Weekly Update (I know it’s not Sunday, lol) | 5-20-22

Hello!

I haven’t been on here much and anything being posted has been written awhile ago. I am still in the process of moving and once that happens (May 25th) I should be back, hopefully lol. I will slowly be getting back into my routine and I can’t wait for that! My stress has also been a lot better because my husband got the job he wanted and I couldn’t be happier!

Thanks for sticking around. ❤

Arc Review: A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong

Title: A Rip Through Time
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction / Time Travel / Mystery
Publication Date: May 31st, 2022
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

May 20, 2019: Homicide detective Mallory is in Edinburgh to be with her dying grandmother. While out on a jog one evening, Mallory hears a woman in distress. She’s drawn to an alley, where she is attacked and loses consciousness.

May 20, 1869: Housemaid Catriona Mitchell had been enjoying a half-day off, only to be discovered that night in a lane, where she’d been strangled and left for dead . . . exactly one-hundred-and-fifty years before Mallory was strangled in the same spot.

When Mallory wakes up in Catriona’s body in 1869, she must put aside her shock and adjust quickly to the reality: life as a housemaid to an undertaker in Victorian Scotland. She soon discovers that her boss, Dr. Gray, also moonlights as a medical examiner and has just taken on an intriguing case, the strangulation of a young man, similar to the attack on herself. Her only hope is that catching the murderer can lead her back to her modern life . . . before it’s too late.” (Goodreads)

I haven’t read anything by this author before so I can’t compare it to her other works. What had me intrigued about this one was solely based on the blurb. Time travel is always a unique concept and it’s fun to see how an author will choose to wield it in their plot. Although I found some things to like in this novel, a lot of it was bogged down by the things that I didn’t. It was at least a quick read!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Mallory. She is a detective in Canada but is presently in Edinburgh to be closer to her grandmother who is dying. I thought that it was an interesting choice to start the story off this way, especially if she is not to be around. This is one thing that I didn’t like because Mallory is very much grieving the inevitable and wants to make it back to present time but kind of forgets all about it in a way by the end of the book.

I guess that also brings me to my next point. Nothing is ever elaborated on when it comes to the time travel aspect, not even by the end of the book. The ones that she also tells about it seem to just believe her without questioning it. I mean if the person she is inhabiting at the time was a thief and a liar before, how is it not seen as a far fetched lie? I understand that time travel is unbelievable and maybe I am expecting too much from other things feeling more realistic. I also wasn’t a fan of the whole “trying” to fit into the era Mallory finds herself in. It was very cringe.

The blurb mentioned romance and I can see where it might go but nothing ever happened in this book.

Overall, it was okay. I did like the mystery even if it wasn’t very thrilling. It still kept me a bit engaged. I don’t think that I will be continuing on with this one as it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Arc Review: A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña 

Title: A Proposal They Can’t Refuse
Author: Natalie Caña 
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: May 24th, 2022
Publisher: MIRA
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Kamilah Vega is desperate to convince her family to update their Puerto Rican restaurant and enter it into the Fall Foodie Tour. With the gentrification of their Chicago neighborhood, it’s the only way to save the place. The fly in her mofongo—her blackmailing abuelo says if she wants to change anything in his restaurant, she’ll have to marry the one man she can’t stand: his best friend’s grandson.

Liam Kane spent a decade working to turn his family’s distillery into a contender. But just as he and his grandfather are on the verge of winning a national competition, Granda hits him with a one-two punch: he has cancer and has his heart set on seeing Liam married before it’s too late. And Granda knows just the girl…Kamilah Vega.

If they refuse, their grandfathers will sell the building that houses both their businesses. With their futures on the line, Kamilah and Liam plan to outfox the devious duo, faking an engagement until they both get what they want. But soon, they find themselves tangled up in more than either of them bargained for.” (Goodreads)

I’m not going to lie, the cover for this one is what really drew me in! I am a sucker for illustrated ones and this is just perfect with the couple on it. I am pretty pleased with this book overall. It was cute and had different plot lines than just the romance. There were a couple of things I had issues with that kind of left me feeling underwhelmed but it was still a fun book to read.

