Sunday 30 July 2023

The Rebel King by Gina L. Maxwell ARC Review!


Title: The Rebel King (Deviant Kings #2)
Author: Gina L. Maxwell
Publish Date: July 25, 2023
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Source: Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC for review!

All work and no wicked play makes Tiernan a very unsatisfied king…

Of all the Verran brothers, Tiernan is the least suited to wear the Night Court crown. The Rebel Prince is happy with no responsibilities or accountability―just the freedom to pursue his own dark, lush pleasures in Sin City. Including his secret hunger for a certain smart-mouthed, fiery redhead.

Only, the possibility of having Fiona is stripped away when Tiernan is thrust into the one role he never king . As king of the Dark Fae, wanting―let alone pursuing―anything with a lower-caste fae like Fiona would shift from fun…to forbidden.

Now war is emerging from the shadows of Vegas, and Tiernan is caught between who he’s meant to be and who he wants . And somewhere in this maelstrom of lust, love, and rebellion is the key to the Dark Fae’s survival…even if the cost is more than he can imagine.

Penelope's Review

So this is the second book in the Deviant Kings series, each of which focuses on a different Verran brother. The first book was based on Caiden and Bryn, and now we get Tiernan and Fiona. While I did absolutely enjoy this book, I think I am in the minority of people who actually preferred Caiden's story. I'm not sure what about this book was a bit less appealing, as it is definitely action packed, but it just didn't leave me with the same satisfied feelings as book 1. Again, that doesn't mean it wasn't good, because it was, it just wasn't my favorite of the two.

I think my feelings maybe stem from the fact that the writing here felt a little more juvenile. We get alot of slang, emojis, and new gen speak - I think I read someone say Gen-Z speak in another review?? It sort of took away from the story for me a bit because that's not the vibe you get from the first book. That being said, I understand that Tiernan is more of the 'chill, rebel' brother, so sometimes his manner of speaking is true to his character, but a lot of the times it just seemed forced. Other than that, I did really like his growth throughout the novel from reluctant king to someone who is ready to break barriers for the good of his people. 

Fiona was also a great character, but I found that I liked her more in the beginning of the book than I did nearing the end. She was strong, independent, and snarky and while that didn't necessarily change throughout the book, I just found myself getting less absorbed with her character as the story unfolded instead of more. 

Overall, I think it was a good read, but there were aspects that I didn't like as much as I thought I would. I have a feeling that the next book, Finnian's story, is going to be my all-time favorite of the series. But we shall see...

Rating: 3/5 Devils!

Friday 14 July 2023

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen Book Review!


Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publish Date: April 6, 2006
Publisher: Viking Books
Source: Purchased my own copy!

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Penelope's Review

So Sarah Dessen has long been one of my favorite authors, and while I'm sure I read this book many, many years ago, I don't remember so I decided to pick it back up! It was everything I was hoping it would be. Sarah Dessen has this way of packing such a meaningful punch into the smallest of sentences. It's one of the things I admire most about her writing.

In terms of characters, we have Annabel, our main female lead and Owen, our main male lead. Annabel is so relatable, with her feelings of being stuck in the background, being agreeable to keep the peace, and feeling like she has to hide everything deep inside. I loved watching her find her voice throughout the novel, gaining confidence through her friendship with Owen. And Owen himself was... unexpected. I sort of thought we would get a troubled, rough around the edges type character but was surprised at the straight-forward, stand-up, no-nonsense guy we got. I feel like the growth of Annabel's and Owen's relationship was sweet and realistic and I was really happy with how things turned out.

Overall, I found this book really good, as with every other Sarah Dessen novel I've read. While it wasn't in your face and jaw dropping, it was more subtle in its intensity. But I actually kind of liked that. I think a lot of people will get a lot of different things out of this book, and I will forever recommend this author.

Rating: 4/5 Devils!

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Breakup From Hell by Ann Davila Cardinal Book Review!


Title: Breakup From Hell
Author: Ann Davila Cardinal
Publish Date: January 3rd, 2023
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy!

Miguela Angeles is tired. Tired of her abuela keeping secrets, especially about her heritage. Tired of her small Vermont town and hanging out at the same places with the same friends she’s known forever. So when another boring Sunday trip to church turns into a run-in with Sam, a mysterious hottie in town on vacation, Mica seizes the opportunity to get closer to him.

It’s not long before she is under Sam’s spell and doing things she’s never done before, like winning all her martial arts sparring matches—and lying to her favorite people. The more time Mica spends with Sam, the more weird things start to happen, too. Like terrifying-visions-of-the-world-ending weird.

Mica’s gut instincts keep telling her something is off, yet Sam is the most exciting guy she’s ever met. But when Mica discovers his family’s roots, she realizes that instead of being in the typical high school relationship, she’s living in a horror novel.

She has to leave Sam, but will ending their relationship also bring an end to everything she knows and everyone she loves?

Clever, hilarious, and steeped in supernatural suspense, Breakup From Hell will keep you hooked until the last page.

