G. Bianco, 2019
As many of you might know, I have been a fan of The Prison Healer Series by Lynette Noni since before it even came out in 2020 (I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of it at the time). So you can probably imagine how much I was eagerly awaiting the third and final book, The Blood Traitor, to come out on June 14th. That being said, I also had super high hopes for it and was a bit nervous that this book wouldn’t live up to the hype (see my reviews for Book 1 and Book 2 for reference). But before I get into what I thought, let’s set the stage of the plot:
She’d failed them. All of them. And now she was paying the price. Kiva thought she knew what she wanted—revenge. But feelings change, people change . . . everything has changed. After what happened at the palace, Kiva is desperate to know if her friends and family are safe, and whether those she wronged can ever forgive her. But with the kingdoms closer to the brink of war than they’ve ever been, and Kiva far away from the conflict, more is at stake than her own broken heart. A fresh start will mean a perilous quest, forcing mortal enemies and uneasy allies together in a race against the clock to save not just Evalon, but all of Wenderall. With her loyalties now set, Kiva can no longer just survive—she must fight for what she believes in. For who she believes in. But with danger coming from every side, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, does she have what it takes to stand, or will she fall?
So I started reading this book and was a bit nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the hype I, and the rest of the internet, had built up for it. But then it did live up to the hype, and it was AMAZING!!!
Seriously, this YA fantasy book cured my reading slump and had everything I was hoping it would have: action, peril, excitement, romance, humor, plot twists, and tear-jerking moments! I genuinely don’t think Noni could’ve done a better job writing this book and the conclusion to this enthralling series was just fantastically done. I don’t want to give away too much because, I’ll just say that while I’m sad I won’t get anymore content about Kiva and her friends, I am very glad I got to read this phenomenal book!
If you haven’t read this series yet, then I highly recommend you check it out! Every book in this trilogy got a 5 star rating from me so if that doesn’t convince you to read these books then I don’t know what will!
Set to be released on August 9th, Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon is a long-haul love story chronicling two very different people trying to heal old wounds and find comfort in one another over the course of a year.
Rowan McKinnon doesn’t believe in love. With a botany PhD, two best friends who embrace her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. But she hides deep wounds from the past—from a negligent mother, and a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. When an academic setback leads Rowan to take on the restoration of an abandoned vineyard, she relishes the opportunity to restore the grapes to their former glory. She does not expect to meet a man like Harrison Brady. An obstetrician profoundly struggling after losing a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling, Harry leaves Los Angeles to emotionally recover at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania. He does not expect to meet a woman like Rowan McKinnon. As their combative banter gives way to a simmering tension, sunlight begins to crack through the darkness smothering Harry’s soul. He’s compelled to explore the undeniable pull between them. And after a lifetime of protecting herself from feeling anything, for anyone, Rowan tries to keep things casual. But even she can’t ignore their explosive connection.
This book took me a little while to get into but the ending was worth the trudging to get to. I got a little frustrated because it felt like Rowan and Harry’s pasts got a little too in the way of their romance, but I guess that was probably the point, right?
Ultimately, this book shows how important it is to reconcile with your past so that you can’t move forward into the future. Additionally, it also highlights how you have to love and accept yourself before you can love and accept another person into your life.
If you’re looking for a heartwarming read that deals with deeper topics, this one’s for you!
*I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest opinion.
Just released yesterday on August 2nd, Julia Whelan’s Thank You for Listening has already gotten rave reviews and I’m going to add another one to the pile! This romance book about an audiobook narrator written by a real-life audiobook narrator is a book lover’s dream read that I can’t recommend enough.
For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger. On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her. As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more. If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.
This book is the perfect story for anyone who loves books (especially romance)! Whelan, who is a popular audiobook narrator herself, gives readers an inside look into the world of audiobook narration and what it’s like to work in the publishing industry.
While this book is branded as a romance book, it also pokes fun at the genre with its HEAs and tropes while embodying those same qualities. However, it doesn’t match the exact trajectory of classic romance novels. The book mixes in elements from Women’s Fiction and other genres to craft an entertaining and touching story about a woman trying to find her way through life when life keeps throwing obstacles her way.
For any romance lovers out there, this one’s for you and I, for one, cannot wait to see what Whelan will write next!
*I received an ARC from Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion.
After her debut novel This Is How We Fly, Anna Meriano returns to the YA stage with a kind of spin-off book featuring Ellen’s half-sister, Yasmín. Filled with high school angst and drama, It Sounds Like This (which comes out on August 2nd) takes readers into the inner workings of high school marching band!
Yasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band—fast!—so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes. But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars. With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused. But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and the end-of-semester band competition grows near, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section—especially new section leader Bloom, a sweet and shy ace boy who might be a better match for her than Gilberto—might just turn things around.
This book had a lot of characters I wasn’t a fan of and the plot felt a little drawn out in the beginning; however, once I got about halfway through the book, the storyline picked up a bit and some of the characters became likable.
The marching band theme of the book was interesting to learn about, since I never did marching band as a teenager, and it gave an inner look at the dedication band kids have to make many moving parts into a cohesive piece of art. This book also touched upon themes of sexuality, bullying, peer pressure, and mental health which made it a pretty relevant read.
Ultimately, the story was okay... I don't think I'll be reading any of Meriano’s other books in the future just because the struggle to get into the story wasn’t worth the ending in my opinion. However, a younger reader might feel differently than I did.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest review.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!