Book Review: Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

Book: Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

Published November 2020 by Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda.

Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

I really liked Rent A Boyfriend!  I really liked Chloe and Drew, and I really felt for both of them.

As much as I liked this book, and (some of) the characters, I found that I was angry at Chloe’s parents for most of the book.  I know they want to make sure she’s okay and taken care of and happy, especially in the wake of her dad’s illness.  She’s more than capable of taking care of herself, and she doesn’t need a guy to take care of her.  Of course, love’s important, but it’s sad they’re pushing her to someone she doesn’t want and who is pretty terrible person.  I’m angry that they didn’t tell her why they were pushing so hard for her to get married, I’m angry that her virginity was a selling point, and that not being a virgin would ruin her, and I’m angry that she had to rent a boyfriend so they’d leave her alone, only for them to still push her towards Hongbo.

It also makes me sad that this is something she needs to worry about and deal with.  She eventually tells her parents about Drew, and while it makes things really difficult between them, they do come around.  I understand why she feels like two different people and being ourselves around family can be really hard.  Especially with her parents, but she figure out what she wants and becomes honest about it, even though it’s really hard and it gets complicated along the way.

I like her and Drew together.  I loved their random conversations, and their text messages, and they’re just really cute together.  Meeting each other ended up being a really good thing for both of them.  It’s a really cute romance while also dealing with some pretty serious things.  There was a really good balance between everything.  If you like the fake relationship turning into a real one trope, this is a great book for you!

I’m glad we got to see his POV, because I really liked seeing how he saw things.  Don’t get me wrong, we spend plenty of time with Chloe, and I’m glad we do, but it was also nice to get a different take on things, and see how he saw her.  Also, I’m sad for Drew.  Chloe has her own issues to deal with, but so does Drew.  And it just made me sad that his parents cut him off just because he’s an artist, and wants to pursue that.  Also, the comparison to someone he didn’t know made me sad for him as well.

I totally want to use sleep loose from now on, by the way.  It’s totally random, but true!

I really liked Chloe, and I can relate to how insecure she is.  It’s no wonder she is, with all the things she’s heard over the years.  Words have more of an impact than people think, and though people might not mean to be hurtful or think they’re actually helping, it doesn’t mean that words don’t hurt, and that we don’t internalize it and start to believe it.  I think it’s part of why I was so angry on her behalf.  I really do hope that things get better between Chloe and her parents, and that they (but especially her mom) are more accepting of her.

4 stars.  I really liked Rent A Boyfriend.  I was angry and sad but also happy and this is a cute romance with some seriousness as well.  I’m glad I picked this book up!

Book Review: The First 7 by Laura Pohl

Book: The First 7 by Laura Pohl

Published March 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Last 8 #2

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

The thrilling conclusion to The Last 8 duology that follows the Last Teenagers on Earth as they head home to a now-hostile planet.

Clover Martinez and The Last Teenagers on Earth are busy exploring the galaxy after leaving earth behind…even if they can’t help but be a little homesick.

So when their ship receives a distress signal from their former planet, they hope against hope that it means other survivors. But as soon as they arrive, they realize something’s deeply wrong: strange crystal formations have popped up everywhere and there’s some sort of barrier keeping them from leaving.

Seeking the origin of the formations and the reason for the barrier, the group discovers a colony of survivors hidden in the mountains. But the survivors aren’t who they seem…

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really liked The First 7, and thought it was much better than the first book!  It’s a great sequel, and I’m glad I read it.

I liked the first book, enough to pick up the sequel.  This book picks up several months after the last book, and we see our young survivors travelling across space.  Because of Andy, they get this warning that they are not safe anywhere, and find themselves back on earth because of a distress signal.  Earth is not the same place it was when they left it.

It turns out that they were gone for years, instead of months, so clearly, time moved differently for them than it did in space.  That part got my interest, and I wanted to know more about that.  They have more pressing things to deal with, like the fact that there are survivors hidden in the mountains, crystals everywhere, and Andy not being the same Universal that she was in the first book.  Once they land on Earth, and come across the crystals, she changes drastically, but in the end, she’s the same Andy that we knew from The Last 8 and the beginning of this book.

It turns out that Andy is not the last Universal, and there was a time when I thought it was Violet.  It’s not, but the thought crossed my mind, considering what Andy did to bring Violet back from the dead.  I actually wish we saw more of Andy.  This is Clover’s story, through and through, but that’s not going to stop me from wanting more with Andy.

