Beautiful Life: A Dark Tragic-Romance Series (Beautiful Series Book 3) by Skye Bailey

Summary

“Will you let me in? I can make you forget the past, at least for tonight.”

He reached up to caress her face and kiss her. “Let me love you, Crystal. I need you. You need me. We need each other. We’re both broken souls. Maybe we can be broken together and make each other whole,” he said wiping her tears. He’d show her that she didn’t need to be afraid of the dark inside of her. She wasn’t like them. She didn’t have anything to worry about letting it out.

Her head told her to resist and to fight him but her heart and emotions told her to let herself go. She was lonely and desperate and exhausted from fighting. She wanted to feel some kind of comfort. Travis was offering her physical love and comfort in his own way and even though she felt it was wrong, she needed it desperately. So she gave in. She opened up her body and soul and gave herself to him. She would figure things out later when she could think more clearly. But not tonight. Tonight, she would let him love her and would not resist him.

Note: This is the third and final book of the Beautiful Series Book 3

**Please Note: This series deals with sexual abuse, rape, trauma, explicit and graphic non-con sexual situations that may be triggering for some readers. If such things offend you, please find a lighter read. 

Amazon

Book Overall

With each book it became harder and harder to like Crystal. Her selfishly impulsive nature and the way she would take a backseat in her own life, made it hard to respect or even like her. Despite that she was impressive how she’d pick herself back up and keep going. She may run away, but she bounced back. She wouldn’t complain and throw up her hands, she did try, to be better, to get better.

If you like Beauty and the Beast, you’ll like this modern parable. This is a very adult version that wasn’t shy about its steamy scenes. There were aspects of the story that felt off (some of the pregnancy and child birth facts) but overall had this raw feeling to it. You felt like you were having someone tell you there story it was so visceral at times. It’s darker themes are not to be taken lightly and although everyone suffers, the ending is almost fairy-tale like – most end up happy… you’ll have to read to see what I mean.

Series Overall

This is a very intense series. It was important to be in the right frame of mind to read it, as it has a lot of darker themes and is very descriptive in those moments. In may ways it shows you what a healthy relationship(s) should be and when they only seem healthy…or when they just plain aren’t. The main character gets to experience (more than once) the ugly side of bad men, obsessive men, and even those who only see her as property/a thing. This book would be even more powerful if it had a good editor give it a once over – which I would highly recommend to the author. I can say the series as a whole seems to end well, and overall most outstanding items are resolved, but it is a long hard journey to get there. It isn’t a normal ever after, but it is a happy as can be expected ending.

Rating

4 stars

I’m ignoring many of the faults in the book and instead focusing on the very powerful themes and scenes that make up this darker, tragic romance story.

Where did I get it?

Author send me a copy. This is a voluntary and honest review.

The Legend of Skaluni by Bruce E Arrington

Summary

Skaluni, an archetypal outsider with unusual powers, comes of age in his village. He becomes someone the villagers never would have expected, and though he faces constant rejection, he chooses to put others before himself, with increasingly fantastic results. But with the end of the world at hand, will he use his ability to help in time of great need?

Amazon

Overall

This short story was so richly written it was easy to enjoy in one sitting. The creativity and modern day quandaries were not hard to miss. The underlying tone and unique setting made it feel like a lost mythology. This has a coming of age story mixed with adopted family themes. The main character, Skaluni, is a powerful but outcast character whose charm is in his boyish desires. He wants to fit in but eventually realizes he just wants to belong – even if it is with Kalaj his caretaker.

Overall a fantastic little read with an unexpected but not unpredictable ending.

Rating

5 stars

Well worth the time and the read. I thoroughly enjoyed this little mythic fantasy. If there was more, I’d certainly read it.

Where did I get it?

Author sent me a copy – this honest review is voluntary.

Zendar Prequel Announcement!

Surprise!!! I wrote a Zendar prequel that is free!

For those of you who have read the first Zendar: Get a sneak peek right before Azel and Aleron’s story.

For those of you who haven’t: Get a taste of Zendar for FREE (on Smashwords)!

Smashwords

Summary

Zendar is a world of sand and strife.

Living in the great capital of Zendar, Sol, Nitya has always longed for something more than her family’s merchant lifestyle. She craves adventure—or at least hopes something remotely exciting could happen. When her best friend, Juni, secures them both positions in the palace’s kitchen, Nitya gets to experience a different world than she ever imagined—especially after a young soldier catches her eye.

Her world will never be the same.

Also thank you to Maheen Sana – the artist – who crafted all of the Zendar books. Isn’t it beautiful??

