The Chosen and the Beautiful Review

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

I honestly didn’t realise this was a Great Gatsby retelling. I have read Nghi Vo’s novella’s and when I seen she had a new full length novel I knew I had to read it without even researching anything about it. Unfortunately the plot of the Great Gatsby just doesn’t really interest me all that much. I can appreciate how beloved the book is and how much of a classic it has now become, but it just doesn’t do anything for me personally.

I liked Jordan’s character. She has this carelessness and frivolity about her that is engaging. She is very frank and at times callous with her words which was entertaining and refreshing in the midst of the plot and the very proper way people spoke to each other back in the 20’s. Even though she is very much apart of the upper echelon of the wealthy she does still at times feels different and ostracised because of her appearance and ethnicity which added that layer of depth and realness to the plot.

The twist with the magic and powers that Jordan has was interesting. At first I didn’t quite understand what was happening and whether or not what she could do was real or if she was hallucinating it or something. I would of appreciated if we could of learnt more about how these paper cut-outs work and what brings them to life and how it differs from what Khai is able to do. That whole plotline just somehow felt unfinished and I was left wanting to know more about it.

Nghi Vo’s prose is beautifully descriptive and lyrical. There is this fantastical element to her writing that mixes so well with a realistic setting. That alone really was able to carry me through this book and allow me to finish it in one sitting. Historical fiction isn’t my chosen genre at all and it kind of bores me but those added whimsical touches to the plot perked the story up for sure!

⭐️3/5 stars This was beautifully written, just didn’t dazzle me.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown Review

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Eve’s character didn’t really gel with me at the start of the book. I thought she was spoilt and childish, pretty much exactly what her parents thought of her. But as the plot progressed and we learnt more about Eve and her struggles figuring out who she is as a person and why she throws away opportunities at the earliest convenience before the fails. She displays a lot of growth over the course of the storyline and even though her feelings for Jacob come on pretty quickly it made sense and she sat down and thought out why and if she was really feeling this way before communicating that to Jacob.

Jacob was precious. I love his sternness and abruptness and his overwhelming standoffish attitude yet that starkly contrasts with how he runs the B&B giving his tenants any and every opportunity to engage with him to make their stay better. I loved the banter between them, especially their first meeting! To see him slowly thaw around the edges when he was around Eve and accept all of her little quirks was wonderful to read and the way he tries to fight his feeling for her down was very cute.

I love a good hate to love trope and this book hit the nail on the head for me. I have to say the conflict between them that drove them apart was a little lacking in the dramatics for me. I think Eve definitely should of been a lot more sterner with her family and sent them away before going and talking to Jacob. It all felt a little rushed in the end and I wish it would of been drawn out a little more.

I have to say this is probably my favourite out of the three books in this series. In comparison to the other books this one felt a lot more light hearted and carefree. The stakes weren’t at a all time high or anything and it was just a fun, light fluffy read that I needed at this point in time. Talia Hibbert pretty much stuck to the same format throughout the three books but it works so why change what isn’t broken?!

⭐️5/5 stars Loved this, just read it!!

Project Hail Mary Review

*DEFINITE SPOILERS BELOW*

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

I thought this book was just so well written and paced. The dual timelines gave us much needed context as to who Ryland was the how dire the mission was, which added a layer of urgency and upped the stakes significantly. Having Ryland slowly regain his memories was an ingenious was for the reader to learn about the Alphagae and just how catastrophic this could be.

Ryland was an interesting character for sure. Right from the start when he wakes up and has no idea who or where he is and to see him calculate that he was in space really drew me in to the plot. The way that his character evolved throughout the plot and to see him come to terms with the fact that he was going to die out here and then have that hopefulness return was heart wrenching for sure! The twist at the end where he said no shocked me for sure and to see how he had to accept the fact that he was a coward yet still go ahead with everything really showed his growth.

I loved the fact that Rocky was always just a friend to Ryland. There was no double crossing of any sort and they didn’t stab each other in the back or sabotage the mission in any way. They were simply working together, sharing their expertise to save their worlds. I had this feeling like there would be that twist throughout the course of the plot but I am soooo glad that it didn’t happen and they maintained their friendship. Rocky was the perfect contrast to Adrian and I really enjoyed the comradery between them.

