Rapid Fire Book Tag!


Thank you to Soph over at Book, Blog, and Candle for tagging me! I’ll do my best to answer all of these in short sentences.

E-Book or Physical Book?

Physical book definitely. E-books are useful for transporting but they tend to put me to sleep.

Paperback or Hardback?

Hardback. I hate having to worry about bending paperbacks the wrong way when I’m reading them. With hardbacks I feel like I could accidentally throw them halfway across the world and they’d be totally fine.

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

This one is harder. In-store lets me see more options, but online is usually much cheaper. I’ll probably just say online.

Trilogies or Series?

Lol why isn’t this standalone or series? I’d say series because whenever an author is like “here’s the first book of my trilogy” I’m like HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING IN 3 BOOKS???

Heroes or Villains?

Villains. I have a soft spot for misunderstood/tragic villains.

A book you want everyone to read?

Red, White & Royal Blue. That book is amazing.

Recommend an underrated book?

I never know what’s considered underrated because I think most of the books I’ve read are from seeing other people read them. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson is a book that I’ve read several times and I feel like a lot of people don’t know about that series, but maybe I’m totally wrong.

The last book you finished?

Finished Stalking Jack the Ripper last night! Review to come soon!

The Last Book You Bought?

I bought a bunch of books recently off of amazon. I think they were Bringing Down the Duke, Scarlet, and One of Us is Lying.

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

I don’t use too many weird things. Like my phone is one I use often if I’m standing up really quick to go somewhere and come back.

Used Books: Yes or No?

Yes, though they have to be nice quality.

Top Three Favorite Genres?

NA Romance

YA Romance

YA Dystopian

Borrow or Buy?

Borrow and buy if I like it. Borrowing is nice because if I didn’t like the book, I don’t have to feel like I wasted money.

Characters or Plot?

Characters. I think a book with an average plot can really be brought up by having outstanding characters.

Long or Short Books?

Short. Long books terrify me. I think the “longest” book I’ve ever read is Illuminae and that wasn’t classic storytelling.

Long or Short Chapters?

Short or medium. Long chapters tend to tire me out because I’m just thinking about how I still have so many pages until I can hit another benchmark.

Name The First Three Books You Think Of:

The first three books I could think of were because I mentioned them above so let me think some more…

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m not gonna lie, my brain panicked and was just shouting random words at me that were not at all titles of books that I know.

Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

Laugh. If I’m crying a lot during a book I’ll be more hesitant to pick it up again.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional worlds! Our world has so many bad things in it. It’s nice to get an escape.

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes, though I have a hard time paying attention to them. I basically only ever listen to audiobooks of books that I’ve read previously.

Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

100% yes lol. If it looks like NA Romance then SIGN ME UP

Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

Book to TV would provide more true-to-book adaptations I think, so I’ll go with that.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

No idea. I’m going to say Mockinjay because I tried to read that book twice and kept getting bored at the halfway point. I still haven’t finished it.

Series or Standalones?

Oh here’s what I was looking for! Standalones because I have a bad habit of forgetting to finish series.

I’m going to tag:

I love tags! I know it seems like I don’t because it takes me months to finally do them but please tag me in things!

Book Review: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I should probably not read books that are considered classics anymore.

Book CWs

  • Child endangerment
  • Bullying
  • Abuse
  • Fighting
  • Profanity
  • Character Death

Premise

The greaser vs. Soc war has been going on for years, but no one really knows why. Socs have money, privilege, and prestige. Greasers, on the other hand, are hoodlums who spend most of their time robbing stores and smoking cigarettes.

Ponyboy Curtis has been a greaser for all 14 years of his life, something he is very proud of. And though he aims to stay out of trouble, he’s always willing to show up to a rumble to protect his fellow greasers. But when Ponyboy finds himself on the run from the law, he is finally forced to reevaluate what exactly it means to be a greaser or a Soc.

Review (No Spoilers)

I remember reading That was Then, This is Now in 8th grade for my English class and I think I liked it? I honestly can’t remember and I’m not sure why they had us read the follow up novel to The Outsiders without us reading The Outsiders first. I bought this book from Barnes & Noble because it was a signed copy and I felt like I would enjoy it. I’m ashamed to say that I probably shouldn’t have gotten it.

The plot follows a rivalry between two “gangs” and what I enjoyed the most was reading Ponyboy’s feelings about the whole situation. He was basically a child thrown into a world of chaos and he had some great things to say. Around 1/4 of the way through the book, I felt like I had a good idea of where it was heading, and then it ended up heading in a totally different direction. Admittedly, the direction it ended up going was literally written on the blurb, which for some reason I didn’t read beforehand. It actually looped back to what I was expecting though, so I wasn’t necessarily upset.

