Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Dark YA and floofy romances. Another slew of re-reads and even more bingeing. That was February and March for me, in a nutshell. The two months are combined this go round because I've been working 60 hour weeks and am behind on pretty much everything. I usually update these posts as I go, but I had to do it all at the last minute this time, so please forgive me if my "reviews" and thoughts aren't very detailed. Or coherent. Which is one of the reasons I rely on re-reading during hard times: I don't have to focus so much and can just enjoy where the story takes me since I've already been there before. πŸ˜„

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

A Curse So Dark and Lonely* - So, this was absolutely one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings I've read. It's loosely based on the original story and combines elements from our world with those of the fantastical Emberfall -- think iPhones and Converse matched against magic and swords. Harper was the kind of heroine I could easily get behind: whip-smart, down on her luck and more than a little untrusting. Her misadventure to Emberfall is more than a little surreal and it's going to take more than a pretty face -- or two -- to change that. I have seen comments about a potential love triangle, but the author herself has asserted that that's not in the cards, and I thought I read somewhere that the would-be second suitor is getting his own story told in the next book. Even if that's not true, I'll still be picking it up because I loved these characters and this world and how Brigid turned this traditional story all lop-sided. I can't wait to read the sequel!  πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Dark of the West* - You think you've read one YA fantasy about war-torn kingdoms battling for supremacy, and you've read them all, right? That's kind of what I thought, too, upon embarking on this dark story, especially with the comparisons to Code Name Verity and The Winner's Curse. I've never read the first but I definitely see the similarities to the latter. I'm guessing the Code Name Verity comparison comes from the descriptions of flying and dogfights, and well, just the use of aviation in general. Which I found refreshing yet incongruous because it made this book almost impossible for me to categorize in my head. There are numerous kingdoms spread far and wide with monarchies, so it's fantasy. But there are mentions of airplanes and motorcars and political broadcasts and guns, so...historical fiction? Bit of both, I guess, so historical fantasy? High fantasy? It doesn't really matter, though, as long as the story is interesting. And it was for the most part: forbidden romance, espionage and secret identities, and revolution. It was the death and murder and mayhem that lessened my enjoyment a tad, but that was mostly because of that evil prologue. It put a bit of a pall over the whole book. This series will not be an easy one to read but I think it's going to be entirely worth it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

White Stag* - Hmm. This story was chugging along really well...until it wasn't. It reminded me a lot of Wintersong but much more brutal and with less purple prose. I also thought it was a stand-alone, until about five seconds ago. I don't think I can read any more of this story. I just found it altogether depressing and considering my mood lately, I don't find that helpful. 🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.


99 Percent Mine* - This story was adorable. Not The Hating Game level adorable, but I don't know that I'll ever find another book I love as much as that one. Anyway, the tendency toward avoidance and running away was off the charts with this one, and it made it a little harder to connect with the characters. Their chemistry and that unrequited love thing they've got going on did not. The constant back-and-forth between Darcy and Tom was as hot as it was frustrating, but I ultimately enjoyed it. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Here's Looking at You - This was my first experience with this author, but I checked it out because I liked the premise for her most recent book and thought I'd give her backlist a chance first. My main takeaway from this novel was that we all inevitably grow and change, some of us for the better. But no matter how much we change inside and out, sometimes those old insecurities never quite leave us. I found this story equal parts relatable and cringe-inducing, which, yep, was basically my experience with crushes and high school and even thinking about seeing those people again later in life. 🌟🌟🌟

Diamond Fire - Happy to be back in this world. I'm not usually a big fan of spin-offs, favoring the original characters over friends or siblings' stories. But this novella perfectly interwove Nevada and Catalina's stories and, as I said, I'm just happy to be back in this world. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Lera of Lunos - I was a little disappointed in this one. Maybe because it's the final book. Or maybe because I started noticing just how formulaic reverse harem stories are. I might still read the new "episodes" the author is planning each month, but I think my excitement for this subgenre has ebbed, for the most part. 🌟🌟🌟

Butterface - I still remember the first time I heard the term "butterface" and to this day, it still makes me cringe. It's such an unfeeling, callous thing to label somebody. Which is the point of this series, I think: to get back at all the (mostly) men who use these epithets by having these characters lay claim to them. I haven't read the other two books yet, but I think that at least in this one, the author takes it a bit far, with the heroine calling so much undue attention to her hideous face, which to be fair, doesn't seem to be all that hideous based on descriptions. I really wanted to like this book, but I ended up returning it because I knew I'd never read it again and Audible's good to me like that. 🌟🌟

Rhapsodic - This was one I really expected to like, having enjoyed the author's newest book based on the Four Horsemen. Sadly, the story just wasn't very cohesive or well-written. Between flashbacks and fantasy elements, the story just jumped around too much. I think I'll stick to the Four Horsemen series rather than continuing on with this one. 🌟🌟