Everything about this book had me on the edge of my seat. I in no way was able to predict what was going to happen next and at every turn I was surprised with how Ryland was able to figure out what to do. All of the science talk really went over my head but it was written in a way that was pretty easy to understand and didn’t slow down the pacing. This book kind of hit a little close to home and feels like it could plausibly happen in this generation so it provokes a lot of conversation about our planet and how we’re affecting it!

⭐️4/5 stars This will have you in the feels!

Deathcaster Review

*Spoilers Below*

Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf line. In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms . . . as well as the enemies within the castle.

I think the character I enjoyed the most in terms of their overall arc was definitely Destin Karn. He really shone for me in this last book. we get to see him be the callous assassin who will do anything to further his own agenda in court but this time his agenda aligns with the rest of the seven realms in a positive way. At the start of this series I think I thought his character wasn’t all that relevant, I don’t think I even mentioned him in my first review for Flamecaster. But to see his evolution from when he was a kid in Tarvos and then being the Assassin in Arden Court to eventually getting his happiness with Evan was wonderful to read.

Lyss and her evolution was less dramatic I find. She is pretty consistent for me throughout the series she just really comes to terms with being the new queen were as before she second guessing herself and comparing herself to Hanalea and even Juliann. Her storyline in this last book was kind of boring. We didn’t really get many chapters from her point of view and when we did it was when she was still being held captive by Celestine and not a lot was happening. I’m so glad that she was able to finally reunite with her brother, that was a great scene!

In the end Lila’s character is integral to the storyline but she didn’t have that great twist that I was waiting for. Seeing her on the council in Fellsmarch was gratifying but she didn’t really have that much of an impact that I was expecting. She works the whole conspiracy out quickly though and takes control and links with Destin again to defeat Jastin and I love the companionship between them!

In terms of the plot and the twists I have to say I was surprised by how everything played out with Celestine and the truth behind all of the parentage of all of the magemarked. I wish the eventual stand off between the Empress and her siblings was drawn out a little more and didn’t necessarily involve the dragons saving the day but again I was satisfied with how it played and I don’t really have any complaints. The big twist about who the spy was in the Fells definitely surprised me, I at no point in time thought it was going to be Mellony so that was entertaining.

Overall I’m very happy with how many point of views we get from each of the main characters. They are all so easy to differentiate and finally getting to see them all interact with each other was so satisfying and exciting. They’ve been circling for so long and scheming and to finally have everything come to a head and get answers was worth the journey for sure!

⭐️5/5 stars Highly recommend this series, if you haven’t yet read it!

Legendborn Review

*SOME SPOILERS BELOW*

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

I have to honest this book just seemed to go on forever and it was difficult for me to get into at the start. It wasn’t until I was at least halfway through that I actually became interested in what was happening in the plot and understanding everything to do with the Order. The writing at times felt a little disjointed and I was confused when chapters ended and felt like I was missing information. Like I would have to go back and read the last couple of paragraphs before continuing on because I couldn’t understand the continuation.

Once I was actually invested in the story it was highly interesting. Everything to do with the Root magic and how it interconnected with Bree’s family in particular. I love the separate storyline with Patricia and how she helps Bree with her grief whilst also sharing with her knowledge about her mother and what she can do. I wish we got more interactions between them because I think Patricia was a very calming and nurturing person in Bree’s life and I was a lot more interested in the Root magic.

The Order and Line of Scion was very confusing at first to take in. There are just a lot of characters and titles that was a little difficult to get my head around. That part of the story felt info dumpy to me and I struggled to get a clear picture of what was happening when she was there. Once I was able to figure it out the politics and hierarchy was infuriating. I am glad Bree chose to stand her ground and confront those who were racist and colourist towards her.

I am liking the love triangle that is taking place but I feel like they formed these relationships way too quickly. Nick being in love with Bree after like two days is unrealistic and it felt rushed to me. Sel’s I can sympathise with because I feel like he had so many more intimate and powerful moments with Bree than with Nick so I’m intrigued to know how that plays out for sure!

There is sooo much packed into this story and honestly was a lot to comprehend, but the plot is highly original and action packed. The magic system was interesting and branches off a lot so I’m excited to learn more about it and how aether can be manipulated. The twists were surprising and I couldn’t predict anything that was going to happen which is always a plus.

⭐️3/5 stars A promising start, will definitely be continuing on!