Saturday, July 31, 2021

July Wrap-Up

Hello, all!




Audio:

The Jigsaw Man- Nadine Matheson; 2/5
The Silent Patient- Alex Michaelides; 3/5
It’s In His Kiss- Julia Quinn; 4/5
The Broken Spine- Dorothy St. James; 3/5
Survive the Night- Riley Sager; 2/5
The Final Girl Support Group- Grady Hendrix; 2/5
How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran; 3/5
The Last Smile in Sunder City- Luke Arnold; 2/5

Digital:

The Box in the Woods- Maureen Johnson; 3.5/5
My Cone and Only- Susannah Nix; 4.5/5
Finlay Donovan is Killing It- Elle Cosimano; 3.5/5
Under the Whispering Door- T.J. Klune; 4/5
Kingdom of the Wicked- Kerri Maniscalco; 4/5 (re-read)
The Chase- Elle Kennedy; 2/5
Hook, Line, and Sinker- Tessa Bailey; 4/5

Physical:

Shorefall- Robert Jackson Bennett; 4/5
The King of Crows- Libba Bray; 3/5
Curse of the Specter Queen- Jenny Elder Moke; 2.5/5
Isn’t It Bromantic?- Lyssa Kay Adams; 4/5
Seven Days in June- Tia Williams; 4/5
Daughters of Sparta- Claire Heywood; 4/5

Some favorites were: My Cone and Only, It's In His Kiss, and Seven Days in June. Least favorites were: Survive the Night, The Final Girls Support Group, and The Jigsaw Man.

How was your reading month? What was your favorite/least favorite?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Currently...

Hello, all!

Time to look back at some things I’ve been loving the last few months. As always, let me know what your favorites have been!

Listening to:



Horrorscope- Eve 6: I don’t know what it is about the summertime, but I feel the constant need to play this album and pretend I’m the star of my own early-2000s teen movie. It was a jam when it first came out, and over 20 years later, it’s still a jam.

Staying at Tamara’s- George Ezra: You know those albums you listened to non-stop when they first came out and then just faded out of your brain? This is one of those for me. “Shotgun” came on one of my Spotify playlists and now I’m back to playing this record over and over.

“Phone”- Lizzo: I’m a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay for another streaming service, so I haven’t been able to watch this season of All Stars that’s on Paramount+. Then I saw a video of Ginger Minj and Mayhem Miller doing a lip synch to this song and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.

Watching: 


Fear Street: I loved these movies! They were so fun and absolutely nailed the nostalgia vibe. I actually hadn't heard much of these before they were released, so I had no idea that they were legit slasher movies, but I was so into it! I thought all three were strong and there wasn't one I liked more than the other. I'm hoping Netflix will make more!

Loki: This might be a little controversial, but I thought Loki was just okay. I liked it, but it didn’t wow me as much as I was expecting it to. My favorite bit was the last episode and I’m so excited to see how Kang will play a part in the coming phase of movies.

Black Widow: Finally we get a Natasha-centered movie and it was fantastic! It felt different from anything Marvel has put out, and I really enjoyed the spy vibe and getting to learn more about Nat and her background. The humor was spot-on, the action was amazing, and the emotions run high. Also, can we all agree that Florence Pugh just steals any movie she’s in? I can’t wait for more Yelena!

Misc.:

Manual Treadmill: I’m officially a permanent work-from-homer, and as much as I love it, I knew that I probably wouldn’t be as active now that I’m not walking around an office all day. I love taking walks around my neighborhood on my lunch break, but now that the weather is hotter, it’s miserable. I’d been toying with the idea of getting a treadmill but they were all so expensive. Then I found this manual one from Dick’s Sporting Goods that was on sale so I just went for it and I’ve used it every day since. I love it!

Bike shorts: I’m one of those people who once they started working from home fully embraced the loungewear life. I've literally been living my best Sporty Spice life. I’ve been especially loving wearing bike shorts with oversized tees. I think it looks so effortless and cool, plus it’s breezy for the hot weather. My favorite are the ones from Aerie. They’re my go-to for any loungewear because they’re so comfy (their leggings and bike shorts honestly feel like butter), they wash well, and they’re affordable.

