Mini ARC Review | Phoenix Flame

Title: Phoenix Flame (Havenfall #2)

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: March 2, 2021

My Rating: ★★★

❗️❗️BEFORE YOU CONTINUE READING, BE AWARE THAT THIS IS A SEQUEL! YOU CAN READ MY REVIEW OF HAVENFALL HERE!❗️❗️

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Maddie thought her problems were over. She saved the Inn at Havenfall—a sanctuary between magical worlds—from the evil Silver Prince. Her uncle the Innkeeper is recovering from a mysterious spell that left him not quite human. And there are still a few weeks of summer left to spend with her more-than-friend Brekken.
But there’s more work to be done to protect the Inn—Maddie must put an end to the black-market trading of magical objects and open the Inn’s doors to the once feared land of shapeshifters.

As she tries to accomplish both seemingly impossible tasks, Maddie uncovers secrets that could change everything. What if saving everyone means destroying the only home she’s known?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Let me first start by saying that I loved Havenfall! The idea of a neutral meeting place for different realms was so intriguing to me and I had an absolute blast reading about it in book one. When Havenfall ended, I was left wanting more! I couldn’t wait for the sequel.

Fast forward to finishing Phoenix Flame and I am a bit underwhelmed. I didn’t connect with this book as much as I did with the first one. I felt like everything was rushed so it was hard for me to really get into the story. In all honesty, I think Havenfall should have just been a long standalone.

While I didn’t love this book, there were still parts that I enjoyed. I’m happy that we were able to see a glimpse of another realm. That was one thing I had hoped Sara Holland would add to the sequel so I was excited when it happened. I also really enjoyed the ending. For the most part everything was wrapped up and my questions were answered. There’s one thing that was left open which I’m kind of curious about. I don’t know if that was done just for interpretation or if the author plans to explore the character’s story more. I would definitely be interested in more books set in this world.

★★★

ARC Review | The Initial Insult

Title: The Initial Insult

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Release date: February 23, 2021

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things. 

Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.

But she’ll have to.

Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.

Review: 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I have always heard really good things about this author’s writing so of course I was very excited to pick up their newest title. The synopsis sounded pretty dark & thrilling which is something that I usually enjoy. Unfortunately though, this book just wasn’t the right one for me. I didn’t connect with it like I thought I would. In fact, I actually had a hard time sticking with the story. It lost my attention quite a bit.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. Both were unlikeable, which was meant to happen, but I had more issues with Tress than I did with Felicity. Tress has gone through a lot in her life. Her parents disappeared and she was sent to live with her neglectful grandfather. Yes, her life has been rough, but that doesn’t excuse her actions. She is violent and petty. Most of her chapters were spent blaming Felicity for everything that has gone wrong in her life. It was too much. Felicity hasn’t had it easy either. With frequent seizures that she keeps a secret & parents who care more about popularity, Felicity’s life isn’t perfect. She wants to move on from everything that happened with Tress’s parents, but Tress isn’t about to let that happen.

I wasn’t a fan of how the topic of seizures was handled. As far as the representation, that I cannot comment on. I do not have any knowledge or experience there. What I didn’t like was the fact that Felicity’s parents were very insistent on keeping the seizures a secret. Their reasoning behind this was if people knew then no one would want to marry Felicity. I feel like that is the wrong message to send, especially when there wasn’t anyone challenging their mindset. Am I reading into this too much? Probably. But as someone with a disability, It angers me when someone says that type of thing.

The past & present timelines were hard for me to follow. Throughout the story we get throwbacks to Tress & Felicity during the school years. I would get confused on where exactly we were at certain points. Since I did listen to the audio, I do think that had I physically read this book, that wouldn’t have been an issue.

I feel like there were lots of random elements of the story. The roaming panther and the mysterious flu just seemed out of place. I’m sure they connect to the story somehow, but I’m not sure. 

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect! I was super intrigued and wanted to know what exactly happened to Tress’s parents. The author did a good job keeping me guessing! 

