RECENT READS #21

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and having an amazing day. Today I will be doing the next in a series on my blog called Recent Reads. As I’ve been reading 20+ books each month, it would be really hard for me to incorporate that into a standard wrap up format. Doing a list of my recent reads that I want to do mini-reviews on is the best way for me to keep track of everything I’ve been reading!

A Discovery of Witches

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

I really enjoyed this book! There was so so much to like about it. The characters were amazing and went through some brilliant development especially Matthew and Diana, and I loved Diana as a protagonist so much! These characters are older than I typically read from and it made a nice change. I also loved that they were both so smart because I felt like I was actually learning things about history and alchemy alongside them? That’s another reason I loved this book so much. Despite being about witches and vampires I was so interested in the historical element of the story – as I do have almost two history degrees I found it fascinating! I also thought the research Deborah Harkness put into this book was ASTOUNDING, i really appreciated all that extra detail. 

Although it’s a long book the setting changes often which I really liked. Not only that but the plot got more complicated as the book progressed, which was good because it wasn’t so info dumpy at the beginning. 

I really liked the romance between Matthew and Diana! It was a slow burn but a really good one. I also love the forbidden love trope so I adored that element of the story too, which is looking like that’ll pose a major problem for the characters for the rest of the series. 

All in all I’m going to start the second book straight away as the book ended in such a smart place – it seems like the end of the book but the beginning of the series, if that makes sense? I’m super excited to keep reading!

From Lukov with Love

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

This book was probably he mot hyped up of Zapata’s that I’d seen online, so after giving the only other two books from her i’ve read 5 stars, i had really high expectations for this one. Unfortunately I didn’t find myself liking it half as much as the other ones, which I found really strange. I know I’m in the minority here, too – I really wanted to like it! I think the main reason I didn’t like this one was because I wasn’t particularly attached to any of the characters – while I thought they were both well written, and Jasmine showed a good development from beginning to end, I find that I’m much more attached to characters with stronger backstories. I think this is why I loved Luna and the Lie so much more than this. I felt like these characters, especially Ivan, didn’t have strong backstories that informed the actions they took throughout the book. 

Despite finding out through reading Zapata’s books that I really like slow-burn romances, I found this one just too slow. I think in this book she left it a little late before we even got a first kiss between the two love interests – for me, 50 pages before the end just isn’t enough time to wrap everything up! While there were definitely some cute scenes throughout the book and moments that made me laugh and smile, overall I just didn’t feel that that was enough to win me over. This book spans a year, which I also think impacted on my enjoyment of it because there were so many fade to black moments. I also found this book pretty predictable which I hadn’t done with the other two books, which effected my enjoyment of it.

Geekerella

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

I have had this on my radar for what seems like forever, and I finally read it! If I had one word I would use to describe this book it would be CUTE. it was so adorable! I felt familiarity with this book before I had even read much, and I think that was because I knew it was a Cinderella retelling before I picked it up, so I felt like I knew how the story was going to go. I really liked our main character Elle,  and I got so frustrated on her behalf at times because her stepmother and sisters were so mean to her. Something surprising that came out of this book was her growing friendship with Sage. I thought that was just so nice and I was almost as invested in it as I was in the romance! I liked Darien as a love interest and I thought the two suited each other very well, and I thought their back and forth and banter was so sweet. 

Bookish and the Beast

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

I picked this up straight after finishing Geekerella and while I enjoyed it and it definitely had some cute moments, I thought it was just okay really. I didn’t feel the same attachments towards Vance and Rosie as I did in the first book, and the story was predictable in more of a bad way compared to Geekerella.  I just say though one of the things I loved most about this book was the references to different dating sims which Vance played that I found absolutely hilarious. I really liked the angst that was in the first third of the book but I feel like after that disappeared I ended up losing interest in the book. It might have been me because of all the slow burn romances I’ve been reading but I also think it just went from one end of the relationship to the other pretty quickly.

Shipped

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

This was one of my most anticipated books and to be honest I think I hyped myself up too much for it. I was ready for it to be the perfect blend of The Hating Game and The Unhoneymooners – I can definitely see it trying to be that, but it just wasn’t there for me. It’s a shame though because I absolutely adore the premise, but I think this book suffered from some major pacing issues from me. We spent way too long on the build up before the cruise, and I can’t even justify it by setting the relationship dynamics because that wasn’t too strong either. I feel like this book tried to take too much on for the size it was. Not only do we have Henley and Graeme’s relationship, but also uncover the mystery of her sister, the sleazy boss and the promotion (on top of trying to save the Galapagos!). For me, it was just too much to pack into a small-ish book. Henley and Graeme’s relationship got probably ½ of the attention I would expect to go into a romance. 

There were some aspects about this book that I really really loved though! I thought their interactions were a good mixture of cute and full of banter, and I liked that the basis for their ‘enemies’ was solved pretty quickly (though I don’t know if I can entirely call it an enemies-to-lovers, because of the pacing…) There were also some really adorable moments and I think this book is unique in its setting and importance of ecotourism. It’s just such a shame as I really wanted to like this book more, and I’ll pick it up again in the summer (it’s a perfect summery book) but overall it was just a bit meh for me!

Have you checked out of these books? If you have, what did you think of them? I’d love to know your favourites in the comments below!

Happy reading,
Lucy

2 thoughts on “RECENT READS #21

  1. Great Wrapup! I do glad you loved A Discovery of Witches ☺️ I’ve had Geekella on my watchlist for a while. Interesting to see you opinion about it and it sounds really good.

    Liked by 1 person

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