Book Review

Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 325 pages
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: April 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways. 

CUTE AT TIMES.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book when I first started reading it. I wasn’t immediately drawn in and had a hard time connecting with everything. I think the second half of the book was MUCH better and I was so excited when Tiffy and Leon finally met in person.

This was a charming read. I loved watching Tiffy and Leon’s friendship start over post-it notes. That’s precious. The notes were cute and endearing and I really do think letter writing is its own form of intimacy (especially because nobody does it today). You could easily see the opposite spectrum of personalities they had. Tiffy effervescent and loud. Leon reserved and thoughtful. It was an opposites attract that worked so well.

The main conflict centered around Tiffy’s ex boyfriend, Justin. He angered me to a whole other level and I don’t feel like giving him the time of day in this review. What I did like was the approach that Tiffy’s friends had to help her. It can be hard in many ways to work through an awful situation like that (emotionally abusive) and I love that Tiffy had such a strong support group.

I thought the premise was unique too. I think I would be way too nervous to share a flat with someone I had never met, but I’m really happy it worked out for them. I got some good bubbly feelings from this, but it just didn’t have everything I needed to be a GREAT rom-com.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, some almost love scenes (with mild description) and one fade-to-black love scene
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: abusive relationship (emotional/controlling), PTSD from the relationship

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Book Review

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

DARK AND CREEPY.

This isn’t a thriller, but the subject matter is definitely in that category. A wasting death that seems to be attacking everyone, making limbs turn black and amputations be the only possible solution. WHAT. Lock me in a tower and throw away the key. I don’t want anything to do with that.

I listened to this on audio so I like to mention the narration. The female voice was fine, she did it in an accent (because the character is said to have one). It was easily understood and I thought brought Nedra more to life. The male voice I did not love the way it was done. He was hard to understand and I struggled to get through Grey’s chapters because of it.

The magic system is a bit twisted y’all. I actually didn’t like it. NOT because it wasn’t thought out and put together well, but because it involved harming animals. Mice were only every actively used in this book. The concept was drawing out someone else’s pain and giving it to the mouse/rat. It made me sad for the tiny creatures.

Nedra was an MC that had to grow on me. At first I was realllll annoyed and tired of her being utterly convinced it was ONLY her who could save EVERYONE. She pushed people away so much and I kept thinking, girl chill. I did love her character change by the end because who doesn’t love when an MC turns into more-or-less a villain? It was wicked good and I can’t wait for the next book to see what she does next.

There were some plot twists at the end that I was like WAIT WHAT? [even said that out loud]. I had imagined a different character being the instigator of the plague, and was totally surprised by who it was. Love it. I love when a book can trick me and keep me on my toes.

I feel like I need to mention the romance part. There’s a little in here. Grey and Nedra form a relationship over time and it’s cute. They get to know one another and hang out, have a few sweet kisses. I did like it, but it seems like it’ll play a bigger role in book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a make out
  • Violence: wasting illness, amputations, animals being used for magic system, guns; pretty violent and gory

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Book Review

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 305 pages
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected Release Date: November 19th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

NEEDED TO BE LONGER. NEEDED MORE CARDAN.

How do you start a review for a book you’ve been waiting for all year? Especially when you feel a bit let down by it? I’m not sure myself so be forewarned, this review might be interesting.

What I missed most was my sweet baby Cardan being snarky as all get out. I LOVE that I got to see a side of him that has been forthcoming throughout the previous books. He’s been changed by love and it’s an amazing character arc. Cardan lost some of his personality though and I missed his sass. You can be sassy and still in love! WHERE WAS HIS PAGE TIME TOO? Ugh. Halfway through and I had only seen him twice. I needed way more of him.

I also have thoughts about his story line that I wish I could convey, but I am not ruining it for anybody. So if you’ve read it and want to discuss please find me on Instagram! I will discuss his transformation all day.

Speaking of way more, this book was 300 pages barely. It was the shortest book in the series and it was a finale. Odd doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts when I brought this out of the package. Everything wrapped up so fast. The action did keep moving and there was a good flow. There were no deep connections to anything happening. I wanted to dive to another level and expand upon the world and scenes.

I did love seeing how love changed Jude too. Her thoughts and actions remained more like herself at least, but she also was way into Cardan. And I was way into them. Jude made me frustrated when she kept making obvious mistakes that I knew were only leading to the next plot move.

Overall series thoughts pretty much maintain themselves for me. I’ve never been a fanatic for these books, but they’ve been a good read. A solid YA fantasy that has enemies to lovers (the ultimate trope) and fae (the ultimate character).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a love scene with minimal detail
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, arrows, animal attacks, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Expected Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 

SO REFRESHING.

I mean seriously. A romantic contemporary centered around a married couple? It’s a sub genre I didn’t know I needed, but now want entirely more of.

Gavin and Thea were so mesmerizing to watch. I read this book in under 24 hours because I truly could not put it down. I love how sweet Gavin was and how he truly wanted to make his marriage work.

Both Thea and Gavin enraged me at times with how stubborn and frustrating they were acting. While you’d think this would ruin the book, it doesn’t. This really made the characters real and human. Marriage is hard. Great, but hard. There’s so many layers to a marriage and what it takes to hold on when the best option truly seems like giving up. Mistakes were made on both sides and it took Gavin really diving into his backstory to convince Thea they both had more to give to their relationship.

Thea was the initial instigator in wanting a divorce and I love that this book had her perspective too. It took a lot of looking through her history and introspection for her to let go of her past. It’s hard to not allow past relationships and family dynamics play apart in your own life.

