Book Review

Book Review: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

THIS WAS BETTER.

After the mostly disaster of Three Dark Crowns, I somehow convinced myself I wanted to see if book two actually got better (like a lot of my friends had mentioned). They were right, this was at least, better.

I thought the drama and stakes gained a couple of levels that kept me interested throughout the book. The writing is quick and fast paced with a continual flow of things happening.

Having a wicked character really helped too. Katharine hit a monstrous streak that I was here for. Sometimes it’s nice actually seeing some darkness from a book with dark in the title. I found it pretty creepy what had ended up happening to her to cause such a darkness and am curious how that will continual to fuel her decisions.

Arsinoe and Mirabella are fine. I like them and like that all of the queens have stand-out personalities. It would be a bummer if they all sounded and acted the same. There story line was infinitely different and now I have been dragged into wanting to see how book three and four play out. I kind of wish that one of the queens actually did die (maybe that’s coming?) because I feel like the character deaths that did happen weren’t earth-shattering. Honestly, I wasn’t even upset with the deaths.

The romances played a big part of the plot line still. While I felt I got more out of them because this was book two, it was still missing a lot of background information. I know very little about the suitors and I have been having a hard time connecting with any of these characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, a few fade to black with no detail
  • Violence: physical, animal attacks, poison, someone is choked to death

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Book Review

Book Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Shouldn’t a girl get to star in her own love story?

Seventeen-year-old Megan Harper is about due for her next sweeping romance. It’s inevitable—each of her relationships starts with the perfect guy and ends with him falling in love . . . with someone else. But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Megan focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theater, and fulfilling her dream college’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

So when she’s cast as Juliet (yes, that Juliet) in her high school’s production, it’s a complete nightmare. Megan’s not an actress, and she’s used to being upstaged—both in and out of the theater. In fact, with her mom off in Texas and her dad remarried and on to baby #2 with his new wife, Megan worries that, just like her exes, her family is moving on without her.

Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright inspired by Rosaline from Shakespeare’s R+J. A character who, like Megan, knows a thing or two about short-lived relationships. Megan agrees to help Owen with his play in exchange for help catching the eye of a sexy stagehand/potential new boyfriend. Yet Megan finds herself growing closer to Owen, and wonders if he could be the Romeo she never expected.

In their fresh and funny debut, Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka break down the high school drama to find there’s always room for familial love, romantic love, and—most importantly—self-love.

WHEREFORE ART THOU OWEN?

I read this book after reading If I’m Being Honest (which is their second book). I can definitely say the sophomore book is a lot better. I still enjoyed this a lot, but not as much.

I had a hard time connecting with Megan. I appreciated her strong will and tenacity in regards to some thigns. At some points she was a biiiiit much for me. I felt she was too casual in her friendships and relationships (until the very end of the book). Which I realize is a part of her character arc, it still made things frustrating for me.

Owen though, I LOVE HIM. He’s precious. I don’t appreciate him cheating on Cosima though and I’m glad that ended swiftly after. I have no idea why she was even in the story. BECAUSE SHE WASN’T IN THE STORY. That may not make a lot of sense, if you read this book, you’ll understand. Besides that Owen was sweet, attentive, and a truly kind person that I was smitten with.

There’s quite a bit of drama in this (and I know it takes after Romeo and Juliet, so logically, this makes sense). I don’t mind drama, but so many people cheating on each other and a lot of casual discussion about sex is personally not my cup of tea. Especially for high school kids.

I liked the plot and that Megan got a chance to really dive into who she wants to be as she graduates high school. The play was a fun mix-in and kept the scenes rolling right along. This is a very quick read and it helped me through a reading slump.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a lot of casual discussion of high schoolers sex lives, a little detailed love scene
  • Trigger warnings: cheating boyfriends/girlfriends, divorce

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Book Review

Book Review: New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 310 pages
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Falling for your surly boss is a rotten idea.
Letting him saw you in half is even worse…

Beatrice Baker may be a struggling artist, but she believes all hardships have silver linings…until she follows her boyfriend to New Orleans and finds him with another woman. Instead of turning those lemons into lemonade, she drinks lemon drop martinis and keys the wrong man’s car.

Now she works for Huxley Marlow of the Marvelous Marlow Boys, getting shoved in boxes as an on-stage magician’s assistant. A cool job for some, but Bea’s been coerced into the role to cover her debt. She also maybe fantasizes about her boss’s adept hands and what else they can do.

She absolutely will not fall for him, or kiss him senseless. Until she does. The scarred, enigmatic Huxley has unwittingly become her muse, unlocking her artistic dry spell, but his vague nightly activities are highly suspect. The last time Beatrice trusted a man, her bank account got drained and she almost got arrested. Surely this can’t end that badly…right?