PangoBooks: As you all know, I’m a massive book lover and collector. The problem is that I’m now pretty much completely out of room, so when I heard about this app that lets you sell your books, I was all for it. It’s so user-friendly, which I love because I’m tech-deficient. You just snap a photo of the book and the barcode, it fills out the info for you, you price it and once someone buys it, a pre-paid label is sent to you and you just pack it all up and drop it at the post office! I’ve put up a few books (mostly a lot of OwlCrate editions) and have already sold a few. I definitely recommend if you’re trying to clean out your shelves.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Let's Talk: The Bromance Book Club Series

 Hello, all!

I realized that I've never talked about The Bromance Book Club series by Lyssa Kay Adams on here, which is just unacceptable since I love it so much! Seeing as how the fourth installment just came out, I thought it'd be the perfect time to rectify that.


Pub Date: 11-5-19
Adult - Contemporary

The Bromance Book Club:  Gavin Scott may be a big star on the baseball field, but his home life is another story. Humiliated after discovering his wife, Thea, has been faking it in bed, their marriage is strained to say the least. When Thea asks for a divorce, Gavin realizes he's let his fear and insecurities ruin the best thing in his life. Desperate to find a way to save his marriage, Gavin soon finds himself in the last place he'd expect: being inducted into a secret romance book club with some of the most well-known Nashville alpha males. The club, along with their steamy Regency read, help coach Gavin into wooing his wife again and saving their marriage. However, Gavin is quick to discover that if he really wants to win his wife back, it'll take more than sweet words and grand gestures.

You don't see many books following the male character, so this was such a refreshing take on the chick-lit genre. I adored Gavin, he was so likable and charming. The love he has for his wife and how he'll do anything to win her back was so endearing. I also really loved Thea as a character, she was so feisty and didn't take any crap. The both of them went on this journey of rediscovering one another that was so heartwarming and lovely to read. The whole Bromance Book Club was also hilarious and I loved their whole dynamic together. All in all, this was so solid and a must read if you love a good rom-com.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 3-10-20
Adult - Contemporary

Undercover Bromance: Braden Mack is a smooth-talking king of the Nashville nightclub scene who's never had to work hard to impress the ladies. All that changes when he crosses paths with Liv Papandreas. Liv has her dream job working as a pastry chef at one of Nashville's hottest restaurants. But after an unfortunate series of events involving a cupcake and Braden-freakin'-Mack leads to Liv stumbling upon her skeeze-ball boss harassing one of the young hostesses, she's fired and blacklisted from the restaurant scene. Liv swears to get her revenge and Mack offers his help in exposing her ex-boss. Despite being suspicious of his motives, Liv agrees and the pair, along with the rest of the Bromance Book Club and some new faces, set up a sting operation that puts the romantic suspense novel they're reading to shame. Somewhere along the way though, Mack and Liv start to feel more than just annoyance for one another, and Mack is determined to figure out a way to break down all the walls that Liv keeps building between them.

I really enjoyed this. The glimpses we saw of Mack's character in the first book always made him out to be a player, but you really get to dive into his backstory and personality in this one which I loved. There's so much more to him than meets the eye. The same can be said of Liv as well. You really get a good look into these characters lives and what makes them tick and what caused them to be the way that they are. I'm such a sucker for an hate-to-love romance and watching them go from their constant bickering to something more was everything. The actual plan of taking down Liv's corrupt ex-boss felt very timely, and I liked how it all wrapped up in the end. I think I may have liked this one a smidge better than the first one. So, if you were a fan of that one, or just love hate-to-love tropes in general, definitely check this out.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 10-27-20
Adult - Contemporary

Crazy Stupid Bromance: Noah Logan was once a rebellious teenage hacktivist but now spends his time running a computer security business and hiding his feelings for his best friend Alexis Carlisle. The pair have been attached at the hip ever since Alexis helped take down a sexually abusive celebrity chef. Her popularity has brought many a woman to her café looking for help, so Alexis thinks nothing when a young woman approaches her one day, but she's completely blindsided when the woman claims to be her sister and was hoping Alexis might undergo a medical procedure to help save the life of the father who abandoned her. Completely rattled and unsure of what to do, Alexis turns to Noah for help. While his friends in the Bromance Book Club think this is the perfect opportunity for him to express his feelings, Noah can't help but think he may be jeopardizing the best relationship he's ever had.

