Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Round Up | The Life Lucy Knew, The Devouring Gray, and The Last Book Party

Posted August 2, 2019 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Round Up | The Life Lucy Knew, The Devouring Gray, and The Last Book Party

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 was destroyed by the first Karma Brown book I read years ago and she’s one of those authors where I can’t believe I’ve only read ONE book by. All of her stories sound so intriguing! When I started up yet another book club with a couple of friends, they were looking for TJR-esque books/authors. I knew Karma Brown would be perfect, so I shared a few options. We settled on this title for our first meeting! I was completely addicted to this. I read the vast majority of the book in one sitting and was so enthralled by the characters. I do feel like the overall premise is a bit simplistic; sometimes the “memory loss” trope can be a little boring or not overly inventive. I’m drawn to these books usually, so I knew there’d be some level of interest for me. I think Lucy and Matt made this book because I was SO invested in them, wanting them to make it work despite the memory loss erasing their relationship from her mind. So I definitely enjoyed this one overall, but the ending was incredibly bizarre and out of nowhere. I don’t mean what happened was out of nowhere, but the book literally ended so abruptly. I […]

Review Round Up | The Lovely and the Lost, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune, and Passion on Park Avenue

Posted July 10, 2019 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Round Up | The Lovely and the Lost, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune, and Passion on Park Avenue

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’ll be 100% honest: if Jennifer Lynn Barnes didn’t write this book, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up based on the synopsis alone. The MC was found in the woods by a family who trains search-and-rescue dogs, and she quickly joins that family business with them. There’s a survival element here that doesn’t usually appeal to me, but I DID like the idea of tracking down a missing child and solving a mystery in that way. It’s purposefully hard to connect with the main character because she had such a closed-off upbringing. She’s meant to be challenging and distant, so I understood why I wasn’t able to connect with her on the level I usually might’ve when reading a book. I loved her though – she was fierce and extremely loyal to her found family. Jude, Free, and her mother Cady were all fascinating characters. I loved getting to know the people surrounding the state park they went to to find Bella. There were a LOT of twists and turns for a book I would generally consider to be more of a contemporary book than a mystery book. I’m totally counting it as mystery for my challenges 😉 There were a lot of elements at the […]

ARC Reviews: Her Royal Highness and Don’t Date Rosa Santos

Posted April 22, 2019 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Reviews: Her Royal Highness and Don’t Date Rosa Santos

I enjoyed the first book in this series. I think it’s because, despite my overall grumpiness about all things royal, the main character matched those sentiments. I was able to relate to Daisy and get accustomed to this kind of royal-meets-normie tale. I became excited for the f/f companion novel, even though this one directly involves an actual princess, and hopped to it right away. This ended up being super shippy and mostly wonderful. Flora and Millie were an excellent pair. I loved the kind of hate-to-love situation that developed, with Flora being Flora aka not the nicest person on earth? Millie was cute with her love for her dad, love for geology, and general love for Scotland without ever going there. As usual, I would have loved even more family feels, but she had a really nice backstory. This ship sailed its way into my heart for sure. My main issue is how abrupt the ending was. In general, the whole second half-ish of the book was a bit rushed? I could have done with like 50 more pages interspersed in the second half of the book, both around building the ship and chemistry and toward the end. I would venture to say that the pacing here was relatively terrible, with the inevitable fight/breakup/tension (and the usual things that follow) WAY too close to the end of the book. Overall though, a worthy companion to the first book! Give me a book about Seb now PLEASE. I was really […]

Review Round Up | The Fairest Kind of Love, Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, The Winter Sister, and I’ll Be There For You

Posted March 27, 2019 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 2 Comments
Review Round Up | The Fairest Kind of Love, Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, The Winter Sister, and I’ll Be There For You

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 is something I would call a guilty pleasure if I believed in that term. I genuinely don’t. BUT it’s a whimsical, short, breezy, easy, and cute series. There isn’t a lot of substance involved but I love the magical beings and seeing what Amber gets up to next! This is the final book in the series, I believe, and it’s one I’ve remained loyal to over the past few years of new releases. I saw it on Hoopla and immediately downloaded it, of course. Amber is gearing up to meet with a matchmaker to determine a few things – can she get her powers back and functioning properly? AND, is Charlie her soulmate? Since her abilities have gone haywire, she’s been trying to figure out how to get them back and move on with her life after graduating high school. I liked that this installment involved fairies, my fave magical creature, and some of the classic elements you’re familiar with (like wishing using fairy dust and having to be very specific about what you want!). This one felt cheesier than the last two. I’m not sure if it’s just because there’s been enough time in between where I forgot what they were like, or if […]

Review Round Up | Last Seen, The Proposal, and This Lie Will Kill You

Posted January 18, 2019 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 1 Comment
Review Round Up | Last Seen, The Proposal, and This Lie Will Kill You

