Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girl Next Door – Jennifer Hanks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

This book was such a surprising discovery for me and this author new to me. I hadn’t come across Jennifer Hanks’ books before and I have to admit I got this one mostly because the cover’s so cute. Plus, I just love the girl-next-door/boy-next-door trope. I started it on a whim and it was so much fun I read it in one sitting.

Millie Solanski is not your typical woman. She redefines the meaning of ‘original’ & ‘eccentric’. She marches along to the beat of her own drums, knows exactly who she is, and makes no apologies for it. She was such a fun, unique character, I absolutely loved her.

Who could blame Colin Campbell for being fascinated with her? Especially after his hard past, his regrettable choices, his need for atonement, and his hopes and determination to build a good, safe home for his son, Noah. The boy is adorable and kids always make life so much fun, right?

The characters were relatable and I had the best time reading this book. Some of the scenes were so hilarious, they left me in stitches. Some of the conclusions to the plot twists were a bit lukewarm but otherwise, this book left me in smiles long after I finished reading it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

 

Synopsis:
After a disastrous marriage and an even worse divorce, Colin Campbell is looking forward to a fresh start with his son in their new home, and the calm that will bring to his life.
The quiet life he’s been craving is well within his reach.
Until he meets his new neighbor.
Millie Solanski.
Uninhibited.
Outspoken.
And maybe even a little crazy.
Somehow, he finds himself involved in her world and the ridiculous situations she seems to constantly find herself in, squashing any hope for the life he wants.
Or at least the life he thought he wanted.
Before he met the girl next door.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Starburst Effect – Kelly Oram

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Review:

The book cover was the first thing to get my attention. It’s so cute, right? The author’s a familiar one too – I’ve read a couple of Kelly Oram’s contemporaries and I enjoyed the romantic comedies best, namely The Avery Shaw Experiment & If We Were a Movie.

The Starburst Effect has all the vagaries of high school – the popularity hierarchy, the turmoil and angst of being a teen with a kind heart, trying to do the right thing while being harassed by the bully next door. You can’t help but empathize with Lily who has a little brother to look out for.

Noah is your typical jerk, gorgeous, popular, a jock, and a bully. I wanted to punch him for everything he put Lily through. Then the accident happens. And everything changes. Noah learns firsthand the repercussions of his actions and the meaning of kindness and true friendship rather than the fake life he’d been living.

This story is a rollercoaster of emotions. It will make you angry and sad, make you laugh and cry. It’s filled with poignant emotions and a realness that will tug at your heartstrings.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

*Thanks to NetGalley e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Lily Rosemont lives next door to the biggest jerk in high school. Noah Trask has bullied Lily for years, and now he’s ruined her senior year by making her a target and turning the whole school against her. On top of that, her parents are getting divorced, and her world is falling apart around her.
After an accident on the football field leaves Noah with a traumatic brain injury, shattering his life as he knew it and leaving him with a whole heap of new disabilities, he’s no longer at the top of the high school food chain. In fact, he’s right down at the bottom with Lily.
In a cruel twist of fate, if Noah wants to graduate high school on time, he needs Lily’s help to complete a project—a book he wants to write about his experience. Lily’s not sure she can put aside her anger and hate for the boy who destroyed her senior year, but she desperately needs this project to get a scholarship to college.
It doesn’t take long for Lily to realize that the Noah who got injured is not the same Noah who survived the accident. He’s different. Way different. Slowly, Lily softens to this new Noah, but can she find it in her heart to forgive him? Can the two most unlikely people find friendship in adversity and help each other pick up the pieces of their broken lives?
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Gallant – V.E. Schwab

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Gothic, Horror

Review:

Gallant wasn’t what I was expecting but that is not to say it was a disappointment. Far from it. In fact, from the first page, I was so invested in Olivia I needed to know what was going to happen next, and how her life would unfold.

I enjoyed the side characters a lot and I empathized so much with Matthew. I understood him, his frustration, his feeling of imprisonment caused by duty and obligation, the burden of responsibility, the grief of loss, the pain and guilt. I liked Olivia but Matthew was my favorite.

And is it weird that I found the Master of the House enigmatic? Creepy as he was, I was also fascinated by him. The ending wasn’t what I wanted but I can say that it was apt.

