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

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 3-14-23
Adult - Horror

Piñata- Leopoldo Gout: Carmen Sanchez is back in her home country of Mexico overseeing the renovation of an ancient cathedral into an upscale hotel. Too young to stay in New York on their own, Carmen brings along her two teenage daughters, Izel and Luna. Carmen is hoping this trip will help the girls connect to their roots, and while Luna is thrilled to run around a new city unsupervised, Izel would rather be somewhere with cell reception. The locals aren’t much help either. They’re cold to Carmen and her daughters, and the contractors refuse to work with Carmen, going so far as to sabotage her work. When an accident at the construction site nearly injures Luna, Carmen decides she’s had enough. But when the family returns to New York, Izel is the only one who notices something strange going on with Luna. Could it be they brought something sinister back with them?

I was drawn to this for two reasons: 1. The cover is so eye-catching, and 2. I don’t think I’ve ever read a possession horror before, so I wanted to give it a try. There were many things I liked; mostly the family dynamic and the cultural representation. I thought Carmen and her daughters were fully fleshed out. I don’t know much about Mexican culture or history, so it was interesting learning about all the colonization and horrendous acts of the past. I also thought the actual horror aspect of this was well done and had my skin crawling a few times. My only issue with this was the pacing. It was very slow, and there were a lot of mundane things thrown in. Other than that, I thought it was pretty good. 

Rating: 3/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 3-14-23
Adult - Contemporary

The Love Wager- Lynn Painter: Hallie Piper is determined to get her act together. She's got a new haircut, some new clothes, and a new apartment. Now all she needs is someone to share her new life with. When her cousin convinces her to join a dating app, one of the first profiles Hallie sees is none other than the guy whose hotel room she belly-crawled out of. Jack Marshall has just been dumped by the woman he thought he was going to marry, and forced into online dating by his meddling sister. But his attitude changes when he reconnects with Hallie. But instead of dating each other, the pair place a wager on who can find their soulmate first. They schedule their dates at the same time and place, so if it's a bust, they can get tacos together and commiserate. But when Jack agrees to go to Hallie's sister's wedding as her fake boyfriend, the lines start to blur, leaving them wondering why they thought being together was a bad idea.

I'm obsessed with this book. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down, and then once I finished, I went back to the beginning and re-read it to highlight my favorite parts. Spoiler alert: there were a lot of them. Painter's writing is so sharp and quick-witted, and her characters are so fun. Hallie and Jack were everything I could've wanted in a pairing. They had the playful, teasing banter I love so much, and their chemistry was palpable. I had a goofy grin on my face throughout the whole book because I couldn't get enough of them. There were some instances of miscommunication (my least favorite romance trope), but I never found myself that bothered with it here. If you're in the mood for an amusing yet swoony rom-com, I highly recommend checking it out.

Rating: 5/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 8-24-21
Adult - Historical Romance

Bombshell- Sarah MacLean:
Lady Sesily Talbot has happily embraced being the center of the London ton's gossip. The more scandalous her reputation, the better. This way, no one bats an eye if Sesily lures a gentleman into a dark corner or garden at a party. But seduction isn't Sesily's game plan. Sesily has always been diligent about covering the truth behind her rendezvous-- until she's discovered by Caleb Calhoun. Caleb has spent years trying not to notice his best friend's beautiful sister, but when he stumbles upon Sesily's late-night schemes, he knows he can't leave her alone. Thinking the proximity will help drive her out of his system, Caleb decides to accompany Sesily on her daring deeds believing she needs protection. But both have their secrets, and when Caleb's come knocking, it'll be up to Sesily to rescue him.

