Whiskey Prince Review

Whiskey Prince (Taking Risks #1) by Toni Aleo

Any book that opens with a Sirius Black quote and references Lord of the Rings is a book that I will read! While the story was slow to build and a little predictable, it was not bad. If you’re looking for a cute romance with potential, then this is the book for you!

Amberlyn sets off to Ireland to discover more about her family after her mother passes away. While she’s a little hesitant to give up her life and go, Amberlyn ultimately decides to go along with her mother’s wishes. She discovers more in Ireland than just her family roots. Her mother urged her to do three things while in Ireland: Take a risk; Do Something Drastic; and Fall in love. Will Amberlyn follow her mother’s wishes or will she shy away from the challenge?

On the other side of the Atlantic, Declan is a twenty-two year old who is sitting to inherit the throne of a whiskey empire. But the keys to his kingdom come with a catch, his parents want him to marry and settle down with a nice Irish girl to keep up the O’Callaghan tradition. He needs a wife and time is ticking away. If he doesn’t marry, then he cannot keep the business. But whiskey is Declan’s life. He loves his land and making whiskey. But can he find love outside of the whiskey business?

Whiskey Prince pits Amberlyn and Declan against each other as an unlikely match. Delcan’s family wanted him to find a respectable Irish girl. While Amberlyn’s family knows little about the O’Callaghans because they tend to keep to themselves. The O’Callaghan’s are local celebrities who rarely leave their estate. But when Declan starts frequenting the pub Amberlyn works at, everyone starts becoming curious and the pub receives more business than they are used to.

In a tale of young love and finding yourself in a far away land, you’ll be swept off of your feet with Declan’s charisma and Amberlyn’s sweet naivety. This is one romantic adventure that you don’t want to miss. Young love is in the air, as Declan must decide what is most important to him while Amberlyn learns to let go of what she knows and give into what she feels. Whiskey Prince is charming and will make you smile.

 

Rating: 3/5

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The Librarian Review

The Librarian by Christy Sloat

“Don’t you see, in life we have small moments and we have a lot of them. Those small moments are what define us as human beings. They break us, yes, but it’s how we rebuild ourselves after that makes the difference.”


Emmeline (Emme) becomes a Librarian after her grandmother passes away. Emme moves back to her costal Maine hometown and holds off on continuing her college classes to pick up the pieces of her grandmother’s life. Emme was left specific instructions with books under the floorboards in the library that contain the family history and the important work the family does.

Emme is tasked with traveling back in history through books to document the life Jack Ridgewell. But there is a set of rules that she must follow. Librarians enter history to observe and document, but not interfere. Emme quickly finds Jack to be alluring and she cannot resist spending time with him and slowly falling for him. At the same time, she is frustrated by his stubbornness and cannot keep going back and forth between the past and the present.

Emme must decide between her love for one man and the love of her normal life in the present. Is changing the past and present worth the price of love?

Christy Sloat creates a character and a world where every bookworm dreams would become a reality. Sloat manages to create intriguing characters in a well-written story. I adore the concept of this book and having a book boyfriend. The feel-good ending will leave you with a warm light inside. I do highly recommend this quick read. If you have ever dreamed of having a boom boyfriend or girlfriend and the ability to travel though books and time, this is satisfy your curiosity.

 

Rating: 4/5

Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“To really be a nerd…you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”


Cather and her twin sister, Wren, are off to college and being separated for the first time. Wren has decided to request a roommate who is not her sister and becomes paired with Courtney. Cather is reluctantly paired with Reagan. Both girls have different college experiences and grow over their first year of college. And each sister’s roommate helps to shape their college experiences in different ways.

Fangirl primarily follows Cather in her quest to become a writer. Cather is the creator of a well-known Simon Snow fan-fiction. Her fans are all over the world and hang on her every word. But Cather is locked in a race to finish the fan-fic before the final book of the Simon Snow series is released. Cather struggles between what it means to be her own fiction writer and wanting to focus on her fan-fic writing.

