ARC Review: A Taste For Love

A Taste for Love

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was a very cute read but I fear the author has dated it with too many specific references. Years from now, will readers really know what the “Great British Bake Off” truly is? Probably not. Not only that, but references to specific foods without descriptions of what the foods consist of means I struggled to enjoy the foods as much as the MC. I am a reader that prefers the author to “show me, don’t tell me”. Don’t read this book hungry because the references to food was great, but like I said, it was hard to really wrap my head around how to picture it all.

Liza was a decent character but her voice came across as whiny, immature, and bratty. I understand that she did like the sneaky plan her mother devised in the hopes of finding her daughter a boyfriend, but there had to be better ways for Liza to convey that. she was a headstrong female who knew what she wanted. I felt Liza was overall too hard and cruel to her mother.

I also felt there were too many topics crammed into the story: bullying, mix-race dating, potential eating disorder, stereotyping, and a few more. While these are very serious topics, I don’t feel they were handled correctly or even properly discussed. Apparently Liza’s sister was a model and Liza felt she was “looking too thin” because she didn’t touch her dessert. Liza brought up the topic to her sister where it was address AND DISMISSED in one paragraph. That did not sit right with me. It felt as it was included simply to move the story along. That’s the worst thing that could have been done so it should not have been included at all.

Overall I liked the baking aspect of the story (as I’m a baker myself) and the light-hearted romance, but the rest felt as if it needed to be flushed out more.

ARC Review: My Last Summer with Cass

My Last Summer with Cass

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review**

I enjoy a good graphic novel and this was a delightful read. It was a quick yet heartwarming read that dealt with friendship, family, self discovery, and more. From the first page, I was mesmerized by the art panels. I cannot put my finger on what made the art stand out to me but it did. It felt as if it was on another level than just a graphic novel. The story itself was captivating, the dialogue flowed easily and everything worked in great harmony. I felt the characters were well developed and have a nice arc as the story continues. A lot of readers will find this a necessary story and will be able to relate to the characters and their story.

I highly recommend this to all readers when it publishes! I feel a lot of readers will enjoy it so much.

ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion**

Holy Goddess. Be still my wicked heart.

This book was delicious from start to finish. There was so much I fell for in this one. Ok, let’s be real. I fell for everything in this story. The chemistry between a witch (Emilia) and a demon (Wrath) was sizzling and I found myself needing to take breaks to fan myself. Holy Hell. Emilia and Wrath were … for the lack of a better word … PERFECT. Emilia, with her strong connection and dedication to her twin, her family, her beliefs, her talents, her magic, her commitments, her determination, her self confidence was intense, powerful, and dazzling. Match that against one of the Seven Princes of Hell, Wrath, and you’ve got a spark waiting to ignite in the best way possible. These two characters were flawed, don’t think they were without faults, but that made them more believable. I was addicted to them and wanted more.

The history Maniscalco peppered into this story was exceptional. The way she wove magical tales that were supposed to be just ghost stories but turned out to be more, were nothing short of genius. That lead to the world building being remarkable. It was so lush, so engrossing, so realistic that I felt I was right there with Emilia on her quest. Several times I thought I could smell the moss on the walls or the vendor carts in their stalls. Maniscalco has a gift and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

This was a fast paced magical thriller that I devoured. I was thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and that’s rare. I wanted to take my time with this as I didn’t want it to be over too quickly, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. Everything around my disappeared and I neglected everything I was supposed to do ( I have no regrets).

This book comes out soon and I know you’ve already preordered it or request from your library, but if you haven’t make sure to find a way to get your hands on it. You will not be sorry.

ARC Audio Review: The Shadows

The Shadows

This was a lackluster story. The blurb read like this was supposed to be a mystery/thriller but it was neither of those for me. I felt bored and disconnected the entire story. The back and forth timelines/POVs were confusing and left me scratching my head. As for the mystery/horror side of the story, I never felt it. I was not creeped out, on the edge of my seat, or remotely scared. What this felt like was an adult Fanfic story of the popular YA series, The Raven Boys.

Regardless, the audio was well done and the narrators were excellent. The voices matched the characters perfectly. They narrators delivered one heck of a performance, even if the story itself needed work.

ARC Review: Winter, White and Wicked

I receive an eArc from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

First, that cover. Holy smokes it is stunning and it is what caught my eye. Second, the premise. While I’ve never seen Frozen (I will probably go to my grave no having seen that movie…), the promise of a Mad Max: Fury Road story is what sold me. How has there not been a story with this type of set up done? Maybe it has been and I’ve overlooked it, who knows, but what I do know is this story was phenomenal.

I was afraid I would struggle with this one as it’s a fantasy but it was brilliantly done. This story held nothing back as it was non-stop action from the very start. Full of complex characters, mythical creatures, ancient legends, mysterious secrets, and a lush magical world, this story was the entire package.

I want to talk about so many things that happened in this one as I enjoyed it so much, but I promise I won’t spoil anything. In one last ditch effort to hook you on wanting to read this powerhouse, I’ll leave you with these thoughts: some people are made of stone, some people can control Winter, Winter is a vicious foe, battle ready wolves, monsters that make themselves out of random body parts, and a flower that becomes addictive when burned and it drifts through the air. Curious yet? This author was far more morbid than I realized and I loved it. I absolutely enjoyed ever single second of this thrill ride. I cannot wait to read the next book.

