Saturday, March 7, 2020

Short and Simple Reviews: Venom, Can't Look Away, and Three Day Summer

This is a place for books that I didn't fully review.
Maybe I listed my likes and dislikes, had a little short paragraph, or a few sentences to convey my feelings on the book, but whatever the "review" is, all of them are short and simple. (hence the clever name)

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1)

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
  Goodreads / Amazon  / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

I read this back in 2012 but I never continued the series so seven years later, it was time for a reread! I loved the historical elements in the book. It was clear that the author did a lot of research and the setting was very vibrant and so well described. This book seems to be marketed as historical romance, as clear by the redesigned covers, but I see this book as predominantly a mystery. Is there romance in the book? Yes, and while the romance certainly doesn't take a backseat, the mystery is what drives the story and what really made me want to read more. I enjoyed this reread but for some reason, I did not like the book as much this time around. I can't pinpoint a specific reason why my rating dropped, I think I am just pickier now about what books get 5 stars.
I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing


Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident—maybe because of Torrey and her videos—Torrey's perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

I read the majority of this book on audio (I read the last few chapters in paperback). The audio was fine, although I wish I knew this was a story about grief before downloading it. I chose it a bit randomly from my to-read list. Nonetheless, I did like the book. The MC, Torrey (which I thought was spelled Tori throughout my audio listening), was a bit annoying. She is consumed by the idea of popularity throughout the whole book. I generally don't like characters who think being popular in high school is everything. Torrey believes that she needs to be with the popular group (that everyone wants to be popular, which is completely untrue). She gets in easily because of her high-end clothing, but she can't talk to a certain boy at school because the populars call him a freak. It bothered me how long Torrey tried to keep up with being popular, she never actually learns that she doesn't need to be popular until the very very end of the book, and even then, it did not feel like she actually learned. Luis, the boy at school, was a fantastic character. Luis helps Torrey cope with her sister's death. There is an inclusion of Day of the Dead in this book and I really like how it was included. The ending was a bit lackluster. It did feel like Torrey was coming to a better understanding of how to live without her sister, and understanding that her sister's death was not her fault, but the trial did feel right. [highlight to view spoiler] Throughout the book Torrey is wanting to talk at the trial for the man that hit her sister. This is meant to show how much the victim meant to the family. Torrey instead has her mom speak, which I understood. Torrey's mother was having difficulty talking about it and she needed to understand how to move on with life as well. But, the mother's speech could have been about anybody. It did not feel personal, so the moment was lackluster. I expected Torrey to bring out the items from her sister's messenger bag and talk about what each item meant, but instead, the book ended with a speech that did not have any meaning. [end of spoiler] Overall, I did like this book, even though I struggled with Torrey's character.
I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Three Day Summer

Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She's volunteering in the medical tent. She's like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them... 

This was a fun, quick read. The book focuses primarily on two characters, Michael and Cora, as their lives intersect during Woodstock. I have never read a book taking place during Woodstock, but this book did a great job of describing that weirdly chaotic and fun environment. It did convince me that if I ever do get a time machine, to not travel back into this point of history. As fun as it sounds on-page, it does not sound like a great place for someone with my OCD to be! The relationship of the characters progresses pretty quickly, but given the setting and the short timeframe, it does make sense. I'm sure there were plenty of quick relationships at Woodstock. Overall, this was a fun read, but that's all it really felt like so I can't call it a favorite. I did like it though.
I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

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