Book Review

ARC Book Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance / Magical Realism
Length: 400 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel &Friends
Release Date: November 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her—both good and bad.

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the audio book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

IT WAS CUTE.

Since I read this an audio book ARC, I wanted to mention my thoughts on the audio. I thought the narrator was great and found it to be easy listening. I kept it at 1.5x – 1.75x depending on what I was doing at the time while listening. Definitely would recommend reading it as an audio book if you enjoy that option!

I love Marissa Meyer’s books. I am a big fan of her fantasy books. Reading her first contemporary romance? ALL OVER IT.

This was a cute Beatles-inspired young adult romance. I loved the beach setting and marine ecology aspects. It felt relevant without being pushy and I learned a lot just from the setting alone. There was knowledge of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing multiple marine animals and the center goes about achieving their ultimate goal of getting these animals back to the wild.

Prudence was our dear main character. Oh, how I struggled with her for 80% of the book. I kept expecting some more character growth from her, but felt it happened too close to the end. She leaned towards selfish and so completely single-mindedly focused that I wanted to jump in the book and tell her what she’s missing. With all of the damage done before getting to some evolution in her character it became a bit of a let down.

Quint was precious. And I’m genuinely amazed he was cool with Prudence being rude to him over and over again. I loved his interactions and banter. Quint had a great back story and was clearly devoted to helping the sea creatures in his care. I loved his nature and passion.

I did love their initial at last they kissed moment. It came at the right time and was sweet. I would have loved a longer ending with more of them because by the time I was really feeling it, the ending had arrived.

It’s overall a fun book and I’m happy that I read it. I love Meyer’s writing and will continue to read all the books by her. I’m also hoping for maybe more books with Pru’s brother, Jude (who I adored) and maybe even her friends? I thought there was some open options for more contemporaries in this world and I would love to read those too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: very little and light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: injured sea animals that washed ashore, someone breaking their leg from a fall

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Book Review

Book Review: The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 470 pages
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Self-published
Expected Release Date: February 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.

WHAT A CONCLUSION.

Ooooooooh my goodness. I’ve never listened to an audio book faster y’all. I downed this book so fast. I have been waiting for this and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I can continue to be Danielle Jensen’s unofficial spokeswoman for this series. BECAUSE I LOVE IT THAT MUCH.

You could literally hear my thoughts as Lara rounded up her sisters to go save Aren. AND IT WAS A THRILL RIDE. Oh those women danced their way into the harem and took what they came for. There was me on the sidelines cheering them on because I live for action like that. I’m getting all amped up just writing this review.

I had a lot of questions going into this book. All were answered in the best ways. My heart is soaring that I got a conclusion that actually wraps up the lines it needs too. BUT, it definitely leaves open some lines for spin-off books. The side characters in TTQ are a song on their own. I found myself smitten with so many of them. Siblings, family members, generals of armies; they all played distinct and proficient rolls.

This romance was still sizzling. I loved the build-up. I knew things had to work out, yet time and again I was led to believe otherwise. That’s how invested I was. Jensen’s writing is captivating and the audio version is one of the best books I’ve listened too. Aren and Lara kept me waiting, and waiting, and then BAM. Room set aflame, y’all. Room set aflame.

The stress levels I felt listening to Lara and Aren try to work things out between them, deciding if they wanted/could be with each other, trying to save a kingdom and kill a king, was on another level. I could keep rambling about how much I love this duology. The Bridge Kingdom is still my favorite, but this was a conclusion that delivered.

AND DON’T EVEN TALK TO ME ABOUT THAT ENDING. I truly gasped and almost started sobbing right then and there. Jensen knows how to tug on those heart strings and beg for a happy ending.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; one detailed love scene
  • Violence: sharks, swords, poison, physical, torture, captivity

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Book Review

Book Review: Defy the Fates (Constellation #3) by Claudia Gray

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult sci-fi + romance
Length: 470 pages
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Hunted and desperate.

Abel only has one mission left that matters: save the life of Noemi Vidal. To do that, he not only has to escape the Genesis authorities, he also must face the one person in the galaxy who still has the means to destroy him. Burton Mansfield’s consciousness lives on, desperate for a home, and Abel’s own body is his last bargaining chip.

Alone in the universe.

