Arc Review: To Get to the Other Side by Kelly Ohlert

Title: To Get to the Other Side
Author: Kelly Ohlert
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: December 6th, 2022
Publisher: Alcove Press
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“Trixie isn’t exactly sure what she was thinking when she stopped her car in the middle of downtown Chicago, scooped up a chicken struggling to cross the road, and drove off… but she does know that she has to find a new home for herself and her new feathered friend. The landlord at her apartment doesn’t allow pets and has caught Trixie in one too many pet-smuggling attempts in the past.

Bear likes his quiet life with his close-knit family, who own a flower business, but he’s in for a rude awakening when his meddlesome sisters post an ad to rent the spare room in his simple home, without asking his permission. Still, when Trixie responds to the ad, he agrees to let her move in, despite immediate worries about keeping things platonic.

Determined to keep her new room, befriend Bear, and give her rescue chicken the care she deserves, Trixie fights to keep her walls up and resist her romantic feelings for Bear. However, it’s not long before the pair’s proximity and chicken parenting ignite flames that have Trixie and Bear testing the boundaries of their platonic ground rules. They have to figure out how to save a family business, pay for mounting vet bills, and navigate their own emotional baggage if they want to find the love that they all deserve.” (Goodreads)

This book may be someone else’s cup of tea, but it wasn’t for me. This isn’t the worst book I have read and had some decent aspects to it but it wasn’t as cute as I had wanted it to be.

The book is told from two point-of-views, Trixie and Bear. They are complete opposites and have one run-in before she notices an ad for a roommate and it happens to be his home. Not of his doing though, pesky sisters. Although I liked the setup for the book, I felt like the characters stayed the same throughout and kind of fell flat. I also felt that out of all of the people he could have as a roommate it’s her and he has only seen her chase a chicken, literally. The romance feels very insta-lovey from this point and that is not my vibe.

I did think that the plot line which included a chicken was real unique. I had never seen it done before. As someone who has chickens in the backyard it was fun to see. This plot line does drag on a bit and can get old and boring because it feels like it should have been resolved sooner than it had.

Overall, this was interesting and had a unique setup but it lost it’s charm and ended up only being an okay read for me.

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Audiobook Review: Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin

Title: Wild is the Witch
Author: Rachel Griffin
Genre: YA Paranormal / Witches
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: ⭐⭐

When eighteen-year-old witch Iris Gray accidentally enacts a curse that could have dire consequences, she must team up with a boy who hates witches to make sure her magic isn’t unleashed on the world.
Iris Gray knows witches aren’t welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches’ Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they’re keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.
Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.
New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches’ Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.” (Goodreads)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one since I didn’t read this author’s first book but have seen a lot rave about it and even this one. Unfortunately for me, this one just didn’t work.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Iris Gray who is a witch. She was a fine character who enjoyed being around animals which was a part of how she used her magic. I don’t think there was anything wrong with her, minus the fact that she wanted to curse someone for them not liking witches. I feel like that is a bit far but okay.

The other characters were alright. Her mom didn’t really seemed too concerned about sending her into the woods with a guy she didn’t like but again okay. Do you!

The romance didn’t work for me. It was very short distance from loathe to love and its just not my cup of tea.

I think that a lot of the issues I had could have been fixed if the book was longer. It’s hard to pack everything in, especially with the timeline being so short as it is. It left not much room for development when it came to the characters and the magic system.

Overall, it was okay but I just needed more.

Book Review: Funny Feelings by Tarah Dewitt

Title: Funny Feelings
Author: Tarah Dewitt
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: April 28th, 2022
Publisher: Indie
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Farley Jones is being forced to date Meyer Harrigan, the man she has come to love, in order to make all of her stand-up dreams come true.
It’s agony— a tragedy, even. In lieu of flowers, please send cash…
Meyer and his daughter Hazel have been everything to her since they came into her life three years ago. So, all joking aside, the stakes really are high when it’s not only her career, but both of those relationships on the line. A former stand-up star himself, Meyer has helped the trajectory of her career take off since he began managing her… Since he became her closest and most treasured friend, in the process.
This is the only reason why, when the biggest opportunity of Farley’s career includes thrusting him back into the spotlight to stir up publicity, he agrees— despite his grumpiness, his protectiveness over Hazel, and his disdain for public attention.
When helping her includes taking those barriers down, all those funny feelings start coming out into the open, and it quickly begins to feel like anything but a joke.” (Goodreads)

I don’t think that this book was bad, but it just wasn’t for me.

I’ve only recently read another book about a character who was a stand-up comedian and it wasn’t a favorite of mine. It was an interesting job to learn about but something that just didn’t leave me wanting more. I guess I should have reread the blurb again because I would have known this would have that. Definitely on me! Ha.

