Friday, April 12, 2019

Book Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Stand Alone
Format: ebook
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
How I Got It: Library (I have since purchased it)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Review

I am on board with loving this book. And I think this is a gateway romance which I am a fan of.

Lucy had a great voice and was a fun heroine. She was quirky and very real. She cares so much about what others think which is really relatable. Josh was adorable. The only thing that stopped me from giving this 5 stars is the lack of Josh POV. I had a pretty good idea of his thoughts and feelings but could've used more.

The sexual tension was done so well. I love a good bickering couple and this was a great example of why. There isn't harsh or cruel interactions. And there wasn't a ton of angst which I liked. Angst isn't' a bad thing, but sometimes there's too much. This actually read like a high quality romantic comedy. 

The writing was easy to read and fun. There was a ton of humor from Lucy's quirks. And there was something I can't quite explain about Ms.Thornes' writing that made me happy. This is a very cozy read.

I will definitely read more books by Sally Thorne. And I'll be picking up my own physical copy soon since I read this from the library.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Book Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824
Series: A Court of Thorns & Roses Book #1
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 419
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Review

Maybe I shouldn't write a review of this. I didn't like it, then I did, then I got frustrated and ended up kind of bored. I will continue with the series-but that is probably influenced by the fact that I already own them. 

I am interested in the world and am always intrigued by fairy stories and Fae Courts. I think Nessta, her sister, is one of the best characters. I hope she shows up more because she actually has Chutzpah that Feyre is supposed to have. 

The romance felt rushed and flat. It seemed to flip in like a page. I now think there is going to be a love triangle. Maybe she'll end up with the other guy and this will end up being a purposeful choice. I despise love triangle, but I could appreciate if that's what happened. This probably would work better if not written in a single first person POV. Ms. Maas seems to write characters-especially female heroines-who come across as self-righteous "perfect" little badasses. I seem to be the only one bothered by this. But I find them unrealistic and annoying.

Hopefully, I will grow to love these characters as the series continues. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 8, 2019

March Wrap-Up (2019)

March was a fantastic reading month. I finished 14 books. I do think Read-O-Rama contributed to my increased reading. 

And the quality of my reading was so good. I read a few books that were so close to five stars-The Hating Game and Curtsies & Conspiracies. I also got to enjoy some really go re-reads like Enna Burning.

This month of  reading was so good and made me want to read more. I'm sure I'll burn out at some point, but I'm not focusing on that.

Here are the books I read and their ratings.

The Golden Lily-4 Stars
8709523

The 48 Laws of Power-3 Stars
1170150

Only A Breath Apart-4 Stars
39863269

The Indigo Spell-5 Stars
8709526

The Risk-4 Stars
41032121

Shanghai Wind-2 Stars
25643262

A Perfect Amish Match-4 Stars
42550675

The Matchmaker's Playbook-3 Stars
27383715

Curtsies & Conspiracies-4 Stars
15723286

Enna Burning-5 Stars
248482

A Court of Thorns & Roses-4 Stars
16096824

The Hating Game-4 Stars
25883848

In a Badger Way-4 Stars
40691027

Northanger Abbey-4 Stars
50398

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, April 5, 2019

Book Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

15723286
Series: Finish School #2
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 310
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk
Publisher: Hachette, Little, Brown, & Co.
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy--won't Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

Review

I'm loving this series. This book was so close to five stars. I'm still kind of confused, but I don't even care. I'm just along for this ride with Sophronia. I can't wait to finish the series and I also want to re-read the Parasol Protectorate Series, because of the overlapping characters.

Ms. Carriger is a great writer. Full stop.

Her style is unique and fun to read. And she creates fantastic and engaging characters. I particularly like the relationships/friendships she creates. And the names. She is best namer out there.

