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Untitled Beauty: This is a Hard Read…But SO Super Important

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Untitled Beauty (Somewhere-in-Between #1)

Eleven. A name. A title. A sentence passed. If you aren’t a Beauty, you’re less than a person. You’re a commodity known as a Potential… and you only have so many chances to qualify as a human being.

In her seventeen years, Eleven has seen the best and worst in humanity. She’s been passed around and abused by the bad. She’s hoped and dreamed for the good. And she’s despaired for the hand she’s been dealt. Now she’s been purchased by a wealthy man who has the ability to improve her life and help her become a Beauty – if she can put up with his erratic and controlling personality for long enough, that is. Complicating things is the appearance of a stunningly beautiful young man with amethyst eyes who treats Eleven to the rarest form of attention for a Potential: kindness.

Does Eleven trust her powerful owner to help her escape this life of servitude and enslavement, or does she gamble everything on the enigmatic young man who seems to offer her more than she could ever imagine possible?

Somewhere-in-Between #1
Dystopian/YA/Romance
151 Pages
Expected Publication Date: October 13th, 2016
Get a copy here!

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: LIFE. RUINER.; C.E. Wilson tackles her most challenging, disturbing subject matter yet; warning: mature readers only, this book handles very sensitive subjects; realistic, emotionally-charged plot; characters that tug at your heartstrings, that disgust you, that perplex you, that enrage you; every facet of human nature and emotion is touched upon in this book

A very HUGE thank you, as always, to C.E. Wilson for granting me early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I feel I need to start with the most important bit of this review first for this book: trigger warning! The plot contains and touches upon very sensitive subject matter, including: human trafficking; slavery; physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; physical and emotional degradation; and violent, traumatizing scenes. If you are a sensitive reader and are triggered by any of the above, PLEASE take this into consideration. I had quite a bit of trouble with some of the scenes, myself, and I am not as easily triggered as others. Please stay safe, penguins!

That being said. OH. MY. GOOD GRACIOUS PENGUINS! I have read several of C.E. Wilson’s works in the recent past, and have so so enjoyed how unique and inventive her ideas are. She always, ALWAYS layers a real-world issue (prejudice being a key one in her books) with a more abstract, often fantastical world-building. This helps both to soften and enhance the subjects she has chosen with such delicate care. BUT THIS BOOK. This book is raw, and gorgeously crafted. This book is hard to read, penguins–the subject matter is just so brutal. I mean basically, it’s human trafficking reimagined and molded to fit the world being built within these pages. It’s terrifying, and it’s plausible, and I struggled so hard with my emotions while feeling compelled to keep reading.

I did not step out of my comfort zone for this book; this book pushed me off the cliff and dove down after me. Were this book a parachute, it would have taunted me during the fall: “I can save you…but it’s going to hurt a little bit, too.” These characters are vibrantly alive…and realistically traumatized. Their emotions are raw, seeping from the pages to settle like an aura over every word, every sentence. The prose refuses to take prisoners, instead promising a sea of broken, sobbing readers left numb in its wake.

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This book is, above all, the most painful…and the most IMPORTANT…novel C.E. Wilson’s put out so far, in my opinion. The subject matter is approached with sensitivity and handled with care, crafted to both break readers and leave them thinking, leave them scarred, leave them changed. If you’ve promised to step outside your reading comfort zone at least once this year, you might consider picking this book up! I definitely recommend to mature readers; those seeking powerful and poignant reads; and lovers of real-world subjects with slightly abstract world-building. C.E. Wilson continues to take me by surprise; I cannot WAIT to see what she does next!

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A Review of Touch, by Natalia Jaster

Touch

Goodreads Rating: 4.28 Stars
237 Pages

Get a copy here!

The myth of Eros isn’t the truth. Her story is the truth . . .

Love is an immortal bad girl. With a strike of her arrow and a smirk on her face, she pins human hearts together against their will. It’s for their own good, of course—silly, clueless creatures that they are.

But Love has never loved. Not until the Fates parcel her off to a small, frostbitten town littered with needy souls. Not until she crosses paths with Andrew, a boy whose gaze locks onto hers. Yet how can this be? Mortals don’t have the power to see deities.

