Category: romance

(IP) An Invitation

(IP) An Invitation

               The
young woman knelt before her, one hand held out in invitation, long silver
tresses turning pink in the dying evening light. The sacred symbol inked onto
her forehead glowed faintly, pointed ears twitching.

               “Isn’t
this what you wanted?” She inquired, tilting her head to the side. “An escape from
everything you’ve never wanted? I can’t promise that this will be easy. But
surely it’s better than not having a choice.”

               The
other girl stared up at her, brow crinkling slightly. “You can’t be serious.”

               At
first, she’d thought that this young woman—this sly, beautiful fey girl with
pointed ears, a secretive smile, and the most impossible of it all, a way out—had
been a dream, a figment of an overtaxed mind after a long day of working in the
village. She’d been sitting on the riverbank, resting her hands in the cool
water. Then she heard twigs snapping behind her. She’d whirled, only to find a
lovely girl staring at her, a basket of herbs in her arms.

               Immediately,
Matilda had been entranced; she hadn’t had a chance. And it appeared that the
girl, whose name was Rin, was just as fascinated with Matilda. After that, they’d
met in that same spot, every night, to share their days, or at least their
evenings.

               Rin
hailed from a land that for Matilda only existed in stories and fairy tales,
and even in her own language, it was practically forbidden to discuss. But for everything
she’d heard, Rin was nothing like she’d imagined, and now here they were, with
Rin inviting her into her world.

               Rin
blinked, and she smiled, her whole face glowing when it stretched across her
face.

“Why would I not be, Matilda?”

“I couldn’t,” She replied, shaking
her head and pulling away before she could think through her response. “I… I
should stay here.”

“Is that what you want, Mattie?”
Rin asked, and Matilda’s heart fluttered at the nickname. “Do you wish to stay
here? I’ll support your decision. It’s just that… You seemed so unhappy.”

Matilda’s eyes filled with tears,
and she put her head in her hands; she could not deny the truth of that
statement, not to herself or her only friend. Her first friend.

What awaited her if she stayed
here? A life of drudgery, a miserable marriage to one of the men in the
village, inevitably followed by offspring, and then working until she was old,
and finally died. The bleakness of the future that lay ahead of her made her
heart weep.

She might not have known what lay
ahead, but Rin was offering a way out, an escape she hadn’t dared to dream of.
A future in which she had a choice, and had a chance to make her life into
something that she was proud of. She would never get something like this again.

When she turned around, Rin was
beginning to walk away, the faint rose glow of the portal painting her in soft
pastels.

“Rin! Wait!” Matilda cried, and she
ran after the other girl. She grabbed Rin’s hand and clasped it tight; Rin
smiled, delighted, and kissed her fingers.

“Come, my love. Come home.”

**

Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore Review

Title: Blanca and Roja

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I’ve been a huge fan of Anna-Marie McLemore’s work since I read her debut novel, The Weight of Feathers, and I read her third book, Wild Beauty, for my book club a few months ago. So, when I heard that she was writing a diverse, mashup retelling of Snow White, Rose Red and The Wild Swans, I was so excited. I ordered it from my local library and it’s been sitting in my library stack for a while; after I couldn’t renew it anymore, I dove into it right after I finished Muse of Nightmares. (Well, after I was finished mourning the painful end of that series. But moving on.) I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, as I haven’t really read either of the fairy tales that the story was inspired by, but I was blown away. With lush, gorgeous prose, diverse characters that felt so real that I felt that when I finished, I was saying goodbye to a beloved group of friends. Blanca and Roja is the most brutal and beautiful of McLemore’s novels, captivating and tender and full of every kind of love you could possibly think of. A deliciously bittersweet exploration of sisterhood, first love, and sacrifice, I will never forget Blanca and Roja; I feel like they’ve burrowed into my heart and soul.

Blanca and Roja are two sisters, best friends, and rivals, because ever since they were tiny, the women in their family have been cursed: One sister is doomed to become a swan, taken by the flock that live nearby, and she must live out the rest of her years as a bird, while the other is untouched. This is the way things have always been, and how it always will be. Blanca is sweet, gentle, delicate, everything that her sister, Roja, is not. Roja is sharp-tongued, tomboyish, brash, loud, and curious. They know their fate, even when it means sacrificing everything. But things become even more complicated when two different people emerge from the wood near their home: Yearling, who has spent the last year as a bear, and is drawn to Roja in spite of hiding his own secrets, and Page, someone whose identity is as unclear as their motives. As the time draws near for one of the girls to gain wings and the other to remain human, the girls begin to wonder if they can, in fact, change their destinies, and find everything that they’ve denied themselves.

