The Crown Jewels: Mandy goes Mini with Magnus Chase guides, Love & Luck, and The Wood

the crown jewels

Mandy is trying to go mini again. I seem to be reading far more than I can get reviews on the blog, so here is me…trying to ramble less…I will probably not succeed since this is, you know, ME. But shall we see?

Magnus Chase: The Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds: Your Introduction to Deities, Mythical Beings & Fantastic Creatures

magnus chaseGoodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

So you’ve made it to Valhalla. Now what? This “who’s who” guide to the gods, goddesses, and other important figures of Norse mythology was commissioned by Helgi, who, after more than a millennium as manager of Hotel Valhalla, became fed up with answering the same questions from newly deceased heroes at check-in. The profiles provide essential stats, interviews, and personal reflections so you can identify the gods and avoid those awkward introductions. Handy facts about other beings round out this go-to tome. You’ll never see Ratatosk as a cute little rodent or confuse a dwarf with an elf ever again!

Riordan always creates fascinating little guides to the mythology that he dives into. However, I don’t think this was his best one. Since Magnus Chase’s books were fresh in my head, I knew most of what was covered in the book and it seemed to just repeat a lot of the information we knew. There were some things that I really enjoyed and some lines really made me chuckle, but truthfully, I didn’t get too much enjoyment out of it. However, it’s still Riordan goodness, but it really can be skipped. 2 crowns and a Cinderella rating!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

love & luckGoodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

This started off really adorable and then just kind of lost its charm…wait, see what I did there? Made a charm reference on a book that is called love and luck with a four leaf clover on the front? Are you feeling as lame as I am now? ANYWAY, book = started off strong, floundered in the middle, brought back the fun at the end until we hit the epilogue.

The pros: Ireland settingggggggggggggggg; some good dynamics between Addie and her siblings; Walt, the cologne loving brother; any all family moments; fun, contemporary moments that were feel good and funny; Rowan; good journeys; empowerment; and a fun road trip. ALSO, THERE WAS AN EPIC PRINCESS BRIDE REFERENCE LIKE 12 PAGES IN, AND I WAS DYINGGGGGGGGG.

The cons: While we hit some amazing places in Ireland, we never got any real solid descriptions? Had I not been to a lot of the places, I wouldn’t have really felt the beauty and a clear picture in my head. I wanted more Ireland. I wanted more sibling fun. I wanted more family time. I liked the realism of Rowan and Addie and how it didn’t feel SUPER SUPER SUPER fast; however, the ending kind of ruined that for me because it felt really forced with them being smushed together for the sake of a happy ending. Also: Addie, Addie, and more Addie. I liked her, but I really had a hard time connecting with her and even rolled my eyes a bit. Also the heartbroken guide moments: I was so bored with them.

Also, I wasn’t a fan of the whole thing with Cubby. I thought it was an important topic, but I felt like it got really lost in the grand scheme of the novel and wasn’t given the proper amount of depth that it needed to really make an impact. I wanted more than surface depth for it.

Overall, it had its fun moments with a great setting and a great road trip. It was a good summer read, but I was kind of eh about it. 3 crowns and a Belle rating!

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

the woodGoodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

I’m not even sure I can even pinpoint what went wrong with this book, but I just felt so detached from it. We had all the makings for a great book: an absolutely intriguing concept of a magical creepy wood that is a portal between time and space; a super creepy atmosphere; and what could be a cool romance. However, what I was given? Instalove; a super cartoon villain; a super obvious plot twist; characters that I couldn’t really connect with including a main character whose only character seemed to be really protective of the wood and her dad; a super cliche best friend with no depth other than boy lover; and a world that got confusing at times.

The writing was good, though, and the atmosphere was really good. I felt the winter cold even when I was sweating from the heat. It just brought me no connection with it, and I just felt super meh with it. 2 crowns and a Cinderella rating!

What do you think? Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Are you surprised that I actually managed to stay mini for 2/3 of them? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


4 thoughts on “The Crown Jewels: Mandy goes Mini with Magnus Chase guides, Love & Luck, and The Wood

  1. Very interesting reviews 🙂 I do want to try The Wood since the cover intruiged me as soon as I saw it last year. I’m gonna keep those thoughts in mind when I do try it. Did you try Love and Gelato? If so, do you like it more than Love and Luck or vice versa?

    Liked by 1 person

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