The Mistake by Elle Kennedy | BOOK REVIEW

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Book: The Mistake

Author: Elle Kennedy

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“And just in case my reaction to your idiocy didn’t make it clear where I stand with us, then let me spell it out for you.” I whirl around to scowl at him. “I love you, you stupid jackass.”

I enjoyed reading The Deal, the first book in the off-campus series. It was a great break from continuously reading fantasy and emotionally draining books. The Mistake was no different. I laughed and cried. Picking this second book in the series up had always been in the back of my mind, and I’m so glad that I decided to give it a chance despite never wanting to read companion novels in the past. What I love about these books is that they are fast paced, steamy romances. They obviously have their fair share of angst and cringy descriptions thrown in there, but they’re highly enjoyable reads to dive into when you’re experiencing a reading slump or need a fun and quick read.

The Mistake follows John Logan in his third and fourth year of college. He’s on the school’s hockey team and he and his teammates are well known and idolized around campus. Logan hasn’t been in a relationship in a while and doesn’t really plan on getting into one until he meets a freshman named Grace when he accidently shows up at her dorm. They start hanging out, and though Logan is usually just into hook-ups, he finds that it’s more than that when it comes to Grace. He genuinely likes her and reality sinks in when he makes a mistake that drives her away. This whole dispute leads to his senior year of college and he’s far from giving up. He’s determined to not only get her to forgive him but to agree to date him.

I loved Grace’s character more than I was expecting to. She didn’t have the most outgoing personality, which I could usually relate to, but that didn’t stop her from taking matters into her own hands by not allowing anyone to make decisions for her. Logan’s character was great too. He is obviously an attractive guy who used to sleep around, but as the book continued we really got to see what’s under the surface, what demons he’s battling, and what a caring and loyal person he is to his friends and family. I gave The Mistake a 4.5 star rating, which is slightly lower than my rating for The Deal. Even though I enjoyed this book a lot, The Deal still remains my favourite in the series so far.


A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir | Book Review

Book: A Torch Against the Night

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Most people are nothing but glimmers in the great darkness of time. But you are no swift-burning spark. You are a Torch Against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.”

When I read An Ember in the Ashes last year I was taken by surprise because I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. Fast forward a year and I was skeptical to start the sequel, despite anticipating it’s release for a long time. But again I was surprised at how much I underestimated the book. I found it to be even better than the first.

The long wait for its release did leave me forgetting bits and pieces from the previous book, so I had to reintroduce myself to a lot of the world’s magical elements and society, which included the structure and conflict regarding the Scholars and the Martial soldiers, in order to understand what was going on.

I gave this book a 4.5/5 stars. Though it’s not a “perfect” rating, my thoughts and feelings toward A Torch Against the Night are mostly positive. One of the reasons behind my enjoyment of this book was because the experience of switching back and forth between reading the book myself and following along with the amazing audiobook was one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had. It had a level of intensity and enjoyment that held my attention from the very first page. The POV alternated between Elias, Laia, and Helene throughout the book. I wasn’t too sure about it at first because I didn’t really like Helene in An Ember in the Ashes, which goes back to being one of the reasons I was skeptical about starting the sequel since I wasn’t looking forward to reading her chapters. I just remember feeling frustrated at her loyalty to the Empire as she didn’t understand why Elias felt differently than her about Blackcliff Academy and how they drilled ruthless, murderous soldiers into all their students. I actually started listening to the audiobook when Helene’s chapters came up because I wanted to get through them faster, but eventually her character and her story became really interesting to me.

There were many twists and turns for all the characters; many things that completely took me off guard, but that’s what made the book fast paced. It barely had a dull moment and I couldn’t stop flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

The book starts off right where An Ember in the Ashes left off and there’s literally no room to relax because the action starts off right away.

*Spoilers Ahead*

Elias and Laia are on the path to Kauf prison; their mission is to save Darin, Laia’s brother. Even though Elias has never met her brother he agrees to help Laia save him because the crucial knowledge that Darin possess could save the Scholars from being completely wiped out by the Martial soldiers and the Empire. One thing that I wasn’t expecting to remain a huge obstacle throughout the whole book was the poisoning of Elias thanks to his villainous mother. I thought the cure to save him was going to get in the way of their journey for a short period of time, but Elias unfortunately suffered throughout the entirety of the book, which lead to that huge sacrifice at the end that I still have mixed feelings about.

As they made their journey, the world expanded as we saw many places and got introduced to new characters, such as Shaeva, Afya, Harper, Mamie Rila, and the creepy Warden.

Regarding Keenan: That was quite the twist… and I totally saw it coming. I actually shipped him with Laia in the first book because there wasn’t anything really happening between Laia and Elias for me to be onboard with. Even in A Torch Against the Night, when Keenan got re-introduced, I was okay with either of them being with Laia (even though I slightly changed my mind and liked Elias better). Then little hints were being dropped here and there, and even though it seemed far-fetched to think that Keenan could be some kind of enemy, when it was revealed I wasn’t really surprised. I found the whole thing to be rather creepy actually, especially with the fact that he and Laia slept together. He manipulated her in order for her to give the armlet from her mother to him out of love. Something that was mentioned that I found interesting was that he wouldn’t have been able to take it from her if he didn’t love her in return. I’m wondering if this will be an important factor that will make an appearance in the future books.    

Romance is obviously not a focal point in this series, and usually I would want it to be more present in any book I read, but I found this story captivating enough that I didn’t really mind its small presence. But the funny thing is, despite its small presence, this book literally had a love square. There was Elias and Keenan who were both into Laia, and then there was Helene who was jealous of Laia being with Elias because she was in love with Elias.

I also think that Helene and Harper have the potential to become a romantic thing in the future, but I think I need more convincing if that’s the path that will be taken because of the fact that he literally tortured her in an interrogation at the beginning of the book. Obviously he was taking orders but that still doesn’t sit well with me.

All the twists and turns in this book left the potential for an amazing third book in the series. Such as Darin and Laia finally catching up, Darin healing and later begin making weapons for the Scholars, Elias’s new situation, his and Laia’s relationship, Keenan maybe coming back, and the fact that Elias and Harper are brothers! I’m really looking forward to the next book but unfortunately there will be another long wait for its release.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas | REVIEW

fireheartBook: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

“But letting that glimmering, lovely light before him die out . . . In his ancient, bitter bones, he could not accept it. She had offered him a home.”

Empire of Storms, the 5th instalment in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, was a whirlwind of epicness, battles, romance, and attractive territorial fae warriors. I personally had no idea what to expect from this 700 page book, meaning that I was able to (for the most part) avoid spoilers as best as I could, which doesn’t usually happen. But there was the occasional direction of the storyline that I was able to guess right because of the amount of foreshadowing happening throughout the book. I had some problems with a few characters and at some points didn’t seem to enjoy Maas’s writing, finding her descriptions to be repetitive and just frustrating to get through. I surprisingly enjoyed and cared about the storylines of the side characters more than the main ones, which sadly means that I wasn’t really excited about the majority of the book as I kept trying to get through a number of chapters in order to get to the POVs of the minor characters I cared about.

EoS opened up its world in a way that we’ve never seen before. The world expanded right in front of our eyes as the main crew met up with old characters and visited a wide range of lands in order to plot and plan, ensuring that their side of the dark war, that’s inevitably coming, isn’t a fool’s task. All I can say is that I’m excited and a little frightened over what’s to come next in the final installment of the Throne of Glass series. It’s been a long journey, but there’s still a lot more epicness to come.

For the continuation of this review I will be talking about my spoiler thoughts and feels.

I think splitting this review up by ships is the best way to go because almost every character in EoS was matched up with someone…

Lorcan and Elide: I want to start off by saying that the highlight of this book for me was the Elide and Lorcan chapters. I had no idea before I began this book that I would be sailing on a new ship, but there I was from the very first chapter being excited at the possibility of these two characters getting together. I was loving the “we have to pretend we’re married trope, leading to the awkward sleeping arrangements trope” that Sarah included in their story. I was laughing at how Elide completely baffled Lorcan. He’s a 500 years old dark fae warrior who found himself impressed, surprised, and a little frightened by this teenage girl. I thought their little makeout session was great despite the uncomfortable location and atmosphere they were in, and when Elide sacrificed herself to save him… his reaction was so heartbreaking. Just the idea that Lorcan has probably never had anyone care for him, let alone sacrifice themselves  for him, really made that scene so much more meaningful. It was definitely a defining moment in their relationship. Also, props to Sarah for including the difficulty of Elide getting her period because it was realistic and relatable!! And can we just talk about how Lorcan tore up his shirt for her to use as pads? He seriously reached a whole new level with that thoughtful gesture.

