ARC REVIEW: All of Us Villains – Christine Lynn Herman & Amanda Foody

ARC provided by Tor Teen through NetGalley.

For a book marketed as a bloodier The Hunger Games, it was really lacking in the maiming and killing.

The premise of All of Us Villains is good. I was captivated by the synopsis and the magical tournament aspect and all that it entails was really intriguing. I kept seeing reviews calling this dark and bloody, but I think we read different books? None of the characters acted ruthless or unapologetically maniacal enough to be considered villains like the title suggests. I also struggled with the multiple POVs, most likely because I wasn’t invested in any of the characters other than Alistair.

The pacing felt off as well. It started out pretty slow and the action doesn’t really pick up until the tournament actually begins…which is almost halfway through the book. Then once the action started, it felt like the pacing and plot were moving too fast.

All in all, I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. I love both these authors so I was really disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this.

⭐️ ⭐️

ARC REVIEW: Iron Widow – Xiran Jay Zhao

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ARC provided by Penguin Teen through NetGalley.

There are so many exciting elements to Iron Widow which made me really excited to read this. First of all, the tag line is Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale loosely based on the first and only female Chinese Emperor. That alone made me immediately add this to my TBR. But also, it features mech pilots, fighting the patriarchy, and a polyamorous relationship.

“My body is mine and mine alone. I have chosen to use it for murder and vengeance. And I will succeed by any means necessary.”

Iron Widow started out strong and quickly hooked me into its story. Zetian can only be described as a badass. She’s hellbent on vengeance and is willing to do whatever she needs to to achieve those goals. She’s unapologetic and incredibly well-written. In fact, the strength of Iron Widow lies in the characters. Xiran Jay Zhao not only did a great job with writing her heroine, but the side characters as well are extremely fleshed out. 10/10 I would lay down my life for Li Shimin.

The plot throughout the book was very fast paced. It worked well for the first half of the story, but by the second half it only caused confusion. My biggest issue was that not much of the worldbuilding and science was not fully explained. Coupled with the fast pace, it felt like a whole lot was happening in the plot, but at the same time I couldn’t follow along.

“Female. That label has never done anything for me except dictate what I can or cannot do.”

I really loved the overall themes of feminism and the protogonist, Zetian. However, my brain started to get fatigued by the end of the book trying to figure out everything that was going on.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

ARC REVIEW: The Heart Principle – Helen Hoang

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

I’ve been looking forward to reading Quan’s story for a long time, and while I really enjoyed reading it, there was just something missing that kept it from being a winner. The Heart Principle was more of an emotional read than the previous two, but it still contained the light-hearted, romantic charm of the rest of the series.

Continue reading “ARC REVIEW: The Heart Principle – Helen Hoang”

ARC REVIEW: Portrait of a Scotsman – Evie Dunmore

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

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.

Continue reading “ARC REVIEW: Portrait of a Scotsman – Evie Dunmore”

ARC REVIEW: The Devil Makes Three – Tori Bovalino ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

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.