The ending was satisfying. We didn’t get all the answers, but I think I got enough to have closure. This is the first book in a duology, but as of right now, I have no plans to read the second book. 

Overall, I do think that other readers will enjoy this book. It wasn’t bad by any means. It just wasn’t the right fit for me!

★★★

ARC Review | Amelia Unabridged

Title: Amelia Unabridged

Author: Ashley Schumacher

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: February 16, 2021

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.

In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.

When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was my last read of 2020 and I couldn’t have ended the year on a better note. I absolutely loved this book. It was so beautifully written and I am honestly blown away by it! This story was sad but also full of hope. Amelia Unabridged is about friendship, grief, love and the power of stories. 

The author does a flawless job discussing grief and how it is different for everyone. Amelia & Nolan’s stories are tragic. I definitely got teary eyed while reading. The heartbreak that both characters have is unimaginable, but together they learn that healing is possible. 

The romance was oh so sweet. I was rooting for the couple the entire time. There was something about them that just worked. They were truly meant for each other…call it fate!

I adore that this book was all about books. The bookstore setting was dreamy. Like I honestly need a Val’s bookstore in my life. Amelia’s favorite book series is the Orman Chronicles and it sounds magical. The author put excerpts from the fictional books within this story and I found that so fun! I would 100% read the Orman books if they were real. My favorite part about Amelia Unabridged was that it shows just how important stories & books can be for someone. Not only can they be an escape, but they can also make people feel alive. 

The friendships were incredible. Though we didn’t get to see Jenna for very long, her presence was felt throughout the entire book. I loved the parallels between Amelia & Jenna’s friendship and Alex & Nolan’s. 

This book was everything I could have wanted, plus more! I cannot wait to get my hands on a finished copy. I need to have this on my bookshelf as soon as possible!

★★★★★

Mini ARC Review | Much Ado About You

Title: Much Ado About You

Author: Samantha Young

Publisher: Berkley

Release Date: February 2, 2021

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling’s life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she’s passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There’s no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

Not only is Evie swept up in running the delightful store as soon as she arrives, she’s drawn into the lives, loves and drama of the friendly villagers. Including Roane Robson, the charismatic and sexy farmer who tempts Evie every day with his friendly flirtations. Evie is determined to keep him at bay because a holiday romance can only end in heartbreak, right? But Evie can’t deny their connection and longs to trust in her handsome farmer that their whirlwind romance could turn in to the forever kind of love.

Review:

Much Ado About You was such a sweet and enjoyable read. This was my first time reading anything by Samantha Young and I have to say, I was blown away by her writing. I had an absolute blast getting lost in this story. It really makes me want to open a bookstore in England.

This book has such wonderful main characters. I related to Evie so much! This book is all about her finding herself & her happiness. Roane was so charming and a bit mysterious. He loves his village, friends and family to pieces and he would do anything to protect them. The side characters were great as well. I loved that each of them kind of got their own story. I would honestly give anything for a book all about Caro!

The romance was oh so sweet. I’m a sucker for a friends to lovers story and this one was particularly special. The chemistry between the two was there from the very beginning. I was rooting for them the entire time!

Overall, this book was a delight to read. If you are looking for a swoon worthy romance, look no further!

★★★★

Review: The Merriest Magnolia

Title: The Merriest Magnolia (Magnolia Sisters #2)

Author: Michelle Major

Publisher: HQN Books

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Carrie Reed has always been known as her hometown Good Girl, yet she still loves Magnolia, North Carolina—after all, this is where her newly discovered sisters, Avery and Meredith, live. But Christmas is on its way and with it, her first love. Dylan Scott is back in town and planning on changing everything she’s ever loved about Magnolia with his real estate development project…but not without a fight.

