Format: Audio/eARC

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 […]

Blog Tour: Cassandra in Reverse

Posted June 15, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Blog Tour: Cassandra in Reverse

Review I’m a sucker for time travel books or anything involving parallel lives/universes, time loops, Groundhog Day… you name it – if the book messes with time in some way, I’m THERE. This book was on my list a long time ago so I’m thrilled to join the blog tour. CASSANDRA IN REVERSE centers around Cassandra, who is suddenly given the opportunity to time travel in the midst of a terrible day. Her boyfriend breaks up with her and then she’s fired from her job, so she goes home and takes a nap… only to wake up and it’s the previous morning again. She figures out how to choose when to travel and fix her mistakes. It’s not easy for her to interact with people and pick up on social cues, so having a second chance at certain conversations or situations really helps her figure things out. It was interesting to read a time travel story with someone who could control the power rather than just dealing with the Groundhog Day type of thing. I couldn’t put this book down and read the first half in one sitting. The second half was equally compelling. There was a portion in the middle where I was getting slightly bored with how she was using the time travel but it very quickly moved to something more intriguing. There were some twists near the end of the book that I didn’t love (and I wasn’t a fan of the final ending/scene very much), which […]

ARC Review: The Change

Posted June 3, 2022 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: The Change

It isn’t very often that I request a book on Netgalley that I don’t really know anything about. I sometimes will see a contemporary romance with a cute cover being published by a favorite imprint and just request it, but that’s the extent of it. Requesting a mystery-fantasy-combo is definitely not something I usually do on a whim. Needless to say, I went into this with almost no expectations but hoped it would be a fun ride. THE CHANGE involves a few middle-aged women as they start to age and gain witchy powers. Jo has superhuman strength and some kind of fire energy that can melt things. Harriett has power over plants and nature. Nessa can see ghosts of the dead when they haven’t been laid to rest and/or have unfinished business. The story starts with these three women coming together, finding a dead body that a ghost led Nessa to, and helping figure out what happened to her. They each use their powers and strengths to solve the mystery, find other girls who have been murdered, and avenge them. The book is set in Mattuak, a fictional town on Long Island that I have to imagine is a play on Montauk in the Hamptons. The story also feels a littttle bit like a riff on the Long Island Serial Killer murder, where girls were kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered on Long Island and left on the beach. The cases are still open today and a lot of that has to […]

Review Round Up | Of Princes & Promises and Reckless Girls

Posted February 25, 2022 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Round Up | Of Princes & Promises and Reckless Girls

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! This series continues to baffle me a little bit. I enjoyed this book a similar amount to the first one. I was really hoping it was the characters from book one that prevented me from loving it but that turned out to not be the case here. If I were to read this without knowing Sandhya Menon wrote it, I’d be shocked to learn that she did. It just does not have the same feel as her other books, like the Dimple/Rishi universe. I think it’s mostly because she writes the characters as posh boarding school kids and her writing style feels weird as a result, like she’s trying hard to be fancy or something? In any case, this story followed Catarina and Rahul. She’s the pretty rich girl who rules the school and Rahul is the socially awkward kid whose family doesn’t even include him in public photos (his cousin stands in). The two of them had a ~moment~ after the school dance and Rahul is dying to capitalize on this. Catarina starts to “train him” to be a prince instead of a frog; she wants to make her cheater-ex-boyfriend jealous at some important events with a transformed Rahul on her arm. They acquire a magical […]

Holiday ARC Reviews: The Christmas Village and Duke, Actually

Posted December 22, 2021 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Holiday ARC Reviews: The Christmas Village and Duke, Actually

Story I love Annie Rains’ books – that’s no secret around here. I’ve read them all so far under the Forever Romance umbrella, and can’t wait to dive into the novella that occurs right after this book! I can always count on her to deliver an enjoyable Christmas story each year and THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE was no exception. This is the second book in the Somerset Lake companion series, a setting we’ve only seen so far during summertime. Lucy and Miles were high school sweethearts who were once engaged before Miles unceremoniously called it off. Neither of them truly moved on from it though. Now they’re back under “one roof” (more like “one yard” as Miles is renting Lucy’s garage apartment temporarily) and sparks are flying again. I do love a second chance romance and this couple was totally worth rooting for! I don’t love reading books about cops but the “Christmas Crankster” mystery that Miles worked on throughout the book was entertaining and he’s really a great guy. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels Somerset Lake’s residents love Christmas and that was clear in this book! They spoke about the holiday season in its debut novel so I was really looking forward to seeing how they celebrated. There were a lot of decor references and holiday events that made me feel Christmassy, especially decorating Lucy’s big pink house for the neighborhood competition. Overall This series continues to impress! I was sad that Sweetwater Springs was no longer the setting for […]