Book Reviews

Pride & Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Bookish Life Lesson – Pride & Premeditation Edition: If a man tells you that you aren’t fit to become something because you’re a woman, do it anyway.

Releases March 9, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Technically it’s 4 1/2

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a brilliant idea, conceived and executed by a clever young woman, must be claimed by a man.

Tirzah Price

A few days ago I woke up to find I was approved for an ARC from HarperCollins for Pride & Premeditation, it would be an understatement to say I quietly smiled to myself. I full on fangirl squealed. I had only read the synopsis a few days before, but I was already so in. Pride & Prejudice?! Murder?! What else does my serial killer obsessed, Jane Austen loving, retelling excited loving heart need!?

The book starts off with Lizzie already furious about something Mr. Collins has done (no surprise there). And from the first page you really feel as though Tirzah has managed to get inside the real mind of Elizabeth Bennet. She has all the wit and spunk that our beloved heroine has in the original tale, plus she has the freedom to poke her nose into cases. At least, as far as Mr. Bennet is concerned. Mrs. Bennet is, unsurprisingly, unhappy with the matter. The story itself takes place in London, but don’t be worried that your favorite places are neglected. The law firm owned and run by Mr. Bennet is called Longbourn & Sons, cleverly named after the family home in the original novel. Mr. Bingley’s company is called Netherfield Shipping, and Mr. Darcy’s law firm is called Pemberley & Associates. I love how Tirzah has also managed to weave in all our favorite (and less than favorite) characters into the story. They all pop up at least a few times, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out in what capacity! There are also several quotations in the book that are from the original that give a delightful nod to the source material, without relying too heavily on it. And the dialog between our beloved Elizabeth and Darcy is spot on.

“Do you purposefully misunderstand everything I say, Miss Bennet?” “Do you purposefully overlook all inconvenient truths, Mr. Darcy?”

All in all I loved this book. I was only 25% of the way through when I was eagerly looking up to make sure there would be sequels. I’m a bit concerned that the sequels appear to be based on the other Jane Austen works, but I know I’ll love them regardless. But if I could get another Lizzie book, I’d be beyond happy. **hint hint**

The story takes some obvious liberties (women in the early 1800s would not have realistically been allowed to work on cases, or defend a case in a courtroom), but who cares? It’s a retelling. The point of retelling a classic work is to give it a new spin, so, if you are able to suspend that disbelief then you should 100% pick up this book. If you like strong female characters set in a time where they wouldn’t have been viewed that way, pick this up. It’s great for fans of novels like the Stalking Jack the Ripper series or the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book. (Although I can 100% say that there are no zombies or supernatural beings in this novel).

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 368
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Edition Read: ebook – thanks NetGalley and HarperTeen for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
  • Release Date: March 9, 2021
  • Read Date: October 12th – October 13th

Book Synopsis:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman who desires a law career must be in want of a case. So when seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bennet hears about a scandalous society murder, she sees an opportunity to prove herself as a solicitor by solving the case and ensuring justice is served.

Except the man accused of the crime already has a lawyer on his side: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious Pemberley Associates law firm. Lizzie is determined to solve the murder before Darcy can so that she can show the world that a woman can be just as good as a man. (The fact that Darcy is an infuriating snob doesn’t help.) But there’s still a killer on the loose, and as the case gets more complicated, Lizzie and Darcy may have to start working together to avoid becoming the next victims themselves. 

Book Reviews

A Tale of Two Rom Coms

Over the past weekend/Beginning of the week, I read two fun RomComs! Not a bad way to spend my birthday weekend right? I realized after finishing the second one, that they both had something very sweet in common. No, I don’t meet sweet like “awww,” although they had that too. I mean literal. Both have cupcakes/baking in the background. Both made me slightly wished I hadn’t started the Keto diet 3 weeks ago and could eat a cupcake too!

Enough rambling, on to the books! First up:

What I Like About You

Is it still a love triangle if there are only two people in it?