Brought back from the brink of death, Noemi Vidal finds Abel has not only saved her life, but he’s made her into something else, something more. Not quite mech, yet not quite human any longer, Noemi must find her place in a universe where she is utterly unique, all while trying to create a world where anyone–even a mech–can be free.

The final battle between Earth and the colony planets is here, and there’s no lengths to which Earth won’t go to preserve its domination over all humanity. But together, the universe’s most advanced mech and its first human-mech hybrid might have the power to change the galaxy for good.

LOVE THESE AUDIO BOOKS.

I seriously adored these audio books. If you’ve been wanting to try audio books out I highly recommend this series as a good point to go from. I love the way the narration and characters were articulated and it had an easy listening flow.

Once again the galaxy at large is in turmoil and Noemi and Abel are the only two who can save everyone. I love the intense action scenes and moments of not knowing where things were going next. Occasionally I felt that it was repetitive to the previous two books in that the same conflict kept repeating itself, but it wasn’t an outstanding issue.

Having Mansfield as a truly awful villain was great. I love how twisted and corrupt he truly was and that that NEVER changed. He never gave up his idea of essentially playing God and how heinous that can make someone. Mansfield and his daughter really could use a reality check [and I’m happy they got one].

The romance between Noemi and Abel was sweet as ever. Their relationship never tried to be more than it was. I liked the wholesome level it stayed with and that they had to communicate and discuss the tough subjects between them. By fighting for each other, and their home it created a tight bond that no ship could destroy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy sci-fi + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: ship explosions, physical, guns

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Book Review

Book Review: Bid My Soul Farewell (Give the Dark My Love #2) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The stunning finale of the epic fantasy duology from New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis.

Alchemy student turned necromancer Nedra Brysstain has made a life-changing decision to embrace the darkness–but can the boy who loves her bring her back to the light before she pays the ultimate price?

Lunar Island is trying to heal. The necromantic plague that ravaged the land has been eradicated, and Emperor Auguste, the young and charming leader of the Allyrian Empire, has a plan: rid the island of necromancy once and for all. Though Greggori “Grey” Astor wants what’s best for his people, he knows that allying himself with Auguste threatens the one person he loves most: necromancer Nedra Brysstain. Feeling like he already failed to save Nedra once, Grey becomes determined to help the Emperor rebuild Lunar Island while still keeping Nedra safe from harm.

Back at the quarantine hospital, Nedra’s army of revenants are growing increasingly inhuman by the day. Wracked with guilt for imprisoning their souls, Nedra vows to discover a way to free the dead while still keeping her sister by her side.

But, still reeling from the trauma of the plague, the people of Lunar Island are looking for someone to blame, and Grey can only protect Nedra for so long. And when Nedra and Grey are thrust into a battle with an even more terrifying adversary, Nedra will be pushed to the darkest depths of her necromantic powers. But can Grey let her go that far? 

A GOOD DUOLOGY.

A good conclusion! I liked that this duology was darker and heavier than most. It was a change a pace from the normal young adult fantasy books I happen to read. The beginning and ending were solid, it was the middle that dragged this book down.

I’m not even sure what the point of the middle was? Gray was doing his own thing trying to help his land. Then we have Nedra totally focused on helping her sister. Yet, in all of that, it didn’t strengthen the plot like I think it was supposed to. Instead I felt it dragged. So much so that I had a hard time keeping focused on the audio book waiting for something more interesting to happen.

The relationship between Nedra and Gray had me happy sometimes, and flustered at others. I enjoyed seeing them actually talk their problems out and discuss deeper intentions and fears. It was nice to see that in a YA relationship (frankly any for that matter). This was good. What was bad was that I felt Nedra didn’t treat Gray all that well. She was SO DANG FOCUSED ON ONE TASK that it became too much. We saw a side of someone being wholly consumed by grief and it was hard to watch. Gray’s focus was Nedra. Nedra’s focus was death.

I was never sure the romantic aspect was necessary. The second book helped highlight why it was there. I think Nedra had to figure out on her own that there was hope and love in letting go of the past.

There were still some twists in this book that I should have seen coming but am content that I was surprised. The ending wrapped up well and things actually had a conclusion. Even better there was a bit of an epilogue to let the story ride off into the sunset.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, a little detailed fade to black love scene
  • Violence: lots of death, bringing people back to life, very bloody and gory

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