Review: Chasing Lucky

Chasing Lucky

I received a gifted copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Jenn Bennett has magic in her veins. I have yet to read a book of hers that I do not like. Her romance stories make me swoon in ways I didn’t know I could. Not only can she write, her lust-worthy characters feel so believable. The banter, the interactions, the story lines, all of it feels real. I could be watching real two people going through an adventure rather than a made up story. Magic, I tell you.

From the very start I knew I would fall for Lucky and he would break my heart. Did that stop me? Not at all. I buckled up and settled in for the ride. (SPOILER: He was everything I hoped he’d be and more.) Now Lucky with Josie? FANTASTIC. The snark between these two had me in stitches! These two being best friends as young children finding each other again as older teens was amazing. It was as if these two never missed a beat. The banter and wit was back and I was here for it. The chemistry sizzled on the page, holy smokes. The story line of Josie and her mother being forced to move back to their hometown was so very good. It sounded like a small town I would love to visit someday, especially during the summer.

As you can tell, I’m struggling to form proper thoughts because I enjoyed this so much. The setting was perfect, the characters were wonderfully flawed and well developed, and the plot was believable. Josie wanted a clean start and to stop moving so much with her Mom. Her Mom seems to be outrunning something from her past and it’s wearing on Josie. After being forced to go back to their hometown, everything changes, secrets are revealed, truths come to the surface, old flames are rekindled, and walls come down. What more can you want from a story?

This Bennett book was exactly what I needed in my life. I devoured it and now want more. (Also, I claim Lucky as my book boyfriend.) Please read this one ASAP if you have not already.

Review: More Than Just a Pretty Face

More Than Just a Pretty Face

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

I have been struggling with my review for this one. I had high hopes but I walked away disappointed. Stories that circle around Muslim characters are either hit or miss for me, mostly miss as the last few I’ve read were bad representations of the culture.

The main reason I did not enjoy this as much as I wanted was because of the main character, Danyal. I did not like how many times he would make fun of Muslim culture/traditions. I’m not Muslim but it made me uncomfortable when he made fun of the religion. He would do this a lot when he was trying too hard to impress others at school or act like he was too cool for school. He had his moments when he was funny and charming, but I’m not a fan of people or characters that are “charming”.

Enter Bisma, Danyal’s love interest. She was such a great character but she came into the story far too late and their relationship developed way too late to save the story. It was not given enough time to properly develop, which was very sad. I would have liked to see more grow there.

I did want more from this story so that’s on me. I did not read any reviews before I started this so I went into blind, which I prefer to do. I am grateful that the publisher trusted me with a copy but this was just not for me for the above reasons.

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.

Review: Grown

Grown

This was powerful, raw, necessary, and tough to get through. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to properly express myself when it comes to this one. It hit me in such a way that I still stumble with all of the emotions I have for it. Jackson won me over many years ago with her powerhouse Allegedly and she’s only gotten better with every book she writes.

I’m sure you’ve heard there are Trigger Warnings for this and I’m here to testify that is true. I mentioned this was tough to get through and I mean it. It deals with several forms of abuse, sexual assault, violence (both verbal and physical), neglect, underage drinking, drug use, and much more. While those are very serious topics, they are all handled with the care and grace they deserve. Jackson did not throw them into the story just for the sake of it. They served a purpose and they were also discussed/addressed as they should have been. It was brilliantly done and my hats off to Jackson.

I have said this on numerous occasions but I connected with this story on a deep level as I am a survivor of domestic violence. Now I can only speak to my personal experiences but the abuse/neglect/violent scenes in this story felt believable. I had many, many similar situations/events in my life so I believed what Enchanted was going through.

There were other times when I felt like I was Enchanted. This tugged at all of the right emotions, feelings, thoughts, wants, hopes, and dreams. What little girl hasn’t had dreams of being in the spotlight or being more than her upbringing? I know I had big dreams of getting out of my small town, sadly I had to take some seriously rocky detours to get there but I made it.

The world building, the characters, the story lines are all magnificent. The characters are brilliantly flawed, the worlds are lush, and the story lines are captivating. I will always recommend Jackson books to readers. She writes the stories that need to be published. She writes real, relatable, believable, and relevant stories. She writes with magic in her veins because her stories are so fluid.

If you read this one, let me know your thoughts.

Review: All Eyes on Her

All Eyes on Her

I went into this one blind and having read no reviews. I knew it was a bit of a mystery/thriller and that was exactly what I was hoping for. What I read was not what I expected it to be. It was less mystery/thriller and more like badly written 90s high school drama.

The main reason I did not enjoy this one was because of the characters. They were flat out awful. They did not have any redeeming qualities, no character arcs, nothing that made me want to root for them. They were just nasty and horrid to each other because they could be. I don’t like people like that in real life and I certainly do not enjoy reading about them in a book.

The mystery/thriller aspect of the story was neither mysterious or thrilling. It was boring, to be quite honest. The author tried way too hard to foreshadow, while also throwing red herrings in the hopes of tripping the reader up. Neither worked well as the overall story went on so long that I lost interest in what was actually happening. I quickly did not care who did what to who when and where. Don’t get me started on the way the ending was left open. That felt like a cop out more than anything.

After I finished this one, I went to Goodreads to see what others thought and it turns out I am in the minority. Just one more book to prove that not every book is for every reader. Give this book a try and maybe you’ll have better luck with it than I did.

