Book Review

Book Review: Home is Where You Are by Melissa Grace

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 328 pages
Author: Melissa Grace
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Olivia Sinclair left her dreams of a music career behind, along with her hopes for love and a family. With her husband having left her for more fertile pastures, she’s content to focus her energy on her thriving bakery, a new home, and an ornery rescue cat named Mama. That is until Liv’s best friend drags her to a concert where she meets the handsome (and much younger) frontman of the popular band, Midnight in Dallas.

Jaxon Slade is looking for a little inspiration. Up against a deadline, his ability to write music has escaped him. But when he meets Liv backstage, all of that changes. Jax is instantly captivated by her witty sense of humor and effortlessly beautiful voice. As the two grow closer, he begins to see a future with Liv by his side. All he has to do is convince her that their connection is worth the risk.

But when Jax suggests taking their relationship to the stage as a duo, fame makes some of the most painful details of Liv’s past public, testing her belief in their relationship and herself. Liv must decide between being the woman the world and her ex told her she was, or choosing the woman she was always meant to be. Home Is Where You Are, the first in the Midnight In Dallas series, is a story of love, friendship, and the family we choose.

NO.

Yeah, I should have DNFed this. I acknowledge that choice. I kept thinking there’d be a turnaround. There was not.

First mistake, the instant, first chapter, all consuming, I’m in love with this person. I know this can be accomplished well, but here, there was absolutely NO ANGST. None. I wanted to feel something for these two, but being thrown into love within the first chapter annoyed me. I knew nothing about anyone before the entire plot was laid out. You knew exactly where things were going. I could have told you the plot (including “twists”) without reading more than the first chapter.

The initial issues ramped up the pronounced drama throughout. There’s some good moments in here about a few things, but that was the small good I found.

I didn’t like how some of the characters were portrayed either. A lot of it bugged me.

I think I’ll stop here. It’s enough.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discussion of infertility and a past miscarriage, growing up in foster care, a parent with a drug addiction, losing a spouse to cancer, losing a spouse to an accident, divorce

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Book Review

Book Review: With You Forever (Bergman Brothers #4) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 350 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Cozy up for a heartfelt, humorous, sizzling slow-burn in this marriage of convenience romance about finding love—and home—in the most unlikely of places.

Axel

Rooney Sullivan is sunshine incarnate. Warm, bright, always smiling, she’s everything I’m not and the last person I have any business desiring. Desperate to hide a hopeless attraction, I’ve done everything possible to keep my distance…until a charades game gone wrong brought that to a grinding halt. 

Since then, steering clear of Rooney has been impossible. In a matter of months, she’s kissed me speechless, commandeered my art career, and infiltrated not only my dreams but my home. The woman who was once avoidable has become the last thing I needed: temptingly within reach.

Rooney

Axel Bergman is a gorgeous grump who doesn’t have the time of day for me. Thankfully, I’ve kept my crush under wraps…well, until I kissed him. Charades got away from me, okay? It was an accident! I haven’t seen him since, which is for the best. My life is a mess, and the last thing I need is to embarrass myself further with the man who avoids me like that’s his job rather than painting modern masterpieces.

It seems the universe, however, has a different plan. When Axel and I unexpectedly find our paths—and problems—converging, a marriage of convenience proves the perfect solution. At least, until I’m facing my most serious problem yet: a once-loveless marriage of convenience that’s inconveniently become a love match, after all.

With You Forever is a sunshine and grump, marriage of convenience romance about a shy artist on the autism spectrum*, and a smiley smartypants who has a chronic IBD. Complete with combustible cooking lessons, interfering family and friends, and a steamy slow burn, this standalone is the fourth in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

*This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

A NEW FAVORITE.

I loooooooooved this book SO DANG MUCH. I flipped when it finally dropped on my kindle and read it in a day. I could not and did not want to put it down ever. I flew through this magnificent love story that gave me all the feels from laughter to tears. What a beautiful book. If you only get through this paragraph PLEASE READ IT.

I would call this one of those perfect romance. Where I can’t even think of one nuanced complaint other then that it ended too soon because it could never end I would keep reading this forever.

Rooney is the sunshine heroine with a chronic illness. Something she hides from those she loves and something that has flared up badly enough she had to take a break. I love her vulnerability and strength. Allowing Axel to see the “ugly” sides of her that he made her realize would never change a thought in his mind about her. I loved Rooney’s sunshine along with the rain.