The measure of a good book, for me, will always be the author’s writing – masterful, interlocking words that bring to life the story so vividly in my mind that it allows me to live vicariously through the character. That is the best compliment I can give for Gallant.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn 

Synopsis:
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Namesake (Fable #2) – Adrienne Young

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Review:

I remember when I finished the book, Fable and I was in pins and needles after that cliffhanger. I needed Namesake. I was dying to know what happened next. However, when I did get my hands on Namesake, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it. I’m glad I waited to read it, otherwise, I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did now. In fact, I almost missed my stop one afternoon because I was so engrossed in reading, lol.

I started Namesake on Tuesday and every day I anticipated when I’d be able to continue reading it. The first few chapters were a bit slow but as the story progressed and I got in deeper and deeper, I enjoyed the intrigue and plot twists.

I saw a softer side of Fable that I found at odds with her character in the first book – I mean, I wanted her to be stronger, fiercer. Alternatively, I liked the darker side to West though I didn’t agree with some of his decisions. I enjoyed the emergence of the new characters who added value to the story as a whole.

Overall, in this duology I loved the originality of the concept of gems found in the seas, gem sages, and the dredgers. The plot twists were excellent and I loved that climactic conclusion to the story. Bloody fantastic! The ending was another satisfactory conclusion. The one thing I admired the most was how the author’s writing drew you in with a vividity that left you breathless.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

eARC Review: Shadow Fallen (Dream-Hunters #6) – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: PNR, Fantasy

Review:

I’ve been a faithful fan of the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon since back when the books were still being released. 16 years later and I’m amazed at the evolution of the Dark Hunters and Dream Hunters and the connections between all the stories and characters.

Meet our tortured hero, Valteri – deemed terrifying and unlovable and a horrible demon – because of, guess what? The color of his eyes! People can be so cruel. The one thing I’ve always admired about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s stories is her ability to show the worst of humankind. And the best of it.

Stuck in a predicament not of her own choosing, Ariel still saw Valteri for who he truly was. I loved that about her. She didn’t let the prejudice and bigotry of other people stop her from seeing Valteri’s good heart.

And of course we can’t forget all the hidden nuclear secrets, appearance of some favorite characters, a surprising cameo and a satisfying end. The pacing was a bit slower than usual but overall it was a nice addition to both the Dark Hunter and Dream Hunter series.

A big thanks to NetGalley & Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
For centuries, Ariel has fought the forces of evil. Her task was to protect the souls of innocent mortals when they die. Captured by a powerful sorceress, she is transformed into a human who has no memory of her real life or calling.
And is plunked into the middle of the Norman invasion of England.
Cursed the moment he was born with a “demonic deformity,” Valteri wants nothing of this earth except to depart it and will do his duty to his king until then. When a strange noblewoman is brought before him, Valteri realizes he has met her before…in his dreams. When others come for her, bringing with them preternatural predators, he is faced with a destiny he had no idea was waiting. One he wants no part of.
The truth is that Valteri isn’t just a knight of William the Conqueror. He is the son of one of the deadliest powers in existence, and if he doesn’t restore Ariel to her place, she is not the only one who will be in peril. The world itself hangs in the balance, and he is the necessary key to hold back the powers of evil. But only if he can find a way to work with the woman who stands for everything in the universe he hates.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Becoming (The Dragon Heart Legacy #2) – Nora Roberts

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Review:

I’m a big fan of Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb but I almost didn’t read this book. The first book in the trilogy, The Awakening, was such a big disappointment and I hated how the people in Talamh, except for Breen’s grandmother, the friends who supposedly cared about Breen treated her, how they pressured her when they should have supported her. The Awakening had so much potential but the lack of connection and blame-the-victim trend in it made me hate it. So I wasn’t too keen about trying The Becoming. But Nora Roberts’ stories were a lifesaver to me during times when I wasn’t okay so I decided to read it. I’m glad I did.

The first book definitely sucked but the second book, The Becoming made up for it. I still had issues with the love interest, Keegan, but I loved Marco. He’s the epitome of everything a best friend should be and I was happy at how his life progressed in this book. He was amazing.