I've had this on my radar for a while now, so I was looking forward to finally picking it up, but I was disappointed. It felt more like a contemporary trying to be a historical romance, which wasn't what I wanted. There were a lot of phrases and word choices that didn't feel authentic for the time, so it kept taking me out of the story. I wasn't looking for complete historical accuracy, but at least to make it believable. Aside from that, I also never found myself invested in the characters or the plot. The writing felt repetitive, and the story had too much going on. I liked the premise and thought it could've been interesting with all the Dangerous Daughters moments, but it fell short. I may still give MacLean a chance since this was my first book by her, but sadly this wasn't my favorite.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

Is it possible to go to the library too much? To be fair, I didn't expect all my holds to come in at the same time 😅 

1. The Magician's Daughter- H. G. Parry
2. Fruits Basket, Vol. 1
3. Groupies- Sarah Priscus
4. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone- Benjamin Stevenson
5. The London Seance Society- Sarah Penner
6. The Twisted Ones- T. Kingfisher

Friday, March 10, 2023

Book Haul

Hello, all!

I know I've been all about the library hauls lately, but I finally used up the remaining Barnes & Noble gift cards that I had from Christmas, so let's do a proper book haul!

1. Threadneedle- Cari Thomas
2. An Impossible Imposter- Deanna Raybourn
3. The Broken Girls-Simone St. James
4. Phaedra- Laura Shepperson
5. Light from Uncommon Stars- Ryka Aoki
6. Keeper of Enchanted Rooms- Charlie N. Holmberg
7. The Starless Crown- James Rollins
8. Once Upon a Broken Heart- Stephanie Garber
9. The Ballad of Never After- Stephanie Garber
10. NOS4A2- Joe Hill (Thanks, Corey!)

What was the last book you bought?

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

February OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for February's box was "Magic & Mischief." Honestly, I was a little disappointed with it, but let's get into the items.

First up we had the next pin in their latest collection. This one is inspired by Crescent City, so obviously, this was my favorite item.

Then there was this letter opener inspired by the A Darker Shade of Magic series. I don't think I've ever received a letter opener in a box before, and it seems like pretty good quality.

Next was this throw blanket for The Atlas Six. I didn't want to open it up because I knew I wasn't going to keep it since I wasn't a fan of that book, and I tend to find the OwlCrate blankets too small to actually use properly, but the spoiler card said it features a quote from the book on it.

The only other item I was jazzed about was this dot grid bullet journal featuring quotes from The Starless Sea. I can never have too many journals, and this feels so lush.

Then we had this magnetic bookmark set featuring authors and some of their bookish quotes. I'm not a fan of these types of bookmarks, so while they're very pretty, I'm not going to use them.

The book for February was Revelle- Lyssa Mia Smith. This fantasy is said to be inspired by Moulin Rouge! and set on an island in a magical version of Prohibition-era New York, full of dazzling magic, romance, and mystery. It's also a stand-alone which I like since I feel like you don't see that too often in YA fantasy these days.

What did you think of this box? Lemme know!

Monday, March 6, 2023

Blog Tour: A Sinister Revenge Review (Veronica Speedwell, #8)

Hello, all!

Everyone, rejoice for there's a new Veronica Speedwell book out! Big thanks to Berkley for the copy of A Sinister Revenge! Also, before we get into the review-- can we take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous this cover is? It's definitely my favorite so far.

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

After the events of their prior investigation, Veronica and Stoker have spent the last few months apart. Veronica has been off exploring the Continent with Tiberius, Stoker's brother, while Stoker has been roaming Bavaria in search of an elusive beast. But when Tiberius suddenly announces his need for Stoker's assistance, the pair go to find him. When they finally find Stoker, he is less than thrilled, but Tiberius lures him back home with the promise of preparing an iguanodon fossil for a very special dinner party: one Tiberius is sure will end in his death.

When Tiberius graduated from university, he and his group of friends--dubbed the Seven Sinners--took a tour around the Continent. They spent time at each other's homes, getting into mischief. The group ended their trip with a stay at Tiberius's grand manor, where one of the members tragically died. Now, two other Sinners have died under mysterious circumstances, and Tiberius has received a threatening message stating he's next. Can Veronica and Stoker put their past tiff aside to help Tiberius before it's too late?

