Review: Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice, #2) – Christina Henry

2016-09-09_14-42-51*** (3.5 stars)

Red Queen is the second book and the continuation in the Chronicles of Alice series, that follows off from where the first book, Alice, left off. I read the first book not so long ago in another Book-A-Thon I had done, and I loved it!! So much so, that I had order the next book in the series, this book, the moment I had finished reading the book, so glad that it was already published and I only had to wait for delivery. I have posted a review for the first book, Alice, if you would like to check it out, just click here. Now, as I said before, this is the second book, so please be warned that there may be spoilers to the first book.

As I said, this book picked up from where the last book left off. Alice and Hatcher had headed down the hole, the same hole that the rabbit and the girls had gone down in search of a better life. Now Alice and Hatcher were off on their new quest, happier than before. But this doesn’t last for long! Their quest is soon interrupted as they have to try and fight to save their lives from unknown creatures and magicians, that could be even more powerful and stronger than Hatcher and even Alice herself.

First thing first, to get a better understanding of this book and the characters, I would definitely recommend reading the first book in this duology first, which is Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1). I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed after reading this book, as it didn’t live up to everything that just made the first book so great. The first book was so dark and it wasn’t afraid to be so disturbing and to include all of the imagery that just made me see and understand everything. Their feelings, what was going on, how grotesque the characters were, what they were doing and so on, including the tone of the book, were just so vivid and vile, but with this book, it was just gone. It was as though the author was trying to tame it down a little bit, but in doing so, it lost that bit of magic or spark, that made that first book so spectacular. There were events where the author could have included so much more, but the characters, Alice and Hatcher, always arrived afterwards, meaning that we just saw the after effects. So no action, at least at the beginning. I understand that they were not supposed to know what was happening at that point, but it felt like it was just a load of walking and talking, which made the beginning of the book drag a little. Plus, when they did discover certain things, they weren’t as expressive and vivid as Book 1, Alice.

What I found weird about this book was that this book had no chapters! I have never read a book which doesn’t contain chapters and this really shocked me and actually freaked me out a lot at first when I realised, which was until I was about 40 pages in. It was however separated into two parts. The fact that there was no chapters, was another reason why I think that this book dragged a little bit more for me. I hate leaving a book on an unfinished page, or what not, which is why chapters are extremely important to me, that way not only do I know exactly what page I’m on, but I can have a break exactly where the author had intended a break to take place. They create breaks in the story for readers, as I said where the author has intended, so you don’t feel bad stopping, and they act as a way to create tension and suspense for readers, building you up for the following chapter. With this book, and having no chapters, there was none of this. I felt guilty every time I stopped to have a reading break, there wasn’t that tension and suspense built up and there seemed to be a one level, until any action happened.

This story starts off with Alice and Hatcher setting off on another quest, the quest that they were about to start at the end of the previous book. As they set off, they soon discover that everything is not as it seems and how is should be and as more time moves on, they begin to realise that maybe somebody or something is behind this strangeness and that there’s the possibility that they may be being followed. They soon walk their way into another quest and their original one, seemed to have taken a back seat, and to be honest, I kind of forgot about it as the book progressed. I did enjoy this new quest as it did add to the book and to the story in a way that I wasn’t expecting, and also made the ending completely different to how I was expecting also.

There were parts in this book that I loved and there were parts that I just didn’t enjoy as much. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book, but maybe that’s because of how much I enjoyed the first book and then built up this book beforehand. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t that much Hatcher in this book, so considering these books are mainly Alice and Hatcher, by removing Hatcher, we were left with one mainly one main character for a chunk of the book, even though we did get some extra characters. Maybe this was one of the other reasons why this book felt like it dragged. But there were parts that just had me gripped to the book! I say that this book dragged, but I managed to read this book in a day, once I was committed on Day 1 of my Book-A-Thon, so it did have me gripped enough to be able to do this.

