Book Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

Title: Shipped
Author: Angie Hockman
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 19th, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 3 stars

“Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?” (Goodreads)

I have been curious about this book since the first time I heard about it and finally gave it a chance after a friend on Bookstagram asked if I would do a Buddy Read with her. Luckily, my library had a copy I could borrow right away so off I went on this adventure!

There are things I enjoyed about this book but also ones I didn’t like. It was kind of a mixed bag but I still rated it 3 stars since I did get some entertainment out of it.

Henley is a very outgoing person when it comes to her job. She also has great friends and they are very present in her life and make a lot of appearances in the book. I liked seeing this as sometimes the friends in books end up being very minor.

I can’t say I really liked her sister. I can understand why she made certain choices but one was just in poor taste. I feel like this characters was only there for plot twists and ones that were resolved so quickly that it just didn’t make sense to add them in the first place.

Graeme was an interesting character and I liked his banter at first. He kind of became stale after awhile for me because he just had that “too good to be true” personality. It was instant that he had feelings for Henley and I just wish there would have been more pushing and pulling from him.

Their relationship wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t one I loved.

From the blurb, it seems that this book has the enemies-to-lovers trope. It is one of my favorite tropes to read about. Sadly, this was more one-sided than anything. In the first couple of chapters it would indicate that they are both pretty unpleasant to each other but upon meeting it is quickly noticed that the only person who has a problem is Henley. I wouldn’t say that this is in any way bad but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

The setting was one that I loved! I usually am not one for books set on boats but the setting also adds the Galápagos Islands and the wonders that are found on them. It was cool to see talk about conservation and ecotourism be included.

Besides what has already been said about the plot, I would also like to add that it is a quite predictable but I liked the progress of Henley and her job while also sticking it to the man. She learned to stick up for herself and it’s a lesson that some of us can surely relate too.

Overall, this was one that I liked but also one that I wouldn’t pick up again if I had the choice. It had it’s good moments but also ones that just didn’t work for me.

Audiobook Review: DEV1AT3 (Truelife #2) by Jay Kristoff

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Title: DEV1AT3 (Lifelike #2)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: June 25th, 2019
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers

“Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.” (Goodreads)

Reread Finished on 12/23/20

I do feel the same about this book since I read it back in 2019. It was such a great sequel and the ending has me hyped for the final one which I have already rented from the library as an audiobook.

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Let me tell you about this book. It was crazy! Plot twists came out of nowhere and literally ripped me a part!

The beginning is great as it reintroduces the reader to the characters once again and goes over what happened to them during book one. You don’t see this often but it’s always awesome to have a refresher.

When it comes to this series, you can expect that the writing style will always be unique with the choice of words the author uses which adds a touch of pizzazz and makes the characters pop. Lemon Fresh is a good example of this and is literally my number one!

The main characters are all pretty much struggling with their identity/feelings in some way. This is always nice to see and makes it easier to connect with the them on a deeper level. Caring for the ones you love is hard when obstacles are thrown in your way whether you are a robot or human.

Lemon Fresh has a lot going on and I was here for her story! She is at the top of favorite characters because she is fierce and loyal. I just want to squeeze her but I know she wouldn’t like that, ha. I hope everything works out for her because right now I am not okay with how this book ended.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and the heartbreak that came with it. I will be impatiently waiting for book three and trying to cope with my feelings. If you haven’t read this series yet, get on it! Jay Kristoff never disappoints.

Small Spaces: Mini Book Review

book review

 

36959639._SY475_Title: Small Spaces
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Middle Grade Horror
Publication Date: September 25th, 2018

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Synopsis: “After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

I am ashamed to say this but, this book scared me. I know, I’m an adult but I am the biggest chicken, haha. It doesn’t really take much and even though this book was terrifying at times, it was still a fantastic read that I couldn’t put down!

Ollie is a girl with no fear. She loves to read which I think is an escape for her especially after the death of her mother. I liked her a lot and enjoyed seeing where the story took her. She kept up with the no fear mentality throughout and did what she needed to do to survive. That takes guts!

The plot was very fast paced and although there wasn’t too much character development, the story didn’t need it. The characters were interesting, spooky, and fun. I also thought I had the villain all figured out but I didn’t! It was such a surprise.

Overall, Katherine Arden never disappoints with her writing. I loved her Adult Fantasy series and am excited to see what her next creepy Middle Grade book has in store for me!

 

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: NetGalley Review

NetGalley Review

 

45154546._SY475_Title: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse
Author: K. Eason
Genre: Adult Sci-fi
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Synopsis: “Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium.

Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world.

When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

Sometimes no matter how interesting a book is, there can be a disconnect when reading and this was just one of those books. I’m not saying I didn’t like it but it just wasn’t a book for me, you know what I mean? This book was an interesting concept since it took a lot of different fairytale tropes and put a new spin on them. It is also set in space so that adds a whole new level to the plot. I liked a lot of the things that were included but it didn’t fully pull me in.

