Category: Review (page 1 of 232)

BOOK REVIEW: Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn

BOOK REVIEW: Resurrection Girls by Ava MorgynPurchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara's morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.

But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.

Thank you to Netgalley the publisher and the author for an ARC in exchange for a honest review.

I was death’s sister.
She was a murderer’s daughter.


Resurrection Girls was a really interesting book and not really like anything I’ve read before. The blurb doesn’t really do it justice – it seemed like it was going to be a dark book with a bit of a paranormal or thriller aspect. But that’s not the case. The subjects discussed in the book are certainly dark and heavy, but there’s really no mystery or paranormal to be had.

Olivia Foster is drowning in guilt after the death of her younger brother three years ago. Her parents are barely functioning, and Olivia is drifting through life. That is until a new family moves in across the street. Kara Hallas is the spark that Olivia needed to break out of her solitary life.

If Kara were punctuation, she’d be an exclamation, never a period. I…I would be an ellipsis, a thought waiting to happen, to complete itself, but never fully arriving. Prescott would be a hyphen because there was more to him than what the eye.

As Olivia and Kara begin to spend time together, they begin to write letters to men on death row and sign it as the Resurrection Girls. Their neighbor (and Olivia’s long time crush) Prescott gets roped in to their group and soon the trio begins to spend a lot of time together. There’s a charged dynamic between the three of them and it constantly feels like they are balancing on the end of a board together, always close to ruining the balance and crashing apart.

And while there’s no paranormal occurrences, there’s a kind of magical realism surrounding the Hallas women.

If you’re looking for a book that will thrill you or feature things that go bump in the night, this isn’t it. There’s a lot of focus on grief and what it takes to heal from horrible tragedies. Overall, once I understood better what this was, I really enjoyed it. Olive, Kara and Prescott were great main characters, especially Olivia. I truly felt for her and her family situation and was rooting for her the whole time.

Somewhere between the scented lip gloss, deadly pen pals, and crazy grandmother lay the real Kara Hallas. A girl who was haunted by far more than I had ever been. And I had just met her.

Content Warnings: Discussion of death, death of a child, drug use/overdose, drug addiction, depression and sex.

BOOK REVIEW: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

BOOK REVIEW: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When you're on a road trip, life is all about the detours. . . .

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There's just one small problem: Since her father died this past spring, Amy hasn't been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute ... and dealing with some baggage of his own.

Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father's death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most—and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.

Review:

“Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?”
 I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better.”


I feel like I must preface this review by saying that I picked it up because this was my Young Adult book club for adults (lol) book choice for this month. I honestly was NOT excited to do a YA contemporary because lately I’ve been feeling old and jaded and can’t connect with the characters anymore since I’m about a decade older than them (omfg I hated even typing that). HOWEVER, I am so, so happy that we made this choice. I LOVED this book so much and was reminded about all of the reasons that I used to love contemporaries. Sure, some of this is unrealistic just like how they all kind of are with the ditching of the parents, but come on, that’s just how these work you know?

I haven’t read any road trip books in a long while and I really liked the concept of this one. I mean obviously I didn’t like that Amy’s father had died and that she still can’t stand the thought of driving the car and still has panic attacks but I appreciated that she and Roger only had a slight connection and that he, of course, didn’t treat her like her a broken thing. I loved when they decided to take a different route from the one Amy’s mom had planned and all of the places they visited along the way. One of my favorite parts of the book was reading about all of the good food they had, too. Ugh I love food, even when I’m not five months pregnant, lol! My grandma used to have us make a food journal when we went on trips so we could tell her all of the yummy things we had when we got back so I’ve always had fond memories of trips and the food that goes with them depending on the specific areas you’re at.

Hmmm what else to say? I thought it was really cool how everywhere they stopped had a pretty big impact on either both or one of them. Whether it was the people they saw or just little things that happened when they stopped, all of it seemed destined to happen how it did. Seeing Amy be coaxed out of her shell again and start to heal was a wonderful thing. I very, very much recommend this book if you’re looking for a solid YA contemporary that’s more than just an easy fluff piece. This one has plenty of important things like grief, the different faces it can take, how to overcome it, broken hearts, young people falling in love and taking a chance—all of the best and worst parts of a young life.

BOOK REVIEW: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

BOOK REVIEW: The Upside of Falling by Alex LightThe Upside of Falling Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

I mean, there’s a reason all books end right after the couple gets together. No one wants to keep reading long enough to see the happily ever after turn into an unhappily ever after. Right?

Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Harper TEEN and Alex Light for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Upside of Falling is an adorable book that plays with the fake relationship trope, which is easily one of my favorite tropes. So when I saw that there was a new book coming out with this front and center, I knew I had to have my hands on it. And once I had it, I read it in less than 24 hours haha. I couldn’t put it down.

TUoF centers on Becca Hart and Brett Wells. Becca loves to read romance books, but has never experienced true love in real life. She lives with her mother and helps with her local bakery. Becca doesn’t have too many close friends, especially since her former best friend found herself in the popular crowd and left Becca behind.

