Mini reviews: I Kissed Alice, A Song Below Water

Hi friends! ☀️ I’m back to share some short and sweet reviews of two of my latest reads, hope you’ll enjoy them!

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

I Kissed Alice, Anna Birch
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Read the full synopsis ▼

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other…a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?

☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.

mention of smoking pot, drinking and adultery.

☂️ DIVERSITY: bisexual main character, f/f relationship.

I Kissed Alice was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I mean: artists, enemies to lovers, texting romance, collaborating secretly on a fanfic website drawing a graphic novel together? This had everything to be the book of my dreams. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me.

The biggest issue I had with it, was that I managed to find myself fond of one character way more than the other. I really liked Rhodes’ POV, her struggles as an artist to create, her complex family relationships and the expectations they had for her. I didn’t love Iliana’s POV just as much and it took me a long, long time to warm up to her.

I also expected this to be more romance focused, but in the end, I Kissed Alice was focusing a lot on the characters’ growth, the romance being a tiny part of it and, unfortunately, not as developed as I wished it to be.

Still, there were positives in I Kissed Alice, making this an entertaining read for me. I liked the focus on friendship, especially when people come in between, I liked the virtual romance and graphic novels bits A LOT and I also really enjoyed seeing both of the characters’ journeys, too.

Final rating: 3,5 drops!

A million thanks to Macmillan and Edelweiss for granting me an e-ARC of this book for reviewing purposes. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

A Song Below Water, Bethany C. Morrowgoodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.

past suicide attempt, self-harming, anxiety, racism, riots and protests.

☂️ DIVERSITY: Black main characters and side characters, Latinx side character.

A Song Below Water has had its share of hype and I can understand why: it is both a beautiful and a much, much needed read, especially in the current climate, but anytime, really. Alongside a beautifully crafted contemporary fantasy story, we get an important social commentary written by an #ownvoices writer about Black people and the issues they are facing. It’s gripping and SO important.

I think my favorite thing about A Song Below Water was the fact that this heavily focuses on Tavia and Effie and their bond as sisters. I loved seeing them together, protecting each other, being there for each other despite everything else happening to them personally. I’m all here for strong bonds like that one and I adored this.

Both characters in this story are trying to find themselves, whether it’s for the first time or again. They are struggling with their identity, hiding or finding themselves, with how people, both close ones and strangers, see them and I just really appreciated seeing them grow thorough the story, too.

I think the main struggle for me with this book came a little bit with the world building. If I loved how naturally the magical parts were included in this contemporary (sirens, gargoyles!), I sometimes felt a little confused about some of these creatures, their place and powers, too.

Still, with its strong siblings bonds, unique world and commentary on today’s world and happenings beautifully woven into a fantastical story about sirens, A Song Below Water is definitely a book I enjoyed and will recommend!

Final rating: 4 drops!

Did you read I Kissed Alice or/and A Song Below Water? Do you want to?

What are some of the latest books you’ve read that you would recommend? I’d love to hear from you in comments!

Personal note: I will be on a little bit of a blogging hiatus from this Sunday, July 12th, 2020 to Sunday, July 26th, 2020. Meaning: I won’t be answering to comments or/and blog hopping and visiting blogs and be very active until then, with the small exception of a couple of reviews I had to put out. Thank you for understanding and take care, love you all! 

 

 

 

 

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

47 thoughts on “Mini reviews: I Kissed Alice, A Song Below Water

  1. I was also a bit disappointed in Alice. It was sold as a rom-com, but I didn’t find it that funny. In fact, it was a lot darker than I anticipated. And, there was not much romance either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. That’s a shame about I Kissed Alice because in theory it sounds like a fantastic read. I really need to read A Song Below Water! It sounds amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s so disappointing about I Kissed Alice. You would assume it’d be romance heavy, alas.

    I really can’t wait to read A Song Below Water. It sounds like it touches on a lot of issues, and I was not aware of all of those TWs. Thanks for including!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just wish it was marketed a bit differently, it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be :/
      I hope you’ll love A Song Below Water, it’s such a great read 😀
      Thank you, Amber!

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  4. Love these reviews Marie!! These two are also some of my anticipated reads and I’m very keen to give them a try.

    But also oh not that I Kissed Alice was not as focused on the romance as it seemed to be. We love female friendships but agh why is it sold as a romance then? Strange. Still going to give it a try though because it seems to be a ton of fun 🙂 also yay for bi rep though!!

    Ahhh A Song Below Water sounds SO GOOD and I am ready for the sirens. It sounds like such a great time

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  5. Sisterhood, own voices, identity struggle. You are basically confirming my thought that A Song Below Water is a gem of a book. It’s a shame that the world-building wasn’t as effectively explored, but on the whole, it sounds like brilliant reading experience.

    Sorry to hear that I Kissed Alice fell flat. It’s always a struggle when you lean towards one POV over the other, but I’m happy to hear that it had a strong emphasis on friendship, even if the romance took a back seat for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great reviews! A shame about I Kissed Alice but I’m happy to see that you enjoyed it for the most part. A Song Below water didn’t work to well for me because of the lackluster world-building and other little elements, but I truly loved the sister bond and the relevant themes! A book of the times, for sure.

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  7. I hope you’re having a lovely blogging break!

    I really want to read A Song Below Water. I can’t lie it’s partly that beautiful cover, but everything you’ve said about it really appeals to me too. I love when authors weave in magic with real life issues

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much, Lydia, I am (well, I did.. I guess. I need to learn to switch everything off haha). I hope you’ll love A Song Below Water! I feel like it’s a book you’d enjoy 😀

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  8. i’m sorry i kissed alice didn’t work out for you, it’s so frustrating when not all of the characters are developed well!! i’ll definitely be going into it with lower expectations after hearing that the romance wasn’t the best either 😭 but i am so, so happy to hear that you enjoyed a song below water – i’ve been wanting to read it for so long and am even more excited now!! the sisterly bond sounds beautiful 🥺🥺 these were such amazing mini reviews, marie! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love your reviews! I really want to read A Song Below Water. I’ve just finished listening to the audiobook of the book that was released the same day as ASBW, it’s A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, and I truly loved it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Rose! ❤ I hope you'll get a chance to read it, it's such a good read.
      AH I've heard amazing things about A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, I'll have to try it out 😀

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  10. Ooh, I’m really looking forward to reading I Kissed Alice, so I’m sorry to hear that it fell a little flat! I’m happy that you enjoyed parts of it, so that definitely gives me some hope. I’m also so happy that you loved A Song Below Water! I love strong sibling relationships in books, and this sounds like it did it perfectly!

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  11. I love the mini reviews format! And I think I’ll add A Song Below Water to my future TBR. The other book I might pass; it’s a pity that there was only a tiny bit of romance in it, since the title sells it as a romance anyway.

    I’m a new reader to your blog and I think I’m going to stick around. 🙂

    Lia

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