Expect more Zendar updates in the near future! If you take the time to leave a review for any of my books, thank you so much for your continued support and feedback!

Beautiful Love (Book #2) by Skye Bailey

Summary

“What I really want is to forget. If I could erase those memories I would be free. I want to forget it all. Please help me to forget…

“Crystal looked at her reflection in the mirror. Who was she? Why was she so afraid to meet her family? Crystal was confused about it all. She hated not remembering her past life. Why did she have to lose her memory? It felt awful not to know who she was or where she came from.

*This is the second book of the Beautiful Series Novella Book 2

**Please Note: Mature content with graphic sexual situations, violence or other adult content. Reader discretion advised. 18+

Characters

Crystal is back and is still herself but without the memories. Other characters return as well but the main focus is Crystal again. It was like visiting an old friend. She is so vividly written that her pain and heartbreak and terrible decisions all felt like I was watching someone live their life. I had a harder time liking Crystal this time around because her weaknesses were so predominately on display that I was annoyed with her. Which is such a compliment to the writer since I felt I could just call her out on it, like a real person in the room with me.

Plot

Despite Crystal’s memory loss she is like a beacon for terrible people taking advantage of her. She makes many of the same decisions as last time and once more Paul is there to save her…but these newest challenges may prove to be too much.

Overall

This is such a dark and sad read. Although it seems to point to what a person can endure it certainly isn’t a happy story with any sort of happy end in sight… The writing was easy to follow but did contain quite a few mistakes (could use another edit), but mostly that didn’t detract from the story being told. I will certainly want to read more in the future but will likely need a break because in some ways it felt like a repeat of book 1 and in other ways it felt like it was stacked on top, like a weight over Crystal that she can’t escape. I have a feeling this whole story, Crystals whole life is going to spiral. Although there was a cliff hanger, setting up the next book, it makes me want to pick up the next book despite the promise of future self-inflicted woe. Book 1 was still better in my opinion, but book 2 has all the tragedy and romance as the first and is nearly just as good.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded up)

If you are a fan of tragic romances – this is a must read! Heart wrenching!

Where did I get a copy?

The author. This is a voluntary review.

Book Review by Hayleigh Sol

Summary

Dr. Sophie Grimaldi is successful and happy in her career, if not in love. She’s single and content to remain that way. Any romantic notions that men are decent and true love exists are indulged only with her book boyfriends.

Best-selling author Jax Rowland is writing the first book of his next spy thriller series and it’s not going well. He’s struggling to forge a deeper connection between his protagonist and not-another-Bond-girl. If he fails, he faces even more negative reviews from his disenchanted female readers.

When Sophie finds a sheet of Jax’s notes in a library book, she’s appalled by his attempt at a love scene and critiques it. She never imagines the author will read her review.

Embarrassed to view his work through a mystery critic’s eyes, Jax recognizes her talent and hires Sophie to edit the love scenes of his next novel. As they get to know each other through the work and discover all they share in common, a desire for more than a working relationship or friendship grows. But, after a series of missed connections and unexpected twists, it seems fate has other plans.

Will they continue to play it safe and single or will they risk another heartbreak for a chance at love?

Amazon

Characters

Sophie and Jax are fun characters, although sometimes I enjoyed their friends more! They felt like the female and male versions of the same person, but had enough differences for the attraction to feel real. I very much enjoyed how frank Sophie was about what she wanted but of course was guarded about the whole commitment thing. Meanwhile Jax gets a new lease on life. It’s like they were made for each other…because they were!

Plot

And there in lies the rub. The characters felt very real with but times it didn’t feel like the story progressed organically. Instead the author seemed to be spinning a tale of “will it/won’t it” until the very end to fit the story she wanted to tell. It was actually very refreshing in many ways because normally the romance is the focus, instead this focuses on the building of a relationship, where two people aren’t sure if it is right or not in this day and age. By the end I was rooting for them!

Overall

The writing was punchy and enjoyable. The romantic scenes fun and steamy…uniquely steamy. Let’s just say this is a romantic onion – it has layers of writing within it to give that spiciness! I did like the characters, and they were both modern healthy fanatics that made me go an eat ice cream out of pure spite, but the author didn’t make it too overbearing so it just added to their characters and why they were made for each other.

Hardest time I had was how a practicing dentist didn’t have her picture up on anything social media wise. Nothing friends, family, or anyone uploaded to show each other what they look like. I get it was necessary for the story but it was hard to believe. I’ll get off my soap box, but that was very strange for a modern romance.

