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ARC Mini Reviews: Legendborn, Smash It, The Tinderbox, When No One Is Watching, The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life

Today, I'm sharing a whopping five ARC mini reviews - Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn (available September 15, 2020), Smash It! (Smash It! #1) by Francina Simone (available September 22nd, 2020), The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips (available October 20, 2020), When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (available September 1, 2020), & The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen (available September 22, 2020). Wow! Okay, let's get to it.  I received these ARCs from NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  Read on to see my thoughts:

 ❋  ❋  

Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn was one of my most anticipated releases of September, so I really lucked out when I was approved for the ARC.  As it turns out, this novel is easily one of my best reads of 2020 so far.  I can never resist an Arthurian retelling and this one hits all the right notes for me.  The legend, the world building, the magic system, and diverse cast of characters are all marvelous.  I loved that the classic legend isn't quite what you expect and the world feels very real as if you could pay everyone a visit.  Every cast member is well developed and fleshed out and their relationships with each other are all well drawn.  I don't want to give to much away, but I highly, highly recommend giving this a try.  I'm extremely impressed to know that this is Deonn's debut novel because it's absolutely marvelous and promises much for her future.  As far as I'm concerned, this is perfect and she can only go up from here.  I can't wait to see where this series is going to go.

My review is also on Goodreads.



 ❋ 

Smash It! (Smash It! #1) by Francina Simone sounds like it has so much potential.  I mean, it's marketed as a YA inspired by Othello and that was intriguing enough.  I also admired the three main things on Olivia's list.  Of course, as things change in her life, she makes mistakes as she's a flawed figure.  In the end, I didn't know quite what to make of this novel and for awhile I was on the fence between giving this two or three stars and I decided on the lower of the two.  The longer the novel went on, the less interested I found myself in Olivia and everything that's going on in her life, good or bad.  Overall, this book isn't for me, and I totally felt like a senior citizen while reading parts of this.  I also have a feeling the story may perhaps have held my attention more if I had listened to an audiobook production of it.

My review is also on Goodreads.


 ❋  

The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips is an addicting YA sci-fi fantasy based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that has a little bit of something for everyone.  I'm glad I had the chance to try this early because Lou Diamond Phillips is one of my favorite actors.  It's great to see him expand out as an author.  If this debut is any indication, he's going to do amazing.  His world(s)-building is quite detailed and I loved the Star Wars-esque epic tone, and the same goes for the action scenes.  I'm glad that we get to see the human aspect and cost of the action.  The only aspect that I wasn't all that interested in was the romance, but honestly that's nothing new for me.  Overall, if you're interested in an all engrossing, sci-fi fairy tale I can't recommend this enough.  I'm looking forward to see what more he decides to write in the future.

My review is also on Goodreads.


 ❋  

When No One Is Watching is my first Alyssa Cole novel, but I know it won't be my last.  Let's just say that my expectations were sky high when I saw this described as Rear Window meets Get Out which are a couple of all time favorite movies, and for the most part it lives up to it.  It takes it a little bit to get going, but once it does it had me hanging on its every word.  It's begins as a slow burn mystery, but it becomes more of a dark thriller and what it does is also very unique.  Plus, I enjoyed spotting all of the pop culture references - I really felt that Peter Parker quote.  Anyway, I don't want to give anything away, but it's worth trying if you're a fan of those two films or the books of Riley Sager.  I can't wait to try more of Cole's work in the future and I'm hoping she'll do more mystery thrillers in this vein.

My review is also on Goodreads.



 ❋ 

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen is a light and cute YA contemporary.  It follows the misadventures of Alison, a high school student who is producing her school's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.  She's got a lot to cope with if she's going to make it through the school year.  The overall story line of novel is fun and goes pretty quickly, but I was never all that invested in any of the characters to become attached or really care all that much one way or another about their fates.  It also never managed to surprise me, but in the end it was still fun to pick up.

My review is also on Goodreads.


Are you planning on reading either of these books?  Have you already read them?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Comments

  1. I'm so happy you loved Legendborn, I've been eyeing that one. And I'm also happy you enjoyed Lou Diamond Phillips' book! I always worry when actors decide to write a book, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmmmm. I have Smash It! coming up. It sounded promising, but I know there was some drama with the author, so I never know if the reviews are based on the book (like your's is) or the author (hard to trust Goodreads). I get feeling like a senior. I was reading a book today and I had no clue about one of the relationships, but it seems I was not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So many reviews! I'm happy you enjoyed Legendborn, I'm excited to read it when it comes out!

    I also didn't care for Smash It! I get that Olivia was flawed, but I would have liked for her to learn some things eventually?

    When No One is Watching gave me so much aniety!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't wait to see what you think of Legendborn when you get to it, Amber.

      I totally would have expected the same from Olivia. I felt like I should have breathed into a paper bag at the end of When No One Is Watching!

      Delete
  4. Too bad for The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life, the title is great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does have an outstanding title, that's for sure.

      Delete

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