10 Bookish Questions Tag

Thank you to Kat for tagging me! You can read her answers here.

This tag was created by Milly at A Books Neverland Book Reviews

1. How many books do you currently own?

Omg I have no idea. I just tried to quickly count them and it looks my partner and I have around 400.

2. How many books are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading 4(+1) books. The +1 is there because I’ve been reading some stories from the Grimm Brother’s B&N special edition so I don’t really count that. The other books are:

  • Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer

3. Choose a couple books you read but didn’t enjoy?

Slaughterhouse-Five, In Paris With You, Towering, Pop Apocalypse, and Plum Pudding Murder. Some of these have reviews on my blog but some I just didn’t have the energy to write a post about.

4. A cover buy?

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo which is SO GOOD by the way.

5. A book you own but hate the cover of?

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandie Colbert. I just don’t like the art style.

6. A book you haven’t read in years?

One of the first books that got me into reading YA was Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I haven’t read that in a LONG time. I might have just read it the one time in 9th grade which was over 10 years ago.

7. A book you will always recommend?

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. SO. SO. SOOOOO GOOD.

8. All time favorite book series?

I’m really bad at choosing favorites but I also haven’t finished that many series. In fact I wrote a blog post of a bunch of series I never completed. I would probably say The Shades of London or The Raven Cycle.

9. Where do you read?

Mostly in my bed or on my living room couch. With Covid-19, I can’t really go anywhere atm.

10. What are the last two books you gave a 5 star rating? And why?

Illuminae by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff because I found the storytelling fun and unique and the plot was amazingg.

Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds by Dav Pilkey (LOL). I rated this 5 stars because it let me relive my childhood and it was my favorite of the first 3 books. I thought the plot, jokes, and story telling was great for a kid’s book.

Hope you enjoyed reading!

I tag:

I Should Have Read That Book Tag

Thank you to Soph for tagging me!! I was tagged back in March–Sorry it took me a while to get to it!

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Rob is always telling me to read Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon but it’s so HUGE that I’m scared of it. It’s been on my TBR for a while.

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

A lot of books have been on there for ages. The one that’s been on there the longest is probably Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. I think I might have actually bought the book it around the time it came out with was…8 years ago…oops.

A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet

I started Cinder by Marissa Meyer in August 2019 and haven’t finished it yet. It’s a partner read which means that my partner and I take turns reading it to each other. We’ve both kind of been focused on reading books separately so we hardly get around to it.

A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

I’ve always been interested in the premise of Lord of the Flies by William Golding but I’ve never borrowed/bought it to read. I think my brother had a copy at some point, having had it for school, but I imagine it was returned to his teacher.

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read

I know that a LOT of people have read SJMs books and I haven’t read a single one. I don’t even know what any titles of her books are off the top of my head.

A book that inspired a film/tv adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet

I haven’t read the complete Harry Potter Series. I think when I was younger I got up to book 3 but I didn’t continue after that. If I started book 4, I don’t remember it and I definitely didn’t finish it.

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

Oh man I haven’t been on Bookstagram in a while…hold on…I’ve seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han a lot but I’ve never read it. I watched the movie on Netflix when it came out and I’ve always been meaning to pick it up but I think my local B&N never has the hardcover available.

Thanks for reading!

I’m tagging the following bookish people:

Book Review: The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B. Andersen (The Great Devil War #5)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

An intriguing premise and shocking conclusion.

Book CWs

  • Child endangerment/death
  • Torture (physical and psychological)
  • Paranormal Creatures
  • Negative Depictions of God
  • Cheating

Premise (From Goodreads)

It’s been almost two years since Philip left Hell and returned to life—this time for good. But things have changed and so has Philip. He’s haunted by terrifying nightmares and has never felt so lonely. Lonely and angry. Then one day the impossible happens and Philip is brought back to Hell. Not by the Devil, but by the Almighty himself. Although the Great Devil War ended a long time ago, the battle is far from over—and the worst is yet to come.

The Fallen Angel is volume 5 of The Great Devil War series.

Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you to Kenneth B. Andersen for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a review! I’m scheduled to be part of a blog tour for this book later this year so you’ll probably be seeing this review more than once on my blog. If you would like to read my reviews for the previous installments, please click on the following links!

The Devil’s Apprentice
The Die of Death
The Wrongful Death
The Angel of Evil

If you read my review for the Angel of Evil, you probably remember that I had no idea where the series was going as I felt that Angel of Evil wrapped everything up pretty well. I still had these same feelings when I first started reading the Fallen Angel, but as I made my way through the first chapter, my excitement for continuing the series grew.

