Genre: Paranormal

ARC Review: Toil & Trouble Anthology

Posted October 31, 2018 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
ARC Review: Toil & Trouble Anthology

I recently worked my way through this anthology in the week leading up to today – Halloween! – so I thought it would be perfect to post it today. I’ve had the egalley for a while and mixed in the audiobook too. As usual with anthology reviews, you can see reviews for each story below, along with the cumulative star rating in the book info area above. The cumulative rating for the stories came to about 3.25 stars, so I decided to round up to 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this anthology overall more than my ratings may imply. There were a lot of great stories and it comes as no surprise to me that my favorites were more contemporary-oriented. It was harder for me to get into the historical ones or straight-up paranormal/fantasy. However, it’s nice that this feels super well-rounded! I think there’s a story in here for readers of all genres and types. Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia This story was actually my first foray into bruja books. I’ve had some on my TBR but I don’t often read witchy books to begin with. I loved the main character, Luna, and her interest in (or abilities related to) astrology. The fact that her story/romance involved fighting with an astronomy enthusiast was awesome. Opposites attract, eh? Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer Interesting and odd, but not for me I guess? I know it’s hard to do a lot in a short amount of pages but this one, unfortunately, felt a […]

Bite Sized Reviews: Jackaby Series

Posted August 13, 2018 / Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews / 2 Comments
Bite Sized Reviews: Jackaby Series

I know I have full reviews and I have mini review round-ups, but there are some books that could be reviewed in just a few sentences. This is mini round-up I’ll have sometimes for books that really don’t need much more than my small Goodreads review and progress updates say. I decided to show all of my Goodreads reactions to the JACKABY series because I found that I didn’t have too much to say about each of them. I read the series with my book club over quite a few months (we had to skip some meetings). Here are my thoughts on each book in this series. We moved into the second book pretty quickly because we had to postpoone our March book club. There was a snowstorm and Chris and I had to drive back up to Maine before it hit. The third book was also pretty good. I binge-listened while packing to come home and driving around town running errands. Nothing specific to mention here that I don’t talk about below! The fourth and final book of the series was read a bit later due to some personal issues for one of the members, so we finally finished up the series for the August 1st meeting! I didn’t enjoy this one because of the ending and was mostly confused, but oh well.

Blog Tour: The Sweetest Kind of Fate

Posted February 16, 2018 / Book Reviews, Cover Colors, Features / 0 Comments
Blog Tour: The Sweetest Kind of Fate

More purchase links: Book Depository | Kobo | iBooks | IndieBound Author links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook About Crystal Cestari: With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world. My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.   Cover Colors This is probably one of my favorite Cover Colors! First of all, I love the actual colors from this cover. They were a lot of fun to pull from for the outfit below. Amber is a baker and hoping to get into culinary school, so I was able to include some baking-related accessories for her, including a cupcake phone case, apron, and cute pan. I included a map of Chicago print for the wall, since that’s the setting of the book, and a winter coat to keep her warm during those winters. She’s a very casual dresser so I gave her some ripped jeans, sneakers, and a cute tank top. There are some matching beauty items and accessories too.   Sweetest Kind of Fate by bookmarklit featuring chicago wall art Review Another cute installment in this series! I love the Windy City Magic store and all of the paranormal happenings around Chicago. Amber is approached by her enemy, Ivy, because her sister, Iris, is going […]

