Review: Belle Morte

Title: Belle Morte
Author: Bella Higgin
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Parnormal, Contemporary
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Source: Raincoast Books
Format: Paperback ARC
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

There’s only one way out.

Belle Morte. One of five houses where vampires reside as celebrities and humans are paid to be their living donors. While others came here seeking fortune, I came in search of my sister who walked into Belle Morte five months ago . . . and never walked back out.

Now that I’m here, the secrets about this world have proven to be much bigger than I ever anticipated. And lurking around every corner are shocking insinuations of what happened to my sister.

There’s only one person who might have the answers I need, and the undeniable pull I feel toward him is terrifying: Edmond Dantès―a vampire, and my mortal enemy.

The harder I try to resist him, the further I fall under his spell. And in one instant my life is irrevocably changed. My past becomes prologue and my fate becomes sealed behind these doors.

Belle Morte has spoken. And it may never let me go.

Review:

Belle Morte is one of the five vampire houses in the UK, where humans can work to be living blood donors to the vampires. Renie’s older sister June was obsessed with vampires, and she was chosen to live there. However, a few months later, June stopped sending letters to Renie and no one could tell her what happened. Renie decides to apply to live in Belle Morte to finally learn what happened to her, but when she arrives at the house, no one will answer her questions. Renie has to do her own investigation into what happened to her sister, but what she discovers is life changing. 

This was a refreshing vampire story. I loved that it focused on the “donor,” who had the job of giving their blood to vampires. Vampire are often characterized as predators but these ones paid people who wanted the chance to feed vampires. There were strict rules that they had to follow in the house to maintain a distance between the donors and the vampires, but they didn’t always follow these rules in this story. 

The vampire culture in this story reminded me of reality stars and influencers who are famous because of their famous parents or for no apparent reason. The vampires were rich and famous, just because they were vampires. A lot of the donors didn’t know what they were actually getting into by moving into the house, including June. This was an interesting way for the vampires to fit into modern society. 

Belle Morte is a fun and thrilling vampire story!

Thank you Raincoast Books and Wattpad Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

Have you read Belle Morte? What did you think of it?

Review: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)

Title: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)
Author: Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult
Publisher: Independently published
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 13, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

You have been selected to attend Zodiac Academy, where your star sign defines your destiny. 

If you’re one of the Fae, elemental magic is in your blood. And apparently it’s in ours. As twins born in the month of Gemini, we’re a rare breed even in this academy of supernatural a-holes.

Changelings were outlawed hundreds of years ago but I guess our birth parents didn’t get the memo. Which means we’re totally unprepared for the ruthless world of Fae.

Air. Fire. Water. Earth.

No one has ever harnessed all four of them, until we arrived. And it hasn’t made us any friends so far.

As the rarest Elementals ever known, we’re already a threat to the four celestial heirs; the popular, vindictive bullies who happen to be some of the hottest guys we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that they’re the most dangerous beasts in the Academy. And probably on earth too.

Our fates are intertwined, but they want us gone. They’ve only got until the lunar eclipse to force us out and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

We never knew we had a birthright to live up to but now that we do, we intend to claim our throne.

We can’t expect any help from the faculty when it comes to defending ourselves. So if the dragon shifters want some target practice, the werewolves want someone to hunt or the vampiresfancy a snack then we have to be ready. But we’ve been looking after each other for a long time and fighting back is in our blood.

Today’s horoscope: totally screwed.

Review:

Darcy and Tory are eighteen-year-old twins from Chicago. Their parents died when they were babies so they went through many foster families who didn’t treat them well. Soon after their eighteenth birthday, a man shows up in their lives to take them to their home world. They are actually fae, and the true heirs to the throne. Darcy and Tory are taken to the Zodiac Academy, and they must pass their Awakening to earn their places as heirs. However, they don’t know anything about this world or their extraordinary magical powers. The sisters have to face bullies, hazing, and potential romances, while also learning about their powers.

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere so I had to read it. I’ve seen it described as Hogwarts as a university, with some spicy romance. It had Hogwarts vibes, since Darcy and Tory had to go to a magical school and learn about the world, like Harry Potter. However, these girls didn’t seem to have any allies in the other students, so it was more difficult for them to navigate this world.

This was my first time reading “bully romance.” I didn’t even know what that was before reading this. The men in this book were very toxic. They treated the women terribly. Yet they were physically attractive and from powerful families, so people were drawn to them. There were some moments that I thought the guys were going to redeem themselves, but it didn’t last very long.

The Awakening is a great start to this series!

Ruthless Fae by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Have you read The Awakening? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour: So Near The Horizon

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Title: So Near The Horizon
Author: Jessica Koch
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: FeuerWerke Verlag
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Rating: ★★

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Jessica has an uncomplicated life and a promising future. Leaving the house one evening, she has no idea that she’s about to meet the love of her life – or that her entire understanding of the world is about to change. And before long, she’s going to face a decision that will shape her forever…
In ‘So Near the Horizon’ Jessica Koch describes a life lived somewhere between hope and fear, confronting true events from her own past with raw honesty and frank reflection – and exploring more than one difficult subject along the way.
A story of deep love. A story of trust, courage, pain, despair, and the strength to let go. A true story.

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Review:

This is a very moving story. 

One of the characters has HIV. I’ve never read a story like this before, and it was fascinating. There was so much about the disease that I never knew before. I learned so much from this book. 

The story is very heartbreaking. It would be if it was just fiction, but especially since it is based on a true story. I always wonder how much of the story actually happened and which is fiction. No matter how much of the story is true, it is still heartbreaking. 

At the beginning, I could tell that some parts were taken directly from real life because they didn’t flow as well in the narrative. I think some conversations were probably transcribed word for word, but that doesn’t sound very good in a story. However, the writing got much better as the story moved along. 

The narrator changed abruptly in Chapter Fourteen. It had been from Jessica’s point of view, but then it was suddenly a limited third person perspective. Then, a few pages later it returns to Jessica’s voice again. I wasn’t expecting this change, and it was very strange at first but after it happened in a couple of chapters I understood why the author did this. Many of the other people who give their point of view also demonstrate their prejudices about HIV. And each time that person is proved wrong. This technique was slow to understand at first, but it made sense after a while. 

If you’re looking for a moving story, this is the one for you!

About the Author:

Jessica Koch (born in Ludwigsburg, Germany) began writing short stories when she was still in high school, but never submitted her work to publishers. In late 1999, shortly after beginning her studies to become an architectural drafter, she met Danny, a German-American dual national. Her experiences with him eventually formed the basis for So Near the Horizon, though it was nearly thirteen years before she felt ready to bring the manuscript to the public.

The author describes a life lived somewhere between hope and fear, between optimism and despair. She reflects on events from her own past with raw honesty, confronting more than one difficult subject along the way.

Jessica Koch lives near the city of Heilbronn with her husband, their son, and two dogs. The second and third books in the trilogy, So Near the Abyss and So Near the Ocean, are already best-sellers in Germany as well.

Author Links:

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Book Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

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Thank you to YA Bound Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.