Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: The Rom-Com Agenda – Jayne Denker

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Review:

As you all know, along with my love for all things fantasy and paranormal romance, I have a soft spot for rom-coms. When I came across The Rom-Com Agenda, of course, I had to try it out. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started to read this book and I am so glad I chose to read it!

This book was full of vibrant characters and I don’t mean just the main characters. The Rom-Com Agenda has a superb cast who leave you laughing like a loon and endear themselves to your heart so they become part of you. You love them more and more as you get to know them.

The plotline is a predictable one but the writing is fun and witty with equal amounts of emotional depth. Let me put it this way – if you enjoyed the movie, Love Actually, you will love this book. It’s such a feel-good story, it leaves you with a smile and a warmth long after you finish it.

Book Dragons, you’re in for a barrel of laughs and a whole world of sweetness with this one.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Vibrantly funny, endearingly sweet, and a love letter to all things rom com, Jayne Denker’s The Rom Com Agenda is a story of two people finding love right when they least expect it.
You know how the story’s supposed to go…but love makes its own plans.
STEP 1: Find yourself
Leah Keegan is used to being alone, especially after taking care of her sick foster mother for the past year. But now there’s nothing keeping her in the sweet town of Willow Cove. It’s time to move on. Again.
STEP 2: Win back the one who got away
Eli Masterson thought he and Victoria were meant to be together until she decided to jet off to Rome for a year. Eli is determined to win her back. But how?
STEP 3: Become a romantic hero
Changing Eli’s physical appearance is easy, but to turn Eli into the sophisticated-yet-vulnerable ideal man, his girl pals force him to watch classic rom-coms. And take notes.
STEP 4: Fall in love?
Inadvertently drawn into the makeover scheme, Leah ends up being Eli’s guide through the wild world of meet-cutes and grand gestures. Even though she believes Eli doesn’t need to change a thing about himself. Even though she just might be falling for Eli . . . and Eli falling for her.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night – Amélie Wen Zhao (Song of the Last Kingdom #1)

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Review:

This book was an absolute cover love for me! Look how gorgeous it is! I love dragons and I’ve always been interested in Chinese folklore so I was super excited to read it. I can attest upfront that this story did not disappoint.

Lan and Zen were compelling characters, each with their own traumas and their secrets—secrets that the author dribbled throughout the story with a clever hand, keeping you wanting for more. The plotline was intriguing with twists that some I saw coming and others I so did not and enjoyed the surprise of those revelations.

The side characters were excellent additions and knit the threads of this story tight. I did expect more from the main characters by the ending chapters, especially Zen but I understand that this is only the first in a duology.

I read this book in one sitting because I just couldn’t stop and I was dying to know what happened next! What I loved best about this story, was the author’s fascinating descriptions of the magic, the abilities, and the vivid scenes that I could see in my mind. Amélie Wen Zhao is a new author for me but I am already impressed by her writing style and can’t wait to try her other books.

Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China. Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died. The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life. Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs. When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime. Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Rust In The Root – Justina Ireland

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBT, LGBTQ

Review:

When I first saw the cover of Rust In The Root, I knew I had to have this book. How gorgeous is that cover! Plus I’ve read a couple of books by Justina Ireland and I like her writing style. I actually finished this book at 1 a.m. coz it was that good.

The story is set in 1937 in an alternate history, with the same prejudices but with magic thrown in. From the first moment Laura Ann was introduced, I was charmed by her point of view and the dry wit that left me chuckling. Life is hard when you’re colored but you can either throw in the towel or keep fighting. Laura Ann chose to keep fighting.

With a delightful cast of diverse characters, the plotline was smooth and seamless, with dynamic writing that was a pleasure to read. The author sprinkled tasty morsels of the story like a breadcrumb trail, which was an excellent ploy to make it more compelling and keep you guessing, not to mention the dry humor cropping up when you least expected it and making it fun.

I enjoyed this book far more than I’d expected and the characters left a lasting impression on me long after I finished it.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis
The author of the visionary New York Times bestseller Dread Nation returns with another spellbinding historical fantasy set at the crossroads of race and power in America.
It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts.
Laura disagrees. A talented young mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage’s license and becoming something more than a rootworker
But six months later, she’s got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.
As they’re sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country’s oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America’s past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura’s and the Skylark’s lives, and everything they’ve worked for.

