eARC Review – The Sound of Stars

Title: The Sound of Stars

Author: Alechia Dow

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: February 25th, 2020

400 pages

3.75/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Don’t miss this spectacular debut novel… Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity? This road trip is truly out of this world! A beautiful and thrilling read for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth.

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

Review

**Thank you to Inkyard Press, Netgalley, and Alechia Dow for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Sound of Stars reminds me a lot of The Host by Stephanie Meyer, where alien forces invade Earth and take over the humans. There is a fun sci-fi twist where the aliens, Ilori, are labmade to resemble humans in order to survive the atmosphere. Ellie is a human looking to stay alive, M0Rr1S is a special labmade Ilori in command of Ellie’s quadrant in NYC. The universe brings them together in a way that they did not expect – and they become an unlikely pair.

I wasn’t sure how to rate this, because my feelings changed frequently during this book. I had a hard time getting into it, was very interested in the middle, and got lost again in the end. The end made it seem like this will be a duology, which I wasn’t expecting because it doesn’t look like any has been announced. I went in expecting a stand-alone, so the fact that it didn’t end well wrapped up threw me off.

I do love the concept, because I loved The Host. As more information is released you become more sympathetic to the Ilori, which was well thought out and constructed. I just wish for more in the beginning that would have captured my attention, and a less confusing ending.

The Sound of Stars brings a new voice into sci-fi with great LGBTQIA representation (all the aliens introduce themselves by name and gender identity). Many characters are non-binary and our female MC is self-reported as demi-ace… (makes me think this may be an Own Voices work?). There is also a lot of political, racial, and environmental discussions that draws direct lines to today’s climate, which is refreshing to read and an addition that caused me to rate this book higher.

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂

eARC Review – The Stars We Steal

Title: The Stars We Steal

Author: Alexa Donne

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publication date: February 4th, 2020

400 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself failing for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Review

**Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Netgalley, and Alexa Donne for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

I previously read Alexa Donne’s debut novel, Brightly Burning and wasn’t super thrilled with the book – but I loved the writing and when I see Bachelorette… coupled with SPACE… I know that’s a book I 100% need to read, and it did NOT disappoint. Leo is the Princess of her ship in space – where these titles are still used to create a classist society, even when it’s totally not necessary. The Valg is their way of creating marriages (that aren’t with your cousins…) among the elite, rich, and/or titled young people. Leo is participating in The Valg to find a rich husband, because her family is in dire need of funds, not because she wants to. As the oldest child of a man who spends money faster than it could possibly come in, she needs to be the adult and keep their spaceship afloat. Enter, her ex-fiance Elliot whom her family made her break the engagement to because he didn’t have money. Now? He is the sole heir to a prosperous whiskey ship and has plenty of money. Problem? He’s seriously pissed at her…

Ya’lllllll I loved this book. I read it all in one night because I could not put it down. Alexa Donne weaved so many elements together that you wouldn’t expect to work together, but pulled it off perfectly. I’m a huge sucker for Bachelor style plots, but it’s not JUST that. You have murder, intrigue, theft, Robin Hood-esque schemes, rebel groups, cyber attacks, AND wealthy extravagance from young people who have nothing better to do than be petty and make drama. Like, let’s gooo!

I am obsessed. Her writing worked so well with these elements and I found it SO much more enjoyable than her other classics spin in space. Currently starting a petition to re-write all the classics in a futuristic space society. Needs to happen.

The Stars We Steal, Alexa Donne’s second book, is a stand-alone space adaption of Persuasion by Jane Austen and will have you hooked from the first few pages. Leo is a strong character who is put in an untenable situation and trying to make the most of it. Pick it up if you enjoyed her first book, Brightly Burning, or are a fan of retellings and/or space!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – How to Build a Heart

Title: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Publication date: January 28th, 2020

352 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

One young woman’s journey to find her place in the world as the carefully separated strands of her life — family, money, school, and love — begin to overlap and tangle.  

All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.

Review

**Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers, Netgalley, and Maria Padian for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

How to Build a Heart follows 16 year old Izzy Crawford as she handles high school, prejudice, and being part of a low income family. Her Mami is super strict and won’t let her hang out with her best friend, she pretends to everyone she doesn’t live in a trailer park, and she secretly wishes her life was different – and she’s also ALOT jaded. In comes Aubrey, a new freshman at her school that she takes under her wing (also her older brother is the hottest boy alive, Sam). Izzy starts down the path of a double life, hiding who she is from her new rich friends. When her family is nominated to receive a Habitat for Humanity home, her double life comes back to haunt her and she has to escape to some long lost family.

