August 21, 2019

Mini-reviews: Permanent Record + Vow of Thieves + Wild Savage Stars

pub 9/3/19 by Simon & Schuster
Young Adult - Contemporary
Gifted ARC from Alexa
⭐⭐ 2 stars | I was very excited to read my first Mary H.K. Choi novel but unfortunately, Permanent Record left me extremely underwhelmed. It started off interestingly enough. We meet Pablo–a college dropout, working at 24-hour deli and in denial over his debt. He has a meet-cute with Leanna Smart–famous actress, singer, social media star, you name it. They couldn't be anymore different but they hit it off so they begin to secretly see each other and of course it isn't long before Instagram (and then the world) finds out. The writing was engaging to a certain degree and I liked the premise, but the characters just didn't speak to me at all. It's told entirely from Pablo's point-of-view and deep down under, he's a good guy under all that immaturity. But I didn't connect to him or his story. Likewise, even though we only see Leanna through his eyes, I didn't see the big deal about her nor did I see much depth in her either. And because of all that, it was difficult to really root for this relationship to succeed or even enjoy it while it still their little secret. I've been told that her debut novel, Emergency Contact, might be more up my alley so I'll give that a try eventually.

pub 8/6/19 by Henry Holt
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | Vow of Thieves is the sequel I didn't know I needed in my life. As much as I enjoyed Dance of Thieves, I was very happy with how it ended so I was surprised to find out there would be sequel. Of course, I knew I'd read it because 1) I adore Mary E. Pearson and 2) Kazi and Jase. If you share these same feelings, then you are going to love Vow of Thieves as much as I did. It honestly made me want to immediately reread the first book right after. We're reunited with our favorite duo and their relationship is stronger and swoonier than ever. Which clearly means trouble is on the horizon. It picks ups soon after Dance, so Kazi and Jase are on their way to Tor's Watch to reunite Tor's Watch and share the good news. It's during this journey that they're violently attacked, separated and set forth on dangerous paths. I typically hate when couples are torn apart (unsurprising) but Pearson does a great job of balancing the conflict, their separation, and the different factors in play. She constantly moves the plot forward so I never felt a lull in the action or even strategizing. She also managed to surprise me a few times (she's great at that!). While this is truly supposed to be end for this series, I wouldn't be opposed to another book or novella just to return to this world and characters again. It's just so good!

pub 8/27/19 by Imprint
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | It's always so hard for me to rate the books in this series! Not in a bad way though. They're excellently written and it's clear that Kristina Pérez knows her stuff (she has a PhD in Medieval Lit!). But I feel so stressed and have this pit in my stomach half the time while I'm reading. It's a testament to how well she's written these characters and this tumultuous journey though because it evokes so many feelings in me. Branwen has ancient magic and for all her efforts to do good with it for sake of her kingdom and for love of Eseult, it only seems to cause more suffering for herself and the ones she loves. And now that Branwen, Eseult and Tristan have treasonous secrets to bear in a court foreign to the two girls, the stakes are even higher for them all. My heart just broke for Branwen over and over again. But I also admired how she took charge of situations and her own life. I think the weak point in book, and probably series overall, is Eseult. I just don't feel bad for her? I actually find her to be awful, not to mention annoying, and this book only intensified that feeling. It would make the "love triangle" more interesting if she was a tad more compelling. Otherwise, this is another winner from this author and I'm excited for book 3.

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