Books I DNF’d in 2022

While we want to love every book that we pick up, there are some that just aren’t meant for us. Here are five books that I DNF’d during 2022:

  • The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy

The Off-Campus and Briar U series are frequently recommended for hockey romances. For me, this series goes downhill as it continues. While I could power through the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase, I could not say the same for The Risk. I checked The Risk out multiple times from the library, but never made it past the 50% mark. Like many of the other books from the Off-Campus and Briar U series, The Risk is filled with cringey scenes and dialogues. I feel like I may have enjoyed this book, as well as the rest of the series, more if I read it when it was released and I was younger. Now, I cannot see myself finishing this series.

  • These Hollow Vows by Lexie Ryan

I had These Hollow Vows on my TBR for awhile and decided to read it when it became available in my library. This is another case where I think that I would have enjoyed this book if I was younger. I think These Hollow Vows was actually a decent story, for as much as I read, but it definitely has a very young adult fantasy feel. I have seen a lot of the tropes in this book, as well as the world building, done in other books, so it was a little too similar to other books that I’ve read. However, if I had read this book when I was a young adult, I think I probably would have finished it and read the next book in the duology.

  • Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren’s books are hit or miss for me. I have found this to be especially true for Christina Lauren’s later works, which stray a little from complete romance. I found this to be especially true with Something Wilder. From the description and cover, I expected a second chance romance. However, there is a situation in the book which is completely unexpected and completely changes the tone of the book. In fact, it really sucked all of the romance out of the book for me and made me incredibly anxious. After this event occurred in the novel, I didn’t feel like continuing because I was in the mood to read a romance when I picked up this book, rather than what it become in the novel.

  • A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

This series is frequently recommended online for readers who like fantasy romance. I read another book by Scarlett St. Clair earlier this year, and while it isn’t one of my favorite novels of the year, it was very entertaining. I checked A Touch of Darkness out of a few times because the description sounded exactly like something I would like. However, I could not get into the writing at the beginning, which made it not fun for me to read.

  • To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

I had read the first four books in the Bridgerton series and wanted to finish the books which focused on the rest of the siblings. However, I could not get past the first few chapters of To Sir Phillip, With Love. I just found myself incredibly bored with the plot and the repetitiveness of the Bridgerton novels.As of right now, I cannot see myself continuing on with the rest of the novels. However, I do plan on continuing to watch the Netflix series.

What books did you DNF in 2022?

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The Summer I Turned Pretty Season One Review

What is The Summer I Turned Pretty?

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a novel by Jenny Han which follows Belly Conklin during the summer which she spends at a beach house with her mother and brother as well as her mother’s best friend and two sons. During previous summers, Belly was usually left out from the boys’ experiences. However, this summer, everything changes. To see my review of the entire trilogy, click here.

The Summer I Turned Pretty (TSITP) is the second trilogy by Jenny Han to be adopted into film. Another series by Han, To All the Boys I Loved Before, was available on Netflix. TSITP, however, is available on Amazon Prime. On one hand, it is exciting that more of Jenny Han’s beloved series are transforming into series or movies. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly more expensive to spend money on multiple streaming services, which may drawback some fans from watching the series.

Are the Plot Changes Good or Bad?

Whenever a book is adapted to the screen, there are always changes. Overall, I feel like most of the changes from book to screen do not take away from the original series and capture the spirit of the novel. However, there are some changes which I found unnecessary. They didn’t necessarily take away from my enjoyment of the series, but if they weren’t included, I wouldn’t have minded.

In the Amazon Prime series, there are several plots or storylines added which do not appear in the original novel. This is due in part to the show focusing on multiple perspectives, rather than only showing Belly’s storyline. One major part of the television show, which doesn’t appear in the novels, is Belly’s participating in a debutante ball. This story line contains major scenes and pivotal moments within the series. While this storyline isn’t in the book, I found that it really reinforced a major idea within the show: Belly undergoes major changes due to growing up.

There are several other storylines which take place in the show, which do not appear in the novel. Viewers get to see Belly’s older brother develop a relationship with a girl from a wealthy background. Belly’s mother develops a relationship with a local author. On one hand, this allows readers to understand all of the characters in the show better, as opposed to Belly in the books. However, there were some scenes which I found myself wishing to get back to the main story line.

While the television show isn’t a carbon copy of the book, it does capture the same spirit as the novel, which readers will appreciate. However, it also brings some new ideas which freshen up the storyline and make it more relatable for current teenagers, who are the target demographic for the show?

How Were the Characters?

One of the biggest strengths of the TSITP show is the casting. Most of the characters are exactly how I pictured them in the book. Lola Tung captures Belly’s excitement as she grows older and breaks out of her shell. Rain Spencer makes Taylor, Belly’s friend, more likable and comedic. Christopher Briney embodied Conrad’s broodiness. Jackie Chung and Rachel Blanchard had excellent chemistry as Laurel and Susannah that you wanted to be friends with them too.

The only character who was slightly different than I envisioned when reading was Jeremiah. In the books, Jeremiah becomes a frat boy later on, so I always imagined him more like a frat boy of the era in which the book was being published. However, I did like the changes to his character, and if I think the book was written now, Jeremiah would have been written like he appears in the show. Gavin Casalegno, the actor who portrays Jeremiah, gives his character a “golden retriever” personality which helps to really set him apart from Conrad.

Final Thoughts

Overall, TSITP is a fun series which readers of the original series and people who haven’t read the book before will equally enjoy. While there were some changes from the book to the screen, I didn’t mind the changes and thought they provided a good update to the original series. I highly recommend this Amazon Prime series and give it five out of five stars.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series Review (Spoiler Free!): Updated 2022

Back in 2018, I wrote my first spoiler-free review of the entire Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas (you can read my initial review here). However, since posting that review, Sarah J. Maas released the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight, and another book in the series, A Court of Silver Flames, with two more novels planned. After rereading some of the books in the series, and reading the newest additions, I thought it was time to update my initial review. If you would like to see individual reviews on books in this series, I will include them at the bottom of this post.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, often referred to as ACOTAR, was a popular series on the Booktube community and is now a popular series within the BookTok community. ACOTAR seems to be a polarizing series: people either absolutely love it or hate it. Personally, ACOTAR is one of my favorite series and one that I find myself rereading time and time again. While it is a series that I enjoy, taking a step back, I can see stand-out aspects of the series compared to aspects which needs to be improved. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the series as a whole:

The Synopsis

A Court of Thorns and Roses follows Feyre Archeron, a poor hunter, who kills a faerie disguised as a wolf in the woods. To pay for her actions, Feyre is taken back to the fae lands where she must live with her cursed captor. The original A Court of Thorns and roses (ACOTAR) series is comprised of three books, told primarily from the perspective of Feyre with a couple chapters in the final book told from another perspective. The novella in the series, A Court of Frost and Starlight, follows several characters from the original series around Winter Solstice. A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister, after she overcomes trauma which occurs in the previous novels and trains to find three valuable objects.

The Characters

One aspect of where Sarah J. Maas always excels is the characters. Maas consistently creates interesting, likeable, and complex characters which stick with readers long after reading. A common trope present in novels by Maas is the found family trope and the ACOTAR series is no exception. By the end of the novels, readers truly feel like they are part of the family which she has created.

Since the series is so lengthy, readers get to learn a lot about many characters within the novel, not just the narrators. Some of the characters in these books are hundreds of years old and Maas gives enough of their backstories to make their personalities and complex relationships understandable. That being said, there are a lot of characters and backstories involved throughout the series, which can be overwhelming and difficult to remember. There are some characters and relationship which I’ve looked up videos on in order to understand better.

That being said, there is definitely some debate surrounding characters, particularly in the novella and the final book published so far, A Court of Silver Flames. Nesta, the main character, is a very polarizing character: people seem to either love her or hate her, so if you are in the latter camp, you may not love reading an entire book about her. Personally, A Court of Silver Flames was one of my favorite books in the series due to Nesta’s character development, so this wasn’t a hinderance to me. Additionally, some well-loved characters seem to make choices that are very inconsistent with their behavior in previous books, which really infuriates some readers.

The World Building

Similar to feeling like you a part of the family after reading ACOTAR, you also feel fully immersed in the world in which the story takes place. If you think of other popular series where people divided themselves into “factions” or “houses,” ACOTAR has a similar feel. Instead of factions or houses, the faerie world is divided into courts which are defined by different times of day (such as the Night Court) or seasons of the year (such as the Spring Court). This makes it a little bit easier for readers to keep track of how different courts operate, the powers often associated with a specific court, and the people associated with that court. Like with characters, there are many intricate details of courts and their histories sprinkled throughout the series, so it helps to have a way to categorize the information.

That being said, Maas is also known for a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the series and ACOTAR is no exception. While it is easier to keep track of information on the places in the world as the series goes on, it is definitely a lot to work through in the first book of the series. In my original review, I mentioned how I actually DNF’ed the first book in the series at around 40% of the book before I picked it up again because I felt like there wasn’t much action which occurred in the story. The world-building in novels by Maas can be difficult to push through at first, but the payoff for me is worth it to continue.

The Writing

When it comes to writing, people love or hate Sarah J. Maas. If you are on BookTok, you have probably seen the jokes about a character picking lint off of his clothes or characters detailing their bathroom issues. There are always comments about territorial male fae, and in this book, many discussions about their wing spans. I would love to see the word count for how many ties mate is used throughout ACOTAR. Sarah J. Maas has some phrases which appear frequently throughout her books, some of which are cringe-y. When I see discussions around her writing, people tend to either love or hate her writing. Personally, the repeated phrases in this series aren’t make it or break it for loving the series. However, if if this is something that annoys you, then you might not personally enjoy the writing style used within this series.

The Plot

My interest in the plots of the ACOTAR books varies depending on the books, but is more consistent than other series by the author. While I love the Throne of Glass series, it looks and feels like a completely different series by the end of the book. There are so many plots, so many POVs, and so much information to take in, it can definitely be overwhelming. ACOTAR is the first series by Maas that I read completely, and I would definitely recommend reading it first out of all of her series because it is the easiest to follow plot-wise.

While Throne of Glass has romance, it definitely focuses more on the fantasy elements plot-wise. ACOTAR definitely has a stronger focus on romance than Throne of Glass, with more explicit romantic scenes since the target audience is no longer YA (although ACOTAR was initially categorized as YA). Additionally, because of this change in target audience, there is more graphic violence and language on page than in the Throne of Glass series.

Starting with book one, the plot of ACOTAR is a good set-up for the rest of the series. ACOTAR was initially pitched as a Beauty and the Beast retelling and some of those plot elements are evident within the first book. This book does have a lot of world building in the first half, so action-wise the plot didn’t really pick up until after that point.

A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) is definitely one of the best plotted books in the series. Sarah J. Maas is like the Taylor Swift of fantasy. She takes small details from past works and builds on them in later works. Readers definitely see a lot of this in the romance plot within this book. Additionally, this book perfectly balances all of the plots: the action, the romance, and the character development. As a result, you want to keep reading to see how the plot will continue to unfold. This book also contains one of the most well-done endings I have seen in a sequel.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) was one of my least favorite books plot-wise in the series. Whereas ACOMAF balanced many of the different plots, this heavily focused on the magic and war elements. Additionally, ACOWAR recycles some previously used plot points. These makes scenes including those elements to be less dramatic from when they were used the first time around.

A Court of Frost and Starlight was definitely my least favorite overall in the series. Plot-wise it does what it was intended to: it brings some more light-hearted stories after a very dark and heavy final novel. Also, it sets up the beginning of the next book in the series. However, there are some things in this book which are just ridiculous and are very cringeworthy.

Finally, A Court of Silver Flames is one of my favorites in the series. At the same time, it is definitely more character-driven that plot-driven. So if you do prefer more plot-driven books, then you may not enjoy this one. Another complaint readers often make for this book that the villain isn’t the most remarkable or involved compared to other books. In my original review of Silver Flames (read it here), I explained how I believe the villain is supposed to be more symbolic in nature, but I can see how people would be expecting a greater villain after reading the original series.

The Pacing

Overall, the pacing of the series is a little inconsistent and can very based on the book. The two books which I moved through the quickest were A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Silver Flames. I felt like these books balanced action, romance, and character development so I wanted to keep reading. A Court of War and Ruin, the third book in the series was the worst paced in my opinion out of the full length novels in the series.

Let’s start off with book one: A Court of Thorns and Roses had a slow start to me, due to the large amount of world building which occurs in the first half of the novel. However, the eventful second half of the novel and the rest of the series is worth the work. The second book in the series, ACOMAF is one of the best paced novels in the series. ACOMAF has a perfect balance of action, romance, and character development which makes it hard to put the book down. The third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, was my least favorite of the full-length novels. ACOWAR felt like it moved a lot slower, possibly because it leaned more heavily on the magic and war plot lines than the characters and romance for me.

Moving onto the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight. One part of this novella which differs from the previous three books is that readers get more perspectives from different characters. That being said, this overall is the weakest installment of this series, and it just seems to drag on compared to ACOMAF and Silver Flames, which are much longer but more interesting. However, this book does provide what it needs: the set-up for the next full-length novels in the series and more lighthearted stories following the previous novel, which was very dark.