From the very start of the novel, we are introduced to a completely new side of Philip, one that I really enjoyed seeing. I do wish that we could have seen the progression of how he got to this point because the change seemed a bit drastic, but I was nonetheless curious as to where this new personality would take him.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed when I got to the “meat” of the book. Although the initial chapters seemed promising, not much actually happened throughout the novel. The story picked up a LOT when I got to around the 80% point, when the real action begins. This might be because we’re kind of starting a new story arc and so maybe this book is simply setting the groundwork for that. For me, too much time was spent on the “why was Philip really brought back?” storyline and as a result the middle seemed to drag a bit.

I will say that because not a lot happened in the middle of the book, the readers were introduced to even more historical/biblical characters and for me, these are some of my favorite aspects of the series. I absolutely love seeing how Kenneth B. Andersen interprets some of the more well-known parts of the Bible. I think it adds a fun little element to these stories.

Because the ending of The Fallen Angel was so thrilling, I am extremely excited to read the next (and final) installment of this series, scheduled to come out later this year. I can’t wait to see what comes next for our beloved Philip Engel.

The Fallen Angel was released TODAY in e-book and paperback so be sure to pick up your copy soon!

Book Review: The Angel of Evil by Kenneth B. Andersen (The Great Devil War #4)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thrilling with an excellent conclusion.

Book CWs

  • Child endangerment/death
  • Torture (physical and psychological)
  • Paranormal Creatures

Premise (From Goodreads)

Nothing will ever be the same. Satina is gone, kidnapped by the enemy. Disobeying Lucifer, Philip heads out to find her, journeying into the deep darkness of Outer Reach. But nothing can prepare Philip for the horror that awaits—or the demons he will face.

Meanwhile, Lucifer’s kingdom is threatened as the Great Devil War draws closer. All Hell is about to break loose.

The Angel of Evil is volume 4 of The Great Devil War series.

Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you to TheWriteReads and Kenneth B. Andersen for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a review! I’m scheduled to be part of a blog tour for this book later this year so you’ll probably be seeing this review more than once on my blog.

This book might have actually been my favorite in the series so far even though I rated it lower than the first installment. It’s hard for me to tell because I liked both of them for two completely separate reasons. Feel free to read my thoughts on books one, two, and three before diving into this one!

The main reason that I liked this book so much is that it did a good job in keeping my interest the entire time. The main plot revolves around Phillip trying to save Satina while also dealing with the fact that a great war is about to break out in Hell. I found both of these storylines really exciting and I very much enjoyed making my way through both of them.

One of the things that I’m left wondering is where the story will go from here as the ending of this installment seemed to wrap up the series fairly well. I do still have a few questions about how fate and universal balance works because I felt like parts of the book seemed to contradict each other though I can’t go into any detail without spoiling the ending.

The fifth installment comes out tomorrow, May 28th and I received an ARC earlier this month so stay tuned for my review to be posted soon!

Blog Blitz Review: A Good Demon is Hard to Find by Kate Moseman

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A fun and entertaining read that is perhaps too short for its own good.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Kate Moseman for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and blog tour media kit!

If you’d like to get a copy of A Good Demon is Hard to Find, you can find it on Amazon here.

About the Author

Kate Moseman is a writer, photographer, and recipe developer who lives in Florida with her family and enjoys going to theme parks as frequently as possible. 

Find her at the following links!

Review

Book CWs:

  • Cheating
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Paranormal Creatures

Premise

Sometimes, a date from hell is just what you need…

When Erin thoughtlessly lays a curse on Mark, her cheating ex-husband, she doesn’t expect a well-dressed Great Earl of Hell to show up in her kitchen to fulfill the curse (and make damn good coffee while he’s at it).

Andromalius specializes in wickedness and revenge. He’s ready, willing, and able to rain down hell on Erin’s ex—but when Mark announces a hasty new marriage, Erin needs more than just revenge.

She needs a date to the wedding.

Fans of Good Omens, Lucifer, and The Good Place will love this wickedly funny paranormal romantic comedy!

Review (No Spoilers)

Let me start off by saying this book was a hoot from the start. The characters, plot, and dialogue are all ridiculously funny and I was laughing from the very first chapter. In fact, it would have been a 4-5 star read if it wasn’t for one blaring problem: it was too short.

