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review 2020-06-10 17:21
WHERE DREAMS DESCEND BY JANELLA ANGELES
Where Dreams Descend - Janella Angeles

A little bit of mixed emotions about this one, but all together a good first book in a series. It checked all the boxes for me, I'm interested and invested at this point, I only wish there would have been a bit more solidity in certain things by the ending.

 

The writing was quite beautiful, it skirted the edge of purple prose at times but ultimately I felt it wasn't too over the top for me. I thought the author did a great job at setting the scenes. There was a captivating contrast between the cold bleak backdrop of a dying town and the invigorating colorful splashes of magic at play. The fact that magic also held this undertone of mystery and danger only made it that much more exciting and intriguing.

 

I could see some having issue with how boisterous and exorbitantly headstrong Kallia can be. Honestly, I loved every minute of it. I loved how daring and passionate she was. In the face of a world where magic was a man's game, she unabashedly held nothing back when flaunting her talents. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the story. Were there times where she used excess bravado to push back? YUP. Were there times she could have let someone in and shown a bit of the worry she struggled with? Uh huh. But I honestly totally get putting on your game face and not letting your haters, and even sometimes your friends, see the obstacles get you down. I think it made a lot of sense after Kallia was so deeply violated recently for her to be more on guard for awhile in who she let fully in.

 

I really enjoyed a bunch of the other characters too. Jack is a big ole mystery that I really want to know more about. He falls pretty well into this dark grey place right now, he's not the hero but I'm not sure he's the fully the villain either. There's so much to be learned about him still. I would have liked to get even a few more morsels of information about him before the end, the few crumbs we got really only made like 20 new questions emerge. Demarco was one I wasn't quite sure if I'd end up liking or not for awhile. I was glad more about him was revealed towards the end, it gave him depth that seemed to be lacking the first half of the book with him being so closed off and broody. Aaros brought a much needed cheeky lightness to the fold. I hope to see even more from him in future books. Also, the entire magic circus, more of that whole troupe please, because they were fabulous!

 

There was a ton of intrigue throughout this one, but ultimately not many revelations by the end. I would have liked at least a few of the many mysteries to come to some sort of fruition, but as I said before, this author can really set a scene. Where Dreams Descend set the stage for the second act and it is full of many deliciously wicked possibilities!

 

I received an arc of this book from Wednesday Booka via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

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review 2020-06-06 16:47
PINES BY BLAKE CROUCH
Pines - Blake Crouch

I think I figured out why Crouch books suck you in so effectively. You always kinda hit the ground running. There's immediately urgency and mystery and it keeps you on that edge, with the stakes raising and game fields changing right up till the very end. I read this all in one night. It grabbed me from the very beginning and I could not put it down until I finished. Looking forward to book 2.

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review 2020-04-20 22:24
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT ANNE HARPER
Fake It Till You Make It - Anne Harper

This book was all kinds of cute and totally refreshing to read. Sloane was so darn relatable. It can be hard to express yourself sometimes, especially when the feelings are overwhelming. It was a fun and relatively lighthearted journey watching as Sloane's inadvertent thrust into the spotlight helped her really come out of her shell and connect with so many people near and far.

 

I quite enjoyed the setting too. The quirky southern small town of Arbor Bay added an extra fun dynamic to the mix. I have to say I'd love to see more of some of these characters in a future book! This was a perfect feel-good escapism romance, with some of my favorite tropes, sunshine/grumpy and fake dating. I highly recommend to fans of contemporary romance.

 

I received an arc of this book from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

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review 2020-04-18 18:13
CRUSH THE KING BY: JENNIFER ESTEP
Crush the King - Jennifer Estep

A sincere thank you to this book for being exactly what I needed to pull me out of this quarantine slump. I thoroughly enjoyed being back with this crew and the setting taking place at another gladiator event was perfection. It was like coming full circle. The Regalia Games did not disappoint. Evie was really in her element, I loved seeing how far she has come and what a confident leader and warrior she has grown to be.

 

 

The showdown between Evie and the Mortan king was exactly what I was hoping for, but I think the long game she had been playing with Maeven exceeded any expectations. I definitely had a feeling what direction that was heading in, but Evie took it to another level by the end and I couldn't help cheering her on the whole way.

 

 

 

While I was totally fine with the romance being pretty low key in this one, the action kept me plenty satisfied, I do wish Sully would have had a stronger role in everything. Although I super LOVE how strong and fierce the leading ladies are, I think with the concern he had in the second book of just being a downlow consort it would have been nice to see him really flourishing in that role rather than fading more into the background.

 

All in all Crush the King was pretty much everything I was hoping for as a conclusion to this story. It was a fitting ending but as always with the worlds I've come to love, I am sad to say goodbye. I would definitely be psyched to see a spinoff series set in this world. Just throwing that out there into the ether.

 

 

Many thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Goodreads for this first reads book!

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review 2020-03-02 21:28
A BAD DAY FOR SUNSHINE BY DARYNDA JONES
A Bad Day for Sunshine - Darynda Jones

I can't even tell you how excited I was to get an arc of this book. I am a huge fan of the Charley Davidson series and I was really excited to see what Jones could do in a different genre. I was not disappointed. She brought the same flair that made the Charley books so fun and special to the world of Sunshine Vicram. This was more of a crime fiction/mystery/suspense novel, but there was still undertones of something other.

 

 

Jones sweeps you away into the quirky town of Del Sol, where muffins are omens of impending doom, book club feels closer to a coven, Puff Daddy roams the streets attacking old men, the ghosts of old crimes still linger and intertwine with the present, and dreams are not something to ignore. There's a pulse to this city and it follows its own beat.

 

 

The people inside are equally as enchanting. I love the way Jones writes characters. No one is filler, everyone is interesting in their own unique way. You can't help but be enamored and want to get to know each of them more. Each is their own little mystery wrapped in exquisitely inviting designs that draw you in.

 

Jones is also a master at writing relationships, whether it be romantic, best friends, mother-daughter, they feel so genuine and the banter is my absolute favorite. I definitely felt some Reyes vibes from Levi. That gooey sweet center seen only in glimpses initially and by few, wrapped up in all kinds of dangerous seen by all.

 

 

Sunshine and Levi have that push and pull slow burn kinda thing going on and I am 1,000% into it. The relationship Sunshine and her daughter Auri have is awesome. I feel like in some ways it reminds me of my relationship with my own teenage daughter. Maybe it's something about when you have a child at a young age and you both grow up together in a way, or maybe a bit of not being so far from understanding how it feels to be that age, or maybe it is something as seemingly simple as just having a strong bond, I'm not sure exactly what it is that makes it that way, but I think Jones pretty accurately represents it here.

 

There were plenty of twists and turns, some you may see coming and some that will surprise you in the best way. This story is also jam-packed full of feels! It was a rollercoaster of emotions, I laughed out loud, I gasped in shock, I swooned, and I felt sorrow.

 

 

One thing was always consistent though and that was I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the ride. Even though there was some darker aspects being shown or talked about, there was a perfect balance of whimsy, fun and humor that kept it feeling relatively light. That ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, but even if it wasn't I would still be anxiously awaiting the next installment. Sunshine and Del Sol have so much more to give and I can't wait to see what happens next!

 


I received an ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

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