Book Review

ARC Book Review: Last of the Talons (Talons #1) by Sophie Kim

Rating: ★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Sophie Kim
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own.

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

YIKES.

I was really excited to read this book and within the first few chapters I saw the downfall was imminent. I love books that have more dialogue than not. And it took 5 chapters for any major dialogue to actually start occurring. This became a theme throughout that made me start passing over paragraphs of incongruous information.

With an enemies to lovers romance I was hoping to latch on to, I was let down here as well. Lina continually came off as immature while Rui was really into her, but without a good basis for the attraction? These two did not connect well, but apparently he wanted to kiss her from the moment he saw her and I don’t believe it for a second.

The relationships (platonic and not) weren’t here either. I wanted to see Lina have one friend, a true bond, someone for her to move forward with and nobody became that person for her. The side characters were one dimensional and only placed in to further the plot occasionally.

There’s other issues I had with some of the sub-plots and OH, YES. The flashback chapters?! Were always out of nowhere and had no merit into the current timeline. Instead of showing us Lina’s character as the book progressed, random flashbacks were thrown in to show that she used to have a found family? IT DID NOT WORK.

Anyways, I’m frustrated with this book clearly. High hopes were dashed and I won’t be continuing the series.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: make-outs & an implied night together
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of friends, murder, kidnapping, poisoning, near drowning and other near death experiences, weapons violence

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Liar’s Crown (Dominion #1) by Abigail Owen

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Abigail Owen
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

One born to rule. One to forfeit…

Everything about my life is a lie. As a hidden twin princess, born second, I have only one purpose—to sacrifice my life for my sister if death comes for her. I’ve been living under the guise of a poor, obscure girl of no standing, slipping into the palace and into the role of the true princess when danger is present.

Now the queen is dead and the ageless King Eidolon has sent my sister a gift—an eerily familiar gift—and a proposal to wed. I don’t trust him, so I do what I was born to do and secretly take her place on the eve of the coronation. Which is why, when a figure made of shadow kidnaps the new queen, he gets me by mistake.

As I try to escape, all the lies start to unravel. And not just my lies. The Shadowraith who took me has secrets of his own. He struggles to contain the shadows he wields—other faces, identities that threaten my very life.

Winter is at the walls. Darkness is looming. And the only way to save my sister and our dominion is to kill Eidolon…and the Shadowraith who has stolen my heart.

Thank you to RB Media and Netgalley for the Audio ARC.

WOW THIS WAS GOOD.

Book hype for this one is real. I super enjoyed this.

Audio notes: I don’t have any! I LOVED the audio. Great narrators. Easy to listen. I flew through it. Highly recommend that avenue if you’re into audiobooks!

Another read where I felt remined why fantasy genre is the best genre. I loved the world building and shadow concept. The twists behind that was so cool and I felt added another unique layer to this story overall. Filled with a morally gray love interest that you can’t get enough of, I was hooked. I liked the steady pacing and that there’s a slow build to everything else happening.

Meren was a strong FMC and I liked her tenacity and loyalty to her sister. I love a great sister bond and I know that’s what is happening here and I hope we get to see more of it in the next book. Reven is the complex soul I love and I’m happy that I feel like I know him as well as Meren. Sometimes the love interest gets tossed aside and seems one dimensional and I liked the complexity his characterization received.

The ending was WILD. Still a bit in shock and everything expertly led to this conclusion. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one open door + some innuendo
  • Violence: moderate
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: battle scenes, loss of life, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary romance
Length: 364 pages
Author: Lynn Rush & Kelly Anne Blount
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Cutting Edge meets Friday Night Lights in a sizzling new hockey romance from bestselling authors Kelly Anne Blount and Lynn Rush.

Willow
Figure skating was supposed to be my whole world. But one unlucky injury and now I’m down…but I’m definitely not out. I just need to rehab—a boatload of rehab—and who’d have thought I could do it on the boys’ hockey team?

Of course, the infuriatingly hot captain of the team seems to think I’m nothing but sequins and twirls. What’s a girl to do but put him in his place? Game on.

Brodie
Hockey is my whole world. I’ve worked my tail off getting my team in a position to win the championships—hopefully in front of major college scouts, too—so what’s a guy to do when a figure skater ends up as our new goalie?

Of course, the distractingly sexy skater thinks I’m nothing but a testosterone-laced competitive streak. And surely she’s only biding her time to heal, then she’s gone. Game over.

ALERT: RAGING TEEN HORMONES

That’s about the only major thought that kept going through my head. This was a book that couldn’t decide what age group it actually wanted to be apart of. The dialogue, conversations, and inner monologues swayed from young YA and towards NA (new adult). It was weird. Really weird.

What I did like was the hockey story. I love a good sports novel and I LOVE that Willow got be the goalie for the boy’s team. That was awesome and really neat to see. I liked reading about the games and wondering who was going to win.

I also did enjoy Willow’s character progression. Ridiculous thoughts about Brodie aside, she made some great strides in figuring out what was best for her. I think she made the best decisions with the information she could and picked what she truly felt was going to make her happy in the long run.

The wild drama all over the place took me out of the story. I don’t mind a bit of drama, but sometimes it hits a line. This one rolled way past that point. Everything felt amped to try and create an emotional side, and I didn’t feel much of that. I wish I could have felt drawn to some of the inner story more, but it’s fine. This was a quick YA romance that had some good, some bad.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sports romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: difficult sports injuries, sexism, misogyny, loss of a parent through car wreck, parent abandonment, parent incarceration, alcoholism

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Book Review

Book Review: Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: August 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

Ohhhhh my goodness, this was precious. If you’re a YA contemporary romance fan, add this to your TBR stat. It was reminiscent of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I was smitten with this childhood friends to lovers story.

The audio was great and really brought these characters to life. I loved getting to know Winnie’s family. It’s always refreshing to me when I get to read about sibling and parent dynamics in a book. They were heavily present and really showed off the cultural aspects and coming of age for Winnie.

Faking dating trope alert! Bless Winnie’s Mom for including this because Mat and Winnie were definitely endgame. I thought having all of the dates be recreations of pop culture romances were laugh out loud inducing. I’m sure people thought I was the weird one smiling out on my jogs while I listened to this. It really is a can’t help but smile book.

The ending came together so beautifully well. Winnie came through in owning who she wanted to date and how she wanted to go forward. Her parents were accepting and loving of her decision (and her sister’s). All around heartfelt and wonderful.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs

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