Book Review

Book Review: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

WHERE’S THE LOVE?

Wow did this characters go through the ringer this round.

This was a great sequel! Though, it may have ripped my heart out. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

RIGHT?

We got dropped right back in where we left off from the first one. And thankfully there’s plenty of nice segues to remember details of what happened in Serpent & Dove. The action was picked up exponentially this round. I found the pace pretty quick and turning every page with anticipation of what creature in the woods was going to pop up next. Plenty of violence and shock moments that really left me reeling.

This was really missing some romance. From the beginning their was a reasonable amount of angst between Lou and Reid but it needed MORE MORE MORE. What I did like is that the conflict between them wasn’t silly drama or a major lack of communication. Both of them were struggling to grasp and cope with the changes being thrown wildly at them. As time progressed and Lou and Reid realized their mistakes they were able to come together, so I liked the general development of their relationship. I also love these guy separately. Such clear opposites that play so well off of each other and in their own segments.

All of these characters really have my love (and when necessary, ABSOLUTE LOATHING). Even those on the side are incredibly well developed, and we get enough back story on them to connect emotionally, but not overrun the story itself. I loved learning about more of the creatures (witches, werewolves, and other mythical beings oh my!) and how they fit into the world Mahurin has built.

I felt a string of emotions and easily devoured this quickly. Talk about an ending that makes you absolutely flip out and I will be [yet again] anxiously awaiting the finale for this trilogy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; some almost scenes and a mild detailed scene
  • Violence: bloody and gory; murder, swords, arrows, physical altercations, animal attacks, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Thriller/Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Corvus
Release Date: June 18th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.

A LET DOWN.

This book disappointed me so much. Honestly, I don’t think I would have finished it if it wasn’t for the fact I joined a Buddy Read for it and wanted to still contribute.

I felt like from the beginning there was too much time spent on inner thought and description. I wasn’t drawn into the setting or story initially and it kind of all went downhill from there. I found myself scanning way sooner than I generally feel the need too.

Things were occasionally creepy and did make me look around my house once or twice. Messing with people’s houses is always something that gives me the spooks. A lot of the side plots and stories didn’t weave well back into the murder mystery which left me wanting more.

I was kept guessing about who had done what though. The blame was tossed between many characters and I could easily see how it could be them. I did appreciate the mystery was kept alive. By the ending when things were revealed it was surprising, but nice to see how all the pieces fit together.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene
  • Violence: murder, physical, house fire, car wreck (resulting in death)

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Book Review

Book Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Thriller/Mystery
Length: 384 pages
Author: Samantha Downing
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

WELL THAT WAS TRIPPY.

I’ve hit a thriller wave and I’m going to ride it out as long as I can catching up on all of the ones my friends have recommended. This was one of them and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

I read this as an audio book and LOVED it. Great narration, can easily increase speed and found it really quick to fly through.

Wow, this book was *mind blown emoji*.

Even from the start I felt He Started It was keeping me guessing. The story seemed odd, and clearly, things aren’t how they should be. I loved the tidbits that slowly started to occur and had me needing to know what happens next.

These siblings were something else. Such twisted and dark characters. There back stories came out smoothly and worked into the story perfectly. And each time I learned something new it only added another layer to the mystery being unfolded. I couldn’t fathom some of the things they did to each other?! I’m still flabbergasted by it. It was an interesting thought about how the pursuit of money can overtake your life and decision making.

My only iffy thing was the ending. It was definitely maniacal. Jaw dropping, gasp out loud, freak my spouse out because of my reaction, maniacal. I wish it did last a bit longer though to wrap up a few things, but I know that can be the nature of a thriller (and it’s not my usual genre).

Overall audience notes:

  • Thriller / Mystery
  • Language: some strong
  • Violence: murder, guns, physical, car wreck
  • Trigger warnings: gas-lighting, accusatory statements that someone may have sexually assaulted another and the same statements for domestic violence

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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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