Now, there are a lot of short novels that are totally amazing but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I mean when I say it’s too short is that there are very important parts that are just kind of glossed over. The two biggest examples of this are 1) when a certain paranormal being is introduced with very little background/setup and 2) the very end of the book.

I can’t go into much more detail about the first example without spoiling things so I’ll just leave it at that. As far as the ending goes…there just kind of wasn’t one. Frankly, when I got to the last chapter and read the final sentence, I was super confused because I had no idea what had just happened. I felt that while the ending provided a conclusion to the “main plot”, it left the more important questions unanswered.

All in all, if you’re looking for a fun and quick read, I’d definitely recommend trying out this book. There is a continuation scheduled to come out later this year and I will definitely be on the lookout for that. Hopefully it will provide me not only with answers, but also with and a whole lot of laughs.

Feel free to check out the other blog posts on this tour! The dates and blog names can be found below.

Book Review: Fire and Vengeance by Robert McCaw

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A standard police procedural with many twists and turns.

Book CWs

  • Child endangerment/death
  • Animal Abuse/death
  • Profanity
  • Character death/murder

Premise (from Goodreads)

Having killed his father’s nemesis and gotten away with it, Hilo, Hawai`i Chief Detective Koa Kane, is not your ordinary cop. Estranged from his younger brother who has been convicted of multiple crimes, he is not from a typical law enforcement family.

Yet, Koa’s secret demons fuel his unwavering drive to pursue justice. Never has Koa’s motivation been greater than when he learns that an elementary school was placed atop a volcanic vent, which has now exploded. The subsequent murders of the school’s contractor and architect only add urgency to his search for the truth.

As Koa’s investigation heats up, his brother collapses in jail from a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. Using his connections, Koa devises a risky plan to win his brother’s freedom. As Koa gradually unravels the obscure connections between multiple suspects, he uncovers a 40 year-old conspiracy. When he is about to apprehend the perpetrators, his investigation suddenly becomes entwined with his brother’s future, forcing Koa to choose between justice for the victims and his brother’s freedom.

Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you so much to Robert McCaw and his marketing team for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review! As someone born and raised in Hawaiʻi, I’ll probably have a different take on this book than most readers so I’ll leave a separate section at the end of the review to talk a bit about that.

I haven’t read many police procedurals so I don’t really know much about how they generally go but Fire and Vengeance came across to me as a very standard police procedural. It’s the third in the Koa Kāne series and I didn’t read the first two so there were a few references that I missed out on but it definitely works as a standalone if you are interested in picking this one up.

Aside from the cultural aspect which I talk about below, I felt that the writing was pretty good. There were a few instances where the plot slowed down or where I felt the author took a lot of time just to say some older woman used to be hot, but there were also a lot of instances where the story picked up and I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough.

Alongside the main plot, theres also a subplot about Koa’s brother Ikaika. Ikaika is a cold-blooded criminal but after he collapses in jail, Koa starts to wonder if Ikaika’s criminal history is the result of an undiagnosed brain tumor. I usually don’t like subplots but Ikaika’s story really interested me. In fact, I kind of wish I saw more of it because I felt like it was kind of hastily wrapped up in the end.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who likes police procedurals. It will give you one heck of a ride.

Culture Notes

Fire and Vengeance takes place on the Big Island (also known was Hawaiʻi Island) and many characters, including the MC, are of Hawaiian descent with Hawaiian last names. This is something that struck me as strange because the majority of Hawaiʻi’s population is in fact not Hawaiian (kind of messed up, I know). And of those who are Hawaiian, a result of racial mixing and colonization has resulted in a lot of non-Hawaiian last names.

I will say that I was born and raised primarily on Oahu (I also lived in Kauai for a couple of years in elementary school) so it’s completely possible that the culture I experienced here is different from the culture on the Big Island. I am also understanding if Robert McCaw purposefully included more Hawaiian characters for the sake of the book. A lot of Hawaiian phrases/words are used throughout the book–way more than I am used to–so including more Hawaiian characters would be a way to allow this.

This brings me to my other main thought: as far as I could tell, only one character spoke pidgin and even then, his usage was on-and-off. Pidgin is an English-based creole that is used frequently by locals to communicate with each other. It’s also a language that a lot of people who come here have trouble understanding. Here are two examples:

Pidgin: These waves are mo’ bettah den da ones ova dea’
English: These waves are better than the ones over there.

Pidgin: Ho, Tutu’s malasadas so ono, broke da mouth.
English: My grandma’s malasadas are so good; they’re absolutely delicious.