The book club was FANTASTIC. Oh my goodness, I loved it so much. They were such a random group of guys that all had this one connection, romance books. I love how they took Gavin in to their fold and helped him work through his issues. The dialogue and scenes with them had me laughing out loud. Actually laughing so much my husband asked what was so funny. They were the lighthearted and sincere group of friends that the book thrived off of.

My only issue was that the steaminess and language was a bit past my personal preference level. Language I can mostly overlook but I found myself skip/skimming over the steamy scenes because of the level of detail. The flirting and banter though? That was great and I could not stop reading during those scenes. Thea was so flustered with Gavin that it was absolutely precious.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a lot throughout
  • Romance: sexual banter, flirting, kisses, make-outs, detailed sex scenes
  • Violence: physical

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Maiden Ship (The Maiden Ship #1) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 348 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Self-published/Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: February 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

I WANT TO BE ON THE MAIDEN SHIP.

I really enjoyed this fantasy tale. It has whimsy, mystery, romance, and so much more. For a first book in a series it definitely kept me intrigued and interested in where this story goes next.

These characters were all amazing and so well thought out. I felt that by the end I had a good grasp of everyone and love them all. I liked the unique personalities and quirks that each one came with. One of my favorites was definitely Dain, the main POV. He was adorable, yet strong and had to go through some growing pains that really added to his arc. I think the next book will only add to his demeanor as he truly steps into the Captain position.

I’m also entirely obsessed with Mo. And Toff. And Sable. And Lydia. And Tars. And Casper. And Ileana. SEE. I JUST CAN’T CHOOSE. But really, Ileana’s background and story line have me totally enthralled. I love that her story is truly just beginning and that with the the help of The Maiden Ship, I’ll hopefully get to see a happily ever after.

The romance between Dain and Sable was sweet. I looooved the banter between them and how Dain blushed a thousand times over every time he saw Sable. They radiated passion and a true connection. They better be endgame because I am here for it.

There’s a great world set-up that combines memories of the past with the present to leave an unknown future that I NEED answers for. I felt the premise was unique and I looooove books that involve the sea. I find it only enhances everything as the ship travels from one location to the next. The expansion of this world and its politics and magic system (through the series) are only going to make it even better.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: flirting, kisses
  • Violence: creature attacks, magic, physical, swords

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Book Review

Book Review: Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 471 pages
Author: Kristen Britain
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: November 1st, 1998
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G’ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount’s neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a “life and death” message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission “for love of country.” As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”

Karigan’s promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

FOUND A NEW FANTASY SERIES TO READ.

Thanks to a library book sale I picked up the first three books in this series on a total whim of, I’ve heard of this before. And that’s it. All I knew was that it was a fantasy book with pretty good reviews.

I surprised myself by really enjoying it by the end. The first half was a bit slow. I know this is a long series so I understand needing to build-up and create a world. It just took longer than expected. Karigan was spending most of her time on the run and I was missing the bigger plot.

Once Karigan made it to her destination things escalated quickly. I love the devious nature of it all and that I didn’t even catch who the bad guy actually was! The magic system and politics of this world created some intense dynamics. The clashing of the brothers for wanting to be King, a fae trying to create a ghost army and Karigan just wanting to go home.

I love Karigan. I think she has some growing up to do (which is fine) but she was a spunky character I adored. I found her brave and bold and loyal to her family and who she was. I imagine a lot of great character growth for her in the coming books.

The only thing I felt it was missing was a bit of romance. There’s a tiny bit of maybe if I squint my eyes at the page something happening between her and a character, BUT I DON’T KNOW. I’m always looking for even a little romance so this should be no surprise that I wanted a bit more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, animal/creature attacks, murder
  • Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault, page 265: mention of an off screen rape (that a side character committed)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
Length: 372 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

HERE FOR FEMALE GLADIATORS.

I read this based off of a recommendation an old friend gave me. She reads a lot of the books I recommend and I wanted to do the same for her (since we have very similar tastes). Y’all, this was a great book! I’m so happy I picked this up and definitely want to read the next one.

The setting was off the charts. I am fascinated by the Roman Empire and its history. I haven’t come across many (if all, because I can only thing of Blood and Sand right now), that use Rome has a historical fiction setting. LOVE IT LOVE IT. I found the interweaving of real life people like Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to be thrilling. I personally didn’t know that there were even female gladiators to begin with! I enjoyed reading the little note at the end about some of the history Livingston found to add some background to these fierce ladies.

Romance was fine. That was probably the only downside to The Valiant. I thought it was starting off slow (which I’m totally cool with) because Cai wasn’t in the story that much. Then I realized…he’s really not in the story that much. Until the later second half of this book do we see him more consistently. Any interactions between Cai and Fallon are full speed ahead while I’m trying to catch up with if I even ship them or not. It left a bit to be desired, but I’m hopeful in the next book I’ll get a larger flourish of them together.

There was a twist or two I did see coming that didn’t ruin the plot for me. I actually liked where it went and how all of the information played into Fallon’s life. Fallon was an amazing heroine. Brave, a bit stubborn, loyal and real. I cheered for her in her battles and on and off the fields of battle.

I’m curious how everything will further unfold in the next book. Caesar and Cleopatra are definitely playing a part in it and I think that is so cool. I didn’t even know that they actually had a relationship until this book (and a bunch of Googling afterwards).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: gladiator battles, sword fighting, arrows; fairly bloody and gory
  • Trigger warnings: witnessing the loss of a loved one, slavery (Fallon is taken by a Roman slave trader and sold to a house for female gladiators)

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