Don’t Look At Me Release Blitz Plus Review

Don’t Look at Me
J.P. Grider
Publication date: March 29th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Haven:

A diligent hand carved this hole in my face.

It stole my confidence, my identity, and ended my short-lived career as a broadcast journalist.

I am now unemployed. Alone. Ugly.

And expected to get over it and move on.

Go on living life as usual—as if the world doesn’t judge the grotesquely unattractive.

Quest:

It’s been three years since I was kicked out of the Army for nearly killing the opposition’s militia commander with my bare hands.

I am now unemployed. Alone. Angry.

And expected to forget the nightmares that hold me hostage and move on.

Go on living life as usual—as if the world doesn’t judge a dishonorably discharged ex-soldier.

Don’t Look at Me is a modern-day Beauty and the Beast tale—reversed and twisted. Because even the ugly need a good story, and even the beautiful are ugly deep down.

My Review:

Haven wanted to be a news reporter and she was on the right track. She already had a job at a local news station and she was doing a story about a local slasher who had been attacking local girls, leaving two distinct marks on their faces. Everything is going well for her. When the owner of a local bookstore that she frequented passes away, she is told to go to the house of his grandson in order to discuss the will. Apparently, he has given her a book collection worth half a million dollars. She might have a problem claiming her books though, because the grandfather is forcing his grandson to keep the bookstore open for 5 years before allowing her to claim the books. The grandson, Quest, has no interest in owning this bookstore and simply wants to go back to wallowing in the sorrow of his military discharge.

When Haven is attacked by the slasher, her face seems to be even more ruined than the other girls. She knows that her career as a news reporter is over, and she doesn’t want to face the Quest again. She simply wants to disappear, but the people around her keep pushing her to go back to her normal life.

This has officially been the best Beauty and the Beast retelling that I have ever read before! In fact, it helped me out of the book slump I had started to go into recently. It is simply so addictive and the storyline is slightly dark but definitely realistic. Haven truly learns to accept herself, which she had never really done even before having her beauty taken from her. Quest learns to accept himself and come to terms with being discharged from the military. I won’t say why, even though it is technically in the summary, simply because it is a big reveal of the book that I personally enjoyed reading on my own. All I will say is that it really added to his character.

The plot flows well and the worldbuilding is good for a book that is supposed to take place in the “real world” I find that realistic books sometimes forget about worldbuilding, which can really take me out of a story. This book succeeds at that.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fairytale retellings or anyone who likes a romance novel in general. This book is amazing and y’all should definitely check it out.

I received a free advanced copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

(I know all too well that transitions are difficult)

When I moved to Jersey from California, I had no idea that days would go by where I wouldn’t think of the incident that led to my being other-than-honorably discharged. For me, the events of that night have been branded into my brain—the consistent nightmares the hot iron that won’t let the scars heal. But since finding out about Haven’s attack, I find myself thinking about her more and more—why was she walking alone in the middle of the night? What was going through her mind when she was so viciously attacked? What is going through her mind now? Was she raped? It isn’t part of the slasher’s modus operandi to sexually assault his attackers, but he also doesn’t carve out whole sections of skin in the faces of his victims. According to reports I’ve read over and over online since learning of Haven’s attack, his approach is to leave two parallel slash marks down the right side of his victims’ cheek. From what I could see in the dark, the heft of Haven’s lacerations are on the left side of her face. It doesn’t make sense. The Stratford Slasher has only attacked each of his victims once, but if Haven’s wounds weren’t inflicted by this same man, could the one that did hurt her return to finish the job? I wish she’d take me up on my offer to help me in the store. Then I could keep an eye on her and make sure that doesn’t happen. But she barely stays on the phone with me for two minutes when I call her to ask. And the only time she’s ever called me was to thank me for the supplies she very much needed during the storm two weeks ago. I know she has a lot to work through since her attack, but I wish she’d let me help her to get through this transition from on-air personality to whatever she needs to do next. Because I know all too well that transitions are difficult. Especially when that transition requires living an entirely different life than before.

With Haven at the forefront of my mind, I can’t help but blurt out a question during one of our group sessions. “How can I help a friend who doesn’t seem to want my help?”

“You don’t,” Warren says at the same time Mary asks, “What kind of help does your friend need?”

“She needs help getting her life back. It was pretty much taken from her when some loser used her face as a canvas to do with as he pleased.”

“Poor girl,” Mary says while the others mumble something similar.

“And now she won’t go out in public. She has her food delivered to her. She only goes out in the middle of the night, wearing a getup she thinks hides her face.”

“Does she trust you to help her, Quest?” Mary leans forward, crossing her hands over her lap. Mary’s name suits her. She’s kind, soft-spoken, and nurturing. The Virgin Mary, my mother would say. The Mother of all mothers.

I answer honestly. “She hasn’t known me long enough.”

“Until she can trust you, I don’t think she’s going to accept your help. Is she getting counseling?”

“I don’t think so.”

“It sounds like she could use some professional counseling, but would she be open-minded about giving this group a chance? To get her headed in the right direction?”

My eyes go to the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. “I doubt it.”

“Then, just be her friend. Don’t try to help her overcome this, just be there for her until she finds her way.”

So, that’s what I resolve to do. Be her friend.

 

Author Bio:

J.P. Grider is a New Adult/Young Adult author who is a sucker for a good love story—whether it’s reading one or writing one. And when she’s not reading or writing a fairy tale, she’s living one with her husband, four children, and her little Auggie Doggie.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Charmed ARC Review (Cinderella Reverse Fairytale #3)

Charmed: a Cinderella Reverse Fairytale book 3 (Reverse Fairytales)

Charm is on the run from Luca with Cynder, as she tries to escape her former fiancee. Everyone thinks that she is dead, but she simply has to bide her time until she can take back her kingdom. Luca knows that Charm is still alive, but he pretends that she is dead while secretly sending his people after her. Charm wants to fight back, but her sister is getting sicker throughout her pregnancy. Cynder and her friends are behind her, but are they strong enough to take down a king?

This is the final book in the “Charm” trilogy, and boy does it end with a bang! Charm has fully grown into her role as queen, and she will do anything to get her crown back. I don’t want to spoil too much because this book was an amazing ride, but I will definitely recommend to anyone reading this trilogy to actually finish it out! You won’t be disappointed.

The romance between Cynder and Charm is finally able to grow in this novel, and I couldn’t think of a better ending to this love triangle than this one. I also appreciated the fact that the family rallied around Charm’s sister in support of her pregnancy and helped her through her illnesses.

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an amazing fairytale retelling trilogy with character development, worldbuilding, and an addictive storyline that you won’t be able to put down!

I received this book for free and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6/5

Lucky Charm Review (Cinderella Reverse Fairytale #2)

Lucky Charm: (A Cinderella Reverse Fairytale book 2) (Reverse Fairytales)

Princess Charmaine is getting married to Luka, but the kingdom has been in turmoil since the death of her father: the king. It is up to her to put her kingdom back together in between planning her wedding and dealing with the press. She almost forgets about the Magi who were looking for her protection, but she still manages to try in the name of Cynder. She thinks that she will never see him again as he is on the run from the police, but Cynder knows some things that mean his Charm is in danger. Now, he knows he must go back to save her.

This, this was finally a love triangle done right! Charm knows that she cannot abandon her kingdom to chase after Cynder when she doesn’t even know where he is. So, even though she loves him, she continues her duties and goes onto marry Luka. She had to also take charge and protect the Magi on the side and try to stop her kingdom from tearing itself apart. Therefore, even though there was a triangle, it wasn’t pointless, and we knew who Charm would choose if she truly had the choice. Also, Cynder wasn’t there the entire time, so she thought that she was just going to have to suck it up with Luka and produce an heir for the kingdom.

Also, I was truly able to see Charm grow within this novel. With the loss of her father, she knows that she will have to take over the kingdom, and so she really starts to step up to the plate as the leader. I have to say that this book was most likely my favorite in the entire trilogy simply because I get to see her really step up to the plate as a queen. She also handles the media and the stress of planning a wedding without completely forgetting about her family. This was one of the few YA novels that I read where the family ties were emphasized and viewed as being important.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a YA fantasy novel with a GOOD love triangle and incredible worldbuilding.

I received this book for free and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Charm Review (Cinderella Reverse Fairytale #1)

Charm: A Cinderella Reverse Fairytale book 1 (Reverse Fairytales)

Princess Charmaine’s older sister Grace recently passed away, and now she must find a man to marry in order to create an heir for the kingdom. Therefore, her parents host a ball, where she is to pick several men and then court them. She must be dressed up out of her everyday clothes and allow her life to be under constant scrutiny by the press throughout the ordeal. While in the kitchens one night, she comes across one of her staff. His name is Cynder, his food is way better than anything they serve at a ball. He happens to have magic which is discriminated against in the kingdom. He is a supporter of rights for Magi, but he cannot even support openly without fear of losing his job. Charm wants to help him with his cause, and he will help her learn to dance for the ball. In the process, she starts to fall for him. However, he is not an option as a servant AND a Magi. As anti-Magi tensions start to grow within her kingdom and attacks start to occur, Charm hopes that she will be able to do something.

The storyline between the Magi and the non-magic humans of the kingdom was important and realistic. It showed how one group can truly be pushed out of a kingdom/country for something out of their control even if they aren’t doing anything wrong. I hope to read more about the history of this animosity between the groups in later books.

This story was advertised as a reverse harem novel, but I didn’t get those vibes while reading this. It seemed to be a bit like the Bachelorette (even though I have never actually seen that show).

Either way, even though there was a bit of a love triangle and this book was supposed to be a reverse harem, each boy had his own personality. Also, Charm was not confused as to who she wanted. She knew from the beginning that she wanted to have Cynder, but she just couldn’t have him due to his status as a Magi. These things made it slightly more bearable for me. I also liked her thought process as she picked through the boys in the competition and truly considered which one would be best for her.

I would definitely recommend this trilogy, to anyone looking for a reverse fairytale retelling or a fantasy novel in general. This wasn’t even my favorite book in the series yet! I also hope to read more amazing books by this author.

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Magestaff Review ARC (Perrault Chronicles Book 1)

The Magestaff (Perrault Chronicles)

This book used to be named Cendrilla, and I reviewed it before. Now, this is a fully redone version, with a new name, and I fell in love with it even more! Watch out for its release on March 15!

Rilla is sixteen years old, six feet tall, and has lived with her stepmother and stepsisters for several years. These years have been the worst of her life, and she hopes to be able to escape someday. When Lord Bluebeard comes calling, she prays that he is not interested in any of them. Bluebeard’s reputation for killing his wives and beating his servants frighten her to pieces. When she is bought from her stepmother as his betrothed, she knows that she will have to escape before their wedding. She meets a servant named Jack, and the two of them escape. However, now they are fully in the magical world with creatures of all sorts.

I absolutely adore Rilla, and as a fellow tall girl, I can deal with some of her struggles. I might not be 6 feet tall, but at 5’9″/5’10” I am still pretty high on the height scale. This story really makes girls who are tall feel like they can be the heroes, rather than just petite, dainty princesses.

Also, the story is amazing. I love it simply because the action scenes are amazing, the worldbuilding really drew me in, and I got to become more connected to Rilla in her backstory. This extra time spent worldbuilding might have only seemed like a small thing, but it made the entire story for me.

Not to mention, this story is a fairytale retelling clearly. However, it does not just stick to the fairytales of Cinderella and Bluebeard. I won’t spoil anything but expect to see a lot when you read this one. As a person who used to love reading the old “Blue Fairy Book” fairytales when I was younger, this became a treasure hunt of sorts for me. I hope it works the same for you!

I would recommend this to anyone looking for an action-adventure fantasy novel with a unique female main character, fairytales, and magic.

I received a free advanced copy of this book and voluntarily gave a review.

Overall Rating: 6/5