Book Review

Book Review: The Exchange (London Prep #1) by Jillian Dodd

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 314 pages
Author: Jillian Dodd
Publisher: Swoonworthy Books
Release Date: March 19th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London Prep—where the boys are as cute as their accents.

When my parents told me that I’d be spending three weeks at a London prep school on a student exchange my junior year, I was furious. I love New York. My school. My friends. And I didn’t want to leave. But after some not-so-subtle insistence about experiencing a new culture, gaining worldly knowledge, and the fact that it was only three weeks, I knew I wasn’t getting out of it.

So, I decided that if I had to go, I might as well have some fun.
Which was how I met Harry at a pub. His blue eyes, adorable accent, and charm instantly won me over—right after his lips did.

And I started to think that London might not be so bad.

But then I met Noah.
He’s tall, dark, intense, and spends way too much time in the shower. I know this because I have to live with him. And did I mention that he hates me?

My first day at school is more eventful than I anticipated. A boy named Mohammad takes me under his wing, declares himself my guide to the “hostile and hormonal battlefield that is Kensington School,” and lays three facts on me:

He, Harry, and Noah are best mates.
I’m the new girl and bound to cause drama.
And I’ve already got his boys all twisted up.

I’m in way over my head, and it’s only my first day!

REALITY BOOK AT ITS FINEST.

I’m kinda laughing at myself for reading this. It’s not usually what I pick up, but after a couple of friends good reviews I decided, what the heck?

And then…I was sucked in by all the tropes I don’t usually like. Insta-love + love triangle. WHO AM I? I’m concluding that I really needed a palate cleanser from the bigger fantasies I’ve been reading lately.

Though, now I’m invested, and have chosen a side (TEAM NOAH). Which means I’ve already downloaded book two because I need some answers.

The only way to describe this is that I felt like I was watching a realty TV show that isn’t all that fantastic, but couldn’t look away from. This is filled with a lot of drama, girl fights, club parties on a Wednesday, and a prep school. Mallory has some older YA vibes (and the book I honestly think leans towards new adult) that I liked. She could handle herself, even wrapped up in hormones, and had a quirky personality that made me connect with her.

I adore the boys she’s fallen in with. Harry, Noah and Mohammed are a fun group. Definitely make some poor choices, but adds some spice to this [only] week long story line.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA / New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; innuendo and general discussions of sex
  • Violence: physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content warnings: physically abusive parent, underage drinking

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Book Review

Book Review: Of Sun & Sandstorms (A Swift Shadows Novella #2.5) by M.L. Greye

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy novella
Length: 123 pages
Author: M.L. Greye
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s not easy becoming king to a country you never wanted to run in the first place.

Trezim Azure Niroz was once the third prince of Heerth. Just a few short weeks ago, his highest aspirations had been training his little band of Golds in sun blades and the Turanga. Now, he’s king with a whole slew of issues. The worst part of it all is that because of some tedious, ancient custom, Trezim can’t make any decisions for his country – at least, not until he finds himself a bride.

“Of Sun & Sandstorms” is a Swift Shadows novella following the golden-eyed King Trezim in Heerth.

I NEED MORE.

Trezim is definitely one of my favorite characters in this series. I jumped at this novella because how could I not read this?! It was short, sweet, and to the point.

I actually really liked the development of his quick relationship with Sefia. The way the pair/bonding system works in this series is well crafted and believable. While things moved speedily I was still swept up in the romantics of it all. The kiss scenes were on point.

I wonder how this will play into the third book for this series. There’s a lot going on in just over 100 pages and I think it’ll tie in well. I love Trezim and his new bride and can’t wait for them to meet back up with Emry and Declan.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, magic attacks

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Allison Saft
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

GREAT ATMOSPHERE.

I’m grateful I got an ARC for this one, because reading it in September with all of the fall, spooky, and Gothic vibes was the perfect combination. The atmosphere of Down Comes the Night was written beautifully.

I loved Wren as a main character. She was emotional, brave, intelligent, and devoted. I really loved her compassion for others and the fact she was emotional. It’s okay to feel things and to show those feelings and I loved knowing and seeing that in a character.

Her relationship with both Una and Hal worked amazingly in this standalone. It was somehow a love triangle, but not. Just a movement and progression of Wren’s relationships as the story grew. I thought the way it worked out with Una fit well, and appreciated that it wasn’t some blown out of proportion break-up, but an acknowledgement of where they both were in their lives. And moving with Hal felt right for the now, and he was just SO PRECIOUS. I love a brooding guy with a soft heart.

There’s a LOT of medical terminology used. More so than I’ve seen in any book I’ve read in a good long while. I do have a background in this kind of medical jargon so I didn’t mind it and kind of enjoyed this different addition to a young adult fantasy book. Wren works as a healer and whenever she explains something she’s trying to do, it’s in a more medical based format.

Our villain is a little roll your eyes worthy, but they have a flair all their own that was very creepy and fit into this entire setting well. I wish the story wasn’t confined to essentially one location, but there was enough overall to influence the narrative. Adored the ending and there’s plenty of highlight worthy quotes in here about choosing peace. Definitely a must read!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a very little detailed fade to black scene
  • Violence: bloody/gory; murder, physical altercations, poisonings, magic attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

WHERE’S THE LOVE?

Wow did this characters go through the ringer this round.

This was a great sequel! Though, it may have ripped my heart out. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

RIGHT?

We got dropped right back in where we left off from the first one. And thankfully there’s plenty of nice segues to remember details of what happened in Serpent & Dove. The action was picked up exponentially this round. I found the pace pretty quick and turning every page with anticipation of what creature in the woods was going to pop up next. Plenty of violence and shock moments that really left me reeling.

This was really missing some romance. From the beginning their was a reasonable amount of angst between Lou and Reid but it needed MORE MORE MORE. What I did like is that the conflict between them wasn’t silly drama or a major lack of communication. Both of them were struggling to grasp and cope with the changes being thrown wildly at them. As time progressed and Lou and Reid realized their mistakes they were able to come together, so I liked the general development of their relationship. I also love these guy separately. Such clear opposites that play so well off of each other and in their own segments.

All of these characters really have my love (and when necessary, ABSOLUTE LOATHING). Even those on the side are incredibly well developed, and we get enough back story on them to connect emotionally, but not overrun the story itself. I loved learning about more of the creatures (witches, werewolves, and other mythical beings oh my!) and how they fit into the world Mahurin has built.

I felt a string of emotions and easily devoured this quickly. Talk about an ending that makes you absolutely flip out and I will be [yet again] anxiously awaiting the finale for this trilogy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; some almost scenes and a mild detailed scene
  • Violence: bloody and gory; murder, swords, arrows, physical altercations, animal attacks, kidnapping

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