My best guess is that Robert McCaw decided that using too much pidgin would result in people not understanding the book’s conversations. On top of that, many of the people that are questioned for being involved are of “higher rank” in society and are less likely to use pidgin as there are a lot of people who view it as a sign of low intelligence.

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So far my favorite book in the series but not without its faults.

Book CWs

  • Homophobia (mentioned)
  • Paranormal Creatures
  • Violence
  • Sexism/Misogyny
  • Character Death/Murder
  • Gore

Premise

Still recovering from her involvement in the Jack the Ripper case, Audrey Rose is off to London with Thomas Cresswell to attend one of Europe’s most well-known schools of forensic medicine. Upon arrival, the two are shocked to discover that not only will they be forced to compete with several other students to retain their studentship, but they are also in the heart of infamous killer Vlad the Impaler’s hunting ground.

As rumors begin spreading that Vlad, also known as Dracula, has returned, bodies slowly begin to pile up. Can Audrey and Thomas come together once again to discover who–or what–is responsible for these murders? Or will they too find themselves in the murderer’s crosshairs.

Review (No Spoilers)

Steph and I are back at it again with our buddy reading the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series! If you’ve been keeping track, you know that I didn’t enjoy Stalking Jack the Ripper as much as I thought I would. I was honestly really worried about continuing the series but almost everyone I came across said that Hunting Prince Dracula was better. In fact, most said it is the best book of the entire series!

I’m happy to say that I agree with the first opinion. I haven’t read the 3rd and 4th book to give you any personal thoughts about the second, but Hunting Prince Dracula was much more enjoyable for me than its predecessor. I still very much enjoy Kerri Maniscalco’s writing style. I admit that sometimes the amount of written detail seems a bit strange for a book written in first-person, but I felt like the plot of this book was much more believable than Stalking Jack the Ripper. I know that seems like a strange sentence to read about a book dealing with vampires, but *shrug*.

My main qualms with this installment was, once again, that the ending felt a bit rushed. A part of me wonders if Kerri Maniscalco is so focused on creating “unpredictable” endings, that she forgets that endings still need to make reasonable sense. For me, the conclusion of this book came across as very close to being practical. I just think that there needed to be a bit more character development all around the board for it to be complete. I will concede though that Steph and I took a month to read this book together (and I read several other books simultaneously) so it’s totally possible that the details I wanted to see were already in the book and simply forgotten over time.

We’ll probably be continuing our buddy read of this series very soon so stay tuned for my thoughts on Escaping from Houdini!

Book Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A great read if you take it as it is.

Book CWs

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

Premise

When twins Ellery and Ezra move to Echo Ridge to live with their estranged grandmother, they are forced to come face-to-face with a town they know very little about. Here are the facts:

Their aunt went missing when she was seventeen.
Five years ago the school’s homecoming queen was murdered.

Ellery, as a true-crime fan, is desperate to find answers to all of the questions her mother always refused to answer. What she didn’t expect, was for the towns dark past to come back with a vengeance. Someone has begun vandalizing buildings, threatening to make homecoming the target of their next violent spree. On top of that, yet another girl fails to return home.

One thing is very clear to Ellery–everyone in the town is keeping secrets. The question is, how do you know which secrets are better left undiscovered?

Review (No Spoilers)

This book took me 56 days to finish, which is unusually long but not entirely the book’s fault. I admit that it took me a while to get into the story but what really kept me from reading was a bunch of blog tours that I had signed up for. Once I caught up on those reviews, I was able to pick this book back up and finish it fairly quickly.

One thing that I want to start off my review with is that this book is very campy. It reminded me a lot of Pretty Little Liars (if you’ve ever watched that show). Basically, the entire plot relies on every character being super sketch for no good reason. This is something that would normally be upsetting in a mystery novel, but while reading it I genuinely got the feeling that this was exactly what Karen McManus was going for–and I was into it. I think that as long as you don’t take the book too seriously, it’s very enjoyable.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the relationships between all of the different characters. While it does feature the classic absent parent trope and a standard romantic subplot, the book also includes a lot of interesting side relationships. I particularly enjoyed seeing contrasts between friendships/relationships that were healthy and loving vs. those that were toxic and insubstantial.

The main reason that I decided to bring the rating down to a 4.5 was because I didn’t feel 100% satisfied with the ending. The book was a wild (and entertaining) ride from start to finish, but I had hoped that the answers provided at the conclusion would have made more sense and provided more closure than they ultimately did.

The story, in my opinion, has a lot of potential to continue so I guess we’ll see if any spinoffs decide to make an appearance.