Cather retreats into her fan-fiction and often loses herself in the characters. But, when Cather loses touch with her sister and her own life she struggles to return to the characters she knows and loves. Even more difficult, she struggles to write her own stories as she does not understand that the fan-fiction she is writing does not contain her own characters.

Cather comes face to face with problems she never thought she would experience and old troubles that are still haunting her. She struggles to finish her first year of college in the wake of the aftermath of her sisters problems and her father’s issues. She is also introduced to Levi and doesn’t know how to separate fictional feelings from real ones at time. So she introduces Levi to the fictional world she has fallen in love with.

In a story of first love, new friendships, and family drama, Rainbow Rowell creates characters that the reader grows to love and connect with. Anyone who has ever gotten lost in a fictional world or story will understand Cather’s love of Simon Snow and the magical world he comes from. Most of us have had out own “fangirl” moments, so Cather’s obsession with Simon is not something so far removed. I adored this story and Rowell’s writing. This is a beautifully written story that any fan of young adult fiction would love.

Rating: 4/5

Fates

Fates by Lanie Bross

“Only love is eternal, remember that.”

Fates is a story about young Corinthe who was sent to Earth as a punishment. She must collect the souls of the departed and return them to the sea so that they can make their way across the galaxy and fulfill their destiny. Corinthe’s final mission is to kill Lucas Kaller to fuilfill her own destiny so that she can return home to Pyralis Terra.

There is some romance, turmoil, and action but nothing that is too exciting. Everything in this book seems to fall short. From the short-lived romance, to the flat characters, and hastily described new worlds. You will likely walk away from this book feeling unimpressed because this is not a memorable story.

The first half of the book is tolerable. There is world building, character building, we want Corinthe to succeed and return home but then the “twist” in this book is a total turn off. Not only can you see it coming long before it’s revealed, but the villain isn’t even a complex one. This book had the making of becoming something beautiful. I was hopeful even. But the “one must live so the other must die” narrative is overdone and this is not a new story.

I did not like this book. The promise of traveling through different worlds was what hooked me initially, but I could not get into this book. This book is a giant cliché. It is the epitome of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and then boy and girl have a quarrel and must work together to save the world.

The characters are un-relatable and there seem to be too many competing storylines fighting for attention. You have Corinthe vs. Lukas, Corinthe’s keeper and her ultimate goals, Lukas’s sister fighting for her life, and then Corinthe and Lukas vs. the universe. I felt myself rolling my eyes for the entire second half of this book. I cannot recommend this book and do not care enough about the characters or the storyline to continue this series.

Rating 2/5

My Life Next Door

**Spoiler Free Review**

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I am torn about this book. The first half has the making of a wonderful teenage love story. While the latter half does not seem to fit with the rest of the story. Because of this, I had a hard time enjoying the book.

Samantha and Jace are from the same neighborhood but seem to come from different worlds. Samantha’s life is organized and her house is pristine. Samantha’s mother prides herself on being well kept at all times. Jace’s family is loud, big, and close-knit. The children’s toys are spilling out onto the front lawn. Samantha’s mother forbid her form having anything to do with the family next door because those are the “kind of people” who run down property values and give a neighborhood a bad reputation. While Jace’s family prides themselves on being a good family who is willing to go to any lengths to protect the ones they love.

This is your classic forbidden love young adult romance story for the first half of the book. Jace and Samantha slowly start to fall in love when Samantha is asked to babysit one of the children from next door. Samantha has always admired the family next door from afar but is quickly thrown into their crazy world. Over time, Samantha starts to question why her mother forbids her from seeing the neighbors. But she hides her secret from her family. As their young love blossoms, Samantha starts to see her world differently. From her best friend’s unethical practices to her mother’s tactics in doing whatever it takes to win a political campaign. Samantha learns that her old life wasn’t perfect but her time with Jace seems to be.

The story slowly builds until a paramount event that throws both Samantha’s and Jace’s worlds into a tailspin. Samantha is torn between her love for Jace and his family and protecting her own family from a big secret. And the more that secret weighs on Samantha’s conscious, the more she seems to unravel. Samantha slowly starts to realign herself and comes to terms with what matters the most, even if it hurts someone she loves.