Brett Wells, meanwhile, seems to have everything going for him. He’s popular and captain of the football team. He’s smart and kind and his parents dote on him. However, he’s just focused on getting out of high school and securing a college scholarship to make his parents proud. He’s too busy to focus on normal high school things, like girlfriends, and has no problem with that.

That is, until one day when he hears Becca telling a lie about having a boyfriend, he decides to jump in and be that boyfriend. Becca is shocked but goes with it as well and the two come to an easy arrangement. Becca gets to have a popular boyfriend, while Brett gets his parents off his back about having a girlfriend without all the drama and commitment. What could go wrong?

“First you run away when I kiss you. Now you want to break up with me when we haven’t even been dating for a day. Way to break a guy’s heart, Hart.” He poked my leg. “See what I did there?”

I’ve never read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (sorry!) but I have seen the movie twice and there’s definitely some similarities in terms of them coming up with ground rules, assimilating between their worlds and the fact that both of them, not surprisingly, might begin to feel real feelings.

There’s a lot of wonderful themes in this book past teenagers falling in love for the first time, such as complicated friendships, how complicated relationships with parents can be and the feeling of rejection from those you care about.

If I had to provide any kind of constructive feedback, it mostly boils down to two things: It doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the genre and I wanted more from it. Don’t get me wrong, I adored this book, but I didn’t find anything, outside of maybe the complicated family dynamics, to be new and awe inspiring. I wish the trope had been twisted more, but I imagine that was not the author’s intent. And when I say more, I feel at 288 pages, it was a little light. I would have loved to see this be a little longer, so the relationship between Becca and Brett could have been more complex. It hit all the right notes, but I felt like it was skimming toward the top. I feel we could have gotten a little more in depth with these two and given the book a little more weight.

But overall, I adored this book. If you are looking for a fairly fluffy and happy YA romance, especially with the fake dating relationship trope, you won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t.

The Upside of Falling is available February 18, 2020.

“I’m confused,” I said, “because one day we were strangers and then, bam, we were pretending to be in love. All these lines between what was real and what was fake started to blur and I can’t tell the two apart anymore.”

“Just because we were pretending doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.”

BOOK REVIEW: Twist of Fate (Heartbreaker Bay #8.5) by Jill Shalvis

BOOK REVIEW: Twist of Fate (Heartbreaker Bay #8.5) by Jill Shalvis

I loved being back in another Jill Shalvis book! TWIST OF FATE is part of her Heartbreaker Bay Series (which I’m obsessed with!) and it released as part of 1001 Dark Nights, so it can easily be read as a standalone. So check out my review and the book trailer below. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW: Twist of Fate (Heartbreaker Bay #8.5) by Jill ShalvisTwist of Fate (Heartbreaker Bay #8.5)
by Jill Shalvis
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes a new story in her Heartbreaker Bay series…

When the one you want …

Daisy doesn’t believe love is ever-lasting, so it’s ironic as hell that she parlayed a business degree into a wedding planning business. More ironic still is her latest job bringing her back into contact with the man who’d taught her that love can’t last.

Is the one you can’t have…

To say Diego has been taught the hard way to bury emotions is an understatement. But when he’s called home to help the brother he hasn’t seen or spoken to in years, that’s one thing. It’s another entirely to also come face to face with the first woman he ever loved. First and only…

Can love conquer all?

Daisy’s learned to depend only on herself, and Diego is and always has been an island of one. And yet when they’re together, even when they’re bickering, still wary and haunted by memories of what was … it’s magic. The question is, how to find their way back to each other…?

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Review:

Twist of Fate was a second chance romance that was sweet and sexy.  But this book was also a second chance for brothers, which warmed my heart even further.  Add in the fact that this can easily be read as a standalone, and this book was such a huge win.  So if you’re a fan of Jill Shalvis, second chance romance and books with family, then you’re in for a treat!

When she opened up, she expected a smile at her appearance. Or some smartass remark.
Instead, Diego met her gaze. “What happened to us?”he asked quietly.
The sentence shocked her and gave her heart an odd kick.

Diego Stone came back into town for his brother’s wedding.  And if you read Playing for Keeps, then you’re going to remember and love his brother, Rocco.  He owned the local tattoo shop and was a good friend to the main heroine from that book, Katie.  Even though Diego and Rocco had a falling out over the years, he still came back to town to help his brother out with his wedding. But he didn’t even expect to run into Daisy Evans, his high school sweetheart and first love.

Their gazes met and locked, and in his eyes, she saw the things that hopes and dreams were made of.

Daisy was the wedding planner for Rocco’s wedding, so Diego couldn’t escape her.  It had been ten years since they saw each other.  And they had a falling out too.  Diego tried his hardest to keep his emotions buried again, but between Daisy and his brother, it became impossible to do.

“Miss this,” he murmured against her ear, the words escaping without conscious thought.
“San Francisco?”
“You.”
She stared up at him with those big eyes.

