Book Review

Book Review: Earth’s End (Air Awakens #3) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 350 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: February 11th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

BEST BOOK YET.

You know when you love a book SO MUCH that you can’t even form a coherent sentence let alone a whole review? This is what’s happening to my mind trying to put this together. Let me leave at least this one sentence here: I love this series with a crazy bookish passion and it has been the best series I’ve picked up in 2019 thus far (And I’m not even through with it yet).

I swear this series is out to destroy me. Though this much heart ache hopefully leads to the amazing reunion, happy ending I MUST HAVE. Sucker for happy endings. Give them allllll to me.

First and foremost, I am completely obsessed with Aldrik. He is a tortured soul with such deep pains and is struggling so much, and somehow still gives his heart to Vhalla. Every time they spoke I couldn’t handle how sweet his words were to her. HE LOVES HER SO MUCH.

Vhalla is a stellar character in her own right. I gave the first book (Air Awakens) 4 stars because I wasn’t convinced that I liked Vhalla, but figured there would be a major character arc brewing. And so far, so good! I love how passionate, stubborn, and full of strength she is. We also got to see her break to a very low point. This was raw and important for further moving her along in the story. It was a moment for her to dive deep and find her own way.

I do feel it pertinent to mention that this is a fantasy series with a heavy focus on the relationship between Vhalla and Aldrik. I love books like this, but I know others prefer a lot more components. And while this does have a lot of politics, battles and tense moments, it’s heavy on the focus for my OTP.

I love the friendships! Vhalla has her own little crew and all of the relationships have blossomed and flourished in their own ways. She has a support team and everyone actually enjoys each other’s company. Nobody annoys me. They all have a purpose and I know enough of their background that I’m going to be devastated if someone else dies (knock on wood).

This book kept me on my toes. I was never sure what was going to happen next. Would get a nice moment? Would someone else die? *Bonus: Kova is not afraid to kill off characters* Would all be okay?! ALL IS DEFINITELY NOT OKAY.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs, a few love scenes that are a little detailed, but mostly fades out; nothing explicit
  • Violence: swords, poison, battle scenes, loss of loved ones, elemental magic
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism – used specifically to suppress feelings/emotions

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Book Review

Book Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: July 17th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

ALL THE EMOTIONS.

This book tore me up. I love anything CoHo writes. I haven’t read all of her books, but currently I’m at 8 of them and this one might be my favorite yet. Hoover is able to take this intense situations and emotions and create a book that somehow still gives you hope at the end (even if you’re crying).

I really felt this book because of it’s main issue, infertility. This is not a light conversation ever and while I personally haven’t had to deal with this, I know many families who have. I thought the way the book conveyed how deeply infertility can affect someone (and those around them) was done well. There were so many sides to take in and brought in a lot of moments that made the book an easy five stars.

“I love you more in this moment than any moment that has come before it.” 

The now vs. then timeline had me speeeeed reading because I had to know what happened next. It was the perfect stop and starts as I got to see them fall in love, and find that love again. The last couple of chapters with Graham’s letters DESTROYED ME. I seriously went to go kiss my husband after finishing this book because it made me consider a lot. Every couple has to remember why they love each other sometimes and not to give in at the same time. So many truths in this book.

Characters made me want to hug them, yell at them, cry with them, and much more. I couldn’t believe some actions taken by others. It was hard to watch. I am in awe of how great this book was and I am forever a CoHo fan.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kiss, make-outs, detailed romance scenes
  • Trigger warnings: self-harm (MC cuts her wrist once), infidelity, infertility, miscarriage, depression, grief, cheating,

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Book Review

Book Review: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical fiction + Romance
Length: 346 pages
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: April 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life–and heart–to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly. 

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

SOPHOMORE BOOK IS EVEN BETTER.

Oooooh, I loved this even more than Next Year in Havana. Let me also say, I love the Audible narrator: Kyla Garcia. She did another amazing job and kept me completely entranced in this book.

I love Beatriz Perez so stinkin’ much. She was an amazing MC and brought out all of the feels. I love how strong and independent. Beatriz has so much loyalty and love for her family and her country. This control and defines all of her decisions. And even when I wanted to shout out her, I also understood her choices.

