The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood

by Melissa Albert

*** (3 out of 5)

Hazel

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Have you ever tried to fast forward something on the TV but accidentally pushed the button too many times and then it was going too fast that you couldn’t stop it in time?Thats what this book felt like.

It starts out really really slow.  Then it speeds up and starts to get exciting.  Then it goes too fast and just blurs through everything.  It would have been much better if the pace stayed the same throughout the whole book.

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Before I started reading I was worried about it being an Alice and Wonderland re-telling.  When I was halfway through I couldn’t tell why it was considered a re-telling, but in the last half it makes more sense.  She even mentions Alice and Wonderland in the book.  But the story overall was still good.  I liked the premise of it.

I liked the characters a lot but I wish we would have gotten to know more about some of them.  There were so many side characters that seemed super interesting, but you never really learned their stories.   A lot of them are alluded to as being stories from the Hinterland, but you don’t get to know anything about them,  just bits and pieces and random allusions that make no sense.  It was super frustrating!

Finally I didn’t really like the ending.  The relationships didn’t turn out the way I hoped (I can’t say more without spoilers) and there were new characters introduced right at the end.  This goes back to my last point! I want to know everyone’s stories!! Even if it is just a brief history!

Overall I thought the book was just “Meh” but I know a lot of people loved it.  My friend Phil really liked it and he is actually the one that convinced me to read it.  I will try to get him to write a review! But he is a butt so he probably won’t 😉 Help me convince him to write a guest review!!

Have you read The Hazel Wood? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! And tell Phil he needs to write a review since he made me read it!!

The Viking’s Chosen

The Viking’s Chosen

by Quinn Loftis

*** (3 out of 5)

Chosen

Amazon|Goodreads

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

I am super confused.  Not with the book, but with how I feel about the book.  I don’t know what I think of it.  I loved some aspects and hated others.  More than that, I think it was just frustrating to read this book.  It has so much potential, but it just didn’t meet the mark.

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Ok lets start with the good:

1) The Characters were amazing!

I loved the characters.  They were great! The antagonist was truly evil and crazy, but not unbelievably so.  The Heroine was strong and opinionated.  The Hero was smart, strong and sexy.  Even the side characters were well developed.  I loved Allete’s sister Dayna.  She was my favorite.  The lesser side characters like Allete’s parents also had their own distinct personalities.

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2) The Relationships were believable.

There was a little bit of insta-love but that is to be expected in romance novels like this one.  Other than that the relationships were very realistic.  Allete and her sisters were real siblings.  Allete’s parents truly cared for their daughters. Torben’s comrade’s respected him but still were able to joke with him because they were friends.  There was all types of different relationships portrayed.

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3) The premise was great

For starters who doesn’t like Vikings? And Princesses? Plus add in a touch of magic and a bunch of conflict and you’ve got yourself a page turner.  I really liked the book’s premise.  Girl is betrothed to evil man.  Boy is prophesized to save girl and fall in love. Girl and Boy fall in love but have a lot of obstacles to overcome before they can be together. It should have been great!

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You may be wondering, if I loved the characters and the relationships and the premise so much, why didn’t I like the book overall? Good Question!

Lets get on to the bad:

1) Parts of the story were too slow.

There was a LOT of build up.  There were parts where it seemed 20 pages would go by and nothing would happen.  I didn’t feel these parts were necessary for the character or plot development.  They were just extra.  I didn’t mind reading these parts, but I feel that they prevented a lot of important stuff from happening.

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2) There is no conclusion

All throughout the book there are prophecies predicting lots of fighting, but the fighting never actually happens.  I want the fighting and I want to know the outcome (because the prophecies just say what will happen if each side were to win, they don’t say who will win)  It felt like there was too much fluff and not enough nitty gritty action.  It seems that all the fighting will happen in the second book, but it was a weird way to write a book.

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3) Cliffhanger

In general I don’t like cliffhangers.  I like the story tied up with no loose ends.  But I understand that the use of cliffhangers is important to keep readers intrigued.  But this wasn’t really a cliffhanger as it was an incomplete story.  I can’t stand it when books don’t end but just continue into the next book.  Especially like this one that nothing really happens.

