Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Perfumer's Secret by Adria J. Cimino | A Book Review

A Perfumer's Secret by Adria J. Cimino | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is probably one of the best stories I have ever read. Just like smelling your favorite scent or perfume, this story will make you heady with all the smells and descriptions that are so vivid. It was like being there myself in Grasse, France, testing for myself the different scent samples. It was a very delightful experience.

Have you ever smelled something and remembered a whole story from that smell alone? This story is like that. A single scent, very vivid that it will bombard you with varying emotions that they will appear so tangible that you can taste them. From that single aroma, it's like going through the emotions the perfumer has gone through while creating that scent. You will smell and taste all the heartaches and triumphs with just that one long whiff. Reading this story is like that. Yes, you will definitely discover the perfumer's secret.

One of the characters here that I don't really like but stood out, not in a good way, is Philippe. He's this type of person who knows that what he's doing or planning is not right but he still chose to do it. So unbelievable, right? Good thing, in the end, he chose to do the right thing. Finally, he actually has a conscience. That saved his character there but still, I did not like him. What bothers me most about his character was he was not actually the most notable one. But his refusal to stand up was a major red mark that makes him a big eye sore.

This story just elicited and demanded a lot of emotions from me. My heart bleeds with the same hurt caused by the heartaches and broken hearts in this story. I was upset and discouraged when Zoe's efforts turned out to be another false lead. But I also rejoiced when she finally found the secret, her secret. This was such a roller coaster ride of emotions. I felt like my heart was bruised but the whole ride was so exhilarating that I can't help but want to take that roller coaster ride over again.

This is a very sweet and aromatic story that will take your emotions up and down. The descriptions are so rich and detailed that you will feel like walking the streets of Grasse and agree that being a perfumer is a very grand profession. I feel like wanting to be one because of this story. This profession is so grandiose and filled with so much passion that you're either in it with everything you've got or better not at all. It's a job that demands your whole being and a passion that's so unyielding. It's like a job that will take you even beyond yourself, beyond your boundaries, and beyond your strictly self-imposed restrictions. Zoe's passion for this science and art is so overpowering that I can actually touch it. It's this overflowing passion that will drive you to fall in love with her character and this story. The author perfectly captured that.

So yes, this is definitely 5/5 elegant bottles of the most exquisite and expensive perfumes. It's so intoxicating. I think I sat dazed minutes after reading this book. I was so fascinated that I think I was still imagining the scents hours after the story was over. This story will stay with you, just like the scents here that will seem to haunt you. Ah, even while writing this review, I find myself going back and recalling the smells and the feeling associated and involved in creating a specific and unique perfume. I want to relive the feeling I had while reading this story and how this somehow squeezed my heart and made it want to live life with so much passion for just life itself. So it's true, the greatest emotions can always create a powerful scent. Just ask a perfumer.

Men are like perfume. They envelope us with intensity, and then slowly but surely, they drift away.
- Adria J. Cimino, A Perfumer's Secret - 

Thank you again and Adria J. Cimino for the review copy.

Bagging Alice (Babes of Brighton #3) by Laura Barnard | ARC | A Book Review

Bagging Alice (Babes of Brighton #3) by Laura Barnard | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

First paragraph into the story and I felt like I was scandalized. The first few lines were not exactly what I expected to welcome me. It was so graphic and I wished the story did not start literally that way. Of course, this is an adult story and I know that there will be mature content. I just did not expect that it would be literally the first thing I would encounter.

As the chapter progresses, that graphic start of the story explained a lot. That actually was a crucial part of the main character's dilemma here. So, I do understand the author wanting to put that there but I think it was too much too soon. Anyway, as I have said, in some way it was justified but it just did not suit well with me. That's just me.

