Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Tales From the Hinterland

Title: Tales From the Hinterland

Author: Melissa Albert

Page Count: 240

Series: The Hazelwood, Book 2.5

Publishing Date/Publisher: January 12, 2021 by Flatiron Books

Format: eBook

Review: In my glowing review of The Hazel Wood, I mentioned that I hoped for more tales of the Hinterland in the second installment of this series, The Night Country. I was sorely disappointed when this did not happen, but Albert has more than made up for this disappointment by releasing this anthology of dark and fascinating fairy tales. If you were a fan of the first two Hinterland books then this is a must-read. If you have not read the books, but are interested in short stories reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm, then this is a must-read for you as well. If you like stories with happy endings, do not, and I repeat, do NOT pick up this book.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
half star

Contemporary · Fiction · Romance

The Intimacy Experiment

Title: The Intimacy Experiment

Author: Rosie Danan

Page Count: 336

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 6, 2021 by Berkley Books

Format: eBook

Review: All. The. Feeeeelz. This is the romance I didn’t know I needed after reading The Roommate (which I also thoroughly enjoyed). And darn it, Rosie, if you didn’t make me fall in love with these characters. This romance has a refreshingly wholesome quality given the fact it is about a red hot relationship between a former porn star and a rabbi. This isn’t to say it doesn’t have it’s fair share of smut, but it is really more about all the ways intimacy is more than just sex. This book also tackles a lot of the social issues touched upon in The Roommate, and shows them from another angle.

Well done, Rosie. A truly exhilarating romance all around. I hope to read more from you.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
half star

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance

The Witch’s Heart

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Title: The Witch’s Heart

Author: Genevieve Gornichec

Page Count: 368

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: February 9, 2021 by Ace Books

Format: eBook

Review: For people who loved Circe (*cough* me *cough* *cough*), this is a very strong readalike. The core of the story is very similar to Circe – it’s about a powerful witch living in relative isolation, who still manages to create meaningful relationships and build a family, all while struggling to stay out of the reach of wrathful gods – but the filler is quite different. The children and romantic relationships are entirely different, and the ending is quite different as well. I am a big fan of fiction rooted in mythology, and I was very pleased with this author’s take on Angrboda’s story. Not much mention is made of her in Norse mythology, aside from her being noted as Loki’s mate and the mother of his three monstrous children, so I really like seeing her story fleshed out and made whole. I am very excited to start recommending this book to readers once it is published.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
Fantasy · Fiction

By Sea & Sky: An Esowon Story

Title: By Sea & Sky: An Esowon Story

Author: Antoine Bandele

Performer: John Rogers

Length: 9 hr, 56 min

Series: The Sky Pirate Chronicles, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2020 by Audible Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This really may be a matter of personal preference, but this book had far too much action and not enough plot/character development for my tastes. In my mind, it was kind of the equivalent of one of those action packed movies that has so many explosions you eventually become unaffected by them. The battle sequences were so long, that rather than finding them thrilling, I just wanted to move on with the story. I was thoroughly unsatisfied with the backstories for Karim and Zala, and therefore had difficulty connecting with them as characters. The past is referenced often, but not in much detail, so the picture of how we got to this place of conflict is unclear. In short, I liked the concept of this book far more than the execution.

I listened to this book in audiobook format and I thought the performer did a good job even though I wasn’t really feeling the storyline.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_Gold
All_Star_Gold
Fiction · Romance

The Roommate

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Title: The Roommate

Author: Rosie Danan

Page Count: 336

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 15, 2020 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: This book was actually better than I expected it to be, which is more uncommon than not.  I am a sucker for light romances, especially after reading books with darker content, and this was just what I needed.  I actually found the content of this book to be somewhat unexpected (in a good way), and the storyline brings to light social issues that most people rarely think about but are nonetheless important.  The romance was both sizzling and cutesy, a fun combination, especially if you are into the whole “opposites attract” trope.  I highly recommend this read if you are an avid romance reader.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

The Midnight Lie

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Title: The Midnight Lie

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Page Count: 358

Series: The Midnight Lie, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 3, 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Format: eBook