I would say be warned that there are no chapters, and it doesn’t have the same tone and overall feel of the first book, Alice. I would definitely recommend reading Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1) first, as this is a Duology. This book could be read by itself, as there are recap where it sums up certain events from the first book, but to get a fuller idea of this world, the story and the characters, I would definitely recommend reading the first book. I do sadly have to give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

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Review: The Automation – Anonymous

IMAG2069***(3.5 stars)

I was sent this book from S.O.B. Publishing, a small indie publishing firm, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

The Automation is Vol 1. in The Circo Del Herrero series (The Blacksmith Circus), and this book was definitely out of my usual genre and not my usual type of book that I would usually go for when deciding to pick up a book for myself, but I am so glad that I was sent this book. I am definitely a reader who loves to select books out of my comfort zone and hate to stay in one genre for too long, so this book was a nice change, even if it was a confusing read to begin with, as it shock up my reading choices. My biggest question and problem I have now right now, is how do I describe this book? Not only to prevent spoilers but because this is one strange book that when I start describing and explaining this book, I will begin a tangent. Now where to begin? . . .

Imagine a penny isn’t just a penny. Or a hair pin isn’t just a pin. These simple little inanimate objects that you thought we just that, inanimate, turned out to be completely different and life changing. That once you touch them, you own them, you possess them to the degree that you are now their master. Now I know this sounds strange but that’s because I’ve left something out, that once you’ve touched and possessed these seemingly inanimate objects you discover that they are more than just that. They are Automatons! They come to life and are able to transform to look like regular humans and blend it, while still being able to transform back into their inanimate objects appearance whenever their master commands them to. They are able to manifest things and to have them to just appear, to create things from out of themselves, and you have a connection to one another, because they are apart of you. Now imagine discovering this in the most shocking way possible, with a traumatic event thrown on top. Would you believe it? Well say hello to Odys Odelyn, who thanks to him, we get to learn and experience this unknown secret that’s been hidden from us.

The first thing I have to say about this book is about the writing style as this is obviously the first thing that stand out when reading a book. This book was nothing like anything I have ever read before, which is so unusual to do in itself, which I have to give it props to as this is very impressive to do these days. We are told that this book is written by “BLA” and is annotated by “G.B. Gabbler”, but there are disclamiers in the book that these are both pen names and this book was infact written completely by one person, who is Anonymous. So, considering that the book has one writing style and the annotated sections has another sort of writing style, which could be a separate person, the Editor named “Gabbler”, that goes to show how much the author thought of all of these little details. At times, I did forget that there was only one author and not two because of this. Plus, The style of writing that was used, for both the book and annotations, also included a fourth wall element where they were talking directly to the readers. This was done especially with the annotations as this was the whole idea behind the annotations, as they way to explain, express, and speak to the audience. The author however, for the main part of the book, took an active part in the story, calling himself the narrator, so on occasions, he/she would speak directly to the reader. This is also written to be like an epic Greek poem, with stanzas and so on. This was lost on me sadly as I have never red any, and don’t plan on reading any sorry.

The story was very confusing, for me, especially at the beginning. If you have a look at my copy then you will see so my sticky coloured tags, and multiple sticky tags at that which represented different things. This was for me to try and get this story in order. But once I did and just let go and got absorbed into the story, it was so much easier to follow and so much more enjoyable to read. What threw me a little at first may have been that this isn’t my usual type of book to read, but that doesn’t usually put me off a book, as I love giving any book and genre a read and opening up my mind. What also threw me, was that the author claimed that this was based on true events, and on true events that have happened in his life, so when things started getting a little strange my mind just couldn’t follow. The author threw himself into the story by making himself the narrator, but them he also threw himself into the story again by making himself another character a little later on, which may or may not become important in this series.

In this first book in the series, we are introduced to so many characters, masters, automations, humans and even Gods, who have their owns plans to set in motion. There are some characters who are created and portrayed really well and do have me looking forward to the next book in this series, just to see what is going to happen what is going to happen to the characters and with the story. I really like Odys and Maud, Master and Automation, but my favourite character at the moment would definitely have to be Odissa. She is created strong, and giving the situations that she is put in, she is smart and is one of the strongest and level headed characters in this book, especially as she is one of the only humans who doesn’t have an Automaton and isn’t protected. There are kind of special rewards and perks to having an Automaton, but you’ll hve to read the book to find that out. As well as discovering the negatives that also arise from being given or finding an automaton.