Final Thoughts

Like I mentioned previously, ACOTAR is series that I love and I find myself picking up again and again. This is a series that whenever a new book is announced, I automatically pre-order the next installment, which isn’t something that I usually do. I recommend the ACOTAR series is you are a fan of fantasy romance books with an interesting cast of characters.

What are some of your must-read series?

Individual Book Reviews:

The Brittany Awards 2022: Favorite Book Covers

Welcome to the 2022 Brittany Awards! The Brittany Awards are my end-of-year awards where I talk about my favorite (and sometimes least favorite!) books of the year as well as other bookish topics. The 2022 awards will use the following categories: favorite book covers, least favorite books, favorite books, and my favorite book reviews that I wrote during this year.

This week, I will be discussing some of my favorite book covers. These books were not necessarily published in 2022, but they are from books that I read during the 2022 year.

  • House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

This year, Sarah J. Maas announced a cover redesign for the Throne of Glass series. A couple of years ago, the covers of A Court of Thorns and Roses was changed. While, I understand the marketing aspect behind changing these covers, I definitely like the originals more than the redesigns. I loved the art on the covers and the details on them. I think that is why I am a huge fan of the Crescent City book covers. The Crescent City covers are reminiscent of the original covers of Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses: they feature a main character and also follow a specific color scheme. I do not have the edition with the sprayed edges, but I thought that edition was beautiful as well!

  • Birds of California by Katie Cotugno

Birds of California is about a former child star who left the industry after a series of scandals, but is being asked to join a reboot of her childhood television series. While the cover is a little bright compared to some aspects of the book, I think it is a visually appealing cover which will draw readers in. The bird on the cover references the television show which the main character starred in and the neon letters gives California hotel vibes. For me, the cover is what drew me in to reading this book, which plot-wise isn’t something that I would normally pick up, so this cover did what it was designed to do.

  • The Marriage Game series by Sara Desai

Cartoon covers are the trend right now for adult romance books. However, I feel like this sometimes leads to very generic or minimalist covers that don’t really stand out from the crowd. I find Sara Desai’s cover to be the exception to that rule. All of the book covers in the Marriage Game series have very intricately designed covers with visually appealing color schemes. These are very pretty books, and if I wasn’t out of shelf space, they would definitely be ones that I would display on my bookshelf.

  • King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

While I do enjoy fantasy books, I wouldn’t say that it is the genre that I typically gravitate towards. That being said, when I saw this cover on my library’s online system, I immediately requested this book. I love the deep red and black with a little bit of gold. I think the two swords crossing each other is a great representation of the relationship trope within this book. Additionally, while not completely symmetrical, it does have a very balanced look which is also very visually appealing.

What were some of your favorite book covers from books that you read this year?

From Blood and Ash Review

From Blood and Ash, the first book in the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, follows Poppy, an untouchable Maiden bound to follow orders from society before her Ascension. When a new and mysterious guard, Hawke, becomes closer to Poppy, she begins to question the rigid rules thrust on her by the leaders of her land.

I picked up From Blood and Ash because it is always recommended to fans of the Court of Thorns and Roses series. While I do see some similarities, From Blood and Ash didn’t completely immerse me in the world like A Court of Thorns and Roses did. While I did enjoy aspects of From Blood and Ash, I am not completely sold on picking up the next book in the series.

One aspect of this book that readers may enjoy are the characters. Poppy and Hawke are reminiscent of many other characters in this genre, so readers may like the dynamic which plays out between them. At the same time, this makes Poppy and Hawke rather unremarkable among a sea of similar characters within the same market. If you like a female character who likes to fight and can be a little stubborn, then you will probably like Poppy. If you like a male love interest who is charming with a little edge, then you will probably like Hawke.

On the other hand, some of the interactions between Poppy and Hawke reminded me a lot of the scenes we reflect on from ten years ago and no longer view as romantic but as signs of an unhealthy relationship. I found this to mostly be true at the end of the story after a large plot twist is revealed. A lot of information is withheld from Poppy throughout the story and this overwhelming amount of information comes forward largely at the end of the book. Not only is Poppy enduring some traumatic experiences, but she is also very confused about her feelings towards Hawke, and I do not feel that Hawke respects her boundaries during this time. To me, the ending presented a very uneven power dynamic between Poppy and Hawke, which is not a type of relationship which I like to read.

As for the story itself, there were some aspects that I liked and others which could have been improved. Overall, the story was fairly easy to read. The structure of the world was easy to understand. At the same time, there weren’t many surprises as the twists were fairly easy to figure out.

Additionally, I had some issues with the pacing. From Blood and Ash reminded me of A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Winner’s Curse in some regards to story structure. For about 60-75% of the book, the story takes place in the same setting with the same characters and same social structure. Then, for the last quarter of the book, it takes place in a completely different setting with new characters introduced and a new person in charge. For me, this worked in A Court of Thorns and Roses for several reasons: we already knew a little bit about the new characters appearing on the page and after a lot of world building in the first part of the book, the action finally picked up. However, like with A Winner’s Curse, this actually did From Blood and Ash a disservice. The last quarter of this book felt too different from the rest of the book. Readers get immersed in a whole new cast of characters, a whole new power dynamic, and a whole new social structure in too short of a time. For me, it felt like this book needed a little bit of editing to end the book a little sooner and move some of the end of the book to the next book in the series so it wasn’t as rushed.

Overall, From Blood and Ash was an average read to me. I can see why readers who are a fan of this genre would pick it up. However, I find that is falls short when selling readers to continue this series. I give this book three out of five stars.

Throne of Glass Series Review

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is a seven book (eight, counting the prequels) series which follows Celaena Sardothein, a deadly assassin recruited to be the king’s champion. However, as Celaena competes in the king’s competition, she learns that darker forces may threaten the land.

While I try to provide a basic summary of a series, it is hard to encompass the entire plot of the Throne of Glass series in a few sentences. The first book only scratches the surface of all of the plots and characters who appear over the lengthy series. Although the Throne of Glass series is long, it is an incredibly worthwhile series to fantasy fans and fans of Sarah J. Maas.

In recent years, A Court of Thorns and Roses and Crescent City have been popularized over BookTok. However, Throne of Glass is the first series by this author. Many new readers to Sarah J. Maas may be put off by Throne of Glass, as it is still classified as a “young adult” series. Additionally, while Throne of Glass does contain romance, there is definitely a larger focus on the fantasy elements.

That being said, I think any fan of Maas, or those who haven’t picked up a book by this author, would enjoy this series as it contains many of the trademarks of her writing. Like with the other series by Maas, Throne of Glass includes an interesting, and likable group of characters with an exciting plot which constantly builds upon itself. Additionally, it has been confirmed that all of the series by Maas and interconnected, so reading Throne of Glass may be important when reading future works by this author.

Now onto the review:

Initially, I had some reservations about continuing the Throne of Glass series. I read the first book, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t necessarily motivated to continue the series. When I first read Throne of Glass (back in 2018!), I struggled with the world building of the series and understanding different elements of the fantasy story. In all of the series by this author, there is significant worldbuilding done within the first chunk, which can be overwhelming. However, as I continued reading, I found it easier to understand the world. Throughout the Throne of Glass series as a whole, there are many different places, people, points of view and fantastical elements introduced. Additionally, there is a prequel to Throne of Glass which is extremely essential to understanding the last few novels in the series. Throne of Glass is definitely a commitment, but I’m glad I ultimately continued the series, reading the rest of the books this year.

One aspect of the book that I think readers will really enjoy are the characters and their arcs. Celaena’s arc can be summarized in one word: epic. I’ve heard many people compare Celaena’s character to the Midnights album by Taylor Swift and I completely agree. She is the anti-hero that readers will find themselves rooting for throughout the entire series. Some of the side characters also have interesting stories and arcs. Manon and Dorian are two of my favorite side characters who show a lot of growth and interesting change throughout the series.

That being said, some readers may be put off by the multiple points of view present in the book. While the first book is told through Celaena’s point of view, the later books are told from many points of views. One on hand, it pushed me to keep reading. Often, a character’s chapter will end on a cliffhanger, so I would want to keep reading to see how their plot played out. Then, in the next chapter with a different character, I would feel the same way about that character. This also helps keep some of Celeana’s plans a secret from the reader, which can make some of her actions interesting and surprising. At the same time, as the series goes on, there is less and less from Celeana’s point of view, which may frustrate from some readers who would rather focus on the main character. Additionally, there is one book in the series, A Tower of Dawn, which lacks any Celeana, but contains important information which shows up in the final book in the series.