Holiday Reviews: We’ll Always Have Christmas and The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Posted December 24, 2017 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments
Holiday Reviews: We’ll Always Have Christmas and The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Story Tis the season for my favorite holiday author! I always wait until it’s VERY close to Christmas to embark on my Jenny Hale book of the year, because they’re usually the most atmospheric. This one was a little different, which I’ll get into later. Noelle takes on a new job helping an elderly man in a local mansion while trying to fix up her family’s bakery to improve business. She falls for Alex, the man’s grandson, while staying there with her son. She has mixed feelings because Alex is the landlord for the bakery and is the one “pushing them out” with higher rent. Noelle has close friends, Phoebe and Jo, and a tight-knit family between her parents, grandfather, and sister. It was a  really well-rounded story, even if some of the plot pieces were kind of annoying. There was a whole side thing that I predicted earlier with the grandfather’s lost ~first love~ and the fact that Noelle was thinking of moving to LA with Phoebe. The second thing there wasn’t needed in the story and took up an unnecessary amount of her headspace. The first one made sense even if it was predictable. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels I feel like this is the first time I’ve given a Jenny Hale book less than “full-on holiday cheer” on my cheer-o-meter. The book takes place in the month or two leading up to Christmas, so there were bits of the holiday sprinkled throughout. The cozy bakery setting and […]

Review Round Up | Crazy Little Thing Called Love and The Becoming of Noah Shaw

Posted November 27, 2017 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 3 Comments
Review Round Up | Crazy Little Thing Called Love and The Becoming of Noah Shaw

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! I either buy an ebook on sale and never read it, or read it within the first couple weeks of buying it. There’s no in-between. In this case, I’m very glad I hopped on reading CLTCL because it was completely delightful. The book starts on Christmas, has a big Christmas scene/section in the middle, and ends on Christmas as well. It was a nice unexpected “first holiday read” of the year, but could definitely be read in any season. Leila has gone on a “man ban” and started running a successful blog for other single women, which then moves into events, retreats, and presentations, all while balancing her landscape design job. When her brother gets married three months into her celibacy promise, she meets his new brother-in-law, Nick… and her man ban is all downhill from there! I really loved the couple of Leila and Nick, even though they had a number of obstacles to overcome in their journey. Leila was definitely a spunky main character and I just loved their chemistry together. The ending got a bit wild and absurd, but I really liked it. I think it actually was fairly reasonable based on how the characters’ personalities were. The reader really gets to know everyone […]

Series Review: Mara Dyer Trilogy

Posted October 25, 2017 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments
Series Review: Mara Dyer Trilogy

As you know, I love to binge a good series when I can. It takes a lot for me to really keep engaged and read “the same thing” back-to-back like this… So when I do it, you know it’s worth it! I was definitely late to the party on this one and have no one to blame but myself. I love getting addicted to a world and seeing what happens post-cliffhanger in the next book. That was definitely the case for the Mara Dyer trilogy. I had put off reading these books for a while because they seemed a little… not Lauren-y? I like books about memory loss and the aftereffects, but this series seemed to weird and creepy for me. The plot summary gave almost no information and I really didn’t know if this was a mystery or paranormal series. Turns out, it’s a bit of both. Goodreads shelving can spoil you on that, so sorry if you didn’t know! Here are some mini reviews: This book caught me so off-guard. We chose it for book club and I was happy to finally read this series, since it’s been on my TBR foreeeever. I found myself incredibly addicted right off the bat. I was intrigued by the memory loss concept and honestly didn’t know what to expect genre-wise. It seemed like a big ol’ mindfuck… and that’s kind of exactly what happened. I was hoping to read a little bit before bed and absolutely could not stop reading no […]

Review Round Up | Here Lies Daniel Tate, Just Dreaming, and Same Beach, Next Year

Posted August 3, 2017 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 4 Comments
Review Round Up | Here Lies Daniel Tate, Just Dreaming, and Same Beach, Next Year

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 backlist books I’ve read or listened to recently. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! I was pretty eager to get my hands on HERE LIES DANIEL TATE. I’ve thought about ALL OUR YESTERDAYS so much since I finished it a few years ago and have been hoping for a new book from Terrill. This one seriously did not disappoint! I expected something twisty that I couldn’t put down and I totally got that. “Daniel” is the ultimate unreliable narrator. He blatantly lies, tells you that he was lying, and always implies that maybe some of the story isn’t even true. I can’t say too much about him or the plot without giving a lot away about what happens, but just know that his unreliability does not change. I still, weirdly, found myself liking him as a main character. Mia was super adorable and Nicholas was really interesting as well. I have a few issues overall, but not much. I think the inclusion of some kind of “romance” was definitely not necessary. I mean, I can sort of see why it was included? Minor spoiler in italics: I think it was to show that the MC was really a normal human boy with feelings, or at least was starting to develop them. It added a little bit to his character because part of him really just wanted that normal life and […]

