Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: November 2021

Birthday month was a success! Lots of great reads, and plenty of holiday books too.

Favorites of the Month (there were a lot!): When You Get the Chance, The Fastest Way to Fall, Echoes and Empires, The Hating Game, The Flight Girls, Aurora’s End, A Cross-Country Christmas, The Song of the Marked, The Off-Limits Rule, The Inadequate Heir, A Twist of the Blade, and Cytonic

Least Favorites: Jade Fire Gold, What Are Friends For?, Lovelight Farms, and A Convenient Christmas

  • [ARC] When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
  • [Novella] ReDawn: Skyward Flight (Skyward #2.2) by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson
  • Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan
  • The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams
  • [ARC] Echoes and Empires (Echoes and Empires #1) by Morgan Rhodes
  • The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan
  • [Reread] The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  • The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
  • Gilded (Gilded #1) by Marissa Meyer
  • What Are Friends For? (Love in Fenton County #1) by Sarah Sutton
  • [ARC] A Song Among the Silence (The Rhythmist Cycle #1) by Julie Janis
  • Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh
  • The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns #1) by S.M. Gaither
  • [ARC] The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
  • Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison
  • Vespertine (Vespertine #1) by Margaret Rogerson
  • One Way or Another by Kara McDowell
  • [ARC] Edgewood by Kristin Ciccarelli
  • [Reread] The Off-Limits Rule (It Happened in Nashville #1) by Sarah Adams
  • The Inadequate Heir (The Bridge Kingdom #3) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • Duke, Actually (A Princess for Christmas #2) by Jenny Holiday
  • [Novella] A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Mathews
  • A Twist of the Blade (Shadows and Crowns #2) by S.M. Gaither
  • A Convenient Christmas (Isn’t It Sweet #1) by Jody Holford
  • [ARC] Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks
  • [Novella] Christmas in Love by Karen Thornell
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang
  • Cytonic (Skyward #3) by Brandon Sanderson
  • A Very Grumpy Christmas by Jerica MacMillan
  • These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • [Novella] Merry Hearts (Poplar Falls #4.5) by Amber Kelly

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Book Review

Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult dystopia + romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

WELL THAT WAS INTERESTING.

What a unique book y’all. And yet…not? I did a buddy read for this book and we both were finding so many tidbits from other books in here that combined to form a whole new novel. It was definitely something different.

I liked how quick it was to read. I would look down and be astonished at how many pages had already flown by. The Grace Year keeps you involved and wanting to know what happens next. I had so many questions throughout it that kept me on my toes. Who was going to die? Why did this happen? Wait, is that what I think it is? Ah, I love a book that makes me question.

This was also a very odd world-system. I would have loved to know if this county’s system was more broad than just this small area, but I was creeped out by the system anyways. Sending the girls off because they have “magic,” was so barbaric I could barely handle it.

One aspect I really didn’t like that caused the 4 star rating was the love story. For someone SO INCREDIBLY ADAMANT they didn’t want to be married or committed in anyway to fall for someone else was a bit unbelievable. The way it was written made it seem like a shorter time period than it really was which also rushed the process. Tierney’s relationship could have used a lot more development, or flat out cutting this piece out.

I liked how everything ended. Michael was a saint and I can’t believe the compassion and forgiveness he had for what Tierney did (which was another piece of the book I didn’t love). Michael did everything for her and I was grateful to see them begin to work things out. I also loved that the usurper was close to home. It made the theme of this book clear, women need to support women and not tear each other down.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: very little detail fade to black scene, some kisses
  • Violence: murder, lightning strikes, punishments in the form of removing fingers/ear/toes/hair, poison, knives

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Book Review

Book Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

COHO FOREVER.

I can’t think of a book by Colleen Hoover that doesn’t leave me emotionally distraught but also handing out 5 stars like it’s a meteor shower. I LOVE HER BOOKS. This a back list title of hers I happened to see at a used bookstore and I snatched it so fast and read it even quicker.

The way this romance is written in short time period, and yet feels like the best slow burn makes this book. I love being taken on a journey with these characters and feeling the intensity of their choices and situations.

I can never imagine how more tragic these stories can get until it happens. And yet, it never feels dramatic. There’s such a sense of real life and knowing these characters that make me love this story. Everything feels authentic and honest and I mesmerizingly read this in one sitting because I needed Auburn to have a happy ending at last.

Owen is another enigmatic and swoon worthy romantic interest. He’s filled with such longing for his own happy ending and struggling to cope with his own past. Auburn was intensely brave and an incredibly strong woman. Their connection and drive on their own was amazing, put them together and it’s dynamite.

I feel like I’m struggling to put this review into something fully legible. I JUST LOVE COHO BOOKS. The power and rawness of each story captures me and forces me to think. The ability to create these situations and not make it feel cheesy is the reason I love to read her books. This was another winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: throughout
  • Romance: a mildly detailed scene, a FTB scene
  • Violence: discussion of car wreck
  • Trigger warnings: arrest for possession, pain pill addiction, an abusive relationship (physical, emotional, manipulative and sexual), attempted sexual assault

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Book Review

Book Review: There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Katy Rose Pool
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it?

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?

A WEE BIT TYPICAL.

I have had this on my 2019 list for awhile. Really excited about it. I love multiple POV group books (like The Gilded Wolves, Six of Crows, Aurora Rising, etc.). There’s something magical about having so many thoughts and characters come together that make for a fun read. This was good overall I’d say.

My glaring issues was the amount of typical YA fantasy book related things. It didn’t feel new. I can’t put my finger on the exact time or place in the book other than a general feeling of eh, haven’t I read this before? Don’t get me wrong, I was still entertained and found it an easy read.

I appreciated that the world-building was simple to follow. I understood the politics and dynamics of everything surrounding these characters. I knew what the villain’s goals were, how everyone wanted to accomplish their own goals, how the magic system worked. It was nice not to feel like I was staring at a wall of chaos trying to understand the premise.

Weird tidbit, I’m not sure I liked any of the point-of-view characters? They were all kind of hard to love. A few of them were consistently making poor choices and running away from problems that only caused more issues which had me entirely frustrated. If I had to choose anyone I was enjoying it would probably be Jude. Bless his heart, he’s going to have a rough second book though. I wish I could connect to everyone on a deeper level. This goes for their relationships too. Lots of budding pairings, yet nothing felt REAL. It was all happening too fast in a series. We have time, let’s develop these bonds first.

I have the second book on my TBR and have plans to read it. Whether or not I found this book OUTSTANDING, I am curious what twists will come my way next. There were plenty of side characters that kept me on my toes (much obliged for that). I liked constantly thinking to myself, are they good? are they bad? what’s the truth?!. It made for fast page flipping to get to the bottom of it all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy, multi-POV
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, fire, torture (by water/drowning, fire), physical

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