How the Grump Saved Christmas by. Claire Kingsley | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: How the Grump Saved Christmas

Format: ebook (kindle unlimited)

Author: Claire Kingsley

Pages: 339

Publication Date: 11/16/22

Categories: Romance, Holiday Romance, Christmas, Small Town Romance, Second Chance Romance

Hardworking Isabelle Cook has a serious problem. Her family farm, site of Tilikum’s Christmas Village, is in trouble. Big trouble. And worst of all? The man trying to buy it is none other than the grumpiest, grinchiest man of them all—Elias Stoneheart.

That’s a big nope. She’s not letting him get involved. Not with his heart made of coal.

Elias Stoneheart is in the business of making money, not friends. Especially when his boss is promising a long-awaited promotion. All he has to do is convince one struggling family to sell their farm.

The problem? It’s Cook Family Farm. And Isabelle Cook is his ex.

He might have history with Isabelle, but this is just business. A Christmas-loving farm girl is not going to come between him and his ambition.

And Christmas? He hates it. Christmas Village needs to go.

But as Elias spends time in the small town, holiday spirit—and Isabelle—get under his skin. And she might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Author’s Note: a sassy farm girl takes on a grumpy businessman in this stand-alone, snowy, small-town Christmas romance. Saucy banter, a guard donkey, plenty of holiday cheer, and a heartwarming happily ever after that will make you believe in the magic of Christmas.

Content Warning: parental neglect, miscarriage

How Christmassy can this book get? Look at that book cover – it screams holiday, small town romance. And that’s exactly what I got! Here’s what I thought:

+ This is Hallmark Christmas movie worthy! It’s set in a small town, a big company wants to buy the land where Christmas Village takes place every year and where Elias’ ex-love lives. So he comes back to help buy the land for his job and being back there reminds him of why the place is important to the community and the woman he loves.

+ It has a great cast of character with everyone pretty much getting a happy ending!

+ It’s a second chance romance and there is definitely a past between Elias and Isabelle and a past. Elias is such a Scrooge and Isabelle is the only one who can really open and melt his heart. So it was nice seeing him succumb to Christmas, the people around him and Isabelle again. It’s very heartwarming. There are sexy scenes but it’s very rushed, nothing very detailed.

~ It’s predictable but it’s what I expect of a holiday romance. It hit a lull for me in the middle because of it. Maybe I was wishing for a little more chemistry or heat between Elias and Isabelle?

~ It’s a lot of holiday cheer to the point of it maybe being too much with everybody getting their happy ending? But eh…you just gotta go with it!

Tropes: small town romance, second chance romance, a Christmas miracle

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • you want a story with lots of holiday cheer, and happily ever afters
  • small town romance, second change romance, a snowy small time with a tight community
  • fun characters

Why you might not want to read it:

  • overload on happiness? lol…maybe too cheesy at some parts

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a holiday romance where the guy is basically Scrooge and he has a second chance to “make things right” then this book is it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it into a Hallmark movie! I found this one enjoyable and heart warming. Was it predictable? Sure! But isn’t that why we read holiday romance?

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Heartbreaker by. Sarah MacLean | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Heartbreaker (Hell’s Belles, #2)

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Author: Sarah MacLean

Pages: 391

Publication Date: 8/22/22

Categories: Romance, Historical Romance

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean follows her highly acclaimed Bombshell with Heartbreaker, featuring a fierce, fearless heroine on a mission to steal a duke’s secrets…and his heart.

A Princess of Thieves

Raised among London’s most notorious criminals, a twist of fate landed Adelaide Frampton in the bright ballrooms of Mayfair, where she masquerades as a quiet wallflower—so plain and unassuming that no one realizes she’s the Matchbreaker…using her superior skills as a thief to help brides avoid the altar.

A King of Reputation

Henry, Duke of Clayborn, has spent a lifetime living in perfection. He has no time for the salacious gossip that arises every time the Matchbreaker ends another groom. His own reputation is impeccable—and the last thing he needs is a frustrating, fascinating woman discovering the truth of his past, or the secrets he holds close.

