Happy Review Sunday guys! I am still really behind on my reviews so I thought I would do another one of these mini review posts. This should be the last on for a while however because I think this should finally catch me up. Some of my mini reviews are not actually that mini because I have been making my Goodreads reviews more detailed recently so this will probably be a long one. 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!
Enough rambling from me – onto the reviews!
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.
Credence by Penelope Douglas
Star Rating: ⭐⭐ ⭐
Review: This was decent but definitely not my favourite Penelope Douglas read.
Things I liked…
NOAH – Noah was so fun to read and I’m glad he got his little piece of happiness. He definitely got the most crap in the book and deserved the freaking world. I swear. I want a whole book with just him and his goals and his life.
KALEB – I adored his backstory and just him as a character. I thought he was great. Just the whole concept of his character was awesome and I wish Douglas had just stuck with it.
THE WRITING – I always love Douglas’s writing and this was no different. It was really the saving grace of the book for me to be honest.
Things I didn’t like…
JAKE – he drove me up the freaking wall. He had no redeemable features and also zero personality or goals. He was just so unnecessary to the story, or well, he was necessary but only at the very start.
TIERNAN – I hated her. HATED!! She was so conceited and entitled and thought the whole world revolved around her. Again, she had no redeemable features. She led on everyone. She was so fickle with her emotions and feelings. Also her life goals felt so fake and forced. I didn’t get any real emotion or feeling from her at all. Then when she finally realised she just had to pick one of the guys she made a sudden choice with like no build up and no real thought behind her decision. So this obviously let the book down for me because not routing for the main character is definitely difficult.
THE PLOT – there was very little plot. Like almost none. The small side plot was good, and a highlight of the book. But other than Teirnan leading on three guys for 75% of a book, there was nothing going on. And very little intrigue.
Overall, definitely not my favorite Penelope Douglas book. The writing, Noah and Kaleb are really the saving grace of the book. But ultimately Teirnan let it down, as well as a lack of commitment to certain plot points.
Too Late by Colleen Hoover
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: I usually get a sense of the rating I am going to give a book around the 75% mark. The only thing that usually changes how I feel at that point is if the book royally screws up an ending, but that’s rare and kind of besides the point in this case. Because in the case of this book, I had no idea what rating I thought this book deserves. Even now as I am writing this after having already pressed the 3-star button I still feel unsure.
What I liked…
ASA – I loved hating him. He was such a horrible, despicable, disgusting human being. It’s hard to describe exactly how much I was repulsed by him and how much I hated him. But I loved hating him. He was what drove this book. He was so interesting, seeing inside his mind was easily my favourite parts of this book. His backstory was glorious. His evil morals were so disgusting but in the best way. Loving him is so conflicting because he is disgusting but yet there is something about him that is lovable and pitiable. Which just shows the incredible ability in the writing. It’s so hard to describe the way I love hating him. Just seriously – he was the stand-out feature of this book.
THE PLOT – the whole police/UC cop plot was so fun and I wish there was more of it. And when it got more into the US court system I just thought it was fun to read. Decently gripping too.
THE WRITING – I have never read anything by Colleen Hoover before but I always heard great things and the writing style definitely held up to that. The occasional elements of humour to juxtapose the dark actions occurring was great. I loved the multi-POVs too. So even though there were elements I didn’t love about this book and reasons I am not rating it too highly, I will definitely read from Colleen Hoover again.