The book is told from two point-of-views, Kamilah and Liam. They are different but also have a lot in common and have been friends since they were kids. Their friendship hasn’t always lasted and now they would probably call themselves enemies. Kamilah and Liam will have to deal with the past if they plan to move forward and deal with the crazy conditions their grandfathers have set forth if they want to keep their businesses. It definitely gets messy but isn’t that usually how family is?

One of my favorite things to see in romance books is the dual point-of-view. I want to get in both of their heads and understand why they want and love the other person. What makes them desperate to be with them? I do think that this book does a great job of showing both sides. Kamilah and Liam each have their own baggage and things from the past they must deal with. Some of it does have to deal with love and not being sure if they can truly be in a relationship where they feel they are inadequate.

I would say that the romance comes second place to other topic in this book which is family. Kamilah has been using her family as a shield as well as trying to do what is best for the family business. Her ideas aren’t always heard and you can definitely tell that she struggles to see eye-to-eye with those in her family. It will very much be relatable for a lot of people. It was nice to see how she handled all of the drama that came with her family and the business. Kamilah deserves more credit for what she tries to do and Liam is there to give it.

The two things that were underwhelming for me was the romance and the big breaking point for the couple. The romance between them is a slow-burn and it takes awhile to even learn what happened between them that broke them apart in the first place. I don’t mind slow-burn but it felt like they didn’t really hang out that much either until later in the book. The breaking point was just kind of meh and maybe it’s because it had to do with communication. I am not a fan of miscommunication and I think that this one was in particular a miss for me. It was at least more believable than some.

Overall, this was cute and I liked what it had to offer. Kamilah and Liam learn a lot from each other and it was nice to see them rekindle their friendship and make it into more.

Weekly Update | 5-15-22

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

This week has been very busy!

My daughter is practically finished with school as she has finished all of her main classes and just has a side class to do for a couple more days. My husband had his graduation ceremony yesterday. It was nice to be able to celebrate him with family after. Now I feel even more emotional with all of the changes that are continually happening and it’s definitely taken a toll on my emotions, lol.

I have tried to read as much as I can this week through it all, mostly audiobooks. I would say my reading has definitely improved the last couple of weeks.

I hope you all have been having a great weekend. ❤

  • The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik ⭐⭐⭐✨
  • The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill (arc) ⭐⭐
  • Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Duke and I by Julia Quinn ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Wind Daughter by Joanna Ruth Meyer (arc)
  • Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer
  • Babel by R.F. Kuang (arc)
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How was your week? Did you do anything fun over the weekend? Read anything good this week? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Manga Review: A Sign of Affection Vol. 5 by Suu Morishita

Title: A Sign of Affection Vol. 5
Author: Suu Morishita
Genre: Manga / YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: December 14th, 2021
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Yuki is a Deaf college student who is attracted to and then falls for an upperclassman at her school, Itsuomi, who treats her naturally, unfazed by her inability to hear. After she resolves to face her love head-on, Itsuomi asks her out and the two become a couple. He wastes no time introducing her to his best friend and Yuki feels all the more keenly just how much he cares about her.” (Goodreads)

I really liked this series from the beginning but I feel like everything has become repetitive at this point.

My favorite thing about this series is that Yuki is deaf and it adds to the way that she communicates with others as well as the struggles she faces when doing everyday tasks, like going to the market for something. I would absolutely say that she is my favorite character.

The romance is still the same and is very slow. I understand that this is Yuki’s first relationship so I get it. It’s just that we are now into volume 5 and it feels like we are just getting the same. Their moments are cute but not enough for me to feel satiated.

I do love a good love triangle but this one feels like more unrequited love but also the fact that Yuki doesn’t understand her friend’s feelings because he has never spoken them out loud.

