Book Review

Book Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Axie Oh
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking.

LOVED THIS.

Axie Oh is becoming an auto-read author for me. I loved her contemporary romance XOXO, and now a young adult fantasy just as amazing?! YES.

I looooved this story so much. It was whimsical and I love the retelling aspects. Mina was an awesome heroine. She was creative and full of passion for saving her people. I loved how she approached different things before her and the way she showed love to others.

And y’all. This romance was the sweetest. I never know how well a standalone fantasy will accomplish a romance and this was perfect. It was a slow build with a bit of resentment, turned friendship, turned love. And then the ending?! Oh goodness, absolutely fabulous. This is the kind of YA books I love and why I always come back to this genre.

The story itself is filled with action and intrigue. A bit of politics and dreams. I just loved the way everything moved and how fast the pages flew by. I felt transported under the sea with the entire cast and can’t say enough good things about TGWFBTS.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: light blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, memory loss, child death

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Always Jane by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: NA Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March, 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A chauffer’s daughter finds herself in the middle of a love triangle with the sons of her boss’s wealthy next-door neighbors in this delightfully romantic story from the author of Alex, Approximately, Jenn Bennett.

Love—and Fen Sarafian—do not care about your summer plans.

Eighteen-year-old chauffeur’s daughter Jane Marlow grew up among the domestic staff of a wealthy LA rock producer, within reach of bands she idolizes, but never a VIP. Every summer, Jane and her father head to the Sierras to work at the producer’s luxury lodge at Lake Condor—a resort town and the site of a major musical festival.

The legendary family who runs the festival are the Sarafians, and Jane’s had a longtime crush on their oldest son, Eddie—doltish but sweet. So when a long-distance romance finally sparks between them, she doesn’t hesitate to cross class lines.

But Jane’s feelings about Eddie are thrown into question after she returns to the lake and reconnects with his alluringly intense brother, the dark horse of her placid summer plans. A fellow lover of music—and hater of the game—Fen Sarafian has been ousted from the family and is slumming it at a vinyl record shop. He burns for Jane like a house on fire and will do anything to sabotage his older brother, even if it means taking a wrecking ball to a multi-million-dollar music festival. Or Jane’s heart.

I won this advanced copy in a giveaway!

TANGLED THOUGHTS.

I have had a hard time deciding where I lie on this read. I felt it was a true page turner and within 50 pages I was rather curious how this was going to unfold. Buuuuut there’s some aspects I didn’t love and had a hard time looking past.

The setting was one of my favorites. I love a good lake side story and this small town filled with wealthy people causing all sorts of drama was a good side piece. I didn’t feel like this drama overwhelmed the love story or make me want to roll my eyes repeatedly.

What I mostly struggled with were the cheating aspects. This is a love triangle between two brothers. The love triangle honestly wasn’t what bugged me, it was everything else. I don’t like cheating even when it “makes sense”. I wish a more official break-up had happened prior.

I liked how dark and brooding Fen was. Also how dang passionate this man was about Jane. Wow did he care for her with an intensity that’s been unmatched in my recent reads. I really liked this aspect of his personality and thought it fueled the desire and chemistry.

While it might have been a mixed bag of a read I can’t deny I’m always entertained by Bennett’s books. I was so excited when I won this giveaway and can’t wait for her next enthralling book!

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: substance abuse, near drowning, extreme family dysfunction, side character going to rehab, loss of a parent (prior, but discussed), being kicked out of home, aphasia

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Book Review

Book Review: Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2) by Chloe Gong

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Historical Fiction / Fantasy
Length: 494 pages
Author: Chloe Gong
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Shanghai is under siege in this captivating and searingly romantic sequel to These Violent Delights, which New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan calls “deliciously dark.”

The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.

After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.

Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.

Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.

THIS WAS SPECTACULAR.

I can’t think of one bad thing to say about this book. I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

One of the few things I needed from book one was more romance, AND THIS DELIVERED. ROMA & JULIETTE FOREVER. I loooooooooved the development of their relationship in this one. Enemies to lovers to enemies to lovers. Oh it was the ultimate romance for me. It had everything I could ask for. I was even loving on all of the side character romances too. IT WAS ALL GOOD.

What also was amazing was just this entire storyline. The plot had a bit of everything. Politicking and action, gun-slinging and monsters, romance and swoooooon passionate confessions of love. The rotation of these throughout the multi-POV was executed so well.

The audio book was stellar and I think really sold this book for me. I couldn’t get enough and devoured it as quickly as possible. Not to mention that epilogue was *chef’s kiss*. The ending and everything after was exactly as it should be. I loved the turns on Romeo & Juliette and this duology is one of the top ones I’ve read in a long time.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Romance
  • Language: a little strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: heavy on violence/gore, physical altercations and weapons use
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun violence, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Length: 390 pages
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 10th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

IT WAS A BLAST.

Laughing at my own pun if you’ve read this book.

ANYWAYS.

Uh first and foremost, this is a standalone series. I was not aware as I don’t read synopses very often. If you also do this, here’s your heads up now. It didn’t really take away from my reading, I was just surprised whenever I looked up the next book and noticed a new couple on the cover. Apparently they all interconnect which is nice.

I really liked this forbidden romance! It was very fast paced and the audio was perfectly accomplished. I read through it quickly wanting to know what was going to happen next and if anyone was going to rescue Lilac and Tarver. The pacing of the romance was pretty spot on too. For an initial standalone I liked the slow burn nature as they started to truly rely on one another to survive a new planet.

There’s a lot of interesting nuggets about the world building and other species present in space. Things definitely tripped me out at times and I was rather shocked with how some of the last moments occurred. The authors kept this action packed and even with a bit of a slow middle I was all for this adventure in space.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Sci-Fi Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: space ship crashes, major loss of life, explosions, loss of loved ones

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