Book Review

Book Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 421 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars? 

CUTE & PREDICTABLE.

I am a total mood reader. I’ll look at the books I have in hand and choose purely based off of what I’m looking for. In this case, it was a fluffy, predictable, romance that called my name. And this is one of those cases where, predictable is good and welcome.

This group of high school kids absolutely annoyed me to no end. Luckily, the only two I liked happened to be the main characters, Zorie and Lennon. I was actually excited when they ended up on their own because I was completely invested in their story of friends/lovers to enemies and back again.

I also appreciated that this book had positive anxiety rep. I personally struggle with anxiety and really felt for Zorie and how she coped with it. One of the best parts was how Lennon never faulted her for this. He continually checked on her, helped her plan to smooth her fears, and ohemgee Lennon became my favorite immediately.

While I was rooting for them to get together, I think it went a tad overboard. I was amazed that somehow within 18 hours (give or take) they went through a whole sleeve of condoms and called the time sexlation. Cool, cool, cool, cool, and all, but mmm, a bit of a nope for me. If I take out that piece though, the witty banter/flirting and coming to terms with what separated them initially was solid. Nothing felt rushed and everything was laid out as it should be.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Romance: discussion of kisses and the fact so-and-so had sex and that they want to have sex || descriptive make-outs and a somewhat detailed love scene(s)
  • Language: quite a bit, including a homophobic slur
  • Violence: physical and verbal
  • Trigger warnings: suicide, loss of a parent, cheating spouse, homophobia, anxiety and depression
Book Review

Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult fantasy
Length: 699 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could dstroy them all.

Note: Below is a very spoiler filled review. I have re-read this series multiple times, but wanted to get a review onto my blog, but I also have a hard time being vague when it comes to ACOTAR, so spoilers it is.

This series really has my whole heart. I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a fantasy filled with romance, friendships, actual feelings, and so much more.

What I love most about re-reads (though I don’t get to do them as often as I’d like) is that I notice all of the other pieces I normally wouldn’t if I was reading it for the first time. The first time through this I was ALL about Feyre & Rhysand, but now I have really come to appreciate all of the other characters (yes, even Tamlin) from reading this again and again.

Feyre and Rhys are my OTP, and I mention this frequently. I am so happy that their relationship grew and that they got the blissfully ending they needed. A lot of random sex? Maybe, but Rhys also has a mate and is 500 years old, I understand. Feyre has grown so much over this series and I loved how her arc came to an end.

I absolutely am team Elucien. YOU CAN NOT CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE. I desperately hope they get their own spin-off in the coming years. He deserves happiness and I need him to be happy. Azriel will get his own story and first needs to have a reckoning with Mor. So after that, we can focus on him.

Tamlin made me so bitterly angry in this book (but yet I feel for him in ACOFAS, who am I?) I think he took his jealousy to a whole new level and being an immortal, somehow never learned how to cope with his issues and being told “No.” In this case, I was all for destroying him, and will let him stew awhile before he gets his story.

Now, I’m struggling with Nesta. I LOVED her here, but had a hard time connecting in ACOFAS. I think her and Cassian would be EVERYTHING. I can’t wait for 2020 to get this entire novel. I think Nesta is going to have this amazing character line (i.e. makes me think of Manon from ToG, but different, of course). Cassian is my favorite sassy Illyrian and I need him to be happy too. His friendship with Feyre is my favorite non-romantic plot line. I love how they appreciate and help each other when they are working through their demons. Feyre is a wholy better sister than Nesta AND, AND Elain deserve. There, I said it.

Fact: I need everyone to be happy. Though, low-key felt like sobbing when the Suriel died. That moment was the saddest the book made me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult/New adult fantasy
  • Language: some
  • Romance: a handful of detailed love scenes, kisses, innuendos
  • Violence: physical, swords, knives, magic, verbal
Book Review

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 527 pages
Author: Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Anchor
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. 

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.

Do you remember growing up when you were home sick from school and you got to watch The Price is Right? Then after that was over you occasionally would let Days of our Lives play after before realizing you were glued to the TV with the drama?

This. This is how I felt about CRA. The hilarity of the wealth and drama that unfolded kept me turning pages for reasons I can’t explain. It’s not a book to ponder deep thinking. This is purely entertainment.

It takes a little bit to get into because of how many family members are in the story. Once I had a handle on who was who things cleared up.