What I didn’t like…
SLOAN – I REALLY didn’t like Sloan. At the start, I liked her…kind of. I loved how selfless she was, going through hell for her brother, her opening chats with Carter/Luke were fun and carefree and just enjoyable to read. But my biggest gripe with her was that she never said no, or stop. This book has a lot of rape from her perspective. From Asa’s POV however, it is;t the case. She never tells him that she wants him to stop or no and she doesn’t fight back. I’m not condoning Asa because he was in the wrong obviously and anyone who was sane could probably tell she wasn’t in love with him. BUT IT’S ABOUT COMMUNICATION. I get that she felt she had to act this way, but no wonder he thinks you love him when you have never shown him anything but love. And the book even tells us this on multiple occasions. Sloan never fights back. She fights for her brother for years – giving you the impression she is strong-willed and an inspiring female MC…but the moment it is about herself, and her inner-strength – she shuts off. She doesn’t fight back, she just waits on her man to come and save her. She even talks about deserving a horrible life?! Like WTF! She cannot be both of these people. How is this a positive female role model? She never changes. She has no development or ARC. She goes from being abused by Asa to talking about Luke like she was indebted to him.
THE ROMANCE – This kind of ties to my last book. We are meant to ship Luke and Sloan because he’s better than Asa. But tbh being better than Asa isn’t a hard task. And we really only get 1 conversation between Sloan and Carter/Luke that seems sweet and flirty. Then suddenly, an instant after that they are both irrevocably obsessed with each other. AFTER ONE CONVERSATION? Hello – insta-love!! Yes, it’s not as toxic as Asa obviously, but it still is toxic. She seems to jump from one toxic relationship to a dependant one. This could be the case because of Sloan’s lack of independence and strength but whatever the reason – it made it impossible to really route for them because they didn’t feel like a great option either because they have literally nothing between them! She has already decided she loves him before she even knows his name. What are his hobbies? His life goals? Does he want a family? Where is he from? What was he like growing up? WHAT IS HIS FAVOURITE COLOUR?! She knows none of it, but she is so messed up by Asa that literally ANYONE is a better alternative to her than him. Carter/Luke is a wet blanket of a character with nothing to draw him to her. There relationship makes no sense and it angers me.
THE PACING/ORDER – The order of this book was weird. The first 60% felt like its own story. Then you had the epilogue. Then a prologue. And then an epilogue to the epilogue…like what?! Even me writing that seems confusing. Why can’t authors stick to chronological order? I get in some cases it doesn’t always work – but here I think it would have just added it all. Seeing Sloan fall in love with Asa would have complicated our view of him so much more and just added so much more depth to their relationship and how horrible it is. It just would have made it so much more interesting for the reader because you would have fallen out of love with Asa alongside Sloan and maybe made her more likable because you experience it with her but because you see the good parts of him (even if it was an act) after you know he is evil, it takes all the power and impact out of it. There is no reveal. You meet the characters exactly as they are and exactly as they stay for the entire story – NO ONE gets any development – even Asa, who I loved – but his lack of development is made up for by the fact he actually gets a character in the first place.
I know this was hella rambly, but I didn’t even realise how much this annoyed me until I started writing. It was so meh. There was no development. Asa was the only interesting thing about this book. Yeah … this one was not it for me.
Murder Notes (Lilah Love #1) by Lisa Renee Jones (N)
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: This book has me feeling all sorts of conflicted feelings. I really can’t decide how I feel about this book. Hence the middle-of-the-road rating.
Things I didn’t like…
LILAH -Lilah is dull and really irritating. Her inner thoughts drag on for pages and pages and I just couldn’t care less. She has zero charisma inside her own head (when she’s around others I liked her a lot) but when she’s on her own (which is most of the novel) she is such a drag. You learn nothing about her as a person other than snippets about a tragic past event in her life and even that is vague. You read it from her POV and you should connect with her but you don’t.
THE CHARACTERS – I don’t think I liked a single character in this. They all felt very 2D. We learn nothing about any of the characters other than what potentially could fuel the plot, and even then it’s vague at best. Especially Kane…the number of times he says “I’m not my father” is comical. He needs more of a personality than not being his father.
THE ROMANCE – I wanted to like the romance, give Kane and Lilah something redeemable. BUT again, you learn nothing about them – how they met, how they fell in love, first kiss or date. Why they bonded? What connected them? All you learn is why they are not longer together. It’s hard to route for them why you don’t even know why they want to be together.
