Book Review

Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult dystopia + romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

WELL THAT WAS INTERESTING.

What a unique book y’all. And yet…not? I did a buddy read for this book and we both were finding so many tidbits from other books in here that combined to form a whole new novel. It was definitely something different.

I liked how quick it was to read. I would look down and be astonished at how many pages had already flown by. The Grace Year keeps you involved and wanting to know what happens next. I had so many questions throughout it that kept me on my toes. Who was going to die? Why did this happen? Wait, is that what I think it is? Ah, I love a book that makes me question.

This was also a very odd world-system. I would have loved to know if this county’s system was more broad than just this small area, but I was creeped out by the system anyways. Sending the girls off because they have “magic,” was so barbaric I could barely handle it.

One aspect I really didn’t like that caused the 4 star rating was the love story. For someone SO INCREDIBLY ADAMANT they didn’t want to be married or committed in anyway to fall for someone else was a bit unbelievable. The way it was written made it seem like a shorter time period than it really was which also rushed the process. Tierney’s relationship could have used a lot more development, or flat out cutting this piece out.

I liked how everything ended. Michael was a saint and I can’t believe the compassion and forgiveness he had for what Tierney did (which was another piece of the book I didn’t love). Michael did everything for her and I was grateful to see them begin to work things out. I also loved that the usurper was close to home. It made the theme of this book clear, women need to support women and not tear each other down.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: very little detail fade to black scene, some kisses
  • Violence: murder, lightning strikes, punishments in the form of removing fingers/ear/toes/hair, poison, knives

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Book Review

Book Review: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 308 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: March 24th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

I FEEL LETDOWN.

I’ve been a big fan of Christina Lauren as of late. I haven’t read all of their books, but most of their newer contemporaries. I was excited for this one, but I have been letdown. This was not a gem.

My biggest gripe was that the focus was way too much on Melissa and Rusty. So much so I feel like their arguing and battles between each other completely overshadowed the story about James and Carey. I felt like James and Carey were hardly even there!

The handful of times they were alone, I was loving those snippets. They were cute, I could feel the chemistry and vibe between them, and everything was fine and dandy. With the focus on other things it forced their relationship to appear fast and without much lead up. One scene we’re throwing out a bit of a frenemies vibe. Then we’re having a hot make-out in a pool, then sex, then break-up, then back together. It was disjointed and hardly gave me a chance to appreciate the stellar characters they were.

I really did enjoy Carey and James. I thought Carey was resilient, brilliant, and a genuinely nice person who wanted what was best for others (and sometimes forgot to think of herself). James was trying to overcome a poor situation, clearly handsome, and easy to talk to. They both worked really well together I loved their open and honest conversations.

I’m still here for reading Christina Lauren books. I know not every book by every author will always be a hit. I’m looking forward to what the plan on writing next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few mild detailed love scenes
  • Violence: arguing resulting in items being thrown at another person; an accidental fire
  • Trigger warnings: a cheating spouse

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Book Review

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

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Christian Historical fiction / Romance
Length: 544 pages
Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: March 1st, 1993
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first book in the bestselling Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT ENDING.

I’ve read some cliffhanger books in my day (looking at you Shadowhunters). I’m generally used to it, can keep my cool. NOT THIS TIME. I sat there gasping and closing my eyes (listening to this as an audio book) with my spouse staring strangely at me wondering what my problem was. TRUST ME, there’s a big problem.

I digress, we’ll move on. Just know, there’s a big cliffhanger at the end.

Anywho, this book started off a bit slow for me. There’s a lot of world building and character structure that goes into setting the scene for the craziness that was Ancient Rome. I love that this Christian historical fiction was set in this time period because it did add to the uniqueness of the category. It’s not often to see so many gladiator battles in this genre.

As I settled into the book I became really involved with quite a few characters lives. Especially Marcus and Hadassah. How could you not?! Watching this doomed relationship even attempt to break soil was tearing at my heart. I felt a lot of the emotions right along side of the characters as they made their destructive choices. Speaking of destructive, I CANNOT EVEN with Julia. How I loathed her so much and it made me like the book more because of my strong emotions. Her awfulness would blow my mind and I think she needs to stay faaaar away. Going back to characters I enjoy, Atretes is now my favorite gladiator. I loved watching how his inner turmoil and struggles affected him. He is a strong and bold man looking for a light at the end of the tunnel that he can’t see, yet.

This story was filled with an intense amount of happenings. Occasionally, I did find it a bit preachy. At other times, I felt like it sang to my soul. There’s a good mix of biblical scriptures and the roughness that was Rome. The writing slowly pulls you in to where you can’t look away as the pages keep flying past. I’m anxiously awaiting reading the next book!

Overall audience notes:

  • Christian Historical fiction / Romance
  • Language: some derogatory and vulgar
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; mentions of sleeping together and hints at knowing about many partners, etc. but no actual detailed scenes
  • Violence: gladiator battles, starvation, physical beatings, poison, murder, see Trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: slavery, extreme starvation, abortion (described in detail), domestic abuse, eating disorder, murder, abandoning a newborn

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Book Review

Book Review: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Rating: ☆☆☆ 
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

HMM.

I’ve had a lot of friends read this. And I have heard literally every review under the sun. All things from 1 star rants to 5 star raves. I have decided that I’m smack in the middle. There was some parts I did like (hint: Josh) and some parts I didn’t like (hint: Kristen).

Good stuff first, JOSH. Dude, this guy put up with so much crap throughout this entire book and I feels deserves more praise. He was sweet, funny, attractive and the kind of guy I would enjoy being around. The only thing that happened that I didn’t love was his drunk confession of love. I personally just don’t like those scenes.

Bad stuff next, Kristen. I was really hoping to see a bigger character arc from her. I knew the main subject of the book was infertility and the struggles Kristen was going through involving that. Her despair was palpable and I truly felt for her (and those) in that situation. I thought I would see her come to a better understanding of herself and knowing she is more than whether or not she can have a child. There was no change until the last page of the epilogue where I finally felt she was at peace. I wish this had come sooner. Her sarcasm and wit were on fire and she had me laughing at some point. Yet, Kristen’s CONTINUAL pushing away of Josh instead of just LISTENING for a minute almost annoyed me.

The romance was good. I liked the build up. The only thing that bothered me was the emotional cheating. I know some people don’t consider this cheating, personally I do. After that point I loved watching the banter and heat between Kristen and Josh.

I was emotionally attached to some parts of the book involving Kristen and Josh. I was HIGHLY involved emotionally in Sloan and Brandon’s story. I’m still a bit shaken up over it because I was blind-sided by that whole bit. Makes me curious where Jimenez’s next book will take us (I’ve heard good things about it too!).

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: A LOT of strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, two love scenes that were too descriptive for me personally (on the very explicit spectrum)
  • Violence: car accidents, discussion of a firefighters life
  • Trigger warnings: infertility

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