Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo // Review

I finally read it. After owning a copy of the book since release week (roughly a year ago from now), I finally picked up the book and read it!

And I’m so glad I did.

Ninth House was everything I was looking for. I know that it’s gotten many mixed reviews, and it’s definitely not a book for everyone, but I thought it was phenomenal.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

My Review:

Where do I even begin? First off, I went in with very few expectations for this book. I didn’t know much about it going into it, so it was really a pleasant surprise all the way through.

The book starts off very slow, and for the most part, it continued on with a slow pace for the majority of the story. That’s not to say that it was boring or lacking action, though. Quite the opposite actually. This book was full of mystery, murder, and morally grey characters. The entire time I was trying to figure out what was going to happen alongside our main character Galaxy “Alex” Stern.

Speaking of Alex, she is not a warm and kind character in the slightest. From the start, she is portrayed as cold and calculating, but I loved that about her. She had her guard up a lot, but once we found out why, you really start to feel for her.

Another character I loved was Pammie, or Dawes. We see her more towards the second half of the book, but she made a huge impression on me. She is quite the opposite of Alex, but the two made a great pair!

I also really loved learning more about Darlington. Although we do not see too much of him, he is central to the story.

The storyline was also so compelling. I didn’t want to put the book down, but at the same time, I needed to process certain scenes. Reading about the magic and the secret societies was really fascinating to me. I do wish we got to learn a little bit more about them and see more of the characters outside of Lethe. I’m hoping this gets fleshed out more in the next book!

The writing was also incredible. I loved the way we switched between timelines. It worked really well for this story, and it aided in many of the plot twists and shocking surprises we see.

Just a fair warning, this book is dark. Very dark. That is part of what drew me to it, but I know that not everyone is able to read books like this. It is gory and graphic, so proceed with caution.

TW: drug use, overdose, addiction, detailed rape (not romanticized, but pretty graphic), murder, gore, sexual assault, racism, and more that I may have forgotten.

All in all, I think this was a really solid adult debut from Bardugo. I am so excited to see where the second book goes!

I have now read all of Bardugo’s books (aside from her novella), and she is easily one of my favorite authors. The funny part is, it took me so long to finally pick up her books—it wasn’t until last year that I read Shadow and Bone, and I just finished SoC & CK this year!

That being said, she has pulled me in time and time again, and I will forever be reading her books.

If you’ve read this book, let me know what your thoughts were on it!

The Switch by Beth O’Leary Review

I think I may have found a new favorite book of 2020…

I was approved for an ARC of The Switch by Beth O’Leary on Netgalley a few weeks ago, and I sort of requested it on a whim. Netgalley has just recently added audiobooks to its website, and I wanted to know how it would work. I saw that this one was available, so I got it.

I am so glad that I did.

Beth O’Leary is the author of The Flatshare, which you may have heard of. EVERYONE was gushing about it last year, though I still haven’t read it. Now, I definitely will.

Anyway, let’s talk about The Switch!

Goodreads Synopsis:

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

My Review:

The first word that pops into my head when I think of this book is “fun.” It was just such an enjoyable experience. I loved the way this story was told: alternating points of view from our 20-something, work-obsessed main character Leena, and her newly divorced grandmother, Eileen, who is looking for some fun.

First off, Eileen was an amazing character. She was such a BADASS. After getting out of her long time marriage that she realized she was really unhappy in, she decides to give online dating a try with the help of her Leena and her friends. She was also super funny, and I was entertained by all of her chapters. It was interesting to read from the perspective of someone so much older than me, but definitely in a good way.

Leena, on the other hand, is someone who likes to occupy herself with work and doesn’t know how to slow down. Going away from the city and into the countryside allowed her a chance to reconnect with her mother and properly grieve the death of her sister. She had some ups and downs along the way (some of which made me a little frustrated), but I could understand where she was coming from. She felt really real to me, which is the most important aspect of characters to me in any novel.

The plot was also really joyous. There is a grumpy old neighbor, a funny neighborhood ‘watch’ group, a dog who I fell in love with, and more. The cast of characters were all really great, and the story was so light-hearted.

