Book Review

Book Review: Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi + romance
Length: 503 pages
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s a soldier – Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine – Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

Fast-paced, romantic, and captivating, Defy The Stars is a story about what it means to be human, about deciding what you truly believe in, and about finding your place in a dangerous world.

OH HI, A NEW FAVORITE SCI-FI.

When a Bookstagram friend shouts that she loves this book, you pick up this book. AND WOW, she was right. I without a doubt would add this to my favorite YA sci-fi lists. It was great. The audio book was fantastic too. Highly recommend listening to it if you get a chance!

It’s hard for me to formulate what I enjoyed, I just know the feeling I had when I finished it was an effervescent excitement to get to the next book. It sparked joy (that means I get to keep it right?) and that’s the best part about reading sometimes.

Totally smitten with this budding romance y’all. This kind of reminded me of LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff with the mechanical robots that essentially have souls. The books are totally different, tiny pieces reminded me of them. Abel and Noemi are PRECIOUS. I love the flawed people that they are. It made me connect with them on many levels. It’s a enemies to lovers slow burn that really grasps you. It doesn’t JUMP to a relationship. This building is only going to get better over the books and I never felt like it was draaaaagging along. Everything flowed as it should which made the romance all the better.

The plot and story itself is fascinating. I loved going to all of the different planets and seeing how people from Earth had colonized and changed them. The universe really seems fast when you have a spaceship to jump through wormholes everywhere. The politics are convoluted in a way that doesn’t leave you with an enigma, just curiosity at how everything will eventually unfold. The wickedness comes from many angles and has created a fast-paced, action filled story that has caused me to pick up book two immediately.

Religion places a bigger role in this than most fantasy books I’ve read. It was interesting to see how Gray wove those details into Noemi’s thoughts and choices. I liked this addition to it because it wasn’t screaming religion, but giving the character depth. This was the life Noemi has been living and she had to learn how her old world and new world fit together.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopian sci-fi
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: spaceship battles, physical, explosions

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

I JUST LOVED THIS.

Okay. It’s official. I loved this more than The Bromance Book Club. While I appreciated and adored that it was about a married couple, Undercover Bromance brought in my favorite trope, enemies to lovers, to make this a stellar read.

I am TOTALLY SMITTEN WITH BRADEN MACK. Oh my goodness. I fell in love with him over this book in more ways than one. I couldn’t get enough of his tougher exterior, but softest soul. And can we all applaud the fact that men express real feelings in this series? Because I am here for it. I love how Mack conquered his past and fought for his love. He was incredibly sweet and his perseverance with Liv is admirable. I’m so glad we got a sequel with him because I will be gushing for days.

The way the book club helps Mack throughout this story made me smile and want to group hug all of them too [who doesn’t?]. I love their friendship with each other and feel like the romance books have helped them all explore their own softer sides and be able to talk to one another. I love a good gal pal friendship, but seeing all of these guys together is one of my favorite aspects of this series.

Undercover Bromance covers a really relevant and serious topic [sexual assault, specifically in the work place]. This was a hard subject to read about. I thought it was well put together in the story and while broaching a tough theme it didn’t overshadow the romance. It was great to see so many men in this story stand up for women and have constructive discussions.

I absolutely was all over the chemistry between Liv and Mack. It was a lightening storm out there whenever they were near each other. The banter, flirtations, steam, honest moments, tender moments. Oh my, this book had it all. Every single thing I could ask for when looking for a memorable romance. My only 1/2 star deduction was from Liv. Occasionally I didn’t love her character. She did have a solid arc over the course of the story and once she started apologizing I was way more on her side.

There was only one added scene from a romance novel. Unlike The Bromance Book Club, where a few chapters were dedicated to a romance novel within the book, Undercover Bromance only had a few paragraphs one time. I looooove this change and thought it kept the pace and the story smooth. Nothing felt broken up as the POV switched back and forth between Liv and Braden. And can we talk about that epilogue? Because it was adorable and I live for happy ever afters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a lot of strong language throughout
  • Romance: kisses, passionate make-outs, a few detailed love scenes
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault [MC walks in on it happening; discussed throughout as one of the main themes of the story; hearing survivor stories]; domestic abuse [MC recounts past of abusive father]

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 528 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

REID & LOU: NEW OTP.