ARC Review: The Best Kind of Magic

Posted May 11, 2017 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments
ARC Review: The Best Kind of Magic

Initial Excitement I love heading into books with zero expectations. I saw this on Goodreads and added it a long time ago, then randomly hopped on the ARC tour for the book. The premise seemed like it was more magical realism than paranormal, so I was eager to see how matchmaking and witchcraft were related in this particular world. When I got the book, it sat around my apartment for a week while I ignored it for Netflix. I finally picked it up and got reading… and really couldn’t stop myself! Quick Summary Amber and her mom, a witch, own a magic shop in Chicago. The whole witch thing skipped a generation because Amber is just a “lowly” matchmaker. She can look into someone’s eyes and see glimpses of their future with their true love. She’s never had luck in her own love life though, as she can’t see her own romantic future. The Mayor’s son, Charlie, comes to Amber with a problem. She finds herself falling for him even though she knows who his match will be (aka not her). She, Charlie, and her best friend Amani (who can see the future) band together to find a missing person and deal with many other magical people along the way. Storytelling, Setting, and Feels This was super cute and so fun to read! I loved reading about all the different kind of magical beings and their ancestors. I thought this was magical realism at first, but I think with ALL […]

Review Round Up | Dark Star, A Little Something Different, Wires & Nerve, and Bounce

Posted March 20, 2017 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Round Up | Dark Star, A Little Something Different, Wires & Nerve, and Bounce

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 backlist books I’ve read or listened to recently. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! I needed an Urban Fantasy for my Bookish Bingo card and Morgan recommended DARK STAR. I wasn’t sure how the book would work for me because the last demon-y book I read was very meh and I never continued with the series. I was pleasantly surprised by DARK STAR and enjoyed it more (despite the same rating lol)! I liked Audrey and pretty much all of the rest of the characters in this one. It was fun to see secrets be revealed from start to finish. Her mom, her friends, the other people with ~powers~ … they were all really interesting characters that I hope to learn more about going forward. There even was a BIT of romance near the end. It sucks because I honestly can’t think of much more to talk about? The book flew by, as I combined some audio hours with reading the ebook for the ending. I liked it enough but there’s not much to discuss. I can tell that there’s still SO much more left to cover in the upcoming books, without feeling like they’re stretching the story too much. The ending was closed enough to not feel like a cliffhanger but open enough to get that feeling of more coming soon. This is absolutely one of those books where the concept […]

Reviews: Monstrous Beauty and Snow Like Ashes

Posted January 5, 2017 / Book Reviews / 8 Comments
Reviews: Monstrous Beauty and Snow Like Ashes

This book was a very spur-of-the-moment choice! I needed a book to fit the “sea creatures” square on my fall bingo card, and Carrie recommended this one to me. I found it on Hoopla and started right away before Thanksgiving. I found myself drawn to it, turning the audio back on in the office while I worked (since I was alone that week). I rarely read blind recs like this because I’m more likely to add them to my TBR and maybe read them eventually, but I’m SO glad I listened to Carrie and went for it. The story was very interesting, as it alternated back and forth across time. I’ve read maybe one book about mermaids and am definitely thinking I should get going on a few more now. The audiobook narrator was SUPERB with all of her accents and the ability to sound like both time periods she was narrating. She was seriously a difference-maker for this book. I predicted a few elements throughout, but was overall very impressed with how the author wove together the story and both timelines. There were mermaids and ghosts and all sorts of things I didn’t see coming! I don’t want to give too much away about the plot itself, but I thought there was a good mix of action throughout. I was always eager to see what was happening in the other timeline, which kept me enthralled most of the time. It’s really hard for an audiobook to consistently keep my […]