The Chase by Elle Kennedy | Book Review

43635925_267298727257317_6565441545883877376_nBook: The Chase
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U, #1
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 3.25/5 Stars

“I want a man with clear intentions. A man who makes an effort and is excited to spend time with me. A man who actually wants to want me. If he has to fight himself to be with me, then chances are he’d never fight for me if it came down to it.”

After finishing The Chase and thinking about it for a few days, I have come to the conclusion that this is a Legally Blonde retelling. I don’t think this was pitched as a Legally Blonde retelling, but it gave me the vibes. I mean Summer was in a sorority house, attended a new University, is into fashion, falls for a sweet nerd, IS BLONDE. And there were parts at the end I don’t want to give away that also alluded to this theory. But what I will say about it is trigger warning for sexual assault.

Anyway, now that I got that out of the way… The Chase. I’ve been waiting for this release since I finished The Goal. I can’t put into words how much I love the off-campus series, so of course I was excited for this. But unfortunately it did not live up to the hype I gave it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book, it was entertaining, but there was something about it that was missing in comparison to the books in the off-campus series.

After almost burning down her sorority house, Summer is left unwanted by her old school and new sorority house when she transfers to Briar University. Left we no other options, Summer moves into the house her older brother Dean used to live in. The only problem is she now has three hockey players as roommates, and one of them is Fitzy. The same guy she had a thing for and the same guy who clearly doesn’t want her. Now they have to live together and potentially face what is going on between them.

“We deserve someone who gives us one hundred percent. Half-assed effort isn’t effort. Half-assed love isn’t love. If a man isn’t all in, then we need to be all out.”

This book had its good sections and its meh sections. It was slow-paced, meaning Summer and Fitzy’s interactions and relationship didn’t take off as soon as I expected. The dancing around each other was annoying. But obviously any well-written character is shaped by their experiences. Fitzy’s reluctance, as annoying as it was at first, became eye-opening and interesting when his difficulty in conveying emotions was made clear due to his harsh environment growing up.

I didn’t relate to Summer at all and was a little hesitant to read from her perspective, Fitzy, on the other hand, was more relatable to me. Not that I need to relate to a character to enjoy a book, but Summer’s personality is the type that overwhelms and fascinates me because she is so different. I didn’t know what to expect from her. But what I grew to appreciate about her, and about the book in general, was her passion for girl love. Feminism was an element that really drew me into her character.

“Do you realize how many decades you set us back every time you call another girl a slut? We’ve spent years fighting to not be viewed as sexual objects or be judged and shamed if we happen to enjoy sex. It’s bad enough that men still do this to us. When you do it too, it sends the message that it’s fair game for women to be treated this way.”

“We live in a society where too many women tear each other down instead of raising each other up. That’s absurd to me. We need to empower one another, teach future generations of girls that it’s important to stand together.”

In terms of the romance, I loved the dynamic between Fitzy and Summer when they finally started dating. They were a couple who were complete opposites, which I found interesting to read about. And of course, just as I anticipated, there were sexual lines and lines in general that were cringy. I mean this is a new adult college romance, what else is new?

I found the ending to be abrupt. When I turned to the last page, I was surprised that it was the last page. Which was a little anticlimactic if you ask me. But, I’m obviously excited to continue with this new series. And I’m excited that the release for The Risk is not too far away. I don’t know who the new book is about yet, but I can’t wait to find out.

“A woman isn’t defined by her boyfriends. She’s defined by her achievements. And her shoes.”

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir | Book Review

B40460091_1905292169561710_5591767262970249216_nook: A Reaper at the Gates
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes, #3
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

“Curse this world for what it does to the mothers, for what it does to the daughters. Curse it for making us strong through loss and pain, our hearts torn from our chests again and again. Curse it for forcing us to endure.”

I never thought a politically driven book would warrant a five stars from me, but I love when books surprise me in a good way. I waited two years for this book. TWO. But I’m happy to say the wait was worth it because A Reaper at the Gates was spectacular.

Laia, Elias, and The Blood Shrike are on a journey. All on separate paths, all have their own agenda. Laia, finally with her brother Darin, is plagued with guilt over giving their enemy the upper hand. Now she fights to free her people and destroy the Nightbringer in whatever way she can. Elias is trapped. After vowing himself as Soul Catcher, he has to learn the hard way what it means to put duty above all else. Even if that requires leaving his humanity behind. The Blood Shrike has to take the Commandant down. There is too much riding on this mission for her to fail. The life of the only family she has left, being in danger, drives her to do whatever is necessary.

