Book Review

Book Review: The PAN (The PAN #1) by Jenny Hickman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: NA Urban Fantasy Romance / Retelling
Length: 414 pages
Author: Jenny Hickman
Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing
Release Date: October 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Since her parents were killed, Vivienne has always felt ungrounded, shuffled through the foster care system. Just when liberation finally seems possible—days before her eighteenth birthday—Vivienne is hospitalized with symptoms no one can explain.

The doctors may be puzzled, but Deacon, her mysterious new friend, claims she has an active Nevergene. His far-fetched diagnosis comes with a warning: she is about to become an involuntary test subject for Humanitarian Organization for Order and Knowledge—or HOOK. Vivienne can either escape to Neverland’s Kensington Academy and learn to fly (Did he really just say fly?) or risk sticking around to become a human lab rat. But accepting a place among The PAN means Vivienne must abandon her life and foster family to safeguard their secrets and hide in Neverland’s shadows… forever.

WHO KNEW.

Who knew that I would read a book that’s a retelling of Peter Pan and enjoy it? Nay, really enjoy it? NOT ME. [I’ve never been a fan of Peter Pan]

This had the romance that I’m clearly always on the look out for. Deacon and Vivienne have this insta-ish, heated romance that I loved! This connection felt right and their banter and antics had me lovin’ every minute of it. I like how both of them have flaws and things to work on and you can see the character changes over time.

The world set up is a fun urban fantasy type. There’s only a touch of magic, but it works so well! I love the HOOK take and how the battle between the PAN and HOOK shake out. It’s very interesting and I’m curious how it will continue to go in the series. I like that I found out a lot, but that there’s still plenty more to deduce in book two!

It went back and forth between a bit of younger YA drama/immaturity to some older more mature YA vibes. I hope it continues to hang out in the mature area because that’s really working for the story. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young Adult Urban Fantasy / Retelling
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: physical, sexual harassment, kidnapping, loss of parents

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Book Review

Book Review: The Gods of Men (The Gods of Men #1) by Barbara Kloss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: New Adult Fantasy Romance
Length: 452 pages
Author: Barbara Kloss
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: June 26th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sable hated the gods. She hated what men did in their name.

Magic is forbidden throughout the Five Provinces; those born with it are hunted and killed. Sable doesn’t know her music holds power over souls—not until, at age nine, she plays her flute before the desert court and accidentally stops her baby sister’s heart, killing her. Horrified by what she’s done and fearing for her life, she flees north, out of Provincial jurisdiction and into the frigid land of exiles and thieves, known as The Wilds. There, Sable lives in hiding, burdened by guilt, and survives as a healer. But now, ten years later, someone—or something—is hunting her.

On the run again, Sable’s best chance for survival is Jos, a lethal man from the Five Provinces, who claims to need her skills as a healer to save his dying father, and she needs the large sum of money he’s offered. There’s something about him Sable doesn’t trust, but she doesn’t have many options. A spirit of the dead is hunting her, summoned by a mysterious necromancer, and it’s getting closer.

Sable soon discovers she’s just the start of the necromancer’s plan to take over the Five Provinces, and she’s the only one with the power to stop it. But harnessing her forbidden power means revealing it to the world, and the dangerous Provincial, Jos, she’s beginning to fall for.

BETTER AND BETTER.

Off to a slow and confusing start, I wasn’t sure where the hype from my friends had come. If felt dropped into a story without a basis for the location, world or magic system which left me really lost for awhile. Once I started to figure things out, we were good to go!

The romance brought on the heat (in a low steam way) as things progressed. I love the spicy kissing scenes and the clear pull between Sable and Jeric. Oh my goodness did I adore Jeric. He’s that dark and brooding type with a heart that gets softened by Sable and I AM HERE FOR IT. All of their interactions and banter made me love this book all the more.

The magic here is wild and I’m still a little confused by it. There doesn’t seem to be a full explanation for it so far, but I did at least establish how it works [mostly]. The world is also a touch confusing too. Yet again though, it did get better over time.

I like that this had a villain I didn’t see coming. My initial choices were there own brand of awfulness. I like the unreliableness of those kind of characters. It also doesn’t leave you on a major cliffhanger. The Gods of Men reads like a full story, there’s enough strings untied though where I’m saying I MUST HAVE BOOK TWO.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult/New adult fantasy romance
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses, heated make-outs (with clothing removed)
  • Violence: physical, magical, murder, creature attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved one(s), multiple instances of implied sexual assault/rape, sexual assault, attempted rape

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Book Review

Book Review: Layla by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Paranormal Romance
Length: 304 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: December 8th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love. 

INTERESTING.

Well, that was unique. Paranormal anything is a hard genre for me. So I can’t say this is my favorite Hoover book, but it did keep me invested and really dang curious where it was going.

This was completely different than any romance I’ve read. From the get-go I already felt the pull to Leeds and Layla’s relationship. I love the way this kind of connection was written (and proves that yes, I do love some insta-love/attraction sometimes). Then it took off in a incredibly far right field direction. And I spent the next several chapters trying to grasp what just happened.

While a romance book, this is also not a romance book. I was nervous in how it was starting to play out and was feeling like my rating was slipping between my fingers. The deeper I got into the book and the more revealed did satisfy any issues I was concerned with. Did take me by surprise though.

I didn’t love how the back and forth layout went and wanted a better progression. It made the characters motivations seem really skewed and was causing a lot of doubt that things were going to work. It’s a trippy ending (not as wild as Verity though) that left me with some questions, but also okay enough with everything.

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal Romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; a handful of brief open door scenes, and quick closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun violence, near drowning, emotional cheating

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Book Review

Book Review: A Deal with the Elf King (Married to Magic #1) by Elisa Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 338 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: November 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Uprooted, this stand-alone, fantasy romance about a human girl and her marriage to the Elf King is impossible to put down!

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

A Deal with the Elf King is a complete, stand-alone novel, inspired by the tales of Hades and Persephone, as well as Beauty and the Beast, with a “happily ever after” ending. It’s perfect for fantasy romance fans looking for just the right amount of steam and their next slow-burn and swoon-worthy couple.

ROMANTIC.

This was pretty good! I enjoyed some aspects, but had some issues with others. Overall, I’m excited to see where this series goes. I love Elisa Kova’s work and was definitely excited for a new series from her.

I was smitten with Eldas. My brooding, dark king with a soft side. His character development went beautifully over the course of a shorter standalone. He was the gem between him and Luella. Because Luella, Luella annoyed me. Ugh. I liked her on and off throughout. Her naivety (read: stubbornness) about many things made wish she would catch on a touch quicker. Luella communicated well, but not at times she should have that came off as just an attempt to lengthen the story.

The story was great. I love elves and faeries. I am always here for a fantasy romance. I enjoyed the quick pace and that it didn’t feel too rushed. The romance was developed well and I definitely was shouting at my book by the time we got to the there’s only one bed scene. I would have really loved even more scenes with Eldas and Luella because they had great chemistry and banter that I couldn’t get enough of. This made the middle kind of drag and have some sub-plots that took too long to workout, but otherwise, a good read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few low detailed love scenes
  • Violence: drug addiction, physical altercations, magic attacks, animal attacks

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