Thursday, August 31, 2023

August Wrap-up

Hello, all!

I don't usually make a monthly TBR, but I noticed I was getting behind on Netgalley, so I dubbed this ARC August. I managed to get through a few, but I still have a bit to catch up on, which will be September's task!


The Titan's Curse- Rick Riordan; 3/5 (re-read)
The Battle of the Labyrinth- Rick Riordan; 4/5 (re-read)
The Honeymoon Crashers- Christina Lauren; 4/5
You, With a View- Jessica Joyce; 3/5
Raybearer- Jordan Ifueko; 3/5
The Chateau- Jaclyn Goldis; 2/5
The Marvellers- Dhonielle Clayton; 2/5
The Seven Year Slip- Ashley Poston; 3/5
Our Hideous Progeny- C.E. McGill; 3/5
Masters of Death- Olivie Blake; 2/5


You, Again- Kate Goldbeck; 3/5
A Study in Drowning- Ava Reid; 3.5/5
Foxglove- Adalyn Grace; 3/5
I Loved You in Another Life- David Arnold; 3/5
Yona of the Dawn, Vols. 26-29; 4/5
Unleashed Holiday- Victoria Schade; 3/5
Thieves' Gambit- Kayvion Lewis; 3/5
The Unmaking of June Farrow- Adrienne Young; 3/5
Betting On You- Lynn Painter; 5/5


A Twisted Love Story- Samantha Downing; 3/5
The Only One Left- Riley Sager; 3/5
Over My Dead Body- Sweeney Boo; 3/5
Where Are Your Boys Tonight?: The Oral History of Emo's Mainstream Explosion 1999-2008; No rating 
Lady Tan's Circle of Women- Lisa See; 3/5
A Guide to Being Just Friends- Sophie Sullivan; 3/5
Dark Water Daughter- H.M. Long; 3/5
Medusa's Sisters- Lauren J.A. Bear; 3/5
Bookshop Cinderella- Laura Lee Guhrke; 3/5
House of Roots and Ruin- Erin. A. Craig; 3/5

Some favorites were: The Honeymoon Crashers, A Study in Drowning, and Betting On You. Least favorites were: Dark Water Daughter, Masters of Death, and The Chateau.

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

August OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for this month was "Through the Seasons." Let's get to it!

First up was the latest Treasured Tomes pin. This one was inspired by Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries. 

Then there was this vegan solid perfume inspired by An Enchantment of Ravens. I'm not a huge fan of woodsy scents, so I'm not going to use this, but it would be good for fall.

Next was the next installment in their Story Doorway series. This one is obviously inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia.

Then we had this annotation kit inspired by The Fifth Season. I'm not sure if I'll use these because those tabs are the thinnest I've ever seen, but I'm a sucker for these things.

The last item was this ACOTAR inspired tin. It has the Night Court emblem on the top and the sides all depict art from all the other courts. This is cute, but I don't really use these, so I may pass it along.

This months book was Omen of Ice by Jus Accardo. This follows a druid named Keltania who has trained her whole life to become a bodyguard for a Winter Fae. Things take a turn when her assignment turns out to be Valen, the heir to the throne. Keltania is determined to protect Valen despite his protests, and soon they realize that something isn't quite right within the kingdom.

I love the ice blue sprayed edges of this. It gives off such a wintery vibe. I haven't heard the best reviews for this book, so I'm interested to see what I'll think. Let me know what you think of this months box!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 8-29-23
Adult - Contemporary

My Roommate is a Vampire- Jenna Levine: Cassie Greenberg loves being an artist, but it doesn't pay the bills. She's days away from being evicted from her apartment and is desperate to find somewhere to live other than her best friend's couch. When she comes across an ad for a beautiful apartment that seems way too good to be true, Cassie figures she has nothing left to lose. Right off the bat, Cassie senses there's something off about her new roommate, Frederick J. Fitzwilliam. He's pale, oddly formal, sleeps all day, and stays out all night. He also leaves sweet notes for Cassie, asking her about her day or her artwork, and genuinely seems interested in getting to know her. But when Cassie finds a bag of blood in the fridge, she realizes her new roommate is hiding a big secret.