Returning to Magnolia was never in Dylan’s plans—it holds too many reminders that he would never be good enough, and memories of the girl he left behind. But when a tragedy leaves him guardian of a grieving teenager, Dylan returns, ready to remake the town into something only money can buy, small-town traditions be damned. But with Carrie determined to stop him, he finds himself wondering if redeeming his teenage reputation is worth losing out on his second chance at love.

Review:

Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a finished copy!

The Merriest Magnolia is the second book in the Magnolia Sisters companion series! This book follows a different set of characters, but ones who did appear in the first book. I definitely recommend reading The Magnolia Sisters before jumping into this story!

I absolutely loved The Magnolia Sisters! It was a fun & sweet romance story. One that I didn’t want to put down. So obviously I was very excited to pick up the next book. When I started The Merriest Magnolia I was immediately drawn in. I was really loving it at first. Unfortunately, as time went on, my interest started to fade. This book didn’t quite meet my expectations and I’m so bummed. It is not a bad book by any means. I did enjoy parts of it. Overall though, it just wasn’t what I was hoping for.

I really love Carrie. I honestly think it is because I see a lot of myself in her character. She is kind, loving and always willing to help. She puts other’s needs before her own, which definitely interferes with her life dreams. She is a talented artist but with her past she doesn’t practice her skills much anymore…well that is until Dylan comes along. Carrie’s growth throughout the story was perfect!  Now Dylan on the other hand, I wasn’t a huge fan of. He definitely had his cute moments but overall, I thought he was too much of a Grinch! Dylan is a moody & impatient businessman who doesn’t like the holidays. I feel like he walks around with a chip on his shoulder and it annoyed me. He is the guardian of Sam, a teenager who lost his parents in a accident. Dylan may be a jerk but he is a great father figure. He loves Sam and wants to do whatever will make him happy. 

The romance was a mix between enemies to lovers & second chance. Carrie and Dylan were each other’s first love, but when Dylan unexpectedly left town, Carrie was heartbroken and confused. Several years later, that hurt is still very real and the couple have to work through their issues if they want to be together. I definitely didn’t hate their relationship, but I didn’t love it either. The chemistry between the two was a bit off a times so I was never fully invested. 

I’m so happy that we got to see characters from the first book! It was nice to know how everyone is doing. Carrie, Avery and Meredith’s sisterhood is even stronger in this book and I was here for it. I love stories with sibling relationships and this one is the best.

While the ending was sweet, I do think it was way too abrupt. I almost feel like I missed a huge chunk of the story because things wrapped up so quick. It was kind of bizarre to me. Now. I’m not completely sure if there will be a third book in this series, but I’m crossing my fingers that there will be. I desperately want to learn more about the third sister, Meredith!  

★★★

Review: The Magnolia Sisters

Title: The Magnolia Sisters (Magnolia #1)

Author: Michelle Major

Publisher: HQN

My rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

An inheritance brought her to Magnolia, but love just might keep her there…

Avery Keller arrives in Magnolia, North Carolina, with one aim: collect her inheritance and quickly put the quirky town in her rearview mirror. But the father who didn’t acknowledge her when he was alive has left Avery a mess to sort through—along with two half sisters she’s never met and a gorgeous single dad living next door. Soon her plan to keep this colorful, close-knit community at a distance gets complicated….

Grayson Atwell has rescued plenty of people in his firefighting career. His work and his little girl, Violet, are his entire world and there’s no time for anything—or anyone—else. But the vulnerability beneath Avery’s prickly facade brings out a fiercely protective side of him. Despite her protests, Gray can see that Avery’s falling under Magnolia’s spell—just like he’s falling for her. Now the only question is: How can he convince her to give them both a chance at forever?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a finished copy in exchange for an honest review!

This was one of those books that you don’t want to put down because you are just having too much fun reading it. I was hooked from page one. The writing, characters and relationships kept my attention until the very end!

