Book Review: The Remnant Chronicles

It’s been a while since I posted a book review! I was in a real slump this winter and spring but I have finally been picking the pace up again. I’m much quicker at updating my TikTok and Goodreads so make sure to check those out if you want to stay up-to-date on what I’m reading. Let’s get into today’s book series!

I had been wanting to read a fantasy series and I had quite a few on my TBR. I’ve seen a lot of hype for Mary E. Pearson’s Dance of Thieves duology, which is set in the same universe as The Remnant Chronicles. Since I already owned the first book in the series I thought I would try it out. The series is about Lia (which side note it’s weird to read a book with a character that has the same name – even though she spells it differently), who is a princess. She runs away on her wedding day and is followed by the prince she left at the altar and an assassin who was sent out to kill her. In the first novel, both the prince and assassin have POV chapters, but we don’t know who is who until later in the novel. As the series progresses, Lia must work with the prince and assassin to save her kingdom.

The first book in the series is The Kiss of Deception. I enjoyed the first one! I liked the premise and it was fun to try and guess which character was the prince and which was the assassin. I enjoyed the world and liked how the magic system is much subtler compared to other fantasy novels. My only complaint was I found the book to be a little on the slow side. The plot was good just dragged a little for my liking. I gave the book 4/5 stars.

The second book in the series is The Heart of Betrayal. This was my least favourite book in the series. I’ve never been a fan of the captive trope and that was the majority of this novel. There was also a lot of lying and deception that I found a little difficult to follow. I could see how this book was important to the overarching storyline but it was just a little slow for me. I gave the book 3/5 stars.

The final book in the series is The Beauty of Darkness. The first half of the book was once again slow but the ending was great. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of wars and battles, but this one was the perfect length. It progressed the plot without being drawn out. I think the book did a great job of wrapping up the book. I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Overall I would give the series 3.5/5 stars. It was good and different compared to other fantasy series I’ve read. I’m glad it was a trilogy because any longer would be too much. I think each of the books could have been condescended to make everything a little faster-paced. But I like the word, the magic system and the characters. I think if you like fantasy this is a good series but this wouldn’t be at the top of my recommendation list.

If you’ve read this series let me know what you think in the comments! And if you have any recommendations for me let me know!

xoxo

Lea

Book Reviews: “The Love Hypothesis”, “Into the Water” and “People We Meet on Vacation”

Hey guys! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a book review, mainly because I’ve been in a huge reading slump most of this year. But today I have three reviews for you. I posted a reading update on my Youtube recently, so if you prefer audio over reading make sure to check that out! Let’s get into today’s books.

Back in March, I read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. This book was super popular online so I had to check it out. For those who haven’t heard of this book, the story follows Olive, a graduate student who convinces a professor at her university to fake-date her. This is an adult romance novel.

Let’s start with what I liked about the book. I loved the academic setting – it reminded me of all the fun and struggles my friends and I went through in university. I am also a huge fake-dating trope fan. The situation is almost always ridiculous which is kinda why I love it. Finally, I did enjoy Olive and Adam’s (the male protagonist) relationship. They had funny banter between them and there was a nice amount of tension as well.

Now for the things I didn’t enjoy. I was not a huge fan of Olive. I found her to be pretty immature and naive – and she’s technically older than me so it’s not like I can excuse her actions on her age. It’s always harder to love a book when you don’t love the main character. I dislike miscommunication and one of the lies that Olive told Adam just drove me up a wall. I had to put down the book for a week I was so annoyed. Finally, this book was hyped online to be very spicey (aka a lot of mature content) but there wasn’t much! Now that is more the fault of the reviewers than the book but I was a little disappointed on that end.

Overall I did enjoy the book but I wasn’t in love like many people online are. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a light-hearted romance. I gave the book 4/5 stars.

It had been a while since I had read a thriller so I decided to read Into The Water by Paula Hawkins. I liked Hawkins’ debut, The Girl on the Train so I was excited to read this one. I was thoroughly disappointed, to say the least. This story follows a small, British town that has had two suicides within a matter of months. This is an adult, mystery thriller.

One of the things I didn’t like about the book is that there were way too many point-of-views. It’s nice to have a few but there were close to ten points of view. Many of the characters didn’t connect until halfway through the story so it was so confusing to keep track of what was going on and who was who. The book was also just very slow-paced. Coupled with the fact that there was a lack of suspense and tension meant that I was bored the majority of the novel. Once things finally did happen It was so rushed that I didn’t feel satisfied.

Besides the plot/structural issues, I thought that Hawkins’ writing style was very nice. I will add that while there were so many characters, I felt like each was unique and well developed.

Overall I gave the book 3/5 stars. It took me a while to read the book so maybe if I were to binge-read it I would have found it more impactful? Either way, I would recommend Hawkins’ first book over this one.

The final book is my favourite book I read so far this year – People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. This was given to me as a birthday gift and wow did my friend pick a great book! The story follows Alex and Poppy, who only see each other when they go on their yearly summer vacation. That is until two years ago when something happens that means that haven’t spoken since. Poppy manages to convince Alex to go on another vacation where she tries to fix their friendship. This is an adult contemporary romance.

I think one of the reasons why I love this book so much is how much I relate to Poppy. She’s loud and eccentric and has her own blog – sounds a lot like me haha. Alex has so many qualities that I personally look for in a partner as well. I just love their relationship and reading their dialogue was often some of my favourite parts of the novel.

The book bounces between the past and present. I loved reading about all their travel and it gave me the itch to travel myself. I like how there was tension and romance sprinkled throughout the novel to keep me engaged but also wanting more. The book was also funny AND didn’t rely on cringe/embarrassment to me funny – something I’m not a huge fan of. Finally, the ending was just so good that I even shed a few happy years. You know a book is good when it makes you happy cry.

Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars. If anyone says they want a romance book this is going to be my recommendation from now on. I know a lot of people like Emily Henry’s Beach Read so I have to check that out soon.

And those are the books I’ve read lately. If you read any of these books let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you have any recommendations for me leave them as well because I’m always on the lookout for new books.

xoxo

Lea

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses Series

Hey guys! Thought it was time to take a break from Sephora Sale content and post a book review! I know it’s been a while since my last blog post but it’s taken me about four months to finish this series oops. Today I will be sharing my review of Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses (shorten to ACOTAR) series. For those of you who don’t know, ACOTAR is a very popular series online. I had heard a lot about the books before reading the series which affected my opinion. I will do a review on each book, which will contain minor spoilers – such is the nature of reviewing series since each book builds on each other. At the end of this post, I’ll do a spoiler-free overview of the series. So let’s get into it!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns is the first book in the series. It follows Feyre, a human who accidentally kills a fae and must go live with a fae lord to make up for her actions. This is a new adult fantasy series.

I heard a lot about this book on book Tiktok before reading it, so I had a lot of preconceived notions. I knew a lot of people didn’t like the love interest, Tamlin, so because of that, I didn’t like him.

I spent a good part of the book waiting for the action that I hear everyone online talk about to happen. It wasn’t until the last 100 pages that the action picked up and I was into the book. I think it sets up nicely for the next book in the series.

I think Feyre is a pretty neutral main character. I don’t hate her but I don’t love her. There are a lot of big side characters in the series, so it helps that she’s tamer.

I gave this book 4/5 stars. It was good but had a real slow start.

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury was much better compared to the first. There is more action and the characters introduced in this book as very interesting. The best part of the book is the romance. I love Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship and how it builds and grows through the book.

I like how Feyre’s mental health struggles are a big part of the book. I felt like the depiction is quite realistic and it was amazing to see it improve throughout the novel.

My only complaint is that the book is quite long. This is a reoccurring complaint I have for the series.

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars.

A Court of Wings and Ruin

I’m still not sure if my reading slump just coincided with reading A Court of Wings and Ruin or was because of the book. Whereas the first two took me about 10 pages to get through, the third book took me a month to read.

I found the beginning to be boring after the excitement of the second novel. This book also has a war in it. I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not a huge fan of war novels and this one was no exception. I found the middle section dragged on. As well, a lot of new characters were introduced and it found it confusing to remember everyone.

The last 150 pages were good and redeemed the novel from being a complete flop for me. For reference, I read the last 150 pages in two days.

I gave the book 3.5/5 stars. I was debating not continuing with the series, but I already owned the other books, so I decided to continue.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight is a novella that is supposed to be a bridge between the Feyre, who is the main character in the first three novels, and Nesta, who is the main character in the next novels.

I don’t think this book is necessary for the grand scheme of the series. There are only a few big plot points that could have easily been included at the end of the last novel or the beginning of the next novel.

The book just had a bunch of unnecessary fluff. It’s set in the world’s version of Christmas so I think it could be nice to read around the holiday to get in the spirit. But otherwise, I don’t think it added that much to the series.

I gave the book 3.5/5 stars. It was quick to read but not the most interested.

A Court of Silver Flames

Like I mentioned, this book switches to Nesta (Feyre’s sister) and Cassian’s point of view and focuses on their relationship. A Court of Silver Flames is probably tied with A Court of Mist and Fury as my favourite books in this series. I’ve always liked Nesta but this book made me fall in love with her. She’s just more complex than Feyre.

Similar to ACOMAF, this book is about Nesta processing her trauma and I felt it was quite realistic in the ups and downs and the long period of time it takes to process trauma.

I love Nesta and Cassian’s relationship. I also love the friendship that Feyre develops with Emerie and Gwen. They’re probably some of my favourite side characters in the whole series.

This book was really really long. It was 750 pages but I think this book could have easily been 500 pages. It was just a little long and repetitive in some parts.

This book was also quite character-driven. It focused mainly on Nesta’s growth, otherwise, not much happened plot-wise. I also found the ending to be a little rushed and the conflict resolved a little too quickly.

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. It was great and I’m excited to see where the series goes.

Overall Thoughts

If you are not familiar with Sarah J Maas, she also wrote the Throne of Glass series, which I absolutely loved and gave 5/5 stars. I had high expectations going into this series. Overall I think it was good but not as great as Throne of Glass.

First, like I mentioned this series is a character-driven book. This means that the growth and development of the characters are what drive the book forward. Whereas Throne of Glass is a plot-driven book, where the plot and conflict are what drive the book forward. Both are acceptable, I just prefer plot-driven books which is why I didn’t like ACOTAR as much.

For this being a character-driven series as well, I found that I didn’t connect to the characters as much compared to Throne of Glass. I loved the characters in that series. I do realize that ACOTAR isn’t finished yet so this might change but it is something to note.

Finally, I find that ACOTAR is quite long and drawn out. I don’t think long books are inherently bad. But I think if your book is going to be long it better be action-filled or just interesting the whole book. I think the books could easily be 50-150 pages shorter and would still be good books. So if you struggle with long books beware.

I think this is a good fantasy and romance series but I don’t think it transcends the genre. Some books are so good that I think everyone should read them. I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy but if you’re not a fan of the genre I would pass. I give this series 4/5 stars. I will continue to read the future books that come out.

And those are my thoughts on the ACOTAR series! If you’ve read this series let me know your thoughts in the comments. And with all my book reviews let me know if you have any recommendations for me in the comments!

xoxo

Lea

Books Reviews: “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”

Hey guys! I’m back with another book review. I must say that I haven’t been reading as much lately. I usually read at night but I’ve been so tired that I only read for a bit before going to sleep. So it’s been taking me longer than normal to get through books. But here I am with two new book reviews. Let’s get into it.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The first book is The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. My mom borrowed this from our neighbour and then recommended it to me. This story follows Lale, who is a Slovakian Jew who becomes the tattooist at Auschwitz. He ends up meeting a woman named Gita and he promises her that they will make it out alive and that he will marry her. This is an adult historical fiction novel.

I had high expectations going into this book because I’ve heard many good things about it. And while the book was good, it wasn’t the best World War II book I’ve ever read. Don’t get me wrong, Lale and Gita’s story is incredible – and based on real life. But the storytelling was a little lacklustre.

Morris is a screenwriter by trade and I felt like that was quite evident in her writing. There was a general lack of atmosphere and setting in the book – things that are normally done visually not necessarily written in a screenplay. I think Morris did a great job of explaining the reality of Auschwitz and also mentioned other prisoners such as the Romani, political prisoners, etc. But I didn’t get any sense of fear and tension in the novel.

This was also touted as a great romance and I felt like the romance was a little lacking between Lale and Gita. There are so many World War II books out there on the market and I just don’t think that this was necessarily the best I’ve read in the genre.

Overall I give the book 3.5/5 stars. The story itself was good but the writing needs work. If you’re a big World War II book read then I would check it out. But otherwise, I don’t think it needs to be on the top of everyone’s list.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The second book is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ve heard many good things about the book, so much that I asked for it (and received it) for Christmas this past year. The story is about Evelyn Hugo, a famous movie actress of the 60s and 70s who had seven different husbands. Evelyn asks an unknown writer, Monique, to write her life story and tell the world who her one true love is. This is an adult historical fiction novel as well.

I have to say that I liked the book, but I wasn’t blown away but it. It took me a really long time to get into the novel. The book follows Monique at the beginning and it takes a while for Evelyn to start telling her story. And it wasn’t until her third husband that I really got into the novel.