Speaking of Clover, I really liked her.  She’s still struggling, which is understandable.  She’s been through a lot, and there are some surprises for her in this book.  I wasn’t expecting one particular surprise, but I’m glad she’s not alone.  She never was, of course, and she has some great friends.  But this surprise…I think it will be good for her.  It won’t bring back her grandparents, Adam or Noah but I think, in time, she’ll open up and start to heal.  That’s what I hope happens for her.  This book doesn’t shy away from her struggles, and I love that there’s a content warning at the beginning of the book and some resources at the end of the book.

I’m just glad they were able to go back to earth, and that they were able to make sure things were okay.  Not everyone wanted to come back, of course, but I think, in the end, they were glad they did.  Space isn’t for everyone, but this book really shows that earth, and the life that inhabits it are strong and refuse to die in the face of really terrible aliens with crystals that could change the planet and destroy everything on it.

I also want everyone to be okay.  I’ve already talked about how I want Clover to be okay, and I want that for everyone else too.  They deserve after thinking they were the only ones left on earth, and what they had to do to save it.  I’m sure they’ll settle into a slightly more normal life.  As normal as it can be on a planet that survived an alien invasion, and I hope they are able to find other survivors.  This little pocket of survivors can’t be the only ones left, and I hope, over time, earth is at least a semblance of the place they knew before everything happened.

4 stars.  I really liked The First 7, and it’s a great sequel.  I kind of want another book, just to see how things turn out for everyone, but I also think it ended on a really good note, so I’m also okay with it ending how it did.

Audio Book Review: Shift by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Shift by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published March 2010 by Harlequin Books|Run Time: 11 hours, 3 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #5

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Being the first female werecat enforcer isn’t easy. Scars accumulate, but I’m stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It’s complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother’s death and my father’s impeachment, it’s all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option…

It’s about time I continued this series!  I really enjoyed Shift, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

I was surprised by how easy it was for me to slip back in Faythe’s world.  It’s been a while since I’ve read the books before this one, so I was a little worried I’d have a hard time getting back into this series.  And that I wouldn’t remember much of anything from the events of the previous books.  But that wasn’t a problem at all!  We got the basics throughout the book, as it came up, and I was glad to see what was going on with Faythe.

There’s a new threat, in the form of thunderbirds, and I was glad to learn more about other shifters in her world.  I mean, there was no way that only werecats existed, and I knew there had to be other shapeshifters out there.  The series isn’t really about that, of course, though I’m glad we were introduced new enemies.  There’s always something that’s gone wrong in Faythe’s world, and they never seem to get a break or time to breathe.  It’s been one crisis after another, and there’s more to come.

It looks like they’re headed for all-out war, and it’s not going to be pretty.  I really hope we don’t lose anyone else, but I feel like that’s a strong possibility.  There’s no way they make it out unscathed in that.

But back to this book.  The thunderbirds are an interesting group, and while it’s not surprising they like wide, open spaces, I was still slightly surprised that they don’t like the woods, even in human form.  Staying out of the forest is generally a good idea, because there’s a lot of really terrible stuff that can happen there.  But it makes sense that werecats and thunderbirds don’t really cross paths.

I’m glad Faythe was able to get the evidence she needed to make sure her pride stayed safe from the thunderbirds.  Their punishment was a little scary, but to each their own.  I wouldn’t want to cross them or get on their bad side, that’s for sure.

Though she’s no longer fighting the thunderbirds, she has some things she needs to deal with in her personal life.  Mainly, things got really weird with Jace and Mark, and even though I know things will work out, it’s not going to be easy.  It complicates things, not just for them, but for the pride as well, and there’s no way that Jace and Mark can work together as long as Faythe is around.  Honestly, I’m not sure they could work together even if she weren’t around, but it made things a lot more complicated, that’s for sure.

As usual, Jennifer Van Dyck did a great job at narrating, and I particularly liked how she gave voice to the thunderbirds.  They had a completely different voice than Faythe and the other characters, and it was super easy to tell the difference between the thunderbirds and everyone else.  Honestly, their voice really fit them, and there is something birdlike about their voice.

4 stars.  I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Faythe and her family.  I really hope they get the happy ending they deserve.

Book Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Book: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Published January 2021 by St. Martin’s Press|304 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Mystery/Suspense

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins’s The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

I really liked The Wife Upstairs!  I’ve really enjoyed her YA books, and I knew I had to read this one!

For a good part of the book, I kept thinking about how this book was like a modern day Jane Eyre.  Then I realized that it’s a Jane Eyre re-telling.  Honestly, it’s a great take on Jane Eyre- Jane is a dog-walker instead of a governess, and Bea is missing/assumed dead, but not really because she won’t stay buried.

There was a touch of mystery/suspense with what happened to Bea and Blanche.  Was it Tripp?  Was it Eddie?  Or was it someone else?  I won’t reveal that here, but it was interesting to see how everything unravels.

The book is mostly narrated by Jane, but we do have Bea take over narrating every once in a while, plus a few chapters from Eddie’s perspective.  It was good to see Bea, since her memory was everywhere.  She’s not what I expected, and neither was Eddie.  I don’t blame Jane for looking over her shoulder, but it seems like things are pretty good.  Jane didn’t have an easy life, but I’m glad things worked out for her in the end.  I hope she finds some peace and happiness, and that she stops looking over her shoulder, wondering if her past will ever catch up with her.

The setting was creepy, though fitting.  It felt suffocating at times, and of course, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened on the night Bea and Blanche were at the lake.  We find out, of course, and the whole time I was reading this book, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.  With a neighborhood full of rich people, with gossipy housewives going to what felt like all the fundraisers and planning committees really worked as the cast of characters in this novel.  Honestly, I don’t blame Jane for wanting to fit in, and find home and friends and people who care about her.  But they don’t really seem like her people, and it seemed like she had to be someone she’s not just to fit in.  Also, I thought it was sad that marrying Eddie was the only way they’d truly accept her.

This is completely random but I couldn’t get no body, no crime by Taylor Swift out of my head.  Seriously, it popped into my head every single time I picked up this book.

If this book had a theme song, that one would be my first choice.

Not that I have another choice, at least one that I can come up with on the spot.  But I’m sure there are other songs that would fit the book really well.  And that cover is amazing!  I don’t know why, but I love it, and somehow, it fits the book as well.  I see it differently now that I’ve actually finished the book but either way, it’s still a great cover!

4 stars.  I really enjoyed this book, and thought the setting was both creepy and suffocating.  The mystery was great, and I like the unraveling mystery of what happened to Bea.

Book Review: No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth To Power And Reclaiming America by Symone D Sanders

Book: No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth To Power And Reclaiming America by Symone D. Sanders

Published May 2020 by Harper|240 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-fiction/Politics/Memoir

In this rousing call to leadership, the self-described millennial spokesperson for the culture, CNN’s designated “woke AF” former commentator, and the youngest national press secretary in the history of the United States shares her take-no-prisoners approach to life, politics, and career success, and shows a new generation how to be loud and powerful in their own right.

Many people—most notably white older men—may try to stop Symone Sanders from speaking up and out. But Symone will NOT shut up. And neither should you. In this inspiring call-to-action, Symone tells stories from her own life of not-shutting-up alongside loud young revolutionaries who came before her to help you find your authentic voice and use it to your advantage; to fight ideological battles more effectively; and to resist those who try to silence you.

We are all gurus, masterminds, artists, entrepreneurs—we are the change agents we have been waiting for. IT IS US. And the time is RIGHT NOW. I know you’re wondering, “But HOW?” And we don’t have all the answers! Symone is the first to admit we’re all winging it in one way or another. But the point is we’re out there doing it. So get started. Open your mouth and start talking. Loudly.

No You Shut Up goes beyond the surplus of “Vote-Or-Die” books we’ve seen before. Because change doesn’t just happen at the ballot box. We need people fighting oppression, injustice, and inequality—in the workplace, on the cultural battlefield, in government, in every corner of the world. With spirited storytelling filtered through a voice that cannot and will not be ignored, Symone inspires you to start now. You don’t need to have all the answers, or wait your turn to help create the change you want to see. All you need is a new toolbox, an unshakable commitment, and the confidence and guidance to wield those tools effectively. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with No, You Shut Up, but it ended up being an okay read for me.

It’s part memoir, part call-to-action in politics.  I really enjoyed reading about Sanders time in politics, and what it was like to work on Bernie Sander’s campaign, and working as a commentator on CNN.  It was very clear she knew what she wanted, and went for it.  She didn’t have all the answers, but she wants things to change, and she refuses to stay quiet and shut up.  She’s determined, and finds really creative ways to get what she wants.  She doesn’t take no for an answer, she knows how to set boundaries and stick with them, and she asks for what she wants in clear and plain terms.

It’s clear that she believes that we can be better, that who we are is really important, and that we can, and should, have a role in shaping politics and getting involved in things.  Overall, it’s an interesting look at what it’s like to work on a campaign, but I don’t know that I could begin to tell you how to otherwise get involved in politics and change things by something other than voting or working on a campaign.

Personally, I would have liked something a little more concrete than that, but I felt like it was a good look at her own life in politics.  She shared a lot of stories from her own life, and I could tell that she wanted to make a difference and that she knew what she wanted to do.  She got as much experience as she could- she had a lot of internships, worked on different campaigns, and at different organizations, with each one expanding her skill set and getting her closer to what she wanted to do- work in politics.  She didn’t always get the job she wanted, but that didn’t stop her at all, and if anything, she worked harder to get where she wanted to be.

The book felt very conversational, like she was telling me what happened.  It’s a fast read, though I could only manage a chapter or two at a time.  She didn’t get bogged down in details, and it would be easy enough to read in a day or two.

Even though I thought it was okay, I still think it’s worth checking out.  Especially if, after the last four years, you want to be more involved, or want a peek at what it’s like to work in politics, particularly the Democratic party.

2 stars.  This was a book that I thought was okay, but I still liked reading about how Sanders got to where she is today.

Book Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Book: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Published November 2017 by TKA Distribution|372 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Hard Play #1

Genre: Adult Contemporary

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

I liked Cherish Hard, but not as much as her Guild Hunter series or her Psy-Changling series.  I really like those series, and thought I’d give some of her other books a try.  This book seemed like a good starting point, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

I had a hard time with the fact that it takes place in the real world.  New Zealand was a great setting, but after reading two really long series that take place in a more magical/futuristic setting, I had a hard time with present time and real world.  I didn’t feel completely invested in Isa and Sailor’s relationship, though I really felt for Isa and the horrible family she has to deal with.  Honestly, Singh is great at writing horrible parents, but cool siblings and friendships.  But I just wasn’t into the romance in this book, and I’m not sure why.

Sailor was a little too perfect, and somehow managed to have his whole life planned out at the age of 23.  I’m 34, and even now, my life is nowhere close to being planned out the way his life is.  And I get Isa’s insecurities- who wouldn’t be with her mother, and the way she was publicly dumped several years earlier- but there was something a little too sweet and angelic about her.  Something about it seemed off, and they seemed a little more bland than some of the other characters Singh has written.

The book didn’t have a lot of drama, and overall, it was enjoyable.  It didn’t have the drama or tension I was expecting, but then again, I don’t usually read a lot of contemporary romance- historical and paranormal are much more my speed when it comes to romance, so that might be part of why I didn’t love Cherish Hard but still enjoyed it.

It was nice to see a romance where the heroine is older than the hero- it was refreshing to see it, because usually, the guy is older.  I wish we saw this more in romance, but maybe it’s there, and I just haven’t come across one that’s memorable enough to stick with me.  Or come across one at all- either one’s possible.

I don’t know if I’ll keep reading this particular series- I believe the series focuses on a different brother, so I might pick one up.  I also might not pick one up, but I am curious to see if I’ll like any of her contemporaries more.

3 stars.  I didn’t love it, but it was enjoyable, and a quick read.  I wasn’t super into the romance, but I did like that Isa was older than Sailor.

Audio Book Review: Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera, Narrated by Lillian Claire

Book: Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera, Narrated by Lillian Claire

Published July 2016 by Audible Studios|Run Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

I liked Juliet Takes A Breath!  Juliet’s pretty cool, and I loved seeing her as an intern in Portland.  She learns a lot about herself and others, and it was great to be along for the journey.

I was pretty angry at her family when she came out to them.  I was angry that they saw it as a joke, and didn’t take it seriously.  I was angry that they saw it as a phase she’ll grow out of.  I know not everyone has supportive families, but I still found myself angry at them and their reaction, because Juliet deserves so much better than that.

She had quite the summer in Portland.  She’s a world away from New York, and her time in Portland wasn’t what she expected.  We see social justice, feminism, race, sexuality, and how they do (or do not) intersect.  We see that the people we look up to are flawed, and that meeting our heroes can be hard, and that they’re not who we thought they were.  That the words they write can be hard to separate from the person writing them, and that they can get some things wrong, while also getting some things right.  That people can be allies in some ways, but ignorant in other ways.  I can see why Juliet clung to Harlowe’s book- we all have that something we hold onto for dear life, that thing that means the world to us, and the realization that we can’t put the creator of it on a pedestal.  Still, I’m sad that Harlowe was great in some ways, but horrible in other ways, and that Juliet had a front row seat for it.

Still, I loved some of the people Juliet met over the course of the summer, and I hope that she stays in contact with some of them.  Like Kira, and Harlowe’s ex.  And the women from the workshop that wanted Juliet to submit her story to the anthology she was putting together.  I wish I could remember their names, but they seemed really cool and supportive, and I hope Juliet talks to them long after the book is over.  I also hope Juliet’s family comes around as well, and they’ll be more accepting of her and whoever she brings home to meet them.

Honestly, I just enjoyed seeing Juliet figure things out and what she learned about life, other people, and herself.  She has a clear, honest voice, and I found myself rooting for her the whole time.

3 stars.  I didn’t love Juliet takes a breath, but I still liked it!  Juliet had an interesting summer, and I was glad I was there for it.

Book Review: Rebelwing by Andrea Tang

Book: Rebelwing by Andrea Tang

Published February 2020 by Razorbill|355 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Rebelwing #1

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Dystopia

Business is booming for Prudence Wu.

A black-market-media smuggler and scholarship student at the prestigious New Columbia Preparatory Academy, Pru is lucky to live in the Barricade Coalition where she is free to study, read, watch, and listen to whatever she wants. But between essays and exams, she chooses to spend her breaks sweet-talking border patrol with her best friend, Anabel, in order to sell banned media to the less fortunate citizens of the United Continental Confederacy, Inc.

When a drop-off goes awry, Pru narrowly escapes UCC enforcers to find that her rescuer is, of all things, a sentient cybernetic dragon. On the one hand, Pru is lucky not to be in prison, or worse. On the other, the dragon seems to have imprinted on her permanently, which means she has no choice but to be its pilot.

Drawn into a revolution she has no real interest in leading, Pru, Anabel, and friends Alex and Cat become key players in a brewing conflict with the UCC as the corporate government develops advanced weaponry more terrifying and grotesque than Pru could have ever imagined.

I wasn’t sure about this book at first!  It took me a while to get into, and at one point, I was pretty close to not finishing it at all.  But I’m glad I kept reading and I ended up really liking it!

This is a future I can easily imagine- the U.S. is split up into different territories, and not everyone can access banned media.  It’s a scary future, and the world was frighteningly familiar.  Mechanical wyverns and dragons are pretty cool, I have to admit, and the weaponry is pretty horrifying.  Pru, of course, gets drawn into this revolution that she had no idea was even happening, and with how the book ended, she has a lot to deal with.  I’m curious to see how things go, and how she’ll deal with a corporate government and the terrifying things they can come up with.

I’m not sure how I feel about Pru.  Or anyone else that we see.  I get why Anabel kept things from Pru, but I also get why Pru didn’t take it well.  They work through it, of course, and they’re really going to need each other.  Especially with everything that Pru went through in this book…particularly towards the end.  I feel like Alex gets it, since he went through the same thing she did.  I know they’ll be fine, but it will be hard, especially for Alex.  With what he learned about his family…I can’t imagine learning that.  I felt for both of them, because no one should have to go through what they did.  In all honesty, there’s not a lot I remember about them, other than the basics.

There’s a lot of action, adventure and politics, and the further I got into the book, the more I wanted to know what would happen next.  I was interested to see what was really going on in this world, and how we even got to this point.  Pru’s pretty lucky, but still trying to figure out her place in the world.  And of course, she’s doing it while bonding to a mechanical dragon she has to pilot because it imprinted on her, instead of Alex, the person it was supposed to bond with.  I am pretty interested to see how she changes in the next book and to see her really decide what she wants in life.

Rebelwing gets 4 stars- I really liked this one.  It took me some time to get into the book, but I’m glad I kept reading and didn’t give up on it.

Book Review: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

Book: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

Published November 2020 by Berkley|382

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Guild Hunter’s #13

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

A horrifying secret rises in the aftermath of an archangelic war in New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s deadly and beautiful Guild Hunter world…

The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on—especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence.

It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires.

There is no one left…but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now, she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift…

I really liked Archangel’s Sun! I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I’m glad the story is continuing!

This book focuses on Titus and the Hummingbird and it picks up where Archangel’s War left off.  It’s definitely hard for everyone, and there’s a lot of work to do.  There are some pretty terrible surprises along the way, but everything works out in the end.

It’s been a while since I’ve read any of the books in the series, so I was a little bit fuzzy on some of the details.  The really nice thing about this book was that I could be a little bit fuzzy on the details and still know what was going on.  And what had happened before, of course.  A little refresher would have been nice, but at any rate, my fuzziness didn’t get in the way of me enjoying this novel.

I really like the Hummingbird!  She’s had a lot to deal with, and she is easily one of my favorite characters in the series now.  I’m glad she got her own book, because she’s been mentioned before, and I really liked getting her story.  I’m glad things worked out for her, and that she got some happiness.  She’s empathetic and a fierce warrior and this really amazing artist.  She’s different from Titus in a lot of ways, but I really like them together!

I liked Titus too, and even though I remembered his name coming up before, that was all I remembered about him.  We learned a little bit about him, and it sounds like he has quite the family.  But I was a lot more interested in Sharine’s story, and I wanted to know everything about her.  I didn’t feel the same way about Titus, but I think they’ll be really good for each other.  I know we won’t get another book focusing on them, but we’ll for sure see what’s going on with them in the future.  Especially with Sharine’s connections to some of the other characters.

I liked seeing Titus and Sharine work together- he really underestimated her, which is understandable, but she also completely proved him wrong.  She took the time to listen to his people and wasn’t intimidated by him.  She really was the best choice to help him deal with the reborn.  And he really did respect her and listen to her, which was nice.  And I really appreciated seeing that.  I’m not sure why, but I did.  She brought a certain kindness and grace to everything she did, which I loved, and she didn’t let what happened destroy her.  I think that’s why I loved her so much.

4 stars.  I really liked Archangel’s Sun- especially Sharine and her backstory!  I can’t wait to read the next book!

Book Review: A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Book: A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Published October 2020 by Wednesday Books|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written any reviews…or even picked up a book!  I’m feeling a little rusty after so long, but A Golden Fury was a good book to get back into reading and reviewing.  I liked it, and I thought the concept was really cool!

The whole idea of the Philosopher’s Stone cursing people is really cool, and that was, hands down, my favorite thing about the book.  People lose their sanity if they get far enough along, and it was both frustrating and not at all surprising that no one believed Thea when she told everyone who wanted the Stone what would happen.  I don’t blame her for not wanting her loved ones die, and sacrificing your sanity is a terrible way to get them back.  If no one knew that her mom made it, had notes, and that Thea could make it, she’d be fine.  But we also wouldn’t have a book, so there is that.  Or, at least, it would be a very different book.

It’s scary to think that the Stone takes what it wants from you once you get to a certain step in the process of making it, but I also really liked that.  Yes, there’s immortality and turning metals into gold and silver but trying to get that comes at a price.  Cohoe does a great job at showing what that price is, and how some people are willing to sacrifice everything for their chance to have something so powerful.

I’d rather keep my sanity, thank you very much.

But for some reason, the Stone really likes Thea, and she ends up being fine.  She starts to have a relationship with the father she never knew, and her relationship with her mother changes drastically by the end of the book.  To live in her mother’s shadow must have been horrible, and not a great person to have as a mother.  Now that the Stone is not in the picture, maybe things will be better.  Maybe Thea just needs to be away from her mother, and they can write letters with the occasional visit.  They have a lot of things they need to work through, and it seems like doing that away from each other is a good move.

We don’t see much of Thea’s relationship with her father, and her going to Oxford was quite the surprise for him.  I do get his concern, at least initially, that saying she was his daughter could change things for him career-wise.  Though I understand why he’d say she was his niece, it was also frustrating that he wouldn’t acknowledge her.  He does change his mind about that, in the end, and I hope they end up having a good relationship.

I didn’t care for Will at all.  He ended up being pretty terrible, though, and in the end, I just didn’t get why she went to such lengths to protect him.  Granted, there was a lot about him that she didn’t know, but considering he told people she could make the Stone…that was the first of many things that he did that was absolutely terrible.

I haven’t really talked about Thea much.  I liked her, and she really was determined to do what she had to for the people she cared about- whether it was her mother, Will, or Dominic, she wanted to make sure they were okay.  She was willing to sacrifice so much for them, even when it wasn’t deserved.  In my opinion, anyway.  Still, I want things to be okay for her, and hopefully, they will be.

3 stars.  I liked A Golden Fury, and it was entertaining and interesting.  It was a good book to start of the year and get back into reviewing!