Book Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 in the Perfect Chemistry series

Summary

This book follows Carlos Fuentes as he adjusts to life in Colorado. He grew up in Chicago and most of his family is in Mexico, except for his brother in Colorado. His family hopes that the move will help him and his gang-leaning ways. At his new school, he finds himself attracted to Kiara, a blend-into-the-background sort of girl.

What I Liked

  • Sometimes it’s nice to pick up a young adult romance such as this. It flowed decently well and I was able to read it in a day or less. I love the predictability of romances sometimes, and this was no exception.
  • Some of the pranks the characters pull on each other are fun and creative. It was nice to see that as well.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The relationship moved crazy fast! I know this is fairly typical in romance novels, but this seemed a little extreme. At the very least, we didn’t see as much relationship building as you would expect.
  • Kiara didn’t have very much personality in the book. Her pranks were fun and quirky, and she definitely had her moments, but as a whole she was pretty unmemorable.
  • The ending seemed way too easy and quite unrealistic. Compared to the first book, this was a little disappointing.

In Conclusion

If you liked Perfect Chemistry (book 1) or if you’re a fan of books like Anna and the French Kiss, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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1 year ago: Book Review: Scooby-Doo y el Monstruo de las Nieves (Scooby-Doo and the Snow Monster)

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Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 in the Parasol Protectorate series

Summary

I enjoyed this book even more than I enjoyed the first one in the series. In this one, random supernaturals (werewolves, ghosts, vampires) are suddenly disappearing OR they are losing their ability to change into their supernatural form. Our main character, Alexia (who is preternatural and has no soul), sets out on an adventure to figure out why this is happening and how she can stop it.

What I Liked

  • The first book had a lot of world building. This is a fantastic world, so I’m thankful for that, but it was great also to move on to a focus on characters and events. For a reminder, this takes place in Victorian Steampunk England.
  • I love that, in this universe, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts aren’t hidden. They’re a part of society and are regulated by the government. It’s super interesting to see how society develops with supernatural creatures. You get to see the politics inside the individual creatures’ structures (hives for vampires, packs for werewolves) but also how they interact with each other and humans as a whole.
  • Guest appearance by characters from the author’s “Finishing School” series. (And by “guest appearance”, I mean that this series was actually written first, even if I didn’t read them in that order.) We get to see what happens to some of the characters. (And oh. my. gosh. I can’t believe it took me so long to place them!)

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(Some of these I included because they give you a taste of the world.)

  • “‘And what exactly is it?’ added the vampire, pouring the tea. Lady Maccon took hers with milk and a little sugar. He took his with a dash of blood and a squeeze of lemon.”
  • “‘But honestly Alexia, I do not mean to be boorish, but do you realize that your underdrawers are exposed to the night air, not to mention the public view?’
    ‘Ivy, I am hanging on for dear life to the side of a floating dirigible, leagues up in the aether. Even you must admit there are some instances wherein protocol should be relaxed.'”
  • “‘…what am I to do? I am overcome with the injustice of it all.’
    Lady Maccon replied with a suggestion. ‘Seek the assistance of an ugly-hat-addiction specialist this very instant?'”
  • “The dirigible came to rest as lightly as a butterfly on an egg, if the butterfly were to stumble a bit and list heavily to one side and the egg to take on the peculiar characteristics of Scotland in the winter: more soggy and more gray than one would think possible.”

What I Didn’t Like

  • This isn’t really a negative, but more of a heads up: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE NEXT BOOK ON HAND!! Maybe it’s just me, but the book was cliffhanger enough for me to make me dive right into the next book!

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for an adult fantasy, give this series a try!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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1 year ago: Book Review: Sixteen Kisses by Kelly Oram

Book Review: Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This graphic novel follows Willhelmina (Will), a high school student who has to navigate part of her summer without electricity, thanks to the storm Whitney, which knocked out the power.

(“Storm”, in this case, actually means “storm”, like a thunderstorm or hurricane. When I first read the synopsis, I definitely thought Whitney was a person who “blew into” her life and messed it up. But no, Whitney is the name of a storm.)

What I Liked

  • “Poignant” is probably the best way to describe this graphic novel.
  • This reminded me of Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. I saw this especially in Will’s use of a hobby to deal with loss. (Will’s hobby is building lamps out of found objects, which is really cool! Especially since this is a graphic novel and you get to see her inventions.)

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(This book didn’t have page numbers, so I don’t have those for you.)

  • “‘Reality might suck right now, but I guarantee things will change.’
    ‘How do you know?’
    ‘Because things always do.'”
  • “‘You know. You fake it ’til you make it.’
    ‘So… Act the part until you become it?’
    ‘Yeah! If you always challenge yourself, you get used to being outside your comfort zone.’
    ‘Huh, that’s like being comfortable being uncomfortable.'”

