Book Review

Book Review: Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + sci-fi
Length: 560 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All’s fair in love and anarchy…

The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian struggling to keep their secret identities concealed while the battle rages on between their alter egos, their allies, and their greatest fears come to life. Secrets, lies, and betrayals are revealed as anarchy once again threatens to reclaim Gatlon City. 

THIS WAS A SOLID FINALE.

I was nervous walking into this read. Excited, but nervous. Archenemies let me down and I have all the love for Renegades. Combine these two polar thoughts and I had no idea what I was walking into for Supernova.

I ended up really loving this. I wouldn’t call it a FIVE STAR YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW. More of as I closed the book I realized how much I enjoyed it and my favorite pieces. I thought about how everything came together in the end and how I was cool with everything as it wrapped up (not to mention that EPILOGUE Y’ALL).

My favorite thing about this was the character arcs for Nova and Adrian. They both were coming at the story from opposing sides. As they battled each other and all the secrets started spilling out I got a glimpse into new sides of them. Nova learned that her Uncle’s ideals weren’t all they were cracked up to be, just like she learned that the Renegades weren’t the enemy. Adrian finally found the truth of his Mom’s murder and to let go of some of his own ideals to see the story from another angle. It gave me all the chills watching them. This wasn’t purely superheroes vs. villains, because who can truly define those anyways?

I love that there was actual wickedness. I love a solid evil character who can’t see past their own desires. It makes everything feel that much more dire and puts me on the edge of my seat. I said multiple times, and even wrote it in my notes, that I had no idea how I was going to get a happy ending by the time this was over. There were even a few twists that I did not see coming and loved how they tied into the final plot.

The love story never took over, but did encourage Nova and Adrian through a few of their decisions. I like that is was held back, but that I got to see it flourish. They both deserved some happiness, and if it’s with each other, that’s great [a nod to Ruby & Oscar who were TOTALLY STINKIN’ PRECIOUS in the background over there].

The ending was fascinating and heartfelt. I really like what became of the characters and their super powers. I thought it could have gone one of two ways, and I would have been fine with either [depending on how it was done]. Meyer’s writing is amazing though and it’s so quick to read. Yes, it’s 550 pages, but you would never know it. I can’t wait to see what project she is working on next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + sci-fi
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few light kisses
  • Violence: murder, battles, skirmishes, building collapses
  • Trigger warnings: Chapter 30 – a character talks about being previously molested as a child

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

WHERE AM I?

That’s how I felt most of this book.

My biggest issue was the total lack of world building. I know this is a spin-off from a previous series of hers. I was told by multiple people that you don’t have to read it to be able to understand and enjoy this one. I agree up until the point that if the previous series has better world-building that would have been a major help here.

I finally gathered that it is some type of dystopia / fantasy universe. There were normal US cities, but we had magical powers and people who could transform into gargoyles, so somewhere between all of that is your world. Do I know why it is that way? NOPE, this book’s focus is the romance (not necessarily a bad thing), but since the everything else was sorely lacking, I couldn’t be as involved with the romance.

Though the romance is the part I did like best. I thought the flow between Zane and Trinity was great. It’s sort of slow, with a touch of animosity at first, that gives way to some tender moments. The love scene was kind of odd, but other than that, I ship them.

My other problem with this book was the immaturity of conversation. Using phrases like *douche nozzle* takes me out of the story and I’m clearly still not over that this word was used. The lingo annoyed me as well. Just the whole combination of conversations bothered me the entire time. I didn’t love Trinity as an MC. Never got on board with her.

The plot was focused around finding a lost friend…that was it. There were hints and nods towards some bigger focus, and I wish we had more of that. It made the story somewhat boring because of how intensely focused they were on this one thing. Whoever is really pulling the strings needs to come out of the word work so this book can liven up some more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, once love scene (with some description)
  • Violence: battles, physical, knives, swords, magical

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Book Review

Book Review: A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Mystery / Historical fiction
Length: 308 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. 

