Book Review

Book Review: Love, Life, and the List (Love, Life, and the List #1) by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 374 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 26th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What do you do when you’ve fallen for your best friend? Funny and romantic, this effervescent story about family, friendship, and finding yourself is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.

But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself. 

LOVED THE ENDING.

This is my third Kasie West book. And I feel like I will end up slowly making my way through all of them. I love how fast they are. How clean and age appropriate they tend to be. And by the end I am somehow smitten with the story.

I found no exceptions in this book. I often found the high school setting and characters a bit naive at times and a touch annoying. Positive this stems from the fact I am years out of high school and remember how ridiculous that time was. I try not to fault it for that fact because I do like the deeper story that’s often portrayed. Abby learned a lot about herself and her artwork during this book. Having to grow up, make some tougher choices, and have hard conversations. I do applaud her for the strength she showed.

Friends to lovers is the hardest trope for me to get behind. I tend to find it a bit dry and one sided. Unfortunately, I felt that way about Cooper for 80% of this book. I thought his friendship with Abby was all on her and that he led her on in a number of ways. When Abby finally stood up for herself I was stoked. Now, I will say the closing scenes of everything working out (because HEA are my jam) was so sweet. Ugh, I am always in for a Hallmark-y, confession of love scene.

Another short and sweet West book. These are cute and I’m glad I’m finally reading these books! I love the writing style and how easy it is to read one of these books. I love knowing that I’ll get a happy ending and that the characters are cute.

Overall audience notes

  • YA Contemporary romance (Friends to lovers trope)
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-fi fantasy
Length: 487 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.

Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.

TOO LONG.

That’s what I felt after I finished this book (and skimmed the last 100 pages). This 500 page book could have been a lot smaller and I think I would have stayed intrigued longer.

Things started out well. I was completely invested in what was happening. The romance brewing. The political back stabbing. All good things. Just dragged out.

I am sooooo here for the romance between Cvareh and Arianna (when am I not?). I was splendidly happy that things actually progressed in the book! We’ve got a relationship going now and that means one heck of a finale awaits me.

The multiple POVs help bring everything to life. They switch often and the chapters are fairly short. I liked being kept in the loop with what was happening on Loom and Nova through Cvareh, Arianna, Florence, Yveun, and Petra. This gave me a lot of angles from the protagonists and antagonists.

ACTION. So much action happens. I felt like every other page someone was getting shot, dragon claws were being dragged across someone’s throat, or locations were getting blown up. All of the politics between the two rival families on Loom are definitely interesting, and keep you on your toes. I was surprised with who died and who survived by the end, because I did NOT see that coming. The traitor that still walks the halls is sure in for the biggest implosion.

I’m not sure when I’ll pick up book three (I do still intend to read it). This slog-fest really took it out of me and I plan to wait a bit to get to it. While I did enjoy the story and the tangled web being woven, there’s almost too much happening to keep my focus in any particular place.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs, one detailed love scene (that spans for about a chapter)
  • Violence: dragons fighting (and it’s bloody), poison, physical, swords, guns, explosions; very descriptive and violent

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Book Review

Book Review: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 415 pages
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

FINISHED STRONG.

I know I know, I can’t believe I haven’t read this series yet either. A few years ago I chose the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes over this one (which side note: was WONDERUFL). Then Truthwitch sat there…until it didn’t. I nabbed the audio book from the library and dove right in.

Things started off a bit slow and confusing. This often happens to me with fantasy books + audio books. So after I got a few chapters in and understood the story and characters things coasted much more smoothly.

I looooove that this had a heavy focus on the threadsister bond between Safiya and Iseult. They were an amazing combo who continually looked out for one another and truly love each other. I thought they were a great duo who brought out the best sides of themselves when they were together.

There’s an amazing world being set-up with grey characters who I can’t decide what level of evil anyone is. MY FAV. Keeps things interested and keeps me intrigued. I found that the action picked up a good pace and yet, there were still those slower moments where I got to see another level of the characters. The magic system is really interesting and I love the way that witches are portrayed in this series. I like that there’s so many different types of them and that the magic makes sense for the world too.

The other two POVs, Merik and Aeduan were stellar too. Everyone had there own roll to play and I loved switching up the point of view and getting all the angles. Merik is swoon-worthy and I am pushing the Safiya and Merik ship off the shore. I adored their interactions and the way things progressed between them. There’s definitely a spark that will ignite the world by the end of this series. Aeduan, our grumpy Bloodwitch was one of my personal favorites. Sassy and angry with the ability to help others while hunting down witches. Yup, I’m here for it. And I can’t wait to see what happens between him and Iseult.

Clearly, I am smitten with this book. I can’t wait to read book two and see where this story moves too. The ending left things nicely open without being a total cliffhanger.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: some mild throughout
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: magical, physical, swords, poison, arrows, skirmishes

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Book Review

Book Review: Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #2) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy romance
Length: 312 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: May 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted—her family, her home, her throne—and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up.

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming.

She will learn the hard way that some evils never die… They only bide their time…

I LIKED THE BEGINNING AND THE END.

But what happened in the middle? Nothing. That’s what happened.

Started off strong with Vi getting to FINALLY see her family again, YAY. I was so excited to see Vhalla and her brother Romulin. I was mostly on bored with Vi’s decision to leave her family so she can save her nation, but when she started that journey I got lost in the bogged down story.

I didn’t think it was going to take the ENTIRE book to get Vi from one place to the other. There was a lot of time spent with her travelling with Jayme and finding a ship, getting to the other continent, etc. I could have done with half of that cut out and actually getting her real story started (which is what I’m hoping book three will give me).

Still working on being a total shipper of Taavin and Vi. They’re not the enemies to lovers store that Vhalla and Aldrik had and there’s been a lot less barriers to a relationship between them so I haven’t felt the tension that I love in a romance. Now that I’ll get to see them in the same location I’m hopeful that I will love them.

Definitely had a moment where I yelled CALLED IT (and I had been calling it from book one). What a twisted moment that was when all heck literally broke loose. Got to see Vi break out of her shell, use her magic, and destroy some things. IT WAS AWESOME.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep reading this series. This book may have read like a true middle book unfortunately, but I love Elise Kova’s writing too much to not keep going.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: physical, magic, ship wrecks, plague sickness

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