Overall, this was fine but I do hope that the next volume picks up.

Arc Review: The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

Title: The Stardust Thief
Author: Chelsea Abdullah
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Retellings
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Publisher: Orbit
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.” (Goodreads)

I was really excited for this one! I haven’t read a retelling for One Thousand and One Nights before and so it really piqued my interest. I will say that this was a mixed bag for me but the last 30% made up for the lull in the middle.

The book is told from multiple point-of-views. The main two being from Loulie and Mazen. I liked seeing the roles being changed and having a strong woman be the treasure hunter while the prince was basically the cowardly lion. I’m not going to lie, he does seem like the cinnamon roll type (my favorite) and he really learns to take charge and be what others needed him to be in dangerous situations. I am here for the growth!

The other characters, even ones with minor roles, added some interesting plot lines. I am very curious about one in particular that involves a Jinn hunter named Aisha. I wasn’t too sure about her in the beginning but she definitely caught my attention in the last half.

There were times that I did struggle with the characters, mostly in the middle of the book. I felt like a couple weren’t around enough to make the climatic moments very emotional. They fell a bit flat. The same could be said for the pacing of the book as well. The beginning had me intrigued and then it felt like a slow trudge through the middle and then picked up again at around 55%. I flew through the book after that!

I do think that there could have been one more point-of-view and maybe it would have taken the surprise out of a certain plot twist but I also would have liked to know more instead of it being in the background.

If you are looking for romance, you won’t find it. There is talk about feelings but it doesn’t progress into anything. I didn’t mind this as sometimes I just want all of the action.

Overall, I really liked this one. It may have had its downs but I am happy I pushed through because the ending was worth it and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Arc Review: Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber

Title: Twin Crowns
Author: Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating:

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?” (Goodreads)

I was really looking forward to this one after seeing the cover reveal. It’s so nice! Unfortunately this just didn’t do anything for me. It may have been different if I had liked the writing but I couldn’t get into it and it felt more juvenile than the usual YA Fantasy I have read. So yeah. This may very well be an unpopular opinion and that’s okay. Take it as you will.

The book is told from two point-of-views, Wren and Rose. They are both raised away from each other and by two different groups of people. It’s an interesting take on the twin dynamic but I didn’t care for either sister. The things that they said felt very childish especially for someone who is around the age of eighteen. It was just very hard to take them seriously.

There are a lot of times that moments/plot twists should be a serious matter but it’s overshadowed, again, by the language and how quickly things escalate without a need for the dramatics. Not liking cinnamon was one thing that took a dramatic turn because she was supposed to be pretending to be her sister who didn’t like it.

I guess one thing I learned while reading this one is that anything labeled fantasy rom-com is not for me. I don’t think the two meshed very well together. At least, not for me.

Overall, this didn’t work for me. I couldn’t find anything to be interested in because of the writing. I’m not sure if it is because its written by two people or not. I haven’t read either of these authors separately so I can’t say anything based on that. If you think this book sounds good, give it a try. What doesn’t work for me may work for you!

WWW Wednesday | 5-11-22

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I just started listening to Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. My daughter picked it for one of my prompts and I do have the sequel from Netgalley!

I am going to continue to work on Wind Daughter by Joanna Ruth Meyer and start The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill.

  • The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik ⭐⭐⭐✨

My next audiobook will be The Duke and I by Julia Quinn.

My next read will most likely be an arc which might be one of two books listed below:

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What is your current read? Are you loving it? Have you read or want to read any that I have listed? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Arc Review: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho

Title: Once Upon a K-Prom
Author: Kat Cho
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Publisher: Disney
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

What would you do if the world’s biggest K-pop star asked you to prom? Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon, this hilarious and heartfelt novel brings the glamour and drama of the K-pop world straight to high school.

