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review 2020-01-07 00:28
4.3 Out Of 5 STARS⇢ Protect the Prince (Queen of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) - Jennifer Estep

SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE

 

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s … well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

 

 

THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣

 

HIGH FANTASY WITH AN URBAN APPEAL

POISONINGS & ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS

INTRIGUE

MAGIC

ADULT ROMANCE (DEFINITELY NOT YA)

GARGOYLES

 

THE DEETS⇣

 

AUDIO PERFORMED BY Lauren Fortgang

BOOK COVER I liked the cover on Book #1 better...but it's cool.

SETTING Bellona & Andvari

SOURCE Libby Audiobook (Library)

AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 12 hours, 40 minutes

 

MY THOUGHTS⇣

 

Despite excellent narration, an intriguing plotline, and exceptional action scenes, I found myself not into this quite as much as I was the first book in the series, but only slightly.  The best part and a new addition to this series were the gargoyles...I've never read anything with gargoyles before...and I quite liked this author's take on them.  Who knew a stone could be so lovable. 

 

If I had pinpoint what it was about this book that I didn't care for, it would have to be all the lies and deceptions going on between the two main characters.  I guess I thought Evie wasn't into that kind of drama and whatnot. Overall, I will continue with the series and I'm still hanging in there until the end, Book #3, Crush The King is due out March of 2020.

 

MY RATING 4.3 STARS | GRADE A-

 

THE BREAKDOWN⇣

Plot 4.2/5

Characters 5/5

The Feels 4/5

Pacing 4.3/5

Addictiveness 4/5

Theme or Tone 4.3/5

Flow (Writing Style) 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building) 5/5

Originality 5/5

Ending 4.3/5

 

 

 

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review 2019-12-31 23:20
2 Out Of 5 STARS⇢ The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
The Vanishing Year: A Novel - Kate Moretti

SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

A “dark, twisty, edge-of-your-seat suspense” (Karen Robards), The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre. 

 

 

THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣

 

DOMESTIC THRILLER

A SCATTERED MYSTERY

THAT REALLY DIDN'T WORK FOR ME

ROBOTIC NARRATION

 

STATS⇣

 

AUDIO PERFORMED BY Madeleine Maby

BOOK COVER Meh...

SETTING New York, New York

SOURCE I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review or Libby Audiobook (Library)

AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 9 hours, 50 minutes

 

MY THOUGHTS⇣

 

This could have earned another star from me if the narration wasn't so terrible.  She continuously voiced the characters with this straight-up robotic voice.   It was seriously awful and it was difficult to get past that and give the book a fighting chance.  Oddly, though, I said she was pretty good on my review of Colleen Hoovers; All Your Perfects, so maybe she improved or maybe it was because it was a CoHo book...I'm not sure.

 

For me, this story was all over the place and lacked cohesiveness.  Like everything, just sort of came together at the end; haphazardly.  That, coupled with the crappy narration and I was not feeling this story.

 

 

MY RATING 2 STARS | GRADE D

 

 

BREAKDOWN⇣

Plot 2/5

Characters 2.5/5

The Feels 2/5

Pacing 2.5/5

Addictiveness 3/5 (only because I wanted to finish before the end of the year)

Theme or Tone 2/5

Flow (Writing Style) 1.5/5

Backdrop (World Building) 3/5

Originality 2/5

Ending 2.5/5

 

 

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review 2019-12-30 20:50
4 Out Of 5 STARS⇢ Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Resistance - Jennifer A. Nielsen

SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE

Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.

Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis’ supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya’s network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible and to live — or die — with honor.

 

THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣

 

WWII

YOUNG ADULT/MIDDLE-GRADE

RESISTANCE FIGHTERS

OCCUPIED POLAND

 

STATS⇣

 

AUDIO PERFORMED BY Jesse Vilinsky

BOOK COVER The cover is spectacular.

SETTING Throughout Poland

SOURCE Libby Audiobook (Library)

AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 9 hours, 28 minutes

 

MY THOUGHTS⇣

 

Billed as Middle-Grade Young Adult, this holds no punches when it comes to the atrocities inflicted on the Jewish people of Germany and Poland.  This book, in particular, revolves around the country of Poland, more than Germany.  Featuring Chaya (the C is silent when it is pronounced) who I liked and didn't like at different intervals throughout.  Esther...or maybe her name was Hester...was kind of forgettable which is kind of obvious...because I'm not even sure what her name is.