I also didn’t really feel emotionally connected to any of the characters. There were no characters that I saw myself in or that I really liked and wanted to be my best friend. I respect Evelyn, for she is a complex character but still a strong and powerful woman. But I just didn’t connect with her. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the main love interest (but I won’t say who as to not spoil it). I also loved the LGBTQ + representation in the novel. It’s something I want to read more of in the future and I really like the way it was handled and discussed in the novel.

Overall it’s a good book and I would recommend it to anyone who’s intrigued by it. But it’s not going to be on the top of my book list for this year. I give it 4/5 stars.

It’s interesting because last time I have two five-star books and this time I was a little disappointed by the books I read. Not that they were bad but I just heard such amazing things that I thought they would be better. Anyway, I’m planning to read A Court of Thorns and Roses next, so I won’t have a new book review blog post until I finish that series! So follow me on TikTok (@leaveittolea) because I give more updates there.

xoxo

Lea

Book Reviews: “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” and “Beauty Queens”

Hey guys! Sorry for not posting on Friday. Having the day off on Thursday threw me off schedule. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance my time with my new job, so please forgive me. Anyway, today we have a book review post. I posted a Youtube video with my monthly book reviews as well, I’ll link that at the bottom if you prefer an audio-visual version instead. Let’s get into it!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The first book is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. My friends got this for me for my birthday. I’ve heard so many good things online so I was excited to read it. I also heard that the book was sad and was going to give me an existential crisis. And the people on the internet weren’t kidding.

This book follows Addie LaRue, who makes a deal with the devil to live forever. The thing is that no one remembers her. Addie lives over 300 years before she meets someone who does remember her. This is a New Adult historical fantasy.

This book is written so well. There is a nice balance between being straightforward and being poetic. And the poetic sections aren’t pretentious in any way. The writing is very effortless and flows well. The beginning is very strong. It hooked me right away and wasn’t confusing. The book is a little slower-paced. Addie’s life story unfolds throughout the full novel. While it’s slower-paced it’s not boring. I was intrigued by the whole book.

Addie LaRue is a very philosophical book. It dives deep into themes such as the purpose of life, our impact on society and being liked and accepted, to name a few. It can be quite sad at times. I received some personally sad news around the same time I was reading this book, so I think that just amplified how I was feeling. I was sobbing after I finish the book and felt pretty sad and numb the next day.

I didn’t necessarily love this book but I think it still deserves 5 stars. First I don’t think there is anything I would change about the book. V.E. Schwab had a story she wanted to tell and I think she executed it perfectly. Second, while I didn’t love the book, it elicited strong, sad emotions from me. I think the fact that i tcreated such strong emotions shows that it’s an impressive book. So I give it 5/5 stars. I would recommend the book but just be prepared to feel sad and question life after reading the book.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

After reading such a sad book I needed something happier. So I decided to read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I bought this book back in middle school (it was published in 2011). I’ve read Bray’s Gemma Doyle series and Going Bovine, and liked both of them. Going Bovine is a whacky book and I had a feeling that Beauty Queens would be similar so I was prepared going into this book.

Beauty Queens follows a group of teen beauty pageant contestants who get stranded on what they think is a deserted island. They must work together to survive on this island, but really weird things keep on happening to them. This is a YA contemporary comedy.

This book is a whacky satire that is poking fun at many things include late 2000s media and pop culture, capitalism, big corporations, beauty standards, sexism, racism and many other things. It’s full of late 2000s references (like I said published in 2011). Since I grew up during this time I knew all the references so I found it super funny.

This also might be a random comparison, but it reminded me a lot of the kid tv show Phineas and Ferb. That show was pretty whacky and if you took it at face value it wouldn’t make sense. But if you just go along with the wackiness it’s pretty funny. Same thing with this book. The book has footnotes, fun facts section, commercial scripts that add to the storyline.

I think how this book talked about some serious topics in a fun and light-hearted way. It’s a great way to start a conversation on difficult topics. There was also lots of diversity, with an Indian immigrant, an African-American girl, a trans girl, lesbian and bi characters, and a deaf girl. And they weren’t just side characters. Bray discussed how their identities affected them personally and also related to the world of beauty pageants. Great to see such diversity in a book, because there are books published today that don’t have this level of diversity in them.

There was some romance but it wasn’t the focus of the novel. The book was more about the girls learning to be friends with each other and banding together instead of fighting with one another. And I love novels with good female friendships.

Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars, but I can easily see why people wouldn’t like this book. If satire isn’t your thing or you don’t know much about 2000s pop culture then you might not like this book. Comedy is so subjective so this book isn’t going to be for everyone.