The longer they’re friends, the more Love wishes she could touch Andrew. In gentle ways. In other tempting and reckless ways as well.

It’s impossible. She isn’t a true part of his world. She’s an outsider whose fingers will only ever sweep through him. A mischievous, invisible goddess who’s destined to be alone. And he’s destined for someone else. By order of the Fates, it’s Love’s duty to betray his trust. To seal his heart while ignoring the gash in her own.

Or she could become human. For there is one very tricky, very dangerous way to do so.

If only Andrew felt the same about her, it might be worth the risk.

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5Penguins
Quick Reasons: Natalia Jaster, you’ve broken me again!; this is an awesome, inventive, beautiful retelling; the characters are quirky, flawed in all the right ways, and well-rounded; the love story is gorgeously paced; the mystery and flair for drama throughout lends a ton of action and adventure to the plot; this read is a TON of fun

Putting her mind to it, Love would become familiar with his body. She would know him from top to bottom, from beginning to end.

Touching this boy would be the death, and life, of her.

Okay, I’m finally ready to admit it: Natalia Jaster is my new hero. Her prose is absolutely gorgeous: melodic, emotionally-charged, well-paced, and atmospheric. She weaves her stories into readers’ very veins; every word wraps itself, ribbon-tight and silk-smooth, between every muscle, every sinew, every bone. Her novels literally sink beneath the skin…and refuse to leave.

THIS novel—her first—is no exception. Every moment breathed life into her characters; they leapt from their pages to embrace me, to push me, to challenge me and my perceptions of the world around me. There are so many beautiful moments of self-discovery, of wonder and awe, of growth and emotion… All the little details are packed into a neat, coherent stream of “it matters, it will come up again laters, pay attentions.” The characters are well-rounded, well-matched, and beautifully imagined. I couldn’t help but fall in love with every one of them.

Andrew stares pointedly at her. From the looks of it, thunderstorms and human traffic jams are cluttering his mind. Doors are opening and closing.

He’s jealous. The realization makes her feel silly and squeamish. She can’t decide whether to glower or giggle some more. She feels like…a girl.

She wants to punch him. In the face. Hard. Cover that watercolor with one of her own. Then she wants to kiss it, softly, until she has no more soft left in her.

Natalia Jaster knows what it takes to write a convincing retelling—and she proves it with this book. While there’s enough of the old myths to let readers know what this was inspired by, she put her own spin on every portion—and crafted something uniquely her own. Of course, there are also many moments of wisdom to be found, if readers are searching for them. They are subtle, well-hidden in the midst of the angst and drama…but there. These were some of my favorite moments: when the words I was reading struck a chord, struck a nerve, hit my heart and made me stop to think. Books that slip morals in without seeming to try, such as this one, are some of my favorites.

There ARE some weird grammatical things going on in portions of this read: certain words are written wrong/weird, punctuation isn’t always what I expected it to be, etc. These inconsistencies, however, were minuscule, and didn’t effect at all the adoration I felt for this book while reading. While it sometimes tripped me up to stumble across a weird word, in the long run, this book is much too gorgeous to knock off points. Also, considering this was her first novel, some small errors are to be expected—they’re easy enough to overlook, in the grand scheme of things.

“Since I’m an asshat, I thought I’d have a choice with you, that I’d be able to walk away if you disillusioned me or turned out to be a blood-sucking creature of the night–and okay, I would have bailed if you were evil… Or maybe not. Knowing myself, I’d want to save you. But you’re not evil. The point is, I’m realizing you’re the same as everyone else in my life, only a thousand times more potent, and that has nothing to do with where you come from. I can grit my teeth about what you do, but I can’t control how I react to your laugh. I would rather be near you, see you touch everything but me, than be holding any other girl. I like being with you, Love. Playing, talking, fighting, not-touching.”

I LOVELOVELOVED this read so much, and adore Natalia Jaster for her wit, her unique sense of story-telling, and her creativity. I cannot WAIT to see what the future has in store for her novels. She has, rather quickly, become my most favorite author. I recommend this read to literally everyone, but specifically lovers of myths, retellings, and gorgeously-written romances. The love she wrote into this book will sweep you off your feet; please, take a chance on it. I promise it won’t let you down.