My Life Next Doorhas some cliché moments of young love, but it is a cute story. The “big moment” or turning point in the story, reads a little bit too much like a soap opera for my tastes, though. I also don’t feel like it fits well with the first half. Everything feels happy-go-lucky until it’s not. And when one aspect of the story starts to get real, everything does. It feels like everything begins to fall apart at the same time. And the characters you thought you knew begin to surprise you.

This is a good read to get you in the mood for summer and great to binge if you feed off of young love, but I would not categorize it as a “must read.” This is a good book to pick up if you have nothing else around or want to fly through a quick story.

 

Rating: 3/5

Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

*Minor Spoilers*

In the anticipated spin-off to Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli delivers a funny, heart-warming, and romantic story. Leah Burke is the spunky, stubborn, and sarcastic best friend we all need in our lives. But as the group of friends we grew to love grows closer to graduating high school, the teenagers learn what means the most to them. Some relationships won’t last and others begin to bloom unexpectedly.

If you were wondering, Simon and Bram’s relationship is still going strong and the sweet moments between the two of them will make your heart melt. BUT they are not the focus of this story because Leah Burke has a lot to share with the world.

Leah is still a little displeased with Nick and Abby’s relationship. Not because she’s jealous, but because they’retoo cute and it’s annoying. Abby also starts this thing that seems like she’s flirting with Leah. But that can’t be because she’s happily in a relationship with a boy.

In a twist of events, Leah and Abby take a road trip together to visit UGA. Both girls are certain that YGA is the college they want to attend in the fall, and it makes sense to visit together with both girls having busy family members. And Abby has a connection with a friend whose apartment they can borrow for the weekend.

As Leah’s story unravels, she questions whether or not she can admit her bisexuality to her friends. She’s certain they’ll accept her, especially after Simon coming out the previous year. But it doesn’t seem like the right time for her. Her mother knows and accepts her, and she has nothing to fear. But she just can’t go through with it.

Leah on the Offbeatis an upbeat story with moments of comic tragedy. So don’t expect the same waterworks that Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda gave you. Instead, this story is emotionally devastating in a new way. Your heart may break and be re-healed, but Leah’s victorious moments will make you silently cheer her on.

Becky Albertalli remains true to her characters and delivers a phenomenal story. I am thrilled to see Leah tell her tale and I loved watching Leah, Simon, Abby, and the rest of the gang grow and come together during their final months of high school. I highly recommend this book!

Rating: 4.5/5

American Gods

**Spoiler Free Review**

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods is a story that will take some time to settle into, but the story is well worth it. The story follows Shadow through America in his quest to help his employer, Wednesday. During his journey, Shadow is tested emotionally and physically. He must overcome what he thinks to be true and his assumptions on how the world works, question what he knows about love and loss, and discover who he was meant to be.

Shadow is a character we can all find something to relate to. Shadow starts out in prison and is released shortly after his wife dies. In the aftermath of his wife’s death, he meets Wednesday, who seems to know a lot about Shadow and promises him a job. Wednesday is intentionally vague about the terms of the employment, but Shadow remains loyal throughout the book to Wednesday. Wednesday continuously tests Shadow’s loyalty and ability to see through facades. Shadow sometimes follows Wednesday blindly, but he believes in his cause.

Along the way, Shadow is introduced to Gods—old and new. Some Gods were brought to America over time form different cultures and religions. Others were created by a rapidly growing world. The old and new gods are locked in a battle between the preservation of the old ways and paving a path for a new world. Shadow acts as a middleman and is constantly thrown between what he knows to be true and what he thinks he sees.

Overall, I think American Godsis a phenomenal book. Neil Gaiman delivers a remarkable story with a cast of characters that will not disappoint. While all are fictional, some bare a resemblance to the gods many of us have read about through different facets of history. Simultaneously, Gaiman makes a shocking comparison to the new gods people tend to worship in the twenty-first century, such as technology gods.

