Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Jelly

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has been treating you well.

This eARC was one of several that I received about a week and a half ago, and it’s definitely a unique one. A bizarre and inventive twist on both your traditional survival story and post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Enjoy this eARC review!

Jelly by Clare Rees

Jelly–Clare Rees

Martha is stranded. Stranded, that is, on the back of an enormous jellyfish. She and several other people have been, in fact, for such a long time that the concept of time has all but escaped them. And despite many attempts to escape, they may be permanently stuck.

But land is in sight, and with it may come new opportunities. Will Martha and the others be able to get to dry land–and survive the trip?

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and ABRAMS/Amulet Books for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

At the present moment, Jelly has quite a low Goodreads rating–about 3.31. Though I thought it was decent, I really don’t think it deserves a rating like that. Even though the execution was largely flawed, this was a novel with such an inventive premise.

First off, LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS THE HARDCOVER EDITION IS. It’s the edition that came on my eARC as well, and it’s just…so beautiful. I love all the vibrant colors!

Before I get to the positives, however, let’s start off with my major problem with this novel–the characters. There’s a wide cast of characters stranded on the gigantic jellyfish, and while Rees does a good job of keeping track of all of them, most of them were either caricatures, or not memorable at all. We got a few characters that boasted one (1) personality trait each (ex. James was obnoxious and immature, Kate was sensitive, Lana was snarky, Dr. Jones attempts to turn everything into a learning opportunity, etc.), but the rest had nothing that distinguished them from the others. Jelly is told from the POV of Martha, but by the end of the novel, we know next to nothing about her. So that aspect took away from my enjoyment of some of the novel. And beyond that, the humor of the comic relief characters fell flat more than not.

However, other than that criticism, this was a fascinating novel! I was instantly hooked by the premise of a survival story set almost entirely on the back of a giant jellyfish. Jellyfish are such fascinating creatures, and Rees deftly weaves bits of their biology into the story without info-dumping anything.

We later learn that the reason why it’s even possible for jellyfish to grow to such a size is due to them evolving to climate change; there’s even some other marine animals that have done the same–some species of crabs (now dubbed “kriks”) have crawled out of the sea, grown huge, and terrorized the human race, which is hinted to being part of the reason why humanity is nearly extinct in Jelly. There’s some interesting worldbuilding going on here, and it’s definitely the kind of cautionary tale we need about climate change and the rising oceans. (Stop climate change or the crabs will exact their revenge on us, kids!)

All in all, while Jelly lacked authentic characters/character development, it partially made up for it with a fresh and original concept. 3 stars!

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Expected release date: May 18, 2021

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That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I meant to review this one last week, but since Night Owls and Summer Skies came out right when I got the eARC and I need to get the salt out of my system, I temporarily put it on hold. But worry not, here’s the review now, and it’s leagues better than the former novel! 😉 Though it wasn’t without its flaws, The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss was an adorable, friends-to-lovers rom-com.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Amazon.com: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss ...

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss–Amy Noelle Parks

Caleb and Evie have been friends since childhood, but while Caleb seeks a romantic relationship with her, Evie thinks she has better things to do than dating. Their paths lead them to a prestigious, math and physics oriented school, where Evie flourishes–both in her academic endeavors, and in her budding relationship with Leo, a boy from her class. But as her talents begin to be noticed, her anxiety shows its face more than ever.

Caleb, meanwhile, is desperate to win Evie over. Now that she’s dating Leo, there seems to be no chance of them getting together–even though he almost kissed her 17 separate times. Can they still remain friends, or will Caleb’s true feelings tear them apart?

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Amulet Books/ABRAMS for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

🚨 THE ADORABLE SIRENS ARE GOING OFF LIKE CRAZY, FOLKS, WE HAVE AN ADORABLE RED ALERT, I REPEAT, AN ADORABLE RED ALERT 🚨

What I’m trying to say is that The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss is an incredibly sweet rom-com that’s simultaneously cute and handles some tough topics in a very genuine way.

I couldn’t help but root for all of the characters! Evie was my personal favorite–we’re very different people, to be sure (I mean, she’s going to a math-oriented school, so that’s already a major divide), but I found her to be an incredibly relatable and poignant character. And although I don’t have any experience with an anxiety disorder as she does, the representation of it seemed realistic without info-dumping or being overtly preachy. Caleb was sweet too, and he and Evie had wonderful chemistry. I’m not usually drawn to the friends-to-lovers dynamic in romance, but their relationship was incredibly well-executed.

As much as I loved the characters, there was one thing that bogged down a tiny bit of the novel…

Ladies, gentlemen and others, we’ve fallen into another love triangle trap.

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I mean…Leo was okay…but the addition of the love triangle to the story made it frustrating at times, and it was clear from the start that he and Evie weren’t meant to be. Even though it was kind of a vehicle for Caleb’s personal journey to win Evie back, I still wasn’t quite a fan of that aspect. Maybe it’s more of an “It’s not me, it’s you” problem here, since I just despise love triangles in general, but this one was at least more tolerable than most.

Other than that, my only problem about The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss was the very end. I can’t quite place what made me temporarily lose interest, but the ending felt a little bit rushed for reasons I can’t place. Again, maybe it’s just me, but I feel like too much was crammed into the last 80% of the novel or so.

But all in all, The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss was a sweet and heartfelt romance with genuine and lovable characters. 3.5 stars!

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Release date: January 5, 2021

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!