Blog Tour Review: Mentoring Mr Singleman by Kim Sancreed

Thank you to Bookollective for providing me a free digital copy in exchange for my review and for allowing me to take part in this blog tour! If you’re looking to participate in more blog tours, feel free check them out!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not my cup of tea, but definitely something that I think other people would enjoy.

Book CWs

  • Abuse
  • Drug Use/Trade
  • Profanity
  • Sexism/Misogyny

Premise

A witty, off-beat romance set in Cornwall. New member of faculty Kate finds herself living below one of her colleagues in a converted engine house on the cliffs. Everyone can see they are made for each other, but he’s a little too in love with his surfing, and she’s a little too focused on her career. Under the merciless gaze of their students, Dave and Kate dance around each other through the highs and lows of a school term. Will they manage to get out of the way of their own happy ending?

Review (No Spoilers)

I want to start off this review by saying that the blurb is kind of misleading. I went into this book thinking that it was going to be about two adults who had no real interest in each other but who everyone was trying to set up. That’s not what this is about. Rather, this book is about two adults who have a connection but can’t come to terms with their feelings at the same time. In fact, Dave Singleman spends a good portion of the book trying to get Kate to agree to date him. You also hardly see anything about the people around them thinking they’re “made for each other” except towards the end of the book.

That being said, my thoughts on this book were that it was a pretty average story for me. Like I said above, I think this mostly has to do with me personally rather than bad plot/writing. There were a few typos in terms of missing quotation marks in my copy and a few times where I felt the writing was too verbose, but other than that I think it was written well. It took me a bit of time to get into the story, but things picked up for me around the middle.

One of the things that held my interest back in the beginning was that there are pieces of chapters dedicated to (maybe?) side-characters. I couldn’t quite figure out how much energy I was supposed to spend with these other characters because I didn’t know how much they contributed to the plot of the story. A part of me wonders if this book will end up being the first in a series because I’d like to know more about these characters and where their lives are headed.

After reading this book, I think I’m coming to terms with the fact that some British novels don’t quite vibe with me. This book reminded me a lot of One? by Jennifer Cahill and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Both of these books were books I couldn’t fully get into (I actually DNFed P&P) but both are books that many others love.

If you’re interested in reading Mentoring Mr Singleman, definitely check it out! Just because it wasn’t my favorite type of book does not by any means mean that it won’t be yours.

#TheWriteReads Blog Tour Review: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Creepy and atmospheric but ultimately really confusing.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads, Kat Ellis, and Penguin Random House for allowing me to be part of this experience by providing me with a complimentary digital ARC via Netgalley!

Review

Book CWs

  • Character Death
  • Attempted Murder
  • Abuse
  • Paranormal Creatures

Premise

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.

The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…

Review (No Spoilers)

I’m writing this review immediately after finishing the book so forgive me if I ramble at certain points (I’ll be sure to read this over again before I post it just so you’re not reading complete nonsense). This book has given me a LOT of feelings and I’m still trying to sort through them. I’m hoping that writing this as soon as possible will allow me to get out everything I need to say.

I read around 54% of this book in one day and I was really enjoying it. Very early on, the writing made me feel as if I was in the book experiencing everything alongside the MC. I was particularly amazed by how the book succeeded in making me feel unnerved, even when nothing particularly “scary” was happening. Unfortunately, around half-way through the book, the tone seemed to drastically shift and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. From then on, the book seemed to go back and forth between a style that I loved and a style that baffled me. It kind of felt as if there were two books about the same plot being merged together. One was an all-out, full-of-monsters horror. The other– which was the one I was enjoying for the first half of the book–was a super creepy psychological thriller. I think that either book would have been great on its own; they just didn’t go well together.

One of the things that this book excelled in (perhaps too much) was making you question almost everything you were reading. For me, this is a tool that works very well as long as you tie everything up in the end. When I reached the end of this book, I still didn’t quite understand what I had read and I was swallowed in confusion. If this was the type of reaction the author was hoping for, then right on. It’s just not the kind of ending I myself like to reach.

The last thing that I wanted to mention is that the entire time that I was reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about how it would make a great movie. To be quite honest, I kept imagining it as a Jordan Peele movie and it made me enjoy it a lot more. I think it has a lot of potential to be a great book as well, but it has some work to do before it can get there.

The copy I read was an unedited ARC so there is still plenty of time for the story to improve! If you’re interested in horror, be sure to check out Harrow Lake when it comes out July 9th!