This was by far my favorite in this series so far. I love a friends-to-lovers trope and Noah and Alexis quickly became one of my favorites. They have such a strong bond and are completely supportive and caring towards one another. They're both also huge nerds which I loved. I really enjoyed seeing them open up to one another and how their relationship naturally progressed into something more. Despite dealing with some heavy family topics, there was still a feeling of lightheartedness and fun woven throughout. Adams delivers once again with the witty flirty banter and characters that feel real and genuine, and I can't wait for the next installment.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pub Date: 7-20-21
Adult - Contemporary

Isn't It Bromantic?: Vlad, affectionately known by his friends as "The Russian," is head over heels in love with his wife, Elena. The only problem is, she doesn't seem to feel the same. The pair grew up together in Russia, and when Elena's father, a noted journalist, went missing after speaking out about the government, Vlad and his family took her in without a second thought. When Vlad received the opportunity to move to America to play professional hockey, Elena jumped at the chance to escape the dangers her father tried to hide her from by accepting Vlad's marriage proposal. Vlad thought he could learn to live with their marriage of convenience if that was what Elena wished, but as the distance grew between them, Vlad couldn't help but feel like he deserved more than a one-sided relationship. After an injury brings the married couple back together, Vlad and his friends in the Bromance Book Club, with the help of a set of neighborhood widows dubbed the Loners, set out to save Vlad's marriage by creating their own real-life love story. But when secrets from Elena's past come to light, their happily ever after quickly turns into a life or death situation, and this time Vlad won't let Elena go without a fight.

I was a little hesitant when I heard about this one since the most we have gotten from the Russian in the previous books was just a running gag about his GI issues, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved him! At first glance, Vlad is this hulking, intimidating hockey player, but once he opens up, he's this sweet, gentle giant, and I couldn't get enough. I loved getting to learn more about him and his relationship with his estranged wife, Elena. The pair have been friends for all their lives and have harbored feelings for one another for just as long, but neither are great at communicating and are incredibly stubborn, so their whole dynamic goes haywire once they get married. Vlad doesn't believe she feels the same for him, and Elena feels like a burden since Vlad has always taken care of her. Both are so caught up in their worries that they're blind to the fact that they could solve their issues if they just talked. Once they got the ball rolling, it was so sweet to see them fall for one another again over Russian dishes and poetry. Of course, I loved the boys in the club doing their part to help the reconciliation, and the introduction of the new Loner ladies was perfect. They added so much humor and lightness to this. I did think the parts about Elena's father and the Russian mob being after her were a little dramatic, but it wasn't enough to lessen my enjoyment. Overall, this was yet another solid installment to this series, and I can't wait to see what Adams has in store next.

Rating: 4/5

Have you read this series yet? If so, lemme know what you thought!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

June OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

Due to some production issues, the summer OwlCrate boxes have been delayed, but we've finally got the June box! The theme was "Go Your Own Way".


First up, he had the next installment in their seasonal drinkware set. This was, of course, inspired by the summertime and was created by Macarena Chomik and has a quote from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I don't usually use bottles that aren't clear (I have a weird thing where I need to be able to see through what I'm drinking out of), but the size is nice to carry when I'm walking.


Then there was this fun Throne of Glass inspired lunch tote created by Janine Lecour. I've never gotten a lunch box in a book box before, but I kinda love it and wish I wasn't a permanent work-from-homer soon I could actually get some use out of it.


Next, we had this double sided collectors coin from Fable designed by Iron and Ink Designs. It's really nice quality but I'm not much of a coin person, so not sure if I'll be keeping this or passing it off.


You all know I love getting practical items in these types of things, so this The Starless Sea magnet/bottle opened created by Pineapple Sundays is right up my alley! I don't actually think I even have a bottle opener, so this is the perfect addition to my kitchen and the design is so pretty.


The last item was the Strange the Dreamer art print by @kimcarika_art. I liked this book but wasn't as obsessed with it as most, but the print is beautiful.


