Friday, February 22, 2019

Book Review: Say it First by Nikki Sloane

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Part of the Mixtape Anthology
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors have curated an anthology of brand-new, standalone stories inspired by love songs.

Review

This was such a cute story. I've never read a book by Nikki Sloane, but now I definitely want to check her books out. That's the good thing about anthologies like this-they expose you to new and different authors.

Jamie and Anna were both good and interesting characters. And I loved their-occasionally awkward-interactions. Especially when they were texting. I'm a huge fan of texting and letter/email writing in stories. I couldn't help, but smile reading their text exchanges. 

Ms. Sloane may have tried to shove a little too much into this story. That's a common issue in novellas. It isn't a big problem, but it did stop it from being a five-star read.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Book Review: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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Series: Books of Bayern Book #1 
Format: Audio book
Pages: 383
Rating: 4 Stars-book/5 stars-audio book
How I Got It: Christmas gift/Library (for the audio book)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Anidora-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt's incredible stories, and learning the language of the birds. Little knowing how valuable her aunt's strange knowledge would prove to be when she grew older. From the Grimm's fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become a queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must understand her own incredible talents before she can overcome those who wish her harm.

Review

This was a re-read, but this time I listened to the audio book. It's a full cast production and just perfection. I could not stop listening. There was just an extra dose of magic with the audio book. I want to re-read this whole series and plan on getting the full cast recordings for all of those as well.

Goose Girl feels different from other YA Fantasy. It's hard for me to explain. There are high stakes and tension, but it feels more peaceful than other fantasy books I've read. You get to savor the characters instead of crazy plot point after crazy plot point.

And the characters are great. Ani is something I love in a heroine: she's strong and kind. She's very Cinderella-have courage and be kind. In the last few years there's been a lot of heroines who are assassins and physically strong. There is a place for those types of characters, but I love that Ani is brave without physical strength to back her up.

The magic is interesting and well down. Ms. Hale had to really build this out from the source material and did an excellent job. And I loved that there were limitations to the magic. Often I feel that is overlooked in fantasy.

If you couldn't tell already, I loved this story. And I absolutely loved having it read to me/performed for me. If I have kids this will definitely be a book I want to read to them. 

I can't wait to read the next book. I remember Enna's book being my favorite.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, February 18, 2019

Book Review: The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan

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Part of the Shadowhunter World
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 507
Rating: 4 Stars 
How I Got It: Purchased or Christmas Gift (I can't remember)
Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.

Review

It only took me like a year to read this. That isn't anything negative about this anthology, but it was my bedtime book and I was really bad about reading at night.

Some of the stories were a little bleh, but overall I liked them. They probably would've been better if it hadn't been years since I read anything in this series. I really enjoyed the story with Raphael Santiago. And it was sad but seeing Valentine and and the Circle was very interesting. Those are events you hear about in The Mortal Instruments, but don't actually see/experience.

Reading these stories made me want to get back into this world and read the books I've been putting off.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, February 15, 2019

Guys My Age by Saffron Kent

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Mixtape Anthology
Format: ebook
Rating: 1 star
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Age Difference
Publisher: Self-Published
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

What’s more romantic than a love song? A mixtape full of them.

Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors have curated an anthology of brand-new, standalone stories inspired by love songs.
Review

I have never given anything a 1-star rating. But there is nothing redeeming about this story. I only forced myself to read this so I could write a review. Except the sex scene. I didn't read that because I thought it was inappropriate.

Looking at this author's Goodreads it looks like they (she?) writes edgy romances. To be honest that is not typically what I read, but this went beyond edgy into uncomfortable.

There is a substantial age difference in this story. She is 18, he is 33. And they have known each other since she was 3. I could've been fairly OK with it if she was 23 and he was 38, but not 18. And he knowing her that long was what really made it wrong for me.

This may come across judgy, but I felt violated by this story. I'm so glad I already read the Elle Kennedy story so I knew the whole anthology wasn't going to be bad and a disappointment.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Book Review: Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

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Series: Brooklyn Bruisers Book #5
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports/Hockey
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

There's this girl...
Heidi and I have been trading hungry looks all year, and everything she does makes me smile. But I don't do girlfriends, and I certainly can't get involved with the league commissioner's daughter. I need shots on goal, not a hookup and a widely misunderstood paparazzi photo.
Can I resist her, though? The way she teases me should be a game penalty for interference with my libido. 

There's this guy...
Jason wants me, but he won't admit it. That man looks at me the way a hockey player eyes the lunch buffet after practice--and I love it. 
But when victory is finally within my grasp, I blow it and humiliate myself. Even then I can't even avoid him--as the team intern, I'm in constant view of his hard body and cocky smile. 
I need another chance. Jason Castro is about to learn the true meaning of an overnight sensation.

Review

I read this so fast-I only put it down because my kindle needed to be charged. Sarina Bowen always sucks me in. She has some sort of magic for my brain.

The world of the Brooklyn Bruisers is so well down. It feels so real and I love the found family of the team. I am always a sucker for male friendships. Becky and Heidi's relationship and interactions were also A+.

Heidi was a fun heroine, but not my favorite. I did like how hardworking she was. Heidi wanted to be independent and was willing to stand up for herself-including to Castro.

Castro was also great. I loved how he would quote Dickens and Shakespeare-and that this was just expected and understood by his teammates. His backstory was a little typical/cliche, but still worked and made me emotional.

They had a pretty fun romance. It's a pretty standard one-one night stand turns into more. But it was done well and I was rooting for them the whole time. I especially liked that they both supported each other and their goals. They do have great chemistry immediately.

Potential Spoiler:

I particularly liked that Castro wasn't afraid of Heidi's dad. And he was never afraid to stand up to him. I respect that.

This book was everything I wanted. Now, I want to know if there is another book coming, because I need Silas' story. He's intriguing and I'm always a fan of a goalie book. 

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

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Series: Finishing School Book #1
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 307
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased (Pretty sure)
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Steampunk
Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. 

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Review

I love Gail Carriger's voice as a writer. She's quirky and fun and dignified.

Sophronia is an interesting main character. She's adventurous and headstrong. She's also unexpectedly friendly and supporting of those around her. She also doesn't know a lot about the world she's thrown into so I also don't know a lot. I trust things will be explored, but I also wish I knew more NOW!

I feel like there may be a romance which I am here for. (It's inter-racial and that is one of my favorites since I was raised in an inter-racial home). But I'm not 100% sure it will happen so I'm going to hold off on commenting too much.

I really liked the connections to the Parasol Protectorate series. There are a few-mainly characters-which are pretty obvious. I'm excited to see if there are any more connections as the series continues. And it kind of makes me want to re-read the Parasol Protectorate series. Personally, I think that's a good thing in a book/series.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, February 8, 2019

Book Review: Say Yes by Elle Kennedy

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Stand Alone-Part of the Mixtape Anthology
Format: E-Book
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Review

I want to read this whole anthology but I needed to read the Elle Kennedy story first. I figured I would do a quick review of it.

This was such a cute novella. And she packed a lot in a short story and a short amount of time.

The hero-name redacted for reasons-was amazing. He was funny and sweet. He kept asking the heroine-Emilia-out in a non-creepy and adorable way. I also liked her. She's so honest and owns who she is. Their interactions were fun to read and they have great chemistry.

The epilogue thing was perfect. It was short, but explained so much. I don't need more, but I would love more from these characters because they are great.

Thanks for reading!
Holly