 

Posted in Blog Memes, TYCR

TYCR – 14 Dec 2022 – Rust In The Root – Justina Ireland

Hola, Book Dragons, middle of the week! How are you guys doing? I decided to jump-start life back into this blog meme of mine, especially when I’m reading such a good book and it’s a shame not to blab, ahem, talk about it lol.

I was reading another book yesterday, Seoulmates but I couldn’t get into it and I kept getting irritated. I DNF’ed it coz life is too short and started on Rust In The Root. What a world of difference it makes when you’re reading a book that keeps you engaged! I’m really enjoying my journey into Rust In The Root.

Synopsis:
The author of the visionary New York Times bestseller Dread Nation returns with another spellbinding historical fantasy set at the crossroads of race and power in America.
It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts.
Laura disagrees. A talented young mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage’s license and becoming something more than a rootworker
But six months later, she’s got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.
As they’re sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country’s oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America’s past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura’s and the Skylark’s lives, and everything they’ve worked for.

What about you guys? Have you read this book or planning to in the not-so-distant future?

Hope the rest of the week goes well. Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Rules for the blog meme:
1 - Title should be as such: "TYCR - Date - Book Title" (see above)
2 - Credit the creator of this blog meme (Me!  ) and link back.
3 - Book cover and synopsis
4 - Talk about how the current book you're reading or listening to is making you feel 
- share your thoughts but NO SPOILERS, please.

Remember it's an opportune blog meme so use it whenever you want.
You're welcome to use the banner as well if you like.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Salt and Sugar – Rebecca Carvalho

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance

Review:

Rebecca Carvalho is a new author for me so I had no idea what to expect going in. At first, I wasn’t too impressed by the main characters and I didn’t like how Pedro was such a bully. Then, I don’t when it happened – without me even noticing, I fell in love with Larissa and Pedro and I found myself rooting for them.

I fell deeper and deeper as I got to know them and I loved their friends. The author painted strong, unforgettable characters and intense emotions that swept me along with them. I laughed and I cried and the plotline was a really good one too with unexpected twists that kept me engrossed in finding what would happen next.

There was heartbreak as there is with generational feuds, love of family, and the values and bonds that keep us connected. The author did a really good job of crafting this story. And of course, how can I end my review without mentioning all the mouth-watering goodies? The descriptions of the cakes and other baked goodies made me feel like I could almost taste the delicacies. The author’s writing was rich and heartwarming and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for new books from her.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
The grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries fall in love despite their families’ feud.
Trust neither thin-bottomed frying pans nor Molinas.
Lari Ramires has always known this to be true. In Olinda, Brazil, her family’s bakery, Salt, has been at war with the Molinas’ bakery across the street, Sugar, for generations. But Lari’s world turns upside down when her beloved grandmother passes away. On top of that, a big supermarket chain has moved to town, forcing many of the small businesses to close.
Determined to protect her home, Lari does the unthinkable—she works together with Pedro Molina to save both of their bakeries. Lari realizes she might not know Pedro as well as she thought—and she maybe even likes what she learns—but the question remains: Can a Ramires and a Molina truly trust one another?

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews

Book Review: Katzenjammer – Francesca Zappia

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Horror, Young Adult, Mental Health, Mystery

Review:

There was something heartbreaking about this story even from the first page. A shroud of gloom hanging over me, following behind like a shadow. A melancholy that stayed with me throughout the whole book. It takes exceptional writing to be able to project that solemnity through words and I think Francesca Zappia achieved that because this was a difficult story to write.

I could tell going in that Cat’s life wasn’t going to be easy, that there had to be a reason she couldn’t remember why she was trapped in school, why she and the other students were slowly transforming. There was an underlying symbolism between Cat’s lost memories to the horror in school, and things slowly come to light as you read on. How you can live the span of a lifetime in a heartbeat, how senseless cruelty can break you, how your mind shapes your world to shield you against hard truths.

I’m a person who firmly believes that the traumas you go through don’t give you the right to lash out at others and I don’t say that lightly, because I know what it’s like to be belittled, cut down to pieces until you’re nothing. But I also know that there are always consequences to every action, ripples and cracks that spread to break a person when you’re not strong enough to hold at bay the tsunami of water crashing to drown you.

I know many people won’t like this book. The events in this book are not easy or just, and a lot of people would hate the ending, but it was always going to end that way, and the author stayed true to the truths she was trying to convey.