Aedion and Lysandra: I was rooting for these two to be a thing from QoS, and even though they still aren’t a couple in EoS, I don’t really mind because their relationship isn’t being rushed. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have some great moments throughout the book. I think one of my favourite parts of EoS overall was when Lysandra turned into a sea dragon at Skull’s Bay and battled all those sea-wyverns. That was completely epic! And Aedion was watching the whole time (as were everyone else) worried for her and pissed off at Aelin for putting her in that situation. Even that post-battle scene on the beach really stuck out to me. He waited there with her for hours until she had enough strength and energy to shift back into her human form. I really hope that their relationship strengthens in the last book and that Aedion puts aside his anger towards her so that they could work as a team. They had similar pasts, and I think they really need each other (even as just a friend) to be able to heal and move past the scars they possess.

Dorian and Manon: Where do I even begin? I was so excited about what was going to happen between these two from the moment I read their first meeting in QoS. They were honestly the least likely characters to get together in my mind, but that obviously changed. Now I’m not sure at this point where their relationship is headed. Being in a romantic relationship doesn’t really seem like Manon’s thing… But she’s had so much character development over the last 3 books that anything is possible at this point.  It’s guaranteed that she and Dorian are lusting for one another though. I must admit, I honestly never liked Dorian from books 1-4. I didn’t understand the hype surrounding his character, but EoS somehow changed that for me. I absolutely love him now. He’s just a precious and powerful cinnamon roll and he needs to be protected at all costs.  On the topic of Manon, I don’t think I’ve ever went through several emotions at once than when Astrin was about to get executed. I literally went from crying and being angry at the idea of her dying, to being surprised as I rooted for Manon to take her grandmother down.

Rowan and Aelin: This is what I’ve been dreading the most to talk about. I was so for Aelin and Rowan becoming a romantic couple in HoF & QoS, but my feelings have changed drastically. I didn’t want to admit it to myself throughout half this book, but the reality is I just really don’t care about their characters, individually and together. This is a pretty controversial opinion considering there are so many readers out there who love them, but I also know I’m not alone on this opinion because I’ve read reviews with people who have had the same. So basically Rowan is an okay character, I don’t love him or anything, he’s just there. But I literally lost count on the amount of times Aelin annoyed me throughout this book. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just didn’t feel any connection with her at all. She was always so angry, moody, and full of herself. It was honestly exhausting to read her chapters. And I just didn’t feel anything towards her relationship with Rowan. The fact that they’re mates and that they got married didn’t give me feels. I don’t know what else to say other then I just couldn’t bring myself to rate this book higher than 4 stars because Aelin and Rowan obviously played a huge role in this book, as they are the lead characters, resulting in no way of escaping them. If I felt this way towards a side character, I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with the book because they wouldn’t have been the main focus. There is still room for improvement, perhaps my mind will change with the final book, but at this point I don’t see myself ever shipping them.

Overall, I enjoyed certain aspects of Empire of Storms more than others and despite the fact that this book was not my favourite in the series, I’m still curious to see how Sarah J. Mass will end her story in the final instalment. She is one of my favourite authors and I will continue to read all the books she releases. I guess my expectations have just been really high ever since I read A Court of Mist and Fury.


Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder | Book Review


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Book: Touch of Power

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Sorry. An overdeveloped nurturing instinct comes with being a healer.”

Touch of Power follows Avry, a twenty year old healer who has been on her own for 3 years; hiding from people who blame her kind for being responsible for the outbreak of the plague. This lead to angry mobs executing them because of it, which resulted in our protagonist, Avry, being the only healer left. Right before Avry gets executed herself, because her powers were discovered after she healed a little girl, a group of men rescue her. They have been searching for a healer for two years to heal their friend, who has the pledge and is put in a temporal stasis so he wouldn’t die while they searched. But is being forced to travel with these men against her will any better than being thrown in prison to await execution? Many adventures and encounters with different groups of people out to get Avry occur, which leads her to believe that perhaps she is in safe company with these men, especially once she starts to consider a few of them as her friend.

I knew right when I read the summery of Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder, that it was the kind of book I was going to enjoy. My expectations were definitely met, but that didn’t necessarily mean I didn’t have some problems with it. I never read a book by this author before, but I’ve heard numerous times that “Poison Study” is really good! I have every intention of reading Poison Study now that I have read Touch of Power and enjoyed her writing and story. Touch of Power drew me in from the first line and didn’t let go until the end. It was addicting and I gave up hours of sleep just so I could read “one more chapter…” (As any good book has persuaded an avid reader to do.)

