Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: March 2020 – Part 1


*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings #1.5) by Mackenzi Lee, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in American by Ibi Zoboi, and Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton


» Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds



5-Star Rating System

*3.5 Stars*WhatILiked» Opposite of Always is a YA fantasy that reads more like a contemporary.  Themes include friendship, chronic illness, consequences, grief, second chances, etc.

» I’m impressed that this is Renoyld’s debut, as it was a very ambitious story.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the start to a very promising career.

» I liked the message of maintaining friendships & family relationships despite being in a new romantic relationship.  I feel this is an important message, especially for the YA target audience, that we don’t see enough of.WhatIDidntLike» I found the time loop to be very redundant towards the end of the novel.  I was enjoying this aspect to the story at first, but it got old fast.  I feel like time loops translate better to film than they do in books.

» This book was too long.  The length, paired with the repetitive plot, made for sluggish pacing.

» I wanted more development in Kate’s character & her illness.

» While I like how the author left things open ended, I did want more of an explanation of why the time loops started happening in the first place… OverallOpposite of Always is a solid debut YA contemporary story that would probably make an excellent movie.  I look forward to seeing when Reynolds comes out with next.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of time travel/loops

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ death; chronic illness

» The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings #1.5) by Mackenzi Lee



5-Star Rating System

It’s no secret that The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a total guilty pleasure of mine.   I’ll be the first to admit that this series is not without its problems, but I just love the characters so much that I’ll overlook some issues… WhatILiked» It was so nice to catch up with Monty & Percy.  This novella felt like I was watching a rom-com.  It had a different feel from their original story.  It was grounded more in reality without the odd fantasy elements that put many off from the first two books.

» I love the sibling relationship between Monty & Felicity.  It feels so realistic.  I’d read an entire book of them arguing back and forth because it is just THAT entertaining.WhatIDidntLike» I wanted MORE!  This novella was such a tease.OverallI demand more Monty & Percy!

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of the Montague Siblings series

» Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in American by Ibi Zoboi


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» Black Enough was a game changer for me.  I don’t tend to read anthologies because I find that I tend to struggle to connect to short stories, but I loved every single short story in this collection!

» The audiobook was well narrated by Bahni Turpin & Ron Butler.

» Black Enough was a wonderful celebration of the diversity of the black identity.  There was great representation from a variety of experiences.

» Themes included body image, love, class, friendship, race, dysfunctional families, etc.OverallWhat an excellent book to incorporate during #BlackHistoryMonth in February!

› Recommended to ⇒ those looking for a diverse anthology

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ body shaming, parental abandonment, etc.

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Fresh Ink by Lamar Giles


» Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton



5-Star Rating System

How to find the words for this book… WhatILiked» This book was a super unique take on post apocalyptic fiction.  Once I read that this book was from the perspective of a crow, I knew I had to read it.  Kudos to Buxton for a unique concept.

» Hollow Kingdom is probably one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while.  I found myself laughing out loud throughout the entirety of Hollow Kingdom.

» S.T. is a new favorite main character.  I’ve always had a soft spot for eccentric characters, so of course I love a foul mouthed crow!

WhatIDidntLike» While I loved the humor, the characters, and the uniqueness of the story, things fell apart for me in the second half of the book.  During the first half of this book, I honestly thought it was going to be a 5-star read.

» The plotline was the downfall of this story.  In the second half of the story, the plot just seemed to stall.  Nothing was really happening to drive the story forward.  It also became disjointed and hard to follow.  OverallI am devastated that this book didn’t pan out.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of really strange books

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ gore, death, violence, etc.



Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: March 2020 – Part 1”

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