ARC Review: Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

ARC Review: Tangled Webs by Lee Bross
Tangled Webs
Tangled Webs #1
by Lee Bross

Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Publication date: June 23rd, 2015
by Disney Hyperion

Format: ARC

PURCHASE:

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London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I haz mixed feelings about this book and that makes me very sad. I really wanted to love it and love it I did not.

Before getting into the nitty gritty, I just wanted to give a shout out to whoever was in charge of all the artwork on the pages and whoever was in charge of the cover because holy guacamole, can I get a GORGEOUSSSSS?

On to more serious stuff though. Lady A was not exactly what I expected. She is not nearly as badass as I had imagined her to be. I wanted to be blown away by her badassery. I wanted to cheer her on as she dealt with the nobility and watched them shrink in fear but sadly that’s not what happened because Arista, aka Lady A, does not enjoy blackmailing the nobility. Alas her soul is not as dark as mine and she hates the life she lives. She would do anything to get out of it (and rightfully so because her ‘master’ is a complete waste of oxygen.)

I just really have a thing for books involving crime okay? I love seeing people be manipulated and not even know it’s happening. I LOVE all the cleverness usually involved in books where the main character is part of the crime life but that’s not what I got in this book which would explain my reaction. Now please understand that a lot of this is just personal taste and not really reflective of the book because in spite of my expectations, I actually found myself warming up to Lady A. Sometimes she was a little too loyal in my opinion (given the way she had grown up I kind of expected her to be hardened instead of being soft in terms of the people she has emotional connections with) but in the long run, she was just a young girl trying to make the best of her resources to figure the best way out of a life she wants nothing to do with. I even enjoyed seeing her come across barriers she should have been able to account for but couldn’t because no one can think of everything.

I loved that she was faced with challenges that might have seemed obvious to the reader (and weren’t even major twists or anything) but the actual truth is that no one can be all knowing and more likely than not, things aren’t going to turn out the way you want them to.

My biggest issue with this book was the romance. I didn’t like it. At the beginning of the novel Arista clearly has a crush on Nic but then suddenly she meets Grae and her feelings just disappear. I am appreciative of the fact that there was no love triangle but seriously. Feelings don’t just vazoom (aka disappear)! I also just didn’t like Grae. It’s not that he was bad by any means. He was a sweetheart and treated Arista with the respect she deserved and blah blah blah. My problem was that I didn’t understand his fascination with Arista and I didn’t like how he was casted as Arista’s savior. That girl has brains and is clever, she can save herself. She is a young independent woman who don’t need no man! (although romantic interests can be fun) I think Grae contrasted her character so much it almost made Arista seem helpless when she isn’t.

My favorite character was obviously Nic. Nic is great. He is such a complex character and I LOVED IT. I only wish we could have seen more of him.

The book was very well paced and even though there were some cheesy bits, it was a fun read. I actually really did enjoy all the complicated tangledness (trying to make a pun here guys, just roll with it.) I just wish we actually got more into the secret bartering bit and got to learn what exactly was happening and what kind of secrets the nobility traded to get things accomplished. I did enjoy the set up though and I also liked the world that Bross had created.

I would suggest not to get lured in by the promise of crime because this book doesn’t focus so much on the fascinating crime life than it does on Arista. It’s her story to a better life, not about how she engages in crime. The bits involving crime were great but also, like I said, it’s Arista’s story to a better life.

This was a fun book to read and while I didn’t love it, I’d still say it’s something to read if you’re in the mood for a light and entertaining book.

Post Script: I also just found out there will be a sequel and I am DEFINITELY curious to see where things will go! This could get verreh interesting.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Overall: 3
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    Well. WHAT. *throws done evil mask in rage* I WANTED A LIFE OF CRIME. HOW AM I GONNA HONE MY EVIL WORLD RULER SKILLS IF THIS BOOK IS ABOUT LEARNING TO BE GOOD?! OMG. *stomps off*

    Heh. But really. I still have to read it. Because I’m curious.

    And I don’t think the romance in novels EVER wins me over these days. The last book I read everyone was just cheating and then claiming it “wasn’t like that” and zomg, I’ve had enough of this. *duct tapes their mouths* I need a swoon worthy romance for once. HMPH.

