Permanent Record Review

Permanent Record Review

By Mary H.K. Choi

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Print Length: 400 pg. 

Release Year: 2019

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.45

Available on Amazon, B&N, and Libby

After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.

Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out… (Goodreads)

Permanent Record is one of those books you pick up cause its absolutely gorgeous and keep cause it’s just as good. I had mixed feelings going into, having had mixed feelings when going into Choi’s previous book Emergency Contact. When I first read Emergency Contact, I adored it; but the second time I picked it up not so much. So I was justifiably scared about picking up Permanent Record, but in the end, it worked out. 

Choi writes relatable romance with genuine issues that young couples often face. Permanent Record steps a bit farther away from most peoples reality by being a romance between a multifaceted pop star and once-internet-viral college drop-out. In a way, this book plays on many peoples fantasies of somehow running into a celebrity and falling in love. But, regardless of the circumstances of the romance, it is still very relatable and realistic. Pablo, our protagonist, really likes Leanna (his popstar love interest) but is embarrassed by his own shortcomings as a college drop out. He can’t communicate this to her and feels his only option is to lie. This critical failure in communication causes an invisible wall between them, that is only fortified with the struggles that come with dating someone in Leanna’s field of work. Choi manages to write this outlandish and rare situation in a very relatable and easy to understand manner, making it just as easy to relate to Leanna as it is to Pablo. 

Overall, the writing in the book is standard for YA contemporary, but as mentioned above, extra points to the author for being able to craft such relatable character even when they have less-than-relatable circumstances. In the end, I found that I enjoyed this book quite a bit, even more than its predecessor. If this trend continues, I have high hopes for Choi’s next book (which I believe is titled Yolk).

Subjective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A Deal with the Elf King Review

A Deal with the Elf King Review

By Elise Kova

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Print Length: 338 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.99

Available on Amazon

Special thanks to Elise Kova for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted. (Goodreads)

My heart is not okay.

I’m at a point in my reading journey that if you tell me a book even vaguely resembles A Court of Thorns and Roses, I’ll shamelessly pick it up. When I saw Elise Kova, who is one of my most favourite writers, was coming out with a book with the words “[…] for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses[…]” I was ecstatic. 

And when the opportunity arose for me to apply for an ARC… well, can you blame me? And let me tell you, I devoured it. Devoured it. I literally had to delay this review for two days cause I needed to recover from reading this book emotionally. 

Kova is definitely a master of making her readers overwhelmed with anticipation. She is one of the few authors that can have me so enraptured that I forget to breathe. I don’t know how many times I had to take a break, even over the smallest developments. This book, in particular, throws you headfirst into the story, not giving you time to prepare for the coming events. You know how the book ends, but the journey is what makes it worth it. Kova is undeniably talented when it comes to making you fall in love with her characters quickly, making it impossible to complain about the predictive nature of her writing. It’s one thing to know what is going to happen, but another to actually watch it unfold with all the excellent character development and swoon-worthy relationship development. 

Picking up this book, you can tell A Deal with the Elf King is a passion project. As a writer and reader, you can feel the love that went into this story. It was written as an escape and subsequently worked very well in letting the reader escape as well. This book, while having essential themes, A Deal with the Elf King, manages to be a feel-good read; something you can snuggle under the blankets and escape with. 

I’m inclined to call it a guilty pleasure, but the thing is: I’m not guilty whatsoever. 

Ms. Kova, if you happen to stumble upon this, let me tell you: if you write it I’m buying it. 

And you should too. There really isn’t anything to complain about with this book. As mentioned, the romance is absolutely swoon-worthy, and the magical world-building is fun and does its job well. These books aren’t hard to read, and that’s what makes it so wonderful. All the fun of fantasy without the overwhelming amounts of world-building information. 

I truly recommend checking out this book, whether it be for a little escapism, or just to have something to read. And while you’re at it, check out other works by the author as well.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Court of Mist and Fury Review

A Court of Mist and Fury Review

By Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Print Length: 626 pages

Release Year: 2016

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.64

Available on Amazon, B&N and check your local library/Libby

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. (Goodreads)

Okay, I’m going to be completely honest… I’m total Maas trash. I’m absolutely in love with the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and will accept any opinions that follow. This is a series I can read over and over again. 

A Court of Mist and Fury marks A Court of Thorns and Roses official departure from the retelling-realm as it pushes the series in its own unique direction. Now our protagonist is a resident of the fairy realms and we follow her as she becomes a more reliable narrator as she becomes more knowledgeable of the world around her. We watch a sort of coming-to-self story with relativity relatable internal struggles (of course, no matter how abstract you look at them some of the experiences are not relatable.)