I know I keep saying that this book was really joyous, but there were certainly many heavier topics discussed in it as well (TW for death of a family member, grief, depression, and more). What I really liked about this book was that it had depth to it without being heavy. The story wasn’t about the sad parts, but more so about the characters getting passed these things.

This book definitely got me out of my slump, as it was a really fast-paced story. The audiobook narration was also so wonderful. I highly recommend picking this book up if you are looking for something happy and hopeful.

Have you read this book? Or have you read The Flatshare? Let me know in the comments!

Where Dreams Descend Blog Tour // Review

Hello and welcome to another review post! Today I am sharing my thoughts on the debut novel ‘Where Dreams Descend’ by Janella Angeles! Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC of this to review!*

The book comes out TODAY, the day you are reading this, so check it out if you are interested!

*All opinions are my own!

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Review:

So to start off, I just want to say the aesthetics of this book? Phenomenal. The synopsis was SO intriguing to me as someone who loves stories about magicians/circuses (The Night Circus, Caraval- both favorites of mine). This book is supposed to be inspired by Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera, both of which I know nothing about (oops 🙊). BUT, if those are things you are interested in, this book might be right up your alley!

I definitely think a lot of people are going to absolutely adore this book. From the minute I saw the cover art, I knew the story was going to be dreamy.

I think the best way for me to share my thoughts of this book are through pros and cons, so it’s easier to understand! Let’s start off with the good.

Things I LOVED:

  • The atmosphere: The beginning of this book is very ominous. The reader is filled with tons of questions right off the bat. A few chapters in, we are transported to a new location and it was really well described. I was so curious the entire time about what this place was, and I was itching to learn more!
  • The feminism: Our main character, Kallia, is strong and fierce. Female magicians are not welcomed in the world she lives in, so Kallia is put at a disadvantage right from the start of the magic competition. BUT, she does not get intimidated by the men who are clearly trying to sabotage her performances, and she does not quit. She stands up to them the entire time, which I admired a lot.
  • The plot twists: There were quite a few plot twists in this story that I did not see coming (maybe if you are familiar with PotO or MR you wouldn’t be as surprised), and it really added to my enjoyment. I adore plot twists in books- without them, I feel like stories are much too bland.
  • The ending: My favorite part of this story, and what probably ended up saving the book for me, was the ending. It leaves off at just the right part- I want to know what happens next and I can’t wait to read the second book now. This is a duology, and the second installment will be released next year!

Things I DIDN’T LOVE:

  • The writing: This story felt quite choppy in a few places, and it didn’t always make sense to me. I was getting lost by it. It felt like it was strung together a little awkwardly, especially at parts where the POV changed. I don’t know if this was due to the e-ARC formatting, or if it was done purposefully, but it threw me off a bit. I think it needed a few more editing passes to feel completely finished.
  • The middle: This book was very slow-paced, and I think it could have been shortened quite a bit. This is saying a lot, coming from me, a person who loves slow-paced books with lots of description. This one was just too slow. I feel like the book focused a little too much on having beautiful prose instead of explaining the plot. There needs to be a good balance of the two!
  • The character and story development: On top of that, the characters didn’t feel fully developed to me, either. Also, I feel like too many things were left unexplained. The magic system could have been so interesting, but instead, I was left really confused by it- especially the mirrors (you’ll understand after reading it). I’m hoping that all will be explained in the next book, which is what I’m really holding out hope for.
  • The romance: There is a love triangle in this story, though I don’t fully understand it, either. It felt a little forced, in my opinion, and again, I feel as though it needed some more development. I think in book two it will be explored more, and if Kallia ends up with who I hope she does, then this could turn into something I like!

All in all, I think this duology has a lot of potential, and many others have adored this story, so it is worth checking out if the synopsis interests you!

My rating: 3/5 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments!

Again, thank you so much to Wednesday books for providing me with an ARC.

The Black Madonna of Derby Review // Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to my surprise bonus post for the week! Today I am so excited to be doing a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources for The Black Madonna of Derby by Joanna Czechowska*. Thank you so much to Rachel for having me on :)

*All opinions are my own!

