Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January Wrap-up

Hello, all!

Did this month seem to drag for anyone else? I also seemed to have already failed at my goal of trying to read slower 🤷


Nine Liars- Maureen Johnson; 3/5
Little Eve- Catriona Ward; 2/5
Fledgling- Octavia E. Butler; 2/5
Spare- Prince Harry; *No rating for memoirs
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy- Becky Chambers; 3.5/5
Clown in a Cornfield- Adam Cesare; 3.5/5
Strega- Johanne Lykke Holm; 3/5
The Ballad of Never After- Stephanie Garber; 4.5/5
Witcha Gonna Do?- Avery Flynn; 2/5


The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World; Vols 2-4; 3/5
The Six Deaths of the Saint- Alix E. Harrow; 4/5
Get Thee Off My Lawn- Daria Vernon; 4/5
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute- Talia Hibbert; 2/5
What the Dead Know- Nghi Vo; 3/5
The Candles are Burning- Veronica G. Henry; 3/5
Secretly Yours- Tessa Bailey; 2/5


Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries- Heather Fawcett; 4/5
Jackal- Erin E. Adams; 4/5
Hell Bent- Leigh Bardugo; 3/5
The Davenports- Krystal Marquis; 3/5
Seven Faceless Saints- M.K. Lobb; 4/5
Keeper of Enchanted Rooms- Charlie N. Holmberg; 5/5
The Final Empire- Brandon Sanderson; 3.5/5 (re-read)

Some favorites were: Keeper of Enchanted Rooms, The Ballad of Never After, and The Six Deaths of the Saint. Least favorites were: Secretly Yours, Little Eve, and Fledgling.

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

Monday, January 30, 2023

January OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme to kick off the year was "Courting the Fae," so let's get to it!

First up, we had the start of another pin collection. This one is inspired by The Cruel Prince. I'm not a huge fan of that series, but I think the design is cool.

I always love when boxes add in items that are actually useful, and I don't have a tape measure, so this one inspired by An Enchantment of Ravens is perfect!

Sticking with The Cruel Prince theme, we then had this tote bag. I really love the forest green color, but I wish I loved this series more to use it.

Next up, we had this travel mug which is my favorite! I just love the woodland theme OwlCrate went with for this box.

The last item was this acrylic light up display board inspired by ACOTAR. I'm not sure if I'll actually use this, but it's pretty.

The book this month was The Buried and the Bound by Rochelle Hassan. This follows Aziza, who is the only hedgewitch in Blackthorn, Massachusetts, and spends most of her time keeping the peace between the mortal world and that of the Fae. However, when a dark and sinister force awakens in the depths of the woods, Aziza finds herself forging new friendships in unlikely places to combat the threat and take back her hometown.

I've never heard of this book before, but it sounds interesting and I love what OwlCrate did with the edition. Let me know what you thought of this months box!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

Time for another library haul! I actually have read almost all of these already since I forgot to post this 😅 Let me know if you've read any of these!

1. Keeper of Enchanted Rooms- Charlie N. Holmberg
2. Clown in a Cornfield- Adam Cesare
3. The Ballad of Never After- Stephanie Garber
4. The Final Empire- Brandon Sanderson (This is a re-read for me because I never continued on with the series, and I want to be a Brandon Sanderson girly!)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 1-24-23
Adult - Historical Romance

Her Lessons in Persuasion- Megan Frampton: Lady Wilhelmina Bettesford would rather spend her time studying the stars than looking for a husband. But when her father unexpectedly brings home a wife younger than Wilhelmina, she finds herself thrust into society. Her new stepmother is sure that if the men of the ton see Wilhelmina on the arm of another man, they'll throw their cap at her as well, so she enlists the help of Bram Townsend, a barrister, to pretend to woo Wilhelmina. The only problem is the more time the pair spend together, the more they can't deny their growing attraction. Neither one entered this agreement intending to marry, but true love can be very persuasive.

I'll pick up any romance book if it has a fake dating trope, and I was so looking forward to this one. Sadly, it didn't work for me. I found the whole thing so boring. The writing felt repetitive and awkward, and I couldn't get invested in the plot. I did like our main characters, Wilhelmina and Bram, and thought they complemented one another nicely, but I wanted more from them. The relationship was a bit slower than I liked, and the payoff was slightly underwhelming. I did enjoy Bram's group of friends and will most likely pick up their books, but unfortunately, this one wasn't my favorite.

Rating: 2/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for this copy!

Pub Date: 1-24-23
Adult - Historical Romance

The Duke Gets Even- Joanna Shupe: Most women her age look forward to the prospect of marriage, but Nellie Young is not one of them. She has purposefully ruined her reputation and would rather spend nights stealing kisses from men in the ocean and living life to the fullest. To save his crumbling estate, the Duke of Lockwood is determined to find an American heiress, preferably one with a spotless reputation. On the outside, he may seem the perfect and proper Duke, but inside, Lockwood hides some dark desires. Nellie and Lockwood have been circling each other for months, both drawn in by the undeniable attraction brimming between them. Nellie sees the true Lockwood beneath his stuffy interior and embraces him fully but is Lockwood willing to sacrifice everything to follow his heart?

I didn't think anything could top the previous book in this series for me, but then along came Lockwood. I've loved every little snipe and interaction between him and Nellie we've gotten so far, so I was beyond excited to see their story unfold, and Shupe more than delivered. The chemistry between them was so palpable that I was surprised the pages weren't smoking. There was so much tension brewing under the surface every time they bickered, and it was explosive once their dynamic switched. I binged this in pretty much one sitting because I was so addicted. I loved how strong and independent Nellie was. She was brash and so unapologetically herself. Lockwood seemed so prim and proper, but in private, he was rough and demanding but still vulnerable and cared so much for Nellie. Everything about this, from the characters to the plot (I loved how passionate Nellie was about reproductive rights), worked so well for me, and it's easily my favorite in the series.

Rating: 5/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for this copy!

Pub Date: 10-4-22
Adult - Horror
Jackal- Erin E. Adams: Liz Rocher doesn't have fond memories of growing up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Being a person of color in a predominately white town, Liz was often ostracized and looked down upon, and left town as soon as she was able. The only reason Liz has come back home is to attend her best friend's wedding. But sometime during the reception, the bride's daughter, Caroline, goes missing in the woods. Liz can't help but notice the half-hearted attempts at finding Caroline, so she does her investigating. She discovers a pattern dating back years of young black girls going missing during the summer solstice. Some have reappeared mutilated; some haven't been found at all. Liz refuses to let that same fate befall Caroline, but the more she digs into the town's history, the more secrets she uncovers.

I've had this book on my radar for a while, and I'm so glad I finally decided to pick it up. The writing and the premise were so good. Adams had me hooked from the very first page. She wasn't afraid to confront hard topics such as racism and classism, which made for a compelling read. I also loved how she mixed in so many different genres, from horror to thriller to mystery, and even sprinkled in some magical realism. With that said, the ending is what kind of lost me. The first two-thirds of this book was a solid five stars for me, but I thought the end went off the rails. I didn't love the direction it went in, and I would've liked something a little more believable. Despite that, I would highly recommend picking this up, and I can't wait to check out more from this author.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Blog Tour: The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone Review

Hello, all!

I hadn't heard much about The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges before the publisher reached out regarding the blog tour, but I read the synopsis and was instantly charmed. Big thanks to them for having me!

Pub Date: 1-24-23
Adult - Fantasy

After a car accident when she was younger took the life of her beloved step-grandma, Trixie, and left her scarred, Myra Malone hasn't left her house. She seeks refuge in the mansion (not a dollhouse) she inherited from Trixie, spending days working on new furniture to add, rearranging the rooms, and crafting stories to go along with it. When her friend convinces her to share the mansion online, Myra didn't expect anyone would care and is shocked when she gains a massive following. Soon, everyone is taken by the enigmatic Myra as they are with the ever-changing mansion.

While working at his family's furniture business, Alex Rakes keeps coming across patrons looking to match the aesthetic of a mysterious mansion. One customer shows him a picture of the mansion, and Alex is bewildered to find himself staring at a smaller version of his own home. How can a stranger across the country know his family home down to the most minute detail? Alex reaches out to Myra, and soon the pair strike a correspondence, hoping to unravel the mystery tying them together.

If you're looking for a warm book to curl up with once winter hits, this is it. Everything about it felt cozy. Burges' writing is inviting and whimsical. I enjoyed all the magical touches peppered throughout. I liked the premise of these two lonely people connecting over this strange mystery. There were certain aspects of both Myra and Alex that I could relate to, so it was easy to become invested in their story. However, the pacing was a little rocky, especially with all the changing timelines, and I wish we had a little more explanation of the magic. Aside from that, I thought this was charming.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Nine Liars Review (Truly Devious, #5)

Hello, all!

I've been such a fan of the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson since it came out, so I'm loving the fact that she just keeps churning out more with the latest installment being Nine Liars.

Pub Date: 12-27-22
YA - Mystery

Everyone has their senior year at Ellingham Academy all figured out except for Stevie Bell. Her friends are filling out college applications, and her boyfriend, David, is studying abroad in London. Without a case to solve, Stevie has found herself adrift and listless. So when David invites her and her friends to London, Stevie jumps at the opportunity. There she meets David's new friend Izzy, who enlists Stevie's help in solving a 1995 double-murder cold case that her aunt was involved. 

Back in 1995, Izzy's aunt was part of a group at Cambridge University dubbed "The Nine." The group did everything together: lived, worked, dated, fought, and made up. One night, they decide to go up to the manor house of one of the members, where they proceeded to get drunk and play a game of hide-and-seek. By morning, two of the members were found murdered in the woodshed by an axe. The case was assumed to be a botched burglary, but one of the remaining seven saw something unexplainable, and Stevie is determined to find out what.

As I mentioned, I love this series. They're fun, twisty mysteries that, while predictable, always keep me entertained. This latest installment was no exception. I loved being back in Stevie's mindset as she tried to puzzle out clues and fit everything together. Admittedly, as the series goes on, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit because there's no way a high schooler keeps solving these decades-long cold cases, but it's whatever. It wasn't my favorite mystery of the bunch, but I did like how it all wrapped up in the end. I couldn't figure out the murderer, so watching Stevie piece it together was satisfying. However, the end of the book had me rolling my eyes and not looking forward to whatever drama will unfold in the next book. 

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 1-17-23
YA - Fantasy

Mysteries of Thorn Manor- Margaret Rogerson: Elisabeth Scrivener and Nathaniel Thorn are trying to settle into normal life after defeating an evil sorcerer. They, along with their demon companion, Silas, and new maid, Mercy, have taken to shutting out the world (not to mention the annoying reporters), but they can't help noticing something strange is going on with Thorn Manor. The wards meant to keep the estate safe are acting up, leaving the inhabitants trapped inside. It's only a coincidence that this started happening once Elisabeth and Nathaniel grew closer, right? It becomes clear that the house requires a price to keep it in line, and Elisabeth and Nathaniel set off to appease it. But with the Midwinter Ball, which they're supposed to host, looming closer, will they be able to settle the house in time?

I adore Sorcery of Thorns, so I was very excited to learn there would be a follow-up. While I usually find novellas a bit unnecessary, I enjoyed this one. Mostly, that had to do with the characters. I love Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas so much. The dynamic between the three is my favorite, and I was happy to be back in this world with them. The plot was also amusing. I love the idea that the house is cursed by one of Nathaniel's prudish ancestors, who gets upset whenever Elisabeth and Nathaniel show affection. It lead to so many funny moments (like fighting against enchanted bloomers), and there were quite a few times when I was chuckling to myself. I don't think you need to reread the first book before picking this up, but it does help. It may not have added much to the story, but it was fluffy and cute and kept me entertained.

Rating: 4/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for this copy!

Pub Date: 8-30-22
Adult - Historical Fiction

Carrie Soto is Back- Taylor Jenkins Reid: Carrie Soto lives and breathes tennis. When she was young, her father, a former tennis champ, started coaching her, and soon Carrie only had one goal in mind: to become the best, and she did. By the time she retired, Carrie was the best player in the world. She won twenty Grand Slam titles and broken countless records, and in her opinion, she deserved every one. She sacrificed everything to become the best, and she has no regrets. But when her title is threatened by a new player, Carrie decides to come out of her six-year retirement. At thirty-seven, no one expects Carrie to have what it takes to play at the level she once did, but that just feeds her fire to win, and Carrie will do whatever it takes to defend her title.

I'll preface this by saying I enjoy TJR's books, but I wasn't the target audience for this one. I don't enjoy books about sports, but I wanted to give it a go, and it was meh. Maybe if I liked tennis, I'd have enjoyed this more, but I was so bored. Because it's not a sport I'm familiar with or care about, I wasn't invested in the plot. I also couldn't stand Carrie. She was so unlikable. She was arrogant and, I hate to say it, but a huge bitch. She was so focused on winning and was childish when things didn't go her way. She came out of retirement because another athlete was about to beat her record? Give me a break. It was too power-hungry for me and left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm all for a strong-willed character, but there's a difference between being confident and being mean. I wanted to like this, but it wasn't for me.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 3-31-20
Adult - Historical Romance

The Earl Takes a Fancy- Lorraine Heath: Fancy Trewlove may have been born out of wedlock, but she's determined to achieve her mother's dream of her marrying into nobility. Thanks to her siblings, Fancy got the best education and etiquette lessons to help bring her into society, hoping her intellect would make any suitors overlook her scandalous birth. But Fancy's plans are turned upside down when she starts developing feelings for a commoner who starts visiting her bookshop. It's been a year since Matthew Sommersby, the Earl of Rosemont's wife passed away, and he suddenly finds himself plagued by women hoping to take her place. Desperate to get away, Matthew flees high society for some peace where no one knows who he is. When he stumbles upon Fancy's shop, he can't help falling for the spirited owner. Soon, their attraction becomes too hot to ignore, but with secrets between them, can they trust each other with their hearts?

I adored this! I read it in one sitting because I was completely hooked. I loved the characters, the setting, and most of all, Fancy's family. She's surrounded by family members who want the best for her but tend to be a bit meddlesome. I loved how protective they were of her but still allowed her to stand on her own. While the sibling relationship was great, the real highlight was Fancy's relationship with Matthew. It was so tender and sweet. The progression of friends into something more felt so natural, and they had great chemistry. While I didn't love the use of the miscommunication trope at the end, I thought it all wrapped up nicely, and I can't wait to pick up the other books in the series.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, January 14, 2023

I Started a BookTube!

Hello, all!

After hemming and hawing for ages, I finally decided to bite the bullet and start a BookTube channel! If you're interested in watching me be super awkward as I try to figure it all out, you can check out my first video below.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know I've been trying to make a point of using my local library rather than buying books. Because of that, I haven't done a book haul in ages, but I love seeing them, so I was thinking of starting library hauls. 

Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in seeing more of!

1. Reader, I Murdered Him- Betsy Cornwell
2. Fledgling- Octavia E. Butler
3. Little Eve- Catriona Ward
4. Jackal- Erin E. Adams
5. A Winter's Promise- Christelle Dabos

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 5-17-22
YA - Contemporary

See You Yesterday- Rachel Lynn Solomon: After ending high school on a disastrous note, Barrett Bloom is looking forward to a fresh start in college. But then her ex-best friend is her roommate, she botches her interview for the school paper, is humiliated by a cute know-it-all in her physics class, and if that wasn't enough, she accidentally sets a frat house on fire. All Barrett wants to do is go back to her dorm, fall asleep, and forget about her terrible first day, but of course, she's locked out, forcing her to sleep in the common room. The next morning, Barrett finds herself back in her dorm room, reliving the first day of school all over again. And again, and again, and again. Somehow Barrett's found herself in a time loop, but that's not the worst part. Trapped along with her is Miles, her physics bully, who's been stuck for months. The pair begrudgingly work together to find a way out, only to discover that spending countless days in each other's company isn't that bad. But what will happen to them once they finally get to tomorrow?

I've enjoyed all Solomon's other YA books, but this one didn't do it for me. I don't think Groundhog Day tropes are for me. I expected it to be very repetitive, seeing as how the characters are reliving the same day over and over, so that wasn't an issue. My problem with this was that it was way too long. It's over 400-pages and for what? There was no reason for it to be that long. I think if it were 50-100 pages shorter, the story would've worked better. I also didn't love Barrett. There were times I found her so obnoxious and annoying. However, I did like her relationship with Miles and thought it was cute watching them grow closer while stuck in the loop, but it wasn't enough to make up for the subpar plot. Sadly, this whole thing was a disappointment for me.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 6-21-22
Adult - Contemporary

Maggie Moves On- Lucy Score: Maggie Nichols has amassed quite the following from hosting a home renovation show on YouTube. She's always on the hunt for her next fixer-upper, which is how she lands in a small town in Idaho. Maggie is ready to tackle her biggest job by restoring a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. Maggie's on a tight schedule and doesn't have time for the charming landscaper, Silas Wright. Smooth-talking Silas is not afraid of Maggie and seems to have made it his mission to break through her walls, but Maggie isn't looking to lay down roots. But the more time they spend together, the more they can't deny their attraction to one another. With the end of the project looming, Maggie must decide to either pack up and move to the next or stay and follow her heart.

I was hesitant to pick this up because I believe romances shouldn't be longer than ~350-pages. I don't see the reasoning behind dragging a story out to where you're teetering over the 400+ page mark. I'm happy to report that this wasn't the case here. The story never felt slow, and I was entertained the entire time. I liked Score's writing style and thought the flirty banter between Maggie and Silas was spot-on. There were moments when I thought Silas came off a little too possessive and arrogant, but I liked him nonetheless (his adorable dog helped.) I liked how taken he was with Maggie right from the start, and it was cute watching their playfulness turn into something more. I also loved the family Maggie found in all the other townspeople. It added another layer to the story. I liked watching as they all chipped in to redo the house and the subsequent treasure hunt. Overall, I thought this was super fun and steamy, and I'd be interested in picking up more of her books.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 10-26-21
Adult - Historical Romance

The Lady Gets Lucky- Joanna Shupe: Alice Lusk has always been shy, but she knows she has to be bold if she wants to snag a husband after more than just her dowry. Alice doesn't know the first thing about the opposite sex, but she has a plan to find out. Christopher “Kit” Ward is a known playboy looking to open up a supper club in New York City, but he needs the best chef in the city to guarantee its success. When Alice proposes a trade of recipes from her famous chef friend in exchange for lessons on seduction, Kit reluctantly agrees. Soon, their secret nighttime lessons grow heated, and neither can deny the attraction forming between them. Kit has sworn off marriage, but when the gentlemen start calling on Alice, will he change his tune?

I love the trope of a shy wallflower propositioning a rake for bedroom tips. It always leads to a fun time, and this was no exception. I loved Alice and Kit right from the beginning. Alice was very quiet and, thanks to her mother (who I hated), had zero self-esteem, so watching her blossom with every interaction with Kit was delightful. I loved how she transformed into such a confident person around him. He took such care of her and always made she was okay. It was so sweet. I also liked watching him shed his layers and open up to Alice in return. This felt a bit tame at times, but the slow build-up was satisfying in the end. I've already ordered the other books in the series and can't wait to start them.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries Review (Emily Wilde, #1)

Hello, all!

I kicked off my year by reading one of my most anticipated books, Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett, and let me tell you, it was the best. 

Pub Date: 1-10-23
Adult - Historical Fantasy

Emily Wilde is a professor at Cambridge and the foremost expert on the studies of faeries. She's brilliant at what she does and has spent the better part of a decade compiling all of her faerie research into an encyclopedia. But what Emily isn't good at is dealing with people. She would much rather spend her nights with her nose in a book than mingling at social gatherings. So the last thing on Emily's mind when she set off to study the fae in the small village of Hrafnsvik was befriending the locals.

When Emily arrives in Hrafnsvik, her aloof behavior offends the head woman of the town, making the rest of the villagers steer clear. That wouldn't bother Emily if she didn't require their assistance with her research. To make matters worse, Wendell Bambleby, Emily's frustratingly handsome academic rival, has decided to show up to help. Wendell wastes no time charming the locals and interfering with Emily's studies. But as Emily closes in on the secrets of the town's Hidden Ones--the most elusive of fae--, she finds herself amid another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, and what is he hiding?

I loved the academic, cottage-core vibe of this. Fawcett's writing was so easy to fall into; it was whimsical and fun while still having a dark edge. I thought having this told in journal entries was also super effective. Aside from the writing, my favorite part was the characters. Emily and Wendell were everything. Emily was a bit standoff-ish, and Wendell was like a puppy trying to get someone to play with them. I loved their teasing banter, and I can't wait to see how their relationship progresses. Even though I would consider this a cozy fantasy, it isn't all lighthearted, and there are some intense moments. If you like a combination of historical fiction, mystery, and fantasy then I highly recommend picking this up.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 5-13-21
Adult - Historical Fiction

The Wolf Den- Elodie Harper: Amara went from being the daughter of a noted doctor in Greece to a slave in one of Pompeii's notorious brothels. The Wolf Den is run by a cruel man who cares more about making money than the welfare of the women in his employ. Amara refuses to let her spirits be broken and finds solace in the friendships she forges with the brothel's other women. They all come from different backgrounds but are tied together by the hopes and dreams they share. Even though they're down, they aren't out. The streets of Pompeii are full of opportunities if one only knows where to look. But Amara quickly learns that freedom doesn't come cheap, and the price might be more than she's willing to pay.

I think my expectations were a little too high going into this. I hyped it up so much in my head, thinking I would love it immediately, and that wasn't the case. I liked it, but it didn't grip me as I was hoping. I thought the setting was unique as I've never read anything set in Pompeii before, but I would've liked more details as it felt like it could've been anywhere. The highlight of this was the characters. Harper doesn't shy away from depicting the brutality of being a slave during this period, but I thought she showcased the strength and perseverance of women beautifully. Amara and the rest of the women in the brothel form a family of sorts, and I loved watching how they looked out for one another. Plot-wise, it didn't feel like much happened at all. The pacing was very slow, and there were times I found my attention wavering. Despite that, I did think Harper's writing was very lush, so I'd still recommend it if you don't mind heavier books.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-29-22
YA - Fantasy

A Magic Steeped in Poison- Judy I. Lin: When Ning unknowingly brewed the poisoned tea that killed her mother, she thought her life couldn't get any worse. But now her sister's life hangs in the balance after ingesting the same tea. Ning's only hope of saving her sister lies in a competition to find the kingdom's greatest Shennong-shi--a master of the ancient and magical art of tea-making. Whoever wins the competition will receive a favor from the princess. Ning will do whatever it takes to win, including faking her credentials to get her through the gates. Soon, Ning finds herself tangled up in court politics, backstabbing competitors, and a mysterious boy who holds a shocking secret, and it's clear that there's more at stake than just her sister's life.

I love fantasies that have a competition element to them, and this was so fun. The magic system was unlike any I've read before, and I liked seeing all the different properties of the teas and how they were used. I also thought the world-building and lore were well-done. Lin's writing felt very lush and imaginative. There were times I thought it leaned into those stereotypical YA tropes, but I didn't mind that much. I liked following Ning on her journey navigating this cutthroat competition where you don't know who to trust. I probably would've enjoyed this more had I read it physically as I found it a little difficult differentiating the characters while listening to the audiobook, but I'm intrigued enough in the story to pick up the next book.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 6-21-22
Adult - Thriller

The House Across the Lake- Riley Sager: Casey Fletcher was once a well-known actress but now spends more time at the bottom of a bottle than on stage. After getting fired from her most recent job, Casey is sent to her family's lake house in Vermont. Instead of using the opportunity to dry out, Casey wiles away her time drinking whatever liquor she can find and spying on her neighbors, namely the Royces. Tom and Katherine Royce seemingly have a perfect life, but one night, Casey witnesses the pair fighting, and Katherine disappears. Casey becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Katherine, but in the process, she uncovers there are darker secrets at play.

Oof, I'm not having great luck with Sager's books lately. He has a specific formula that he never seems to deviate from, and it makes everything he writes feel unoriginal. I liked the first few books I read from him, but now I'm starting to feel as if I've read them all before. This was no exception. Sager focused more on beating into you Casey's drinking problem (we get it, she likes bourbon) than the plot, which is so lackluster. It was stuffed to the gills with all your typical thriller clichés, and it made the writing feel lazy. I almost wish he hadn't incorporated a supernatural element because it felt so outlandish. There wasn't enough backstory for it to make sense. It was just one more twist Sager threw in to try and make the story more exciting, and it didn't work. Unfortunately, everything from the characters to the plot was a big miss for me.

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

12 Books to Read in 2023

Hello, all!

So Kristin over at Merrily Kristin posted about 12 books she wanted to read in 2023 (check out her picks here!), and I loved that idea as I keep saying I need to read more books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages. 

1. Royal Assassin- Robin Hobb: I've been wanting to get into Hobb's books for so long (I have three of her series just sitting on my shelves), and I finally picked up Assassin's Apprentice back in September and enjoyed it, so I'd like to make my way through the rest of the trilogy.

2. Daughter of the Forest- Juliet Marillier: I feel like 2023 is going to be the year of fantasy series for me, and I've heard nothing but good things about the Sevenwaters series. Every review I've seen of this first book says it's beautifully written and fairy tale-esque.

3. Dracula- Bram Stoker: I love a good vampire story which is why it's surprising that I've never read this before. I wanted to read it this past October, but just never got around to it, so hopefully I'll make time this year.

4. Vicious- V.E. Schwab: This is the only one of Schwab's series I haven't read or at least started, so I'd really like to rectify that. I love Schwab's writing style, and everyone always raves about this series, so I'm excited to start it.

5. Tender is the Flesh- Agustina Bazterrica: This is another I meant to read in October but it fell to the wayside. I know this is a very polarizing book; you either love it or hate it, so I'm intrigued to see where I'll stand.

6. Raybearer- Jordan Ifueko: I've been craving some YA fantasy lately, and I've heard this has a competition element which I can never say no to. I also just love the cover and every time I see it on my shelves, I want to pick it up.

7. Jade City- Fonda Lee: Told you 2023 will be the year of fantasy series. I don't usually gravitate towards urban fantasy, but this series has such high praise that I need to read it.

8. The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater: Honestly, my reasoning behind this one is that I constantly see it on BookTube and BookTok, and there are always items inspired by it in book boxes, and I just need to know what the hype is all about.

9. Hester- Laurie Lico Albanese: I love reading historical fiction in the wintertime, so I think this'll be the perfect read to ease me into the new year. I also love when stories are based on real people or events, and I actually saw Nathaniel Hawthorne's house when I went to Salem a few years ago, so I have to pick this up.

10. Other Birds- Sarah Addison Allen: I loved Allen's work when I was in high school, but really haven't read her since. I loved how she writes magical realism and family dynamics, so when I saw this as a BOTM pick a while back, I had to choose it. I'm hoping she's still as good as I remember.

11. Jim Henson: The Biography- Brian Jay Jones: A little fun fact about me is that I'm obsessed with the Muppets. I've loved them since I was a kid, and they're always my go-to if I'm upset or sick or just want to brighten my day. I'm trying to make it a point to read more non-fiction, so this was a no-brainer pick.

12. The City of Dusk- Tara Sim: This was one of the first books we got in the adult FairyLoot box, so it's been sitting on my shelves for quite some time now. I believe the second book comes out sometime in the summer, so I'd like to read this before then.

What are some books you'd like to get to this year?