book review

Book Review: A Void of Magic (Kennedy Rain #1) by Sandy Williams

a void of magicBook: A Void of Magic
Series: Kennedy Rain #1
Author: Sandy Williams
Age & Genre: NA/Adult urban fantasy

They trusted her to keep the peace between the paranorms. They made a mistake.

Kennedy escaped the family business when she turned eighteen. Now, an ill-timed vacation pulls her back to The Rain Hotel, the only known null zone on the planet. It’s a place where vampires can see the sun rise and werewolves can avoid the lure of the full moon. And it would be the perfect place for a paranormal wedding…if the bride wasn’t the local alpha’s daughter and the groom the scion of a vicious master vampire.

With a sexy werewolf determined to sabotage the wedding and dark forces threatening The Rain, Kennedy’s life is thrown out of balance when she’s forced to confront a past she swore to avoid. Ultimately she must choose: will she maintain the stability of the supernatural world…or will she destroy it.

My Rating: 4 STARS

My Review:

A Void of Magic is an urban fantasy about Kennedy Rain who is managing The Rain which is a sort of peace keeping hotel that is run by her family. There are all sorts of paranormal creatures in this book but the focus of it is on the vampires and werewolves who don’t get along well with each other but both need the hotel for different things.

I liked the set up of the world and I liked the description of the hotel and what it entails for the creatures that stay there. It has its on complex system which was interesting to read and even more interesting to read from a character caught in the middle of it.

Kennedy Rain is a human who manages the hotel and she has to deal with the paranorms who stay there. It took me a while to like Kennedy, she isn’t an unlikable character but she is very standoffish. We find out why that is as the book goes on but I feel I would’ve liked to have read more about her past with the hotel and her relationship with her parents.

I liked all the different character interactions and I was very intrigued by most of them. There is a mysterious quality to almost all of them that made me want to know more about them and theorise on their role in the overall story because their motivations are unclear.

Overall I really liked A Void of Magic, I liked the set up of the world and the description of the hotel. It took me a while to like Kennedy but I liked her interactions with the other characters and I’m excited to read more books in this series.

book review

Book Review: Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth

not my problemBook: Not My Problem
Author: Ciara Smyth
Age & Genre: YA contemporary

Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE.

But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of a life—seems refreshingly easy to solve. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help. By pushing Meabh down the stairs.

Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.

My Rating: 4 STARS

My Review:

Not My Problem is a YA contemporary set in Ireland and about Aideen who is trying to manage her home life and school life while also trying to help other people by doing favours for them.

I really liked Not My Problem and I loved Aideen right away. She has such a funny and caring personality and I like how she got on with other people. She is the type of character you’d want to be best friends with and I liked that even though she had this carefree attitude she still had her own problems underneath that she struggled with.

There is a focus on friendships in this book and I loved that, I also liked the differences of the friendships. It was interesting to see Aideen come to her own conclusions about the friends she has and what they mean to her. I loved the new friendships she made and her interactions with Kavi and Meabh were so fun to read.

I liked the romance and how it came about. I loved that Aideen and Meabh had an enemies to lovers type of romance and I loved seeing that relationship blossom and grow into something more, I think they work well together.

I thought the plot was intriguing with Aideen helping people in her school with their own problems and how it got her and her friends into all sorts of trouble and I liked how helping people with their problems made her face her own problems.

Overall I really liked Not My Problem. I loved Aideen and the friendships she makes throughout the book. I also thought the plot was very entertaining and I loved the romance. I think this is a great contemporary with a focus on friendships and the struggles that come with it. It’s also a really funny book that I loved reading.

book review

Book Review: Monstrous Design (Battalion of the Dead #2) by Kat Dunn

monstrous desingBook: Monstrous Design
Series: Battalion of the Dead #2
Author: Kat Dunn
Age & Genre: YA fantasy, historical

Following the thrills and spills of Dangerous Remedy, the Battalion of the Dead return in a dazzling new adventure, set amid the opulence and squalour of 18th-century London and Paris.

1794, London: Camille and Al are desperately hunting Olympe’s kidnapper. From the glamorous excesses of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the city’s seedy underbelly, they are caught in a dangerous game of lies and deceit. And a terrible new enemy lies in wait with designs more monstrous than they could ever imagine… Can Camille play on to the end or will she be forced to show her hand?

In Paris, the Duc is playing his own dangerous games. With Ada in his thrall, old loyalties are thrown into question. The Battalion are torn apart as never before, and everything – Ada’s love for Camille, her allegiance to the battalion itself – is under threat.

My Rating: 3 STARS

My Review:

Monstrous Design starts up where Dangerous Remedy leaves off with the Battalion split up and the characters in different places. I thought the distance between the characters would be for a short time but they are apart for most of the book so this book felt a little different from the first one.

This book focuses a lot on James and his family which I didn’t really care for in the beginning but I did grow more attached to him as you find out more about him and the reasons for why he betrayed the Battalion. I liked his character development in this book.

I did miss the Battalion being together and like I said before it made the book feel a little different than the first and even though I did still enjoy Monstrous Design I liked Dangerous Remedy more because I liked the group being together. I also felt the pacing was a bit off because of the separate storylines within this book.

