Author: Arielle (page 1 of 24)

BOOK REVIEW: All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn Grace

BOOK REVIEW: All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn GraceAll the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2)
by Adalyn Grace
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.

No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

Review

“Are you sure we should even be in here?” Casem demands, his eyes darting around the crowd. His whole body is surprisingly tense.
Sympathetially, Ferrick places a hand on my guard’s shoulder, shaking his head. “It’s no use, Casem. This crew knows no reason.”


The second book in this duology starts off a few months after the end of All the Stars and Teeth. Amora is doing the best she can to pick up the broken pieces of her kingdom all while trying not to fall apart over the death of her father. Unsurprisingly, even though the islands are now allowed to practice whatever multiple kinds of magic they’d like, there is still a lot of unrest from all of the lies that her father kept hidden. After a meeting with her advisors, it is determined that she will take a tour of her kingdom, hopefully finding a husband to sit by her side on the throne in the process.

If you know Amora at all, you will know that this is not something she gives a crap about. SHE is the queen and she needs no king beside her. However, after hearing about a magical object that will allow her to break the curse on her and Bastian that can be found on one of islands, she agrees to set out with the ~old~ crew and then some. Getting back on Keel Haul with Bastian, Ferrick, and Vataea (and two newcomers Shanty—who I freaking loved—and Casem) was so refreshing. I have never personally been on a sea voyage and I doubt I ever will get the chance but there is something about pirate-y novels that call to me.

Bastian’s soul is one of pain. Of longing. Yet is shines brighter than any I’ve ever seen.
He’s beautiful.


My heart hurt so bad to find out right away that Amora had been doing her best to stay as far away from Bastian as possible. While I get it—she didn’t want the confusion of only feeling whole when he was around and basically feeling like she couldn’t trust any kind of emotion about him—it still hurt. They obviously had strong feelings towards one another before she was cursed so I just was sad that she couldn’t rely on that and was only focusing on what she thought the curse was making her feel. He did a good job from the start though, letting her know that while he’d be going with her on this parade of bachelors, he would be trying his best every single day to prove that they did have something special, curse be damned. I loved every single second of their interactions. Always. From the start it seemed like their chemistry was pretty explosive and we definitely get more of that in this book.

“You might not know now, but you’ll learn.” I don’t know where the voice comes from, but I hear it loud and clear. “Make this life everything it should be.”

Overall, even though I really enjoyed this book, I almost wish there had been one more to finish out the series. In the end I felt like there should have been more to the story. The Montara curse was built up to be this huge, ugly thing and then there was the curse that Kaven had put on Amora and Bastian and you’re telling me that it all just went away because View Spoiler ». DO NOT READ THAT IF YOU DON’T WANT A HUGE SPOILER. Seriously though. That part happened so suddenly I didn’t think it could possibly be real and then it was and then I was heartbroken because that person deserved so much more *cries*. Also, we see Amora go through a lot in this book, emotionally. She made another choice at the end of the book that weirdly both did and did not make sense to me and it’s something I will not elaborate on because again, spoilers. I think that people who enjoyed the first will truly love this one too, I had just been wanting a tiny bit more. BUT BASTIAN WILL FOREVER BE #1 IN MY HEART.

“To Zudoh,” he repeats, the stars in his eyes blazing with pride.
“And to a thousand more adventures.”

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Imprint for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Roommate by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Roommate by Sarina BowenRoommate by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Wanted: One roommate to share a 3-bedroom house, split the rent, and ideally not be the guy I can’t stop thinking about.
I’m a man with too many secrets, so the last thing I need is a new roommate with a sexy smile and blue eyes that see right through me. Eight years ago, Roderick left town after high school. We’re not friends. I owe him nothing. But back then, I let one of my secrets slip, and he’s the only one who noticed.
Part of me knows I should run far, far away. But the other part wants him to come upstairs and spend the night. But if I let him in, I could lose everything.

Seeking: A room to rent in town. I’m tidy, have no pets, and I will feed you homemade bread.
I should probably add: Gay AF, and has no filter. It’s no wonder my new landlord is so wary of me.
A smarter man would ignore those hot glances from Kieran Shipley. The broody lumberjack wants more from me than another homemade pretzel, but if I push my luck, I’ll end up back on the street.
Too bad I’ve never been smart with my heart ...

