Fiction · Historical

Realm

43185532

Title: Realm

Author: Alexandrea Weis

Page Count: 397

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 14, 2019 by Vesuvian Books

Format: eBook

Review: I first off want to state that although the cover art for this book is gorgeous, it is highly misleading.  Roxana was not in any way a warrior princess.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  She spent most of her time sequestered away in baggage caravans and palace quarters.  Her entire life was mostly dictated by others, and though a lot happens in the background, not much actually happens to her until the end.  I will, however, say that this book was well researched.  Some creative liberties were taken, but it seemed that for the most part, the author adhered to what experts speculate happened to the real Roxana and her family.  For some reason I was not really expecting this and thought that this would be a looser adaptation of historical events.  In a way this was a pleasant surprise, because I learned more about an intriguing woman from the past, and it made me interested in conducting a little bit of research on my own.  History buffs will really enjoy this book, but those looking for a thrilling adventure will probably find the pacing to be too slow.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance

After

22557520

Title: After

Author: Anna Todd

Page Count: 582

Series: After, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: October 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Format: Paperback

Review: This book is incredibly difficult to rate.  As many reviewers before me have noted, there are so many things that are problematic with this book.  The dialogue is whiny and repetitive, the relationship between Hardin and Tessa is borderline abusive, and the twist at the end was not at all original…and yet it kept me up reading late into the night.  I can’t really explain it.  It cast some sort of weird spell over me.  Maybe because the plot is a smutty amalgamation of two of my favorite 90’s flicks, or maybe because the “hot bad boy falling for the good girl” formula is catnip for the avid romance reader.  Whatever it is, it kept me turning pages, all 582 of them.  I generally read 2-3 books at a time, but all the other books I am currently reading were set aside to finish this one.  I have already told myself that I need to finish the ARCs I am currently reading before I even think about reading the next book in this series, but like Tessa and Hardin, I may not be able to resist.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

We Set the Dark on Fire

37868569

Title: We Set the Dark on Fire

Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia

Page Count: 384

Series: We Set the Dark on Fire, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: February 26, 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Hardcover

Review: I enjoyed this book and I can see a lot of potential in this series.  This book was mainly setting the stage and the characters for the overarching storyline, so it doesn’t feel like a lot happens, but it is clear that there is a lot more action yet to come.

This book draws a lot of interesting parallels with current events, and I thought that the mythology aspect was very expertly woven into the threads of the story.  The author did an excellent job establishing the conflict, and I am excited to see where the story goes from here.  Also worthy of note is that all the characters are Latinx and there is an LGBT romance that is central to the story.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Mystery · Romance

Where the Crawdads Sing

36809135

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Page Count: 325

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 14, 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Format: Hardcover

Review: This book has been at the top of the NY Times Bestsellers List for awhile, and I have had several patrons ask for read-alikes, so I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

This book started out slowly and kept a steady pace.  The author did an excellent job crafting the setting.  I could practically feel the marsh; the languid air, the movement of the water, the teeming abundance of life.  It was absolutely gorgeous in every sense, and I felt deeply connected to the land, the animals, and the “Marsh Girl.”

Owens has created incredibly unique characters, and truly captured the sentiments of small town living.  There are many layers to this book – race, gender, social class, and sexuality to name a few.  All the elements are very well crafted and it is easy to see why this book has been so well received.

The reason I am not giving this book five stars is because I was extremely conflicted about the ending.  To be honest, a big part of me wishes I had not read the final chapter.  There is a certain amount of power in the unknown, and I think I would have been more satisfied not knowing what precipitated the mysterious death of Chase Andrews.  Perhaps this will seem like an odd sentiment to some, but I truly feel that in this case, I would have preferred to be left speculating about what happened on that fateful night.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance

Unbreak Me

42870109

Title: Unbreak Me

Author: Michelle Hazen

Page Count: 304

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 13, 2019 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: Reading this book felt like being locked in somebody else’s fantasy.  Despite the serious subject matter in the two characters’ backstories, there was surprising little substance to the storyline.  Pretty much anything worthy of note about the characters is described in the book’s synopsis, and both characters were just too…perfect.  Any perceived “flaws” in their personalities were a direct result of their trauma, and were therefore not really flaws at all.  And of course both were tall, beautiful people with bangin’ bods.  By the end of the book I still knew very little about the characters other than they had both lived through a traumatic experience and loved working with horses.   The sex scenes also seemed wildly unrealistic (this is one of those books where the woman is achieving orgasms almost instantaneously, and of course a double climax at the end!). *insert eye roll here* I’m sure some people can enjoy this type of romance novel, but alas it just wasn’t for me.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Romance

Crazy Rich Asians

18158562

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Performer: Lynn Chen

Length: 13 hr, 53 min, 16 sec

Series: Crazy Rich Asians, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2013 by Books on Tape

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This book has been extremely popular at the library thanks to the breakaway movie success that hit theaters last year.  I was finally able to reserve an eAudiobook copy after a long wait, and I am glad I held out to get the book in that format.  The reader, Lynn Chen, did a great job bringing the variety of characters to life.  I think I enjoyed the book a lot more than I would have if I had read the print version.

This book is very heavy on description, which I generally enjoy, but I was surprised at how fast I became desensitized to the opulence of the setting and the decadence of the food described in the book.  After awhile, I became entirely unimpressed by the flashy displays of wealth.  This book really does live up to the old adage, “money does not buy happiness.”  It seemed to me that the wealthier the character was, the more miserable they were and the more miserable they made those around them.  This left me feeling frustrated as a reader, and it didn’t feel to me that the book had much substance beyond these observations.  I did not feel deeply connected to Rachel or Nick as characters, so I did not feel deeply connected to their romance.  Other characters, such as Astrid and Eleanor, had much more impactful character development in my opinion.  Rachel and Nick were just too perfect, and not nearly flawed enough for my liking.

The book was certainly better than the movie (no surprise there), but it didn’t wow me.  I probably won’t be reading the next two books in the trilogy.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Sherwood

38734256

Title: Sherwood

Author: Megan Spooner

Page Count: 480

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 19, 2019 by HarperTeen

Format: eBook

Review: Well I am embarrassed to say that I did not finish this book before my Advanced Reader Copy expired (I should have been paying more attention to the publication date).

That said, I did admittedly drag my feet in finishing this book.  I can generally finish a book in under a week, and yet I have been reading this one for over a month.  Why?  Mostly because I was not a fan of the pacing.  I absolutely love the Robin Hood story, and I thought this was a unique premise for an adaptation.  Girl power!  It was, however, underwhelming.  I was expecting far more action than was actually delivered (at least not in the first 70% of the book; that’s about as far as I made it before the title expired).  I also found it completely perplexing that it took so long for any other characters to actually catch onto the fact that Marian was masquerading as Robin.  The author very clearly tried to make the “villain” of the story multidimensional with backstory, but he still seemed like a complete dope for falling for Marian’s lame excuses and poorly created masquerade.

I really don’t know how the author is going to end the story, but quite frankly I probably won’t be rushing to find out.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold