Meeting My Internet Friends for the First Time!! || Hailey Hudson, Totally Graced

Hello friends! Today I’m just popping on here to let you all know that I have a new video up! In case you haven’t been following my Instagram (@hanneasinhannah), last month I flew down to Atlanta, Georgia to meet up with two of my longest internet friends, Hailey and Grace Anne!

Both of them have been on my blog a couple of times previously, and they also both have blogs, as well as Instagram and Twitter. I’ve known them for at least 4, if not 5 years, and they have been such a huge part of my life over the past few years, so it was super fun to get to meet them!

Appearances on my blog:

Hailey’s socials: blog || instagram || twitter

Grace Anne’s socials: blog || instagram || twitter

While we were together, we filmed a Q+A about being internet friends, and it was a lot of fun! I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to go check out both Hailey and Grace Anne, if you aren’t following them already 🙂



How long have you been on the internet for? Do you know Hailey or Grace Anne? If you could meet one of your internet friends, who would it be? Leave a comment and let me know!

Book Review: The Chase by Lisa Harris (US Marshals #2)

About the Book-

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing–it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong–and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else–someone close to them–gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

My Review-

Similar Review-

This was the second book in the US Marshals series by Lisa Harris, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was a continuation of the previous book in the series, rather than being told from an alternate perspective, like many suspense trilogies are apt to do. I was really invested in the storyline from the previous book, and I was really glad that it came back and is being told in this book.

It did take me a couple chapters to get back into the book: I’d forgotten some of the details surrounding the last book, but all the details were well presented and I started remembering what each of the plot points were as I continued on in the book.

Like in other Lisa Harris books I’ve read, I am a little skeptical of some of the details regarding how this case was solved and the legality of some of the players within this book. For instance, the events of most of this book happen on Madison’s first day back at work after being shot, and I have a really hard time thinking that she would be allowed to go investigate a bank robbery on the first day back, you know? I was a little skeptical about the fact that the intern (presumably a college student?) was allowed to touch a lot of the evidence and sift through data and stuff: the legality of things like that seems suspect at best. The fact that Jonas’ ex just , , , happened to be at one of the crime scenes so that they could wrap up loose ends?? was SO strange and out of place?? Some suspension of disbelief has to happen to enjoy this book for sure.

I really did enjoy reading the secondary (overarching) narrative that has threaded through both books from this series: the mystery of who killed Madison’s husband Luke is honestly more intriguing than the main suspense story line, and I was excited to see it pick up again in this book.

The ending felt really rushed: the action was fast paced up until around the 85% mark of the book, and then it . . . just all got resolved neatly? Which didn’t really seem like it would fit with how the rest of the book had gone. The pacing was a little off: there were some scenes that took several pages but was only a few minutes, but then a few scenes that were time-wise really long but described in a few sentences. There’s probably a more technical term for it, but all I know is that the timing was a little difficult to follow in places.

The romance thread was stronger in this one, which was honestly to be expected. I wasn’t a huge fan of how it progressed, but I did expect it to be stronger, due to the overlying story arc of the series.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, although I found it unmemorable and pretty standard to any other Christian suspense fiction book. The story kept me reading, and with a bit of suspension of disbelief, it is a good read for a quiet afternoon.

My Rating-

6/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Power Play by Rachel Dylan (Capital Intrigue #3)

About this Book-

When State Department attorney Vivian Steele witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event’s security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, even ahead of the rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, Viv turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob’s reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

I’ve officially finished reading through my first Rachel Dylan series: the Capital Intrigue series! It wasn’t personally my favorite, but I did enjoy it! I really enjoyed the aspects of law that Rachel was able to include through her own experience as an attorney, and I feel like I learned a lot through reading this series!

As for this book itself, I think I liked it secondmost out of the other books in this series: my ranking for this series is 1) Backlash, 2) Power Play, and 3) End Game. Overall I did enjoy this story, but there were several aspects that could have been done better, in my opinion.

As is the case with the rest of Dylan’s books, there were a TON of characters that were not given enough screen time to really be distinguishable, at least for me. I tend to do poorly in stories where there are many characters, and I have always struggled to read her books in this regard. I was also a little confused because the characters from this story didn’t really connect with the ones from the previous two books (I don’t remember if I felt the same way between books 1 & 2?) so it felt like I had to learn an entire new cast of characters.

I didn’t really connect with either of the protagonists: both of them seemed pretty invincible, and while it was known that Jacob had some secrets from his past, it was well over 2/3 of the way of the book had elapsed before they were divulged. Viv appeared perfect in every regard, and no flaws of hers were ever really demonstrated. On top of that, it was kind of an insta-hate to insta-love kind of situation? Basically, they saw each other and decided they hated each other, and then when Viv gets attacked, it immediately turns into insta-love?? Which I . . . did not get whatsoever: I didn’t understand the motive behind why the protagonists acted the way they did, so in that regard, the story was hard to follow. (Thy were also basically making out frequently while simultaneously saying that they shouldn’t date, so that was Weird).

Like the last book in the series, I enjoyed the B-plot of this book much more than I did the main plot, although the B-plot seemed to not have as much happen as in the other books (at least according to my recollection).

In terms of the actual story, I thought it was pretty well executed. I don’t really know enough about politics to talk about the realism of this book: as far as I can tell, the people who worked together seemed feasible enough, but it very well could have been super unrealistic and I just don’t know. It wasn’t /super/ exciting, but there was plenty of action and the resolution was satisfactory. It wasn’t the most interesting, but it was fine. The ending felt a bit rushed, but everything tied up satisfactorily, so I didn’t hate it.

Overall, I don’t have any strong feelings about this book: it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t the worst either. The book kept my interest throughout, and while it wasn’t a page turner either, I did enjoy the process of reading it.

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turansky (McAlister Family #2)

About the Book-

A family long divided, a mysterious trunk, and a desperate journey across the ocean—all in the name of love. The epic saga of the McAlisters continues in this riveting sequel to No Ocean Too Wide.

In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?

After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart.

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

This book was the sequel to No Ocean Too Wide, set 10 years after the first one. In that book, four siblings and their mother were separated; three of them were sent to Canada, having been mistaken as orphans. In that book, 2 of the children were reunited with their family, and in this one, the last child is finally reunited. I did not expect the large time gap between the two books, especially with the cliffhanger book 1 ended on, but I do think it was really well done.

The space between the stories allowed for there to have been a lot of changes in the book, and was realistic in that stories do not often intersect as easily in real life as in stories. There is a slight romance in this book: it is the love story between one of the children, Garth, and a girl he met while working in Canada, Emma. In addition, the book covers the story of Grace, the youngest child, being reunited with her family, as aforementioned. These three storylines intertwine over the course of this book, as well as all the adventures and mishaps that happen along the way.

The storytelling in this book wasn’t my favorite: it felt like the author really “told not showed,” which is generally bad writing form. It felt really passive, and I never really felt connected to any of the characters because all of their actions were described, and their thoughts were never really described. In addition, some of the writing was really stilted and it did not feel like there was enough proofreading done to make the story flow better.

I also felt like the backstory could have been established better: there were some aspects of Grace’s personality that did not really make sense, and some of her actions did not really align with what her character portrayed. (Spoiler: highlight to read-

she runs away from home because her parents didn’t believe Garth was her brother, but then the next time she talked to them they understood??? so WHY didn’t she just,,,talk to her parents earlier?)

Without knowing the motivation behind the characters, understanding them and the reasoning behind their actions was a little difficult and threw me off a lot. The characters also . . . never really worried about money? Laura’s husband (whose story was told in the first book) was really rich, and seemed to just pay for everything but . . . it kind of feels like traveling between England and Canada shouldn’t have been easy as it appeared in the book. That also affected how I felt about the realism of the book.

There was a lot of spiritual content in this book, which was really nice! The story is kicked off by Grace finding her Bible and rediscovering her faith. The characters all had strong faith and prayed and talked about their faith a lot. There was a lot of adult content as well though: there was one mention of a man trying to force himself on Emma while he was drunk, as well as other implications of men wanting to take advantage of women.

My last critique of this book is that it tied things together too well. I called each of the plot points before they happened, even the one that was supposed to be the plot twist: and the story wasn’t really engaging to read because the entire plot is predictable. The story seems to wrap up neatly with a bow, and the chances of each of those things individually happening was quite low, much less them all together. Because of that, it was difficult to believe the realism of this book.

