Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley, Penguin Teen Canada

Book Review: When You Wish Upon a Lantern – Gloria Chao

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Published on: Feb 14, 2023

Review:

This was my first book by Gloria Chao & I really wanted to like it but though I love the cover, unfortunately, the book fell below my expectations.

The story had a lot of potential and I loved the plot, the characters, and even the unpleasant characters had their role in it. I loved the kindness depicted in the story with the wish-granting.

I really did enjoy some of the touching scenes but the writing felt lengthy and dragged the inner dialogue a bit too long until I wanted to grab Liya & Kai and give them a good, hard shake.

That said, I think the values interwoven in this story, the kindness, the sense of community, and friendship made the book worth it.

Thanks to Penguin Teens Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
Acclaimed author Gloria Chao creates real-world magic in this luminous romance about teens who devote themselves to granting other people’s wishes, but are too afraid to let themselves have their own hearts’ desires—each other.
Liya and Kai had been best friends since they were little kids, but all that changed when a humiliating incident sparked The Biggest Misunderstanding Of All Time—and they haven’t spoken since.
Then Liya discovers her family’s wishing lantern store is struggling, and she decides to resume a tradition she had with her beloved late grandmother: secretly fulfilling the wishes people write on the lanterns they send into the sky. It may boost sales and save the store, but she can’t do it alone . . . and Kai is the only one who cares enough to help.
While working on their covert missions, Liya and Kai rekindle their friendship—and maybe more. But when their feuding families and their changing futures threaten to tear them apart again, can they find a way to make their own wishes come true?

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: The Choice (The Dragon Heart Legacy #3) – Nora Roberts

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Review:

Welcome back to the world of Talamh, the world of the Fey, of magick & Sidhe & dragons – to the final conclusion of Breen’s destiny.  I wanted this last book to be epic but sadly it fell short of my hopes & expectations. I remember how disappointed I was with the first book, and how nice it was when the second book got better. I wanted so much to love The Choice but though I liked parts of it, sadly I just couldn’t love it.

The romance between the main characters was downplayed – mostly the emotional impact was lukewarm and that just tanked it for me. As for the plot, too much detail was given to everyday things and for the last book in a trilogy, it made the story even less dynamic.

The ‘how’ behind some of the magic was not revealed for at least two key turning points for Keegan and it felt like this was overlooked when it was so vital. I felt cheated because Nora Roberts always gets this right.

The ending felt rushed and again had that lukewarm feel to it that left me feeling disappointed.

The parts that I liked a lot were the LGBTQ element of it – Marco and Brian were my favorite couple – the trolls, and the dragons. Oh, there was one scene that was so heartbreaking it had me in tears.

What makes me feel sad is that this trilogy had the potential of being dynamic & epic but though NR’s writing was rich enough for the descriptions – the rich emotions that I’ve always loved in her storytelling were missing and I was left with a feeling of despondency at the end of it.

However, this series has some good scenes and is worth a read.

Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK, Piatkus & NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
The conclusion of the epic trilogy from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Awakening and The Becoming.
Talamh is a land of green hills, high mountains, deep forests, and seas, where magicks thrive. But portals allow for passage in and out–and ultimately, each must choose their place, and choose between good and evil, war and peace, life and death…
Breen Siobhan Kelly grew up in the world of Man and was once unaware of her true nature. Now she is in Talamh, trying to heal after a terrible battle and heartbreaking losses. Her grandfather, the dark god Odran, has been defeated in his attempt to rule over Talamh, and over Breen–for now.
With the enemy cast out and the portal sealed, this is a time to rest and to prepare. Breen spreads her wings and realizes a power she’s never experienced before. It’s also a time for celebrations–of her first Christmas in both Talamh and Ireland, of solstice and weddings and births–and daring to find joy again in the wake of sorrow. She rededicates herself to writing her stories, and when his duties as taoiseach permit, she is together with Keegan, who has trained her as a warrior and whom she has grown to love.
It’s Keegan who’s at her side when the enemy’s witches, traitorous and power-mad, appear to her in her sleep, practicing black magick, sacrificing the innocent, and plotting a brutal destruction for Breen. And soon, united with him and with all of Talamh, she will seek out those in desperate need of rescue, and confront the darkness with every weapon she has: her sword, her magicks–and her courage…

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Book of Night – Holly Black

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Adult

Review:

An unbeatable thief in a world of shadows and secrets, how can you pass over a book like that? The answer is you can’t. From the book cover to the back, Holly Black’s new adult novel, Book of Night, is designed to entice and sink its claws deep into you so you can’t escape.

Charlie Hall isn’t your typical character, rather she’s an unlikely one, with a history of mistakes and bad decisions under her belt, but she did the best with what life handed to her. It’s all we can do, isn’t it? Play the cards we’re dealt.

Vince, another unlikely hero, the mirrored surface of a lake. Among the myriad characters in this book, he fast became my favorite. I wanted to know more about him and his story. How he and Charlie met, what happened to make him end up where he did.

I enjoyed the concept of the shadows and the power they held. This story had a lot of potential but I felt like the back-story kind of detracted from the main story. At times, there were too many details about the past and other characters that could have been shortened. In her young adult novels, Holly’s Black’s writing is compact, tight, and captivating. But the writing in Book of Night was kind of flat.

Despite that, I would have loved the story if not for the ending. The ending left me feeling cheated – like I’d been put through the wringer for nothing with no prize at the end. I mean, this is supposed to be a standalone but feels like the first in a new series? I don’t like when a book is advertised as being standalone but ends up being a series. It feels kind of underhanded. That said, I enjoyed the potential of this story.

