Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
The only item besides the book that I'll be keeping from here was this banana bread flavored tea. I don't usually like banana bread, but I've liked the majority of the teas that they've sent, so I'm intrigued enough to try it out.
Thursday, August 25, 2022
|Pub Date: 8-23-22|
Adult - Fantasy/Romance
Emerson Wilde owns a bookstore in a small Missouri town. She's also descended from a witch who was hanged in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials, and the youngest ever Chamber of Commerce president. Emerson loves her town, but when setting up for an annual festival, Emerson notices strange things going on. Paranormal creatures seem to be stalking Emerson, sent by her lifelong arch-rival. When Emerson's long-dormant powers start to come back, she, along with her childhood friend, must work together defeat the ancient evil that's been awakened before everything she loves is destroyed.
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
As you all know The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood was one of my favorite reads of last year (review here), so I'm thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Love on the Brain.
|Pub Date: 8-23-22|
Adult - Contemporary
Bee Königswasser has dreamt of the day when she can run her own lab, so she couldn't be more thrilled when she lands her dream job at NASA. That is until she finds out she'll be co-leads on the neuroengineering project with her graduate school nemesis. Bee can make friends with a brick wall, but the one person she's never been able to crack is Levi Ward. For reasons unknown to Bee, Levi has disliked her from the moment they met. Bee is determined to keep her head down and spend the next three months being professionally civil, but if only being around Levi didn't make her head fuzzy.When Bee and her assistant arrive at NASA to find nothing but roadblocks and red tape awaiting them, Bee knows Levi must be behind the delay. But when she confronts her hulking co-lead, she finds him sympathetic to her plight. And what's more confusing is Levi continuously backing her ideas and plans up in meetings and staring at her with those intensely green eyes of his. Could it be there's more to Levi than Bee gave him credit for?
I've enjoyed everything that Hazelwood's put out, and this was no exception. Like in her previous works, all the talk of science and engineering go way over my head, but I still found myself taken by the story. Mostly, that has to do with her characters. I love how unabashedly geeky they all are. Bee was quirky, and I liked her love of Marie Curie and cat puns. Levi was sweet and a little broody. Watching them bond over cats, vegan food, and Star Wars was adorable. I thought they worked so well together, but I don't think this should be classified as enemies-to-lovers as it was more of a miscommunication. My only critiques were that certain scenes felt too similar to The Love Hypothesis, and I thought the third act conflict was a bit over-the-top. Other than that, I thought this was so fun.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
After weeks and weeks of reading contemporary/romance, I finally dipped back into my fantasy bag and most of that had to do with Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier. I picked it up on a whim, and now all I want to do is read fantasy again, and I'm here for it!
|Pub Date: 11-9-21|
YA - Fantasy
After being imprisoned for three years, all Lord Cassia--Cas--wants to do is return to his home in Palmerin. With a plague devastating the land, Cas wants to make sure his people, especially his brother, are safe. Along the way, Cas crosses paths with Lena, a young historian who not only steals his attention but his horse as well. The pair reluctantly agree to travel together, but when they finally arrive in Palmerin, Cas quickly realizes it isn't as he remembers.
Since Palmerin was lucky enough to escape the worst of the plague, it became a haven for the royal court, with the King and Queen taking up residence in the castle where Cas grew up. Despite the unexpected guests, Cas is looking forward to spending time with his brother and trying to forget the horrors he endured. But when an assassin targets those closest to the Queen, Cas is drawn into the hunt. Cas can tell there are bigger secrets at play, so he teams up with Lena to uncover the truth about what's happening. But what they discover has the potential to bring a war to the whole kingdom.
I went in knowing nothing about this, and I was hooked right from the start. I thought Lucier did a great job crafting the world and the characters. Cas has been through such abuse and trauma, but he never let it break him. He was strong and brave and didn't flinch from what needed to be done. He did have moments of weakness but let himself learn from them. I loved his relationship with Lena. They had such an ease about them and the way they bantered. I enjoyed how the romance between them was subtle and felt natural. The mystery aspect of who was behind the killings was engaging, and even though I guessed the twist, I was still satisfied by how it played out. I'm not going to say this was without flaws because I did think some phrases were overused, and certain things I wished were explained more regarding Cas and his abilities, but I still loved this. I was entertained the whole time and never wanted to put it down. It's one of those rare times where I almost wish this wasn't a standalone because I want more from these characters and this world, but I'll settle for picking up whatever Lucier comes out with next.
