Book Review

Book Review: Bright Raven Skies (Sweet Black Waves #3) by Kristina Pérez

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kristina Pérez
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: August 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bright Raven Skies is the thrilling conclusion to the lush and heart-wrenching romantic fantasy trilogy about ancient magic, warring families, and star-crossed lovers by Kristina Pérez.

To save the kingdom, Branwen embraced the darkest aspects of her magic. But she may have lost herself––and the two people she loves most.

Tristan and Eseult are missing. As Branwen searches for them, she must hide the truth surrounding their disappearance from both the king and her lover. Above all, she must find the Queen and her Champion first.

New and old enemies circle Branwen, clamoring for power and revenge, and threatening to destroy the fragile peace that she has sacrificed everything to secure.

THAT ENDING THOUGH.

What a good conclusion. I feel like this series was never super hyped or out in the forefront, but it happened to be one I picked up and have continually enjoyed each installment as they came out.

This one broke my soul by the end.

I just wanted, no NEEDED Branwen to be happy and secure and to know where she really wanted to stand. I got that, even if it left me wanting to weep for those left behind.

Trying to remain as vague as I can, that this ending was unlike ones I’ve read before. Which is probably why it hurt so much. I think it can lean either way on how it makes you feel about the trilogy as a whole. I found a lot of sense in the writing choices, even if I didn’t want to see them. It worked out the way it should and that’s where I’m leaving that.

Ooooh but all of these characters. How I adored them, and hated them, and loved them. All the things. The side characters themselves are incredibly well thought out and help bring the entire story together. I love that they made me angry, and happy, and all the things because sometimes I want that roller coaster from a book.

Just a good ending to a good series that needs some attention. If you like Tristan and Iseult retellings definitely check this one out! It was fascinating, and looking up the background story was really cool too. I love the way the magic worked (and it has limits and rules!), the beautiful countryside of the lands, and all things inbetween.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy retellings
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, a closed door scene or two, one open door scene (at the end)
  • Violence: battles, murder, poisoning, duels, swords, physical, magic

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Book Review

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 391 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

I LIKED THIS ONE.

This was a cute read, tackling some difficult topics, and really giving me the dreamiest ending. The audio was a great way to read this too!

I liked Bailey as a protagonist. I am very much like her, with dodging awkward conversations and the like. She was quirky, knew herself, and really grew over the book. Enter dreamy Porter and we have a sweet match. I adored Porter. With his banter and softness. Oh goodness, I was smitten right off the bat.

Everything was predictable and cheesy, and that’s something I occasionally need from a book so I didn’t mind. Yes, the romance-y sections still make me cringe a bit, but I found mostly less in your face as Bennett’s newer books [sidebar: I’ve read 3 of her newer books and came back to this back list one].

Maybe towards the end the unbelievable way Bailey was the last person to know about Porter was a bit ridiculous, but I don’t think this would have had the same umph at the end if it wasn’t dragged out a bit. I remember anxiously waiting for her to see him so things could finally start clicking together.

I liked the friendships and most of the side plots. Getting to know her Dad better, making new friends (and learning to be a good friend), allowing oneself to let go of the past. Lots of good nuggets even amongst the comical.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs, nudity, little detailed closed door scene
  • Violence: shark attack, physical altercations
  • Trigger warnings: underage drug use/addiction; shark attack, attempted armed robbery

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3) by Sarah Morgenthaler

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Sarah Morgenthaler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
And miles of untamed wilderness…
What could possibly go wrong?

Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

BEST OF THE SERIES.

Seriously. THE BEST ONE. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I WOULD WRITE THIS ENTIRE REVIEW IN CAPS IF I COULD.

But I understand that might annoy some of y’all so I’ll try to tame my emotions here.

OR MAYBE NOT.

I was nervous to dive in because I had *hyped* this book up in my mind. I adore Easton. I was ready for his grumpy mountain man self to mind some love. This did not disappoint. From chapter one I knew I was in for the perfect contemporary romance.

Easton and River’s chemistry was off the charts. Banter on point. Sly looks, and near kisses, heavens I was begging for them to kiss by the time we got there. I loved getting both of their stories and points of view. Add in climbing a daunting mountain and let the romance commence. I’m just still sitting here smitten with them. They bounced off each other beautifully and I really felt like they were a match. The conflict for this one wasn’t over drawn and dramatic. Fit right in and the solution had me giddy. Goodness gracious, read these books y’all.

It’s been sealed that I’m a Morgenthaler fan. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. Hot dang, I loved this book y’all. This entire review would be more gushing so trust me on this. Snowy, low steam, cute and fluffy, contemporary romance in Alaska. It’s all there folks.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: A little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; one love scene that is so closed door you barely realize it
  • Violence: accidents and injuries from mountain climbing (near frostbite, low oxygen levels, falls)

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Book Review

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult historical fiction
Length: 344 pages
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

INFORMATIVE.

I did find enthralled in the story, but I struggled with some pieces of it.

This was intense and informative to other parts of World War 2 that I am less familiar with. I like that it tackled the Baltic countries and what the Soviet Union was doing to oppress them and trying to make them disappear. It was heart-breaking and I struggled to read through a lot of it.

But I did feel like this lacked a plot. Lina’s painful journey was just that, a painful journey. There was a repeat of events that really emphasized how pretty this book isn’t. I wish there was a little more development with Andrius to really solidify the side romance occurring.

What I felt on another level was Lina’s Mom. The way she cared for her children and even took time to show love to those around her really melted me. The strength and resilience she gave to others clearly was in Lina as well. Lina was courageous and tough as she dealt with trial after trial.

I didn’t love how abrupt the ending was. I turned the next page and all of a sudden I was in an epilogue years later. I wish there was a bit more of a conclusion or a general sense of the situation coming to a close.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction
  • Language: very little light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, gun violence, physical altercations; bloody/gory; depictions of wartime, abandonment
  • Trigger warnings: brief sexual harassment, loss of loved ones

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