Another aspect of this book that some readers may like and other readers may not like are some of the tropes present which were more popular around the book’s release. The beginning of this series does begin with a love triangle, which was a trademark of YA fantasy at the time. That being said, I think the love triangle in this book was slightly more interesting than other fantasy books to me since we do get to see the two initial love interests fleshed out throughout the series. That being said, people who have read books by Sarah J. Maas probably won’t be surprised that the main character has multiple love interests throughout the series.

The final aspect of this book which may polarize some new readers or old fans of this author is the focus of this series. Throne of Glass is the most YA series by Maas. While the later books do have more romantic scenes, it is not nearly explicit as her other series. Also, romance does exist in the Throne of Glass universe, but it isn’t the primary focus of the series. That being said, there is so much going on plot-wise in this series concerning the fantasy aspects that readers won’t be bored by the plot. However, if you are looking for romance elements similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses, you will not find that level within the Throne of Glass series.

The Throne of Glass series was a series that I thought long about after reading. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up a little too late to read the next chapter. While there are some books that move a little slower than others, I did enjoy every book in this series. I give this series give out of five stars.

Love on the Brain Review

Love on the Brain is the second full-length novel by Ali Hazelwood, an author who quickly gained popularity for her “STEMinist rom-com,” The Love Hypothesis, last year. This novel follows Bee Königswasser, a neuroengineer, who receives the opportunity to co-lead a project for NASA. Unfortunately for Bee, her co-lead is none other than Levi, an enemy engineer from her past. However, as the project progresses, Bee realizes that her initial impression of Levi and his feelings towards her may have been wrong.

I read The Love Hypothesis when it was initially released and was surprised when it blew up on social media. Personally, I found the story difficult to get through (I had to check it out of the library three times to finish it!) and found some of the scenes cringeworthy. To me, it seemed more like a YA novel with aged up characters in order to include more mature content.

Although I didn’t enjoy Hazelwood’s first novel, I read her next project, which is a series of novellas that also focus on women in STEM careers. Like The Love Hypothesis, I found some of the scenes were a little cringeworthy with characters and situations so similar that the stories started to blend together. However, I found the novellas much more enjoyable because the pacing matched the short length of the story.

Going into Love on the Brain, her latest book, I worried that the pacing would be off like in The Love Hypothesis or the characters would seem copied and pasted like with the novellas. While some of these concerns were confirmed, I overall enjoyed Love on the Brain and think that it will please fans of Ali Hazelwood’s other works.

Some aspects of Ali Hazelwood’s novels that readers may find repetitive are the premise and certain tropes. Many of Hazelwood’s works share a common premise: the main character perceives that the male love interest did not like her in the past, then years later, the two are forced to share a common space or project. If you are a huge fan of this type of plot as well of the miscommunication trope, then you will probably enjoy this novel. However, if you are looking for a new or different plot from an author that you’ve enjoyed in the past, then you will not find it in this book.

While the plot of this book echoes many of the other books written by Hazelwood, I was more happy with the pacing in this book than The Love Hypothesis. While it took me months of picking up and putting down Hazelwood’s first full-length novella, I finished Love on the Brain over the span of two days. Love on the Brain is about 20 pages longer than The Love Hypothesis, however, to me it seemed like many of the scenes were more meaningfully included. While Hazelwood’s books are tropey (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!), I found the first book to be riddled with too many unnecessary scenes that felt like checking off boxes. That being said, there were some parts of the book, like the Marie Curie Twitter, that seemed to be rushed at the end.

I also enjoyed the main characters in this book. Bee seemed to be more fleshed out than other characters that I have read in Hazelwood’s other works. I found a lot of Bee’s reactions believable because of the backstory which Hazelwood provided for her throughout the book. While Bee was quirky, she didn’t have the aged-up, YA feel as Olive did to me. I did enjoy Levi as Bee’s love interest, while he did come across as a little “too perfect” to me. I think this is because most of his growth occurs in the years between when he first met Bee and when they meet again, so we don’t really get to see him grow throughout the novel.

Overall, I think if you have enjoyed Hazelwood’s other works, then you will probably enjoy this one too. If you are looking for something new or different writing style or plot-wise from this author, then you will probably be disappointed with this book.

A Court of Silver Flames Review

A Court of Silver Flames is the fourth full-length book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas. This book takes place after A Court of Frost and Starlight, the novella in the series which bridges the original series to the upcoming later books. A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister, who has grown distant and cold after the events of the war. To stop Nesta from self-destructing, Feyre orders Nesta to live in the House of the Wind with Cassian where she will train and work in the building’s library. Meanwhile, one of the queens from the mainland wants revenge on the Cauldron. Nesta, who stole something for herself from the Cauldron, may be the only one to stop her.