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
|Pub Date: 8-23-22|
YA - Contemporary
Four for the Road- K.J. Reilly: Asher recently lost his mother to a drunk driver and needless to say, he isn't handling it well. All Asher wants is revenge on the driver let off on a technicality, but since that isn't healthy coping behavior, Asher finds himself joining not one but three different bereavement groups. In these groups, Asher meets 80-year-old Henry and teenagers Will and Sloane, and unexpected friendships form. Asher decides to invite his new friends on a road trip from New Jersey to Graceland, but he leaves out the part about him stealing his dad's car or the real motive behind the trip. Each person has reasonings behind agreeing to the impromptu journey, and as the miles pass, a quest that started as revenge starts to feel more like forgiveness instead.
I knew going into this that it would be emotional, but boy, was it ever. It was almost as if you could feel Asher's grief emanating from the pages. It took me a while to get into the story because the writing was all over the place. Every sentence in every paragraph felt like a stream of consciousness. Like you were inside Asher's mind as he tried to sort through his trauma and make sense of it. It was repetitive and longwinded and felt like a panic attack on paper. It wasn't my favorite writing style, but I admit it worked well given the scope of the story. However, I did enjoy watching these characters, who may seem so different on the outside but are bound together by their grief, find solace and comfort in one another. The whole thing was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once, and while it didn't totally work for me, I can appreciate how poignant the story was.
|Pub Date: 3-15-22|
Adult - Thriller
The Book of Cold Cases- Simone St. James: Shea Collins is a true crime enthusiast who runs a blog called the Book of Cold Cases. When she was young, Shea managed to escape an abduction attempt, and this encounter sparked a desire within her to investigate old crimes. By chance, Shea crosses paths with Beth Greer, who in 1977 was arrested and acquitted for murder, and asks for an interview. To her shock, Beth agrees. The pair begin to meet at Beth's mansion to discuss the events, but the more time they spend together, the more Shea can't help but feel like something's wrong. The mansion has a sinister feel, and Shea could swear she's seen a girl lurking in the windows. Has Shea willingly spent her time in the company of a murderer, or is there something darker at play?
I've only read one other book by St. James, but I enjoy her style. I like the mix of mystery and supernatural elements. I was a little worried about the flow of this book since it's told in alternating timelines, but it worked very well. I loved getting the whole picture of what happened in the past, and seeing how Shea reacted to it in the present. I liked trying to ferret out clues and figure out what happened alongside her. I also found her friendship and interactions with Beth interesting because they felt similar at times. They both lived through very traumatic experiences, and it bonded them in some way. As for the mystery aspect, there were certain things I was able to guess surrounding Lily, but there were even more twists that threw me for a loop. Overall, it was a slow build-up, but the payoff was worth it.
|Pub Date: 4-5-22|
Adult - Historical Fantasy
I've seen a lot of talk surrounding this book lately, so I was interested in checking it out. There were a lot of things I enjoyed about this. The setting was fun, and the writing was whimsical. I liked the characters and thought the banter between Dora and Elias was entertaining. Elias was wonderfully grumpy, and I loved when he would get flustered when Dora wouldn't act the way he expected her to. I would've liked to have seen a little more development when it came to their relationship though because it felt like they were bickering in one paragraph, but in love by the next. The same could be said for the plot. While it was interesting, it all felt very flat. The book isn't that long, but it still managed to feel slow because not a lot happens, and it all gets wrapped up rather quickly. Despite that, I still found this enjoyable and will most likely pick up the rest of the series and would recommend it if you're looking for a cozier fantasy.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
|Pub Date: 5-24-22|
Adult - Historical Romance
A Daring Pursuit- Kate Bateman: Most women of the ton would go to whatever lengths to secure an advantageous marriage-- all but Carys Davies. Carys knows that staying single is the only way to keep her secret hidden and her family's name free from ruin. Carys has spent the last two years scandalizing the population with her outrageous wardrobe and strong-willed personality attempting to deter potential suitors. Carys may seem carefree and confident on the outside, but one person has always been able to see through the act. Tristan Montgomery and Carys have been rivals since they were young and will go out of the way to push each other's buttons. But when Tristan uncovers Carys's secret, he's determined to help. Even if that means agreeing to clandestine meetings to help show Carys what she's missing when it comes to bed sport. Neither expects their tryst to last longer than the agreed-upon week, but it gets harder to ignore the attraction burning between them.