I liked the writing and was interested to see what would happen to the characters. I did like Camille and Al together and liked how their friendship developed in this book. I didn’t like Ada and Guil’s storyline as much and didn’t fully understand the reasons behind the characters choices especially Ada’s.

Overall I enjoyed this book despite the different turns within the story and the separation between the characters. I do like Dangerous Remedy more but I still found this a good read and was surprised by the ending.

book review

Book Review: A Lair of Bones (Curse of the Cyren Queen #1) by Helen Scheuerer

a lair of bonesBook: A Lair of Bones
Series: Curse of the Cyren Queen #1
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Age & Genre: YA Fantasy

A deadly contest. A vaulting ambition. How far will one cyren go to win?

Mighty cyrens have ruled the ancient lair of Saddoriel for centuries. A cavernous fortress, a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels and levels, powered by magic and music…

From the moment she was born, Roh, the daughter of an infamous criminal, has been despised by her own kind. Restricted to the Lower Sector and forced to work as a common bone cleaner, she has always believed she belongs above: where lies adventure… and power.

Opportunity arises in the form of the Queen’s Tournament, a treacherous set of trials that could see the victor crowned ruler of the entire lair. Up against the most cunning, dangerous cyrens in all the realms, does Roh stand a chance?

My Rating: 4 STARS

My Review:

A Lair of Bones is a YA fantasy about cyrens and I really liked how the author described their own version of the Siren myth in this book. The cyrens in this world walk on land and have their own land hidden from humans. There’s a hierarchy among the cyrens within this book and Roh is one born in the lower sector. She ends up wanting a better life for herself so she competes in a tournament to try to become the new cyren queen.

I really liked A Lair of Bones, I liked the descriptions of the setting and how it made the tone of the book feel kind of eerie. The author has created an interesting world but it did take me a while to get used to how the cyrens lived and the general set up of the world but once I got more into the story I understood the world of it a lot better.

I thought the storyline was intriguing from the beginning and I liked Roh and her relationship with her friends. I found it interesting to see how far she’d go to try to win the tournament. I liked the tournament itself and liked reading about the different participants and why they wanted to compete. The trials themselves were exciting and brought out different sides to the characters. The history of the cyrens and their feuds with the humans was also interesting to read.

Overall I liked A Lair of Bones, it took me a while to get into the world but I liked the writing and was interested in the story. I liked the characters and thought the tournament was very exciting and thrilling to read, I’m excited to see what happens next.

book review

Book Review: A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

a dowry of bloodBook: A Dowry of Blood
Author: S.T. Gibson
Age & Genre: Adult paranormal, historical, horror

A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

My Rating: 5 STARS

My Review:

A Dowry of Blood is a reimagining of Dracula but instead focuses on his brides. It is told in letter form for Constanta, one of Dracula’s bribes, to Dracula. Constanta makes a point of not mentioning the name ‘Dracula’ as not to give him any more power over her.

A Dowry of Blood is such a beautifully written book, the writing is very captivating and lyrical. Almost every sentence or paragraph has some very poignant quotes that really make you feel the characters torment and anguish. From the very first lines of this book I knew I was going to love it because of the beautiful writing and I did. This book is so mesmerising, both the writing and the story of Constanta’s life make this book an unforgettable read.

The book is about Constanta’s thoughts and feelings as she is reflecting on her undead life and having the clarity of hindsight as she talks about her emotionally abusive relationship with her creator and her coming to that realisation over the course of the centuries that she is with him. I loved reading about Constanta and her strength and how she grew throughout the book. A Dowry of Blood discusses these important topics with the backdrop of a dark gothic setting that really sets the tone of the book.

Overall I loved A Dowry of Blood and thought it was a beautifully written book with such a mesmerising story. I loved how this book was written in a letter form as it made the book feel so personal and I loved the gothic setting of this book.

book review

Book Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

malibu risingBook: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Age & Genre: Adult Historical fiction

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over-especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud-because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own-including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

My Rating: 3 STARS

My Review:

Malibu Rising wasn’t what I expected it to be, I don’t know if I just had high expectations but I was disappointed by it. I was interested in the story but it felt very similar to Daisy Jones (which I loved) but not in the way of evoking similar feelings just that parts of the story felt the same especially the flashback scenes with the parents since those parts were about a singer trying to make it out on the road and the family he left behind, it felt too similar to Daisy Jones to me but it wasn’t as captivating as it.

I liked the focus on the siblings but I just didn’t feel as connected to them as I wanted to and I felt that the characters in this book all got on as if they were older than they were. It felt like every character had this kind of weight on their shoulders that made them seem decades older than they were.

I thought the setting was great. The descriptions of Malibu from the 50s to the 80s felt very vivid, I could really picture the scenes and settings of it and I loved that. I also loved how the family surfed together and had this connection with each other and the water.  The writing was still compelling even though I wasn’t as emotionally invested in this story as with the author’s other books.

Overall I was disappointed in Malibu Rising but I still liked some parts of it. I loved the setting and the writing is compelling but I found it didn’t pull on my emotions as the author’s previous books.