There were a lot moving parts and I was distracted away from the story between Rachel and Nick constantly. I didn’t care about half of the people the chapters would flip to and was frustrated that the focus really wasn’t on them. The only other character I could bother to care for was Astrid.

Surprisingly, there were footnotes in this book! I actually appreciated them [most of the time] because it defined the language and food better. I now want to travel to Singapore just to eat, because holy cow everything sounded delicious.

I don’t really have much to say for this review. I couldn’t put it down, but I also am not interested in books two and three. I felt this one ended in the RomCom way, I was fine with it, and don’t need a continuation of the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Language: a lot of f* bombs, very derogatory words and inappropriate conversations
  • Violence: verbal
  • Romance: kisses, some glossed over love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: racism, cheating husband’s, dog fighting scene, verbal child abuse, depression
Book Review

Book Review: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: February 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything….

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make? 

LYRICALLY BEAUTIFUL.

Once again, I was swept away by the way Amy Harmon writes.

This book is steeped in the magic of studying family history. Harmon draws heavily from her own travels to Europe and the time period from which her great+ grandparents lived. It is so important to know and understand where we come from and WtWK convinced me (and I know that wasn’t the point) to look at my own history.

The romance is yet again so precious. How understanding is Thomas? Because you better believe I would be freaking out a lot more if “Anne” showed back up, 5 years missing from her time period, without a clue as to what happened. Their story flowed at a good pace and I was shipping them forward continually.

I was really caught up in how this book would resolve. It was unclear if everything was going to fall into place, but never fear Harmon brings things full circle leaving me completely happy with how it came together.

My only reasoning for giving it a 4.5* is that there is a lot of history put in there. Discussions about the rebellion, civil war, political meetings, etc. Yes, they helped me understand what was happening, but it was thick with this information. I felt it was taking away from the fact that this is a romance novel at it’s base.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Very little language
  • Romance: some intense make-outs and glossed over love scenes
  • Violence: guns, fire
Book Tag

Book Tag: Book Blogger Confessions

I saw this tag on Sara’s page and wanted to see if I could do it! I’m also trying to push myself and do a new tag/or other content on Saturday’s. Since I had my tag from last week, I’m moving forward this week!


Rules:

  1. Answer these questions truthfully.
  2. Once you’re done, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer these questions next.

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

I didn’t even bother writing a full review (but I did leave one on Goodreads). This book was utterly ridiculous and I have no regrets putting this one away. Luckily it was free, so I’m not losing sleep over it.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?

This isn’t a guilty pleasure necessarily, but it is the book I read most often. I’m guilty of loving this story so much. I still feel all the things every time I open it.

Which book do you love to hate?

Okay, I really couldn’t find an answer on this. I guess I’ll go with Nicholas Sparks books. I haven’t read one since 2015, but I find it humorous how much I enjoyed the ridiculously dramatic romances once upon a time.

Which book would you throw into the sea?

Even considering putting a book near a source of water makes me hyperventilate. Though, I think we can all agree: ALLEGIANT would be the one to go.

Which book have you read the most?

I already discussed this under the guilty pleasure question, but definitely ACOMAF.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

I guess something by an author I don’t like, or a genre I’m not interested in? Whenever “present” times come up I send a list of books I want. I take out the middle-man of guessing haha.

Which book could you not live without?

Trying to mix up my answers here, so I suppose Kingdom of Ash. I would have been upset if I never had some closure since we had to wait over 1.5 years (millennia in book world right?) to get this epic conclusion.

Which book made you the angriest?

Most recently? Evermore. The review will provide all answers, but boy, was I upset with this turn of events.

Which book made you cry the most?

Kingdom of Ash was the one I cried during last. So let’s dive into history (when I was 8) and pull out the first book I remember crying over. THIS TORE MY SOUL IN TWO. I already feel like hugging my dogs against their will.

Which book cover do you hate the most?

Rather than say what books covers I hate the most, what I hate even more is when book covers are randomly changed in the middle of the series without good reason. Or even worse WHEN THE SIZE CHANGES. AHH. This happened to me last year and I am still flabbergasted.

There you go! I tag:

Ashes Books & Bobs // Lori’s Bookshelf Reads // The Wolf and Books // Bookishly Rebecca // The Book Prescription

Even if I didn’t tag you please feel free to do this one! And definitely tag me in your answers, I’d love to see them!

Book Review

Book Review: Smoke & Summons (Numina Trilogy #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 332 pages
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: February 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

NOT AS EPIC AS I HOPED.

