L-L-L-Little Reviews #46: January 2023

Posted January 31, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 6 Comments

Here are the books I read this past month that were not part of scheduled reviews.

The Hunger Between Us by Marina Adair:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #46: January 2023The Hunger Between Us by Marina Scott
on November 1, 2022
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
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For fans of Elizabeth Wein and Ruta Sepetys, an absorbing, fast-paced YA debut novel from Marina Scott about a girl's determination to survive during the Nazi siege of Leningrad--and to save her best friend from a horrible fate.
There are some lines that should never be crossed--even in a city ruled by hunger. The black market is Liza's lifeline, where she barters family heirlooms and steals whatever she can get her hands on just for enough food to survive. Morality, after all, has become a fluid thing since the Nazi siege has cut off her city from the rest of the world. Hope for a quick liberation is obliterated as the Soviet government focuses on sustaining the Red Army and not the city, subjecting its people to unimaginable cruelties at the hands of the secret police. When Liza's best friend Aka proposes that they go to the same bullying officials, rumored to give young women food in exchange for "entertainment," Liza thinks there surely must be some other way. Then Aka disappears and Liza resolves to rescue her no matter the cost, entangling herself in an increasingly dangerous web with two former classmates, one a policeman, the other forced to live underground.
The Hunger Between Us is an absorbing novel about being trapped with impossible choices and the bonds of love that are tested along dangerous paths.

My Review:

All I can really say about this is wow! This was such a dark story. The main character had a lot of unlikable actions and characteristics. But the world she lived in was so dark and hard it was kind of understandable. I liked the author’s historical note at the end talking about what the time period was like and how the details had been glossed over with propaganda for a long time. Definitely an interesting read, yet as I said, very dark in the world and actions of characters.

Twisted Love (Twisted #1) by Ana Huang:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #46: January 2023Twisted Love by Ana Huang
Series: Twisted #1
Published by Bloom Books on April 22, 2021
Genres: NA Contemporary Romance, NA Dark Romance
Pages: 358
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-half-stars
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He has a heart of ice...but for her, he'd burn the world.
Alex Volkov is a devil blessed with the face of an angel and cursed with a past he can't escape.
Driven by a tragedy that has haunted him for most of his life, his ruthless pursuits for success and vengeance leave little room for matters of the heart.
But when he's forced to look after his best friend's sister, he starts to feel something in his chest:
A crack.A melt.A fire that could end his world as he knew it.
Ava Chen is a free spirit trapped by nightmares of a childhood she can't remember.
But despite her broken past, she's never stopped seeing the beauty in the world...including the heart beneath the icy exterior of a man she shouldn't want.
Her brother's best friend.Her neighbor.Her savior and her downfall.
Theirs is a love that was never supposed to happen-but when it does, it unleashes secrets that could destroy them both...and everything they hold dear.

My Review:

So I bought this one because the author was supposed to be at an event at a library somewhat near to where I live in February. I pushed it to the front of my reading list so I would have it read before I got to meet her. Then one of the authors got sick, and so the tour was postponed till August. But I was almost done, and so I went ahead and finished. I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews, and I don’t know if that was before it got picked up by Bloom Books where it was probably edited and polished up. However I got hooked. The story went a lot of different places than I’d expected, and had a lot of steamy moments. I don’t know if I’ll read on any more in the series, it’s not a top of my TBR book. But I wouldn’t be opposed to reading more in the future.

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #46: January 2023Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on August 30, 2022
Genres: YA LGBTQ, YA Retelling, YA Thriller
Pages: 320
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: four-half-stars
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One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.
Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.
But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

My Review:

I really enjoyed the other book I read by this author, The Mary Shelley Club, and between the cover and the comparison to Lord of the Flies for this one, I’ve had it on my TBR since I first heard about it. I didn’t get to it when it came out, but I was lucky enough to get a copy from the publisher for the library committee I am on. And once again I ended up being blown away from the uniqueness and craziness this author has given us. While at first I wasn’t quite sure, once the story got going, it really had a lot of twists and turns and unexpected occurrences. Now it may not be an exact retelling of Lord of the Flies, it has just enough little bits here and there that made it resonate with me since that has always been a favorite book of mine. Highly recommend this one!

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #46: January 2023Always Jane by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 29, 2022
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: three-half-stars
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Eighteen-year-old chauffeur’s daughter Jane Marlow grew up among the domestic staff of a wealthy LA rock producer, within reach of bands she idolizes, but never a VIP. Every summer, Jane and her father head to the Sierras to work at the producer’s luxury lodge at Lake Condor—a resort town and the site of a major musical festival.
The legendary family who runs the festival are the Sarafians, and Jane’s had a longtime crush on their oldest son, Eddie—doltish but sweet. So when a long-distance romance finally sparks between them, she doesn’t hesitate to cross class lines.
But Jane’s feelings about Eddie are thrown into question after she returns to the lake and reconnects with his alluringly intense brother, the dark horse of her placid summer plans. A fellow lover of music—and hater of the game—Fen Sarafian has been ousted from the family and is slumming it at a vinyl record shop. He burns for Jane like a house on fire and will do anything to sabotage his older brother, even if it means taking a wrecking ball to a multi-million-dollar music festival. Or Jane’s heart.
A chauffer’s daughter finds herself in the middle of a love triangle with the sons of her boss’s wealthy next-door neighbors in this delightfully romantic story from the author of Alex, Approximately, Jenn Bennett.

My Review:

I did enjoy a lot about this book. The romance was sweet, the characters all had great back stories and their own issues. I loved the aphasia that Jane was dealing with. Now in my head I kept picturing Mad Dog as a rap guy for some reason, so whenever they’d give some kind of detail about his looks I would be surprised for a minute. The setting was a lot of fun, and the whole music aspect of the story too. I also adored the little dog. It was a little long at times for me, some things that I think could have maybe been kept a little shorter, but that could just be me. Overall a pretty good book.

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