Review: A River EnchantedTitle: A River Enchanted
Author: Rebecca Ross
Series: Elements of Cadence #1
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
Source: Book of the Month
For: Book of the Month
Rating:
Steaminess: 1.5 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

My Thoughts

I’m so glad I chose A RIVER ENCHANTED as my February Book of the Month choice. As soon as I started to read the story of Cadence and its inhabitants, I was hooked. When I was reading A RIVER ENCHANTED, I didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t stop thinking about it in between reads. I stayed up until 4am on Sunday night finishing it because I was that invested in the characters and the story. I haven’t done that for a very long time.

I loved that RIVER ENCHANTED was written from different POVs and that it wasn’t done chapter by chapter. The story was told from whoever’s POV it needed to be told from at that moment. (Don’t worry. It’s not confusing in any way.) I also loved all the characters and the slow-burn romances. I wish there was more kissing, but I’m glad the story wasn’t sacrificed for the romance.

I once thought home was simply a place. Four walls to hold you at night while you slept. But I was wrong. It’s people. It’s being with the ones that you love, and maybe even the ones that you hate.

I adored the mythology of A RIVER ENCHANTED. It was fascinating. The magical system with the spirits was fun to read about and experience.

I really loved the Scottish feel to A RIVER ENCHANTED and I think Ross could’ve pushed that aspect of the story a lot more. My guess is she didn’t want to make it hard for her readers to pronounce the names and places or dialogue between the characters. Because she didn’t embrace the Scottishness whole-heartedly, the story felt a little YA at times. (Ross states in her “review” on Goodreads that A RIVER ENCHANTED started out that way.) The YA feel doesn’t take away from the story. However, as a lover of adult high fantasy, I think A RIVER ENCHANTED could’ve been that much better if Ross had pushed the envelope a lot more.

I’ve been trying to decide if I want to give A RIVER ENCHANTED 4 or 5 stars. I finally settled on 4.5 stars. I’m so glad I finally got a chance to read it. It was a delight to read and I look forward to reading its sequel. It’s going to be a very long wait until December View Spoiler ».

Have you read A RIVER ENCHANTED? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for cutting, physical assault, mention of stillbirths, and loss of a child and parent.

Review: FangirlTitle: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 457 (Hardcover)
Source: Own
For: Unofficial Trim Challenge
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis

Now that Cath and her twin sister are going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ... and she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

My Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to read FANGIRL ever since I first heard about it. I’ve just never gotten around to it. I’m glad I put it on my Unofficial Trim Challenge list because I finally read it and it was just as good as I’d hoped it would be.

I loved the whole concept of FANGIRL. Other than the writing fanfiction thing because I don’t do that, I connected with Cath so hard. I’ve been obsessed with fandoms like she and Wren are with Simon before. I’ve met friends in forums and then IRL who are still some of my best friends. I’ve traveled with those friends to settings in the books we love. And, I’ve read fanfics because I wanted those fandoms to live on.

There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.

I also loved reading the excerpts not only from the “original” Simon books, but also from Cath’s fanfiction, especially CARRY ON, SIMON. The excerpts made me love the characters almost as much as Cath does. I’m excited that Rowell decided to write CARRY ON so I can read it at some point.

I loved the slow-burn romance between Cath and Levi. I loved their relationship. It was so cute and swoony. There were times when I wanted less Simon because I wanted more kissing, lol. And, I liked the story just the way it was too because Rowell explored some really tough subjects, like abandonment, addiction, and mental illness.

Ever since I finished reading FANGIRL, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to give it 4 or 5 stars. I finally settled on 4.5 stars, but that might change.

Have you read FANGIRL? If so, what did you think?

Review: Nine Perfect StrangersTitle: Nine Perfect Strangers
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 458 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Steaminess: 0 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

My Thoughts

I love Liane Moriarty. She’s one of my favorite authors. I was excited when my IRL book club decided to read another of her books. I was a little bit worried about what I’d think of NINE PERFECT STRANGERS, though, because I had seen mixed reviews. While it’s not my favorite book by Moriarty (that title will always go to WHAT ALICE FORGOT), I shouldn’t have worried. I really enjoyed reading NINE PERFECT STRANGERS.

I connected strongly with a few of the characters in terms of their mental health battles. I thought Moriarty did such a great job of writing about depression, suicide, suicidal ideation, psychedelic therapy, and the way we deal with trauma and setbacks in our life. I really appreciated how she explored all these tough subjects. (I especially liked how she flipped the psychedelic therapy on its head. If you’ve read NINE PERFECT STRANGERS, you’ll hopefully understand what I mean.)

She had not realized that grief was so physical.

I did think some of the plot was a little far-fetched, but the story and the characters were so compelling that I didn’t care. Moriarty’s a master at writing character-driven stories, which are my most favorite kind of stories to read. I wanted to keep reading and find out how the book would end, how each of the characters would act and feel after their experiences at Tranquillum House.

Have you read NINE PERFECT STRANGERS? If so, what did you think?

P.S. I personally know people who’ve had success with psychedelic therapy under the care of a psychiatrist. I had even considered it for myself before I found Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicide, suicidal ideation, loss of a child, and loss of a sibling.

Review: The Sound of StarsTitle: The Sound of Stars
Author: Alechia Dow
Series: The Starry-Eyed Universe #1
Genre(s): Romance, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Black History Month
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When young Ilori commander Morris finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. But Morris isn’t a typical Ilori ... and Ellie and her books might be the key to a desperate rebellion of his own.

My Thoughts

I really wanted to read a book or two for Black History Month this year by supporting a Black author. Goodreads had a post at the beginning of February showcasing a bunch of books written by Black authors and THE SOUND OF STARS and THE KINDRED by Alechia Dow, companion novels in her Starry-Eyed Universe, caught my eye. Time got the better of me and I didn’t finish reading either of them in time. Fortunately, I finished reading THE SOUND OF STARS this week. Better late than never, right?

It took me a little bit to get into THE SOUND OF STARS. Once I did, though, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up late reading it a couple of nights, savoring the story I was reading.

One of my favorite things about THE SOUND OF STARS was its message of inclusivity. There were so many LGBTQ+ characters, including Ellie. Dow didn’t shove a pro-LGBTQ+ agenda in your face or anything; she just had characters that identified in different ways and the other characters were accepting and considerate of them and their pronouns.

Some people were always valued, and some people never were. … We asked for equality and they thought we were asking for more.

I also loved how Dow used the invasion of Earth by the Ilori as a way to talk about racism, prejudice, police brutality, and other current hot topics. It added to the story by giving it more depth, strengthened Ellie and M0Rr1S’ connection, and made the story more memorable.

I really enjoyed Dow’s creativity. THE SOUND OF STARS was fun and engaging. I look forward to reading more books not only in the Starry-Eyed Universe, but written by Alechia Dow as well.

Have you read THE SOUND OF STARS? If so, what did you think?

Review: Rock Paper ScissorsTitle: Rock Paper Scissors
Author: Alice Feeney
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Steaminess: 0.5 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis

Things have been wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Every anniversary the couple exchanges traditional gifts--paper, cotton, pottery, tin--and each year Adam's wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

My Thoughts

I love thrillers. Love them. When I read the synopsis of ROCK PAPER SCISSORS, I knew I had to read it. I especially had to read it when I found out that Adam Wright has prosopagnosia or face blindness.

Like Adam, my husband has face blindness. He doesn’t recognize people when he looks at their face. He uses their voice, hair, mannerisms, and other features to help him recognize them. Unlike Adam, he does recognize facial expressions and facial features while he’s looking at them, but he can’t recall what he saw when he looks away.

I really liked the premise of ROCK PAPER SCISSORS. I liked the alternating POVs and I liked reading the secret letters from Adam’s wife. The story was suspenseful from the get-go and I wanted to keep reading so I knew what was going on, what was going to happen, and how it would all come together in the end.

The scariest haunted houses are always the ones in which you are the ghost.

As I read the story, I figured out some of the mystery. I didn’t figure out everything … and I was a little disappointed in the ending. Only a little disappointed, though, because I thought it was kind of confusing. If Alice Feeney had stopped it one chapter sooner, I think the ending would’ve been better. Maybe, I’m wrong and I missed the point of the last chapter. If you’ve read ROCK PAPER SCISSORS and you disagree, please tell my why.

Even though I was slightly disappointed, I still had fun reading ROCK PAPER SCISSORS. I stayed up way too late one night feeling the suspense and not being able to put the book down. Needless to say, I’ll look into Alice Feeney’s other books.

Have you read ROCK PAPER SCISSORS? If so, what did you think?