This book; it was amazing, a beautiful, bittersweet triumph of family, especially sisterly bonds, love in all of its forms, magic, and most importantly, agency, and the courage to change your fate, even when it seems that all the odds are stacked against you. The pacing was breakneck, the prose so gorgeous that more often than not, I was rereading lines, absolutely in awe over it, but even more than that, I was head over heels for the characters that she so lovingly created. I was utterly spellbound by this book, and I was so happy to finally be reading a diverse, gender-nonbinary fairy tale retelling; this is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life! I also really enjoyed the way that the point of view bounced between Blanca, Roja, Yearling, and Page; I loved that everyone was giving perspective on what was happening. I also liked the other characters: Roja and Blanca’s parents, Page’s loving, if confused, family, Yearling’s grandmother, mother and father, and cousins; each character was fleshed out beautifully and I was captivated. But honestly, the ending was what really got me. I cried through most of the book, but it was the worst when the book ended. It was so bittersweet, shocking, and unexpected; my heart was broken and then stitched back together all at once. Easily one of the best books of 2018, and I will never forget Blanca and Roja! The bottom line: A tender, beautiful, and brutal fairy telling retelling involving forbidden love, diverse and non-gender binary main characters, and the bonds of family, especially sisterhood! My favorite book by Anna-Marie McLemore, and one of the best books of 2018! Next on deck: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2018/11/blanca-and-roja-by-anna-marie-mclemore.html

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning Review

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning Review: undefined

Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt Review

Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt Review: undefined

(WP) A castaway is adrift on the open ocean. D…

Lost At Sea

(I made a small change and made the man into a woman instead. I hope you enjoy it, and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!)

The sea is like a giant, teeming mass, roiling from the storms that have passed through the area. Every time something brushes my leg, I jump, certain that something hungry will rise up from the dark depths and devour me for a meal. Not that I’d be very satisfying; my bones are sticking through my skin, my skin so red and raw that it hurts to even trying to stay afloat.

At best, I’d make a good appetizer. The thought brings the ghost of a laugh to my parched throat, and even that brings unbearable pain. I’m going to die out here, and I knew that, however distantly. Loving the ocean comes with its own set of risks. But I’d never expected to be thrown overboard by my own crew. All because I’d been caught with the cook’s assistant.

Who knew that pirates even cared about one’s sexuality? The entire situation was laughable. Well, it would be if I wasn’t on the brink of death.

The sun is still high in the sky, beating down on me with its harsh, stinging rays that feel worse than a jellyfish sting. I’m so weak, and it feels like I’ve been swimming for a lifetime. I know that I’m fading, even without the hallucinations. Sometimes I see her, glimmering in the salt mist like a fey from one of Da’s stories, smiling and slipping me a bit of dried fruit when the rest of the crew isn’t looking.

I miss her terribly; she was screaming when they threw me off, desperate to save me, but the others had held her back, holding her face and making her watch while I hit the water. The last thing I remember before the ocean took me away from the ship. Storms had followed shortly after, and it’s a miracle that I didn’t die then. They didn’t even give me food before they’d sacrificed me to the salty water.

It’s so, so tempting to give up, to give in and let the sea take me. I didn’t do anything wrong; I did nothing but find love in the middle of all of the other offerings that a life of freedom has given me. But I’m so very tired.

There’s a ripple in the water and I swim backward, barely able to keep afloat. Maybe it’s a whale, come to end this agony at last. My heart hammers against my ribs, though it seems to take more effort than normal to function.

But much to my surprise, I can see a thick, glittering fin, then a head pops up above the waves.

“I’ve been watching you for a while,” The creature says, its voice like waves crashing on the shore, its hooded eyes glimmering with something like amusement. “You like you need help.” Finally, it rises, and I realize, with a shock, that it’s a mermaid, her long, teal-colored hair covering her breasts, tail flipping in and out of the water lazily.

“How’d you guess?” I ask sarcastically, and she narrows her eyes. Then she tosses her head back and laughs, the sound silvery and sweet.

“What an amusing human you are. And pretty, too.”

“How kind of you to say,” I retort; surely she must be joking.

She swims in a circle around me, lips flat, brow furrowed thoughtfully.

“I have a proposition for you, sailor girl,” She murmurs, and she swims so close that I could brush the hair out of her eyes if I had any strength left.

“Would you care to hear it?” I’m dying. What do I have to lose, anyway? And besides, she’s probably a mirage. What could hurt to hear her out?

“Yes. What is it?”

Her eyes never leave mine, and she smiles, showing off gleaming white teeth, more like a shark’s than a normal human’s. She moves closer and before I realize what’s happening, her webbed, delicate hands are wrapped around my waist, pulling me against her, and I sigh; her skin against mine feels like pure relief.