Elena Soo has always felt overshadowed. Whether by her more successful older sisters, her more popular twin brother, or her more outgoing best friend, everyone except Elena seems to know exactly who they are and what they want. But she is certain about one thing – she has no interest in going to prom. While the rest of the school is giddy over corsages and dresses, Elena would rather spend her time working to save the local community center, the one place that’s always made her feel like she belonged.

So when international K-pop superstar Robbie Choi shows up at her house to ask her to prom, Elena is more confused than ever. Because the one person who always accepted Elena as she is? Her childhood best friend, Robbie Choi. And the one thing she maybe, possibly, secretly wants more than anything? For the two of them to keep the promise they made each other as kids: to go to prom together. But that was seven years ago, and with this new K-pop persona, pink hair, and stylish clothes, Robbie is nothing like the sweet, goofy boy she remembers. The boy she shared all her secrets with. The boy she used to love.

Besides, prom with a guy who comes with hordes of screaming fans, online haters, and relentless paparazzi is the last thing Elena wants – even if she can’t stop thinking about Robbie’s smile…right?” (Goodreads)

I’m always here for a book about K-Pop groups, lol. I think I have read almost all of the ones that have been published. Some have been betters than others, but that is obviously a personal opinion. For this one, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I have read this author’s previous work and found myself a bit underwhelmed. I actually didn’t even realize it was the same author until after I had been approved for this title. There were aspects of this particular book that I did enjoy but I also ran into a few issues as well. They didn’t stop me from liking the book for the most part though.

The book is told from two perspectives, Elena and Robbie. The point-of-views were a little weird as one was told in first-person and the other was third. I have never seen this in a book before so it threw me off. I don’t necessarily think it was bad but it does kind of leave a disconnect with the transition.

Elena has a lot going on in her life from dealing with a twin that isn’t much like her, saving a community center, and having feelings for an old friend who is now in a K-Pop band. I did relate to her when it came to her feelings for prom. She felt that a lot of people over spend and it’s not as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be. I felt the same about mine. I did go, but if it wasn’t for my friends I don’t think I would have haha. I definitely didn’t spend much on anything and bought my junior prom dress at a thrift store. Dealing with siblings is also something I can relate to. I have five so it’s just part of life for me! Elena very much wants to do the right thing and believes in causes that impact those around her. I have been trying to do the same and put my money where my mouth is and help out those who need it more. It does get disheartening when those around you don’t see it that way and don’t feel like helping in any way. I felt for Elena.

Robbie’s part was more or less him trying to woo Elena and also what it is like to be in a K-Pop band. I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite point-of-view but it at least added something to the overall plot.

Now, the plot was a bit of a struggle for me. It was packed with a lot of topics (as mentioned when discussing Elena) and it didn’t leave a lot of room to fully develop each one. It left a lot to be desired and kind of make the romance between them underwhelming.

I did like that there was tid bits of facts for each guy in the group. I also liked that there are some text exchanges as well. I always enjoy seeing other types of formats in a book.

Overall, this was good. I think that it could have been better if it wasn’t packed full of things there could have been more room for development.

Goodreads Monday: House of Beating Wings by Olivia Wildenstein | 5-9-22

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday was hosted and created by Lauren’s Page Turners and has now been taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: House of Beating Wings
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 2022
Publisher: Self-Published

For the love of a prince, I freed an enemy king.

“Free the five iron crows, and you will be queen, Fallon,” a blind soothsayer whispered to me, the bastard daughter of a demented faerie and an absentee human father.

Although I’d never yearned to sit upon a throne, I did yearn to sit upon the prince’s lap and win his heart. If a slew of metal relics could help me overthrow the current monarch, put a crown upon my beloved’s head, and a ring around my finger, then treasure-hunting I would go.

If only the oracle had warned me what those crows truly were.

Or rather . . . who.

Fans of Sarah J. Maas and Mary E. Pearson will devour this epic fantasy romance full of deceit, betrayal, and false loves that could swallow a person whole.(Goodreads)

Does this one sound like something you would read?

I got an email for this one over the weekend and I am excited to read another series by her!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)