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. 

NetGalley Reads #4

This series is where I share some of the eARCs I have lined up for the next few months! I am incredibly grateful to NetGalley & the publishers for providing me with these books!

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

Release Date: February 3, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis:

The cozy comforts of an English village bookstore open up a world of new possibilities for Evie Starling in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young.

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.

Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Publisher:Wednesday Books

Synopsis:

Sparks fly between two teens as they grapple with grief, love, and the future in this unforgettable debut novel sure to entice fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer E. Smith

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.

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

Release Date: February 23, 2021

Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Synopsis:

Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.

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.

Phoenix Flame (Havenfall #2) by Sara Holland

ReleaseDate: March 11, 2021

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Synopsis:

❗️THIS IS A SEQUEL!! READ SYNOPSIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!❗️

After saving the inn at Havenfall from the wicked Silver Prince, Maddie thought all her problems were over. The Silver Prince has been banished, her uncle the beloved Innkeeper is slowly recovering from a mysterious coma, and there are still a few weeks of summer left to spend with her handsome more-than-just-a-friend Brekken.

But danger still looms and Maddie soon realises there’s more work to be done to protect Havenfall, the safe haven between worlds that her family has run for centuries. Maddie must embark on a dangerous mission: to venture into the icy Realm of Fiordenkill and put an end to the black market trading of souls that threatens the balance of the Realms.

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

Do you have any NetGalley ARCs that you need to read??

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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!

★★★★★

ARC Review | These Vengeful Hearts

Title: These Vengeful Hearts

Author: Katherine Laurin

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release date: September 8, 2020

My rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members–the most elite female students in the school–deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.

But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too–ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?

Review:

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

These Vengeful Hearts is a YA thriller that follows Ember as she tries to take down the Red Court, a super secret society that basically controls the entire school. Ember has been planning the dismantling of the group since the Red Court caused the accident that left her sister paralyzed.

I thoroughly enjoyed These Vengeful Hearts! I was deeply invested in the story and I never wanted to stop reading. This book was definitely a page turner.

The Red Court intrigued me from page one! The all girl secret society accepts favors from classmates. This could be anything from breaking up couples, rigging elections or even takedowns. The group is notorious for ruining lives. I loved being right alongside Ember as she learned the ins and outs of the group while also trying to figure out the best way to get revenge for her sister.

I loved the main character Ember. She was determined and so relatable. Being part of the Red Court really took a huge toll on her. She entered the group with a clear mission and decided she would do anything to achieve it. Along the way though, she really struggled with the line between good and bad & right and wrong. I appreciated that Ember took note of her mistakes and learned from them.

The only real issue I had with this story was the ending. I found it to be rushed. The entire book was building up to what I thought would be a very dramatic conclusion, but that wasn’t the case. The actual ending wasn’t really unsatisfying per se, but it did seem way too simple and almost unrealistic. With that said, I am interested to see if there will be a sequel? If so, I will for sure read it!

All in all, this was a super intriguing, fast paced thriller. If you enjoy books about secret societies and revenge, I would definitely recommend giving These Vengeful Hearts a read!

ARC Review | Fable

Title: Fable

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release date: September 1, 2020

My rating: ★★★★.5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men

Review:

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

I absolutely loved Fable! It was such a fun & quick read. I’ll admit though, it took me a bit to actually get into the story. Once I did though, I could not stop! I was swept away by Adrienne Young’s stunning writing.

Our main character Fable was spectacular. In her short life she has gone through so many tragic events. Because of those, she had to learn how to survive on her own. Fable is by far one of my new favorite characters. She is strong and oh so brave. Although we do not get to meet her mother in this book, I loved the connection Fable had with her. It’s obvious that she thinks the world of her mom and I thought that was such a sweet part of the story.

I am a sucker for books with a found family and Fable definitely had that. I absolutely loved the crew of the Marigold. Each of them were so unique and a delight to read about. I particularly loved Willa. She is so protective and unapologetically fierce. She wasn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers, especially if you messed with any one of her crew! 

