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TBalla04

99 problems, and a book ain't one

Hello. My name is Tricia, and I have an addiction, an addiction to fiction. Fellow addicts, I welcome you with open arms. Blogger over @ bookwormcoalition.wordpress.com

DATING MAKES PERFECT BY PINTIP DUNN

Dating Makes Perfect  - Pintip Dunn

This was a perfect summer read! You know the kind, something light and quick and fun. Honestly I haven't been feeling much YA lately but this was the ideal choice for dipping a toe back in, I was able to read it all in two sittings.

The relationships in this book were wholesome and cute. I liked that while obviously it was a romance, it was mostly about a young girl finding herself. I also really enjoyed being immersed in Winnie's life and culture. While it can be great to see yourself in a character sometimes, it's also awesome to learn about cultures different than your own and see a new perspective. One of my absolute favorite things about this story was how rich it was in Thai culture. Dunn writes beautifully about Thai traditions, values, so many glorious dishes, and she even touches on the struggle of being a Thai-American living in the US. I really appreciated getting that closer look into something I didn't know a ton about.

I received an arc of this book from Entangled Teen via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

THE MORNING FLOWER BY AMANDA HOCKING

The Morning Flower  - Amanda Hocking

I went into this one hoping for a little more action/excitement. I was more forgiving of the lack of that element in the first book because it's a lot of setup on the world and plot in general but I really needed to see that progression in the sequel, and through the first two thirds of this book I did not. The Morning Flower was actually set up quite the same as the first book in terms of very little progression until the end. Again with this one, the plot and world are interesting but I can't help but to be left feeling like a lot of the search for answers and rather mundane details could be condensed greatly in the first 2/3 of this story. It drags. It made it hard for me to fully get into and that's not what I want in a sequel. It's a lot to wade through to get to the excitement, just to end on another cliffhanger.

 

 

Even other sub-elements like the romance are basically non-starters. When done well a 'will they or won't they' can be fun and torturously exciting. Ulla and Pan or even the hinted at spark of attraction with Jem-Kruck just never had that integral draw. The desire to see either happen at all never fully formed for me. The characters were so apprehensive and not fully into it that how in the world could I as a reader be? Surprisingly I think a lot of this book was meant to be a slow progression to more between Ulla and Pan but their lack of passion and outward interest definitely fed into mine and I just didn't end up caring one way or another.

 

 

I was really hoping book one was an exception and not the rule and unfortunately that proved otherwise for me here. While I would like to see what happens next in the story, it's just not enough that I am content waiting to reach the end of another novel to get a little further.

 

I received an arc of this book from Wednesday Books via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

HIS & HERS BY: ALICE FEENEY

His & Hers  - Alice Feeney

One thing I can say 100% this book kept me guessing until the very end! I really enjoyed the shifting narrators, even though they were rather unlikable at times. This story is full of very flawed people but that was part of the macabre charm to this particular novel. This ended up being a lot darker than I initially anticipated but the twists and turns and fast pace kept me flying through the pages. I can't say I was real invested in the characters as they could be hard to root for but I was definitely way into solving this mystery. Every time I thought I had it figured out something or someone came along and changed the game.The flashes of past intermixed with the present to form the full picture from varying perspectives was really great. I quite liked the addition of the killer's POV along with Anna and Jack's. I can say there is a few different scenarios that will be triggering for some readers so be aware that this book can be disturbing and it isn't for the faint of heart. All in all a solid suspense/mystery for me and I definitely want to check out more from this author.

 

I received an arc of this book from Flatiron Books and this is my honest review.

NOS4A2 BY: JOE HILL

NOS4A2 - Joe Hill

I finally read my first Joe Hill book! I've been wanting to for some time now. I could definitely see the family resemblance, hard to miss even without all the many nods at his dad's numerous works. I don't want to compare the two, but one thing I found a little lacking here was something that King novels almost always deliver on, I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. I think that seemingly little thing could have taken this book to the next level, but honestly I still enjoyed the story without that.

THE LOST CITY BY AMANDA HOCKING

The Lost City - Amanda Hocking

So I have yet to read the original Trylle books but when I came across this spinoff start to a new set of books it sounded good and I wanted to jump right in. I don't know if reading the first set might have increased my enjoyment in this one, probably a bit. I did still enjoy it for the most part but I would have liked to see more action. The story kept a rather slow pace and that could make it feel like it was dragging at times.

I liked Ulla well enough. As a protagonist she's rather interesting...she's so even-keeled and pragmatic, which is kind of refreshing in a sense, but it also made it her feel maybe a tad robotic at times and left a little disconnect there. I think her story, her search for answers on where/who she came from helped even that out and give her more depth and feeling. I had similar feelings on the other prominent characters in the sense that I liked them but none were exactly jumping off the pages. Eliana might be the one stand out, but I think a lot of her intrigue came from all the mystery surrounding her.

While it lacked in action for the most part it certainly didn't lack in imagination or world building. This was an interesting world to explore and I would like to see where the next book takes me. I think that one will likely make or break it for me.

I received an arc of this book from Wednesday Booka via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND BY JANELLA ANGELES

Where Dreams Descend - Janella Angeles

A little bit of mixed emotions about this one, but all together a good first book in a series. It checked all the boxes for me, I'm interested and invested at this point, I only wish there would have been a bit more solidity in certain things by the ending.

 

The writing was quite beautiful, it skirted the edge of purple prose at times but ultimately I felt it wasn't too over the top for me. I thought the author did a great job at setting the scenes. There was a captivating contrast between the cold bleak backdrop of a dying town and the invigorating colorful splashes of magic at play. The fact that magic also held this undertone of mystery and danger only made it that much more exciting and intriguing.

 

I could see some having issue with how boisterous and exorbitantly headstrong Kallia can be. Honestly, I loved every minute of it. I loved how daring and passionate she was. In the face of a world where magic was a man's game, she unabashedly held nothing back when flaunting her talents. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the story. Were there times where she used excess bravado to push back? YUP. Were there times she could have let someone in and shown a bit of the worry she struggled with? Uh huh. But I honestly totally get putting on your game face and not letting your haters, and even sometimes your friends, see the obstacles get you down. I think it made a lot of sense after Kallia was so deeply violated recently for her to be more on guard for awhile in who she let fully in.

 

I really enjoyed a bunch of the other characters too. Jack is a big ole mystery that I really want to know more about. He falls pretty well into this dark grey place right now, he's not the hero but I'm not sure he's the fully the villain either. There's so much to be learned about him still. I would have liked to get even a few more morsels of information about him before the end, the few crumbs we got really only made like 20 new questions emerge. Demarco was one I wasn't quite sure if I'd end up liking or not for awhile. I was glad more about him was revealed towards the end, it gave him depth that seemed to be lacking the first half of the book with him being so closed off and broody. Aaros brought a much needed cheeky lightness to the fold. I hope to see even more from him in future books. Also, the entire magic circus, more of that whole troupe please, because they were fabulous!

 

There was a ton of intrigue throughout this one, but ultimately not many revelations by the end. I would have liked at least a few of the many mysteries to come to some sort of fruition, but as I said before, this author can really set a scene. Where Dreams Descend set the stage for the second act and it is full of many deliciously wicked possibilities!

 

I received an arc of this book from Wednesday Booka via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

PINES BY BLAKE CROUCH

Pines - Blake Crouch

I think I figured out why Crouch books suck you in so effectively. You always kinda hit the ground running. There's immediately urgency and mystery and it keeps you on that edge, with the stakes raising and game fields changing right up till the very end. I read this all in one night. It grabbed me from the very beginning and I could not put it down until I finished. Looking forward to book 2.

BAIT N' WITCH BY ABIGAIL OWEN

Bait N' Witch - Abigail Owen

Loved this addition to the Brimstone Inc series! It may just be favorite of the series so far. Bait N' Witch pulled me out of a bad reading slump and I'm so grateful for it. I was up till 3am finishing this one, I read it all in one sitting. The characters were interesting and fun and the romance was perfectly paced with the length of the book. Though these are more novellas than full length Owen always manages to make them feel like they are full length in the best way. It's complete and enriches the whole world created each step of the way. I also love that we get peeks at the previous characters we've come to love.

 

Rowan was fabulous! I loved the nanny plot line and her relationship with the triplets. It was just as enjoyable to me as the blossoming romance between Rowan and Grey. I can't wait to see what happens next!

 

I received an arc of this book from Entangled: Amara via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

 

LITTLE CREEPING THINGS BY CHELSEA ICHASO

Little Creeping Things - Chelsea Ichaso

I'm not going to lie, I struggled to get through this one. I don't really have a problem with unreliable or unlikable narrators but when they whine all throughout and are constantly seeing everything through their self serving pity-me glasses, that's where I tend to draw the line.