The premise of this sounded too good to pass up. While it was fun, I didn't love it as much as I hoped to. I think it was due to the structure of the story. Nothing felt fully fleshed out. It was almost as if the whole thing was still in its idea phase. I wanted more of Frederick and his backstory. It felt like everything about him was dumped on us at the end rather than building up to it. I also wished we got to see more of his vampire side. However, he was my favorite character because he was so hopeless and buttoned-up that he was funny without even trying. The romance between him and Cassie was okay, but again, it felt surface-level. It was a super quick read--I read it in one sitting--and I would still recommend it if you're looking for a quirky supernatural romance.

Rating: 3/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 8-29-23
YA - Fantasy

House of Marionne- J. Elle: Quell has spent most of her seventeen years on the run with her mother. They bounce from city to city, trying to hide the magic in Quell's veins from those who seek to do her harm. But with an assassin trailing them, Quell is determined to keep her mother out of harm's way, so she decides to enroll in the Order, a debutante society full of magically social elites. All Quell has to do is pass three rights to become a member, and she'll have to tools to bury her magic forever. Turns out, becoming a debutante is harder than Quell imagined, especially when she has to deal with Jordan, her mentor and assassin-in-training. When Quell discovers just how far the Order will go to defend its wealth and power, she must choose between embracing the magic she's feared her whole life or risking losing everything she's come to love.

The synopsis promised some lofty goals, and I don't think it was delivered. I was prepared to get swept up in secret societies and dark magic, but it all felt bland. I don't think the world-building was strong enough to immerse yourself fully. Things felt either glossed over or not explained, especially the magic system and the different Houses. We kept getting told how powerful the Order was, but I never got the true sense. I also found it hard to connect with the characters. None of them felt fleshed-out, especially Quell, which made me not care about what happened to them. The romance between Quell and Jordan was fine, but again, nothing to write home about. I think this had a lot of potential, but it sadly missed the mark for me.

Rating: 2/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 9-6-22
YA - Horror

The Weight of Blood- Tiffany D. Jackson: Maddy Washington has always been an outcast in her small hometown. Through the years, she's learned to deal with the taunting bullies because she knows it would be even worse if they discovered her secret. Maddy is biracial but has been passing as white her entire life at the urging of her fanatical white father. After an incident during gym class reveals Maddy's secret, Maddy is targeted worse than ever. When videos of Maddy's bullying go viral, the town knows that it needs to clean up its image, so they decide to throw the first-ever non-segregated prom as a show of unity. But when Maddy shows up on the arm of one of the most popular kids at school, she learns that her classmates have planned a terrible surprise, which may cost them their lives.

I've had this on my radar for so long, and I'm kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. Everything about it-- from the characters to the pacing to the social commentary--is incredibly well-done. There are so many moments that are uncomfortable to read but so important to discuss. Jackson wasn't afraid to hold up a mirror to society, and it was so powerful. I knew going into this that it was a reimagining of Carrie, so I had a feeling about how the story would play out, but it was still so compelling. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for it all to go down, and it was perfect. It's a heavier (and infuriating) read, but I loved every second of it.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 3-28-23
Adult - Historical Fantasy

The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill- Rowenna Miller: Many people don't believe in faerie superstition, but Alaine Fairborns family knows them to be true. After all, they owe their entire livelihood to a faerie bargain. The veil between worlds is thinner on the Fairborn's property, and they have been making small trades with the fae for years. Whether to find something lost or for a better harvest that year. When Delphine, Alaine's sister, confides that her new husband isn't the man she thought, Alaine is determined to help her escape. Alaine knows that trading small favors will only give them so much time, and they'll have to sacrifice something big. But will freedom be worth the price?

