The One Where I Really Liked Beautiful Wild by Anna Godbersen #BookReview #YA #Historical ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You are invited to set sail on the maiden voyage of the SS Princess of the Pacific in this indulgent historical romance from Anna Godbersen, the New York Times bestselling author of the Luxe series.

Vida Hazzard can see her future: aboard the heralded “Millionaire’s Ship of the West,” she’ll charm the young scion Fitzhugh Farrar, resulting in a proposal of marriage.

But Vida didn’t plan on Fitz’s best friend, Sal, a rough-around-the-edges boy with a talent for getting under her skin. Nor did she anticipate a hurricane dashing their ship to pieces, along with her dreams.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

“The first voyage of the Princess is one of those events that bring all the best people together, for it promises lavish parties and gossip galore.”

You know what, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. You have to be in the right mood to read an Anna Godbersen book. Beautiful Wild was glamorous, far fetched, dramatic, and it dealt with a small kernel of truth about appearances and what matters most in life at the end of the day. Are you living your life for you, or for those around you? Will a life of beautiful glamour be the right path for you, or do you crave the wild? Why not both?

“She was a huntress–her hunting grounds were drawing rooms and polo fields, it was true; but that did not make her any less a huntress.”

Our MC, Vida (which means life in Spanish btw), was the sort of grown girl I love to see in historical sort of setting–improper while still navigating the rules of her society, daring, willing to paint outside the lines. Her life revolves around her society and the expectations her parents place on her to marry well so she may continue to live big. That is one thing I did enjoy about Beautiful Wild, Vida’s parents legit only want what is best for her, and encourage her in her adventures (to a certain point). They are not there to make her miserable. Vida thinks what she wants, and is best for her given the rumors and her parents ultimatum due to the rumors, is to snag the richest boy on the cruise and have him propose to her. She has a bigger than life personality that just attracts people to her, even though she will admit she is not the most beautiful girl. She has charisma, and is willing to go for what she wants. I loved that.

“Which is it? Do you like the fussy dresses, or do they hold you back.” “Have you never felt two contradictory things strongly, truly, and at once?”

Beutiful Wild does not make our MC choose to be only one thing. Vida loves her life, but is also aware of the constraints her society places on her and women in general. She craves adventure and finds it where she feasibly can, in the ballroom. But this cruise is going to push her to extremes, allowing her to get to know herself in the most realest of ways and find out just how capable she can be.

“The glittering world in which Vida had first encountered the grand Mrs. Carlton Farrar was gone–the ocean had swallowed their way of life whole.”

I found Beautiful Wild to be a love letter to Vida. There is romance, of course, but sincerely I didn’t think it was central. Vida’s journey of self discovery was what I loved about Beautiful Wild. The romance was sweet though. You have a love triangle of sorts, both boys representing different aspects of the lives Vida thinks she wants/might actually want. Her decision in the end is courageous (for the time) as she chooses herself. She goes after the adventure she always wanted, and the boy that her heart calls out to adventure alongside her.

I’d totally recommend this read, just know what you are in for. A “Titanic”/”cast away” mix YA book with feminist undertones and a bit of romance to spice things up.

“On this island she could see, from first light to last, that the world was much bigger than she had known.”

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “Star Daughter” by Shveta Thakrar

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

I was super into the first part of the book–the family dynamics were interesting, Sheetal had this huge secret she needed to hide from the rest of her family, she also happens to have a kickass best friend and an adorable boyfriend? Score for me! The first 50% of Star Daughter has tension and emotion and it made me want to keep on reading. However the second 50% of the novel, when we trek to the heavens with the other stars, goes by a lot more slowly. It is like we focus so much on the setting that we kind of forget to dig a little deeper into the court itself, the “commoner” stars, and just what the day to day for a star looks like (from Star Daughter it seems the stars just pass the time looking at humans through mirrors and shoving star dust everywhere to try and inspire). Whatever “stakes” we did have get quickly neutralized when we reach the Star Court to the point that I wasn’t worried at all about the father surviving because it was a non issue.

