Book Review

Book Review: Be the Girl by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 313 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 21st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.

With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.

But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.

HAD A GREAT MESSAGE.

I picked this up namely for the authors’ name. I love The Simple Wild and how could I pass up a free book on Amazon Prime? Well, I couldn’t.

Though, this wasn’t the contemporary romance I thought I was getting. Was I disappointed? Only very little. Be the Girl has a strong anti-bullying message and I can definitely get on board with that. I think this should be a book more people pick up. Tucker captured a lot of issues that teenagers face daily that need more spotlight.

I really liked the boy next door romance. It was cute, simple, and flowed pretty smoothly. Emmett was easy to love and had all the makings of the typical high school romance character, good guy. Aria and Emmett had some great banter, a few heated kissing scenes and a lot of genuinely good conversation.

The real star was Emmett’s sister, Cassie. She was funny, genuine, kind, and seriously brought the best out of this book. I loved seeing that her and Emmett’s relationship wasn’t perfect. They deeply love each other, but could both struggle to communicate at times. Emmett protected her fiercely, and I love that Aria never had a second thought about being a true friend to her.

Supporting cast was on point. I love that parents were actually involved in their children’s lives. They were fun and quirky. Add in an old Uncle and an old dog and this cast really sang.

I would have loved a much longer ending. It was somewhat abrupt after the last few choices from Aria in how she handled starting over. I wanted to have more of her and Emmett’s relationship. They were getting that golden moment of being able to start again with the truth laid out.

Some of the bigger plot moments are left unmentioned to avoid spoilers. They do focus around bullying [including cyber-bullying] and the horrendous affects it can have one someone. Anyone can become a bully and it’s important to pay attention to those moments. This was a tale of regret and redemption for Aria.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a few kisses and heated make-outs (clothes stayed on, except for one time shirts were removed)
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, bullying, cyber-bullying, underage drug use (marijuana), Chapter 22: mention of a suicide by overdose, bullying someone with a learning disability

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Book Review

Book Review: Of Rioters & Royals (Swift Shadows #1) by M.L. Greye

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 421 pages
Author: M.L. Greye
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 18th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Emry is a Royal – a princess of Enlennd. As is tradition, she must have a knight at her side as her protector. The only way to appoint one is through The Trials. Her Challengers from the five regions of Enlennd must compete for the infamous title of Princess’s Knight. The problem, though, is that the people of Enlennd are split into two categories: Rioters and Royals. Finding the perfect knight may be the last of her worries. War is coming to Enlennd.

Declan is a Rioter. An upriser. An anarchist. He mistrusts the Jewels – the sovereign family of Enlennd. Yet, he is offering himself up as a Challenger in The Trials. The Mistress, leader of the Rioters, has a mission for him. The first step is for him to become the Princess’s Knight. He is ready for the task, until he actually meets Emry and discovers that betraying her would be much more difficult than he’d thought.

Thank you to the author for a digital copy of the book in exchange for a review! All opinions are my own.

I’M INTO THIS.

I really adored this book y’all.

The world building had a unique point that I hadn’t seen so woven through the story before. Color defining eyes. All sorts of crazy colors and combinations that give the person with those eyes a unique set of skills. I thought this was fascinating and loved learning all of the different gifts it allow a person to have. It was easy to follow the differing nations and even though a third party was thrown in at the end I believe they’ll really play a part in book two allowing this story to grow even larger.

I was smitten with the romance too. Declan and Emry were such a sweet and precious couple. The trope was along the lines of a childhood romance. They had known each other prior then were separated for years to be thrown back together when Emry was in search for a Knight. I enjoyed their banter and watching them come together as a power couple. They were able to communicate and love one another for who they are. The idea of pairs (a play on mates) worked really well for this too.

At times I felt there was too much focus on describing rooms, landscapes, etc. I personally don’t like having a lot of flowery writing and want to get to the heart of the story and narrative. By the second half of the book I felt this was really the case. I also noticed that somethings were along the lines of ACOTAR Series (A Court of Thorns and Roses). Which was very interesting to me. I have no idea if this was inspired by that or anything, I just noticed some quirks that were familiar. This didn’t stop me from loving the story on its own though.

I appreciated that the plot kept moving forward with steady action, but also the quiet moments that I love so much. I love watching relationships form, families get some time together, and friendships bond. This had all of that and more. I can’t wait to read book two!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, a no-detailed fade to black scene
  • Violence: physical, mentions of past torture, magic, fires, drownings, explosions, skirmishes

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Book Review

Book Review: Heart of the Fae (The Otherworld #1) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance + Retelling
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 26th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology in this sweeping retelling of the beloved fairytale….

Once upon a time…

A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne.

Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools.

With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.

This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart. 

A GREAT RETELLING.

I definitely think this is one of the better retellings of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve read.

This really followed the flow of B&TB. I could definitely tell what scenes were being recreated and the plot line it was going for. I enjoyed this take on it because of that fact. I liked seeing how someone else interpreted the story (and adding fae is ALWAYS good). This was full of faeries and the romance was kicked up to a much steamier vibe.

The romance felt a *tiny* bit insta-love at first. It came off as mostly lust and I was worried how that was going to affect the story. Never fear, the way that Sorcha and Eamonn built their relationship after some initial contact was fantastic. I loved the enemies to lovers type banter, the slow tender moments they had, that all led to a partnership that I ship.

Sorcha as a character was amazing. Her role as a healer gave focus to her decisions and mindset. I liked how firm she was on HER choices and that she never gave up on her original intentions for seeking out the fae. There was no wishy-washy character here. Sorcha was a lovely and strong heroine.

Eamonn was the beast. And that sentence is wholly accurate. His role was exactly how I expected it and I LOVED seeing the small things he started doing for Sorcha purely to make her happy. Ohhhhh so cute y’all.

The story itself was well put together and I thought the plot had everything it needed. There was a point and reasoning behind choices and I never had to ask why. I love the way the fae were woven into everything and I love all things faerie in general.

I’m definitely interested in continuing this duology (and the other books in this universe). This was a self-published book and I LOVE finding these kind of gems.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance + retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, make outs, one moderately detailed love scene
  • Violence: physical, magic, skirmishes with swords, a creepy blood beetle epidemic

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