|Pub Date: 4-20-21|
YA - Fantasy
Witches Steeped in Hold- Ciannon Smart: Iraya has spent years behind bars with only dreams of freedom and vengeance keeping her company. Jazmyne is the daughter of the Queen who refuses to lay down her life to strengthen her mother's power. Iraya and Jazmyne may be sworn enemies, but to take down a dangerous threat, they must put their differences aside and work together. With each having their motives for revenge and the lure of power becoming increasingly more intoxicating, can Iraya and Jazmyne destroy their common adversary before turning on each other?
This is a hard one for me because there were aspects of the story that I liked but also a lot I didn't like. The main things I enjoyed were the setting and the magic system. I liked how this had a lot of Jamaican influences and Smart did a nice job of crafting the world around that. The magic was also lush and imaginative. My biggest issue with this was the characters. There wasn't a lot of defining characteristics between Jazmyne and Iraya so there were times where I couldn't differentiate between the two. Maybe if I had read this physically it would've been easier, but the audiobook narrators sounded very much alike which made it even more difficult to tell who was who. Aside from that, I also found this to be quite long and drawn out and think the pacing would've benefitted had this been 50-100 pages shorter. If you like stories with witches who are morally gray or twisty vengeance-fueled plot lines, it might be worth it to pick this up.
|Pub Date: 1-4-21|
Adult - Contemporary
The Off Limits Rule- Sarah Adams: Lucy has always done her best to be independent, but she has to face facts: she's a struggling single parent and she needs help. Luckily, she has an incredibly supportive brother who lets her move in with him, and he also happens to have a super hot best friend. Lucy is instantly attracted to Cooper, but her brother is dead set on them staying far, far apart due to Cooper's tendency to flirt with anything that moves and aversion to commitment. That doesn't stop the pair from sneaking moments alone whenever they can, and Lucy learns there's way more to Cooper than meets the eye.
Ok, this was adorable. I ate it up in one sitting because I just couldn't pull myself away. The characters are so fun and relatable. I did find Lucy slightly annoying at times, but for the most part, I enjoyed reading from her perspective. The family dynamic she had between her brother and her parents was everything. I loved how supportive they were of her and her son. She and Cooper's relationship was also so sweet, even though it was a bit insta-lovey, but I did wish that there was a little more build-up so it didn't feel as rushed. I also enjoyed how this one took the classic trope of the main girl getting sick and her love interest caring for her and flipped it to where Lucy was the one taking care of Cooper. I'd never seen that specific trope done that way before, which set it apart from others I've read. This was just so charming and funny, and I'm excited to pick up the next one!
|Pub Date: 9-14-21|
Adult - Cozy Mystery
Death of a Red-Hot Rancher- Mimi Granger: Just because Lizzie Hale owns a popular romance book store doesn't mean love comes naturally to her. Everything she knows about that particular emotion came from the books that line the walls of Love Under the Covers. But she has bigger problems than not being able to find a man, and that's murder. When the eligible bachelor, Brody Pierce, is found stabbed to death, everyone in the small town of Tinker's Creek is on edge. No one knows what happened, but that doesn't stop fingers from pointing at Lizzie's aunt as the prime suspect. Determined to clear her aunt's name, Lizzie starts her investigation and soon uncovers that Brody had his fair share of secrets, and the list of people who loved and hated him is pretty equal. With time running out and a killer still on the loose, will Lizzie be able to get to the bottom of this crime of passion before it's too late?
I've only recently gotten into the cozy mystery genre, but I'm having so much fun with it, and this one was no exception! I was taken with the characters and the small-town vibe straight away. Lizzie was such a joy to follow. She's funny and a little awkward which made her seem realistic, and made you root for her to get to the bottom of this mystery. I loved how she used her knowledge of romance books and their tropes to aid her investigation. There were times when she came across aa a little judgmental, but for the most part, I liked her. Plot-wise, I thought it was fast-paced and kept my attention the whole time. It's not the most complicated mystery, and there were a few points I was able to guess, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment, and I still found the ending satisfying. Overall, if you enjoy cozy mysteries or are looking to start getting into them, I think this is a delightful one to pick up.