For about the first quarter of the book I completely despised Kerrick, with good reason too. He was a complete jerk; hitting Avry and acting all cold and emotionless towards her. I was actually a full on Avry and Belen shipper at the beginning, (am I the only one?) He genuinely liked her a lot from the very start, this doesn’t mean he romantically liked her or vise versa, but I just thought that kind of relationship between them might have worked out. But that idea quickly changed in my mind when Kerrick eventually warmed up to me, but I was still a little hesitant about him. Usually I’m all about the angsty male lead with a haunting past who has never had someone break through the cold ice shielding his heart, until he meets that one pain-in-the-ass individual that he begins to care about and doesn’t know why. Although this book was for the most part following this trope, I feel like the transition between the “I hate you,” to the “I love you,” was a very fast and weird one. Don’t get me wrong, it was a slow burn relationship development for sure and I was excited about it, but there was a point where I thought the development that was building up immediately jumped into a “being in a relationship” status. Maybe I’m the only one who thought this?

But that’s not the only reason I didn’t give this book a solid 5 stars. A part of the story that completely turned me off was something that bothered me a lot: The main character was influenced and manipulated by a crazy man who kissed/touched her without consent. It was absolutely disgusting and I have no sympathy for the guy. If he acted like a decent human being, maybe his tragic backstory would have been more heartbreaking. But he’s the antagonist of the story and he’s done a list of horrific stuff, but his enjoyment of manipulating girls with his magic so they couldn’t fight back from his pursuits is at the top of the list for me.

But putting these couple of negative opinions aside, for the most part there was many things I enjoyed. Avry was a great protagonist. She didn’t allow anyone to boss her around, her healing power was interesting to read about, and her stubbornness made her extremely determined to do whatever she wanted. What I loved most about the book was that around 95% of it consisted of Avry and the group of men traveling to their destination. It took months! One thing I’ve always loved is road trip books and Touch of Power is the fantasy version of it.

Overall, I got really invested in this book so I’m happy that I decided to pick it up. It was such a relief because it helped me get out of a really long reading slump. The main characters were fun to get to know and the whole magical & political aspect of it was really interesting. I highly recommend it if my summary of the book sparked an interest in you. I know for sure that I’ll be picking up more of Maria V. Snyder’s books in the future.

When We Collided By Emery Lord


“Maybe we were dying planets, Jonah, being drawn into the darkness. When we collided, we bounced each other back into orbit.”

This is a 2.5 stars rating from me. I feel really bad about this, but I just had a hard time getting through this book. I persevered and didn’t give up, but there was just too many times when I wanted to put this book down and never pick it up again. I thought for sure I was going to DNF this book, but I hate it when I leave books unfinished, so I kept going, even though my determination deprived me of reading another book for over a month!

Now I hope I don’t sound too harsh because I didn’t completely despise the book. There were reasons that kept me going. I was interested in certain aspects of it, like Vivi’s unique personality and the fact that the book included mental illness, a topic that is very important, but from my experience, hasn’t been very present in the YA books that I’ve read.

What I didn’t enjoy though was the romance, which sucks because the romance is the number one thing I look for when I choose a book to read.

I didn’t feel the connection between Jonah and Vivi. I didn’t believe they romantically loved each other or that they were actually a couple. There was no chemistry and it just felt really forced. It might also be because their relationship was very instalove…

These two characters collided during very difficult times in both of their lives. Their relationship was about meeting and unexpectedly helping put a positive impact in each other’s lives. This still could have happened if there was no romance, if their relationship just developed as a friendship. It would have still worked out!

I want to talk about why Vivi’s personality intrigued me so much. She is so different from most of the protagonists that we read about these days. She’s outgoing, has a unique and crazy sense of style and voice, and has a strange way of thinking and describing things:

“Don’t even ask me how my wild brain works, which points connect to the other parts, but the interconnectedness makes me think of bureaucracy.’

“I know you’re not just daydreaming about riding a pink pony to your job as a cupcake taster.”

“I’m a fountain of truth, splashing past each concrete tier until I hit the bottom and spout right back to the top.”

Anytime I read her chapters I was completely stunned.

I appreciated Jonah too. The brother that took care of his little siblings, with his passion for cooking, and having to grow up too fast.

These hardships that the characters went through was what had my interest. I wanted to know if/how they would overcome and accept the darkness in their lives.

Some of Vivi’s chapters were really random, and I guess it just has to do with her character and personality, but at some points I was like… what?
I mean one chapter she’s looking for her dad, then the next she’s on a crazy artistic mission, then she’s looking around town for clues about numbers that spoke to her…
It was fun and weird in a way… like what is Vivi going to do next?
It always remained a mystery…

I felt for the characters though. What they were going through had me tearing up at times, especially during Jonah’s chapters. Right off the bat we know what is going on in Jonah’s life, but it takes awhile to see past Vivi’s strange but welcoming presence and understand what is going on beneath the surface. We don’t even know what type of mental illness Vivi has until almost halfway through the book!