THIS ROMANCE THOUGH. Okay, didn’t start out in the best light (trigger: cheating), but guys. I will firmly stand by that this might be the only case where I accepted and was okay with it. Her relationship with Nicholas made me swoooooon. Oh, it was so good. And also destroyed me, but I’ve already accepted that this is how Cleeton likes to torture us. I was happy with the resolution and felt relieved at how it all came to a conclusion.

My reasoning for being 4.5 stars vs. 5 stars was that, at times, it was too political (for me personally). It would cause some scenes to drag on a little long when I had already gotten the point.

BUT, what was really cool was having Beatriz work with the CIA. It was really interesting to have that plot line and her relationships with the agent was intriguing and intense. I loved watching Beatriz navigate the crisis in Cuba, the JFK assassination and the beginnings of the Cold War. History was woven perfectly into the timeline.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, and a handful of light detailed FTB scenes
  • Violence: guns, murder, threats of warfare, mentions of the JFK assassination
  • Trigger warnings: cheating (while engaged)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Contemporary New Adult Romance
Length: 388 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 7th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

THIS. WAS. STELLAR.

Tear-shedding (yes, one scene totally had me shedding a few tears), heart-stopping, and utterly devastating, this book took me to some high highs and some low lows. I’m still speechless thinking about it.

I started off really not loving Calla. She was materialistic, vain, selfish and more. I dearly hoped she would have a turn around in this book, and I’m so happy she did. Calla became more lovable as a character to me and all I wanted to do was give her a hug. She went through a lot in 400 pages.

The story itself, focusing a lot on her Dad left me crying y’all. I know I already mentioned it, BUT IT HAD TO BE SAID AGAIN. I don’t generally cry reading. Granted, it was 2 AM so being really tired probably contributed, but still. There was one scene in there that I *can’t* handle. I loved watched Wren and Calla figure out each other and actually open up. There wasn’t heavy drama between them. It really focused on remembering how important family is and soaking up any time you get to have them. The awkward first encounters turned into deep conversations where they had a chance to know about each other’s lives.

Now, we know I have to talk about the romance. OHEMGEE. Jonah. My rugged space cowboy Jonah. I was totally impressed with how this was done. There was so much angst I could barely stand it. It was amazing. Fantastic banter that left me chuckling (and a few good pranks that made me squeal). Sweet, loving moments where all the emotions came out. All of it. Tucker turned the span of a few weeks into this magical romance that makes me so happy I picked this book up.

While I still don’t want to fly on tiny planes. This book also gave me major wanderlust. I wanted to be in Alaska. Seeing these gorgeous sites in my mind wasn’t doing it justice. The beautiful writing made it feel like I was really in this small towns and rugged landscapes.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a mildly detailed love scene and others more glossed over
  • Violence: plane crash
  • Trigger warnings: divorce, terminal illness (cancer), loss of a loved one

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Adult fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Maxym M. Martineau
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Expected Release Date: June 25th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without. 

Thank you to the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the e-ARC and opportunity to review Kingdom of Exiles. All opinions are my own.

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME.

I dearly wanted to love this, the synopsis was interesting. I had read some good reviews, I was SET to love this…and then I didn’t. But I also didn’t hate it. So please take this review in that light.

First off, HIGH STAKES POKEMON. That is what thought popped in my head and I could not get it out. Leena (and other Charmers) charm these creatures into being their friend and staying with them. They use them for a handful of reasons and care for each other, so yes, if you are even a tiny bit of a Pokemon fan, you can’t miss the similarities. I actually really loved this. It was fun getting to see all of the creatures and I wish we could have learned more about them!

My biggest turn-off was the instant attraction. Noc is supposed to be an assassin after her, and literally after their first run in he’s forgotten that was his job. Immediately they both (dual POV) talk about how attractive, brave, etc. each other is and I didn’t have long enough to get behind their relationship so I felt like I was continually playing catch-up.

I liked the world-building. Maybe could have been more intricate though it was an enjoyable time as Leena, Noc + crew moved throughout the country to achieve plot goals. I really got a sense for the towns and the way most things worked. It’s an easy read overall and easy to keep going. I really loved the side characters that were with Noc (his other assassin friends). They were fun, had different personalities and forged great friendships with Leena.

