Book Review

Book Review: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 332 pages
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 31st, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz. Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take. Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast. Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties. The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless. This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question: Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

CUTE AND QUIRKY.

A quick young adult contemporary romance. Filled with friends to lovers and fake dating.

I found this to be a really easy and fast read (I listened to it as an audio book). The characters were fun, definitely high school, and made me laugh and roll my eyes.

The romance was without a doubt my favorite part. It’s usually hard for me to be smitten with a friends to lovers trope, but I adored Becks. He was precious, angsty, and I love a soccer player so all good things. I thought Sally was a mostly charming heroine. A bit aloof and clueless at times, but didn’t find her overly annoying or anything of that nature.

What I did find annoying was Sally’s best friend, Hooker. Holy cow, she would NOT leave Sally alone and it was infuriating. I would hate to be continually put on dates, at 17, JUST because I haven’t dated anyone yet. Who cares? Maybe Sally didn’t want to date? Nobody, especially her best friend (and also her Mom was in on the blind dates) should be forcing her to meet all of these guys. It’s her choice and I couldn’t handle how ignorant Hooker was.

There were a lot of pop culture references. A lot. Most landed well, but at times I felt they were forced and putting them in didn’t enhance the story. A cute, and quick read, and at least a nice change of pace from the heavy books I’d been reading.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some mild/strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: physical alteraction

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Tarnished Empire (Dark Shores #0.5) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: TBD
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: CLA
Release Date: January 26th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

DEFIANCE IS TREASON. TREASON IS DEATH.

A siege is laid against the last resistance to the Senate’s rule. As the battle rages, a commander, a soldier, and a rebel will decide how far they are willing to go for victory.

THE COMMANDER

Marcus is forced to choose between destroying the rebel forces and liberating his legion. He must face the true cost of being a leader. And an oppressor.

THE SOLDIER

Agrippa sets his sights on glory to fill the deepening void within him. He discovers that the price of fame might not just be paid in blood, it might be paid by his heart.

THE REBEL

Silvara joins the rebel forces to fight against the legions who would see her family dead. While she dreams of being a warrior, she finds her sharpest weapon is seduction. But to defeat the Empire, she’ll have to betray the young man who now has her heart.

Inspired by the harsh world of ancient Rome, readers are obsessed with this martial tale of fiery romance, friendship, and enmity. Told from three points of view, TARNISHED EMPIRE is filled with twists you’ll never see coming but will keep you turning the pages all night.

TARNISHED EMPIRE is set in the world of Danielle L. Jensen’s DARK SHORES. But readers new to the world can begin here.

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

A MUST READ.

Set in the Dark Shores world, this book about Marcus (and some new characters) is definitely worth the read. It’s especially recommended before Gilded Serpent (book three), but can be read at any time!

I loved this. So much. I love Marcus, and getting more of his background was exactly what I wanted. I didn’t realize how much I would fall in love with the other characters too. AGRIPPA? Yes, please. He is a new addition I didn’t know I needed. He’s snarky and funny (actually laughed out loud a few times). Agrippa keeps you on your toes and has a strong heart full of loyalty and bravery. Oh goodness, y’all need to get to know him too.

This book burns hot and fast, yet doesn’t feel over done. I loved the romance and how it developed. The push and pull, leaving me with many questions. All beautifully written.

I don’t want to spoil much of the story or what happens and more. It’s filled with a lot of fitting information and characters I wouldn’t mind getting even more stories from. I’m even more excited for Gilded Serpent now and can’t wait to dive in.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; one little detailed fade-out love scene
  • Violence: battles, swords/arrows, loss of friends/loved ones, starvation

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: October 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next series, a dark tale of a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and their epic romance, set against a 19th century Italian backdrop.

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn.

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson and Netgalley for the gifted eARC. All opinions are my own!

YOU DON’T KNOW IT YET, BUT YOU NEED THIS BOOK.

I don’t even know how to start this review, I LOVED this book y’all! I enjoyed Maniscalco’s first series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, but mainly for Thomas Cresswell. Seriously, don’t ask me what I think about Audrey Rose. That being said, it made me initially nervous to read this because I worried for the main character again.

And I can say, for at least this first book, I am wrong. I adored Emilia as the main protagonist. She was bold and fierce. Made her own decisions based on what she knew and was told, and yeah, maybe ran off into danger a time or two, but what heroine doesn’t? Emilia was the missing puzzle piece I needed to love this.

Enter in, our Prince of Hell, WRATH. Ohhhh can Maniscalco right a love interest amazingly well. I feel a solidified new book boyfriend coming in over the course of this series. I loved the banter and enemies to lovers dynamic. Being forced to work together to solve witch murders led to some close knit and quiet scenes that I JUST CAN’T HANDLE. Part of his character is left very open-ended and I will sit here anxiously waiting to know if some of my thoughts/assumptions are true.

May be wondering why the half-star take down? For one of the characters involved I could spot from a mile away that they were one of the villains. I didn’t like how quick that was to pick out from the get-go. What I did love was meeting all of Wrath’s brothers. Who knew I was so interested in the Princes from hell? All so cunning and manipulative. Filled with arrogance and doing as they please. Couldn’t help myself, I loved them (and hated them, ya know) too.

There’s a lot of action, heat, and mystery involved here. I was absolutely entrenched in this Italian backdrop atmosphere. It fit this story well and only increased my adoration. Give me book two ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a scene where characters are undressed, but that’s as far as it goes
  • Violence: murder, torture, animal attacks, physical altercations
  • Content warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Romance / Retelling
Length: 384 pages
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first novel in a series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

NOT FOR ME.

With a heavy heart, I have to say, this is the worst Beauty and the Beast retelling that I’ve read so far. And oh, how I wanted to love it (even had requested it on Netgalley), but it was not meant to be. I fortunately read it through the library, and sent it back as soon as I could.

My big issue that I could not get past? Jaya, the main character. I did not like her demeanor, attitude, naivete, anything. I thought she was completely wrapped up in this revenge plot idea against Grey, when from moments of meeting it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t involved. The way she treated her sister wasn’t the best, even if it came from a place of protectiveness, it did not read that way. I was hoping that all of this would change by the end, and while it did maybe a little, I was already over it at that point.

Grey was my favorite. He was broody and was beast-like as he should be. I enjoyed how he grew and adapted over the book. I liked his character most. Pretty sure he and Isha (Jaya’s sister) were the only ones I did like reading about.

And the reveal at the end about what the rose really meant? Fell completely flat. Not as high stakes as I thought it should be (and would have upped the ante).

I’m keeping this short, no need for a long review, this just did not work out for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult retelling (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: kisses

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