Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: October 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next series, a dark tale of a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and their epic romance, set against a 19th century Italian backdrop.

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn.

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson and Netgalley for the gifted eARC. All opinions are my own!

YOU DON’T KNOW IT YET, BUT YOU NEED THIS BOOK.

I don’t even know how to start this review, I LOVED this book y’all! I enjoyed Maniscalco’s first series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, but mainly for Thomas Cresswell. Seriously, don’t ask me what I think about Audrey Rose. That being said, it made me initially nervous to read this because I worried for the main character again.

And I can say, for at least this first book, I am wrong. I adored Emilia as the main protagonist. She was bold and fierce. Made her own decisions based on what she knew and was told, and yeah, maybe ran off into danger a time or two, but what heroine doesn’t? Emilia was the missing puzzle piece I needed to love this.

Enter in, our Prince of Hell, WRATH. Ohhhh can Maniscalco right a love interest amazingly well. I feel a solidified new book boyfriend coming in over the course of this series. I loved the banter and enemies to lovers dynamic. Being forced to work together to solve witch murders led to some close knit and quiet scenes that I JUST CAN’T HANDLE. Part of his character is left very open-ended and I will sit here anxiously waiting to know if some of my thoughts/assumptions are true.

May be wondering why the half-star take down? For one of the characters involved I could spot from a mile away that they were one of the villains. I didn’t like how quick that was to pick out from the get-go. What I did love was meeting all of Wrath’s brothers. Who knew I was so interested in the Princes from hell? All so cunning and manipulative. Filled with arrogance and doing as they please. Couldn’t help myself, I loved them (and hated them, ya know) too.

There’s a lot of action, heat, and mystery involved here. I was absolutely entrenched in this Italian backdrop atmosphere. It fit this story well and only increased my adoration. Give me book two ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a scene where characters are undressed, but that’s as far as it goes
  • Violence: murder, torture, animal attacks, physical altercations
  • Content warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had. 

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

DEVOURED THIS.

Ahhhh, another good installment y’all. I love how the Bromance Book Club combines laugh out loud moments with critically important topics as well.

Hello, way super smitten with Noah here. Once again, anther love interest that I adore. Such a tough guy with an absolutely soft soul. I adored his dynamic with Alexis and trying to make sure he was the best he could be for her, and being what she needed when she needed it. Add in the *helpfulness* of his friends and its a recipe for some mistakes, and beautiful growth moments.

I only struggled with one decision. And I can’t speak to it because it would be a major spoiler, but I’m curious what others will think. I understood the affect it was meant to have on the reader, I just don’t know if it was necessary? I DON’T KNOW. I’m conflicted. The theme of forgiveness was huge in this and I think that’s why it’s swayed me to being more okay with it the longer I’ve thought about it. Either way you look at it, it was a tough choice.

Alexis was a strong main character. Her bravery to face down the Karen’s and finding her power again was stunning. I was hoping to see her grasp that SHE mattered too, and I really saw those changes by the end. Love some character growth from both Alexis and Noah. Put them together was fireworks. They were a match. No other way to look at it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong and frequent
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; a handful of open-door scenes
  • Trigger warnings: remembering sexual assaults, loss of a parent, grief

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Book Review

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 361 pages
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 19th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really. 

A MUST FOR SUMMER.

Oh I loved this.

I’ve been in a huge reading slump. And this book managed to pull out a two-day read from me because I couldn’t put it down. I knew it was practically a 5 star from a quarter of the way through. Beach Read was just that magical to me at the right time.

I almost feel like that makes it hard to write a review, at least a fully coherent one. If things go sideways, know, I LOVED IT. And definitely would recommend across the board for an adult (low-mid steam) contemporary romance that makes you smile, laugh, and want to hug the main characters.

This book has magnetizing powers. I love the polar opposite, old college acquaintances, set-up. The chemistry between January and Gus flew off the charts from the moment the met again. I love that there was a clear dynamic between them and that the banter between them was snarky AND sweet, and never came across as downright mean. The pacing for their relationship moved in just the right ways for me and I love the way they worked on communicating together and acknowledging the things they needed to work on.

For the plot, how charming for authors to be writing books while reading a book written by an author? I could really feel Henry’s voice because I could feel the same struggles she probably went through writing her novel as January and Gus worked through theirs. The juxtaposition gave a charming flair that made for easy and enjoyable reading.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few open and close door scenes; mildly detailed
  • Trigger warnings: Gus discusses his abusive Father, multiple discussions about a fictional suicide cult (they see the site, speak with those who had family members that were apart of it); loss of a loved one, adultery, cancer, divorce

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Book Review

Book Review: Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A boy desperate to hold on, a girl ready to let go.

Fitz Holton waits in fear for the day his single mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s starts stealing her memory. He’s vowed to stay close to home to care for her in the years to come–never mind the ridiculous college tour she’s forcing him on to visit schools where he knows he’ll never go. Juniper Ramirez is counting down the days until she can leave home, a home crowded with five younger siblings and zero privacy. Against the wishes of her tight-knit family, Juniper plans her own college tour of the East Coast with one goal: get out.

When Fitz and Juniper cross paths on their first college tour in Boston, they’re at odds from the moment they meet– while Juniper’s dying to start a new life apart for her family, Fitz faces the sacrifices he must make for his. Their relationship sparks a deep connection–in each other’s eyes, they glimpse alternate possibilities regarding the first big decision of their adult lives.

Time of Our Lives is a story of home and away, of the wonder and weight of memory, of outgrowing fears and growing into the future.

LOVE A COLLEGE TOUR.

I am a huge fan of books by these authors. I have adored them and was really excited for book three! This one was definitely different than the previous and while good, and had some moments I enjoyed, I didn’t feel it had the same flair as previously.

I did like the journey that both of the characters went on. It was a true journey of learning about yourself and trying to find the best path for YOU. I love how this explored options and plans with Fitz and Juniper. They each had their own personal struggles that were unique, but also had pieces that you can relate to.

The journey was fun. I really enjoyed this trope in this context. I loved seeing different campuses and experiences. It was easy to follow along and the writing as always, is spectacular.

Everything did end abruptly. And I mean, I flipped to the last page, and didn’t realize it was the last page. That confused me and left me with few feelings of resolution. It definitely need an epilogue or something. I don’t mind how the character interactions were left, it made sense to the story, but the rest of it was really open-ended.

The chemistry between Fitz and Juniper was pretty solid. I actually felt the quick connection between them. They moved quickly (and at times, too quickly), and had all the hints at that insta-love/insta-connection you want more from. I would have looooved even more from them.

Another cute and light-hearted, yet with some true moments of childhood-being-over reckoning that I enjoy seeing in young adult books. I’m anxiously awaiting for what they write next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary + romance
  • Language: occasionally strong
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs; a few closed door scenes, one little detail scene
  • Trigger warnings: a main characters Mother is diagnosed with a terminal illness (early on-set dementia)

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