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 Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Quiet No More – Nikki Barthelmess

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Review:

Life after surviving sexual assault. How do you do it? How do you pick up the pieces and get on with your life? Is that what you’re supposed to do? Can you? That is what Victoria strives to figure out after surviving sexual assault by her father and the hardship of foster care.

Victoria’s now in college, trying to get through her classes while inside her emotions are all messed-up. Her father’s sentencing looms ahead and she’s stuck in a love-and-hate tug of war for him, trying to grasp the right thing to do.

I empathized with Victoria over what she was undergoing and the author did a good job showing her doubts, confusion, her pain, her struggle not to let what happened to her drown her.

Right and wrong have always been pretty black and white for me. So I wanted Victoria to see her father for what he was, and I wanted her to make the right decisions but it’s hard to do that when you’ve been pushed into a certain mold.

What her so-called friend did was horrible and a breach of trust and friendship. I don’t condone that. Quiet No More is a book worth reading, providing awareness on what victims and survivors of abuse face from friends and family, strangers and society in general.

Synopsis: College freshman Victoria Parker is trying to move on with her life after surviving sexual assault by her father and six months in foster care. She’s focusing on the positives–attending college, living on her own, repairing old relationships and making new ones, and getting involved with an abuse survivors activist group on campus. But everything’s thrown into disarray when a strange woman shows up, claiming to be Victoria’s aunt and asking Victoria to lie about what happened to her. With her father’s sentencing in a few months, she’s nervous about having to share the truth of what happened with a judge. She’s not even sure if she has the strength to go through with it. But when her fellow club members begin pressuring her to speak out, Victoria has to decide how to share her story while remaining true to herself.
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Blog

Blog Tour – Spotlight – A Golden Fury – Samantha Cohoe

Hola, Book Dragons! I’m excited to be participating in the blog tour for A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe.

A big thanks to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for allowing me to participate in the blog tour and kudos for all the meticulous, hard work.

Synopsis:
Set in eighteenth century England, Samantha Cohoe’s debut novel, A GOLDEN FURY (Wednesday Books; October 13, 2020), follows a young alchemist as she tries to save the people she loves from the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone. The streets of London and Oxford come to life as this historical fantasy unravels. Weaving together an alluring story of magic and danger, Samantha’s debut has her heroine making messy decisions as she toes the line between good and evil while it becomes blurred.
Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.

Below are the author info and links. Stay tuned, peeps, this book comes out in 3 days! 🙂

∼Lyn

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

LINKS

Samantha’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/smcohoe

Samantha’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samanthacohoe/

Wednesday Books Twitter: https://twitter.com/wednesdaybooks

Wednesday Books Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wednesdaybooks/

Buy link for A GOLDEN FURY: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/a-golden-fury/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Blog

Blog Tour – Spotlight – KINGDOM OF ICE AND BONE (FROZEN SUN SAGA #2) – JILL CRISWELL

Hola, Book Dragons! I’m excited to be participating in the blog tour for Kingdom of Ice and Bone (Frozen Sun Saga #2) – Jill Criswell.

A big thanks to FFBC Tours for allowing me to participate in the blog tour and kudos for all the meticulous, hard work.

Continue reading “Blog Tour – Spotlight – KINGDOM OF ICE AND BONE (FROZEN SUN SAGA #2) – JILL CRISWELL”
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Review: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pub Date: 01 Sep 2020

Review:

One fateful night leaves Fable without a mother and abandoned on an island where she has to fend for herself until the day she finds passage off it with the help of a young trader, West. And so begins the start of unlikely alliances as they strive to navigate peril and keep their head above water.

Fable’s story, how she had to strive to live, to survive, broke my heart. I felt so much pain for this young girl, left to fend alone, having to stay on guard all the time. I wanted to hug her and make her life better. Give her food, shelter, protect her. The author wove such a heartbreaking character with a core of steel that you couldn’t help but feel for her.

As for West? He was an enigma, layers and layers of complications and secrets. I wanted to know everything about him, and finding those answers, getting to know him better – drew me in deeper. The ending chapters? Oh, I tipped over the edge and fell for him.

The side-characters, the crew of the Marigold—each one with their unique voices, charmed and endeared me to their plights. As secrets are revealed and pacts made, this story grabs you and hooks you in to the last page.

The world-building and descriptions were excellent. The author’s writing was a pleasure to read and the cliffhanger left me in high anticipation for more. This was my first book by Adrienne Young, and I have to say she completely won me over. I cannot wait to read the next book.

*Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.⁣

Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. 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.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Edelweiss

Book Review: Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) – Zoraida Córdova

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Review:

I remember wanting to read this book when it first came out. But as you know with us book dragons, we’re like magpies and we get distracted by newer, shinier things, aka newer books. When I saw it was available for request on Edelweiss and that the third book in the trilogy will be released soon, I had to request it. Plus, how cool is this new cover? I love it better than the original – this new cover with the possibility of a whole other realm behind those doors.