June's book was Sisters of the Snake- Sasha and Sarena Nanua. This is a sweeping fantasy following two very different characters-- a princess and a thief-- who share a remarkable resemblance who switch lives in order to stop a dark prophecy. But danger lurks behind every corner and the pair find themselves in a race against time to save the kingdom before it falls into ruin.

I haven't heard of this but the cover is gorgeous and sounds super fast-paced and action-packed, so I'm intrigued. Let me know what you thought of this box!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 2-5-19
Adult - Thriller

The Silent Patient- Alex Michaelides: To the outside world, Alicia Berenson had a perfect life. She was a successful painter married to an even more famous photographer, living in a grand house in London. But one night, Alicia is found covered in blood and standing over her husband who had been shot five times. Alicia's refusal to speak about the events or give any sort of explanation landed her in The Grove, a small private facility for psychiatric patients. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who's determined to work with Alicia, believing he can break down her walls and finally get to the bottom of what happened all those years ago. As Theo begins to unravel the mystery, it's clear his motives aren't strictly professional and that he has secrets of his own that he'll do whatever it takes to keep hidden.

After reading and loving The Maidens, I was highly looking forward to this one, and I did enjoy it but nowhere near as much. A lot of that had to do with Theo. I disliked him right from the start. I found him to be arrogant and pretentious and didn't like reading from his perspective at all. He has this raging savior complex which gets more and more disturbing as the story goes on. You can tell there's something off about him, and there were little hints peppered throughout showing his true nature and how he may not be the man he presents himself to be, but you can't figure out why. He has this obsession with Alicia that goes beyond professional interest, and I liked using their interactions along with Alicia's diaries to try and connect the dots as to how they were all connected. You're going into this knowing that there's going to be some massive plot twist, and about halfway through, you can start to tell how it's going to play out, but even so, I still enjoyed it. That was what saved this book for me. I didn't find myself fully invested in the story until the twist came about, and then I was in it and wanted to see how it would all wrap up. While I didn't love this as much as his second book, I'd still recommend it if you're a thriller fan.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-2-21
Adult - Mystery

Finlay Donovan is Killing It- Elle Cosimano: To say that Finlay Donovan is at the end of her rope would be an understatement. She's a stressed-out single mother trying to balance writing her newest novel with taking care of her two young kids after her ex-husband let go of their nanny without telling her. When a woman overhears Finlay talking to her literary agent about her latest crime novel, she believes Finlay to be a contract killer and offers her a large sum of money to kill her husband that Finlay inadvertently accepts. Soon, Finlay finds herself left with a body she didn't kill and entangled in a real-life murder investigation that hits a little too close to home. Can Finley and her ex-nanny-turned-accomplice Vero uncover the true killer before they become the next target or land themselves behind bars?

The hype for this book is well-deserved. It's funny, fast-paced, witty, and Finlay just trying to make ends meet is so relatable. That said, I didn't love this as much as everyone else seemed to, only because it's so farfetched. I couldn't wrap my head around all these over-the-top situations that Finlay kept finding herself in. You have to suspend your disbelief in a book like this, but I just thought it was so improbable. Aside from that, I did actually like this. I enjoyed Finlay and her relationship with Vero and thought they were so funny together, and Cosimano's writing was easy to fall into that I read this all in almost one sitting. The cliffhanger at the end was a nice twist as well. Even though I didn't love this as much as I'd hoped, it was still very entertaining and I'll probably pick the next one up.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pub Date: 7-20-21
Adult - Contemporary

My Cone and Only- Susannah Nix: Andie Lockhart has had a crush on Wyatt King for as long as she can remember but has come to terms with the fact that he'll never see her as anything but his best friend's little sister. She has to watch as he flirts his way through all the women in their small town, all the while trying to hide the fact that she desperately wishes she could be the one he lavishes his attention on. What Andie doesn't know is that Wyatt has harbored feelings for her just as long as she has for him, but a promise to her brother when they were young has kept him from ever acting on his urges. When a real estate developer threatens to take away Andie's beloved house she inherited from her grandma, Wyatt is determined to help her. As the pair spend every waking moment together fixing the old house up, it becomes increasingly harder to hide their feelings from one another, and after a mind-blowingly great kiss one night, why should they? Andie is elated when Wyatt returns her feelings but will the promise he made to her brother ruin their chances at love before it even begins?