And those are my book reviews for today guys. If you read either of these books let you know what you thought about them. And as always, feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments! Always willing to add books to my endless TBR list haha.

xoxo

Lea

Book Reviews: The Wives, The Crown of Gilded Bones and Shine

Hey guys! Today we have another book review post! We’ve got three very different books in today’s post. What can I say, I have very varied taste. And if you prefer audio-visual book reviews, my book video will be going Sunday so stay tuned for that (I’ll add the video to this post once it’s up). Let’s get into it.

"The Wives" by Tarryn Fisher

The first book is “The Wives” by Tarryn Fisher. This one was lent by my neighbour and my mom read it before me. My mom’s quick review I got before reading the book was ‘the ending was crazy’. Not very descriptive. This book follows a woman whose husband is a polygamist, but she doesn’t know his other wives. Now I just want to note the synopsis on the back of the book and Goodreads is different. Goodreads says the main character’s name whereas the back of the book doesn’t. So it took me half the book to realize the main character’s name is Thursday and not just a nickname. But anyway, Thursday is curious about the other wives and befriends one. Then Thursday learns that her husband is abusing one of the other wives and becomes concerned. This is an adult thriller.

Unlike a lot of the reviews on Goodreads, I found the first half of the book pretty boring. It was mundane and just about her domestic woes at the beginning. It wasn’t until about halfway through that it got interesting. The more interesting it got thought the more confusing it got. There were a lot of twists and turns right up until the end of the book. I didn’t necessarily enjoy reading it because it’s pretty messed up what happens. But the book itself is written well, with the book flowing and I read it pretty quickly.

I will say that mental illness is a big driver of the plot and I’m unsure how I feel about it. I think mental illness can add to a thriller. For example in the book ‘The Women in the Window’, the main character was unreliable due to her mental illness. But it was not the main cause for the tragedy. In this book, it caused all the tragedy and was put in a negative light, with words like ‘crazy’ and ‘psycho’ being thrown around all over the place. It just didn’t sit well with me.

Overall I gave the book 3/5 stars. It was a thrilling book. But I just didn’t vibe with the reason for all the mess and found the beginning to be boring.

"The Crown of Gilded Bones", the third book in the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

The next book is “The Crown of Gilded Bones”, the third book in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Blood and Ash series. I won’t go into too much detail about the plot as to not spoil the other books in the series. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the book so I was hesitant going into the book. This is a new adult fantasy.

I can say I understand why the book got mixed reviews. First, there is a lot of info-dumping at the beginning of the book. I read the other two books in November so it was a lot to try and remember the old information and process the new information. It took me almost 200 pages to get into the book. And second there just wasn’t as much spice compared to the other book. Like don’t get me wrong, there are spicy scenes, but they weren’t as memorable or special compared to the first two books.

I think the second half of the book was much better. The world was developed at a much more even pace and some really big plot twists happen in the end as well. While the book might not be my favourite in the series, I can see how it’s going to be important in the overarching series. Lots of both plot and character development happens in this book so be prepared for that.

Overall I gave this book 4/5 stars (for reference I rated the other books in the series 4.5/5 stars). If you are into fantasy and want something spicy I highly recommend this series. But be prepared for a long read, because each book is over 600 pages long.

"Shine" by Lauren Myracle

And the final book I read in May is “Shine” by Lauren Myracle. This book follows Cat as she tries to discover who committed a hate crime against her gay friend Patrick. This book is a YA mystery.

The mystery is the best part of this novel. It took me a while (but not as long as Cat) to figure out who committed the crime. I kept on going back and forth on who did it. And I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading the book. If you’re looking for a good mystery this is it.

But the book overall is quite sad. This book is set in rural North Carolina. There is a lot of hate, homophobia, poverty, drug use, abuse, violence – the list goes on. It’s not necessarily enjoyable to read about all these awful things but it’s important in some ways because this is life and reality for many people. Made me think and reflect on my privilege.

Overall I gave this 4/5 stars. Pretty dark subject matter but the mystery is really good. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery. And don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a YA book because it’s still a serious novel.

And those are my book reviews! Let me know in the comments what you thought if you read any of these books. And always let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review: Outlands Pentalogy

Hey guys! I’m back again with another book review. Today I am giving you my review of the Outlands Pentalogy series by Rebecca Crunden. I previously wrote a review for the first book in the series, “A Touch of Death”. I recommend checking out that post before reading this one. I will quickly give you my thoughts on each of the books before giving my thoughts on the series overall. I’m going to try and avoid spoilers, so because of that, my thoughts may be a little vague especially for the later books. But I will try and do my best. Let’s get into this!

The Outlands Pentalogy series by Rebecca Crunden

The Outlands Pentalogy series follows three main characters: Kitty, Nate and Thom. Nate and Thom are brothers and Thom and Kitty are assigned partners by the government. Their lives are pretty easy being the children of the society’s elite until Nate and Kitty are infected by a disease that turns them into half-blood mutants. In this dystopian world, there is a second human race that has evolved after being exposed to serious levels of radiation. I would categorize this as a new adult dystopian series.

The second novel, “A History of Madness“, is from Nate’s perspective following the first novel (the first novel is from Kitty’s perspective). I found the beginning to be a bit slow but after it picked up well. This novel gives the details about how the world got to this dystopian point and also get to meet the mutants. While there were moments that I found Nate annoying I overall enjoyed this novel and gave it 4.5/5 stars.

The third novel, “A Promise of Return“, is from Thom’s perspective and what happens to him during the timeline of the first and second novel. This is my favourite novel in the series. I think Thom is my favourite character and I just enjoyed the level of action in this novel. There were some great twists in this novel as well. I gave it 4.5/5 stars.

The fourth book, “A Dance of Lies“, was slower for me. In this novel, we return to Kitty’s perspective. This book is mainly character-driven and how the characters grow and deal with their trauma. Some seriously shitty things happen to the characters through the series and this book is mainly about the repercussions of that. This book also explores Nate, Thom and Kitty’s relationship. The lack of action and confusing ending meant that I gave this book 4/5 stars.

The final book, “A Time of Prophecy“, alternates perspectives between Nate, Kitty and Thom. I found the beginning to be slow but the end was action-packed. I felt like this book did a good job ending the series. My only complaint is that it was slightly repetitive in the beginning and all the side characters returned which made it hard to keep track of who was who. I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Overall I give the series 4.25/5 stars. I’ll break down some of the things I liked and some of the things I found annoying.

First I think this is unlike any other dystopian novel I’ve read before. Yes, you have the tyrannical government but the main characters are from the elite not the poor. They also don’t spend a lot of time in the government but running from it. I also love the whole mutant race plotline. I thought it was well done and it’s a great example of how to treat others who are not like you.

This novel deals with lots of heavy themes such as otherness, but also sexual assault, rape, violence, death, the afterlife and the existence of God. These are heavy topics, so check for trigger warnings (there are some on Goodreads).

There was also great representation both in terms of race and sexuality. Kitty is described as having dark skin and hair, so it’s nice that not all the main characters as white. Thom is bisexual and many of the other characters are either bisexual or homosexual. There is some discussion of physical disability as well.

My only issues with the novel are pacing and repetitiveness. I found the pacing varied throughout the series, with it being slow and fast and slow again. A novel or series doesn’t have to be fast-paced, but I prefer something consistent. I also mentioned that the book did get repetitive at times, mainly with people having issues with their relationship. I won’t say who the couples were because I don’t want to spoil pairings, but man the couples had struggles and I got fed up after a while.

I would recommend this series to anyone interested in dystopian novels. This is unlike any dystopian series I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it. And these books are self-published, so you get to support a small, independent author if you choose to read them!

I hope you guys found this review helpful. As with all my book reviews, let me know in the comments what you’re currently reading or if you have any recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

Book Reviews: “The Last Mrs. Parrish” and “Emotions Revealed”

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I did a book review because my reading was all over the place in April. 😆 I was reading a non-fiction book as well as a fiction book and kept on switching between books in a series and standalone book. But I’ve finished the Outlands Pentalogy series (review coming next week) and my non-fiction book so hopefully my reading will be less complicated now. Anyway, let’s get into it.

"The Last Mrs. Parrish" by Liv Constantine

The first book in today’s post is “The Last Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine. My mom’s friend lent this to her and my mom recommended I read it as well. I paused my series to read this book to return it to my mom’s friend promptly. This is an adult thriller that follows Amber who tries to insert herself into the lives of the Parrish’s and break up their marriage.

The writing of this book flows so well. I found myself reading the book so quickly. So I have to give it to the Constantine sisters because this was so easy to read. I will say it dragged a bit in the middle before the twist was revealed and then I was hooked again.

The first half of the novel was narrated by Amber. And while she’s a quite unlikeable character I couldn’t help but root her. I was also swayed by Amber’s opinion and I didn’t like Daphne Parrish all that much at first. But then halfway through it switched to Daphne’s perspective and all my thoughts and feelings changed. I won’t say much else as to not ruin the surprise.