Overall, I did enjoy this story. It was very inspirational, and highlighted some of the atrocities of history and discrimination. I recommend this book if you are looking for a lighthearted read with a historical background; in addition, I definitely recommend reading the two books in the duology in order (though maybe with a bit of time in between because of the time gap between the books).

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Blog Tour: Written Off by Barbara Cornwaithe (Wilkester Mysteries, #3) || Celebrate Lit Blog Tour

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About the Book-

Cover

Book: Written Off
Author: Barbara Cornthwaite
Genre: Christian Cozy Mystery
Release date: May 2021

“Break a leg?” They’ll be lucky if they don’t all break their necks!

After years of waiting, Katrina finally has her happily ever after. All is right with her world . . . until hate crimes begin happening in the charming college town of Wilkester. Even more disturbing is the fact that the perpetrator seems to be connected with the writing class Katrina teaches. How can she prevent her rosy visions of the future from turning into broken dreams?

Find out in this third book of the Wilkester Mysteries.

Amazon || GoodReads

*some links may be affiliate

My Review-

Similar Review: Brought to Book by Barbara Cornthwaite (Wilkester Mysteries, #2)

This was a really interesting book! I really like this author’s cozy mysteries: although I’ve only read two to date, I have enjoyed both of them, not because of any ~literary value~ it has, but just because of the story and the setting. The protagonist is a 40-something professor, which is very unique, and I also enjoy the cast of characters in the book, such as her friends who foster seven kids (if I recall correctly).

This book did not actually have a murder happen in it, but rather a series of race-related hate crimes. With that, there was an interesting discussion about race crimes, protests, and the like, which I’ve never seen addressed in Christian fiction before, and which I really appreciated and liked. The likelihood of the actual mystery happening seemed unlikely, and the motive for the crime ended up being really bizarre, but overall it was a really good topic to tackle in my opinion.

Like the previous one I read, the actual mystery aspect of this book was not my main enjoyment of this book: while it was more pronounced than in the previous one, I enjoyed the other parts of the book, such as the professor/teaching, the home renovations, and her interaction with her friends, much more than the actual mystery itself. Like the previous book, there is a lot of Christian living discussion, such as what God’s will is, building a Christian marriage and how to combat racism, which I really liked. With that being said, there was ONE sentence, describing a thought Katrina had that I was a little ” . . . ” about, which was when she pictured her fiancé taking her into the bedroom after her wedding. I think that was completely unnecessary to include in the book, regardless of whether it is realistic.

Overall, I really liked this cozy mystery. The mystery aspect of it isn’t fantastic, but the setting of the story, the character cast, and the Christian living topics it tackled really made it a worthwhile read.

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author-Author Headshot

Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Giveaway-

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book. Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Enter Here.

For more information about this blog tour, and an exclusive blurb from the author about Written Off, as well as more stops from the blog tour, click here.

What Happened This Month (or So): Spring 2021 || feat. my favorite books, music, TV, and food

Hello friends! Is anyone still around? I am finally done with the semester (and am officially a senior!) and I’m slowly coming back to my creative outlets as my brain cells slowly come back to life. This is a blogpost that I have had drafted for a couple months now, but never finished. Today’s post is a simple catch-up one: I haven’t captured what I’ve been doing in life for a while now, and I would love to get back to that. With that, here are some things that I’ve been doing lately!

This spring was:

working:

  • as a tutor: teaching has always been a passion of mine (& my go to answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up” since I was little), and it has slowly trickled back into my life over the past year. While I didn’t expect for my career to head this way, I can’t say I’m complaining about it (and may or may not be looking more into tutoring/teaching opportunities for the future?). Currently I tutor AP biology, SAT/ACT prep, as well as early elementary.
  • on getting an ADHD diagnosis. As someone who’s grown up in a ~mental illness isn’t real~ home, I never recognized the symptoms of ADHD in myself. As social media posts about ADHD cross my dash, I realized that those symptoms fit me like a glove, and I’m working on getting an official label (and more time on exams?) for me.
  • on school in general: this semester as a whole wasn’t /terrible/, but it was pretty brutal in terms of courseload. I’m deeply entrenched in higher level biology now, and while it is absolutely my passion, it is also still a lot of work. In particular, online lectures take me SO long to watch: it’s a phenomenon whose roots I haven’t nailed down yet, but I’ve found that watching online lectures takes me easily 2-4 times the amount of time that it would take synchronously. The ability to pause to write notes and the ability to pause to get snacks really conspire to steal my time (also: see above).
  • on growing my Instagram account. My instagram account has been stuck at ~1030 followers for the past 6 months, and it is my mission to make it start growing again! (My goal was to get to 3000 this year . . . uh). I’ve been posting a bunch of reels, which help, but then I stop posting again, which defeats the purpose, lol. If you want to help, follow me here!

