DNF Review: Love from A to Z

Love from A to Z

This may be quick as I do not enjoy writing DNF reviews but believe they are necessary so readers can see that not ever book is for everyone.

I made the decision to quit this and move on after only 20-something percent into the story. As a reader, I know what I like and do not like in a story, along with what works for me. This, my darlings, did not work for me. The number one thing that stood out to me was the immature-sounding voice of the MC, Zayneb. She was suspended from school after an outburst. Okay, I get that. But how her inner monologue voice was that of a twelve year old instead of a high school student. She sounded petulant and bratty. That mixed with the fact that her parents chose to send her overseas to start her spring break early did not jive for me. That did not feel like a punishment, it sounded like a treat!

On top of that, she has INSTALOVE with a boy she met on the plane ride to Doha, Qatar! I’m out. I don’t do instalove – ever. It was unbelievable, unrelatable, and not my cup of tea. She meets Adam on the plane and queue her immature boy crazy voice that gushed about how cute his hair was. I was not on board for that. Then she ran into him again after setting in at her aunt’s house and sparks continued to fly? Nope, I’m done.

I really wish I could have gotten into this story as everyone loved it but sadly it just did not do anything for me. I didn’t like the shallow characters and weak plot. If you read this and loved it, I wish I could have read it through your eyes. I tried, and sadly failed to enjoy this.

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ARC Review: Steel Tide

Steel Tide (Seafire, #2)

I could hardly wait until the next book in this series came out because I loved… loved Seafire so much. This series is proving to be such a sleeper powerhouse and I’m thrilled that it is happening. It is full of badass females, action packed scenes, and no forced romance (WHOO!).

Book 2 picked up right where Book 1 ended. Caledonia had been gravely injured during her epic battle, lost her ship, and lost her crew. What else does she have? Determination – that’s what. She had been rescued and taken in by the most unlikely of groups – former Bullets known as Blades. Caledonia teamed up with the Blades and set out with the plan to take back her crew she called her sisters, and her ship, if possible. On top of that, she wanted… no, needed to find out what happened to her brother Donnelly and if she could save him at the same time. Does Caledonia have a few tricks left up her sleeve? Can she pull this all off?

This was such a wild roller coaster of an adventure! I had no idea Parker could take a female pirate crew and turn it into one of the most action packed adventure I’ve read in the longest time. The cast was just as brilliantly written in this book as they were in the first. They all continue to grow, learn, develop, and mature while still retaining their flaws that made them come across relateable and human. Caledonia was and will forever be my most favorite lead female character. She rose to nearly every challenge she was faced with with humility, confidence, and determination. Those alone were admirable enough. The fact that she was also realistic and believable. She knew the dangers she would put herself and the new crew in, but she didn’t force anyone to do anything they were not comfortable with. Then, if the situation changed, she would step back, reassess and make a new plan. Brilliant. The rest of the characters were just as enjoyable, especially Pine and Triple.

The pacing of the story was masterfully done. Dare I say this book could possibly outshine the first in the series? This did not read like a second book in a series, nor did it suffer from second book syndrome. It was everything I always needed a second book to be. Parker did not let me down and I’m grateful for that.

As you can tell, I’m struggling to write this review because this book was just SO GOOD! Plus, I don’t want to give anything away! I want you to read this series and gush about these characters, this world, this story as much as I am. Please put it on your TBR if you have not already.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

From Goodreads:

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home. 

Is this on your TBR? Let me know!

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ARC Review: Frankly In Love

Frankly in Love

This book slayed me. I mean… GUTTED me in the best way possible. Do not let this simple cover fool you – this book has been sent to destroy you. I’m going to do my best to give you a spoiler free review. Enjoy!

Frank Li wanted to find love and not with a girl that his parents pick for him. He had his eyes set on one in particular but she would never have his parents’ approval. So what does a good son like Frank do? He fakes a relationship with a girl his parents do approve of so he can pseudo-date the girl he really wants to date. What could possibly go wrong?

While this seemed like a simple book of “boy who wants to find love”, it is anything but that. The story that lies in between the pages of David Yoon’s debut will leave you in tears. Yoon tackled topics like racial profiling, privilege, culture, and more. He took a hard look at these hard hitting and sensitive topics and presented them with the grace and beauty they deserved. It was nothing short of masterful.

Frank Li, the protagonist in this story, was complex, gritty, real, flawed, and relatable. He was nothing more than an dork with a solid best friend that would help him hide a dead body if necessary who thought he knew what he wanted out of love and life, but life had other plans for him. He had moments where he was serious, others where his wit had me in tears with laughter, and yet more where he couldn’t say something without sticking his foot in his mouth. I wanted nothing more than to be his friend in real life. He was brilliant.