Overall, I did end up enjoying this book think that this will end up being quite a good series and I have absolutely no idea where it’s heading, which is fantastic. This is a really good start and I believe that the second book in the series is due to come out soon, which is really exciting, and I hope it lives up to the hype. I wish I could rate this book higher, but when looking at some of the other books that I’ve rated 4 stars, I sadly couldn’t do it. But I know that if vol 2 is going to be as good as I hope, it’d definitely going to have an higher rating. That’s why I have rated this book 3.5 stars out of 5, although I do recommend this book. Try something different! 🙂

If you are interested, they have their own webpage, so click here and go exploring a little 😉

Do you like trying new books from different genres? Any recommendations? How does this book sound? Comment below 🙂

Review:Lilith’s Garden of Fury (Unforeseen Beings #3)

(Sorry for the picture but there isn’t another one quite yet as I’ve read this book in advance)

*****

I received this eARC from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book. 

This is the third installment in the Unforeseen Beings novella series, and this was a book, or story that was well needed and came at the perfect time. If you haven’t read the previous two books, Lilith’s Garden of Madness and Lilith’s Garden of Clarity then you will definitely need to read those two books before reading this installment in the series. These books are definitely not stand alone books, in my opinion, as there are a lot of questions and back stories and a world that does get a little confusing if you were to jump into one of the books, without reading the previous books in the series. I have written reviews for books one and two, so if you do plan on reading the books and want to check out some reviews, click on the links above. I do try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but as this is the third book in the series, there may be spoilers to the previous two books. Sorry if there are. So lets begin. . . 

“Delilah returns to Room 102 but this time she isn’t there alone. As the veil between a world she once knew and an insane new reality, fades away, Delilah must find a way to save Philip and the others from the dark evil within Kelton. But will Elizabeth and the others find Delilah in time before she destroys what she desires to save?”

This book open on Hannahs perspective, which made me so so happy, as we haven’t heard from Hannah since the first book. However, this was short lived as this was the on Chapter that we do get to hear from Hannahs perspective, but there is a very good reason for that, even if I didn’t want to admit it and want more from her, as I loved her character from the first book. You then pick up from where you left off from at the end of book 2, Lilith’s Garden of Clarity, so I will definitely say, in my opinion, these books are not stand alone books and to read them as a series to experience them and understand them better. You get some action at the begin of this book, but what I took the most from reading this installment in the series, is that this book was the much needed explanation book.

What do i mean by this? While reading this book, it felt like this book is the book that’s been needed and has been put in place to answer some questions that the readers, especially myself, might have had about this world. There is a lot of talking in this book because of this, but it’s not boring, as it’s what’s needed. I felt like I was Elizabeth in parts with this book, maybe because she was the only human and had no idea what was happening and it was new to her. Even though it was all new to her, she was the only one who wasn’t afraid to ask the questions that others were thinking and wanting to ask, even myself. Trust me, if it could have reached it to this book and high five her for asking, I would’ve, or better yet, jumped in and asked the questions myself. Even when she could tell that they’d had enough of answering and being bombarded with questions, she didn’t stop, and wasn’t necessarily afraid to stop. Or if she did stop, to rest, to sleep, or whatever else that may have come up, she would resume asking when the time was right. Even though she was only human, she had so much bravery and was willing to fight and stick by those she cares for, which makes her the strongest out of them all, again in my opinion. Why are the humans my favourite characters? Maybe because I can relate more to them. 

Like I said previously, this book gives so much more background on so many issues, that were merely hinted at or mentioned in the last two books. One of the biggest looming questions that I’ve had since the very first book is Who is Lilith? In this book we do get a massive leap in this department with background information given on not only who Lilith is, but also on her garden, on how they both came into existence and so much more. Yes, we actually get some information about the infamous Lilith and her Garden. However, this information, or maybe the information in general that was provided in this book made me want to find out more and discover more about everything. We find out more about the good and evil, light and dark, and the dark army and I could tell you more but spoilers. . .