“Would you like a second chance at life? Under the water, this time?”

Her eyes, an emerald green that reminds me of the Mediterranean Sea, bore into mine, waiting for my answer with bated breath. “I can help you, and you’ll be restored. But you have to come with me to my kingdom,"It takes but a moment to decide, and I nod.

"Yes. Yes, please.”

Faster than blinking, she leans in and kisses me, so soft and gentle I can’t help but wonder if I’m imagining all of this. But then she pulls me deep under the waves, tight against her body, and I go willingly, opening my mouth.

The last thing I see is the last of my air bubbling up to the sun-soaked surface.

(WP) A castaway is adrift on the open ocean. D…

Lost At Sea

(I made a small change and made the man into a woman instead. I hope you enjoy it, and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!)

The sea is like a giant, teeming mass, roiling from the storms that have passed through the area. Every time something brushes my leg, I jump, certain that something hungry will rise up from the dark depths and devour me for a meal. Not that I’d be very satisfying; my bones are sticking through my skin, my skin so red and raw that it hurts to even trying to stay afloat.

At best, I’d make a good appetizer. The thought brings the ghost of a laugh to my parched throat, and even that brings unbearable pain. I’m going to die out here, and I knew that, however distantly. Loving the ocean comes with its own set of risks. But I’d never expected to be thrown overboard by my own crew. All because I’d been caught with the cook’s assistant.

Who knew that pirates even cared about one’s sexuality? The entire situation was laughable. Well, it would be if I wasn’t on the brink of death.

The sun is still high in the sky, beating down on me with its harsh, stinging rays that feel worse than a jellyfish sting. I’m so weak, and it feels like I’ve been swimming for a lifetime. I know that I’m fading, even without the hallucinations. Sometimes I see her, glimmering in the salt mist like a fey from one of Da’s stories, smiling and slipping me a bit of dried fruit when the rest of the crew isn’t looking.

I miss her terribly; she was screaming when they threw me off, desperate to save me, but the others had held her back, holding her face and making her watch while I hit the water. The last thing I remember before the ocean took me away from the ship. Storms had followed shortly after, and it’s a miracle that I didn’t die then. They didn’t even give me food before they’d sacrificed me to the salty water.

It’s so, so tempting to give up, to give in and let the sea take me. I didn’t do anything wrong; I did nothing but find love in the middle of all of the other offerings that a life of freedom has given me. But I’m so very tired.

There’s a ripple in the water and I swim backward, barely able to keep afloat. Maybe it’s a whale, come to end this agony at last. My heart hammers against my ribs, though it seems to take more effort than normal to function.

But much to my surprise, I can see a thick, glittering fin, then a head pops up above the waves.

“I’ve been watching you for a while,” The creature says, its voice like waves crashing on the shore, its hooded eyes glimmering with something like amusement. “You like you need help.” Finally, it rises, and I realize, with a shock, that it’s a mermaid, her long, teal-colored hair covering her breasts, tail flipping in and out of the water lazily.

“How’d you guess?” I ask sarcastically, and she narrows her eyes. Then she tosses her head back and laughs, the sound silvery and sweet.

“What an amusing human you are. And pretty, too.”

“How kind of you to say,” I retort; surely she must be joking.

She swims in a circle around me, lips flat, brow furrowed thoughtfully.

“I have a proposition for you, sailor girl,” She murmurs, and she swims so close that I could brush the hair out of her eyes if I had any strength left. 

“Would you care to hear it?” I’m dying. What do I have to lose, anyway? And besides, she’s probably a mirage. What could hurt to hear her out?

“Yes. What is it?”

Her eyes never leave mine, and she smiles, showing off gleaming white teeth, more like a shark’s than a normal human’s. She moves closer and before I realize what’s happening, her webbed, delicate hands are wrapped around my waist, pulling me against her, and I sigh; her skin against mine feels like pure relief.

“Would you like a second chance at life? Under the water, this time?”

 Her eyes, an emerald green that reminds me of the Mediterranean Sea, bore into mine, waiting for my answer with bated breath. 

“I can help you, and you’ll be restored. But you have to come with me to my kingdom,"It takes but a moment to decide, and I nod.

"Yes. Yes, please.”

Faster than blinking, she leans in and kisses me, so soft and gentle I can’t help but wonder if I’m imagining all of this. But then she pulls me deep under the waves, tight against her body, and I go willingly, opening my mouth.

The last thing I see is the last of my air bubbling up to the sun-soaked surface. 