What I love about this series and what I love about Sabaa Tahir’s writing, is that the plot, the characters, and the way it’s all executed, allows me to easily fall back into the story, despite the two year drought. I struggled at the beginning, only because remembering certain plot points that were very quickly mentioned in the first few pages took time. I’m not the type to go back and reread previous books, so I was worried when reading this new instalment started off with a challenge. But the events of the previous book did get revealed in my memory the further I got.40399062_2041852722793015_3382664818686164992_n

There was so much action right from the beginning, leaving barely any room for anything in between… and yet it worked. I’ve flagged this very thing recently in another book, plot and action is not as important to me as the characters, but the difference is that I actually care about this story, so the constant action didn’t bother me. Tahir’s writing is great because she doesn’t add fill-in scenes. Everything is there for a purpose and it leaves no room for anything boring.

Something I kept asking myself through this reading experience was, when did I start enjoying The Blood Shrike’s chapters? Don’t get me wrong, I love Laia and Elias, and I genuinely enjoyed reading their chapters too, but there was something about the Shrike’s chapters that had me desperate to get to them when the point of view switched. It’s funny because you’ll find that in my review for A Torch Against the Night, I mention that I started listening to the audiobook because I couldn’t get through Helene’s chapters on my own. And Avitas Harper definitely played a significant role in my intrigue. Her sister and the baby did too. The Shrike had many interesting plot-points going on in this book.

This series is not romantically driven. My love for romance has never turned me off from these books. But comparing Reaper to the previous two books, this one definitely has more romance. I mean Elias and Laia are in love and it totally had me giddy, until it had my heart breaking.

“I’m not—” I consider. “Never mind. I am jealous. Tell me he’s old, at least? Or grouchy? Or maybe a bit stupid?”
“He’s young. And handsome. And smart.” I snort.
“He’s probably rubbish in be—” Laia smacks me on the arm. “Battle,” I say quickly. “I was going to say battle.”

“You are cruel, Elias,” she whispers against my mouth. “To give a girl all she desires only to tear it away.”
“This isn’t the end for us, Laia of Serra.” I cannot give up what we could have. I don’t care what bleeding vow I made. “Do you hear me? This is not our end.”
“You’ve never been a liar.” She dashes her hands against the wetness in her eyes. “Don’t start now.”

The Shrike and Harper? Well there were subtle hints here and there with these two, and I was grasping onto whatever they provided. If their romance develops any further, it will be slow, but hey, I love me some slow-burn romance.

“Reading lips again?”
“Only yours Shrike.” Harper’s green eyes drop to my mouth so quickly I almost miss it.

I want him.
But I cannot have him.

In each book the stakes get higher and higher, politics get messier, characters find themselves in tough situations, the world-building exceeds my expectations, and I am left with no room to breath.

I am no doubt always on the edge of my seat with this series and I can’t wait for the final installment.

Quotes that stuck with me:

-“If the Emperor is the heart of the Empire and the people are its lifeblood, then the Hall of Records is its memory.”
-“The cruelest anger comes from the deepest pain.”
-“Mariners walk the streets with a surety I fear I will never possess. The freedom of this place, the ease of it – it feels like none of it is for my people. All this belongs to others, to those who do not abide at the crossroads of uncertainty and despair. It belongs to people so used to living free that they cannot imagine a world in which they are not.”
-“Our stories have purpose. Souls. Our stories breath… The stories we tell have power, of course. But the stories that go untold have just as much power, if not more.”
-“The paradox of the magic tears at me. I need it to save the people I care about, but I can’t care about them if I want to use the magic.”

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Collide by Gail McHugh | Book Review

39583834_1356376394495843_1698043439624486912_nBook: Collide
Author: Gail McHugh
Series: Collide, #1
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

“I want us! You belong with me, not him. Every part of you was made for me. Your lips were made to kiss mine, your eyes were made to wake up to me looking at you in my bed every morning… I am more certain of us than I’m certain I require oxygen to breath.”

Is it possible to enjoy a book AND have a million problems with it?

Because this read was capable of both.

