Book Review

Book Review: Only A Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy + Romance 
Length: 416 pages
Author: Vanessa Len
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

MONSTROUS.

Y’all. This book was incredible. I was hooked within the first few chapters and it rarely let up as this urban fantasy unfolded. Not generally one for urban in my fantasies, I ended up loving how this played out in London. I think the time-traveling aspects were exactly the right thing needed for this story that this combination led to my inability to put this book down.

Joan wasn’t a bad main character, but I did struggle with some aspects of her personality. I liked that she was incredibly loyal to her family and trying to solve many mysteries around her, buuuut, she was also a mega people pusher. It was bothersome to continually shove her thoughts down someone’s throat until they capitulated. Besides that, Joan made some tough decisions and worked with what she had, and for that, I liked her.

There’s some how a combination of fated mates (with an enemies kicker) + a potential love triangle? Honestly not sure what I’m supposed to do with that kind of romance information. I really look forward to how this expands in future books because it is wildly interesting and can go so many ways.

The magic system within the monster world is fascinating. There’s a lot to explore with the King, mysterious woman, Court of Lions and more. I think this book did a good job of giving the answers needed for THIS read, but leaving enough out there for the future books.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mass murder event, loss of loved ones, weapons use, mentions of torture (side character), racism, psychological torture, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 600 pages
Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: November 15th, 1990
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of th Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.

LONG.

That’s what kept chanting in the back of my mind. This felt long. Almost, do I want to continue this story after? kinda long. Though I give it up to Jordan. By that ending I finally felt invested in the characters. And at long last, necessary pieces of the plot started clicking too.

I think that’s the downfall with long series sometimes. You have to give them grace to lay out the details, but also hope to be captivated by each installment. The hunt for the horn left me following a traveling trope (one of my least favorites) wishing for something more.

The entire cast is growing on me. I liked getting to know them better and seeing more solid story line foundations building for everyone. I’m curious to see how this series keeps expanding.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some flirting
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, some blood/gore depiction, loss of loved ones

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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

Book Review: Shiver Me Witches (Riddler’s Edge #4) by A.A. Albright

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Cozy Paranormal Mystery
Length: 287 pages
Author: A.A. Albright
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s Halloween in Riddler’s Edge, and everyone is having a wonderful time. So wonderful that they don’t seem to care when two women are murdered on Pirates’ Pier.

There’s a strange new magic affecting everyone. Everyone, that is, except Aisling Smith. But without the help of her friends, will she be able to find the killer in time?

Dealing with murder, magically-altered friends, and a fair few ghosts and pirates is going to make for a busy Halloween. But even if Aisling gets through all of that, there will be one more mystery left to solve. A mystery that means more to her than anything.

Will she finally discover what happened to her parents?

SPOOKY.

Reading this around Halloween was a perfect decision if you ask me. Another great read for this series!!

I love how Aisling really got to shine in this book while the rest of the town was under a curse. Using her wiles and ingenuity, Aisling cracked the case and saved her friends. It was an interesting story line that worked into the bigger plot and I’m always impressed at how that happens.

It was also great getting more about Aisling’s family!! I don’t want to discuss too much because spoilers, but things are progressing well. A quick, delightful read. On to the next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal cozy mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, kidnapping, attempted murder

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