Book Review

Book Review: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanne A. Brown

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 480 pages
Author: Roseanne A. Brown
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death? 

MANY GOOD THINGS.

Grateful my library picked this one up, and that I happened to see it because I loved this! Definitely a great first book for a YA fantasy series. Definitely here for the sequel.

ASOWAR covered so many important topics. Police brutality, supremacy, slavery, corruption, and more. I love that no matter the genre, important and relevant topics can be addressed. This never took me out of the book but further brought to light topics I am continually learning about.

I liked this world-building and magic system. With a mix of some general YA tropes were many new things that made ASOWAR feel new. These main characters, Karina and Malik had flaws, and yet, I could clearly see the growth from them by the end of the book. I LOVE THAT. I love characters that feel real, experience a range of emotions, make mistakes, and strive to pick the best choice in a world where few of those are available.

The twists and turns occasionally took me by surprise, and even the ones that didn’t, were still interesting and progressed the story effectively. I loved the premise of this massive festival filled with all of these magical beings.

This was a great cast, a beautiful world, wonderful and engaging writing. I had a blast with this one and look forward to seeing how this story continues. I’d love to see more development of the romance, and further explore all of the world!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, closed door scene (with no lead-up detail)
  • Violence: bloody/gory; physical, murder, assassination, magical, kidnapping
  • Trigger warnings: mild self-harm ideation, anxiety and panic attacks, loss of loved ones, animal death

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Book Review

Book Review: Party of Two (The Wedding Date #5) by Jasmine Guillory

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: June 23rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

GREAT ROMANCE.

I’d like to state in the beginning, this is the first book I’ve read from this author! I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series, but was told that would be okay. I was really specifically interested in this one which is why I wanted to pick it up.

And it was great! So quick to read (I love this about contemporaries) and filled with many fantastic things. I love how it approached relevant political topics without being too much. I was still able to enjoy the romance, but also I felt it was insightful towards topics I’m still continuing to learn about.

The romance was not subtle. This is neither here nor there, just something I noticed. Things started flourishing quickly and by the halfway point we had a full relationship! I actually kind of liked this difference, most rom-coms have the ending where the couple is official. Having Olivia and Max get together so quickly allowed for a lot of development between them as a couple as they navigated being an interracial couple in the political spotlight, working on careers, and finding where they fit into each other’s lives. Lots of romantic moments, and tough moments that made me fall in love with them. I was totally smitten with Max too, he was utterly adorable and so fluffy!!

Reading this really makes me want to tackle some other books in this series. I enjoyed the set-up and storyline of this one and would love to see more characters from previous books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong and fairly often
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a handful of open door scenes, and some closed door

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Book Review

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

SHORT AND SWEET.

I’ve been sitting on this review because I don’t know that I have much to say? Not in a bad way or anything, this was just a very quick, predictable read. Which is sometimes exactly what you’re looking for, and in this case I was!

I love the audio books for Kasie West novels because they fly by so fast. I finished this in a day. I thought the romance was pretty cute. It was an opposites attract/coming from different worlds vibe that I was definitely feeling.

This was another warm and fuzzy West book. I would rank this on the higher side of books by her that I enjoyed. It’s cute and fluffy with no big surprises. I love that this was heavily romance focused, but allowed for growth and development for the characters. I always love seeing great movement from them because it really helps bring the story home.

Still continuing my quest to read all of Wests’ books. I think I have only a few left!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Paranormal Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Author: Hannah West
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?

San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copycat killer? Or a man-hating murderess?

Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true-crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real. And magical. And they want her to join.

The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered.

But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting “marked” as new victims–including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back.

Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?

Thank you to the publisher, Holiday House for an ARC. All opinions are my own!

PRETTY SPOOKY.

I had an overall good time with this. I even found myself completely spooked out after the first couple of chapters. Hidden cult in the woods murdering men? Yeah, that’ll do it.

The story was intriguing and I liked reading the author’s notes at the end about creating it. While there was only one full point-of-view, there were many story lines to wrap together. Everything did weave together well and I didn’t feel by the the end of the mystery that I was missing anything. I love when a mystery based book ties all of the endings off before closing!

The main character, Natalie, completely blind-sided by her own past kept up with everything. I like how brave she was and really went for it in regards to breaking the curse. She had a little romance with a side character. This fit in better than I thought, but could have used a little more *something* to it. I appreciate the passion of both Natalie and Levi in wanting to be with each other, and figuring out what the heck was out there in the woods.

This atmosphere was haunting and without a doubt creepy. Those creatures made me shiver and I love a good old, back country town, with a sordid past. I thought some of the plot was repetitive and multiple issues kept being re-hashed over and over again. It caused me to skim some of it by the end so I could know how everything resolved.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery
  • Language: a little, light
  • Romance: kisses / light make-outs
  • Violence: creature attacks, guns, physical altercations, people being possessed by something supernatural

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