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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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: December 2020

We’ve made it to the end of the year! I wrapped up the year with 250 books and am excited to see what a new year holds. I know I won’t hit that high of books again, but it was fun to expand genres and authors I’ve read.

Happy New Year y’all.

Favorite Reads: Forever Wild, A Sky Beyond the Storm, Skyhunter, and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
Least Favorite: Winterkeep, The Christmas Swap

  • Forever Wild (The Simple Wild #2.5) by K.A. Tucker
  • A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh
  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend
  • A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
  • A Christmas Spark by Cindy Steel
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1) by Shannon Messenger
  • Layla by Colleen Hoover
  • [ARC] A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright
  • On the Second Day of Christmas by Deborah M. Hathaway
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend
  • Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  • [ARC] The Lion of the Sea (The Maiden Ship #2) by Micheline Ryckman
  • Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) by Marie Lu
  • The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
  • [ARC] Winterkeep (Graceling Realm #4) by Krisin Cashore
  • Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2) by Shannon Messenger
  • A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
  • A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
  • [Gifted] Ex on the Beach (The Extra Series #11) by Megan Walker and Janci Patterson
  • Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

How was your reading this month? Did we read any of the same books? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: October 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next series, a dark tale of a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and their epic romance, set against a 19th century Italian backdrop.

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn.

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson and Netgalley for the gifted eARC. All opinions are my own!

YOU DON’T KNOW IT YET, BUT YOU NEED THIS BOOK.

I don’t even know how to start this review, I LOVED this book y’all! I enjoyed Maniscalco’s first series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, but mainly for Thomas Cresswell. Seriously, don’t ask me what I think about Audrey Rose. That being said, it made me initially nervous to read this because I worried for the main character again.

And I can say, for at least this first book, I am wrong. I adored Emilia as the main protagonist. She was bold and fierce. Made her own decisions based on what she knew and was told, and yeah, maybe ran off into danger a time or two, but what heroine doesn’t? Emilia was the missing puzzle piece I needed to love this.

Enter in, our Prince of Hell, WRATH. Ohhhh can Maniscalco right a love interest amazingly well. I feel a solidified new book boyfriend coming in over the course of this series. I loved the banter and enemies to lovers dynamic. Being forced to work together to solve witch murders led to some close knit and quiet scenes that I JUST CAN’T HANDLE. Part of his character is left very open-ended and I will sit here anxiously waiting to know if some of my thoughts/assumptions are true.

May be wondering why the half-star take down? For one of the characters involved I could spot from a mile away that they were one of the villains. I didn’t like how quick that was to pick out from the get-go. What I did love was meeting all of Wrath’s brothers. Who knew I was so interested in the Princes from hell? All so cunning and manipulative. Filled with arrogance and doing as they please. Couldn’t help myself, I loved them (and hated them, ya know) too.

There’s a lot of action, heat, and mystery involved here. I was absolutely entrenched in this Italian backdrop atmosphere. It fit this story well and only increased my adoration. Give me book two ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a scene where characters are undressed, but that’s as far as it goes
  • Violence: murder, torture, animal attacks, physical altercations
  • Content warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Damned (The Beautiful #2) by Renée Ahdieh

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Paranormal + Romance
Length: 456 pages
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Thank you to Penguin Teen for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

MAYBE I AM INTO VAMPIRES.

I have been long holding the belief that I was over vampires. This duology has given me hope that maybe I can try some of the new vampire books coming out! I love the way this was written. Vampires weren’t IN MY FACE, but I also love the way the interacted with their world and the group of friends turned family themselves.

The Damned also went in a different direction than expected. I guess I was thinking I was getting more romance (typical, I know), but instead, there was a lot more whimsy and fantasy aspects to it that brought the paranormal/urban fantasy combination together. Still wished there was more romance, and more Celine, because she didn’t even show up til over 30% of the way through!

Watching the push and pull between Bastien and Celine was the kind of will they/won’t they, that I loooooove. Every time they were in the same room together I was glued to the page wanting to know what would happen next. I wanted more of them together, yet the writing was beautiful anytime I did get them. Ah, yes. Love a good romance component in a book!

One of my issues was how open ended the last few chapters were. I didn’t feel much closure with this installment because it was abundantly clear, a new series is coming, with a spin-off following another character. While totally here for it, I wish somethings had been more solidified. I’m curious where the enemies are going to rise from, how the other realms will play into it, and if I’ll get to see some of my favorite character again.

Ahdieh creates some of my favorite duologies and I love her writing. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal + romance
  • Language: occasional strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; one love scene with minimal detail
  • Violence: murder, physical, magical; not incredibly gory

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