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.

Review: Bright Burning Stars

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

I went into this with high hopes but I was not able to connect to any part of the story. I expected more of a mystery story than hardcore ambition. The synopsis promised one thing but the actual story delivered something else. It took a lot of willpower to not DNF.

The main characters, Kate and Marine, were underdeveloped, flat, lifeless, and dull. All of their POV chapters sounded the same so it was difficult to tell who was actually speaking. That went hand in hand with the plot being weak. and full of holes. It all tied together to create one story that was tough to get through. I didn’t care what was going on with anyone so it was hard to pay attention. I’m not sure I could recommend this to anyone as it needed serious reediting and proofing.

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.

Review: The Inheritance Games

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is another one of the authors I hold in high regard. I have yet to read a book of hers that I don’t immediately love. I have had the pleasure of meeting her several times and she is an absolute delight. That being said, her latest mystery thriller was nothing short of captivating. I adore who-dun-it mysteries, always hoping I’m smart enough to solve everything before the end of the story. Maybe one day.

This is the story of Avery, who finds herself named in the will of an eccentric billionaire that she has not ever heard of. Her life isn’t exactly going well as she’s trying to deal with the loss of her mother and the fact she is forced to live with her half sister. It seems this new found fortune came into Avery’s life at the right time. Or did it? Who is this billionaire and why name Avery in his will? Will she be able to survive the billionaire’s family who also feel they deserve all of the money? Can she figure out all of the puzzles and clues to get to the prize at the end?

Barnes is a mastermind (no pun intended) when it comes to writing thrillers. They are all so complex, brilliant, and just fun. This book was no different and I am sad I have to wait so long to find out what happens. Not only can Barnes spin one heck of a tale, she can write believable characters that sound like someone you would be friends with in real life. Avery’s character had one heck of a hand dealt to her, but it wasn’t unbelievable. She had her ups and downs, yet she was determined to pull herself out of her sorrows and get through everything. She really was brilliantly written.

The plot itself, with the puzzles, twists, and turns, the deceptions, the lies, the reveals… everything was genius. I wish I had one small drop of the creativity Barnes does. When she writes, I cannot turn the pages fast enough.

This was one of my highlight reads of the year and I hope everyone gives it a chance because it deserves more praise.

ARC Review: Skyhunter

Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)

**I received copy in exchange for my honest review**

I have never been shy in telling people that Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors. I found her by accident many years ago while walking through Target and my eyes landed on Legend. That chance encounter changed my reading habits, preferences, and more. Lu’s latest novel checked all of the boxes in my eyes: scifi dystopian, fast paced story, gripping story line, relatable and developed characters, edge of my seat ending… what more can you want?!

Mara is one member of an elite fighting force made up primarily of teens. Why teens? Because the turnover and mortality rate is rather high. They are living in time where war-machine monsters have been created and when an experimentation gets lose, all bets are off. Mara will have to join forces with the most unlikely person…

I devoured this book. Sci-fi dystopian stories are right up my alley and I cannot get enough of them (recommendations for more are always welcome!). The pace and the plot and the delivery were masterfully done. Once I started I ignored everything else. I was captivated because I just had to know what was going to happen next. I needed to know what was building between Mara and Talin (will they? won’t they?).

Speaking of Mara and Talin… the characters were very well developed yet flawed. I may say that a lot but when I do I mean it. Reading about a flawed character helps me connect to the overall story more. This story felt more action driven than character driven and I was okay with that… it worked so well. Don’t get me started on that ending… it pains me that I have to wait so long for the next book.

Do I recommend this? HECK YES. Please add this to your TBR if you have not already. This is one series you don’t want to miss.

Review: Super Fake Love Song

Super Fake Love Song

**I received a copy in exchange for my honest review**

I was so excited when Ir ecieved a copy of Yoon’s newest book as I loved his debut novel. Sadly, I did not connect or enjoy his sophomore novel as I had hoped, but I am glad I read it. I struggled to get behind Sunny’s determination to pretend to be something he isn’t in order to impress a girl. I’m not stranger to this premise, but I’m not the biggest fan of it. Sunny’s character had nothing to be ashamed of as he is a self-proclaimed nerd with some amazing friends and a great family. He and his friends had a somewhat successful video channel for DIY costumes/crafts/etc. He is introduced to a girl that he crushes on, she mistakes him for his “cooler” musician brother and he doesn’t correct her. I just don’t see how lying to impress a girl is ever a good idea…

I did not want to DNF this as I like Yoon’s writing style but it took me getting over half-way through to find my groove with this one. I did cringe a lot at the crazy (to me) thoughts Sunny had in justifying his actions. The romance with Cirrus felt a little bit forced so it wasn’t believable in my eyes. Maybe if they had started out as friends and let the romance happen naturally it would have been better. I was also disappointed that I wasn’t given the opportunity to learn more about Sunny’s family until the last few chapters of the story. I feel if we had been given more insight into his family early on, it would have made a difference.

Please know I’m trying to bash this book at all as I really did enjoy Yoon’s writing, I just did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped. I can see how other readers will devour and love this so I encourage everyone to give it a read.