The romance was quite interesting. It was kind of a mix between enemies to lovers & slow burn. The tension between the couple was so well written and I was 100% here for it. I can’t wait to see their relationship grow…hopefully.

The setting was the best part of Fable! I adore a book that is set at sea. With beautiful and vivid descriptions, the author made you feel like you were onboard the Marigold. It was such a cool experience. 

The ending literally had me yelling! I was so worried the entire book something like that was going to happen and when it did, I couldn’t contain my emotions. I am so happy that we do not have to wait a long time for the sequel. I am eager to see how the characters will react and what their plan will be.

Overall, Fable was incredible. It started out a little rough for me, but oh my gosh I am so happy I stuck with it. Highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an at sea, action packed, fast paced and gritty story!

ARC Review | Bookish and the Beast

Title: Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3)

Author: Ashley Poston

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release date: August 4, 2020

My rating: ★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a finished copy!

I absolutely loved Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl! They are two of my favorite books. Needless to say, I thought Bookish and the Beast was going to be another love of mine, but unfortunelty, it was just an okay read for me. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hopes that I had for it. 

First off, Bookish and the Beast is the third book in the Once Upon a Con series! These books are companions so no, you do not have to read Geekerella or The Princess and the Fangirl to read this book. It can stand on its own just fine. However, I personally feel like you will have a better experience with this story if you read the other books first. There are several references to prior events and characters so you may get a little confused if you don’t. Also, this series is a lot of fun so I highly recommend Geekerella & Princess any way! 

As you can probably tell, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling! Ashley Poston did a wonderful job taking the classic tale that we all know & love and she put a bookish and geeky spin to it! 

Rosie is our Belle! When Rosie chases after a dog, she ends up in an abandoned house….so she thinks. There she finds a huge library full of the Starfield books. After being caught in the house and damaging an expensive book, she must organize the library to pay off her debt. I really loved Rosie. She is a total book nerd. She loves the look of books, the smell of them and getting lost in th pages. My favorite type of character! Rosie recently lost her mother, the person who helped her to fall in love with books and Starfield. She is trying to navigate life without one of her parents while also trying not to be the “girl with a dead mom.” 

Vance is our Beast. He is Hollywood royalty and oh, he plays the villain, General Sond in the Starfield movies. After many slip ups with paparazzi, Vance’s parents send him away so he can try to see the error of his ways. Vance can be pretty annoying and almost unlikeable at times. He is has that *I can do anything I want because I’m rich* thing going on and it drove me crazy. Of course, I still wanted the best for him though. He struggles with trust. He thinks that everyone is out to get him. He also feels like he isn’t good enough. It was interesting to see his character changes & learns. By the end of the book, he isn’t the same person we see in the beginning.

What I loved most about Geekerella & The Princess and the Fangirl is that they were very fandom centric. Being the nerd that I am, I really enjoyed the convention settings, cosplays and all the other geeky things that those books had. I was hoping for something very similar with the third book, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Bookish and the Beast went in a different direction and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. We still get to see the wonderful word of Starfield, but it’s through books. Obviously being a bookworm, I loved that, but I always found myself missing the fun of the ExcelciCon! Compared to the first two books, there wasn’t enough fandom related things for me to nerd out to.

As far as the romance goes, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t find myself rooting for it either. The chemistry between the two seemed to fluctuate. At times I could definitely see the sparks between the characters and then others times I was almost cringing at the awkwardness.

My favorite part of Bookish and the Beast was the adults that surround Rosie and Vance! They were incredible. Vance’s guardian, Elias is a total gem. He was always there to support Vance, especially when his parents weren’t. Yes, Vance has his troubles, but Elias saw the best in him. He believed in him when Vance needed it the most! Rosies dad was the coolest! I’m not even kidding, I loved him. He is a 90’s rock band loving, ear gauge wearing, queer librarian. Total perfection! His relationship with his daughter as very special. It’s just him & Rosie. They take care of each other no matter what. He is so supportive and gives amazing advice! Space dad is the best!

This may not have been my favorite book in the series, but it was still a fun & quick read. The Once Upon a Con series will forever have my fandom loving heart! 

★★★

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