Moving on into the rest of the story, it was actually entertaining. A set of very varied characters and some of them even involved with each other is fun to read. Though there were times you tend to lose track of who's who, which character is which, because there was quite a number of them to remember. And I think, even the author in a way felt a little that way too because I noticed an inconsistency. There was a part where one character said something and then when that character was referred to again, it was a different person altogether. In a way, it was chaotic because of these host of characters but it was also fun. It was like watching this big group of friends getting together and exchanging antics. Imagine that and in the center of it all is Alice. Alice is not exactly the best of the bunch but rather the one with the most problems. If she could magically disappear from the face of the earth to save herself from all the troubles she's bombarded with, she would have. Thankfully, these set of friends are here to the rescue and make sure she gets back her life.

Alice, not exactly a female gifted with a douche-detection system, unfortunately always ends up with douche bags and more than her heart broken. The last one, broke the internet because of the salacious picture of Alice shared on social media. Yes, Alice scored big time on this one. M-A-J-O-R douche bag. And here comes the best part, the only way to start getting back control of her life from slipping into oblivion is to let another douche bag live with her-as her roommate. Yes, good luck with that.

Well, as you may have expected, the roommate did actually prove that Alice was not a magnet for douche bags. This one actually realized he needs to change his ways and Alice made him see that. With that said, the story ended quite how I wanted. I actually really liked the part how Tom's issue with his boss who was harassing him was resolved. Yes, good thing Tom was man enough to refuse her advances. I too thought that with his reputation as a man-whore, he would sleep with just about anyone. Please excuse the word. That was how he was called in the story most of the time by Alice and some of her girlfriends. Apparently, Tom has some decency left in him because he actually does not sleep with cougars even if it could help his career. God job Tom!

So, except for the shocking beginning, this story turned out to be so entertaining. I am glad that both main characters, Alice and Tom, actually developed as the story progresses. As it came to the end of the story, both characters were way a lot better than where they started in their relationships, personal life, and career. Most shocking of all was the real culprit who was responsible for the downfall of Alice. Evidently, not all douche bags are out of Alice's life. One unfortunately can't be rid of. How can you get rid of an evil blood relation? Well, killing them is definitely not a viable option but tempting. But Alice can still live her life according to her own terms and screw her family. She can be what she wants and she will prove just that without their help. She has great friends anyway who have been very supportive to her more than her family. That's all she needs.

With that, I give this book 3.5/5 cute dogs. Yes, there's actually a really cute dog in this story. Pickles actually proved that Tom, the imbecile, can actually be responsible for a dog and can change into a better man because he has found the right woman. Love does change a man for the better and in so may ways.

And just like that, when you think your life has already hit rock bottom it goes and shows you there's a basement.
- Laura Barnard, Bagging Alice - 

Thanks again, Laura Barnard for the ARC. Sorry for the delayed posting of the review.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Liberty Box (The Liberty Box #1) by C. A. Gray | A Book Review

The Liberty Box by C. A. Gray | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

And just like that, October is gone. November is here and that means December is just around the corner. Time flies so fast. I can still remember going crazy with worry about what the year would be like for me. I'm so glad and relieved that I'm way past that. I'm happy to be tired but productive. Not bone-tired worrying but rather tired after a day's work. I could say, I'm at a way better place where I am now. I'm so thankful and I am going to do my best to stay where I'm at. 

This book is another author request. I got this through the Contact Us form of this blog. I have read about this book before. I think in one of those book scavenger hunts that I joined. It might be the New Adult one or the YA one, but I am pretty sure I have heard about C. A. Gray before. I just haven't read any of her works. This is the very first of her books that I've read.

I mentioned about escaping from my worries earlier which is just fitting because this book talks about escape and worries too. It talks about fears and the harsh realities set in a dystopian landscape.

 "This room is what we call the Liberty Box." " Isn't that an oxymoron? Liberty in a box? "

This statement is a good explanation for the title and in a way provides a very short summary of the story. And yes, it's a bleak future knowing freedom means being in a box. A world full of rules, restrictions, and deception. You have to conform and any deviation from what's required and mandated by the new Republic of the Americas will be punishable by death. It's about control. If death doesn't scare you enough, then the brainwashing will take any fight out of you. And you're not even aware that you're being constantly brainwashed. That's how the future looks in this story.

