Summer 2023 reading was not off to a great start...to say the least...but once I went on a much needed vacation the reading turned around! In one week alone I read 5 books while cruising along the Medaterian Sea and island hopped around Greece. Since then, it has been a busy summer of getting through book after book, which my TBR pile and list greatly appreciate.
King of Pride - Ana Huang
King of Pride was a good read, but I had higher expectations for it. I really wish the element of pride was brought into more than it was. Overall, it was a good read, Isabelles storyline was straight out of left field, definitely appreciated that I didn't see that one coming. It was a cute and quirky relationship that I found to be really entertaining. Also, the feather scene IYKYK. Did anyone else find it to be extremely entertaining that Isabelle literally writes like physcopath erotica and the number of references that were made to the Wilma author, this had me both laughing and cringing constantly. I would have loved to have seen a synopsis or sample of what Isabelle came up with as like an epilogue.
Fourth Wing - Rebecca Yarros
Literally. Best. Book. Ever. I freaking flew through this book. I read this book while on vacation in Greece and literally refused to do some fun Greece activities because I could not put this book down. No, I was not one of the lucky few people to get a physical copy of this book. No, I still haven't been able to get my hands on this book. Did I still pay $11.99 for a Kindle copy of this book? Yes, I did. I'm not normally a fan of the books that everyone else obsesses over, but I am so happy that I jumped onto this train. Fourth Wing is a seriously good book and I am super excited for Iron Flame which releases this coming November. I breezed through this book, literally reading it in like a day and will definitely be reading it again for before Novemebr. P.s. if you read and enjoy this one I would go ahead and pre-order Iron Flame, because let's be real, it is going to sell out real quick too.
Hooked - Emily McIntire
This book was fire. Personally, I've always thought that Hook was a bit misunderstood, but then making Wendy just as wild as he is, wow. Some of this was of course predictable, but then other elements of it were straight out of left field. I actually kid you not almost vomited while reading the torture scenes of this book, it didn't help that I was very hungover on vacation, but also rats are not my thing. It did not end how I thought it would, and yes, I did find the idea of the story beginning with talking about Stockholm syndrome to be very ironic and possibly believe that Wendy suffers from it. Overall, it was a pretty wild read that had my eye bulging and me saying what the actual heck way to often, while also not being able to put the book down.
DREAMLAND BILLIONAIRE SERIES - Lauren Asher
This series was not what I expected, I don't know why, but I thought this was a fantasy world kinda series, but nope. It not being fantasy didn't disappoint me though, I love a good billionaire romance read - give me 3 brothers like this one and my answer is absolutely hell yes. Overall, this series was a 4 star book series. One of my favorite elements of this book series is the Playlists in the beginning of the book and the dedications of each book which were very powerful dedications.
The Fine Print - Lauren Asher
Rowans star might have been the most entertaining as he not only found his passion in work and love. Dedication: "To the girls who dream of meeting a prince but end up falling for the misunderstood villain." part of why I misunderstood this series is because of this dedication right here, and honestly, Rowan was not that much a villain to me, but rather just not the best kind of man.
Terms and Conditions - Lauren Asher
Dedication: "To anyone fighting an invisible battle. I see you." This one might have been the juiciest of stories, I freaking loved the energy between Declan and Iris. Iris is a literal spit-fire and does not put up with Declan and that is what makes this one absolutely amazing, and the fact that it isn't an enemies to lovers, but a marriage of convince and then it still takes them forever to admit their feelings and actually fall in love with each other. I was laughing and cringing and screaming throughout this whole book.
Final Offer - Lauren Asher
I have mixed feelings about this storyline and the difficulties that Cal faces in being an addict. The dedication: "To everyone who has been underestimated. I hope you prove everyone wrong, including yourself." It is a story that I think a lot of people can relate to in struggling with abusing substances, but the work that Cal puts in and what he gets out of it and whether or not Lana should have to put up with the emotional turmoil of being with Cal and raising a child as a single mother. I think I liked it overall and that there was the most growth in all the brothers relationships within this book. I definitely would recommend this book and the series, but it isn't a top book for me and one that I likely wouldn't read again.