A Royal Match

When the two find themselves on a breakneck journey across Britain to stop a wedding, it’s impossible for Clayborn to resist this woman who both frustrates and fascinates him. But late-night carriage rides make for delicious danger…and soon Adelaide is uncovering Clayborn’s truths, throwing his well-laid plans into chaos…and threatening to steal his heavily guarded heart.

Content Warning: violence

I haven’t read a historical romance in SO long but Sarah MacLean is a must-read author for me so I had to read her newest book. This is what I thought:

+ It’s Sarah MacLean and she writes historical romance the way I like it and this book is no exception. There is swoon worthy romance, chemistry, spicy sexy scenes, humor and a fun cast of characters!

+ I love Adelaide as our heroine! She’s the thief of the Hell’s Belles with a shady past – I love that she’s from the streets and the daughter of a notorious leader of a gang. She’s smart, brave, and drives the Duke of Clayborn, Henry, crazy. She has her insecurities from growing up without parental love but Henry is going to show her in every way possible he’s noticed her for a long time. Henry is a stable love interest – he has the ducal airs but has a secret of his own. They are a perfect match!

+ The romance is fantastic and I like that Addie is the one who makes the first move. They have great chemistry and the scenes between them are filled with tension, heat and eventually love – it’s so well done. I loved it and it made me miss historical romance books! I love all the emotions and the room for humor even at a climactic scene.

+ I’m excited to read Imogen’s story! A plus-size, short, young woman with a love for explosives? Yes!

~ I did feel like we didn’t know much about Henry until we hear about his secret but it didn’t make my reading less enjoyable.

Tropes: close proximity

Spice Level: 🌶🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • this is historical romance at it’s finest, full of romance, chemistry, heat and a happy ever after
  • the cast of characters is so much fun – yes this is about Addie and Henry falling in love but the Hell’s Belles are an amazing group of young women
  • you read the first book in the series, Bombshell – this one is way better

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into the Hell’s Belles series

My Thoughts:

This book is so much fun from the action, the romance, the sexy times and the cast of characters. I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this one because I liked Bombshell but I didn’t love it – but this one I love a lot. I felt all the emotions I want to feel when I read a historical romance. I love Addie and Henry as a couple. I’m looking forward to book three!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Other books by this author that I have reviewed on my blog:

Bombshell by. Sarah MacLean | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Daring and the Duke | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Review: Brazen and the Beast ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

A Merry Little Meet Cute by. Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: A Merry Little Meet Cute

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Author: Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone

Pages: 418

Publication Date: 9/19/22

Categories: Romance, Christmas, Holiday, Adult

Cowritten by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy and USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone—a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.

Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.

But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor.

Content Warning: fat phobia, internet slut-shaming

It was the cover for this book that attracted me. It made me wonder about the cutesy cartoon art but…with red trees? It seemed a bit unconventional for a holiday rom com to have so much red on the cover with pink – and the synopsis was different and intriguing. This is what I thought:

+ There are a few things I was happy to see in this book: a plus size character who is an adult film star, people that work in the adult film industry, bisexual main characters, it’s a very sex positive book. Both characters are likable and I also totally enjoy the subtle Christmas vibes to the book as well – it’s not a book surrounding Christmas but the fact that the story is based on filming a holiday movie around Christmas time gives it enough holiday vibes.

+ I thought the romance between Bee and Nolan was sweet and spicy. I think it was a good balance. I expect nothing less from an adult film star and a has-been bad boy from a boy band! They are both trying to break into different careers and don’t want to mess up. I think it helped that both characters were likable.

+ I thought the secondary characters were fun! I liked Sunny who is Bee’s best friend, Luca was funny and I even enjoyed Gretchen (the director). I think having Bee’s parents and Nolan’s family in the story also added the wholesome, holiday vibes to the story as well.

~ I didn’t mind the raunchiness between Bee and Nolan, but it would have been nice to feel more of a connection between them outside of the lust. I did like that they had a moment apart when the conflict of story came to a head, and it was cute when they are back together again – but I feel like I wanted more from the ending? In all fairness it keeps the light hearted, rom-com, Hallmark movie vibe (just with a little more sexiness). But to me the story started off good and then fizzled out at the end.