It's no secret that this is my favorite series. I never want it to end, and would gladly read a hundred more books about Veronica and Stoker and all their antics. One of my favorite things about these books is their writing. I love how Raybourn tells a tale and the vocabulary she uses. It always paints such a vivid portrait of what's going on. That said, I was a smidge disappointed with this installment. I found the first half very slow and didn't feel like the plot hit its stride until around the sixty percent mark. I figured out one part of the plot twist within the first few chapters, but the overall reveal was still satisfying. I also enjoyed getting more of a glimpse into Stoker's childhood and his relationship with his siblings. I was also relieved that he and Veronica seemed to have settled their differences. I love how much deeper their bond grows with each book, and I will never stop saying how much I love them together. So, while this wasn't my favorite of the series thus far, I still enjoyed it and will be impatiently waiting for the next book.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

I'm going to try to remember to post my library hauls the day I actually get them, and not wait until I've already returned most of them 🤦

But before I get into the haul, I went to this new Halloween themed restaurant near me today called the Haunted House of Hamburgers, and I just wanted to show everyone how cute the decor was outside (there was even a little cemetery but I forgot to take a picture). The whole place is so kitschy and I was obsessed.

Ok, now onto the books!

1. The Hero of Ages- Brandon Sanderson
2. The Paper Magician- Charlie N. Holmberg
3. We Spread- Iain Reid
4. The Kaiju Preservation Society- John Scalzi
5.The Personal Librarian- Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Blog Tour: The Neighbor Favor Review

Hello, all!

I think we all know by now that I love a rom-com between bookish characters, so I was thrilled to get a copy of The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest. Big thank you to Berkley!

Pub Date: 2-28-23
Adult - Contemporary

Lily Greene has always preferred books to people. While the rest of her family is loud and boisterous, Lily is shy and awkward. She dreams of becoming a children's book editor but has been working as an assistant in the non-fiction division for years with no hope for promotion. One day, Lily decides to throw caution to the wind and emails her favorite fantasy author for advice, never thinking she'd hear back, but he replies. Over a few months, the two develop a close connection-- until he ghosts Lily.

Nick Brown is used to relying only on himself. His family life was never ideal, and he left his small town as soon as possible and never looked back. Nick has spent the last few years as a travel journalist, but his best friend/agent convinces him to move to New York after the book Nick wrote in college, under a pen name, gets bought by a big publishing house. Nicks moves into an apartment building and is instantly drawn to his quiet, beautiful neighbor, Lily-- the same Lily he fell in love with over emails months ago. Nick is unwilling to complicate things further, so he keeps their history to himself and agrees to help Lily find a date for her sister's wedding. As the pair spend more time together, neither can deny the growing attraction, but can a relationship built on a lie survive?

I adored this! Forest's writing was so engaging and easy to read. I flew through this in almost one sitting because I didn't want to put it down. I connected to Lily right off the bat. As a fellow shy, introverted bookworm, I found her so relatable. I loved the relationship with her family and how, even though they drove her crazy at times, they were so supportive of her. But the highlight here was her relationship with Nick. I'm a sucker for an epistolary novel, so I loved reading the emails between them and seeing their connection form, but it shone once they were face-to-face. It was so satisfying watching Nick finally open up to someone. I fully expected to have issues with the miscommunication over the emails, but it was handed in a very mature way, so I didn't mind it as much. It did run into some pacing issues here and there, and some scenes felt unnecessary, but overall, I thought this was great, and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February Wrap-Up

Hello, all!

Even though I managed to read a decent amount this month, I felt slumpy for most of it. Here's hoping my reading mood improves for March!