Marisa Kanter

Next up on my month of fluffy RomComs was What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter. This book was adorable. You follow Halle Levitt, granddaughter of Miriam Levitt, acclaimed YA and Children’s book editor. Halle has an online book blogger persona named Kels, whom she views as entirely different version of herself. Kels is the cool one. Kels isn’t the one with the legacy of Miriam Levitt to live up to. But what do you do when you meet your online best friend in person, but he doesn’t know it’s you? Wouldn’t you tell him? Sounds like a fun time! What an awesome meet-cute right? Nope! Kels doesn’t tell him, which sets up the plot for the entirety of the story. This story is mostly fluff, although it does deal with some intense family loss at times (although in a somewhat surface scratching way). All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal.

I’d say the only part I didn’t love is that there was a side story in the book where an author was going online saying that her books should be enjoyed by everyone, and that she didn’t want to be pigeonholed by those saying she doesn’t write for teens. While the fictional author does say some pretty rough stuff toward teens, it felt as though Marisa was, at times, saying that these kinds of books really should only be towards teens. As a 30-something year old woman, I was a bit saddened by that.

Overall though, I did enjoy this book. Definitely enough to recommend it to people.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 416
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Edition Read: Kindle via Libby
  • Release Date: April 7, 2020
  • Read Date: October 2nd – October 4th

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.


Second up on my 4 day binge:

The Upside of Falling

Apparently showing off one’s abs trumped potential frostbite.

Alex Light

Definitely another cute one. It definitely was filled with some of the cliches of YA Romance, but I knew that going in. Wasn’t that why I was reading it. Plus, if you throw a fake dating to love trope at me, you know I’m going to inhale that (I’m looking at you To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before). This was also had a little more weight to it than your typical Romance. I really appreciated that the big hurdles the two POVs faced, were not typical high school drama (ie: the cheerleaders hate me, my girlfriend didn’t show up at prom). The issues they were facing were realistic demons that take time and space to work through. Plus, I really loved that we got to have both Becca and Brett’s POVs given equal time. I also appreciated the ending (no spoilers, I promise). It wasn’t wrapped up in a pretty little bow at the last second, it was a very satisfying ending.

My only con is that at some points the personalities of Becca and Brett seemed too similar. Since we were getting two POVs, I would have liked if their interior thoughts had felt more distinct. Overall, a book I’d recommend to anyone wanting a feel-good read!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 288
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Edition Read: Kindle via Libby
  • Release Date: February 18, 2020
  • Read Date: October 4th – October 6th

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

Book Reviews

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Bookish Life Lesson – Tweet Cute Edition: When reading a book that focuses on a Grilled Cheese themed Twitter war, make sure you have snacks on hand, so you don’t binge eat multiple Grilled Cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Tweet Cute Cover

It’s weird, how you have no idea how far you’ve come until suddenly you can’t find the way back.

Emma Lord

Every year, typically during the summer, I go on a YA RomCom kick. It’s a good palette cleanser from the typical YA/NA/Adult Fantasy binges that I go on for the rest of the year. This summer, however, it got delayed and I didn’t go in until the very tail end of September. First book up on the docket: Tweet Cute.

Tweet Cute was an adorable kick off for my month or two of RomComs. With a definite You’ve Got Mail vibe, I found myself sucked into the story easily. The two main characters Pepper and Jack engage in an all out Twitter war for their parent’s business. Pepper on behalf of the big chain Big League Burger, and Jack for his family’s small local deli Girl Cheesing. The bickering that Jack and Pepper do from the get go is great. They have such natural chemistry that you easily start to ship them from the get go. One aspect that I loved particularly, is the range of emotion that Jack presents. It’s so refreshing to see a male character cry and show emotion. Being a teenager is so raw at times, and often teen males aren’t shown having the full range of emotion, even in the privacy of their own rooms.

But every RomCom needs it’s friction, in this books case, it came from Jack’s father and Pepper’s mother. This was the only part of the story that didn’t mesh as well with me. While the explanation at the end totally wraps it up well, the build up for that area of the story felt a little over the top.