 

 

I've LOVED books with a narratives from villains, from characters I didn't like one bit. I wish this could have been the case here but it just wasn't. The plot could have at least helped the story along but honestly I found it to also be lacking.

 

 

To me it was kinda like everything was rather one dimensional, the characters, the plot, and the mystery. The synopsis offered things I don't think the story ever delivered on. The big reveal at the end felt somehow predictable and easy, which was WEIRD because the one thing I can think of that I guess you could say is positive is that I didn't figure it out till right before.

 

 

But once it was revealed it felt like OF COURSE and only because no one should guess that for any other reason than it would seem the least likely and you were just supposed to accept it in the end for nothing more than because sometimes people are just evil or crazy or whatever. It felt very simplified.

 

 

Give me a breadcrumb or two along the way. I love to be surprised don't get me wrong, but it cheapens it to me when you did nothing along the way to give even miniscule clues or make it understandable how you got there or why things ended this way until literally right before, and even that is shakey at best. Maybe the fact that I'm reading such an emotionally complex grand series as well right now didn't help.

 

 

This just felt incredibly immature and unsatisfying to me. If major teen angst is your bag, or maybe you want to dip a toe in a light mystery, you might enjoy this one. To be honest I felt like the Scooby-Doo gang solved more indepth cases, but to each his own.

 

 

I received an arc of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

IF BOOKLIKES GOES DARK...

So I'm hearing talk of Booklikes possibly shutting down and while I sincerely hope that does not happen, I'd hate most to fall out of touch with with you all if it does. I know we are all kind of scattered when it comes to other sites we are active participants on but I'm gonna drop some of my links below and if any of you are active on one or all or whatever I'd love to have another place to keep in touch in case this one fails. Please feel free to add me on any of these, or drop a lifeline of your own in the comments if you want to put your info out there for others as well. 

 

BLOG: https://bookwormcoalition.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BookwormCoalition/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/tballa04/

TWITTER: https://mobile.twitter.com/tballa04

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8356980-tricia

 

I'm currently the most active on Goodreads and Instagram out of all of those. I really hope Booklikes stays around, it is truly my favorite of the bunch. 2020 is really testing us. Hopefully we can all get through it together! Hope you are all doing well. 

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT ANNE HARPER

Fake It Till You Make It - Anne Harper

This book was all kinds of cute and totally refreshing to read. Sloane was so darn relatable. It can be hard to express yourself sometimes, especially when the feelings are overwhelming. It was a fun and relatively lighthearted journey watching as Sloane's inadvertent thrust into the spotlight helped her really come out of her shell and connect with so many people near and far.

 

I quite enjoyed the setting too. The quirky southern small town of Arbor Bay added an extra fun dynamic to the mix. I have to say I'd love to see more of some of these characters in a future book! This was a perfect feel-good escapism romance, with some of my favorite tropes, sunshine/grumpy and fake dating. I highly recommend to fans of contemporary romance.

 

I received an arc of this book from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

SHIFT OUT OF LUCK BY: ABIGAIL OWEN

Shift Out of Luck - Abigail Owen

This was a quick fun read. I'm really digging the Brimstone Inc. series so far! I loved the dynamic between the shifters human forms and their inner animal. It was pretty neat how there was kind of a separation of the two and it got really interesting when the wolf personas were clashing with the human personalities.

 

It was fun to see how this political alliance evolved into a romantic one, and the many hurdles Tala and Marrok had to overcome in that journey. I can't wait to see what Brimstone Inc. gets us into next!

 

I received an arc of this book from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

CRUSH THE KING BY: JENNIFER ESTEP

Crush the King  - Jennifer Estep

A sincere thank you to this book for being exactly what I needed to pull me out of this quarantine slump. I thoroughly enjoyed being back with this crew and the setting taking place at another gladiator event was perfection. It was like coming full circle. The Regalia Games did not disappoint. Evie was really in her element, I loved seeing how far she has come and what a confident leader and warrior she has grown to be.

 

 

The showdown between Evie and the Mortan king was exactly what I was hoping for, but I think the long game she had been playing with Maeven exceeded any expectations. I definitely had a feeling what direction that was heading in, but Evie took it to another level by the end and I couldn't help cheering her on the whole way.

