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Rhapsodic (The Bargainer, #1) - Review

Title: Rhapsodic

Author: Laura Thalassa

Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Rape, Sexual Assault

*All my reviews have spoilers, be warned*


Goodreads Summary:

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want… at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken. 

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.


Review:

“And the mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea may claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours.” 

Oh my dear Gods high above, where do I even begin? You know a book is going to be really good when the prologue itself has you shook. I knew just by looking at the cover and reading the summary on Goodreads that this would be a new favourite of mine. It was a 5 star read from start to finish. This book was a whole rollercoaster of “holy shit” and “what the fuck?”, and that’s just the beginning. Laura Thalassa, thank you, thank you so much for writing this book. The beginning of the book itself had me stop and pace around my room because all I could think of was oh my gods. It isn’t of those books that start off happy, something horrible happens, and then everything is falling apart. No. In the prologue itself, all hell breaks loose and everything just spirals into chaos from there. 

Also, the characters. Gods, I will protect these children until the moment I breathe my last breath. Callie is so good-hearted and broken at the same time, and I just want to hug and tell her it’ll all be okay. She’s emotionally traumatized from years of sexual assault and rape at the hands of her stepfather, but she’s a survivor and throughout the book starts to find her voice and becomes more and more stronger. She’s a siren and uses her voice to stop creepy men from doing horrible and creepy things. She has a successful PI business with her best friend, Temper Darling, who I hope we see more of in the next book. Eli, her ex-boyfriend, is an alpha werewolf who I also hope we see more of in the next books, despite him being kind of a jerk to Callie. But he does back off, which I respect. And Desmond Flynn. The Bargainer, Lord of Secrets, Master of Shadows, King of the Night, Emperor of the Evening Stars. He’s so protective of Callie, and does his best to try and make her happy. 

The Bargainer captures the bug in his fist, his knuckles grazing my skin. He steps away from me and, opening his palm, releases the glowing critter. The two of us watch it drunkenly canter back to my hair. 

I can just barely make out their luminescent bodies flickering above me. The whole thing is so ridiculous and strange that I begin to laugh. “Des, are you trying to cheer me up?”

My favourite thing about Des is that he is respective of boundaries, and does not take advantage of Callie, knowing she’s not emotionally ready and far too young to sleep with him – she’s two weeks shy of sixteen when they first meet. Yes, he’s somewhat of a jerk in the beginning of the book but as the story progresses, you see how he’s patient with Callie and so in love with her that he waits seven years, where he says he felt like his soul was ripped in two. He’s kind, and most of all, loved Callie when she genuinely believed she isn’t worthy of being loved. He stocked his fridge with all of Callie’s favourite foods, has Harry Potter movie marathons with her, AND has read the books just for her? Where do I get my very own Desmond Flynn, sign me tf up. 

This series deserves way more appreciation because the characters, the writing, the storyline is just phenomenal. This book was so beautifully written I could imagine the scenes unfold in my head like a movie. It was definitely really creepy at times and gave me goosebumps, and since I was reading this well after midnight, with heavy rain nearly breaking my window, I was spooked. If this book was turned into a movie/tv show with 100% accuracy, the cinematography would be unbelievably mind-blowing. I called it. 

It’s very similar to the ACOTAR series, but I think this series is much better. It’s darker and creepier. But if you loved ACOTAR, I definitely recommend this book. Also, can we talk about this cover? Have you ever seen a cover so beautiful? I’m speechless, it’s so breathtakingly beautiful. 

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Review

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Rating:  5/5


Goodreads Summary:

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.


Review:

To be honest, this is my favourite series after Harry Potter. I just love everything about it – the writing, the story, the family, the friends, and Noah Elliot Simon Shaw. God, he is the the best book boyfriend ever, fight me. 

  • Indian mom and grandmother
  • Biracial kids
  • Black best friend, who is also bi
  • Main character has PTSD

Her relationship with her mother is very similar to the relationship I had with my mother growing up, so it was very easy for me to understand what she meant throughout the book. She’s at times irritated and annoyed by her mother’s protectiveness but also loves her mother and feels guilty for being rude to her. I feel like when they are not arguing they have a nice mother-daughter relationship, like when Indi helps Mara get ready for the costume party. We don’t see much of Mara’s father, but he seems like a chill dad, since Mara finds it easy to laugh around him and isn’t always tense. You can tell throughout the book that they both really care about Mara, even if the way they show it isn’t always the way Mara wants. I do wish Michelle Hodkin showed more of Mara’s relationship with her parents more. 

Her relationship with her brothers is also what I loved about this book. Daniel and Joseph care a lot about Mara, and Daniel is always trying to help her whenever he can. He makes excuses on her behalf, so her parents don’t think she’s “going crazy” entirely. They also try their best to treat her normal. I love a book that has a good sibling relationship and the relationship Mara has with her brothers is just so sweet. 

