Category Archives: Book Reviews

A Cowboy To Remember [NetGalley ARC Review]

Rating: 2/5 Stars ⭐️

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: NetGalley eARC

I requested this book because I really liked Xeni, which was the only other book I have read by this author. I was hoping for a really good cowboy romance, which is one of my favorite things. But this book was not it at all. I just cannot put my finger on what it was, but this book lacks the storyline and characters I expected from Rebekah Weatherspoon. I would suggest reading Xeni, and I have heard good things about Rafe. But this book just falls flat in a lot of places.

This the story of famous celebrity chef, Evie Buchanan. She is pushed down the stairs by a rival chef, and she loses all of her memories. There is nowhere she can go except the ranch she grew up on to recover. It is the only place where she can stay anonymous to avoid the media finding out she has lost all of her memories.

I thought this was going to be a riveting book, but I did not really care about what was going on when i was reading it. There was nothing really interesting about the story or the way the romance was supposed to unfold. I was so shocked this because Xeni was so rich in comparison. This book is about Evie trying to get her memories back and learn how to be a chef once more. There is also her history with Zach and they want to be like close to each other even though they haven’t spoken for like ten years. I think you are just supposed to accept all of their history as enough for a romance, but like there was no chemistry or anything exciting about when they’re together.

Okay, there is also so many side characters and sometimes you get their POV but I don’t know why. There was nothing really added to it, so I was wondering what was going on with that whole thing honestly. Her friends seemed cool, and I would like books about them. But the rest was just so meh. I was waiting for a reason to care about anyone, but there was no one who really stood out. They are just rich black people with a ranch (which is so awesome because i think there needs to be more stories like this), but no one is exciting or anything. There are just tall guys who wear cowboy hats and that is supposed to be enough to be a personality trait, I guess. Wearing a cowboy hat does make a dude hot, but its not enough to fall in love with in my opinion.

Also, it was so odd that Evie had amnesia until like 87% way through the book and then she was like magically better. She has no idea what’s going on t he whole time and then she is magically cured, and she wants to go back o her own life. Also, the whole thing where she suddenly doesn’t want to be around Zach was lame. I was just like yeah ok especially with just around 10% of the book left, this makes for a rushed and terrible story. The only good thing was the grandma who was a pioneer for black women in the entertainment industry. I would read a story about her. Like her whole life. She was awesome. This was so disappointing, and i hope the next books are better but I am not sure i will be picking them up.

Thank you NetGalley and Kensington for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Absolution [NetGalley ARC Review]

The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Crime Thriller

NetGalley EARC

3 stars ⭐️

I really wanted to like this book because it is blurbed by Karin Slaughter, and she’s one of my favorite authors. I’m not sure why, but this book was a big disappointment to me. I liked the beginning parts about the crimes, but it went downhill.

Stella is taken from her job at a movie theater and murdered. There’s a 2 under her body, and no one knows what this means.

Hudlar is the detective assigned to the case, and there’s also Freyja, the child psychologist. Both are working from different angles to see what happened to Stella. The police search through footage, but they are no closer to finding the killer. Freyja is interviewing classmates to see if anyone knew what could have happened to Stella. Her classmates actually saw the murder on Snapchat, but no one has answers.

Then they find out Stella was a terrible bully. She was setting up a horrible website about a classmate and even trying to sell her classmate online like a sex worker. Her phone shows up in the mailbox of a woman, but she says she has no idea why. Clearly, she’s connected somehow.

Then a teen boy goes missing and his body is found with a 3. There’s also Snapchat messages sent out about him as well. They contact someone who specializes in bullying, but there aren’t clear answers yet.

Normally I like police procedural books, but this one got so boring. I didn’t care about the characters and their lives. All the minute details of their lives were so boring to me, and I had a hard time finishing the book with all the extraneous details about everything. None of the characters were interesting, and I was annoyed that apparently Huldar and Freyja become a couple because there seems to no be no chemistry.

It was interesting to see how bullying interwove all the events, and I liked the gruesome parts. Not sure if I’d read more from the series, but I did like the gruesome. That was the only highlight for me. I ended up skimming towards the end. I will say the ending was super creepy, and I loved it.

Thank you NetGalley and St Martins Press for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mini Reviews #2 [Thriller/Romance]

These are reviews that are late because I’m forgetful to post. I didn’t write long ones, so I thought I’d just add them together. Both are books I’d recommend. Both are 4 star ⭐️ reads. So check them out. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publishers.

This is the second book so I picked up the first one so I’m not lost. It works as a standalone, but it’s better when you’re reading them in succession.