WHERE CAN I GET A MAGICIAN LIKE HUXLEY?

This quick romantic comedy is a hidden gem in the genre. I absolutely adored this and it took me a day to finish because of it!

Beatrice is effervescent and optimistic about most things in her life. Being betrayed by the men she’s known (including her Father) she ends up in New Orleans, single, without a job or a home. But then she meets…HUXLEY. Oh their chemistry is dynamite y’all. Sparks flying every which way it could light up a night sky.

I couldn’t get enough of their banter and flirtatious moments. It was purely them meeting and getting to know each other that formed their friendship turned romance. I usually prefer a stand-out trope (like enemies to lovers) but this worked in such a magical way I was smitten with them. I love that Huxley took care of Bea and helped her get on her own two feet. Not only that, but Bea helped Huxley see the glass half full rather than empty. These two peas in a pod really completed each other. THEY’RE JUST SO PRECIOUS OKAY? Trust me on this.

Huxley and his brothers, Axel and Fox are also what brother goals are made of. These three had an incredible dynamic too. I love the different personalities and banter that made up their daily conversations. They all kind of grew up (even though everyone is in their late 20s and 30s) as they started to take care of each other. Huxley as big brother never got a chance to take a breath and his brothers (plus Beatrice) helped him step back and enjoy the finer moments of life.

The only reason I took off a half a star was a personal preference. I didn’t love that there was a whole chapter and a half dedicated to the sex scene. It was a bit much and a bit too detailed for me. It’s easily skipped over though so if this also isn’t your scene I promise the rest of the book is gold.

I liked the plot of this as well. It was different than other rom-coms I’ve read before. I felt there was a bit more at stake and it upped the drama overall. It never over took the romance, but wove seamlessly with it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kissing, make outs, flirting, innuendo, Chapter 23 & beginning of Chapter 24: detailed love scene; Chapter 30: fade to black with a little detail
  • Violence: physical, being held at gun point
  • Trigger warnings: gambling addiction, gambling in general

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Book Review

Book Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 373 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences. 

THIS ONE TIME AT SUMMER CAMP.

As a parent I read this thinking my child is never going to a sleepaway camp HA. But that was just my musings. This was a pretty good read. Not The Simple Wild caliber, but this is my third Tucker book and I’m definitely hooked on her romances.

I always have a rough time with flashback books. There’s something jarring to me about flipping timelines back and forth a lot. This book used the device fairly well. I didn’t love how many chapters flipped back, yet it was less than it could have been. Kyle and Piper’s insta-summer-romance was actually kinda cute. The only thing? Kyle was a very much stereotypical *bad boy* and I could not even with that. Fauhawk, lip ring, tattoos, his character was trying way too hard at that time. It was fun seeing all the camp had to offer and the growing background story between the two.

Present day was my favorite part. Adult Kyle allllll daaaaaay looooooong. I’m still very much smitten over here. The way he walked back into Piper’s life, forever in love with her? YES PLEASE. I also thought the dynamics behind why he left were much more solid than I’ve seen in other second-chance romances. My general issue is that it’s an obvious communication error. And that drives me up a wall. Kyle’s choices at the time made so much sense and a frightened 17-year old did what he had to for his family and friends. I can roll with it.

I love the swoon worthy romance of it all as Piper and Kyle reconnected. Crossing barriers and letting all the secrets out, oh it was a lot. I love how Tucker conveys emotion into her books and gives us a deeper story. The way the side characters were brought in melted my heart and I was feeling all the emotions right along with them.

I enjoyed Piper as an MC. I thought it was amazing she was an executive at a company (even though she definitely had some daddy issues). Her Dad, Kieran, played a pivotal role that I didn’t even see coming. I liked the conflict resolution between them and how a truthful conversation really turns the tides.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance (second chance trope)
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a handful of romance scenes from second base to all the way; moderately detailed (but easily skipped over)
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouses, underage drinking (and a physical accident with lifelong medical issues as a result), underage smoking, parents incarcerated, bribing a minor

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

I’m really proud of myself for this list. I only bought one book in January and the rest were from Christmas or before. I’ve been trying this year to keep my purchases in check and make sure I REALLY want them on my shelves. There’s not enough to time read a book that isn’t what you want.

Physical Books:

One of Us Is Next (One of Us is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus

This was my first purchase for new releases in 2020! It was a great read and I have loved all of McManus’s books.


The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Yes, yes. We allllll know I’ve read this multiple times but I really wanted the physical copy and I got one for Christmas! YAYAYAYAY.


180 Seconds by Jessica Park

I actually finished and wrote for the review for this just yesterday! Spoiler alert: I LOVED IT.


