Hello readers, and welcome to another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. It’s been a while since I did one of these posts! This installment, let’s chat about: Ravage the Dark, Heartstopper: Volume Three, Hot British Boyfriend.
Ravage the Dark (Scavenge the Stars #2) | Tara Sim
For seven long years, while she was imprisoned on a debtor’s ship, Amaya Chandra had one plan: to survive. But now, survival is not enough. She has people counting on her; counting on her for protection, for leadership, for vengeance. And after escaping Moray by the skin of her teeth, she’s determined to track down the man who betrayed her and her friends.
Cayo Mercado has lost everything: his money, his father, his reputation. Everything except his beloved sister. But he’s well on his way to losing her, too, with no way to afford the treatment for her deadly illness. In a foreign empire also being consumed by ash fever, Cayo has no choice but to join Amaya in uncovering the mystery of the counterfeit currency, the fever, and how his father was involved in their creation. But Cayo still hasn’t forgiven Amaya for her earlier deception, and their complicated feelings for each other are getting harder and harder to ignore.
Through glittering galas, dazzling trickery, and thrilling heists, Cayo and Amaya will learn that the corruption in Moray goes far deeper than they know, and in the end the only people they can trust are each other.
I was kind of hesitant to pick up this sequel since the first book, regardless of the intriguing plot, was not very engaging for me. However, I felt that this book was much better for one major reason: the narration style which made the story easier to follow this time around (though, since all the characters are more or less on the same page, that helped in itself) and the plot felt much less chaotic as a result. Despite the fact that I remembered barely anything from the first book, it was very easy to get back into the story even after so long.
There was some significant expansion in world building too, as our characters have fled Moray in search of a cure to the ash fever and to also track down the source of the counterfeit currency. There was also a lot of character development for both main characters. Cayo has never worked a day in his life and having now lost everything, tries to find a way to pay for his sister’s treatment. Having no choice, he joins Amaya in the quest to unravel the plot, but definitely does not trust her after her deception. Amaya is determined to track down Boon and I enjoyed following her journey through this book. There were a lot of interesting reveals centered around Amaya’s past and several were quite surprising and hard to predict. Amaya and Cayo’s romance was the one plotline that didn’t work for me, mostly because it was so typically YA with them dancing around each other for 90% of the book, all the while hiding secrets.
Overall, however, this was a good sequel and the author did a great job wrapping up all the various plotlines in a satisfactory ending. It was an enjoyable read I would recommend this series for fans of retellings, particularly if you liked The Count of Monte Cristo.
Publishing Date: March 9th, 2021 (Little, Brown BYR)
Heartstopper: Volume Three | Alice Oseman
In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?
The backdrop of Paris for this book made a perfect for this volume as Nick, Charlie and their friends go on a school trip. There was a lot more focus on Charlie’s friends this time and I really liked getting to know more about them, but the majority of the book is Nick and Charlie slowly starting to tell their friends about their relationship. This book just had me smiling throughout, it was so cute!
While this book still maintains the same feel as the earlier installments, I like how the story is slowly starting to become more complex, from character development to plot and of course themes like mental health which are explored making this book a little heavier than the previous one.
Heartstopper continues to be a thoroughly feel good read and it was perfect for the rainy afternoon I picked it up on. These books are such quick and easy reads that the pages just seem to fly by, but atleast Volume 4 is already out and I can’t wait to read it!
Publishing Date: February 6th, 2020 (Hodder Children’s Books)
Hot British Boyfriend | Kristy Boyce
After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.
When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.
But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.
This was not as good as I expected, but a large part of that is because I am so clearly not the target audience envisioned for this book. I have a feeling that while 15 year old me would have appreciated the plot line much more though I daresay I would not have liked Ellie any better at that age either. The synopsis of this book unfortunately gives away a little too much, and within a couple of chapters, it was quite obvious how the book was going to end.
I liked the premise of the story – and of course, the setting was the best part. I would have liked to see more of England and London, but there was a trip to Venice that was beautifully described and made me wish I was back there again. Ellie’s friends were a great group and they were probably my favourite part of the book. Dev, Sage and Huan all had major roles to play and I really liked their characters.
The book starts off pretty ok, but Ellie just got on my nerves. She was entirely too boy crazy and it really bothered me how she lied just to make herself appear interesting to Will. She also treated being in England like she was on vacation, going off sightseeing every now and then, barely caring about school which was what she was there for. Even worse was that she ditched her friends at the drop of a hat for a guy she just met and I found it really irritating how desperate she always seemed. I think if Ellie had been aged up a year or two, like in college on on her gap year, this plot might have worked better for me, but not by much
Ellie does improve a lot eventually and I liked that the plot didn’t use the British guy as a magical fix for everything – quite the opposite actually – and that is the main reason why I rated this 3.5 stars and not 3. Ellie’s hobby of creating fairy gardens was also really cute and I liked those parts of the book as they helped her realize that she didn’t have to hide herself just to make someone else like her.
This book was a great summer read and if you’re looking for something light hearted and easy to read, this would be a perfect choice.
Publishing Date: March 9th, 2021 (Little, Brown BYR)
Have you read any of these books or do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!