I enjoyed the other supernatural beings in the book which added value to the story. I also feel like the people who treated Breen badly in the first book redeemed themselves a bit though it still pisses me off when I think of it. The plot-line was a bit predictive, I suspected what was going to happen next so the events weren’t as surprising as they could have been. But the ending provided me with some of that deep connection – what I call Nora Roberts’ signature trait – that was missing in the first book and The Becoming ended up being a good book.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two–including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm–a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people–and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills. But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh–and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Tarot (Dark #31) – Christine Feehan

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Review:

Ever since Christine Feehan introduced the Ancients back in Dark Promises, I’ve been anticipating their stories with bated breath. Though some of the newer stories had more of an erotic tendency, she never failed with her fantastic storylines. You’d think that after 34 books in the Dark series with one of the major plot-lines concluded in book 20, Dark Slayer, she’d run out of new plots. But not so. Once again she amazes me with the start of a new storyline that brings new villains to be fought in the Carpathian world. 

Dark Tarot is the ancient, Sandu and his lifemate, Adalasia’s story. As an ancient Sandu has lost all hope of ever finding his lifemate until a voice reaches out to him and floods his senses with colors and emotions. Of course, life is never so easy as to just hand you your happiness on a platter. No, blood and sweat are always involved. Complication upon complication awaited. And an underlying mystery that led back to Sandu and his connection to his lifemate. 

I liked Adalasia so much. She was quite fierce and protective of her family’s legacy. Ah, the marvelous tarot cards! I’ve always been fascinated by tarot cards but Christine Feehan wove a whole new deck with fantastic descriptions that made them so real to me. I was amazed by Adalasia’s mastery of her magical tarot deck.

The best things about this book were the fun interactions between Adalasia and the other ancients, Sandu’s ‘brothers’, seeing all my favorite characters again, and all the potential of a new storyline that brought forth new lifemates for the ancients and the unmated Carpathians that we’re still hoping find their happy-ever-after and of course, evil antagonists that need to be slain. I can’t wait for the new stories!

∼Lyn

Synopsis: Sandu Berdardi continues to exist only to protect his people. An ancient Carpathian, his entire long life has been dedicated to honor above all else. He knows his time has passed, especially since he has not been able to find his lifemate — the anchor to keep him sane in a world he no longer understands. But just as he truly starts to give up hope, a voice reaches out to him in the night and his world explodes into color. Adalasia enters Sandu’s mind seamlessly, as if she has been a part of him forever. While she can see the shape of things to come in her deck of cards, her gift is both a blessing and a curse. The true course of Sandu’s quest remains unclear, with danger waiting at every turn. She cannot see everything the future holds, but she does know it is a journey they will take together.

 

Posted in TV Show Reviews

TV Show Review: Shadow & Bone S01

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

Review:

So I finally watched Netflix’s Shadow & Bone! It took me a while to get in the right frame of mind to watch it, but I’m glad I waited until after my re-read of the Shadow & Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology.

First off, I have to address the issue of racial discrimination in the show. I figure the producers might have wanted to add another chip on Alina’s shoulder along with her being an orphan, but this did not sit well with me. I found myself getting annoyed over this every time I came across it in the show. This was a major unwanted change from the books and I did not appreciate it at all.

From the books I previously did not like Alina and Mal much. But I ended up loving Mal in the TV show. The actor, Archie Renaux, did a great job. He was so authentic, he made Mal look far better than in the books. As for Alina, I still don’t like her. It’s not a stab at the actress, Jessie Mei Li’s performance because she portrayed Alina well. I always emphathized with Alina’s situation in the story – as an orphan, then being alienated, the burden of responsibility but still I just couldn’t warm up to her.

Now, the Crows! Kaz, Jesper, Inej, Nina & Matthias were my favorite part of the show. God, I loved them! The cast selected for the Crows were perfect, absolutely flawless. Watching them come to life in the show was like a dream come true. I had hearts in my eyes like a heart emoji in every Crow, Nina & Matthias scene. I can’t wait to see more of the Crows.

The show stayed about three-quarters true to the books. In my opinion, the changes that were different to the original Alina-Mal-The-Darkling storyline were quite unnecessary and to be frank, a bit irritating. The only change that I appreciated and loved was how seamless the addition of the Crows to the storyline of Shadow & Bone was. They fit in like they had been part of the original storyline from the beginning.

The Darkling. This review wouldn’t be complete without an opinion on him. I loved the Darkling in the books but Ben Barnes wasn’t quite whom I pictured as the Darkling. That said, I can’t find fault with his portrayal as the Darkling but I feel like some of that Darkling intensity was missing. However, that ending scene in the finale was fantastic.