After her mother passes away, Emily leaves her old life behind to move to New York City and be close to her boyfriend, Dillon. But when her path crosses with a handsome stranger, Emily is left with a want that she doesn’t understand or accept. It turns out the handsome stranger is Gavin Blake, one of Dillon’s closest friends. When Dillon begins to show signs of unhealthy behaviour, and when the unavoidable attraction between Emily and Gavin develops further, everything begins to fall apart.

“I’ve never felt so heartbroken and so in love at the same time. If you would’ve told me the day we met that you were going to break my heart— and that days, months, or even years would pass, that I would still be hurting like this—it wouldn’t have stopped me from falling in love with you.”

Collide had just the right amount of romance, angst (which I love), plot, and of course smut. But as much as I enjoyed this read, I need to also acknowledge the problematic components woven into the story. Many of which are highly triggering and I’m including them in a list so future readers know to be cautious if they decide to pick this book up. Don’t read the list below if you don’t want to know.

-> Cheating
-> Sexual Assault/Rape
-> Abusive Relationship both Verbally and Physically
-> Use of abusive methods/words to get an ex back, (suicide is mentioned).
-> Stalking
-> Assault under the influence of Alcohol & “Being Drunk” used as an excuse for the actions and words.
-> Victim of abusive relationship excuses bad treatment.

Can someone please explain to me if this love-at-first-sight description is meant to be romantic?

“He had never favored a woman in a ponytail – nonetheless one who looked as though she had just been in a food fight – but in that moment, she was the most magnificent creature he’d ever laid eyes on. Between her heart-shaped face, petite Coke-bottle physique, and her perfume wafting around him, Gavin found it hard to catch a decent breath.”

But also:

“There was something mysterious about his eyes, which were a shade of blue so light they almost begged her to submit to him, obey him, and do some of the naughtiest things with him that her mind could conjure up. Maybe it was the curve of his cheekbones, which fell slightly short of being too high. Possibly it was the smooth, raspy tone of his voice, which basically disarmed her every cognitive thought the first time he spoke.”

Never underestimate the power of the curve of a cheekbone…

Writing-wise, it took me by surprise when some scenes started switching between point of views every paragraph. I’ve never seen this done before and honestly it’s a writing choice I could have gone without. It took me out of the story due to how annoying it was to keep up with. The first time this came up, it almost persuaded me to put the book down.

The fact that this was written over four years ago might contribute to the fact that so many problematic elements were included. Things have evolved and come to light since then. Not Dillon, his assholiness was on purpose. But Gavin, he was problematic in ways that were not written with that purpose. So many little details that didn’t sit well with me from him could have been avoided.

Gavin didn’t give off a good first impression. Following her to work, giving her his number even though she told him she had a boyfriend…

“I’m hoping you’ll break up with your boyfriend and go out on a date with me.”

I really wanted to like Gavin, and the majority of the time I did, but I didn’t want to let some of his behaviour slide. This included Gavin mourning over Dillon and Emily’s engagement, planning to force her to accept her love for him… or even the “don’t touch me” rule she made. But did he listen? No.

Dillon is obviously worse. He is a controlling, abusive boyfriend and his presence needed to be dumped in the beginning. Why he’s still present halfway through the book is beyond me. He is possessive and jealous. You know, all the red flags that are clearly being ignored. It seemed the only person who saw right through Dillon was Emily’s best friend, Olivia. She was the voice of reason and I loved her various nicknames for him.

“Dinkerbell, Dingleberry, Dillweed, Dill Pickle, Donkey Dick Kong…”

I cried laughing every time one of these nicknames were used. They got more creative as the book went on.

I also found it hilarious how unrealistic it was for Gavin and Emily to randomly run into each other in public when they’re in New York City. You don’t just run into people like it’s a small town when you’re in a densely populated, big city. Every character, whether they did it on purpose or not, literally made all of Gavin and Emily’s encounters convenient.

The unrealisticness in new adult romances need to stop surprising me. I know what I’m getting myself into, yet it doesn’t make it any less cringy.

No one was innocent in this book. There was a lot of cheating going on, and Dill Pickle wasn’t the only one who contributed to this specific mess, making me extremely uncomfortable.

This book brought to light how abusive relationships can play out. I think it’s important that such relationships are written down, because it could mean the difference between realizing what is abusive and what is not.

“Sometimes wrong decisions lead you to the right person.”