Synopsis:

During and after the Second World War, 200,000 Poles were given leave to remain in the UK as thanks for their help during the conflict-this book is a fictional account of just one of those families.Set during the 1960s and1970s,The Black Madonna of Derby traces the story of the Baran family living in a provincial town in England. Their seemingly ordinary existence hides secrets of past betrayal, madness, and tragedy.

The story focuses on three generations: the elderly grandmother whose proud Polish patriotism hides dark events from the past that affect the present, the mother whose tries to meld her past life in war-torn Poland and Germany with her new life in England and the granddaughter who lives a double life culturally and linguistically-Polish at home and English outside.

The swinging sixties in London is vividly recreated, as is the hardship of life under communism in thePoland of that time. This book is unique in that there are no other novels dealing with the story of second generation Poles in the UK. It is a story that deserves to be told, a story of a group of people who have had little attention in the literature. Listen to what they have to say.

Review:

I don’t usually gravitate toward historical works, but when I saw that this one was about a Polish family, I knew I had to check it out! As someone whose entire family was born in Poland, and who attended Polish school for 12 or so years, I definitely wanted to read about that perspective because I actually haven’t read any fiction books with Polish main characters (that I know of).

Immediately, there was so much that I recognized. From the food, to the Polish words, to the kids attending Polish school, among other things! I also loved that it was a multigenerational story, and so we got to see a bit of everyone’s history. It was so fascinating to learn!

One fault that I had with the book was that it took me a little while to get into. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and I was getting a bit confused here and there. However, about an hour into the audiobook, I finally felt comfortable with everyone, and could differentiate the storylines.

Once I was fully immersed in this story, I did not want to put it down. I related to each of the characters in different ways, and it almost felt like I was a part of their family myself. This book was filled with tons of twists and turns- there were a lot of things that I didn’t see coming. This story was so layered and filled with history and pain and hurt.

It was honestly one of the most emotional reads of the year for me, and I will be thinking about it for a really long time, I can already tell!

My only other issue was with the narrator- I felt like she didn’t really do the book justice, as it felt a little too bland at times that should have been read with more enthusiasm. Also, some of her pronunciation of the Polish words or names wasn’t too great, so I wish that a Polish narrator had been chosen.

Final Thoughts:

This book truly deserves a piece of my heart and will be living in my mind rent free. I loved it.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

If you want to purchase the book for yourself, you can do so here!

What is your nationality or ethnicity? Have you ever read any books with characters with the same background as you?

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon // ARC Review

Rachel Lynn Solomon’s book ‘Our Year of Maybe’ has popped up frequently on my Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Goodreads, and it’s been on my TBR for so long because of that. I had never actually read one of her books, though. Until last month.

And now I need to read the rest of her books immediately!

Today Tonight Tomorrow was a PHENOMENAL book. I ate up the story in a matter of two days because it was just so engaging and f u n.

Ok, before I gush about this book even more, let me tell you what it’s about…

Goodreads Synopsis:

Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

Review:

First, let’s talk characters- Rowan Roth is smart, loves to read and write, and has a bit of a self-sabotaging personality trait. She was so relatable to me as someone with very similar interests and school habits to her. Sometimes her thoughts were so frustrating because you wanted to just shake her and tell her its okay to honest with yourself. But I definitely enjoyed her character arc. She made mistakes but she learned from them and actively worked to fix them in the end.

Neil McNair was equally as entertaining. He had his own unique quirks (like wearing suits to school everyday) which I really enjoyed reading about. More importantly, we learn so much about him and his personal life. Throughout the book, we get to uncover so many different layers of him, and it made me want to give him the biggest hug.

Overall, I think the characters were done really well.

As far as plot, I thought it was so much fun. Basically, the book takes place over the span of 24 hours, so it is very fast-paced. I was flying through it, as I mentioned earlier. Basically, we follow Rowan and Neil as they team up to win a game of senior scavenger hunt. I think the timeline aspect of this was really well-done. It didn’t feel like it was being dragged on just to fill up space. Each page had a purpose and it moved the story along. I will say, some parts of it were a little predictable, but that’s something I don’t mind (unless I’m reading a mystery/thriller).