Axel, who is autistic, struggles with emotions and expressing them towards others. He’s the grump to Rooney’s sunshine. As Axel’s layers started to peel away, you really get to the heart of why he feels a certain way about himself and his “eternal” bachelorhood. I love how this two connected and allowed a space for each of them to explore new thoughts and express words that they needed to say to one another (and to the loved ones in their circles). It was emotional and romantic. Tender and incredibly heartfelt. I LOVED every single interaction between them.

Add in a marriage of convenience, a cabin in the woods, and some cute critters and this book is everything I love about the romance genre. Rooney and Axel’s love story was compelling and so full of truth that is undeniable. I swooned many many times and this book is going to live rent free in my mind for the foreseeable future.

Overall Audience Notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: occasionally strong
  • Romance: kisses to multiple open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: chronic illness (IBD)

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Book Review

Book Review: Sovereign Sacrifice (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #4) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 326 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: October 19th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Vi was supposed to be the perfect crown princess. Then, she abandoned her throne.
Vi was supposed to save the world as its Champion. Then, the world she loved vanished.

Now, all she knows is that she has deadly magic and brutal cunning and she’s ready to settle some scores.

Old loves and new allies tell her to play it safe. But Vi is done with caution. She has a chance to right ancient wrongs and this princess-turned-warrior isn’t turning back.

She’s ready to bring an end to the vortex of death the world is trapped in.

The magic, romance, and epic adventure continue in book four of Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles.

TOO MUCH OF A FLASHBACK.

I feel like I’ve really struggled through this series. It’s up and down. This was more of a down for me.

My biggest issue was that this book was essentially a flashback. I haaaaate flashback books. It’s fine when it’s part of the story that’s going forward, and yeah, things were moving forward. Yet this entire time it was essentially old news. I knew what was going to happen.

I’m still into the romance between Taavin and Vi. It’s sweet. I wish there was more between them. I’ve been enjoying the banter and the quiet moments they get together. It makes me hopeful for the finale of this series.

I don’t feel like I have much to say. I do enjoy the writing and the series at its base. This was just mostly a dud for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: light
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: physical altercations, murder, elemental magic

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Song Among the Silence (The Rhythmist Cycle #1) by Julie Janis

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 450 pages
Author: Julie Janis
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Life has never been easy for Derrick. Having been raised among the Nixormans—a species with quick reflexes who pride themselves on being great soldiers—all Derrick wants is to join the human world and finally belong. When Derrick meets a human girl in the forest, he finally takes a stand against his guardian and leaves for the human kingdom. But what he expected is far from what he finds. The human kingdom is suffering from the winter and is bathed in more Darkness than what he imagined.

Being the princess of a suffering kingdom cursed with an eternal winter didn’t make Kota Holland’s life as grand as it could be. Especially after her mother dies and her father marries a Dark mage. But when her father becomes ill and her stepmother takes control, Kota will do anything to heal him—even if it means dabbling with Dark magic for a cure.

When a cunning Dark mage enters their lives and offers to fix everything, Derrick and Kota find themselves making an unbreakable deal to get their answers. Failure to uphold their end of the deal and a curse will take their lives.

As Derrick’s and Kota’s lives intertwine, they find the winter growing stronger and the kingdom’s resources depleting. Without the answers they seek, more is at stake than just their lives. They risk the entire kingdom’s survival.

One wrong step and everything they’ve worked for will crumble.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

A GOOD DEBUT.

An enjoyable read! I liked this for an author debut. It was well written and had a good cast.

I liked the main characters and thought they had solid depth and intentions. Kota and Derrick were easy to follow and cheer for. The magic system could have used some more boundary explanation but it was unique. The concept was there and I understood most of the parameters.

There were quite a few plot holes I noticed. A mix of wondering why someone had made that choice or needing more on a side character to further explain the situation. Even though the story moves well with action and slower moments there’s room for the pieces that were missing.

It was unfortunate that most of the antagonists were POC. The evil stepmother and stepsister vibes were alive and well. As were many, many other tropes. It took away from the surprising twists because you could see them from a mile away.

Derrick and Kota have a sweet burgeoning relationship. Personally, I’d love some angst, but it’s tender and I like it well enough. Killian is a great morally grey character. I’m curious how he further fits into the series.

A mixed bag, but a positive debut. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: flirting
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, torture, near death experiences

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