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Furyborn by Claire Legrand | Book Review

37979837_1880025795396645_5620130548388200448_nBook: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium, #1
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

“We survived the end of the world, you and I, we’ll survive this too.”

You know when people compare a book to your favourite author’s work, obviously you end up having high expectations going into it. Yes, that’s my experience with Furyborn. Before picking it up, I had read multiple reviews that compared it to Sarah J. Maas books. And if you don’t already know, I love everything by Sarah so I was hyped. Not only that, but I was desperate to get my hands on an ARC copy of Furyborn when I was first introduced to it last year. Unfortunately, the hype didn’t last too long as I realized when I began this high fantasy book, with an epic synopsis I might add, that I was bored, I didn’t care about the characters, and I didn’t enjoy the writing.

Set in a world with angels, elemental magic, and prophesied queens, Furyborn follows the story of two female protagonists who live a thousand years apart. Rielle Dardenne has been forced to suppress and hide her powers ever since a tragic accident took the life of her mother and the love of her father. But when the crown prince, Audric, is in danger, she is left with a decision that would reveal her powers and change her life forever. A thousand years later, Eliana Ferracora lives to protect her family from the empire, even if that means working with that corrupt power. But when her mother mysteriously disappears, she is left with no choice but to ally with an enemy to the very people she works for.

“Dread,” he murmured, his breath caressing her cheek, “is only a feeling, easily squashed. But wolves, my dear, have teeth.”

Right away, my first problem was the prologue because, to me, it revealed too much. I had barely entered this story and already I knew how it was going to end for certain characters and I figured out the not so discreet way one of the protagonists was introduced. Let’s just say that when I hit certain points in this book, I was not shocked. It was as if this book revolved around the prologue, which took away the potential for mystery.

It was a slow-paced, dense read, I didn’t care much for the characters because the author left no room to connect with them when action took over the majority of the pages, and the banter between Eliana and Simon was painful to read.

Exhibit A:

“Decent clothes aren’t something you rebels care much about finding, I suppose?”
“If you’re finished”
“Give me my knives, and I’ll refrain from hitting you for at least five minutes.”
“Have you always been this unspeakably irritating?”
“Has your face always looked so temptingly carvable?”

Exhibit B:

“Ignore me at your peril.”
“You’re an ass.”
“I’ve never claimed not to be.”

“My, my. Never have I seen the Dread struck so speechless. You know how to make a man feel good, I must say.”
“Come to catch a peek at me naked, did you?”

To me, all this dialogue exchange is forced and unnatural. As if it wasn’t needed in the story but the author added it in weird places in order to have some form of sexual tension between two characters because readers would be expecting it.

I may have nickname Simon as “Simon the ghost” because all his character was good for was a fight scene, and that’s the only time he was really present on the page. This is another reason his exchanges with Eliana felt forced. Simon had no other purpose beyond fighting and any other aspect to his character was ignored.

Eliana as a character, well that’s a whole other thing. I had trouble accepting her lack of morality. And due to her lack of morality, it seemed she herself did not know what she wanted. Such as outing innocent refugees but becoming a “hero” after she decides to save the refugees from the demise that she caused.

Another element that took me out of the story was that, yes, there was a lot of action, but that action was not executed well. As in the way it was written was confusing. The “big” scenes, weather it be a fight scene or a make-out scene, the way it was described did not give a clear visual. It made me as a reader feel lost and stupid. One second A happens then the next C happens but there’s no B in between to show how that transition worked. It was all over the place.

I think it’s clear that I enjoyed reading Rielle’s chapters more than Eliana’s. This wasn’t the case at the beginning when I thought Eliana was going to be my preferred point of view since her story style seemed more of my taste. But alas, that switched on me.

Rielle wasn’t perfect either, but I seriously enjoyed reading some of the trials she had to endure. Such as the water trial.

Audric loves Rielle. Despite her being a little “evil.” But I never bought why he did. Sure, you can say they grew up together so it should be obvious. And yes that’s true. But I don’t want to not read about their relationship development and just assume it happened somewhere off the page. Then what’s the point of reading and immersing in a story and in characters where everything is thrown together with no development? Even in the present we didn’t see much of their relationship, just the sex scene and the declaration of love.

The stakes were high in this book, but I didn’t feel it. My heart wasn’t racing. I didn’t really care. I didn’t grasp the epicness and I’m disappointed that I was hyped for nothing.

