ARC REVIEW: The Prisoner’s Wife – Maggie Brookes ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Untitled-1Title: The Prisoner’s Wife
Author: Maggie Brookes
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley. 

The Prisoner’s Wife was inspired by a true story–and a shocking one at that. The story centers around Izzy, a Czech farmgirl, and Bill, a British prisoner of war. After falling in love and secretly marrying, Izzy dresses as a boy and the two run away together, full of desperation and hope, but are found by the Germans and sent back to Lamsdorf, a German POW camp. Now they face an even greater ordeal as they struggle to keep Izzy’s identity hidden in order to save her from being discovered and shot.

The writing captivated me from the beginning. It’s hard not to become invested in Izzy and Bill’s story. I really loved the transformation of their characters; at the start of the book they are naive, blindly in love, and make the brash decision to run away, however, this changes as they two face more and more difficulty. Maggie Brookes is an incredible writer and the desperation and bleakness felt by the character bleeds through the pages and into the reader. It’s not an easy book to read; this is a book about survival during one of the darkest times in history.

My only complaint is that I was looking for more from the epilogue. After everything the characters (and readers) are put through it would have been nice to have had a glimpse at some sort of happiness for them in the future.

The Prisoner’s Wife is an remarkable debut inspired by a true story. It’s a harrowing tale about maintaining love, hope, friendship, and perseverance during incredible hardships. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a breathtaking, poignant story.

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2020

February was a pretty good reading month! Because of the holiday and my participation in the Bookish First’s Valentine’s Day Bingo, I read a lot of contemporary romance and I believe that’s why I had such a great time with books this month.


44280868ALL THE STARS AND TEETH: This a fun, adventurous story about the heir to a kingdom joining a cast of vastly different characters in order to prevent an evil force from destroying their world and regaining what they’ve all lost. This book was not short on action, that’s for sure. And the pacing was executed perfectly. It never felt like the plot was stalling or that unnecessary pages were spent on passages of time.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

49366204._SX318_SY475_THE BEST LAID PLANS: Ladies and gentleman, I don’t believe it’s too early to say that I have found one of my favorite reads of the year. The Best Laid Plans was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. Basically, all you need to know is that it contains best friends-to-lovers, unrequited pining, delicious drama and lots of angst!  ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst.  [review]  ★★★★★

AlwaysNever_BOM_4p.inddALWAYS NEVER YOURS: Wherefore art thou, Romeo? I loved that Megan was unapologetically flirtatious and “boy-crazy”. Every relationship she’s been in ends with her boyfriend finding the love of his life while they’re dating, and instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for herself, Megan is carefree and just has fun with her dating life. Which makes it even more special to see the bond that develops between her and Owen.  [review★★★★

39216077._SX318_EMBER QUEEN: This was such a great finale to a series that I have absolutely loved. The hard part about trilogies is that many times one of the books either lags or weakens, but that never happened with the Ash Princess trilogy. The third book finished strong and wrapped up the plot in a way that felt complete yet realistic. For a book that is 500 pages long, I was actually surprised as to how fast the plot moves. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  ★★★★

49538360UNDERCOVER BROMANCE: As with The Bromance Book Club, the idea of a book club for men who unashamedly enjoy romance novels and use the “knowledge” they learn from said romance novels to better their love lives is amazing and Lyssa Kay Adams knocks it out of the park. This story totally changed my opinion about Braden Mack: there’s definitely more to him under the surface of easy-going charm and we need more men like him in the world!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

44646004._SY475_THE WILL AND THE WILDS: This was such a unique fairytale fantasy story! After enlisting his help, a young woman works together with a demon to break the magical pact they had created to save both their lives. I flew through the pages. I loved the built up romance between Maekallus and Enna and how it stemmed from the trust and understanding they had to slowly develop first. I think this is my favorite Charlie H. Holmberg book!  ★★★★

40950392THE STARS WE STEAL:  My favorite thing about this book is the sci-fi retelling of Jane Austen’s novels. I have to admit that I’ve never read Persuasion, but that didn’t stop me from understanding the plot of this story or the nods to the original. I think that Alexa Donne did a fantastic job writing a unique and clever twist on the classic novel and making the story her own. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys subtle Jane Austen retellings.  ★★★