The One Book Review

Author: Kiera Cass

Rating: 5/5

You know, I never know what to say about this series. I’ve read the first 3 each in less than a day, I’m always anticipating reading the following instalment, and I know I love them beyond belief. But I couldn’t, intellectually, tell you why. They’re so addictive, yet I know that it’s really not good literature! To be honest, I’ve gave up all guilt about loving The Selection long ago, so here’s all the reasons you should read them:

  1. The characters are so loveable you’ll feel like either your best friends or your children
  2. The writing is so easy to read – almost no effort required!
  3. Yet somehow, it messes with your emotions so much that I was audibly suffering
  4. Romance… romance, romance, romance
  5. Plot twists! There’s one in this book that hit me square in the chest and sent me flying
  6. Dystopia meets utopia, the complexity of the morals in this society is so deep, with half the population living in blissful naivety and the other living in painful honesty
  7. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

And I could give you so many more. Basically, pick up this series – you’ll love it!

Defy The Stars Book Review

Author: Claudia Gray

Rating: 4.75/5

I did not expect to like this book anywhere near as much as I did. It had so much more depth than I thought it would, and I actually really loved it! 

I imagined this novel would be a cheesy romance with the sci-fi setting used as a bit of a background detail. However, I WAS WRONG. There were so many moral, economical and social events that were incredibly compelling and relevant to the future of our world. As someone who is very interested in the ethics behind artificial intelligence, it was fascinating to read about the author’s perspective of how AI will shape our lifestyle. However, the most intriguing theme in this book was religion. Faith plays a huge role in the life of the main character, Noemi, but is doubted by the ‘mech’ (robot) in the story. The two views are so contrasting yet they compliment each other so well as you read into them. Self-discovery was also a major theme, and one that I’d never seen tackled so literally!

Another fabulous aspect of this book is the rare and great slow-burning romance. It is so uncommon that two characters have such a complex and beautifully written relationship, and I adored it. And although the writing was basic at times, there were many amazing quotes (one that you can find on my main blog here ) that gave it an almost lyrical touch.

If you decide to read this book, which I highly recommend you do, a piece of advice: Don’t ignore the fact that Abel is a ‘mech’, but don’t let it ruin the romance for you. For a while, I was really really weirded out by it, but I let it slide and the book became hugely enjoyable.

Truth Or Dare Book Review

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Author: Non Pratt

Rating: 4.25/5 (idk I’m really conflicted)

Right y’all – I have some opinions I need to share. Just so you know, Truth Or Dare is a YA contemporary told in two perspectives: you read the first one and flip the book to read the second one. There’s no confusion over perspectives or chronology BUT the chronology is disconnected. But we’ll get onto that.

I enjoyed the story told in this book. It was heart-warming and even a little harrowing at times – and I can’t get over how honest it is. Non Pratt writes about a lot of sensitive/important subjects faced in the lives of the population (e.g. disability, mental health, sexuality, financial issues, rape, family etc.) and, in my opinion, she tackled these topics incredibly effectively. As a survivor of disability and mental health issues, I was quite overwhelmed with the honesty the narrator portrays. It is rare to see these subjects dealt with in such a raw, true and un-romanticized way – and I really respect that. It’s also highlights the absolute importance that is recognizing sexual assault. There is no graphic or traumatizing moments, but it does showcase the kind of sexual assault that is happening all the damn time with people of all ages – and the ‘casual’ attitude that many people have of consent. One quote in this book which crushed my heart was when the girl narrator says something along the lines of ‘I don’t just hate him, I hate the way he makes me hate myself’ which I thought opened my eyes even more to the awful confliction of the victim’s of this horrible crime.

Also, ARO-ACE REPRESENTATION Y’ALL! I’m neither asexual or aromantic but I so deeply need more rep for this group of people who get so looked over or misunderstood. My ace pal said the rep was fab, but I have no aromantic’s opinions yet and I’d love to hear what you think about it (I don’t want to say anything about this book without having all the info from the own voices, so if you weren’t happy with it, please let me know and I would be happy to add your opinion to this review.)

Besides that, the pacing in each section was good, the writing seemed very real and colloquial and generally I really enjoyed it. However, at the point where you spin the book round to read the second section, the pace changes so dramatically and I HATED IT. The end of Claire’s section was so action packed and full of adrenaline and ended on a cliff-hanger… but then I got to Sef’s section and it starts from the beginning again! I was so mad about having to read the whole story again to find out what happened next.

I soon got over that and now, having finished the book, I deeply understand why the author chose to go about the story the way they did – learning the other side of the story is so so important. But I had to knock off 0.75 stars for the aggravation it caused me at the time.

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich Review

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich Review