Honestly, this was a complete cover buy for me. Once I read the synopsis, I thought it'd be right up my alley. I love historical fantasy, and I love stories about the fae. Sadly, this one didn't hit the mark. I was so bored. Nothing about the plot kept my attention, so it felt like the book took ages to end. There were so many times I thought about DNF'ing it, but I kept hoping it would get better. It took forever for anything to happen, and once it did, it all felt so predictable. I did enjoy the fae lore, and Miller's writing was beautiful, but it was just too slow.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 6-21-22
YA - Fantasy

This Wicked Fate- Kalynn Bayron: When Briseis' mother was taken, she received a seemingly impossible task from the goddess Hecate: to find the last fragment of the Absyrtus Heart. Briseis and her family have been the guardians of this deadly plant for generations and have sacrificed everything to keep it safe from those who would use it for harm. One of the pieces was lost to time, but if Briseis wants to save her mother's life, she'll have to use all her resources to find it. Briseis and her newfound family will need to face off with fickle gods, journey to a magical island, and outwit dangerous enemies if they hope to save her mother's soul before it's too late.

I read This Poison Heart recently, and after that ending, I knew I needed to pick this up ASAP. Like the first book, I was instantly swept up in the story and devoured it in one sitting. I love the magical system and seeing Briseis' power develop even more. She became so confident in her abilities, and it was satisfying to see her blossom (pun intended.) I also liked the quest element. It added so much adventure to the plot. I thought it took too long to kick off, but when it did, it was entertaining. The only thing that didn't work for me was the romance. It felt very surface-level. I'm not sure if maybe it's because I'm not the biggest fan of Marie, but I didn't feel the connection between her and Briseis. Other than that, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it if you like stories inspired by Greek mythology.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-28-23
YA - Horror

In Nightfall- Suzanne Young:
 Theo and her brother Marco threw an outrageous house party, and now are getting shipped off to spend the summer with their estranged grandmother. Neither has ever been, nor even heard of, their father's hometown of Nightfall, Oregon before, and aren't sure what to expect. When they arrive at the quaint seaside town, it looks like any small town, just rainier, but the real shock is their grandmother. She's eccentric, superstitious, and a bit of a recluse. She also has strict rules for Theo and Marco: no talking to strangers and being home before dark. On their first night, Theo and Marco meet the charismatic Minnow and her friends and get swept into their magnetic pull. But Theo starts to realize something isn't quite right about Minnow, her friends, or Nightfall and that maybe her grandmother was right to warn them about the dark.

If you're looking for a fun vampire book, look no further. I had such a blast reading this and devoured it in one sitting. I loved the creepy, small-town setting and the sibling relationship between Theo and Marco. Was this a perfect book? No. There were some bits, like the podcast element, that I thought were unnecessary, and it took a little while for the plot to kick off. Was it predictable? Yes, especially if you've seen The Lost Boys. But was it entertaining? Absolutely, I'd recommend it to anyone in the mood for a campy horror book.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Book Haul

Hello, all!

I'm so excited to be working with again for another fun book haul! is a fantastic website that I've quickly become obsessed with. Its whole purpose is to be an alternate way for shoppers to buy books that support local indie stores rather than bigger corporations. In the years since sites like Amazon have blown up, indie bookstores have suffered, and uses its platform to help financially support those stores. My favorite part is that you can choose which local indie you'd like to support, and the profits of your order go directly to them. You get books and your local indie gets the support it deserves-- it's a win-win for all!

Now, onto the books! I had a theme in mind for this haul, which was books I thought would be good for the end of summer/transition into fall. Let me know if you've read any!

1. Mrs. Nash's Ashes- Sarah Adler
2. The Modern Girl's Guide to Magic- Linsey Hall
3. The Only Purple House in Town- Ann Aguirre
4. The Heiress at Sea- Christi Caldwell
5. The Blonde Identity- Ally Carter

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

It's impossible for me to borrow an average amount of books from the library 😅

1. A Guide to Being Just Friends- Sophie Sullivan
2. Masters of Death- Olivie Blake
3. House of Roots and Ruin- Erin A. Craig
4. Foul Lady Fortune- Chloe Gong
5. Vampires of El Norte- Isabel Cañas
6. All Hallows- Christopher Golden
7. Lady Tan's Circle of Women- Lisa See

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Harry Potter Exhibit

Hello, all!

