Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Release Date: September 24th 2019
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.11 (of 2784 ratings)
representation: MC with chronic pain (shoulder)
content warnings: death, death of parents, grief, intense sequences (violence, fighting, near death situations)
This was…well, it was? I felt like the first few chapters of this book really drew me in. I was intrigued, and I, for sure, thought I would be enjoying it. It had such an intriguing feel to it, and the premise felt fresh and unique. The atmospheric and lush feel to the story never really changed, thankfully, but I felt like it lost a lot of momentum.
This book felt like a really dark Disney fairytale? I kind of felt like it was like Brave, but with skeleton zombies. It was even complete with an undead animal sidekick! I think this is what really kept me reading. The plot was decently interesting as well.
However, I think it hit a wall. At some point, I just…stopped caring? I wasn’t invested in it anymore. There were intriguing elements, but it began to feel like generic fantasy instead of something that was feeling fresh and new, which it had in the beginning. I also didn’t really connect with any of the characters. They just felt like they were run of the mill fantasy characters, and I couldn’t really find the depth in them. It was amazing to see, though, a character that was suffering from chronic pain in a fantasy setting, since it’s so rare to see one, period, in YA let alone in a fantasy novel. This is honestly what set it apart for me, but the rest of the characterization just felt lackluster for me.
Overall, even though this book started off strong, it ended up being quite meh. It had certainly an unique and dark fairytale feel to it, but the characterization and overall feeling of generic fantasy led me lose a lot of interest in this story. Therefore, a Cinderella Rating!
Title: 10 Blind Dates
Author: Ashley Elston
Release Date: October 1st 2019
Goodreads Rating: 4.03 (of 1064 ratings)
representation: Sicilian main character/family
content warnings: tense health situations (pregnancy) for family member
I had read Elston’s previous mystery novel, so I was intrigued to see what she was going to do with a fluffy, contemporary book – and I have to say that she did quite well! This was one adorable read that provided all the feels I could ask for and so much cuteness. I might have outcheesed myself with this one.
I think the biggest thing that I loved with this novel is the family aspect. It’s so rare to see a YA book where the family plays such a crucial role in the novel. Our main character goes to stay with her extended family for Christmas break, and there are so much fun and shenanigans with them. I loved all the family moments, and this book is built on heart. It was adorable. However, I think perhaps there might have been too many? I got quite lost with some of them, and there were a few names that did blur together. However, it was so much fun!!
I also really enjoyed the premise of the blind dates. Each one was really enjoyable, and I loved the ones that got a little crazy. It’s just light and one of those super feel good movies. Think Hallmark Christmas movie but in teen format. Although oddly enough I can’t watch Hallmark movies but I can read Hallmark level quality contemps??? so weird, okay, me, sure. ANYWAY, I really enjoyed it.
However, I feel like some stuff was glazed over. I mean, while the plot was really fun, I felt like it lacked the little extra oomph that really would have made it a favorite. I also really felt like the characters needed a little more depth. I mean, they were decently well defined, but I felt like I was missing a lot of the little details that made them truly them. And regarding the romance, I felt like we went from zero to all of a sudden he’s a hard core love interest. And the whole miscommunication trope got a little too drawn out.
Overall, this really was a fun, light read. I’ve been lacking on my adorable cheesy goodness, and this was a perfect addition to my need for the fluffiest of the fluff. It did lack in some areas, like in the true character development, which is why it’s getting an Ariel rating! However, this is perfect for the Hallmark movie holiday lovers out there!
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What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!