Adult Historical, Reviews, Special Review

Book Review: The Book of Crows by Sam Meekings

 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review, first I want to talk about the unique way I read this book. I read The Book of Crows on The Pigeonhole. They are a website where you buy a book and read it collectively with other people. You say isn’t that a book club and can’t we do that right now? What guarantees me someone won’t read ahead? Well… the thing about The Pigeonhole is that they release staves approximately each night, so everyone is at the same spot in the book as everyone else. This gives you the opportunity to read the book and discuss it in real time. I thought it was pretty neat and if it weren’t for this format, I most likely would have never read a book like The Book of Crows. 

Summary:

A young girl is kidnapped and taken through the desert to an isolated mountain brothel. Two thousand years later, after a suspicious landslide near Lanzhou, a low-level bureaucrat searches for a missing colleague. A thirteenth-century Franciscan monk, traversing the Silk Road, begins his extraordinary deathbed confession, while five hundred years earlier, a grieving Chinese poet is summoned to the Emperor’s palace.

In a series of delicately interlaced stories, Sam Meekings’ richly poetic and gripping second novel follows the journeys of characters whose lives, separated by millennia, are all in some way touched by the mysterious Book of Crows, a mythical book in which the entire history of the world – past, present and future – is written down.

Review:

Holy Crap. That ending. I didn’t see it coming at all. But… Alright, let’s rewind…

At the beginning of the story we learn about a woman who is now in a whorehouse, and a man on a journey to find his friend. It starts off slow, but picks up quickly and you start piecing the story together. As you continue to read, more characters are brought to light and you start seeing how each character is connected to The Book of Crows. Many want to find it, while others want to destroy it. There is great mystery surrounding the book that has been revered and searched for centuries.

Each character’s story you are introduced to throughout the book is in a different time era. I really enjoyed this because the reader is able to see how much intrigue and chaos the book has caused. It’s legacy has lived through many generations.

Overall, I really like the concept, how the story was set up, and how each key part of the story was revealed. I believe that reading it in staves how The Pigeonhole set it up made my reading experience better because you had to hold on and ponder on what you read, adding to the mystery of it all.

I feel like the average YA reader might not like The Book of Crows, but if you are a history lover and/or mystery in itself, you might enjoy it.

 

Rating:  4/5

Disclaimer: I’d like to thank The Pigeonhole for providing me with a copy of The Book of Crows. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

The Problem with Forever

Goodreads Summary:

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

My Review:

Something I have always loved about Jennifer L. Armentrout is her ability to take mental illness and weave them realistically into lives of her characters. Having seen her a few times in person, she is incredibly passionate about mental illness and being true to them when writing stories. She has previously written two other stories about mental illness, both of which I loved- Scorched and Frigid.

The Problem with Forever is about a Malory who grew up in the foster care system with abusive foster parents. She shared that home with a boy- Rider- whom was like a protector. Eventually Mallory is adopted by a new family, but she still has to deal with the after affects of the abuse and foster care system.

Mallory and Rider are both complex characters, each with their own coping mechanisms. The importance of this story is the acknowledgement  of these complexities and how their family and friends supported them, but also how they supported each other. This novel also sheds light on old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” idea. All people come from different backgrounds, and, especially given today’s issues, it’s important to not judge before knowing someone.

Rating: 4 out of 5Blog Signature

 

NA Romance, Reviews

Book Review: The Ending I Want by Samantha Towle

 

The Ending I Want

Goodreads Summary:

From the New York Times Bestselling author of The Mighty Storm, comes a heartfelt new standalone novel…

Taylor Shaw had the perfect life—until she was sixteen. That was when everything changed. From that moment on, life went from bad to worse…to the worst.
After recovering from a brain tumor, months later, she suffers the tragic loss of her whole family.
Since that fateful day, she’s been coasting through life.

Now, the brain tumor has returned, and Taylor decides she’s had enough. She’s going to take her fate into her own hands.
No more hospitals. No more surgeries. No more anything.
She’s going to join her family.
It’s her decision.
What she longs for.
The ending she wants.

She just has a list of things to do before she goes.
First, go to England.
Second, kiss a stranger…

Only, Taylor didn’t expect Liam Hunter, the stranger—with his handsome face, his six-foot-three of gorgeousness, and his oh-so-hot English accent—to change things.
To change her.
To change the ending she wanted.