Review

Woooo my first book of 2021!

I had been in a bit of a rut after re-reading the ACOTAR books in preparation for ACOSF and when this eARC showed up on my Kindle, I knew this was going to be exactly what I needed. Sarina Bowen comfort reading. I will start by saying that it had been a while since I read some of the True North books (this book is a standalone so you don’t have to read them to read this) so I had been thinking that Kieran had the personality of Kyle (LOL OOPS). Don’t worry, got that straight in my head right away.

This book was definitely an emotional one. Kieran doesn’t expressly know the exact terms of his sexuality but he DOES know that when he saw Roderick Waites under the bleachers in high school performing a super steamy act of sexiness to another guy he was super turned on, and it’s something he STILL thinks about today, eight years later. Imagine his mortification when Roderick shows up around town, asking for a job at the very coffee shop he works at. Already a quiet, and VERY private guy, he’s worried Roderick is going to out him immediately.

Enter Roderick, a guy who is very secure in his sexuality but who also has just exited an extremely toxic relationship with barely his car and the clothes on his back. When he’s offered a trial run at Zara’s coffee shop, you better he’s going to be on his best behavior in order to keep that job. Especially because he’s been sleeping in his car and it’s starting to get real cold at night. He needs every last paycheck he can get.

As we all know from the synopsis and even the title of the book, the two end up becoming roommates and Kieran eventually warms up to Roderick after he realizes he’s not going to say anything about their past. Roderick teaches Kieran to cook (which is so freaking cute) and their relationship keep on progressing from there.

I think the best part of this book was seeing Kieran gain confidence in himself. He sticks it to his boss’s son at work, he becomes enrolled in school in order to take more design classes, he gives in to his attraction to Roderick, and through a series of crazy and yes unfortunate events, FINALLY sorts out some crazy family stuff that he’s been sitting on for years and years. I loved Kieran’s solid and steady presence and how he never was truly worried about anyone finding out abut his relationship with Roderick even though this was his first relationship with another man. No, his insecurities always lay in keeping things private, especially when it came to family matters based on a secret he learned when he was very young. Roderick stole the show with his bright and sunny personality and of course, since this is a Sarina Bowen novel, his FOOD. I swear I always wind up hungry after finishing her books and want to try making all these new things, lol.

P.S. The second best part of this book was learning that Grandpa Shipley now has a girlfriend named Lydia LOLLL

Huge thanks to Tuxbury Publishing LLC for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!♥

BOOK REVIEW: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

BOOK REVIEW: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah HogleYou Deserve Each Other Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They're preparing for their lavish wedding that's three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there's a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they're finally being themselves--and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

Review

He’s pulling out mixing bowls, and that man is even more deluded than I am if he thinks I’m filling a sink up with mixing bowls I’ll have to wash in order to feed someone he despises, while he takes the credit. Stacy can choke on store-bought sugar cookies like the rest of us. Why’s he even bringing them? They’re dentists. They should be eating celery.

Reading this book was like breathing in a lungful of crisp, clean air. It was healing. I felt hurt for Naomi and Nicholas and then I felt pure elation as they came back to one another. Reading this book was like taking a good long look at my own life and realizing just how easy it is to fall into a romantic rut without even knowing how long you’ve been there.

“Just as beautiful as the moment we first saw each other from across the room. On visitor’s day, at the prison.”
I swallow. “I’ll be headed back to prison soon, I’m sure.”
“I hear they offer classes. You could finally learn what the word regardless means.”


If any of you are married and have really young kids like I do (2.5 years and 8 months) you know that said kids consume your life. There is no alone time, no sleep, no dates (COVID that’s also on you), no careless days lying in bed until mid-afternoon. For better or worse (but really mostly only better lollll) having kids is the fastest and easiest way to change the dynamic of a relationship.  I just kind of felt like I was in a funk and reading this book really kind of lifted me out of that.

This is it, then. He’s going to drive us both off a bridge. Voldemort and Harry Potter’s quandary pops into my head: Neither can live while the other survives.