Some new characters showed up and I'm definitely interested. There was a new guy who is intriguing and a little mysterious. But if there is a romance I'm really hoping it is the one I liked from the first book. I just gobble up all the little suggestions of that ship. So, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

If you couldn't tell, I'm currently obsessed with these characters and the series.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Review: Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

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Series: Books of Bayern Book #2
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (I own a physical copy)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

It's been two years since Enna was swept up in a heart-pounding court adventure. Now, having returned to her old life in the forests of Bayern, she is growing restless. When a strange force takes possession of her brother, Liefer, she returns to the capital to seek the help of her friend Isi, Bayern's princess. But Bayern is tottering on the verge of war with neighboring Tira.

When endowed with the terrifying gift that destroyed Liefer, Enna takes herself to war-only to embark on an epic journey of discovery and betrayal that will force her to come of age. Shannon Hale's fiery companion to her acclaimed retelling of The Goose Girl is dark, intricate, deeply passionate, and ultimately triumphant. Listeners, whether returning to Bayern or making their first visit, will find themselves enthralled.

Review

Apparently, I remembered nothing from this book. So, it was kind of like reading it for the first time again. So, it was definitely a stressful/tense read (or listen).

The friendship between Enna and Isi is maybe one of the best friendships in all of fiction. It's so real, honest, and beautiful. I want to be their friend.

This book is darker than the first one. There is a war and Enna has to deal with some serious and dark situations and choices. I would let my 10 year old cousin read this, but as a 30 year old I see the extra layers of darkness. Obviously, there is magic which plays a role in here. But part of Enna's story is like a study in Stockholm Syndrome. I don't know if that was Ms. Hale's intention, but that was my interpretation. It broke my heart and made me think about things in the real world.

I enjoyed the production of the first audiobook more, but this was still very good. A full cast reading makes it feel even more cinematic. They do a great job bringing life to Ms. Hale's beautiful writing. And I'm excited to read Razo's story again. He's really crawled into my heart in these first two books.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 1, 2019

Book Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

8709526
Series: Bloodlines Book #3
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 401
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives."
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Review

Apparently, I never reviewed this one when I first read it. So, now that I'm re-reading the series I will.

I believe this was my favorite in the series. So far in this re-read, I would say it is still my favorite. 

And Ms. Mead puts so much into this book. Looking back, it's hard to believe there was so much. There's movement with the larger plot and an individual plot. Plus, the romance gets some real love. I love Sydrian so much and they aren't disappointing on a re-read.

The character development is also good. Of course there is Sydney and Adrian who are growing perfectly-I love reading Sydney's evolution. But the other characters as well. I don't remember being as intrigued by Jill as I am. She isn't in the story a lot, but she does have an interesting story. She's also growing and developing a maturity. I remember very little about her so I'm interested in seeing what happens to her.

Oh, and I totally forgot about Hopper. Seeing Sydney and Adrian as "parents" is so adorable. I'm team Hopper-more Hopper-all Hopper all the time.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review: A Perfect Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman

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Series: Indiana Amish Brides Book #3
Format: eBook
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Romance, Inspirational, Contemporay
Publisher: Love Inspired
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

After three failed relationships, Amish bachelor Noah Graber would rather disappoint his parents than try again. But when matchmaker Olivia Mae Miller agrees to provide courting lessons, Noah’s perfect match becomes clear—it’s Olivia Mae herself! With ailing grandparents at home, she hadn’t planned on love or marriage. Might a future with Noah be everything she’s been missing?

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

This was just precious. It's my first Amish romance and my 2nd Inspirational. I like the sexy times in my books, but never felt this was lacking for not having that. And I would definitely read more of these-especially books by this author.

The romance was sweet and well-paced. I don't know much about Amish culture, but it felt realistic. I loved the innocence, but not naivete of the characters and their love. 

Olivia Mae and Noah were both good and likable characters. And they both have nice families which I love reading about.

Dealing with Alzheimer's disease added an extra layer of emotion to the story. It was really nice to read a romance about a caregiver. So many people deal with the stress and strain of that. The whole story felt real and was written respectfully. 

Overall, this was a very calm and enjoyable read. It may be weird to call a book calm, but this was a relaxing and easy read. Sometimes you need that instead of battles and crazy tension.

Thanks for reading!
Holly