am I to tear down all that hard work just because we don't see eye to eye on something. Especially if it's based on the personal preference stated above. Just because I don't enjoy love triangles doesn't mean no one else does. It's not really fair of me to write a negative review on that. 

I was a reporter for a long time so I know what it's like to take criticism, both deserved and undeserved. I once had someone call and rage at me because she felt she looked bad in a photo I took of her. It's not my fault you have body issues. My job is to accurate portray the story and that's what I did. It's the same with authors. They're trying to write their story how they think is best. They aren't trying to please everyone and their mothers. As writers, we get attached to our work and we don't take it lightly when someone tries to pee on it. Especially if that person doesn't know what it's like to be a writer.

In conclusion, I'm not saying no one should write a 1- or 2-star review. In fact, I value those reviews that warn me if the writing isn't very strong or it's riddled with grammar mistakes. But I do think they should be constructive reviews. Tell me what problems you had with the book and why. If you didn't like the main character, tell me why. 

All of that being said, Book Nerd Paradise will always be a place you can come for recommendations. I tend to read more indie author's than anything else and I'll tell you who I think is worthy of your time and why. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

2016 TBR Reading Challenge


The TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Lately, I've been lamenting the fact that my TBR pile has gotten ridiculously out of hand. I'm a person who likes organization and getting things done. It doesn't help my OCD to have hundreds of books on my list to read. So, this year I'm taking part in the TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish Lifestyle. 

There are 31 books listed below that I'm shooting to read this year. My goal will be the 21-30 First Kiss level then. Reviews will be linked at the end when they are up. Can't wait to get my read on! The only problem is which to read first. 

My TBR list I'll be reading from (in no particular order)

Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder
Crimson Bound - Rosamund Hodge
A Court of Thorn and Roses - Sarah J. Maas
Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Stones and Finger Bones - Jessica Minyard
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
The Orphan Queen - Jodi Meadows
The Web - Megan Chance
Providence Unveiled - Selina Fenech
Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas
The Goddess Inheritance - Aimee Carter
Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare
Green Rider - Kristen Britain
Vane - Teshelle Combs
Refuge - Karen Lynch
Oblivion - Kelly Creagh
The Pirate's Wish - Cassandra Rose Clark
Never Fade - Alexandra Bracken
Darkness Fades - Jessica Sorenson
Awaken - Meg Cabot
The Crown of Embers - Rae Carson
The Young Elites - Marie Lu
Stitching Snow - R.C. Lewis
Siren's Fury - Mary Weber
The Heart of Betrayal - Mary E. Pearson
The Shadow Prince - Bree Despain
The Winner's Crime - Marie Rutkoski
Diviner's Fate - Nicollete Andrews
My Date From Hell - Tellulah Darling

Friday, January 15, 2016

[Review] Henchgirl


by Rita Stradling

Publish date: January 12, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
Rating: 3/5

Goodreads summary

The children of dragons and humans, the dracons, control eighty percent of the world’s governments. Humans worldwide are either subservient or prey. On the small vacation island of Mabi, humans call for war.

Sixteen year old Dakota Kekoa lives a double life. By day, she pretends to be a human to infiltrate Mabi Academy, a 'human's only' high-school. At night, she works as a henchman for her draconic mafia family, utilizing her ability to steal and manipulate emotions.

When Dakota’s human friend is kidnapped, she takes on the mission to find her. This is not just any mission though; she is diving head first into the escalating conflict between humans and dracons. As more girls disappear and some are discovered dead, Dakota realizes her first honorable mission may also be her last.

My thoughts

I'll start with what I liked about this book. The story itself was great. I don't read a lot of books involving dragons, but the description led me to believe that there was so much more to this book. And I was right to think so. There's a lot going on in this book between the mystery Dakota is trying to solve, all while trying to juggle Wyvern and the dragon politics that go along with dating him.

Dakota is a wonderful character and she comes off very real. She's has fears about not being able to support her family so she's become a bit of a hard person. But yet, she's still vulnerable and insecure, even if it only slip out only on occasion.

Now, I'll move on to what could be improved upon. This story, as great as it was, is in severe need of at least a proofreader. I can overlook things like missing punctuation or a misspelling. What really bugs me is the incorrect use of words and phrases. One example that really got to me was at one point it said "she watched with wrapped attention" instead of "rapt attention." You can wrap a present, you can't wrap your attention. Unfortunately, this is just one of the numerous examples. They are simple errors, but there's just so many of them that it becomes distracting. However, take that with a grain of salt. I'm a copy editor by day, so my life is dedicated to rooting those things out.