“Perhaps if nothing else, what’s happened has taught you that there is more to life – and even to war – than simply staying alive.”

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A Violet, Violent Spring by Devyani Saini| Book Review

35620875Book: A Violet, Violent Spring
Author: Devyani Saini
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary 
My Rating: 1/5 Stars

*A Violet, Violent Spring was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

“What are you Miana Mehra?” I stared, searching for some witty reply before he continued, “You’re a dream. A wonderfully normal dream.”

I don’t think I’ve ever given a book a one star rating, but here we are.

Mia meets her colourful and handsome next door neighbor on her way to her best friend’s wedding. It turns out his destination was the same. From there, Mia runs into him multiple more times, which prompts them to begin a relationship that could either work in their favour or fall apart completely.

I asked myself multiple times while reading this: “What is the point?” Nothing about it grabbed me. The story had no plot, no beginning, middle, and end. The characters were basic, boring, cringy, and problematic. I can go on.

So I have about three pages of notes and I believe the best way to organize them in this review is through a list of the good and the bad. Here we go…

The good:

-I like the different cultures in this story. And I like how the author clearly included things like “ohh british people apologize a lot.” I didn’t know that but it’s clear she wrote it from experience.
“British social customs were tedious indeed. Smiling and apologizing constantly! Even flower boy seemed roped in by them.”
Once in a blue moon warmth.
“London is a beauty in summer but bitter and spiteful in the winter.”
-The only times I actually enjoyed reading this book was during the prologue and epilogue. I don’t know what it was, but it gave off a different feel from the actual story. It was separate to me, and the writing intrigued me. Maybe it was because the epilogue was not in Mia’s perspective, but who knows.
“First of all, it’s a sweater. Second of all, we are past having to categorize pieces of cloth according to gender. We are an evolved species, thank you very much.”

The bad:

SEXUAL ASSAULT WARNING PAGE 201. (That was the page in my digital copy of the book).
-No events have really grabbed my attention. It’s basic. It’s boring.
-Did not like the build-up to the romance. Like “oh of course he was her driver, of course he showed up to her apartment when she was half naked.” It’s so set-up it hurts.
-Cringy wordings/descriptions. But I seem to expect it now from contemporaries.
-There is no flow.
-Mia labels and judges people. “I resisted the urge to say Thug and Emo Hick.” I feel like this is meant to be funny? But it’s not funny. It has quite the opposite effect on me actually.
-They have to travel to the same locations at the same time uncoincidentally. I get it if they run into each other but they live right next door from one another. Use that to prompt their relationship. This is too unrealistic and cringy. The first time was fine, but two times?
“Are you seriously going this way?” I laughed at us and at fate, though it seemed cheesy to say. It wasn’t like this was the first time something like this happened to us. He knew it as well as I did.”
-Also did I mention I feel nothing for these characters?
Banter is supposed to be fun, especially between potential romantic couples, but the banter is just not working for me here.
-This is just a series of boring events and jokes that aren’t funny.
“Smiled silently.” As opposed to what? Smiled loudly?
‘Nothing. Just that… most people wouldn’t comment on shoes.” YES THEY WOULD. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WEAR BUNNY SLIPPERS. But apparently people comment on legs. IS THIS HOW SHE FLIRTS?
-Please stop fake gasping.
-Fine decline the bff but not the hot next door neighbor.
-What are the stakes?
-There are moments that have potential but are destroyed in the next sentence.
“I imagined his vocal cords vibrating inside his larynx. The source of such a fantastic and breathless sound was literally just air rushing against two infolding’s of mucous membrane.” “… lightly pressing his thumbs against the part of my coxal bone which jutted out from beneath my skin.” I understand that Mia is studying to be some kind of nurse or doctor, but I have no words for these descriptions.
-Now let’s begin with the problematic parts:
“It’s not nothing and you’re going to tell me. It’s the least you can do after that night you took me out.”
“For the record it’s only assault if I stick my tongue down your throat.”
“Where are you going?”
To India to visit my family. During my next break.”
“You should tell me these things.”
“Why? It doesn’t concern you.”
“You are literally living with me. And you sucked my face. So yes, to an extent it does.”
“I’ll tell you everything. But not now.”
I wanted it to be not ever, but Luhan was right when he said these kinds of things were his concern, at least to an extent.
“You can’t say you didn’t like it.” [The sex from last night]
Then the sexual assault that I don’t want to quote.
-What is with this entitlement and controlling nature they have towards each other. Because we kissed, you have to tell me. And yes Mia you are acting entitled but he isn’t any better.
-I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve made a “what the hell am I reading” face.
THIS BASICALLY SUMS UP THE BOOK: “We were just moments, at the end of it. Moments strung together by circumstance and unwound in the same way. The story thus woven is unwoven.” This book literally is just moments between them. NO PLOT.