The summary unfortunately had me convinced of a lot more than the book gave me. I know it’s the first in a trilogy, but I expected a different story than I read.

We were immediately thrown into action, which I don’t mind at all. Everything was happening and it set the tone for the rest of the book. But then, the plot essentially was Rone and Sandis running around the same city in the same places hiding from a man while simultaneously trying to find another guy they know nothing about.

Sandis was dull. She has the extraordinary capability to become this fire horse, Ireth. Instead of learning about her powers and how to summon on her own she ran around having Rone save her over and over. I was hoping to see a lot more of the Numen and understand their history, but I think that must be a plot line further down? I’m not sure, background information and world building was altogether missing.

Rone was the best part of the story. He was sassy, a little wicked and had a deep rooted passion to protect his mother. This I am totally behind. Rone really was the bigger protagonist of the two. I loved his inner dialogue and his struggle to make a best decision among a handful of bad options.

I have a lot of questions about all of the bad guys. There’s an evil cult leader who plays his part well, but I don’t know why he’s awful. Then we have the ancient spirit, Kolosos, who we’re supposed to be afraid of the entire time and I am confused as to why on that too.

The story is there and I am still considering the second book. I can see how Sandis’s character can grow and change over the series in awesome ways. The plot definitely thickened toward the end and left me anticipating what would happen next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Very little language
  • Romance: flirting
  • Violence: guns, physical, knives
  • Trigger warnings: small scene of brief sexual assault
Book Review

Book Review: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 528 pages
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: January 29th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal. 

THIS. WAS. AMAZING.

Note: While there won’t be any spoilers from KoS, PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING if you haven’t read Bardguo’s other Grisha novels (Shadow and Bone / Six of Crows). There will be spoilers to those stories.

I was all for this book from seriously chapter two. I could not put it down. What was even greater was that this book isn’t high action. Yes, there is quite a bit of action, but the story itself keeps you so involved there is hardly a moment of pause. Plenty of literal jaw-dropping moments that will leave you gasping. It’s biggest draw is that we get to see the characters from Shadow and Bone AND Six of Crows mix. This is the real winning moment.

“The monster is me and I am the monster.”

The whole theme of the novel is over-coming your demons. Each of our main POVs (Nikolai, Nina & Zoya) are all battling something; both physically and mentally. I loved how each story was approached and how they all differed in the handling of the situation. These characters arcs are going to be utterly devastating.

Okay, first of all. I AM ALL OVER NIKOLAI AND ZOYA. I didn’t love Zoya the first time I met her (Sh&Bone), but KoS allowed a look at her background. She slowly grew on me, with all of her sass, and the fact she owns her beauty. I love her all the more for her stubborn protective streaks and her fiery nature. And the things she gained along this journey? Queen of the storms indeed.

My dear, sweet, fox, Nikolai. Oh how I love you. Y’all. This has got to be one of my top characters of all time. He is so clever and charming. I want to be in his presence always. Bardugo’s ability to write the best conversation scenes leave me giggling and in awe every time. All I want is his happiness and for him to have Ravka in some semblance of peace. Apparently, this is a lot to ask for currently.

“One could plot espionage and still hope for dessert.”

Now, Nina. Her story was the only one that fell a little flat for me. Her grief over Matthias though? That made me want to sob. Those emotions were raw and broke me. The rest of her story was good, yes, but I think will be better in the second book. I hope that all of these characters come back together! I was really hooked on Matthias and since I clearly haven’t gotten over that I’m still warming up to Nina’s supposed love interest: Hanne. I like her, and I think as her character opens up I will love her. They need more time for me to really see their relationship. Hanne’s character is strong and passionate, so I can definitely get behind that.

This is getting a little long-winded. Whoops. Can you see how much I loved this book? I’ll close up soon because we have to discuss the ending…

…But we can’t, because I would spoil it for you. For real, I went into full panic mode at the end. So many gut-punching twists. I am stunned and questioning everything I know at this point. BOOK TWO COMES OUT WHEN?

“Anything worth doing always starts with a bad idea.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy: Need to have read previous Grishaverse novels to really understand whole scope of story
  • Very little language
  • Violence: physical, poison, gun, knives, magic, etc.
  • Romance: so much romantic tension, AHH
  • Trigger warnings: mistreatment of pregnant women, mentions of miscarriage, drug addiction, murder