Nicholas and Naomi are an engaged couple that, when we first start this book, seem to hate each other. I couldn’t BELIEVE they were even still engaged if I’m being honest and for a number of different reasons I’m glad they had been engaged instead of married. For some reason that made it even more important that they were still hanging on, even though they weren’t legally bound to one another and had no kids to worry about. It just made things more important for me I guess. Anyway, they’re in a really bad spot where they can’t really even stand to be around one another, or each other’s friends, and ESPECIALLY family. Nicholas’s mother is the epitome of the overbearing monster-in-law, who is deeply in love with her son and does not accept that she is no longer the center of his life. Wow, just …..wow. The way she was trying to make wedding plans and the things she would say to Naomi just…stunned me. I can’t even. Eventually, something shifts and Naomi kind of shakes herself awake. The two start really going at it (argument wise, settle down lol) and the shift starts to happen.

The man I love is waiting for me at the pond’s edge, and I feel his pulse as if it’s my own. My senses kaleidoscope, collecting pictures and scents and sounds to preserve until my dying day. I’ve been holding my breath since the second I met him; how strange now, to exhale at last. Breathing will never feel the same again.

Nicholas realizes he is not living the life he wants to and trades his Maserati for a used Jeep, his normal outfits for something that could be seen on a lumberjack, and their cookie cutter rental for a magical little cottage in the woods. Slowly but surely they begin to start actually talking to one another and remember what it is to actually be friends, and then more. I think the biggest thing for me was when they started doing the smallest things for each other to make the other one happy. Writing little notes to each other, playing video games together, Nicholas driving through the night to come home when Naomi admitted to missing him while he was away. It’s so easy to forget how important those little things are to a relationship when your attention has been diverted to “bigger things” (i.e. kids on my part). So yeah, this book just kind of reminded me that even though these things can be forgotten, they can just as easily be remembered (especially once you are able to get a good nights sleep someday and can ditch the kids for a few hours lolol).

And on a less serious note, can we just talk about how fucking FUNNY this book was. Lately, I’ve found that the best books are the ones that make me straight up cackle out loud. And I swear to God their banter and Naomi’s inner dialogue had me dying on basically every page. I was obsessed. I know so many people have said this already but it straight up did remind me of Sally Thorne’s writing. I can’t wait for her next book and will be scanning NetGalley for it like a hawk. Also, in reference to that quote below, HOW AMAZING IS THE STORY OF HOW THEY ACTUALLY MET OMG I WAS SHAKING AT THE CHANCE OF IT ALL ARGHHHH. ♥

How did Nicholas and I meet? We met in a house called Ever After, the second time we were strangers. And I am one hundred percent in love with the transformation of us.

BOOK REVIEW: Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

BOOK REVIEW: Second First Impressions by Sally ThorneSecond First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.

Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

Review

This was exceptional. I don’t even know how else to describe Sally Thorne’s writing other than to say that it just makes me feel good. Even though all three of her leading ladies are incredibly different, they were parts of them that were still somehow all relatable and warm and comforting. Sally’s books are something that you can pull out on a day full of sunshine at the beach to enjoy or on a gray day filled with sadness. No matter what you’re feeling when you begin them, I can guarantee you will feel better when you’re done.

That being said, I know a lot of people didn’t like 99% Mine as much as me. This book, and Ruthie in particular is nothing like that. I REALLY think that those that didn’t like Darcy’s abrasiveness will fall in love with Ruthie’s quiet but quick witted personality. And Teddy. Ohhhhh Teddy. Teddy is the embodiment of his name. A big, giant, teddy bear that you can’t help but want to love and squeeze tight and never let go. He grew up in a wealthy family but has always been treated as the lazy one, the one who will never take grown up life seriously, and I think that has really had a big impact on actually turning him into that person. However, once he’s forced to spend some time at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa as personal assistant to the sassiest, funniest, loveliest old ladies you’ve ever seen and gets to know Ruthie, things change.

Ruthie, who is a quiet, keeps-her-head-down and never-leave-the-Villa type of gal really hasn’t experienced much of what life has to offer. Between Melanie, her new assistant turned friend, and Teddy, that changes. She comes out of her shell (har har nod to the tortoises) and begins to quickly discover how having these two meddling in her every day life is starting to make her want things she hasn’t in a long time.