What I Didn’t Like

  • Thanks to reading the synopsis beforehand, I was sort of expecting a girl named Whitney to show up. Turns out, Whitney is a storm, and Will is short for Willhelmina. I was just a tad confused for a bit. 😛

In Conclusion

If you are a fan of Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, you’ll probably enjoy this book. It’s also great for anyone looking for a young adult graphic novel.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)


1 year ago: Book Review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate series

Summary

Alexia Tarabotti is soulless, which means (among other things) that when she is touching vampires and werewolves, they turn mortal. On top of being soulless, she is also a spinster (at 26) and now she’s suspected of being involved in the disappearance of different supernaturals. Together with friends such as Ivy Hisselpenny (who wears crazy hats), Lord Maccon (a handsome werewolf), and Lord Akeldama (flamboyantly gay vampire), hopefully she can get to the bottom of it.

What I Liked

  • I love this world! It takes place in Victorian steampunk England – with vampires and werewolves. The society is fascinating but also logical. There are governmental branches for the supernatural (vampire, werewolf, and ghost) and well as the preternatural (soulless, what the main character is). Vampires have pushed themselves into high society – where fashion and the arts reign. They function as hives – a queen and many drones. Werewolves have an Alpha, a Beta, a Gamma, etc. but are structured in a much brasher way.
  • I love the characters. Recently I’ve really appreciated authentic characters. I’ve read too many books where the author claims something of a character, but never shows us that side of the character. Gail Carriger does not do that. Her characters are unique and unpredictable – but their actions always match their personality.
  • I love the visual images provided. Her stories are so visual without being overly descriptive. This would be a great book to make into a movie.
  • It was a romance novel. I didn’t expect this to be a romance novel, and it falls pretty solidly under fantasy otherwise. But it also had the pretty standard romance plot, which I found I enjoyed.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The pacing was a little bit off. The action came in spurts. I’ll forgive it though, since the next books are better (!) and the world is so fantastic.
  • (Spoiler in white, highlight to read.) The ending got really grizzly. It reminded me a lot of Angelfall and its ending as well.

In Conclusion

If you like the idea of a Victorian steampunk fantasy with vampires and werewolves, this is the book for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

1 year ago: Book Review: World After by Susan Ee

Book Review: Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 of the Not Quite series

Summary

Jessie is a single mom who shares a one-bedroom apartment with her son and her sister. She works night shifts as a waitress, and isn’t very interested in love. And if she was, it’d definitely be to someone with a lot of money – who can get her out of her current situation. Jack Morrison is the heir to a huge, upscale hotel chain. When he see’s Jessie he wants to pursue her – but he knows she’s a gold-digger, so he pretends to be poor as he tries to win her over.

What I Liked

  • I thought the secret thing was really fun. It was great to read conversations where we (the reader) and Jack know that he’s a multi-millionaire (possibly billionaire? I don’t remember…) but Jessie does not.
  • It was great to discover the characters as they discovered each other. Often we discovered things about Jessie as Jack did, and vice versa.
  • This book kept me hooked. I read every break I got, and then sat in my car and read after work before I even headed home. So it was pretty captivating. I wanted to know what was going to happen in their lives.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This definitely had it’s share of common romance themes. The biggest one being “I can’t tell him/her or they’ll leave me” followed by “Why didn’t you tell me, now I can’t trust you”.

In Conclusion

Another great romance by Catherine Bybee.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: It Had to Be Them by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 4 of It Had to Be… series

Summary

Ben Anderson is Anderson Butte’s (handsome) town doctor. He’s always being set up, but this time it’s different. His ex-fiance, Kline, is back in town. And the entire town (half of which seems to be family) is convinced they belong together.

What I Liked

  • Another cute book to finish off the series.
  • I liked seeing the characters from the rest of the series pop up within this one. Anderson Butte (which is named after Ben’s family) is a tight-knit community where everyone is in everyone else’s business.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The book wasn’t very memorable. A cute addition, for sure, but not very different from any other romance novel.

In Conclusion

If you’ve loved the It Had to Be… series so far then you’ll love this final novel.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gullege

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This graphic novel follows high schooler Paige Turner as she works to push beyond her comfort zone – both as an artist and as a person. She’s just moved to New York and buys a sketchbook to challenge herself to be a better artist. Along the way she makes discoveries about herself and the world around her, and we (the readers) get to follow along.

What I Liked

  • I loved the art in this book. The comic itself is beautiful, but I love how the author incorporated a lot of out of the box ideas into the book. We see Paige’s story intertwined with fun sketches and ideas from her sketchbook. The author also includes artwork from a couple others, which pops out in a fun way because they are usually in a different style.
  • This was just a happy, feel-good story. There’s a touch of romance, and the main character is constantly working to improve herself by doing things that make her uncomfortable. While it reads like a coming-of-age story, it seems very relatable to life as a whole (or at least to me, in my late twenties).