Alejandra (Alex) is a bruja who’s scared of her magic and wishes she could get rid of it. So, on her Deathday celebration, she does a spell to banish her powers and of course things don’t go as planned and the spell causes her family to disappear. Alex is stuck with Nova, another bruja and he’s her only chance to try to get them back.

The few chapters were good and I really liked Alex. I understood her reasons for not wanting her magic. Her few, bad experiences with it had left her with mistrust and fear. But the way she didn’t take responsibility for her actions made me start to dislike her. At every point, her outlook and thoughts disappointed me.

That said, I found the plot-line, world-building, the portrayal of the brujas, and their magic, excellent. If not for the main character falling out of favor with me, I would have loved this story. Even the love triangle, the impact of which was quite mild, wouldn’t have been such a pet peeve to me like it usually is. It’s hard for me to love a story if I don’t like the main characters. I did like the ending chapters, the climax and that cliffhanger though.

*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she’s hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. So while most girls celebrate their Quinceañera, Alex prepares for Death Day—the most important day in a bruja’s life and her only opportunity to rid herself of magic. But the curse she performs during the ceremony backfires, and her family vanishes, forcing Alex to absorb all of the magic from her family line. Left alone, Alex seeks help from Nova, a brujo with ambitions of his own. To get her family back they must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Edelweiss

ARC Review: Once in a Blue Moon (Blessings, Georgia #10) – Sharon Sala

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 25 August 2020

Review:

After a tumultuous marriage and acrimonious divorce, Cathy fled her ex-husband to try to find a peaceful life for herself. That’s where the small town of Blessings and the super-cute, super-nice rancher, Duke Talbot come in. As the newcomer in Blessings, Cathy is reluctant to make new ties. When Duke comes to the rescue after Cathy has a bad fall, it pushes her into instant ties with the town denizens, filling her life with new possibilities and new chances.

I liked Cathy. Her decisions left me in awe. To leave everything behind, venture out in the unknown without knowing what you’ll encounter takes a lot of courage and I admired her for it. She was a good fit for Duke, a man who shouldered responsibility and strove to do what was right. Duke was so endearing, he charmed me straight away. I loved his relationship with his brother, Jake and sister-in-law, Hope.

My only complaint with this story is that it veered away too much from the romance between Cathy and Duke to focus instead on the lives of the townspeople. I would have enjoyed the story more if the focus had been on Cathy and Duke. I did love the addition of little 8-year-old Melvin Lee though, which enhanced Cathy and Duke’s relationship. He was a sweet little tyke and his manner of speaking was so cute you couldn’t help but love him and feel for his situation.

It’s been a long time since I last read a Sharon Sala book but I still enjoy her writing and the dashes of humor always leave me smiling. This book is part of a series but can also be read as stand-alone.

*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Sharon Sala’s Blessings, GA series immerses the reader in a world where bad things may happen, but good people always come out ahead. Supremely satisfying, Sala’s contemporary romances bring out the best in people! Rancher Duke Talbot meets Cathy Terry in Blessings by chance. She’s new to town, and so grateful to be there—Blessings feels like a safe haven. As their relationship grows and Cathy sees Duke’s feelings for her are real, she confesses she’s on the run from an abusive ex-husband. Now she’s fallen in love with Blessings and with Duke, and Cathy doesn’t want to run anymore.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Review: The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea (Embraced by Magic #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Rom-Com

Release Date: 25 Aug 2020

Review:

When two months go by without word from the shape-shifter spy, Brody, no one seems perturbed—except for Maeve, the youngest of the five embraced sisters who always had a special bond with him. Maeve goes in search of him, unaware that this course of action will lead Brody and her into a world of peril and painful secrets.

Side-note – Although this appears to be book 2 in a new series, it’s actually a continuation of the series before it called, Embraced. But all the books in these two series can also be read as stand-alones as the author’s segue is easy to follow.

I have to say upfront, I loved the plot-line of this story. So many secrets and conflicts had me turning the page and unwilling to stop reading. Kerrelyn Sparks crafted a compelling story with dashes of humor that made it a boatload of fun to read. I only read one book in this series but the author’s segue was easy to follow and her writing style a pleasure to read.

The main characters each had complicated back-stories and secrets hiding in their pasts, waiting to blow in their faces. The romance was in equal parts sizzling & funny. The side-characters were hilarious, making me laugh out loud numerous times from their witty comments.

After I finished How To Love Your Elf, I thought for sure Kerrelyn Sparks couldn’t possibly top it but I was wrong. The Siren And The Deep Blue Sea was a delightful read with side-characters that left me grinning and satisfactory resolutions to all the stories in the Embraced and Embraced by Magic series.

*Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books and NetGalley for the ARC.