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4) Controlling men

The antagonist is evil, and I am fine with that.  He is creepy and super controlling.  He wants a wife that will submit to his every whim and basically be arm candy as well.  This is fine.  I am glad that those traits are portrayed as evil.  The issue I have is that the hero is also very possessive.  Sometimes this is great.  I love strong men and sometimes it is super hot when they are possessive.  Alone, his actions would not have bothered me, but in contrast to the antagonist’s they were not good.  For example the antagonist molests and sexually assaults the Heroine and afterward she has a complete breakdown (which I thought was written very well) The Hero does a great job of calming her down but then he kisses her and pretty much tells her that he will protect her because she is his and he protects what is his.  And the worst part is she is okay with it.  I am pretty sure if you have one man assaulting you and trying to control you, you don’t want any man trying to control you, even if it is the love of your life.  He needs to protect her because he lovers her not because she is his.  Does that make any sense?

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5) Too many love stories

In most romance series, each book follows one couple as they fall in love.  Each story gets its own book.  But not this one.  All three sisters have romances, but because the book is mostly about Allete, her story takes precedence.  I would rather have a book dedicated to each sister’s story.  That way each book is its own story and we don’t get into issues 1,2,&3 above.  Also Lizze’s story is completely unknown to us and it seems super important!

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So in conclusion, I really want to know what happens to the characters and how the story ends, but I am super frustrated with how the book was written.  I think it would be better if I could read the next book, but this one just came out so I have a feeling it will be a while.

Don’t Cosplay with My Heart

Don’t Cosplay with My Heart

by Cecil Castellucci

*** (3 out of 5)

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Lets start with the positives.  I LOVE the cover.  It is even better in real life than in the pictures online.  It makes me want to die my hair that color pink! And I don’t even like pink that much! (Plus I am getting married soonish and don’t want pink hair)  I love the purple mask.  Its just such a great color scheme!  The only issue is that in the book she dies her hair purple not pink, but I can let that slide because that would be too much purple on the cover.

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One of the main themes of this book is “There are no fake geek girls”  I LOVE this theme! The main character Edan (which is a super cool name) struggles with some of her “friends” not considering her a real nerd.  They are constantly quizzing her, and even though she gets all the answers right they still accuse her of only being a geek to attract guys.  She tries and fails to get them to understand that if you are passionate about something nerdy that makes you a nerd.  You don’t need to know every single little detail and you don’t need to prove yourself.

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I enjoyed the overall nerdiness of this book.  Its fun to read stories about nerds and, for me, they are usually easier to relate too.  This book is a very easy read and a fairly cute story.  I like the premise of everything but there are some major issues.

First is that she is dating a total douche bag and noone seems to realize it but the reader.  She has problems with him and admits them and then writes them off.  Then she seems surprised when she is forced to face the truth.  Its one thing if she were in denial, or naive, but its pretty much just ignored.  She has all these strong opinions but she just doesn’t notice that her boyfriend goes against everything she believes in.  It just doesn’t feel realistic.

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Other things are just missing from the story.  It skips from Edan and Yuri’s first “date” where they don’t do anything to them suddenly being in a committed relationship.  Its not just that the timeline is sped up, which happens a lot in books, its that the story skips the first kiss, and everything else you would need to know their relationship had progressed.  And the thing with Edan’s dad isn’t explained very well.  I don’t know what “sequestered” means and they don’t explain it.  I had thought he was in jail but later you learn that that isn’t quite it.

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Edan is also very self centered and never comes to any sort of realization about it.  There is one line where she realizes she hasn’t been their for her friend, but no growth comes out of it.   Her best friend’s dad lost all their money because of Edan’s dad and Edan is only worried that her friend will hate her.  Her other friend’s mom is dying of cancer and all she cares about is that she needs him to help her make sense of her life.  She doesn’t do much to help him.  She really should have learned throughout the book to be less selfish.

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Finally the ending is unfulfilling.  Suddenly everything is alright but nothing is resolved.  Best friends should hash it out and then forgive each other.  They don’t just randomly decide everything is all right.  Plus you never find out what happens with the club or with any of the parents.  There needed to be more.

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Overall it wasn’t a bad book.  It is most likely geared toward the younger YA audience.  That could explain why it didn’t go more in depth into things?  If you are looking for a cute easy read with a nerdy basis then this is a good book.  If you are looking for a in depth coming of age story, this probably isn’t for you.

Secondborn

Secondborn

by Amy A. Bartol

*** (3 out of 5)

Secondborn

AmazonGoodreads

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

It was incredibly hard to choose a star rating for this book.  While reading the book, I loved it and was super hooked.  I was thinking it was going to be a 5.  But once I finished it, it sort of pissed me off and I wanted to give it a 1.  So I am going to split it and give it a 3.

