Thursday, March 30, 2023

Blog Tour: The Perfumist of Paris Excerpt

Hello, all!

Today I'm going to be sharing an excerpt from The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi. Big thanks to the publishers for having me!

Pub Date: 3-28-23
Adult - Historical Fiction

This is the last book in Joshi's Jaipur trilogy, and it takes place in Paris in the 1970's where a woman's budding career as a perfumer must compete with the demands of her family and the secrets of her past.

Check out the excerpt below!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 1-17-23
YA - Fantasy

Queen Among the Dead- Lesley Livingston: The kingdom of Eire was once rife with magic, but then it was outlawed by the King and hoarded by his Druid priests. Neve is the youngest daughter of the King and has always felt out of place in his court. In her heart, she is a warrior first and a princess second. She'd rather spend her days training than attending to courtly duties. After a run-in with Ronan, a former Druid apprentice-turned-thief, Neve discovers the pair are tied together by a mysterious magic mark. When the land of Eire is threatened by a dark power, Neve has no choice but to team up with Ronan to secure her birthright before it's too late.

I think it was a good book, but not one that will stick with me. I loved all the nods to Celtic lore, but there was too much going on that it felt chaotic and exhausting. A lot of the world-building--especially in the beginning-- felt info-dumpy, so it took me a while to get my bearings within the story. I did enjoy the characters, both the main characters, Neve and Ronan, and the secondary characters, such as Sakir and Una, but none of them made much of an impact on me. However, I did like the relationship between Neve and Ronan and thought they had fun banter that helped to lighten the mood. Despite not blowing me away, I'd still recommend it if you enjoy Ya fantasy with a mythological spin.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-7-23
Adult - Historical Fiction

The London Séance Society- Sarah Penner: After the death of her sister, Lenna Wickes heads to Paris for answers. She becomes an apprentice to the famed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire who has a reputation for conjuring the spirits of the recently deceased. Lenna has always been skeptical of the occult but still hopes Vaudeline will be able to uncover her sister's murderer. When Vaudeline gets called back to London to assist with a high-profile murder investigation, Lenna accompanies her as her understudy. The women begin to work closely with members of the exclusive London Séance Society but quickly realize the killer they're searching for is closer than they thought.

I'm a sucker for a historical mystery with spooky vibes, so the premise sounded right up my alley. I thought Penner nailed the atmosphere and liked how she depicted all the occult aspects. The mystery was intriguing, and there were some twists I didn't expect. I also liked the alternating POVs. It helped to flesh the story out even more. My main issue was with the pacing. I thought the first half was incredibly slow, and it wasn't until about the halfway mark that I felt it truly hit its stride. I did end up liking it, but I just wanted it to get to the point quicker.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 2-21-23
Adult - Historical Fantasy

The Magician's Daughter- H.G. Parry: It's 1912, and while the rest of the world hasn't known magic for the last seventy years, it's all Biddy has ever known. Orphaned as a young girl, Biddy was taken in by a magician named Rowan and grew up on a remote isle called Hy-Brasil. Biddy has spent her life hidden from the rest of the world, but as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she longs for an adventure. One night, Rowan doesn't come back from his travels, so Biddy uses magic to sneak into his dreams to find out what happened. Nothing could've prepared her for what she would find. Biddy's only hope of rescuing her guardian from his enemies is to restore magic to the world. Her journey will take her from the slums of Whitechapel to a secret castle beneath the streets of London, all the while uncovering more secrets than answers. When Biddy comes face-to-face with her past, can she find the strength within to do what must be done?

I've read one other book by Parry that I didn't enjoy, but I wanted to give this one a go anyways. It was fine. My main issue was the same as I had previously where I thought the premise was great, but the execution was lacking. The setting and magic were interesting, and I liked the characters, but I was so bored. The pacing was too slow, and there were parts, especially in the middle, that dragged on. The writing also skewed more on the YA side, but that didn't bother me as much. I think Parry nailed the atmosphere here, but the plot needed a bit of polish.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

Is there any better way to spend a rainy Saturday than at the library?

