Mini-Reviews of the Books I Read Over Spring Break

Working from home and attempting to homeschool at the same time has been somewhat nightmarish. As much as I’ve loved being home with my family – we are homebodies, so this whole Stay Home order thing hasn’t been awful for us – but trying to get everything done that I need to and help the girls has been really, really difficult.

Since the girls had off this week for Spring Break, I decided to take the week off as well. I only needed to burn 4 PTO days since I have off Friday and Monday for Easter anyway.

Of course, I indulged a little bit. Normally when I take vacation days I try to do projects around the house, but I let myself do a little more of what I want to do rather than what I felt I needed to do.

And, apparently, that meant listening to a ton of audiobooks while sewing face masks to donate to healthcare workers.

I ended up sewing 22+ masks and finishing 9 audiobooks (and reading one physical book, but that was part of a secret TBR video I’m doing for my Booktube channel.) I’m currently reading a physical book, but I just started it. That’s also part of my secret TBR. My

Here are my mini-reviews for all the books I read this week:

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House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Maas

★★★★★

Technically I started this last week, but I was physically reading it until I finally gave in and downloaded the audiobook because I knew it’d take me 3 years to read it physically.

This was the right choice. I needed to physically read the beginning to acquaint myself with the world before I was able to focus on the audiobook.

As for my feelings toward this book: going into it, I had mixed feelings. It’s an urban high fantasy – which had me very hesitant. It’s also freakishly long, which I felt would’ve been great if the romance was epic. And I really, really wanted an epic romance – that of ACOMAF caliber. The chances of this happening were high – I mean we have an angel hero. I’m super into the whole angel/fallen angel thing. I know SJM is capable of such things.

Did I get what I wanted?

Kind of.

The romance was great. Was it ACOMAF or TOG level? No. Insert sad face.

First, the negatives. This book was long and it felt long. Was it too long? No in my opinion. But I did find myself getting bored in some spots.

I love, love, loved the relationship in this one – the friends, the friend group, the dynamics – I adored it. The romance was swoony, if not exactly what I was hoping. The action had me on the edge of my seat many times. My emotions were all over the place. It had all the badass girlpower I love to read in fantasies.

All in all, it was a great story and I really enjoyed reading it.

 

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Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by JM Darhower

★★★
This was my first book from this author and I had super high hopes for it. Jessica from PeaceLoveBooks recommended this book in her Bad Boys Recommendations video and I typically really like books she recommends. Also – it has a scarred hero.

All signs pointed to me loving it, right?

I just… didn’t really care about it. I wasn’t invested and I feel like this is the type of book you need to be invested in to really enjoy.

I think part of the reason is I expected our hero to be a little more broody and a little less irreverent. While I can absolutely appreciate this take on a scarred hero – it just wasn’t what I wanted at the time.

This book could easily be a case of timing issues. Had I been in the mood for a hero who was much more aloof than broody, maybe I would’ve enjoyed it.

But, ultimately, despite everything else being good: the meetcute and the storyline was interesting… I just wasn’t into it.

In fact, I stopped reading it halfway to start listening to the House of Earth and Blood audio instead and considered DNFing it, but I didn’t hate it enough to do that.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, things are not resolved and I have no intention of reading on in the series.

 

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The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen

★★★★
I feel like I should preface this review by saying I will absolutely read on in this series. I love Sarina Bowen and I know she can write some great romances. Was this one of them? Not really.

I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed reading about it, it was unique, it was interesting. But the romance was pretty lukewarm. So, though I really liked the book as a whole, since it is a romance and it wasn’t the best – I had to take away a star.

Honestly? This was a great story of friendship, because that’s what it really felt like between the two main characters. I didn’t feel like they had great chemistry, but they did have a great friendship. I wasn’t super invested in their relationship.

What I was invested in was Corey’s comeback. I wanted her to find herself in her new normal and I was rooting for her the whole time.

Don’t get me wrong, Hartley was fun and charming, but ultimately, eh. I lost a lot of respect for him because of how long he stayed with a shallow, one-dimensional girlfriend simply because she was rich and beautiful.