Much like Andie and her favorite ice cream flavor, I ate this book up! I read it in a day because I didn't want to put it down. This was my first book by Nix, but it definitely won't be the last. Her writing was so easy to fall into and I was fully charmed by her characters and the small town vibes she created. The banter between Andie and Wyatt was everything, and I loved how the transition from friends to something more was so effortless and natural. Not to mention their chemistry was off the charts. It was also so satisfying watching Wyatt open up to Andie and become more vulnerable about himself and his insecurities. I did get a little annoyed with just how ridiculously overprotective Andie's brother was regarding her love life but other than that, I couldn't get enough of this and will be counting down the days until the next book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!


Pub Date: 7-13-21
Adult - Contemporary

How Sweet It Is- Dylan Newton: Kate Sweet is known for planning the most elaborate happily-ever-after moments for her client's weddings. She prides herself on coming up with the best ideas to make someone's special day as perfect and romantic as can be, so when her best friend calls begging for her to step in and plan a book launch, Kate expects it to be a cakewalk. When she realizes it's for the release of the Knight of Nightmares, Drake Matthew's latest horror novel, Kate quickly finds herself out of her element. Despite Drake's macabre reputation, he's really a nice guy and prefers to fly under the radar, but agrees to Kate's elaborate plans on one condition: she has to help him research his next book, which unbeknownst to anyone is opposite from the slasher books he typically writes. The more time the pair spend together, the more they can't deny the spark of attraction igniting, but Kate and Drake have to face the fact that sometimes real life isn't a fairy tale and they both have to put in the work if they want a happy ending.

This was pretty cute. The premise was fun and Kate and Drake were nice together. I liked how bubbly and determined Kate was and how Drake was the opposite of what everyone thinks a horror writer should be. He was a bit stoic at times, but he was just this shy, vulnerable guy. I loved how he lived in this Gothic Victorian mansion which was so Stephen King-ish on the outside but very Downton Abbey on the inside, and he had the tiniest cutest dog. I loved getting to see into his writing process and how he was developing a story based on his grandparent's romance. I thought that was so sweet, especially how he was finding inspiration from his interactions with Kate. The two of them were adorable, but I was hoping for a little more. Their relationship was so slow-burn that at times I found myself just waiting for something to happen. I also think that because it kept saying how Kate was known for these big "Aw" over-the-top romantic moments, I was expecting the story to have one as well and it just didn't. I still enjoyed this, I just think it was average.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 2-2-21
Adult - Thriller

The Sanatorium- Sarah Pearse: Elin Warner has taken time off from being a detective, so when she receives an invitation for her estranged brother's engagement party in a remote hotel in the Swiss Alps, she has no excuse not to accept. When she and her boyfriend arrive at the imposing and isolated Le Sommet hotel, Elin is instantly on alert. Something doesn't feel right at the hotel and it doesn't help that they're surrounded by dense forest and treacherous mountain peaks that always seem to be watching you. When a storm comes in cutting them off from the town and her brother's fiancé turns up missing, Elin must trust her instincts to find her. As her investigation grows, Elin uncovers the terrible history of the hotel and the horrors inflicted on its patients when it was originally a sanatorium. As the days press on and more bodies start turning up, Elin is left with more questions than answers and a growing list of suspects that leave her with no one to trust. Can she put her past traumas behind her long enough to stop a killer before they set their sights on her?

One thing I look for in a thriller is the ability to keep me guessing at every turn, and this did just that. I was immediately gripped right from the beginning and needed to figure out what was going on. Pearse does such a great job of keeping you on your toes and there were times when I felt my heart racing because I was so unsettled. I also loved the setting because the remote location added another layer of uneasiness and drove home just how isolated the characters were. Pearse used all of that, as well as the hotel's background as an old sanatorium, to her advantage and it made for such a creepy atmosphere. Speaking of the hotel's background, I thought that was so fascinating and I wanted to delve into it even more, but I enjoyed how Pearse tied it all together. I liked following along with Elin as she tried to gather clues while dealing with PTSD from a past case and fragmented memories of an accident involving her brothers as a child. There were times I felt she was a tad slow on the uptake, like when it came to not realizing the significance of the bracelets left with the bodies, and there were times her insecurities clouded her judgement. I was also able to figure out one small part of the twist, but for the most part, the ending took me by surprise. Overall, I thought this was super solid and I'm intrigued to see if something comes from the epilogue.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 6-15-21
YA - Mystery