1-5: Yona of the Dawn, Vols. 6-10
6. To Be Taught, If Fortunate- Becky Chambers
7. The Ballad of Perilous Graves- Alex Jennings

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 5-31-22
Adult - Fantasy

Her Majesty's Royal Coven- Juno Dawson: When they were young, Helena, Leonie, Niamh, and Elle, took an oath to become members of Her Majesty's Royal Coven. Created by Queen Elizabeth I, the HRMC is a covert government department comprised of witches with the sole purpose of helping in times of crisis. Now, decades later, Helena is the only one still involved in the HRMC as its High Priestess, while the other girls have moved on to live normal lives. All but Leonie, who defected to create her own coven. But Helena has bigger problems than her wayward friend. When a young boy with extraordinary powers is captured by authorities, many believe he is the embodiment of a terrible darkness that's long been prophesized. The four friends will have to put their differences aside and come together once more to decide whether to preserve their traditions or nurture a new legacy.

I wanted to love this so badly. The premise? So fun. The cover? So eye-catching. The witchy vibes? So cool. But it didn't do it for me. I thought the writing was bland and a little boring at times. The characters could've been developed more, and this may have been because I listened to the audiobook, but I thought they were hard to differentiate. All four of them just blended into one. What I did like was the representation and the conversations surrounding trans people. I thought Dawson did a good job breaking down the barriers and prejudices people may have towards the trans community. Despite feeling like the plot could've used some work, I liked the ending and will most likely continue with the series.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 7-8-21
Adult - Contemporary

The Fine Print- Lauren Asher: Despite his family owning a theme park known as the most magical place, Rowan does not believe in fairy tales. He's more concerned with making a profit. When his grandfather passes, he leaves Rowan and his brother's specific tasks they have to complete to get their inheritance. Rowan's task is to create something new for Dreamland, which leads him to Zahra. After submitting a proposal ripping apart Dreamland's most popular attraction, Zahra expected to be fired, not promoted to the Creator's team, a job she's wanted for ages. The tension between Zahra and Rowan is immediate. They couldn't be more different, but their attraction is undeniable. But if the pair hope to have their happily ever after, they'll need to break down the walls they've each built around their hearts.

I've seen this book all over the place, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I was underwhelmed. I liked some things, like how grumpy Rowan was compared to the bubbly Zahra, and the theme park (which is so obviously inspired by Disney.) It was fun seeing the pair butt heads at the start, and they had some cute banter. I enjoyed Asher's writing style, but what got me was the plot. I feel like this happens when romances are this long, where I'm entertained for the first half or so, but then I get bored. It bothers me when romances get dragged out, and this one could've been 100 pages shorter, at least. Everything started feeling repetitive, and the third act conflict felt entirely ridiculous. I may still check out the other books in the series, but it won't be a priority.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-15-22
Adult - Sci-Fi

The Kaiju Preservation Society- John Scalzi: Jamie Gray was just fired, and with COVID sweeping through New York City, he's stuck working as a food delivery driver. While making his rounds, Jamie runs into Tom, an old acquaintance, who now works for an animal rights organization called KPS that requires a last-minute man for their next field mission. It's grunt work but way better than what Jamie's doing now, so he agrees. What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals they care for aren't on this Earth and shouldn't even exist. The KPS specializes in caring for kaiju, massive dinosaur-like creatures, that live in a world free of humans. It's their job to ensure these creatures thrive, which is usually a simple task, but when a shady group sneaks into this alternate dimension, the effects set off a chain reaction that could kill millions back on Earth.

I'm not a huge sci-fi reader, but this sounded too good to pass up. I had such a fun time reading this. It felt as if Jurassic Park and Godzilla had a baby. Scalzi's writing felt a lot like Andy Weir's in that it was funny and accessible. They both do this thing where they lay out all the scientific facts in a way that lets you know they know their stuff, but they explain it in a way that is so easy to comprehend. I always worry that all the technical bits in sci-fi will go over my head, but that wasn't the case here. I loved all the characters and how they played off one another. The setting was interesting, and I enjoyed learning about all the kaiju (and their ridiculous names.) It's also such a quick book to read. My only issues were that it felt too quippy, and I wanted more action throughout rather than just the last bit. Other than that, I thought this was super entertaining, and recommend it if you're a fan of monster movies.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Hello, all!

What're some things you've been loving lately?

Listening to:

This is Why- Paramore: This album feels so different from anything they've done previously, and I love it. I've listened to it at least once a week since it came out. Some favorites are: "Running Out of Time", "C’est Comme Ça", and "Liar."

"Love from the Other Side"- Fall Out Boy: Another blast from the past I've been loving lately is the new FOB song. It's so catchy and reminds me of just how obsessed I was with them back in high school.

"True Blue"-boygenius: You all know how much I love Phoebe Bridgers, but I had no idea she was in a group with two other singers. I listened to their latest EP and the whole thing is *chefs kiss* but this song is my favorite.


