ARC Review: The Knockout by Sajni Patel

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Knockout
Author: Sajni Patel
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
A rising star in Muay Thai figures out what (and who) is worth fighting for in this #ownvoices YA debut full of heart.

If seventeen-year-old Kareena Thakkar is going to alienate herself from the entire Indian community, she might as well do it gloriously. She’s landed the chance of a lifetime, an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open, which could lead to a spot on the first-ever Olympic team. If only her sport wasn’t seen as something too rough for girls, something she’s afraid to share with anyone outside of her family. Despite pleasing her parents, exceling at school, and making plans to get her family out of debt, Kareena’s never felt quite Indian enough, and her training is only making it worse.

Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for Amit Patel, who just might be the world’s most perfect Indian. Admitting her feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride–she’ll have to face his parents’ disapproval, battle her own insecurities, and remain focused for the big fight. Kareena’s bid for the Olympics could very well make history–if she has the courage to go for it.

GOODREADS

Review

I’m absolutely in love with so many things about this book. The diversity (her best friend is Filipino!), the characters, the sweet romance, and the inspiring sports and STEM aspects.

I absolutely adored Kareena’s character. Even though she is so young, her confidence and self-awareness and perseverance is so inspiring, yet still believable for someone her age. She still has a lot to learn, but I appreciated how NOT annoying it was to be in her head. She didn’t always make perfect decisions, but it was refreshing to read about a teenager who understood her strength and intelligence, despite outside influences.

Amit is also not your typical hero. He’s a little nerdy, super-smart, seemingly the perfect Indian boy who is dealing with his own teenage struggles. Kareena and Amit are an unlikely pair, but they work so well together.

I also adore Kareena’s parents. They are such a strong support system and remind me so much of my own parents – willing to give up everything for her dreams.

This book is not only entertaining reading this as an adult, but I’m so excited to think about all the young people who will pick up this book and see things through Kareena’s eyes. I hope she inspires them as she has inspired me.


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

#-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Format: Audiobook provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review

Synopsis:
Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

GOODREADS

Review

This book was much more of a Women’s Fiction book than I was expecting.

I think people who really enjoy Women’s Fiction will really like this, however, if you tend to lean more toward Romance than Women’s Fiction, you may have the same feelings I had while reading this.

The premise is cute and it’s done well, however, I do wish the romance was more prevalent because, well, I’m a romance reader at heart. Because there wasn’t a strong enough romance storyline in this to keep my attention, I found myself getting bored as I listened. I even almost DNF’d this a few times.

For fans of the Flat Share, you may still enjoy this book, however, if the thing you liked the most about The Flat Share was the romance, this may not live up to your expectations as it did for me. One of the biggest things I enjoyed about The Flat Share was the romance and while I appreciated all of the other aspects of that book, it was the romance that I liked the most.

As for the audiobook narration. I did notice some inconsistencies with the phone dialog. Sometimes the person on the other line had a filter over their voice (as if you were listening to them through a phone), but sometimes they didn’t. I think this may have just been an oversight in the ARC copy I listened to and will likely be corrected in the final edit of the audiobook.

I really liked the narrator Leena, she was fantastic. And while the narrator for Eileen was a great voice actor, I’m very sensitive to mouth noises/sounds, and she had some that began to grate on me as I was listening.

Overall, I thought this book was good, but not great and was slightly disappointed considering my expectations after reading The Flat Share.


Audiobook Performance: 4 stars

4-stars


Butterfly Rating: 0 Stars

0-stars


Re-read Worthiness: No


Bookshelf Placement: No


Book Boyfriend Rating: 2 stars

2-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Awakening (Gifting #2) by K.E. Ganshert

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Awakening
Author: K.E. Ganshert
Series: (Gifting #2)

Synopsis:
“I can’t go home. It’s not safe. Nowhere is.”

Tess Eckhart isn’t crazy. She’s not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few patient files that lead to the nation’s most lawless city.

With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just like them. They aren’t gathered together for the sole purpose of survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose—to awaken as many people with The Gifting as possible. It’s dangerous and deadly work. Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe—a task that proves increasingly difficult as Tess’s gifting comes to light.

Could Tess Eckhart be the One they’ve been waiting for? The One who can save them all?

GOODREADS

 

Review

Reading this series feels like running through words that are both killing me but keeping me alive at the same time.

Read More

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: What You Wish For
Author: Katherine Center
Format: Audiobook provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

GOODREADS

Review

I have loved everything I’ve read by Katherine Center so far and while this book wasn’t my favorite of hers, I still enjoyed it for the most part.

There are definite trigger warnings in this book for the loss of a loved one, gun violence, abuse, and medical trauma.

All of those trigger warnings may make you think that this is going to be an incredibly emotional book… you’re right… however, it isn’t all doom and gloom. It tackles some serious subject matter, but the hope and joy in this book make a good balance.

I did find some of those parts a bit cheesy – and trust me, I can tolerate a fair amount of it – sometimes, considering the darker parts, I wondered if it was a little over the top.

Another criticism I found – which is fully just a “me” thing – are inaccuracies or things that just wouldn’t happen in a private school setting. Or if they did, it’d be a HUGE deal.