reading:

  • The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin I buddy read this with Grace Anne, and it was so, so good. Shannan is such a master with words: you both feel like you’re having a coffee chat with her, while also being taught and inspired. So far this has been my favorite nonfiction book that I’ve read all year, and maybe of all time. It’s so incredibly applicable to standard life, and of course, I’m always a fan of anything regarding finding beauty in little things. I absolutely cannot recommend it enough.
  • The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradly This is a series I’ve been meaning to read for AGES now: I’ve actually read the first book three times now, because I keep intending on reading the series, but then putting it down after the first book before I finish it. This time I’m determined to finish it, though, and I’m already half of the way through the series (5/10), which is a really good sign. It’s not super politically correct, especially for a book that was written in 2009, but if you overlook it, it was an enjoyable, Agatha-Christie feeling series.
  • Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez I checked out this book when I saw Hailey and Olivia read it and I really enjoyed it! It was very much not what I expected but the imagery and the storytelling was fantastic. There’s another book out set in the same universe and I’m looking forwards to reading it at some point this summer!

listening to:

  • Rachel Zegler. I’ve watched her videos for a while now whenever they pop up on my YouTube recommended page, but in February, I started watching her stuff in earnest and the enthusiasm has not waned. In particular, I must have watched her cover of Anyway at least 25 times (i.e., as many times as it popped up on my recommended feed). She is also so emotionally intelligent and I love hearing her thoughts.
  • Taylor Swift, of course. She has so much music coming out soon, and I’m so excited. She released two songs this month, and of course, folklore and evermore are on repeat still.
  • HAIM. I learned of them through Taylor Swift, and after watching them at the Grammy’s, started to check out their music. It took one evening, and now I’m thoroughly hooked. I haven’t listened to most of their music yet, but Summer Girl and The Steps have been on repeat lately.
  • good for u by Olivia Rodrigo. Like the rest of the world, I’ve been bopping along to Olivia’s songs being despite in a stable relationship 🙃 I haven’t listened to the rest of the album yet, but this one has been looping in my head lately.
  • Moms and Murder podcast. As a diehard type 6, true crime has always been so interesting to me. This is my current favorite true-crime podcast, and I listen to it to fall asleep to every night (is that weird? I’m not a serial killer I promise).
  • lots of audiobooks! I discovered the Libby app and it has worked so well for me! I’ve really enjoyed being able to listen to a book while I do chores or walk, and I check out both the audiobook and ebook so that I can read on my phone whenever I have a spare minute!

watching:

  • Shadow and Bone (on Netflix): I’m definitely a books-before-film kinda person, but when Shadow and Bone came out, my roommates were going to watch it and invited me to do so as well, so I watched it with them! It was really good and now I’m looking forwards to reading the books this summer!
  • Cruel Summer (on Hulu): This is another TV show that my roommate introduced me to and we’ve been watching it together! It is so well done and the story is so intriguing! It hasn’t wrapped up yet, but I’m excited to see what the show does. It covers the story of two teenage girls, one of whom goes missing, and the other takes her life. It’s told simultaneously over three years (i.e., one episode is July 4th, 1993, 1994, and 1995), which is super unique. The 90s aesthetic is fantastic as well.
  • Niamh Adkins: I first found Niamh through Instagram reels, where she posts reels about Taylor Swift and also her boyfriend. I’ve seen also enjoyed watching her Youtube channel and her instagram story, where she shares insights about her life. She is so insightful and funny, and has lots of good Taylor Swift content as a bonus! This video in particular made me laugh SO hard.
  • * e m m i e *: I’ve realized that I work significantly better when I have something playing in the background, and my “something” of choice is relaxing youtube videos. Emma is my current favorite: she is a booktuber, and her enthusiasm for books and the thoughtfulness in which she talks about her craft is motivating me to read more. Her voice is the most soothing as well, and her videos are such a good counterbalance to my chemistry lectures.
  • basicallyreese: like I said, I’ve really been into calming lifestyle videos lately and I’ve really been enjoying Reese’s. She does aesthetic lifestyle content and they always motivate me to get things done.

