Book Review: The Rose & the Dagger



In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository


*Warning: There will be spoilers from The Wrath & the Dawn in this read. Read at your own risk!*

I wanted to love this duology but overall it was overhyped to me. The first book got better, so I was able to look past my issues with it but The Rose and the Dagger was just such a huge disappointment.

This novel pretty much begins where the first book left off. Shazi now has to figure out how she can break the curse on her husband, Khalid, so they can be together. However, she, along with her family, are now living in the desert with Khalid’s enemies, which includes Shazi’s first love, Tariq. Needless to say, the situation is complicated.

My biggest issue with this book was how big magic ended up coming to play in the story. In the first novel, Shazi and her father’s ability with magic was briefly mentioned but not in such a way that I thought it would be such a huge part of solving basically every issue in this novel. The magic that basically took over the story just seemed like such a cop out to me, especially with the introduction of Artan, a skilled magician, and his whole backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Artan has a character but we just met him and all of sudden he becomes this big player in the story. His addition to the story, along with Shazi’s magical carpet, changed this series from A Thousand Nights retelling to an Aladdin retelling and I didn’t really like the shift.

Additionally, how the issue of the curse was resolved just seemed very anticlimactic to me. The curse was made out to be the worst possible thing every so I was expecting something crazy to happen and I just kind of felt meh when everything was resolved. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t that. I felt that way about pretty much all the conflicts in this book. I just expected the stakes to feel higher or something crazier to go down and it didn’t play out that way.

There were some deaths that did shock me so that was a nice surprise. This book really dragged for me and I didn’t start getting into until the last 100 pages when there was more action and everything starts coming together. Even so, I just did not love this novel overall.

My favorite part about this novel was probably seeing more of Irsa and her relationship with Rahim. Besides that though, I was majorly disappointed with how this story played out and I thought about not finishing it multiple times but decided to push through since I was doing a buddy read.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be reading more of Renée Ahdieh’s books. I didn’t love this duology and most of the issues I had with it were the same issues I had with Flame in the Mist. I just found that in her storytelling she doesn’t explain things. She throws out these ideas and solutions and you’re just supposed to be like, “Yeah sure that makes sense,” when it actually does not, in fact, back sense. It drove me crazy with this book as it did with her others.

However, I will say she definitely knows how to write romance and that’s what kept these books interesting for me. If you’ve read The Rose and the Dagger let me know your thoughts about it below!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow


3 stars

Favorite Line:

“True strength isn’t about sovereignty. It’s about knowing when you need help and having the courage to accept it.”

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A Study In Charlotte

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

A Study In Charlotte Book Review

Synopsis from Amazon:

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Sherlock Holmes. I definitely saw one of the movies with Robert Downey Jr. but that was about it. I’ve never even read the books and I don’t watch Sherlock. Still, when I heard about this book I desperately wanted to read it. I don’t know what but I’ve always liked Sherlock Holmes, just from a distance. Anyway, when I was finally able to grab it from the library I was super excited and immediately dived in. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.

The book is told in the point of view of James Watson, who prefers to be referred to as Watson but people keep calling him Jamie. He’s sent to an American boarding school in Connecticut where Charlotte Holmes is currently attending school. Watson has fantasied about meeting Charlotte his whole life and he imagines the great adventures they’ll go on together just like their ancestors did. Of course, things don’t happen exactly like that.

Instead, one of their fellow classmates is found dead and Charlotte and Watson are the primary suspects. But luckily for Watson, Charlotte is a Holmes at heart and she’s got a plan. However, this mystery is not as cut and dry as it first seems.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved Watson’s descriptions and how he interacts with Charlotte. His narration of the books was really fun to read and Charlotte’s character is very interesting. Like I said I don’t have much experience with the original Holmes but I think the author did a great job capturing the characteristics of Charlotte and Watson in comparison to their ancestors.

At one point Watson’s father even gives him a sort of guidebook on how to handle a Holmes and it’s hilarious. Also, the author didn’t make this book too juvenile, which I really liked. The mystery was very real and the villain was diabolical. Plus Charlotte has a lot of issues she has to work through and the author didn’t sugar coat that at all.

Honestly, this book was fantastic and now I’m impatiently waiting for the next book. Oh and the epilogue of this book will give you all the feels. I won’t say why because even though it’s not really a spoiler I still don’t want to spoil it. In summary, definitely read this book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!


5 stars

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The Love That Split The World

Book Review: The Love That Split The World

The Love That Split The World

Synopsis from Amazon:

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

I didn’t love this book like I thought I would. I almost didn’t finish it but after I finished reading Maybe Someday I returned to it at the advise of many people on Instagram. However, it’d be wrong to say this is a bad novel. It’s not. Emily Henry crafted a well-written and thought provoking novel. It just wasn’t the book for me.