Rating

4 stars

Was it perfect? Nope. Was it unique? Yep! Did it show that this author had lots and lots of potential? Absolutely. Would I read another book by them? For sure! Does this book need a better title… I’d recommend it…

Where did I get a copy?

Kindle Unlimited

Beautiful Blur (Beautiful, #1) by Skye Bailey

Summary

“Maybe I could use the darkness like a blanket? I could wrap myself in darkness and maybe the darkness would protect me.”

Against all odds, I had found my One; the love of my life. A man who saw me for who I was and who loved me, broken and all. But my past soon reared its ugly head. The past began to haunt me and interfere with my new life. Just because I married and started a family didn’t mean I would automatically live a happily ever after. I was trapped in the past; reliving awful moments I couldn’t push away anymore. I had to deal with it, not only for me but for my family. But could I ever let it go and be free from my torturous past?

* Note: This book is the first book in the Beautiful Series Novella with a cliffhanger. The story continues in Beautiful Love.

** Please Note: This series deals with sexual abuse and rape. It may be triggering for some. Reader discretion advised. 18+

Amazon

Overall

Crystal is the main character, it is all from her perspective. There is a raw unfiltered feeling to the novel. No punches are pulled and everything is laid out in terrible and acute detail. It deals with how a person deals with extreme trauma and how a person could bury it to continue to function. At times it felt like Crystal was in my living room telling me her story, that’s how real she was; how real the story felt as you moved through Crystal’s life. There is no magic wand to fix this and her struggle to deal with what happened to her is very real. I loved the romantic elements and how they were together, it was very sweet. The end of the book leaves many unanswered questions, I certainly would pick up book 2 to see the conclusion of this heartbreaking but compelling story.

***This is NOT for children or those who are triggered by certain stories (see above). This is very detailed and explicit in its descriptions of sexual abuse, and the affect it has on the main character. To the point at times I wanted to avert my gaze, as though I could turn away from the horror Crystal was experiencing.

Rating

4 stars

This is a heartbreaking but compelling story with the resilience of the human spirit and how one good person can make all the difference in someone’s life.

Where did I get a copy?

Kindle Unlimited

Passover Activity Book by Ronit Tal Shaltiel

Summary

Have Fun Passover Activity with your kids.

This informative book is related to the activities that take place during Passover. It gives a brief description of Passover and all the things related to this event in a symbolic way, this book is perfect to learn about this Jewish event.

The book includes:

  • Hagada’s songs,
  • Passovrer stories,
  • Holiday symbols explanation.

Also, fun little activities are included for the kids to learn about this event in an interesting manner.

The book is for children from ages four to seven.

Amazon

Overall

An interesting read that is very informative. I did struggle at times with the tone of the book for the intended age group but the activities at the end were very redeeming and a great conclusion to tie everything back in. I certainly learned quite a bit about another culture that I wasn’t familiar with and can see the benefits of educating others in such a manner.

Rating

4 Stars

An educational book with activities that tie it all together.

Where did I get it?

Author send a copy in exchange for an honest review. This review is voluntary.

Behind the Red Curtain by Casey Bartsch

Summary

There are bodies.

So many bodies.

Lucy has been stolen from her life; trapped in a place she can barely understand, by a man obsessed.

Her captor has created a twisted home that only he can navigate, for reasons only he can fathom. Even if Lucy could get free, she would still be his. What follows will test her body, mind and soul. Horrors that no one should ever experience.

There are secrets behind the curtain, and Lucy will discover them all.

Amazon

**This is for ADULTS only as it has extremely graphic adult content**

Characters

The primary character is Lucy. She’s in her 40’s and bored with life. There are other characters, but everything is from her perspective. She’s a compelling character to be sure, in her flawed humanity and unique upbringing.

Plot

This is a psychological horror to the max. There are scenes of grotesque horror built in. If you have any triggers on major button issues associated with horror, best put this down. However, if this is a genre you love, this plot delivers! I can be quite picky about the horror genre and its plots. This book tries to fill in that “mysterious/unknown” element, only to pull the rug out. The feeling of fear, shock, and disgust all played out in an eerie backdrop. You will not guess all of the pieces, because this author hides the truth in unspoken subtly. The truth is far, far worse.

Overall

What a storyteller! It isn’t often that I’m caught guessing at so many plot twists where I have more then one theory. The only thing I saw coming was the ending and I loved where it ended. It was the exact end I expected to happen, saw as a “good” ending for such a twisted tale. Man did it deliver!

Wonderfully written, easy to follow, a true page turner! It’s been a while since I’ve read a good horror story with such intensity. As an aside, this book’s cover is perfect!

Rating

4.5 stars (rounded down)

A macabre psychological horror that leaves one unsettled.