Also, friends-to-lovers isn’t a trope that I tend to like. I can count on one hand how many books with it that I have enjoyed. Again, not the book’s fault but just personal taste.

I do think that there were sweet moments between them and I am a sucker for a dad. They tend to be a cinnamon roll, especially around their kids.

Overall, this wasn’t for me but could be one for you! I’d check it out despite my review, especially if you like the things I mentioned.

Audiobook Review: A Disaster in Three Acts by Kelsey Rodkey

Title: A Disaster in Three Acts
Author: Kelsey Rodkey
Genre: Ya Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: July 5th, 2022
Publisher: Harperteen
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Saine Sinclair knows a little something about what makes a story worth telling.
Your childhood best friend refuses to kiss you during a pre-adolescent game of spin the bottle? Terrible, zero stars, would not replay that scene again. The same ex-friend becomes your new best friend’s ex? Strangely compelling, unexpected twist, worth a hate-watch. That same guy–why is he always around?–turns out to be your last shot at getting into the documentary filmmaking program of your dreams?
Saine hates to admit it, but she’d watch that movie.
There’s something about Holden that makes her feel like she’s the one in front of the camera–like he can see every uncomfortable truth she’s buried below the surface. Saine knows how her story’s supposed to go. So why does every moment with Holden seem intent on changing the ending?” (Goodreads)

This was an audiobook I picked up on a whim after finishing my current one. I have seen this author once or twice before but hadn’t read either of her books yet so I figured why not give it a try.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Saine. She is not the most likeable character and I did struggle to understand her and the choices she had made. She was very selfish with it all and I guess it just added to the plot but sometimes it felt like too much. She at least gets better and does make up for what she did to other characters but it doesn’t happen until right around the end.

The other characters in the book were fine. I liked Saine’s mom and felt like she tried her best to deal with grief but still raise her daughter to the best of her ability. I kind of wish we had more interactions with Saine and her friend’s but they were more or less used as plot devices to add some extra drama.

There is romance and I did like Holden. I thought he was very sweet and too good for Saine. It was interesting to know that they were friends prior and due to some circumstances drifted apart. It wasn’t a quick love interest so I appreciated it for what it was.

Overall, this was okay. I couldn’t really stand Saine and it led me to have a hard time finishing this one. There are some good aspects to this novel though and if it sounds interesting to you I would still give it a chance!

Arc Review: Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim

Title: Last of the Talons
Author: Sophie Kim
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…
Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.
Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.
Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.
Even if it means giving up her own.” (Goodreads)

Even though I liked the sound of the book, it just didn’t give me what I wanted unfortunately. I think that it had a lot to do with execution and maybe would have been better if it wasn’t bogged down by so many things happening.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Shin Lina. She is an assassin for a gang and must do their bidding if she wants her sister to stay in good health. It’s a lot of pressure on her but she will do anything to keep her safe. Yay for sister bonds! I’m always down for that, but her sister was very much only used for that sole purpose and I really wanted to see more between them.

Lina as an assassin wasn’t it for me. I have a hard time with teens having this job in general, but it makes it even harder when they are talked up as the “greatest” assassin ever and then they fall short and start screwing up. I get that everyone has their bad days but give me something to work with here. Don’t hype up someone if they can’t live up to the expectations.

The whole romance didn’t do anything for me and it’s a real shame because it does involve tropes that I do like. I do think that other books have done it better and this one was just average. It’s not bad per say but just not to my liking. I think that others will like it though so don’t take my words to heart especially if it sounds interesting to you.

The love interesting was kind of weird. He really lived off of her trying to kill him and I’m not really sure how to take it, haha.

I did really enjoy the world-building and seeing her find her way to the emperor. Mythology retellings are always fascinating to me and I will give this author props for that! It was well done.

Overall, this wasn’t for me but it could be for you. I had some issues with it and it ultimately led me to just not being able to vibe with the story.

Arc Review: No Funny Business by Amanda Aksel

Title: No Funny Business
Author: Amanda Aksel
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Books
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“Two down-on-their-luck comedians embark on a road tour and find more than a few good laughs on the way.

Olivia Vincent dreams of stand-up comedy stardom. Bustling around a busy Manhattan office by day and hustling from club to club by night, she can’t catch a break. Work is falling through the cracks, and after ditching a major client to make a performance, Olivia gets the boot.

Determined to pursue her dreams, she snags an audition in Los Angeles for a coveted spot on late-night TV. But the only way to get there is to join Nick Leto, a seasoned stand-up, on a cross-country road tour. She agrees on one condition—no funny business.

