Book Review: Been Here All Along

Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
My rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee and having his choice of colleges. They do not include falling head over heels for his best friend and next-door neighbour, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do . . .

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong . . .

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Hi book nerds! I’m back with another book review! I started reading Been Here All Along just because I wanted to read an ebook alongside my physical read (which happens to be Reign of the Fallen), but I finished reading this one first!

This was a good read, a fast and fun one. And although the plot seemed too easy and predictable at times, it was still pretty enjoyable. I definitely recommend this to those who are looking for a short and sweet contemporary read!

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The writing

The writing was okay, it was light and it was easy to follow.

There are four perspectives, though, so that can be a little confusing, not because of timelines or the different thoughts of the characters, but because you’ll be wondering “oh, why does this character have a perspective? What does he/she have to the with the plot? Do they have a bigger purpose or part? What’s going to happen in their arc now?”. Stuff like those.

 

The characters

The characters were fine and it was easy for me to connect with the main characters, especially with Gideon and Kyle.

I love how they’re all facing their own problems. As I’ve mentioned, there are four perspectives, and these four characters all have their problems that they’re going through. I wish the author delved more into that though, because some conflicts in each perspective were only partly-solved. I was really waiting for the characters—especially Ezra and Ruby—to truly overcome and face their problems head on, I wanted to see more of their character development.

Another thing is that Gideon and Kyle’s feelings for each other seemed a bit rushed for me. I mean I get that they’re best friends, and I LOVE the best friends to lovers trope, but I didn’t see much of the “buried” feelings as they say, or the gradual realization that they have feelings for each other. I still like their pairing though, haha!

The plot

As I’ve mentioned above, the plot can seem too easy and predictable at times. Like it’s something that I’ve already seen in other YA contemporaries (the plot actually reminds me a bit of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda). The good thing about this is that, readers will definitely get that happy ending they’re looking for. This is why I totally recommend this book as sort of a palate cleanser, in case you’ve been reading a lot of fantasy novels or books with heavy or emotional issues. Been Here All Along is a fun and light read, for sure.

There are a couple of subplots as well, that I feel like wasn’t answered or tackled completely. It left me a little bit unsatisfied because unsolved or partly-solved subplots are some of the banes of my existence. Apart from that, everything was good.

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Overall this was a fun read and I give it three stars! How about you guys? Have you read this before or not yet?

And now that we’re in the topic of short/sweet contemporaries, go suggest some in the comments!

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ARC Review: The Weight of a Soul

Title: The Weight of a Soul
Author: Elizabeth Tammi
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Publication date: December 3, 2019
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

Buy it here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Flux!

Well, this was a fun read! The Weight of a Soul has a mix of mythology, family, and the sense of doing right or wrong. Definitely enjoyed this one, and I would have finished it way sooner if I didn’t have a busy week!

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The writing

I adored the writing style of the author. It was emotional and philosophical for me as it touches the topic of family—specifically a sister’s love and estranged family members—and the morality of a person.

The characters

I liked the characters enough but I wish it had more characterization. We see Lena get consumed by grief and her dangerous determination to see her sister again. We see Amal try to get back up and put on a brave face. And Fressa, though she was a constant topic throughout the book, I don’t know much about her or I didn’t get to relate enough to her.

The plot

The plot was okay for me—it was interesting but I feel like the pace or the flow of the story seemed off. The first few parts were really interesting, the middle parts got a bit slow and uneventful, and the remaining parts of the book got really fast-paced.

I liked that the author pulled some exciting plot twists that I didn’t see at first! I loved that. The ending (as in the last two lines!) were shocking as well! I also expected more action, a battle or some sort of showdown, but those few great plot twists did it for me.

Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars!

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The Weight of a Soul is the very first e-arc I received on NetGalley and it was an enjoyable read! Do you guys use NetGalley? How was it for you? Got any tips to share?

Mini book reviews: The Science of Monsters + Witchy ARCs

I got two e-ARCS from Edelweiss last month and I finally got to read them earlier this July. I have to say, these two books are quite different from my usual reads. One’s a comic, and one’s nonfiction! Nonetheless, they were both enjoyable. Here are my mini reviews!

#1 ARC Review: The Science of Monsters

Title: The Science of Monsters
Author: Meg Hafdahl, Kelly Florence
Genre/s: Nonfiction, Essays, Adult, Horror, Science
My rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

A must-have for any fan of dark and spooky cinema.

Gothic media moguls Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence, the women behind the Horror Rewind podcast called “the best horror film podcast out there” by Film Daddy, are revisiting horror films from their childhood to discover the science behind the mask. Join Kelly and Meg as they unravel the medical mysteries and scientific marvels that inspired the creation of famous monsters like Nosferatu, Norman Bates, and many more.

In The Science of Monsters, Meg and Kelly discover the real science behind our greatest fears. In interviews with experts at the top of their field, they seek answers to questions like:

How would a zombie really decompose in Night of the Living Dead?
Are there instances of shape shifting in nature like in The Wolfman?
What is the science behind the night terrors that inspired the creation of Freddy Krueger?