Where did I get a copy?

Kindle Unlimited

Tempestuous Taurus (Zodiac Series) by Trish Jackson

Summary:

A gruesome murder, a loved-one’s betrayal, and her missing sister are more than enough for Tara-Grace to contend with. Now she’s forced to come back to her hometown to claim her inheritance―the family home and equine therapy business.

Bizarre and disturbing events, a child who can’t talk, and the threat of imminent danger are enough to push anyone over the edge.

Amazon

Characters

The two main points of view are Tara and Jared. I started off liking both of them and their relationship but as the book progressed I started to feel like their relationship was forced and that neither character was really relatable. Which sucks because at the start I really liked them both and the way they were together. That all started to fall apart about halfway through where it felt like their liked their history together more than each other and I didn’t feel that spark. Cassie also got some time in the limelight but even though her story was super compelling and I liked her alot, I also felt like her character was an inch thick.

Plot

This started out super strong. I kept wondering who the killer could be and would it be some amazing twist on who it was. The setting was easy to fall into and the romance enjoyable at the start. Everything had a down to Earth feel that had this quiet grittiness to it. About halfway through the romance turned on its head and the mystery in the last quarter was awkward instead of captivating. That being said the book did a great job of keeping the suspense up, enough that I was curious how it would end. Also there is one small twist that is hinted earlier in the book and totally linked in but it had this far-fetched feeling in the end. Making the mystery aspect just so-so.

Overall

There is a subtle suspense throughout the book that did a good job of building the tension. However, Tara really went down hill as a character and made some really questionable choices about her business that put people’s lives at risk. After that, even though see seemed like such a tough but loving character, I had a hard time respecting her. Jared was a sweetie and my only problem was how he was with Tara. Like he was constantly “in love with her” but it didn’t feel genuine. More like he was trying to recapture who he was before he served time.

In the end there was this awkward feeling of “these are flawed characters and this had such a real feel to it” being mashed together with “these scenes and scenarios feel far-fetched and not grounded” that was only saved by its excellent suspense and strong start. I did like the big showdown at the end too and can see some amazing potential with this writer’s style as it was an enjoyable read, just needs some work on characters and plot. I’d give this author’s books another shot in the future.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

A suspenseful story whose mystery and romance were strong out of the gate but lost ground.

Where did I get a copy?

Kindle Unlimited

Bartered Innocence: A Dystopian Romance by Gwendoline Rose

Summary

Ten-year-old Amber grew up with Collection Day clouding her childhood just as every other labor class child. Nothing prepared her for what it actually meant to be sold to the royals. As she watches the other girls’ punishments, alarms sound, giving her the cover to run. But where can she hide? Is there any hope for freedom now that she belongs to the servant class?

Ten-year-old Prince Steel doesn’t want to take part in his first Collection Day gala. The last thing he needs is to pick a friend from a group of girls. They can’t even throw balls right or climb trees. While hiding from the festivities, he finds a playmate who is also running from the celebration. A girl. A girl who is brave enough to run away with him on the roof.

Neither understands what it means when Prince Steel picks her at the gala as his chosen playmate. Will the bonds they form as children withstand the strain of what they really are to each other as they grow into their roles?

Amazon

Characters

The main character is Amber. You follow her through all of her trials and tribulations. She was strong, resilient, and utterly wild at heart. Like a horse that wants to run but is caged, sure to be slaughter at the wrong provocation. Worse, she is discovering there is something dangerous about her. Something, that if found out, will spell her doom. She was absolutely relatable and vibrant. At times she felt robotic but it felt more like a defense mechanism then a character failing. Also she could be dense at times, but that may also have been about denying herself hope.

Plot

Stuck in this dystopian future that is grim for girls and boys sold on collection day. Amber is no different. As a woman she is always on that edge, saved from the impending violation. Twisted romance? Check. Abusive rulers? Check. Super big secret that is both awesome and dangerous? Check, CHECK. *internal screaming*

On another note: Amazing world building. It was an absolute treat.

Overall

Wow. Just WOW. This is a must read. I expected this to get impossibly dark, but it didn’t. I won’t say more then that. The tension in this book will make your heart pound and it started from the first second, until the last. I stayed up late reading and then finished it the next morning before work. If it wasn’t a work night I would have just kept reading, having to know the ending. Just do yourself a favor (unless Hunger Games meets Handmaid’s Tale sounds too upsetting then pass) and read this gripping novella!

Rating

5 stars

An absolute treat and my favorite so far this year by a large margin. #whereisbook2?

Where did I get a copy?

Kindle Unlimited