The Bride Test

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the bride test by helen hoang
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Author: Helen Hoang

Series: The Kiss Quotient, #2

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

My Review:

I was a little cautious about reading this book. I enjoyed the first one (The Kiss Quotient) so much and I didn’t want to ruin that feeling. I shouldn’t have worried, this book was just as enjoyable as the first one, and it could even be read as a stand-alone book. Hoang’s highly descriptive writing is phenomenal. Her stories are full of humor and had me laughing by myself at times. Her analogies and metaphors are hilarious and very unique. Thankfully, this was another buddy read so I was able to talk about the funny parts with my friend and I didn’t feel like a complete maniac.

The characters in this story had such big hearts (even if Khai did think his was “made of stone”). Hoang provided great insight into the mind of a high functioning autistic man, and she is able to switch back and forth from his character to the eccentricities of Esme, his immigrant “fiancée.” I really liked Esme, she was such a strong hard-working female character, and a great role model. I also liked that some of the characters from the previous book made appearances, especially Quan. I’m very much looking forward to Hoang’s next book which features his story.

If you need a funny and lighthearted read, then look no further! I highly recommend these books to all Contemporary Romance fans. Only negative for me was that the ending felt a little rushed, almost like she crammed a lot of important things at the end. Also, be warned once again about very explicit sex scenes. For those interested, her next book comes out May 5, 2010. I can’t wait!

City of Ghosts Mini Review

⭐️⭐️/5

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Series: Cassidy Blake, #1

Author: Victoria Schwab

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

Likes:

I appreciated the fact that Cassidy’s parents were both alive, together, and had a good relationship with each other as well as Cassidy. I don’t see many healthy parent-child relationships in the YA/Fantasy genre -either one of the parents has passed away, or they’re estranged, etc. I really liked Jacob, Cassidy’s ghost best friend, I honestly thought he had a lot more personality than Cassidy herself. The descriptions of the scenery in Scotland were also nice and made me want to visit in the future.

Dislikes:

Maybe I’m just not a ghost story person? I went through this same disappointment when I read The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I had trouble getting into this story and found it very bland. I understood some of the parts were supposed to be scary, but I couldn’t get into it. I kept reading the book expecting it to get better, but it never did. When I was done I was not the least bit interested in reading the next book in the series at all, and I probably never will.

Conclusion:

If you love ghost stories you might enjoy this book, I know many people on Goodreads who loved it. I enjoyed Victoria Schwab’s other books, and I think her writing style is phenomenal. This book just wasn’t for me.

The Kiss Quotient

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the kiss quotient by Helen Hoang
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Helen Hoang

Publication Date: 06/05/2018

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”

Stella

I completely devoured this book. I started reading it in the afternoon one day and unfortunately had to stop to get a few hours of sleep, and then I finished it in the morning. I fell in love with all the characters in this book, even the minor ones, especially Ngoai (Michael’s grandma). The plot was fast paced, and there was no fluff to fill gaps between time. For example, if their next date was on Friday the story skipped right to Friday without making us wait and filling the gap with useless pining. I love when stories are straight to the point.

People called it a disorder, but it didn’t feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.”

Stella

I became highly invested in these characters’ lives and wellbeing. I wanted them, or better yet NEEDED them to be happy. I appreciated the progress both the main characters, Stella and Michael, made throughout the story. They went through a lot of healthy personal and emotional growth, and learned to appreciate themselves and accept who they are. This was exactly the kind of feel good story I needed to balance out my dark TBR for this month. I highly recommend this light hearted read to all romance fans, and readers who need a little pick me up. Also, fair warning that the sex is very explicit and not shy on the details.

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading book two? I know I definitely AM!

Godsgrave Mini Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Picture from Goodreads

Godsgrave is the second book in Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight series. This series continues to impress me and surprise me at every turn. It has lovable characters that I cheered for even though I knew he was probably going to kill a few of them off, I had the first book as precedent and I really tried not to get attached. Needless to say, I failed miserably. I fell in love with ALL the characters, including many of the side characters, Maggot and Belle to name a few.

That’s the power of words: twenty six letters can paint a whole universe.”

Wavewaker

The plot was gripping, and full of twists and turns. I admit it was a bit slow in the beginning as the narration switched back and forth between the past and the present, but once again Kristoff made the switch seamless. The story involved a series of master plans which only the narrator knew about, and we as the readers got to find out as a they developed. I love those kinds of plots, and once the action picked up I could not stop reading.

Never listen to fear…fear is a coward.”

Belle

I would highly recommend this series to all Fantasy lovers. I was very glad I had pre-ordered the last book in the series “Darkdawn” and that it arrived just a few days after I was done with Godsgrave, otherwise I would’ve been highly disappointed by that cliffhanger ending. Once again, a warning that this story contains very gory descriptive writing with explicit sex scenes.

When you take a person from the world…you take everything they were, too.”

Maggot

Nevernight Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
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Author: Jay Kristoff

Publication Date: August 9, 2016

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 429 pages

Audiobook narrator: Holter Graham

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Review:

I cannot believe it took me this long to start reading this series. The final book is actually coming out September 3, so now I’m left scrambling to finish the second one, but I’m glad I finally did. Nevernight was a mix of two of my favorite series: Harry Potter and Throne of Glass. It includes an enchanted library, scary monsters, ghosts, cats, dark magic, and assassins to name a few similarities. Just be warned that Kristoff does not hold back on the gory details or the sexual ones, so this should be for mature audiences only.

Beauty you’re born with, but brains you earn.”

Mia’s mom

The characters were well developed. One of my favorite things about this story was that Kristoff gives enough back story on all of them to justify their motives. There are some lovable characters, and some you love to hate. I always get attached to the animals in all the books, and my favorite was Mr. Kindly the cat. Mia was a likeable, strong, female character, and even though she had power, she was not obnoxious and full of herself (unlike Cealena from Throne of Glass). Mia actually reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, albeit a snarkier much much darker female version.

The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us.”

Chronicler

The pacing of the story was well done, it was action packed enough to keep me glued to the pages, but also it explained all the new lingo, words, and terms used in this new world. The story would switch seamlessly from the past to the present by using italics to differentiate the time frames. Kristoff also included little side stories in order to explain certain terms or remarks that were used, some of these small stories were hilarious and entertaining. The plot was fast paced with some twists and unexpected turns thrown in.

My only issue was with the audiobook version of this book. The narrator was a male, and the main character was a female which made it very awkward to listen to. He was a great narrator, but it’s always really weird for me to hear a male narrator doing a female’s voice, and with Mia being a main character he had to do it a LOT. I found that I enjoyed reading the digital book copy of this book much more, and I could add my own imagined voice for Mia instead.

Overall, this book was amazing! I would recommend this book to all mature Fantasy readers. I’m currently reading Godsgrave, the second book in this series, and I’m really enjoying it. Darkdawn, the third book, will be released next week.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Geekerella Mini Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

geekerella book by Ashley poston
Picture from Goodreads

She wears life like Elvis wore sequins, with no apology laced into the seams.”

Elle

Geekerella (Once Upon a Con, #1) by Ashley Poston was a fun and entertaining take on Cinderella. I personally love fairy tale retellings, and this modern take on it was no exception. Darien and Elle are two lonely teenagers trying to figure out who they really are in a world set on sticking a label on them. This story was fast paced, and once I started reading it was hard for me to stop. Sage was one of my favorite characters, she was strong and confident and lived life with no apologies. (the quote above was about her) I liked the character growth for both Darien and Elle. I especially liked that they were both eventually able to speak up and stand up for themselves.

I’m strapped to the pilot chair of my life, and my hands are tied.”

Darien

I took off one star from my rating for two reasons. First, the relationship between Elle and Sage felt forced at first. Suddenly this girl (Sage) that has never crossed two words with Elle wants to talk to her? AND she happens to have amazing sewing skills? Second, I don’t like it when girls fall in love with guys they barely know. Elle and Darien just shared a few texts and all of a sudden they were in love, but I guess it wouldn’t be a fairy tale if they weren’t. Overall, I loved this whole geeky world and how the author shines a light on the fact that just because you “cosplay” or dress up as one of your favorite characters, doesn’t mean pieces of your true self can’t shine through. Sometimes pretending to be someone else can help you figure out who you truly are.

Starlight, star bright, you can be anyone you want to be tonight.”

Elle’s Dad

I love Poston’s writing, and I will definitely be reading the next book in this series. Did you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Gemina and Obsidio Mini Reviews

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

obsidio by amy kaufman and jay kristoff book
Picture taken by me

Obsidio and Gemina are the last two books in the Illuminae Files series by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. These books were both amazing, though not as great as the first Illuminae book in my opinion. I think what I really missed fromthe first book was the killer infected people. I found them absolutely terriffying. Also, AIDAN (the artificial intelligence in charge of the ships in the first book) was still super creepy in these last two books, but its abilities were diminished and he/it became a bit predictable.

Every story needs its hero. And its villain. And its monster.”

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina had the mind-sucking alien like creatures which were interesting. Here we were introduced to Hanna, the daughter of the man in charge of Jump Station Heimdall, and to Nik, her drug dealer. These two end up holding the fate of the whole universe in their hands after a wormhole malfunction. Hanna became one of my favorite characters, because she could be a badass and look good doing it at the same time. I also loved Nik’s little cousin Ella, she was hilarious.

Live a life worth dying for.”

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio was about bringing the whole story together. I liked seeing all the main characters working for the same team and fighting for their survival on the last book. We are also introduced to the last two characters: Asha and Rhys. What I really liked about Asha was that she was just a regular person, she didn’t have super computer abilities like Kady, or crazy fighting skills like Hanna, but she still managed to make a difference.

Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

These last two books were fast paced, but there was enough character development to make me fall in love with all the characters and become invested in their survival. The story dealt with the possibility that not everything is black or white, and the plot was full of gray areas. The “bad guys” thought they were doing the right thing. The “good guys” were forced to cross lines they would otherwise never cross before. I would recommend this whole series to everyone. Before Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman’s books I was never a big fan of space settings, but they made me change my mind.

Aristotle and Dante Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin alire saenz
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I didn’t understand how you could live in a mean world and not have any of that meanness rub off on you.”

Ari

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz was an amazing read. I started reading this book one afternoon and was surprised to find myself finishing it up at 1:30 AM that same night. I was unable to put it down, and when I absolutely had to in order to do things like cook, eat, and take care of my two children, I switched to the audio book and had it plugged into one ear all day. I became so invested in these kids’ lives, which is my main problem when I read Contemporary Fiction. I keep having to remind myself that these are fictional characters, something I never have to do when I read Fantasy or Sci-Fi. But mainly this was just exceptional writing which kept me engaged and almost hypnotized.

One of the secrets of the universe was that our instincts were sometimes stronger than our minds.”

Ari

The first thing I realized while reading this book, was that Ari was just like me. I really wanted to know what would happen to this dark and heavily guarded boy. On the other hand, Dante was a lot like my husband, right down to his aversion to wearing shoes. Needless to say these characters were well developed and relatable. I could also relate to Ari’s family in many ways, one of the few differences being mine are Cuban and his were Mexican.

But I had learned to hide what I felt. No, that’s not true. There was no learning involved. I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt.”

Ari

The story follows these two boys through their last two years of High School, and two unforgettable Summers. The depiction of High School was so real, it really took me back to the days with no smart phones and limited phone access. Summer is also my favorite season, and I enjoyed their mundane way of spending it. Just two boys going swimming at the local community center, reading, and playing made up games. Those were the simple days, but also the complicated ones because it is the age when we attempt to figure out who we are. I recommend this book to anyone wishing to figure out the secrets of the universe along with these two amazing characters.

Mini Reviews

the girl the sea gave back by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

⭐️⭐️/5

I really enjoyed Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, and I wanted to like this sequel, unfortunately that was not the case. This story takes place ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep. I thought Halvard was a great side character before, but he fell short as a main character in this book. Both him and Tova just had really bland personalities. Frankly, I found Tova to be a pushover with a lot of power in her hands.

The plot was slow going and I did not see any real action until I was halfway through the book. The back and forth between two years ago, ten years ago, and the present became really bothersome. I felt like just some explanation about what happened those years ago would have been sufficient, we did not need to be going back and forth in time every single time something about the past needed to be explained. Overall, I believe my expectations going into this book were set really high and maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I would not recommend this one.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Picture from Goodreads

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I have said before that I will read whatever Bardugo writes forever and ever, and I will say it again. Her characters are always so unique, she can write scary scenes like no other, and the dialogue is amazing. Only bad thing, and this was totally my fault for not researching it first, but I didn’t know this book would ruin the rest of the Shadow and Bones series for me. Just a warning there are a lot of spoilers in this book for Shadow and Bones and for Crooked Saints. I bought this audio book on sale on the Audible app, and did not realize my mistake.

I loved Nikolai’s humor and how full of himself he is. He’s like the male version of Aelin from Throne of Glass. I also fell in love with Zoya, and I found it hilarious how terrified everyone is of her. I really missed Nina, from the Six of Crows series, and we also get a lot of her here. The plot is fast paced and there is constant action. The dialogue is full of humor, and I liked the playful banter between the members of Nokolai’s court. This book was really enjoyable and I cannot wait for the next one. I would totally recommend it if you have read all the other grishaverse books.

Daughter of the Siren Queen

⭐️⭐️⭐️

daughter of the siren queen by Tricia Levenseller
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I read Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2) by Tricia Levenseller with such high expectations mainly because I had heard that it was much better than the first book, but I found it to be just the same rating.

I’m going to start with the things I did not like. The story got a bit repetitive and tiresome at times, with the characters just doing the same thing over and eliciting almost the same results each time. The characters were also a bit inconsistent and changed their minds quite a lot; things that were an issue one day, did not matter the next. Even Alosa, our main female character had issues with Riden changing his mind over and over, one second he was hot and the next he was cold.

I did enjoy the sense of adventure this story conveyed, and the world building was great. The humor and dialogue were entertaining enough to keep me reading. Even though the story became a bit predictable, it was able to keep me engaged enough to want to know what would happen in the end. I liked that Alosa was a strong female character, and so were the other females on her crew. Little Rosalind was one of my favorite side characters, a child among pirates with a bit of spunk. I would recommend this book to any YA/Fantasy fans looking for a light entertaining read.

Have you read this book? What was your opinion?