I will say that it’s more of a drama than a thriller. When I read a thriller I expect something like murder or missing person. Neither of those things is present in the novel. There is tension and suspense and some nasty things that happen but I wouldn’t say it’s like a classic thriller.

Overall I enjoyed the book and thought the ending was good. If someone asked me for a thriller recommendation I wouldn’t say this one. But if you like drama or reading about outrageously rich people then I would recommend this book. I gave it 4/5 stars.

"Emotions Revealed" by Paul Ekamn

The second book is non-fiction, which is a genre I don’t read very often. I was given “Emotions Revealed” by Paul Ekman as a gift a couple of years ago. The subtitle mentioned being able to read emotions to improve communication and emotional lives. As someone who studied communication in school, I am quite interested in non-verbal communication so I thought I would enjoy this book.

Overall I was a little underwhelmed by the novel. This book focuses more on the psychology of emotions which was interesting but just not what I was expecting. There was some explanation of how to improve communication but it was only a small portion of the novel. I guess what I was hoping for and what the actual focus of the book was different.

The writing was quite formulaic in the bulk of the novel. Each chapter would cover a different emotion and would run through the same things for each emotion. I often struggle with non-fiction books but I find the lack that narrative element that drives me to continue reading the book and this book suffered from that. As well the writing was quite academic at times. It hasn’t been that long since I was in university so I’m pretty comfortable with academic writing, but it does make the book less accessible.

Overall the book wasn’t bad, just not my cup of tea. I’m not as into psychology and it didn’t have the prose to be able to keep my attention regardless of the subject. If you’re interested in psychology and emotions then you’ll probably love this book. But if that’s not your cup of tea then I would skip this book. I gave it 3/5 stars.

That’s my book reviews for today! Like I mentioned, I’ll be posting another review next week of the Outlands Pentalogy so stay tuned for that! And like with all my book reviews, let me know in the comments what you’re currently reading and if you have any recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review: “Debutantes” & “The Giver of Stars”

Hey guys! Today I’m sharing two standalone novels that I’ve read this month. This has been a really good reading month for me, both in terms of the number of books and the quality of books. I’ve already hit four books this month, and there is a good chance I’ll finish one more before the month is done. But anyway, today I have two different historical fiction books. I’ve been reading lots of fantasy lately, so it was nice to read another genre. Let’s get into it.

Debutantes, Debutantes by Cora Harrison, Cora Harrison, book, book review, historical fiction, YA historical fiction

The first book we have is Debutantes by Cora Harrison. I’ve had this on my bookshelf for many years, it was purchased sometime when I was in high school. The novel follows four sisters who live with their father and great-aunt in an old mansion in 1920s England. The oldest sister is hoping to have her debut season but may not be able to because of the family’s difficult financial season. On top of this, the sisters find out a mystery that could change their lives. This is a young adult historical fiction.

This book gave me such Downton Abbey vibes. From the big old house to the older, sassy relative, to the friendly staff, and the book is set in the same time period. It’s also similar in the sense where there are some difficult situations, things always end well. The book is PG, with very little romance. It’s more about the sisters and their relationships with each other.

I think I would have liked the novel if I was 10 years younger. The story is pretty cute but very surface-level. There is so much discussion on fashion, which I would have loved as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes and fashion. But it becomes excessive when every outfit is described in detail.

The mystery is also pretty obvious. I guessed it almost right away so there was no suspense for me. I enjoyed reading it and seeing the clues, but I wasn’t left guessing what was going to happen.

Overall I give this book 3/5 stars. I don’t think it’s bad. I just think it could have been better. I would recommend this book to 13-year-olds who are interested in history. But if you’re looking for Bridgerton level romance, this isn’t it. Also just wanted to note that there is a sequel but I won’t be reading it. I felt like the end of the first novel was satisfying enough that I didn’t need to read the second.

book, book review, historical fiction, Jojo Moyes, The Giver of Stars, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, Reese's Book Club

The second book I have to review today is The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. The novel follows Alice, who moves from England to Kentucky to follow her new husband. There she joins a group of women who run a travelling library in rural Kentucky in the 1930s. This is a historical fiction novel.

Wow, I loved this novel. It’s a very easy read. It’s paced very well and I found myself wanting to read to find out what happens to the women. I didn’t know much about this area, so it was easy to learn because one of the main point-of-views is from Alice who is also an outsider.

