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Top Ten Tuesday // Red, White and/or Blue Covers

I’ve seen the top ten Tuesday everywhere recently but have never participated in it so far which is going to change today. The Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so check out her blog for more information! Today’s topic is Red, White and/or Blue covers because of July 4th coming up. As a German, I could’ve now given this a spin by choosing books with my own country’s colours, but I don’t own any yellow books and honestly can’t think of any yellow covers that are remotely pretty. So I’m instead going to give it a spin by showing you some blue, white and red books I want to read this summer, instead of some that I’ve already read!

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  3. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  4. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  6. You by Caroline Kepnes
  7. All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
  8. Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  9. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Have you already read any of these books and what did you think about them? 🙂

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ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson

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Synopsis

PRAGUE, 1870. 

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

 

My Review

*Thanks again to Prodigy Gold Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.* 

The first half of „Kingdom of Ash and Soot“ was absolutely amazing and I was so invested in the story, I couldn’t put the book down anymore. Back in high school, I always hated history classes but ever since passing my a-levels and leaving school, I’ve become more and more interested in history and have also found out that I actually really enjoy reading historical fiction. As a European, I of course am particularly interested in European history and so the fact that this book was set in Prague back in 1870 made it even more interesting to me.

An important part of every story certainly are the characters and I really liked them. Eleanora, the female protagonist, was a little annoying sometimes, especially towards the end of the novel, but I still liked her. But my favorite character was definitely Ferdy, one of Eleanora’s love interests, who was funny and interesting and stole my heart quite quickly. 

Another very positive thing about this book was C.S. Johnson’s writing style. “Kingdom of Ash and Soot” was very well written and you could clearly see that she already has quite a lot of experience when it comes to writing books and I’m definitely interested in checking out some of her other work now.

But even though the first half of the book was definitely worth five stars, the story kind of lost its momentum after the half-way point and I began losing interest in it. I started struggling with trying to understand what exactly the Order of the Crystal Daggers was trying to do in Prague and how everything was interconnected. There were a lot of different characters mentioned when the order began trying to figure out why and how so many people had been murdered and I quite quickly lost track of who is who and what kind of role they played in Prague or Europe in general back then which sadly tarnished my reading experience. 

All in all, this book started out strong but then lost its momentum and so I decided to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I do not yet know if I’m going to read the next part of the series even though the book ended with a very interesting twist and a freaking cliffhanger. But I think the next book hasn’t even been announced yet, so I still have some time to figure out if I’m actually interested in finding out what happens next or if it’s just a momentary thing.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

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Synopsis

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan – but try convincing their hearts of that.

My Review

*Thanks again to Entangled Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

I really liked the premise of “Kiss of the Royal” and was intrigued by the idea of a world where kisses were used as some form of magic to protect or heal other people, lift curses and much more. And overall, I have to say this book definitely turned out to be a very quick and enjoyable read but it also had its flaws.

Some of the things I liked about this book were for instance the characters. They were well developed, and I really began caring for them after some time. I also liked the world building in this book and all in all, the plot was pretty interesting. But you were also able to tell that this was the author’s debut novel and I think there still is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to her writing style. But I’m sure she’ll continue improving with every book she publishes in the future and I most probably won’t have this problem anymore when reading her third or fourth book. 

Another thing that bothered me was that, while the plot was interesting, it could’ve been even more interesting if some parts of the story had been a little more complex. Especially the “big battle” at the end was over way too fast which bugged me a little even though it was probably better for my heart. Furthermore, I also think the romance was incredibly predictable. From the start you know who’s going to end up with each other and how their love story would play out. Like I said, I really liked the characters, so I’d really hoped the few romantic scenes in this book would make me swoon which they just didn’t.

Ultimately, I decided to give this book three out of five stars because despite everything that bothered me, I still enjoyed reading “Kiss of the Royal” and will definitely keep an eye out for future books by this author.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

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Synopsis

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire comes a riveting tale of first love that starts young but runs deep.

The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town.

Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart.

Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.

 

My Review

*Thanks again to Montlake Romance for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

“All the Little Lights” is a book about Catherine and Elliot who meet during one hot summer in a small town in the United States. They fall in love but when Catherine needs him most, Elliot has to leave town. A few years later though, he comes back to her and he’s determined to win back her heart. But just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliot again, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy and a dark secret Catherine is keeping, could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.

I really liked the premise of this book and overall really enjoyed Jamie McGuire’s “Beautiful” series back when I read it, so I was super excited when I received an ARC for “All the Little Lights”. Unfortunately though, my expectations for this novel weren’t met and I ultimately was disappointed by it.

