Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Temporary Engagement (The Fake Love Series #3) by Summer Dowell

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: Unknown (it’s short though)
Author: Summer Dowell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Strong, independent women don’t fall for their fake fiancé.

Elena is a thriving pharmacist who is totally confident in her single status. Well, relatively confident. But when her best friend asks a favor for a needy brother-in-law, Elena can’t say no. How hard can it be to pretend for one night?

Mason is not one to beg when it comes to women. In fact, he prides himself on having his fair pick of just about anyone. But when his big mouth gets him into serious trouble, he’s looking for anyone to get him out of his bind. He just didn’t expect his rescuer to be quiet so attractive.

What happens when this one night sham turns into more than these two planned for?

Thank you to the author for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

SHORT AND SWEET.

That’s what I have liked most about this series. How simple and kind the books are. I know I’m going to get something that’ll make me smile and always a happy ever after. Just what I need sometimes, ya know?

I loved the chemistry between Elena and Mason. They really did hit it off from the beginning. Good banter, witty comebacks and moments where they got some alone time to get to know each other. I didn’t love the ex-girlfriend plot of it. I was hoping she wasn’t going to play as big of a role as she did. Kinda took away from it because she was the worst and annoyed me immensely.

Otherwise, I really liked the plot. I always wish these were longer, but I feel like this one was close to its true nature in length. There weren’t any issues with plot holes that I noticed and found myself enjoying a good, wholesome, rom-com.

I don’t have a long review for this because the book itself is on the short side (200ish pages). But if you’re looking for something light-hearted, I definitely recommend this series by Summer Dowell.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warning: character going into anaphylactic shock because of an allergen

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Book Review

Book Review: Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 374 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: February 4th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A desperate princess, a magical traveler, and a watch that binds them together with the fate of a dying world.

Vi Solaris is the heir to an Empire she’s barely seen. Her parents sacrificed a life with her to quell a rebellion and secure peace with a political alliance. Now, three years past when her wardship should’ve ended, Vi will do anything to be reunited with her family.

The Empire is faltering beneath the burden of political infighting and a deadly plague. Yet, Vi can’t help but wonder if her inability to control her magic is the true reason her parents haven’t brought her home. Suspicion becomes reality when she unleashes powers she’s not supposed to have.

Powers that might well cost her the throne.

As Vi fights to get her magic under control, a mysterious stranger appears from across the world. He holds the keys to unlocking her full potential, but the knowledge has an unspeakable price — some truths, once seen, cannot be ignored.

All eyes are on her and Vi must make the hardest choice of her life: Play by the rules and claim her throne. Or, break them and save the world.

GOOD TO BE BACK.

There’s no secret here, I LOVE THE AIR AWAKENS SERIES. It’s one of my all time favorites now after reading it in 2019. I took a break from the world after binge reading the series. Now I’m back and ready for more.

I thought this was another good starter book for this new series. It’s set with Vhalla and Aldrik’s daughter, Vi and I know I’m going to love her just as much as I love Vhalla. I liked her spunk and bravery. The firm way she loves those around her and tries to protect them and the budding signs of a future empress. All good things here.

What I can’t stand for is SOMETHING THAT I WILL RIOT ABOUT IF TRUE. Though I fear it may end this way regardless, I will hold fast to my ideals. Kova once again does a magnificent job of keeping you on edge in her favorite fashion of killing/almost killing characters. I’m already trying to pick out who I think won’t make it to the end.

The romance is budding and sweet. I love the slow build of these books and that it doesn’t reach past or rush to solidify a relationship. There’s banter, friendship, quiet moments that I know will make me fall in love and ship them as hard as I ship Vhaldrik.

This new story line with new wickedness is interesting and I think will make for a great read. I like that I’ll get to know more about the other continent and that it seems to be pretty different from the previous series.

