Tuesday, July 7, 2020

{Review} Dark Lover (The Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) by J.R. Ward


My Rating: 2.5 stars
Page Count: 393
Published: September 6, 2005
Published by: Penguin Group

Avg. Rating: 4.2 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both… 

~ ~ ~

Hey, guys!

This was just not my cup of tea, but I plan on continuing the series until I absolutely loath it. There was something about the characters and the world that was slowly being built that I just want to see what the hype is about.  Considering that this was written in the early 2000s, I think that the story has a lot of promise. I'm surprised that it was so mediocre (especially when the series is so popular and beloved by romance lovers). The number of name-dropped products and outdated technology mentioned was just so bizarre to me. 

Like many other romance novels (especially paranormal romance novels), I felt like this book abandoned or sacrificed the plot and the world-building for the sake of the development of the romance and the addition of smut. The lack of world-building and exploration and description just took away from the romance in my opinion. Additionally, I really didn't like any of the sections that didn't follow the vampires or the main character. The parts that followed the villain were just so boring to me because it felt like there wasn't much at all at stake. 

Overall, it just lacked the depth I would expect from an introduction to a 10+ book series.  I also would have been so more enthralled with the story and the romance if it hadn't relied on the worst tropes: insta-love/attraction, overprotective alpha holes, and badly fleshed out sacrifice. Granted, those tropes can be done really well (and I expected them to be done well because of the hype surrounding the series), but this was just so mediocre and dumb. I hope that the story and world become clearer to me as the series continues on. So many people love the series and were so excited for me to start it, but I'm really wary to even continue reading the series. 

Have you read these books? What do you think of them? Should I continue on with the story?

Happy reading and stay safe!
Liv the Book Nerd ~

Monday, July 6, 2020

May & June 2020 Reading Wrap Up

Hey, guys,

I'm sure you've noticed, but I've taken June off from blogging. Not only is the world on fire, but I've also been searching for a full-time job after graduating from college, and I've been taking a long look at myself and my actions to see what I can do to be a better ally to POC & BIPOC. 

When I'm not searching for a job, I've been writing my novel and reading as much as I can. While I wish I could say that I've enjoyed my time to myself, it's been more stressful than anything as I continue to search for stability. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, so bear with me as I get my feet back under me. Thank you so much for your patience!

Here is what I read!

M A Y   R E A D S


Since my last reading wrap-up, I've read quite a lot of books. In May, I read a massive amount of romance novels and I fell in love with Tessa Dare's many novels. 
  • Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey
    • 4 stars
    • Genre: Adult contemporary romance
    • I really enjoyed this novel. Thank you NetGalley & Berkley for allowing me to read this early! This book will be released on July 7, 2020.
    • Full review: {click here}
  • The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare
    • 4.75 stars
    • Genre: Adult historical romance
    • This was such a phenomenal novel. I'm so so so excited to continue on with the Girl Meets Duke series. Tessa Dare had pushed back the release date for the fourth installment in the series, so I'm really looking forward to read it when it is released in 2021
  • How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare
    • 2 stars 
    • Genre: Adult historical romance
    • This was just a major let down when it comes to Tessa Dare. Of course, it was her first-ever published story, but it just wasn't good. I was soooo bored and the story was not compelling at all. I'm pretty sure that Tessa only keeps it up because her readers asked for it. If you're interested, it's free for Kindle and other online retailers via ebook. I didn't like it, but maybe someone does. 
  • A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
    • 3 stars
    • Genre: Adult fantasy romance
    • When reading this, I switched between the audiobook and the physical book because I wasn't really in the mood for an intense fantasy novel. I was originally recommended this book by the BaeCrate/BaeClub fam. I really enjoyed it, but I think I just read it when I wasn't ready. May was a very romance-heavy month because I was quite depressed because of COVID-19. Love that.
    • Here is my review! {click here}
  • Why Don't You Dance by Raymond Carver
    • 3 stars
    • Genre: Short story
    • This was such a bizarre short story. Alex and I listened to the story while we were driving home and I was just weirded out the entire time. We read it because he was taking a film and literature class) and apparently there's a movie that is loosely based on the story), but I wasn't a fan. 

Once Upon a Winter's Eve | Tessa DareLord Dashwood Missed Out: A Spindle Cove Novella - Kindle edition ...