If you're new here: hi, hello, I'm Heather, and I'm a massive Harry Potter fan. Once I heard that there was a new exhibit in Herald Square, I knew I needed to take a trip to NYC to see it. 

I loved this exhibit. It was chock full of props, costumes, and locations from the movies. It was also super interactive. You got a band when you walked in, and you could fill out your name, Hogwarts house, and even pick your wand and Patronus. There were also little stations throughout where you could earn house points. There are also so many fun photo ops all over.

This is only here for a limited time, so if you're a fan in the NY area, I recommend checking it out. You can head over to their website here!

You can check out all of my (many) photos below!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to the publishers for these copies!

Pub Date: 8-15-23
Adult - Fantasy

Thornhedge- T. Kingfisher: When Toadling was born, she was taken from her parents in the human world and whisked away to faerie land. She grew up among the warm waters of the land, safe and loved by her new family. She was never treated differently and even picked up bits of magic throughout the years. One day, a mighty goddess appears and tells Toadling she must leave her home to get an education. Soon, Toadling gets sent back to her family home to bestow a gift of protection on a newborn child, but something goes wrong. Now, centuries later, a knight fond of legends comes to break the curse on the fair maiden trapped in slumber, but Toadling will do whatever it takes to ensure that doesn't happen.

Can T. Kingfisher reimagine every fairytale? I loved how she took the story of Sleeping Beauty and flipped it on its head. I adored Toadling. She was kind and selfless, and I wanted to protect her at all costs. I admired her dedication to doing the right thing even when everything was against her. Since this is a Kingfisher book, you know you're in for some weirdness, and I enjoyed how she created this faerie world that felt so different from other books. The little family that Toadling forms there is so sweet, and you feel how much they all love one another. I liked the changeling aspect and the earnest, awkward knight full of good intentions. Everything about this was whimsically dark and reminiscent of Nettle and Bone, and I enjoyed every moment.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 8-15-23
YA - Horror

Holly Horror- Michelle Jabès Corpora: After her parent's divorce and leaving everything she knew behind to move to Ravenglass, Massachusetts, Evie Archer is ready for a fresh start. But when Evie pulls up to their new home--dubbed by the locals as the Horror House-- Evie quickly realizes that won't be the case. The house carries a dark past, including the mysterious disappearance of one of Evie's family members. Soon Evie begins to see strange shadows and can feel her life getting taken over by something sinister. The more Evie learns about the house and the ghosts attached to it, the harder it gets to distinguish what's real and what isn't. Can Evie uncover the truth about her new home, or is the past doomed to repeat itself?

I love a good haunted house story, so I was excited to pick this up. It felt like hearing something skittering in the dark behind you, but seeing nothing when you turn to look. There was this sense of creeping terror throughout, and some moments did freak me out (I'll always find old Victorian dolls creepy as hell.) I liked learning about the history of Hobbie House and how it tied into Evie's family. I found it interesting how Evie can glean the otherworldly, and I hope we dive into that more going forward. The plot felt rushed toward the end, and I didn't love how abrupt the ending felt, but I may still be interested enough to pick up the next book.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 8-15-23
YA - Horror

The Last Girls Standing- Jennifer Dugan: Sloan was looking forward to her spending her summer vacation working as a camp counselor far away from her overbearing mother. There she met Cherry, and the pair instantly hit it off, flirting and talking late into the night. But soon, Sloan's carefree summer turned into tragedy when the camp was attacked by masked men with machetes, killing everyone but her and Cherry. Now, months later, Sloan and Cherry are bonded by trauma, but as new information starts coming to light, Sloan can't help but wonder if Cherry is hiding something. The more Cherry tries to prove her innocence, the less Sloan believes her. As Sloan's hazy memories slowly creep back in, will she discover that her girlfriend is a victim or the perpetrator?