What is a girl, who is standing on the edge of nothing, to do when offered the chance of everything?

My Review:

As I’m sure you’ve seen through my other review, I generally love everything I read. Even the other book by Samantha Towle I absolutely adored (and then convinced Veronica to read it). However, this books was extremely problematic for me. I think it had more to do with the fact that, while contemporary isn’t my favorite genre, it felt unrealistic.

I had a difficult time with the two main characters, Taylor and Liam. To me their relationship doesn’t make sense. I get wanting to do things for yourself and on your terms. I get that potentially meeting someone can change your plans. But the way Liam and Taylor met, their adventures, it all felt fake. And maybe I am being a skeptic here. I know I’ve read other novels where events and meet cute was just as exaggerated. Sometimes it works really well, other times it doesn’t.

In the end, this felt like a mix between Me Before You and 50 Shades of Grey.

Rating: 2 out of 5Blog Signature

 

 

Reviews, YA Fantasy, ya romance

Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

Goodreads Summary:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

My Review:

This series continues to get better and better. Mass’ writing has evolved over time and Empire of Storms is at the top.

As the second to last novel (that we know about because last year we received exciting news about novellas), Empire of Storms picks up right where Queen of Shadows finished. Between the first and the fourth book, Celaena Sardothian has evolved into her true self, Aelin Galathynius. She has used everything she went through to become the true Queen of Terrasen. And in EOS, Aelin must now gather her army and prove she is more than her enemy.

Old friends come back and new faces appear. EoS is a continuous adventure, switching perspectives of several different characters. We learn new back stories. Discover devious plots. Hearts change. Maas weaves secret after secret through the pages and when events happen, it usually blew my mind. And the end completely threw me for a loop. I didn’t see any of it coming.

I would put Sarah J Maas in the same story telling category as JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien. She is a story teller, a world builder.

Rating: 5 out 5Blog Signature

 

 

Reviews

Blog Tour Release Day: ROSEBLOOD by A.G. Howard

roseblood-rdb

Synopsis:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic ROSEBLOOD.jpgtalent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Amazon * B&N * iBooks * Audible

Goodreads * YouTube

About A.G. Howard

ag-howardA.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

GiveawayRB book cover poster and mask.jpg

1 Winner will receive a signed ROSEBLOOD poster and mask courtesy of A.G. and Rockstar Book Tours. US Only. Ends January 17th at midnight.

logo

Reviews, YA, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

GoodReads Summary:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

My Review:

So this is the followup to Bardugo’s Six of Crows which I absolutely loved. And Crooked Kingdom was just as good, though not better. We again follow the rogue Kaz Brekker and his band of miscreants. This time they are seeking revenge on their double crossed deal with Ja Van Eck- “We are going to take Van Eck’s money, and then we’re going to take his reputation.”

Bardugo does a good job of wending the story long, telling if from the perspective of each member in the group. And along the way things go wrong. Plans must change. Surprises arise. The writing is just as good, but I do have to say the story felt slower than Six of Crows. There isn’t as much action. You get more personal with Nina, Matthias, Inej, Kaz, Jesper, and Wylan, more of their backgrounds that was missing from the first novel.

Six of Crows was better, in my opinion, due to the fact that it was more fast paced. I will say that Bardugo does a great job of holding back details and surprising the reader just when you need it. Don’t think you’ll get through this book scot-free without deaths. There are some and they hit pretty close to home.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Blog Signature

Reviews, Special Review, ya contemporary, ya romance

ARC Book Review: The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley

30415027

Goodreads Summary:

Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.

Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.

Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.

But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.

Review:

The Bad Boy Bargain exceeded my expectations. I was expecting for Kyle to be an actual bad boy, not a “fake” bad boy. To think he was the complete opposite of the persona he put off just so he could cruise through high school without having to be bullied or sought after for the wrong reasons is heart-breaking  and made him more adorable. Faith is a whole other story. She is Ms. goody two shoes who seems to be dating doochebags all the time. Especially this last one, Cameron, is a real piece of work. And the thing is that Cameron and Kyle have some unfinished business so when Cameron cheats on Faith and Faith breaks up with him, she decides to get revenge by going out with the notorious bad boy Kyle.

