The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia #5) by C.S. Lewis

voyage of the dawn treader

 

official blurb
Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.

my blurb!
Some of our favorite characters are taken back to the magical land of Narnia.

3.75 our of 5

what i liked
This book was all over the map!  Okay, if you’ve read this book I just made a joke there, If you haven’t… trust me, it was funny.  The characters in this adventure are traveling all over the realm that contains Aslan’s homeland as well as Narnia (and many other places!)
As I was reading about Caspien interacting with Lucy I found myself totally shipping them.  Have I been reading too many romance novels?  Maybe.
The big highlight of this book is Clive’s (C.S. Lewis) ability to keep redeeming characters in his adventures! I don’t know how he does it, but he just keeps on doing it!
This was by far the most random book in the series.  There is no antagonist in this book.  It is super weird.  But also kind of fun to read.  Each chapter holds a different tale.

what i didn't like
Okay Eustace sucks.  I know, I know, I have beef with one character in every one of these books. But Clive can write some of the most annoying characters out there!  You read it and you just keep saying “Are you serious right now?!”  I mean, (kind of a spoiler but not really) Eustace eats a dragon.  If that doesn’t seem weird to you, trust me, it’s super weird when you read about it.
The sexism that is woven throughout these books is still going strong in this one.
At the end of this book they explain exactly WHY the four children came to Narnia to begin with.  I literally screamed at the book “THAT’S WHY?!”

There are some heavier elements in this book- including being sold into slavery.  This isn’t something I disliked- but wanted to mention because people do tend to market these as children’s books. Again, the sexism and slavery could easily go over a kids head and I am reading these books as a 30-year-old.  But these aspects did surprise me so I feel they need to be mentioned?  Did that sound like a posh English sentence or what?! I am totally channeling Clive right now.

while reading you should
Drink: Water.  You never know when you’ll be sucked into a long journey and need to be hydrated just in case! (A bookworm’s version of survivalist prepping is drinking water in case you’re summoned by Narnia)
Listen to: The Planet Earth Soundtrack
Watch: This movie!  Did you know they made two Narnia movies?  This was the second one that they made!

happy eating

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis

LWW.PNG

 

official blurb
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy find their way through an old wardrobe into the world of Narnia. There, they unite with Aslan to fight the White Witch and save Narnia from perpetual Darkness.

my blurb!
Three siblings discover a magical land and then come to find that it is their destiny to save it.

3.5 stars

 

what i liked
I can vividly picture the scenes in this book.  I mean, I have seen the movie, so maybe that was why- but I’m gonna say that it was because of how descriptive it was.
There is something so magical about discovering an entirely new world within the confines of a house.  I don’t think that walking into that wardrobe will ever be anything short of amazing for me!
The overall allegory in this story is so well written- there is no room for confusion and it is so easily understood in the mind of a child.  I mean… it’s really pretty cool.  For instance- turkish delight is so good, it’s sinful.  See what I did there?  I couldn’t help myself.  Edmond has a taste of turkish delight and that is soon all he can think about.  It becomes an unquenchable desire to have more turkish delight regardless of the EXTREME consequences it would take to acquire more.

what i didn't like
Edmond sucks so badly.  I mean, wow- he is AWFUL.  I should mention that he isn’t inherently sucky- his siblings (or maybe the narrator) mention that he went away to boarding school and came back with this level of suckage.  He is a genuine unkind soul and I just got so irritated reading about him!
There is a scene featuring Aslan and Edmond and that scene was perfectly awkward in every way.
I think that Peter is portrayed as mean to Edmond.  And I didn’t really like that! Not that Peter was mean, but that he came across that way.  Because seriously, Peter said everything I wanted to say to Edmond.
Again, just as in The Magician’s Nephew, the sexism in this book was off putting for me.  Just so many constant insults about girls.

Overall, I thought I was going to like this book more.  I discovered when reading my copy, that I had actually read the book in college but I hadn’t remembered that at all!  So there are a few reasons that perhaps I didn’t like it as much- being a kids book and a reread, and having already seen the movie.  But I will say, that that has not stopped my love from blooming in the past.
Also, you know when it snows and everything is a beautiful winter wonderland and people all around you make references to Narnia?  I just want to point out that when Narnia was in this perpetual state of winter, it was being ruled by a dark and evil queen.  (Did I just make it obvious that I don’t like winter?)

 

while reading you should
Listen: The Blue Planet by Hans Zimmer
Watch: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie!
Eat: Turkish delight! (oh… that’s gross? Okay,  eat dark chocolate brownies.)

DuxSignature smallercopy

 

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99pm

 

official blurb
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough. When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade. Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

my blurb!
Two bickering twins fight over the attention of their childhood best friend.