Throughout most of her life Natalie has received visits from a mysterious woman she refers to as “Grandmother.” One night during Natalie’s senior years of high school “Grandmother” warns Natalie that she only has three months to save “him” but of course, “Grandmother” doesn’t explain who the “him” she’s referring to is.

Enter Beau, an equally mysterious character that suddenly appears in Natalie’s life. And I mean that literally. He just pops up on the football field and Natalie’s the only one that sees him. Soon Natalie’s life is getting more and more strange. She’s seeing things that aren’t really there and what she thought was there one moment suddenly disappears. Beau seems to be the key to all of Natalie’s problems but she’s not sure exactly how everything’s connected and Natalie believes she must find “Grandmother” to get answers.

Unfortunately, after “Grandmother” gave Natalie the warning she didn’t come back. But with the support of her best friend who believes “Grandmother” is some version of God, and the help of a mysterious woman “Grandmother” tells Natalie to find, Natalie may be able to finally figure out the truth. But will she be too late to save someone’s life?

The cloud of mystery surrounding this novel was way too much for me. And I wasn’t at all interested in “Grandmother’s” stories and kept skimming through them even though I knew they were important to the book as a whole. I just couldn’t care enough to read them. I was bored. My favorite scenes were when Natalie was with Beau or talking to her best friends.

I think The Love That Splits The World falls into the magical realism category and I now know I don’t like this type of book. I didn’t like all the theoretical aspects of this book and although I think Henry did a great job of explaining why Natalie and Beau were the way they were in the end, a part of me just wished it wasn’t so complicated.

Like I said, I really wanted to like this book. I just couldn’t get into it. However, I can see why other people loved it. This one just wasn’t for me.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.


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Favorite Line:

It’s true that nothing has the potential to hurt so much as loving someone, but nothing heals like it either.

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Book Review: How to be Bad

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Jesse, Vicks, and Mel each has her own reason for wanting to get away from their nowheresville Florida town. Add in a hot (and harmless) hitchhiker, an impending hurricane, and a close encounter of the gator kind, and the result is one sizzling road trip where the journey is far more important than the destination.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

Out of the three authors of this book I’ve read books by two of them (Sarah Mylnowski and Lauren Myracle). Based on that I figured I’d give this book a try. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.

Told in alternating point of views, Jesse, Vicks, and Mel embark on a road trip to Miami under the guise of getting Vicks to see her boyfriend, Brady, who just started school at the University of Miami. Although truthfully Jesse and Mel have their own reasons for wanting to leave their small Florida town.

My main issue with this novel is that I didn’t like the characters. Jesse is a holier than thou Christian who attempts to push her beliefs on everyone and is very judgmental. As a Christian myself I couldn’t stand this type of character because that’s not how most Christians are, in my opinion. Of course, this is part of her issues that she needs to work through on this road trip but it was just painful reading the way she treated her mother and Vicks.

Although Vicks isn’t innocent. Her whole dilemma with her boyfriend Brady stems from Vicks not being honest about how she feels. Throughout most of the novel I wanted to slap her and tell her to get over herself and stop pretending to be such a “bada**”.

If I had to say who my favorite was out of the three I’d have to go with Mel. Even though she definitely had some insecurities I felt more sorry for her than annoyed by her. I cheered for her when she finally stepped out of her comfort zone and started speaking up for herself. I also really liked the character, Marco, who the girls meet on the road. He was cute, funny, and added some more adventure to the story.

Overall, I thought the girls got into some pretty funny situations and the plot was good but I can’t say I loved this novel. I probably won’t ever reread it so for me it’s just not worth the buy.

Borrow or Borrow: Borrow


3 stars

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Book Review: Paulina & Fran


Synopsis from Amazon:

A story of friendship, art, sex, and curly hair: an audaciously witty debut tracing the pas de deux of lust and love between two young, uncertain, conflicted art students.

At their New England art school, Paulina and Fran both stand apart from the crowd. Paulina is striking and sexually adventurous—a self-proclaimed queen bee with a devastating mean-girl streak. With her gorgeous untamed head of curly hair, Fran is quirky, sweet, and sexually innocent. An aspiring painter whose potential outstrips her confidence, she floats dreamily through criticisms and dance floors alike. On a school trip to Norway, the girls are drawn together, each disarmed by the other’s charisma.

Though their bond is instant and powerful, it’s also wracked by complications. When Fran winds up dating one of Paulina’s ex-boyfriends, an incensed Paulina becomes determined to destroy the couple, creating a rift that will shape their lives well past the halcyon days of art school.

Crackling with bon mots and knowing snapshots of that moment when the carefree cocoon of adolescence opens into the permanent, unknowable future, Paulina & Fran is both a sparkling dance party of a novel, and the debut novel of a writer with rare insight into the complexities of obsession, friendship, and prickly, ever-elusive love.

