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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Book Review

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

DARK AND CREEPY.

This isn’t a thriller, but the subject matter is definitely in that category. A wasting death that seems to be attacking everyone, making limbs turn black and amputations be the only possible solution. WHAT. Lock me in a tower and throw away the key. I don’t want anything to do with that.

I listened to this on audio so I like to mention the narration. The female voice was fine, she did it in an accent (because the character is said to have one). It was easily understood and I thought brought Nedra more to life. The male voice I did not love the way it was done. He was hard to understand and I struggled to get through Grey’s chapters because of it.

The magic system is a bit twisted y’all. I actually didn’t like it. NOT because it wasn’t thought out and put together well, but because it involved harming animals. Mice were only every actively used in this book. The concept was drawing out someone else’s pain and giving it to the mouse/rat. It made me sad for the tiny creatures.

Nedra was an MC that had to grow on me. At first I was realllll annoyed and tired of her being utterly convinced it was ONLY her who could save EVERYONE. She pushed people away so much and I kept thinking, girl chill. I did love her character change by the end because who doesn’t love when an MC turns into more-or-less a villain? It was wicked good and I can’t wait for the next book to see what she does next.

There were some plot twists at the end that I was like WAIT WHAT? [even said that out loud]. I had imagined a different character being the instigator of the plague, and was totally surprised by who it was. Love it. I love when a book can trick me and keep me on my toes.

I feel like I need to mention the romance part. There’s a little in here. Grey and Nedra form a relationship over time and it’s cute. They get to know one another and hang out, have a few sweet kisses. I did like it, but it seems like it’ll play a bigger role in book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a make out
  • Violence: wasting illness, amputations, animals being used for magic system, guns; pretty violent and gory

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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: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

WHERE AM I?

That’s how I felt most of this book.

My biggest issue was the total lack of world building. I know this is a spin-off from a previous series of hers. I was told by multiple people that you don’t have to read it to be able to understand and enjoy this one. I agree up until the point that if the previous series has better world-building that would have been a major help here.

I finally gathered that it is some type of dystopia / fantasy universe. There were normal US cities, but we had magical powers and people who could transform into gargoyles, so somewhere between all of that is your world. Do I know why it is that way? NOPE, this book’s focus is the romance (not necessarily a bad thing), but since the everything else was sorely lacking, I couldn’t be as involved with the romance.

Though the romance is the part I did like best. I thought the flow between Zane and Trinity was great. It’s sort of slow, with a touch of animosity at first, that gives way to some tender moments. The love scene was kind of odd, but other than that, I ship them.

My other problem with this book was the immaturity of conversation. Using phrases like *douche nozzle* takes me out of the story and I’m clearly still not over that this word was used. The lingo annoyed me as well. Just the whole combination of conversations bothered me the entire time. I didn’t love Trinity as an MC. Never got on board with her.

The plot was focused around finding a lost friend…that was it. There were hints and nods towards some bigger focus, and I wish we had more of that. It made the story somewhat boring because of how intensely focused they were on this one thing. Whoever is really pulling the strings needs to come out of the word work so this book can liven up some more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, once love scene (with some description)
  • Violence: battles, physical, knives, swords, magical

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Book Review

Book Review: A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Mystery / Historical fiction
Length: 308 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. 

LONGEST SLOW-BURN EVER.

STILL NOTHING.

EVEN LESS NOTHING THAN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS. Ugh. It’s entirely annoying at this point. Only because you know where it’s going, and I don’t like that it’s been carried out this long. Veronica and Stoker are destined to be together and heaven help me if that doesn’t happen in book four.

Otherwise, this book was a bit meh. Definitely one of those middle of the series books that isn’t packing a lot of punch. I didn’t love the mystery because it was a stretch compared to the previous two books. And I really didn’t love the trigger warning (see notes at the bottom) for how the mystery ended. I think that could have been handled in a better way.

I did like that the mystery gave us allllllll the history for Stoker. I finally got all of the answers I was craving and the tidbits of information that formed a solid background for him. I met his terrible former wife and in-laws, and saw a whole new side to the mystery of what happened in South America. This only made my love for Stoker grow. I love that brash cinnamon roll.

Veronica was still her fabulous self. I love her heroism and strength in making her own decisions. I don’t love all of her philosophies, but I appreciate her determination to do things as she wants to.

Forever hoping to have that *realization moment* between Veronica and Stoker.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none, just a lot of innuendo
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, Chapter 19: murder-suicide by a gun

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Book Review

Book Review: Heart of the Fae (The Otherworld #1) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance + Retelling
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 26th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology in this sweeping retelling of the beloved fairytale….

Once upon a time…

A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne.

Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools.

With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.

This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart. 

A GREAT RETELLING.

I definitely think this is one of the better retellings of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve read.

This really followed the flow of B&TB. I could definitely tell what scenes were being recreated and the plot line it was going for. I enjoyed this take on it because of that fact. I liked seeing how someone else interpreted the story (and adding fae is ALWAYS good). This was full of faeries and the romance was kicked up to a much steamier vibe.

The romance felt a *tiny* bit insta-love at first. It came off as mostly lust and I was worried how that was going to affect the story. Never fear, the way that Sorcha and Eamonn built their relationship after some initial contact was fantastic. I loved the enemies to lovers type banter, the slow tender moments they had, that all led to a partnership that I ship.

Sorcha as a character was amazing. Her role as a healer gave focus to her decisions and mindset. I liked how firm she was on HER choices and that she never gave up on her original intentions for seeking out the fae. There was no wishy-washy character here. Sorcha was a lovely and strong heroine.

Eamonn was the beast. And that sentence is wholly accurate. His role was exactly how I expected it and I LOVED seeing the small things he started doing for Sorcha purely to make her happy. Ohhhhh so cute y’all.

The story itself was well put together and I thought the plot had everything it needed. There was a point and reasoning behind choices and I never had to ask why. I love the way the fae were woven into everything and I love all things faerie in general.

I’m definitely interested in continuing this duology (and the other books in this universe). This was a self-published book and I LOVE finding these kind of gems.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance + retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, make outs, one moderately detailed love scene
  • Violence: physical, magic, skirmishes with swords, a creepy blood beetle epidemic

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