I had a hard time getting into this book in the very beginning, but once it hooked me I was HOOKED. I stayed up late to finish it and I have #NoRagrets. It’s not exactly a rags to riches story, but it has some similar features. I think the prejudice situations were handled well and I loved all the characters (except Roz, and I don’t apologize). I feel bad for Roz of course, but her personality was really grating, and it felt like all Izzy did for awhile was seek her approval because she was “cool”. I loved Sam and Aubrey’s character and I was really happy the “rich” family wasn’t prejudiced against the trailer park girl.

I loved the addition of the Habitat for Humanity plot line. I haven’t read a book where Habitat was mentioned, but it was so beautiful that this family was able to be built a Habitat house and I darn near cried when a lot of the town started pitching in – including long lost family.

I adored the little romance between Izzy and Sam – they had such a glorious connection and chemistry on paper. I think they brought out the best in each other and Same helped Izzy heal a bit. It was a really heartwarming and real feeling story, it just grabs hold and won’t let go.

Please go check this one out!

Book Review – My Favorite Half-Night Stand

“I should have been more offended. But I only have one emotion, and it’s hunger.”

Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: December 4th, 2018

384 pages

3.75/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Review

You’re honestly too good for me, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want you anyway.

Christina lauren, my favorite half-night stand

I’m back with another CLo read! I picked this up from Barnes and Noble because it was one of their half off sale books and I’ve loved all the CLo books I’ve read so far. Whereas this one was not my favorite, I still enjoyed reading it and I will still read everything they have, and will, write!

Millie is a college professor with not a lot of luck with dating. Neither does her 4 best friends, all straight men who also can’t seem to navigate the dating scene. Millie’s never considered any of her friends as possible romances, until she drinks too much wine one night and jumps Reid’s bones. Reid lets it happen, and they both end up confused afterwards. The gang decides to make a pact to use a dating app to find a date to the university’s black tie gala, and they can’t take each other. Millie doesn’t have much luck, so she creates a fake persona on the site and matches with Reid. She tries to play it off so he realizes it is her, but he doesn’t. What started as a fun gag gets out of hand, and Reid is starting to like her alternate persona more than her. What’s a girl to do when her best guy friend wants to date the fake, online version of her?

My major, major critique of this book is the catfish plot. It really doesn’t seem believable that this would happen. Also, Millie was kind of an annoying character as she got bad at Reid for being into the alt version of her… which is still actually her? It got a bit confusing what she was mad about after awhile. While this is happening, the real her is also still sleeping with Reid?? So confused.

The hook up happened too soon, as in the first 2 chapters. We barely have any information on these characters and they are already boning. It’s hard to believe they “never considered it before” when it happened almost immediately.

Frankly, the side characters were scads more interesting than Millie and Reid. I wanted more information on the other 3 guys, and hell even Reid’s parents after the scene where they all visit for Reid’s birthday. The side characters were somehow more fleshed out than the main characters, and I was rooting more for them than Millie and Reid.

Outside of all that, I still love CLo books. I read it all in one day and their books are always easy, breezy books that I don’t have to think so hard about. I love reading them after a heavy Fantasy novel just to come back to earth and real life. But honestly, this book just made me want to read The Unhoneymooners again.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Temptress

Title: Temptress (Manhattan Ten #2)

Author: Lola Dodge

Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC

Publication date: November 12th, 2019

126 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A seductress. A super brain.

She’s an indie operative who only works alone, stealing other super heroes’ powers with a kiss and bringing down the bad guys. Those stolen powers add up to a crazy arsenal, but Temptress isn’t built for super strength and shooting laser beams. Her body is falling apart and a teensy mission slip-up gets her tangled with the Manhattan Ten.

He’s the M10’s leader. The man, the myth, the Mensa-conquering legend. Nothing escapes Thinktank’s calculations… Until a run-in with Temptress leaves him powerless. Superpowers stolen with a kiss can only be returned with a kiss. 

Natural enemies can only get closer. And closer. And closer…

It’s love at first fight in the second volume of the Manhattan Ten Series.