The reason I rated this book 3 stars was because I was unsatisfied with how little of Ponyboy’s story I saw. The entire book occurs in a very short amount of time, and I would have preferred for it to have showed more. By the end of the book, I had racked up a whole bunch of questions and I had no answers. I felt as if it said a lot without really telling me much.

I told my partner that this felt very much like a classic book. I find that I can’t really get into classics because to me the plots are average and don’t really pull me in. I was going to give this book 3 stars, but I liked the last chapter enough to push it up a bit. I also had the 50th year anniversary edition which has super cool extras at the end, if anyone’s interested in those.

In 2018, I DNFed Pride and Prejudice. In 2019, I very nearly DNFed Slaughterhouse Five, and finished it only because I was using it for a readathon prompt. I ended up rating it 1 star (RIP). This is my third straight year in a row that I’ve disliked a classic. I figure I should probably stay away from them for now.

Book Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey (Hot & Hammered #2)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Fingers crossed that Hot & Hammered #3 doesn’t have the same problems as this book.

Book CWs

  • Sexually Explicit Scenes (some where consent is iffy)
  • Separation
  • Profanity
  • Misogyny/Sexism

Premise

Rosie and Dominic Vega have been together since middle school. Their relationship is full of love, understanding, compassion, and communication. At least, it used to be.

A few years into their marriage, Dominic was deployed to Afghanistan. And ever since he came back, nothing’s been the same. Rosie is ready to call it quits. But just when she’s about to leave for good, Dominic surprises her by agreeing to go to marriage counseling.

Can Rosie give him a second chance? Or will all of the secrets he’s been keeping from her come crashing down?

Review (No Spoilers)

I read the first book in this series, Fix Her Up, because it seemed ridiculous. In particular, the sex scenes have some really weird one-liners that were both cringe-worthy and mildly entertaining. Love Her or Lose Her was much better at not delivering such lines, but I actually liked this book a lot less.

The story focuses on two side-characters from Fix Her Up who are struggling to keep their marriage together. I went into it expecting a lot of tension, talking about feelings, and (of course) sex, which the book did deliver on. But what it also delivered on, was intense amounts of misogyny and very sketchy views on consent.

Dominic, the male love-interest, basically believes his only job is to provide Rosie with sex and money. He doesn’t understand how his marriage could fall apart when he’s giving her dick and working his butt off in construction. He completely ignores the fact that–outside of sex–he never talks to her…never tells her he loves her…never kisses her…never acknowledges her presence.

As you can imagine, this was pretty upsetting. These issues are addressed eventually, but the book kind of skims over how toxic Dom’s view of a “Good Husband” is. And honestly, Dom was a huge mess the entire book. Even until the very end. I’m not at all convinced that he’s really changed all that much.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is how the beginning of the book really grossed me out. Dominic forces himself on Rosie several times, despite her being upset and expressing that she wants to get away from him. And the book excuses this whole freaking thing.

The narration tells the readers that it’s okay that Dom is being predatory because he’s hot and Rosie is attracted to him…I’m sorry Tessa, but no thanks.

What I did like about this book was the humor (good laughs), and the parts where we saw how in love Dominic was with Rosie. Even though the two of them had been together since middle school, he was still taken away with her beauty every time he saw her. I appreciated these moments very much. In fact, they were probably the main reason I didn’t throw Dom’s character out all together.

If I had to do one of those “Reread, Rewrite, or Burn” book challenges, I think Love Her or Lose Her is a solid Rewrite contender. I could have loved this book. But it needs to undergo a few major changes.

Book Review: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Likable love interest but an upsetting protagonist

Book CWs

  • Racism
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexism/Misogyny
  • Profanity
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes

Premise

Rhiannon Hunter is a self-made and determined woman.

After leaving a toxic relationship and being forced out of her job, Rhiannon gathers herself up and decides to start her very own dating app, Crush. In a world where success is the best revenge, Rhiannon doesn’t have the time to let any man get in the way of her dream. At least, that’s what Rhi has led herself to believe, until she meets ex-football player Samson Lima. The two of them have an absolutely amazing night together, awakening feelings Rhiannon never thought she’d feel again…and then he ghosts her.

Months later, Rhi has her sight set purchasing the popular dating website known as Matchmaker. The problem is, Matchmaker’s owner is almost impossible to get into contact with. Re-enter Samson Lima.

As both the nephew of Matchmaker’s owner and the company’s new spokesperson, Samson has the in that Rhiannon needs to make her desired purchase. He even proposes that Matchmaker and Crush work together in a cooperative advertising campaign. But with Samson’s betrayal so fresh in her mind, can Rhiannon put aside her feelings to give him a second chance?