The book tackles topics such as antisemitism, violence and a parent in jail, poverty, sex-positivity, and so much more. I am in awe at how much depth and rawness there is in this story. Rachel was able to convey so much in such a short period of time. In addition to those topics, the story also captures my feelings of leaving high school so well- it’s scary, it’s hard, it’s sad. But it also means you are moving onto something new.

I also really enjoyed the setting of Seattle, too. Though I have never been to Washington, it has always been a bucket list trip for me. This book shows us so many different parts of the city in great detail— it almost felt like I had been there myself.

There was also mixed media scattered throughout the story- a checklist, text messages, emails, flyers, etc. This added a little something to the story, and it made me love it even more.

If you couldn’t tell already, I gave this book a 5/5 stars!

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop gushing about this story. Please, please, please pick it up– it comes out one week from today!

If you have read it, please tell me what your thoughts were!

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power / ARC Review

Wilder Girls by Rory Power was one of my favorite reads of 2019. I devoured that book because it had such gorgeous writing and the atmosphere was everything I ever dreamed of. Of course, when I heard that Rory was coming out with another book, it instantly made it onto my most anticipated release of the year list!

I was beyond grateful when my lovely friend Olivia (Stories for Coffee) sent me her ARC copy.

This book did not disappoint!

Burn Our Bodies Down

Goodreads Synopsis:
Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

TW: verbal and physical abuse, death, murder, and possibly more.

Review:

After reading Wilder Girls last year, I knew that Rory was not about to give us a quick and easy read. I was very well prepared for a rollercoaster of a story, and that is exactly what you get from Burn Our Bodies Down!

When this book opens up, you have no idea what road you are going to go on. All we know of our main character, Margot, and her current life is that her mother is very toxic and abusive, and Margot is willing to do anything to get out of that situation. She is desperate for love and a family.

So, when she finds a connection to her grandmother buried deep within her mother’s belongings from her past, Margot jumps at the chance to escape the years of neglect and torment she’s suffered.

But, when she gets to Phalene, she is thrown into much more than she ever expected.

Burn Our Bodies Down Review

I think what appealed most to me about this book was just how eerie it was the entire time. I truly felt like I was watching a horror movie. It is full of suspense and plot twists. It was paced perfectly- the chapters are short and quick, but the prose was still incredible, and the tone of the story was very somber.

But more than that, it was such a tragic story, too. Margot was a really well-developed character with so many different sides to her. We can see how her upbringing has affected her, through the constant battle she has inside of her mind. Both her mother and her grandmother also have such interesting and intricate histories, and I really enjoyed learning about the complicated lives of the Nielsen family.

I will admit, for the first half of this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to give it 5 stars or 2. The reader has no idea what is going on throughout the majority of the book; we are completely out of the loop just as Margot is. At first, this was frustrating to me because I was worried that we would get the same unresolved ending as Wilder Girls (and while I loved that about her debut novel, I did not want to get the same ending in this one).

Luckily, we got the perfect ending for this story! I realized that the beauty of this book is that you are not supposed to understand what’s happening— And that’s okay. All will be revealed eventually.

This novel was truly a work of art, and I could go on about it for days.

If you are looking for a dark, twisted, but beautiful story, this one is for you!

let's chat

If you want to read this book, be sure to preorder it! It comes out on July 7th, and trust me, you don’t want to skip out on this one!!

Have you read Rory Power’s ‘Wilder Girls’ (or maybe this one)?

Jessica

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin // Review

Hello everyone! I found another favorite book and I am so excited to share it with you all!!

Today I am going to be talking about The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I have seen many people talking about, but I haven’t really seen a lot of reviews for it, so I thought I would share my own because I can’t stop thinking about this book.

Goodreads Synopsis:
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

The Immortalists

My Review:

I went into this book with pretty low expectations, if I’m being honest. I thought that it was going to be a fantasy book that I wasn’t going to enjoy because it would be too confusing and too slow.

Boy was I wrong! This book pulled me in, and I enjoyed every second of my reading experience.