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Since my feelings towards this book are all over the place, I am going to try and break my review up into two parts.  The Good and The Bad:

The Good

Roselle is awesome.  She is a badass, ass kicking, strong female.  She can literally fight, and has been training her whole life. In her society, firstborns rule the world and secondborns are sacrificed into the workforce.  Roselle is a secondborn sword, meaning she is trained as a fighter.  She is unique though, because she comes from an aristocratic family.  As a secondborn aristocrat she is elevated almost to firstborn status.  She doesn’t welcome the fame though.  She would rather just do her duty.  That is until she sees all the injustices that seconborns have to endure.  She embraces her fame in order to help save her fellow secondborns.

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Its not just another rebellion story.  A unique thing about this book is that Roselle doesn’t join the rebellion.  She knows that when the rebels attack, seeking to liberate the secondborns, they are really attacking  the seconborns.  (because the lower ranks of the military are filled with seconborns) It doesn’t make sense to attack the people you are trying to save.  So she doesn’t join the rebellion.  Instead she works on outfitting her fellow secondborns and teaching them how to protect themselves so they can survive the war.

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The Bad

The book randomly skips a year.  You follow Roselle as she leaves her family and is sent to the military.  You are with her when she makes acquaintances and makes rocky friendships. Then all of a sudden a year passes and they are all best friends and nothing bad has happened.  I feel like you miss a lot of character development in that time.

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Next, there really isn’t a plot. The story was engaging, but there was no climax, no conclusion, no beginning, middle, and end.  It just sort of went on and then ended.  I have a feeling more will happen in the next book, but you still have to have some sort of structure in the first books in a series.  I hate when books don’t end.  Cliffhangers are one thing, but its awful when nothing really happens.

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Finally, the relationships are weird.  The group of “Best Friends” disbands ish.  Two people have to be evacuated for their safety.  One is forcibly removed. And the last is just forgotten about? He isn’t mentioned at all when the group is separated.   And when Hawthorne (Roselle’s lover) is taken away he doesn’t try to find a way to be with her and leaves her completely in the dark.  Based on what you know of the rest of his character, this makes no sense.  He isn’t the type to just bow down and accept his fate.  Also, when you first meet Clifton, he is made out to be this sexual deviant and that Roselle needs to be careful around him, but then he treats her with respect and doesn’t make any advances.  Is his reputation wrong? Or is he just different around Roselle.  The two pictures painted of his personality don’t match up.

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The more I think about it, the more I dislike this book! Which is sad because it had so much potential! Roselle is awesome, and the universe is unique and different.  Its not your normal repressed rebellion story.  I really wanted to like this book, but there was just too much that bugged me.  I am not going to read the second book.


Random shout out to Book Basset.  If you have never heard of this blog, I highly suggest that you go visit it!  They let you know about kindle sales where the books are free or really really cheap.  I got this book for free! (I love free books) Book Basset is awesome!

Highland Redemption

Don’t forget to enter my gift card raffle! You have 2 days. You can find it here: https://perfectlytolerable.com/2017/11/10/50-followers-giveaway/

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*** (3 out of 5)

Highland Redemption by Lori Ann Bailey

Redemption

Before I get into my review I just want to say how stoked I was to get an advanced reader copy (ARC) of a book! I used Net Galley and this was one of the suggested books to request.  I got a kindle version and I am pretty sure I was auto accepted, but I don’t care.  This was super exciting for me. Yay!

The usual issue I have with romance novels is that they focus too much on the romance and not enough on the plot line.  This book had the opposite problem.  A good romance has a nice balance between a steamy romance and an engaging story.

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I really liked the two main characters and loved the romance between them.  The issue that I had was with how the intimate scenes were written.  The writing style changed completely during these sections.  It was almost as if they were written by a different person.  The intimate scenes were boring to read and I kept getting distracted by the change in language.  The words became flowery and all of a sudden there were a shit ton of unnecessary descriptive words.  Here are a couple examples:

“His lips covered hers, scattering the wayward thoughts like swirling leaves on a brisk fall day.”

“Her fingers wove in and out of his thick hair, the silky strands tickling the place where her fingers met.”

Usually I look forward to the intimate scenes but this time I couldn’t get through them fast enough to get back to the main plot.

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I really liked the main story line.  It has a strong plot that is fairly believable.  Its got action, adventure, and love.  I also have a soft spot for romances set in the highlands.  I don’t know what it is, but it just makes such a great location.  Plus the men are always so amazing!

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P.S. I really wanted a GIF of a Scottish man in a kilt with his hair blowing in the wind but I couldn’t find one 😦

Overall I liked the book, despite the overdone intimate scenes.  I would recommend it if you like Scottish romances.