Icky comedy condos, tiny smoking nightclubs, and Nick’s incessant classic rock radio are a far cry from life on the Upper East Side. Reality sets in, and Olivia wonders if she can hack it in showbiz or if she’s just a hack. As Nick helps Olivia improve her act along the way, sparks begin to fly and ignite what they thought was an impossible flame. Maybe being stuck with Nick in a Jeep isn’t so bad. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of Olivia’s actual funny business.” (Goodreads)

I was looking forward to starting this one since it was about comedians. It’s not a job I have read about in a book, let alone one that both the characters have who are heading towards a relationship. It was definitely a unique aspect and one that I liked.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Olivia. She is living a life that isn’t fulfilling enough and when opportunity comes knocking she takes it as a sign and decides to dedicate more time to trying to make it as a comedian. It was interesting to see her move from one job to a hobby becoming a job. It is very quick since a majority of the book is her traveling as a comedian.

We do meet the love interest very quickly and it gives more time for them to interact with each other. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of him. The author makes him very unlikeable after the initial meeting between them and it was hard to switch thoughts about him once some things were mentioned. The author does try to put him in a better light in one instance, but again I still wasn’t a big fan and nothing was going to change my mind about it.

The best part of the book was seeing Olivia live her dream of being a comedian. She does have a very optimistic look on it and sometimes that leads me to dislike how she acts when it comes to situations but it is what it is. Maybe childish is the word I am looking for to describe her.

Overall, this was okay but not one that I fully liked due to the romance. He just wasn’t a vibe.

Arc Review: Direwood by Catherine Yu

Title: Direwood
Author: Catherine Yu
Genre: YA Fantasy / Paranormal / Vampires
Publication Date: September 20th, 2022
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a complimentary arc to review! All opinions are my own.

“No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things: a strange fog rolling through their idyllic suburban town, a brief moment when the sky seems to rain blood, and a host of parasitic caterpillars burrowing their way through the trees. Aja’s father, the neighbors, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strange string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too.
Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. His hypnotic voice lures her to the window and tells her everything she’s longed to hear—she’s beautiful and special, and he wants nothing more than for Aja to come with him. Aja knows she shouldn’t trust him, but she’s barely able to resist his enthrallment. And following him into the woods may be the only way to find Fiona, so she agrees on one condition: He must let her leave alive if she is not wooed after one week. Though Aja plans to kill him before the week is out, Padraic has his own secrets as well.
In the misty woods, Aja finds that Padraic has made his nest with another vampire in a dilapidated church infested by blood-sucking butterflies. Within its walls, the vampires are waited on and entertained by other children they’ve enthralled, but there is no sign of Fiona. Before her bargain is up, Aja must find a way to turn her classmates against their captors, find her sister, and save them all—or be forced to join the very monsters she wants to destroy.” (Goodreads)

Vampires. I like them. I grew up as a teen reading about them and I figured why not try it again? Sadly, the vampires were somewhat intriguing but this book just didn’t hold my attention.

The book is told from the perspective of Aja. She is on a mission to find her sister while weird things are happening in their small town and no one seems to care or even bat an eye about it. Sister bonds are one thing that I like to see in books but since they are separated for a lot of the book there isn’t a formal bond between them and the sisterhood just felt very lackluster.

Aja is an alright character but I can’t say that there was much development when it came to her, or even any of the other characters. They all felt very flat with one role for each when it came to the plot. I feel like the book needed to be a bit longer to really grasp everything it needed to.

The vampires were very much like vampires and had a suaveness about them. I at least liked how they were portrayed and the author even through in some extra touches when it came to bugs.

I’m not one for scary and even though this is labeled as horror, I felt like it was more disturbing than anything. I also felt like the writing was a bit dry and it made it hard to continuously want to read.

Overall, this was okay but it just needed more development.

Audiobook Review: The Liar’s Crown by Abigail Owen

Title: The Liar’s Crown
Author: Abigail Owen
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: August 30th, 2022
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“One born to rule. One to forfeit…
Everything about my life is a lie. As a hidden twin princess, born second, I have only one purpose—to sacrifice my life for my sister if death comes for her. I’ve been living under the guise of a poor, obscure girl of no standing, slipping into the palace and into the role of the true princess when danger is present.
Now the queen is dead and the ageless King Eidolon has sent my sister a gift—an eerily familiar gift—and a proposal to wed. I don’t trust him, so I do what I was born to do and secretly take her place on the eve of the coronation. Which is why, when a figure made of shadow kidnaps the new queen, he gets me by mistake.
As I try to escape, all the lies start to unravel. And not just my lies. The Shadowraith who took me has secrets of his own. He struggles to contain the shadows he wields—other faces, identities that threaten my very life.
Winter is at the walls. Darkness is looming. And the only way to save my sister and our dominion is to kill Eidolon…and the Shadowraith who has stolen my heart.” (Goodreads)

The blurb made me really interested but talk all over bookstagram is what got me to request the audiobook for this one from Netgalley. The audiobook is very well done and I like the narration. It was easy to tell the characters apart. The downside is that this book just didn’t do it for me.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Meren. She is a twin and is used as a body double for her sister who is the true queen-to-be. Body doubles always intrigue me and so I was happy to see this done again. I thought this part of the plot was well done. Although Meren has a sister, I didn’t fully believe in their bond. They were hardly ever together and even though she talked about protecting her it felt that she was more concerned about the love interest.

