Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Night Owls and Summer Skies

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Ah, what a beautiful, sunny day. It’s days like these that kids like you should be ranting about bad eARCs.

Anyway, I know I posted in last week’s weekly update that I read a different eARC before this, but I figured I should probably post this review sooner, since I managed to get it the day before its release, this June 30. Plus, I need to get some feelings out, because Night Owls and Summer Skies was, for lack of better words, a complete train wreck.

Enjoy this eARC review!

Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies (9781989365250): Sullivan ...

Night Owls and Summer Skies–Rebecca Sullivan

Emma Lane is set to spend the summer with her mother, eager to try and mend their broken bond after her parents divorced. But without warning, she dumps Emma at Camp Mapplewood, the very same camp that sparked many of her long-standing anxieties that still linger to this day. Bitter and frustrated, she reconnects with Jessie, a childhood friend, and begins falling for Vivian, the young camp counselor. Will she be able to face her fears and find new love?

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Wattpad Books for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Whew. There’s a lot to unpack here.

First off, the Goodreads synopsis was rather misleading; Night Owls and Summer Skies was billed as more of a coming-of-age story about facing one’s fears. However, what we got was…zero character development, toxic relationships, and sloppy handling of the topics that the book promised to touch on.

Let’s start off with these characters. First off, Emma is EXTRAORDINARILY unlikable. I feel like the author was trying to make her give off a Sassy and Sarcastic Protagonist™️ vibe, but she’s nothing but a self-centered jerk. She pushes away every attempt the other characters (namely Gwen and Jessie) have at friendship, and she’s incredibly disrespectful at every turn. Vivian is similarly problematic; Sullivan was clearly going for some sort of enemies-to-lovers romance, which I normally love, but it crashed and burned quickly. Vivian wasn’t just sarcastic, she actually derided Emma in negative ways, which we were supposed to interpret as…banter? No, no, NO. All kinds of no. That’s not humor, that’s just straight-up toxicity.

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Additionally, the antagonists had zero redeeming qualities. Lauren, the main bully in the story, was not only a cardboard, run-of-the-mill pretty/popular antagonist bent on bending the world to her will, she’s a genuine CREEP. There’s even instances where Lauren sexually harasses Emma, which, like most other aspects of the novel, was handled veeeeeeeery poorly. Not only does it not seem to have a lasting effect on Emma herself, Lauren receives no punishment for anything that she does. NOTHING that anybody did in this book has consequences. NOTHING.

And to top it all off, the writing is utterly childish. The prose–if you can even call it that–is dry and lifeless, and the dialogue is not only unrealistic, but deeply cringe-y. Every part of this book desperately needed an editor–or a better editing job, at least. Even though I ended up blowing through Night Owls and Summer Skies in about an hour and a half, it was such a pain to read all the way through.

Overall, Night Owls and Summer Skies is quite like its characters, in that there’s hardly any redeemable qualities for both. 1.5 stars.

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Release date: June 30, 2020

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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 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?

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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!