I think that Moyes did an amazing job of balancing the line between critiquing and showing the beauty of rural Kentucky. There are many issues that Moyes highlights such as the way women are treated, how people of colour of treated and the atrocities the mining company is allowed to commit for the sake of money. But Moyers also highlights the community aspect of small towns and also the physical beauty of the mountains. It also highlighted a little-known topic of the Packhorse Libraries that ran in the 1930s under Eleanor Roosevelt.

I loved the cast of characters in this novel. Each character was unique and added something to the story. It featured powerful women who were trying to make a difference in their community, which is something I love to read. It also talks a lot about the love and power of reading. As an avid reader, it’s fun to read about characters who also love reading.

I will say that the story is slightly predictable in the sense that I had a feeling what the ending was going to be. But how the story got to the ending was a complete surprise so I wasn’t bored while reading. If you want a book that will give you a happy, satisfying ending, this book perfectly fits the bill.

Overall I give this book 5/5 stars. Five-star books for me are books that I wouldn’t change a thing and feel comfortable recommending to anyone. And this book is that exactly. I think this book is an easy, comfortable read that I think would have a broad appeal to many people even though it’s such a niche topic. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel so I think it deserved five stars.

I will note that if you go on Goodreads or Google the book you’ll notice that there has been some controversy with this novel, with claims of plagiarism. Just wanted to bring this up because I know that this might matter to some people. I haven’t read the other book, so I cannot confirm if the allegations are true. I would recommend doing your own research before making a decision.

And those are my two book reviews for today. I’m currently in the middle of a series so it might be a bit before I have another book review. As always, please let me know your thoughts if you’ve read either of these novels. And let me know if you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to check them out!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review: A Touch of Death

Hey guys! I’m back with another book review! Today I will be sharing my thoughts on “A Touch of Death” by Rebecca Crunden. Rebecca was kind enough to send me this book but all my thoughts in this review are my own. Okay, let’s get into it.

A Touch of Death, "A Touch of Death" by Rebecca Crunden, Outlands Pentalogy, Rebecca Crunden, dystopian, dystopian novel

The story follows Catherine and Nate who live easy lives because their parents are favourites of the King. Catherine and Nate contract a mysterious illness while visiting the mountains and run away, afraid of arrest and execution. This is a new adult dystopian novel and the first in a five-book series.

I was confused at first because the synopsis on the back of the book is more of a backstory. You can read the synopsis here if you want. The synopsis mentions a two-year period when Nate is gone and I thought that’s where the novel would start. But it skips this section. So I was confused at first but once I realized the synopsis was the backstory was I able to move on. This might also be confusion on my part. I can be a scattered brain at times.

It took me about 100 pages to get into the novel, which I find is fairly common with sci-fi and fantasy novels. On top of trying to introduce the characters, these genres have to build a world. So it can be a lot to grasp at first. But after those 100 pages, I settled in and got really into the novel. I think it’s also interesting because there aren’t chapters in the book. The book is divided into six parts. But within the parts, they are paragraph breaks so there are places to pause my reading. I found the lack of chapters meant that the book flowed easily and I found myself just wanting to continue to read.

Something I found interesting is that one of the main characters dies pretty early on but is continually mentioned throughout the novel. It was interesting to learn about a character who’s dead through memories of the other characters. Usually, when a character dies that’s it, they’re done. But this character was continually mentioned. This makes me believe for some reason that this character isn’t dead. I’m curious to see if my guess is true.

This novel includes some unrequited love. I don’t want to give too many details as to not spoil the plot. But it’s you’re looking for something spicy, this isn’t it. There is plenty of discussion of sex and marriage and but the furthest this novel goes is kissing. I didn’t mind because I found the plot to be very interesting. Unlike other dystopian novels where the main character is from the poorer part of society (Hunger Games, The Selection) this focuses on those who are from the top of society. Catherine slowly learns what her society is truly like. It gives me similar vibes to the television adaption of Brave New World.

Throughout the novel, Catherine and Nate travel across the kingdom. I wish there was a map included in the novel. I did find one on Rebecca’s website, which I will have pulled up when I read the rest of the series. But I think it would have helped me to have it included in the novel.

Overall I give the book 4.5/5 stars. I think it’s a refreshing take on the dystopian genre and isn’t like anything I’ve read in that genre. I’m excited to read the rest of the books in the series. It loses half a point because I was pretty confused in the beginning because of the synopsis, but once I realized what was going on I was into it.

I have ordered the second book and if I like it then I’ll probably stick with it and finish the series. I like to consider series as a whole, so I’ll probably review the rest of the books together in one post. So stay tuned for that!

xoxo

Lea

UPDATE: Just wanted to mention that the cover I have is an old version, and that the cover has been updated since I received the book.