This space opera follows Rory Thorne who is the first girl born into the family in ten generations. When it comes to her, she is determined to do what she wants and no one will tell her otherwise. She wants to determine her own future and that is what she sets out to do. Overall, she is a generic character when it comes to today’s fictional worlds. She didn’t grasp my attention and honestly, none of the characters did. To me, the book was more plot driven since it does deal with a lot of tropes.

At the beginning of the book, it reminded me a lot of Sleeping Beauty or Ella Enchanted when it came to the fairies. I thought it was fun to be able to pull out different fairytale tropes and be reminded of similar scenes from other books/movies. The pacing was a bit slow at first but it builds up and becomes a bit more engaging the farther you get in the book. As for the ending, it was alright and there is room for another book (which I believe there will be). I don’t know if I would say it captured my attention enough to continue on with the series. I felt that it wrapped up enough for my liking.

Overall, it was a decent read but it is definitely a case of, it’s me and not you. I know that others will find this book quite enjoyable and could see it becoming a movie or even a show. If you are a fan of space operas and a girl who wants to do things her own then look no further! This one is sure to please.

The Traitor’s Kiss: Book Review

book review

 

29346870._SY475_Title: The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1)
Author: Erin Beaty
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 9th, 2017

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Synopsis: “An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. A couple friends I follow on here and Instagram have gushed about them but I didn’t want to fall into the hype. Well guys, the hype is real! I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to dive in!

Usually I talk about the characters but I am going to change it up. Let’s talk about the plot first. It’s different and one that I have never read before. The MC, Sage, works for a matchmaker and when she first met her it honestly reminded me of Mulan. Of course, this book doesn’t have her pretending to be a boy but she does do some spying and is pretty much a tomboy. There are tons of plot twists that involve mistaken identity and it was shocking and quite enjoyable to read about. If you are a fan of multiple point of views, this book has that too. I loved getting to know the characters through their views and we even get chapters from the villain’s perspective! What more can you ask for?

Sage is a girl who knows what she wants. She is smart, loves to learn, and is really good at reading people. I enjoyed getting to know her throughout the pages and seeing a romance between her and another blossom throughout. It was perfect, sweet, and I loved that they both never knew what they needed until they started to get to know each other. Aaahh, pure bliss!

The minor characters don’t feel minor at all in this one. They are always present and sometimes even stealing the show! This hardly happens for me and I am glad this book didn’t disappoint when it came to the characters.

I will say that this one took me a bit to fully understand and connect with the characters but the farther I got into it, the more I found myself not wanting to put it down. It is also rare for a book to give me all the feels. This one took my heart and smashed it a couple times at the end and did have me becoming quite teary-eyed.

Overall, I loved this book and its rare for me to continue a series back-to-back but this one must be continued right away! I am sure by the time I publish this one I will have already read through the second book and be in love but only time will tell! If you haven’t picked The Traitor’s Kiss up yet I would highly suggest doing so!

 

Steel Crow Saga: NetGalley Review

NetGalley Review

 

43568424.jpgTitle: Steel Crow Saga
Author: Paul Krueger
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 24th, 2019

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Synopsis: “A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

This book was quite long and didn’t feel like everything that was in it was necessary for the development of the characters or plot. I did enjoy some things about this book, while there were other parts that I didn’t care much for.

There are four different point of views that are included: Lee, Tala, Jimuro, Xiulan. Each has their own chapters and we also get a prologue from an entirely different character. At first I was confused by the prologue and a chapter for one of the characters because there wasn’t any mention of a timeline. Besides that part, it was easy to understand how the characters fit together.

There were a couple fascinating concepts that were included such as the “shades” and metalpacting. Although the concept of a “shade” was similar to other things that have been done like pokemon, it was still cool to see this. The concept of metalpacting is to bind your soul to metal, such as cars and weapons. I don’t think I have read anything that included something like this so it was refreshing to see.

When it came to the characters, they were diverse in backgrounds/representation. They were interesting but some of the scenes between them felt unneeded. I never felt a connection towards any of them which is something that I need especially for such a long book.

Overall, there were unique concepts used and I feel like many will enjoy this book but unfortunately it just wasn’t a book for me.

Rage: Book Review

book review

 

35677535Title: Rage (Stormheart #2)
Author: Cora Carmack
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: August 27th, 2019

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Synopsis: “Princess or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.

If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.

In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.

This feels like more than rage.

It feels like war” (Goodreads)

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My Review: (Possible Spoilers)

Before I wrote this review, I had to do some thinking. I did like this sequel overall but there were just a few things that I didn’t like when it came to a few of the characters or the plot.

When it came to Kiran and Cassius, I was on the fence about them in the first book. In this book there was definitely one I liked more than the other. Kiran just got on my nerves throughout and I wasn’t a fan of the relationship between him and Roar/Aurora. It was just meh. Cassius was always suave from the beginning of book one. Obviously his family, mostly his dad and brother, were big dilweeds and they still are. Aurora acted like this, “Why are you so obsessed with me?”. Well girl, it’s because you literally left and he was concerned. I don’t think Cassius is bad and I truly think he wants what is best for everyone. Personally, he deserves better.