 

 

 

While I was totally fine with the romance being pretty low key in this one, the action kept me plenty satisfied, I do wish Sully would have had a stronger role in everything. Although I super LOVE how strong and fierce the leading ladies are, I think with the concern he had in the second book of just being a downlow consort it would have been nice to see him really flourishing in that role rather than fading more into the background.

 

All in all Crush the King was pretty much everything I was hoping for as a conclusion to this story. It was a fitting ending but as always with the worlds I've come to love, I am sad to say goodbye. I would definitely be psyched to see a spinoff series set in this world. Just throwing that out there into the ether.

 

 

Many thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Goodreads for this first reads book!

FURY UNLEASHED BY N.J. WALTERS

Fury Unleashed  - N.J. Walters

I loved the paranormal aspect here, angels, demons, even a rogue vamp, some of them big players you've definitely heard of. I have to say though, I wish there would have been more of it in the beginning especially. I really enjoyed all of those encounters a lot more than the inside of Maccus's bedroom. It was an interesting story line that I'm curious to see continued in following books. PNR is my jam, but I actually would have preferred a little less R in this one...or maybe even more R and less sex. I don't know if that has anything to do with how quick they jumped in the sack or what, but I mean sometimes a lady likes a little build up before blastoff, just sayin'. I feel like the second half had more world building and interaction with other characters which I enjoyed more. The ending took an interesting turn which made me definitely want to see what happens next.

 

I received an ARC of this book Entangled Publishing via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

A BAD DAY FOR SUNSHINE BY DARYNDA JONES

A Bad Day for Sunshine - Darynda Jones

I can't even tell you how excited I was to get an arc of this book. I am a huge fan of the Charley Davidson series and I was really excited to see what Jones could do in a different genre. I was not disappointed. She brought the same flair that made the Charley books so fun and special to the world of Sunshine Vicram. This was more of a crime fiction/mystery/suspense novel, but there was still undertones of something other.

 

 

Jones sweeps you away into the quirky town of Del Sol, where muffins are omens of impending doom, book club feels closer to a coven, Puff Daddy roams the streets attacking old men, the ghosts of old crimes still linger and intertwine with the present, and dreams are not something to ignore. There's a pulse to this city and it follows its own beat.

 

 

The people inside are equally as enchanting. I love the way Jones writes characters. No one is filler, everyone is interesting in their own unique way. You can't help but be enamored and want to get to know each of them more. Each is their own little mystery wrapped in exquisitely inviting designs that draw you in.

 

Jones is also a master at writing relationships, whether it be romantic, best friends, mother-daughter, they feel so genuine and the banter is my absolute favorite. I definitely felt some Reyes vibes from Levi. That gooey sweet center seen only in glimpses initially and by few, wrapped up in all kinds of dangerous seen by all.

 

 

Sunshine and Levi have that push and pull slow burn kinda thing going on and I am 1,000% into it. The relationship Sunshine and her daughter Auri have is awesome. I feel like in some ways it reminds me of my relationship with my own teenage daughter. Maybe it's something about when you have a child at a young age and you both grow up together in a way, or maybe a bit of not being so far from understanding how it feels to be that age, or maybe it is something as seemingly simple as just having a strong bond, I'm not sure exactly what it is that makes it that way, but I think Jones pretty accurately represents it here.

 

There were plenty of twists and turns, some you may see coming and some that will surprise you in the best way. This story is also jam-packed full of feels! It was a rollercoaster of emotions, I laughed out loud, I gasped in shock, I swooned, and I felt sorrow.

 

 

One thing was always consistent though and that was I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the ride. Even though there was some darker aspects being shown or talked about, there was a perfect balance of whimsy, fun and humor that kept it feeling relatively light. That ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, but even if it wasn't I would still be anxiously awaiting the next installment. Sunshine and Del Sol have so much more to give and I can't wait to see what happens next!

 


I received an ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

— feeling booklikes
I'm still here! I'm always looking for new(to me) active blogs to follow too :)

Booklikes Active Poster

Reblogged from Obsidian Blue:
— feeling booklikes

I thought this would be a good way for us to comment and then share the post to see who is still here to make sure we are all following each other. I only bring this up because I see some people posting and I appear to be the only one following their reviews.

 

I have gotten some comments from bots though which is another reason why I wanted us all to take this Friday to comment and share this post so we can all find each other. 

 

Feel free to drop your name in the comments and share!