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Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan | Book Review

34388244_1801622533236972_7326360831334023168_nBook: Archer’s Voice
Author: Mia Sheridan
Series: Standalone
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

“You brought the silence,
The most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.”

I’ve seen Archer’s Voice around for years while going on hunts to discover captivating romances to read. Yet for some reason I always breezed past it, never acknowledging that it could potentially be a story in which I would enjoy. It wasn’t until recently when a spark hit and I realized I needed this book, needed this new adult romance in my life immediately. But going into it, for the most part, blind, I wasn’t expecting it to be different, to be refreshing, to stand out from all the other romances I’ve read in the past.

Haunted by the dark event that changed her life, Bree Prescott needed to get away. A road trip and a fresh start far from home was what she believed was her cure. This is how she found herself in the small town of Pelion. A town that has ignored a tragic event and an isolated boy for too long. Then Bree arrives, she asks questions, she breaks the silence. And she falls in love. Archer is alone, feels unworthy, and is scared to break free from a life he’s always known. Bree is the first person to show him he is capable of more.

“Try to believe that maybe more light shines out of those who have the most cracks.”

To start, I thought it was funny how this romance gave me thriller vibes in the beginning. I mean a girl enters into a small town, lives in a cottage alone, the town has secrets. Not that I have ever picked up a thriller book to know what signs to look for, but I had to remind myself that I was reading a romance, not something chilling.

As I’ve already pointed out, this was a refreshing read in the new adult romance genre. Why? Because we were given an untraditional relationship. This basically means that from the romances I’ve read in the past, this one stood out because it didn’t follow a formula that I’m used to. The roles were reversed.

I appreciated Archer’s character because usually the male protagonist in romances are not like him. He’s a virgin. And I appreciated the fact that his virginity and lack of skills in that area was a plot point for him and not for Bree. Because really, how many male protagonist virgins do you read about in romances? Where the female protagonist takes the lead and shows him the ropes? Seriously, I would love to know. He’s sensitive, shy, sweet, nervous, and yes, I was definitely swooning for him. He was also highly insecure. And I was insecure about Archer’s insecurity, if that makes any sense, because I completely connected with him in that aspect.

“This is that burden I was talking about, Bree. This is what the burden of loving me looks like.”
“Loving you isn’t a burden. Loving you is an honor and a joy, Archer.”

Bree, she was an easy character to love, but I was cringing a little at how forward and eager she was to know about Archer through other people. As if she had any right to his secrets before she properly met him. It just felt a little off to me.

Obviously going into any new adult romance, I know to prepare myself for cringy dialogue and description. And yes, this book did not “disappoint” me with a lack of  cliché phrases. When I tell you they were everywhere, I mean it. Especially when Bree described her relationship and feelings towards Archer.

“Owned by body and soul – some kind of primal connection that must have been there before I existed, before he existed, before he or I ever breathed the same air, something written in the very stars.”

When phrases like this are constant, it begins getting a little too dramatic and over-the-top for my taste.

So much of the same cringy descriptions graced my eyes. “I smiled then grinned and laughed through my grin then smiled.” Obviously this is not a direct quote from the book. I’m just being extra. But descriptions along this line existed throughout. It played a significant role in my reading experience and the outcome of my thoughts on this book.

I hate expecting things when reading, but in the middle of this book, when things were going well, I dreaded it because it was a given that a downfall was coming. This book had a fast start, but a slow middle and end for me. I lost interest in the characters. I just stopped caring.

I wanted to end this review with one last thing this book did that I appreciated. There was no love triangle. Bree weeded out the asshole early, choose the man she wanted, and stuck to him through all the good and the bad.

“I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. I wish you could read my mind so that you would know how much I want you, no one else. There could be three hundred men after me right now, and it wouldn’t matter. Because none of them are you, Archer Hale. None of them are the man I love.”