The Box in the Woods- Maureen Johnson: Stevie Bell went from reaching viral fame after solving a decades-long cold case of murder at her exclusive boarding school to scooping wilted lettuce out of the salad bar at her local grocery store. She expected her summer vacation to be a tad more exciting, so when she gets an email from the owner of a summer camp to come out and investigate another unsolved murder of four teen counselors that happened back in the 1970s for his podcast, Stevie jumps at the chance. But when Stevie and her friends arrive in Barlow Corners, they quickly realize this small town is hiding deep-rooted secrets, and poking around will lead to way more than they bargained for. Can Stevie once again solve an unsolvable case before she becomes the next victim in the woods?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Truly, Devious series so I had high expectations going into this one. It had all the summer camp-slasher movie vibes that I love (there was even a reference to the ridiculously bonkers b-movie Sleepaway Camp which we love to see) but I feel like it fell short of what I was hoping for. A lot of that had to do with the fact that it read exactly like the first three books just in a different location. Johnson used the same formula as she did in the rest of the series: a murder happening in the past and Stevie trying to solve it in the present, but instead of being on a school campus, we're at a summer camp. Don't get me wrong, that MO worked well in the first books, but I just wish this one would've deviated from the path a bit and came with something a little different so it felt like a fresh story and not a recycled plotline. Despite that, I did still enjoy it nonetheless because I just love these characters, especially Nate who is just so grumpy and over everything and everyone and I think it's hilarious. So, while it didn't fully meet my expectations, the mystery was engaging and there were satisfying twists thrown in and I'd still recommend reading this if you're a fan of the series.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

It Happened One Summer Review

Hello, all!

If anyone is on the hunt for the book of the summer, I'm pretty sure I found it in It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey. Big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy! If you like Schitt's Creek and rom-coms, then you need to run out and pick this up ASAP.

Pub Date: 7-13-21
Adult - Contemporary

Piper Bellinger is notorious for being an LA party girl and social media darling. She spends the majority of her time shopping, rubbing elbows with celebrities at all the hottest clubs, and sharing every aspect of her luxurious life on Instagram with her millions of followers. After one bad post-break-up decision lands her in jail, her step-father finally puts his foot down on her excessive behavior. He cuts Piper off and sends her and her sister to a small fishing town in Washington to run their late father's dive bar hoping that she'll finally learn some responsibility.

It doesn't take long for Piper to realize she is way out of her depths. Most of the locals seem friendly enough, except for the bearded, giant, sea captain Brendan, who is counting down the days it'll take before Piper hightails it back to high society. Piper is not only determined to show Brendan and her step-father wrong but also prove to herself that she isn't the flighty airhead everyone thinks she is by renovating her father's old bar. The more time Piper spends in Westport, the more she starts to connect to this place, its people--especially the burly Brendan-- and her past, and realizes maybe there's more to life than follower counts.

I seem to have this issue with Tessa Bailey's books where I like the premise of them but something always seems to be lacking in the execution, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this. It was so addicting that I read it all in one go because I couldn't put it down. It was such a fun take on the opposites attract trope and I found myself unable to wipe the smile off my face the entire time watching Piper and Brendan butt heads. And what a hunk of man Brendan was, honey! He had me swooning from the start. I loved how exasperated he was with Piper but still managed to show her patience (even when she frustrated him to no end) which then turned into this tender sweetness which then ramped up to this wild attraction. Piper is very much that stereotypical spoiled rich girl at the beginning, and it was so satisfying to watch her come into her own and forge her path to fulfillment. I also appreciated how much research Bailey must've done into the fishing industry because she was able to use that to drive home just how dangerous Brendan's job is so you were just as nervous as Piper whenever he went out on these long trips. I still found Bailey's dialogue a bit cringy at times, especially in the steamier scenes, but it was a definite improvement from her others I've read and overall, this was just such a delight to read.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Book Haul

Hello, all!