~ They only know each other for 2 weeks – so yes, it’s insta-love, just to warn those who aren’t into that.

Tropes: insta love, characters trying to change their public image, forced proximity, co-workers

Spice Level: 🌶🌶🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • you want to read a spicy holiday romance
  • Bee and Nolan’s romance and sexy times
  • it’s a light hearted rom-com

Why you might not want to read it:

  • it’s insta lust and love

My Thoughts:

As a holiday romance, I think it’s great how spicy and steamy it is. The characters are likable and it has enough Christmas vibes to add some wholesome element to the story even with all the raunchiness. I think the whole cast together was fun. Bee and Nolan are cute together but I did wish there was more of an emotional connection between them – but on the other hand I still enjoyed the lighthearted feel about this book

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Belladonna by. Adalyn Grace | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Belladonna (#1)

Format: ebook (own)

Author: Adalyn Grace

Pages: 416

Publication Date: 8/29/22

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, New Adult, Gothic, Mystery, Paranormal

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

Content Warning: poisoning, illness, death, grief

I have finally read the book everyone is talking about and I feel like the hype is well deserved. Here’s what I thought:

+ This book has a little bit of everything! Romance, mystery and gothic vibes and all of it worked so well together. Usually mysteries can be too slow for me, but I was totally engaged in this story. There are a few twists in this story that was so good – it makes me wonder what book two will bring!

+ Signa is no wilting flower – she’s been basically been passed off from relative to relative all her life. I love that she is optimistic even with Death always near her. I like how she helps her cousin even though she barely knows her. She’s not afraid when most people would be. And I love Death too – I mean, what a gentleman and so unexpected! Who knew he could be such a romantic figure. But I love how he isn’t an evil entity because really what is life without death? They have great chemistry and their love story is sweet and romantic.

+ A mystery always needs a good cast of characters to make us keep guessing and though I had my suspicions who was the villain, I still wasn’t spot on with my assessment. I love the paranormal aspect of the story and how Signa can see spirits. It really had everything I want in a gothic mystery and I actually wish I read this near Halloween!

+ This could have been a standalone book with how questions were answered at the end but I love the twist in the end! Glad we will get a sequel.

Tropes: Death is a character, a girl who cannot die

Spice Level: 🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • it’s a dark fantasy with Death as a character, ghosts, mystery, gothic vibes and romance
  • the mystery about what is happening at Thorn Grove kept me on my toes
  • the romance between Death and Signa

Why you might not want to read it:

  • not into Death falling in love? lol

My Thoughts:

I waited to read this one because I wanted the hype to die down and go in with lower expectations and I’m glad I waited. I fell in love with this story about Signa and Death. The dark tones, mystery, ghosts and gothic vibes were captivating and kept me engaged with the story. The romance between Signa and Death I thought was unexpectedly sweet and romantic. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Ledge by. Stacey McEwan | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Ledge (The Glacian Trilogy, #3)

Format: ebook (own)

Author: Stacey McEwan

Pages: 271

Publication Date: 10/30/21

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Romantasy

After being randomly selected as a human sacrifice, instead of death, Dawsyn finds herself on a quest to save her people from their icy prison…

In a place known as the Ledge, a civilization is trapped by a vast chasm and sheer mountain face. There is no way for anyone to escape the frozen wasteland without befalling a deathly drop. They know nothing of the outside world except that it is where the Glacians reside – mystical and vicious winged creatures who bring meagre rations in exchange for a periodic human sacrifice.

Dawsyn, ax wielder and only remaining member of her family, has so far avoided the annual culling, but her luck has run out. She is chosen and ripped from her icy home, the only world she knows. No one knows what will happen to her on the other side, least of all Dawsyn. Murdered? Enslaved? Worse?

Fortunately, a half-Glacian called Ryon offers to help them both escape, but how can she trust one of the very creatures that plagued her life? Dawsyn is a survivor, and she is not afraid to cut anyone down to live.