The Nickel Boys- Colson Whitehead; 3/5
How to Sell a Haunted House- Grady Hendrix; 2/5
Lost in the Moment and Found- Seanan McGuire; 4/5
The Beast of Beswick- Amalie Howard; 2/5
The Tropic of Serpents- Marie Brennan; 3/5
Silence in the Library- Katharine Schellman; 3/5
Queen Among the Dead- Lesley Livingston; 3/5
Amari and the Great Game- B.B. Alston; 3/5


The Neighbor Favor- Kristina Forest; 4/5
The Shadow of Perseus- Claire Heywood; 3/5
Practice Makes Perfect- Sarah Adams; 4/5
The Love Wager- Lynn Painter; 5/5
A Sinister Revenge- Deanna Raybourn; 3.5/5
The Sprite and the Gardener- Rii Abrego; 3/5
My Phony Valentine- Courtney Walsh; 2/5


Queen of Shadows- Sarah J. Maas; 4/5 (re-read)
The Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson; 3.5/5
Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol. 1; 3/5
Daisy Jones & The Six- Taylor Jenkins Reid; 5/5 (re-read)
Marvel 1602- Neil Gaiman; 3/5
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride- Roshani Chokshi; 4/5
Georgie, All Along- Kate Clayborn; 3/5
Light from Uncommon Stars- Ryka Aoki; 2/5

Some favorites were: The Love Wager, The Neighbor Favor, and Practice Makes Perfect. Least favorites were: How to Sell a Haunted House (I need to just accept Grady Hendrix isn't for me), The Beast of Beswick, and The Shadow of Perseus.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

Time for another library haul! As always, if you've read any of these, let me know what you thought.

1. The Tropic of Serpents- Marie Brennan
2. Silence in the Library- Katharine Schellman
3. Queen Among the Dead- Lesley Livingston
4. The Golem and the Jinni- Helene Wecker
5. The Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 2-21-23
Adult - Historical Fiction/Retelling

The Shadow of Perseus- Claire Heywood: Danae was once a princess of Argos but was banished from her homeland after a prophecy foretold her father's death at the hands of her unborn child. After spending her life being coddled, starting a new life for herself and her young son, Perseus, proves more difficult than she ever imagined. As a member of a reclusive band of women called Gorgons, Medusa has severed all ties to the outside world. The Gorgons are especially wary of men and the corruption and pain that usually follow in their wake. But when Medusa stumbles upon an injured Perseus in the woods, she defies all she knows to help him. When a harsh sandstorm threatens her tribe's way of life, Andromeda offers herself up as a sacrifice to appease the gods. But when a passing Perseus misunderstands the ritual, Andromeda's life is upended. As Perseus becomes more obsessed with his destiny, his actions lead to severe consequences in all three women's lives. But he'll find the more he tries to silence them, the louder their voices become.

I enjoyed Heywood's previous release, so I was looking forward to picking this one up, and it was fine. I think it was a very straightforward retelling. I liked how it was told in different parts focusing on each woman. It made the story feel cut and dry, but it still got the point across. I was looking forward to Medusa's storyline the most since she is one of my favorite characters in Greek mythology, but Heywood's Medusa was different from any other take I've seen, and I'm just not sure it worked for me. I did like Danae's and Andromeda's storylines but found myself leaning more toward the latter as I thought she was slightly more interesting to follow. I thought Heywood's writing was easy to read, and I think this would be a good introduction to retellings, but I was hoping for a little more.

Rating: 3/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-13-21
Adult - Historical Mystery

Silence in the Library- Katharine Schellman: Instead of living the typical life of a widow, Lily Adler finds she much prefers spending her time helping to solve murders. When her disapproving father unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep looking to stay while recovering from an illness, Lily will take any excuse to leave the house. So Lily finds herself drawn to Lady Wyatt, the new wife of her father's close friend, Sir Charles. To the outside world, they have the perfect marriage, so Lily is just as shocked as anyone to hear of Sir Charles's death and how it might not have been an accident. Lily's suspicions only grow when she's given information by one of Wyatt's maids, who is then also found dead. Lily is determined to uncover the truth, so she again teams up with her friend, Captain Jack Hartley, and Bow Street constable Simon Page to catch a killer.

