Book Review: The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken

Title: The Bet
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: The Bet #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication date: April 29, 2014
Pages: 288
Source: Purchased
Summary (via Goodreads): Includes a special sneak peek of THE WAGER by Rachel Van Dyken! The #1 New York Times bestseller…


“I have a proposition for you.” Kacey should have run the minute those words left Seattle millionaire Jake Titus’s mouth. It’s been years since Kacey’s seen her childhood friend Jake, but the minute Jake mentions his ill grandmother, Kacey is ready to do anything for the sweet old woman. And if that means pretending they’re engaged for her sake-so be it.


But Kacey wasn’t counting on Jake’s older brother Travis still being there. She calls him “Satan” for a reason: she’s never forgotten the way he teased and taunted her. Yet when they meet again, Travis’s gorgeous smile is a direct hit to her heart . . . and Kacey’s more confused than ever. As the days pass, only one thing starts to become alarmingly clear-she never should have accepted Jake’s deal . . .




This is my first book by this author, and I’m not super impressed unfortunately. I’m giving this 2 out of 5 stars.


The writing wasn’t my cup of tea, at least for this book. I’ll give the author another try because I’ve heard good things. I think the different POVs didn’t help; they kind of jumped all over the place. Honestly most of the time I couldn’t tell whose POV we were in, because they all sounded alike. If it’s multiple POV, it has to be spot on for me.


The characters were pretty immature, and I felt like they were so confused with all the back and forth with their feelings. Decide what you want people! This entire book felt like a soap opera, but not in a good way. It was too over the top dramatic for me. I really didn’t like Kacey, or Jake. Travis was okay sometimes. The only character I kind of liked was Grandma Nadine, because she was pretty hilarious.


Book Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Title: Roar
Author: Cora Carmack
Series: Stormheart #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: June 13, 2017
Pages: 380
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.


Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.


To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.


Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.


She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.


Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.




First off, what did I just read? It wasn’t terrible (okay maybe the last 50 pages were), but this book was pretty boring. I’m sorry, but I’m just being honest. The writing style was good, but I felt like I read almost 400 pages of nothing. It was just world-building, traveling, some twisted stuff, and quite a bit back and forth between POVs. I can only give this book 2 out of 5 stars.


One major disappointment was that there was only a teeny, tiny bit of romance, and it was pretty late into the book. And honestly it felt like it was put there just because the author figured the readers would want some kissing. Like hey, I guess they should kiss now. It didn’t feel organic to me. It felt forced, and honestly the affection in this book kind of made me uneasy. I’m not going to go into details, but the romance I was expecting did NOT happen.


Aurora/Rora/Roar was not my favorite character. She was okay sometimes, but I honestly felt like her mind frame was kind of childlike. She’s supposed to be getting married, and ruling her lands, and I just don’t feel like she was anywhere near the preparedness that her situation required. Her behavior reminded me more of a younger teen in many ways. The beginning of this book was probably my favorite…even though it was kind of an info dump. I liked Locke for the most part, but I wouldn’t say he’s a book boyfriend. Maybe someone I’d try dating, and decide from there if he’s a yay or a nay.


As the story progressed, there were a lot of people that got left behind and only randomly got thrown a few pages here and there of their POVs. It was kind of off-putting, because I’d almost forgotten all about them, and then we were in their minds again. I felt like nothing really interesting happened; nothing that shocked me and made me want to applaud the cleverness of the writing. And then the last 50 pages (yes, I’m talking about them again) were beyond bizarre. It was like the author felt the need to completely change the story, that she veered off the path that the previous 300+ pages had set up. I was reading it, and was like what the heck just happened? The last 50 pages were the worst of all the pages. I rolled my eyes quite a bit. Sorry, not sorry.


On top of all the above, the font is pretty dang small, and it gave me a headache if I tried reading more than 50-100 pages a day. Honestly, I should have just marked this one as DNF long ago, but I thought maybe there’d be more romance, action, and adventure. Plus I was buddy reading with Jessica, so that motivated me to read more as well. I’m not continuing this series, because I have a ton of books on my TBR, and I need to find things I love. Maybe I’m the black sheep with this book, because I see lots of 4-5 star reviews, but I just can’t. Baaaaa.


Book Review: The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

The Heir and the Spare

Title: The Heir and the Spare
Author: Emily Albright
Series: Untitled #1
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication date: January 18, 2016
Pages: 288
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.


In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.


Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.




I wanted to like this book, because a friend with similar reading tastes recommended it highly. She kept telling me how cute, and adorable it was, and so I rushed to read this when the library finally got my hold copy in. But this story didn’t do it for me. I ended up giving it 2 out of 5 stars.


Before I start talking about why the book didn’t work for me, I just want to say that it looks like I’m part of an unpopular opinion regarding this book. Most people thought it was really cute like my friend did, and the average rating is 3.49 stars on Goodreads. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean others wouldn’t (obviously, since my reading tastes aren’t the end all be all of the book world haha).


Overall, this was a pretty fast read. That’s always a good thing, but honestly if it hadn’t been highly recommended, I probably would have stopped reading early on for few reasons. First, the writing felt off/unnatural to me sometimes. Some places the dialogue felt forced, like people wouldn’t actually say those things in real life, that they were just thrown in there because they could be. Second, Evie felt kind of childish for being 19-20 years old in the book. While I was reading, some of the things she thought and said made me kind of want to smack my forehead, or quite honestly, smack her.


Edmund was okay, but he’s not in my top 10 book boyfriends or anything. I’m not even sure he’s in my top 100. The romance between Evie and Edmund was a little slow for my tastes, and they kind of had no clue what the heck they were doing. I kind of wanted to yell at them to get their shit together. The one highlight of the book was the romance towards the end. I did like the ending more than the rest of the book, but the journey there was kind of painful to read. The only reason I stuck through the entire book was that I was hoping it would get better, that I would fall in love with it like my friend did. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Even though the ending was better than the rest of the book, it didn’t make up for the 250+ pages it took to get there.


Final note: I just couldn’t get into this book. I probably should have not finished it instead of making myself keep reading. Oh well, lesson learned. I really hope others enjoy it more than I did!


2 stars

ARC Review: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

An Inheritance of Ashes

Title: An Inheritance of Ashes
Author: Leah Bobet
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication date: October 6, 2015
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.


When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.




I was really looking forward to this book based on the summary, but I found myself being disappointed. It was still an okay book, but it was slow and kind of odd. The last half/quarter of the book was more interesting, but I almost did not finish this one because it wasn’t holding my interest in the beginning. I ended up giving this 2 out of 5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for a honest review.


The summary and the amazing cover made me request this book. A fantasy, dystopian book about gods and monsters? It sounds amazing, right? I had high hopes for this book, but it was way too slow. I’m not even sure I really liked any of the characters that much. Sure I felt bad for Hallie, but she was kind of a ‘poor me’ character. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her to get her to open up her eyes. The small town farm setting wasn’t my favorite either. There was quite a cast of characters, but we don’t really get to know a lot of them because of the farm’s isolation.


I thought there was way too much emotional/mental drama between the sisters, even though half the time they barely spoke. Another thing I didn’t particularly like was the fact that there wasn’t really any romance. I love romance in a book. It’s not necessary for me when I’m reading, but having it as at least a subplot, and doing it well will go a long way with me. There’s some romance but it’s very minor. And I was rooting for them, but I wasn’t that invested. I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if things didn’t work out.


Final note: I guess my expectations for this book were so high that it was easy to be disappointed. It was way too slow in my opinion and it didn’t really hold my interest. I know other people have liked it, so give it a try.

2 stars