LONGEST SLOW-BURN EVER.

STILL NOTHING.

EVEN LESS NOTHING THAN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS. Ugh. It’s entirely annoying at this point. Only because you know where it’s going, and I don’t like that it’s been carried out this long. Veronica and Stoker are destined to be together and heaven help me if that doesn’t happen in book four.

Otherwise, this book was a bit meh. Definitely one of those middle of the series books that isn’t packing a lot of punch. I didn’t love the mystery because it was a stretch compared to the previous two books. And I really didn’t love the trigger warning (see notes at the bottom) for how the mystery ended. I think that could have been handled in a better way.

I did like that the mystery gave us allllllll the history for Stoker. I finally got all of the answers I was craving and the tidbits of information that formed a solid background for him. I met his terrible former wife and in-laws, and saw a whole new side to the mystery of what happened in South America. This only made my love for Stoker grow. I love that brash cinnamon roll.

Veronica was still her fabulous self. I love her heroism and strength in making her own decisions. I don’t love all of her philosophies, but I appreciate her determination to do things as she wants to.

Forever hoping to have that *realization moment* between Veronica and Stoker.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none, just a lot of innuendo
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, Chapter 19: murder-suicide by a gun

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Book Review

Book Review: Field Notes on Love on Jennifer E. Smith

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 271 pages
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.

When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?

PURCHASING A TRAIN TICKET ASAP.

This was really cute! It was a surprisingly very short book too. It was clever and fun, and I was sad the ending was so abrupt. Though I do feel like I need to take my husband up on his offer to take me on a train ride (he’s only been asking me the entire time we’ve been together…)

I adore Hugo. He was sweet, tender-hearted, and a truly well meaning person. Hugo had a wonderful character arc over this fast paced book as he got to seek out what would make him happy. I think it’s a bit coming of age because we are all seeking to find what path we want to take after high school and Hugo was able to do that with the help of a stranger, Mae.

Mae had to grow on me. I didn’t love her personality at first, but I think Hugo truly brought out the best in her. And her Nana. I love her Nana! Such a spunky and loving character. Her support for Mae provided her the opportunity to figure out that it’s okay to open your heart up. I loved watching Mae work on her new movie and thought it was a unique concept that gave a different perspective to everyone who participated.

I love the train traveling concept and wish the time could have been spread out more. I think that’s why it was a short book though, a train ride is only so long. It was a growing up kind of experience for both Hugo and Mae. The ending stopped way before I thought it would and would have loved a bit of an epilogue to know how this couple is doing.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: none

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Putting this list together made me all the more excited for the great books I’m excited for this year. It’s going to be an amazing first half of 2020.

WHO’S EXCITED?

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Release date: March 3rd

OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T WAIT TO HAVE SJM’S NEXT BOOK IN MY HANDS.


The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Release date: February 25th

I love everything Levenseller writes (no really). This book sounds so crazy good I can’t even stand waiting one more month.


The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

Release date: June 30th

This finale is sure to be epic. It’s been a fantastic series and I’m stoked to finish it this year!


Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

Release date: May 5th

I adored book one in this series and helped with the cover reveal for this one. I’m definitely a fan!


All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace

Release date: February 4th

Did someone say mermaids? I’LL BE RIGHT THERE.


Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker

Release date: March 3rd

The Simple Wild was one of my top books of 2019, I clearly have flippin’ high hopes for BOOK TWO!


Tiem of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Release date: April 21st

I absolutely ADORED If I’m Being Honest. If that was their sophomore book I am on edge waiting to see what their junior book will be like!


Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Release date: March 10th

I’m apparently all about sequels this year. This is another sequel I’m excited for after loving The Bromance Book Club. I’m curious how this story will develop with a new main character!


Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Release date: May 5th

LOOK AT MY BABE ON THE COVER. AHHHHHHH, this book will probably destroy me. I welcome it.


