March 20, 2019

Friends with ARCs: You'd Be Mine + Descendant of the Crane

Clay is a popular country singer that has all the girls swooning… and all the tabloids and gossip sites hungry for his latest bout of bad behavior. Given an ultimatum by his record company, Clay convinces the Annie, the reclusive daughter of two country superstars known for their work and their double suicide, to be a part of his summer tour. Neither one expects to encounter something more to the other person; neither one expects the sparks that instantly fly between them. But will their attraction flourish beyond the perils of life on the road and the demons of their respective pasts that threaten to overtake them?

You’d Be Mine, y’all. It was a book that I had a real good time reading, even though it touched on some difficult topics (trigger warnings: alcoholism, drugs, addiction, suicide) that made my heart ache. On the surface, this is the story of two young country artists who team up to embark on a summer tour. But this is also the story of a young man who is running from his grief and anger by donning a persona on stage and by drowning his feelings in alcohol and drugs and meaningless hook-ups. It’s also the story of a young woman who is trying to find her way forward to embrace the life of music and performing that she’s always known she’s meant for, even as the demons of her past try to drag her down. If that sounds like a lot to tackle in one contemporary read, well, it is. However, I do think Hahn does well in weaving these plot points together (though we might have benefited from the book being a touch longer). She strikes a great balance between the fun and the hard, the romantic and the real, and crafted Clay and Annie’s stories into an easy-to-read, engaging novel. It also helps that she did well bringing her cast to life on the page, from our main couple Clay and Annie to their friends and support systems. You’d Be Mine certainly lived up to my expectations, and it’s a contemporary YA read that you’ll want to get your hands on!

Favorite country song? I admittedly do not listen to a lot of country music, but Carrie Underwood has always been an artist whose work I've really appreciated. I love a lot of her songs, but So Small is definitely one of my all-time favorites from her! The theme of the song is really resonated with me.

You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Publisher: Wednesday Books | Publication Date: April 2, 2019 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)

Princess Hesina finds her ascension to the throne happening much sooner than she anticipated when her beloved father is found dead. Her first order of business as queen? To find out who murdered her father. But the further Hesina digs into the mysterious circumstances surrounding her father’s death, the more political corruption, societal and magical deceptions she discovers within her court and her kingdom. Faced with opposition on all fronts, Hesina will soon have to decide just how far she’s willing to go in order to obtain justice for her father.

I’m always nervous when it comes to YA fantasy these days, because my tastes have started shifting enough that I find this kind of fantasy to be very hit or miss. Unfortunately, Descendant of the Crane was very nearly a miss – which simply translates to the fact that it was just plain okay, in my humble opinion. It earns marks for being a quick read (I was seriously nearly halfway through it before I realized I’d gotten so far already), and for having a story that kept me just interested enough to see how it would all unfold. But having had a little distance from the novel, I can easily pinpoint the thing that really bugged me: the underdeveloped characters (and relationships), which invited no emotional attachment from me as a reader. Having no emotional investment meant that the story fell flat for me, instead of being the exciting high stakes fantasy mystery filled with twists and turns that it seems like it was meant to be. It also doesn’t help that there are numerous plot threads woven all throughout, and it ultimately felt like a messy reading experience as we moved from one to the next. Descendant of the Crane was just fine overall, which is personally disappointing since I wanted to love it so badly. 

Favorite proverb or motto? I'm going to have to go with a Biblical proverb for this one, specifically Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight."

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He | Publisher: Albert Whitman Company | Publication Date: April 2, 2019 | Source: e-galley downloaded from NetGalley (Thank you!)


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