 

So I’ve kind of been dreading doing this review because this was my first ever physical copy of a book from a publisher and I did expect to give it 5 stars. Spoiler alert- this wasn’t 5 stars for me, but I really do think that this book will find its audience!

Thank you William Morrow for this book! Receiving the free book did not change my feelings about the book!

3 out of 5                                                             4 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
Okay this book ends with an Epilogue for The Hating Game.  I know, this isn’t technically reviewing 99 Percent Mine – but the epilogue for THG is in this book so trust me it needs to be included.  Did you know that I loved THG?  Oh I’ve mentioned it roughly 1 million times?  Wait, are you saying I’m starting to sound like a broken record and you’re tired of hearing about Josh and Lucy?  Well, too bad! I love them with my whole heart and this epilogue was EVERYTHING.  Is that dramatic? NO! This was a 5 star epilogue!!!  I am not upset to own this book (which wasn’t 5 stars) because I would have bought it anyways simply to own this epilogue!
Okay, now to 99PM.  Darcy’s best friend in this book is great! She has her own business (which is an amazing business idea, btw) and is working hard to make it successful. She is supportive of Darcy! She wasn’t entirely awesome but was mostly amazing (I could go into that more but that would give you some spoilers so… Not today satan!)
While I didn’t laugh out loud while reading this book, I did enjoy some of Darcy’s inner dialogue.
I read this book quickly, in less than 24 hours. So quick and easy reading with this one!
So that’s the end of what I liked. You’re wondering how I possible gave it 3 stars and not 2 stars or 1 star.  Did you already forget the 5 star Epilogue?!  It carries this book.

what i didn't like
Lucy (from The Hating Game) is all sunshine and strawberries.  Darcy (from 99 Percent Mine) is black nail polish and remorse. I just could not connect with Darcy.  Sally Thorne said that Darcy is like Lucy’s older sister.  Darcy is crass and hardened. She has constantly showing bra straps, and a boy always in her bed.  HUGE contrast in the two main characters from the two books.  Which is TOTALLY fine- I don’t want to read the same character in every book at all! So Sally did a great job with that really.   But, I just couldn’t connect with Darcy because of these reasons!  The reasons I loved Lucy, I disliked Darcy.  Now it should be noted that I do think this book will find its audience. I think that some people didn’t love sunshine Lucy and they will love rain cloud Darcy.
Okay, moving on.  I didn’t fall in love alongside this couple.  When I finished the book, I wasn’t scrambling for more.  In a romance novel- I should be shipping this couple all day every day.
In THG- Sally (who is Australian) – does a phenomenal job of not using any language specific to Australia- so I actually thought THG took place in America because that is where I’m from!  In 99PM, there were some phrases and words used that didn’t translate easily to “American.”  Which confused me because I was pretty sure that this book was actually supposed to be in America.
There were aspects of the dialogue and certain scenes that actually didn’t make sense to me. A few times, I flipped the page to see if two pages stuck together because I didn’t think the scene made sense.
Darcy loves to flirt with other men, and even in the ending of the book, this is still mentioned.  Why? That was super weird to me.  The main couple is already together, but she still flirts with other men? What?!  I was  not into that at all.
This book was predictable. I’ve had a lot of feedback from people who read THG and thought it was predictable too.  But there were aspects of the plot in THG that were smaller plotlines and were not predictable.  In 99PM – every small plotline was predictable.  Obviously it’s a romance novel, so the overall plot is predictable (which I appreciate).  But I wanted more out of the smaller plots in this book.
Darcy and her brother are twins. They are both so annoying. I don’t know another way to say that. But wow they are annoying.  Like, I heavily disliked them.  Whenever there were scenes where they looked back on their lives with Tom… all I could think was, “Why in the world would Tom want to be around these out of control twins?! Let alone fall in in love with one?!”

while reading you should
Do: learn how to make a cocktail you really want!
Eat: Pizza
Listen to this playlist I created while reading this book:
Your Ex Lover is Dead by Stars
Fall by Justin Bieber
The Best of You and Me by Number one Gun
Show You by CXLOE (Full disclosure, Sally posted the following songs on her insta stories when she was talking about 99 Percent Mine!)
Call it What you Want by Taylor Swift
Backseat by Charli XCX
Baby by Bishop Briggs
Lucky Strike by Troye Sivan
Clumsy Love by Thelma Plum

DuxSignature smallercopy

 

Thinks You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

things you save in a fire.PNG

official blurb

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

my blurb!

A woman who has built her life on independence and being one of the guys, has to make the decision if being herself fits into either of those categories.

I received this copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for my review which does not have to be favorable.