With a slow-burning romance, high stakes and even higher rewards, this richly created new fantasy series by popular TikToker Stacey McEwan will keep you gripped to the very end.

*Content warnings* gratuitous violence & death; death of a minor; suicide; attempted sexual assault

Content Warning: gratuitous violence & death; death of a minor; suicide; attempted sexual assault

Why did I choose to read this? I was on the east coast – cold…and saw this cover, read the synopsis and bought it on a whim. Why not read a book about the cold, while I’m cold? 😆 Here’s what I thought:

+ I enjoyed the beginning of this story a lot – the setting is cold, raw, and you get a really good sense of this place called the Ledge where people are dying, starving and trying hard to survive before these creatures called The Glacians come to take them away. I thought it was pretty unique.

+ This story of Dawsyn who is this ax wielding, strong young woman turns into a romantasy pretty fast. It’s a book under 300 pages, but once Ryon comes into the picture, you know where this is going, so it’s a bit insta-lovey but I didn’t mind it. I won’t call it a fated mates trope book because they don’t come out and say it – but if you like fated mates tropes, you will enjoy this one. Ryon and Dawsyn are meant to be and I like how they take care of one another. They have great chemistry in and out of bed!

+ Life on the Ledge is brutal and it makes sense that Dawsyn is always up for a fight and violent with no qualms about it. She has to deal with sexual assault, physical challenges when it comes to living in the brutal cold and it was interesting to see how much softer Ryon was than she is.

~+ I feel like there were some similarities to SJM books when it came to the pool of magic the Glacians used to get power – it reminded me of the Cauldron in ACOTAR. Also the Glacians have wings and can fly which reminds of Rhys – so although the Ledge part of the story felt unique, the rest reminded me of SJM stories, so if you are a fan of her books, you may enjoy this one.

~ I love Ryon and Dawsyn’s attraction to one another and yes they definitely have chemistry but I wish he would stop calling her “girl”. It annoyed me for some reason, even though I knew he said it to get under her skin.

~ I think there could have been more world building because the Ledge setting is fascinating and a lot of what made Dawsyn was because she survived this setting. I just needed more of it and especially when she and Ryon make the trek down the slope.

Tropes: survival of the fittest, instalove, secret bloodline

Spice Level: 🌶🌶🌶

Why you should read it:

  • you like romantasy
  • the setting of the Ledge, with it’s brutal winter is great and you feel immersed in it
  • Dawsyn has a great survival story and a strong will to live

Why you might not want to read it:

  • needs more world-building
  • not into books similar to SJM stories

My Thoughts:

I read this one pretty quick and it helped that it’s under 300 pages. I love the setting and the brutal winter which shows just how amazing Dawsyn is for her to survive as long as she did alone. I enjoyed that it is a romantasy because that’s what I was looking for at the time I got this book and it delivered with Ryon and Dawsyn’s growing relationship and wild attraction to one another. I do think the story could use more world-building but other than that I look forward to reading book two.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

The Bodyguard by. Katherine Center | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Bodyguard

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Author: Katherine Center

Pages: 309

Publication Date: 7/18/22

Categories: Contemporary, Romance

She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Content Warning: violence, hostage situation

This has been on my TBR and I forgot it was then saw it on my online library and borrowed it. This was kind of an unexpected read and I enjoyed so much about it! Here’s what I thought:

+ A female bodyguard? Yes! And not the type of bodyguard we usually think about that tails someone closely wearing black. Those are usually huge, beefy guys but in this story Hannah is the kind of bodyguard that gets all the details and prevents something from happening to her client. This was such a unique take on a romance – I found it refreshing.

+ Hannah is going through some things! Her mom died, her a-hole of a boyfriend dumped her, and she’s not doing too hot mentally and her boss has noticed. So instead of giving her the international jobs she covets so she can escape, her boss gives her an assignment in town to prove she can handle bigger jobs. I like Hannah. She’s level headed, detailed, straight-forward and even though her life seems to be caving in – she still pushed forward.