I read the first book when it came out and enjoyed it, so I've been looking forward to continuing with the series. You can tell that Schellman puts a lot of time, effort, and research into getting the period just right, and I appreciate how she doesn't shy away from touching upon the differences between class, race, and gender. It makes the story even more believable. Lily faces so much adversity due to her gender, so it makes it all the more satisfying to watch her use her intellect to put others in their place whenever they doubt her. I thought the mystery aspect was well-plotted and had some twists I wasn't expecting. I did find the overall pacing to be a bit slower than I'd like, but I still enjoyed this and am looking forward to continuing with the series. If you like historical or cozy mysteries, I'd recommend checking these books out.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 10-27-20
Adult - Historical Romance

Love is a Rogue- Lenora Bell: Lady Beatrice Bentley would rather have her nose buried in a book than prance around ballrooms looking for a husband. She's come to her brother's home in Cornwall to get away from the noise of London to work on her etymological dictionary. Unfortunately, her peace is constantly being disturbed by Stamford Wright, the roguishly charming carpenter renovating the mansion. When Beatrice gets called back to London, she discovers that she's inherited a bookshop from an estranged aunt, but it's in dire need of repair. Unable to find anyone suitable, Beatrice reluctantly hires Ford to complete the job. As the pair work side-by-side, neither can deny the spark between them, but they're both from different worlds. Is Beatrice willing to go against what society expects of her to follow her heart?

I love a bookish main character, so I was excited to pick this up. I could relate to Beatrice's desire to stay home and read rather than socialize. I also appreciated how Beatrice was born with facial palsy, and instead of letting the rude words of her family and others affect her, she embraced her so-called "imperfections." I've never read a historical romance where the female character had any disability. Usually, it's the male love interest whose ruggedly scarred in some way, so I liked the representation. As for her relationship with Ford, it was fine, but it didn't wow me. It started very quickly (I'm talking flirting innuendos within the first few pages), and I would've liked to have seen a more natural build-up. Ford was protective of her and only wanted what was best for her, and it was all very sweet. Plus, he built her bookshelves, and isn't that the dream? Overall, I found it a cute, fast read, and I'm interested in reading the rest of the series.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Davenports Review

Hello, all!

Something about the wintertime makes me want to read all the historical fiction, and if you're the same, then you need to check out The Davenports by Krystal Marquis.

Pub Date: 1-31-23
YA - Historical Fiction

For some, Chicago in 1910 is a golden age. Olivia and Helen Davenport are members of a prominent Black family, one of the only ones in Chicago, and are surrounded by wealth and opportunity. Anything they desire is within their grasp--except for what they truly want. Olivia has spent her entire life being groomed to be the perfect housewife and is ready to do her duty by marrying the most eligible bachelor until she meets a charismatic activist from the South. Helen would rather spend her days fixing engines than falling in love, but then she meets her sister's would-be suitor, and her life is turned upside down.

Like the Davenports, Ruby grew up around wealth, but with her family's finances in dire straights, she must make an advantageous marriage and fast. Her parents have their eyes on John, Olivia, and Helen's brother, but Ruby's heart begins to yearn for another. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid of the Davenport girls, longs for a life away from servitude and dreams, not only, of opening her own business, but marrying a man well above her station, John Davenport. Olivia, Helen, Ruby, and Amy-Rose have spent their entire lives doing what's expected of them, but with courage and determination, are ready to forge their paths.

When I saw that this was based on a real family from history, I knew I wanted to pick it up. I enjoyed the setting right off the bat. Marquis perfectly managed to showcase both the glamour and harshness of this period. We're following four main characters from different stations in life. There are the Davenport children, who grew up with a silver spoon and never really wanted anything. Then you have Ruby, whose family is struggling to stay afloat. Finally, you have Amy-Rose, who has had to work for every morsel given to her. With this, we get a sense of the class differences within the community. I worried about them all blurring together, but each had such a distinct personality. There were some pacing issues, but overall, I enjoyed following each along on their journeys of self-discovery.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 8-25-20
YA - Horror
Clown in a Cornfield- Adam Cesare: After the death of her mother, Quinn Maybrook and her father are looking for a fresh start, so they move to the small town of Kettle Springs. But this town isn't like the quaint, sleepy towns you see on TV. Ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, the residents of Kettle Springs have been divided. The older generation believes tradition should be upheld and will do whatever it takes to make their town great again, while the younger generation wants to have fun and get out as soon as possible. These clashing views soon turn deadly when Frendo the clown, the Baypen mascot, shows up at a party in the fields and starts culling the teenage crop.

