ARC REVIEW: Foul Is Fair – Hannah Capin

42595554Title: Foul Is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Rating: ★★

ARC provided by the publisher. 

What is this book about? The premise is amazing. This is a story about a group of teenage girls enacting revenge on a group of prep boys after one of the girls was assaulted at a party. The book is a loose retelling of Macbeth, which happens to be one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, with a little bit of inspiration from Heathers.

What did I like? I really loved the Macbeth retelling angle. The nods to original play are subtle, but so extremely well done. I also really liked that Jade and her friends were unapologetically the mean girls and owned it. There was no apologies for their behavior and they didn’t have a holier than thou attitude.

What didn’t I like? The first major issue I had with the book was the writing. To put it plainly: I couldn’t stand it. The scenes were very abrupt and the way the dialogue was written felt so stilted and unnatural. My other problem with the book was that a lot of the things that happened felt very far-fetched and unbelievable. I’m supposed to be believe that a group of (barely) sixteen-year-old girls were the mastermind behind multiple murders within the span of a week? That the main character would be able to successfully manipulate a boy into doing whatever she asked of him after one meeting? If the time frame had been extended or the criminal acts less severe, I think the story would have been more impactful to me. Yes, it’s fiction, however as a reader I can only suspend my belief to a limit.

Overall thoughts: The plot is a very clever retelling of Macbeth, but considering I almost DNF’d this like three times because I couldn’t stand the way it was written, I definitely did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped.

REVIEW: This Vicious Cure – Emily Suvada

46404266Title: This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil #3)
Author: Emily Suvada
Rating: ★★½

This Vicious Cure was one of my most anticipated releases for the year and therefore it pains me to admit how unsatisfied and disappointed I was with the conclusion to this trilogy. I was so excited for this release that I reread the first and seconds books–something I almost never do–because I loved them so much and wanted to fully enjoy the series all over again before starting this. Now I’m think that might have been a bad idea and perhaps that’s why This Vicious Cure feels so underwhelming.

What is this book about? This Vicious Cure picks up a little bit after the end of This Cruel Design. Jun Bei is back in control of her body, after wiping the memory of everyone from the past few months, and Catarina is trapped in their mind.

What did I like? Like the previous two books, the pacing was absolutely perfect. It starts out steady from the beginning, with just the right amount of action and forward-moving plot elements that easily kept me entertained throughout the story. There were also a few clever twists. I really loved finding out the truth about Catarina and her DNA!

What didn’t I like? This Vicious Cure is set through alternating chapters told through the points of views of Jun Bei and Catarina, and I’d be lying if I said I liked the change. I was not of fan of having to read half the book from her character mostly because we spent the first two books not having any kind of emotional connection towards her, and that didn’t change just because she now has her own chapters. I wouldn’t have minded a few chapters from her POV thrown in between Catarina’s, but more often than not I skimmed parts of her chapters because I just didn’t care enough.

I also felt really disconnected from the other characters as well. The interactions between Catarina and Cole, Leoben, and Anna were some of my favorite aspects from the previous books, and that was a something sorely missing from This Vicious Cure. And when they were together, it didn’t feel like a lot because the chapters would end abruptly and then jump back to Jun Bei.

And speaking of limited character interactions, the thing that was most disappointing was the complete lack of interaction between Catarina and Cole. After everything those two have been through together in the past two books, we are given one–O N E– scene with the two of them alone and having a conversation. Their feelings for each other are barely brought up, they hardly talk to each other, and their past is never touched upon. After the ending in This Cruel Design with Cole losing his memory and all their declarations of love, I was expecting……more? Instead, they exchanged probably less than fifty words throughout the book and we are given absolutely no closure for them. It honestly made me so sad and disappointed, especially since their relationship was one of my favorite parts from the series.

Overall thoughts: I would still absolute recommend this trilogy. It’s clever and unique and extremely well-written. But I wanted so much more from this conclusion than I was given, especially when everything regarding Catarina and Cole was basically swept under the rug and forgotten about.

REVIEW: Bringing Down the Duke – Evie Dunmore

Title: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)
Author: Evie Dunmore
Rating: ★★★★½

Another historical romance written by a debut author that absolutely thrilled me! Bringing Down the Duke had me hooked from the beginning and it was nothing short of a fun, page-turning story.  

What is this book about? Annabelle Archer, a poor vicar’s daughter, earns entrance to Oxford on a scholarship. However, in return for the scholarship she must join the women’s suffragist movement and she’s tasked with gaining the support of the Duke of Montgomery.

What did I like? There’s so much to praise about this book. The wonderful characters, the simmering attraction between Annabelle and Sebastian, the witty banter and humorous writing. Everything came together perfectly to create this very compelling story. The relationship that develops between Annabelle and Sebastian was amazing. The author did a fantastic job writing the tension and passion between the two of them and I really loved how they overcame the obstacles of their love.

What didn’t I like? I’m having such a hard time trying to think of something I didn’t like.

Overall thoughts: Bringing Down the Duke was a fun, delightful read about a bluestocking heroine with strong convictions and the duke she finds herself falling for. Everything about this debut novel was perfect and I really recommend this story for fans of historical romance!

ARC REVIEW: The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

34213299Title: The Kingdom of Back
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

“And then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.”

What is this book about? The synopsis is definitely a bit misleading (at least to me). I was expecting a fantasy story with musical aspects something along the veins of Wintersong. However, The Kingdom of Back is a historical fiction focused on the bond between siblings with some fantasy elements mixed in. The book follows the Nannerl Mozart and her relationship with her brother as they discover and cultivate their prodigious musical talents together.

What did I like? I’m a big enough person to admit that prior to this book, I was unaware of Wolfgang Mozart’s equally talented sister, Nannerl. Once I had read up about her on Wikipedia, I was able to better appreciate Marie Lu’s story. She gave such an important voice to Nannerl and I loved how true to history the book’s events were. Even the mention of the Kingdom of Back was really well done and did a great job giving insight to the possible thoughts and emotions Nannerl might have had about her success and place in the world compared to her brother’s.

What didn’t I like? The Kingdom of Back was a lot slower paced and longer than I had anticipated. Because it was lacking in action and focused more on Nannerl’s inner monologue, I struggled to push through parts of the book.

Overall thoughts: The Kingdom of Back was a totally different type of story than I had been expecting: the book is more historical fiction than fantasy. Marie Lu’s lyrical writing focuses on music and sibling love, however the book’s slower pace and lack of action failed to keep my attention.

REVIEW: Husband Material – Emily Belden (ARC)

42867745._SY475_Title: Husband Material
Author: Emily Belden
Rating: DNF @ 58%

ARC provided by the publisher through Netgalley. 

Unfortunately, I had to call it quits shortly after the halfway mark. I skimmed quite a few parts from the remainder of the book, so I have a fairly good idea of what happens and I’m sorry to say that had I finished it, my final opinion would have been just as bad.

What is this book about? Husband Material follows our protagonist, Charlotte, a widow who lost her husband five years ago from a freak accident. She’s made a new life for herself in LA, however, a misfortunate event causes the ashes of her deceased husband to appear at her front door five years later, along with the reappearance of his best friend. Do not let the fact that this book keeps showing up under the romance genre; Husband Material is a not a feel-good, lighthearted romance novel. I sort of feel like I misled in that aspect? Instead, the story is about grief, secrets, and forgiveness.

What did I like? Charlotte was a pretty decent character. I really felt for her throughout the story and the incredible circumstances she’s had to overcome.

What didn’t I like? The first issue I had was the overly descriptive writing. There were so many unnecessary specifics and I felt like the author kept name-dropping expensive brands just for the sake of it. A lot of time in the book was spent describing every little detail of the book and characters; I don’t need to know the color, type, and label of the pajamas the character was wearing – just say she was in pajamas in move on!

The “love interest” – if you could even call him that – was terrible. There was absolutely zero chemistry between him and Charlotte and I could not for the life of me even figure out why she would be with him or even like him?? There were hardly any genuine moments of tension or buildup between the two of them to convince me of any kind of feelings. Not to mention that he is a thief and a liar and a terrible person!! The title of this book is ironic because he is most decidedly NOT husband material.

Overall thoughts: Husband Material has been marketed as a romance book and so I was expecting an entirely different kind of novel. Regardless, between the overly descriptive writing and the horrible “love interest” this was not something I wanted to continue to read and ended up quitting halfway.