The Bay Boy Bargain is a story that deals with the pains of teenage life. It shows how one small action can change your school life. To us who are older it may seem silly that it’s so life or death per say in the teenager world, but we all know that in that point of our lives it feels like life or death.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Vero Signature copy

Dsiclaimer:

I’d like to thank Entangled Publishing for providing me with an ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

ARC Review: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

The Lovely Reckless

GoodReads Summary:

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My Review:

I received this book through Miss Print‘s ARC Adoption Program. And I have to say when I received it I was so excited to read it. The synopsis sounded amazing and I know Kami Garcia is a fantastic writer. Her Beautiful Creatures series is just that, beautiful.

But as you can see I haven’t posted a review in a while.

There have been many changes in my personal life, ups and downs, that have lead to me reading less. And while these changes were occurring, I was reading The Lovely Reckless. So my feelings on this book, I think, are a bit biased because of my personal life.

I do have to say The Lovely Reckless was enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as other contemporary books have been for me. I enjoyed Frankie’s character growth over the course of the novel, but I felt disconnected from her. I also had a difficult time with the Frankie/Marco instalove story. It felt a little like  Romeo and Juliet? I guess when you’re that young (I am 28) and you have stopped caring about life and people, instalove does happen. But I felt disconnected with that too.

I did enjoy the background characters more, though I was disappointed with how lacking the parent existence was as well as Frankie’s attitude toward them when she did speak to them. Lexi was funny and I really enjoyed how loyal she was to Frankie. Cruz was super cute.

But overall the story just felt lacking. And again I think, due to personal circumstances, I liked this book less than I would have at another time. Due to this I did not finish it. And I hate DNFing a book. There have been few books that I’ve done that to and it guts me.  Don’t let my attitude toward this book stop you from reading it. I know so many people who enjoyed it immensely.

Rating: DNF

Thank you to Miss Print and her ARC adoptions for the opportunity to read this novel. Receiving this novel for free doesn’t sway my opinion.

Blog Signature

Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

22846823

Goodreads Summary:

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Review:

I love reading an authors work as the years pass by because you see how their writing changes and how much better it gets overtime. It is pretty incredible really. At least I think so. From the very beginning I loved Miranda’s writing and that still has not changed. Especially if her writing keeps getting better which I didn’t think it could be possible. Alright enough gushing over her, let’s get to the real reason I am writing this review.

Defending Taylor is not your ordinary story. We get a glimpse into the life of a powerful family, yet it is not all the color of roses. The story also doesn’t follow your typical rich girl in a political world story. Taylor is just a girl who decides to cover for her boyfriend whom she loves and doesn’t want him to lose his scholarship to the private school they both attend. She thought she could cover for him because her father is a senator, but little did she know her father would not move a finger to help her. She ends up having to change schools and goes to Hundred Oaks now. There she learns to navigate the world and that any decision you make whether good or bad has the potential of being life altering.

I do want to point out that I loved how great and supportive Ezra is throughout the book. He is literally her other half. He is working through some issues and with encouragement and help from Taylor he is able to overcome his shame and get help.

Defending Taylor is about growing as a human being and being careful about the decisions you make. I know I may have made this book sound too deep maybe, but it is a great story with great characters. Like I said… Miranda’s writing is on point yet again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Vero Signature copy

Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

lag

Goodreads Summary:

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Review:

So FREAKING Adorable. The title says it all. Love & Gelato. Gosh I want to go to Italy now. Maybe I will…

Anyways moving on… Love & Gelato. I can’t get over how adorable and heartbreaking [in a good way] it was. I just want to hug it and absorb all its wonderful energy. I think Korea is getting to me. LOL

So we start of the book with Lina. Something horrible happened and she is now moving to Italy where she meets many attractive guys, but Ren shows up and ahhhhh who needs a guy that’s hotter than him when he is the sweetest person ever? Am I biased? You bet I am!

Love & Gelato is more than just a fluffy YA contemporary book with romance. It deals with hard subjects like death of a loved one, first love, others past affecting your own, and how to navigate the world on your own. This book is not all sweet like gelato, it can be bitter like coffee as well. I will say the balance between the fluffy and the hard truth are perfectly balanced and you end up feeling with a sense of reassurance and happiness at the end of the book.

If you’re looking for something heavy yet delicious then look nor further. I assure you that you will like this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Vero Signature copy