Contemporary · Fiction · Romance

Real Men Knit

Real Men Knit

Title: Real Men Knit

Author: Kwana Jackson

Page Count: 320

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 19, 2020 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: After reading some more “serious” books, I was in the mood for something light and fun.  When I read the premise for this book, I was hooked.  Hot men knitting?  Yep. Sign me up.  The book certainly followed through on it’s promise, starring four uniquely hot adopted brothers.  Although this book focused more specifically on the youngest brother, Jesse, I find it hard to believe that Ms. Jackson will not be turning this into a series.  There are, after all, three other strapping young men to find attachments for.

I could be off base, but I couldn’t help but think that the author was imagining none other than Jesse Williams when she penned the character description for Jesse Strong….

Jesse Williams - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Aside from the locs, he pretty much matches his physical description exactly.  I’m not complaining though, and I don’t think other readers will be either.

Naturally I had to investigate whether the hashtag #RealMenKnit exists and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it does.  Feel free to look it up for some eye candy.  Thank you, Ms. Jackson, for the share.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

 

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Queen of Air and Darkness

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Title: Queen of Air and Darkness

Author: Cassandra Clare

Performer: James Marsters

Length: 30 hr, 40 min, 56 sec

 Series: The Dark Artifices, Book 3

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Simon & Schuster Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: SO. MUCH. ANGST.  I generally enjoy Clare’s books for the most part.  They have intricate storylines and complex characters.  There are usually clearly defined conflicts and the endings are almost always satisfying.  This book checked all those boxes, but it was just so darn long and drawn out.  Every. single. relationship. was FILLED with angst.  Relationship building can do a lot to drive a story, however, there is a point where it starts to become tedious.  Clare loves writing forbidden love stories, as well as love triangles, and this series has that in spades.  I listened to this in audiobook format, and sometimes I would find myself tuning out during the more lengthy interactions between will-they-or-won’t-they couples/thruples.  There are a lot of characters to follow in this trilogy (including returning characters from past series), and I quickly realized that I needed to read detailed recaps of the previous two installments to get back up to speed on what was going on before the start of this book.  I did enjoy the story, but I think the book could have been significantly shorter without losing anything critical to the plot.

This is the first book of Clare’s that I consumed in audiobook format.  James Marsters has a voice that is well-suited to storytelling, though his volume fluctuates quite a bit and I had to constantly adjust the sound in my vehicle.  This was only a minor annoyance, however, and I found his performance to be appropriately dramatic for the content of the book.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Empire of Storms

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Title: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 704

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 5

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 6, 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Format: Paperback

Review: My opinion of this book is very similar to my opinion of the last few books in this series.  The action throughout is thrilling and the ending is particularly strong.  Although this book is still categorized as Young Adult fiction like it’s predecessors, I would argue that it would more accurately be categorized as New Adult fiction.  Aelin is now 20 years old, and the romances depicted in this series have gotten increasingly steamy with each installment.  There is a whole lot of sex in book 5, so young readers be prepared if you are not expecting it!

My biggest gripe with this series in general is that Aelin’s elaborate scheming always seems to pan out just the way she envisions.  Of course there is a real wrench thrown in at the end to keep the series going, but overall, things just seem to always work out, no matter how great the odds are stacked against them.  A lot of it is rather far-fetched…for example, Aelin calls in a favor with one particular ally without actually communicating what it is she needs.  The ally just happens to glean exactly what Aelin wants by receiving cryptic reports from a spy.  Ohhhkkayyy.  Seems unlikely.  But I am going to move past it because I made it this far and I am still enjoying the series enough to finish two more lengthy books.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Queen of Shadows

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Title: Queen of Shadows

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 648

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 4

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: I was so excited to start The Assassin’s Blade that I actually forgot to write a review for this book…oops.  I suppose this is a compliment to Maas, who continues to impress me with her epic sagas.

At the conclusion of this book, it seemed like the series had reached it’s climax, only for Maas to throw another curveball that completely changes the game.  I really appreciate this about Maas, because while some aspects of her story are predictable and formulaic, she somehow always manages to surprise me with the overall direction of the plot.  I would say that reading this book, it was the first time that I really contemplated whether this series takes place in the same world as her A Court of Thorns and Roses series.  For some reason I found this prospect to be thrilling, and I look forward to seeing new lands in the next three books.

As with the last book, Maas introduced new characters that I have grown very fond of, and I look forward to seeing how their storylines develop as well.

Also, revenge is sweet, and you get plenty of that in this particular installment.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

The Assassin’s Blade

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Title: The Assassin’s Blade

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 448

Series: Throne of Glass, 0.1-0.5

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 4, 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: Truly my only regret in picking up this collection of novellas is that I didn’t do so sooner.  This collection is broken into five short stories that provide more context for Celaena’s backstory.  Maas artfully interweaves storylines and characters that later appear in the Throne of Glass series into heart-pounding and thrilling adventures.  The only novella that really had me struggling to get through it was the last one, and that was simply because I knew what devastating outcome awaited Celaena.

Maas is very formulaic in how she builds her romances – two people formerly at odds become passionate lovers – and the romance that ties together these short stories is no different.  I found this to be slightly annoying at first, however, Sam was just so lovable as a character that I couldn’t help but fall for him.  To be frank, the rest of Celaena’s romantic history really lost some of its sparkle after reading this because, well, I still wanted her to be with Sam.  Because he is not actually present in any of the Throne of Glass books, I did not realize how influential he was in shaping Celaena’s later decisions.  Celaena’s character has a certain naivety in these stories that no longer exists after the events that transpire in these novellas.

Now that I have picked up back where I left off in the Throne of Glass series, characters and events that are mentioned in passing suddenly make more sense and I am provided subtle clarity as I comb back through my memories of what has happened so far.  I look forward to seeing more connections as I continue forward with the series.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

The Queen’s Assassin

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Title: The Queen’s Assassin

Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Page Count: 384

Series: Queen’s Secret, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: February 4, 2020

Format: eBook

Review: I see this author’s name on our book shelves quite frequently at the library, but I have never before read any of her books.  When I saw this ARC being offered up by NetGalley, I decided to give her a try.  To summarize my thoughts on this story: it was utterly predictable.   In general this story went from plot point A to plot point B with little fanfare or complexity.  For a book that is advertised as “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas,” this was rather disappointing.  The only thing I thought unique about it was that the author wrote one POV in first person, and the other in third person.  I can’t recall ever seeing this done before, and I could not decide whether or not I liked it.  It is unclear to me why the author made this stylistic choice, because it didn’t seem to add anything special to the narrative.

In short, it certainly wasn’t the worst YA fantasy fiction book I have ever read, but it didn’t interest me enough to want to continue onto the next book.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Paranormal · Romance · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Obsidian

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Title: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Page Count: 335

Series: Lux, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 8, 2012 by Entangled Teen

Format: eBook

Review: I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into with this.  It was a light paranormal read that didn’t make me think too much.  It follows a very standard formula.  New girl who doesn’t know she is beautiful moves into small town and meets mysterious and attractive boy.  There is instant attraction and they immediately start a love/hate relationship.  The boy, who also happens to be an alien, runs hot and cold, but eventually succumbs to his feelings for human girl.  Throw in some bad guys, a happy-go-lucky sister, a jealous ex and you’ve got a pretty predictable plot for this book.  Admittedly, this is sometimes the type of book I want to read, especially after I have read books with heavier content, but it was nothing new or original.  I will likely not be moving on with the series.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star