** I was provided a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Get it here
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[Blitz] The Lost Heir


The Lost Heir

by Allison Whitmore

The Lost Heir by Allison Whitmore (with Erin Virginia and Grace Arden)
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: December 8, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Isabella Foxworthy was just another girl…until she learned she was an empath, able to read the energy of others. A secret world known as the Violet City lies beneath her family’s hotel in Los Angeles. Through this discovery, Isabella is catapulted into a whirlwind of magic, adventure, and danger. The Violet City holds the key to protecting her stability; her family hotel, her friends, and her very sanity.

With morphlings, empaths, and fair folk also comes a powerful entity that twists her mind into knots, threatening everything she loves. Now, Isabella and her new friends—a guitar-playing jock, his gifted but neurotic brother, and a set of over-indulged twins—have until her 16th birthday to save her world with the help of someone who’s been lost for a very long time…the lost Foxworthy heir. But will they find him in time? And will he be a friend or foe? 

Buy it here (99 cent for a limited time only!)
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About Allison Whitmore

Allison Whitmore was born in Los Angeles and loves to tell good coming-of-age stories with a hint of romance. You will find her characters going on an adventure or two as well. Outside of writing, Whitmore enjoys classic films, hiking and spending time with family and friends. She loves it when fans reach out to her. You can reach her at, follow her on Twitter: @alli_whitmore or join her on Instagram @allisonwhitmoreauthor.


The sun was beginning to set and the bright day had begun to dissipate as dusk slowly fell over the Culver Hills village center, if one could really call it a village in the middle of Los Angeles. The air grew dense and musty. All the street lamps were off except one, which flickered in a slow, steady beat. Only a small number of cars cruised the road as the kids walked down Main Street toward where the Foxworthy Hotel was perched at the top of the hill. This dark stillness was not usual for this time of day. Something was off.

“Get off me!” The voice filled Isabella’s ear a block away from the hotel trolley stop. Her gut tore in two with fear.
Give that back.”

Isabella slowed down to see Cleo marching back toward the same two bullies she’d rescued Pythian from the other day, one of whom had Xander by the shirt collar as the other was rummaging through Xander’s backpack. Cleo’s shoes lay in a clump.

“There are so many goodies in here. Gum drops. Chocolate snatches. Debbie cakes. And my personal favorite—this camcorder. Oh, wait… no. There’s a little digital camera, too. Looks like Christmas came early for us. Isn’t that right, Sloane?”

“Put my brother down, or you’ll be sorry,” Cleo shouted.

As requested, the boy shoved Xander, sending him tumbling into a nearby thorn bush. “Ahhrrk!” Cleo went straight to his side.

It looked like the kid with Xander’s backpack might consider going for Cleo’s purse, but before that could happen, the other boy, Sloane, said, “Dude, let’s get outta here.” Seth, who was bigger and taller than both of them, and Isabella, whose nostrils flared like a lion, hustled after them.

“I know those guys,” Isabella told Seth.

“Go back and stay with Cleo,” he said.

“Watch me, Superman.”

They looped around the corner as the bullies flew up the service road that led to the back of the hotel. Before they could get too far, four figures in black appeared; from where, Isabella could not tell. Two grabbed the boys. Another took Xander’s backpack. Seth and Isabella both stopped. Cold licked Isabella’s heart. Not an eerie cold, but like a soothing glass of cold lemonade on a scorching day in July.

“What do we do?” Isabella whispered.

“I would tell you to go back, but you’d just make too much noise arguing with me, so I say just shut up.”

“If you tell me to shut up one more time…”

“Not now.”


The two figures holding the boys seemed to melt into the darkness of the trees.

“Where the hell did they go?” Seth asked, protectively pushing Isabella behind him.

She did not fight it. She was starting to become frightened, less of the situation and more of herself. Things had been off more than usual today. For the first time since her parents’ death, she’d felt completely protected, and she wasn’t sure it was all due to the necklace she had been wearing. It was so bizarre.

She was attuned to Cleo and Xander, who were usually never around at the holidays because, like her friend Lana, their parents traveled at that time. She’d felt everything from them: Xander’s exhaustion; Cleo’s boredom and overprotectiveness of her brother. The Logan brothers, however, were different. One minute, she felt Micah’s agitation with Xander, but the next, it would grow cold. And Seth—that boy, she couldn’t get a handle on at all. The only thing she got a sense of was fierce protection, particularly for Micah, but for her as well. She really did not know why.

That was never part of it; she had never felt the direction of a person’s emotions until now. She’d never felt so hot and cold about it. The five of them, connected by a string. It made no sense. Why would she be connected to these random kids?

The two figures in black who had stayed behind whispered to each other. Seth stepped to the side, taking Isabella with him.
We should go back.”

But he was too late. The men had spotted them and were heading their way. Neither Seth nor Isabella dared to move. In an instant, the tallest of the figures, a young man of about twenty, stood before them. His skin was a beautiful caramel color, his eyes a startling green, and his hair—Isabella saw, as he pushed the hood off his head, he had a nest of shiny curls. He wore a goatee, and his eyes drooped with intellect.

“Declan Timothy. This is Max.” He thumbed at the guy behind him. “Just wanted to give this back to the kid.”

He pushed the backpack into Isabella’s arms. Her vocal cords decided to twist into a knot, so she was unable to say thank you.

“And to tell you to be careful. Tonight is going to change things for you.”

That did it. No more evil cats holding her tongue hostage. “What the heck does that mean?”

“You’ll see. If you need us, ask Theophilus where to find us.”

“Wait a minute,” Seth said, pinning Declan with a heated gaze. “Who are you guys?”

“The Midnight Brotherhood. Be careful, Isabella. And you—make sure she listens.”

“Sure,” Seth replied.

Then they, too, faded into the night.

Seth and Isabella looked at each other, not saying a word. For some reason, words did not seem appropriate at that moment. When they returned to their friends, Seth spoke quietly as Isabella returned Xander’s backpack to him.

“Let’s go home.”

The trolley was nowhere in sight, which was more evidence to Isabella that something was not right. From the bottom of the hill, the hotel was as dim and desolate as it had appeared from the center of the village. With heavy legs, they began up the hill. They climbed the front steps and walked into the lobby.

Candlelight dotted the room. Elyse was the first person to approach them; her waitress apron was undone, her hair out of place.

“Thank God you’re all right.”

“What’s going on?” Isabella asked.

“I…” Elyse burst into tears.

“Elyse, tell us now! What happened?”

Elyse wiped her face. “I don’t really know. Everything blacked out for a while. It went cold, and I got really tired. It almost felt like I fell asleep for a while, but then when I woke up, I was standing in the same place I had been before. Right inside the Lily Field ballroom. And then—”



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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

[Review & Giveaway] Thief of Lies


Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1)

by Brenda Drake

Publish date: January 5, 2016
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads summary

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.

My thoughts

I'll be honest. It took me a long time to gather my thoughts and feelings on this one. There was a lot of typing, followed by a lot of deleting; then more typing and more deleting. I'll start of by saying that the cover for Thief of Lies and I had a moment of insta-love. I mean look at it... it's so darn pretty. How could I NOT want to get my hands on a copy just to stare at it?

Thief of Lies was not entirely what I was expected, both in a good way and in a not so good way. In the beginning, I had a hard time getting into it. I don't know whether it was because I hyped it up in my mind so much and it didn't match what I had thought it would be, or if it was the distraction of my hyperactive, 46-pound puppy trying to sit on my lap while I read (Note: 46-pounds is not for sitting on laps, Stella). Whatever the reason, I decided to set it aside for a while and come back to it. 

That decision to take a moment to reset was the best one I've made in a while. When I got back to it, I discovered a book with so much action going on that I couldn't put it down until I got to the very end (Curse you 6 a.m. alarm clock). There's a lot going on in Thief of Lies. Our MC, Gia, discovers that not all is as it seems and soon she's whisked away to another world to learn about her new found powers and heritage. She makes new friends, discovers new family and finds out that she's the prophesized Doomsday Child. 

Now, I'm a good guesser when it comes to plot twists and so-called shocking reveals. I can usually see them coming a mile away and I usually like to make a bet with myself to see if I'm right. It's a good thing those bets are with myself for imaginary money or I would have lost it all with Thief of Lies. There's some great twists I didn't see coming. 

Gia, I'm just going to come out and say it. I like you, girl. Gia is smart, funny, quirky, awkward, clumsy, adorable and everything in between. She trips over things, puts her foot in her mouth, but still manages to kick some ass when the moment strikes. I think I really connected with her because she reminds me of myself, a bit of a know-it-all booknerd with a penchant for correcting people. 

When it comes to the romance with Arik, I have to admit, it just didn't do it for me. He seems to be the romantic interest solely because he's just there and he's pretty. I just didn't get what was so great about him. For me, his character was really flat and I don't really see any reason for Gia to be so madly in love with him, and vice versa. Their relationship doesn't really develop as they get to know each other, it just seems to be there. 

I also would have like to see more world building here. I had a hard time creating images of the mystical places and creatures in my head. There's not a lot of explanations about the different creatures, what they are, where they come from, their powers and weaknesses or where their loyalties lie. 

In the end, I decided on a 3.5 star rating because the action and storyline in Thief of Lies is phenomenal and Gia was so endearing, but Arik was a big whomp whomp for me. I wanted to love him so much, but I just couldn't. Either way, this still get a nice thumbs up and recommendation from me, and I'll be looking out for book two as well. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here
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About Brenda Drake

Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. 

When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Author links
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