 

The story started out strong for me, I was really feeling it, but somewhere along the way it lost something, it felt bogged down, a little sluggish even...it could be just the subject matter itself, though.  Overall, it was a decent look at the resistance fighters in WWII and how difficult it was for them.  I'm glad I took the time to listen to it.  Jesse Vilinsky's narration was performed very well.

 

MY RATING 4 STARS | GRADE B+

 

BREAKDOWN⇣

Plot 3.8/5

Characters 3.7/5

The Feels 4/5

Pacing 3.8/5

Addictiveness 4.3/5

Theme or Tone 4.3/5

Flow (Writing Style) 4/5

Backdrop (World Building) 4.3/5

Originality 4/5

Ending 4/5

 

 

 

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review 2019-12-28 14:08
3 Out Of 5 STARS⇢ for The Girl the Sea Gave Back (The Sky In the Deep #2) by Adrienne Young
The Girl the Sea Gave Back - Adrienne Young

 

SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE             

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse. For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again―a home.

 

 

THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣

 

VIKING INSPIRED

10 YEARS AFTER SKY IN THE DEEP

DUAL POINT OF VIEWS

INTENSE ACTION SCENES

ONLY A SMALL SPLASH OF ROMANCE

 

STATS⇣

 

AUDIO PERFORMED BY Caitlin Kelly & Dan Bittner

BOOK COVER It is gorgeous...if only the story fulfilled what the cover promises.

SETTING The Fjord.

SOURCE Libby Audiobook (Library)

AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 8 hours, 27 minutes

 

MY THOUGHTS⇣

 

The action scenes were incomparable...but they weren't enough to carry the whole story.  I wanted more than what this story delivered.  I wanted the romantic tension that the first book had.  Instead, there were only a handful of scenes with both the main characters present.

 

I also found it difficult to keep all Viking inspired names straight...after a while, I stopped trying, which also lessened my enjoyment of the story.  The writing was there for a potential higher rating, but unfortunately, the story was lacking.  It felt like it could have been told in a lot fewer pages...more like a novella.  Overall, if you really liked the world-building in book #1 of this series but thought the romance brought the story down than you could possibly really like this.

 

Caitlin Kelly can fall into any role and do it well (she also narrates The Folk In the Air series and several other books I've listened to).  The same can be said about Dan Bittner, I've always enjoyed his narration.

 

 

MY RATING 3 STARS | GRADE C

 

 

BREAKDOWN⇣

Plot 3/5

Characters 3/5

The Feels 2/5

Pacing 3/5

Addictiveness 3/5

Theme or Tone 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style) 2.5/5

Backdrop (World Building) 2.7/5

Originality 4/5

Ending 3.5/5

 

 

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review 2019-12-28 00:24
5 Out Of 5 STARS⇢ Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Regretting You - Colleen Hoover

 

SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣    Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.
Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.
With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.
While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

 

 

A BookisObsessioFavorite

 

 

THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣

 

⬥REALISTIC MOTHER/DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP

⬥IT'S BEST TO GO INTO THIS KNOWING NOTHING ABOUT IT

⬥WHEN LIFE GETS REAL AND A LITTLE MESSY

⬥MADE ME CRY...

⬥PART YA, PART ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

 

STATS⇣

 

AUDIO PERFORMED BY⇢ Tanya Eby & Lauren Ezzo

BOOK COVER⇢ The cover is cute...and the title totally makes sense by the end of the story.

SETTING⇢ Texas

SOURCE⇢ Libby Audiobook (Library)

AUDIOBOOK LENGTH⇢ 11 hours, 17 minutes

 

MY THOUGHTS⇣

 

Another fantastic book by Colleen Hoover.  This could be one of her best books yet.  With characters that feel real (her characters always do...), with a special shout out to Miller, I loved him, he was perfect. Plus a perfectly plotted achingly emotional story, I was left stunned when some things were revealed.

 

As far as the narration goes...Tanya Eby is the voice of Morgan (the Mother) and she was really quite good.  Lauren Ezzo, who is the voice of Clara (the Daughter), I did have some issues with...mostly just her timber when she does a male voice, it has a very nasally sound to it, which always pulls me out of the story.  Good thing this was such a phenomenal story and it didn't affect my overall enjoyment.

 

MY RATING 5 STARS | GRADE A+

 

BREAKDOWN⇣

Plot⇢ 5/5

Characters⇢ 5/5

The Feels⇢ 5/5

Pacing⇢ 5/5

Addictiveness⇢ 5/5

Theme or Tone⇢ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 5/5

Backdrop (World Building)⇢ 5/5

Originality⇢ 5/5

Ending⇢ 5/5

 

 

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