eARC Review – Shipped

Title: Shipped

Author: Angie Hockman

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: January 19th, 2021

336 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live? 

Review

When a tag line mentions The Hating Game ad The Unhoneymooners, I am 100% sold on reading that book. The work tension coupled with a tropical vacation? I’m here for it. Overall, Shipped was a cute and surprisingly serious book that I enjoyed.

The main character, Henley, is looking to get a promotion at her cruise line company when she finds out Graeme, her work nemesis, is also up for the promotion. They’ve never met, but she knows he has been trying to steal her work and undermine her since he arrived at the company. When their boss insists they take one of the company’s cruise ships to better market the experience, Henley realizes she will finally meet, but also be trapped with, her nemesis.

Overall, I enjoyed the premise and it was a solid romance read. I was surprised by the serious feminist tone it took at the ending, but not in a bad way. I thought it brought a new level to the book, but would have liked it to be more a part of the whole book instead of the ending. I also found the romance between Henley and Graeme a little off. I think it happened far too quickly and should have been given more time to develop. However, there is a cast of solid supporting characters that really add to the story line.

I do agree with the Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne comparisons, but it missed a bit of the mark for me, so it is a 4 star read instead of 5.

Thank you to Gallery Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

BLOG TOUR – Roman and Jewel

Title: Roman and Jewel

Author: Dana L. Davis

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: January 5th, 2021

336 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway’s hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead…and Jerzie is her understudy.

Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea–especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.

Review

Jerzie is 16, prepared to star on Broadway, when her dreams are snatched from her by the super star, Cinny. Cinny wins the lead in Roman and Jewel, a Hamilton-esque take on Romeo and Juliet. Jerzie tries to be excited to be an understudy, but she’s not. However, she means the male lead – Zeppelin Reid – and falls head over heels in love instantly. He’s older, hot, AND starring on Broadway. But no one wants Jerzie and Zeppelin to be together, so Jerzie must make some hard decisions.

I absolutely love the concept behind this book. Roman and Jewel celebrates diversity and I loved that Jerzie was young but so talented. She basically was making changes to a Broadway musical at 16 and being listened to by adults. I love to see books empowering younger audiences in a world that tries to silence the young. Roman and Jewel is a quick, easy read that will entertain and inspire.

A few points made me rate this book a little lower. The relationship between Jerzie and Zeppelin was a little weird with the ages. 19 and 16 is still a bit of a cringe age difference for me. And Jerzie was a very young 16. It was clear from the dialogue and her behaviors that she is completely innocent, and Zeppelin was not. It made the romance feel a little off, and a bit much for me to really root for them. Some of the writing felt stilted at times, and a bit unrealistic for the real world.

However, even for these thoughts – I found Roman and Jewel to be entertaining and believe it would truly empower the young audience to feel they can do what they dream of – even from a young age. I know I grew up being told I was too young to do this, too inexperienced to do that. Everyone deserves to feel they can accomplish what they want, which is why I did enjoy this book overall.

Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Inkyard Press for inviting me to take place in the blog tour for this title. A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio:

Dana L. Davis is a novelist and Hollywood actress with previous series regular roles as: Carmen Phillips on TNT’s Franklin and Bash and modern day mimic Monica Dawson on NBC’s cult series Heroes.

She currently stars on the animated series Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Craig of the Creek, and She-Ra. Dana has guest-starred in over 20 prestigious primetime series, including 911, ScorpionCode Black, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI. She made her film debut in Coach Carter with Samuel Jackson.

In addition to her work on screen, Dana has become a motivational speaker for teens. Her stirring assemblies empower and encourage youth, helping them to redefine what it means to win and lose.

Extremely versatile, Dana is a screenwriter and a trained Violist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from Loyola Marymount University. She volunteers for nonprofits like Empowering Lives International, an organization which provides training, resources, and encouragement to underprivileged East African children.

Dana also created her own nonprofit organization Culture For Kids, LA, an organization which gifts inner city children tickets and transportation to see performing arts shows around the Los Angeles area. 

Dana was raised in the Midwest and currently resides in Los Angeles with her 9-year-old daughter.

Links

Goodreads

Harlequin

Dana L. Davis

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Lies Like Poison

Title: Lies Like Poison

Author: Chelsea Pitcher

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: November 10th, 2020

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart.

Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next.

Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever. 

