Category: Review Roundup

First Read of the Year: Bright Young Women

Posted January 12, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 1 Comment
First Read of the Year: Bright Young Women

This was a really surprising first book of the year for me. I thought about making it my last book of 2023 but it was too clean and nice to end the year at 115 books instead of 116 😉 I just took a little reading break for a few days as we ushered in the new year and I got over being sick. BRIGHT YOUNG WOMEN follows two women on opposite coasts affected by the same serial killer. Pamela’s sorority house is broken into – two girls are murdered and two are gravely injured, and she is dealing with the fallout as sorority president and friend to these girls. She soon encounters Tina, a woman who believes she knows who the killer is… Her friend Ruth (the other POV we get in the book) was one of his victims before he made his way from Washington to Florida. As you may be able to tell, this story is based broadly on Ted Bundy and his horrible acts across the US. I was on the fence about reading this book and hadn’t even marked it as “to read” on Goodreads when I bought it on a whim at the store and started it within the week. I don’t follow serial killer true crime stories or podcasts because the victims aren’t at the forefront so my only knowledge of the man “featured” in this book was the Zac Efron movie (watched only because of said actor). This reads like a true […]

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

Posted January 3, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

THE MAID was a pleasant surprise and a bit of a roller coaster for me (which is weird considering it’s a somewhat “basic” cozy mystery). I almost DNFed if because I just wasn’t connecting with the story and didn’t really care about what was happening. As usual, a chapter or two after considering the DNF, I became a bit hooked… and I ended up giving the book 4.5 stars! I was excited by the premise of the sequel and immediately requested it from the library. I was really intrigued by a second story with Molly and loved how this one tied into her past. Molly is solving another murder mystery – this time it’s the famous author that her grandmother once worked for. The story involved flashbacks to her time spent in his mansion and all of the goings-on there. It didn’t feel like the author was retroactively adding things or changing things to make the plot work either – enough negative things were included about the victim from book one to make me feel like this was a well-planned sophomore follow-up. There are some times with these books where I start to lose interest a little bit and that’s the only reason for a 4.5 rating instead of 5 stars. I just don’t get THAT feeling unfortunately. I was sad that Juan Manuel was missing throughout this book because he was visiting family but it made sense to keep the mystery plot moving without getting the romance in the […]

Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Posted December 21, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Story I really enjoyed THE SANTA SUIT last year and was excited to try another short and sweet Christmas book from Mary Kay Andrews. BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS followed Kerry as she joined her brother in NYC selling Christmas trees from the family farm. She hadn’t been at their lot since she was a kid – when her parents split up, her brother and father ran the tree farm while Kerry stayed with her mom. She’s feeling lost between jobs and is subbed in for her father this year, who recently had a heart attack. The characters were good – there’s a romance with a cute single dad from the building next door. I really loved meeting everyone else in the building and the nearby restaurants too. One of their neighbors goes missing and they all band together to find him in time for Christmas. It leads to an interesting new life path for Kerry that I really enjoyed reading about. I didn’t love the romance necessarily; the kid was cute but the father was a little pushy. It was off-putting to have him move so quickly on her when they’d known each other for a couple of weeks. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels NYC during the holiday season is one of my favorite settings, as I’ve mentioned time and time again. The block they were located on felt real and gave some nice Christmas feels. Christmas tree lots or farms are some of my favorite settings for holiday books. […]

Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Posted December 14, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Story I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one but I have to say, I enjoyed it! Becca and Harrison are neighbors on a college campus (one is a sorority house mom and the other is the football coach) who went on a date two years ago… then he ghosted her. They’ve spent the years since avoiding each other until a huge snow storm comes right as the students are heading for winter break. They end up hunkering down together due to power outages, lack of firewood, and extreme wind and temperatures. I really enjoyed their chemistry and the snowed-in style romance here. It’s so much fun to watch two people get closer from a relationship perspective while they’re forced together in those circumstances. Becca was such a fun character who tried her hardest to not let other people’s assumptions about her get in the way of her being herself. Harrison was grumpy but soft underneath, which I like. Honestly, I think Harrison got off a little too easy on the ghosting thing. There’s obviously some explanation as the two start talking about it but I think that could have been beefed up a little bit. The ending got progressively more cheesy (lots of instalove) but was still cute in general. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels There’s definitely a difference between books that take place on Christmas and Christmas/holiday books. I think this story straddles the middle a little bit. The story happens right before the holiday and the […]

Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Appeal and Tide and Punishment

Posted December 8, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Appeal and Tide and Punishment

Story I really enjoyed THE APPEAL when I randomly picked it up last year on a vacation. I couldn’t put it down and found it super addicting due to the mixed media format. (I still haven’t read anything else by Hallett but I have multiple books ready to go on my Kindle!) This was a Christmas novella featuring the same Fairway Players from the initial book. They decided to put on a holiday play of Jack and the Beanstalk using a gross old beanstalk from years and years ago. The mystery unfolded in a really neat way, much like THE APPEAL. I didn’t figure it out right away but there were definitely a few elements later in the book that I saw coming. It was a pretty fun mystery in general given its length. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels There were somewhat limited holiday feels in this one, partially because of the mixed media format and partially because the content itself wasn’t overly holiday-oriented. I liked the “holiday round robin” emails sent out to set the stage and time of year at the beginning, which also reacquainted us with the characters. The play of Jack and the Beanstalk is not really Christmassy… I think it was necessary for the plot and mystery that comes in later, but A Christmas Carol or literally any other holiday play would have upped the seasonal feels for me. Overall I really enjoyed this one, and think the audiobook was done well! I’d recommend readers […]

Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight Falls

Posted November 30, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight Falls

THE MAID is a book that I’ve debated reading for a while. I wasn’t sure if it would be for me but I ended up snagging a cute little paperback copy and staring at it on my shelves for a long time. I wasn’t sure what to read earlier this month and it was calling to me, so I picked it up. I won’t lie, it took me a while to get into. I wasn’t sure if I could get into Molly’s head. That ended up not being the issue but I’ll get to my thoughts in a second. This story follows Molly the maid, who stumbles upon the dead body of a frequent guest at the hotel she works at. She ends up getting mixed up in everything (a few crimes) without even knowing what’s going on. She struggles with social situations and appears to be neurodivergent (not given a name on page and everyone else seems to think she’s just quirky or “bad” at reading social cues). The book was hard to read for me in the first half. It just felt like she was getting taken advantage of over and over again by bad people, and I was really upset reading it. I don’t pick up books where people like this are being taken advantage of or bullied because honestly it’s one of those things that just hits me too hard. I contemplated DNFing multiple times because it was simply hard to read and I wasn’t sure […]

Review Roundup | The Brothers Hawthorne, Project Hail Mary, and The Pumpkin Spice Cafe

Posted November 10, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 3 Comments
Review Roundup | The Brothers Hawthorne, Project Hail Mary, and The Pumpkin Spice Cafe

I’m really bummed by this one to be honest – it was really just FINE. I’ve loved this series so much and was excited to get into the heads of a couple of the brothers for this “spinoff” fourth book. It follows Jameson and Grayson as they embark on their own individual journeys. (It may have been more fun to follow Nash and Xander instead because they were featured less than Grayson and Jameson in other books.) Grayson’s part of the story was more interesting as he learned more about his father and the family that he never knew about. There was a little mystery there for him to solve and some lovable new characters introduced. Jameson is also dealing with his father and more games/riddles. I thought the concept behind his part of the book was good but not executed in a way that made me want to keep reading? It took me all of September to read this one because I just kept being more interested in other books. I did end up reading the final section pretty quickly and was curious to see how things would wrap up. I’m glad there’s another book and I’m hoping it’ll be more interesting than this one was. I really enjoyed THE MARTIAN despite not usually reading adult science fiction. (Even YA sci-fi is lower on my list unfortunately, despite enjoying them!) I kept seeing insanely positive reviews for this one and decided I should give it a try. The audiobook […]

