Book Review

Book Review: Unchosen by Katharyn Blair

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopian / Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Katharyn Blair
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 26th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning. 

ACTION-PACKED.

This book takes off at a run and doesn’t let up until the very end. I really enjoyed the audio of this one and how it captured the intensity of the book.

I only picked this up thanks to some reviews from friends so I hope this might convince you to pick it up as well. Dystopian and I don’t mix (especially because this is a pandemic…and we’re in a pandemic). This was written so beautifully and engrossing that I didn’t mind one bit. I was enamored with the story and set-up, wondering how it was all going to be wrapped up in one book. How happy I was when the loose ends were tied up and a great ending occurred.

The romance was so sweet! It wasn’t at the forefront, but was this nice slow build between Charlotte and her friend. By the time they realized their feelings, lives were in peril, so I’m glad I can say that this also had a happy ever after for [most] involved.

One of my favorite components was the fact that Charlotte was NOT the chosen one. I think it’s a funny move against the trope and it worked fantastically here. Her sentiments made me laugh a bit and really feel her character depth. Charlotte was loyal to a fault, yet did her best with some terrible situations.

Really enjoyed this one y’all! I love finding good, quick standalones.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Dystopia / Romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: murder, pandemic (where the “zombie” humans are violent), physical altercations, weaponry
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison #2) by Natalie Mae

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (potentially 5☆)
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Natalie Mae
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June 15th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this sequel to The Kinder Poison–which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”–the magical kingdom of Orkena is on the brink of war, and the only person who can save it is Zahru, the girl they once doomed for death.

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Thank you to PenguinTeen [Razorbill] and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

SOMEONE TELL ME I GET ANOTHER BOOK.

No, but really.

If that’s the way this is ending I am definitely taking my rating down because that is cruel (ohhhh I did not see that pun coming).

If there’s another book, THEN HOT DANG, I STILL HAVE A CHANCE.

I have found a love triangle I am here for. And a villain with some remorse. These are the moments I am loving. This was a book I couldn’t put down. As soon as the first few chapters rolled by and I remembered everything that happened I was attached to the continuation. Maybe the plot wasn’t the strongest, but these characters are stunningly complex and I LOVE THAT.

I am so endgame for a particular couple in here (and if you know me you probably can guess, but I don’t want to spoil for anyone who read this). AND I JUST NEED IT TO HAPPEN. It will send this book next level because frankly, I’m intensely attached to this scenario.

This was beautifully written and rarely felt like it was diving into second book syndrome. Instead I saw growth on many fronts. I think the story is solid and like I mentioned earlier, realllllly needs a third book to wrap everything up. I want (read: NEED) more. This was entertaining and the writing made it feel like such a quick read. I was surprised how quickly I flew through it. Zahru was a great main character and had me laughing at her jokes and commentary. I to, am easily persuaded when desserts are involved.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, knives/swords, skirmishes, animal attacks, poison, assassination attempts; not overly bloody/gory

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Book Review

Book Review: Moment of Truth (Love, Life and the List #3) by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

At sixteen, Hadley Moore knows exactly who she is—a swimmer who will earn a scholarship to college. Totally worth all the hard work, even if her aching shoulders don’t agree. So when a guy dressed as Hollywood’s latest action hero, Heath Hall, crashes her swim meet, she isn’t amused. Instead, she’s determined to make sure he doesn’t bother her again. Only she’s not sure exactly who he is.

The swim meet isn’t the first event the imposter has interrupted, but a little digging turns up a surprising number of people who could be Heath Hall, including Hadley’s ex-boyfriend and her best friend’s crush. She soon finds herself getting caught up in the mysterious world of the fake Heath Hall.

As Hadley gets closer to uncovering the masked boy’s identity she also discovers some uncomfortable truths about herself—like she might resent the long shadow her late brother has cast over her family, that she isn’t as happy as she pretends to be with her life choices… and that she is falling for the last guy she ever thought she would like. 

ADDED TO THE LIST OF FAVS.

P.S. I Like You is without a doubt, my favorite book of Kasie Wests’. I’ve already accepted I don’t think any of her other ones are going to come close. Moment of Truth is the closest I’ve read so far.

I connected a lot better with this MC, Hadley. I sometimes find Wests’s main characters to be way to naive and *high school* for me. Hadley, while definitely not perfect, was much easier to appreciate and enjoy as her character grew over the book. Her selfish, very competitive nature gave way to letting some walls down and understanding why she was struggling. Not to mention, Hadley’s best friend Amelia. I am always excited when I see a strong female friendship in a book. One that doesn’t need unnecessary drama. It was about being a good friend in tough times and lightening the mood when needed. Amelia brought that ten-fold.

There was yet again, another great bookish boy. Jackson Hall was utterly adorable. I looooved his personality, his go with the flow nature, and the deep heartache he felt for not knowing what he wants to do with his life (and I felt that because, dang, if we’re not the same person). The chemistry between Hadley and Jackson was cute. The best kind of high school rom-com. Not immediate attraction, but a gradual progression of just being there as a friend gave way to a dynamite ending.

This hit one some hard subjects, and I’m glad a resolution was made for Hadley’s parents. I can’t speak to that kind of pain, but letting grief take over is hard to recognize, and sometimes harder to overcome. As usual, Kasie West delivers an adorable story while hitting on some tougher subject matter.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Book Review: Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult historical fiction mystery + romance
Length: 453 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: September 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

BEST OF THE BUNCH.

Okay. I can officially say I’m glad I read this after being very frustrated with how book three went down. This was a solid ending that wrapped everything up liked it needed to be.

BUT FIRST. Let me just say, I do not appreciate why the marriage was postponed. I haaaaaaate stuff like that y’all. Hate. And that’s pretty much why it’s a four star. I think they should have gotten married and solved the murder together, married. There wasn’t angst adding the drama in.

Now, THOMAS CRESSWELL. Seriously one of my top bookish boyfriends. I can’t get over him. The sweet and precious moments between Thomas and Audrey Rose were written so beautifully. I swooned over and over at the writing. Lyrical and utterly romantic. Thomas is amazing. We won’t discuss Audrey Rose, though I will say this was the best version of her I’ve seen in the series. The least annoying.

I’ve seen some lower reviews for this because they wanted more of the mystery aspect. These books are romance books at their base. They really are. If you’re interested in them, definitely know that going in. My expectations went much better when I knew I was going to be getting a lot of romance (which we know I prefer anyways).

The plot line of this book kind of went: romance, romance, mystery, mystery, romance. It felt a little disjointed. There was a big focus on the romance, then it dove off into just about solving the murders, then the epilogue finished off the romance. It worked out okay, but I think they could have been combined better.

I’m satisfied and happy with this series and would still recommend it to those interested. I liked the historical fiction aspects and of course, THOMAS CRESSWELL. The writing is well done and even the frustrating moments don’t ruin the enchanting story it is.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction romance + mystery
  • Language: very little light
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a little detailed love scene, another fade to black scene
  • Violence: very detailed descriptions of multiple murders, physical attacks

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