First off, this is a story that is very character driven, which I didn’t expect- I thought it was mostly going to be focused on the plot, but it wasn’t. Each character was so unique, despite the similarity of them being siblings. They each had different personalities, interests, and drives, which I enjoyed reading about. I am a HUGE sucker for character driven novels, so I was pleased with how the story was written. It is split up into four parts, one for each character, and we get to see each of their stories and where their lives went. Given this, it is not a book for everyone. If you are someone who is looking for a fast-paced, action-packed plot, you won’t be getting that.

BUT, there were still so many plot twists and elements that kept me on my toes. There is a really good plot, and the book focuses on many important themes and questions. The story’s entire premise is centered around the question of whether you should live life by taking risks or by playing it safe.

Next, the prose was absolutely beautiful. The writing really sucked me in and kept me in the world- the book is set in NYC from the mid 1960s to the early 2000s, and the atmosphere that the book setup was incredible. I felt like I was really there- I could picture the world and every room that the author had described. The writing was also so poetic. I was sad to have ended the book when I did because I wanted to keep reading that incredible writing.

The main thing I have to say is that I left this book with so many new lessons learned and thoughts to ponder. Each character’s story taught me something new and really made me question my own life and how I was choosing to live. What would I do if I knew the date of my death? It is such a simple premise, one that we’ve heard a thousand times, but Chloe Benjamin executed it well with this story and made it a unique reading experience for me.

While there were some parts that were a bit predictable, and at times I felt the story was starting to drag a bit, this book definitely made its way onto my favorites list because I can not stop thinking about it.

I honestly think everyone should give this one a read!

Rating: 5/5 stars

let's chat

Have you read this one? If you have, what were your thoughts? I feel like this one is super underrated, even though I do remember it getting some initial hype. I, for one, will definitely be recommending it for a long time!

Jessica

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett Review

I read one of my most anticipated releases and I’m so excited to share my thoughts with you all. I probably mention Jenn Bennett or one of her books in every other blog post at this point, but I just truly love her books and her writing style.

I was sent an ARC of her newest release, Chasing Lucky, by Simon and Schuster and I was so ecstatic! All I knew going into it was that it involved photography, a small town, childhood best friends to lovers, and a bad boy. I was already sold.

Chasing Lucky Jenn Bennett

Goodreads Synopsis: Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…

chasing lucky review

My Review:

So to start off, the beginning of this book was a little shaky for me- I felt like the relationship between the main character, Josie, and the love interest, Lucky, was a little strange and rushed. It felt awkward because they hadn’t seen each other since they were 12, and they avoided speaking to each other for an entire school year. However, they run into each other at a part at the beginning of summer, and they act like they were never apart. Which, sure, it could happen, but their relationship left off in a bad place when Josie moved away, and they both changed a lot in the time since they last saw each other. I feel like the progression of them rebuilding their relationship should have been a little slower.

But, I pushed through because I wasn’t ready to give up hope on this one, and it worked in my favor. After about 60 or so pages, I was able to get into the story, especially because I was really invested in each of the characters individually. Josie was a little stubborn and didn’t know how to communicate very well, which led to lots of frustrating events in the book, but they all served a purpose.

Josie grew up in an unstable home where she constantly moved around, and her and her mom did not have good communication. It makes sense that Josie would not be good at expressing herself to others, especially someone she hadn’t seen in so long. Plus, the character development is really present, so you can see how she improves over time.

Lucky was very different from Josie, but he was such an interesting and dynamic character. He is portrayed as the town’s “bad boy,” but the reality is far from that. He cares about people and his passions so deeply. I really enjoyed him and his background story because it showed his personality so well. He was definitely a great character.

 

Also, the small-town setting was one I enjoyed a lot. Plus, Josie’s family owns a bookstore, which is something I always love reading about (duh, I’m a reader! Bookshops are my favorite place).

As far as the actual plot, I thought it was a really good one. Some of the smaller things were a bit predictable for me, but there were many twists that I did not see coming. It was a fast-paced story, and I was able to read the majority of it in two days because I couldn’t put it down!

chasing lucky review
Here’s an aesthetic I made

It’s not my favorite of Jenn’s, but it did keep me hooked the entire time. I’m happy with the way this book ended, and I’m glad to say that it was another great read by Jenn Bennett.