cooking:

  • White Chocolate Lemon cookies: I don’t really think these need justification haha but they are fantastic!
  • Starbucks Copycat Banana Bread: as a young adult, my biggest problem (other than the soaring rent prices, the economic crash, an unreasonable minimum wage, and a global pandemic) is buying groceries I end up not eating, and this banana bread is the perfect solution for when I buy 6 bananas at the grocery store and then end up only eating 3. The one whole cup of sugar and three overripe bananas make this banana bread top-tier, and I also add about half a cup of chocolate chips, because why not.
  • Homemade Hamburger Helper: my Asian mom would never deign herself to cook hamburger helper, but as a ✨college student✨ this is one of my FAVORITE meals to make. It’s definitely noooot the healthiest, but it is SO good.
  • Like basically poke bowls but without the fish? These are my favorite lazy weeknight dinners: I cook some 5 minute rice, add half a sliced avocado, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and a sunny side up/fried egg (and occasionally usually some cheese). They turn out beautifully and taste delicious.
  • Salads. I don’t know if I can rightfully call this ~cooking~, but salads are fantastic for the springtime. I make mine as unhealthy as possible by adding chopped up hard boiled egg, avocado, tomato pieces, turkey, cheese, and sesame dressing. They are fantastic and I love them.
  • Scrambled cheesy eggs! I put out an ask on my Instagram story for people to teach me how to cook fluffy scrambled eggs, and SO many people delivered. I’ve made some BANGING scrambled cheese eggs lately and they have been delicious.

If you want to see more of what’s going on in my life, I filmed a week in my life/reading vlog! I’m very proud of the editing: it is my biggest project to date and I am really happy with how it turned out. (I only found 1 glaring error in the 4th watch through so I count that as a win.) You can find it here:

What are some things that you have been enjoying lately? Are you a book-before-film person, or do you not care? Have you read anything good? I’m looking for summer recommendations. Leave me a comment and let me know!

Book Review: The Nature of A Lady by Roseanna M. White (The Secrets of the Isles #1)

About This Book-

1906
Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn’t favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage’s former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne–gentleman and clergyman–is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he’s happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth’s summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it’s the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can’t quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

I have been reading and enjoying Roseanna M. White’s books for several years now, and I was really excited to see her releasing a new historical fiction series! This series is set in the Edwardian era, and this book in particular follows the story of scientifically-inclined Elizabeth Sinclair, which I thought was so fun! I love books about women in STEM, and I was so excited to read this.

I really enjoyed this story! I didn’t really know much about it going in, but the cast of characters and the setting of the book was so unique and made it really fun to follow. Elizabeth (Libby) is on holiday with her maid Mabena Moon to the Isles of Scilly, which I had never heard of before. It was a bit ✨colonizer energy✨, especially in the section where she interacts with some rich girl’s family that she meets, but that aside, it was really fun reading about her experience there. The tightknit community on the islands made all the characters and the setting really dynamic, and reading all the interactions between Libby and the people who live there was just so much fun.

The basis of this book is a mistaken identity of people named Elizabeth, which I found so novel and interesting! There was a mystery element to it as well, which I enjoyed so much. Libby moves into a cottage rented out by another Elizabeth, who has gone missing without anyone’s knowledge, and people start dropping off packages for “Elizabeth,” but not for her. As the story progresses, she works with Mabena Moon, who is from the area, and the rest of the people from the Isles, to figure out what is going on with the missing Elizabeth.

I felt the storytelling in this book was a bit slow: there were some sections where several days were skipped in 2 sentences, and others where 15 minutes took place over several pages. The pacing felt a little disjointed and took some calibrating to read. Some sections of it felt quite slow, whereas others felt too fast, and overall I feel like this book was a little too long: it is a bit under 400 pages, and the middle third of the book especially felt slow.