I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book! My favorites were obviously Avery & Gray. Avery is a headstrong, no nonsense type of person. I’ll admit, it was super hard for me to like her in the beginning. She kind of had a chip on her shoulder (with good reason), but once I got to know her character, she was awesome! As much as Avery doesn’t want to, she has a huge heart. She may not want anyone to know that she cares, but it totally shows. Now Gray is a absolute sweetheart. He has an actual heart of gold. He is a firefighter and an amazing dad. He loves his daughter more than anything in the world. He will go to the ends of the earth to protect her. Both Avery & Gray were so much fun to read about.

I’m a sucker for a book with sibling relationships. This one was different from others I have read though. Avery had no idea that she had siblings. I can’t imagine going my whole life being an only child to then having not one, but two sisters. It was definitely an adjustment for all three women and they handled it so well. I loved getting to see Avery, Carrie and Meredith navigate their new relationship all while dealing with the mess that their father left behind. I’m excited to see the sisterhood grow even more in the next book. 

The romance was oh so cute! You could totally tell that Avery & Gray had chemistry from the second (definitely not the first 😂) time they meet. Their relationship had it’s ups & downs for sure, but I was rooting for them so much. Both had a past that affected their approach to love. It was interesting to see how they dealt with their inner struggles to find their way to each other. I do want to mention that the romance is definitely Indra love. I promise you, it is at it’s best though. If that trope isn’t something you like, just know that before you start reading.

I absolutely loved the ending! I was not expecting it at all. I should have picked up the clues from earlier in the story, but well, I didn’t! The little bit of a cliffhanger has me super excited to pick up Carrie’s book. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Magnolia Sisters. It was a total delight read. If you are looking for a  quick & fun story that has wonderful sibling relationships & a sweet romance, I highly recommend looking into this book!

ARC Review | Admission

Title: Admission

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release date: December 1, 2020

My rating: ★★★.5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes an of-the-moment novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.

Admission tells the story of high school senior Chloe. It’s the time of the year when she has to buckle down and start thinking about college. After multiple SAT tests with scores that aren’t as good as she hoped for, Chloe is told that her dream schools aren’t achievable. Her celebrity mother decides to hire an admissions conceder to help make the process easier. When Chloe is accepted to her first choice school, she can’t believe it. Fast forward to when her mother is arrested for bribing her daughter’s way into college. How exactly did this happen? And how much did Chloe actually know??

I have gone back-and-forth with my feelings on this book. For the most part it was an enjoyable read but I never felt like I was fully invested in the story. Admission is told through dual timelines… before the arrest and everything after. I found myself way more interested in the aftermath. Those chapters I couldn’t stop reading. I was so eager to know how things were going to end up for the family.

Admission really explores privilege in all of its forms. Chloe’s family is very well off. With her mom being an actor and her dad working in finance, they have everything they need plus way more. Throughout the story Chloe is put in eye opening situations that make her realize she is very lucky to be where she is. Her character growth, while it takes time, is exactly what I was hoping to read. Taking responsibility is another major part of the story. Chloe’s mom learns the hard way that you have to own up to your mistakes. Even if the consequences are scary, you still have to do the right thing.

I absolutely loved Chloe’s sister Isla. She is such a fierce person. Unlike Chloe, she takes the time to educate herself about the case against her mom. She basically has to tell Chloe what to do in order to protect herself from facing charges. Honestly, Chloe would not make it through this book if it wasn’t for Isla. I also liked Chloe’s best friend Shola. While their friendship is super awkward, I loved that she put Chloe in her place at times. When Chloe would say or do things that were not acceptable, Shola would make sure Chloe checked her privilege and understood what she did was wrong. Isla and Shola played a huge role in Chloe’s growth.

Overall, this story is thought provoking and so timely. I applaud the author for taking on such an infuriating topic. Admission will definitely make you look at the Lori Loughlin & Felicity Huffman cases with a whole different perspective. 

Blog Tour + Review: A Golden Fury

Hi friends! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe! I want to give a huge thank you to Wednesday Books for inviting me to be on the tour and for providing me with an eARC! I am so grateful for the opportunity!