Review

The concept of this book truly intrigued me, which is why I requested it and wanted to read it. I think the execution could have used some work, but Lies Like Poison is a solid YA Mystery that delves into the tangled web of 4 teenagers, friends who have many secrets…

Poppy, Belladonna, and Lily got together one day to plot to kill Lily’s mother, because they believed she was torturing their best friend, Raven, by causing him to want to commit suicide after his mother died. The create the recipe for the perfect murder, intending to carry it out, until one of them backs out at the last minute. Flash forward 3 years, and Evelyn has been murdered – but no one knows who. The four friends must reunite to clear their names, and discover the truth about what happened to her, as well as what was going on 3 years ago.

I overall found this book to be very enjoyable. The mystery element here was good, the characters were unreliable, allowing the big reveals not to be seen a mile away. The characters are great as a group, but only okay individually. Some more development could’ve been helpful. Also, prepare for some suspension of disbelief around the police procedural scenes. I had a good idea of the ‘whodunnit’ piece of the plot, and ended up being right. But, it took awhile to get the guess right.

Lastly, there is queer representation in a lot of the characters, which is always great to see.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Top Ten Reads of 2020!

I read 230 books this year, which is still absolutely insane to me! But, I wanted to try and narrow it down to a top ten (which totally didn’t happen so at the end of this post you will find honorable mentions). Below are the results of the very hard decisions I had to make about the books I’ve read this year because so many were so amazing!

  1. Legendborn (Legendborn #1), Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V. E. Schwab

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

3. The Hating Game, Sally Thorne

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

**currently being adapted for the silver screen!**

4. The Shadows Between Us, Tricia Levenseller

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

5. Well Met – Jen DeLuca

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

**loved so much I read it twice this year!**

6. Empire of Storms – Sarah J Maas

Kingdoms will collide.

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

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

7. Beach Read – Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

**again, loved it so much I read it twice!**

8. Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3), Sarah Morgenthaler

A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
And miles of untamed wilderness…
What could possibly go wrong?

Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

9. The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2), Helen Hoang

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

**another 2x this year read!**

10. Fable (Fable #1), Adrienne Young

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.

HONORABLE MENTIONS!

  1. The Gravity of Us, Phil Stamper
  2. When We Were Magic, Sarah Gailey
  3. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Abbi Waxman
  4. You Deserve Each Other, Sarah Hogle
  5. Float Plan, Trish Doller
  6. Midnight Sun (Twilight #5), Stephenie Meyer
  7. The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2), Abby Jimenez

Were any of these on your top ten list?!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – You Have a Match

Title: You Have a Match

Author: Emma Lord

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: January 5th, 2021

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.

Review

After reading Tweet Cute last year, I knew I needed to read You Have a Match – and it did not disappoint. Emma now has set herself up as the author to incorporate social media sites into her novels, and she does it so. well. You Have a Match uses Instagram to help tell the story of Abby and Savannah, secret sisters who find each other through a DNA app. There’s a story here, and the two try to navigate their parent’s lies while also getting to know each other. On top of that, there’s a subtle romance aspect and a summer camp plot line.

Overall, I found this story to be super cute. Each character had specific personality traits, and the secret sister storyline was VERY compelling. Since the boom of DNA testing, you’ve heard stories in the media of people finding family members they didn’t know existed and familial secrets that wouldn’t have been discovered otherwise. I enjoy that Emma Lord incorporated this story line. Instagram is used by both sisters for different purposes, but it isn’t as much of the storyline as Twitter is in Tweet Cute. Emma Lord’s writing is very good and her pacing is always on point. I never felt unfocused while reading it or that it was too long or wordy.

I didn’t prefer the romance portion as much as I wanted to. I actually wanted Abby to end up with a background character, I just felt like he was a better fit for her. But, I recognize why the romance happened the way it did, I just also wish it was resolved sooner than it was. Also, there was a character in Abby’s friend group that just didn’t have as much page time as she deserved. As a “best friend” you’d think she’d have more of story – but she seemed to only serve to move a minor plot line forward. I wanted more for Connie.

The ending was very heartwarming, and you love to see it. I do highly recommend this story, especially if you read and loved Tweet Cute like I did.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

January TBR!

