Books · Review

Book Review: The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson

The Dog Share: Amazon.co.uk: Gibson, Fiona: 9780008385996: Books

Goodreads synopsis:

Suzy Medley is having a bad day…

… when a shabby terrier turns up at her door. Just like Suzy, Scout has been abandoned, although only Suzy has been left with a financial mess and a business in tatters thanks to her ex.

Suzy takes Scout in and her chaotic world changes in unexpected ways: strangers have never been more welcoming and her teenage kids can’t wait to come home to visit.

Then a chance encounter on a windy Hebridean beach makes things more complicated, because Suzy isn’t the only one who needs a friend.

Scout has plenty of love to go round… but does Suzy?


My thoughts:

First things first, the cover and title are a tad misleading.
I expected this to be heavy on romance. The cover makes the story seem like it’ll be a romance between people who dog share. It’s not. The romance is very very very minimal. I didn’t read the synopsis prior to reading, but it was marketed as a romance which I feel is pretty wrong.

There is a strong focus on family friendship – which I’m not mad about. Friendships are awesome and it’s great to read about people developing friendships. Family centred stories are great too. However, the cover doesn’t suggest that whatsoever.

That being said, I did enjoy it for the most part.
It was slow going at first – it could’ve benefited from editing down the beginning. I felt like the story took a while to take off. It was a little too slow for my taste.
It picked up around the 50% mark, the second half then flew by! It was a lot more interesting and didn’t drag as much.

I really enjoyed the setting also. A picturesque Scottish island sounds like a dream right about now. I wish I could just escape and have an adventure on some lovely island. I like learning about the island’s community and how close knit everyone and everything is. It was lovely!

As for characters, I can’t say I loved anyone of them. I didn’t feel overly connected to any of them, I wasn’t disinterested however. Main characters Suzy and Ricky were just fine. I wish there was more between them. I wanted more flirting and romance and there just wasn’t any.

Obviously, the best part was the dog. Who doesn’t love dogs?
Scout was definitely the star of the show (or book). He was adorable. Why am I in love with a fictional dog? I want a lil Scout for myself. However, despite the title, the dog sharing wasn’t really a big part of the plot. The dog sharing was mostly between Suzy and a her friend.

Rating: 3 Stars

Books · Diverse Reads · Review

Book Review: *Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli | Bookstagram Tour

*Mini review on Instagram. Full review below*

Goodreads Synopsis:

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.
But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.
Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.


My thoughts:

I’m going to be honest, the first half had me worried I wasn’t going to like it. It was slow and I struggled to be invested initially. The second half though!! Complete flip. I was hooked.

It’s a fun book. The teenage drama with crushes and such is always interesting to me. It’s so different to my teen years, I can’t relate but it’s interesting to read. I like the books focus on friendship rather than romance. I thought this would be romance-heavy, to my surprise it was more of a tale of friendship.

The setting of the theatre was interesting. I have never read anything that’s centred around theatre kids or school plays/musicals. The story is full of theatre kid antics, which is entirely new to me. I have never been a theatre kid, not even sure we had them in my school. The difference in schools and teenagers is so crazy to me. It all seems very fictional and not relatable. I guess that’s the culture difference between the US and UK.

The characters themselves, although completely unrelatable for me, were fun to read. It has a great cast of diverse characters, all were very unique and different. Each of the side characters were developed enough for me to know each one individually. I actually ended up enjoying some of the side characters more.

Kate is a bit of an annoying teen, as is Anderson… (am I becoming too old for YA?!) I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t love them. I did like their friendship though.
However, Kate, Anderson and their general group of theatre friends come across as so snobby! It was quite jarring. Very judgemental, they reminded me of ‘popular’ kids.

Even though Noah was supposed to be the annoying one, he was the star. I wish there was more of him. He was such a great side character!

My biggest complaint: the way these teenagers speak. f-boy/fuckboy. JUST STOP. It was AWFUL. It was so very overused. It was cringeworthy and could’ve been left out.

Rating: 3 Stars

*Disclaimer: Book was sent to me by Penguin/ PrideBookTours in exchange for a review/Bookstagram post. All opinions are my own.

Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert*

Act Your Age, Eve Brown Audiobook by Talia Hibbert - 9780062941299 |  Rakuten Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.


My Thoughts:
Oh my god. She does it again.
I loved the previous two books in this series, this is no different. It has the enemies to lovers and sunshine & grumpy couple tropes! It is just *chef kiss*

I listened to the whole thing in one day. I was seriously addicted. I was instantly hooked. Just like the previous books, it’s funny, swoon worthy and adorable. Talia writes the most amazing romance with no toxicity.*
*However, it does contain the typical miscommunication trope. This doesn’t bother me too much, but I know a lot of people dislike it.

As with the whole series, you can expect amazing representation. The books are both sexy and diverse. It’s such a refreshing experience. Eve, like her sisters, is another great woman protagonist. I absolutely loved her perspective. I love characters who are strong and outspoken, Eve is exactly that. She’s so funny and her banter with Jacob is just the best.

The characters feel so real. Eve and Jacob are both so likeable, though very different. I loved knowing more about Eve, she’s very different to her sisters Chloe and Dani. They’re all really relatable in their own ways. I love how Talia can make such amazing characters! There’s honestly not a bad character in this book (or the others).

If you’re looking for a light, fluffy but funny read, definitely pick this one up! (As well as the other two books in the series!)

Highly recommend the audiobook, the narrator is really great. I am super fussy with narrators, but Ione Butler was fantastic. She really captured the essence of the novel and characters. I would definitely listen to her again. (She also narrates the previous book Take a Hint, Dani Brown.)

CW: Does contain graphic sex scenes and sexual references

TW: Child neglect, Ableism towards autism

*Disclaimer: ALC gifted to me by Libro.Fm

Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Instant Karma Audiobook | Marissa Meyer | Audible.co.uk

Goodreads Synopsis:

Chronic overachiever Prudence Barnett is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.

Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed, love and hate . . . and fate.


My Thoughts:

Enemies to lovers, high school style.
I wasn’t sure I was going to like this, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews. However, I am pleased to say I really enjoyed it.

This is Marissa Meyer’s first contemporary romance, this genre suits her perfectly! I loved the enemies/rivals to lovers trope, it was well done. There was a bit of angst and reluctance going one. Pru really doesn’t want to fall for Quint, she doesn’t even want to like him. I love that kind of tension!

I think the main character, Prudence, will be hit or miss. She isn’t overly ‘likeable’ – but I think that’s part of the charm. She’s flawed, deeply so. She’s a teenager, she growing and developing, character wise. Teenagers are kind of annoying. To me she feels realistic. Pru has decent character development, she becomes way more likeable towards the end.

Additionally to romantic relationships, there are family and friendships explored. The family dynamic difference between Pru and Quint is a nicely done contrast. It’s nice to see friends and family have a bigger role in the story also, it wasn’t strictly a romance.

The Sea life/wildlife aspect was so cute!
I like Quint’s passion for sea life and the rescue center. It was a cute setting for romance.

Magic realism aspect – very small and minimal. Kind of underdeveloped. I didn’t really think it was needed? It was fun. Was it magic or coincidence? We never know.

Narrator:
As with Marissa Meyer’s other audiobooks, the narrator is Rebecca Soler, who I really enjoy. I liked her narration for The Lunar Chronicles, so already knew I would be fine with her narration. She really suits Marissa Meyer’s writing style. Rebecca Soler will forever remain one of my favourites for audiobooks!

Overall, a fun cute romance that is super easy to read/listen to and a fast one!

Books · Review

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic: 1: Amazon.co.uk: V. E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab:  9781783295401: Books

Goodreads Synopsis:
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


My Thoughts:

The writing – As usual, V.E. Schwab’s writing is beautiful. She writes very prettily, which is nice, but it does make for a slower read. Usually I prefer a faster pace for fantasy, unless it’s based on political intrigue/world building, we don’t really either here. However, it was writing amazingly, I expect nothing less from Schwab. Her writing is always gorgeous and lovely to read.

I can’t say I loved nor hated this book. It was an okay read. In my opinion it was nothing special, nothing bad either. I read this last month and honestly hasn’t left much of an impression on me. This is unusual for Schwab, she usually leaves some kind of impression, I still think about Vicious even years after reading it, I also read Addie Larue back in Jan and I’m still thinking about it. This book, however, the moment it was done, so was interest…

I like the worlds, the concept is pretty cool. V.E. Schwab comes up with such good ideas and concepts, but they always lack something for me. I just wanted a bit more from this book, as a first book in a series. It reads like a standalone, which is fine, but considering most of the book is a bit unmemorable there wasn’t anything particularly enticing me to continue the series. That being said, I own the whole trilogy and will continue it. I am interested to see where the story leads purely on the basis that the first one wrapped up pretty nicely, it didn’t seem to set up for anything else. I also am interested in learning more about the world and magic, hoping it gets developed more in the coming books.

Characters:
Kell: Definitely my favourite character and the most interesting. He seems like such a nice guy and his magical abilities are cool. I so wanted to know more about the antari and the different Londons.

Lila: I’m not a huge fan of Lila. I don’t hate her, but I don’t love her. She can be a tad annoying and tedious sometimes. I did like her interactions/relationship with Kell. Hopefully, I’ll like her more in the next one.

Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. It was an okay read.

Rating: 2.5/3 Stars

Books · Review

Disappointing | Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.



My Thoughts:

I have really mixed feelings about this, I find myself pretty disappointed.
The reviews I’ve seen have been absolutely amazing and the premise was so interesting and cool, I thought I’d really love it too. The more I think about it more I dislike it. It’s a real shame because it was one of my most anticipated books of 2020.

This is a super short book (less than 300 pages) I thought it would be a quick read. Although I finished it in one day, it wasn’t as binge-able as I hoped.

I’ve now read 5 Matt Haig books, 3 fiction, 2 non-fiction – there is a reoccurring theme. I really love his non-fiction, it resonates with me fully. His fiction on the other hand, always sounds amazing in theory to me, I really like his ideas and concepts, but the execution always lets me down. I was hoping The Midnight Library would break this cycle, unfortunately, it didn’t.

The Midnight Library has such an amazing premise and concept, which I really love and enjoyed that aspect of the novel. The writing was bland and boring – it wasn’t the easiest to read in terms of style or content.

Although I wasn’t super attached to Nora, as we didn’t really get to know her much, I could emphasise and relate to her mental state. I just wish there was a lot more insight to Nora. I feel like I barely know her even after finishing the novel.

The opportunity to see alternate lives in the library should’ve been more fun and interesting than it was. It found myself pretty bored at times. I kept hoping it would pick up and be amazing but it never did. I pushed myself through it, as it was short.

It deals with heavy topics, such as suicide and death, really good discussion points and the overall message is a hopeful and inspiring one. However, due to the lack of development of the protagonist, it really lacked depth for me. It was too brief and too impersonal for me to really feel connected.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Serious trigger warnings for this book. This book is one massive trigger for suicide and death.
If you’re depressed and don’t want to be further depressed, please stay away from this novel.

Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?

Blog Tour · Books · Review

Bookstagram Tour + Mini Review: The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe*

I just wanted to highlight my review over on Instagram for a Bookstagram Book Tour!
Would really appreciate it if you’d give it a like/comment 🙂

Review is from the caption of the photo, so it’s more of a mini review:

I’m not much of a thriller reader, but I’ve wanted to read it for some time. I thought a YA thriller would be a good place to start. It really was!

This book jumps right into the action, throws you right into the story and doesn’t slow down from there. I love the fastness of the plot, the short chapters intensified this further. It was a breeze to get through and I was thoroughly invested from the start.

This deals with some heavier topics, like trauma etc. The main character, Nora, has been through a lot of trauma, she’s a bit morally grey and broken but one hell of a fighter. Her character felt realistic and her growth was great to see.

Despite being a thriller, there is a romance. Which I really enjoyed, it lightened the tone of the novel, but didn’t slow the plot. Nora is bisexual, and the romance is f/f ❤️
Rating: 4 Stars

*This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to PrideBookTours and TeamBKMRK for the ARC!

Books · Review

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

“Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives–or to find strength in a very long one.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

My Thoughts:

TW/CW: Death, depression, grief, violence, attempted suicide, emotional manipulation, drug use, starvation, sexual acts for payment

When I first started this novel it was super slow and to be honest, I wasn’t really into it. I was really worried I wasn’t going to end up liking this book, the first 200 pages or so I thought this book was going to disappoint me. To my surprise, I ended up really enjoying this book, mostly the second half.
Although Schwab’s writing style is undeniably gorgeous, I found myself a little bored. I didn’t really see where the story would go. Until Henry showed up, then my attention was captured. I needed to know everything!

This is a very character driven novel, if you don’t like Addie then this would be a struggle to get through. It took me a while, but I did find myself attached to Addie and later Henry. This is a very slow paced novel, which isn’t typically my favourite thing. I do, however, really like character driven stories, so long as I can attach myself to the characters. Addie felt real, so very real. Schwab crafted such an amazing character and story; it feels like it should be real. You can tell how much emotion went into writing this.

I’m not typically a historical fiction reader, although I like history and learning about it, I prefer it in visual format usually. This book didn’t really change my mind, I found myself preferring the modern parts more than the flashbacks. It was interesting to see Addie through the different times, but the story felt stronger in the present to me. There were huge time jumps and lots left out, I feel like there should’ve been more interesting things going on in the past. I wanted a bit more plot, yes it’s character based, but there was room for so much more action and intrigue.

It’s a very emotive book. I found myself tearing up at parts (I didn’t fully cry) – I’m pretty heartless and don’t cry easily at books/tv/film but this hit me right in the feels. I had so many emotions reading this, it really does make you feel.

