Book Review

ARC Book Review: Into the Churn by Hayley Reese Chow

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Sci-Fi
Length: 367 pages
Author: Hayley Reese Chow
Publisher: Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: April 4th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Earth was tame. Belethea is not.

Seventeen-year-old Ezren Hart interns in her mother’s terraforming lab, studying Belethea’s deadly storms with the dream of giving her backwater planet open teal skies. But when budget cuts threaten to shut down her mother’s lab, Ezren enters Belethea’s Race Royale, the system’s deadliest and most lucrative race. To win, she’ll have to run, drive, and fight her way across Belethea’s barren landscape while navigating its savage and volatile storms. With her planet’s future, and her family’s, on the line, she can’t afford to lose. But first, she’ll have to convince her handsome royale partner that their planet is worth saving.

Foster Sterling is a jaded ex-prodigy royaler still reeling from his partner’s death in a training accident. When Ezren Hart comes charging into his life, her passion reminds him of what he once loved about racing and his dream of returning pride to their planet. Still, no matter how fast they go, they can’t outrun the mysterious string of deadly accidents following them like a curse. As Foster falls harder for Ezren, he races to piece the clues together. But with time running out and their survival on the line, he’ll have to decide if their dreams are worth their lives.

Perfect for fans of underdog heroes, slow-burn romance, and high-stakes sci-fi, INTO THE CHURN races across a new planet of savage storms and dazzling tech. Fall in love with Ezren and Foster as they battle side-by-side to save their scrappy world on a ruthless interplanetary stage where appearances are everything, speed means survival, and the only thing deadlier than the storms are the other racers.

Thank you to Whimsical Publishing for the eARC.

CAPTIVATING.

I just wholeheartedly enjoyed this book. It was a fantastic young adult read and as a standalone I thought it encompassed everything needed to close off story lines and feel satisfied by the book as a whole.

The romance was SO DANG SWEET. A super low angst, unlikely partners to friends to lovers. I loved all of the tender forehead and temple kisses. The encouragement Foster and Ezren gave each other to keep going and the way they took care of each other. They were a partnership you wanted to cheer for and cheer for them I did!

And it was absolutely filled will ALL the action. Brutal storms and intense physical matches that sped the pace and my heartrate. I kind of love race themed books because you never know quite who’s going to actually win and how that plays into the story itself. I liked the mystery aspects within the sub-plots that brought this entire book together. Everything was well balanced and I continually wanted to pick this up and see what happened next.

Easily recommend. Fits perfectly into the YA category as well (i.e. appropriate for the actual age group). Wonderful characters, high action, adorable romance and an all around great read.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Sci-Fi
  • Language: a little, light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: near death experiences, loss of life, physical altercations, blood depiction, major weather systems

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: When Gracie Met the Grump by Mariana Zapata

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Sci-Fi Romance
Length: 640 pages
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: September 16th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Of all the things that could have landed in her yard… it had to be him.

For most people, finding a half-naked superbeing in their yard might be a dream come true.

Unfortunately for Gracie Castro, it’s the exact opposite.

Especially when he’s grouchy, rude, and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon.

But when a hero of mankind needs you, you do what you have to.

Even if it compromises everything you know.

And totally changes your life. 

WHOA.

Well this was different. And I think I liked it?

First off though, I KNOW MZ writes slow books, and that has never been an issue before. This one though, draaaagged for the first 200 pages. There was very little dialogue and I was left wondering when something was truly going to happen. Get past this part and the book got infinitely better.

The sci-fi element didn’t bug me at all. Granted I’m a huge fantasy reader first and foremost so I didn’t really bat an eye towards the superhero storyline. I actually really loved it. It felt unique and fresh.

Alex and Gracie’s relationship grew on me. The deeper the connection the better things got. I loved all of the little things they did together. It was charming reading about them playing house and going to a carnival and meeting the whole big family. I love big family dynamics!! I could easily read more books about some of these siblings.

There were some dips in pacing yet I couldn’t help but be totally charmed. Alex was gruff but much softer than expected. And Gracie was the typical more sunshiney MZ heroine. It was a bunch of the hallmark things that make me pick of her books and some new stuff that was fun reading about too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Sci-Fi Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a lot & strong
  • Romance: one very open scene
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, torture

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Golden Son (Red Rising Saga #2) by Pierce Brown

Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: 442 pages
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: January 6th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

WHIPLASH.

Good heavens I forgot how much I love these books! This is a reread review as I gear up for Lightbringer and its good (and painful) to be back with this saga.

I LOVE Darrow. Don’t get me wrong, he goes on one heck of a journey, BUT THE SIDE CHARACTERS. They bring the house down. I love so many of them and how well crafted each personality and soul is. Sevro, Mustang, Victra, Ragnor, etc. The whole dang cast is wonderful and completely captivating. They MAKE this book what it is.

The plot is continually pulling you every which way in the emotions field. There’s highs, lows, and everything in between. I had remembered the main gist of the novel, but getting a chance to reread and see all of the details floored me. These books are intricate and amazing and the best sci-fi series I’ve ever read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Sci-Fi
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: very high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: slavery, slut shaming, blood and gore depiction, torture mentioned

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Stealing Infinity (Stolen Beauty #1) by Alyson Noel

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: YA Magical Realism / Fantasy + Romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: June 28th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

These days, I’ve been killing it when it comes to letting people down. Now I’ve been kicked out of high school, arrested, and accepted into a remote, off-the-grid school owned and operated by an inscrutable billionaire tech guru.

Gray Wolf Academy is looking for a certain kind of student. Ones that no one will miss. Like me.

Then there’s Braxton. The beautiful, oddly anachronistic guy who showed up right when the trouble started. And he’s a total enigma—which means that I definitely can’t trust him, even if there’s something about him that makes me want to.
They all tell me I have a gift. A very rare gift. And Gray Wolf Academy wants me to learn it. To use it. Because if what they say is true, I have all the time in the world.
And that makes me the most dangerous high school student you’ll never know…

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an audio ARC.

KIND OF INTO IT.

I picked this one up after a lot of hype from Bookstagram friends and I think it did it’s job well. As this was an audiobook ARC I’ll speak to that first, LOVED. No complaints here about the narration or anything. I thought it was wonderful and I was able to listen at a 2.5x – 3x speed easily.

The set-up for this was fun. I liked the time travel aspects and getting to see different facets of history. The school setting wasn’t a big factor (as someone who doesn’t love that setting). It was more in the background to everything else Nat was learning and doing.

I didn’t love the side characters. Some in the context of not great antagonists which came off childish. And others is just that I wanted more! There were many opportunities for some found family moments and I think those should have been capitalized on.

This was somehow upper YA and lower YA all in the same book. The dialogue and personalities leaned towards younger while the themes and some of the scenes (like attempted rape) were definitely in the older group. This clash caused a issue with me finding the right niche for the story overall.

I am intrigued by the plot though and definitely want to continue. I really liked the banter at the beginning of the romance and am curious how that is going to continue to play out. Maybe a love triangle? I’m not sure. BUT I did like what Braxton brought to the table.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Magical Realism/Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some light
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual assault, attempted rape, loss of loved ones, near death experiences

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph