Happy Review Thursday guys! I am still really behind on my reviews so I thought I would do another one of these mini review posts. Although, my mini reviews have actually been getting longer and longer recently because I have been making my Goodreads reviews more detailed. Because of this change I’m going to stop putting the books blurb since this would be a decade long if I did. Plus, I think it’s getting a little crowded and hard to read with them there. I will link to Goodreads as per so that you can read the blurb if the cover, name, author, my rating or my review interest you into finding out more. As always my reviews are SPOILER-FREE so don’t worry about that!
I was sent some of these via Netgalley. As I did get them on Netgalley, some of them are not actually out yet – but I will link to their Goodreads pages so you can find out when they do come out or if they already are. The ones I received via Netgalley will have (N) beside their title.
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: I could probably count on one hand the things I actually liked about this book…maybe less than one hand. And yet somehow I also find myself wanting to read the next in the series.
Don’t get me wrong – this was by no means a good read.
The pacing was so far off it was practically painful – over 250 pages of this book felt completely unrelated to the plot and it was only a 375-page book.
There were some questionable writing choices, ranging from jokes that didn’t land and just made me uncomfortable to the MC’s best friend defending and rationalizing a physical assault because the guy was hot.
The romance was so insta-love it hurt. Seriously, one minute he is flirting and teasing and definitely trying to kill her but is in no way actually interested because she’s dull AF with no redeeming qualities…and the next he loves her and is willing to do all these very unbelievable things to save her?!?! I mean what?
The last 100 pages were decent. The plot was good and intriguing. The questionable writing choices seemed to disappear and the characters didn’t seem as dull when they were kicking ass.
So much of this book left me feeling meh or making my skin crawl. And yet? Somehow I want to read on? How the hell there is meant to be another 3 books in this series is beyond me because that ending was pretty much wrapped up and Nora has no character or plot. She could genuinely be removed from the story and everything would probably still turn out the same…and it’s HER story…so that just shows how questionable this is.
This book has me all sorts of confused.
Matched by Ally Condie
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: This was a hard one to rate. In the end I am going with 3.5 stars.
I have tried to read this countless times and I finally managed to finish it.
The characters and the writing are stiff and flat for probably the first 100 pages which is why I struggled so much with getting started in previous attempts. But once you push through that you see the characters develop and improve, and the writing become less forced as Cassia begins to fight the world around her. The writing by the end is still not really my cup of tea but it’s greatly improved on the early chapters.
The plot is definitely a slow built. I would say nothing really happened of much significance until the 70% mark when things picked up, only for them to die down right at the end of the novel. Slow build novels usually end with a cliff hanger to entice you to pick up the sequel despite how slow the first was. But this didnt do that, it had a few exciting chapters only to dull at the end. And the last minute mention of war, which hasnt been discussed at all in the book until that line feels forced and fake.
The only real salvation that made me enjoy reading was the hiking scenes with Ky and Cassia. They were heartfelt and sweet and gave a beautiful glimpse into the restrictions of their lives without the labourious ways they were introduced to the reader in other parts of the story.
Despite this less than glowing review, I am going to read the second one because of Ky. And partly because of Xander. They were the only characters that seemed to have depth to them and i want to see that develop more.
Crossed by Ally Condie
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: This was really no better than the first. If anything it might have been worse. I had higher expectations because the first got better as it progressed but this one was just a whole load of nothingness.
If I had to use one word to describe this series it would be vague.
Firstly, barely anything happens anyway, so its very dull as there is no plot to intrigue you, writing to motivate you or characters that grip you or care about so it just leaves you feeling meh.
But secondly, the little plot that does actually occur is barely explained. The writing is so so so vague. Why are half the responses to a conversation in this book, “I Know” Despite the questioners sentence not being finished. You (the writer) may know what you mean but the reader has no idea what your thought process is unless you give them something a little more than, “I know”.
What is a sorter and why cant computers do it?
What is the enemy and why is the war not talked about for something that’s killing loads of people?
And that’s just some of my initial thoughts. There is nothing that is ever fully explained in this book, including the thoughts of the characters. Suddenly Ky gains all of this random guilt over his parents in the last chapter to explain why he’s been a douche… Um no! We need characters to develop not just have random flaws thrown in to explain crappy character planning.
The only things I preferred about this book to the first is there were Multiple POV’s which kept a very dull book mildly intriguing because of the alternating perspectives. And also that there wad a better flow to the arc of this story compared to the first (which ebbed between very dull and then exciting) while this just stayed dull majority of the time throughout.
Safe to say I won’t be picking up the final novel in the series despite already owning it. It annoys me to stop so close to being done but its so much longer and I can only take so much of bad writing, dull plot and flat characters.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: This was a fun read.
I really liked the writing and the concept.
The characters were fun and I loved the dual POV’s.
Where this fell down for me was the plot. It didnt feel like there was much driving the plot (until maybe the last 75 ish pages which were just perfection!) But prior to that it had been an enjoyable string of small moments but like I said, there wasnt really an overarching plot and the characters didnt really have a goal other than whatever was the immediate action in the chapter. A larger and more tangable plot tying everything together was definitely missed. If there has been more of an effort in hunting them for example but a lot of the book was just cute romance scenes (which i dont mind) but the lack of drive and intrigue is what kept it from a 5 star read.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austin
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: I thought I would enjoy this more than I did. I really liked Pride and Prejudice, and I’m a lover of romanticism period dramas. But i felt like this missed the mark a little. It was very drawn out in the early chapters and then seemed to rush through the conclusion only a couple of pages from the end which annoyed me.
Plus, I don’t like who she ended up with but, thats probably just a thing of the time.
Other than that, I liked the writing and I thought the premise was decent.
Fearless by Kaylene Winter (Gifted by Xpresso Books Tours)
Star Rating: ⭐
Review: This was clearly not it for me, but I will start with the things I liked so we start on a positive note.
Things I liked…
RONNIE – I liked her most of the time. Well, let’s say 75% of the time. She was fun and I loved her determination. Yes she was a pain in the ass occasionally and did some questionable things to further the plot rather than actually just talking but overall I didn’t hate her.
Things I didn’t like…
THE WRITING – it was all tell and no show. Everything was told and told again to hammer it home to the reader. It was so repetitive. I just wish it showed their feelings and the development of their relationships and the plot more. It felt like someone was reciting a story rather than you experiencing it with them.
I also was not a fan of the Irish idioms. There was also a lot of times that it leant into Scottish terms and I don’t know if this was just bad research on the authors part into the difference between or if these are genuinely terms shared amongst both and I didn’t know but it was very odd to read. Especially when certain words were spelled out in his accent like Jay-sus. This could be very confusing for non-native english speakers or even people who struggle with dyslexia to read. It would be far better to just write in normal english with the descriptor of an accent to make it easier on the reader.
THE TIMELINE/ORDER – there was literally no reason for the order this book happened in to happen. It could have been chronological. It would have been far better and easier to understand that way. By starting the way it did, it took all the interest out of the romance because you knew how things ended.
THE ROMANCE – it felt so insta-love it was painful. Not only that but it was toxic as hell. They both fully acknowledge that they use sex to avoid their problems. How are you meant to root for that? Coupled with the interest in their relationship being stolen by the crazy chapter order made it feel like the author didn’t have to put effort into making them fall in love or showing the reader their romantic development because they already knew how it ended. You never saw them bonding. Instead you got lines that told you they bonded. It ties back into what I said about the writing and how it was all tell and no show. You need a balance and this had none.
THE PLOT – this may lead off the timeline issue but there was no intrigue to the plot. The big reveal at the end about Ronnie having gone through something the reader wasn’t expecting was a bust because the reader guessed it and it was a let down. After all the horrors of what is going on in this book, to then have that be her story (as horrific as it was) just seemed weak in comparison to the build up it received. Also the issues in their relationship that was meant to help drive the plot felt quite circular and like there was no development.
CONNOR – this was a shock to me because normally I am a sucker for book boys, but connor made me feel quite uncomfortable. He was really quite controlling and possesive and not in a loving way. He needed to know everything and be part of everything and it just felt very red flag to me. Paired with the fact their relationship was toxic just meant he was a no go character for me.
So as you can see this was definitely not high on my enjoyment list. I wanted to like this since anyone who knows me knows I adore a rock band romance. But this just missed the mark. Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend.
Trapped by Anna Ray (N)
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: This was quite a bizarre read. The writing style was nothing like I remembered from Anna Ray before. Everything was written in a very “explaining/telling” way that made me feel like the character was talking to the reader like they were an idiot. She would write a really nice moment between them that suggested they were getting closer and then she would ruin it by adding something on the end like “now we’re getting closer.” Like – DUH – that was made clear by the conversation that was happening – you know?
Also the pacing was very off – the main climax and drama of the plot happened waaay too far from the end. I swear a solid 25% of the book at the end was after the main plot had ended and was just a very longwinded closing up of all the small threads that could have been done in a few lines and not a few chapters.
I did like the premise and the twist in the plot. So that was good. But I feel like we didn’t get enough of a build in their relationship, it felt quite insta-love and I know this is a short story but I think it all came down to the pacing and if that had been better then we would have gotten more of their relationship development and therefore liked them more. They didn’t seem to have much personality outwith family, mafia and each other and I wanted them to be deeper.
Overall, not great but I am going to try the next one in the series soon and hopefully that will be better paced.
The Villain by L J Shen
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: I really enjoyed this. Cillian took a while to grow on me which is odd because usually I adore the male POV’s and prefer them to the female ones. But I actually think I liked Persy the most in this book. I loved how she knew her goals and she wasn’t letting anyone tell her that she wasn’t valid. She was badass and I loved it.
Things I liked…
PERSY- I mean I said why I loved her above but I really loved her so I felt like I just had to reiterate this.
CILLIAN – I also really liked Cillian. He took a while to grow on me, and not because he was an ass. I usually really like asshole book boys. But there was something that made me feel uncomfortable with him. But that went away after the first 10% or so. So that’s why overall I liked him. I really liked his development and backstory. And his relationship with Hunter was great. I also loved his interesting friendship with Sam.
THE HUMOUR – I love L J Shen’s writing, mainly because the humour always blows me away. I seriously laughed a lot at this, usually when Hunter turned up to irritate Cillian because, for someone who was meant to be emotionless, he got annoyed A LOT.
THE PLOT – I loved the whole business side plot. I felt it really elevated the romance and furthered the plot while just being generally interesting.
THE SPICE – It’s an L J book so it needs to come with a hefty 18+ sexual content warning…but it was very very well written sexual content haha. I almost wished it had more because I felt that Cillian was meant to be this depraved guy but the sex wasn’t as crazy as I expected it to be.
Things I didn’t like…
THE PACING OF THE ROMANCE – This is mainly on Cillian’s part but I felt that one moment he was telling people “EWWW no Persy is yucky, I don’t love her” and then the next he was professing his love in the next? He didn’t seem to have that AH-HA moment of recognition, you know? All it would take is a couple of lines just to emphasise that he realised the shift.
LOGIC – I am no expert on the disorder that this book focused on, but the logic of the actions felt off. I feel like I can’t mention too much about this and also keep this spoiler-free. But it lessened my enjoyment of the book because I was constantly aware that it didn’t feel authentic even if it is. Like I said, I don’t know much about the disorder, it’s triggers or it’s treatments but the book didn’t give me reasons to trust the authors words on it either. There was no mention of studies done on it or anyone else who did the same things and had it work for them if that makes sense. It felt like it had been made up to help the plot. I just wanted it to feel more authentic and real.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know whether I liked it more than the Hunter or not, but it’s certainly on a very similar level. I am really loving L J Shen’s writing at the moment and I can’t wait to read whatever I pick up from her next.
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: I really enjoyed this. I totally get why this is such a loved college romance.
Things I liked…
THE CHARACTERS- I loved every character in this. Seriously, there wasn’t a single character that grated my nerves or that I felt was lacking in depth. Garrett – ADORED HIM. Definitely on my book boy list now. I loved his backstory and the way it was handled. Speaking of difficult backstories handled in an incredible way – Hannah. Damn, potentially one of my favourite female characters I’ve read this year. She was so empowering to read. Sassy, devoted, determined, not to mention how she deals with everything that is thrown at her. Just pure perfection.
THE WRITING – there was a princess bride reference…is that explanation enough? haha. I’m kidding…kind of. I loved the intertextuality in this. It made it so fun and positive and just generally a great read. It takes good writing to be able to tie in real life in a natural way and this was a great example of that. It was just so accurate to uni/college vibes. I loved the multi POVs and actually found myself enjoying both equally because the characters were both so good.
THE HUMOUR – I cackled at this book. It was really funny. Garrett and Hannah’s banter – off the charts good!! Seriously, the first 40% of the book was incredible. Too funny.
Things I didn’t like…
THE PACING – I felt that the pacing was slightly off. It almost felt like 2 short novellas glued together. There was a clear turning point in the middle of the story where it became less college-focused and more life-outside-college-focused. Not to mention one plot ended and another seemed to arise which meant the pacing was a little weird towards the end to wrap up the new thing that appeared mid-way through the story.
LOGAN…KIND OF – I didn’t lie when I said I loved all the characters. I do. I really loved Logan as a character. But she kept bringing up this side plot with him and Hannah but leaves it wide open at the end of the book, not really being answered. I read the blurb for his book in the series and it wasn’t mentioned at all so I don’t think it is tied into his story in the following book. It just felt weird and unfinished and I wasn’t a fan of that.
Overall, I really liked this. Especially the first half when it was more at the college and about the Deal. I wish that had come back into it towards the end just to keep the pacing a bit better but generally a great read and I definitely recommend
The Perfect First by Maya Hughes
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: This was fun and sweet and exactly the kind of sweet college sports romance I was in the mood for after having read The Deal by Elle Kennedy the other day.
Things I liked…
THE CHARACTERS – I loved all of the characters in this but Seph especially. I just loved her as character development and arc. It was so fun to see both through her eyes and Reese’s. I also adored her backstory but what made me love her the most was her lack of filter – something I have in common with her – she was hilarious. The bit with the waitress had me in stitches. I wish we got more moments like that and ones with the guys because I loved seeing their friendship blossom. I also adored Reese and his whole family drama things and just thought it was handled so well and just ahh! I loved him. I wish we had gotten more of the backstory with the ex.
THE WRITING – I really enjoyed the writing style. I am adoring multi-POV romances at the moment and this completely filled the bill. I laughed a decent amount and also highlighted a few bits so that’s usually how I can tell when I enjoy the writing. There was 18+ content in this unsurprisingly but it was on the tamer side…except for the letter which even cut out before it got spicier as it hinted at. So definitely tastefully written sex and not overpowering the plot.
THE PLOT – I loved the concept of the Ad. I thought their friendship was so cute! And I loved how the list tied into their romance and the other side plots too. Just really nicely paced and throughout.
Things I didn’t like…
THE PACING – I know I just complimented the plot on it’s pacing so this probably sounds weird by I didn’t know a better way to describe what I felt was missing from this – and that is just that things seemed to be missing. Like the whole backstory with Reese’s ex (I can obviously guess what happened based on comments he made here and there but it would have been great to have her come back and actually be a part of the story since it impacted him so much and a decent amount of the first chapter and his actions revolved around her.) But also, the time jumps in this book gave me whiplash. I feel like we missed out on so many important moments in the development of their story that it threw off the pace quite a bit – for example, them hanging out as a group and becoming friends with the guys, Reese and Seph becoming an official couple, etc. Chapters would end after a revelation or cute scene that I felt could develop into more but instead the next chapter would open with Reese on the field not thinking about anything that just happened because suddenly weeks or months had passed- and this happened multiple times and it made it feel really jumpy. The overall ad/list plot was well-paced throughout the book but all the side plots felt rushed and a little flat. Especially the drama with Seph’s family being resolved in the second last chapter and that’s it. It happened a little too quick and it again left me feeling unfinished and rushed.
But overall, I really enjoyed this. It is a super sweet pick-me-up college romance. Definitely recommend if you have Kindle Unlimited.
The Perfect Plan by Anita Lemke (N)
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: Nothing about this grabbed me. It just felt meh reading it which is a shame because I have read from this author before and thought it was decent.
Things I Liked…
CHARACTERS – I really like Tonya and Patrick. Their conversations were fun and it was a nice dynamic. We got a lot more background in this than the first book in the series so that was an improvement. I wish we got a little more however as somethings seemed to be brought up but then never developed – like Patrick’s Mum and Ex, and also Tonya’s relationship with her Mum, and weird friendship with Daron.
THE SIDE PLOT – I loved the whole legal side plot. I thought it was fun and interesting and developed at a good pace whilst feeling very accurate to the actual legal system. So that was a big yes from me.
Things I didn’t like…
THE PACING – The pacing in this, especially the romance, was weird. One minute they go from professional, to suddenly having sex, to then ignoring each other…to him decalaring he loves her? They’ve never been on a date – they have had like 4 conversations alone. I wouldn’t be mad at the pacing if it hadn’t been love. Insta-love is such a big pet hate of mine.
THE LOGIC – So in the entirety of the previous novel Tonya was a mild antagonist because he was meant to marry Mark for his money so she could go to Law School…she needed to marry for money because she couldn’t get a job in her desired field. And just as the book starts her dream job comes along??? I mean come on!!! She also didn’t have to fight anyone else for the job? Like no. If it’s as tough to get into as it was made out, where she was willing to marry for money – it means these jobs are hard to come by and impossible to get. No way this just happens. At least try and make their meeting or her getting the job feel natural and real and not some magic powers of the universe pushing them together.
THE WRITING – I was surprised by this because I quite enjoyed the last book I read from Anita Lemke, but this time something about the writing felt off. I don’t know if it was the unanswered questions, the weird pacing, or just the questionable logic but I think the writer emphasized the other flaws of the book. Everything felt too explained.
So yeah, this had some good elements but ultimately the plot and pacing let it down too much for me to rate it very highly.
So these are the some of the books I have read recently. As you can see my reviews are certainly getting longer and more structured and I’m loving them this way because I think they make more sense when I look back on them and it really highlights the parts I love and the bits I don’t like as much. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and I will see you tomorrow! Have a great day ❤