I also managed to read the majority of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series. I've decided to pause my binge and save them for when the new Tessa books come out so that I can just binge the rest of it all in one week. I just adore adore adore everything about this series. I'm so obsessed with all of the heroes and heroines. They are so freaking fun. You definitely should read them if you love romance novels.
  • A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) by Tessa Dare
    • 4 stars
  • Once Upon A Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove #1.5) by Tessa Dare
    • 3 stars
  • A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove #2) by Tessa Dare
    • 4 stars
  • A Lady By Midnight (Spindle Cove #3) by Tessa Dare
    • 4 stars
  • Beauty & the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove #3.5) by Tessa Dare
    • 4 stars
  • Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare
    • 4 stars
  • Lord Dashwood Missed Out  (Spindle Cove #4.5) by Tessa Dare
    • 3.5 stars
Again, I'm almost done with the Spindle Cove series and there will be another novella released either this fall or early next year which will follow one of my favorite characters. Once I'm caught up on the series (I have one more full-length novel), I want to post a massive series review, so stay tuned!

J U N E   R E A D S

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  • The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
    • 2.5 stars
    • Genre: YA fantasy romance
    • This was such a letdown. I was so underwhelmed and disappointed by this book. It definitely did not live up to the hype that was in my heart. I absolutely adored Kiera's previous novels. The Selection series is one of my all-time favorite series and I will love them forever, but The Betrothed was just a whole lot of nothing. The characters were so flat and two-dimensional, the plot was a whole lot of nothing and didn't pick up until the very end, and the romance was so surface level and nonengaging. I did not enjoy this reading experience and I honestly did not like the main character. I'm so sad that this book flopped so badly.
  • Conventionally Yours (True Colors #1) by Annabeth Albert
    • 3 stars
    • Genre: New adult LGBTQIA+ romance
    • Thank you to NetGalley & SourceBooksCASA for the eARC!
    • This was also a letdown, but it wasn't as monumental as The Betrothed, but it wasn't as good as I would have hoped. When I first started this book, I was really engaged with the build-up to the action of the plot, I loved the road-trip aspect (one bed!!!), and I really enjoyed the nerdy aspects of the book too. However, once I got about 3/4 of the way, for some reason, I had a really hard time telling the two main guys apart and I began to lose interest in the actual romance. Overall, I thought it was a bit too long. It almost dragged on in my opinion. 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang, Brian Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Gurihiru 
    • 5 star
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 2 by Gene Luen Yang, Brian Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Gurihiru 
    • 4 stars
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 3 by Gene Luen Yang, Brian Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Gurihiru 
    • 5 stars
    • Genre: YA Fantasy graphic novels 
    • Parts 1-3 of this next part of the Avatar TLA series were just so phenomenal. Avatar TLA has been one of my all-time favorite shows from my childhood. ATLA was everything to me and I am so excited to be rewatching it with Alex. It's been our quarantine show. We love everything about it. The Promise is everything I could have hoped for. I can't wait to read the next parts. 
  • Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi, written by Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles, Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson, Justina Ireland, Varian Johnson, Kekla Magoon, Tochi Onybuchi, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani, Renee Watson, and Rita Williams-Garcia
    • 4 stars
    • Genre: YA anthology
    • This was a phenomenal anthology. I adored all of the stories and the voices portrayed in all of them. This anthology opened my eyes to a lot of the hardships that Black individuals have to struggle with on a daily basis.  I absolutely recommend this to all YA readers if you are interested in expanding your reading horizons and learn more about what it means to be Black in the United States. Please read this!
  • The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty
    • 4 stars
    • Genre: Adult high fantasy romance
    • Like I had mentioned in one of my blurbs about my fantasy-reading experiences of late, I'm really in the mood for lighter reads. However, I had started The City of Brass toward the beginning of April and I hate to have books on my "reading" shelf for too long. It just doesn't benefit my reading experience. Overall, I adored this novel. I can't wait to continue the rest of the trilogy. The characters were so fun to read about, the magic system was so freaking cool, and the world was lush and full of possibility. I cannot wait to see what book #2 holds. 
  • The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
    • 4 stars
    • Genres: Adult contemporary romance
    • Another wonderful read! This was such a fun romance novel with so much hilarious banter and characters that hooked me from page one. I love love love this book so much and I cannot wait to read the companion. I hope that there is some sort of cameo in the second book and we get to see where Lina and Max end up. I'd also love for Max's brother to get some sweet sweet comeuppance. He needs a swift kick in the ass. 
  • All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson
    • 4 stars
    • Genre: Nonfiction memoir --LGBTQIAP+
    • Thank you, to the lovely member of the book gifting page I am a part of. I won't disclose their name, but I really appreciate this gift!
    • Wow! Wow oh wow! What a fantastic memoir! This powerful memoir will leave you thinking for days. I cannot recommend this enough! In his memoir, George tells various stories that center around pivotal moments during this childhood. Throughout, George discusses his sexuality, what it meant to be Black and Queer, and family. I think this is such a perfect start for younger readers and older readers, alike. George doesn't shy away from the important and harder topics that our culture should normalize. I definitely recommend that you listen to the audiobook. What a fantastic experience. 
  • The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole
    • 2.5 stars
    • Genre: New adult science fiction romance
    • This was a title that was really hyped up in the romance-reading community, however, this was a bit of disappointment for me. Though this story was under 150 pages, it just dragged on for me. The format was really fun and it was a really smartly written sort of story considering it started as an Audible exclusive that was primarily meant to just be listened to, but the story was just boring for me. The connection that Trinity and Li Wei had was just so superficial to me, but the twists for their relationship toward the end were kind of fun. This was just not my favorite and I don't think I'll be continuing on with Alyssa Cole's work because I just haven't been impressed. I love how diverse and steamy her stories have been, but the relationships between the characters just haven't met the mark for me. It's just a chemistry problem.
  • Fake It For Daddy by B.B. Hamel
    • 2 stars
    • Genre: Adult contemporary romance
    • Before you judge me for the subject matter, the title, the tropes, and everything about this book -- Michelle from @berrybookpages convinced me to read this. I blame her for this foray into this trope. Granted, I won't be returning, but she convinced me to give it a go. This was just so two-dimensional, too convenient, and just not for me. I couldn't suspend my disbelief to read this. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as I would have hoped. It was just not my cup of tea. 
  • The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) by Katie O'Neill
    • 5 stars
    • Genre: Middle-grade fantasy graphic novel
    • Thank you NetGalley and OniPress for the eARC!
    • This was everything I could have asked for in a finale. I have absolutely adored the Tea Dragons series. Katie O'Neill is such a magical human, her writing an artistic ability are flawless, and I cannot gush about her books enough. Please pick them up. They have beautiful representation, lovely storylines, and beautiful art. I cannot imagine anyone disliking these books.
    • {My review for books 1 & 2 and Dewdrop by Katie O'Neill}
  • Kat &  Juju by Kataneh Vahdani
    • 3 stars
    • Genre: Children's picture book
    • This was such a lovely picture book about individuality, friendship, and imagination. This is a lovely story for young readers. 
Total Pages Read: 6,201
Total Number of Books Read: 25
Average Rating: 3.14 stars