The release date for this one was rescheduled from next month to November due to covid-19. However, if you are interested in reading it, you can preorder it now, and mark it as “to-read” on Goodreads so you won’t forget about it!

Rating: 4.5 stars

let's chat

Have you read any of Jenn Bennett’s books before? Which was your favorite? Be sure to leave a comment letting me know in the comments :)

Jessica

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren / Review

I have finally read my first ever Christina Lauren book. It took me forever, but we’re here!

I read The Unhoneymooners and actually just finished it a couple of days ago. Let’s just jump straight into the review!

the unhoneymooners

Goodreads Synopsis:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

the unhoneymooners

My Review:

I will say, I went into this book with relatively high expectations. Everyone is constantly praising this author-duo for their work, and I was excited to see what this hype was about and whether I could find a new favorite.

Fortunately, my expectations were met, and I really did enjoy this book!

I will say, in the beginning, I wasn’t immediately into this book. The writing wasn’t my favorite at first. It was hard to get into, and it felt a little off. However, that may have just been due to the fact that I had recently finished a book with a very different writing style. Either way, I did get used to it.

I also thought that the hate aspect of the “hate to love” was a bit too strong and unwarranted. I could not understand why the characters hated each other so much because nothing really happened between them.

However, as the story progressed, I could see both sides and how it evolved. Their characters weren’t SUPER developed, but I do think you could see their chemistry together.

I was gripped within 50-75 pages, and from there, the rest was a really quick read because I was having so much fun with the story.

This book was funny, witty, romantic, and more. Some of the aspects of the plot were a bit unrealistic and over-the-top, but it made for a very interesting story. So many things just kept going wrong, but the characters were able to work their way through them, even while still hating each other many times.

Also, there was a travel aspect to the story (duh, honeymoon), but I loved reading about it and all of their adventures.

On top of this, the main character is biracial (Mexican, I believe, and white), which is a big plus!

One thing that knocked it down a star for me, though, was some of the conversations with Olive’s family members. There was one line where someone had said they wished they were born lesbian, and there were some other comments being made where the family believed someone was gay because

There was also plus-size rep, but it wasn’t 100% defined, and as someone who can not speak for this representation, I can not say whether this was a good or bad portrayal.

Overall, I did enjoy this story, and I am very likely to pick up more books by Christina Lauren.

Rating:

four stars

let's chat

Have you read this or any other Christina Lauren books? Let me know what your thoughts were of them so I can add more to my TBR (or take them off).

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Jessica

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio / Review

I am so excited to talk about this book to you guys! I did not expect to love it as much as I did, but it is definitely one of my favorite books now.

That book is If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. It has been on my TBR for a really long time, and just the fact that I finally read it is an accomplishment in itself.

But, the reason I’m so happy I enjoyed it is because I recently read The Secret History by Donna Tart, and that book only got about 3 stars from me. I really thought I was going to love that book, but it let me down big time. If We Were Villains was constantly being compared to TSH, so I was really worried about reading it. Luckily, it exceeded my expectations!

First, a Goodreads Synopsis:

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

if we were villains

Review:

Ok, let me start out by once again saying this book is like The Secret History. But, it was fast-paced in my opinion, the writing was better, and I liked the characters more. It definitely made me realize I really do like dark academia. It was honestly just such a beautifully written and interesting book.

Every character was so unique and I wanted to keep reading more about them, even the ones who were unlikeable. I did have trouble keeping up with all of the names at first, but once the story got going, you can clearly see their differences and you can figure it out easily.

Also, I am not a huge Shakespeare fan, but the references were all just so perfect and fit with the pretentiousness of each other characters. It actually made me want to pick up Shakespeare, which is not something I thought I would ever say.

As far as the plot- it was SO. DRAMATIC. And I mean that in the best way possible. It sort of reminded me a bit of The Great Gatsby, which is a book I love! Also, the ending was INSANE. I was able to predict some of it, but not all. It left me satisfied, even though it was very shocking.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to my mystery/thriller loving friends! It was just very well done and it was definitely my favorite read of the first month of the year.

let's chat

Have you read this book before? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments, and please recommend me similar titles!

Jessica