The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

One of my favorite “series” of historical fiction books! I was so happy when I saw that there was going to be another one from Cleeton. YAY!

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Book Review

Book Review: Be the Girl by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 313 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 21st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.

With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.

But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.

HAD A GREAT MESSAGE.

I picked this up namely for the authors’ name. I love The Simple Wild and how could I pass up a free book on Amazon Prime? Well, I couldn’t.

Though, this wasn’t the contemporary romance I thought I was getting. Was I disappointed? Only very little. Be the Girl has a strong anti-bullying message and I can definitely get on board with that. I think this should be a book more people pick up. Tucker captured a lot of issues that teenagers face daily that need more spotlight.

I really liked the boy next door romance. It was cute, simple, and flowed pretty smoothly. Emmett was easy to love and had all the makings of the typical high school romance character, good guy. Aria and Emmett had some great banter, a few heated kissing scenes and a lot of genuinely good conversation.

The real star was Emmett’s sister, Cassie. She was funny, genuine, kind, and seriously brought the best out of this book. I loved seeing that her and Emmett’s relationship wasn’t perfect. They deeply love each other, but could both struggle to communicate at times. Emmett protected her fiercely, and I love that Aria never had a second thought about being a true friend to her.

Supporting cast was on point. I love that parents were actually involved in their children’s lives. They were fun and quirky. Add in an old Uncle and an old dog and this cast really sang.

I would have loved a much longer ending. It was somewhat abrupt after the last few choices from Aria in how she handled starting over. I wanted to have more of her and Emmett’s relationship. They were getting that golden moment of being able to start again with the truth laid out.

Some of the bigger plot moments are left unmentioned to avoid spoilers. They do focus around bullying [including cyber-bullying] and the horrendous affects it can have one someone. Anyone can become a bully and it’s important to pay attention to those moments. This was a tale of regret and redemption for Aria.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a few kisses and heated make-outs (clothes stayed on, except for one time shirts were removed)
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, bullying, cyber-bullying, underage drug use (marijuana), Chapter 22: mention of a suicide by overdose, bullying someone with a learning disability

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Book Review

Book Review: The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + horror + mystery
Length: 385 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As a massive outbreak of supernatural Visitors baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests throughout London, Lockwood & Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony Lockwood is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness in the team now that Lockwood has shared some of his childhood secrets, and Lucy is feeling more and more as if her true home is at Portland Row. It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro.

Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including a house where bloody footprints are appearing, and a department store full of strange sounds and shadowy figures. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood & Co.’s concerns when assassins attack during a carnival in the center of the city. Can the team get past their personal issues to save the day on all fronts, or will bad feelings attract yet more trouble?

Danger abounds, tensions escalate, and new loyalties form in this third delightfully terrifying adventure in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.

NICE & CREEPY.

Okay, I did love this book, but I did not love the audio book. The voices were really annoying and immature. I liked Lucy’s luckily (the main voice heard since she’s the MC POV) so I went ahead and listened to it, but it was a touch and go at times.

Any who. I LOVE how creepy these books are! It’s my perfect level of spooky and horror. The ghosts make me want to hide and wandering around in the dark always brings out an edge. These are a great YA level of making you worry, but not being too much (for someone like me who doesn’t do horror in general).

My poor Lucy had to go through some new emotions this book, namely, jealousy. I didn’t love it on her, but if this is leading where I surely hope than I can play ball. Lockwood and Co. tried to add someone new to their group and it went over differently for each character. I am still loving this group and their dynamics. They make me smile, chuckle, and hope they get the accolades they deserve.

The world-building is fun and well thought out. I rarely find myself with a question I can’t answer. I like this urban mystery/fantasy take on London. It makes following the locations easier while learning about all the different ghost types.

I know this isn’t a long review, the books aren’t long themselves. Just know, this is a great series and I can’t wait to pick up the next one.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery + horror
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: ghost attacks (yes they can attack in this series), sword fights, physical, hauntings

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