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(This book didn’t have page numbers, so I don’t have those for you.)

  • There’s an image at the beginning where Paige goes to school. Across the building there is a banner that says BE AN EXTROVERT, as the artist’s way of showing the pressure Paige is feeling when walking into this world. I liked this because I feel that’s a common pressure, especially for those with social anxiety. I also liked this because (spoiler in white, highlight to read) at the end of the book this image reappeared, but the banner had a new one over it that read BE A PAIGE. (Be yourself! I love that the character grew into herself throughout the book.)
  • “It’s up to me to sculpt myself into who I want to be…”
  • “Okay, so maybe I am self-absorbed. But who isn’t? When someone looks at one of my drawings, it reflects back THEM. Not me.” (This made me laugh because it’s totally true.
  • There’s an image where she’s holding a large heart (representing dating/romance) and is surrounded by banana peels. Like she’s afraid one wrong step will screw everything up.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It was a little cliche. But it the creativity and artistry makes up for that.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a beautiful and fun graphic novel about someone discovering themself, this is the book for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

 

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Book Review: It Had to Be Fate by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 3 of It Had to Be… series

Summary

Casey Anderson owns a hotel in Anderson Butte – a town where all the residents are paid to ignore celebrities. For now she’s focused on being a good mother to her two boys, and is fighting to ensure she retains custody. Zane Steele is known for being an edgy party-boy rocker, and has come to Anderson Butte to hide out until things settle down. He’s captivated by Casey and wants to date her – but can he convince her to look past his public facade?

What I Liked

  • I really liked the intricacies that came along with Zane’s secret. (His secret is in white text here, if you want to know, but it’s a spoiler: he’s a twin, and its his twin that’s the bad boy. He’s a good guy, but his publicity team wants him to retain an edgy look – so he lets his twin get away with stuff under his name.) I can’t recall reading of a similar situation, although I’m sure I’ve seen it on TV. I liked the contract between public persona/reputation and who someone actually is.
  • Am I allowed to like the food in the book? They have spaghetti dinners and go on picnics and eat Count Chocula and so much more. Which is probably more accurate to a real-life dating scenario than one that doesn’t involve food at all.
  • Overall this is another great addition to the It Had to Be… series. It’s a typical romance, but it still held my interest fairly well, and I read it in one day.

What I Didn’t Like

  • As with any romance, it was somewhat predictable.

In Conclusion

This book is another feel-good addition to the It Had to Be… series.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This graphic novel follows Katie, the owner of a restaurant, as she tries to fix the mistakes in her life. Luckily, she finds a way to go back in time and change mistakes – but messing with the past has consequences. Will she finally be able to craft the life she wants? Or will she be even worse off than before?

What I Liked

  • This book is captivating. I planned on reading a hundred pages or so and then going to bed… that did not happen. I read it all in one sitting! I was pulled in by Katie’s story.
  • The story is somewhat unpredictable. For a large part of it I was unable to know what was going to happen next, which was why I kept reading.
  • It was fun to watch all the different elements of this book weave together. There are a lot of moving pieces in Katie’s life including love interests, business aspirations and dreams, friends, and mysterious happenings around her house.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The ending was perhaps a bit lackluster? Thinking back I’m not sure why I got this feeling at all – perhaps I just wanted to read more of her story, and it was suddenly over.

In Conclusion

If you’re trying to get into graphic novels (like me!) then you’ll enjoy this book.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: It Had to Be Love by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 of It Had to Be… series

Summary

Tara Carter is new to the town of Anderson Butte. It’s a small, somewhat remote town, which keeps her hidden from her past. However, the sheriff, Ryan Anderson suspects that she’s hiding something – and keeps poking around trying to uncover something she would rather keep buried. On top of that, they keep running into each other and the matchmaking town are trying to encourage them to be together.

What I Liked

  • It’s a super cute romance. Great for a summer beach read. (It’s already 105 Farenheit here in Arizona, so I can safely say it’s summer.)
  • The threat in the book was legitimate. Sometimes authors go for flimsier, over-exaggerated threats to keep the characters in motion. Not this time!
  • I loved the characters. I think I mentioned this is my review of the first book in this series, but I love how authentic the characters are. Lately I feel like I’ve been reading books where the author says one thing about a character, but as a reader, we never actually see it. It’s nice to read one a book where the fiesty characters make feisty decisions, and so on.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I’m not going to shout this one from the rooftops, but it was still a cute read. Hence four stars. 🙂

In Conclusion

If you enjoyed the first book in this series (It Had to Be Him), you’ll love this one as well.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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