As far as the plot goes, things were way too easy. For instance, this beast that Leena needed to catch to prove her innocence happened in a few paragraphs, and nothing even went wrong. There was so much build-up to how dangerous and deadly this could be…but it wasn’t. The same thing happened with Noc. His own personal issue was taken away from him so simply!? I actually doubted that it had happened because I thought there was no way it was that effortless.

I know it’s only book one, so I understand some things get left out for later installments. I was missing more backstory (and story in general), from everyone. Based off of how the story played out I believe this information is coming in book two. So while I was bummed, I get it. I also missed general explanations of some things that jumped out of nowhere.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy romance
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kisses make-outs, and [personally the only other thing I had trouble with and skipped over] a few way too explicitly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: physical, animals, poison, magic, knives, torture

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Book Review

Book Review: The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy/Romance
Length: 344 pages
Author: Erin Beaty
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: May 9th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

OKAY. THIS BOOK WAS MADE FOR ME.

Yes, I firmly believe this book was written for me, so if by the end of this review you aren’t feeling it. THAT’S COOL. I’LL BE FINE (but seriously if it’s up your alley you should read it and gush with me).

This is a love story with other components surrounding it. Definitely reminded me of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson (which I absolutely adore). The plot flowed from action, to new locations, to one heck of an epic battle scene at the end. EPIC.

My angst filled romance between the two main characters WAS EVERYTHING. This didn’t start out as enemies to lovers. It was more who are you to lovers. BUT NEVER FEAR. There was banter, some hate vibes (which created the angst I previously mentioned) and plenty of sweet, precious moments.

My dearest Sage. Girl is stubborn, rash, strong-willed, and independent. I love that she hung with the men and wanted to DO something rather than sit on the sidelines. Even better, our lovely military escort allowed her too. NO HOLDING HER BACK. What I appreciated most was when she found out some information (that of course, as a reader, I already knew) that she responded in a matter that made sense. Sage was angry, yes, but also was able to listen and understand why things were done in such a way. It made me love her character even more.

Don’t even get me started on our male POV — yes keeping his name out. It’s more fun this way, TRUST ME. Y’all he was so swoon-worthy. He’s a new addition to my ever growing book boyfriend list. His final battle scene had me cheering. YOU TAKE DOWN THE DUKE. I loved getting to know him on many levels and watching this love story grow.

There was even one part that brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t think it would happen. I appreciate this in authors though because sometimes, crap has to happen. And that’s okay, even if it pulls at all my heart strings.

Funny tidbit: the opening scenes are straight out of Mulan (the matchmaker scene). Not sure if it was actually inspired by that, but it brought Mulan to mind and I thought it was humorous.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, and make-outs
  • Violence: Knives, poison, physical, arrows, battle scenes (+gore), mentions of torture
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (a random soldier in front of male POV), domestic abuse + miscarriage (mentioned that it occurred to a character not in book), sexual assault (unwanted grab of backside & kiss to female POV)

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Book Review

Book Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult contemporary, fiction, romance
Length: 309 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right? 

SO STINKIN’ PRECIOUS.

I thought this was the cutest contemporary romance book I’ve read in a long time. It has become one of top favorites.

This book had me laughing out loud within the first few pages and I continued to smile the entire time I read. Watching Hazel and Josh crash into each other over and over was utterly adorable. And I fear I may use many more cute based adjectives before this review is over. You’ve been warned.

One of my favorite parts was the minimal “drama” between the two. In a lot of books there’s a big break-up scene or something of the sorts before the couple officially gets together. I loved that Josh and Hazel continually moved towards each other and both were realizing their feelings had changed over the months of being friends. This drama was more between the two and allowed for the relationship to change much more organically.

I loved that Hazel owned who she is. Because, boy, that is not easy to do. She was a force to be reckoned with and marched to the beat over her own drum. I loved her attitude and zaniness. She never settled until Josh showed her that she can be loved for all of who she is, not just the pieces someone prefers. Josh discovering his feelings for Hazel had me mentally saying aww over and over. His protectiveness for Hazel made me want to clap and I was so happy with the ending. These two were both so relatable. In their own ways I connected with both of them on so many levels and it made me love them all the more.

A quick, enjoyable read that was exactly what I was looking for. And having an epilogue? Even better! I loved the look into the future and seeing what they were up to.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: quite a bit of strong language and often sexual in nature
  • Romance: a handful of explicit love scenes

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