Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Lyrics and Curses

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Music references. I’ve grown up in a family of music nerds, and it’s been a passion of mine for almost my whole life–almost as fervent as my love of books. So you can imagine my joy to find a paranormal romance eARC that promised lots of them. But though I liked that aspect of the novel, most of it didn’t click with me.

Enjoy this eARC review!

Lyrics & Curses (Cursed Hearts, #1) by Candace Robinson

Lyrics and Curses (Cursed Hearts, #1)–Candace Robinson

1985. Lark Espinoza longs for an escape–from her stepmother, her popular sister, and her town where nothing seems to happen. But when a mysterious, cloaked stranger appears in her workplace, she knows something’s amiss–but even more so when she realizes that no one else can seem to see him.

It turns out she isn’t the only one. Auden Ellis, the boy Lark shares notes filled with song lyrics with, has also had an unexplainable experience–out of nowhere, he sees a stranger playing a flute that nobody can see–except for him and Lark. Auden and Lark sense that there’s a link between these unexplainable events–but would could they possibly mean?

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Filles Vertes Publishing for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

For a while, I was teetering between a 3 star and a 2 star rating. The second half of the book pushed it towards the 2 star end, sadly. The Goodreads blurb pegs it as Pretty in Pink meets Stranger Things–both of which I love–but Lyrics and Curses felt weak in most respects. (Also, I…really don’t see the Pretty in Pink part? Maybe that’s just me, but…)

Let’s start off with what I liked. I loved Auden and Lark’s friendship/almost relationship, even though the latter felt forced and rushed towards the end of the novel. Their shared bonding over music was something I related to, and plus, they (I mean, I guess I should be saying Candace Robinson) had great taste. Jumping off of that, I LOVED the music references–David Bowie, Talking Heads, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, Queen, all the good stuff. There’s a clear love of all things 80’s, and it really shines through in Lyrics and Curses.

Legion Review: 9 Moments from the Premiere to Admire, Recap + ...

But that’s where the good aspects ended for me. Speaking of said music references…I loved them, but most of the time, much of the 80’s references felt more like namedropping, like the author was just sprinkling them in to say “OH, and DID I MENTION that this is the 80’S?!? Would you look at THAT!!! 80’S!!!!!!1!!!” The more that were piled on, the more tired and forced the setting of the novel felt. Don’t get me wrong–I’m a big fan of most 80’s content as well, but some of the references only ended up dragging the novel down, and making the historic setting less genuine.

Aside from that, the plot generally felt weak. The paranormal aspect was barely touched on until the second half of the book, and even then, it felt like there weren’t any high stakes for the characters–at least until…maybe the last 90% of the book? I wasn’t invested in Lark and Auden’s journey, and the paranormal aspect was only mildly gripping. As a result, the last half of the book felt incredibly rushed, and I ended up skimming the last 75% or so. After Lark and Auden realize the source of these paranormal occurrences, the book got *slightly* more interesting, but by that time, the book was nearly over, and there wasn’t too much time to touch on it further. I suppose that’s what a sequel is for, but I still felt that most of the beginning could have been cut out, and the paranormal aspects of the plot been expanded upon more.

All in all, a novel that showcases a nostalgic love of music and the 1980’s, but fails to deliver on most other aspects. 2 stars.

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Me 50% of the way through trying to decide if I’d give this 3 or 2 stars

Expected release date: November 10, 2020

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song. (Not 80’s, sorry…)

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 1-7, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

Man, after last week’s reading, I just SPED UP for some reason this week, and I read almost double the amount that I did last week. Part of it’s probably due to the fact that I read several books that were on the shorter side, but I just found it sort of odd.

Adding onto that, I think this is the most I’ve posted in one week. Partially because I’ve been starting to review the eARCs that I’ve gotten so far, but since I have a few more to review, so expect more such momentum next week…wheeeeee…

200,000 units are ready with a million more well on the way Blank ...

I got approved for two more eARCs (4 so far) and I’ve been declined 3 [sad harmonica noises], but I’ve requested a bunch, so we’ll see what happens…

Other than that, it’s been a fairly nice week–warm weather, a bit of drawing, some writing, and I watched Rope. (There is absolutely nothing heterosexual about that movie, and I love it.)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Emma–Jane Austen (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Emma (Penguin Classics) (9781439515822): Austen, Jane ...

The Masked City (The Invisible Library, #2)–Genevieve Cogman (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Masked City (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman, Genevieve ...

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation–F. Scott Fitzgerald and K. Woodman-Maynard (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by F. Scott ...

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life–Dani Jansen (eARC) (⭐️⭐️)

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

Hollow Kingdom–Kira Jane Buxton (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

Dandelion Wine (Green Town, #1)–Ray Bradbury (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Dandelion Wine (Greentown Book 1) eBook: Bradbury, Ray ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Under Shifting Stars–Alexandra Latos (eARC)

Amazon.com: Under Shifting Stars (9780358067757): Alexandra Latos ...

Dreamwalkers–Leslie Rush (eARC)

Dreamwalkers - Leslie Rush - Pre-Order - Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

This was my second eARC from Edelweiss+. I hadn’t heard of it beforehand, and it sounded like a cute rom-com. But while it delivered on some aspects, it ultimately fell incredibly flat for me.

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Enjoy this eARC review!

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life–Dani Jansen

High school senior Alison Green is desperate for the title of valedictorian of her class, and this year, she’ll do anything to take the top spot. What she didn’t anticipate was her teacher’s offering for her to direct the yearly play–this year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From the beginning, the play is a disaster, with a limited budget, drama between the cast members, and her hopeless crush on the girl playing Queen Titania. Will she be able to pull together all the elements and make the play work?

⭐︎

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Second Story Press for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Let’s start out with the good portions. First off, representation! Alison (protagonist) is a lesbian, her love interest is pansexual, there’s several gay side characters, and another side character is Korean-American. So props to Jansen for making an effortlessly diverse cast.

And on that subject, an aspect of the book I quite liked was the romance…while it lasted. Alison and Charlotte were ADORABLE together, and even though, without spoiling anything, things don’t go according to plan, it was still cute for a short while.

Now, for the rest of the book…

YIKES.

Right off the bat, all of the characters are flat, as is their dialogue. They were all but cardboard, unrealistic caricatures of what human beings are supposed to be like. As a result, there’s almost no way to connect with any of the characters. All the attempts at tackling certain issues ended up being weak and flat, and anything but thought-provoking.

Aside from this, The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life didn’t seem to have any sort of resolution. There wasn’t any real moment of learning from one’s mistakes on Alison’s part, which would have given the book far more meaning. In short, she failed (several times), but she didn’t do anything about it. There was pretty much no character development. At all. None.

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And other than that, I felt that Alison was so, needlessly self-destructive. What with her learning from none of her past faults, there are COUNTLESS moments where she pushes away her loved ones, and is surprised when they’re mad about it. Whether it’s the play, her family relationships, her actions toward her best friend, or her budding relationship with Charlotte, there is a BOATLOAD of selfishness and self-destruction. I get it, there’s usually some element of it in many rom-coms, but there was so much of it here that it only served to drag down the plot and make Alison all the more unlikable of a character.

All in all, rom-com that had some positive aspects, but ultimately was nearly as disastrous as the play adaptation in the novel. 2 stars.

Release date: September 22, 2020

Today’s song:

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