Confess by Colleen Hoover

Of course another CoHo book is in this group. I have read this one too already and it was another 5 star amazing book by her.


P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

I plan on reading this soon as my second West book. Didn’t love the first one, but I’ve seen this one has the highest ratings so hopefully this works out better.


A lot of these books were from a HPB sale I went too, hence why I picked up another West book. Thought it was about time to read a couple of these.


Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson

THIS SERIES IS SO AMAZING. AND MY MIND IS ALWAYS BLOWN BY THE INTRICACIES. Oh guys. Take a chance on these books. Pleeeeease.


Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

There’s a theme here y’all. Because, OH LOOK another CoHo book! This was the book my friend and I chose for our book club in January. SUCH A GOOD BOOK.


Digital Books:

Vortex Visions & Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1 and #2) by Elise Kova

I am reading this series through Kindle Unlimited so I’m counting these as adding to my bookshelf. I really enjoyed book one and have just started book two. I love being back in this world.

Have you read any of these? What was your last book added to your bookshelf? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Fantasy + Sci-fi
Length: 395 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

PRETTY GOOD.

This book took me for a loop. I think part of the problem was that I did choose to listen to it as an audio book. This can be kind of hard sometimes with fantasies because establishing the world and people and everything else takes time and when you’re thrown into while listening, some things can get missed.

The further that this book went on though, the more I really caught on to everything and started to enjoy it.

This is a crazy different world than I’ve read in fantasies for awhile. People who are part dragon, human, a mix of both, many different colors with many different powers, it was awesome! I love how unique it was and that there’s so much to learn from their world.

Cvareh and Ari are a sight to behold. Enemies to lovers in some of the best ways. Maybe a little rushed into actually wanting each other’s company, but nothing has truly happened yet so I’m on board. I loved their banter and interactions. It took so much from each of them to realize the story from the other’s perspective. Once some communication and secrets were told, things started really clicking with them.

I love having Florence as another POV too. I’m not sure of her true purpose yet but her young voice added a softer side to the story. I adored watching her and Cvareh form a relationship. He really took to her and in taking care of her saved Florence’s life.

Intense and enigmatic, this fantasy kept me busy. I think the differences in cultures, opinions and ideals will factor in even further as the drama unfolds.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: a little light (witch is used a few times)
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: clawing out of hearts, knives, guns, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Imber (Thanatos Trilogy #1) by Tyffany Hackett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 422 pages
Author: Tyffany Hackett
Publisher: Archangel Publishing
Release Date: June 12th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The locks are failing.

The keys are calling.

The Titans are waking.

Crowned before her time, nineteen-year-old Natylia is thrust into an unpleasant reality—her people don’t want her, her family doesn’t need her and, despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to shake an incorrigible suitor. But when rumors begin to swirl throughout her kingdom the young queen shifts her focus and realizes that the world she loves could be destroyed in an instant.

An ancient enemy, long thought gone, is trying to return.

Forgotten legends have resurfaced, stories that tell of three scepters: the keys to unleashing these foul beings. Across Araenna the hunt rages for this trio of formidable power—to command the keys is to hold the power of mortal gods.

Aided by her snarky elven bodyguard, an unassuming blacksmith, and a clever nature witch, Natylia races to correct the mistakes of the past… before they can destroy her people’s future.

KEPT ME ENTERTAINED.

Which is saying something. I constantly felt like picking this book up and continuing the story. It had the right kind of magic for me to really enjoy. The pacing was good throughout and the flow was steady with waves of action and lighter moments.

Nataylia was a great main character. I love that she was strong and brave, but had her faults. She felt more real and like an actual human. Not a pretty much perfect Princess turned Queen who’s hard to love. Her motives are for the betterment of her people and Nataylia is fueled by her love for her friends and family.

The romance was a bit of a miss for me. Namely because I had my eyes on a different character for Nataylia. And it wasn’t even a love triangle, I apparently saw a lot of chemistry between her and Jyn and am still accepting that she’s with Camion. I do love Camion though. He’s a sweet, caring cinnamon roll who needs a hug. One of my favorite kinds of book boyfriends. Their relationship is adorable and pure so I’m slowly building a ship for them and I’ll decide if I want it to sail during book two.

The magic system is broad, yet well explained. I understood the information and loved the adventure Nataylia and her cohorts had to go on to find one of these magic scepters. There’s a lot of action as they traverse through catacombs and dungeons, with a heavy dose of magical creatures standing in their way. It kept me on edge because I was wholly convinced someone was not walking out of there alive.

A great fantasy that needs a bigger audience. I’m grateful that I saw a friend recommend this because she has never steered me wrong in book choices! I’m excited for the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: magic, murder, swords, animal/creature attacks

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