46404345CHASING LUCKY: Usually I really enjoy Jenn Bennett’s books, but this one was very disappointing. I didn’t like any of the characters, the plot failed to keep my attention, and I found parts of the story a little ridiculous. Some parts were still really cute and I enjoyed, which is why I didn’t completely hate it, but it was definitely not my favorite and fell short to the other stories I’ve read by this author.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★½

45891343THE UPSIDE OF FALLING: This book is about two teenagers who decide to fake being in a relationship for their mutual benefit. I mean, is there anything better than a fake-dating that turns into real feelings kind of book? Unfortunately, although I loved the premise of the story, the rest of the book didn’t do it for me. The first major issue was that the pacing was extremely fast, especially for such a short book. My other issue was there wasn’t enough to convince the reads as to why they need to be in a fake relationship. It happened just for the sake of the book.  [review]  ★★½


OTHER

Blog Tour: Foul is Fair | Favorite Young Adult Contemporary Romances | WWW Wednesday #26 | Blog Tour + Giveaway: All the Stars and Teeth | The ABC Book Challenge W

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2020

Welcome to 2020! 🎆 I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start. My reading is going good so far! It’s also my last semester of nursing school so I’m both nervous and excited about the next few months 😬


41150487._SY475_RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE: This was such a warm, amusing story about self-discovery and an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance between the son the President of the United States and the Prince of England! Alex and Henry were such soft, tender-hearted men and I felt giddy the entire time as their relationship and feelings unfolded between them. Some parts of the book dragged and some of the political aspects were exaggerated and unrealistic, but otherwise I really enjoyed this book.  [review]  ★★★½

34213299THE KINGDOM OF BACK: I was expecting a fantasy story with musical aspects something along the veins of Wintersong, however, this story more focused on the bond between the siblings Wolfgang and Nannerl Mozart as they discover and cultivate their prodigious musical talents together. Honestly, I was a tad disappointed by the lack of fantasy elements, but enjoyed the history lesson this book provided regarding the Mozarts.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★½

43521785BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE: 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 author did a fantastic job writing the tension and passion between Annabelle and Sebastian. This was another historical romance written by a debut author that was nothing short of a fun, page-turning story.  [review★★★★½

44890039LOVE HER OR LOSE HER: This was a second-chance romance and falling in love all over again with your spouse. I loved watching Rosie and Dominic “relearn” each other’s love language and figure out how to better communicate and what needed to be changed in order to grow together and fix their marriage. I didn’t end up loving this one as much as I was hoping because I struggled with Dominic’s character.  [review]  ★★★½

44281049LUCKY CALLER:  I’m usually a huge fan of Emma Mills’ books, but this one was just okay. It centers around a group of students forced into a group for their class project and working together to form a radio show for their high school. I did really enjoy the relationship between Nina and Jamie, but I wish the angst and tension between them had been built up a bit more. All in all, not my favorite, but still a heartwarming story.  ★★★

46404266THIS VICIOUS CURE: It pains me to admit how unsatisfied and disappointed I was with the conclusion to this trilogy. I absolutely LOVED the first two books in the series. I really disliked reading half the book through Jun Bei’s POV, and the complete lack of interaction between Catarina and Cole left a lot of unresolved tension and plot so I finished the book feeling immensely sad, not hopeful.  [review]  ★★½

45045129TWEET CUTE:  This was such an adorable story! Two teenages pitted against each other on opposing social media accounts but falling for each other in real life? Yes, please! The story was told through both Pepper and Jack’s POVs and I thought it was an excellent choice. I loved reading the story from both their perspectives. I highly recommend for anyone looking for a fun, quick, heartwarming book!  [review]  ★★★★


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WWW Wednesday #25 | Top Ten Tuesday: Books Covers Featuring My Favorite Animal | The ABC Book Challenge – V | Blog Tour + Giveaway: Beyond the Shadowed Earth | The ABC Book Challenge U

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.