Oh.. and Rhysand. He’s annoyingly perfect, but let’s just be real, he’s so damn loveable. He still manages to make my queer heart swoon. 

You can’t talk about A Court of Mist and Fury without mentioning the covet-worthy friend circle depicted throughout. Maas does such a good job creating a diverse (albeit racially stagnant) group who are truly complementary to each other. With witty banter, realistic disagreements, and a tight knit found-family the characters are to die for. 
You can already tell that I love this series and at some point, I plan on writing an in-depth analysis of the original trilogy. Until them, I’m going to be (im)patiently waiting for the upcoming A Court of Silver Flames.

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Fangs Review

Fangs Review

By Sarah Andersen

Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing

Print Length: 112 pages

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Romance

Release Date September 1, 2020

Available for pre-order on Amazon and B&N

Special thanks to NetGalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing for providing me with an ARC.

Vamp is three hundred years old but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets a charming werewolf. FANGS chronicles the humor, sweetness, and awkwardness of meeting someone perfectly suited to you but also vastly different. (Goodreads)

A cute collection of short comics by Sarah Anderson is bound to be great, and Fangs is no exception. The comics follow the heart-warming and adorable relationship between a vampire and a werewolf and gives us glimpses into their quirky lives as well. The writing is precise and the illustrations are cute. Anderson manages to put a humorous twist on the sub-genre of supernatural romance that is deliciously dark and will make your heart squeal. If you can’t wait for Halloween this book is definitely for you!

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Bloom Review

by Kevin Panetta, Savanna Ganucheau (illustrator)

Publisher: First Second

Print Length: 368 pages

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Romance

Release Year: 2019

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.09

Available on Amazon and B&N.

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is if Ari doesn’t ruin everything. (Goodreads)

Most of what I enjoyed about this book, was the beauty in the simplicity of it. Though there is dialogue (which is well-written and easy to understand) I found the thing that really makes this graphic novel stand out is its illustration. It’s simpler, very much unlike some of the uber-popular traditional comics of today, but no less beautiful. With entire spreads void of words, the story is conveyed visually, motion conveyed between the panels and no dreaded over-articulation of character. A smile, drawn with the perfect amount of detail is all that is needed to tell you how a character feels. 

Honestly, I hope this is part of a series. It doesn’t have to be a long one, maybe only one more volume, because I sadly found the ending unsatisfying. Of course, it’s a happy one, that concludes the events of the story well, but for whatever reason, I found myself unsatisfied and wanting more. I don’t want to consider this a full-on downside, because it’s not going to stop me from reading a sequel if there ever is one, but for these very personal reasons a gave the book a lower rating.

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There Are Things I Can’t Tell You Review

by Edako Mofumofu

Publisher: TokyoPop

Print Length: 272

Genre: LGBT, Romance

Special thanks to NetGalley and TokyoPop for providing me with an eARC.

There Are Things I Can’t Tell You will be available July 21, 2020.

Kasumi and Kyousuke are polar opposites when it comes to personality. Kasumi is reserved, soft-spoken and shy; Kyousuke is energetic and has always been popular among their peers. As the saying goes though, opposites have a tendency to attract, and these two have been fast friends since elementary school. To Kasumi, Kyousuke has always been a hero to look up to, someone who supports him and saves him from the bullies. But now, school is over; their relationship suddenly becomes a lot less simple to describe. Facing the world — and one another — as adults, both men find there are things they struggle to say out loud, even to each other. (Goodreads)

There AreThings I Can’t Tell You is an adult LBGT manga that delves into the struggles of two millennial queers as they struggle to come to terms with their identity. We follow the protagonist, Kyousuke Shiina, as he reunites with his childhood friend, Kasumi Amemiya. The story follows their friendship, relationship, and turmoil as Kyousuke struggles with internalized homophobia. The author takes a light-handed approach with this theme, but still manages to portray the emotional constipation that comes with internalizing and ignoring one’s true feelings. The art adds to this portrayal as the story is overall well illustrated. 

This story falls short in how it shows the characters overcoming their internalized homophobia, which is to be expected from an idealistic happy-ending sort of story that ends up coming into being. We are given a lot of background on the relationship between the two love interests that set up our protagonist as having deepset anxiety that certain romantic feelings are “wrong”. For these feelings to be disregarded so quickly for the sake of a happy-ending is a little unrealistic. It’s hard to say with certainty though because there are illustrations that imply there is quite a bit of time that lapses from the beginning of the manga and it’s conclusion. 