We remain with our original main character Delilah in this book, and we also have Peter and Elizabeth. We now see how Delilah is changing, or developing and growing in this book, and how she is trying to cope with finding out all of this new information about herself and the world around her. You also see and how she is also trying to deal with her feelings and relationships between people, especially with Peter and Galvin. You then get Peter, who everyone believes and assumes is weak and timid, except for one or two, who believe he is able to train and fight in a maybe upcoming battle against the dark army. Maybe that is why throughout this series I have three favourite characters, Hannah, Peter and Elizabeth, the three underdogs in a certain way. You have Galvin, who is, or was, a guardsman to the dark army, but now he’s on the opposite side and trying to make up for the bad he’s done by helping protect and save those he’s hurt, Peter, but especially Delilah. We are introduced to two new characters in this book, which is where we get a load of the background information from as well, and these characters are, Vance and Leona. I was still left with some mystery behind these characters, and this mystery created some uneasiness for me, some mistrust maybe, but I don’t know why because they didn’t do anything to deserve it. Nothing at all. In fact they did the opposite. Maybe when I get to know them better and trust them more, then that will go, or maybe it will be justified, I don’t know. We don’t get to here from every characters perspectives and Deliahs’ chapters are the only ones who’s are from a first persons point of view, which is an interesting take. 

Like I said this book was definitely needed as much needed answers to questions and backgrounds were provided, which was essential at this point. Along with the explanations and so forth, there was a storyline, which went hand in hand with both points; they needed to know more in order to be able to improve and move forward and learn themselves. I don’t want to give too much away, as I don’t want to be laying loads of spoilers down (hint Goodreads description), if any, as I do really enjoy this series and want everyone else to enjoy it to without it being spoiled. I do now have some new questions, but that’s good when going forward with a series, as it keeps you hooked and keeps you a reading and wanting more, anticipating the next book. 

There is no other rating other than 5 out of 5 stars that I can give this book as I had so, so many questions answered and this book is an important part in the series for doing that. Again, I would not recommend these books as stand alone,  but to read them as a complete series. It’s a novella series, so it shouldn’t take you too long. Checkout my previous two reviews if you are interested but not yet convinced. 

Have you read any of the books in the Unforeseen Beings Novella Series? What did you think? Comment below ☺ 

Review: Alice (Chronicles of Alice #1) – Christina Henry

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*****

This book really caught my eye when I saw a review of it thanks to the wonderful world of Book Blogging! Ever since then I knew I had to have it, and read it, IMMEDIATELY!! So that is what I did. I knew I was having a free week coming up, so during my week Book-A-Thon, I ordered Alice, which thankfully it arrived the next day, (got to love Amazon Prime), and then waited for the day to read this amazing book. That was my big struggle. So I already had high expectations of this book before going into reading this book, so I was also a bit dubious before reading this, as I didn’t want to be disappointed by my own high build up.

Alice, is the first book in the Chronicle of Alice series, which is an Alice in Wonderland retelling  of sorts, but a much darker and disturbing version. Let me give you the books actual description before I give you my review of this thrilling read;

“In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with  the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place – just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood. . .

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.”

Sound awesome? Because OMG this book was soooo amazing!!! The book begin after Alice has met the Rabbit, and nobody believed her. She was discovered covered in blood and mumbling about rabbits and eyes and her friend Dor has not returned with her, so she is still missing. Her parents, not getting answers and with Alice still going on about the Rabbit, they put her into a hospital, I believe a mental hospital, deep in the Old City. Over time she forgets what happened to her, except the tea party, long ears, the colour of the eye and the blood. There she meets someone in the room next to hers and they start talking. And that is really where the story really starts and Alice’s new adventure to rediscover her lost memories begins. But is it an adventure she wants to undertake, and memories she want to have back.

I can’t remember the last time I got completely engorged in a book like I did with this one. I became so antisocial while reading this book, because I just didn’t want to stop reading this book for any reason whatsoever! The storyline was so gripping and I just wanted to keep going and to go on the same adventure as Alice and Hatcher as they go along. It was so good and so captivating, and everything that was written was just so perfectly expressed that I could imagine it all so vividly, that it was like it was all being played out in my head. I don’t  even think I took the time to actually eat properly. I definitely didn’t take the time to set the book down and cook a proper home cooked meal that would’ve taking the time to do so, so luckily I was very quick reading this book.

