Mysteries of Thorn Manor- Margaret Rogerson:
|Pub Date: 1-17-23|
YA - Fantasy
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.
*Big thanks to the publisher for this copy!
Carrie Soto is Back- Taylor Jenkins Reid:
|Pub Date: 8-30-22|
Adult - Historical Fiction
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.
The Earl Takes a Fancy- Lorraine Heath:
|Pub Date: 3-31-20|
Adult - Historical Romance
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.