Book Review – In Five Years

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall Rating: 🖤🖤🖤

I have never read a greater hook than the one I read in, ‘In Five Years,’ by Rebecca Serle. Dannie Kohan goes to sleep one night engaged, and wakes up five years in the future, getting a small glimpse of a moment in time – but with an entirely different man than the one she became engaged to. This sets off a chain of events that forever impacts Dannie’s life, especially when Dannie actually meets the other man from her dream.

The fantastic hook and premise set far too high of an expectation for me, and as the book played out, I found myself disappointed and wanting. I thought I was opening up a dynamic love story, but it turned out to be a sad tale of friendship, more than anything. Had Serle labeled their work as contemporary fiction, rather than the time-travel romance tale it was marketed as, I think this would have prevented such the let down that I felt.

As to the beautifully wonderful things that Serle did fantastically, the structure of the novel was quite intriguing, as the reader already knew the ending. The real reason I kept reading was to figure out how Serle masterfully tucked together an intricate web of a story, towards the ending revealed to us from the very beginning.

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Book Review – Phoenix Unbound

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall rating: 🖤🖤🖤.🖤
Romance rating: flexible 18+
I went back and forth on how to rate this book, and I struggled for a while on putting my finger on exactly what it was that pulled this book back from being rated 4 stars. Grace Draven cultivates immediate intrigue in the first chapters of Phoenix Unbound, and I found myself turning page after page eagerly. The middle began to lull for me, and the pacing slowed. The characters are compelling, so I continued reading towards the ultimate crescendo of the novel, and JUST when I thought Draven was going to pull the rug out from under my expectations as a reader, the direction shifted and the novel tied together in a wholly unexpected way. I think this would have worked if the twist had felt more planned, and less crafted by happenstance. I feel there is a difference between a plot twist, and finishing a series with an unexplained bang – just to have some sort of ending. For those that have read the book or intend to, I am speaking of the very, very end.

Some of the best features of this book were the world-building and the deeply rich lore. Draven created an immersive world that is rich in its flavor and surroundings, and I found myself enraptured by their depiction. While this book might not be one that I purchase for my personal collection, I would certainly recommend this book to others if they are fans of fantasy and compelling backstories for their female heroines.

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Book Review – Sign Here for Horns

Sign Here for Horns by V.K. Ludwig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I say I woke up on the morning of November 16th with zero intention of purchasing an adult genre sci-fi alien rom-com with endearing characters and quick-witted dialogue, I MEAN IT. Seriously. I am generally not a fan of the alien romance subgenre, but I’m pretty sure that V.K. Ludwig has converted me. After seeing it recommended twice on several online forums, I figured it couldn’t hurt to take just a peek into the sample. I thought it couldn’t hurt to see what all the fuss was about, right?

Well let me tell you, I was so, so wrong. The sample was so chuckle inducing that I found myself purchasing the ebook. The female protagonist, Lilly, was instantly relatable, and the love interest, Jax, extremely likable. It has a few plot twists, with a HEA type of ending.

My biggest wishes are that there were more world-building and deeper plot beyond the chemistry between the two characters. There is obviously a colorful background that this story took place within, and the sub-plots were brief enough to give a small glimpse into the world around them, but I found myself wanting a little more.

I’ll leave my review off saying that I have followed this author on Goodreads and Instagram, and would likely purchase another of her books without having to read the synopsis. If you’re into chuckle inducing, R-rated rom-coms, I don’t think you can go wrong with this author.

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Book Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the moment that readers are introduced to Feyre, we are immediately immersed and enmeshed with a strong female lead who has been shouldering the burdens of the world on her shoulders. I sympathized with Feyre, and really came to root for her as she struggled to make sense of the Fairy world that she unknowingly threw herself into.

The characters don’t quite have perfect chemistry, but now that I am well into the second book I believe that that must have been purposeful. I’m glad that I waited to read the second book to rate the first one, because I think it better informs what the first book actually is intended to be for the reader. Because a Court of Thorns and Roses was so reminiscent of stories like beauty and the beast, I really found myself wanting to love the love story. There were a few plot twists that didn’t quite make sense but against the backdrop of the second book, I’m sure in the series some of these unexplained twists will come to light. I would not call this book a ‘cozy’ love story at all, but it’s very well written, and the characters extremely believable and relatable.

Overall rating: 🖤🖤🖤.🖤
Romance rating: flexible 16+

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Book Review – Serpent & Dove

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Haunting. Enchanting. The perfect mix of magic, love, and loss.

From the moment that the reader becomes acquainted with Lou, we understand that there is something unique and special about this world we are being introduced to. Thrown immediately into a secretive operation between Lou and her friend Coco, we become intimately familiar with the interworkings of the pair of witches.

Serpent & Dove has a pleasant and attractive hook, that constantly pulled me in. I was very nearly halfway into the book before I could even blink. From the moment I opened those pages, I was championing Lou and her seemingly hopeless attempt to escape and be free. Lou is incredibly relatable. Her assertive personality and quick wit pair well with her haunting backstory. I would love to be able to sit down to dinner with Lou.

The plot twists in Serpent & Dove held me constantly on edge. Shelby Mahurin weaved a masterful love story, mystery, and action/adventure sewn onto the backdrop of what I could only compare to 18/1900’s London. Her scenes were vivid, and her story compelling.

I have already reserved the sequel, Blood & Honey, at my local library, and I have a feeling that I will have to own a physical personal copy of Serpent & Dove in the very near future. If you are a fan of drawn-out romances embedded within a colorful plot, I would HIGHLY recommend Serpent & Dove as your next read.

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Book Review – Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Madeline Miller quickly made my charts as a favorite author with her retelling of the Greek mythology of Circe, daughter of Helios, the god of the sun. Miller portrays Circe as being the outcast of her own family, as well as an outcast from the gods themselves. Circe finds no true home for herself until she is sent to live the rest of her days on a deserted island. ⁠

It is in her solace that Circe begins to find who she is as an individual, apart from the disappointment forced upon her by her father, and apart from the wariness of the gods. Her tale is weaved with many familiar faces in Greek myth, such as Icarus and Odysseus. ⁠

The journey of Circe’s mending heart seemed to reach out and heal something within me, too. I walked away from this novel feeling as if the world might be both a little brighter and a little sadder, all at the same time. If you are a fan of Greek mythology and classic retellings, or have a penchant for subtle romances, you will enjoy this novel!⁠

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