A bit of a note, you don’t HAVE to read Air Awakens first to read this series (the author has mentioned this), BUT I do think it’s a great place to start for Kova’s books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some banter/flirting
  • Violence: elemental magic, physical, swords

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Book Review

Book Review: Talon the Black (The Dragonwall Saga #1) by Melissa Mitchell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 715 pages
Author: Melissa Mitchell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 28th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What would you do if a dragon fell from the sky? Claire Evans is a small-towner from Indiana faced with this exact situation. When a dragon crash-lands in her corn field, she goes gallivanting off to find it.

This incident triggers a chain of events that sweep our heroine into a complicated plot to destroy a kingdom. At the heart of it is a powerful sorcerer whose only desire is to bring about a past long forgotten, a past that favors those of magical blood and condemns those who are not worthy, a past that would result in the annihilation of peace and the deaths of many.

Claire finds herself thrust into an old fashioned world liken to those she’s grown up reading about, one of fantasy and intrigue. There, she soon realizes that a lifetime of books hardly prepared her. She must face difficulties never before confronted, and in so doing, discover secrets about herself. All the while, there is one obstacle that ultimately stands in her way: The King of Dragonwall. And she needs him on her side if she is to succeed. Will such a thing be possible?

The King of Dragonwall is not like those before him. Troubled and temperamental, he is scarred by more than the events that shaped him. Worst of all, he is mateless. With no queen and no heir, his subjects are demanding he abandon tradition and marry into nobility. But with the rising threats upon his borders, goblin unrest to the east, and talk of an even darker terror to the north, he will soon have far greater problems than that of finding a wife.

Modern meets medieval in this first installment of The Dragonwall Saga, which is full of magical creatures and adventure. In addition, there are a variety of interesting characters, and even a dose of romance.

THE BONES WERE GOOD.

I read this because my sister had recommend it to me, and I love her dearly, but this wasn’t my favorite. Let me give you a quote that accurately describes my experience.

“Where was her plot? What was her purpose? Which path was she supposed to follow?”

I MEAN SAME GIRL. The MAIN CHARACTER, Claire said this. And that is the epitome of this story. Take out about 300 pages (no really, this massive thing is 700ish) and THEN we would’ve had a pretty decent book. The plot jumped allllll over the place. Random character POV chapters, with their own lines that I couldn’t bother to pay attention too. Claire herself was on some kind of adventure. Did I know exactly what that was? Not really. Save the land, be the “chosen one,” the typical stuff was all I gathered.

I was hoping for more romance as well. Nothing crazy, but our two love interests meeting after 350 pages? Not quite what I had in mind. There were some relationships between other characters on the side, but since I knew next to nothing about them I was confused as to why they even liked each other.

Y’all are clearly seeing my issues here. What I gathered from the book is that the bones of the story were good. I could see vaguely how this could honestly be a good book. I mean, there’s DRAGONS everywhere. That was a big reason I picked it up in the first place. I’m holding off on the second book right now, but you never know. I might pick it back up.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + some romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: some small battles, physical, poison

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Book Review

Book Review: Veins of Magic (The Otherworld #2) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy retelling + romance
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The conclusion of Heart of the Fae, where Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology.

Once upon a time…

Heartache dogs the steps of Sorcha of Ui Neill. Although she is home with her family, she is unable to shake the memories of her time in Hy-brasil. She heals with a heavy heart, tells stories with melancholy words, and cannot forget the magic of the Otherworld. When an opportunity arises to return to her beloved Fae Prince, she makes a questionable deal. Dark magic, druidic curses, and a witch open a portal and send her tumbling into the middle of a war she must end for the sake of all who dwell in the Otherworld.

Saving the faeries will not be easy when she has become a woman they fear.

The once banished king battles his way through the Otherworld, freeing the Lesser Fae with each swing of his sword. Each attack turns Eamonn into something far more beastly than before. Geodes multiply and hinder his movements, harden his heart, and crystalize his resolve.

Together, they face the King of the Seelie Fae and his golden army to end the war that will change the fate of the Otherworld forever.

SUCH A GOOD RETELLING.

Oh what a magical and great ending to this duology. A great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I love seeing the parallels between the two of them. This of course added a lot more to it and made the story adult (in a good way).