This book has it’s fair share of interesting plot points outside of the addicting romance, too. Finding out something from Ruthie’s past that has shaped certain aspects of her life now, finding more out about Teddy’s past and his tumultuous relationship with his sister, Rose, and even why Ruthie’s boss won’t e-mail her back. Sally Throne has hit it out of the park once again and I’m not even surprised about it.

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.♥

BOOK REVIEW: A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Saaba Tahir

BOOK REVIEW: A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Saaba TahirA Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4)
by Saaba Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Prepare for the jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahir's beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off...

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory--or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life--and love--he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save--or destroy--all that he knows.

Review

“Who are you?”
“I am—I—”
 Who am I? “I am born of Keris Veturia,” I say. “Son to the Kehanni who told the Tale. Beloved to Laia of Serra. Friend to the Blood Shrike. I am brother to Avitas Harper and Shan An-Saif. Grandson to Quin Veturius. I am—”
Two words echo in my head, the last words Cain spoke to me before dying. Words that stir my blood, words that my grandfather taught me when I was a boy of six and he gave me my name. Words that were burned into me at Blackcliff.
“Always victorious.”


I have put off reviewing this for six days now. Not because I don’t know what to say, it’s that I don’t quite know how to articulate it. Every so often a book or a series comes along that changes me. I finished the final chapter of this almost a week ago now and I haven’t stopped been able to stop thinking about it since. I feel almost frantic with the need to fully express what emotions have been roiling around inside of me ever since I have finished and all I can do now it just try my best and hope that even a fraction of what I’m feeling and thinking can shine through in this review.

“How much pain exists in the world because we cannot get past what has been done to us, because we insist on inflicting pain right back?”

I read Ember as soon as it came out five years ago, really liked it and thought it was a fresh, new, raw brand of YA, and then for some reason didn’t get to the rest of the series until this year. I read/ listened (BTW the narrators are AMAZING, highly recommend) to the rest in preparation for this one in September and just devoured them. I fell in love with the cinnamon roll that is Elias, was frustrated but ultimately was impressed by Laia’s stubbornness and bravery, and wanted to tuck Helene into the recesses of my heart so that she wouldn’t be hurt by anyone or anything else. These characters and their struggles became so real to me that I still can’t think about the book without feeling a hollowness in my chest. It’s crazy. I can’t even remember the last time a book made me feel this way.

“Would that we all knew the cracked terrain of each other’s broken hearts. Perhaps then, we would not be so cruel to those who walk this lonely world with us.”

Going into this book, I was prepared to have my heart broken, I really did. What I maybe didn’t expect was the exact level of storytelling that our best Kehanni, Tahir, would provide. Many fantasy series feature a war of some kind but never have I read about one that felt so real. I truly think that Tahir did a great job of pouring real-world hurt over prejudices, racism, bigotry, etc. into this fantasy world to represent the very real and terrible things that people in our own world have been going through for centuries. These things are not fantasy. People really die in war. People’s homelands are taken away from them and destroyed. Life is not always easy or morality set in black and white for everyone.

“Emifal Firdaant,” I say to him.
“You’ve said that before.” He runs his fingers through my hair. “What does it mean?”
I cannot quite look at him when I say it. “May death claim me first.”
“Ah, no, my love.”
 He gathers me close. “You cannot go first. I could not make sense of the world if you did.”


And yet, even though these stories need to be remembered and the hurt never be forgotten, hope still needs a place to live and grow. That is what I felt at the end of this book. Even though certain characters died and thinking about them STILL MAKES ME WANT TO CRY View Spoiler »  I finished this book, this series feeling incredibly hopeful.

“I wish I could live a thousand lives so I could fall in love with you a thousand times. . .”

I can tell you with 100% certainty that these books and these characters will stick with me in my heart and soul until I die. While this isn’t a light and fluffy series that can be re-read at any time during any mood, I know that I will be revisiting them for years to come. I really hope more and more people discover these books and you had better believe that once I start being able to see library patrons face-to-face again that I will be shoving this series at anyone who asks for a fantasy recommendation.

The chant dissolves into a roar. Within it, I hear my father’s voice and my mother’s. I hear Hannah’s and View Spoiler ». Loyal, they whisper, to the end.

Here’s a few spoiler thoughts under the tag for those of you interested:

View Spoiler »
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