In recent memory I can easily say that this was a book that actually lived up to the hype. I LOVED IT. Barely 50 pages in, I was hooked, and I wanted to savor the rest of this amazing story.

Loved this setting. Loved the writing. Love these characters.

Speaking of, REID y’all. I love how passionate he was (and rather stubborn too), but also very tender and had a big heart beneath it all. I liked the influence his religion played on all of his decisions and emotions. He stayed true to who he was, but also learned to be open and adapt to previously misleading information. He was SO CUTE and I adore him. His love scene with Lou was also unique for YA and I found it absolutely amazing and well done (and that’s all I will say on that to avoid spoilers, but you’ll understand if you’ve read it!).

Lou was a great MC too. I love how much she chooses love. Lou wanted more out of life than what she was handed and sought after those things and I applaud her for it. Her growth was immense and she learned a lot about herself too. It was so appealing to have both Reid and Lou see outside their boxes to learn and understand about one another.

Best friend alert: Ansel & Coco. OH MY GOODNESS. The side characters were fabulous! I loved this just as much as the MCs. They had a lot to offer and actually brought something to the table. Ansel was my sweet baby and I just want to love him forever okay? I beg the universe not to kill him off in the next book, I might shatter. HE WAS PERFECT. Coco was her own fiery beast that I would so be BFFs with. Easy to love, sneaky, loyal, yes yes yes. Beau was a great addition towards the end too. I’m very curious how he’ll play a part in book two.

Lots of action and intrigue in this book. The pacing kept me constantly intrigued. There was a steady flow of things happening, to slowing down a bit, and to not notice that this book was 500 pages is a stellar job all on it’s own. I enjoyed the villain immensely more than I even considered I might. They threw in some twists I didn’t see coming and were seriously, heinously evil. I will clap for that because I hate a wishy-washy bad guy.

BOOK TWO, I NEED YOU.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a detailed love scene
  • Violence: magical, blood magic, physical, knives, swords, poison, paralysis via drugs, torture, arrows

Instagram || Goodreads

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Tropes

I found this topic easy and hard all in the same breath. I also could think of more tropes I DON’T like easier than I could come up with tropes I DO like. When I’m reading a great book I honestly don’t notice many tropes (besides the first one below). After the fact and seeing other reviews I realize how many tropes were actually present in the plot. But you better believe I notice when tropes are done poorly, making them stick out like a sore thumb.

So after a lot of thought, I’ve come up with some that I remember that I love. Not in any order, except for the first one because ENEMIES TO LOVERS ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY.

I added some covers of books that remind me of the trope, it’s definitely not an exhaustive list!

Enemies to lovers

OH MY GOODNESS. This is really my one and only ultimate trope and it never gets old. NEVER.


Someone being secretly royal

I’m looking at you Throne of Glass.


A romance that begins with one of them undercover

And no, not in a bad way. I’m thinking along the lines of The Kiss of Deception and The Traitor’s Kiss. That moment when the reader knows what’s going on, but they don’t yet and the fall out leads to a passionate kiss. YES.


Families with a lot of siblings

Big families (Dance of Thieves – Ballenger clan) are great. I love all of the banter between siblings. SO FUN.


Forbidden romance (star-crossed lovers)

UGH WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE TOGETHER FOREVER?


Parents who are still alive (at least one)

I like a present parent, what can I say?


When a legitimate villain does a good thing

I’m a sucker for a bad guy who makes one good move in their time.


A good partnership with fantastic banter

I LOVE when the banter is off the charts between a working friendship. These are some great examples.


Squad goals

Squad 313, Night Court, Court of Terrasen, Skyward. This is without a doubt one of the greatest tropes ever.


Royalty living in exile, running away

Banished royalty gathering a group to take back their throne? YESSSS.

What are some of your favorite tropes? What about least favorite? It was fun seeing how many tropes are in one book! Lets talk in the comments!