One of my complaints, is the repetition. There’s just so much repetition, it really could’ve been edited down a bit more. Like if I have to hear Addie has seven freckles like stars again, I’m going to lose my mind. It was kind of annoying. Also what Addie did in the flashbacks was pretty repetitive, which mad the book kind of drag in the middle.

Another complaint is the character development we see for Addie. You’d think over 300 years, living through so much would change a person, right? Well not Addie. She pretty much stays the same, which I find a bit odd.

Finally, the whiteness.
As a few other reviewers have noted this book is very white. In the novel, Addie spends all her time in Europe. There’s no POC mentioned or anything really. I knew this going in. It’s quite disappointing considering Addie lives through a lot of history, yet the history of POC is left out entirely. I was aware of this prior to reading, after seeing a lot of reviewers discuss this. So this didn’t disappoint me, as I already knew – but I’m still disappointed. If that makes any sense. ReadwithCindy makes some really good point in her discussion of the novel. It’s a tough call whether Schwab should have added POC. Like Cindy mentioned, she probably would’ve come under fire either way. At risk of writing POC poorly, Schwab didn’t write them at all.

Overall, it is a beautifully written novel. It has some really amazing aspects, but the pacing is a bit off. If you don’t mind a slower read, definitely pick this one up!

If the pacing hadn’t been an issue and it had a little more action in the flashbacks, this could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me. Alas, it wasn’t diverse enough and it was a little too slow going and took too long for me to be invested to gain a 5 star rating from me.

Rating 4 Stars

Disclaimer: I have previously worked with Titan Books. This was purchased by myself. All opinions are my own.

Books · Review

Conflicting Feels | Book Review: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (Spoiler free)

Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Mary E. Pearson:  9781250159014: Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.


My Thoughts:

I have no idea where to begin this review. I have such mixed feelings, I can’t quite tell whether I liked it or not.

The beginning is really good, I was surprisingly invested. It starts off interesting, an event happens and two characters are forced together – which was probably the best part. I wish that bit had been longer, once it was resolved it got pretty slow.

This book really suffers in the middle, the pace gets slow and the story gets pretty repetitive, I feel like there’s a lot of book with little going on. It would’ve benefitted being edited down a lot. The book is over 500 pages, feels longer and definitely only needed to be around 300.

The characters are by far the best part of this novel. The plot is meh, other than the enemies to lovers trope there wasn’t much else that was interesting. Unlike it’s predecessor, The Remnant Chronicles, there wasn’t any political intrigue or plot. It didn’t capture my attention like TRC did. I was invested in the characters, plot, world everything with that series. While here I struggled, I loved being back in the world and it was nice seeing glimpses of the old characters, particularly Lia. (Lia will forever be my favourite.) I don’t find this book really compared, in terms of characters or plot. I find the plot, characters and world-building so much more interesting, gripping and memorable in TRC. Dance of Thieves feels pretty bland, I don’t think it will stick with me like the first series did.

BUT
The ending.
The story almost nicely wraps up and yet there is a second book. So I am curious. I did really like the ending. The first 100 pages and last 100 pages were the best, if the middle had been shorter I think I would’ve enjoyed it more. I really wanted to love this book because it’s in one of my favourite fantasy worlds and the sequel to one of my favourite series. It was just meh. But I kind of interested to see where it will go, so I’ll likely pick up the sequel at some point.

Rating: 2.5/3 Stars

Review for The Remnant Chronicles

Blogmas · Books · Review

Book Review: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black | Blogmas Day 10

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air  series) Perfect Christmas gift for fans of Fantasy Fiction: Amazon.co.uk:  Black, Holly, Cai, Rovina: 9781471409981: Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

An irresistible return to the captivating world of Elfhame.

Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.

Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone . #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.

My thoughts:

After loving The Queen of Nothing and warming up to Cardan, who I initially didn’t like, I was super excited for this book.

It’s nice easy read and I really enjoyed reading it!
It’s less than 200 pages of short stories about Cardan set both before and after the main series. A lot of the pages were taken up by amazing illustrations, which I really enjoyed. I just wanted more! I loved what I got but the title is almost longer than the book.

I don’t have *tons* of thoughts on this book. I enjoyed the stories about Jude and Cardan together, I liked seeing their relationship and dynamic from his perspective this time. I wasn’t super into the stories with Nicasia, I’m not a fan of her character, but it wasn’t bad.

The writing – beautiful!
I expect nothing less. Holly Black is a great writer and her short stories are as good as her novels. (And I’m not usually a short story fan!)

Art – Seriously beautiful!
I loved the art style used in the book. It was so fitting with the writing style, it reminded me of fairytale books. So pretty! Worth buying the book just for the art!

If you’re a fan of The Folk of the Air books you must read this!

Rating: 4 Stars