The characters in this book were gripping and so easy to understand. Of course we are going to have to discuss Alice. When reading this book and you are told that it’s an Alice in Wonderland retelling, so you instantly get and bring the Alice from the Lewis Carroll classic to mind, before you even open and read this book. But once you start reading, you get a character all of her own. You see her grow and develop throughout this entire book, which is so seamlessly done, that seemless is the best word to use because of how outstanding it is. You don’t see this sudden jump in character, you see a growth and you see why there is a growth, which is something you sometimes don’t get to see and is sometimes missed out. One of these changes, is thanks to another character, Hatcher. This is the character that Alice mets, or hears, in the room next to her in the hospital at the begin of the book. I don’t want to give too much away, as I want to keep my reviews spoiler free.

What was amazing, for me anyways, was when I would hear words that would connect me to the original Lewis Carroll version of Alice in Wonderland, this would make me smile. When I would here simple things such as, the tea party, the cakes and drinks that affected your size, the Jabberwock, the rabbit, the Cheshire and his grin, and so on. It all just made this book that extra bit perfect for me. I love it all. Then how they ended this book!! I want to quote the last part of this book so badly, but omg would that be a spoiler, or a teaser or would that just be mean? I always said that I never wanted to give away spoilers in my reviews, but this last part of this book, OMG!! I have fallen in love. It was a cute little throwback. Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry has already been bought with speedy eagerness. P.s. If you order this book from amazon, don’t look at the amount of pages it says the book has. Before I ordered my copy I was told it was going to have 198 pages, however when my book arrived it had 325 pages, which was better for me. The same for Red Queen, saying 198 but actually having 313 pages.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. READ IT!! But beware of its dark, violent and possibly disturbing images. Now that you’ve been warned, GO AND READ IT!!! Definitely my biggest recommendation so far this year. Massive 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it!! I can’t wait to read Red Queen 😀

Have you read this book? What did you think of this book? Yay or Nay? Comment below 😀

Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White – David Meredith

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*****

I received this eBook as an Amazon gift from the author himself, in exchange for an honest and an unbiased review of this book. I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to David Meredith for this Amazon Gift. This is the first time anyone has ever bought me anything as a gift like this on Amazon, a family, friend, author or anyone to review a book for them 🙂 so that is awesome!!!

Have you ever wondered, or been curious, about what happened to some of your favourite fairy-tale characters after the ‘happily ever after’? Well, wonder no more, at least with the case of Snow White and her Prince Charming. Sadly however, their happy ending didn’t last, as this book begins with Queen Snow White being trapped, this time it is within herself as she is locked in a depression after the death of Prince Charming. Every part of the castle is bursting with people and full of reminders of life shared with her one true love that she has now lost and is not going to get back. Desperate for alone time, she enters a part of the castle that has long been shut off and forgotten about, as it was used by the old Queen and Evil Witch who cause so much pain to Snow White’s life. Here, Snow White discovers the Magic Mirror and this story really begins. . .

This is only my second every fairy-tale retelling story that I have every read, and I’m not sure if this book would really count as a re-telling, but anyway, I loved this book!! I never really grew up on reading fairy-tales and watching Disney films, my house and my family were not really that type of family, which has lead me to start watching the classic Disney films now. Yes, I was sadly 20 years old before I watched The Lion King and 22 when I first watched The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, which is now my favourite Disney film, so far. Snow White is the most known fairy-tale of all, in my opinion; with the magic mirror, evil queen, Snow White, seven dwarfs, poisoned apple, Prince Charming’s loving kiss awakens her from her slumber, and so on. I loved how this storyline allowed us to see some of the major important parts that have occurred throughout of Snow Whites entire life, even before she met Prince Charming, in a very strong, powerful and vivid way. We get to see how her life was while living in the castle with the Evil Queen and how she was treated and why she escaped. The way this storyline was created to allow for readers to discover the now Queen Snow White’s life, is amazing and I love how the Magic Mirror is used and added in to do this, and is the perfect way to also create an amazing story.