What a wild ride this was. I had heard this read like a slasher movie, so I knew I had to pick it up. I was entertained the entire time. Was it a perfect book? Not by any means. But was it fun? Absolutely. It was so fast-paced, and the slasher elements were a lot better than I was expecting. There were times I thought the writing skewed a little too YA for my tastes (I think it's so lame when characters use internet lingo in actual conversations), and the characters did come off as way too childish. You could tell quite quickly who was responsible for the murders, but there was one twist I wasn't anticipating, which I thought was a nice touch. If you're a fan of '90s campy horror movies, then I recommend checking this out, and I'm excited to pick up the next book.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pub Date: 9-29-20
Adult - Historical Romance

Beauty Temps the Beast- Lorraine Heath: Althea Stanwick was once a lady whose biggest decision revolved around which duke to marry, but when her father is hanged for treason, she and her family are left disgraced. Althea lost everything-- her home, her title, her friends. But she has a plan. Althea will learn the ways of seduction and enter back into society on her own terms, and she knows just the man to teach her. Benedict "Beast" Trewlove gained a reputation on the streets of Whitechapel as someone not to mess with. He's quick to use his fists to help those in need and always willing to offer his protection to those who ask, but he's never had someone come to him with a proposition as wild as Althea's. Against his better judgment, Beast agrees, but only if Althea helps him polish up the girls living in a brothel he oversees so they can get better employment. As the pair spend their days together, they're unable to stop the growing attraction, but when Beast uncovers the truth of his past, will Althea still have a place by his side?

I recently read The Earl Takes a Fancy and fell in love with these characters, so now I'm binging the series, and this one was just as good! I love the Trewlove family. I can't get enough of their dynamic, and they always manage to make me chuckle or smile with their banter. I was curious about Beast from the previous book with how little we saw of him, so I was excited to read his story. I thought he and Althea were perfectly matched, despite their differing backgrounds. They were both strong-willed and a little stubborn, and I liked watching them open up and be vulnerable. I wish the lessons between them lasted a little longer to draw out the tension, but it was still enjoyable. I also didn't love the third-act conflict, but it wrapped up nicely, and I enjoyed how the epilogue tied up everything.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 5-3-22
Adult - Contemporary

The Missed Connection- Denise Williams: Gia loves her job as a professor, but she doesn't love receiving feedback from her reclusive academic rival who has made it a point to nitpick her work. When Gia learns she'll have to go on a work trip with the said rival, she is less than pleased. But when the pair finally meet in person, Gia is shocked to discover she's met him before. He's the same attractive stranger Gia spent a dreamy New Years Eve with at an airport sharing nachos and kisses. Felix couldn't be more different from Gia. He's quiet and likes things ordered, whereas she's loud and quick to laugh. Despite their differences, neither can deny the attraction that still lingers between them. Can they keep things between them professional or will they give in to temptation?