Happy reading and stay safe!
Liv the Book Nerd ~

Friday, June 5, 2020

Check Your Privilege // TBR + Discussion

Hey, guys,

As a 22-year-old white girl, I know that I could never experience the struggles and oppression that people of color face on a day-to-day basis. In the times that we are in, it would be completely obtuse to ignore my privilege and the advantage that my whiteness provides me. Like Forbes beautifully outlines in one of their many helpful articles, "racial injustice in 2020 isn't fundamentally a black problem, arguably it's a white problem." What's most disgusting of all, is that the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, & Ahmaud Arbery, is that they aren't shocking new news. For anyone, especially black people. It was just a "peek into their reality!"

At this point, it isn't the job of our black brothers, sisters, and siblings to educate their white friends, family, etc. If you can't use the technology at your fingertips to access the information that can be easily Googled, you're part of the problem. Open your damn eyes and get out of your damn white tower and look at the injustices that are pushed upon black individuals. Open your damn eyes. 

Before all of this, I thought I read diversely. It's already the halfway mark of the year and I've read about 70 books. Upon reflection, however, I saw that I really dropped the ball. I haven't been reading enough books by racially diverse authors. I've read books with diverse characters and sexualities, but how can I promote these practices through my social media if I'm not even implementing them properly in my own life? Our world is so large and so diverse, so I should manage to read that way too, right? 

(If you’re interested in the stats: 
• 3 by black authors
• 3 by Latinx authors
• 13 by east & west Asian authors)

This is my own call out. 

I KNOW can do better.

Reading books written by BIPOC & queer authors shouldn't be something that people actively seek out. They should be read anytime and frequently because they are valid stories and experiences and works of art. By expanding your reading to read other perspectives that are different from your own, you're doing yourself a service. As a community, we should stick up for and support diverse stories and their authors. We need to step up. 

