Book Review

Teach Me

Teach Me (There’s Something About Marysburg #1)

By: Olivia Dade

Blurb:

Their lesson plans didn’t include love. But that’s about to change…

When Martin Krause arrives at Rose Owens’s high school, she’s determined to remain chilly with her new colleague. Unfriendly? Maybe. Understandable? Yes, since a loathsome administrator gave Rose’s beloved world history classes to Martin, knowing it would hurt her.

But keeping her distance from a man as warm and kind as Martin will prove challenging, even for a stubborn, guarded ice queen. Especially when she begins to see him for what he truly is: a man who’s never been taught his own value. Martin could use a good teacher–and luckily, Rose is the best.

Rose has her own lessons–about trust, about vulnerability, about her past–to learn. And over the course of a single school year, the two of them will find out just how hot it can get when an ice queen melts.

Review:

So one of my favorite books last year was Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade. When I saw that the library had Teach Me I immediately checked it out.

Teach Me is about two divorced teachers in their 40s. Not my usual romantic cup of tea, but I’m nearing that age so it’s nice to see that romance is still in my cards.

Rose is an ice queen, but Martin never hates her for it. He recognizes almost immediately why she is the way she is and is attracted to her ice queen side as well as the side that clearly loves her students. Martin has his own issues that Rose is quick to realize and she’s immediately on his side as well. These are two people who have lived life and know when it’s okay to “jump to conclusions”. They don’t judge each other and they listen completely when the other talks. It’s sweet and oddly comforting.

The side characters were few, but served their purposes well. I’m not sure who the next book in the series would be about since there was very little setup in that way. There wasn’t as much humor in Teach Me as there was in Spoiler Alert, but it was still there. Spoiler Alert was just hilarious for me and few books are going to hit that note.

I liked Teach Me. Olivia Dade is almost firmly in a must buy position for me when it comes to her new books. If the library doesn’t have the next books in this series I might have to buy them. Darn.

4/5

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)

By: Leigh Bardugo

Blurb:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA fantasy series. Shadow and Bone seems to be an incredibly popular series, there’s a Netflix TV show and everything, and it has been on my to read list for a while. After reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer and loving it, I bumped it to the top of my list. So here we are.

I, surprisingly, enjoyed it. I was honestly not expecting much, especially in the way of romance since it’s a YA, but I was pleasantly surprised. I realize that sounds condescending or pretentious or something and that’s not my intention. I really just was not expecting to like this book as much as I did.

Spoiler, but when the Darkling kissed Alina I almost stopped reading. I was so afraid that was the route Bardugo was going, and it made my skin crawl. I am not an age gap fan, not even in fantasies, especially when one side is super young. I don’t believe they stated a specific age for Alina, but she was probably late teens very early twenties, so one hundred and twenty-five is definitely too old.

Alina isn’t too mopey, and she also doesn’t succeed too easily. Mal, well, you don’t know too much about him except how much Alina loves him. You don’t know much about the Darkling either. I was glad that Alina didn’t spend too much time at court dealing with all the politics there, I am not in the mood for courtly politics. No thank you.

Even though Shadow and Bone is the first of a trilogy the ending wasn’t a massive cliffhanger that leaves you on edge. There is obviously more to the story, but for now, people are safe and in love. So, it was a sweet ending.

I’ve gone ahead and requested the next two books from the library. I’ve also been told to read the Six of Crows series. Once I’m done with those, I’ll probably try the Netflix series too. I have another fantasy book checked out from the library that’s the first in a series and I’ve moved it down my read list to avoid having clashing worlds. Hopefully, my library requests come in fast.

4/5

Count Your Lucky Stars

Count Your Lucky Stars (Written in the Stars #3)

By: Alexandria Bellefleur

Blurb:

Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups, thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found “the one” and she’s beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest.

Olivia must be hallucinating. In the decade since she last saw Margot, her life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At almost thirty, she’s been married… and divorced. However, a wedding planner job in Seattle means a fresh start and a chance to follow her dreams. Never in a million years did she expect her important new client’s Best Woman would be the one that got away.

When a series of unfortunate events leaves Olivia without a place to stay, Margot offers up her spare room because she’s a Very Good Person. Obviously. It has nothing to do with the fact that Olivia is as beautiful as ever and the sparks between them still make Margot tingle. As they spend time in close quarters, Margot starts to question her no-strings stance. Olivia is everything she’s ever wanted, but Margot let her in once and it ended in disaster. Will history repeat itself or should she count her lucky stars that she gets a second chance with her first love?

Review:

The first book in this series, Written in the Stars, blew me away. I was not expecting to love it as much as I did because of the astrology aspect, but it was wonderful. The second book, Hang the Moon, I didn’t like as much. It was a solid 3 stars, but honestly a bit boring. So, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with Count Your Lucky Stars. I ended up not loving it as much as Written in the Stars, but it was better than Hang the Moon.

The romance this time is between two bisexual/pansexual women. They used to be high school best friends, things happened, and they hadn’t talked to each other in eleven years. Then they’re thrown back into each other’s lives and things start back up pretty quickly.

I was glad it didn’t take them long to get back together, but their main issue was lack of communication and those issues were not even touched on until near the end of the book. They both had feelings they weren’t expressing and were completely unable to read the other’s emotions. Plus, one of them avoided conflict to the point where she always took the easier route when it came to people. That drives me crazy. I don’t like conflict, but when people avoid it to this degree it’s annoying and I find it hard to sympathize with them.