Synopsis: Four sisters have become queens, rulers of all that Aerthlan’s two moons embrace. The last sister will forge her own path . . . Signs and Seals Raised on the magic-seeped Isle of Moon, Maeve is used to unusual powers–and the way they fuel the politics of her world. But when she discovers an ability to shape-shift at will, she knows who she wants to share it with first. Brody, the enigmatic, infuriating shifter-spy has always made time for Maeve. But it’s been almost two months since she’s seen him. And though no one else believes Brody is in danger, Maeve is more than ready to rescue him herself. The rumors Brody’s investigating are terrifying: a secret army of magic-users, in the service of the cruel Circle of Five. But when he uncovers the identity of one of the Five, the mission becomes personal. Cursed as a boy by the Sea Witch, Brody can spend only two hours a day in his human form, a restriction that limits his future and muzzles his heart. Plus Maeve teases him for being such a pretty doggy instead of appreciating his manly charms. To win his freedom, he must take on a terrible disguise. And when Maeve finds out, she’ll unleash a tempest like no other . . .
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

When Sorcha and her friend, Aleksi get kidnapped by elves, a.k.a “arrogant, two-faced bastards” in an ambush meant for her sister, she’s determined to escape and save the both of them. Then a mysterious stranger called the Woodsman shows up in the nick of time to help them escape. Before she knows it, Sorcha’s embroiled in elf politics and falling for the Woodsman.

Side-note – Although this appears to be book 1 in a new series, it’s actually a continuation of the series before it called, Embraced. But all the books in these two series can also be read as stand-alones as the author’s segue is easy to follow.

This was my first book by Kerrelyn Sparks so I didn’t really know what to expect going in. But from the first page, the author’s writing drew me in and I was invested in the world she had created and its happenings. The main characters were unique with the side-characters adding much value and comic relief.

Sorcha was easy to like but I have to say it’s the Woodsman I liked more. I found myself with stars in my eyes, devouring every new information about him. I love how Sorcha baffled and exasperated him, making him lose that tranquil zen state of his. And I found myself laughing out loud at so many of their interactions, especially that hilarious picnic scene that I won’t be forgetting for a long, long time.

The additional budding romance of two of the side-characters was quite endearing. I enjoyed this book a lot and Kerrelyn Sparks’ writing left me in smiles long after I turned the last page.

Synopsis: Raised in isolation on the magic-shrouded Isle of the Moon, five girls became five sisters. Now women, they are ready to claim their places in the world—and perhaps change it forever . . . FLAME AND FORTUNE Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border . . . well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage. Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go . . .
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Blog

Blog Tour – More Than Maybe – Erin Hahn

Hola, Book Dragons! I’m excited to be participating in the blog tour for the book, More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn. A big thanks to the publisher, St Martin’s Press, for the ARC and for allowing me to participate in the blog tour.

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Synopsis:
Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

In More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn’s swooniest book yet, Luke and Vada must decide how deep their feelings run and what it would mean to give love a try.

Review:

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Luke and Vada, two teens with a deep love for music, and a secret, unrequited crush on each other. Introverted Luke writes and records songs in secret. He runs a podcast with his twin brother, Cullen and when Cullen broadcasts the song Luke wrote and sang for Vada in secret, oh boy, it opens a whole can of worms.

If you know me or follow my blog, you know how much I love music. So this book was right up my alley. Add in an introverted, gorgeous guy, I’m all done for. Luke was super shy and super introverted. Now for a guy like that, singing in front of crowds is an excruciating ordeal. But he was talented and he had a gift for song-writing and singing. So where did that leave him? I felt bad for him, over his struggles, and his feelings for Vada.

Vada had her own struggles, worrying about money for college with a deadbeat dad. It sucks when the parent isn’t there for you, when they force you to be the adult. Add in the psyche manipulation and a girl’s got a lot of issues to deal with. That’s where the music comes in, as the best outlet for all the unhappiness, frustration, and rage inside.

I love how the author crafted such intense emotions to show how music makes us feel. That intensity showed in Luke and Vada’s feelings for each other. The first half of the book grabbed me by the throat. That first non-date scene? Holy cow, I was awed. The only complaint I have is the slow-burn aspect of the relationship. I wanted more intensity like the first half of the book showed.

Except for that, More Than Maybe was everything I feel about music, how the lyrics and melody of a song can get inside of me and shake my heart.

∼Lyn

BOOK LINKS

Publisher: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250231642
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51178403-more-than-maybe
Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/More-Than-Maybe-Erin-Hahn/dp/1250231647

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Erin Hahn_credit_Hilary Nichols PhotographyERIN HAHN is the author of You’d Be Mine and More Than Maybe. She teaches elementary, would rather be outside and makes a lot of playlists. So many playlists in fact, that she decided to write books to match them! She married her very own YA love interest who she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat named Gus who plays fetch and a dog named June who doesn’t.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: https://www.erinphahn.com/
Twitter: @erinhahn_author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17130322.Erin_Hahn
Instagram: @erinhahn_author