+ The romance is so cute! Jack is a hot, famous actor but he has issues of his own to do with his family. I thought Jack and Hannah complimented each other well. He brought the fun and she brought the protection.

~ Because Jack and Hannah had chemistry I wish this book was steamier! But it’s super mild and perfect for the readers who like it that way. But a bodyguard and an actor? I was hoping for some action. There is barely any romance until the end! I wanted sparks but we get more of a friendship/comforting vibe between them.

~ I didn’t feel like there was much of a threat for Jack to have a bodyguard really. But it makes for a cute story.

Tropes: fake dating

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • fake dating trope
  • it’s a cute, sweet, slow burn romance – no spice at all (if that is your thing)
  • great banter and chemistry between Jack and Hannah, some heart warming situations

Why you might not want to read it:

  • needs more spice (in my opinion)

My Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one but I was very pleasantly surprised! I thought Hannah being Jack’s bodyguard was so cute because they were opposites in personality. This one is a light-hearted story and a super slow burn. My only issue with it was that it needed more sparks between the characters and spice would have been really nice! But if you like a sweet romance, with just one amazing kiss, then you will love this book.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Bloodmarked by. TracyDeonn | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2)

Format: ebook (own)

Author: Tracy Deonn

Pages: 576

Publication Date: 11/8/22

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary, Urban Fantasy, Romance, King Arthur Reimagined

The shadows have risen, and the line is law.

All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.

Content Warning: violence, grief, racism, mention of slavery, trauma, drugged

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and I finally read it ~ here’s what I think:

+ I’m going to start off with the characters because I fell in love with this series because of them. We get more Alice, Bree’s best friend, which is awesome. Also we get lots of William who I loved in book one. There is less Nick (boo!), but more Selwyn (yay) and of course Bree who is going through too much turmoil in this sequel. There are some new fascinating characters in this book like Erebus, Valec, and Lark.

+ Bree does some memory walking in this story which means she travels back into King Arthur’s time a lot. But she also goes down her family tree memory line too which I think is awesome because we see the past and how it’s forged what Bree is today. I love how the history of slavery is discussed in this book because the story is set in the American South. It’s why I love Bree’s Root powers and we get to learn from her ancestors which is a beautiful thing.

+~ Bree is going through a LOT. She’s the rightful heir but who will back her claim? She has a loyal bubble around, thank goodness but there are those trying to keep her down. On top of the chaos in the Order, there are demons hunting for her and she finally finds out why. This is the book where Bree is down bad. She gets hurt a lot, and people around her get hurt because of her lack of control and her temper too. I do wish she actually learned to use her powers…like no one is there to help her at all and she struggles a lot. There were times I wanted to shake some sense into her and hope that William and Alice could shake some sense into her. But I know she’s going to come back kicking some major butt in the next book. This is just the story where she has to figure out a lot of stuff, she makes some poor decisions and I’m just hoping she makes better ones in book three.

+~ This love triangle is not for the faint of heart lol…it is not clear at all and usually I pick a guy right away. Nick isn’t in this book much, which is a shame because when he is…oh my heart. He is comforting and they have a connection. And then there is Sel and honestly the bad boys always win it for me but he was such an ass at times in this book…by the end I understand why but Sel and Bree fight a lot and their communication isn’t the best, but he will always take care of her, and always save her.💔 How can I love both boys? It’s the whole Guinenvere, Arthur, and Lancelot drama except here we have Arthur, Lancelet and Merlin? 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m gonna say it’s gonna be Bree and Sel in the end because of the ending of this book but their lack of communication and fighting worries me…it’s the only reason I feel at times Nick is better for her.

~ I honestly wish at times we got Sel’s perspective in this book – I know that boy has lots of thoughts and emotions!

~ There is a lot going on with this book and I think the author did well enough that I didn’t get lost with all the explanations but I think the story lagged a bit in the middle.

