Mini Reviews: Recent Release Round-Up

The reading frenzy continues and I’ve got three more mini reviews for everyone today, so scroll down for my thoughts on new discoveries and old faves!


TheBurningMazeThe Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 1, 2018

Genres: Children’s, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mythology

Pages: 448 Format: eBook Source: Library

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.

With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon. . . .

Apollo is back in action with the arrival of The Burning Maze and things continue to not go as planned. I was pretty certain on who the last Roman Emperor would be and while I was right, I wish I had been wrong. This one definitely took a darker turn and my heart is heavy from that ending. Of course there’s plenty of humor like all Riordan books but The Trials of Apollo continue to miss the high bar I’ve set with his work.

At least we got glimpses of some old friends with Grover returning. Jason and Piper give an assist as well and Coach Hedge shows up too! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the focus on nature with this series and I loved seeing the desert dryads and Grover’s role with all of them. I also appreciated Riordan’s acknowledgement of climate change and the devastating fires that hit Southern California. 

Overall The Burning Maze was another great addition to the Rick Riordan canon and if you’re a fan you definitely need to pick this one up. 


ACourtofFrostandStarlightA Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury YA on May 1, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 272 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

3/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. 

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Will I ever be capable of parting from my beloved Night Court? Probably not, but my feelings on this series have always been a mixed bag. A Court of Frost and Starlight is no exception with the love I have for these characters only increasing while the narrative continued to be dragged down with too much going on.Yes, even this fluffy bridge novella was heavy with too wide a scope.

I will say the focus on how everyone is dealing with the end of war and how they’re trying to prevent another was handled pretty well and every single character makes me emotional in some way. I am looking forward to the next series and the characters it will focus on but Maas’ books will never be something I can truly rave about. There’s just too many inconsistencies and problems.

Overall if you’re a fan of Sarah J. Maas or the ACOTAR family definitely pick this one up.


LoveSongsandOtherLiesLove Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

Published by Tor Teen on April 24, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 288 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Well hello unexpected wonder of Love Songs & Other Lies! This second chance romance was full of heart and emotion with music woven through every page and I absolutely loved it. Vee and Cam are complex characters dealing with a lot and the Then & Now style let’s readers discover their beginnings while present life takes one dramatic turn after another. 

This book is full of layers from the unfolding plot to the dynamic characters and Jessica Pennington tied all of it together into a superb story that would make for great television just like the reality show the bands are participating in. Honestly I keep being drawn to books with music and this one had everything from tour shenanigans to quiet acoustic duets. Plus on page lyrics abound!

Overall if you’re looking for a sweet summer romance full of heart, Love Songs & Other Lies is absolutely for you!


Have you read any of these books? Want to pick them up now?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Highly Anticipated Titles ~ June 2018

Highly Anticipated Titles is a monthly feature showcasing some of the book releases I’m most excited for each month. Typically the summer months are a bit slower on new titles but June is still bursting with exciting reads. Check them out below!


SavetheDateSave the Date by Morgan Matson

Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Expected on June 5, 2018

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.


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Waiting on Wednesday: The Kiss Quotient

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.


TheKissQuotientThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley Books

Expected Date: June 5, 2018

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…


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Teaser Tuesday: Whichwood

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Hosted by A Daily Rhythm, Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme meant to highlight passages from books you are currently reading.

Here are the rules (as described by A Daily Rhythm):

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m finally picking up Tahereh Mafi’s Whichwood for Ramadan Readathon and today I’ve got a couple teasers for all of you. As I truly enjoyed Furthermore I have high hopes that this one will be just as good or even better! Here’s the first:

The thing was, no persons ever came here, and heaven help them if they did; stumbling upon a shed of swollen, rotting corpses had never done any person any good.

And another:

Laylee wasn’t a child oft bothered by the fuss and furor of fear; no, she dealt with death every day, and so the unknowns that startled most had little effect on a person who could talk to ghosts.

Well these surely sound promising!

Have you read Whichwood? Interested in picking it up now?

Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: Running with Lions by Julian Winters

RunningwithLionsRunning with Lions by Julian Winter

Published by Duet Books on June 7, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 320 Format: eARC Source: NG

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie, Sebastian Hughes, should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood best friend Emir Shah shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets, and bonding on the weekends sparks more than just friendship between them.


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ARC Review: Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser

WhisperoftheTideWhisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser

Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 5, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 352 Format: eARC Source: NG

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Caro Oresteia spent her life waiting to be called by the river god, as those in her family had been for generations. But when she’s swept away on an adventure to save the Akhaian royal prince, Markos, her destiny is sealed by the sea god instead.

For now, Caro is landlocked, helping Markos reclaim his throne after nearly his entire family was assassinated in a political coup. Without any financial or military support, Markos is desperate for allies, and Caro has fought off more than one attempt on his life. When a powerful Archon offers his army in exchange for Markos’s marriage to his daughter, Caro must choose: Her love for Markos, or the fate of Akhaia? And more importantly: How much is she willing to risk to defy the sea god’s wishes and chart her own course? 

With shipwrecks, lost treasure, old and new enemies, dark magic, and breathtaking romance, Sarah Tolcser weaves another epic story about chasing your fate.


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Ramadan Readathon 2018 ~ TBR

ramadan-readathon-2018-header

Hello all! This year I’ll be participating in Ramadan Readathon starting May 17th and running through June 15th. The purpose of this challenge is to promote and read books by Muslim authors during the holy month of Ramadan. During the month there will be a blog tour and Instagram challenge so check out all the details HERE and follow @MuslimReadathon on Twitter and Instagram for updates. Plus you can use #RamadanReadathon to share your own progress and recommendations!

Last week I posted some book recommendations which you can check out HERE. Today I’m showing off my working TBR for the month.


TBR


Depending on how quick I’m reading I may get to even more titles but I’m super excited to start with these four.

Are you participating in Ramadan Readathon?

Let me know in the comments below!