THE WRITING – I did like the writing style…but there was very little dialogue. You spend a solid 80% of this book in Lilah’s internal thoughts or description of things. It just drags it down. Mysteries rely on questioning people to gain information hence there should be a decent amount of dialogue but instead, it’s just mental leaps made by Lilah alone in her room. Lilah never seems to question anyone. She just sends her lackeys to do internet research. The couple of times she tries to get information from someone – she fails. SHE SUCKS AT HER JOB!! Why is everyone treating her like is amazing at it?
THE PLOT – I still don’t know what the plot of this book really was. The first 20% – great plot. And then after that point…not much happens other than Lilah running around and learning nothing. And then the murder mystery book ends without solving anything and just leaving it to the next book in the series.
THE CLIFFHANGER – well…this is obvious why I didn’t like that. Does anyone like cliff-hangers?
The things I liked…
INTRIGUE – Despite not liking all of the pretty key features of a book that I mentioned above…something about this made me want to keep reading. And has made me already start the sequel because I just had to know what happened next. It wasn’t just the cliff-hanger that made this a thing, it was like this the whole way through. I didn’t want to put it down despite seemingly enjoying very little about what made this book this book. I can’t explain why but something about this has me hooked.
THE DIALOGUE – Even the dialogue was very few and far between in this book, when it did crop up I adored it. They were the few moments where I liked Lilah. It was actually funny and I did laugh aloud. I hope the next book has more dialogue!
Basically, my thoughts are that this book was too vague. It feels unfinished. The author didn’t want to give away too much about the mystery which she successfully managed…but in the process left everything else in the book feeling vague too. Leaving the reader not ever learning anything at all and not connecting to anyone or any aspect of the book. I hope the next one improves because this has promise if it just focuses and develops these things.
Murder Girl (Lilah Love #2) by Lisa Renee Jones (N)
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: I definitely liked this more than the first book in the series.
The dialogue was great and far better in proportion to the description/internal thoughts of this book. It’s much more dialogue so the whole plot of the book just flowed so much better! Genuinely, this one change improved so many aspects of this book.
The characters were still not great but you did get more backstory/personal development in this book. The relationship was definitely improved a lot too and found myself rooting for them much more, which made Kane grow on me, even if he did basically become a glorified shield for Lilah. I still don’t really like Lilah because she still sucks at her job but is praised like she is amazing at it, and she is bitchy but everyone just accepts it? Like please call her out on her crappy treatment of people!!
I found the ending kind of unsatisfying. I understand it was done to keep a flowing plot through the books in the series even though this part of the story arc ended, but it was an unsatisfying ending in the sense of murder mysteries.
Overall, still not great but a serious improvement on the book before this in the series. I am going to start the next one now so I hope it only gets better with each instalment.
The Third Best Thing (Fulton U #3) by Maya Hughes
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: I really liked this. This was a serious case of the right book for the right moment. It was just exactly the kind of sweet college sports romance I wanted, although the sports side of it was definitely more lacking in this book. I adored Jules, she was so well written and I love reading from plus-size MC’s that care about things out with their weight because I think a lot of authors fall into the trap of making their weight a huge plot point when it doesn’t need to be. This was still intertwined with the plot but it took a backseat to the other great stuff that was happening which I loved. Berk was so sweet, the dream guy to be honest. I don’t know why but his baggage didn’t seem as sad as Jules, or maybe it was just that you saw the past affect Jules more and that’s why that gave me that impression.
The humour was great, not as funny as the first book in the series but it definitely had its moments. I loved the writing and the dual POV. The plot was a fun idea but I wish they had played up The Letter Girl angle a bit more because I felt like it wasn’t really in the story. It would have been more fun if they had actually tried to hunt for her and then when things came out it would have been a lot more impactful. Despite it being the big plot point in the blurb, it was barely in the book and had basically no impact on their relationship whatsoever. So I was slightly disappointed by how the blurb misleads me but other than that it was a super quick and fun read.