So I went to my stacks on stacks of unread books. I haven’t counted how many unread books I have. I like to have a good selection to pick from, but there were SO FEW by BIPOC. I feel gross. Granted, I check out books through the library, IUK, and Hoopla, but I haven’t been putting my money where my mouth is. That’s gross and I know I can do better. 

Please do not tell me that it shouldn’t matter what ethnicity/race/sexual the author has/identify as/is. I know many people who do not seek out books based on an author's experience, but at this point, I believe that knowing these things allows you to find stories that best represent the people in the story. There are so many white people writing stories about black individuals, representing them incorrectly and spinning a false narrative about their identity.

Please check out this article written by the team behind We Need Diverse Books if you are unaware of this concept. Please educate yourself. As a white woman, I cannot fully explain why this is so important and I won't take from diverse voices that would explain their reasoning more eloquently. That isn't my place. 

The publishing industry is known for having racist behaviors, however, the public -- especially avid readers and members of the book community -- aren't standing for it. Rather, they're questioning the policies and established norms in the publishing industry.  We, as consumers, have the power to question the normalized racism and racist policies that have driven so many companies. Even now, some BIPOC are querying and searching for representation and are still being told, “Sorry, we already have our <insert inane racial label> book for the quarter/quota/whatever.” They’re not given a fair shot. White people do not have this issue. They aren’t profiled because of the color of their skin. It’s wrong. It’s stupid. It’s changing because readers have been vocal. They are calling for change. It’s slow. It’s still fraught with racism, but it’s CHANGING. WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THE CHANGE. 

The book community is one of the coolest communities I could ever be a part of. We have a lot of problems too, but what community doesn't? 

I’m sure it seems trivial and dumb to the non-readers and people that stumble upon this post that I get so fired up about books and stories. But books and stories are the experiences of others, the dreams of the people I probably will never have the pleasure of meeting. Stories are what helped me with so many dark moments in my life. Stories are what helped me LEARN and educate myself on ideas that were considered too adult, too intense, too real for me to comprehend. 

Stories are what can bring us together. Stories have powerful. Stories can change the world. 

If you feel inclined, please comment a diverse book you recommend. 

I’ll start:

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

πŸ’— #ownvoices
πŸ’—Takes place right after 9/11
πŸ’— Muslim teen protagonist
πŸ’— Emotional and thought provoking
πŸ’— Break-dancing 😀♥️
πŸ’— Written by an Iranian-American woman ✊🏼
πŸ’— Raw, honest, and semi-autobiographical
πŸ’— trigger/content warning for: islamophobia, bullying, &xenophobia

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

πŸ‘ #ownvoices
πŸ‘MC = black young woman who struggles with chronic pain & an invisible illness (beautiful representation)
πŸ‘ gruff (secret softy) hero with a soft spot for cats - struggles to move on from abusive past relationship
πŸ‘Salacious, romantic, and will make you swoon
πŸ‘ Adorable slow burn friends to lovers story
^^ Both of these books were 5 stars for me. I adored them both. They are so different, but still so poignant and powerful.
πŸ‘ Trigger/content warning: discussions and thoughts about recovering from abuse

✊🏼✊🏽 What I’ll Be Reading In June (& Probably July) ✊🏾✊🏿

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson - on hold at the library
White Fragility by Robin J. DiAngelo- also on hold
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Take A Hint, Dani Brown (sequel to Chloe Brown) by Talia Hibbert - on hold
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Know My Name by Chanel Miller (contd from May)
The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
Becoming by Michelle Obama
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo - on hold and recently released
If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane - on hold
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown - on hold and recently released
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan - @romancethequebookclub pick

I hope that this all explains some of my feelings. I wanted to post something, stating my stance on the events of the past two weeks, but I wasn't sure how to eloquently explain all that I've been feeling. 

To my white readers and followers, please just check your privilege.   

I stand with the protestors in my country. I hear you guys, I'm standing with you. I love you. Please stay safe out there and keep fighting the good fight. 


“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:2‬  
“...Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 19:19

Happy reading, beautiful people. 
Speak up. 
Stand out.
Fight for what is right.

~ Liv the Book Nerd ~ Twitter // Instagram // Tumblr // Goodreads // YouTube // Bloglovin // Book Depository Affiliate Code // Ko-Fi // Book of the Month

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Mini Contemporary-A-Thon Summer 2020 TBR

Hey, guys!