The love interest was a no go for me. Meren was simping hard right from the get-go. “Oh, he kidnapped me! But, he does so much good! He is a hunk. Oh darn, I shouldn’t feel that way about him.” Nope. Nope. Nope. I do not like. Don’t get me started with him only calling her princess for the first half of the book. 🤦‍♀️ It felt more like insta-love than enemies-to-lovers.

Some of the characters have magic and I thought that they were cool powers. I liked the shadow magic the best and was intrigued by that.

I can’t say that I ever connected with any of the characters and that really dwindled the ability to ever connect to the story overall.

Unfortunately, this one wasn’t for me but it may be for you!

Audiobook Review: Someday We’ll Find It by Jennifer Wilson

Title: Someday We’ll Find It
Author: Jennifer Wilson
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: April 26th, 2022
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Seventeen-year-old Bliss Walker has been stuck in a home that doesn’t feel like hers for six years. Ever since Mama dropped her off and never came back.
Then, the summer before her senior year of high school, two things happen: Mama returns out of the blue, and Bliss meets Blake, a boy who listens like everything she has to say is worth hearing.
It should be a dream come true. But as the summer spins on, Bliss finds herself facing a painful choice: between the life she’s always longed for, and the world she’s starting to make for herself.” (Goodreads)

I really wanted to read this one because of the cover. I can’t say I even remembered what it was about before starting it. There are certain things that I liked about this book, it shows the messy side of family and relationships, but all of the characters were just straight up trash to the main character Bliss.

The book is told from one perspective and it comes from Bliss. She is trying to figure out what is next for her once high school ends and also where she belongs since her mother dumped her on her aunt’s doorstep and hasn’t been back since. Even though there are certain things about Bliss I didn’t like, I can see why she stuck around for so long with her boyfriend and wanting to see the best in others. Honestly, there really isn’t much good in any of the characters, save for her uncle and maybe the new love interest but the way they handled their attraction was a strike.

As I previously mentioned twice, the side characters were crap (pretty much every one). They treated Bliss like a doormat and walked all over her, even her family wasn’t too kind. I get that everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows but this was just too much for one girl to take. I’m surprised she didn’t just break down and cry at some point.

The plot is filled with a lot of drama whether it be from her boyfriend or family. There is also the love interest (mentioned above) that causes issues in her current relationship but at least gives her some happiness.

Overall, this was okay but just wasn’t my cup of tea. I did think that the narrator did a good job though.

Arc Review: Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah

Title: Monsters Born and Made
Author: Tanvi Berwah
Genre: YA Fantasy / Dystopian
Publication Date: September 6th, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.
In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers―the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others―if they’re lucky―survive.
When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.
But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders―including her ex-boyfriend―who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When a rebellion rises and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose―her life or her sister’s―before the whole island burns.” (Goodreads)

The beast on the cover really grasped my attention. While reading, it helped me me be able to visual the beasts that were mentioned and painted a better picture in my head. Also, there are capricorns in the book and that definitely spoke to me since it is my sign haha. Although there were some great things included in the book, I just didn’t love it as much as I had hoped for.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Koral. She is a Renter and her family’s job is to hunt down maristags to breed and sell for the Landers wanting to enter the Glory Race. It is a very dangerous job and one that could easily take their lives. Koral will do anything for her family, even break the rules that society has put in place. It’s a quality I always like to see. She did remind me of Katniss from The Hunger Games.

For the other characters in the book, some were better than others. I felt that some were one dimensional and only had one purpose for the plot. Others, like her friend and one of the racers, added more and I liked seeing their interactions with Koral.

The writing is reminiscent of 2000’s teen books. I also think the plot had similarities to The Hunger Games, as others have mentioned, but does have a uniqueness to it as well. Since I wasn’t a fan of the trilogy, this book lacked an appeal for me but that is not the problem of the book. Some of the things mentioned about Renters/Landers or the beasts could feel repetitive at times while I do wish there was more written for a better understanding of other parts of the world-building.

Overall, this was an okay read for me. It’s not due to the book in anyways but due to my taste. If you like The Hunger Games or unique beasts, I would give this one a go!