Emily is back to take care of her dad after a heart attack. Her dad has been the doctor and medical examiner for a long time so Emily steps in when they start finding bones. She’s supposed to be going back to Chicago, but she’s needed in her hometown. Of course there’s a love interest in Sheriff Nick. The bones belong to someone he knew and they plan to investigate. All I can say is that it’s a little predictable if you read romance. I guess it’s like a cheesy episode of a crime show, but it’s not bad. I’d read this author again, but I don’t know if I would continue the series.

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books.

I picked up the first book so I had a better understanding for this book. You don’t have to do that, but I prefer having a series make sense in my head.

Kerry and Rafe are OG friends with a past. Always an epic way to start a romance honestly. I live for this trope. Rafe was adopted by the Colton’s, and he has not talked to Kerry in like 13 years so that’s a lot of tension already. They have a history and he just stopped talking to her. He did it for a reason but she assumes he just cut her off. So she’s not exactly thrilled to have to see him again at first. She’s trying to solve who killed her brother and another detective case. So they both have a lot going on in their lives.

Rafe is the CEO of the family company so he’s all fancy, and he’s different from when they were young. But like he still has feelings for her. They have mutual feelings, but they aren’t acting on them at the start. It’s like they know they should be together but not. Kerry is like no no no, but since this is a romance you know it’s going to happen. And it’s so good when it does.

So they just have sex and like no big deal. Biggest trope ever. So yeah they do end up getting close because like how could they not. I was so happy the whole time I was reading this book, and I am so thrilled to know the author has more books in this setting because I need them all ASAP.

The suspense is good. I couldn’t stop reading once i started, but the romance is the best part. Kerry juts fights in but you can’t stop fate. I was so happy when she took the plunge and let herself fall in love with rafe. If you want a great suspense novel with a fantastic romance, read this book immediately. Then read everything else this author writes.

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for the advanced review copies. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tweet Cute [Book Review]

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Genre: Contemporary YA Romance

Rating: 4/5 Stars

What a wonderful and cheesy book. I had to do that because this book has a burger joint in it. So it’s appropriate. Hahahahahah, I am so funny.

This book is peak YA contemporary romance. Like it could not be cuter. Or more fun. Plus, there’s twitter so that always mean there’s going to be a good time. Like, this book is fantastic.

Jack and Pepper attend the same school. But they don’t really talk. You get both POVs, and it’s so fun. Both are genuine voices. It gets even better when they end up in a Twitter war via their family restaurants twitter accounts. There’s sass, memes, and gifs happening. And it’s even cuter because they have to deal with each other because of swim team practice sharing space. The best part is they are talking to each other on an anonymous school chat app so it’s going to get even more… tense for their relationship possibly.

This book is so good. You should read it because it’s so adorable. But it will, make you hungry too.

I couldn’t stop reading this story, and Pepper and Jack are so great. Plus they have real relationships with their families which I love In books because it creates a more real story.

apparently it’s like you got mail, but I’ve never seen that. So… this would be a cute rom com series. I vote Hulu does it.

Probably going to be one of the cutest reads of 2020. I can’t wait to read more books from this author…. because this book is just so damn adorable.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely [Book Review]

Rating:4/5 Stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: Kindle book I own

Well, I finally read this book. I’m so happy I read it because it was much better than I expected. I tried to read it last year, but my tiny human was only a few months old so it was hard to focus on such a rich retelling. So when the chance to buddy read it popped up, I decided to go with it since it has been sitting in my Kindle library almost a year.

Harper lives a life not great because her mother is dying, and her brother has to act as a violent enforcer for someone their father owns money to. Harper sees a girl being kidnapped and intervenes. Then she ends up in Emberfall, finding out the kingdom is cursed and the only way to save the kingdom is to fall in love with the prince, Rhen.

This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it’s unique. I did have a hard time with the first half of the book, but once I was in the book, I couldn’t stop reading. It’s a different kind of retelling because Harper is trying to save the people she loves… her family…rather than being swept up in a castle and falling for the prince. It’s actually not really a love story, but it’s still fantastic.

Harper is a bad ass. I love how fierce she is. She has cerebral palsy, but she doesn’t let it define her. The representation in the book seems like it’s good, but I can’t speak fully since I don’t have the experience. It’s like Kemmerer made her disability part of the plot overall rather than just a plot device to make her book stand out. I adore Harper and how she wants to save the kingdom as well. She cares about Rhen, but she’s not just like omg I need to fall in love. I am such a fan of romance, but with the context of this book, the way Harper is is so perfect.