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)

A Court of Silver Flames was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and when I started reading it, I knew it would quickly become one of my favorite reads of the year. Many readers were upset that the next installment of the series follows Nesta, as she isn’t typically considered one of the favorites among the main characters for her harsh personality. However, I think many readers, even those who don’t consider themselves fans of her character, will be rooting on Nesta throughout the book. One of the strengths of this author is writing complex characters who experience a lot of character development throughout a book or series and this is certainly true in A Court of Silver Flames. In fact, A Court of Silver Flames may be my new favorite book in the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

The greatest strength of this book would have to be Nesta’s character development. I think many readers will relate to Nesta and how she views her situation and herself. Nesta harbors a lot of guilt regarding the events that took place in the war. In turn, she often reacts harshly and closes herself off from others, as she doesn’t want or doesn’t feel that she deserves their kindness. Throughout the book, Nesta begins to make friends, develops a meaningful relationship, and regains the control that she lost in a healthy way. In previous books, readers only see Nesta how the other members of the inner circle view her, which is not favorably. I enjoyed seeing Nesta’s commentary on the members of the inner circle and seeing the depth of her character that the inner circles often misses.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the pacing. Typically in books by Sarah J. Maas, there is a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the book and it takes a good hundred pages (or more) for the action to kick off. While this book does a little summary of the events in the novella at the beginning, there aren’t large info dumps at the beginning of this book as readers of this series are now very familiar with this world. As a result, readers can jump right in to the action of this novel. Within this book, there are four sections and I found each section equally interesting and engaging. A Court of Silver Flames is almost 800 pages long, but I couldn’t put it down and at no part of the book did I find that I was just pushing myself to finish.

A Court of Silver Flames also brings a lot of promising side characters and plot for future books in the series. Within this book, we are introduced to a couple new interesting and complex side characters who I feel will have a major impact on the remaining books of this series. Additionally, some old characters, such as Eris, have new information brought to light that could possibly change the directory of their individual storylines in the future. While A court of Silver Flames has a definite end for the main characters of the story, there are many promising new developments and loose ends that leave readers with a lot of questions. I think many readers may be concerned that new books just may drag out the series rather than add to it, but after seeing some new plot lines in this book, I do not think that will be the case.

One aspect of the book that some readers may not enjoy is the physical villain of the story. Briallyn, the queen who is trying to enact her revenge on the Cauldron, actually does not appear much in the story, which may irritate some readers. For me, this didn’t bother me much because I didn’t see Briallyn as much of a villain as I saw her as a foil for Nesta. Both went into the Cauldron and were changed dramatically. Both are extremely angry by their circumstances, but one chooses to use the change for good and the other tries to use the change for bad. For me, the “villain” of the story was more Nesta versus herself as she grappled with all of her recent trauma, her newfound abilities, and her self-worth. To me, that was the more powerful struggle present in the book, and since I enjoyed that aspect of the story more than the whole aspect with Briallyn, I was satisfied with the conflict in the story.

Overall, A Court of Silver Flames was a highly enjoyable read for me. For my personal tastes, it contained the right amount of character development, romance, and action to keep me engaged throughout the entire book. From the first page, I knew this book would be a five star read for me. It is going to be difficult for another book to top this one in 2021. I give A Court of Silver Flames four out of five stars.

Crazy Stupid Bromance Review

Crazy Stupid Bromance in the third book in The Bromance a Book Club series by Lyssa Kay Adams. This book follows Alexis, a cafe owner who recently came forward as a victim of sexual harassment of a famous chef. When a girl shows up in her cafe and claims they are sisters, Alexis is shocked and hurt. However, her best friend Noah Logan is always by her side… even if he won’t express her true feelings for her.

My biggest gripe with the second book in this series, Undercover Bromance, was that it tackled big issues in an ineffective way. Additionally, it lacked many of the characteristics that readers enjoyed within the first installment of this series. Unfortunately, Crazy Stupid Bromance also fell into many of these pitfalls. However, I did enjoy the third installment in this series slightly more than the second.

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #3)

For me, this book started strong. I liked Alexis and Noah as main characters. The author gave each character a complex background that affected how they lived and interacted with each other. I don’t typically read friends to lovers books, but I think the author did a good transition in this book from the characters being friends to something more. However, as I continued reading, I grew less interested with the book as it seemed many plot points and conversations circled throughout the book.

