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: The Spanish Love Deception Author: Elena Armas Rating: ★★★★½
The Spanish Love Deception had me smiling like a fool while reading. Smart, funny, incredibly well-written and full of engaging characters, this book is a rom-com lover’s dream. There are so many fantastic tropes included here–fake relationship, office romance, there’s only one bed, slow-burn feelings–that it was impossible not to find this book absolutely delightful.
First and foremost; this is not a hate-to-love story! I keep seeing this book marketed as such and expected to go into this with a romance plot similar to The Hating Game, when in fact it was pretty obvious from the beginning that there is no actual hate between Lina and Aaron. Any of Lina’s animosity towards Aaron was due to a misunderstanding. It’s completely obvious to everyone (including readers) that he was into her from the get-go and sometimes her character seemed a little too dense.
“Had I been that bind?”
Yes, Lina. Yes, you have. Her complete lack of awareness in regards to Aaron’s words/actions/behaviors was so frustrating as a reader, but it made her realization at the end even sweeter.
The romance was perfection. From the writing, to the angst, to the sexual tension that was built so perfectly I thought my pages were going to spark and catch fire. There’s nothing I love more than some well written banter and dirty talk and Elena Armas delivered.
“I’ll give you the world,” he said against my mouth. “The moon. The fucking stars. Anything you ask, it’s yours. I’m yours.”
I’m not sure why I didn’t see this book on many upcoming releases lists, or why it’s not plastered across every Barnes and Nobles rom-com/summer reading display as it rightly should be. I honestly only knew about this book because I had seen some other people reading it on Goodreads when it was released. The Spanish Love Deception is nothing short of a perfect contemporary romance and deserves all the hype and then some.
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.