Penelope's Review

I love the idea behind this book, but unfortunately it just didn't live up to my expectations. While the plot itself is decent, I had some issues with pacing and characters. The book starts out pretty fast paced, but I felt like some parts later on started to drag a bit. I didn't love the romance aspect, unfortunately. I felt like there was a lack of chemistry between Mica and her love interests, and I wasn't really excited to delve deeper into her relationships because I wasn't able to form any attachments to the characters. Everyone around Mica was secretive and manipulative, and while I understand it was to protect her, I still would have liked to see some solidarity from her best friends. 

The writing style itself was ok, but could use a bit of work in my opinion. It felt very juvenile (and that's not just because it's a YA book, as I've ready plenty of YA with a more developed writing style). The ending wasn't my favorite - it's a bit rushed and kind of thrown together.

Overall, I think the book was ok, and there are definitely those who will love it, it just wasn't really for me. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Devils!

Friday 21 April 2023

Highland Beast by Heather McCollum ARC Review!


Title: Highland Beast (Sons of Sinclair Series #4)
Author: Heather McCollum
Publish Date: April 25th, 2023
Publisher: Entangled - Amara
Source: Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC for review!

Bàs Sinclair is the cold and brutal hand—and sword—of justice across the Highlands. He has one destiny: to bring fear into the hearts of guilty men. But when he is called to execute a midwife for her crimes, he cannot raise his weapon. For Bàs already knows this lovely, part-wild creature. After all, she gave him his first and only kiss…

Shana Drummond will do anything to protect her beloved sister. Now her cruel, merciless brother-in-law has called upon Bàs to have Shana killed for crimes she didn’t commit. She can’t reconcile the cold, lethal warrior before her with the gentle one she met—nay, kissed—only days before.

But mercy from Bàs can only lead to one thing: war among the clans. A war that will test allegiances, tear families apart, and challenge everything Bàs knows about himself and his heart. Because once this Highlander knows love, nothing will stop him from keeping Shana safe…even if it means destroying his own destiny.

Penelope's Review

I'm such a huge fan of this series and I've been looking forward to reading Bàs's story for awhile now. I'm so happy he's finally getting his turn. On the surface, Bàs appears to be cold and merciless, dedicated to his duty as executioner for Clan Sinclair. But deep down, Bàs is tormented with guilt and lives a life of solitude. When Shana whirls into his life, he doesn't know what to do with these new feelings and revelations. She gets under his skin and forces him to look deep within himself in a new light. 

I definitely liked the dynamic between these two, would have loved to see them together more! There were times when the Ivy/Edward/Erskine drama overshadowed Bàs/Shana's story but I still really enjoyed the plot. I also loved all of the animals! Bàs's love of animals was one of my favorite aspects of his personality. It added a really nice touch to the story. 

Overall, I think this was a really sweet story with some exciting plot elements. I liked the characters, and was very happy to have gotten Bàs's story. Very much looking forward to reading the sister's story!

Rating: 4/5 Devils!

Sunday 19 March 2023

I Know You by Russell Govan ARC Review!


Title: I Know You
Author: Russell Govan
Publish Date: June 1st, 2023
Publisher: Guernica World Editions
Source: Huge thank you to the author for providing me with an ARC for review!

Eilidh, bright, headstrong and feisty, gets sparkling exam results that confirm her university place. Her boyfriend reveals he has deceived her. In the ensuing argument she is knocked unconscious. She arrives in 1984, in an Ethiopian refugee camp, where she nurses a dying child, then a wounded aid worker before wakening back home in present-day Scotland. Three days later, at an isolated beauty spot trying to come to terms with her ex boyfriend’s betrayal and her experience in Ethiopia, she encounters Walter, who is in the early stages of dementia. He is there because of a tattoo on his wrist that simply states the date and location of the beauty spot. Eilidh recognizes Walter’s symptoms, takes him home and contacts his niece to come and collect him.

Over the following 48-hour period Eilidh finds herself transported to various locations in Europe and North America, and time periods from the previous fifty years. Each episode draws her further into an unexpected and unconventional romance. Eventually she travels to WW2 blitzed Liverpool and meets a fellow time-traveler who explains that Eilidh faces a decision with life and death consequences.

Penelope's Review

I Know You is unexpectedly captivating. The book starts innocently enough, with normal teenage drama and it seems as though one is settling in for a light, easy read. But the layers are deep, and the writing is spellbinding. What begins as superficial, quickly becomes a surprisingly riveting love story that spans time and country.

Eilidh is a time-traveler, though she doesn't know it yet. A messy break up ends with her unconscious and thrown back to another place and time, where she meets Walter for the first time. The ensuing days have Eilidh traveling back and forth to different times, and different places, but always with a common theme. Walter. Over and over, he's there, and as she learns more and more about herself and her relationship, she realizes she has a choice to make. 

I Know You draws you in, and leaves you wanting more. The time travel aspect is unique in that it occurs during the span of a single lifetime. Eilidh and Walter are alive in both the present and the past, but it's written well enough that the reader is never confused. You can't help but fall in love with the characters and root for their happy ending. 

I actually think this book could have been a little bit longer, and that's something I rarely say. Though it is a stand alone, and everything is tied up by the end, I would have loved to see just a bit more. A bit more of present day Walter, and a bit more of the two in November 1969 as that was my favorite time for them, just to name some examples. That being said, I'm happy with the book overall and so glad I picked it up!

Rating: 4.5/5 Devils!