|Pub Date: 10-5-21|
Adult - Fantasy
A Spindle Splintered- Alix E. Harrow: When she was younger, an industrial accident in her area left Zinnia Gray with a rare condition and the knowledge that she wouldn't live past her twenty-first birthday. Growing up, Zinnia became obsessed with fairy tales, namely Sleeping Beauty, so her best friend, Charm, is determined to give Zinnia the best last birthday, complete with an abandoned tower and spinning wheel. But when Zinnia jokingly pokes her finger on the spindle, she finds herself transported to a magical land and met with another cursed sleeping beauty. Now, Zinnia will have to team up with the princess to help her escape her fate if she hopes to find her way back home.
Novellas can be hit-or-miss for me, but this one was fun! I liked how there were nods to fairy tales, but it was ultimately a story about breaking the mold. Zinnia and Primrose, along with the other beauties, take charge of their destinies and remake them into something of their own creation. However, I wish the characters were fleshed out more so we could see more depth. Also, I thought the disability representation in this was well done. Harrow not only showcased all the numerous doctor's appointments and medicines someone with illness experiences but also how they're treated by those around them. While I would've liked to have more meat to the plot/characters, I still enjoyed this and will most likely pick up the next book.
|Pub Date: 3-22-22|
Adult - Sci-Fi/Contemporary
This had such a unique premise. I loved the idea of two strangers falling in love and then finding out they were in two different worlds. It made the story feel so bittersweet. I liked Nick and Becca and thought they had such an ease about them. They had fun and easy banter, and I loved reading their email exchanges. I didn't fully buy into their chemistry, but it was alright. I did enjoy the plot overall, but there were a lot of moments that frustrated me because I didn't like the way Nick and Bee acted. Particularly when it came to them trying to seduce each other's doppelgängers. I get their reasoning behind it, but I felt it was manipulative and mean. I also found this slightly too long and the plot started to feel repetitive. Other than that, I liked the ending and would recommend it if you enjoy sci-fi/multiverse stories.
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Remember when I said I'm so behind on my reviews? Yeah, I read Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren back in February 😅
|Pub Date: 4-10-18|
Adult - Contemporary
Not many people find their soulmates when they're a teen, but Macy Sorensen did. After the death of her mother, her father thought it would be a good idea to buy a vacation house that he and Macy could visit whenever life got too hectic, and the first time Macy met Elliot Petropoulos, the gangly, nerdy next-door neighbor, was when she found him reading in her closet. The pair instantly bonded over their love of books and would spend every hour Macy was up there reading and telling each other their favorite words. Soon, the pair's relationship turns into something more, but an unfortunate incident causes them to stop speaking.Now, eleven years later, Macy is working as a pediatrics resident and engaged. Her fiancé may not be who she pictured for herself, but she's learned the hard way to never trust her heart to another. But when Macy runs into Elliot, the carefully planned life she's made for herself starts to crumble. As the pair start reconnecting, they discover both have different memories of what pulled them apart, but one thing is for sure: they never stopped loving one another. But with so much of the past left unsaid, will Elliot be able to convince Macy that they've been each other's futures all along?
Thursday, August 4, 2022
|Pub Date: 6-1-21|
YA - Fantasy
This was... yikes. For the most part, I've enjoyed this series but the issues I've had with the other two were rampant throughout this one. I've always said that I find JLA's writing style to be a little cringy and I don't always love her choice of phrasing, and there were times while reading where I had to stop because it was so over-the-top and ridiculous. I mean, it was CW teen drama level out there. There were also so many pop culture references, which would be fine if they weren't repeatedly shoved down your throat. I didn't feel the same connection with the characters as I did in the past and even found them annoying at points. The only thing that really saved this one for me was the ending and that took forever to get to. Truly, the first 70-80 percent of this book felt like filler and once you got to the big climax, everything was wrapped up so quickly. Unfortunately, for what was supposed to be the final installment of this series, it was a bit lackluster.