Tropes: chosen one, secret society

Spice Level: 🌶

Why you should read it:

  • you loved Legendborn and want to return to the world and characters
  • Bree’s journey with her powers and how she tries to make sense of it all
  • lots of action

Why you might not want to read it:

  • you hate love triangles

My Thoughts:

Did this live up to my expectations? I think so because I had it a bit low because sequels are mostly a miss than a hit it seems but this is the book where Bree has to struggle and she does, a lot. I was getting frustrated with her for her poor decisions but I expect her to grow a lot from this sequel. There is a lot going on with the story, some I loved, some I thought maybe was too much but the story ends in a cliffhanger so we shall see what happens next. As for the love triangle? I don’t know where this it’s gonna go but I’m ready for it. Overall, I was entertained even though the middle got a bit slow for me. I felt like this story could be made into a Netflix series, I’d definitely watch it! I’m excited to see what happens next.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Legendborn | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nothing More to Tell by. Karen M. McManus | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Nothing More to Tell

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Author: Karen M. McManus

Pages: 368

Publication Date: 8/29/22

Categories: Young Adult, Thriller, Murder Mystery, Romance, Crime

True crime can leave a false trail.

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favourite teacher. The case was never solved, but she’s sure that the three kids who found Mr. Larkin’s body know more than they’re telling, especially her ex-best friend Tripp Talbot. He’s definitely hiding something.

When Brynn gets an internship working on a popular true-crime show, she decides to investigate what really happened that day in the woods. But the further she dives into the past, the more secrets she finds.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. Now it’s time to uncover the truth . . .

Content Warning: neglectful parent, murder scene description, underage drinking

I’ve read one book from this author and enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to read more so I decided to borrow this one and enjoyed it! Here’s what I thought:

+ The story flows so well and I could not figure who the murderer was yet had all my suspicions! I like many of the twists the story took, it really kept me on my toes and engaged. I read this in one sitting.

+ I like Brynn and Tripp a lot. They used to be friends, until Tripp pushed her away. Brynn moved away and is now back in Sturgis. Clearly Tripp had the biggest crush on her when they were kids, but it’s cute to see her like him now as they are older. I liked them together and though the romance takes a back seat, I did like that it was there because I’m a romance lover.

+ I thought the whole cast was great and had their roles to play. I love Brynn’s younger sister who actually helped Brynn kind of solve this murder mystery.

~ My major issue with the book is the ending. It didn’t seem like a totally shut case for who they suspected the murderer to be. I know the story was pulled in so many directions which left me guessing as to who really committed the crime, but even the ending didn’t give us solid evidence or a confession of the crime. This story may bug me…unless they turn it into a series. I want closure! lol

~ This is supposedly set in a private school and though it mentions the division between elite and dregs…not much comes out of that. It doesn’t show much division between the kids. So I’d say it didn’t really give off those vibes.

Tropes: childhood friends to enemies to lovers

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • kept me on my toes, it’s fun, engaging and entertaining – read it in one sitting
  • Brynn and Tripp’s little romance was cute in the midst of the murder mystery

Why you might not want to read it:

  • ending felt a little anti-climatic, is it going to be a series? 🤔

My Thoughts:

I’m glad I read this one, it kept me on the toes to the very end! I just wish the ending evidence around the supposedly killer was more concrete – it was left a bit open I think. So I’m not sure if there will be a spin off? It would be cool to see Brynn’s sister have her own story because that girl was on it and helping Brynn figure stuff out. Overall, I enjoyed this book!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Cousins | Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The River Has Teeth by. Erica Waters | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: The River Has Teeth

Format: hard cover (own)

Author: Erica Waters

Pages: 393

Publication Date: 7/26/21

Categories: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Horror, LGBT+, Witches

Natasha’s sister is missing.

Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger.

She’ll do anything to find answers.

Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.

But Della has her own secrets to hide.

Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose.

They are each other’s only hope.

Content Warning: murder scene, violence, drugging someone

I’ve had this book on my shelf since summer and it was time to finally read it for spooky season! I love the book cover and was intrigued by the synopsis. Here is what I thought of the book:

+ I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of the story. I love the witchcraft and history and lore about The Bend and Lloyd family. I was intrigued with it throughout the whole book. I loved the atmosphere of the Bend and the woods, it was definitely creepy at times, especially in the abandoned prison!