Review: The Winter Duke

The Winter Duke

This story was captivating. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I felt as if everything was very well done – the world building, the character development, the pacing, all of it. The world building and the magic within this dukedom stood out the most to me. I was surprised that magic did not have a bigger role to play in this world but it was added in just enough to make the read that much more enjoyable. Image, a world of ice ruled by a family who alone hold the secret over how to use magic. Genius.

I also enjoyed the LGBT romance within this story. It was refreshing to read story in which the characters live in a world where gender/sexuality do not define a person. If the Duke (who happened to be a female in this story) wanted to be with/engaged to a man or woman, so be it. Nobody batted an eye. Marvelous.

The mystery found within the pages was very well developed and executed. I was tearing through this trying to figure out who put the family to sleep. Just when I thought I figured it out, I was wrong. I had a delightful time trying to figure out all out! The danger, the romance, the action, the challenges, all of it was so well done that I cannot wait to read more from this author.

ARC Audio Review: His & Hers

His & Hers

I have seen this one around social media and not only did the cover catch my eye, the blurb did as well. I was thrilled at the opportunity to listen and review the audio! I will start this review about the audio itself: the biggest issue I had was with the app in which I listened to the book. It was awful. It kept shutting off every 30-60 seconds for no reason. I was not able to listen unless my phone was unlocked. You can imagine my frustration at that. Thankfully, the narrators were spot on and brought this story to life. I felt they portrayed the characters perfectly. They felt believable and like reliable narrators.

The story itself was a little rocky at times. I did enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but I had some problems. I do enjoy a nice balance of character and plot driven books. This one… well… the characters, Anna and Jack, were dreadful They are rather horrible people apart and they are even worse together. They were certainly fleshed out and woefully flawed, but there were times they almost overtook the plot of the story. They were self-centered to the point where I wanted to skip ahead to see if the author had moved on from them. I didn’t want to read an entire thriller about two nasty people who are rather rude no matter what. The further I got into the story, I did get the backstory of why they were the way they were, but it didn’t give them a pass for being despicable.

I know it sounds like I truly did not like this book but I did enjoy most of it. The character personalities were not my cup of tea but I stayed with this one for the actual plot, which was good. The ending did not blow me away but it was entertaining enough to hold my attention.

Review: The Crow Rider

The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow, #2)

This review has taken longer to write because I’ve been trying to process my thoughts on what I read. I was excited to read this sequel because I loved the first book, but I struggled with this. The first book was captivating, unique, intriguing, and engaging. This felt like it took the first half of the book to get to the point of the actual book. If I am not feeling a book, I quit after 100 pages but I pushed through. I probably should have stopped at 100 pages.

This book started exactly where the first book left off and with no recap, I felt lost. It had been a year since I read the first book that I forgot a lot of the details. A little subtle reminder of what already took place would have been helpful.

The other thing that stood out to me was how much action and how little world building was put into this book. Action scenes are always welcome but so is world building, character development/arc, plots, and the like. This book was more action than anything else and it was confusing.

ARC Review: Instant Karma

Instant Karma

I was so excited for this latest book by Marissa Meyer as she is one of my favorite authors. Sadly, this did not work for me. This felt more like a MG book than a YA. The protagonist, Pru, came across as deeply immature, selfish, and an all around brat. From the start she was only thinking about herself and how any situation could better her. It is one thing to be active in a school project, it is another to choose not to let your assigned partner participate in said project because you believe you can do it better by yourself.

Let’s not talk about (or maybe we should?) the unknown angst Pru has for her assigned partner and self-proclaimed enemy, Quint. She carries a massive grudge against him, always trash talking him when he hasn’t done anything to deserve it. She bashes him every single chance she gets, as if her brain just wants to utter his name as every other word that comes out of his mouth. It’s maddening because she never gives an actual reason why she dislikes him so, so, so much. He certainly isn’t the devil in human form, he’s a decent human being.

The setting for the book was the best part, and that’s sad. The pacing was terribly slow and I lost interest several times. Would I recommend this? I know some readers that will love it, but it will be an either “love it or hate it” book for most people.

ARC Review: Last Girls

Last Girls

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

Y’ALL.

THIS BOOK. Holy smokes this book. This action packed, edge of my seat, wild thriller of a ride was exactly what I needed to read. I live for survival stories and this will now forever be in my Top 5 Favorites. Not only is this a survival story, it centers around Doomsday Preppers, a topic I have not ever read about in books (especially YA) before. I could not get enough of it. If these seem like your cup of tea, then I highly recommend this book to you.

While the main focus/topic of the story would appear to be TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), there is so much more going on, something deeper and intensely important: family. Bear with me, I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true. The Juniper sisters, Blue, Birdie, and Honey, have a bond that defies reason. These three are so fluid with each other – they know what the others are thinking and automatically know what they are supposed to do. It’s like poetry in motion.

As if talking about doomsday prepping, EDC (Every Day Carry) bags, end of the world, and secret compounds isn’t enough, this story really holds so much suspense and mystery. There is more to the Juniper sisters besides their unwavering bond. There are dark secrets where these three are concerned, they just don’t realize it. What is it about their past that someone doesn’t want brought to light? The only way for you to find out is to read this book and join me in fangirling Brodsky’s powerhouse novel.