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 can’t believe this series is over… hopefully! The ending wasn’t exactly ambiguous but I suppose there’s always a chance Shepard continues the series multiple times a la Pretty Little Liars. Jokes aside, this was a REALLY strong end to this trilogy! The main issue I had throughout all of the books was that I was disconnected from the characters. I never warmed up to them or felt anything for them – didn’t care about the ships, was uninterested in any of their personal lives, etc. I’m not sure if, again, it’s because it was a mystery and I was on edge or not trusting anyone? But I just could never get on board with them. I think it’s an interesting twist when you know who the murderer/culprit is AND get to read from their point of view. Sometimes it can take a little bit of the fun out, but that was certainly not the case here. There were SO MANY twists and connections that were built throughout the whole trilogy that I never would have picked up on. Just because you knew the killer and what he was doing, definitely did not mean that you knew why he was doing it or how he picked his victims. […]

ARC Review: Love a la Mode

Posted November 21, 2018 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Review: Love a la Mode

I’ve had ALL of the books by this author on my TBR foreeeever now and am excited that I finally read one! Her books all sound like adorable, fluffy contemporary romances with often unique premises. My Netgalley request for this one was approved so I finally had no excuse to keep putting her words off! I loved Henry from the first chapter. He was instantly so adorable and goofy as he struggled to talk with Rosie for the first time. I was impressed from the beginning that Strohm was able to provide so much context into his family life and background within the first few pages of the book, without feeling like an unnatural info-dump. We learn right away that his dad is a chef with his own restaurant and his mom isn’t the biggest fan of him continuing down that path. The second chapter is from Rosie’s point of view, where we learned about her four brothers and love of baking. The two of them were awkward around each other (not in an unreasonable or annoying way, IMO), which added to their charm. The school itself was amazing and the setting was incredibly vivid! I felt like I was in a French boarding school, just like with Anna and the French Kiss (but these two books are quite different otherwise). Obviously this school was even more intriguing because the kids were all aspiring chefs and OH MAN AM I HUNGRY AFTER THIS BOOK! Be prepared for that, folks. I […]

ARC Reviews: Little White Lies and The Geography of Letting Go

Posted October 22, 2018 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Reviews: Little White Lies and The Geography of Letting Go

I loved THE FIXER duo so much (and it should be a trilogy — still something that makes me incredibly sad and bitter) and have been saving THE NATURALS series for when I’m desperate for more words by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I decided not to resist this one though… and I’m glad I didn’t wait! I read it during ARC August and was definitely what I needed to break the semi-slump I was in. I was just forcing myself to read (not because I wanted to read) and this book changed me for the month. It centers around Sawyer, a young mechanic who learns that her mom’s estranged family are filthy rich and only live 45 minutes away. When her grandmother shows up and offers her half a million dollars for college/life if she moves there and participates in the debutante season, she can’t resist the opportunity to find her biological father at the same time. She quickly falls in with her cousin, Lily, and her friend, Sadie-Grace… and unfortunately also with the evil Campbell. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, to be honest – I was kind of expecting something similar to the REBEL BELLE series with all of the ball gowns and southern traditions (minus the paranormal stuff). I did kind of get that, but there was a great mix of contemporary-mystery that Jennifer Lynn Barnes does so well. If you like her writing, I would have to recommend this book. It’s easy and addicting […]

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 […]

Review Round Up | Kissing Max Holden and Follow Me

Posted December 4, 2017 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 3 Comments
Review Round Up | Kissing Max Holden and Follow Me

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! My sister lent me her copy and has been bugging me for MONTHS about reading it. I can’t say that I blame her now that I’ve finished it. What a wonderful contemporary I didn’t know I needed! I had just went through a binge of mysteries and other non-contemporaries when I decided I should give this one a try. It ended up being so perfect that I read it in one sitting and stayed up until 3 AM to finish. I would call this fluff, but it’s a liiiittle more serious that fluff often implies. There is a LOT going on, family-wise, in this book. I absolutely hated her dad the entire time I was reading and was hoping she would tell him off at some point. The familial relationships were incredibly complex, both for Max and Jill. Max’s dad was recovering from a stroke that changed their relationship and, as I mentioned, Jill’s dad was basically a dickhead. I loved seeing her relationship with her stepmom grow throughout the book too. The romance was solid. I love childhood friends/neighbors-to-more SO much, because you can just feel the history bubbling into something new. They had a solid base to build a real (romantic) relationship and it showed […]

ARC Reviews: What to Say Next and Hello Sunshine

Posted July 4, 2017 / Book Reviews / 7 Comments
ARC Reviews: What to Say Next and Hello Sunshine

OH MAN, I loved this book. I don’t think I have a lot to say about it because I can’t put the feelings into words. The setup is that Kit’s father died a month ago, so she decides to sit with David at lunch to get away from her friends. The two of them end up talking and she’s refreshed by his honesty and bluntness with her, since everyone else has either been tiptoeing around her feelings or acting like she should be behaving normally. David is on the spectrum and was really interesting to read about. I work with a pediatric neuropsychologist that specializes in testing for ADD, autism, etc. so I’m fairly well-versed in those areas. I liked being able to understand where David was coming from because of that, but I also think he was a character that anyone could really connect with. Buxbaum did an amazing job explaining how he was feeling or why he said certain things. I loveeeed the family relationships in this book. David is close with his sister Lauren, who was a cool girl in HS that no one messed with her (or him). They had a great relationship and she taught him some everyday “rules” for fitting in with everyone else. His parents were great and supportive too. On Kit’s side, she pretty much just had her mom. They were close throughout the grieving process but there were moments of tension in the second half of the book as well. I just […]