The special effects were pretty good and the depiction of the different Grisha powers and the Volcra was excellent. One thing that I enjoyed a lot was how the opening credit for each episode was different, especially the one with the crows.

Another favorite scene of mine was Leigh Bardugo’s cameo. That was beautiful to see—the author amidst her beloved characters. It wasn’t just touching but felt like a tribute to the author and I loved that.

For a first season, Shadow & Bone showed great promise and potential. I can’t wait to see more, especially the Crows and I am happy the show was renewed for a second season.

Dark forces conspire against orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov when she unleashes an extraordinary power that could change the fate of her war-torn world.
[Adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels.]

∼Lyn

Posted in Book Blog, Kdrama Reviews

Kdrama Review: Start-Up

Synopsis:
Set in South Korea’s fictional Silicon Valley called Sandbox, Start-Up tells the story of people in the world of startup companies.
Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) is a bright and ambitious young woman who dreams of becoming Korea’s Steve Jobs. Dal-mi doesn’t have a fancy background but she’s passionate about her work. She has bright energy and is a person of great vitality, having experience in a wide range of part-time jobs.
Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk), is the founder of Samsan Tech. A ‘math genius’ as a young boy, Do-san was once the pride of his family but became their shame now, as his business has been going down for the past two years. He finds out that Dal-mi mistakenly remembers him as her first love, so he decides to work his way up in hopes of turning that misunderstanding into reality.
Air date: 17 Oct 2020 to 06 Dec 2020

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Love triangles, Romance

Review:

If you guys have been following my blog for a while you know I’m not a fan of love triangles. In fact, I tend to avoid stories with love triangles. But I still remember when I checked out this Kdrama. I’d had a tiring and stressful day travelling to and from work and I was feeling pretty low. I only decided to try this Kdrama because of the actor, Nam Joo-hyuk, whom I loved from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo in which he was awesome.

I started watching episode 1 of Start-Up and I told myself if it sucked, I would just drop it. By the end of episode 1, I’d cried my eyes out, I was hooked and it wasn’t even because of Nam Joo-hyuk. No, it was the storyline that drew me in.

I continued watching and somehow I don’t know when it happened, I fell in love with the second lead, Han Ji-pyeong—played by the actor, Kim Seon-ho. I loved the young, prickly Han Ji-pyeong a lot but I have no idea when the actor, Kim Seon-ho snuck up on me and made me fall for him.

I was now stuck with classic second lead syndrome and I continued watching the Kdrama because of him and the delightful grandmother, Choi Won-deok. They were my favorite characters in this Kdrama and I believe the heart of Start-Up.

The storyline is a good one, about the reality of starting a company from the ground up—all the blood, sweat and tears, living with the pain of disillusionment, the crushing blow of failure. Just for that one tiny miracle of success.

The first lead, Nam Do-san, was a bit disappointing (played by Nam Joo-hyuk – the whole reason I wanted to watch Start-Up) but I found Kim Seon-ho, who’s now one of my favorite actors. Start-Up was a good Kdrama though it was the secondary characters who made it worth watching for me.

∼Lyn

Posted in TV Show Reviews

TV Show Review: Star Trek Discovery S02

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Drama

Review:

Once I finished binge-watching Season 1, of course mired in my obsession as I was, I jumped straight into Season 2 with Spock and Captain Pike joining Star Trek Discovery. I have to say Zachary Quinto is still my favorite Spock. That said, I did enjoy the sibbling dynamics and ribbing between Spock and Michael. Though I still haven’t warmed up to Michael. She’s the main character and yet she annoys the hell out of me.

The new plotline of Season 2 was pretty intriguing and kept me watching, one episode after the next. The plot twists kept me guessing and pondering what would happen next. I really like Stamets’ character – he’s this supersmart scientist and yet he has this kindness about him I found endearing.

But my absolute favorite character remains the badass alternate Philippa Georgio. She used to be a villain but got stuck with the Federation. She’s mean and sarcastic, has the best snarky retorts. She’s amazing! She did all these horrible things but she doesn’t pretend she’s not what she is. She doesn’t apologize or give a damn what others think of her. How can I not be awed by her?

For a second season, Star Trek Discovery did a pretty good job.