 

Big Hid

*** (3 out of 5)

Big Hid by Roisin Swales

Big

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Amazon $10.51 

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.  Giveaways are free raffles for books.  The trade-off is that, if you win, you write a review.  Its that easy!  I have won 4 books so far.

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I don’t have any kids, but I have a 10 year old brother and a 3 month old niece.  I used to read a ton to my brother, but I have yet to read to my niece.  I am a bit out of the loop when it comes to children’s books, so I apologize in advance if my review offends anyone.  (I entered the giveaway with the intention of giving the book to my niece, but I still need to write the review)

In all honesty I thought this book was stupid.  The story was too simple, and missing a huge plot point.  Why did Big Hide?

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I feel like that should be an important part of the story. The back cover says “A tale of friendship and overcoming sadness,” but the story has no indication that Big is hiding because he is sad.

I did really like the colors and illustrations in the book.  The illustrations are different from anything I’ve seen, and they are fun.  The colors are bright, happy, and warm.  As weird as it sounds I also liked the physical feeling of the book.  It is fairly big (10.5″ x 9″) and the pages are very thick.  The texture of the pages is rougher than a normal page.  Almost like construction paper.

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I didn’t want to be unfair in my evaluation (I feel really bad calling a children’s book stupid) so I looked at other reviews online.  Most people just said it was beautiful and they liked the simplicity.  One person said Big Hid  “can easily start the conversation about sadness, depression, social anxiety”  I disagree with this because there is no indication he is hiding because he is sad.  No one had anything bad to say about the book, so I was still worried about my review.

Next, I brought the book to work, and gave it to a coworker to see what she thought.  While showing her the book,  a couple other guys joined the conversation.  Kristin, who has a 1 year old, thought the book was incredibly stupid. (her words not mine) Andy, who has two daughters aged 3 and 6, thought the book would be okay for a 2 year old.  Kristin disagreed saying that she wouldn’t even bother reading it to her 1 year old.  Andy did say that halfway through he thought Big wasn’t really hiding but that he had died, which would have been a little morbid, but not completely out there.  Gary, who doesn’t have kids, liked the illustrations, but thought the story was too simple.  All three agreed (without any prompt from me) that it was weird that the book left out why Big hid.

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I decided to go ahead and give it an honest 3 star review.  It is a children’s book so it is supposed to be simple, but it is missing a major key issue.  Other than that I didn’t have any issues with the book and I liked the illustrations.

The Beauty of Darkness

*** (3 out of 5)

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles Book 2

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

The Remnant Chronicles:

If you read my reviews of The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal you may have gathered that I have a love/hate relationship with this series.  I love Lia but there are so many things that drive me nuts!

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Lets start with the good.  Lia is freakin awesome.  She is independent, strong, smart, and doesn’t take shit from anybody.  When the entire world is conspiring against her she doesn’t back down.  She risks everything to do what is right.  She would make a great role model for any girl.  Especially in today’s world when a lot of heroines put their love life before everything else, Lia is a breath of fresh air.

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While there is a lot of emphasis on the love aspect of the story, the rest of the plot is still very strong.  You could remove the love triangle and it would probably make the book better.  Lia fights for all the different Kingdoms, and she wins the hearts of the inhabitants wherever she goes.  She finds the good in every single place she visits.  You can’t help falling in love with the kingdoms who publicly denounce her and the inhabitants that support her.  Seriously Lia’s whole journey is an amazing story, all by itself.  It is the only reason I kept reading the series.

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Now for the bad: The love triangle

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I am not completely opposed to love triangles on principal but this one got tiring.  I really liked both men, and wanted them both to be happy.  At one point she makes her decision which I was glad of, but then, of course, circumstances conspired against her and we were right back where we started.  One of the classic tropes of love triangles is the “loser” finding someone else and living happily with them.  This happened here too but it was rushed and weird.  It just didn’t feel right.  It would have been so much better if Lia had made her choice earlier and then we could have seen the other romance bloom properly.

The other issue I had with the book was the ending.  The story dragged on right up until the very end and then it was super rushed.  It was so rushed I couldn’t even figure out what was happening.  I had to re-read a couple parts to figure out what was going on, and then I still didn’t understand.  It was awful.  All this build up is should have been great but it was just confusing.

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So overall this book had some really great parts, but others parts fell short.  I felt more frustrated with the book than anything else.  I didn’t get the closure I needed at the end of the series.  I debated giving the book only two stars, but I did like Lia and her Journey so I feel it deserved three.