 

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Art & Soul by Brittainy C Cherry

★★★★★
Can BCC even do wrong? Not yet.

This book had everything I love about her books: lots of emotion and lots of swoony romance. This one, though, had a great art and music element woven within it.

I appreciated this take on teen pregnancy – about as much as I hated our MC’s father throughout most of this book. If I had one complaint, it’d be him. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this book so much. I didn’t want to stop reading.

BCC creates so many moments that resonate – whether they are swoony or sad.

 

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Fighting for Everything (Warrior Fight Club #1) by Laura Kaye

★★★
First of all, I love the idea of Warrior Fight Club – it’s an MMA-type Club for active military and veterans to help them get through their PTSD issues. I will absolutely be reading on in this series because I’m already intrigued by some of the other characters.

The reason why I didn’t absolutely love this book enough to give it higher than 3 stars is because I just wasn’t into the romance. It did something I really dislike in friends-to-lovers: there was no establishment of the friendship first. I wasn’t invested in the friendship because it plowed right into the attraction within the first chapter.

It had a lot of what I dislike in instalove stories, but it was friends-to-lovers.

Had the friends-to-lovers romance been the only thing in this book, I wouldn’t have enjoyed anything about it. However, Laura Kaye is fantastic with writing about PTSD and anxiety, and, more importantly, the healing process. I very much appreciated that aspect.

 

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

★★★★★
This was a sweet, fun YA contemporary that gave me pretty much everything I wanted out of it.

I’m really beginning to love Jenn Bennett. This is the second book I’ve ever read by her.

It was such a unique story with some great tropes that were well done: enemies to lovers, second chance romance, and forced togetherness.

I was uncomfortable for Zorie – her situation with her family was really difficult. I did really, really love her relationship with her stepmother. This is the second book I’ve read in which the stepparent is so incredible and I am so here for that. Let’s hear it for amazing step parents!

Honestly, that is the thing I loved the most about this book, even more than the cute romance, not gonna lie.

 

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Misconduct by Penelope Douglas

★★★★★

You guys… I was scared to read this. I felt like this could easily have gone south as a couple of Penelope Douglas’s books have for me in the past.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! The meetcute was so good. And I was absolutely here for the forbidden romance. I even tolerated and even really liked the alpha hero – and that’s something that I’ve been lukewarm about for a long time.

I’m glad I ended up picking up this book from Book Outlet so I can add it to my Penelope Douglas collection (that currently only has one book, but whatever.)

Also – Penelope Douglas is really good at writing steamy scenes, so there’s that.

 

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Assigned a Mate (Interstellar Brides Program #1) by Grace Goodwin

★★★
I was in the mood for an easy, quick, steamy, fated mates read and this seemed Ice Planet Barbarians enough to fulfill that need.

And, I mean, it did. I honestly don’t know what else to say about a mail-order brides in space book aside from it’s ridiculous, but not nearly as ridiculous and good as Ice Planet Barbarians. I don’t see myself binging this series like I did Ruby Dixon’s.

 

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Cherish Hard (Hard Play #1) by Nalini Singh

★★★★★
This was a super sweet, funny novel about a hard-working man in his 20s who, as a teenager in high school, sees a curvy college girl named Isa gets humiliated at a party and immediately falls for her. Fast forward a few years and they reunite. While I felt a little disconnected to this novel while I was reading in some places, I really appreciated how light and sweet this was. I loved Sailor, our hero, because of how loyal, thoughtful, and hard-working he is. Isa is a very likable character as well, she is the head of her family since her mother is career-obsessed. She’s hardworking in that respect, but has some confidence issues though not enough to be annoying. All in all, I enjoyed this one and plan on reading on in the series.

12 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews of the Books I Read Over Spring Break

  1. I felt the -same- way about the new SjM book! I also switched to audio, which was a good idea because the book is so intimidating and the pages so thin! I loved the narrator in the audio book as well. She made it feel like I was watching a movie towards the end.

    Liked by 1 person

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