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: 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: 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: We Are Not From Here

We Are Not From Here

Absolutely brilliant. This book took hold of me from the first page and never let go. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because the author delivered this stunner. I felt as if I was on this journey right next to the characters. I felt as if I was running along side the train hoping I could make it aboard in time. I could have sworn I was packed in the crowded vans and buses just hoping I wouldn’t be stopped and forced to go home. Many times I thought I was coughing up dirt and getting dizzy from thirst. This was all around engrossing and masterfully written.

I cannot think of one thing I did not like about this story. It is a serious book but a necessary book. There are topics included that most people either don’t want to discuss or acknowledge, but that doesn’t make them any less real or relevant. I wish I had something like this to read when I was younger, but I am over the moon that it is out now so younger readers can get their hands on it. I do hope it leads to more research and more conversations.

ARC Review: Agnes at the End of the World

Agnes at the End of the World

I wasn’t prepared to fall for this book as hard as I did. True, the cover is dark, mysterious, and haunting, but the story within the pages surpassed my expectations. The best way to describe it would be an “end of the world dystopian nightmare“. Not only is it all of those things, it’s also full of spirituality, feminist power, love, hope, and rebirth.

I don’t know how to really talk about this book without giving so much of it away. The characters were deep, complex, flawed, and believable. The setting was lush, realistic, haunting, and brilliantly developed. The plot was fast paced, action packed and beautiful. While the blurb gives the indication that this is a story about a girl living (ie. trapped) at a fundamentalist cult camp, it is also a story of girls who discover just how strong they really are. It may sound cheesy when I type it like that, but believe me when I say it came together to be a powerhouse of a story.

There was a medical condition that was kept in the spotlight throughout the entire story: Type 1 Diabetes. I cannot say the last time I remember reading about that illness in a story. I’m thrilled to stay it was handled with the care, urgency, and attention it deserved. It was not added simply for the sake of a talking point. It was in the story for a reason and it was handled very well.

I adored this story more than I can put into words. You can probably tell I’m struggling to express just how much I enjoyed this. If you have not already, please give this book a read. You will thank yourself for it later.

All told, get ready for a beautiful, dark story that is rich enough to merit rereads for years to come. 

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

I am always a sucker for a good contemporary so that is why I was so excited to read this one. Sadly, this was just not a good read. I kept telling myself I should have stopped reading but I pushed through, that was such a mistake.

This certainly did not read like a fluffy rom-com as it was full of cheating, betrayal, cheating, cheating, lies, and more cheating. I felt it kept happening because the characters allowed it too. They had money so they just brushed all of it off. That’s not how things work in real life and it was so frustrating to read about it.

The characters were self-centered, one sided, flat, and void of any personality. None of them had any redeeming qualities and therefore I did not care for any of them. I did not care what happened to them because they did not care what happened to them.

I would not recommend this to anyone. There are a ton of better contemporary books in the world and life is too short to read bad books.