I have a better part of a decade’s experience with the administration/development (and parent) side of private schools and it was slightly irritating to read about how certain things were handled at the school that would not fly in real life.

It took me out of the story every time.

The most glaring was when the new Head of School claimed he was re-allocating funds that were raised for a new playground to build something completely different. I could NEVER imagine that happening. Parents would lose their ever-loving minds if they donated large sums of money to a capital campaign and the nonprofit organization suddenly changed their minds about what they were using the money for. I also highly doubt a Board of Directors would agree to that.

Is it even legal?

There were also little things like how the “quirky” teacher behaved in flashbacks and I kept imagining what kind of uproar it truly would’ve caused at faculty meetings – and how many complaints the Head of School and administration would get from other teachers. You’d be surprised at how upsetting those overly outgoing teachers are to the rest of the faculty. I think I would’ve been more impressed with this book if it had handled those nuances more accurately. It definitely would’ve been far more believable for me.

I really enjoyed the romance, though the hero’s “before and after” characteristics were so jarringly different that his character didn’t hold a lot of believability to me. In fact, I found both the main characters somewhat lacking. I loved the epilepsy rep, though I can’t speak to how well it was done. I did feel like the heroine’s quirks weren’t consistent. I can’t really put into words what it was exactly, but something felt off with both of these characters which has not been the case at all with other Katherine Center books I’ve read.

Speaking of the epilepsy rep, I fully empathize with how the main character felt about her illness. It is a constant storm cloud that looms over her head and plays a part in every decision she makes. It refocused her future and how her mind works on a minute-to-minute basis. The constant, “is this an episode,” worry was so relatable to me.

I have Multiple Sclerosis, so I know what it is like to carry around your illness with you everywhere you go, whether you’re having a flare-up or not. I both love and hate reading about it in books.

As always in Katherine Center books, I did love the ending. I love how she wraps things up in a pretty bow. And OMG if I could rate only her essay about reading for joy at the end, I’d give it all the stars in the universe, it was so validating and so good!


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars
The audiobook reader for this was REALLY good!


Butterfly Rating: 1 Star

1-star


Re-read Worthiness: No


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe


Book Boyfriend Rating: 2 stars

2-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #6)

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Ruby Circle
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #6

Synopsis:
THEY WILL BE TESTED

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

Don’t miss their unforgettable final chapter. . . .

LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL

GOODREADS

Review

The series is over. Yes, I loved the ending, no I am not okay that it’s completely over.

I am so attached to all of these characters and this entire world and let me tell you, this was an amazing book to end the whole series but I can’t help but think how I want more and more and more and different POVs from every single character. But either way, I loved how this story played out. It was like a breath of relief- well after the rollercoaster I was put through- when I finally finished. It was one of those books when you’re on the very last page and you read those last few lines and when you are done, you just smile. I think in this last book especially, you see how much Adrian matured and how confident Sydney has become. One of my favorite things about this series is the character relationships and the never failing rollercoaster that the plot gives you. For everyone who’s read Vampire Academy (If not, you totally should!), you NEED this series in your life and I can guarantee you will be just as attached to all of the characters more than you thought.


Age recommendation: 14+


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: A Change In Tide by Freya Barker

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: A Change in Tide
Author: Freya Barker
Series: Northern Lights #1
Format: Audiobook ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
What impact would it have when everything suddenly faded to black?

For Mia, a crowded subway ride changes her entire life. Retreating to the wilderness helps her cope with a world that is suddenly too loud, too turbulent.
Her existence safely contained to the small cottage on the lake, she is unprepared for the neighbor that moves across the bay

A career-ending injury has Jared permanently benched. His reputation as The Enforcer won’t survive the unanticipated responsibilities awaiting him.
Away from the public eye, he adjust to his new reality, under the quiet observation of the intriguing hermit on the other side of the water.

GOODREADS

Review

First of all, the audiobook for this was really, really good. The narrators are new-to-me, but I really liked them. The male narrator had such a nice, deep voice.

While I feel like this story was longer than it needed to be, I did really like it. I especially appreciated that the main character was a midwife who supported the hero’s sister throughout her “4th trimester.” It’s obvious the author has experience with all the nuances that come along with breastfeeding and all the attachment parenting things that I went through as a new mom. I had so many flashbacks to when my girls were newborns reading this book – it even made me nostalgic for those days as hard as they were!

I love this take on the hockey player trope. While it plays a big part in the story, especially toward the end, it’s different since Jared is retired due to an injury.

While I don’t have agoraphobia, the representation of the anxiety part of her disorder was done really well.

I loved how Jared took care of his sister and how well the heroine fit into their little family.

The journalist was incredibly annoying and seemed a bit over the top.

This book definitely made me wish I had a nice, secluded lake house across from a famous hockey player! Lol!


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: No


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey⁣

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Not Like the Movies
Author: Kerry Winfrey⁣
Series: Waiting for Tom Hanks #2
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: 7/7/20

Synopsis:
What happens when your life is a rom-com…but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America…and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe’s cute but no-nonsense boss.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who’s Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After.