Anyway, the intimate scenes in Count Your Lucky Stars were *fans self* incredibly hot. There were also several scenes that had me laughing out loud. If you’re hoping for a direct conflict with the ex, though, it’s not happening. There is a little bit of payback, but not enough to satisfy me.

The characters in the previous books are all present, but you don’t technically have to have read them to understand what’s going on. Since there are no more unattached people I assume that there will be no more books in this series. I would be interested in another series by Bellefleur, but she hasn’t made her way onto my immediately buy list.

4/5

Scythe

Scythe (Arc of the Scythe #1)

By: Neal Shusterman

Blurb:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Review:

I thought the idea behind Scythe was interesting. Humans are immortal and to avoid overpopulation they create a group of people legally allowed to kill them. Sounds promising. It ended up being weird and boring for me.

How is it alright for the group of people who are allowed to kill humans allowed to do it in any manner they desire? Why is there no rule that they have to do it in a humane way? Why do they get to choose whoever they want to kill, as long as it’s not obvious that they’re targeting a specific group? Why is there no real oversight on this group at all??? Why was only having ten rules for Scythes not a red flag?

I think the issues with this system are incredibly clear. I received no answers in this first book and I’m debating on whether or not I want to read the next. Things aren’t looking good.

2.5/5

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell

By: Taj McCoy

Blurb:

A delicious debut rom-com about a plus-size sweetheart who gets a full-life makeover after a brutal breakup.

Savvy Sheldon spends a lot of time tiptoeing around the cracks in her life: her high-stress and low-thanks job, her clueless boyfriend and the falling-apart kitchen she inherited from her beloved grandma—who taught her how to cook and how to love people by feeding them. But when Savvy’s world starts to crash down around her, she knows it’s time for some renovations.

Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her relationship with her body, her work–life balance (or lack thereof) and, last but not least, her love life. The only thing that doesn’t seem to require effort is her ride-or-die squad of friends. But as any home-reno-show junkie can tell you, something always falls apart during renovations. First, Savvy passes out during hot yoga. Then it turns out that the contractor she hires is the same sexy stranger she unintentionally offended by judging based on appearances. Worst of all, Savvy can’t seem to go anywhere without tripping over her ex and his latest “upgrade.” Savvy begins to realize that maybe she should’ve started her renovations the other way around: beginning with how she sees herself before building a love that lasts.

Review:

I was really excited to read Savvy Sheldon. I like when a character gets to completely “fix” their lives while falling madly in love with someone. Sadly, this was not a romance, it is a book about a woman learning how to love herself, but not that way.

This is quickly becoming one of my most hated pet peeves. Women’s literature being marketed as romance. Just because there is some romance in a story does not mean it’s a romance book. It is abundantly clear this is what the publisher was going for too. You’ve got the illustrated cover which is the new trend in romance. You’ve got the blurb that talks about a sexy stranger and tackling her love life. There’s also the fact that it was recommended to me in marketing emails about romance books. Based on the reviews I’m not the only one that got pissed about that too.

Setting that aside, it’s clear that McCoy didn’t get the work reform email. Savvy starts out working a ton of hours. Works even more until she’s overwhelmed and screws something up. Then backs down to where she’s just working what she was originally working. I guess I’ve been reading too much reddit but I kept waiting for her to come to the realization that her job needed to hire more people and stop expecting her to do the work of an entire team. There was a team, but she was the only one doing the work. Her whole work situation ended with her getting a partial promotion after failing at a full one. She was basically given more work to do because she asked them to create a wellness plan to help promote work life balance and her boss is like sure, you do it and your old job. It was stupid.

Then there’s the whole wellness journey she goes on. At one point she’d been good enough at tennis to get a scholarship, but due to an accident and then her desire to kill herself by overwork she’d stopped exercising and gained weight. The first thing she does in her quest to get healthy is go on a leisurely 3-mile hike. That honestly struck me as ridiculous. Not the hiking, but how easy going on a 3-mile hike was for someone who was supposedly super out of shape. The whole wellness kick through the book was annoying. There were so many pages dedicated to tennis. Ugh.

Anyway. The romance. Savvy’s boyfriend dumps her and is a massive tool about the whole thing. She still spends a large portion of the book hung up on him because they’d been together so long. What starts her whole desire to shake things up is that he tells her he needs an upgrade, so she decides to get a revenge body. Which I thought was incredibly problematic and there should have been a lot more focus on her learning to love who she was then the sound of a tennis ball being hit.

Sorry. Anyway. The romance. A neighbor sets her up with a contractor to fix her kitchen. He’s hot but she wants to wait until they are no longer working on her kitchen, however her friends push things by getting her on Tinder and matching with him. Things seem to be going well, but he doesn’t stick around till the morning after the have sex which bothers her. She doesn’t say anything to him though and decides to go on another Tinder date as a sort of fuck you. When he sees her with the new date and then saves her from them trying to assault her, he’s completely understanding about her looking at the other fish available. However, when she sees him later with a woman, an ex he’s just driving to the airport, she gets furious at him. The double standard was strong.

If you removed the romance from Savvy Sheldon you’d still have a book. It’s not a romance. Be forewarned.

1.5/5