Would I recommend this manga? For a short feel-good read with a hint of realism, yes. As a wholistically realistic depiction of the queer struggle, not really.

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Final Review

The Betrothed Review

The Betrothed Review

by Kiera Cass

Publisher: HarperCollins

Print Length: 318 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.02

Available at: Amazon

When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine. (Goodreads)

This book. Oh boy… I am conflicted. 

I was excited when I heard about this book as a fan of the Selection series. I didn’t wait long to buy it, nor did I let it sit on my shelf long without being read. Much like my experiences with her other books, I was able to read this one in a single sitting. I’ve never been one to consider this a bad thing; some of my most favourite books are ones that can be read in a single sitting. The writing is easy to understand and subsequently easy to follow. For me, the only issue was reading the names of the countries, primarily the main setting of Coroa; which I continually read as “Corea.” This is a common issue I have with fictional names, but in the instance I found it relatively impossible to ignore. It would occasionally pull my out of the story– well, that amongst other things. 

To be honest, story doesn’t seem like the best word to describe this book. The book uses the majority of its length setting up the relationship between our protagonist Hollis and the king Jameson, only for it to shortly be forgotten in favour of the more dramatic forbidden romance between her and the exiled Isolten Silas. Almost as soon as that romance begins it ends with little actual detail regarding their relationship (which is practically non-existent and baseless). This felt like a slap in the face, having been promised a romance and to get very little between the end-game couple. This negatively affected their relationship as it seemed to be based on very little and disingenuous “insta-love.” It detracted from what was intended to be a shocking and powerful climax. At the end of the day, the story of Hollis’s rise to the royalty seemed much more interesting. 

I am thoroughly bothered by how hard Hollis was made to work to be a good queen and all her (albeit mild) political and diplomatic accomplishments, only to throw this away shortly after for the sake of idealistic romance. The story began with a relatively realistic view of royalty and barely managed to end with any sort of substance. 

There are parts of me that enjoyed sections of the story. Primarily whenever the protagonist showed some sort of agency; but for the most part she seemed to follow in the Selection’s protagonist shoes as an unintentional self-insert type of character rather than an actual person (also, America was a more developed character in some ways).


Ah– I don’t know… Part of me is considering reading the next book, based solely on the fact that I’m curious as to how the author is going to conclude this duology. The only thing I know with certainty is that I am not going to purchase the book.

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The Night Circus Review

The Night Circus Review

By Erin Morgenstern 

Release Year: 2011

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.04

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. (Goodreads)

Coming into 2019 I had made a point to put many fantasy books on my reading list for the year, the result of me truly discovering the genre in 2016. Up until last year I’ve never really read very many books that are considered fantasy, at least none more advanced that the middle grade books I occasionally read while in elementary school. As a result I found myself on a quest for notable fantasy books to introduce me the genre the right way. I must say, The Night Circus did not disappoint.

I was lucky enough to find a copy at a local indie store, that is sadly in the process of closing as I write this. I hadn’t intended to buy the book considering that I try not to buy physical books unless I’ve already read them and like them enough to read them again. Of course, I bought the book, and I don’t regret it one bit. 

The book has a very interesting concept and is subsequently enchanting in its presentation. I’ve never been a big fan of circuses, my only experience with them being Barnum and Bailey’s when I was an exceptionally young age (too young to really understand how horrible the shows were from an ethical stand-point). If such a circus as the one in the book existed I imagine many people would love circuses so much more and they’d not only be much different but they’d still be around.

Something that I really look at when reading fantasy books is the magic system (if one is present in some form). This plot of this story is very well centered around magic, which is described well throughout the book. The only thing is that the system seems to be very soft, which in upon itself is not a bad thing, but something I generally don’t prefer. The implementation of a soft magic system makes sense to an extent when it comes to this book considering there is an air of mystery surrounding magic within the plot. Nevertheless, there were times I felt it detracted from the story and even a little bit more explanation would have probably alleviated this issue. 

The book is overall well written with well-developed characters and vivid descriptions of their world. Regardless of this, there were still a few scenes that I found seemed ultimately unnecessary to the overarching plot. None of which were particularly severe, but notice enough for me to take note of them. Of course, as I writer I understand this sentiment is entirely subjective so I don’t hold this to hard against the book. 

I think the only thing I truly took issue with in this book was the romantic subplot. I realize that, especially in YA, a romantic subplot of some sort is very important, but at times I found the one included in this book not particular interesting. I was not invested in whether or not the characters got together in the end and I can definitely imagine the writer achieving a similar ending with a platonic relationship.

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