One aspect of Undercover Bromance that I didn’t like, which also annoyed me in this book, was how the author tackled complex issues. Similar to Undercover Bromance, the climax and resolution of this book involves some serious situations that would greatly affect the world beyond the characters. However, I feel like this big situation is quickly glossed over and resolved with the characters making up after only one conversation. Within this book particularly, I think the author tried to target so many topics that they weren’t woven seamlessly throughout the book.

Another aspect of this book which will disappoint some readers is the limited elements of the original premise of this series. Like with Undercover Bromance, this book ties very loosely to the book club element. Out of all the main male characters, Noah doesn’t seem to really buy into the book club. As a result, the book within a book element is almost non-existent. If you enjoyed this in the first book, were disappointed by how it was included in the second book, then you most likely won’t enjoy how it is included in this book.

Another problem that I have with books in a series is when the characters from the previous books become caricatures of themselves and only adopt one personality trait. This is extremely true for Crazy Stupid Bromance concerning Liv and Mack. I already thought Mack lost a lot of his interesting qualities in Undercover Bromance, but I found this to be even more true in this installment. This proves true for other characters as well, for example Colt and Vlad, who for some reason, they can never refer to by his actual name and instead just call him “The Russian (Does that bother anyone else as much as it bothers me?). This seems to be true for many of the books in the series: the side characters are treated more as a “gag” than an important part of the story. Since the club and friends are supposed to be a big part of these stories, it is a little frustrating to see them just as props.

Overall, Crazy Stupid Bromance isn’t my favorite book in this series, but it isn’t my least favorite either. Unfortunately, I am starting to see patterns in this author’s work that aren’t really my cup of tea. While I may give the next book in this series a shot, it will not be high on my TBR list. I give this book 2.5 out of five stars.

Undercover Bromance Book Review

It’s no secret that this was not my favorite book in this series.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams is the second book in The Bromance a Book Club companion series. This installment follows Liv, Thea’s independent sister, who uncovers that her boss is making unwanted sexual advances towards her co-workers. After she is fired, one of the member of The Bromance Book Club, offers her a new job and support to bring the actions of her former boss to light.

When I first saw that this book included Liv as the main character, I was hesitant. I wasn’t a huge fan of Liv in the original book in the series because she seemed unwilling to give people second chances and overstepped her boundaries in her sister’s relationship, in my opinion. Unfortunately, I found many of these aspects present in this installment of the series. While some of Liv’s inappropriate behavior is addressed, it still put a damper on the book of me as a whole.

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #2)

From the first book, readers know that Liv is a strong and independent woman who will share her opinions without any reservations. In some moments this can be a good thing, like when she tells off her former boss who sexually assaults women. On the other hand, Liv often does not change her tone when speaking to victims of her old boss. Often, her words come across as victim shaming, as many of the victims of the high profile chef are too scared to come forward with the allegations. Despite the victims’ fears, Liv continues to push them. While one of the victims calls out Liv for insensitive comments she makes throughout the book, and Liv does apologize, it seems that Liv’s actions are almost brushed over too quickly with the rushed ending of the book.

One aspect of this book that I did not enjoy as much as the previous book was the relationship. Gavin and Thea both matured so much throughout the book. They both had distinct personalities with a deep history. I did not see that as much with Liv and Mack, the couple within this book. In this book, and the subsequent book in this series, Mack changes from the cool and interesting Bromance book club member to a caricature of himself. They both have past experiences which impact how they view relationships, but it wasn’t woven as seamlessly in this book. I also did not like how Mack’s “secret” was used as leverage against him (not by Liv). Although it is pointed out that this is wrong, it seems that this book consistently has characters pushing other characters to reveal past trauma in a very public setting which doesn’t sit right with me.

Another aspect of this book that I think some readers will not enjoy is that the book club doesn’t make as large of an appearance within this installment. The book that they are reading is barely referenced. If you enjoyed the structure of the first book and how it included the book within a book element, you may be disappointed that it is lacking within this installment. As I mentioned in my review of the first book, I am not really a fan of this element in books, so it didn’t bother me, but the lack of consistency within the series regarding this element may bother other readers.

I appreciate that this romance book tried to tackle large current topics. However, I do not think this book addressed these topics in a successful way. While there were some moments of this book that I enjoyed, they were few and far between. I give this book two out of five stars.