Posted in Fantasy, Mystery

Wild Beauty

Goodreads Synopsis:

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and fam

ily.

If any of you readers have ever seen Stephen King’s Rose Red, Wild Beauty definitely gave off those same creepy vibes. Rose Red is a mansion with a mind of its own, much like the land of La Pradera. CREEEPPYYYYYY. I didn’t sleep for a HOT minute after watching Rose Red.

All the women in the Nomeolvides family are named for flowers. Calla, Gloria, Azalea, Dalia, except for Estrella. She is named for the stars. All these women are cursed with the power to grow flowers at will, except for Estrella, whose blue borraja flowers grow through her rafters as she sleeps. Her power is wild and unpredictable, and her family is wary.

The Nomeolvides were tormented for years accused of being witches because of their green thumbs, but they eventually met the Briar family, who in exchange for them tending their barren land, allowed the Nomeolvides to stay and make La Pradera their home.

It comes to light that all 5 cousins, are in love with the same person, a young woman named Bay Briar, the bastard of the family banished to La Pradera as punishment for her bloodlines. La Pradera takes those that the Nomeolvides women love, so in attempts to save Bay from the curse, all the girls give up their favorite items to the land as offerings. La Pradera is their god.

In return for their offerings, the land game them back a boy, Fel. He appeared where Estrella had buried her offering. With Fel’s help, the mystery of the evil land is solved, and all is made well.

Wild Beauty is not a book I would normally read. I picked it up as a cover buy and because it was the OwlCrate edition. McLemore writes in a very lyrical style and her words are very poetic. I prefer straightforward text, but McLemore’s style allowed for a change of pace to my typical reading.

I love that all 5 main characters are atypical in their love interests and that they are such empowering women. There are very few men in this story since all of them are destined to disappear if a Nomeolvide falls in love with them, so the women have had to adapt and learn to be self sufficient and rely on themselves. Their lives and family are their responsibility, not that to be shared between a male partner.

Besides, women appear to be the only safe choice for love as no female lover has ever been taken by La Pradera.

I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers, but also to those who love flowery writing (pun fully intended). McLemore’s writing is absolutely beautiful. It is not an over the top, “must recommend to every living soul”, kind of book, but with that being said, it is still worth it if you’re looking for a different sort of story.

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Posted in Dystopian

Four Dead Queens

Holy cow. Amazing.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

Scholte has created a world like no other. While giving off Hunger Games and Divergent vibes due to the separation of the countries people, Scholte allowed for pure motives in the Queens that rule, rather than the typical conniving nature seen in the previously mentioned series.

Keralie is the daughter of sailors who’s hearts belong to the sea, but she hates it with every fiber of her being and chooses instead to become a famed pickpocket and thief, the very best Mackiel has ever seen. Too bad Mackiel is a literal piece of crap.

Mackiel manipulates Keralie and then proceeds to frame her for the murder of all four queens. Brilliant, but stupid. You don’t mess with Keralie.

With the help of Varin and an investigator, they uncover that comm disks that Keralie swallowed were ones from the black market that allow the person who ingested them to be controlled like a puppet.

I don’t want to give away too much more, BUT this book is incredible. It kept me on my toes and genuinely surprised me with it’s twists and turns. After reading so many books, it becomes easy to predict where the plot will go, but not Four Dead Queens.

5 Flower Rating. Just read it.

Posted in Mystery

Annie Collins Mystery(s)

I recently traveled abroad and downloaded a plethora of Kindle books to read on my flights. I chose to read Mad Hatter’s Son assuming it was another spin-off of Alice in Wonderland and I could not have been more wrong.

Annie Collins is an OR nurse with an ex best friend that is an artist who married rich and subsequently forgot her existence, until she got sick. Typical, right? Libby calls Annie up one day asking for personal care because she was ill and nobody, including her husband, wanted to help her. Annie reluctantly agrees, but soon finds herself in some deeeeeep crap.

Libby isn’t ill in the traditional manner… She spurned an ex lover by letting herself become pregnant with a different lover’s child, while still being married to her husband. Libby is being poisoned by said ex lover. Libby turns up dead due to drug overdose, not from the poison, and now Annie is on a mission to find out what happened.

Amidst all this drama, Annie meets Ian Patterson and falls in love. He’s perfect, despite her beautiful lawyer neighbor being 10x more perfect than Ian *rolls eyes*.

Ian=horrible man, the worst kind of man. The king of manipulation. He is the spurned lover, is responsible for poison, the murder of Libby, the murder of the baby’s father, and the murder of a homeless man he hired as a hit-man to kill the baby’s father.

(Guess how he poisons Libby? That’s right. Tea. He had her favorite tea shipped to her doorstep once a month. That’s the one key comparison to Alice. Tea. And that he’s mad. He doesn’t make or sell hats. )

BUT.

He was seen. By a homeless woman with developmental delays.

Turns out Mad Hatter’s Son sounds like “Patterson” to the mentally disabled and from here on out the mystery is solved.

Ian is caught, Annie is borderline about to fall in love with the hottie neighbor, Angel (appropriately named), and all seems well? Nope.

Ian stalks from prison and makes Annie’s life a living hell.

Starbuck’s novels are your typical quick romances/mysteries that can be read in an hour or two is you sit down and read them. They aren’t captivating material that will explode the internet, but for what it’s worth, I found them pretty entertaining.