We alternated between Daisy and Diego, so we got to see the depths of their hurt.  But regardless of the pain from their past, their spark was still there.  And even though it had been ten years, it was like no time had passed at all. When they touched or laughed, it felt like they picked up right where they left off.  Especially with memories of their past everywhere.  Daisy and Diego were both sweet and caring, so of course I was rooting for their hea!  Especially with Deigo going to the lengths he did, he was by far my favorite in this story!  So if you love second chance romance stories, that you can devour in one sitting, definitely pick this one up!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Purchase your copy of TWIST OF FATE today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

Add TWIST OF FATE to your Goodreads TBR here!

 

 

Book Trailer:

 


About Jill Shalvis

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.  

Connect With Her:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Bookbub | Instagram

 

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette Marie

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette Marie

I absolutely loved this book! So check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette MarieAnnette Marie (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1)
by Annette Marie
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Rule one: Don't look at the demon.

When I arrived at my uncle's house, I expected my relatives to be like me—outcast sorcerers who don't practice magic. I was right about the sorcery, but wrong about everything else.

Rule two: Don't listen to the demon.

My uncle chose a far deadlier power. He calls creatures of darkness into our world, binds them into service contracts, and sells them to the highest bidder. And I'm supposed to act like I don't know how illegal and dangerous it is.

Rule three: Don't talk to the demon.

All I had to do was keep my nose out of it. Pretend I didn't find the summoning circle in the basement. Pretend I didn't notice the shadowy being trapped inside it. Pretend I didn't break the rules.

But I did, and now it's too late

Review:

Taming Demons for Beginners was a ton of fun, action packed and impossible to put down.  Just from that first chapter I was hooked and I screamed out loud best chapter ever!  Oh my gosh you guys, Annette Marie knows how to pull you in and continually have you begging for more.  The storyline was addictive, the characters lept from the pages and she created a world I never wanted to leave.  This book is for everyone out there that loves to say just one more chapter, and then before you know it you’ve finished the whole book.  In one day.

Adrenaline flooded my body. Panic screeched in my head, but I couldn’t move. Frozen like a rabbit in the wolf’s teeth, I stared at him in horror.
He held my fingers in a tight grip, then pulled.

I loved Robin.  She always seemed to be baking or have her nose in a book, and those are my two favorite things!  Robin was such a sweet girl with a huge heart.  But she could be shy and timid, and my heart hurt for for her.  Robin had moved in with her Uncle, after her parents passed away.  She was told to avoid magic, but her Uncle was swirling in it.  He summoned demons and created contacts with them.  That was extremely illegal.  All Robin had to do was mind her own business and stay away from the demon that was trapped in his library.  But who knew just how impossible that would become. 

Payilas.” His whisper demanded my answer.
“Protect me.”

The demon, ohhhhh I was obsessed with him right away.  I probably shouldn’t like someone who was supposed to be a killer, but Zylas had me deep in his clutches.  I was fascinated learning everything I could about him.  His words and mannerisms cracked me up, even though he wasn’t trying to be funny.  He didn’t understand so many things like what a tv was to blushing.  So it felt like he was from a different world, but at the same time, there was so much Robin didn’t understand either.

“What do you want?” My arm was on fire, blazing with agony, and I didn’t understand his question. My crumbling composure gave way.
“I don’t want to die,” I sobbed, shaking and gasping.

I loved watching Robin and Zylas learn about each other.  They were worlds apart and their misunderstandings had me laughing out loud.  Even when it was a serious moment, you couldn’t knock the smile off of my face at times.  But Robin grew so much in this story, and it felt like it was because of Zylas.  And Zylas, well I can’t talk much about him, but I loved watching them both evolve as the story unfolded.

I’d known full well that Zylas was a risk to everyone around me.
I’d known, and I’d ignored the danger.

Hold on because this book had heart pounding action that had me on the edge of my seat.  There were intense moments that were life or death.  Some of them I never even saw coming, so I gasped or screamed out loud. And when the pieces to the puzzle finally started to fall into place, it was terrifying.  Deadly.  This book truly had it all.

Kill them all, I thought as clearly as I could. The first chance you get.
His tail twitched, his stare boring into mine. The connection between us burned hot, an invisible thread that bound our fates together. Crimson light glowed across his fingers and the semi-transparent talons that tipped them. His tail slid slowly across the pavement. The twenty yards between us yawned even wider.

There were side characters I desperately want to talk about, but it’s best not knowing anything about them.  All I can say is I somehow got attached to one of them and I’m happily shocked I did.  And while I didn’t read the other series this one is linked to, you don’t need to, it stood on it’s own.  But I’ll definitely be picking it up!  So yes, I recommend this book!  With magic swirling through the pages and characters that I absolutely loved, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

“In my world,” he said unexpectedly, “there is a type of … tree.”
I faced him again, my brow furrowed in puzzlement.
“On the tree, it grows small …” He cupped his hands as though holding something. “… small fruits. The outside is poisonous, deadly, but inside is juicy and sweet. We fight over these trees. I have killed to take the fruit when it is ripe.”
He picked up another s’more cookie. “These are better.”

PS I’d love to know the recipes Robin made, they sound delicious!  Especially the marshmallow-stuffed s’more cookies!  YUM!

 

About Annette Marie:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

 

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