Review: I was a huge fan of Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy, so I was elated when I saw this book being offered up to readers on NetGalley.  Unfortunately, as with many books I hype in my mind, it did not quite live up to expectations.  I found both the setting and the romance to be boring.  I’ve seen this plot concept played out in other books, and I did not find this particular rendition to be anything special.  For folks who are interested, there is an LGBT+ angle, but there really isn’t anything else that sets it apart in my mind from other fantasy that I have read.  Although I would like to learn more about Nirrim’s magical gifts, I don’t think I am interested enough to continue forward with this series.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Historical · Young Adult

The Court of Miracles

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Title: The Court of Miracles

Author: Kester Grant

Page Count: 464

Series: A Court of Miracles, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: June 2, 2020

Format: eBook

Review: I have never been a huge fan of Les Misérables.  True to it’s name, it is both lengthy and wildly depressing.  I am also not a big fan of musicals so that form of adaptation never interested me.  Nevertheless, the synopsis for this book piqued my interest.  Eponine?  As a cat burglar? Ok! If I had to pick one character I would like to see a retelling for, it would be Eponine, so I requested this ARC with very few expectations.  Perhaps this is sometimes the best way to approach books, because when they actually blow you away, it is a very pleasant surprise.

This book was FANTASTIC.  I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed it.  The plot, the character development, everything about it felt fresh, despite the fact it is an adaptation/retelling of a classic and well-known novel.  Eponine was a character you could not help but root for, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.  The one bummer about reading ARCs that you love is that you have to wait a very long time for the next one.  Even so, I like the way the author ended this book.  Some story lines were wrapped up, while others were simultaneously opened.  This left me finishing the book feeling both satisfied and chomping at the bit for more.  A pleasant combination.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Horror · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Cut Off

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Title: Cut Off

Author: Adrianne Finlay

Page Count: 384

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 11, 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: eBook

Review: I was obsessed with the Lost series back when it was airing, so when this book was described as “Warcross meets Lost…” I knew I simply must read it.  Unfortunately for me, it was just…meh.  There were a couple scenes that creeped me out in the beginning, but overall it was not particularly exciting.  The one thing it did have in common with Lost was that the final reveal was truly disappointing.  I knew there was going to be a science fiction element to the story, but it was a bit more sci-fi-y than I was expecting.  I also wanted to see more character complexity and development.  The characters felt very formulaic to me: the brainiac, the deceiver, the loner, and the closed off beauty.  Nobody really surprised me or made me question what I knew about them.  I wasn’t really feeling the romantic angle either.  In a story like this, I feel the romance should add more depth to the plot or characters, but it didn’t really serve to do so as much as I wanted.  It was not a terrible read, but also not one I enjoyed enough to give a higher rating.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

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 · Science Fiction

Chosen Ones

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Title: Chosen Ones

Author: Veronica Roth

Page Count: 304

Series: The Chosen Ones, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 7, 2020

Format: eBook

Review: This was a very original concept…what really happens to a hero after they have defeated evil? I think that Roth gives a really realistic depiction of how ordinary people would cope with extraordinary pressures and trauma.  I have always thought that being famous would be incredibly stressful – always dealing with scrutiny, invasion of privacy, and false narratives.  Each of the five heroes in this story deal with it differently, some withdrawing into anger or addiction, while others seemingly embrace it.  When evil rears it’s ugly head again, the heroes must take a critical look at the past, and what they think they know about themselves and each other.

It’s difficult for me to put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.  Roth does a decent job of fleshing out the characters, but I think her set up took just a little too long.  I struggled to remain actively engaged and I could put this book down for days at a time without feeling compelled to pick it back up.  Now that the characters and story have been established, I imagine I would enjoy a sequel far more, though this is difficult for me to say with any certainty.  Considering this is accurate to how I felt when reading her Divergent series, I remain hopeful that the series will prove to be worth reading even though the way she ended it makes me uncertain.  It ended with a bang, but then tapered off into different directions.  If it wasn’t being advertised as the first in a series, I would have assumed it was a standalone.

Although this is Roth’s first “adult” fiction book, I still think it will mostly appeal to a younger demographic.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star