After loving It Ends with Us, I was super excited to read another by Colleen Hoover, but this one really didn’t work for me.
This story is told from dual POV (with Tate’s in the present and Miles’ in the past) as Tate and Miles start a benefits-only relationship. And, as always, Hoover’s writing drew me in immediately, and kept me flying through the pages, but on the whole, Tate and Miles’ relationship just didn’t work for me. Although Miles was clear up front that he was only in it for sex, Tate knew from the start that she wanted more than that. Not only that, but Miles was, in general, kind of a jerk to her, and she was always making excuses for him.
I feel like we got Miles’ backstory through his POV as also a kind of way of saying “oh but he’s not really a jerk at heart.” But… still, that didn’t really smooth things over for me, and his backstory didn’t hold my interest as much. Overall, if you’re a big Colleen Hoover fan, I might give it a look, but I can’t really say I was rooting for Miles and Tate in this one.
Instructions for Dancing follows Evie, a one-time romance book addict who is struggling with her father’s infidelity/her parents divorce/her parents impending remarriage, and essentially doesn’t believe in love anymore. Then after a chance encounter, she develops the ability to see people’s whole love story from beginning to end when they kiss.
So, it was in this book that I realize I am not a big fan of self-aware books. And Evie is constantly comparing the events of her life to the tropes of a romance novel, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. But, then X and his dance competition entered the scene with the save.
Overall, this was a bittersweet coming of age tale of a young person learning the hard lesson that nothing lasts forever. The banter between X and Evie was cute (LOVED The Cupcakes and Kisses discussion) and in general, Evie’s experiences/attitudes definitely seemed to reflect that of a true young adult’s.
Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a bittersweet coming of age young adult tale. (Especially if you don’t mind the trope-awareness.)
We follow Bradley as he endures a school-shooting and a death of a family member, and then his family tries to start over in a new city with other Diviner families. We get bits an pieces of the horrible things that have happened to Bradley, his difficulty with his abilities, and the internal survivor’s guilt that plagues him as his family tries to start anew.
I really thought the author nailed Bradley’s authentic lower-YA voice, and I really felt for him as he tried to learn how to cope with his situation. Learning about the Diviners’ ability was super interesting, and in general, the tension and tight writing kept my attention straight through the end.
There were a lot of characters and siblings to keep track of, and I did find myself wishing we got a little more development from some of the other main characters. There were also a few strands I was expecting to get answers to that we didn’t quite get. However, this definitely seems like the first of the series, so they could have been left for future books. I also really enjoyed the audiobook narration, and the I think the narrator did an excellent job of telling this story. Would definitely recommend for all fans of YA urban fantasy. Thanks so much to the publisher for the free audible code!
ERMAHGERDDD. I loved this book. Seriously. Amazing. The MCs were cute and well-developed, and their enemies-to-lovers ARC was just perfect. I loved seeing the history between them evolve into begrudging alliance evolve into something more. And I also totally loved the senior class scavenger hunt through Seattle. It was seriously fun, and I sooo want to play too! The pacing is quick, the voice is tone is fun, while still probing deeper into character development. I loved Neil and Rowan’s banter, and their adventure just reminded me how fun YA can be!
Probably one of the best YA contemporary romances I’ve ever read. Cannot recommend enough, and BRING ME THE MOVIE! The audiobook was also perfectly performed. Just in general, fabulous read/listen. Don’t miss it!
I totally inhaled this book! Fast-paced, strong stakes, political intrigue, and a slowburn romance with thick “it’s complicated” vibes. I really liked both Corrick’s POV as the conflicted King’s Justice in a time where their kingdom is torn apart by disease and suffering. And it was perfectly balanced by Tessa’s more optimistic hopeful view tempered by what she witnesses out in the impoverished wilds. Usually I’m not into politics explanations in fantasy books, but I think this one did an amazing job of explaining the nuances of the sector relationships, rumors, and difficult choices of the rulers. I also really enjoyed how the characters change and grow as they come to different realizations about one another. It drew me into their world without slowing down the pace, and I totally drank it in. I also appreciated that even though there’s a sequel coming out, this book leaves you still feeling satisfied at the end. Totally recommend to high fantasy fans, and I would definitely read the sequel! Five glittering stars!