I absolutely loved Sorcha. LOVED HER. She was so brave and courageous. Bold and brash. Didn’t take anything from Eamonn and I absolutely was all for how she handled each situation that came her way. Sorcha always knew what she wanted and who she loved. She really held this book. Though, for real, I LOVE Eamonn too. I loved the way that he acknowledged his mistakes. How much he truly loved Sorcha and actually listened to her. What a power couple they were! Long may they reign.

This book dove much deeper into the backgrounds of the fae life and the stories behind why Eamonn and his brother were in the tides of war against one another. It really made the conflict stand out and made this book more a larger impact.

There were definitely a couple of heart stopping moments where I actually didn’t know how it was going to end. It kept me on my toes and the action moments balanced well with the romance and tenderness between Eamonn and Sorcha. I can’t wait to read the other books in this universe!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a few mildly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: battles, swords, physical

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Temporary Boyfriend (The Fake Romance Series #2) by Summer Dowell

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 157 pages
Author: Summer Dowell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

How far would you go to get your dream job?Madison Hudson has spent the last six years working for the position that’s almost in her grasp. She’s got the qualifications, the schooling, the perfect resume; all she has left is to impress her future boss. Something a little white lie about an imaginary boyfriend can achieve. Eric Ward usually stays away from drama. As a matter fact, he generally prefers computers to humans. But when his sister begs him to play her roommate’s boyfriend for a night, he can’t find an excuse to say no. How hard can one evening be? Pity no one told him ahead of time what a knockout his fake girlfriend would be.How long before their little white lie turns into a whole lot more than these two planned for?

Thank you to the author for a digital copy. All opinions are my own!

SHORT AND SWEET.

Another cute installment in the Fake Love Series. At its length it’s easy to read in one evening if you’re needing a pick me up in-between bigger books (which is something I’m always looking for)!

There’s not a whole lot to this book, which is its strength and weakness. I was immediately tossed into the story with little time to bring me slowly in. Meeting Madison and her dilemma happen within the first few pages. Meeting Eric happens shortly after. I do like the quick pace, but I always wish these books were longer. More character background, some deeper drama, maybe a sub-plot or two. Doesn’t matter! Just something to make this more than 150 pages and for me to really have a chance to be sucked in. I feel by the time I get there I’m nearing the epilogue.

The chemistry between Madison and Eric was great. I looooved their banter and found myself snickering at their flirtations. They had plenty of interactions and time to talk that their relationship made sense and gave me plenty of warm fuzzies.

I liked the plot, but wish it had been more put together towards the end (there’s a name issue that never gets solved so I’m still wondering how that works out). I do enjoy these quick and light stories and definitely plan to read the last one!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy retelling + romance
Length: 506 pages
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Publisher: Self-published
Expected Release Date: March 9th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A princess longing to be free…

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong…

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart…

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

Three shocking betrayals. Two star-crossed lovers. One unforgettable journey. If you like fierce heroines, brooding heroes, forbidden romance, and action-packed magical adventures with twists you’ll never see coming, don’t miss The Raven and the Dove!

Thank you to the author Kaitlyn Davis for providing an e-ARC through Netgalley. All opinions are my own!

IF YOU’RE A BIRD, I’M A BIRD.

Wait a minute, hold on, come support an indie author and get this book on your TBR! It has everything I’m looking for in a YA fantasy and the 500 pages really felt like nothing. Let’s get into this review.

It’s a Tristan and Isolde retelling, and if you’re not sure who those people are, please Google the story like I did after reading Sweet Black Waves and getting my heart ripped out. I love the way this version was written and like the twists Davis put on it. I could definitely see some of the similarities, but it swayed far enough away that this is it’s own novel, on a whole new fantasy level.

I am in love with my cinnamon rolls Rafe and Xander. These brothers are so tender, and kind. They’re loyal to one another and I appreciated the strong family bond they have. Lyana and Cassi were great friends too. I love that everyone had a support system with them. They brought the soft moments, and the hard ones together.