Is there scientific data supporting ghost detection like the tools used in Poltergeist?
What is the psychological drive that compels cannibals like Hannibal Lecter?
And so much more!

An approachable and frightfully fun examination of what goes bump in the night, The Science of Monsters will thrill every horror fan.

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Both really educational and entertaining! I enjoyed reading this one! I know horror fans will surely love reading this book.

I love how the authors really took the time to analyze every movie and every creature or character featured in it. Sometimes I feel like they did not explain the movie enough, and just went straight ahead explaining the science behind them. But other than that, everything was good. I definitely learned a lot of things in this book—about science, about movies, about horror.

This will be out on October 15, 2019!

Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

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#2 ARC Review: Witchy

Title: Witchy
Author: Ariel Slamet Ries
Series: Witchy #1
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comics, Graphic Novels
My rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning.

Witchy is a comic about the young witch Nyneve, who is haunted by the death of her father and the threat the Witch Guard poses to her own life. When conscription rolls around, Nyneve has a choice to make; join the institution complicit in her father’s death, or stand up for her ideals?

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This was an enjoyable read, though, nothing much has happened yet (which is understandable as this only contains the first four chapters). I love the world, but I wanted to know more details about it. I got to know the characters, but I feel like there is much more to uncover and I haven’t quite grasped them yet. I guess I’ll get the answers I want when I read the next parts of this!

I also adored the illustrations, they’re fun and I love how the artist brings life to the pages with them. Overall, this was a good read for me!

This will be out on September 17, 2019!

Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

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These are both really interesting reads and I love how they’re new genres for me! How about you book nerds? Have you tried reading nonfiction or graphic novels? Did you like it?

Fox & Wit Unboxing: Murder and Magic June Lit & Tunes

Wait. Another unboxing?! Yep, you read that right fellow book nerd!

This time it’s my rep package from Fox & Wit! (Use the code OBSCURE5 to save!) They’re an incredible book subscription box who brings unique book boxes and book merch to bookworms! Some of their book subscription boxes are the Book Parcel and Lit & Tunes.

My rep package is Lit & Tunes! Instead of a box of book and merches, you get a book, a digital soundtrack themed around the book of the month, and the optional enamel pin! Sounds exciting? Here are the contents of my package!
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
💀 Lila Bard-inspired enamel pin, exclusive design by @whitneyjreads
💀 Digital sountrack by @foxandwit
💀 The BOTM, Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey⠀⠀

  Fox & Wit Murder and Magic Unboxing  Fox & Wit Lila Bard-inspired Enamel Pin

The book really has me curious! Murder mystery with a touch of magic? I’m in! Plus you see that blurb? It’s from V.E. Schwab!
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Shop for your own Book parcels/Lit & Tunes now! Check out Fox & Wit’s August theme The Sea’s Curse and choose whether you want the Book Parcel or Lit & Tunes option! Use the code OBSCURE5 to save!

 

Anyway. Someone here who has read this book already? What were your thoughts?

Book Review: Sea Witch

Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Sea Witch #1
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
My rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

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Reading is a little bit slow this July, and this is only my third book this month! Got this book from a book subscription box last year and I’ve only read this now! *cries* I know, I know, I’m sorry! But hey, I finally read it!

This is a good read, and although I wasn’t totally hooked in the early parts of the book, the climax and the ending did it for me!

The writing

The writing was okay for me, although, it did feel like a hit or miss. Sometimes, it was great and gripping, but sometimes I am indifferent about it.

I have to say though, I love how the author told the story in an alternating past and present perspectives. I love how in every past memory, there are secrets to be discovered, and every little detail in these memories just added up into the climax.

The characters

The characters were okay as well, however, I wasn’t too invested in them. I liked Evie enough and I was suspicious of Annemette ever since the beginning. Nik is great as well, and I love his and Evie’s friendship and chemistry! Iker, on the other hand, is quite interesting in a way that he has the usual playboy characteristics yet he is incredibly protective and loyal.

The plot

The plot was okay. I wasn’t hooked with the earlier parts of the story though. It just seemed a little silly, specifically the parts where they’re to make the prince fall in love (but maybe that’s just because I’m not too fond of romance-centered plots like this haha!).

The climax and the ending is what I enjoyed the most. By the time I was reading the climax, I was gripping the book so close to my face with no care in the world. I wanted to know the truth, I wanted to know more about the antagonist’s plans, the main characters’ reactions, everything. I’m also oddly satisfied with the ending. It’s definitely not the usual happy ending, but I quite liked it.

Quotes from the book

I am a witch. I am and I always will be. The magic is in me and it is enough.

Though magic can shape life and death, love is the one thing it cannot control.

“Don’t grant all the prince’s requests, darling girl. Men are always asking for more than they should.”

“My heart is not mine to give because it is already yours.”

“Everything about love is dangerous.”

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Overall, I enjoyed this retelling and I’m definitely open for more in the future! How about you guys? Have you read this book? What did you think? Know any other fairy tale/Little Mermaid retelling?