This obviously wasn’t my favourite contemporary book, but I still appreciated the story and I feel like I have a piece of it marked in my soul. (Vivi was here).

I just wish it didn’t take me a long time to get through it.


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Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

**4/5 stars**

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

Here I am trying to come up with the perfect words to sum up how I feel about what I just read, but I’m utterly speechless. It was such a unique, frustrating, fun, and heartbreaking love story. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. It made me seriously think about life and how just a small miscommunication can make a huge difference, and in the case of Matt and Grace, it unfortunately cost them 15 years of their lives apart.

The story follows a thirty-six year old man named Matt who has no motivation in life to move forward. His ex-wife, her new husband, and him all work in the same place, which can get awkward, and he has no one to go home to at the end of the day. That all changes when he sees Grace again at the subway station. It’s a second too late, the train’s doors already close, but they make eye contact and recognized each other immediately. This persuades Matt to write a missed connections ad on Craigslist in hopes that Grace will find it. The story goes back 15 years to when Matt and Grace meet in their college dorm building and how they become fast friends. They’re both unique and weird; she’s a cellist he’s a photographer. Their relationship develops slowly and they become inseparable. Unfortunately, life gets in the way, and they become victims of bad timing.  

They cared about each other so much and didn’t give a damn about what other people thought of their relationship. The use of their talents really drove the story forward. Matt couldn’t stop taking photos of Grace, no matter if she was dancing, playing the cello, etc, etc. Grace practiced her cello non-stop. Their song tastes were nothing I’ve heard of before, but I somehow understood their passion and connection through the music in their relationship. (I may have just listened to some Jeff Buckley songs and now I have a lot of feels.)

I loved the New York atmosphere, I thought it was really fitting. The flashback took place in the 90’s, so it was cool to read about how their lives were different because of the lack of technology. The reason I gave it a 4 stars was because in the first quarter of the book I didn’t feel really connected to Matt and Grace. I didn’t desperately want to know how their story continued. BUT once I got past the middle, it really picked up for me and I fell in love. This book shattered my heart so many times but still managed to mend it back together, again and again. I would love to see this book adapted into a film! (can someone please make this happen.)


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Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

**3.5 /5 Stars**

“I’m saying find someone who you can talk to. Someone who makes you laugh. I think you’ll realize that that’s what you find attractive.”

This story follows the POV of two protagonists: Parker and Ben. They’ve been best friends since freshmen year of college and over the years they have been roommates. Throughout this novel, the one question that keeps getting brought up is, can a guy and a girl be best friends without having any romantic feelings for each other? Parker and Ben thought so. Sure they had to convince many people that they were just friends, such as the many girls that Ben brought home, but what they claimed was true. They were just best friends who cared a lot about each other, but not in the way people thought. That is until Parker’s boyfriend breaks up with her. Ben and her later decide to have a no strings attached, sexual relationship. They didn’t want sex to change their friendship, so they made it all about having fun. 

I love reading the occasional New Adult novel. In between finishing a fantasy or YA contemporary, I find that I’m in the mood for something different, fun, and easy to get into. When I read the blurb for Blurred Lines, I immediately wanted to read it. It involved the type of tropes I often see in fanfiction, or in some other New Adult stories out there. Like the friend to lover, roommates, and friends with benefits tropes. This novel had it all. I enjoyed the story a lot, but I have to say it wasn’t my favorite. I thought Ben and Parker were fun to read about, but I didn’t connect or fall in love with them as much as I usually would with the main characters. There were some side characters that I absolutely despised though; Lance and Lori. I don’t think it was the author’s intentions to make these two characters unlikable, but for some reason I was always annoyed when they were in a part. I know we’re supposed to despise Lance a little, but Lori was also on my list of characters I wish weren’t in the story, and I’m not really sure why.

One thing I absolutely loved about this story was Parker and Ben’s friendship. They were so adorable with all the silly games they played and how they always looked out for each other. I also LOVED the fact that they actually communicated! What I mean by this is that whenever there was something wrong, they always told each other. For the most part they talked to each other about their problems and how they felt; the talk or mute game was usually how they began these conversations. I absolutely hate it when there’s conflict going on in books because someone didn’t tell the other person something. Such as, a big secret that a character finds out from a different source instead of from the person that was actually supposed to tell them. This usually begins a lot of drama. The communication between Parker and Ben was really refreshing.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It’s obviously not my favorite New Adult novel I’ve ever read, but it was still a quick and fun read.