As for Noah, I know some people find that he was a stalker, and being a creep towards Mara when he wouldn’t leave her alone. Yes, that part was annoying, but other than that I really love Noah. In the beginning of the book, he’s the school bad boy (or is he?), but isn’t one when it comes to Mara. He doesn’t sleep with Mara when she tries to – near the end of the book – because he knows Mara isn’t feeling entirely okay, and isn’t ready for that just yet. He doesn’t take advantage of her that way. He’s protective of her – when he claims they are together in front of the school, and fights the guys that were harassing her. Yes, some people find all that behaviour clingy and problematic because they aren’t technically together, but the way I see it is that he doesn’t do it because he’s being a f-boy or for the sake of annoying Mara, I feel that he genuinely cares for Mara. He’s annoying at times and somewhat territorial of her, but he doesn’t take advantage of her even though he knows she’s vulnerable at times, he’s not like Jude. He goes out of his way to make sure she’s okay, and also to protect Joseph – someone that he doesn’t even have to help. But he really likes Mara at this point – and knows it would ruin her if anything happened to her little brother. And he’s also super respectful towards her family, which is like, goals?? 

And Jamie. He is one of my favourite characters. I loved him in the beginning of the book and was so pissed when he got expelled. I didn’t know if he would return later on or in the other books, so that kept me on edge. I really enjoyed his sarcasm and way of talking. Also, can we please appreciate how he wants Mara to be okay and happy, to not get hurt by f-boy Noah, but also allows her to make her own choices, and doesn’t shame her for them?? He’s not like other book best friends, and I really really loved that about him. *cough Jacob Black cough*. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I read it in one setting whenever I read it, and I’m sure I will read this series many times in the future. As someone that has PTSD, I think the portrayal in this book is fairly accurate and isn’t overdone like some other books. You can tell throughout the book just how much she’s being affected by the trauma, and how scared she is of taking pills in fear of being labelled “crazy”. I also loved the suspense/mystery, and the paranormal touch to the book. Part of the mystery of the book is that, as readers we don’t know if Mara is actually hallucinating the things that she sees or if she’s really losing her mind and going crazy. A lot is explained when we find out that Noah has similar “powers” to Mara – but where Mara can kill, Noah can heal. #MadeForEachOther. I recommend this book to everyone that loves a good mystery and some paranormal feels. 

One thing I didn’t like about the book though, is how even though the Dyer kids are biracial, Mara tries to ignore her Indian side (other than the sari she once wore). She tries to turn off the Indian music when she’s in the car, and I, a Punjabi girl, was just surprised because honey, Indian music is the best music. Turn that shit up. I wish Michelle Hodkin mentioned more of Mara’s diversity other than just sprinkling it around the book to remind the reader that yes, Mara is biracial. 

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The Madman's Daughter - Review

Title: The Madman’s Daughter

Author: Megan Shepherd

Rating: 5/5


Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.


Review: 

This book was physically impossible for me to put down. I had school assignments to finish yesterday but I literally kept opening it again and again, telling myself that I will read just one more chapter. But I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. The growing intensity in the book literally had me sitting at the edge of my seat, hurrying to find out more of what happens. At one point in the book you don’t know who’s a real human and who’s a creation of the doctor. There are so many twists in this book and I love it. The haunting and eery vibe of the book really reminds me of the Mara Dyer trilogy. There are a lot of creepy things that go on in this book, which add to the intensity. It is more thrilling, creepy and eery than it is downright scary. It does have a psychological touch to it, so if you’re one for a fast-paced story, this one might not be the book for you.

The main character in this book, Juliet Moreau, is somewhat similar to Mara Dyer. Mara Dyer has the ability to kill people, though it is not always her direct intention. Juliet, on the other hand, is the daughter of a (mad) scientist/doctor, who grew up listening to the screams of the animals her father cut up for his research/experiments. After finding out the truth about her father and realizing the rumours of the scandal are true, Juliet deep down senses that she is somewhat just like her father, with her curiosity. Although she doesn’t always act on her thoughts and curiosity, you can see the resemblance of her father in her throughout the book.

As always, there is a love interest in this book as well, two actually. Love triangle. Montgomery is their servants son, who is two years older than Juliet. Edward, the castaway, is one of her fathers creation, which you later find out in the book, who falls in love with Juliet. I loved Montgomery from the start, he was just so calm and innocent-hearted in his core. On the other hand, I always suspected that Edwards big bad secret would be related to the doctor and his experiments. I WAS RIGHT. What I didn’t like about this book though, was how she couldn’t make her mind between the two for the longest time ever. She kept switching from one to the other. Minus the love triangle, this book is an amazing read.

Another thing that makes this book so good is the doctor’s determination to be right and perfect his creations. He is so far gone that there is absolutely no hope for bettering him, no sign of redemption, hence why Juliet leaves him to die in the end of the book and escapes the island. He is insane, twisted, there’s hell everywhere, he does things you can’t even imagine. Imagine Lord Voldemort (with his obsession) and Klaus Mikaelson (his anger, madness) put into one person. What do you get? Dr. Monreau.