contemporary · romance · young adult

Not Another Love Song by Olivia Wildenstein

Not Another Love Song by Olivia Wildenstein

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not Another Love Song is about a girl who struggles to come to terms with her music and relationships with both her family and a new exchange student named Ten. It is a light, sweet, and fun story that navigates the concept of what we’d do to reach our goals, even if it means leaving everyone and everything behind.

I wanted more substance, more suspense and conflict. Call me heartless, but I like when characters have to struggle to reach their goals, it makes it seem much more real and raw. This was almost too sweet, and everything was resolved much too quickly and without a hassle.

There wasn’t anything terrible about this book, it was alright, and it did captivate my attention as the story developed, but I personally like my novels with more substance and obstacles. As I said before, conflicts can make a story more enticing, and this did not have many, or they were resolved in the blink of an eye. It was also predictable and cliche, so I did not care much about the outcome since I already knew what it would be. I must say though that it also helped ease my stress since it was something light and easy to get through.

For me, this felt like a light summer read, and I reccomend this if you just want to sit down and relax with a book that is light on substance but still manages to be amusing.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.

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Do you enjoy light reads? Are you a fan of clichés and/or predictability, or do you enjoy surprises?

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adult · historical · romance

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Diana sagged. “Morals,” she said simply. “So tiresome.”

To Have and to Hoax is witty, smart and charming as a whole, filled to the brim with revenge schemes and intriguing characters that made this a page-turner for me. The premise is intriguing, it’s about a married couple who are plagued by misunderstandings, which eventually leads to a cruel (and hilarious) game that threatens to tear them apart.

This book is filled with wonderful writing that flows perfectly, and characters that feel so real it’s marvellous. I loved the witty banter in this book, I found myself laughing and smiling a whole lot while reading this. I find that most books that brand themselves as romantic comedies usually come off as forced, but certainly not with this book. It was genuinely funny and I highlighted an unhealthy amount of passages while reading (some that may have been a page-long or so).

The characters that graced the pages were just so wonderful and I haven’t felt this amused by dialogue alone since reading The Raven Boys. The characters felt very real and I loved learning more about them and their backgrounds.

Overall, I highly reccomend this novel. It’s engaging, funny, and delivers a punch. I’m hoping the author may bless me with a sequel including any one of the side characters.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.

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graphic novels

I Left the House Today by Cassandra Calin

I Left The House Today! by Cassandra Calin

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

This was really cute! It was very short but still adorable and extremely relatable. The art style was simplistic but I really liked it. I’ve actually seen a bunch of the author’s comics online so this was a treat. I thought this might’ve been like a story that stretches out but it wasn’t anything like that, and the comics didn’t correlate with one another, but it was still light and cute.

Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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contemporary · fiction · suspense

The Harpy by Megan Hunter

The Harpy by Megan Hunter

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

❝ Sometimes I question whether anyone can know what it’s like before it happens. Marriage and motherhood are like death in this way, and others too: no one comes back unchanged. ❞

I don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s dark and gritty, fused with themes of infidelity and abuse strewn in. The writing style was very poetic, and I thought the author’s writing was beautiful, but some of the descriptions felt a bit unnecessary. The Harpy follows the life of Lucy as she learns of her husband’s infidelity. She’s tossed into a never-ending cycle of pain and obsession, and begins to deteriorate. This book definitely drove me into a bad mood, left me with a sour taste in my mouth and I couldn’t help sympathizing with Lucy for everything she went through.

It was a short read, and the last few pages really left me wishing for more. I thought that the ending would leave me surprised or lead into something much more grand, maybe even feeding off into the glint of horror that had started to appear throughout the book, but it was none of that. It left me conflicted and confused more than anything, and for me, it was unsatisfying. I wish that some questions would be answered and we’d know more about Lucy’s unique situation towards the end, but I think this book is meant to serve more as a portrait of identification and finding oneself than resolving one’s problem, though I can’t hide my discontent nor curiosity towards the matter.

I’m kind of stuck on how to rate this, on one hand, this book was very poetic and beautiful in a twisted kind of way, but also left me bitter and wanting more. I definitely reccomend checking this out for yourself, but be warned that it deals with dark topics & situations and will definitely leave you in a sour sort of mood.

Review copy provided by the publisher and netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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paranormal · romance · vampires · werewolves · witches

The Dark Awakening by D.L Blade

The Dark Awakening by D.L. Blade

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Yet again, I find myself in the minority.

I was so excited to read this, but it turned out to be a huge let-down. All of the characters were super flat, if the mc was to be murdered at any moment, I would not feel a thing. The main character was a complete Mary Sue, and honestly, so was everyone else. All of the “plot twists” I saw a mile away, and nothing really surprised or intrigued me in this story.

The romance was just not done right. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but the supposed love interest caused a great deal of pain to the mc. And all she could say was “I CAN’T SEE YOU TODAY.” LIKE WHAT EVEN, if something like that happened to me I would’ve been furious and not want to see the person for an ETERNITY. I know that the mc was in a unique situation, but it still didn’t make it right, and she was so easy to forgive. And even more than that, all she could say about anyone in the novel is “OH HE’S SO HOT BUT TERRIBLE.” LIKE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL. The main love interest (I honestly have no clue if this was a love triangle or not, this book was that confusing and a bunch of love interests were introduced last minute) constantly kissed the mc with no regard for her comfort and she just went along with it even though she “hates” him. I wouldn’t call this novel a romance, even though it did try and focus on the aspect a lot, because it was really just a bunch of kissing and memories of “love.”

