Format: Audio/eARC

Recent Reads | A Call for Kelp and Summer Romance

Posted June 27, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | A Call for Kelp and Summer Romance

A CALL FOR KELP follows Everly as she helps her aunts get their beekeeping documentary off the ground. They were chosen among a ton of applicants, so a film crew heads down to Charm, NC to begin shooting. The old school actress leading the project and providing the voiceover turns up dead and as usual, Everly springs into action. I’m still enjoying this series overall but this one was too predictable for me. I knew within the first few chapters who the murderer was even though their motivations were not super clear… even in the end! Baker could have used a little more development there. There were a lot of chapters were something dramatic would happen to end the chapter and then the next chapter would jump ahead in time, allowing Everly to reflect on what happen but the reader didn’t get to see it. For example, she got locked in a library and was panicking at the end of the chapter. The next chapter begins and she’s already rescued, explaining to the reader how she got out. Why not just give us the scene? The other major issue: Everly’s obsession with her weight and her fitness tracker was unbearable in this one. It felt like every single chapter she had to reference her size, the fitness watch beeping at her, how hard it was to move around at a size 12 (!!) – the list goes on and on. I just did not want to hear it for so […]

Blog Tour Review: Everyone is Watching

Posted March 30, 2024 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Blog Tour Review: Everyone is Watching

Review This was, surprisingly, my first Heather Gudenkauf book! I own at least one of her others but for some reason haven’t gotten to it yet. I loved going into this one without any idea of what to expect. The synopsis really only advertised a reality show competition, a locked room murder mystery, and secret connections between characters. Big Brother meets Clue? Works for me! I really liked that the summary of the book was basic and to the point – it didn’t give anything away. The story follows a few contestants on a new live-streamed reality show, run by a couple of women (one who remains anonymous). The players were hand-picked by them for reasons that slowly become clear throughout the book. I enjoyed trying to make all of the connections and figure out how people may have known each other. Like many locked room-style mysteries, there were also some flashback scenes that provide additional color to their stories and potential connections. I didn’t really figure out the entire tangled web and just was along for the ride! I don’t think any of the reveals were super surprising or intense but I still enjoyed them. The characters were obviously not great people and they had made mistakes in the past; none of their transgressions were that unique though. I loved Gudenkauf’s writing style – I will absolutely be picking up more of her work after this! I’ve been really in the mood for mysteries this month and am pumped […]

Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for You

Posted March 28, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for You

Janice Hallett has continued to cement herself as a favorite author. Even though this was technically my least favorite of her books, she still managed to pull one over on me and keep me engaged when I was doubting it. THE TWYFORD CODE centers around Smithy, recently released from prison, recording audio files on his son’s old iPhone. The book begins with the transcript being sent over for interpretation. Smithy tries to find out what happened to his missing teacher from when he was a kid and how her disappearance may be connected to Twyford’s books. Is there a secret code in there? Intermixed in his investigation, he’s talking about his young life and how he ended up in a gang. I was really intrigued by the initial investigation and the format – the story reads as if you’re literally reading the transcripts of audio files. I love a mixed media novel but this has less of the same vibe. Kind of reads like a sort of real novel, compared to her other books with emails, texts, and articles. I lost interest a little bit toward the end but as usual, she brought me right back in with the twists! I thought the reveals were a bit lame until they weren’t 😉 Hallett knows how to write a layered and intriguing mystery. When you think you have it figured out, she finds a way to surprise you. I’m so sad to be caught up on all of her books!! Phew, […]

Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

Posted March 14, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

This book was really something. I kind of have no idea what to make of it. I had previously avoided Hazelwood’s books becuase I just didn’t think they were for me. The Reylo fanfic inspiration and the continuous use of big man/small girl are just not for me. I saw absolute rave reviews for this one and thought maybe THIS is a Hazelwood I could read and get on board with. It’s a paranormal romance with werewolf and a vampire in a world where both species coexist (kind of) with humans. It took a solid 100 pages to get interesting and less confusing but I did get more hooked after that point. The book has an arranged marriage between a werewolf groom and vampire bride to help broker peace between their people for a while. Beyond that, the MC Misery (yes that’s her name) is trying to find her best friend that went missing. So there were two main elements – a romance and a mystery – and I’ll tell ya, the mystery and political backdrop are what kept me reading. The romance absolutely gave me the creeps and thanks to Ali Hazelwood, I’ll never think of a knot the same again. It was just WEIRD. I think the politics and mystery were 20x more interesting than the romance and luckily those were at the forefront of most of the book. I was genuinely surprised by the reveals and events at the end, which is why my rating is decent […]

Review: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

Posted January 24, 2024 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Review: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

It’s no secret that the first EMILY WILDE book was my favorite of 2023. I had high hopes and expectations that the same could be said about the second installment. Luckily, I ended up loving it! It took me a while to read but that’s because I ended up waiting for release week to mix in the audiobook I had preordered. I really enjoyed the first audiobook so it only felt right to keep that going! We follow Brambleby, Emily, her niece, and one of the other professors at their university in the Austrian Alps. She’s working on a map book this time and they hope to track down a lost professor of dryadology while they’re there. This story was just as whimsical and cozy as the first, with a dash of intrigue and danger where appropriate! I like that Emily has become more self-aware and able to recognize when she’s struggling to related to other people. The first book took a while for her to understand how to avoid insulting the locals. Emily was aware when she was messing things up with her niece and tried her best to fix them. We got to learn more about Brambleby’s world, which was a lot of fun. There were lots of faeries to meet and discuss along the way too. I know I’ve said this before but I was obsessed with faeries as a kid. Not the ACOTAR type but these small sprites and little mischievous ones. I don’t think this type […]

Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

Posted January 18, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

I haven’t read a lot of books centered around con women/men before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew going into it is that Ashley Elston wrote it, and I love her YA books! Happy to support any of my favorite authors if they make a genre and/or age target jump. I didn’t even read the synopsis before I dove into the story. FIRST LIE WINS follows Evie Porter as she works on her next assignment. She doesn’t really know what the purpose is but she’s meant to get close to Ryan Sumner; her mysterious boss Mr. Smith hasn’t given her anything else to go on. I liked getting to know “Evie” and unraveling her past throughout the story. I will say that the first half was fairly boring, unfortunately. I was generally curious about what was happening but that also led to the question… what is the point of all this? It took a little too long to get there for me. Elston did a really great job of connecting people from her past and linking the flashbacks to present day – it was really well done and made for a great end of the story. The final half of the book flew by for me and I was finally curious to know what was going on. There was a bit of an info dump at one point to explain a bunch of things but I guess there really wasn’t a way around it. The story […]

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 […]

Blog Tour: The Night It Ended

Posted June 30, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Blog Tour: The Night It Ended

Additional Purchase Links: HarperCollins // Bookshop // Books-a-Million Review I’ve been really into mystery/thrillers lately and this one definitely intrigued me! A boarding school setting is one of my absolute favorites, and this one was even creepier because the 95% of the campus was away for winter break. When a girl dies tragically on campus, Madeline (a psychologist who specializes in female violence) is brought on campus to investigate what happened with the private investigator, Matthew, the family hired. They don’t believe the local police that it was a tragic accident; the PI thinks Madeline can help crack the girls on campus to see what really happened that night. The book was a bit of a slow burn with not a ton happening in the first half, but the setting and characters were intriguing enough to continue. I liked the chapters from the past that were mixed in (an interview or interrogation between two people who are not named) to keep me engaged in multiple stories. I assumed I knew who was in that interview from the previous year, but wasn’t sure if it would be that easy or predictable! I won’t spoil it either way. Madeline was struggling with some mistakes she’d made in her past – I wanted to know more about what she did to make her act this way and/or lose contact with her family in some way. It was interesting because she often felt like an unreliable narrator based on her behavior and issues she was […]