It was interesting how Sheetal’s grandmother acted like a sort of villainess–she is the one that closed the doors between the human and star worlds, after all, keeping Sheetal away from her mother. But we don’t develop her enough to make her three dimensional, her actions are her actions and the rest of the cast just deals with the consequences. It would have been cool if there had been some repercussions to the stars being unable to walk among humans, like they start to waste away or something. But no, they just get really bored.

Also how in the world do you leave the decision of who is going to “rule” the stars court to a group of judges on the Star’s version of “Heaven’s Got Talent”? And yet not really, because the stars don’t have to compete, HUMANS have to compete for them and get “inspired” by the stars–if only each star had their own distinct “inspiration” talent or something but it seems pretty straight forward and like all of them can do the same thing.

Sheetal spends only a couple of days “training” and learning about herself but in reality it felt like an eternity because nothing was really going on. It was kind of a bummer–there was family arguments and this other star who had it out for them, but there was no real tension or emotional connection in it for me. Nevertheless, the setting is gorgeous and I do think Shveta Thakrar is an author to look out for.

PS; Throughout the whole book I kept picturing Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Sheetal ❤

PPS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “Set Fire to the Gods” by Sara Raasch, Kristen Simmons

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.


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SO–I really enjoyed the beginning of Set Fire to the Gods. I was into Madoc, in a number of ways, he seemed the right amount of cocky and sweet, with iron fists (figuratively) and a grin to boot. He is undivine–an ordinary among the extraordinary. His brother is an earth bender earth mover thing, and together they scam the SOB “leader” who is trying to take away the money from the poor. Until that same guy comes a knocking and just because he can takes his sister as a servant and tells the boys “come up with x amount of money if you WANT TO BUY HER BACK FROM ME”. I mean, the nerve of this guy. So because Madoc is so good at fighting he got approached by a sort of coach who was like “hey you divine and you fight well, come be trained as a gladiator!” Madoc has no choice but to say “fiiiine” so he can get paid.

Why do they need gladiators? Cause the gods are pricks who keep fighting among themselves and gambling away resources, but instead of fighting in full blown wars (and killing a TON of soldiers) they pick their gladiators and basically have them fight each other. It is a whole event thing, people love it (cause, you know, give them bread and circuses to keep them “happy” and contained).

THEN our girl, ASH, gets in all sorts of trouble cause she interrupts another gladiator’s fight and that’s like a big NO NO–so she is forced to go from being a dancer to being a gladiator (but she was trained by her mom -a gladiator legend- to fight so no biggie, she got this right?) Side note: she hates all the gods and everything they represent. I mean, I can’t blame her.

And so ensues gladiator fights, a conspiracy, and a heavy flirtation between our two MCs. My main complaint about Set Fire to the Gods is that the two MCs don’t really talk truthfully to each other, thus ensuing a ton of misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict. I just, wish they had more scenes together to build the trust. My other unfortunate dislike concerned the bad guys, their evil monologue, and just how obvious it all was? I think if we would have focused a bit more on the gladiator fights and building an actual relationship between the two MCs in which they could work as a team I would have enjoyed this more. As it is, I really liked the bending of the elements, that was awesome. Unlike in ATLAB the fire benders here actually have to have fire nearby in order to bend it, but they can also “store” it in their heart for later use. I loved Madoc–he was just so genuine. I also liked Ash! She was the only one willing to think outside the box and look at the big picture, trying to by pass her prejudices.

So really at the end this book is for me a 2.5 star, I liked it but it has several issues. I may read the next book, but the bad guys need to seriously get some refinement to their character (stop the evil monologue, let our characters figure stuff out for themselves). There are other things that bothered me but they are a bit too spoilery to talk about here. I did really enjoy reading about Madoc and Ash as individuals, so hoping they get a bit more time together to become the team they need to be.

If you are at all interested, the spoilers can be found in my GOODREADS review.