Title: A Golden Fury

Author: Samantha Cohoe

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release date: October 13, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists. 

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

Review:

I absolutely loved A Golden Fury! It was one of those books that you devour in no time because you are so invested in the plot & characters. I was completely blown away by Samantha Cohoe’s writing. As her debut, this story draws you in and will not let you go until the very last word! I cannot wait to see what this author publishes in the future!

Our main character Thea was wonderful! She was strong and so talented. I fell in love with her from the very first page. Thea goes through so much in this book and she never once gave up. Her love for alchemy and her friends & family gave her the strength to keep going even in the darkest times. Thea was so relatable and without a doubt a new favorite character of mine!

The side characters were fantastic as well. Each had something special about them that made me root for them, even when I really shouldn’t have. In particular, I couldn’t get enough of Dominic, Valentin and the Stone. I loved each for very different reasons. Dominic was such a great friend and he literally had a heart of gold. Valentin though, he was rough around the edges, but you could tell that he still had empathy for others. The Stone was a character all on its own and wow, I thought it was very clever. I don’t want to spoil what I mean by this, but I absolutely loved this part of the book. 

Alchemy was at the forefront of this story & to me, it was super intriguing.  I loved that we were able to see the behind the scenes of how the Philosopher’s Stone was made. Cohoe’s descriptive writing made me feel as though I was right alongside Thea in the lab. It made for a great reading experience.

If you haven’t heard of the Philosopher’s Stone before, it is basically an object that can turn any metal to gold, heal all illnesses and give immortally. It’s a super magical topic and I loved Cohoe’s take on it. The deadly curse that was put on those who tried to create the Stone was brutal. The author did a wonderful job showing the toll the curse took on the mental state of the characters. 

The ending was fantastic & satisfying! I really had no idea how things were going to conclude so you can bet that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. While this is a standalone, I really hope that Cohoe writes more in this world. There are a few characters who I would love to learn more about!

Overall. A Golden Fury was a delight to read! If you are looking for a historical fantasy that is full of science, magic and the the unknown, I highly recommend adding this book to your TBR pile! Release date is October 13th!

★★★★★

About the Author:

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

Links:

Buy A Golden Fury
Samantha’a Instagram
Samantha’s Twitter
Wednesday Books Instagram
Wednesday Books Twitter

ARC Review | In a Holidaze

Title: In a Holidaze

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release date: October 6, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Review:

Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

In a Holidaze was an absolute delight to read! I have never felt the need for Christmas so much in my life. This story was full of holiday spirit & heartwarming moments. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The wintery, snowy cabin setting was so atmospheric. I promise you, you will want to snuggle up with a warm blanket & a mug of coffee while reading this book. It was August/September & 80 degrees while I read this story, but you can bet that I acted like it was full on winter. In a Holidaze is basically the perfect cozy read. 

I related so much to the main character Mae. She is the type of person who wants to much out of her life, but she is kind of scared to take the leap for whatever reason. When Mae makes a wish, the universe responds by sending her back in time. I’ll admit, I’ve never seen the movie Groundhog Day, but I love the idea and it really worked for me in this book. Getting to see Mae relive days was interesting. It was a super weird and confusing time for her, but it made her grow as a person and find what makes her happy.

Okay, so all I’m saying is that if I ever get married and we don’t spend the holidays with our friends and family in a snowy cabin…then I don’t want it. With fun traditions, food and togetherness the group in In a Holidaze made this story fun & festive. Found family plays a huge role in this book and I have to say, it was probably my favorite part. I loved all of the characters so much. Each of them were so supportive and loving of one another. I specifically adored Benny. He was the cool uncle of the group and I am so happy that Mae could confide in him. Their relationship was so special. 

The romance was perfection to me! I’m a sucker for friends to lovers, and this one was the best! There was also a hint of a love triangle which added a little tension & entertainment. Mae & the love interest (no spoilers!) were so precious together, but I also loved them as individuals. The love interest (😊) was calm, thoughtful and oh so charming. Their relationship happened rather quick, but it was very realistic. The chemistry between the two was SO obvious and I was living for it!