But the true champion of the story is Shadow. While he seems to be a simple man, he was put forth in a plan that unravels slowly. He is willing to sacrifice his old life and beliefs for an understanding of how the world used to work and where the world is headed. Shadow does not question often, and instead observes the way people interact. A character that seems ((( at the beginning of the novel, quickly becomes the kind of person we all aspire to be.

I cannot recommend this book enough! This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and has a spot on my all time favorite reads shelf. While this book did take me some time to get through, it was worth it. At times, the reading was dense and there are a lot of small characters to keep straight at times. But, everything comes together in the end and Gaiman’s writing and beautifully crafted characters will blow you away.

Rating: 5/5

 

Fashion Victim Review (Spoiler Free)

Fashion Victim by Amina Akhtar

*Spoiler Free Review*

 Fashion Victim is a fast-paced campy thriller about one woman’s experience in the fashion world and just how cut throat the industry can truly be.

Anya St. Clair is a fashion editor who is obsessed with her co-worker, Sarah Elizabeth Taft. Anya has looked up to Sarah ever since she was young. Following Sarah in magazines and news articles, Anya has wanted to be like Sarah for as long as she can remember. Now that they are both working at La Vietogether, she wants to be Sarah’s BFF, dress like Sarah, and have Sarah’s approval on every aspect of her life. Anya goes to any lengths necessary to stay in Sarah’s good graces, and does not hesitate to take out her competition along the way.

Anya and Sarah are pitted against each other for a promotion. Sarah already embodies what it means to be a “La Vie Woman”—tall, blonde, thin, and well liked. Anya has to work to lose weight under the supervision of her boss, dealing with daily weigh-ins and constant jabs at her appearance. There are also others in the office who do their best to ensure that the truth about Anya gets out. Anya will not stop at anything short of achieving her goals of becoming the perfect La Vie Woman.

Rating: 3.5/5

Fashion Victim will be published on September 11, 2018

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Fashion Victim is Amina Akhtar’s first novel. If you would like more information about the book or author, you can start here.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

**Spoiler Free Review**

ACOFAS was a cute novella. I loved seeing the characters again and how they are coping with loss and their new roles in this new world post the events from ACOWAR. I truly missed the characters after finishing the last book and I was delighted to see the gang back together again.

But, you have to approach this book with a few things in mind.

Let’s start by getting a couple key points out of the way:

  • This is a novella, this is supposed to be short
  • This novella is a “gap filler.” This means that there is not a storyline because this book is not a standalone; it serves as a “check up” on the characters after the events of ACOWAR but before the spin off series.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and a lot of people came away from ACOFAS disappointed. I’m not sure what they were expecting this book to be, but I think some of them were expecting something more. This novella is short, but most novellas are. There is no fluid storyline. This concerned a lot of people, but not me. Because the novella is only 229 pages, there was not room to tell a new story. All of the books I’ve read by Sarah J Maas don’t even get to the “good parts” in the first 300 pages; usually she’s still building the story.

ACOFAS checks in on the characters we love from the series. All of the main characters are back together and preparing for Winter Solstice. Each character weighs what they lost with piecing together their future. A happy occasion and time to celebrate is plagued by memories of the past as each person has their own ghosts that haunt them.

While reading this book, I could see threads that Sarah J Maas might pick up in the spinoff series and I would love to see more of the Night Court gang outside of Rhys and Feyre. There is a sneak peak of the spinoff series at the end of this novella, and that was my favorite part in this small book. I’m excited to read the spinoff when I was initially worried that it would be overkill. But, it seems that different characters with their own stories to tell will be the prominent players in the spinoff series.

People have been giving this novella a lot of flak and while I can understand their gripe, I don’t think it is necessarily called for. ACOFAS has been pushed hard, but as a short novella not a long and drawn out new story. We were never promised a new plot development, just a Winter Solstice celebration. And I think Maas delivered on that promise.

If you miss some of your favorite characters from the ACOTAR series, I do believe that this is worth the read. But if you don’t care what they’re up to when they aren’t preparing for the worst, then you can skip this one. Overall, I would still recommend it. It won’t take longer than a couple of hours to get through and it will leave you feeling uplifted.

Rating: 4/5

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