I Owe You One - I just love Sophie Kinsella and couldn't wait to get my hands on this newest book from her. It wasn't my favorite -- that's reserved for I've Got Your Number, which I re-read prior to this one -- but it was still so darn cute and just exactly what I wanted at exactly the right time. So adorable was it that when I was in between reads and feeling down, I started listening again before I had to return it to the library. The unfortunate meet-cute, the IOUs, the passing back-and-forth of the coffee sleeve...even the misunderstanding that keeps the fated couple apart. It all added up to a story that left me grinning ear to ear. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Matchmaking for Beginners - This was a KU/Audible freebie. It was quirky with a hint of magic, and it had me laughing out loud numerous times. It was told from both Marnie and Blix's perspectives, one a plucky, down-on-her luck newlywed, the other an eccentric matchmaker living her best life. A chance meeting has Blix deciding Marnie is destined to be her protegΓ©. Hijinks ensue. Lives are changed. Love prevails. There was even an unexpected Beauty and the Beast angle, much to my delight. Well worth the read and I'll definitely be checking out the author's backlist. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Love, Chloe - When you're not sure what to listen to next, try something different from the ARP. I can't even remember how I discovered this book, but I do know I had it downloaded to my phone for a couple of months before I was desperate enough to listen to it. My sister had started the audio but said it was too racey for her to listen to at work, and I can say it definitely has its moments. πŸ˜‰ However, it was not the most well-written romance, and it was a bit unrealistic, with that perfectly imperfect feel of a made-for-tv movie. It was just a bit too predictable, and just a tad too dramatic, for my taste. 🌟🌟

The Bride Test* - Did you love The Kiss Quotient? Then don't even wonder at whether or not you should pick up this book: you absolutely should. This story features Khai, whom we met in TKQ and already know to be autistic. But then along comes quirky, strange My/Esme to shake up his whole world, and it's, well, it's just as adorable and sweet as TKQ. I will say that both of these books have me questioning whether I might be on the spectrum because I see so much of myself in the characters, but it could also be that I'm just very antisocial and I'm looking for a reason for that when I'm actually just not very good with people. At any rate, I obviously enjoyed the representation, but I loved the immersion into this culture, even more so than the brief glimpses we got in TKQ. But I think what really, truly made this story so special was how genuine and authentic it was; that author's note said it all and ensured I'll be reading Helen Hoang's books for years to come. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Unmarriageable - If you know nothing else about me, you should at least know that Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books and that I will devour any and every retelling I can get my hands on. My bestie made me watch Bride and Prejudice on one her more recent visits, and I fell in love with that Bollywood version, so when I saw this Pakistani retelling, I knew I was in for a treat. I especially loved the parallels the narrator/author drew between the matchmaking prowess of Indian mothers to that of their English counterparts 200 years ago when the original story was published. This novel does stay very true to the original text but with a Pakistani flair, and I found it highly entertaining. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.

B I N G E   R E A D S   |   R E - R E A D S

The Dark Elements series - Erm, this was much less gargoyle-y than I was expecting. And I don't get why JLA's books are so popular. The characters are annoying and stereotypical and the writing is...not great. I don't like to disparage someone's life's work, but she's written a gazillion books...shouldn't she be better than this by now? Anyway, all this series has accompished is making me want to read a real series about gargoles, so I think I'll re-read The Dispossessed series by Page Morgan soon. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

The Hating Game x 2 - Yep, you're seeing that correctly. I did indeed read this book twice in the last two months. Hard times call for healing, happy-making stories. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Bet Me - Was scrolling through my Audible library and saw this one and just couldn't help myself. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I've Got Your Number - Another comfort read and my favorite of Sophie Kinsella's. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Neanderthal Seeks Human - All the cute, adorable romances were needed in February and March.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Kiss Quotient - I had to read this one again before I picked up The Bride Test. And wisely so, since that one is a companion novel to this one. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

The Shade series - Persuing my Audible library, I realized I hadn't listened to this series in forever, and I wondered if I'd still like it half as much as I did back then. It was okay. I've definitely read better since, but it was still unique and kind of fun. 🌟🌟🌟

Shadows (The Rephaim #1)Haze (The Rephaim, #2)Shimmer (The Rephaim, #3)Burn (The Rephaim, #4)

The Rephaim series - God, I love this series. It makes me wish I was a half-angel bastard so I could travel the world in the blink of an eye and kick some ass while doing it. Gaby and Rafa will forever be one of my favorite couples but that whole cast of characters is just phenomenal. I really wish they'd release this series on audio so I could listen to it again and again...and so I could hear the accents. I imagine them while I'm reading, but it's just not the same. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Fire and Thorns series - One of my favorite YA fantasy series of ever and definitely well worth a re-read/listen. HECTOR FOREVERRRRRRRR!!!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Charley Davidson series, books #1-13 - I binged this series because I had nothing better on my agenda and I've had the first book on audio since I first got into audiobooks. So, I gave the series a chance finally and even when I thought it had jumped the shark and I was done, it would reel me back in because I just really loved all of those characters. One thing I will say: I'm so glad I unwittingly waited until all 13 books were released before diving in because those cliffhangers woulda killed me. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

I re-listened to my fave Mariana Zapata novels because, well, because I could: Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin; Kulti; Lingus; The Wall of Winnipeg; From Lukov with Love; and Wait for It. Whether you need a hot athlete to make you forget your troubles or just proof that love finds a way, these books are solid, happy-inducing stories. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Shattered Realm series - All four books in the spin-off to the Seven Realms series are finally out and my library had them so I binged them and I have zero regrets. I didn't love this series quite as much as the one about these kids' parents -- and not just because I had to read as some of my favorite characters died -- but it was still a really great companion series. I did hate seeing Raisa so diminished, such a shadow of her former self, but that's life, right? And seeing the baddies get their comeuppance again? Priceless. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!


  1. Wow...that's quite the list, even for two months! Nice going! There's literally only three of your titles that overlap my prior reads...and ironically two are by the same author! ADORED The Hating Game...LIKED 99 Percent Mine...and LOVED Matchmaking for Beginner's! Happy reading...and here's to work quieting down some!

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  2. I really want to read The Bride Test and I need to get to Matchmaking For Beginners. It's been sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to get around to reading it. I've just branched out from rereads a few weeks ago.

  3. Woah, lots of reading. I really want to read the Shade series. I read the first one, but never read the others.


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