After reading the synopsis, I was ready for a fun summer camp slasher, but that isn't what I got. The events take place after the massacre, and you're left sorting out the details of what happened along with Sloan. You quickly realize that she isn't the most reliable of narrators, so you don't know what to believe. I appreciate the attempt to make this a twisty, psychological thriller, but the whole thing needed work. The plot itself was just too messy. Some twists didn't make sense and left so many unanswered questions. The pacing was also super clunky and not engaging. I could look past all that if the characters were amazing, but oof. Sloan and Cherry were the definitions of toxic. Their relationship was so unhealthy. I had high hopes for this one, but sadly, it didn't deliver.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Library Haul

Hello, all!

I had another successful library trip!

1. Dark Water Daughter- H.M. Long
2. Bookshop Cinderella- Laura Lee Guhrke
3. Voyage of the Basilisk- Marie Brennan
4. The Book of Living Secrets- Madeleine Roux
5. Medusa's Sisters- Lauren J.A. Bear
6. The Chateau- Jaclyn Goldis
7. The First Bright Thing- J.R. Dawson

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Once More with Feeling Review

Hello, all!

Do you have a favorite pop group/artist from the early-2000s? I was a huge *Nsync fan, so of course, I needed to pick up Once More with Feeling by Elissa Sussman. 

Pub Date: 5-30-23
Adult - Contemporary

Kathleen Rosenberg was once known as pop sensation Katee Rose. She toured around the world, selling out stadiums as America's pop princess. Everything about Katee was splashed all over the front pages of the tabloids, especially when it came to her relationship with Ryan LaNeve, a member of another popular boyband. But Katee's life and career come crashing down after she spends one unforgettable night with Cal Kirby, a friend who knew her before all the fame and Ryan's bandmate.

Katee Rose may have craved the spotlight, but Kathleen is now content to spend time teaching dance lessons, eating takeout, and lazing about with her cat. It's been years since she fell from the popstar pedestal, but when an opportunity presents itself, Kathleen can't resist the allure. When her best friend writes a new musical, Kathleen can't wait to strap on her dancing shoes and show the world her true talent. But she'll have to impress the director-- Cal Kirby. The pair haven't spoken in years, but it's clear that the attraction between them is still there. But are they willing to risk their careers again for another shot at love?

I was hesitant going into this because it sounded a lot like Sussman's previous book (second chance romance with a celebrity element), and while it did give off some of the same vibes, I found it didn't bother me much. It had that early-2000s popstar craze-Britney and Justin-feel to it, and I ate it up. I liked how Kathleen and Cal knew each other before they were famous. They were just two nerdy musical theatre camp kids who made it big. You could tell from the flashbacks that Kathleen always had this fire to make it in the industry, but Cal just stumbled into it. Their relationship was okay, but it didn't wow me. My other complaint was that it was hard to root for Kathleen. She came across as a bit selfish and overly ambitious, which made for some bratty behavior. Other than that, I thought it was pretty good.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

July OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for July was "Break the Curse", let's get into it!

The first item was this Howl's Moving Castle reusable bag. I have so many of these little bags, but I will never say no to something Howl related.

You all know how much I love useful items, so to get not one but two things? I love it. These highlighters are inspired by To Kill a Kingdom, Six Crimson Cranes, and The Wrath and the Dawn.

Next was the next pin in their Treasured Tomes collection. This one is inspired by Spinning Silver. I tried to read that book but ended up DNF'ing it, but I like the design of the pin.

I'm not usually one for sun-catchers, but this Violet Made of Thorns one is so pretty. I love the drop crystal and the design on the moon.

 I totally forgot that OwlCrate was doing a faux book journal line. This one is based on The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I love the quality of these journals, and I can't wait to see what others they come out with.

The book for July was Garden of the Cursed by Katy Rose Pool. This follows cursebreaker Marlow who reluctantly pretends to be in love with one of the most powerful nobles in Caraza City to gain access to an illustrious and deadly society that holds the key to her mother's disappearance.  

I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds interesting. I also like this edition. The character art on the inside of the jacket gives me Once Upon a Broken Heart vibes. What do you think of July's box?