Scarred - Emily McIntire
The Lion King is my absolutely favorite movie of all time, so of course, I had to read Scarred which is based on the famous story. Let me just say the Shakespeare that is also brought into this with references to Hamlet made this even better, another favorite of mine since The Lion King is based on it as well. "Doubt thou that the stars are fire; Doubt thou that the su doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt that I love." William Shakespeare, Hamlet. And the dedication: "For the freaks. The misfits. The bullied. The loners. The insecure. The damaged. You are worthy. You are warriors." This book took me longer than normal to read, not because it isn't good, but more that I kept comparing the stories to those I knew better.
The Deal - Elle Kennedy
Haha, I didn't think Hockey romances would be my thing, but lols I was wrong. This story was pretty epic, I couldn't believe how fast I made it through the book, considering it has been on my TBR for almost a year. Give me all the rest of them to get through, I might officially be a sports romance kinda girly. I will say the only thing that kinda threw me off was how little the sport of hockey was actually brought into the story, but for being the first once I've read it was a solid 4 star read for me.
The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han
Okay, I quite literally hated this book, but I have committed to reading the entire series because of the famous Amazon Prime show. Now, the reason I hated this book is unfortunately because of the characters, well the main to be exact. Belly is one of the most immature, annoying and just straight up whiney characters of all time, she is beyond self-centered and honestly, I am just praying for some major character growth (more like a personality transplant). I know that this is a teen romance, but Belly is just beyond unlikeable. I started the second book and already and spoiler, it hasn't gotten better yet, in fact I think she might be worse. How she acts and treats both Conrad and Jeremiah at their moms funeral, of all places, is a very poor reflection of her. Again, I am trying to make it through this series, with the hopes for it to get better.
THE FOLK AIR SERIES - Holly Black
I had way higher expectations for this book series and was pretty disappointed considering how hyped up the series had been. This book is both fast paced and incredible slow at the same time, the lack of details and how fast certain scenes and plots move really annoyed me. I felt like I kept waiting for the world to be built up even more. I do appreciate that this is a very true enemies to lovers book series with some serious slow burning moments.
The Cruel Prince - Holly Black
I hate Taryn, I literally cannot believe that betrays Jude so many times, and they are freaking twins. That, is my first issue and one of my biggest. My second, is just how quickly this story moves, overall I loved the plot but I wished there were more details, more happening. It just felt like it moved too fast and that it went from plot twist to the next and I was just left wondering how we even got there. Can we also just acknowledge that Jude is a badass and that Prince Cardan is a literal asshole.
The Wicked King - Holly Black
Very predictable, although the story of Cardan was a bit more fun to read about and explore. It would have been so much better is there were chapters from his perspective or if his past was explored some more. I would have loved to read more about what he experienced in his childhood from his own point of view rather than from his mother or the courts perspective. What do you know, Taryn literally betrays Jude yet again.
The Queen of Nothing - Holly Black
This one was way to predictable, and again just everything ended way to quickly. I wish that instead of writing prologues and epilogues she would just add them into the story and had made the books twice as long. The story would have been so much better with more details into it for me. I know that it isn't an adult fantasy, but I felt very childlike reading this one, even though it could have still been better without taking time to write in more adult scenes (which it had none of). Oh look, Taryn needs Jude and Jude lets herself get roped into the dramas yet again. I do wish the relationship between Taryn and Jude would have been explored more throughout this series. I think having multiple point of views in this series would have made it so much better, I just had so many questions and wished that more development and storylines would have been built out.
Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi
This series has not been what I expected - it's been better. I've have seen so much of social media about the series and that is partially what motivated me into wanting to read it, the other motivation is the fact that it is an 11 book series. I live for long series, especially when people hype it up, some serious attention to detail, character development and storylines must be happening if people are reading that many books and still raving about it. I know this series is a teen series and sometimes reading these makes me feel too old and I get bored with the lack of spice, but Mafi's choice in words and details have not turned me off. Juliette is a character who I want to find out more about, I am totally shipping her and Adam, even though I know she ends up with Warner (the internet cannot keep that secret). And with me liking Adam, I really want to know how Warner will not just win her but why she chooses him back.