Addicted to You (Addicted #1) by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: I enjoyed this. It was a fun and quick read. I already know I am going to enjoy the others in the series more than this one. There wasn’t much that dragged this down for me it just missed that special something.
What I liked…
The writing style – I have never read anything by Krista and Becca Ritchie before but I really liked the writing style. The friend who recced me this had shown me snippets before reading so I already had a sense I would enjoy the writing style and I was not disappointed. I know the later books get multi POV’s and I’m excited.
The humor -Leading on from that point, I liked the humor but wished there was more of it. When it was funny it was so funny, it was just a few and far between. But again, I’ve been told it gets funnier.
The Characters – I loved Loren and Lily. Their dynamic and friendship were great. It’s been a while since I read Friends to Lovers so it was a fun change for me. This had so many great romance tropes in it. Made me so happy. I loved their backstory and the snippets of their history. I love how the authors chose to tackle their addictions. So well written.
The Plot – This is definitely a character-driven story – there isn’t much of a plot. It’s more about their character growth. But it never felt like it didn’t have direction or purpose or that it was missing a plot so I was really impressed by that.
What I didn’t like…
Ryker – I don’t think we’re meant to like him yet – but he annoys me. I’m told I will grow to love him but at the moment I really am not vibing with him. He has no reason to dislike Lily and yet he is horrible to her, when he takes pity on Lo who is just as bad. I know he has reasons but come on – stop being an unlikable ass.
The Smut – This book is about a sex addict…and yet very very very little sex is actually shown. There were so many fade-to-black moments. It just felt weird since it was such a large part of their plot, their relationship, and the general dynamic of the characters and their arc that it felt odd not having it actual be in the book that much.
Predicable – this isn’t too big of a deal, but it might be why it lacked that special something. It was predicable. I felt like I always knew what was coming and it dragged it down a bit. Especially the side plot with Ryker – that just drove me up the wall – so freaking obvious.
So, overall an intriguing start to a series that I hope improves on this because I think it has promise just needs to develop in a few areas.
Ricochet (Adddicted #1.5) by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: Reading this made me feel nothing (at least most of the time)
Did I love it? – Clearly not.
Did I hate it? – Also no.
It just left me feeling numb. Nothing happened. There was no plot to this one at all, I thought the last one was character drive! At least that had the stakes of people finding out, this had nothing. There was no stakes, no intrigue, nothing to make me want to keep reading other than my sheer determination not to DNF a 200-page book.
And don’t start me on the one element that made me feel anything – Daisy and Ryke…and it was not a good feeling! How can anyone be in support of him clearly lusting after a 15-YEAR-OLD!! FIFTEEN! Trying to play it off like she’s more mature because she’s a model…nope – still 15. I physically gagged at their scenes. SO SO SO wrong.
Connor and Rose were the saving grace of this. I love both of them. They are amazing and I cannot wait for their book.
Lily is so self-absorbed and I get no genuine feelings from her, even towards Lo. Loren is amazing, he is so clearly devoted and besoughted with her but I get none of those feelings from Lily towards him. He says I Love You constantly and I feel like she never says it back. The only times I see a glimpse of her actually feeling things for him is in the flashbacks. Other than that she just comes off as whiney and self-absorbed. Conner, Rose and Lo are really the only characters that don’t come off that way and that I can actually stand to read.
I’m powering through because I’ve been promised greatness and I think it might just take time to get there but I am seriously questioning it.
The Rose Kiss by Esme Rome (N)
Star Rating: ⭐⭐
Review: This wasn’t bad per se, but it could be better.
What I liked…
THE WRITING STYLE – I liked the writing style, it was an interesting almost third-person situation but you also got internal thoughts and most of the book seemed to be from inside Lana’s head so it was a little different but I liked it. There were little bits of humour here and there and I wished there was more because those bits were great! There was also some badass quotes that made me want to love Lana if she had been like this more throughout the book. The one thing about the writing I did find bizarre was how chapters started and finished, there wasn’t a natural flow to it. But it wasn’t anything that was too irritating to read.