The formatting of the past sequences were quite confusing at times. The prologue was interesting but vague. Sometimes at the beginning of chapters or during chapters, a past sequence would pop up. I would miss the part saying that is was from the past because it was on aligned on the right and as I’m reading I would sometimes miss it so I would have to go back to see what was going on. I don’t know if others had issues with this and maybe it’s just because of how I read. I did like that they were there because we get more background from other characters that aren’t really present.

The plot, compared to the first book, wasn’t as action packed as I thought it would be. The Stormlord is seen a couple times but I was hoping he would play a much bigger role. Even though for me it lacked because of those things, it was interesting. There were definitely plot twists that I wasn’t expecting so I was happy about that as well.

Overall, I did like it even with the issues I had. I may be in the minority here and that’s okay!

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart: Mini Book Review

book review

 

35265445.jpgTitle: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (Tales from the Chocolate Heart #1)
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Genre: Children’s/Middle Grade Fantasy

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Synopsis: “Aventurine is a brave young dragon ready to explore the world outside of her family’s mountain cave . . . if only they’d let her leave it. Her family thinks she’s too young to fly on her own, but she’s determined to prove them wrong by capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.

But when that human tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she’s transformed into a puny human without any sharp teeth, fire breath, or claws. Still, she’s the fiercest creature in these mountains–and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate. All she has to do is get to the human city to find herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she’ll be conquering new territory in no time . . . won’t she?” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

I picked this one up because I have the third one on NetGalley and didn’t realize they were a part of a series. I think they are more like companion novels and not really intertwined but I guess we will find out as I read through them! Now, let’s get into it.

Honestly, this book was adorable and filled with lessons that would be quite relatable for young girls, like being yourself, being brave, and finding the passion to do something you love. Seriously, it is packed with it all! It also has dragons and chocolate. Trust me, its the perfect pair! This book is one that as my daughter gets older would be one I would get for her. Also, the cover is gorgeous!

If you enjoy reading Middle Grade or have a child/niece/nephew around this age, definitely give this book a try!

 

Lost and Found: NetGalley Review

NetGalley Review

 

44144248Title: Lost and Found
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: September 10th, 2019

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Synopsis: “That’s the question that has haunted fourteen-year-old Ezekiel Blast all his life. But he’s not a thief, he just has a talent for finding things. Not a superpower–a micropower. Because what good is finding lost bicycles and hair scrunchies, especially when you return them to their owners and everyone thinks you must have stolen them in the first place? If only there were some way to use Ezekiel’s micropower for good, to turn a curse into a blessing. His friend Beth thinks there must be, and so does a police detective investigating the disappearance of a little girl. When tragedy strikes, it’s up to Ezekiel to use his talent to find what matters most.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

The cover and synopsis is what pulled me in from the start as it usually goes. I had high hopes for this one and although it hit a few of them, there were parts to this story that just fell a tad short.

Ezekiel Blast is full of sarcasm. He is a real “blast” to be around (I couldn’t help myself, haha). He is pretty closed off until Beth makes an appearance into his life and its never the same. I enjoyed the character development for Ezekiel. He had dealt with loss at a young age and even some criminal issues that weren’t warranted but came with his ability which inevitably labeled him as a thief. He was relatable because at times he wants to give up and forget what he can do but realizes that helping others outweighs the bad that can come with it. He is realistic with his choices and that’s one thing I always enjoy about characters.

Beth is a minor character but major in the plot and character development for Ezekiel. She isn’t really shy but builds up walls around her because of her height, being bullied because of it, and family issues she is dealing with alone. She is very present in the beginning and because of the plot, steps into the back but is still on the mind of Ezekial. She was a decent character but at times it felt like her and Ezekial were one in the same when it came to their dialogue. It also felt this way with other characters and when everyone is saying sarcastic things it just isn’t that appealing to read.

The one thing that saved this book was the plot. At times it was very obvious as to what was going to happen and very unbelievable with how quickly things were solved. Even with these issues, I was still hooked with the plot and wanted to continue reading to find out how it would all play out. The micropowers are pretty micro in this story and it is more about the characters than the powers.

Even though I had some issues with this book, it was still a pretty enjoyable read.

 

American Royals: NetGalley Review

NetGalley Review

 

43744300Title: American Royals
Author: Katherine McGee
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Synopsis:What if America had a royal family? If you can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, meet American princesses Beatrice and Samantha.

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. And their country was born of rebellion.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

My expectations for this book were a lot different than what I actually read. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in a good way and I ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I was going to.

The plot is quite unique and one that hasn’t been done before, as far as I know. Its one reason why I was intrigued by it. The book was more plot driven in my opinion and the characters seemed to lack because of this. The plot twists were obvious and didn’t make me feel anything for the characters that were involved. I thought that there would be some type of political talk or something of that matter but the plot is really all about the drama.

There are four point-of-views that this book follows: Beatrice, Samantha, Nina, and Daphne. There was nothing that really set them apart and I didn’t find myself enjoying reading about them. There wasn’t any character development and sometimes I can overlook this but since the plot didn’t keep me interested it was just hard to get through it.

Overall, I liked the idea for this book and the creativity of it but to me it was just lacking in certain areas. I am sure that others will enjoy it more than me so definitely check it out if it piques your interest!