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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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Ivy Pocket: Heroine of Snark

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Anyone but Ivy Pocket

Goodreads Rating: 3.74 Stars
387 Pages
HarperCollins Publishing
Get a copy here!

Ivy Pocket is a twelve-year-old maid of no importance, with a very lofty opinion of herself. Dumped in Paris by the Countess Carbunkle, who would rather run away to South America than continue in Ivy’s companionship, our young heroine (of sorts) finds herself with no money and no home to go to … until she is summoned to the bedside of the dying Duchess of Trinity.

For the princely sum of £500 (enough to buy a carriage, and possibly a monkey), Ivy agrees to courier the Duchess’s most precious possession – the Clock Diamond – to England, and to put it around the neck of the revolting Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday. It’s not long before Ivy finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy involving mischief, mayhem and murder.

Illustrated in humorous gothic detail by Barbara Cantini,Anyone But Ivy Pocket is just the beginning of one girl’s deadly comic journey to discover who she really is …

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: quirky, snarky, awesome characters; this story kept me on my toes; Ivy Pocket ALWAYS does the unexpected!; I laughed out loud way too many times; the illustrations are both gorgeous and entertaining; the prose is witty, full of attitude, and ever surprising

Huge thanks to Caleb Krisp and HarperCollins Publishers for sending me a hardcover copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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THIS BOOK! This book is absolutely adorable and dark and quirky and filled with attitude and…if I don’t stop listing off the things I like about it, I’ll never actually write my review, so let’s jump into this! First and foremost: the illustrations. The illustrations are absolutely GORGEOUS, yet also filled with personality. I really enjoyed that the illustration at the beginning of this book (“I have all the natural instincts of…” followed by a word or phrase) plays into each and every chapter in some way—because Ivy Pocket is nothing but confident in herself and her “abilities!” I really enjoyed that the chapter header images, also, played a huge role in the read—namely, they gave me a small glimpse into whatever chaos or shenanigans were about to befall our MC.

Ivy Pocket is a character I never knew I needed SO BADLY to read about. She’s a confident, snarky, imaginative 12 year old orphan, working as a maid. I mean, let’s just start there, okay? She’s 12! But her attitude? Her attitude is bigger than MINE, and I absolutely loved every single moment. I basked in her self assurance. I bathed in her snark. I need to take a lesson from Miss Pocket; she could teach me a thing or fifty about loving myself. I just think she is exactly the type of wonderful character little girls need to be reading—for her confidence. For her love in herself.

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Of course, the other characters are just as brilliantly written, though as this is from Ivy’s perspective, I think readers get rather a…caricature image of most of them. While the snark is on point, I feel like perhaps Ivy is a bit jaded where other people are concerned—and very quick to jump to judgments, at least at the beginning of this read. BUT—she’s 12! I remember being just as cynical and presumptous at that age, so it’s realistic.

This story overall is playful, dark, sometimes disturbing (think Neil Gaiman’s Coraline), full of witty snark, and positively entertaining—I laughed out loud for a good majority of the read, which doesn’t happen often! The characters (especially Miss Pocket) never do exactly what you think they’re going to; the prose keeps you on your toes (HAH, rhyme-win!). I was engrossed from beginning to end, and cannot wait to dive into the second book in this series!

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The only downside? This is meant to be a four-novel set. Which means a bit of waiting is in my future, I’m afraid. I’m more than willing to take this journey, though—Ivy Pocket is a fascinating, awesome character, and I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for her! I recommend this book to lovers of mid-grade, Neil Gaiman, and Lemony Snicket. You’ll SOB from laughing so hard during this read! This is definitely a book you don’t want to miss!