My one take away from this story would be…do what makes you happy! If that means taking chances, take them. You can’t live your life stuck wondering what would happen if. Step out of your comfort zone and find your happiness!

Basically I loved this book! If you are looking for a fun & cozy holiday read with a steamy romance, I highly recommend picking up In a Holidaze! I can totally see myself rereading this around Christmas time!

★★★★★

ARC Review | The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V.E.Schwab

Publisher: Tor Books

Release date: October 6, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Review:

Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a honest review!

What. A. Book. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was a masterpiece. An actual work of art. I have zero idea how I can explain to you how much I loved this book. I’ve tried several times to write this review but I keep stepping away from it. Apparently it’s really hard for me to put my feeling into words & sentences that will make sense. Who knew!

I finished Addie LaRue back in July and I swear, I have not stopped thinking about it since. VE. Schwab created such a stunning story and one that I definitely took my time reading. In no way, shape, or form did I want the book to end. I was SO deeply invested. It has been a while since I have fell completely head over heels in love with a book. So much so that I literally preordered three copies to have on my shelves. Don’t judge me too much. Addie LaRue is without a doubt the best book I have read all year! 

I loved learning all about Addie and I related to her so much. The only thing she desired was to live her life the way she wanted. She didn’t want to be tied down to a life and family that she didn’t ask for. She wanted to travel. To see the world & experience all that it had to offer. So when she saw the opportunity to hopefully change things, she took it. I admire her so much for that. 

Addie Has been alive for 300 years and has so many stories built up inside. She lived through countless historical events and getting to see her experience some of that was so interesting. It really brought out the nerd in me.

 Since Addie has been alive for so long, she as met hundreds of people along the way. I enjoyed getting to know a handful of those people. It was amazing to see how Addie inspired certain aspects of their lives. It goes to show that you can meet somebody once but you could still make a long lasting impression or impact.

The curse that Addie is under is very unique and so heartbreaking. Addie isn’t able to leave any type of mark on the world. She can’t say her name, draw, write, paint or even take a photo. It gets worse though, no one remembers her. Addie could spend an entire day with someone but if they leave her for even a second, they will forgot who she is. She was truly meant to not belong to anyone. The curse is very harsh and lonely, but Addie is so strong, stubborn and very resilient. 

When we meet Henry Strauss, I automatically knew that there was going to be something special about him. Then he remembered Addie and all I could think about was HOW!? Eventually you do find out how and why that is, but in the meantime you will fall stupidly in love with Henry & Addie’s relationship. They were able to give each other what the other one needed most. It was beautiful but also so painful at times. 

Okay, let’s talk about the god (devil?) who gave Addie the curse. His name is Luc and ohhh do I have thoughts about him. He was charming and mysterious, but very toxic. I loved the way Schwab decided to write their relationship. It’s constantly changing into something more. There is a serious power imbalance and it plays a HUGE role. Addie tries her hardest to outsmart him and to gain a little bit of control, but Luc is always one step ahead. Their relationship is a train wreck. 

I feel like there are several lessons to learn from this story. For me though, the biggest take away was that life my seem long and stormy, but it can go by in a blink of an eye. You have to live every moment to the fullest no matter what.

The ending was intense and I do not think it will work for everyone. For me though, I was on the edge of my seat and bitting my nails. I was not expecting what happened at all. It really wasn’t even an option in my head. So of course I did a little screaming at the book! **Editing Sadie here** For some reason I thought this was going to be a duology, but I was wrong. It is just a stand alone. Which I see now, but one could totally see the ending as a beginning for a second book. Either way, I still love Addie LaRue!

Overall, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was everything I could have hoped for plus MORE! I cant wait for everyone to experience Addie’s story. I’m going to go ahead and predict that this book will be on so many favorites lists come the end of the year. And you know what? It definitely deserves to be there!

★★★★★