I received this novel as a gift and honestly I don’t think I would’ve picked it up on my own. Paulina & Fran by Rachel B. Glaser is not by typical book but that’s mostly because it’s not your average novel.

Filled with details about crazy college parties at an art school that seems like a whole other world, this novel drew me in from the first page. It’s a short, quick read that follows the lives of the sexually adventurous Paulina and the elusive Fran. Paulina is who really drew me in. She’s all about having a good time and she’s constantly obsessing about how she appears to other people and in the same vain, who she surrounds herself with.

Although this is truly the story of Paulina and Fran, to me it felt more like Paulina’s story. Just as she has the ability to command a room, Paulina commands this story. At times I both wanted to be Paulina and pitied her. I wanted to know why she was so sexually curious and also wanted to shake her and make her see that the way she behaved and treated people clearly stemmed from some deeper issues she really need to deal with.

Similarly, Fran’s inability to act and go after what she wanted frustrated me. Everything she wanted was within her reach but time after time she was too scared to reach for it.

Overall, this novel was well written and the plot was perfectly paced, making me want to keep reading and know what happened next. However, the inconclusive ending left me feeling unsatisfied and angry. It was as if Glaser had set up the novel for a particular ending and then changed her mind at the last second leaving me with more questions rather than answers. I would have been fine with one loose end but instead there were 10 loose ends that had no resolution, leaving me unsettled and wishing for an epilogue or sequel.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Although I enjoyed this novel I don’t think I’d read it again.


3 stars

Favorite Line:

All month she’d camped out by his heart with little love of her own, but a stubborn need to star in someone’s life.

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Book Review: Not Okay, Cupid


*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be on sale on Jan. 11, 2016.*

Synopsis from Amazon:

Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex.

Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart.

With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart.

This book had the potential to be great if Hazel and Felix’s “revenge” wasn’t so ridiculous.

First of all, there was no evidence to prove that Hazel’s boyfriend, Jay, was “perfect” to begin with. Literally, the first time Jay shows up he’s flirting with Hazel’s best friend, Kimmy. On a similar note, I have no idea how Hazel and Kimmy are BFFs. Other than the fact that they’ve been friends since they were kids, it seems they don’t really know that much about each other.

Moreover, Kimmy and Jay didn’t even try to hide the fact that something was going on. They were caught in the lunch room. I don’t even think the word “caught” qualifies here because they were flirting out in the open.

I just think if I’m supposed to believe Jay is a “perfect” boyfriend and Kimmy is Hazel’s best friend there should’ve been more build up to this whole thing. Jay and Kimmy should’ve at least tried to keep this a secret and then be more apologetic about it happening.

Instead, Jay doesn’t seem to feel sorry at all and Kimmy, for reasons I couldn’t understand, seemed to think she was in the right.

Also, don’t worry about spoilers. All of this happens in the first three chapters or so.

Then we have Felix who of course is great but he’s a “bad boy” who dates multiple girls instead of settling down. And why is Felix so repulsed by the idea of getting close to anyone and being in a serious relationship you ask? Because he had his heart broken…IN FOURTH GRADE! Yes, that’s right. Felix has sworn off commitment because in the fourth grade a girl broke his heart.

I’m sorry but that’s some nonsense. Seriously? The fourth grade. I’m supposed to believe that a heartbreak in the fourth grade makes a guy give up on love completely. That makes no sense. And I’m not saying you can’t have your heart broken when you’re that young. I still remember the crushing feeling of having the boy I liked in kindergarten tell me he didn’t like me back. Those feelings are real and valid.

But I also remember quickly getting over it because I was young and I was still at an age where there was recess and another boy would give you flowers soon after and everything would be right in the world again. I can’t honestly understand how a heartbreak at the age of nine could make someone swear off love and I didn’t buy it in this book at all.

Lastly, of course readers are meant to come into this novel expecting Hazel and Felix to end up together. That’s a given. But at least build up to that. In the first chapter rather than seeing Hazel with her “perfect” boyfriend, it’s Felix she’s talking and joking around with. They even have pet names for each other. How am I supposed to believe they hate each other and don’t get along when they have cute little nicknames for each other?

I think if this book was developed more and things took more time and were drawn out a little bit I would’ve liked it more. But Hazel and Felix’s whole revenge plot seemed absolutely ridiculous to me and I just had trouble believing anything the author was trying to sell me with this book.

Still, Hazel and Felix were really cute and I think if this novel was sold to me as a “they’ve been friends for a long time and when Hazel’s boyfriend cheats on her Hazel suddenly realizes the perfect guy for her was there all along” kind of story I would’ve like it a hundred times more. But the way it stands now I didn’t believe it and I also kind of didn’t like that the book is told in Hazel and Felix’s POV. I didn’t want to know how Felix really felt about Hazel. I wanted to me surprised just like Hazel was. Instead, I just wanted to slap both of them and say, “Open your eyes. You’re in love idiots!”