I wish I could say that I liked or disliked a character, but I was so unattached to this book that I just did not care about anyone. This novel really did feel like I was reading about characters who had no emotions, robots at that, and I did not like it whatsoever. I was told that the mc was angry, I was not shown her frustration with the world itself. This story is in first person but I felt very detached to the main character and everyone else. Also, this was one of those novels where the bad guys were solely “bad” for the sake of being villains. They cackled and had dark backstories and were evil with no actual motive. I really don’t like it when characters are this bland and nothing was really memorable about this book. The main character acted very immature, and the whole “chosen one” trope has been done a MILLION TIMES. I’m sick of seeing it in novels, a simple Mary Sue becomes almighty in a matter of seconds and then says “OH, I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS SPECIAL, DEEP DOWN INSIDE.” I just can’t. Tropes can be done right, but this one was not.

The writing was bland and boring, and I found myself losing focus as I tried to read this novel. I started in the morning yesterday, and took hour-long breaks because I couldn’t continue. In the end, I forced myself to read through and was disappointed but not surprised. I want to give this one star but since it wasn’t very problematic and I don’t hate it, I’m going to be generous and give it two. I can say though that the book doesn’t have many grammatical or spelling errors and the cliffhanger at the end captured my attention, which is good, but doesn’t make up for my discontent with this novel.

Review copy provided by the publisher and booksirens in exchange for an honest review.

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new adult · romance · vampires

The Cardinalis Code by Avery Sterling

The Cardinalis Code by Avery Sterling

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is a hidden gem.

When I started reading this, I was surprised at how clean and well the writing flowed. There were barley any grammatical mistakes, which is rare in e-books. I didn’t expect much from the novel since the past couple of e-books I’ve been reading have been in the 2-3 star range, but this definitely exceeded my expectations.

I requested this as soon as I read the premise of the novel on LibraryThing. It was much shorter than the Goodreads synopsis, but it captured my attention. The story is about a girl who works in a nightclub to pay off her tuition, and one night she meets a handsome stranger there while trying to escape a man who keeps following her around. Yes, I know how that sounds: cliché, overdone, boring. That’s what I thought too, but as I continued on with the book, it got so much better.

Not only were the characters crafted and written well, but broke molds and stereotypes. This book was really good and engaging as well. I COULDN’T stop reading, which is always a good sign, except when it’s 12 in the morning and you’re left staring at your screen, wishing for a sequel, which was literally me after finishing this book.

I did have some problems with the novel, the mc’s first encounter with Michael left a sour taste in my mouth. But I literally have nothing else to complain about, WHAT HAS THIS BOOK DONE TO ME? The concept of this story was really good, and even though I’ve read books like this in the past, this is by far the best.

Also, a guy from Italy whose actually written like a normal human being (well, technically as normal as Cardinalis get) and not mafioso? WHAT EVEN, THANK YOU AUTHOR. I feel like every book with Italians in it always depicts them as mafiosi and it really bothers me as a fellow Toscana.

I really can’t comprehend why this isn’t more popular? It’s probably one of the best romance novels I’ve read so far, and this book deserves so much more love. I definitely reccomend checking this out if you’re looking for a romance novel with fleshed-out characters, vampires (or rather, Cardinalis), engaging plot, and a potential new book boyfriend.

Thank you to LibraryThing for my free copy. This is no way affected my opinion of the book.

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manga · vampires

No Vampire, No Happy Ending, Vol.1 by Shinya Shinya

No Vampire, No Happy Ending, Vol. 1 by Shinya Shinya

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This was such a weird book but I low-key loved it.

The characters were all really lovable, and the plot was strange but funny. I loved the animation and the humour was on point. I kept laughing because Arika was just hilarious and a little (okay, maybe very) crazy. The characters had consistent personalities and began to grow on me as I got farther into the book.

I thought the concept of the novel was unique and executed well. Arika discovers a vampire but he doesn’t live up to her fanatic and slightly (to say the least) high expectations. She begins to train him, but encounters obstacles along the way, like a sweet tooth and enemies that stand in their way.

I’ve never read something like this, but I still enjoyed it immensely, even though it very bizarre at times, it managed to be light and funny without coming off as forced. It’s a great read for when you just want to laugh and have fun with a book.

Now I’m off to sulk because I love the characters and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Review copy provided by the publisher and netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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contemporary · young adult

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I liked how it felt to be out of control, a moth on a carnival ride, ready to be swept off by the wind, every tenuous hair, every fibre, every quivering speck of me, lit up, on end, and electrified.

This book made me feel so many emotions all at once.

It left me conflicted, hurt, betrayed, and wanting more. This novel is a raw and gritty portrayal of a teen’s life, and the struggles they have to face each day. The conflicts that arose in this book left me feeling inexplicably sad, and questioning everything.

I honestly can’t find the words to explain my fascination with this book. Some topics that were mentioned and issues portrayed hit me like a train, and gave me nostalgia and left a bad taste in my mouth.

I found myself relating to the protagonist a lot, who I thought was a realistic portal of a teen, confused and conflicted. I loved this story. It truly made me sit down and think. It impacted me in a million ways and I questioned everyone in this novel.

I love books that rip my heart out and ruin my state of mind. And I never thought i’d find that in a YA novel that I assumed would be a sweet romance/coming of age or something along those lines. There’s nothing wrong with those books either, but this was so much more than that.

It dealt with real issues. It showed life through a teen’s lens, and never hid the dark bits that lurk beneath everyone’s story. I think that’s what I truly loved about this novel, it didn’t sugar-coat anything. Everything was left out in the open to judge. Mistakes were made. Battles were lost. Memories were re-lived. And love tied them all together.

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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