This book and how it is written is fantastic. The writing style is one of my favourite aspects about this book, as it is written so eloquently and David Meredith enables you to be able to imagine everything so clearly. It is so easy to read and you just don’t want to put it down, but to keep turning that page and discover something new about someone, who has been apart of your life since you were a child. This time around, it is like it is a fairy-tale, but targeted and aimed for adults, but a more realistic, real world fairy-tale!! But will this book have an happy ending? It so beautifully written, that I loved so many of the sentences and have highlighted them in my copy for quotes and things I can use, because they are just so amazing. I would love to just spend the day posting quotes from this book.

There were a couple of editing issues, but I mean only a couple. There may have been more, but I didn’t notice because I was so into the book and reading it, that I had just bypassed them. This is quite easily a one sitting read, as you just don’t want to stop reading and discovering the past and future of Snow White’s life, before and after the whole incident with the dwarfs and the story we all already know. I would therefore definitely recommend this book highly, regardless if you’ve read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (because I haven’t), and that’s why I have rated it a MASSIVE 5 out of 5 stars!!!

Review: Lilith’s Garden of Clarity (Unforeseen Beings Book 2) – N.L. Johnson

****
I received a free digital unedited ARC of Lilith’s Garden of Clarity from the author in exchange for a honest and unbiased review of this book.

This is the second book in the Unforeseen Beings Novella Series and this is by far my favourite book in the series so far. This novella continues on from Lilith’s Garden of Madness and picks up from where it left off, so you will definitely have to read the first one before deciding to read this one. Now how do I give you a little description of this book without giving any or too many spoilers of the first book in this series? I think I’ll leave that to the author herself and give you the Goodreads description, that way I’m limiting the risk of giving away too may spoilers.
“The world of the patient locked in Room 102 is falling apart as she knew it. While searching for Hannah and trying to figure out how she will save the former young Kelton nurse, she begins to discover what she can do but will she ever figure out who she really is? With the help of others at Kelton, the patient once forgotten will unlock more answers and even more questions. Enter back through the doors of Kelton Mental Institution and continue to uncover the truth of what has been hidden away down the South Hall of untreatables. Join the madness.”

I have read and reviewed the first book in this series, if you would like to check it out and you will see that I wasn’t a massive fan of it, only rating it 3 out of 5 stars, but this book was massively better. I had some of my questions answered from the first book, I have started understanding the storyline, the characters and I’m even connecting with one of the characters, in a weird way. I feel, as a reader, like one of the characters, who is slowly learning everything about the world she is living in from other characters in this book. So has she is slowly discovering more and more about everything, me, or us as the reader, will also learn more and more about the world that we are reading about. It’s this way that I feel connected to her, both discovering everything with brand new eyes.

It’s so brilliant and unique, plus not overly chucked in your face that it’s like a perfect balance. There are still questions, but now they are questions that make me want to keep reading to discover and find everything out, not questions out of frustration, which I’m loving. There is a darkness to the book when reading it, a darkness from different perspectives, which is fantastic when you think that light and darkness is one of the topics of this series. There was one point which actually did give me chills, which was a first for me when reading and I’ve been looking for books to do that, that’s how engrossed this book got me.

I did receive an unedited ARC version of this book, so of course there were editing mistakes and issues which I was expecting and warned about, so these problems are not even going to be thought about when it comes to me deciding my rating of this book. I simply bypassed them all as I was so engrossed in the story in front of me.

With how this book has been ended, it just left me screaming “Noooo!!!” and wanting more, needing to read book 3 in this series straight away, which is a completely different reaction to the first book. I am giving this second novella in the series an improved 4 out of 5 stars, compared to the first book, with a definite recommendation! You do have to read the first book to understand this one, as they are not stand alone books, but I’m actually enjoying this series, which if you’ve read my review of the first book is a complete turn around. I’m saving my 5 stars because this series is getting better and I’m only on book 2 and now I’m understanding this series. Roll on book 3 ☺