Book Review

ARC Book Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

HEART-WARMING.

Wow. This book was a lot different than I was expecting. I know Center tends to write some heavy subject matter into her contemporaries and this was the case here as well. I’ll mention it now (and again in my content warnings) that this book is heavily influence by school shootings.

While still discussing such heavy subject matter, Center was able to also infuse light, love and bravery too. The main character, Samantha, was such a joy and I loved her ridiculous antics and fashion choices. Sam’s deep love for her school and the kids she watches over (she’s a librarian!) was evident and was the much needed positive light. Her contrast to Duncan, the ever-brooding, tough-nut-to-crack, new principal was great.

I was impressed with their push and pull, but also thought the slow burn, took way too long to catch any fire. It was over halfway through the book before anything really started to maybe happen. I think if there was a bit more romance I would have adored it even more. I looove that they knew each other prior (at a previous school) and how that played into both of their emotions. It was cute and relatable. And I really appreciated reading the quiet, strong moments between them as discussions of their past came about.

This was an overall enjoyable and touching read. I felt connected to the story and the trauma’s that were discussed. These characters kept me wanting to read to see the full scope of what this novel had to tell. There’s a couple nods to Happiness for Beginners characters (that’s where we first meet Duncan!). I definitely recommend reading that book too, and potentially even first if you want because that book is also a gem.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: kisses, heavy make-outs
  • Trigger/Content warnings: loss of a loved one (start of the book), epilepsy (that causes a car crash), PTSD from a school shooting, heavy grief

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Book Review

Book Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 816 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

SJM’S BEST FIRST BOOK.

There, I said it. And I stand by it. This was the best first book I’ve read from Sarah J. Maas. What a brilliant debut. Man, have I have missed her writing. It never fails me by the time I finish the book that I have felt wrung out by my own emotions.

I’m not even sure where to begin or how to write this review because I’m still so wrapped up in the story. I loved Bryce. She started off poorly and her character arc and personal story was so captivating that by the end I had tears in my eyes as she finally left go of the heartache that had it’s hold on her. Bryce was another bad-a female lead to join the Feyre and Aelin gang. I thought she was had some similarities to her previous leads, but that Bryce stood all on her own.

Once again, we have a great swoon-worthy, broody male to entertain us. Hunt Athalar is slowly being etched in to my favorite book boyfriends list. We’ll see where he ends up by the end of this. Because I can’t be the only one wondering if he’s ACTUALLY Bryce’s final love interest? [Especially if you’ve read A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass, there’s just no way to know]. I liked what we got from him here. I was utterly smitten by his casual looks of just wearing a baseball cap while watching TV to his full armored self taking on demons. The flirtation and burn between Hunt and Bryce was on point and not over the top for a first book where we’re just getting to meet all of these characters. I liked their chemistry and compassion between them.

Not only were the main characters fantastic, the side characters tried to steal the show too. Especially, Ruhn. Y’ALL. He’s a new fav. I absolutely loved the brother aspect for this book. Giving Bryce a character to lean on and work through family drama with. Ruhn is funny, strong, and quite possibly my new favorite person. I think we’ll get a lot more of him and his story as the series grows. Along with him, I’d love to know more about Ithan and the wolf-pack. I feel there’s more to those stories then the original few chapters I got of them. I like that there’s many different facets to Crescent City.

I’m really curious about so many aspects of this series. The only issue I had with this was the amount of info-dumping that came out in the first few chapters. THERE’S A LOT OF INFORMATION. And that’s not an exaggeration. I feel like it took me about the entire book to really grasp the politics and set-up of the city and world as a whole. Now that I’ve latched on to those ideas I think it’ll set up for even greater installments. I liked that this was an urban + paranormal + fantasy, mash-up. Maas somehow combined all of them without making it feel silly (and I’m not usually a fan of paranormal).

Overall audience notes:

  • Urban/Paranormal fantasy romance
  • Language: a lot of strong language
  • Romance: mentions of masturbation, a detailed love scene, and a few detailed almost love scenes; kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: plenty; demon attacks, magic, physical, swords, guns
  • Trigger warnings: suicide ideation (and an almost attempt, method mentioned); depression and grief over loss of loved ones

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR!

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Oh man, I’ve got new releases, great backlist and all the in-between for my Spring TBR. It’s going to be a good season!

Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi

AHHHHH WE ARE AT LAST AT THE LAST BOOK. I still don’t know if this series should have been continued, but these books are also addicting so it’s fine. I am excited to know how this will all wrap up!


A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

My library hold for this is FINALLY coming through in the next two weeks. I’m going to try listening to it first. I’ve been interested in this because the rave reviews have me convinced I’ll love it.


Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

I saw this on Instagram, thought it sounded like a cute YA contemporary debut. And here we are! My library hold will come through soon and I think I’ll find it as the perfect spring book.


Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

I’m almost finished with Dragonfly in Amber, so I KNOW I will read this one in the next month. I’m trying to read one a month (because whoa every single one of these books is massive).


Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

UH OF COURSE I’M READING THIS THE MOMENT IT IS IN MY HANDS. That’s all the information you need about how much I loved Aurora Rising.


Dark Shores (Dark Skies #2) by Danielle L Jensen

I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book, and I am thrilled. I really enjoyed Dark Shores and I’m obsessed with her other duology, The Bridge Kingdom. This is sure to be a great read!


A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

At last, I get the ending to this series. AND AT LAST I BETTER GET A HAPPY ENDING.


Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

A denial from Netgalley didn’t deter me from still wanting to read this. My library got it so it’s not waiting in my holds! I loooove a Beauty and the Beast retelling.


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

It’s time. It’s time for me to read a book from the Queen of the slow-burn romance. This is a mega contemporary and I am mega ready for it.


King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed

I saw a favorite author of mine recommend this, and after I looked it up I knew I wanted to read it. A historical romance that sounds oh so good.

What books are on your Spring TBR? Do we have any of the same ones? Lets talk in the comments!

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