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


  1. I'm not a big historical fiction reader, but I love the title of the third book!


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