The main love interest was SO GOOD: I really loved the story told from Oliver’s perspective, and the role he played in the story: it really made the book for me and I loved his interactions with not just Libby, but also everyone else on the the Isles. He is the pastor for the region, and his personality and gentleness really made him such a good character. The romance between him and Libby was also sweet and I loved the way he introduced Libby to Christ. He was one of my favorite parts of this book. Libby herself was not my favorite: she was honestly pretty boring and did not have much of a character except “liking science.” However, I did like her development throughout the story and her romance with Oliver was top tier.

I also liked Mabena Moon’s story, and her journey of growth. It is pretty unusual for books like this to show a character growth arc for someone who is not the protagonist, but this one did and I loved it. While obviously she played a more minor role in this book, I enjoyed the story told from her perspective and her growth journey.

There were so many fun parts to this book that I loved–Mabena Moon’s parents, Mamm-wynn and Tas-gwyn, the little kitten named Darling, the pirate treasure, the boat races, the gardens, Oliver’s brother Morgan who had mitochondria disease–there was so much to love! The story itself needed a bit of suspension of disbelief for me, but I enjoyed it a lot. The writing style was captivating: while I think the writing itself was a bit slow, it was really engaging and kept me reading.

Overall, I really liked this story! While the main character herself wasn’t my personal favorite, all the other aspects of this book made it really fun to read! The character cast, the setting, and the adventure/mystery aspect of this book made it really enjoyable and I am excited for book 2!

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

About the Book-

Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile’s life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him–and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there’s no one they can trust–except perhaps each other.

Strap in for a breakneck story that will have you up all night, hurtling toward the last page as the clock ticks and time runs out.

My Review-

Well this book . . . sure was something. If you like suspense stories with a LOT of suspension of disbelief, this one is for you. The book follows Kandace and Lyndon as they drive around the county, trying to prevent an outbreak of a highly dangerous Ebola strain from happening.

Both of the main characters (as well as many side characters) had really impressive backgrounds, which was fine except they didn’t seem believable. Lyndon had three Ph. D’s, which might have been believable, except Ph. D.’s take 6-8 years to complete? and he was definitely not almost 50 (at least, he was not portrayed as being almost 50), AND on top of that he had a photographic memory AND was hot? There’s NO way. Similarly, Kandace came from a very cultish household and was just . . . . fine? Her family disapproved of her choices, and she had to keep changing her identity to evade them, but when she needed them to carry out a task, she just . . . called and they showed up? Like I get that people in the CIA/intelligence are very smart but . . . they’re just not /that/ smart, and at some point it just becomes unbelievable. Did I fail to mention that Kandace has a cat that she talks to and that came to her rescue several times while she was tied up in the book? like what the HECK bro at least TRY to make it seem probable?

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style: it seemed slow and stilted, and did not really convey much of the story: in fact, I think it impeded the storytelling a little. It seemed to take FOREVER to read this book, and that was just because the writing style made the book so tiring to read.

The romance between the two main characters was also really strange: not only was it based almost excluseively on attraction only, the two main characters did not really seem to have any basis for their attraction?It was established that Kandace did something out of her usual motivations to even encounter Lyndon in the first place, and they basically had an instant connection, but with no real reason behind it.

The storyline was fine: it was reminiscent of a superhero tale, just two people against the whole world, and with sufficient suspension of disbelief, it was palatable. I wasn’t really a huge fan of it, but some people might enjoy it? It was definitely not realistic whatsoever though. The setting (plus everything else) gave a mildly dystopian feel, except it was worse than dystopia because the characters aren’t relatable at all.

The resolution of the story was really underwhelming: with the buildup of the “supervilllan” that has been hyped over the whole book, the end result was just . . . some guy? Like literally the background of the whole world ending scheme was just one person, and they basically just told them to stop. And that was that? The climax was super unsatisfying and honestly was the most realistic part of the book.

Overall, I did not enjoy this book. It would be fine for fans of suspenseful novels with a lot of action. It was too unrealistic for my liking, and I spent too much brain power debunking ideas in my head while I read to enjoy it.

My Rating-

2/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.