Review (Mild Spoilers)

I really really wanted to like The Right Swipe. It’s about a woman of color who is working hard to make a name for herself and I was so freaking ready to cheer her on. My enthusiasm faded though as soon as I realized that I found so much of her personality annoying.

Rhiannon has a lot of trust issues throughout the entire book. It is both explained and understandable why she has them, but after reading chapter after chapter of her jumping the gun and assuming the worst in people, I found myself super upset. Something I hate about books is when all of the conflict stems from people not talking to each other. This book was on a whole other level because the problems all stemmed from Rhiannon not wanting to listen.

The other main issue I had with Rhiannon was that she was completely obsessed with a toxic view of what a strong woman is. She believed that what made a woman strong was never showing weakness. Things that she saw as weak were things like emotions, asking for help, and wanting to be safe. Like what??? She was constantly thinking about power moves and how to make herself bigger, even if it meant using other people. I honestly felt like her goal was to emulate men in power as much as possible. And to be quite frank, most men in power…well they suck. I would have much rather watched her tear down all the misconceptions about what it means to be strong instead of falling for them.

Aside from Rhiannon, I liked pretty much all of the other aspects of this book. The side characters were good and I really liked Samson. The sex scenes were steamy and not awkward (thank god). Thinking about it now, the sex scenes were actually pretty darn great, if I do say so myself. The reasons I stay away from adult romance is because I tend to not care for sex scenes but this book got me (lol).

In the end, I was going to rate this book 3 stars because an unlikable main character is a pretty big negative for me. The reasons it’s 3.5 instead is because it started redeeming itself at the end. A lot of the things I had problems with were addressed, including Rhiannon’s faults. I felt this justified bumping it up a half star but unfortunately, for me, it was mostly too little too late.

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Unique, fun, and thrilling!

Book CWs

  • Child endangerment
  • Abuse
  • Profanity (censored)
  • Character death

  • War
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Parental loss

Premise

Almost immediately following their breakup, teenagers Kady and Ezra find their home planet, Kerenza, in the middle of hostile invasion and are forced to board evacuating aircrafts. As the crafts flee from a pursing enemy warship (the Lincoln), those in command know that it’s only a matter of time before they will be forced to fight for their lives.

Except, the Lincoln might actually be the least of their problems.

A sickness is spreading in one of the ships, turning normal people into murderous monsters. On top of that, their AI–whose main function is to protect and preserve their population–might be going rogue and becoming their biggest threat yet.

Readers must navigate their way through interviews, IMs, hacked files, emails, and more to learn the truth of what actually happened during–and after–the attack on Kerenza.

Review (No Spoilers)

My partner really wanted me to read this book and now that I have, I can definitely see why!

I don’t know how many of you read House of Leaves (or my review of it here), but Illuminae reminded me a lot of that book. The main difference would be: I would definitely be down to reread Illuminae, but I’ll probably never touch House of Leaves again. In the end I rated both books 5 stars, but Illuminae was a much much much easier read.

One of the main things that I loved about Illuminae was that it was pretty darn silly. The two main characters were basically forced to live lives where either one of them could die at any moment, but the entertainment factor was never lost. I find it incredible that this book could have me freaking out one second and laughing the next.

Speaking of the characters, I found myself more attached to Ezra than to Katy, but overall I found both of them likable. I even became attached to several side characters–something I didn’t think would happen because with all of the changes in media, I sometimes had a hard time keeping track of everyone’s names.

All in all, I think that everyone should give this book a try. I know that it looks a bit intimidating because it’s pretty thick, but since it’s multimedia, it’s actually a relatively quick read! It is the beginning of a trilogy, and my partner has all of the books, so I’ll most likely be posting reviews for the sequels sometime soon!

Book Review: The Hating Game

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This book was completely ridiculous and I gobbled it up like a pint of my favorite ice cream.

Book CWs

  • Bullying
  • Abuse (emotional)
  • Sexual Assault/Harassment
  • Profanity
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes

Premise

After two companies merge to save their businesses, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman have no choice but to work side by side at Bexley & Gamin as assistants to the co-CEOs.

Lucy is the classic nice girl. She is personable, friendly, and is always willing to help a fellow coworker out–even it means more work for her. Joshua, on the other hand, is harsh, dry, and uncompromising. Their hatred-filled feud is infamous around the office.

Everyday they play a new game as a means of getting under the other’s skin; there’s the Staring Game, the How You Doing Game, the HR Game, and countless others. When it is announced that the two will have to compete for an upcoming promotion, an entirely new game is set underway and in this one, Lucy’s career hinges on Joshua’s failure.