GOODREADS

Review

⁣⁣Finally, an illustrated cover that matches the story!⁣

This book is just as adorable as the cover. It’s a hilarious romcom about a barista named Chloe who is dealing with a lot: her best friend wrote a screenplay that is becoming a popular movie about the romance between her and her boss… except, her and her boss aren’t even in a relationship, which makes things awkward, but is also a bit forshadowing.⁣

There was so much to love in this adorable novel. Chloe doesn’t have it easy, her mother and brother have abandoned her to take care of her father with Alzheimer’s completely on her own, she’s trying to get through business school, and she’s working full time. However, she somehow holds onto her constant optimism by a thread even though the hits keep coming.⁣

The banter between Chloe and her boss, Nick, is so on point. I laughed out loud and highlighted so many lines while reading this one.⁣

Chloe and Annie’s friendship is total friendship goals and I absolutely MUST read Annie’s story, if only to get more of these two characters.⁣

The only downside about this book is that Chloe’s character became a little frustrating toward the end. Her reasons for refusing to be in a relationship with Nick just didn’t make sense to me, but Nick’s character alone was enough to make up for that. He’s the quiet, seemingly grumpy, but secretly sweet hero that I absolutely love.⁣


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe

I might check out the audiobook after I read Waiting for Tom Hanks!


Bookshelf Placement: Yes!

This cover is gorgeous!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell {Review by Kayla|

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis:
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

GOODREADS

Review

I have been reading such good books lately and this one definitely is one of them!

Where do I even start with this book?? First of all, I want to talk about how real this was and I could totally see this as being someone’s actual life which was really interesting to see. Then there are the characters in this book which I absolutely loved. The main character, Cath, is so relatable especially to me since she is a writer and I think almost all writers out there will easily relate to her on many levels. With the minor characters, I really enjoyed that I either completely loved or completely hated them (in a good way) based on their relationship with Cath and just the overall role played in her life. Towards the end when I finished the book, I felt like I wanted more of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the way it ended but part of me I wanted more of an in depth description. Overall, what really pushed this book to a five star was the book boyfriend (of course) because he was basically perfect. See for yourself!


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars


Age recommendation: 14+

 

 

 

The Gathering (Gifting #3) by K.E. Ganshert

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Gathering
Author: K.E. Ganshert
Series: Gifting #3

Synopsis:
“Darkness is a tricky thing. Especially when it cloaks itself in light.” Luka isn’t dead. He’s not beyond saving. Tess knows because she saw him with her own eyes. After what she saw, she’s sure of one thing: If they don’t rescue him soon, Luka won’t be Luka anymore. If only she could convince the other members of the hub. They’re not sure Tess saw what she claims she saw. And they’re preoccupied by the fact that their kind is being systematically eradicated. Answers lie in an ancient prophecy, one that revolves around a seventeen-year-old girl who never asked for any of this. K.E. Ganshert’s final installment in The Gifting Series brings readers on an action-packed journey through loss, sacrifice, betrayal, and the impossible choice between what we want most and what we know is right.

GOODREADS

Review

Did I come out of this series literally sobbing? Yes. Am I exaggerating? Nope.

I’m not sure how to explain exactly how much I wish this wasn’t over, yet I am really glad it is. If you know, you know.

This book gave me a serious book hangover and I am recovering the best that I can.

Everything about this book made me fall in love with it, the characters, the plot, the emotions, and every single word. It’s hard to come across a series that you know you will love it the second you start reading, but when you do, it’s the best feeling ever. As soon as I started reading the first book in this series, I knew.

Now that I’m finished, I can confidently say that I am 100% correct.

Read this for yourself if you don’t believe me and then thank me later after you find the words that you will temporarily lose. Nothing is perfect, but this book kind of is.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars


Age Recommendation: 13+

 

 

 

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Marriage Game
Author: Sara Desai
Format: ARC Received in Exchange for an Honest Review from Netgalley

Synopsis:
A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

GOODREADS

Review

I smiled a lot while I read this book.

This novel is full of heartwarming family dynamics between quirky characters. I loved Layla’s relationship with her huge family, particularly all her aunties, her mother, and especially her father.

I did wonder, though, why she didn’t have a stronger reaction to what happened in the beginning of the book with her father. As someone who is very close to my parents (and someone who has dropped everything to sit with my parents in the hospital for days on several occasions), it almost seemed like it was an afterthought to her, which rubbed me the wrong way a bit. Especially considering how close she is with her family. I would have loved to see that big family rally around him and one another in support as my big family tends to do in similar situations.

Aside from that, I think this is such a fun/funny hate-to-love romance particularly for people who like to see the strong attraction between the love interests despite their frustrations with each other.

For me, I tend to prefer this trope when the couple is so busy loathing the other person, they barely notice their attraction and hardly realize how much passionate frustration and passionate lust have in common. This is why I can’t say that this book is my favorite of the trope, but I can say I expect it will be for many who like to see the chemistry between enemies much more blatantly on page.

If you’re looking for an OWN voices, match-making, enemies-to-lovers romance filled with banter and big families, with just enough drama and angst, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book.


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe

I do love the cover of this!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars