Portrait of a Scotsman was not my favorite book in the series, but it was still as fun a read as its predecessors. Evie Dunmore continues to weave a story full of plucky heroines, slow-burn romance, and themes of feminism.
My favorite aspect of this book was the romance (duh). Lucian and Hattie do not start out on good footing, and it really only gets worse before it begins to get better. I’m a sucker for the angst that arrives along with slow-burn and hostility-to-love romances and I was served a wonderful helping of it in Portrait of a Scotsman. I really loved following Lucian and Hattie’s journey together as they begun to understand one another better and deeper feelings developed.
Title: The Devil Makes Three Author: Tori Bovalino Rating: ★★★★½
Thank you to Page Street Kids for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley!
The Devil Makes Three promised dark academia and demons, and I am more than happy to report that it delivered on that promise! The eerie, atmospheric setting, descriptive writing, and compelling characters all come together to form a very impressive and thrilling read.
Tess is spending her summer working as the library assistant at her new boarding school. There she meets Eliot, a privileged posh student, and circumstances give her no other option than to allow him access to the off-limits grimoires hidden beneath the library. When the two of them accidentally release a demon, they must work together to save themselves and their loved ones.
The aesthetic of The Devil Makes Three is absolutely perfect. Tori Bovalino manages to seamlessly blend elements of contemporary, paranormal, and horror together to create a haunting story that can best be described as dark and creepy. The vivid storytelling makes it exceedingly easy to find yourself transported into the story.
The Devil Makes Three will give you chills, in all the right ways. This book is perfect for readers who enjoy dark academia, battling demonic powers, and eerie settings.
Title: A Dragonbird in the Fern Author: Laura Rueckert Rating: ★★½
ARC provided by Flux through NetGalley.
The premise of A Dragonbird in the Fern sounds amazing and I was really looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, a majority of the story fell flat and therefore it didn’t end up meeting my expectations.
The book has such an interesting plot: Princess Jiara must marry her deceased sister’s fiancé, the king of foreign country, meanwhile attempting to figure out who murdered her sister. Like, could that synopsis sound any cooler? The biggest issue is that a lot of the story didn’t feel fully fleshed out. The characters felt pretty one dimensional and could have used some more development. Plotwise, nothing really happens until the last quarter and by then it became predictable and a little rushed.
A Dragonbird in the Fern had such potential but fell pretty flat. There were still aspects that I enjoyed in the book, such as Jiara and Raffar’s relationship and the language barrier, but for the most part it was predictable and forgettable.
Title: To Sir, with Love Author: Lauren Layne Rating: ★★★★
ARC provided by Gallery Books through NetGalley.
To Sir, with Love is an incredibly sweet, light-hearted, fluffy romance. The book can easily be described as a retelling of You’ve Got Mail, and Lauren Layne did such an amazing job with it. The story left me feeling warm and gooey and fully believing in love!
I loved all of the nods to You’ve Got Mail and yet the story remained unique on its own. When Gracie first meets Sebastian, it’s animosity at first sight (at least on her part). However, the more time she spends with him, the more she begins to see him in a different light and begins to fall for him. I really loved how their relationship developed throughout the story and how perfectly matched they were for each other. The final “reveal” at the end of the novel and how Sebastian handled it was absolutely perfect and honestly gave me butterflies.
To Sir, with Love is the perfect romance book for anyone looking for something light, heartwarming, and adorable. The loose You’ve Got Mail retelling made the story extra fun and the book will leave you feeling giddy.
Title: Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1) Author: Elizabeth Lim Rating: ★★★
ARC provided by Random House Children’s through NetGalley.
Elizabeth Lim has written another whimsical story. As with Spin the Dawn, her talented writing brings a dreamy quality to this fairytale retelling. Six Crimson Cranes is an Asian-inspired retelling of The Wild Swans and I was very impressed how the author was able to create something wholly unique while still staying to the bones of the original story.
While I was interested in the overall story, there was a lot going on in Six Crimson Cranes. There are multiple different plot threads and storylines that were all happening simultaneously and, unfortunately, the book seemed to suffer for it. The many different elements and plots made it hard for the story to feel coherent or seamless.
This is actually the first book of a duology. I honestly feel like Six Crimson Cranes would have been better suited as a standalone. Most (although not all) of the plotlines were tied up by the end of the book. I’m not totally against a sequel, it just felt like conflict was fabricated to allow the story to continue when there was a perfect opportunity to wrap the entire story up nicely.