*Reader beware: this book deals with rape*

3.25 out of 5

what i didn't like

The majority of the book the reader is aware of a shady “relationship” between Cassie and another man, but no details are given (which I appreciated). But in the last 1/8 or so of the book, the event is described (it’s not in extreme detail, but it is described). I personally steer VERY clear of this type of storyline, and had I known this was going to be a plot in this book I probably would not have picked it up. All in all, that is a negative for me, but nothing described was nightmare inducing, and it was written well overall.
Another thing I didn’t love… There is an issue with a fellow firefighter that endangers the life of another person. As a reader, we see how Cassie reacts, but we don’t see enough of how the other person affected reacts. This seemed like a missed opportunity to me.
There wasn’t enough dialogue in this book for me. I craved more of it.
Regarding Cassie’s mom’s health…. I think as a reader, I was supposed to be surprised about something. I wasn’t surprised. I mean, I do watch a lot of Masterpiece Mystery shows on the BBC so maybe I’m unwittingly channeling Sherlock. Or maybe that was predictable.
This book felt long. I can’t describe that another way, other than I asked myself if it was going to be over soon, just to look down at the percent completed and realize “nope, only 65% done.” And I’m not sure this book was actually long, it just felt like that at times.
I don’t believe in love at first sight. Attraction? Of Course. Lust? For sure. Love? No way. This book had a case of love-at-first-sight’s and the majority of the book did feature a love story. I read the whole book and I didn’t finish it and think to myself… wow they really love each other.

what i liked

Wow that was a LONG list of things I didn’t like! I bet you’re wondering if there is anything I DID like in this book. Don’t worry, there was! A 3 star rating for me is by no means a dud! Consider this a thorough review!
There are some great quotes in this book. I felt like I was constantly highlighting quotes to come back to later! (In my initial draft of this review I wrote down no less than three quotes from this book- but then I remembered this was an ARC and I can’t include quotes in my review! but TRUST me, her writing is AMAZING!)
This book talks a lot about forgiveness. Katherine Center has an uncanny ability to capture an unbelievable degree of realism in her books. Maybe not every plot line, but she’ll describe something so accurately that you’ll begin to wonder what struggles she’s experienced in life to make her so acutely aware of the words needed to describe them! And then you realize that perhaps she hasn’t at all and she’s simply an amazing author. In The Bright Side Of Disaster, she captures everything from a birth plan to life as a new mom. In How To Walk Away she captures the ache of being in a hospital and the truth about hopelessness in your health. In this book, it’s the real steps it takes to forgive, and the reality of what it looks like to cope in life without forgiving. You can live a perfectly reasonable life without forgiveness, but a much more full one with it. I think that was the message in this book and it was well received.
Another BIG pro (I can’t emphasize that enough) in this book is the women’s issues it tackles. Cassie is a woman doing a job that is almost exclusively male. She sees the pros and cons of being a girl and doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder when proving why she is amazing at her job. Her attitude throughout the book is so stellar – because she assumes positive intent from her coworkers. Cassie mentions at one point that she was trying to recalibrate her coworkers idea of what it meant to be female. I loved that thought.

Overall I’m not sure if I should classify this book as a romance novel or a fiction novel- truth be told, those genres overlap a lot more than people are willing to admit. This book wasn’t crazy steamy or anything (it’s no Winston Brothers), but there is romance involved!

while reading you should

Act: make sure your house is up to date with Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and that the batteries all work.
Listen: Moonlight Kiss by Bap Kennedy
Watch: How to Deal (Mandy Moore at her finest!)

DuxSignature

The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center

the bright side of distaster.PNG

official blurb
Jenny Harris always expected that she’d fall in love, get married, and have a baby–in that order. Now, very pregnant and not quite married, she actually doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned; she’s happy to have so much to look forward to. But Dean–whom Jenny loves enough to overlook his bad facial hair, his smoking habit, and his total commitment to a cheesy cover band–is acting distant, and not in a pre-wedding-jitters kind of way. The night he runs out for cigarettes and just doesn’t come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor. And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor. In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby’s), there’s not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things start looking up. She learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even manages to give dating tips to her sweet, clueless father–who’s trying to court her sassy mother again, fifteen years after their divorce. She also gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor–with a knack for soothing babies–who invites her out dancing. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end Jenny must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

my blurb!
A girl with zero instincts for making good decisions learns how to try to make better ones in the wake of being a new mom.