Honestly, if you’re looking for a quick romance this will do but it’s not the best.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.


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Book Review: Christmas Cravings


*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Bastei Entertainment via NetGalley. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel is now on sale.*

Synopsis from

How could everything that seemed so right suddenly have gone so wrong for Mia? Snow is on the ground and Christmas lights twinkle in the German Christmas market. The warm, spiced wine is just right, but there’s still one key ingredient missing from her romantic dream. Will Mia’s Christmas turn out to be sugar and spice and all things nice – or a deflated soufflé of loneliness and regret?

Christmas Cravings is a festive romance standalone episode from the Greedily Yours series.

Even though this book is part of a series it’s supposed to be a standalone novel, however, it did not feel that way at all. I couldn’t really get into the story because I felt like I was starting in the middle of a story.

For example, I had no idea who the character Holly was until much later in the novel. I assume she appears in the other books in the novel but because I was under the impression that I could read this as a stand alone I didn’t know that.

I think if you read the other books in the series first you’ll like this book a lot more than I did but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t understand why Mia loved Tom so much or why Tom pulled away the way he did. I didn’t get Mia’s connection to Tom’s father. There were just so many plot holes that I don’t think this novel should be promoted as a stand alone when it obviously is not.

Additionally, I personally didn’t care for Mia’s obsession with food. It’s one thing for the plot to center around one’s love for food in terms of it tastes good and you like to eat it. It’s totally different when there were huge chunks of this book where the narrator just described in detail what kind of food Mia was making and how she was making it.

Honestly, this novel just wasn’t for me. I think it was fine writing and the romance could’ve been cute if I knew Mia’s and Tom’s background together so I’d have a reason to actually root for them. But in the end I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Borrow or Buy: Unless you’re going to buy all the books in this series, it doesn’t make sense to purchase it.


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Book Review: Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist

Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist Cover

Snyopsis from

Two hot guys. One big lie. What’s a virgin sex columnist to do?

My name is Skylar Quinn. I just moved to New York with my best friend Bridget, and I have a confession. Well, more than one. Okay, quite a few really. Fine, here goes!

Confession #1: I’m a sex columnist. Hold on, that’s not really the confession. You see, I’m sort of a virgin…sex columnist.

Confession #2: I’m kind of in love with Bridget’s older brother, Oliver. No, I was. No, I am. Wait, was? Am? Crap.

Confession #3: I’ve been avoiding Oliver for four years. Or I was until today, because he just moved in. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s my new roommate. So that night we’ve both been pretending never happened, well, we might not be able to keep it a secret any longer.

And trust me, this is only the beginning.

To be honest, I totally stumbled upon this book. It was in my daily email from BookBub and it was free so I said, “Why not?” And it was pretty good. I think I read it all in about a day. It was a cute, short, fun read and my biggest issue with it is that it’s apparently a series.

I went into this book thinking it’d be a cute romance novel and then I’d move on. Instead, now I have to wait until next year just to know what happens next. I can’t believe it. But the fact that I even want to know what happens next is obviously a good sign.

Skylar “Skye” Quinn is adorably shy and totally relatable. Although that might just be because we’re both 22-year-old virgins who’ve never been in love before and work in journalism. Who knows? Honestly, though Skye is funny and has that whole “I’m beautiful but I just don’t know it” thing going on, which could’ve been annoying but wasn’t.

And I loved the supporting characters. Skye’s best friend, Bridget (Bridge) was funny in the way that she was Skye’s almost complete opposite. Bridge’s brother, Ollie, was the perfect love interest. I felt myself swoon over him just like Skye did. Also swoon worthy was Skye’s other love interest, Patrick, who was prince charming incarnate.

Besides the surprise that this wasn’t a stand alone novel I had two major issues with this novel. First, the whole premise of this novel is that Skye is a writing a sex column but she’s not having sex. Except we don’t really hear about that a lot. The main focus on the story is Skye’s relationships with Ollie, Patrick, and a few other guys in between. I didn’t really see there being a big issue with her writing this column she had no knowledge to write about.

Second, I found the confessions at the start of each chapter annoying. When they were short (one or two lines) then it was fine but when they were these long paragraphs I just felt like they could’ve just been in the chapter. I didn’t really enjoy this formatting and a part of me wanted to just skip over them but then they actually started playing a role in the plot so I couldn’t.

Still, overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Even so, I’d have to say it’s a borrow. Unless you can get if for free like I did. And if you have Kindle unlimited you actually can get it for free so check it out.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.


3 stars

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