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien | Book Review

33343107_1790792460986646_870650223779643392_nBook: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: Standalone/Middle-Earth Universe
Genre: High Fantasy/Middle Earth
My Rating: 2/5 Stars

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

The Hobbit, a well-known and beloved middle grade fantasy adventure from the 30’s, finally found itself in my possession. Not by choice of course, as this was a read I had to pick up for a class, and not with much joy either as it took me a month to read. This book was a struggle, a slow-paced struggle, as I added annotation, marginalia, and what looks like a thousand sticky note flags, all for the sake of analyzing Bilbo’s character. All I can say now is that any other prof who adds The Hobbit to their course reading list, I’m beyond ready.

This adventure story follows Bilbo Baggins, a respectable hobbit due to his lack of adventures. But that all changes when Gandalf chooses him to be the official burglar for a group of dwarves desperate to travel to the Lonely Mountain and take back the valued treasure that once belonged to them from the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent. Bilbo, left with no choice but to tag along and accept his new role, finds himself in dangerous, thrilling, and life-threatening events that have the power to change him forever.

“To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick… leaving his second breakfast half-finished.”

I want to start with the writing style first, because it took a toll on my reading experience. Obviously The Hobbit is not from my time and it was written for children, so it’s to be expected that I had some issues regarding the writing. One thing being that it breaks the fourth wall multiple times throughout the book, taking me completely off guard and out of the story every time.

“I imagine you know the answer, of course, or can guess it as easy as winking, since you are sitting comfortably at home and have not the danger of being eaten to disturb your thinking.”

We are acknowledged as human readers, inserted into the story about hobbits and dwarves. I understand this may be the case since it’s written for a younger audience, but to me it was just strange.

Then there was:

“It was not very long before he discovered: but that belongs to the next chapter and the beginning of another adventure in which the hobbit again showed his usefulness.”

When I say foreshadowing Tolkien, that’s not what I mean.

The writing even did a weird switch up where the point of view would leave Bilbo’s head and an outside narrator would say something that Bilbo didn’t know:

“The truth was he had been lying quiet, out of sight and out of mind, in a very dark corner for a long while.”

Besides all that there were run on sentences, time jumps, little detail, telling instead of showing (they did this, then this, then this…). I can go on, but I think my point is made.

Regarding the dwarves, I honestly thought that the majority of the adventure party was useless. There were a handful of dwarves we could acknowledge past their name, but the rest were just background characters with little to no use. If the party was cut in half nothing would have changed besides Bilbo having to rescue less dwarves.

Reading through The Hobbit I realized that the adventures were epic but I didn’t enjoy them because of the way they were executed. There were so many trials throughout the book, but they were really disconnected from each other. It was a list, like many little adventures in the big adventure. It didn’t flow and it seemed to be repeating itself. It was like finishing a book and moving on to the next book when one trial ended and the other began. And let me tell you, it was long. Just like Bilbo’s journey and how he was happy to finally go home at the end, it was like I was finally set free from my own agonizing adventure when I read the final page.

We were thrusted into action that had no action. Just playing off the fact that Bilbo is a very lucky character, it seemed to be the card he played all throughout the book, so nothing exciting happened. It was too easy for him with that blasted ring.

Don’t even get me started on the battle of the five armies. What did Bilbo do during the battle? Nothing. Was there an epic showdown between Bilbo and Smaug, you know the reason Bilbo was dragged along in the first place? Nope. Smaug became someone else’s problem.

I don’t understand the hype. I don’t understand how this is considered the be all and end all of fantasy.

But I can’t factor out the small things that I actually enjoyed.

I flagged so many quotes throughout the book where the dwarves were not being fair to Bilbo, not appreciating what he did for them. Just the never-ending complaints toward him. So when Bilbo finally stood up for himself, I was wiping tears and clapping my hands.

“Well are you alive or dead?” asked Bilbo quite crossly…“Are you still in prison, or are you free? If you want food, and if you want to go on with this silly journey – it’s yours after all and not mine – you had better slap your arms and rub your legs and try and help me get the others out while there is a chance!”

Then of course there had to be a line thrown in there that actually gave me feels. That actually made me reminisce on this long adventure I took part in.

“And turning towards the Mountain he added: Farewell Thorin Oakenshield! And Fili and Kili! May your memory never fade!”