Book Review

Book Review: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 26th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

SWEET & STEAMY.

A charming read that kept me page turning. It was such a FUN read. I loved all of the flirting and banter. It was a great workplace romance that did feel a little competitive, but never over the top.

I adored Shay and loved her real life self. I laughed and connected with many scenes about trying to be an adult. She was still trying to figure out herself and where she wanted to be and I loved watching her work through those emotions. Add in Dominic (with his sexy forearms) and I became utterly smitten. I LOVED THEM TOGETHER. They just worked. I love when I feel so invested in a relationship. Shay being older was a touch that I thought was relevant and fitting. It added another layer to their relationship that definitely had some steam.

The surrounding plot was pure entertainment and it was so unique to have this set up at a public radio broadcasting company! I feel like I got the inside scoop on how these shows work. And convinced me I should look up more podcasts to listen to. I’m glad that things worked out there because I was all sorts of enraged reading about Shay having to deal with a crappy boss. The drama was amped up towards the end and maybe somethings weren’t completely worked out. It’s such a sweet happy ever after though.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent (past, but often brought up)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Keeper of the Night (The Keeper of the Night #1) by Kylie Lee Baker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: October 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

MURDEROUS.

That’s pretty much the whole vibe of this one. Dark, twisted, and oh so murderous. And while that’s not generally my jam, this grim YA fantasy was pretty good. I cringed a lot and the mental pictures painted are a bit horror movie style, and that’s its charm!

I really enjoyed the main character Ren. Struggling with her identity as biracial and not feeling like she fits in anywhere, she goes to Japan in hopes of finding a new home there. Upon arriving with her brother are when things start to turn, ahem, deadly. She’s very much morally grey and you’ll want to follow her down to the dark side.

The lore behind all of the terrifying monsters had me keeping the lights on. The writing was vivid, and I felt myself on the journey with Ren. I adored her brother Neven and the opposite views he created. He was the necessary dichotomy to a wicked story.

Plot wise, it did drag sometimes and it took me awhile to understand all of the different things Ren was trying to accomplish and why. But I loved her journey and her ability to express and acknowledge her emotions and standing in her feelings while she worked through what life had handed her.

The ending was wild. Did not see the majority of it coming and am so dang curious how the second book rectifies it all. There is a dash of something akin to a romance, but I don’t want to say more because it would definitely be spoiler-y. It was rich in explorations of family, identity and place to be who Ren wanted to be and I can’t wait to follow her journey further.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: intense kisses/make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: ableism, racism, many blood & gore depictions, mutilation of bodies (dismemberment, etc.), death of a parent, multiple murders, exile, bullying

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

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Book Review

Book Review: I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 272 pages
Author: Kristina Forest
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Release Date: June 4th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.

A GREAT ROAD TRIP.

I really enjoyed this sweet, growing up, road trip story. Full of car trouble, reconnecting with old friends and finding out what you want to do with your life. It was a quick audio read and highly recommend that format as well!

Being a dancer growing up I love coming across books that involve the profession. I loved seeing Chloe go for her dreams and learning a lot along the way. She was a beautiful main character who really made me feel for her desires and had me laughing when things went a little awry.

Add in a cute romance with childhood friend Eli and it was precious. I loved the banter and working through their previous troubles. Eli was soooo sweet and it was awesome that he got to work towards his passion as well. Both Chloe and Eli had to have some difficult conversations with their parents and it was nice to see the that both parents mostly came around and understood their choices.

I adored the side characters (Larissa and Trey) and getting to see the East Coast on Chloe’s travels. This is a short and wholesomely delightful read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: car wreck
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent by car accident, underage smoking, main character hit by a car (resulted in broken ankle)

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Book Review

Book Review: All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: February 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.

No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

CAN I JOIN THE KEEL HAUL?

I looooved this. Sometimes the second book in a duology fails me, TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. I had such a great time reading All the Tides of Fate.

I’m absolutely in love with this entire crew. Bastian, that roguish pirate has my whole heart. HE’S SUCH A CINNAMON ROLL. Ohemgee, let me love him. Good thing Amora got it together in that regard. Also, Vataea, that mermaid is the most bada** one I’ve come across in books lately. Wow do I want to be her. And we have Shanty and Ferrick who round out one of my favorite found family/close friend groups. Seriously couldn’t get enough of them, even when it ’bout brought me to tears in the end.

I loved the pacing of this story. It moved quickly, but I felt each location had enough happening and didn’t feel rushed. I liked the premise of trying to break the curse and recovering from a devastating loss. Amora worked so hard to find a way to be helpful to her kingdom and to ultimately see what needed to be done to accomplish that goal. I loved her as a main character. Her wit and strength and the way she learned to lean on others makers her a favorite of mine.

Frankly I would have loved even more books in this series, so I’m definitely excited to see what this author writes next. It was a wonderful duology. I loved the world-building with all of the different islands and how the magic system was explained. I didn’t find anything confusing and just loved how great of a young adult fantasy series this was.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; one slightly open door scene
  • Violence: magic system used blood/skin/bones, many character deaths, murder
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, depictions of PTSD and panic attacks, depictions of grief

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