Overall, this book was a fun read, and I’m eagerly anticipating Emma Lord’s next book, You Have A Match, releasing in January 2021. I’d give this a solid 4/5 (maybe even a 4.5/5).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 362
  • Edition Read: Kindle via Libby
  • Release date: January 21, 2020
  • Read Date: September 30th – October 1st

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming―mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese―that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life―on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate―people on the internet are shipping them??―their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Book Reviews

Lord of Shadows Review (Spoiler-Free)

Hey BookNerds!

Ok, a quick bit of housekeeping. I know I haven’t written in ages. In the beginning it was due to working 60-80hr work weeks EVERY DAMN WEEK. Then, 2 months ago, my father passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. He was an English teacher and my main inspiration for being a reader my whole life. So, as is not surprising, reading completely uninterested me for a long while. My best friend though wouldn’t let me not try though, thanks Thumper! 😉 Even if it was something as small as reading a chapter of a book to him, he kept me reading. Then life calmed down enough, who only works 40hrs a week!? My first book really back into the fray was Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Perf! Now that the housekeeping is over, into the review 🙂

BookStats ~

Birthday: May 23, 2017

Author: Cassandra Clare

Page Count: 699

“Emma, everyone’s afraid of something.” Julian moved slightly closer; she felt his shoulder bump hers. “We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean that is you don’t feel anything.”

Maybe it was the mental state I was in when I started this book, but I clung to these characters like they were my own life blood. I so appreciated that Clare wrote from varying character perspectives even more in this installment. Because of that I really felt as though my connection to the characters was more intense. Which led to being even more heartbroken or pumped up at varying points in the book.

Let’s talk about the character development. First off, I love how diverse Clare’s writing tends to be. I know the characters themselves tend to be mostly white people, but I love that so many of them are going through different things in life. We have always seen LGB characters since City of Bones. But in this book we get an amazing scene where one character reveals themselves to another about the journey being transgender. Maybe it was just me being blind, but I SO didn’t see that coming. And I loved every word of it. This was, honestly, one of my favorite scenes in the whole book. I love how Clare is inclusive with so many characters. It makes it seem so much more like real life. Although maybe growing up in the Bay Area means my concept of normal life is a bit skewed ;).

Ty’s autism, which seemed pretty obvious in the first book, is brought up even more in this one. I kind of love how another character from the mundane world was so flabbergasted that none of the Shadowhunters had even considered that was his thing. It really brought to light the whole concept of Shadowhunters rejecting mundane medicine thing. Things like mental illnesses or learning disabilities aren’t even something they can fathom. Which is bizarre to this girl from the mundane world.

Even though these are the two I chose to highlight, it doesn’t mean everyone else’s characters didn’t also grow. It was amazing to see Mark adapt to the world even more so, and watch Emma go through her own sense of closure vs non closure after the events of Lady Midnight. It’s not as cut and dry as she had hoped. Christina handles some tough hurdles beautifully and, honestly, seems to have some hot action coming her way potentially ;).

Plot Wise: Luckily this book didn’t fall into the Second Book Slump for me. Woohoo! When it comes to trilogies (books or movies) the second tends to always be my least favorite. It tends to be full of unnecessary expositions and drags. I’m happy to report that Lord of Shadows kept the excitement from Lady Midnight and jumped amp’d it up further. And I always love when Clare’s books actually take us to the Shadowhunter homeland of Idris. That place sounds so beautiful I want to jump inside a sidewalk painting of it Mary Poppins style.

 

Overall feelings:

Loved it. 5/5. Exactly what I needed to really pull me out of my reading slump. If you enjoyed Lady Midnight, you will not be disappointed!

 

Book Reviews

Lady Midnight Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

LM_coverTitle: Lady Midnight

Author: Cassandra Clare

Pages: 720

 

This Review should be Spoiler-Free as much as I can make it! As far as I know it’s spoiler free.

Excerpt:

“It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions . . .

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago―has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind―and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his
family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?”

