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


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