Ships were flying all over the place. This is a rare example of a sort of love triangle actually not bothering me. I know, I can’t believe I said it either. But really! This was so well done. You can see where [I think] the ships will eventually end, but I like how it flowed back and forth just enough to add intrigue and another layer to the story.

THE ENDING WAS WILD. Oh my goodness so much happened. It luckily didn’t end in a dramatic cliff-hanger. Enough happened though that the next book is definitely on my radar. I love how much action and characters came onto the scene. Betrayals were flying all around, people getting tossed off of worlds, INSANE. Oh, and did I mention, THIS WORLD HAS DRAGONS?

I liked the world-building as well. I still have a few questions, but I feel like those will be answered over other books so I’m not concerned. The way the world is set up with one group on land and one group in the air is CRAZY COOL. And the way the people become birds? I need someone to tell me more about that! I love the way the Houses are all split to different types of birds and their strengths. Everything was well thought out and I am so happy I picked this up!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: VERY little
  • Romance: some kisses, a no detail fade-to-black scene
  • Violence: dragons, fire, swords, earthquakes, magic, physical

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Book Review

ARC Book Review & Blog Tour: Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the internationally best-selling author of The Simple Wild comes the continuation of a woman’s journey to Alaska and a life she never imagined for herself.

Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.

But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in interior rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.

With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.

This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all. 

Thank you to the author and Social Butterfly PR for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

MY HEART.

I stayed up way too late to finish this book because I was on cloud nine that I received an ARC for this book. One of my most highly anticipated books of 2020 and it did not disappoint.

I know some people won’t love this second book because it’s not the angst filled romance that The Simple Wild was. This is what made me love this book in its own way. Watching Calla and Jonah having to work together and actually get a chance to be a couple. I was waiting for this book to destroy me and I had my throat in my heart so many times as I read this.

Calla was still a great character. I loved her arc from book one and really loved this one too. She had a lot to go through moving to Alaska and being by herself (yes, Jonah is there, but it’s still far away from family/friends) for the first time. I really felt and understood her emotions. Jonah was still my favorite gruff bush pilot. Yet I got to see a whole new side of him. He was much more open and had more emotions on the surface that I was SO HERE FOR. I love both of them opening up about their struggles of figuring out life in the wilderness together.

There’s not the romance in this book that you’re expecting. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of steamy moments, but it’s one of a couple expressing love to each other and holding on to the connection they know they share. What I love about them though is that there was actual COMMUNICATION between them. They both would hold on to emotions and thoughts too long (as we all do), and after an outburst would actually have a constructive conversation about what was happening. I desperately was holding onto the fact that I knew there must be a happy ending by the last page. I wanted more Calla and Jonah throughout the book. The lack of Jonah at times made the conflict resolution that much more satisfying.

The Roy story line seemed a bit random at first to me. I didn’t know quite where it fit into everything else until close to the end as I got to know the entirety of the background behind him. I can’t help but love grumpy old men who are softened by something. Calla was that something. Her tenacity to just be there for him made their tentative friendship something strong.

I am obsessed with the writing about Alaska. To me, it really is a mythical place and somewhere I had never considered visiting. The description and love of their home that is depicted through all of the characters makes me want to visit someday (though I can’t say I would ever get into one of those tiny planes, NOPE). The flow of the story kept a steady pace. I liked that it would move through months at a faster pace yet the chapters never seemed rushed.

That ending was everything I didn’t think I needed. I love the sweet tenderness between Jonah and Calla. Love that Calla had really given Alaska a chance and were becoming a true part of the community. I felt wholly satisfied with the conclusion and am so thrilled we got this sequel.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: everything from kisses to love scenes; scenes being fade to black to mildly explicit
  • Trigger warnings: plane crash, mentions of domestic abuse (a side character referring to their past)

Author Bio:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. 

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.

Connect with K.A. Tucker:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2MYEDhK
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2MZEk6A
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2FqzR8K
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QPwJZs
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/36Ga0W8
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2MXBLSf
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2rZkYXP
Website: https://www.katuckerbooks.com/

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