Series: Book One of Bellamy and the Brute
Genres: Fiction, Fairytale Retelling, Thriller
Rating: 3/5 stars
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When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness—one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.
Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…
As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?
Okay, so I really like fairytale retellings, and I reaaaaally had high hopes for this one. Not only was it a modern fairytale, but there were also supposed to be some cool thriller-y things thrown in as well!
Weeeell…I don’t think the two were very equally mixed. It kind of felt like the fairytale parts were thrown in what would have been a pretty good thriller on its own.
Bellamy’s character just seemed so…self-righteous? And I couldn’t get over the fact that yeah, Tate’s supposed to be the Beast (aka self-centered, conceited, narcissistic) and the author keeps TELLING us that he’s changed, but dude…how? He feels bad about being a dick in the past, but it’s not like he didn’t get with someone who is SO PRETTY IT’S LITERALLY TALKED ABOUT ALL THE TIME. Like seriously. The amount of times Bellamy is described as “beautiful”, “pretty”, or “perfect” in this book made me kind of want to DNF. We get it, she’s supposed to be Belle, which literally means beautiful. Please give us another description now. If you wanted to show that Tate’s character changed, you should’ve made Bellamy average looking, or somehow not society’s version of a pretty black girl. Maybe you could’ve made her dark skinned. That would go against societal norms.
The pacing was good and I appreciated that I had no idea who the killer was until he was revealed. However, he wasn’t a major character, so there was no emotional reaction to it, for me, anyways.
Lastly…I just want y’all to know, I HATE cliches. If I see one in a book, it literally takes me out of my reading. Like, when you read something and all of a sudden you’re snapped out of the story, so you lift your head from your phone/book and blink owlishly around at the room you’re in? Yeah. That happened to me in this book. And honestly, cliches can easily turn a 5 star book into a 4 star book.
Soooo anyway, all in all, if it wasn’t free, I wouldn’t recommend this book. However, since it IS free (at least when I got it), I would actually recommend this to younger teenagers, maybe 14-16. There is a mention of sex, but it isn’t detailed in any way, so I think that’s alright for that age? Then again, I was reading Anne Rice by the time I was 12, so I might not be the best judge!
Meet the Author
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, the first book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.
Follow Alicia on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fantasybyalicia