Happy 2021 (again)! Here I come with my January TBR. I fell off TBR lists the last few months of the year but I really want to get back into it. I will be more mindful to carefully curate the list so I have a good balance of all categories. I am working on reading 10 books each month that are ARCs or related to ARCs, 1 book each month that was a recommendation from someone on bookstagram, and the rest will be trying to tackle my unread but owned books.

I have a general goal of reading about 20 books each month, but that isn’t a requirement. Last year I tried to make 2020 reading goals, and completely failed a them, so I’m not doing that this year. I want structure without rigidity. Expectations without requirements. Flexibility but with a routine. That’s how I’m going to take on this year.

So on that note, below are the books I’m planning to read this month!

PHYSICAL

  1. Diamond City (The City of Diamond and Steel #1), Francesca Flores
  2. Tower of Down (Throne of Glass #6), Sarah J Maas
  3. The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow #2), Kalyn Josephson
  4. The Bird and The Sword (The Bird and The Sword Chronicles #1), Amy Harmon
  5. Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire #2), Natasha Ngan
  6. Red, White, and Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston
  7. These Divided Shores (Stream Raiders #2), Sara Raasch

EBOOKS

  1. Paradise, Judith McNaught
  2. The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1), Abby Jimenez

ARCS

  1. Scars of Cereba (Memoria Duology #2), Rachel Emma Shaw
  2. Lies Like Poison, Chelsea Pitcher
  3. These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1), Chloe Gong
  4. Roman and Jewel, Dana L. Davis
  5. Mr. Right Across the Street, Kathryn Freeman
  6. Shadow City (The City of Diamond and Steel #2), Francesca Flores
  7. Take a Chance on Me, Beth Moran
  8. Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood #2), Kim Smejkal
  9. As Far As You’ll Take Me, Phil Stamper
  10. Amelia Unabridged, Ashley Schumacher
  11. Glimpsed, G. F. Miller

What books are you planning to read this month?

Happy reading, folks!

December Wrap Up!

Happy 2021! Wow ya’ll, 2020 really did the most. However, I have high hopes for 2021 and believe it will be an amazing year across the board. This is the year I get married and make the ultimate commitment to my fiance. I have big reading plans and am currently setting up my 2021 reading journal – one of my favorite things to do every year! I hope 2021 brings all the happiness you could want!

So below is my December 2020 wrap up. I spent most of this month just rereading books I love to end the year on a high note.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. Midnight Sun (Twilight #5), Stephenie Meyer – 5/5 stars
  2. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1), Deborah Harkness – 5/5 stars
  3. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2), Deborah Harkness – 5/5 stars
  4. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3), Deborah Harkness – 5/5 stars
  5. Dragonsong (Harper Hall #1), Anne McCaffery – 5/5 stars
  6. Dragonsinger (Harper Hall #2), Anne McCaffery – 5/5 stars
  7. The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1), Kalyn Josephson – 4/5 stars
  8. Well Met (Well Met #1), Jen DeLuca – 5/5 stars
  9. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, Christina Lauren – 5/5 stars

EBOOKS

  1. Forever Wild (The Simple Wild #2.5), K. A. Tucker – 5/5 stars
  2. Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern #1), Anne McCaffrey – 5/5 stars
  3. Fifty Shades Free (Fifty Shades #3), E. L. James
  4. Blithe Images, Nora Roberts – 2.5/5 stars
  5. Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern #2), Anne McCaffrey – 4/5 stars
  6. Montana Sky, Nora Roberts – 4/5 stars
  7. True Colors, Diana Palmer – 3/5 stars
  8. The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2), Abby Jimenez – 5/5 stars

ARCS

  1. Faking It, Portia MacIntosh – 4/5 stars
  2. Happy Singles Day, Ann Marie Walker – 4/5 stars
  3. Truth, Lies, and Second Dates (Danger #3), MaryJanice Davidson – 3/5 stars
  4. Part of the Family, Charlotte Philby – 3/5 stars
  5. The Project, Courtney Summers – 3/5 stars
  6. A Curse of Roses, Diana Pinguicha – 4/5 stars

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Truth, Lies, and Second Dates

Title: Truth, Lies, and Second Dates (Danger #3)

Author: MaryJanice Davidson

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication date: December 15th, 2020

pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Captain Ava Capp has been flying from her past for a decade. She’d much rather leave it, and her home state, behind forever. But when she finds herself back in Minnesota, against her better judgment, everything goes sideways in a way she never expected it to.

M.E. Dr. Tom Baker has never forgotten Ava and the cold case she ran away from. When she shows up unexpectedly in town, in spite of himself, sparks fly. Which is terrible because he can’t stop his growing attraction to her. Can these two Type-A’s let their guards down and work together to put Ava’s tragic past behind her for good? And keep their hands off each other at the same time?

Review

Truth, Lies, and Second Dates is the third book in the Danger series by MaryJanice Davidson. I have not read the first two books, which did create some confusion. Some context would’ve been helpful, so I definitely suggest reading the first two books. I think this technically can be a standalone, but that’s my suggestion.

Instead of a typical romance book, TLaSD added a mystery into the equation, which did pique my interest. Also, I found the airplane setting to be very interesting, with our MC being a pilot. LOVE that it is a female pilot, where that field can be very male dominated. I appreciate the author for including that into this book. The MC was also very strong and confident, and then has her love affair with the ME investigating her best friend’s murder (cue mystery).

However, this book just didn’t entirely hit the mark for me. The writing felt very disjointed, it did flow particularly well. Generally with romances I can be sucked in pretty immediately and find it hard to stop reading, but I had no problem putting this book down and coming back to it.

I don’t believe what didn’t please me about this book was entirely due to not reading the first two. I think I just don’t relate well to the author’s writing style, which is entirely for me. There is definitely an audience for this book, if you do love romance mysteries I recommend it. I’m not sure if the whole series is in that conjoined genre, but worth it to check out!

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Camelot Betrayal

Title: The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising #2)

Author: Kiersten White

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication date: November 10th, 2020

400 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Everything is as it should be in Camelot. King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?

Review

The Camelot Betrayal is the middle book in Kiersten White’s Camelot Rising series, a magical retelling of the King Arthur legend. TCB picks up shortly after The Guinevere Deception ended. We catch up with our favorites for TGD while meeting new characters and going on new adventures.

TCB ramps up the action and the inner turmoil affecting Guinevere and her decision both in the past and throughout this book. TCB really shows some growth for Guinevere as she grapples more with romance, family, and her own history. Arthur’s character also got a tad more fleshed out, along with Lancelot, though I would have preferred even more. I don’t feel like I really understand all the character’s motivations.

I found this book to be paced much slower than TGD, which is a typical middle book experience for me. It spent a lot of time setting up the conflict for the third book instead of focusing on the plot actually happening. I also didn’t expect a lot of what happened in the book, and not in a good way. More like I just didn’t understand the decisions the author made when writing to continue the plot along. The plot continuation and new conflicts introduced in this book didn’t jive well with me.

I am interested enough to read the final book when it comes out to see how it all gets wrapped up. I do like that I’m not at all able to predict how this series could be concluded and where the characters may end up. The lead is very well buried, so for that I commend Kiersten.

Thank you to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Guinevere Deception

Title: The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1)

Author: Kiersten White

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication date: November 5th, 2019

352 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Review

“There was good, and there was evil, but there was so much space between the two.”

The Guinevere Deception, Kiersten White

I went into this book knowing that King Arthur retellings are not generally my jam. I am just not a huge fan of the King Arthur legend and they are often hit or miss for me. However, I recently read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn and I loved that retellings so I wanted to try this one. Frankly, it was okay – and you can probably assume by my 3 star rating.

I enjoyed parts of this book, don’t get me wrong. I liked the twist where Guinevere is a fake, and that she was using magic secretly in Camelot where it is forbidden. The forbidden magic trope is one I really enjoy. I loved the supporting characters, especially Guinevere’s maid and Mordred. I feel a love triangle coming in the future of the trilogy which I don’t love but also don’t hate.

HOWEVER. You can miss me with Arthur’s character. I fully hope he gets better over the trilogy but he was so blahhhh in this book. Like, I’m here for Guinevere being the main character, it’s fantastic. But Arthur is a complete wet blanket with no real personality. I look forward to the potential of growth for each character.

Lastly, I couldn’t predict where this story was going. Every time I thought I understood, there was some twist. Which normally I was LOVE and flail around about – but I found myself thinking the plot line I was expecting in my mind was better than what was really happening. Some choices of the author just confused me. I am continuing the series, so come back tomorrow for my review of book two, The Camelot Betrayal!

Happy reading, folks!