Review Roundup | The Honeymoon Crashers, None of This is True, and One of Us is Back

Posted September 14, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Honeymoon Crashers, None of This is True, and One of Us is Back

I was so excited when I learned that THE UNHONEYMOONERS was getting a “sequel” in any capacity. Learning it was an audio exclusive with a full cast, sound effects, and generally full production was even MORE exciting for me. This novella-length audiobook follows the best man and maid of honor for Olive and Ethan’s wedding on Maui! The two announce to Olive’s family they’re just going to elope and get married on the island alone. Cue her twin sister Ami and brother Diego deciding instead to invite 18 family members to surprise the two of them there with a real wedding instead of an elopement. The production here was awesome, and appropriately sparse (if that makes sense) – there were a handful of scenes with background noise and sound effects like the ocean or breezy music, but not all the time. It was perfectly done to not be distracting! Many of the conversations between characters alternated between them like they were actually talking, with the voice actors taking turns and no “he said” or “she said” in between like you would read in the book. I liked Ami and Brody a lot – I think the book did a good job of building up their romance and chemistry in a shorter time period, but I totally could have seen this being a full-length book instead. They had different personalities but in a way that balanced each other out. Plus, you learn a bit more about Brody at the end of […]

Review Roundup | Practice Makes Perfect, The Risk, and No Good Tea Goes Unpunished

Posted August 4, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | Practice Makes Perfect, The Risk, and No Good Tea Goes Unpunished

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT had a lot to live up to. I fell head over heels for WHEN IN ROME and was pretty certain its companion sequel wouldn’t match up. My sister marked this one as her favorite of the two but she predicted that I’d love WIR more. Surprisingly, both ended up being five-star reads for me! (But yes, if I had to pick, Amelia/Noah are my peeps and edge out Will/Annie just a bit.) I thought Annie would annoy me a bit based on her characterization in WHEN IN ROME – she’s treated like a little angel who doesn’t swear and keeps track of her siblings cursing. Let me just say: she has so much more under the surface, and all of those little things I thought would annoy me weren’t really accurate. Will definitely had me from the beginning – I loved learning more about him and his childhood. I think I would have liked a LITTLE more there but it was good overall… There was a lot of telling instead of showing in regards to his background (and some things later in the book I won’t spoil). The two of them embark on a “fake dating” journey but more like “practice dating” – Annie wants to be less boring so she can land a husband and start the rest of her life. Will is simply just bored hanging out as a bodyguard in Rome, Kentucky… can’t fault him for that! I really loved watching their relationship develop […]

Review Roundup | The Wishing Game, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, and Live and Let Chai

Posted July 17, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Wishing Game, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, and Live and Let Chai

I was soooo looking forward to THE WISHING GAME. The book sounded so magical (while being realistic and not actually featuring any magic or fantastical elements) and the cover? Absolutely one of my favorites I’ve ever seen… which is why it’s such a bummer that I feel so incredibly mixed on this book. I had to really think about a rating for it. At its core, this book is a whimsical ode to children’s books and the lifelong impact they have on us. I loved that aspect! It was so cute in a lot of ways. If I sit here and think about the story as a whole and ignore a lot of the details that really bugged me, this could have easily been very highly rated. I appreciate the granting of wishes and foster care/adoption plotline in a general sense but I was really uncomfortable with how Lucy went about it all with Christopher. It’s one thing to want to adopt a child that needs it but I personally found it to be inappropriate that she was kissing his forehead and having him sit on her lap (and discussing her desire to adopt him before she was permitted to – I have to think, if it didn’t happen or come true, wouldn’t the kid be in a worse mental space? She even tried to argue that sleeping on the floor of her bedroom in a house she shared with drunk college students would be a better situation for him […]