Review: Rent A Boyfriend

Rent a Boyfriend

I adore this author and that mean I could NOT WAIT to dive into Chao’s latest novel. The premise sounded intriguing and I love the cover. Sounds like the trifecta for a book I would love… and it was! I really enjoyed this and could not get enough of it. One thing I found fascinating was that this practice actually takes place. That blew my mind! As a white female, I do not have an insight into Chinese culture or family dynamics so it was an eye opener. That made me feel bad for the MC, Chloe. She wanted to escape her over-bearing parents and hoped renting a boyfriend for a family visit help with that. What happened as a result of this choice arrangement was nothing short of charming, hilarious, and romantic.

Chao’s writing style is just one thing that will always keep me coming back to her. She writes with snark, wit, and depth. Her characters are deeply flawed yet relatable, the settings are well developed, and the topics feel real. There is not any cringy-worthy instalove. Normally her stories are slow burns and I’m always here for a slow burn love story.

I will not stop gushing about how much fun this story was. There were parts that were tough to get through, mainly the conversations between Chloe and her mother because there was such a cultural difference. By that I mean Chloe was not raised in what could be construed as misogynistic behavior. Her mother wanted to arrange a marriage, did not believe she would be anything without being married, and that she should want nothing more than to be married and have babies. That was not Chloe at all. Plus, there were times Chloe’s mother ‘fat shamed’ her and it made me want to smack her. Those topics just made the story feel more believable.

Please pick this one up if you have not already. This was such a great story and my only complaint is that I have to wait so long for her next story.

ARC Review: More Than Just A Pretty Face

More Than Just a Pretty Face

**I received an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review**

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this debut novel in my mailbox and immediately started it. It was a fun contemp romance read with culture, race, and religion themes. Do not be fooled, there is also a serious tone to the story. I cannot speak to the the representation of the Muslim culture/religion/race, but I can speak to the overall description of the main characters. That being said, I did not enjoy how the MC was described as being so good looking but not the smartest. It gave the impression that really attractive people are not smart. That did not jive well with me. Honestly, there was not much about Danyal that I liked. He was portrayed as an incredibly conceited character and I don’t like that at all. He had a somewhat believable character arc and I disliked him less by the end of the story. I did enjoy Bisma’s character and felt like I wanted to be friends with her in real life. I enjoyed reading the interaction between her and Danyal. Their innocent romance was fun to read.

The writing itself was well done. This was a quick read with a good pace but I did find that I was truly involved in what was happening until over halfway through. It should not take that long for a story to hook me as a reader. I didn’t ever feel like stopping and putting this one down, but it stood out how long it took me to really become engaged with this.

Do I recommend this? Yes, I do. I believe a lot of readers will love this. Sadly it was just an okay read for me. Maybe I wasn’t the right reader for this story but I’m happy I gave it a chance.

Review: None Shall Sleep

None Shall Sleep

First things first – I am not a fan of this cover. I don’t feel it represents the actual story at all. I put off reading this because of that cheap looking cover alone. How terrible is that? Very, but I know I’m a cover snob.

Second, the story turned out to be much darker than I expected. I’m not complaining because I enjoyed it. It was a slow paced psychological thriller with a lot of twists and turns. This had the feel of a Jennifer Lynn Barnes series, “The Naturals” meets “The Silence of the Lambs”. I liked the idea of young people working with the FBI to profile and help catch bad people that I want more books like this.

The only complaint I can come up with is that I would have liked more character development. We were given a decent background on all of the characters but I don’t feel they truly had an arc. They felt as if they stayed the same throughout the entire story, which was a letdown.

If you’re looking for an edge of your seat thriller, this is the book for you. Do not let that cover fool you, this was a great read.

Review: Admission


In the wake of the real life Admission scandal, I was so excited to read this. I went into this story with the expectation of a edge of my seat thriller about scandal, bribery, lies, cheating, and more. What I read was flat, dull, and uneventful. I have nobody to blame but myself as I set my expectations far too high.

The MC, Chloe, wants nothing more than to get into her dream college but as a mediocre student, she doesn’t realistically have a chance of getting into the highly competitive and prestigious school. She was doing everything her parents told her, all the time believing it will be enough. She has no idea that behind the scenes they are paying the right people to fake applications, tests, papers, and more to make her dreams come true.

Sounds compelling, right? I thought the same thing until I started the story. To put it bluntly: it was boring. I was bored the entire read. Nothing of interest happens. Nothing made me gasp in shock or clutch my pearls. It was cut and dry: parents pay someone to get their daughter into school because she cannot do it on her own. I just hoped there would have been something a wee bit more exciting that had happened.

The characters were not that interesting either. Sure, I felt bad for Chloe because she had no idea what was happening. Now her parents? I couldn’t stand them, especially her mom. Her mom was more concerned about reminding everyone about the TV shows and B-movies she was in than admitting she messed up big time. She was so self-involved that it was starting to make me really mad. I had several thoughts of quitting the story but it wasn’t very long so I stuck it out. That was my fault.

I want to mention there is a hint of a romance in the story but it took a back seat to the rest of the story. I kind of think it would have helped the story but I’ll never know because it was never developed. I believe it was added to the story for the sake of adding to the story. Did it serve a purpose? No, not one.

I do wish I could put my finger on what would have made this better but I can’t. Maybe adding Chloe’s sister’s POV? Maybe tone down the clueless mom? Or perhaps develop the romance? No matter what, if you read about this scandal in the papers then skip this book. You will not be entertained.