Terrible truths that shape our reality and the world we live in. There are three sides to every story – yours, theirs and the unvarnished, unbiased truth. A lot of people won’t get that. This wasn’t a happy story but one that was necessary and needed to be told, one which took courage to write.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: Cat lives in her high school. She never leaves, and for a long time her school has provided her with everything she needs. But now things are changing. The hallways contract and expand along with the school’s breathing, and the showers in the bathroom run a bloody red. Cat’s best friend is slowly turning into cardboard, and instead of a face, Cat has a cat mask made of her own hardened flesh. Cat doesn’t remember why she is trapped in her school or why half of them–Cat included–are slowly transforming. Escaping has always been the one impossibility in her school’s upside-down world. But to save herself from the eventual self-destruction all the students face, Cat must find the way out. And to do that, she’ll have to remember what put her there in the first place. Includes interior illustrations from the author.

 

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: The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance #3) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Orion Lake is an idiot. A big, fumbling idiot. Don’t get me wrong, I still like him. I still think he’s cute but he’s still a big annoying idiot. Anyone else who read The Golden Enclaves with me on this? Well, even if you’re not I still think he’s an idiot.

Just when the students of the Scholomance thought they’d gotten off scot-free, that the hard part was behind them, Naomi Novik throws us yet another curveball. Make that a dozen curveballs all hitting you at the same time so there’s no way to catch them all or time to run for cover. With this conclusion to the Scholomance trilogy, will El stay the course or finally step into the dark side?

Without giving away any spoilers, there were so many big excruciating, horrific revelations in TGE I felt bad for El who had to live through it all, endure all the pain and heartache. But we did get all the reasons why.

I have to admit that at times, it was annoying when the writing got too lengthy and wordy over scenes that could have been short and I was also a bit disappointed at the ending. I guess I wanted more ‘Oomph’ and a more deserving resolution for some things but I would still endorse the Scholomance series for its originality, fantastic storyline, and awesome characters.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.
The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about, the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.
And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out–and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me, and Orion, and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: we saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves of the world.
Ha, only joking! Actually it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war on the horizon. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously got out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Senior year – now, what exciting new ways will the Scholomance come up with to make life hell for El and the other students? Sweeter yet, all the delightful ways to off you, make you kick the bucket, give up the ghost, go way of all flesh, croak, perish in the most excruciating of ‘accidents’ and eventually, rest in peace. You get the idea. 😉

In this second installment, El is put through further ordeals to lure her over to the dark side and turn her into the beautiful, evil sorceress that she has all the makings for. But our sarcastic, sassy heroine is determined to thwart all the signs leading to her dreadful destiny of reign of terror. I absolutely love her snarky attitude.

And we can’t forget our cute bumbling hero, Orion Lake, sending hopeful looks in her direction. The interactions between them just crack me up. It was even funnier this time around as they both tried to figure out if they were actually in a relationship or not.

The plotline got better, more complicated in The Last Graduate. The intensity level racked up, stakes got higher. By the end of it, I was in a shell-shocked state and of course, that is all the reason you need to devour this book.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.
At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year—and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Ever since I read Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik’s become one of my favorite authors. So of course, I follow all her new releases. The only reason I didn’t start A Deadly Education when it first came out is because I’m on a self-imposed Incomplete-Series ban. I still am — it kills me to have to wait for the last book in a trilogy/series so now I just hoard until the last book is out and I can binge-read. But A Deadly Education was so worth the wait.

Welcome to the Scholomance, a dark school of wizardry unlike any other, with monsters lurking at every corner—one second of inattention and you could end up really, really dead. I love this darker tint to wizardry, a grim outlook of magic and all the baggage that came with it. It was unique and fascinating with all its workings and dangers.

The main character, our beautiful sorceress-in-the-making, one Galadriel “El” Higgins, with her snarky point of view and her Wednesday Addams attitude, was a dark delight. She was such a myriad of contradictions and always, always fighting her own nature. She was a pretty amazing character. I loved all the insight into her personality, the little childhood stories which provided dark humor at times.

Now, onto her nemesis, the heroic, fumbling Orion Lake in awe of the dark sorceress. Oh my God, I found Orion just too cute with all his quirks. I enjoyed the interactions between these two a lot. And let’s not forget the side-characters who were compelling on their own.

I had a lot of fun reading this book! A Deadly Education is the kind of book that makes you love reading and that is the highest kudos I can give it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.