I enjoyed Small Favors by Erin Craig, so when I saw the House of Salt and Sorrows audiobook in my library I had to grab it.
In my Small Favors review I think I described how I liked the writing style, and the dark, creepy vibes, but then ending didn’t quite work for me.
And bizarrely, I feel EXACTLY the same about this book. Really liked the writing style, the somewhat fantastical, dark vibe, and the mystery of what really is going on – which is also consistent with what I liked about Small Favors.
Also, Annaleigh is very similar to the MC in Small Favors—a girl who loves her sisters and is falling for a mysterious stranger while she tries to figure things out.
While, the premise of the deaths of her sisters was super intriguing and the unique island world was cool, the ending once again just fell a little anticlimactic for me, and I didn’t feel like the love interest was fleshed out enough.
Overall though, a solid read with a creepy, fantastical feel to it. And if you like this one, you will probably also like Small Favors!
So… I like WWII historical fiction, and the premise of a sister searching for her brother after the war seemed like an intriguing premise. But this one didn’t quite work for me in a lot of ways. The writing was beautiful, the reality of surviving the Holocaust was intense, and the historical accuracies were all pluses. But, I hate to say, I wasn’t a fan of the main character, Zofia. She is single-minded, abrupt, and rather self-centered in a way that was a little difficult to connect with. And while the message of this book seems to be finding hope after so much darkness, I found the ending to be… well… depressing.
So, not really my cup of tea, but if you like historical fiction and don’t mind sad endings, this could be for you!
There was so much I liked about this book! It’s set in Amity Falls, a small-town of ambiguous timeline or country, though I would roughly call it 1800s pioneer-like, that has a history of monsters in the woods.
If you have ever seen M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village – it feels a LOT like that. People start seeing things in the woods, and disturbing things start to crop up (mutated animals, blighted crops, unexplained occurrences.)
And then of course the main character, Ellery, also starts to fall for a handsome young man that is new to the town (although I will say the romance is very light). The writing is beautiful as the tension steadily rises throughout, putting the slow in slow burn.
But for all that build up, I have to say, I thought we stumbled a little at the end, and the ending was neither was explosive nor as satisfying as I was hoping. Also, Sam just about drove me mad. Still, I liked Ellery and Whittaker, and I’ve now put another one of Erin A. Craig’s on my TBR, so I’d totally recommend for anyone looking for slow-build, creepy paranormal.
I’m a big fan of Ken Follett historical fiction and WWII novels, so I can’t help but feel like this book should’ve held my attention more than it did.
It details three women who go to work as codebreakers in Bletchley Park in England in WWII. The story is spliced between them during their time at Bletchley, and them a few years after the War ended… in which they are rather miserable.
Initially the work is freeing for them, each in their own way, and they become close friends. However, as they go on, the story really goes into the sacrifices they have to make to keep their secrets… which ends up tearing them apart and leaving them all with their own invisible wounds.
While the book ends on a positive note, I still thought it was kind of a downer. Specifically there’s an event that happens in the middle that I really just couldn’t get over. (Feel free to Twitter DM me if you want the full rant.)
The author’s notes at the end of where the direct inspiration came from was super interesting, but overall, I thought the book was a bit too long and too slow for my taste. But if you want heavily researched historical fiction about the women of Bletchley Park, than I recommend you give it a look!
Watch out for about the 60% mark though… it’s a doozy.
The Night She Disappears follows three POVs: Tallulah (a 19yo mother, who mysteriously goes missing along with her boyfriend), her mother, and a mystery novelist who’s just moved to the area.
While the premise was interesting—couple disappears with out a trace—and there were a few little twists and turns I didn’t expect, I had a hard time falling in love with the characters. Particularly, I found Tallulah’s passiveness rather frustrating, and overall I found the tension just a little low. I’m not sure if that’s because it seemed overlong, or because the sense of danger wasn’t really there.
If you’re looking for a solid mystery in the English countryside that takes it time, it might be worth a look.