It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han
Okay, you already know that I hate this series based on my review of the first book, but omg. I cannot with Belly. I have been tandem reading and watching the show, courtesy of Amazon releasing episodes weekly and just wow, it's a lot. First off, this is going to have spoilers, so go ahead and stop reading if that is going to bother you. The biggest thing, is wow Belly isn't just annoying in this one, she's rude and tactless. I could not believe how she treated the boys, especially Conrad at his mothers funeral, it wasn't just being immature, but making a complete fool of herself and honestly being a horrible person in my book. I think the tv series downplayed this scene a bit and made it lighter, but when I read this happening I screamed a big old "f you" to Belly, and I don't even like Conrad majority of the time. In fact, in the book Jeremiah, Steven and Taylor for the most parts are the only characters I regularly like. Laura is a very absent mother and that gets downplayed a lot in the show, she's absent, but reading about her from Belly's perspective I read major depression and almost abandonment of her own children to care for Jeremiah and Conrad. This whole thing is a bit too much, but again, I am committed to finishing it out and comparing the book and the show.
I am a hypocrite - I will 100% admit to that. I was SO anti-audiobooks and two years later I am singing a different song. I finally listened to my first audiobook and I'll admit that it wasn't my favorite, but I can see the draw to them. It was more out of the fact that I couldn't pick a show to watch and because I've been working on the ball so much lately I haven't been reading as much seen then. But, if you want to know all my thoughts and feelings on audiobooks so far then be sure to be on the look out for a blog completely dedicated to it. But, I'm sure you want to know what the first ever audiobook that I ever listened to was and I won't hold out on you, it was: The Bridge Kingdom.
The Bridge Kingdom - Danielle L. Jensen *audiobook*
This was the first audiobook I ever listened to and let me start off by saying that while this book has been on my To Be Read list for over a year, I never actually would have read past the first of this book. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have read past the first page not because it wasn't a good book, because it was, but really because I'm really not a fan of reading books that aren't in the first person. This story really and truly was a great one, I loved the characters and the world and the plot. It was refreshing. I also enjoyed hearing the story from dual perspectives and the voices telling it brought it to life in a new way for me. I had some questions throughout the book and wish the world was built out a bit more, but it was a really good one that I'm happy did finally make it off my TBR.
The Traitor Queen - Danielle L. Jensen *audiobook*
This is book two of The Bridge Kingdom series, and a lot of it was really predictable. I also listened to this one as an audiobook and was again happy to do it that way. I will say, while a lot of it was predictable there were about two pretty big plot twists that I didn't see coming and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with. This book was a lot faster paced than the first and jumped around timeline wise a lot which when listening to this book got a little confusing, but I made it through. I also know that there are two more books in this series that don't follow the main characters of the first two books, but I didn't love it enough to commit making it through the next two when they are a different story line.
His Demands (Billionaire Alpha Series) - Ali Parker *audiobook*
Literally, Do Not Recommend, this plot could be interesting, but man I fell asleep during this book way too many times. For the most part, this was a romance, and then straight out of left field came an attempted murder that had very little to do with the main characters and left like it was just thrown into the story. This might get explored more in the next books of the series, but it didn't keep my interested enough to want to know where the story goes to next.
In the Likely Event - Rebecca Yarros *audiobook*
HIGHLY recommend this book. Rebecca Yarros is famously being recognized for Fourth Wing, which I read earlier this summer, but y'all she has so many other great books. I loved this one so much. In the Likely Event follows the fall of Afghanistan in 2021 and a romance between a special forces male and a woman he had met years earlier when they survived a plane crash together. This book continuously jumps back and forth between perspectives as well as time jumping. The main character Nate is a sweetheart and has an intense story, but watching him continue to develop over the course of ten years is a privilege. Izzy comes from new money and has some major character developments over the decade the book takes places, as well as exploring her career and what holds her back and what sets her free.
This entire book is about timing, finding it, having it, taking it and losing it. I was throughly invested in this story, cried a few times, and generously loved this one. I think it hit a little close to home, the story, the reality of the book following the collapse of Afghanistan, what civilians in the area were experiencing, how the US government reacted, what politicians were doing, what locals felt, the tensions, all of it felt close to home. I'd had family who served in Afghanistan and was actually supposed to be working there upon my graduation from collage back in 2020, so reading this story was like stepping into a reality that I didn't truly understand and the tensions and struggles that our service members face on a daily basis.
Layla - Colleen Hoover *audiobook*
This book was not what I expected and I almost quit it about ten different times. Honestly, this entire book had me questioning everything. I thought I was reading a romance, not that I was signing up for a romance, turned attempted murder, then ghosts and some really weird kind of kidnapping were going to happen. I can 100% say that this book was not a single thing that I thought that it would be. I can also say without 100% of a doubt that if I was dating someone and his ex-whatever shot me in the head, then I don't think it would matter how much I thought I loved someone, that relationship would be over.