What I didn’t like…
THE PLOT – I know this is a retelling, but to me, it was just basically beauty and the beast. There was not really much of an attempt at adaptation on the story. The love interest was still a prince and a hideous beast. Locked away in a hidden castle. Magical roses that lose petals as the curse progresses. An evil love interest that the MC has no interest in. Bonding over books and intellectual conversation in a library. A magic mirror that lets you see whatever you want. And Lana’s name was BELLadonna… not exactly subtle. The only real difference is the idea of Lana having a prophecy…but that only really plays into the story for the first 3 chapters. After that it’s just the plot of beauty and the beast really. Oh wait…and the giant crystal thing that I still don’t understand much about or how it influenced the story. Don’t even start me on the ending – so confusing.
THE CHARACTERS – I don’t know if it was because of the short nature of the book or the fact that so much was trying to be fit into the small word limit but I feel like you didn’t get to know the characters. The story of beauty and the beast works because they both sacrifice for each other at different points and find common ground which overcomes their outward differences. In this, you don’t have that. They already have the common ground (both being intellectual) and they never compromise anything for each other. The differences of their outer appearances doesn’t come into play at all. And they also go from literally no romantic interest at all to being in love? What? Where is the progression? When did feelings change? When did they fall in love? Why are we meant to root for them or even like them at all? It read like we were meant to base them on the story of beauty and the beast and therefore the author didn’t need to write in their characters because we were already meant to associate the characters with those they were based upon – which is just disappointing. Lana is so utterly self-absored too, it’s mentioned that only pure of heart can see the castle – but she does nothing worthy of that title. She wastes her fathers money, does nothing to help him, has people do everything for her, belittles people who she deems “less intelligent” and this is the pure of heart person we are meant to root for? I think not.
So yeah, this definitely missed the mark for me. I liked the concept of Hadrien’s story I just wish we got more of that. I liked the mini story’s we got throughout too but again, the overall plot and lack of character dragged it down.
*The ending of chapter 9 was also missing from my copy and some typos but I don’t hold that against the book as it was probably just the copy I got from Netgalley.
Rejected (Shadow Beast Shifters #1) by Jaymin Eve
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: I loved this. LOVED LOVED LOVED. Shifter romances are not my go-to kind of read so this was beyond a pleasant surprise. Usually the I do the whole – things I liked…things I didn’t like. But I can’t do that here because I don’t think there was a single thing about this that I didn’t love.
THE WRITING – This is top of my reasons-why-this-book-slapped list. Writing like this is so rare. It is the perfect balance of humor, self-awareness, still dramatic, and fantastical to fit with the genre. Just seriously amazing. I already know I have found an instant new favorite author to read. I am going to blitz through Jaymin Eve’s books this year.
THE CHARACTERS – I say characters, but mainly Mera. She is the perfect female protagonist – badass, independent, curious, takes-no-crap, funny, smart-ass, yet still flawed and humble. Just all around an amazing MC.
I also love Shadow. He is awesome. I love how powerful he is and closed off. But you get these whispers of so much deeper and it’s amazing.
I love his whole gaggle of people too. I wish we got more of them. The part where we meet them all had me cackling.
Simone was also one of my favorite characters.
Jaxon and Taron are interesting and I thought they were a twist on the typical Mate storylines. Just so fun.
THE PACING – The slow burn of this book was outstanding, especially in the character development. The plot had me guessing at every step, literally never knowing what was going to happen next. It subverted every cliche of the genre and found a way to keep things fresh, fun, and interesting. I was so intrigued all the way through. I had to move straight onto the sequel because it just blew me away.
THE PLOT – I feel like I just touched on this but the plot was so unique and fun and different to anything else like this I have read.
THE ROMANCE/SMUT – Again, touched on this when I said it was a slow burn. The tension of the romance was sizzling!! Which made the minimal smut that was in this book (extremely well written btw) so much more intense because you wait on the edge of your seat for it only to just get a taste of what’s to come. So amazing. Just wow.
So yeah…if this isn’t obvious – I adored this. Seriously going in top 10 of the year.
Reclaimed (Shadow Beast Shifters #2) by Jaymin Eve
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: I loved this. I think I liked it less than the first in the series, and there was definitely a dip in the story in this one. It felt far less intriguing and more quest-y. But the ENDING!! Seriously, it was so wow. It just blew me away. I cannot wait to start the third.
The book I would say probably objectively deserves a 4 star… But it was just so enjoyable that I couldn’t not give it 5, even with the flaws.
Reborn (Shadow Beast Shifters #3) by Jaymin Eve
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: I loved the concept of this book and I REALLY enjoyed the first two books in this series but this felt like it missed the mark a little. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure it needed to exist at all. I loved the ending of the last book and therefore I adored the start of this book and how it built off that idea. But the pacing felt off. The past two novels in this series were really gripping and I struggled to put them down. I did not have that problem with this book. I put it down for days without reading when I hit the 50% mark because it just sort of lulled. And then the ending felt extremely drawn out – it felt like there were 4 or 5 FINAL battles so it made it feel quite jumpy and stop and start-y.
Something I still adored about this was Mera and her humor.
I loved Shadow and his overprotectiveness.
I also adored that this was more smutty than the other two – it was so good to have this and it felt like it filled what was missing from the others.
I liked how the stories were wrapped up too, especially with Torma.
Ultimately this let me down in relation to how much I adored the first two in the series, but it also wasn’t bad. I wasn’t mad at how it was ended, it just didn’t wow me like the others in the series.
I don’t know if I will read the next in the series which presumably follows Angel and Reese but maybe because I did love Angel and definitely was intrigued by their angst. But also, I liked where this left off with Mera and Shadow and I don’t know if I want to see their relationship from another’s viewpoint. Also, I think the series worked so well because of Mera’s inner thoughts, her curiosity and lack of knowledge about the world -which the sequel wouldn’t have being from someone else’s POV so that’s why I’m on the fence about reading it.
Anyway, I still recommend you read this series because I adored the humour and the writing style and I hope to read more from Jaymin Eve, even if it isn’t this series.
King (King #1) by T.M Fraizer
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Review: I really enjoyed this. This had me sobbing at one point, and it’s been a while since a book made me cry. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and once it finished I immediately had to pick up the sequel because I just had to keep reading. I really liked how there seemed to be lots of smaller plots all intertwining into larger ones. I loved the tension between Doe and King. The romance/smut in this book was great – if anything it could have been a little smuttier just to balance out the more depraved side of things.
This book definitely needs to come with a trigger warning though because there are some serious things both discussed and shown, (sex, underage drinking, drugs, rape, sexual assault.) So be warned if any of that is triggering to you then definitely stay away from this. But otherwise, this was a great dark romance that was written really well, had me all kinds of emotional but also constantly gripped and excited for the next page.
Tyrant (King #2) by T.M Frazier
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Review: I really loved this. Much like the first, this had me on the edge of my seat. I read it in a single sitting because I could not put it down. If anything the tension of the first book was upped in this.
I still think I preferred the first one because I enjoyed the plot a little more. But I did really like how all the loose ends tied together in this for a nice rounded ending. I didn’t see the plot twist coming (and I probably should have) but it made me enjoy this all the more because it managed to surprise me.
The romance was lesser in this and there was some smut shoved on the end of the book to try and balance it out but it was ultimately why I didn’t like this as much as the first because you got less of their relationship/banter that I loved so much in the first book, and also because it didn’t make me cry like the first one did.
This again should come with a trigger warning for the same triggers as the last books (Sex, underage drinking, drugs, rape, sexual assault, abuse.) I would advise staying away if those are things that you find triggering. Otherwise, a great ending to a quick dark romance duology that had me on the edge of my seat and unable to put it down.
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 ❤