As I was writing this, I realized I probably should've waited since there's some books coming out in the next few weeks that I want to pick up, but all the more reason to do another book haul in the future!



1. Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook- Liv Albert
2. The Off Limits Rule- Sarah Adams
3. The Temporary Roomie- Sarah Adams
4. To Love and To Loathe- Martha Waters
5. The Widow of Pale Harbor- Hester Fox
6. All the Murmuring Bones- A. G. Slatter
7. Mary Jane- Jessica Anya Blau

What's the last book you bought?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!


Pub Date: 4-27-21
Adult - Historical Fiction

The Beautiful Ones- Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Nina Beaulieu is free-spirited, not afraid to speak her mind, and would much rather look at bugs than go to a fancy party. She's sent to Loisail to stay with her cousin and his wife, Valérie, to participate in her first Grand Season with the hopes of finding a suitable match. Despite Valérie's efforts to make Nina into a proper lady, Nina can't help her eccentricities or the fact that she can move objects with her mind, leading to much gossip surrounding her. When Nina meets the famed entertainer Hector Auvrey, she's immediately taken by his looks and his telekinetic abilities as well. The pair soon strike up a flirtation and Nina is relieved to finally find someone who truly accepts her for who she is. As the pair grow closer, Nina can't help but notice a harsh shift in Valérie's demeanor or the way she'll do anything to keep Nina and Hector apart. And when Nina discovers a secret that Hector has been hiding, she quickly learns that not all romances have a fairytale ending.

I was immediately gripped by the premise of this and liked how it seemed to be this historical romance that had a dash of supernatural elements to it, but good grief, what a bore it turned out to be. Do you know those stereotypical soap opera love triangle storylines? This is essentially that but with zero chemistry between any of the characters. Nina is a bit sheltered and naive and Hector plays that to his advantage to get closer to her cousin Valérie in the hopes of rekindling their past romance, but of course, in doing so he finds he truly loves Nina instead and has to make amends after royally screwing up. I wouldn't have minded all the drama if the romance would've been believable. I wasn't invested so I didn't particularly care one way or another what happened. I did think Moreno-Garcia did a nice job of making you hate Valérie because anytime we got a POV from her you got to see how vindictive and terrible she was. The bits of magic we got to see with Nina and Hector were cool but I wish it was utilized more. Overall, this was quite long and repetitive, but I do think the second half was stronger than the first so that was the only saving grace for me since I did enjoy how it was all wrapped up.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 7-6-21
Adult - Contemporary

Too Good to Be Real- Melonie Johnson: Julia is a writer for a popular website where she creates quirky listicles for the masses. Julia loves her job, but with layoffs coming just around the corner, she knows she has to come up with a great idea to secure her position. As she fumbles to find a pitch, Julia stumbles upon a resort offering guests to live out their romantic comedy dreams. Julia knows better than anyone just how terrible dating is in the real world, so getting to live out her fictional fantasies in real life with her two best friends? Sign her up. Julia was expecting to collect a few fun anecdotes for her article, so she wasn't prepared to have a full-blown meet-cute with the tall, adorably awkward (and oh-so-handsome) Luke, who's also participating in the rom-com experience. The pair are quickly swept away with kisses in the rain, karaoke, and battling pesky seagulls, but both are keeping secrets about who they truly are. Can their relationship last once the credits run?

I don't know about you, but if there was a hotel offering you chances to live out your favorite rom-com moments, I'd be there in a heartbeat. With that in mind, I thought I was going to fall head-over-heels for this, but that wasn't the case. Naturally, this is packed to the gills with references to every popular romantic comedy, and instead of coming off as charming, it made the interactions between the characters feel cliched and lack a sense of naturalness. I also didn't feel like Julia and Luke, and even the side characters (I still can't tell her two friends apart), were developed enough so they felt pretty one dimensional. The romance between Julia and Luke was fine, but again, it just felt like a regurgitation of a movie couple and it was also so easy to see how it was going to play out. Even though I didn't fully click with this, there were some entertaining bits (mostly involving the ridiculous seagulls) and it would make a good summer read for any rom-com fan.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 8-21-18
Adult - Fantasy

Foundryside- Robert Jackson Bennett: Sancia Grado has an uncanny ability to feel the inner workings of any item she touches which she uses to her advantage as a thief in the winding streets of Tevanne. When she lands a job stealing an artifact from the docks, she believes it's nothing she can't handle, but she quickly finds herself in over her head when the harmless box she was sent to retrieve holds an ancient key of immense power that could alter the magical science known as scriving-- the art of using coded symbols to command everyday objects with a kind of sentience. Sancia knows that if this were to fall into the wrong hands the results would be catastrophic, so she keeps the key for herself. Now, with the Merchant Houses after her, Sancia must rely on some unlikely allies as well as learn to harness her abilities if she hopes to survive.