I would be lying if I said that parts of this book did not eat me up, spit me back out, then stomp on the puddle of goo that used to be me. Ok, maybe that was a tad melodramatic, but the sentiment stands. I actually waited about 5 days to sit down and write this review because I wanted to make sure I was writing it with a clear head, and wouldn’t cloud it with emotion – basically I wanted to make sure that I was giving it 5/5 stars because it deserves it, and not because I had burned through the last 400 pages in one night and my tired brain assumed I loved it.

But it’s true – I can give this book a 5 star review. I wish that I had taken the time to actually notate on post-its all of my favorite moments and quotations, but in all honesty I was too wrapped up in simply enjoying the story.

Plot:

The story starts out a tad slowly, which is in no way surprising since when introducing a new series you have a lot of background exposition that needs to happen. Saying that I loved the in this story Clare throws us into a world where every main character already knows that they are a Shadowhunter. There is no being “thrown into a new world that you know nothing about” to deal with, which is a nice change from her previous series (no slight against them…I love the Infernal Devices). You are tossed into a world following two parabatai, Emma and Julian, as Emma struggles with feelings of revenge and trying to find out who killed her parents in her childhood. Fast forward to present day and there are killings that she is sure to her core are connected back to her parents. Throw in some forbidden love, since parabatai are not supposed to have romantic love for each other, and you are good (that shouldn’t be a spoiler, it becomes pretty obvious within the first couple chapters).

Once the main points of the plot were set up this story really flew by. It went along at a good clip of action, then more base story, then action, then base story, allowing each piece to never feel stale or too drawn out. By the end I felt like I was on the edge of my reading chair simultaneously not wanting the book to end and needing to know how the book was going to end!

Characters:

I loved the entire cast of characters, from the main cast to the supporting. Especially knowing that so many of the characters are still so shrouded in mystery even by the end of the book.

Emma & Julien have such an amazing bond, really opening up what the idea of parabatai should be. As much as we saw amazing parabatai bonds between Alec & Jace and Will & Jem, the relationship between Emma & Julian really stood out as something almost stronger. They really feel like they are two sides of a coin that make one perfect Shadowhunter.

Mark: He was definitely a great window into the world of the Fae. I loved hearing about his time with the Wild Hunt and all the characters he brought with him. His character felt so unpredictable about how he was going to react to things, that it really felt like I never knew what he was going to do. Plus, I loved his interactions in the world (it reminded me a lot of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow!). I’m so looking forward to finding more about his character.

Ty & Livia: The twins are fun and full of shenanigans, but equally have such complex storylines. Livia is straightforward, knowing exactly what she wants and having no problem stating that fact. Ty is still so much of an unknown, I want to know what is going on inside his adorable mind and what his idea for his future is.

Drusilla and Octavian: I feel like we didn’t get to learn too much of these characters backstories. We did get just enough for me to know I love them and just want to give them hugs.

Christina: She is studying at the LA Institute during her “travel year” coming from an institute in Mexico. I loved her relationships with Emma and with Mark. With Emma it was nice to see her have a friend outside of the Blackthorn family, who she could really confide in without it seeming like it would get around to the whole family. With Mark she was great since she was the only one he didn’t have any history with. Which made it so he didn’t have to try and be an old version of himself with her, he could be exactly who he was now without feeling nervous. Plus, Christina is sassy, and I loved that.

There are so many other characters, but I mostly wanted to focus on the main Blackthorn and Co Clan.

Extras:

Especially fun was getting glimpses into the characters from the previous installments. Not all of the glimpses were them actually showing up, but just being spoken of. It gave the feeling that everyone in these books are interconnected, which just adds to the layers of story building Clare does in her novels. It was just enough to get you excited about being connected to The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, but not so much that this book was really able to feel like it was standing on it’s own two feet.

I loved this book so much and am now anxiously awaiting the next installment! As well as the first book in her other upcoming trilogy. I’m so happy to still be getting books in this universe – especially knowing I still have at least 5 left!

 

5/5 Stars!

 

P.S. – Considering this is the first book in the trilogy and it is 720 pages….how long are books 2 and 3 going to be??? Is one of them going to break 1000????