Book Review

Book Review: The Dragon’s Promise (Six Crimson Cranes #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 482 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A journey to the kingdom of dragons, a star-crossed love, and a cursed pearl with the power to mend the world or break it…

Princess Shiori made a deathbed promise to return the dragon’s pearl to its rightful owner, but keeping that promise is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

She must journey to the kingdom of dragons, navigate political intrigue among humans and dragons alike, fend off thieves who covet the pearl for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it, all while cultivating the appearance of a perfect princess to dissuade those who would see her burned at the stake for the magic that runs in her blood.

The pearl itself is no ordinary cargo; it thrums with malevolent power, jumping to Shiori’s aid one minute, and betraying her the next—threatening to shatter her family and sever the thread of fate that binds her to her true love, Takkan. It will take every ounce of strength Shiori can muster to defend the life and the love she’s fought so hard to win.

A BIT LETDOWN.

I was hoping that this would be an ending I could fully fall in love with, and while there were some good moments…it also was missing some stuff too.

I really liked the father/daughter relationship. I love seeing a good parental relationship. Also, the BROTHERS. I could read a novella spin off about each one of them and be content with everything. I love their dynamic and the love they clearly show for one another.

The romance could have had a heavier hand. I don’t think the love triangle should have even been used. It just made me sad for one of the characters rather than being satisfied with how things wrapped up.

I was confused by the book defeating the bad guy with 80+ pages left? Things got stagnant at that point and then the ending was a bit lackluster. I felt like it was reminiscent of Daughter of the Moon Goddess but in a lesser manner.

I think I’ll go the library route next time for her books. I always seem to LOVE the first one and then the second is a bit meh.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, battle scenes, demon attacks, physical and magical altercations

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: December 6th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake. Either way, they’re never heard from again.

Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself. 

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

NEEDED SOMETHING.

I wanted to love this. I went in hoping I would, buuuut here we are. I liked it, it just wasn’t a favorite.

It did have a very distinct YA fantasy feel. And I know that can be a winner for a lot. For me, I felt like I needed more. Something that added an edge, something I hadn’t read before. I don’t know. Within a few chapters I knew exactly what was going to happen and I wasn’t surprised by how it ended.

I did love Leelo as a main character. She has that strength and loyalty that I always appreciate in a FMC. I love that she was open to changing her opinions and took time to understand the new information that was being heaped upon her. Leelo handled a lot of things really well.

The romance is a bit much on the insta-love side. I was hoping for to see them connect over more things before confessions of love started rolling out. Leelo and Jaren were charming and easily sweet on each other.

I loved Leelo’s Mom and Brother. They were some of my favorite side characters and helped me enjoy and look forward to scenes with them. I liked the conclusion and do think it wrapped up things pretty well.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, loss of loved ones, poison, weapons violence, murder, physical altercations

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 pages
Author: Lynn Painter
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this riotous young adult romp for fans of Recommended for You and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, a teen girl has the worst Valentine’s Day ever—only to relive it over and over again.

After living through a dumpster fire of a Valentine’s Day, Emilie Hornby escapes to her grandmother’s house for some comfort and a consolation pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She passes out on the couch, but when she wakes up, she’s back home in her own bed—and it’s Valentine’s Day all over again. And the next day? Another nightmare V-Day.

Emilie is stuck in some sort of time loop nightmare that she can’t wake up from as she re-watches her boyfriend, Josh, cheat on her day after day. In addition to Josh’s recurring infidelity, Emilie can’t get away from the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps running into—sometimes literally—in unfortunate ways.

How many days can one girl passively watch her life go up in flames? And when something good starts to come out of these terrible days, what happens when the universe stops doling out do-overs?

Thank you to Simon Pulse and Netgalley for an eARC.

THIS WAS FUN.

Painter really does a great job with young adult contemporaries. They have the right vibe I love and the book is filled with some seriousness but also a lot of light and fun that brings a smile to my face.

“I fell in love with you on Valentine’s Day, Emilie, but I need more than just seven minutes.”

Groundhog day plots can go multiple directions for me. This one was super fast paced so before I got bogged down in repetitiveness the story moved on to the next day and the fallout arose. I was overly amused noticing all of the little Taylor Swift lyrics thrown in here. And there were a bunch of Ferris Beuller-esque antics that I enjoyed.

Emilie took her life by the steering wheel of the car she couldn’t stop crashing into Nick with and was able to really exhibit some good character growth. I liked that she found the strength to stand-up to her parents and speak her mind about changes she wasn’t fully in control of. Being a child of divorce I felt a lot of these sentiments.

It was a gorgeous story and the romance was SO GOOD. I adored Nick from the get-go. He was kind and a cinnamon roll. Totally obsessed with them. Totally obsessed with Painter’s books. This is easily another one to love on y’all!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: car wreck (nobody is injured), death of a sibling (off page prior to book, recounted), depictions of grief, divorced parents

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Book Review

Book Review: These Twisted Bonds (These Hollow Vows #2) by Lexi Ryan

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 496 pages
Author: Lexi Ryan
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: July 19th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Brie finds herself caught between two princes and two destinies while the future of the fae realm hangs in the balance.

After Abriella’s sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making ­- loving two princes and trusting neither – things are not quite as clear as she once thought.

As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn’t even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don’t lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm – whether she likes it or not.

OHHHHHHHMYGOSH.

Hands down. One of the best duologies I have ever read. EVER.

I will do my best to maintain vagueness about how this all ends up.

OKAY SO. I LOVED THE ENDING. It gave me everything I was hoping for and more. Sebastian got this really solid story line that fit perfectly for him in this scenario. Bri got the story she deserved with her history unleashing all sorts of chaos (in the best way). I loved how she approached new things before her and also went after what she wanted most. Finn is my favorite (no surprise) and I loooove having him along for this ride. ALL GOOD THINGS.

I can’t tell y’all the amount of emotions I went through while reading. It was up, down, all around. Mostly a lot of ANGST. And begging the bookish universe to give me what I wanted. As soon as I saw those moments happening, the giddiness would not subside. Gahhhhh I LOVED IT.

This has been incredibly difficult not to breakdown every nuanced aspect of why this series is amazing.

SO PLEASE READ IT THEN I’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: brief open door
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, loss of life, physical and magical altercations, weaponry

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