Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Book Review: All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace


Goodreads Overview:

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.

No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.

Jacque's Review:

I received the first book in this series, All the Stars and Teeth, in one of my Owlcrate book boxes. I really enjoyed the story and was pleased with how it concluded in this installment.

This time around Amora is determined to break her curse and restore her magic. To disguise her real agenda, she sets out on a tour of the islands to find a husband. The entire charade is ludicrous since she is already in love with Bastian, but she will not admit that even to herself. Amora gathers the crew together from last time, with a few notable additions to bolster their magical talents. 

For the majority of the book Amora is haunted by the death of her father, even though he was far from the type of leader she hopes to be. She is very naive and falls victim to a couple of attacks from her subjects that no longer want to be ruled by a monarchy. While she believes she can be a better ruler than her father and wants to help her people, she constantly considers what she would do if she had the opportunity to bring him back to life. The pressure is more than she wants to endure and, in my opinion, she is looking for the easy way out.

Lies and deception put a lot of strain on the relationships of the crew. Once everything is out in the open, there are some hurt feelings, but they need to work together if they have any chance of breaking the curse. I was shocked by the ending, but it really was the only way things could have worked out in the end. I was happy to see that this was only a duology and Adalyn didn't try to stretch it into a trilogy. There was plenty of content and action to keep readers engaged, but an additional book likely would have fallen short of expectations. I wish more authors would follow suit when there simply isn't enough content to justify an additional book in a series.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman


Goodreads Overview:

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there's an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Jacque's Review:

Just One Day has been on my TBR list since 2014. I loved If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman, so I was pretty sure I would love this series as well. I'm not sure what took me so long to read it, but I'm certainly glad that I did.

Allyson receives a European vacation as her high school graduation present from her parents. It wasn't what she had hoped for until she has one magical day in Paris with Willem De Ruiter, an actor she meets at a street performance of Twelfth Night. When he is nowhere to be found the next morning, she assumes the worst of him. 

She returns to the United States and goes off to college to fulfill her Mother's dream of becoming a doctor. Her first semester of school is a disaster. She is not interested in her classes, has very poor grades, and isn't fitting in socially. She is consumed by what happened in Paris and simply can't put it behind her. She is depressed and the book drags as a result. When the guidance counselor convinces her to take a class on Shakespeare and some other electives outside of the pre-med curriculum, she finally begins to find her place and the book takes off again. She meets Dee, who is a drag queen, and begins to form her first real friendship on campus. She eventually opens up about what happened and the two begin searching the internet for a way to contact Willem. She needs to know what really happened so she can move on with her life.

Very little turns up, so she decides to get a summer job. She saves enough money to return to Paris to continue her search for clues. Just when her quest appears to have gone bust, she finds a glimmer of hope. Perhaps Willem didn't just disappear after all. 

The ending was very abrupt with a bunch of unanswered questions left hanging in the balance. I can hardly wait to read Just one Year to get Willem's take on the events that took place that day in Paris and to see what he went through this past year.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Book Review: If Only In My Dreams by Carrie Aarons


'Tis the season to … be freshly divorced at twenty-six and moving back into your parents' house?

Because that’s my reality this Christmas. As if it isn’t bad enough that my entire hometown is buzzing with the news of my failed marriage, who is the first person I bump into at the grocery store? The guy who treated me like his personal booty call in high school just happens to be looking at spices while I’m trying to pick up cinnamon for my mother.

And get this; Porter Kelly, the broody, mysterious recluse who exposed his own secrets to the world by writing a book about his family years ago, is the one who acts like I wronged him. His rude remarks on aisle nine are the final straw as my exhausted unhappiness breaks, and I’m officially calling off the most wonderful time of the year.

Too bad it’s literally impossible for the woman whose parents own a railroad that specializes in Christmas train rides to ignore the holiday season. Because I’m back under their roof, it’s mandatory to work in the middle of the red and green merriment, Santa himself, and wait for it …

Porter serenading us with the greatest festive hits of all time. That’s right, apparently, my teenage heartthrob turned nemesis not only works for my parents but can strum a guitar like he’s trying to get every soccer mom on board pregnant. As we’re forced to spend more time together than ever, his past baggage and my marital rejection make their way to the surface, bonding us in ways neither of us knew possible.

I thought I was heartbroken about my ex-husband wanting to end our marriage, but that pain is nothing compared to what Porter could inflict. He seems like a changed man, one on the precipice of a new chapter, which is exactly where I find myself. Would it be crazy to think we could turn the page together?

Returning home was the only option I had. But as I come dangerously close to counting on the first man who broke my heart, I wonder if all of my future dreams are too good to be true


Carrie Aarons has outdone herself with her new book If Only In My Dreams. This book has everything I love, between two beautifully decorated covers ( I mean seriously that cover is everything ) It has my favorite trope enemies to lovers, second chance romance, a sexy musician, an idyllic small town, and of course Christmas.

Madison goes back to her mall hometown after the breakup of her marriage, a bit embarrassed by the fact that her perfect marriage was now in shambles. Finally getting out of the house to run to the grocery the first person she runs into is  Porter Kelly, the boy she gave her heart and more to in high school, only to be treated like a toy by him. If seeing him isn’t bad enough, she finds out he is working for her parents.

Aarons did a great job with the enemies to lover trope I love so much, though I had no doubt she would, as I have read a few of her books and she is good at it. The amount of dislike, frustration, and animosity she gives her characters and makes you feel is over the top.

The main characters were written realistically, with valid feelings, and I think we can all agree that Porter Kelly is a J. E. R. K. especially at the beginning of the book. But as the book moves on, you get a different perspective of him and he grows on you. Also, the book is written in dual POVs from both Madison and Porter, which I felt helped hash out the story a bit better. I love the banter between Madison and Porter, and their chemistry was undeniable, and once they realized their attraction..oh my the steam came on full force.

The enemies to lovers trope quickly moves into a second chance at love theme, and to me, that is when it began to feel like a Christmas romance even though it had been in the background from the beginning it never seemed so Christmasy.

If Only In My Dreams, which I thought was the perfect title for a story about people coming home for Christmas ( IYKYK ), is a great book, it is a quick read, the perfect book for the holidays without feeling so much like a Hallmark Christmas movie… it's a bit too spicy for that!  Def put it on your holiday reading list.