Unfortunately for Lucy, the new promotion seems to have sparked something else. Something..hot between the two of them. Are these feelings real? Or is this just another game?

Review (No Spoilers)

This book was so freaking on brand for me. I think I have discovered a new favorite genre and it can only be described as “absurd hate-to-love plots with unnecessarily high levels of cheesiness”.

The entire time that I was reading this book I was either laughing, clutching my heart, or both. I don’t know how else to say it: this book charmed the pants out of me. I didn’t even care that Lucy was one of those hopefully oblivious protagonists (a thing that I hate in most books). Instead of being upset by her ignorance, I was giggling over it.

I think the reason I enjoy reading hate-to-love so much is because the characters are such dicks to each other that when there is a tender moment, it’s like I’ve been punched as hard as possible in the gut (in the best way!). I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if my heart had literally burst through my chest while I was reading the last two chapters.

And I know that this sounds like me raving a 5 star review, but there were some major downfalls. I actually considered giving this a 4 star rating at one point because of them, but I couldn’t deny how much I loved the rest of this book enough to drop it a whole star.

For one, Lucy consistently fat-shames one of her bosses, to the point where she actually refers to him as “fat little dick” anytime she mentions him. Secondly, the romance is jump started during a certain kissing scene, and the entire time that I read it, my brain was screaming “UM THIS IS SEXUAL ASSAULT?!?!?!?!” The narration tries to play it off as okay since they secretly had feelings for each other, but I was majorly creeped out by it.

Honestly, after reading that scene I was legitimately terrified the rest of the book was going to be a frustrating collage of boundaries being crossed in the name of “hate-love” but it thankfully was not that at all. The more I read, the more I found myself falling in love with Lucy and Josh’s romance.

Warning: this is a little into spoiler territory so you don’t have to read the next paragraph if you don’t want to.

There’s this thing that romance novels do that I absolute hate, and it’s when the plot reaches a conflict that forces the two love interests to “break up” and be completely miserable for a few chapters. The Hating Game didn’t do that and I am so thankful that it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the book did have its drama, but miscommunications were resolved fairly quickly so I never felt the anxiety that I am made to feel when book romances so often fall apart.

After the book ends, there is a a preview of another one of Sally Thorne’s books. I haven’t read it yet but considering how much I loved this story, I’ll probably be taking a trip to a bookstore sometime soon.

Book Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Incredibly entertaining but left me with too many unanswered questions.

Book CWs

  • Bullying
  • Profanity
  • Stealing
  • Divorce

Premise

Pepper and Jack are two teenagers leading a viral twitter war between Big League Burger (a massive fast-food chain) and Girl Cheesing (a humble mom-and-pop deli).

The claim: Big League Burger’s new grilled cheese is a direct rip off of Girl Cheesing’s age-old family recipe.

As the war becomes more and more heated, Pepper and Jack struggle to balance their personal lives–a mix of anonymous chatrooms, college applications, and their newly budding friendship–with their commitment to protecting their family name.

Review (No Spoilers)

I remember hearing about Tweet Cute from a twitter thread where the OP asked for recommendations for books with both the anonymous-chatting trope and the hate-to-love trope. Someone immediately suggested Tweet Cute. Unfortunately, for both me and OP, this person must have been reading an ARC because Tweet Cute hadn’t yet been released.

I did what I usually do and I put the released date on my Google Calendar to remind myself to buy it later. Long story short, I completely forgot about it and didn’t pay attention to my Google Calendar (oops!). Thankfully, Goodreads sent me an email about it so thank you Goodreads!

The book started well enough and by the halfway point, I was completely convinced that it was going to be a 4.5/5 star book. I liked the plot and loved the MCs but I was mildly annoyed by the writing. I felt as if I was constantly reading phrases like “and suddenly, all my anger melted away” or “and just like that, I wanted to tell her everything”, and it was making me feel like Emma Lord was tossing aside issues to avoid having to write about them.

I pushed aside my annoyance and decided to just wait until the end of the book for resolution. And as a result, I was really enjoying myself. I laughed out loud several times (Grandma Belly was absolutely amazing and we don’t deserve her) and I even had the urge to sacrifice myself to protect Jack and Pepper from everything the world was throwing at them.

As I made my way to the ending, I forgot all about the issues I had with the writing because I was completely obsessed with finding the answer to the plot’s biggest question–was the recipe actually stolen? But what ended up happening was that once I got my answer, I had even more questions. I kept holding out for the end of the book to give me the answers I needed, but it never did.

So now, I’m basically stuck here making up a bunch of conspiracy theories while hoping Emma Lord writes another book about these characters.