REVIEW: Royals – Rachel Hawkins (ARC)

Author: Rachel Hawkins

ARC provided by Penguin First to Read.

I had so much fun reading this. Royals is a light-hearted, funny, easy read that’s sure to entertain. I finished it rather quickly, and couldn’t help but wish the book had been longer. I don’t say this often, but this would make such a cute movie! 

I connected with Daisy from the start, and loved her sassy, headstrong personality. I also found myself a bit jealous of her situation: I mean, who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a group of young, attractive, amusing members of the Scottish aristocracy…le sigh. Daisy is apparently also a much better person than I am, because if my sister (and parents) acted that selfish and inconsiderate towards me, I would not be on speaking terms with them. I was glad that there was bit of a reconciling moment between Daisy and Ellie at the end, but it still didn’t lessen my loathing towards her sister. I really loved the interactions and banter between Miles and Daisy! We all knew what was going to happen by the end, but nevertheless, I still enjoyed watching it all unfold. If you like light, fun, entertaining reads then Royals is a book for you!

REVIEW: Over Raging Tides – Jennifer Ellision (ARC)

35900323Title: Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates #1)
Author: Jennifer Ellision
Rating: ★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Over Raging Tides had the recipe to be a great book: a ship full of lady buccaneers, an entertaining plot, competent writing, interesting characters, and fun dialogue. Unfortunately, in a year full of many other Young Adult pirate books (and also featuring female crews), this just didn’t stand out that much. 

The main issue is that the book is severely undeveloped. The plot is too fast-paced, there is hardly any world-building, and the characters don’t have any time for growth. The ending is also very abrupt; you’re in the middle of the story’s action on one page, and on the next the book is over. I understanding the appeal of a cliff-hanger, but the way this one was executed was too sudden. Over Raging Tides was not an unlikable book, I did enjoy reading it, but it was definitely premature and lacking. 

#ARCstravaganza: Nyxia Unleashed – Scott Reintgen

Happy Monday! #ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post.

About the Book

35424762Title: Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Release: July 17, 2018

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces — Babel and the Adamites — with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?

If you guys haven’t read Nyxia yet, I totally recommend it if you like science fiction books! I loved it and I’m really excited to read the sequel!

REVIEW: Song of Blood & Stone – L. Penelope (ARC)

36347830Title: Song of Blood and Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1)
Author: L. Penelope
Rating: ★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

There were parts about Song of Blood and Stone that I liked, and there were parts about it that I didn’t like. The intriguing synopsis (and the gorgeous cover, I’m shallow like that) is what first piqued my interest, and I was excited to be approved for an advanced copy. As I began reading, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this is actually a New Adult novel in the Fantasy Romance genre, not a Young Adult Fantasy. I keep saying there needs to be more NA Fantasy books!

One of the better aspects of the book was the plot; it was straightforward, with no unnecessary drama added. The story was not entirely unique, however, and loosely followed the same formula as many other fantasy books. But even with that being said, I was still entertained enough to want to continue reading to see how everything would be resolved by the end. Another really part of the story were the diverse characters and the relationship between Jasminda and Jack. The author casts a very realistic portrayal of their relationship and the hardships they had to face to be together.

My biggest struggle with Song of Blood and Stone had to do with the world-building. I spent a majority of the time confused about the setting and the world. At first, it reads like a typical historical fantasy, and then suddenly there are mentions of electricity, phones, trucks, and airships. Every time a more modern invention was mentioned, it completely threw me off. I think the world-building needed to be developed more fully. I also wish there had been a better explanation of the magic system and Earthsingers’ abilities. I finished the book and still wasn’t sure what they could actually do and how.

Because of the combination of an unremarkable plot and undeveloped world-building, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had been hoping. Had there been either a really unique and gripping plot, or stronger world-building, I would have enjoyed the story a bit more.

REVIEW: Orphan Monster Spy – Matt Killeen (ARC)

35575184Title: Orphan Monster Spy
Author: Matt Killeen
Rating: ★★★

ARC provided by Penguin First to Read.

“I am Ursula Bettine Haller, she answered. Good little, dumb National Socialist monster. Nobody’s enemy. Everybody’s friend.”

I love historical fiction and books set during WWII so when I read the synopsis for Orphan Monster Spy, it sounded exactly like the kind of book I would want to read. The plot was well done and intriguing, and I was interested in the characters – especially Sarah – but I feel like a lot of things were just glossed over in the story. Parts of Sarah’s history were briefly mentioned and then never brought up again, which left me with a lot of questions by the end of the book. For a majority of the story, we follow Sarah as she attempts espionage by attending a Nazi boarding school for girls. There isn’t a whole lot going on during these parts, other than the horrifying conflicts and struggles Sarah has with the teachers and fellow students. The action picks up towards the end of the book, and that’s when things really become chilling and intense. The events in the last portion of the story are disturbing, and yet I didn’t want to stop reading. The story starts out fast-paced, slows down for a good chunk of the book, and then picks back up again.

Matt Killeen clearly put a lot of research and effort into writing a historical fiction novel full of details and accuracies. Orphan Monster Spy is an engaging story, but I think the book moved almost a little too fast at times and left a lot of loose ends and questions after the ending for me to be fully captivated by it.