+ The story is told between two perspectives. Natasha who is looking for her missing sister and Della, the witch, a recluse of a girl who lives in the woods with her dad. Della is a Lloyd and we learn about the magic and history through her. I felt like the author did a great job highlighting how women are treated if they disappear – she even mentions the difference between white and black women and who gets the most coverage in the news.

+ There is a romance that happens between Natasha and Della and though it doesn’t overtake the story, I thought it worked for this type of suspense and mystery story. It’s not a sweet romance, more like one of desperation and desire because of the heavy emotions both are going through but I like how they do fit together. They are opposites that attract one another. Natasha is headstrong and Della is more of someone who thinks things through.

~ I wasn’t vibing with Natasha’s character. I know she was in a rage and desperate to find her sister, I related to that but she was angry throughout the whole book. So angry she was blinded by it and her actions really weren’t thought out. It’s why Della being with her was a good balance. Natasha could have really lost herself in the anger by the end and transformed into something else but Della pulled her back.

Tropes: opposites attract, rich girl/poor girl

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • creepy, mysterious, great setting and very atmospheric
  • f/f romance, opposites attract
  • loved the lore of the The Bend and the witchcraft

Why you might not want to read it:

  • Natasha’s POV was full of anger, rightly so, but made her be rash about some of her decisions which annoyed me

My Thoughts:

I’m so glad I chose this to read for spooky season! It had the perfect creepy vibes, witchcraft, girls going missing and a possible serial killer on the loose. The Lloyd family has a fascinating history and a strong character in Della. I wish Natasha was just as likable but at times I was annoyed with her character. Overall though an enjoyable and entertaining story and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Tokyo Ever After by. Emiko Jean | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Tokyo Ever After (#1)

Format: ebook (kindle unlimited)

Author: Emiko Jean

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 5/17/21

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Japanese Royalty, Contemporary, Teen

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

Content Warning:

I found this on kindle unlimited and thought I could use something different from my fantasy books. This totally reminded me of the movie “What a Girl Wants” with Colin Firth and Amanda Bynes! Do you remember it? American girl finds out her dad is like a wealthy guy in England and she goes to meet him? Anyway here’s what I thought about Tokyo Ever After:

+ It’s a fun trope – girl finds out she’s actually daughter of the Crown Prince of Japan! So she goes to finally meet him and learn about royalty life and try to get know her dad.

+ The setting of Japan and learning Japanese culture is wonderful. I love the mentions of the royal family, the food, different cities like Tokyo and Kyoto – Izumi gets a whirlwind introduction to her homeland plus learning princess duties on top of that. Mind you she’s only there for 2 weeks – so a lot happens.

+ Another fun trope in the book: princess falling for her bodyguard. Swoon! I thought their romance was so sweet as he starts off grumpy and she’s new to the country. They get to know each other more because of close proximity, but it moves fast and we get some stolen kisses and even a scandal in the story.

+~ Izumi is a teenager and when she leaves American to visit Japan, she tries to figure where she belongs. She doesn’t feel American enough in America, and doesn’t feel Japanese enough in Japan. So she really does her best, trying to figure those things and I think she does great. She has a great group of girlfriends who is always keeping her grounded.

~+ It’s a book definitely that will appeal to teens. Don’t know if it will appeal to older readers but I enjoyed it a lot, and I’m way older.

~ Whirlwind romance in two weeks means it’s insta-love but I don’t mind it. Just noting it for those who don’t like insta-love.

Tropes: girl learns she is a princess, princess falls for bodyguard, girl tries fitting in

Spice Level:

Why you should read it:

  • lots of enjoyable tropes
  • light-hearted, fluffy story – reminds me of the movie “What a Girl Wants” or “Princess Diaries” but with Japanese culture
  • cute insta-love story

Why you might not want to read it:

  • insta-love
  • more appealing for teens

My Thoughts:

I thought this story was entertaining and fun. I love the trope where the girl finds out she’s a princess! There are other fun tropes in this book as well. I’ll definitely read the next book!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble