REVIEW: To Love and to Hoax – Martha Waters (ARC)

48341787._SY475_Title: To Love and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

Had the publisher not reached out to me about this book, it probably would have missed my radar altogether. I haven’t seen the title on any upcoming lists, I hadn’t hear of this debut author, and in all honesty, one look at that cover and I would have skipped right over this (please can it get a makeover?). That being said, I am extremely thankful that I received that email about this upcoming rom-com, otherwise I would have missed out on this brilliantly written, laugh-out-loud funny, hate-to-love story.

What is this book about? To Love and to Hoax is a the best of two genres: rom-com meets historical romance. After an argument led to a falling out between them and cold detachment between the couple for the past four years, James and Violet begin a series of hoaxes and manipulation in the attempt to up-stage one another while insisting there are no feelings left between them. To Love and to Hoax is a second-chance romance story full of pranks, miscommunication, and a plethora of angst and sexual tension. Basically, everything I love best.

What did I like? Everything. I found both James and Violet to be delightful characters, each with their own problems that need to be worked through, and I loved watching their character growth both separately and has a couple. The antics the two of them create with the intention of vexing the other spouse were childish, yet totally believable. Although I am not married myself, I have heard from others on more than one occasion the kind of immaturity people get up to with their spouses that stem from a place of miscommunication and frustration.

The book also had a cast of lovely side characters! I’m really hoping the author decides to continue writing stories about James and Violet’s friends; I’d especially love a story about West and Sophie or Jeremy and Diana! Martha Waters is a debut author, but her writing was absolutely spectacular. I really look forward to reading more from her in the future.

What didn’t I like? Honestly, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about the novel is the cover. Literally that’s it.

Overall thoughts: I loved everything about this: the clever plot, the superb writing, the steamy romance, and the the humor. Martha Waters has written a fantastic hate-to-love rekindled romance that I’m so thankful was brought to my attention by the publisher. I really do think the book needs a new cover however, if only because a lot of people judge books by the cover (even though we swear we don’t) and I truly believe a revamped cover will up this book get the attention that it deserves.

WWW Wednesday #24

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!🎄 WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words in which the three W’s stand for:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

25614492WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

 

 


48341787._SY475_WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

 

 


42867745._SY475_WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Husband Material by Emily Belden

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Wintry Setting

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I was originally going to post this a couple of weeks ago for the freebie topic, but, well…time just got away from me 😆 There’s something so atmospheric and whimsical when reading stories with snowy, wintery descriptions and scenes.

25489134._SX318_1. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE
This entire series is an enchanting, magical story full of wintry landscapes and Russian history and folklore. From the vivid descriptions to the lush writing to the compelling characters, Katherine Arden writes a mesmerizing story that is perfect for curling up next to the fire during a snowstorm. And because this is a trilogy, it means more cozy nights spent reading this winter.

368968982. SPINNING SILVER
This is one of the most atmospheric, captivating stories full of European folklore and magical elements. It’s a very loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that follows the point of views of three very different girls. Naomi Novik did an amazing job writing this compelling story with its dark wintry setting. From the character growth of the heroines to the two hate-to-love romances, this book is a wonderful choice for a wintry read.

400460303. ECHO NORTH
Joanna Ruth Meyers does a fantastic job of retelling the fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon while blending in elements of Tam Lin to create a unique, whimsical story. I was completely enamored by the magic within the pages. I loved following the heroine’s journey as she attempted to care for and save the enchanted house after making a deal with a mysterious white wolf.

386407294. EAST
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairytales and this is one of my favorite retellings. The cold, snowy setting is the perfect backdrop and the spellbinding writing does an excellent job of drawing readers into the story. Everything about this book is so well-crafted and wonderful, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to spend a winter night in reading.

378540495. THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD
This is another wonderfully written story based on Eastern European folklore. This book was a story rich with fairytale elements and yet historical aspects were seamlessly blended in. It’s a reimagining of Goblin Market and the setting is so atmospheric and magical. I really adored this story and the complex, loving relationship between the two sisters.

40148425._SY475_6. WINTERWOOD
Shea Ernshaw really excels at writing deliciously atmospheric stories. She does a great job of tying in mystery with magic, and writing it with such beautiful words and descriptions. It’s no surprise, given the title of the book, that this book is set in mysterious, magical forest in the dead of winter snow storm. If you’re looking for some more creepiness in your winter read, then this is the book for you!

398635177. WHITE STAG
This is a much darker book and deals with some tougher subjects, but I really enjoyed this story about goblins and the Wild Hunt. The setting of this novel is placed in colder, harsher climate, but the added element of malicious goblins and the fantastical writing had a certain whimsical feeling to the story. This book would be great for someone looking for a more thrilling, darker fantasy to match a brewing snowstorm outside.

247636218. WINTERSONG
Another really well written story featuring goblins and loosely based on Goblin Market. This book was completely atmospheric and beautifully written. There was such a soft, lyrical quality to the story, and the wintry setting is absolutely perfect for the kind of tale the author was trying to tell. It would be easy to get lost within the pages of this emotional, compelling story.

347264699. SKY IN THE DEEP
Even though the focus of this story is more on the fantasy and fighting aspects, the majority of the book takes place during winter. There are many descriptions of the story’s frigid environment, snowy landscapes, and icy waters, and it’s very easy to imagine yourself fighting amongst the Riki or Aska clans in the dead of winter. This is one of my absolute favorite books ever so I am always recommending this stunning debut!

2695822610. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS
This book is less atmospheric than the others listed, however it’s set in a magical, Himalayan-inspired world that boasts of mountain climbs, blistering snowstorms, and avalanches. If anyone wants a fun, mountainous adventure without actually climbing any mountains this winter, then this is the book for you.

REVIEW: Diamond City – Francesca Flores (ARC)

Title: Diamond City (Diamond City #1)
Author: Francesca Flores
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter. 

What is this book about? Diamond City follows Aina, an assassin working for one of the worst crime bosses in Koshima. When presented with an opportunity to break away from the Blood King and start her own establishment, she takes on a high-profile assassination job. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and she gets caught up in a game of politics, conspiracy, and murder.

What did I like? This is a case where the book started out so amazingly but slowly lost steam as the story went on. I thought the world-building was clever: a world caught between industrialization and religion. The struggles between the two sides felt very believable and added depth to the story.

I also really loved Aina! It was refreshing to have an assassin that actually commits murders without qualms. Orphaned at a young age, she struggled to overcome poverty and homelessness, and is eventually “saved” by the Blood King, the leader of a ruthless gang. Speaking of the Blood King, Francesca Flores did an excellent job exploring the kind of power and emotional control people like Kohl have over impressionable younger girls such as Aina. Aina transitions from romanticizing him and their relationship to finally opening her eyes to the kind of person he truly is.

What didn’t I like? Towards the end of the book, the story started to lose a bit of steam. The action really picked up, but the conflicts were resolved quickly and without much fanfare. There were also a few aspects and “plot twists” that felt a little forced and a bit too clean for the kind of story this started out as.

Overall thoughts: I highly enjoyed this debut book from Francesca Flores! The world-building was unique and different from what I was expecting for a novel about a young assassin, and the heroine was truly the heart of this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series!