Review

**Thank you to Ink Monster, Netgalley, and Lola Dodge for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Temptress is tasked with capturing Steel, a member of the Manhattan Ten accused of sexual assault by the LVPD. With her power she is able to suck other super’s powers out of their body with just a kiss, so she is used often when the police are dealing with a super. She also works at casino’s helping to monitor security situations. She is also able to USE all the others powers – but not without a price. In comes Thinktank, the leader of the Manhattan Ten. She isn’t supposed to steal his powers, but he gets in her way – what choice does she have? Problem is she can’t figure out how to return his powers, the usual quick kiss isn’t working. Guess they’ll have to keep trying…

In the second book of the Manhattan Ten short story series, a new superhero emerges to catch Thinktank’s eye. Temptress, or Jenny for her friends. I loved Ivory, so I knew I needed to get Temptress to continue on in the series – and continue reading the companion stories of the Manhattan Ten. Temptress’ character was so awesome – she was completely bad-ass and totally nonchalant about it. She just walks into a fight without a care. I also like getting to know Tank’s character more than what we got to see in Ivory.

As with the first one, this is an adult short story, so there is sexual content – but I would say less than there was in Ivory. The focus of this story was more about figuring out Temptress’ backstory and eventually saving her from her past. With her ability to steal other super’s powers – she really is a force to be reckoned with and I’m happy she got her ending.

Check this out if you want a super quick, fantasy novel with fun characters and interesting super powers.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – The Weight of a Soul

Title: The Weight of a Soul

Author: Elizabeth Tammi

Publisher: Flux Publishing

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

320 pages

4/5

Goodreads Synopsis

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction. 

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

Review

Hi friends! Back at you with a regularly scheduled eARC review that I received from Netgalley! I’ve been plowing through my Netgalley TBR this month and I’ve read some super awesome books! Thank you to Netgalley and Flux for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review!

I found this book super interesting for a super weird reason, but I loved it because of the tie in’s with Marvel movies! I know this wasn’t the case or the inspiration for Tammi, but it is immediately what I thought when they introduced Loki, Hela, and Ragnarok. It was super awesome to read a book that involved these legends. Only was missing Thor!

Outside of this connection, The Weight of a Soul followed the daughter of the clan chieftain, Lena. Her sister Fressa died early in the book and Lena is trying to get her back, refusing to believe that she is gone. She strikes up a deal with Hela that will make Lena compromise everything she believes in.

I found this book to be interesting, with good characters and a solid plot. I believe the timing and pace was a little off for my taste, but it wasn’t a huge point of contention for me. The ending caught me by total surprise and was very sad – but made a lot of sense after I thought about it for awhile.

For fans of Sky In The Deep and Warrior in the Wild, Elizabeth Tammi brings The Weight of a Soul, which makes you question a person’s worth and value in relation to the weight of their soul compared to others. A tale about love, family, and how far one will go to protect their sister.

Happy reading book friends!

eARC Review – The Weaver

Title: The Weaver (The Weaver Trilogy #1)

Author: Heather Kindt

Publisher: The Parliament House

Publication date: August 7th, 2019

238 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.

Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.

Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.

THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is an NA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

Review

**Thank you to The Parliament House, Netgalley, and Heather Kindt for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

The Weaver starts a new trilogy that will be similar to the Inkheart series, but for a bit of an older crowd. The MC Laney is in college writing her novel about a couple in eighteenth century America. When the villain from her book attempts to rob and murder her, she starts to think there is more to her story than meets the eye. In comes the love interest of the main character in her book as a fellow student – and she can’t help but fall for him. She falls into the world of Weaving, the gift few people have to bring their stories to life. However, this is very dangerous as the characters who come to life look to change their endings, by any means necessary.

I think The Weaver was a decent book that managed to be different enough from Inkheart to keep it interesting. Laney as the main character and storyteller was good, but some of the other characters leave much to be desired. Her middle school crush, Jason, who can’t decide if he loves her or not comes off as very flaky and rude – he also doesn’t seem to have enough impact on the story (outside of one major event). It’s almost like his character was superfluous. There were other plot points I felt like could have been rounded out, like the group of Weavers she meets to try and figure out what is happening. They just pop into the story and are never talked about again until the end.

Outside of these issues, I really enjoyed reading The Weaver and would like to see how the story continues to unfold. The ending was surprising, with a twist that I did not see coming – which always adds into any book’s appeal for me. I want to know what Laney does after that ending and how her story will continue.

If you were a fan of the Inkheart series, go check out The Weaver, a new fantasy novel where your imagination quite literally comes to life, and tries to kill you!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