Book Review

Book Review: Sunkissed by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary + Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

HIT HOME.

This made me want to relive some of my high school years and figure out some aspects of my life. I love how this was approached. Watching Avery find her passion and owning her truths to her family and friends really resonated. I have been deeply reminded why I love Kasie West’s books and the way she’s able to captivate and fill my cup.

Avery was a great teenage main character. Not over the top dramatic, but honest in her faults, and struggling to remember her strengths. I loved her character progression and how she took a chance on her summer to try new things.

Add in a sweet romance with Brooks and I was smitten. Teen, summer love! Oh how cute. I liked their relationship a lot too. From being honest with one another, and learning (and admitting) about communications issues felt true. This whole book was a warm summer hug.

I read it in a day and it was super cute and relatable to my soul.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary + Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a parent in a care home (unable to care for themselves after a stroke)

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Book Review

Book Review: Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1) by Dana Swift

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Dana Swift
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

UNDER THE RADAR FAVORITE.

I’m not surprised I loved this when I realized how many of my favorite tropes were flying about: enemies to lovers, arranged marriage, hidden identities, etc. YUP. It’s a gem from the get go.

I LOVE Adraa and Jatin! Adraa is such a kicka character. She’s strong and intelligent. I love how she worked toward her goals, but also accepted help. She wasn’t blind to needing others, but also could completely hold her own and her take downs were magnicient. Jatin was the best type of side-kick. Jumping into the fray, falling in love and making me absolutely SMITTEN with his care for Adraa. I love the way these two just clicked.

And when things were clearly reaching their conflict between the main characters, unnecessary drama wasn’t added!!!! I love how it was approached and that Adraa and Jatin actually had a conversation with each other without assuming the other’s thoughts. Put a perfect kissing scene on top and it really sealed the deal for how much I adored this read.

The plot isn’t widly intricate. I was interested and thought the end left enough to explore in a second book. I did really like the magic system. It was a unique play on a rainbow of magic and it was fascinating how it worked with the world building. A really great read that I definitely recommend.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, magical weaponry, natural disasters

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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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