I actually bought the eBook and finished it on May 13, Friday night, only to find that the publisher sent me the ARC by post, which I received today, on May 15, Sunday.

I thank the publisher, Tor Books, for the ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Holly Black makes her adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies.
In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.
Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgängers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

 

Posted in Kdrama Reviews

Kdrama Review: Vincenzo

Synopsis:
The story of an Italian mafia lawyer who came to Korea due to the betrayal of the organization, wiping out the villain in a villain’s way with another lawyer.
At the age of eight, Park Joo-hyung (Song Joong-ki) went to Italy after being adopted by an Italian family. He later joins the mafia where he is subsequently adopted by Don Fabio, head of the Cassano mafia family. Park Joo-hyung was renamed Vincenzo Cassano and became an Italian lawyer, a consigliere for the mafia, and Don Fabio’s right hand man. After Fabio dies, Paolo, Fabio’s biological son and the new leader of the Cassano Family, attempts to kill Vincenzo. Vincenzo flees to Seoul and sets out to recover 1.5 tons of gold that he helped a Chinese tycoon secretly stash within the basement of Geumga Plaza. However, a real estate company under Babel Group has illegally taken ownership of the building and Vincenzo must use his skills to reclaim the building and recover his fortunes. Vincenzo becomes involved with lawyer Hong Cha-young (Jeon Yeo-been), the type of attorney who will do anything to win a case.

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Comedy, Legal, Revenge

Review:

I first came across the actor, Song Joong-ki, in the Kdrama, Descendants of the Sun and I loved him in it. His acting was excellent and let’s not forget the main thing, he’s so cute! 😉 So I had high hopes for Vincenzo.

He’s so cute!

Alas, that was not the case. Vincenzo is supposed to be this cunning, badass, consigliere for the Italian mafia and at first he seems to be just that at the start of the first episode. But as I kept watching, there were so many scenes where he wasn’t the super-cool badass anti-hero which dimmed my enthusiasm about the drama. There were many moments where a real consigliere would have been more ruthless and clever but Vincenzo just didn’t rise up to the occasion.

Hong Cha-young now, she started as this unscrupulous lawyer but things happened that caused her to change and fight for justice. I loved her style and her attitude. She wasn’t just feisty, she was snarky when needed. She became one of my favorite characters in the drama.

The overall plot-line had so much potential but scenes which should have had a more serious impact lacked a certain depth that rendered them inert and flat. In addition, the humor was too much at times and instead of appearing humorous, felt ridiculous.

That said, there were some scenes that I really enjoyed and gotta love the ending scenes with the comeuppance delivered with absolute ruthlessness, though the climax felt kind of rushed. The one thing that kept me going was how some of the scenes were so emotionally-charged, you couldn’t help but feel them. They made watching the Kdrama worthwhile.

So peeps, this makes post #4 of May. 😉

∼Lyn

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Every Reason We Shouldn’t (Every Reason We Shouldn’t #1) – Sara Fujimura

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Review:

Olivia’s parents own a skating rink where she spends most of her time. She used to be a figure skater until something happened to end her career. Enter Jonah Choi, skating prodigy who starts training at the rink. Sparks fly as they clash.

The synopsis gives the impression of a rivalry, an opposites attract vibe between Olivia and Jonah but I didn’t see it. Even the title hinted at it but it was missing from the story. Their first meeting was a volley of barbs but after that, the relationship did a rapid 180. Trust me, I do like when relationships progress fast but the segue lacked a smoothness that felt wrong to me. Continue reading “Book Review: Every Reason We Shouldn’t (Every Reason We Shouldn’t #1) – Sara Fujimura”

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) – Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Review:

Dark Skies is Lydia’s story. We learn what happened to her after her ordeal in the first book and we also learn more about the world and politics concerning the countries of the Dark Shores. I have to say, both books have amazing covers. Even without reading the synopsis, you will be tempted to grab the book just for the remarkable covers.

The plot-line was intriguing, knotted with curve balls that you would not see coming. Surprising secrets embedded deep were revealed at the optimum time, adding value to the story. I found the plot-line well-crafted and with enough complications to keep you reading.

The main characters in Dark Skies were Lydia and Killian and the story was shared between their viewpoints. I loved Killian. He wasn’t perfect, he had his flaws, but he accepted them and he tried his best to do the right thing. He was honorable. The author wrote his character so well, I totally fell for him. Continue reading “Book Review: Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) – Danielle L. Jensen”

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1) – Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Review:

The first thing that caught my attention and made me want to read this book was the amazing cover. It’s fabulous and eye-catching. Even without reading the synopsis, I would have grabbed this book from the shelf just for that incredible cover alone.

The plot-line was captivating with a good mix of intrigue and secrets. The world-building was impressive with good descriptions of the crafted world and its countless vagaries and politics. Continue reading “Book Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1) – Danielle L. Jensen”

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Ruckus (Sinners of Saint #2) – L.J. Shen

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance (contains Explicit Content)

Review:

I really wanted to like Ruckus but similar to Vicious, I found myself struggling to find good in it. I liked the thought of Dean and Rosie together. They fit together.

What annoyed me were all the misunderstandings. How much time got wasted because of it. Also, reading Ruckus made me really dislike Emilia and Vicious. The things Emilia and Vicious did, because of their choices two lives were ruined. What a chaotic mess. Continue reading “Book Review: Ruckus (Sinners of Saint #2) – L.J. Shen”

Posted in Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) – L.J. Shen

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance (contains Explicit Content)

Review:

First off, I should point out that L.J. Shen’s a new author for me and I really liked her book, Scandalous. The writing was raw and the forbidden romance well done in Scandalous. Sadly, Vicious was a bit of a letdown. Continue reading “Book Review: Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) – L.J. Shen”