Review: Rated

Rated

Anyone who knows me as a readers knows that I live for a good futuristic/dystopian story. The synopsis of this story alone checked those boxes. A society where anyone can affect your user rating and everything about you is tied to that rating might be closer than we think. It also sounded exactly like what I needed in my life, which is why I snagged a copy to devour. Well… what I read didn’t match the expectation I had in my head. While this was a fascinating premise and the world building was rather good, the story line itself fell flat. I kept waiting for the hook of the story to happen and sadly I had to wait until almost the very end of the story for it to present itself. The rest of the time I sat through so many characters being introduced. So. Many. Characters. Should they all have been there and given their own voices? No, they shouldn’t have. Having that many POV voices did not add to the story. I struggled to keep them all straight, most of the time wondering if I even needed to keep them all straight.

Grey certainly knows how to properly world build so I will not ever say she cannot do that. What she struggled with here was developing her characters and giving them arcs. One character was an anorexic figure skater and there was too much attention given to those things about her, but they did not have anything to do with the overall story. The topic of anorexia was also not discussed or addressed at all and that really bothered me. Another character was good at hacking, and another was good at studying. Whoopie. They were just boring, flat, one-dimensional characters. I felt nothing for them.

Am I upset I read this? Upset is strong but I’m disappointed in what I read. The ending was a total let down as nothing was revealed until the last few pages of the book. I do not like when that happens because it just feels like the author phoned in the end of the book. If this is a series I will not continue. I don’t care enough to find out what happens next.

Review: Watch Over Me

Watch Over Me

Nobody destroys my feels quite like Ms. LaCour. Another book that shatter me and hit me right in my emotions. LaCour’s latest novel was full of hard hitting emotions, tough topics, grief, learning how to love and what it means to be loved. This was not an easy read but my goodness it was powerful and gave me a lot to think about. Some of the topics covered (certainly not all): foster care, abuse, child abandonment, and trauma,

Mila was an outstanding protagonist. She was very well developed and had a wonderful character arc. I wanted nothing more than to reach into the story and give her a hug. This poor girl went through more than any one person should ever have to endure. The setting was lush and hauntingly beautiful. I felt like I was completely immersed in all parts of this book. The eerie flashbacks were very well done and added an extra layer to the story, as well as the ghostly hauntings. It felt masterfully done.

I devoured this book in one day, I could not get enough of it. I believe this is already on your TBR but add it if it isn’t already.

Review: Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy

Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy

I don’t talk about this a lot because I carry a lot of shame with it but I have a very negative relationship with my body. I battle PTSD daily, which lead to an eating disorder, anorexia, body dysmorphia, and AFRID. I wish I had a book like this years ago as I feel it would have made a huge difference. I am grateful it is out now because I hope it helps others. I talk about my battles so much more because admitting means I don’t give it full control over me. Plus, talking about it means I put my story out for others and I have found I am not alone with my issues.

That being said, I loved this book more than I can put into proper words. While my issues are huge to me, people are going through so much more than what I am carrying. So many people, stories, and backgrounds are represented and it is nothing short of spectacular. I am going to push this in front of every reader I come into contact with. This book needs to be in the hands of everyone STAT.

Review: Tiger, Not Daughters

Tigers, Not Daughters

I was very excited for the opportunity to read this new novel by Mabry but I was disappointed with what I read. I struggled to connect to the character(s) and the story. I often found myself drifting in thought because I was not engaged in what was going on. That could be because this was a “magical realism” story and I do not enjoy those.

I did not like how each chapter was told from a different sister’s POV because they both sounded the same. It sounded like the same voice telling the entire story but I had to keep reminding myself that wasn’t the case. They both felt flat, shallow, and one dimensional.

This was a long story with nothing going on. With a story that already had lack luster characters, magical realism (something about a ghost?), and a whole lot of nothing, this became boring very quickly. It was just bland characters giving a play by play of their daily lives. I needed so much more than what I read.

ARC Review: They Went Left

They Went Left

It has taken me a bit to find the right words to describe this book. Hesse is nothing short of masterful when it comes to writing gripping, heart breaking, raw, powerful, and soul shattering historical fiction novels. This book did all of that and so much more.

One thing I found utterly fascinating about this story was how unreliable Zofia was as a narrator. Even after being liberated, she had a very hard time remembering things correctly, such as her town before everything took place. Like many, she was traumatized during her time in concentration camps so it was understandable how shaky her memories would be. All of this made me connect to the story that much more. I simply had to know what happened and if Zofia was able to locate her brother, whom she was separated from in the beginning. My heart went out to her constantly. She had such a long journey ahead of her and I wanted nothing more than to give her a hug and help her.

This story made me uncomfortable, as it should, simply because these events took place in real life. I adore how Hesse has not been afraid to write stories about true events to bring them to light. Events like these need to be told and people need to know. Their stories should not be forgotten. The war simply did not end when the people were liberated from the concentration camps, those people were scared for life. They had to find a way to live their life again the best way they knew how, even after all of the horrific trauma they endured.

Do I recommend this book? You bet your sweet tush I do. I recommend all of Hesse’s books and will forever do so. She is an auto-buy author for me and I will continue to be one of her biggest fans & faithful reader. Please read this one if you have not already, but make sure to have some kleenex handy.