There really is so much I want to say about this book but I cannot because I won’t give anything away. GAH – it is SO DANG GOOD. Please, please get this when it comes out! I need people to gush with! It will leave you a bit spell-bound, wonder struck, and wondering how the hell this could be Yoon’s debut. The author writes like he’s done this a billion times before. This was everything I never knew I needed in a book.

Review: There’s Something About Sweetie

There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2)

It is no secret that I have had a rough relationship with Menon’s books. Either I was not in the right mood to read them or I was just not the right reader. Either way, I adore the author and chose to give her third book a chance. I’m happy to say I did enjoy this more than the first two but I still had some issues with it.

The main thing I want to point out about this novel is that it was a wonderful and important #ownvoices book. The diversity found within the pages was outstanding. The protagonist, Sweetie, was excellent, powerful, and strong. She felt like a motivational leader, one that could inspire young readers to stand fast in their beliefs and know their self worth. While she was strong, she was still very insecure. I don’t know if that was included simply to move the story along and make her come across more relateable but it felt like that was all she did in her own head was comment about her body size. But to her friends and family, she was outspoken and confident about her size… so which was it? I know that may seem minor but it stood out in my head.

As for the rest of the characters, not so much. I did not enjoy Ashish’s character much. He did not feel genuine in my eyes. Everything he did and said felt forced, choppy, unbelievable, and just downright extreme. His POV chapters had me rushing to get through them because I wanted to hear from Sweetie’s POV instead. Ashish and the forced love triangle with his ex was not necessary. I saw everything about that hot mess coming a mile away.

This was a super quick and fluffy read so there was not much slowing the pace down. I already mentioned the unnecessary plot with the ex and I found myself mentally drifting away when that topic came up. I did not care what happened because it had been played out hundreds of times in other books. One part of the book that I would have liked to know more about was Sweetie’s mom’s history. Maybe a little more info on her backstory would have helped explain why she was so incredibly hung up on Sweetie’s weight. I get the, “I want what is best for you!” mentality, but there had to be a deeper reason why her mom was focused on her daughter’s weight in a negative way.

While I enjoyed this more than the first two books, I still could not fall madly in love with it. I tried, I really did. I had my issues, I rolled my eyes a lot, I shook my head. I won’t be highly recommending to anyone but I won’t push someone away from it either. It fell somewhere near the “meh, it was alright” on my lists. I believe I will still continue to read Menon’s books, hoping that the next one I read hits me right in the feels.

Waiting on Wednesday: Capturing the Devil

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Capturing The Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4)

From Goodreads:

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

Is this on your TBR? Let me know!

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Review: How To Make Friends With The Dark

How to Make Friends with the Dark

After reading Girl in Pieces by Glasgow and meeting her in person, I knew I would forever read anything she wrote. This author has the ability to write from a deep place within her soul that speaks directly to my soul. There were times I felt she was talking directly to me or speaking about my life because I had experienced so many of these emotions, thoughts, and feelings. This book left me in tears and am grateful it is out in the world.

This was the story of Tiger and how she learned to navigate the rough waves of emotion, loss, grief, depression and so much more after the loss of her mother. The life before her mother’s passing was all Tiger knew, but now she needed to find a new way to survive. She found a way and it was not all pretty. It was gritty, dirty, gut wrenching, beautiful, powerful, and heart breaking.

It cannot and will not ever be easy to write grief into a book. Those are incredibly specific emotions that are either done right or done wrong – there is no in between. Glasgow did this book right. I speak from the experience of having lost both of my parents, both were taken too soon. That was why I related and connected to Tiger on a much deeper level than I had imaged possible. While this story brought up some rather painful memories and emotions, it was such a moving story that I could not stop reading. I had to know what happened to Tiger. I wanted so much for her. I wanted to give her a hug, a warm meal, a warm bed, shelter, kind words, whatever she needed.

The main thing that stood out to me about this emotional book was the honesty within the pages. Glasgow did not shy away from true feelings her character was going through. Tiger’s character was battling depression, suicidal thoughts, helplessness, being shuffled from foster home to foster home, and a lot of other mental health issues. None of those are easy topics but again, Glasgow handled them with the care and grace they deserved. She did not add them to the story simply for shock factor. She addressed them and gave them the attention they needed.

You all know me by now – that when I love a book it is difficult for me to write a review. This really is no different. I loved every word and would not trade one tear of what went through (while reading the book and in real life) for something easier. Tiger’s character was supposed to go through trials and tribulations to come out stronger on the other side, as did I. If you have been thinking about reading this one, this is me pushing you over the edge to read it. It won’t be an easy read but my goodness it is worth it.