What a wild ride! Right from the start, you're thrust into action and it never slows down. I'm such a sucker for a group of misfits banding together to stop some great evil force and this was just *chefs kiss*. Sancia was a great character to focus on because she has this intriguing backstory that led her to have this ability to essentially speak to objects and sort of bending them to her will. She was also mouthy and sarcastic which is always a thumbs-up in my book. Then we had her crew which I loved just as much. I don't think there was one character out of the group that I didn't like, but my favorite was Orso, I just kept picturing him as this curmudgeonly old man who has had it with everyone. They all had such a great dynamic because it felt real. They were all thrown together whether they liked it or not, and I loved how instead of them being all gung-ho to save the world, they were pretty much like, "Ugh, I wish it weren't, but I GUESS it's up to us." There were times I wished we got a little more character growth, but other than that, I loved it. It was so action-packed with complex world-building and a magic system unlike anything I've read before, but most of all, it was so fun and I can't wait to pick up the next one.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Very Sincerely Yours Review

Hello, all!

Have you ever read a book and within the first few pages you felt like it was written just for you? That's how I felt about Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey and even now my heart is so full thinking about it and I already want to re-read it!

Pub Date: 6-15-21
Adult - Contemporary

When her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her rather than proposing, Theodora "Teddy" Phillips is left facing the fact that she has no idea what to do with her life. She's spent years focused on supporting the wants and needs of one person receiving next to nothing in return. Teddy has never been one to forge her path, always content to go along with whatever other people thought was best for her, and now she's pushing thirty, working at a vintage toy store, and left to move in with her two best friends in what is essentially a closet. The only happiness Teddy finds is through watching a local children's show hosted by Everett St. James. While the show is more geared towards teaching kids how to deal with their feelings and offering moral lessons with the aid of animal puppets, Teddy can't help but find comfort in Everett's calm and supportive demeanor. On a whim, and after being convinced by her friends to break out of her shell, Teddy emails Everett asking for advice. Not expecting a reply, Teddy is pleasantly surprised when Everett answers, and soon the pair strike up an email correspondence, and Teddy can't help but develop feelings with each increasingly charming reply.

Everett has always been a workaholic. He'd rather spend every waking moment planning his local TV show or designing a new puppet amongst the endless take-out containers littering his kitchen table. Everett has always fancied the idea of a relationship but knows his brain can never shut off long enough to get to know someone. While he takes pride in what his hard work has achieved, in the back of his mind he knows there are experiences he's been missing out on. So when he gets a random email from a woman named Theodora asking for advice, he's shocked to fall so easily into conversation with someone he's never even met before. Soon the emails become the highlight of both his and Teddy's days and they each find themselves falling for the other, but will their virtual attraction translate to real life?

You've Got Mail is my go-to comfort film and this is now my go-to comfort book. While there's no rivalry aspect here, two strangers are falling in love via email and I was here for every moment of it. I sacrificed sleep because I couldn't pull myself away but at the same time never wanted it to end. I saw so much of myself in both characters--from Teddy's need to please everyone and her Taco Bell obsession to Everett's love of the Muppets--which made me fully invested in their lives and made me root for them to get their HEA. Teddy and Everett were such a joy to follow and their relationship felt so natural and effortless. I loved all the email exchanges and had a smile on my face the entire time reading them. Of course, there were some corny bits, but I thought they made this feel more endearing. My only tiny gripe was that this does fall into that category of having a young character that acts/talks like they're middle-aged and there was the occasional abuse of exclamation points. Other than that, this was utterly charismatic and delightful and it's absolutely a new favorite of mine.

Rating: 5/5