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 8-1-23
Adult - Contemporary

The Roommate Pact- Allison Ashley: To say Claire Harper's dating life isn't going well is an understatement. She has specific rules when it comes to looking for Mr. Right, but the most important is he can't have a dangerous job. She learned the hard way what that can do to a family if the person doesn't come home, and she refuses to go through that pain again. So when her firefighter roommate proposes that they enter into a marriage of convenience if they're both still single at forty, she hesitantly agrees. Claire still believes she'll find her perfect match before then, but when Graham is seriously injured, and Claire has to tend to him, she can't deny her attraction. The pair decide to forgo waiting and try their hand at friends-with-benefits, but the closer they get, the more they realize this is a forever type of deal.

I ate this book up in one sitting. I thought it was so much fun. I loved the banter between Claire and Graham. Claire was so outspoken and caring, and Graham was just the right amount of cocky but a cinnamon roll on the inside. He's very guarded at the start and a little emotionally stunted, and watching him open up and become vulnerable was so sweet. I understood Claire's reasoning behind not wanting a relationship with Graham, but it did get a little frustrating especially the whole third-act drama. I also thought that some of the dialogue felt stiff, and occasionally it felt like the emotional scenes were being glossed over. Other than that, I liked this a lot, and I can't wait to check out more from this author.

Rating: 4/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 5-16-23
Adult - Fantasy

The Enchanted Hacienda- J.C. Cervantes: Harlow Estrada's perfectly curated life comes crashing down after she loses her dream job and boyfriend all in one day. With nowhere left to go, Harlow leaves New York City for her family's hacienda in Mexico. The women in the Estrada family have been blessed with magic and have tended the enchanted gardens surrounding their estate for hundreds of years. Harlow is the only Estrada with no magic, so when she's asked to oversee the farm while her mother and aunt go on vacation, Harlow's hesitant. But when Harlow meets a mysterious stranger, she discovers that maybe she isn't so magicless after all.

This gave off such Encanto meets When in Rome vibes. I loved the premise of this whole family having different magical powers tied to flowers. I liked watching Harlow grow into her power as she became more confident. The romance between her and Ben was fine, if a bit boring. It was easy to see how the third-act conflict would play out between them, so it wasn't that impactful. There were aspects that I loved, like the magic, the family dynamics, and the setting. The descriptions of the Estrada farm were so lush it made you want to hop on a plane to Mexico. If you don't mind a slower-paced story, I recommend checking it out.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 7-19-22
Adult - Contemporary

The Bodyguard- Katherine Center: As an executive protection agent, Hannah Brooks is used to a fast-paced life. She gets a rush traveling the world and keeping her clients safe from harm. When a new position opens up in London, Hannah is determined to prove she's the best fit, but she'll have to make it through her latest assignment first. Jack Stapleton is a well-known actor who's done everything from superhero blockbusters to swoony rom-coms but hasn't been seen much in the public eye after a family tragedy a few years prior. But when his mom gets sick, and he needs to come back to their Texas ranch to help out, Hannah is hired to protect him. But there's a catch. Jack doesn't want his family to know about potential threats against his life, so he convinces Hannah to pose as his girlfriend instead. Against her better judgment, Hannah agrees, but it doesn't take long before their relationship begins to feel like more than just a cover.

I was in the mood for a quick rom-com, and this did the trick perfectly. I've recently become a fan of the bodyguard trope, and I loved how it was reversed here. It made the story stick out from others I've read, which is always good. The highlight of this was the relationship between Hannah and Jack. They had such an ease about them, and I was smiling and laughing at some of their banter. I loved seeing Hannah interact with Jack's family, especially his mom. It was so sweet. I also loved how Center touched upon grief and how it affects us all differently. My issue with this is that the plot didn't feel very believable. Hannah is supposed to be this highly-trained CIA-level bodyguard, and there were so many times when she was unaware of her surroundings or what was happening. There were also moments between her coworkers that made them all seem so unprofessional. I still found it fun, but I think you have to suspend your disbelief a bit.

Rating: 3/5