And then, enter Jackson MacNamera. One who didn't grow up in the States. He returns to the US for his mom's funeral, only to be arrested and taken into the Liberty Box because he stands out. He is different. Jackson knows there's something terribly wrong with the situation or with the people he has seen so far and he has to use every bit of what his Grandpa has taught him to get his freedom back.

Kate Brandeis, a news anchor  who suddenly felt like she just woke up from a hazy dream and into a nightmare. Bereaved and confused, she stumbled into a group of people living in the forest, away from the government's reach. It's where she met Jackson and these two formed a bond.

Yes, it's starting to look like a love story but no. A lot more important things are at stake here so it's really good that the author held off on pursuing the love angle. I guess,  romance does not sound so appealing when freedom is a great issue. For the characters in this story, nothing is ever more precious than taking back what rightfully belongs to them and death doesn't seem as scary if it means getting that robbed freedom back.

I really enjoyed this story. Jackson's character is  just the perfect person that the story needs. A fighter. A person rightfully equipped with the skills needed to go against the Potentiate. A champion to help rally the people to fight back and save the rest. I think the best  thing about him is that he's not clueless. He doesn't blunder into the story and he has to learn his way. No. He comes in with purpose and determination. He was prepared for what was waiting for him in the US. Though at first, he wasn't aware that was what all his Grandpa was training him for. Yes, a great credit to his Grandpa for being smart and for having the foresight to know what Jackson would very well need.

The way Jackson comes into the story was not in any way forced. In a way, I know that the story would have this one very strong character who would serve as a voice and rally everyone and help them open their eyes to the grim reality. I just didn't expect that it was someone like Jackson who was more than ready than he thought he was for what awaited him. I think this is what separates this story from other dystopian.  This story  wasn't waiting for someone to rise from the abuse or from the rubble. You will be spared from that. It was like Jackson was created first and then the rest of the story followed because he has to be in a setting where his  skills had to be essential. Here's one who's all ready to go to battle, only he wasn't aware that there's actually one waiting for him. In here, the main character doesn't have to keep reacting but rather a little ahead of the enemy which isn't really common in a lot of stories. And that's the best thing about this.

Aside from Jackson and his Grandpa, there are other interesting characters in here. Men and women of strong character who value  freedom above all else. They're a great ensemble that make the story more engaging.

How the story builds up and how these band of people started to really make a statement against the enemy is a very hopeful situation. Very daring and suicidal in a way but the situation is desperate so their methods need to be more aggressive. I was rooting for the success of Jackson and his friends the whole time. Not a very grim dystopia, if you ask me. It's actually very hopeful which is again one thing that's different.

What I was not so taken with was this Council thing. In some way, it was holding the group down. It felt like they weren't that free from the Potentiate's clutches after all because here is a group of people just as willing to stump on free will. I hope that this Council will get disbanded and leaders who are really looking out for the benefit of the people will take their place. It's bad enough that they're hiding from a bigger enemy. Where they are should be a safe enough place to express their opinions and do something to help those still out there walking with their eyes in the fog. I feel like this Council is going to be another obstacle in Jackson's and his friends quest to take back their freedom. 

This story promises a sequel and that's a good thing because this should end well with all things neatly tied and wrapped up. This book ending with a cliffhanger was in a way not how I wanted it to go. But then, a prospect of another book to continue Jackson's fight is just what I am hoping. And cliffhangers are really good indicators of more interesting things to come. Thankfully, as of this review, book 2  and 3 are out, so I don't have to worry about waiting for the rest of the series to unravel.

I give this book 5/5 steel containers. This is a really good start to a very engaging series. Jackson's character alone is enough and I can't really stress that enough. I am so glad this book ended up in my lap. Thank you so much C. A. Gray. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

Power is a byproduct of a peaceful and quiet mind... but the moment power becomes an end in itself, the peace evaporates. 

"I ask myself that all the time, love.  But there is something in the psychology of an abused woman that I don't understand myself and can't explain. It's like an addiction." "Variable reward." "Sometimes she gets affection and sometimes she gets a beating, and it's not knowing which it'll be is what keeps her coming back. It's like that experiment of the pigeons pecking at a disc--"
- C. A. Gray, The Liberty Box -