    Loved this review, AS ALWAYS. ;-)
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Bookshelf Tag // it’s always a good time for a #ShelfieMy Profile

  2. says

    I agree Rashika, that cover is GORGEOUS!!!! I just want to sit and stare at it all day:) It’s a shame the story didn’t quite live up to its gorgeous packaging, but I’m glad it was a solid enough read overall aside from the romance. Of course romance is my favorite part of any book, so I’m bummed Grae didn’t hold your interest the way Nic did. Or rather that Grae was the love interest instead of Nic! Yay for no love triangle though:)
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Blog Tour + Giveaway: Leading Her WitnessMy Profile

  3. says

    I loved the cover of this book, but I can’t honestly say that I was ever interested in the book. Most of the reviews for the book have been very similar. No one seems to have really loved it. It’s such a shame that the MC wasn’t as much of a badass as she was. And boo for unsatisfying romances!
    Oh well, thanks for taking one for the team, Rashika!
    Great review as always, my dear!

    ALSO I FREAKING MISS YOU AND YOUR PRETTY FACE!! :(
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Monthly Recap : June 2015My Profile

  4. says

    I’ve heard very mixed things about things. Someone I know really loved this book but then I saw more negative reviews. So I’m kind of worried about the romance because that’s what I love about books. I always look forward to seeing some romance. Honestly, right now, the only thing drawing me to the book is the cover and the art inside. It’s absolutely stunning and I really hope I enjoy this for that fact lol. But thanks for the review!
    Karina @ Watcha Reading recently posted…{Blog Tour} Dream Of You By Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

  5. says

    I didn’t mind as much that we didn’t see her enjoying her life of crime or more about the life of crime of hers… but I was annoyed how she seemed to have spent so much time trading in secrets and blackmailing and in the rough sides of town, and she simply didn’t know how to scheme to save her life!!

    I approve of her loyalty and her need and want for a better life, but that doesn’t mean she cannot think ahead and be more clever about it!

    Also agreed about the romance! It was sweet and all, but come on!! Insta-love to insta-everything! HMPH!!
    Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Tangled Webs by Lee BrosMy Profile

  6. says

    That cover! I have a serious case of googly love heart eyes. It’s so incredibly lovely!

    Pity the book wasn’t as incredible. I love books that are crime heavy, especially organised crime, but that’s for another discussion. Going by the synopsis, I would expect something pretty awesome, an intense romance and basassery. But it sounds like it promised a lot but didn’t deliver sadly. And YES! How can you have these intense feelings for one person, then fall for another so quickly? Feelings don’t change and if they do THAT quickly, might be time to assess your life choices dear. Such a shame, all that cover love just falling flat. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this a little more Rashika, but incredibly review nonetheless <3
    Kelly recently posted…Cover Reveal: STRAY by Rachael CrawMy Profile

  7. says

    yes, yess, the book cover is sooo gorgeous!! this sounds really interesting and I like reading books about crime as well.. but that insta-love? that romance? I’ve read other reviews that complain about the romance.. so I’ll most likely stay away from this book for now..
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] And Then There Were NoneMy Profile

  8. says

    Sigh. Haven’t read this one, but I agree that it’s tough when we’re told how amazingly badass a character is and then …. they aren’t. (Not sure if that’s the fault of the marketing or what.) But it’s sort of like being told how hilarious a joke is. Expectations can be a tricky thing.
    I agree, though — gorgeous cover!
    Jen @ YA Romantics
    Jen @ YA Romantics recently posted…Just Finished Reading: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesMy Profile

  9. says

    ” I LOVE all the cleverness usually involved in books where the main character is part of the crime life”

    Same. That’s why I’m often underwhelmed with the genre – they’re just not clever enough. It’s good you still liked it despite some issues.
    Christy recently posted…Jesse’s Girl by Miranda KenneallyMy Profile

  10. says

    The story actually sounds rather inspirational to be honest! I like how Arista is dedicated to bettering her own life and wanting out. The romance sounds a bit cheesy though, sometimes people feel like they’re just created for the main character’s sake. This doesn’t need to happen, but so often it just does. Glad to hear you enjoyed it Rashika!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider Review: Conflicted EmotionsMy Profile

  11. says

    Ah man! I’ve heard pretty mixed things about this book and most readers experienced the same problems you mentioned. I think the synopsis makes us believe that Arista is this badass, no remorse, no soul, ” kick ass and take names ” type of girl, and it sucks to see that she wasn’t. I’m also a big fan of crime, ESPECIALLY set in another time, so I’m a bit disappointed to hear it didn’t live up to many expectations. I still want to give it a go, mainly because I need to switch up my reading a bit anyway, and I’m soooo intrigued to see how the story plays out!
    Tika recently posted…YA Contemporary Mashup — Season Of Awkward Situations & Love TrianglesMy Profile