3.25 out of 5

When I finished How To Walk Away, I knew I was gonna need to go out and read all of Katherine Center’s books.  This book did not live up to the love I had for How to Walk Away, but it was still well written and a good read.

what i liked
I loved Jenny’s mom. She was consistent and supportive.  (Btw, these two words should always describe moms but rarely are!)  She was logical and helpful.  She was a survivor from heartbreak. She was great!
I loved Gardner- our friendly neighbor.  I would’ve loved more from (and about) Gardner actually!
My favorite part about the book was how INSANELY realistically it painted the picture of the pressures moms put on themselves.  Even pregnant- Jenny really struggled with her birth plan changing- and how much to stick up for herself and her birth plan (that is SO real, you guys! So real!).  Then post birth- omg did she capture the struggle of breastfeeding, of not wanting to leave your baby, of having zero sleep, of eating almost nothing. I mean, wow! Katherine Center captured this phase of life SO well.  It was actually sometimes hard to read because it was so realistic!

what i didn't like
Do you remember that book I read a while ago, Matchmaking for Beginners? People had a really big problem with Marnie and how stupid she was to continually let her dirtbag of a fiancé walk all over her?  But I said- it wasn’t crazy annoying but somewhat annoying?  Well in this book- Jenny was SO unbelievably annoying. I could not take her poor decision making skills.  I’m not going to write any spoilers but wow. So. Annoying.
My major problem with the book is that I liked Gardner- Jenny’s neighbor- more than I liked Jenny.
Also Jenny had a brand new cat that her mom was CRAZY allergic to. Her mom. Who came over to help her. Every. Single. Day. And she never attempted to find a different solution- other than having her mom take benadryl.  I’m an animal person. I am also a human person.  This was so insane to me.  Jenny has friends! Ask if anyone would want the cat!!!

while reading you should
Do: plan and have a garage sale.  You know you have the stuff to sell… we all do!
Eat: casserole.  Any kind really. They all taste the same…. delicious!
Listen to: Salsa music

DuxSignature smallercopy

Dating – ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid

dating ish.PNG

 

official blurb
There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:  1) She’s fed up with online dating,  2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and  3) She knows how to knit. After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . . As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

my blurb!
The story of a super cool girl and a smartypants guy, who decide to use each other for professional gain but but end up gaining something else in the end.

3.25 out of 5

what i liked
I really liked Marie!  Can you tell by now that I ALWAYS like the Penny Reid heroine?  She is motivated and kind, she sticks up for herself and is loyal.  What’s not to like?
This book was a really cute romcom…. BUT it was too steamy.  So if you don’t mind a steamy romance- you’ll like this romcom.
I liked the topic that this book focused on- writing an article or solving a scientific problem of the perks of a relationship without being in one. (Sidenote- I JUST watched a new hallmark movie called Mingle All The Way that also tried to tackle this topic!)

what i didn't like
It’s too steamy!!! I have to skim a lot of parts in a Penny Reid book but I keep coming back to her. I know… why?!  Because I love her writing and her characters but I don’t love her steam! It’s too much!
The ending I didn’t love. I won’t give anything away… but the last scene.  Nope… wasn’t into it.
This was the 6th book in a series- and somehow my library has this book and only this book in the series.  They are each stand alone books but I found a lot of recaps in this book that I knew were big plot points in other books.  It didn’t flow very well.

while reading you should
Do: Read a newspaper- while you’re at it, get me a subscription bc my free local one just went out of business 😦
Make: coconut cake
Listen: Turning the Page by Sleeping At Last

DuxSignature smallercopy

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

the proposal.PNG

 

official blurb
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans… At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

my blurb!
A girl who gets brutally embarrassed online falls for her no- strings white knight.

3.75 our of 5

1.5/5 steam level

what i liked
This book is kind of like the second in a series- but also it’s not.  That was really good, right? I know, I should try to write reviews for a living!  Did you read The Wedding Date?  Well this book features the best friend from TWD, so it is a stand alone novel.  But also, it could be read as the second book in a series!
I loved the peak at Alexa and Drew from TWD.  I didn’t love TWD when I read it, but that was before I became a romance reader!  Now I think if I read it again, I might like it more.  So overall, it was fun to look back at some old friends from TWD.
I’m not sure if I just missed it in the description, but it was a good 3/4 of the way through the book before I realized that Nikole was black.  They have a scene where they really reference this- and I was like… wait what?! I was picturing her so differently so that was a funny and fun surprise.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- the most diverse characters I’ve read in any books have all come from romance novels!  I hadn’t read very many black leads until I started reading this genre and I’m so happy to read about characters like me!
These books feature what I would call closed-door sex scenes.  It’s not an open look at the dirty deed. It basically features very little description and the reader is left easily understanding what the characters are doing.  I really liked that myself!
There’s also a solid group of friends in this book- so shout out to that!

what i didn't like
I feel like going back, this book should rank higher- but for some reason it just didn’t rank THAT high for me.  There were things I loved about diversity in the book and things I hated.  There’s a scene where Carlos kind of tests Nik by ordering her tacos.  I won’t go into it… but I didn’t like it.
The writing wasn’t amazing.  Is it too lame as a reviewer to say the writing fell flat?  The dual perspective wasn’t varied enough, and the characters found each other so charming and funny but I never laughed out loud while reading the book.

while reading you should
Go: to a baseball game
Do: make a recipe at home that you’ve been wanting to try!
Listen to: Blank Space by Taylor Swift

DuxSignature smallercopy