I liked the first novella in this series, so I wanted to give this one a go, and it was okay. It was a cute premise, and I liked the academic-rivals-to-lovers vibe it had going on, but it was kind of boring. Gia and Felix were decent characters, but there was no chemistry. I don't usually mind opposites attract trope, but it needs to be believable, and I wasn't buying it here. They had fun banter, but for me, they came across more as friends than lovers. I also felt the pacing was a bit off which didn't help. If you're a fan of Williams or the previous novella, I still think it's worth it to pick up, but it won't be super memorable for me.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 2-7-23
Adult - Contemporary

Secretly Yours- Tessa Bailey: Hallie Welch has held a torch for Julian Vos ever since they almost kissed at a party when she was fourteen. Now, Julian is back staying at his family's vineyard, and Hallie is determined to get another shot with him. The pair run into each other when Hallie gets hired to revamp the gardens around the guesthouse, but it's clear they have nothing in common. Hallie is flighty, chaotic, and unorganized; Julian is stuffy, straight-laced, and schedules everything down to the minute. One night, Hallie gets the brilliant idea to leave Julian anonymous letters confessing her feelings. While Julian is intrigued by this mystery admirer, he can't help falling for Hallie. Julian has always viewed the world in black and white, but with Hallie, everything is bursting with color, and it begs the question-- do opposites really attract?

I've enjoyed everything I've read by Bailey, but this didn't do it for me. I had a hard time feeling invested in the story because I didn't care about the characters. I thought Hallie was annoying, and Julian was way too overprotective of her after only a few interactions. They both felt underdeveloped, and their relationship also felt lacking. It didn't feel like it had much depth. I wanted more tension and build-up, but they went from acquaintances to ripping each other's clothes off too quickly. I thought there would be more focus on the love letters, but they felt like an afterthought. I also didn't love the anxiety representation and how it played into the conflict at the end. Unfortunately, this whole thing was a big miss.

Rating: 2/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-11-22
Adult - Horror

Little Eve- Catriona Ward: Eve and Dinah were raised on a remote Scottish island called Altnaharra by a man they call 'Uncle.' Along with the rest of their clan, the girls have been preparing for the coming of the Adder. The girls have been taught to believe that when the Adder comes, one will inherit its powers, and the outside world will be cleansed of its impurities, leaving only those worthy. All wish for power, but only Eve is willing to go to extreme lengths to secure it for herself. But when a body is found in town, leading a detective straight to their door, things start to go awry for the inhabitants of Altnaharra, and soon their secrets are brought to light.

I've only read one other book by Ward that I enjoyed, so I was excited to pick this one up. Sadly, it wasn't for me. There were some bits I liked, such as the cult itself, which I thought was interesting, and I loved the setting. It was everything else that was a miss. I never found myself invested in the story, so I didn't care much about what was happening. I listened to this on audiobook, which I don't think helped because it's told in alternating timelines and POVs, and it was occasionally hard to keep track. Overall, I found it to be a lackluster plot with characters I couldn't root for, and just entirely underwhelming.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 12-28-22
Adult - Historical Romance

Get Thee Off My Lawn- Daria Vernon: If there is one thing April Nightingale is determined to do, it's to get her pet swans, Daphne and Gerald, to mate. She's convinced it would've happened by now if Gerald wasn't so fond of spending his days in their neighbor's pond. Determined to get her wandering waterfowl back, April decides to steal him back, only to find herself waist-deep in pond scum, staring up at the most beautiful man. Leopold Derring wasn't expecting to come across a swan thief in his pond, especially not a charming one with the cutest gap-toothed grin. Ever the gentleman, Leo comes to April's rescue, and it's clear to him that one day with this woman will never be enough. But with April set to wed another, can Leo convince her to be more like her swans and follow her heart rather than duty?

I don't care for swans, except when they're in a historical romance helping our two main characters fall in love. I mainly picked this up because the title was so absurd, so I didn't know what to expect, but I loved it. I thought the writing was so witty and had me laughing out loud. It's impressive how Vernon was able to tell an entertaining story in such a short amount of time. I enjoyed watching April and Leo fall for one another (though, yes, it's very insta-lovey), and I thought they had great banter. And their chemistry? Whoo, boy, was it off the charts. I was a little nervous that the characters wouldn't feel well-developed given the shorter length of this, but that wasn't the case. Vernon did a good job at bringing depth to both of them, and they never felt one-dimensional. If you're looking for a fun, steamy romance novella, I recommend checking it out.

Rating: 4/5