It's that time! A mini round of the contemporary-a-thon was announced this week and I'm really excited to take part in it. All I've wanted to read is contemporary romance and historical romance, so I'm really excited to dive into my stack of romances. I plan on doing a few more romance-centered readathons, so stay tuned for my TBRs and reading vlogs on my Instagram stories.

If you're interested in participating, I will provide Julie, Chelsea, and Natasha's videos below! I adore their channels and absolutely recommend you subscribe.

Dates: May 22 - May 25 Challenges:
1. Read a book with peach/orange/pink on the cover 2. Read a book under 250 pages 3. Read a book that you think will be fun!

I have quite a few books lined up for the readathon. I've been reading a bunch of books this past week (but not finishing them) and I've been attempting to do TomeTopple as well.

Here are some books I hope to read this weekend:

1. Beauty and the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove #3.5) by Tessa Dare
2. Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare
- I'm officially obsessed with Tessa Dare. I'm binging all of her books and I want them all for my collection.

3. The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon (my BOTM pick for May)
-if you're interested in nabbing a copy, you can get your first box for $9.99 with the code MAY5

4. The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite (for BaeClub through @baecrate)
- I'm really excited about this book because it's a f/f historical romance!

5. War (The Four Horsemen #2) by Laura Thalassa ( for the @romancethequebookclub)
- I've only just recently started diving into the world of fantasy romance -- as in romance novels that take place in a fantasy setting. I've read a lot of fantasy and high fantasy that have romance featured in it, but I've never really found fantasy romance novels that I've absolutely adored. Maybe I'm incorrect, but I just don't feel like I've read adult fantasy romance with the smutty times or adult themes.

6. The Bewitched Viking (Viking I #4) by Sandra Hill (for the lols)
This book looks so funny. I'm fully going into this with low expectations because it's not something I would typically pick up. I don't remember my reasoning when I bought this.

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The majority of these books would apply to the first challenge, the first book applies to the second challenge, and all of them apply to the third. I'm really excited to read these books. I've been having a lot of fun reading so much romance during my time in quarantine.

Are you participating? What will you be reading?

~ Liv the Book Nerd ~

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

{Review} A Heart of Blood & Ashes (A Gathering of Dragons #1) by Milla Vane


Page Count: 560

Published On: February 4, 2020

Published By: Berkley Romance

Genre(s): Adult romantic fantasy

Source: mass-market paperback personally purchased/listened to for FREE on Hoopla

Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository

My Rating: 3.5 stars


Goodreads synopsis:

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes, he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil--until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents' murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king's daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones--because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own... 


~ ~ ~

 Hey, guys!

I'm really not sure how to review this book... I enjoyed many aspects of it, but there was a lot that I couldn't mesh with. There was so much to unpack on every page and it definitely wasn't the easy read I was looking to start 2020 Tome Topple with... Granted, that isn't a bad thing at all, but I've been reading so many historical romances lately, that this was almost a culture shock (even though I absolutely adore fantasy).

I really wish that GR would implement the 1/2 and 1/4 stars. This book is probably going to get 3.5 stars because there was a lot that I liked, but not enough to give it 4 stars. I wish I had loved this more because it's definitely my jam.

This was recommended to me by the lovely Taylor from BaeCrate and other wonderful members of the BaeClub/BaeCrate group on Facebook. When the blurb mentioned "dragons" and a marriage of convenience, I needed it. This was also my first dip into the romantic fantasy genre. I've read quite a lot of fantasy/high fantasy novels WITH romance, but this novel had a focus on the romance that was being developed throughout. Before, I really didn't think I liked romance-heavy stories, but now I'm converted, and I can't wait to read more. This was a really enjoyable novel, but it had some flaws that I just didn't jive with.

For one thing, I didn't feel like the characters were written as well as they could be. When I was reading or listening, it just felt like they were missing an extra element that would have allowed me to be connected to them or care about what they really did. I wasn't INVESTED. When really lovely characters that I enjoyed got hurt or died, I didn't feel anything at all...which breaks my heart! I wanted to care! Maybe it was because of the different writing style they used, but I couldn't connect with the main couple at all. Whenever I would be on the edge of my seat, the next scene would just lose me. I was bored quite a lot in this book because it would go off on a tangent/info-dump that I didn't want to know about then. I really just wanted a lot more of the characters.

This was a deliciously slow-building romance. I was dying for Yvenne and Maddek to interact and just TALK and hash out their feelings, but they were stubborn as heck -- especially Maddek. Maddek was so hot, but such a stubborn meathead. GRANTED, for the entire book he is grieving for the loss of his parents and struggling to move past the anger and hurt that he's faced because of the lies that are spread about their demise, but holy cow. He can go from being such a sweetheart to a royal dick within a page. I loved it. Yvenne was so stubborn and fit him so well. I loved how she stood up for herself consistently and didn't let the alphaholes step all over her when they thought they knew what was best. She was so wise beyond her years and didn't allow the terrible terrible things that happened to her define how she served her people. She was such a well-developed character. She had her flaws and shortcomings and she wasn't physically able to do all that was expected of her (cue the abuse), but she worked past it to do all that she possibly COULD do. [ Additionally, I loved that Maddek didn't stop her from attempting to push her limits, but when she did push them too far, he would counsel her and help her heal from whatever she did. He didn't know it until it was screamed at him, but holy crap he's such a softy for Yvenne. (hide spoiler)]

ALSO! The side characters were so lovely. I wanted so much more from them. I wish they had been described more -- PHYSICALLY! I have no idea what they look like at all other than vague and general descriptors -- gender, beards, general conversational vibes. I also couldn't keep track of all the names a lot of the time. That's probably on me, but I wish there had been a list of characters or some sort of character art for me to refer to. Someone, please send me all of the fanart. If there isn't fanart, can someone artistically inclined make some? Pretty please?

It's so obvious to me that this author has so much talent and I loved the complexities of her world and the complexities of her characters. There is so much skill that was put into their setting, world-building, and the political aspects that came with such a complex world. However, it was hard to stay immersed if I couldn't connect with the characters. There were so many great lines and conversations, but I felt like the characters were overshadowed by the world and the info-dumping that tended to occur throughout.

I'm excited to read the second book in the series. I really liked how the story developed and progressed. I just wish that there had been more physical descriptions of the book and more character interaction.

The issues that I had with this story, I think, are because of my own preferences. I prefer to read character-based stories. Take it how you will. I'm not trying to bash the book. I really did like it.

Happy reading!


~ Liv the Book Nerd ~

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

{Review} Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey


Page Count: 320
Published On: July 7, 2020
Published By: Berkley Romance
Genre(s): Adult contemporary romance
Source: eARC provided by NetGalley
Where To Find It: Amazon // Book Depository

My Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

What happens when your life is a rom-com...but you don't even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer's, she's pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that's about to premiere in theaters across America...and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe's cute but no-nonsense boss.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can't see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who's Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn't so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After.

~ ~ ~ 

Thank you, Berkley and NetGalley for the eARC! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was so fun to read, but still not my perfect cup of rom-com tea. I found that I enjoyed Not Like the Movies much more than Waiting on Tom Hanks, but that was because there weren’t so many references to Tom Hanks and rom-coms that still haven’t seen or haven’t seen in literal AGES.

Not Like the Movies had some really lovely aspects:

•  Chloe — Goodness gracious, I loved her. She was golden-hearted, selfless, a baker, in-tune with her frustrations and adorations, and pretty oblivious at times. I think she’s a fantastic rom-com heroine. She was so freaking relatable and her personality was written and fleshed out so well. I loved her drive and overall nature.

•  NICK! Wow! I wish I had more of Nick in my life. He is the introverted, coffee, and chicken tortilla soup-loving hero that I need. He honestly reminded me so much of my fiancΓ© and I’m so here for it. I loved that he primarily listened to sad, emotional music—because of same! However, I did wish that his backstory had been fleshed out more. He is such a great character, but I want more about how he ticks!

•  Annie’s flaws were addressed! She wasn’t my favorite in Waiting on Tom Hanks, but I’m glad that she wasn’t idolized and made into someone perfect. She still kind of annoys me.


•  GARY! What a beautifully strange older man. He was eccentric and the comedic relief that I always will want in rom-coms.

•  FRED! What a beautiful man and a great partner. He’s going to be so good for Milo.

•  The humor!!! Ugh so many good lines:

“Fred is an angel with a body that won’t quit, and I hope he never leaves you.”

“Annie snort-laughs so hard that she spits Sprite all over her plate.”

“A person shouldn’t make you feel like they always have one foot out the door...”

This was a gem and I’m eager to see what else Kerry Winfrey does next. I need a novella from Don and Tyler’s POV && Fred and Milo’s — I need those now, please.

Please stay well out there, friends!
~Liv the Book Nerd~
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