Daisy Jones & The Six: I am 👏obsessed 👏with this show. Even though I don't love certain changes (I really wish they hired different actors for the older versions of the characters), I'm so happy with the adaptation. Also, the album is so good, too.

Spy x Family: This is one of my favorite manga so I don't know why it took me so long to start the anime. I love it just as much (or maybe slightly more), it's just so fun. I'm only about halfway through because for some reason Hulu only has the first 11 episodes dubbed, so I'm waiting for the rest to come out.

Yona of the Dawn: Sticking with the anime theme, this is another I've been enjoying. I read the first volume of this manga a few years ago and liked it, but--surprise, surprise--just never continued with it. I randomly got the urge to watch it, and I'm loving it. Hak is everything and now I have to go back and start the manga over again.


Flavored Syrups:
I love the Starbucks steamers, so I wanted to make them at home (I don't know why I thought it would be hard when it's literally just warmed up milk and flavoring) and these babies have been a game changer. Now, all I need is to figure out how to recreate the pink drink and I'll never have to go to Starbucks again!  

Netflix Faux Fireplace: I've never been into ASMR rooms or anything like that, but I threw this on one night while I was reading and it made me rethink everything. It was so cozy. 

M&S Shortbread Cookies: My mom has this little tradition where she always gives me and my brother some type of food item in our Christmas stockings, and this past year she got me this tub of assorted shortbread from a British shop. It came with three different varieties of shortbread, and when I tell you it took everything in me not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. I've been rationing it ever since, and I'm finally on the last pack and I'm savoring them. I'm going to Ireland in May and I already plan on tracking down a grocery store where I can buy more to bring home 😂

Friday, March 17, 2023

Top 5: Favorite Fictional Families

Hello, all!

It's been so long since I did a Top 5, but I saw this as one of the prompts for 5 Fandom Friday and knew I had to jump on it.

1. The Weasleys: Let's get the most obvious out of the way first. I've wanted to be part of the Weasley brood ever since I read the first Harry Potter book. I just love how nurturing, fun, and cozy they are. 

2. The Bridgertons: Another big, chaotic family I love are the Bridgertons. I love their dynamic. They're all so close and care for one another, but also take any opportunity to best each other and I find it so fun. 

3. The Crows: I may be cheating a little on this one since they're not technically family, but found family is family as far as I'm concerned. I adore this little band of miscreants with every fiber of my being.

4. The Marches: Can you think of a family more devoted to one another than the Marches? I love how each of the March sisters are so different, but they complement each other so well. The familial bond in Little Women will always be one of my favorites.

5. The Matthews: Boy Meets World is one of my favorite TV shows, and I used to wish I was part of the family. They were always family goals in my mind. They always had fun together, but knew when to be serious. 

Who're some of your favorites? Let me know!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Keeper of Enchanted Rooms Review (Whimbrel House, #1)

Hello, all!

It takes a lot for me to give a book five stars, but I knew within the first few pages that Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg was well deserving of it.

Pub Date: 11-1-22
Adult -Historical Fantasy

Merritt Fernsby has been estranged from his family since he was eighteen, so he's shocked to discover that he's inherited a remote estate in Narragansett Bay from his grandmother. Despite the property laying dormant for over a century, Merritt is ready to place down roots. But when he arrives at Whimbrel House, he realizes he has no choice but to stay since the house is possessed by a ghost that won't allow Merritt to leave.

As an employee of the Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms, or BIKER, Hulda Larkin has had a lot of practice in taming wild spaces. She knows the dangers surrounding a temperamental house and the damage the spells can wreak if not taken care of properly. When she's assigned to Whimrel House, Hulda expects it to be like any other job, but she finds herself growing more and more attached to the house and its charmingly eccentric owner. But with the house proving to be stubborn and a dangerous figure from Hulda's past returning, Merritt and Hulda quickly find themselves in over their heads.

I loved everything about this book. Fantasy and historical fiction are some of my favorite genres, so I love it when the two mesh together. I thought the magic system was super interesting, and how Holmberg fit it into the period. Aside from the setting, my favorite thing about this was the characters. I loved Merritt and Hulda so much. Merritt was so carefree, and Hulda was so prim and proper. It was fun watching them interact and slowly fall for one another. They had the sweetest relationship, and I can't wait to see how it develops. But my absolute favorite was Owein. His cheekiness made the entire book. I loved the little family they made along with Beth and Baptiste. There were a few moments the pacing felt a little slow but other than that, this was such a delightful, cozy read, and I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Rating: 5/5