|Pub Date: 1-11-22|
Adult - Contemporary
Weather Girl- Rachel Lynn Solomon: Ever since Ari Abrams was a kid, she's been obsessed with the weather. She always knew she wanted to become a meteorologist, and thought working at her local TV station under Torrance Hale, Seattle's legendary weatherwoman and her icon would be the ultimate dream. Unfortunately, Torrance is too wrapped up in petty feuds with Seth, her ex-husband/the station's news director, to properly mentor Ari. When Ari's usually sunny disposition starts to waver, she turns to sports reporter Russell Barringer for help. Both Ari and Russell believe the best way to ease the station's tensions is to get Torrance and Seth back together. As the pair start nudging their bosses back together, they can't help but realize the sparks between themselves. But letting Russell in would mean Ari has to show him all the parts of herself she's been taught to hide her whole life. Could it be possible for someone to embrace her for exactly who she is, gray skies and all?
Solomon is one of those writers where I know I'm going to be charmed right from the first page, and this was no exception. I instantly felt a kinship with Ari and all her anxieties and insecurities and could relate to always wanting to put on a happy face for those around you. I loved her character growth throughout this and watching her open up and be vulnerable to not only Russell but everyone around her. The highlight of this whole thing was the relationship between Ari and Russell. It was so achingly sweet with just the right amount of steam. They were both adorably nerdy and embraced the other's quirks. Even though I found their conflict at the end slightly ridiculous (I'm not a fan of miscommunication), their relationship felt very mature and honest. All the scheming to bring their bosses together was ridiculous and had me chuckling a few times. If you're looking for a heartwarming and fun contemporary, I definitely recommend checking this out.
|Pub Date: 8-14-18|
Adult - Historical Fiction
Where the Crawdads Sing- Delia Owens: Kya Clark has lived on the outskirts her whole life. Shunned by those in her small Southern town, Kya was left to fend for herself after her family left her. Everything Kya needed to learn, everything she needed to survive, she found in the marshes around her home. But the one thing she desperately longed for could never be found amongst the birds and shells. Soon, Kya finds herself drawn to two boys--Tate, the gentle soul who taught her to read, and Chase, the popular athlete--who both open her world in unexpected ways. Rumors have always swirled around town about the mysterious marsh girl, so when Chase's body is found dead years later, people are quick to pin the murder on Kya. Now, Kya's future is in the hands of the same town that turned its back on her.
I've had this on my TBR for ages, but I wanted to get to it before the movie comes out, and what a fool I was to wait so long! I've only ever heard good things about this book, and all the praise is justified. I enjoyed the writing style. All the descriptions of the marshlands and animals were so vivid and stunning. It felt like you were there sitting in the boat alongside Kya on her adventures. She was such a strong character to follow. She goes through so much heartache and hardship, but she never let it break her spirit. I also thought her relationship with Tate was sweet, and I loved watching it blossom. My only issue with this was that I figured out the ending about halfway through, so it lessened its impact. Other than that, I enjoyed it and thought it was such a beautiful story of strength and perseverance.
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
I'm ready for some spooky reads, so I was browsing my library shelves and came across The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke, and figured I'd give it a go.
|Pub Date: 10-5-21|
Adult - Fantasy/Thriller
Liv is a single mother trying to make ends meet for her and her three daughters. When she's given a commission to paint a mural in a lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, she's eager to make a fresh start for her family. Soon after they arrive, two of Liv's daughters go missing, and she discovers the caves below the lighthouse have a frightening history. The lighthouse stands atop the place where many women of the town were wrongfully convicted and murdered for being witches hundreds of years ago. The townspeople believe the witches put a curse on the island and warn Liv about wildlings-- supernatural beings who mimic lost children.Twenty-two years later, Luna, Liv's daughter, has never stopped searching for her missing mother or sisters. When she receives a call that her youngest sister, Clover, has been found, Luna is thrilled. Clover is the sister Luna remembers, only she's still seven years old instead of a grown woman. How has she returned? Where was she? Could she be a wildling? Luna will have to return to the island that caused so much grief if she's to have any hope of discovering what truly happened to her family.
Honestly, I feel pretty neutral about this book. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. It just was. It had an interesting concept, and I liked how it was told in alternating timelines. We also follow a lot of different perspectives, and I appreciated seeing the story unfold from all the characters. Although, it did get a little confusing at times keeping everything straight. Cooke's writing was detailed, and I loved all the descriptions of this small Scottish island. It helped drive home the creepy atmosphere. Overall, I liked the paranormal vibes, but there was just something lacking for me.