The first 80% of the book were incredibly boring and it was basically just about the relationship of the two main characters which made me lose interest in the novel quite quickly. Furthermore, Catherine and Elliot were pretty unoriginal characters and even at the end of the book, I still couldn’t have cared less about either of them. She was the quiet girl with some personal problems while he was the guy who for some reason felt the need to save her. I also thought their love story was kind of weird because in chapter one you find out that he’d already been pretty obsessed with her prior to them getting to know each other. Catherine apparently thought it was cute, I personally thought it was kind of creepy.

The last 20% of “All the Little Lights” were a little more interesting and partly made up for the other 80% of the novel. The book stopped being too much about their relationship and instead started dealing with a local tragedy which put a strain on Catherine and Elliot’s relationship. But even though that part of the book was definitely more interesting, the big plot twist at the end didn’t surprise me at all because as soon as tragedy had struck the town, I had already been guessing the book would end just as it did.

So overall, I unfortunately have to say that I just didn’t enjoy “All the little Lights” and can’t give it more than two out of five stars. Furthermore, this was the first and probably also the last one of Jamie McGuire’s YA books I’ve read but that doesn’t mean I’ll just give up on her books. I still really like her writing style and like I said, I did enjoy her other books I’ve read. So if you want to check out any of her books, I highly recommend you read one of her NA novels.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

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Synopsis

“He was reckless. He was exciting. He was Theo.
And he was a breath of fresh air in my otherwise extremely dull life”

What if the missing person is your missing piece?

Rose has always played by the rules – now it’s time to break them.

Life’s easier when you stay away from other people. Rose Valentine knows that. But some people are impossible to ignore. Take Theo Lockhart. He’s handsome, funny and beyond intriguing. He’s a mystery; one that Rose dreams of solving.

Then one night the mystery deepens. Theo turns up on Rose’s doorstep, desperate to hide out at her house. He’s keeping secrets, and Rose has a million questions. Not least – why did he choose to run to her?

If Rose lets him in, she’ll be going against everything she holds true. It’s reckless, risky – and definitely not in the rulebook. But Theo makes Rose long to break the rules After a whirlwind week of brat-pack movies, midnight snacks and non-stop chat, where do Rose and Theo go from here? 

My Review

*Thanks again to Ink Road for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

“Nowhere Else But Here” tells the story of Rose and Theo, two students from England. The book starts shortly after Theo has run away from home and shortly before he turns up at Rose’s house, asking her to help him which she decides to do. And so she keeps him hidden in her room while everyone else keeps searching for him but they both know he can’t stay hidden forever. 

First, I want to get everything that bothered me about this book out of the way. As I’ve said, Theo has already run away from home prior to the start of this book but I felt like the beginning was a little abrupt. I would’ve liked it better if the story had started a few days earlier and we would’ve still experienced Theo in school and had gotten to know him through his own actions. Since he had already disappeared by the time the story began, you only get to know him through descriptions from Rose’s point of view and thus I didn’t really have any interest in him at first and didn’t really feel bad about him having run away from home.  

Another thing that happened very early in the book and bothered me was the fact that Rose mentions how she actually never really had a lot to do with Theo and they didn’t even talk to each other except when they were in Chemistry class since they were lap partners. But despite all of that, she very quickly agreed to help him and just let him stay in her room and that decision felt very random to me back then.

Furthermore, it took me more than half of the book to begin liking the Rose. I don’t think she’s a bad character or anything, I just felt like she was acting way too juvenile during the first half of the novel. Her age is never specifically stated but since they’re living in the UK and she’s already driving her own car, I’m guessing she must’ve been at least 17 years old. But especially at the beginning of the book she was often acting like a 13-year-old. There’s one scene in which Theo says that he actually prefers sleeping in his boxers when she offers him tracksuit bottoms and she pretty much freaks out about it. And then there’s a scene in which her brother uses the word “freaking” and she literally starts scolding him for using “bad language”. There were a few other scenes similar to those and I have to admit that it began annoying me after some time but thankfully, she mostly started acting her age during the second half of the novel and I began liking her a little better.

But even though there were a few things I didn’t like about the beginning of “Nowhere Else But Here”, I didn’t lose interest in the book and ended up enjoying it even though it definitely wasn’t a book I would ever give full stars to. It was a cute story and once I’d warmed up to the characters and had gotten into the book, I pretty much flew through it. I also think the book was quite well written, especially considering it’s the debut novel of a 17-year-old writer. Her first book wasn’t perfect but I’m sure she’ll improve with each book she’s going to write in the future and is headed in the right direction. 

So overall, this was a cute and quick read which also dealt with some heavier topics like domestic abuse or what it feels like when parents constantly choose work over their children. It was an okay novel that had its flaws but nevertheless, I mostly enjoyed it which is why I decided to give it a three out of five stars.