Rhen is okay. He’s the prince. There was nothing special about him. I was saddened whenever Lilith would hurt him because she was brutal to him, but there was nothing about his personality which made me root for him as a love interest for Harper.

Grey is awesome. I think he’s a well developed character, and I was never bored when he was involved. I think his perspective would have enhanced the book because of what is revealed about him throughout the story. I know many are huge fans of him, but I’ll make my choice when I read the next book and actually see his perspective.

This is such a rich fairy tale retelling, I can understand why it’s so popular. I can’t wait for the next book, and I am looking forward to reading more from Kemmerer since I am giddy over how she writes fantasy.

Did you love this book? Are you planning on reading the next one? I’d love to hear about your thoughts on this book.

Cowboys Vow to Protect [Book Review]

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Format: eARC via NetGalley

Trigger warning for mention of rape, assault, brief glimpse into dark thoughts of the rapist, and slight description of rape.

I’m not sure where to begin with this book. I’m going to share a few lines from the book which made me roll my eyes:

“ Then as he went up and down the grocery store aisles he filled his basket with the kinds of foods he thought a woman would like to eat. “

And

“ he didn’t get women in general. He found them mysterious alien beings. They were complex and filled with emotions he didn’t always understand.”

Alright… women just eat food. It’s not gendered. Seriously.

Also, I’m tired of this line acting like women are so weird. Just treat them like people and you’ll be okay. I just wanted to scream at this book a lot. At least regarding how much of the gender stereotypes it contained.

Madison is trying to leave town because of something that happened. But Flint finds her and says she can stay in his cabin. She confesses she was raped and beaten. He wants her to go to the police, but she is scared to at first. Both of them don’t think they deserve to fall in love, but they are going to because it’s a romance. I don’t know what to really say regarding this book because it’s kind of a hot mess of things going on. There’s heavy topics, but I think they are treated with a light hand. There’s no like recovery Madison goes through, just oh the magic of love and raising this baby will make me all better. Instead of maybe like going through therapy and dealing with the fears she had, she thinks just falling in love with a guy will solve all of her trauma. Flint says hey you should go to therapy and you probably have PTSD, but that’s it. I guess just love will get rid of her issues and it will just be all good. Sure. I suppose so. Also, flint has chronic pain. But it’s barely talked about. It’s just like thrown in there for a storyline, but it’s never given the respect and mention the rep of chronic pain deserves. I suppose I’m just upset with this book overall. It started out well, but it just became a jumble of problems. I can’t recommend it because of the content and how it was all handled. I’m disappointed because I really wanted to enjoy this book. Maybe it’s just the content, but I would suggest skipping this book altogether. There was no real suspense or romance. Just a lot of problems.

Thank you to NetGalley and harlequin for the eARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

No, We Can’t Be Friends [Book Review]

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Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Format: eARC via NetGalley

This is my second book by the author. She writes good books, but I think sometimes the blurbs can be misleading. Ranald writes good books, no doubt. But they’re not these romantic comedies they are supposed to be. They’re more like realistic fiction. Which isn’t bad, but just change the wording so people aren’t misled.

Sloane has a marriage that’s falling apart. Her husband cheated, but she doesn’t want to believe it. They are remodeling their house, but life is falling apart for her. This book just kind of has events happening… I never really got to see beyond the surface for Sloane so it was hard to know what she feels or her thoughts on what’s going on. It’s all surface level and didn’t make for a good book.

You don’t get much about the marriage, you just found out there’s a companion that tells the before. But I don’t see the point when you’ve finished the story, so why go back when you know what would happen. You just see the relationship fall apart but there’s no emotional connection to care or understand what led to their ending.

Just call this women’s fiction because no “romance” until like 60% in, and it’s so… boring.

Okay but the clients she has in her business are so awesome. I’d read books about them. That’s who I cared about.

Kind of annoyed with the ending. She should have just kept the cat and that’s it.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Most Fun We Ever Had [Book Review]

Oh, my goodness. It’s 2020. I’m talking about a book I finished last year. What audacity I have, yes? But also this book took me a month and a half. So I’m going to share my review. This is my first post of the new year so I’m excited. I’ll be sharing more about my posting schedule this weekend, for sure.

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.

As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.

Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.

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Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 4/5 Stars

So this book technically took me a month to read. Normally when a book takes me this span of time, I give up. But I just had to see this book through. I don’t know why I couldn’t give up. I picked it up from the library, tried to start it, and I requested a longer check out time copy so I could finish. Then I renewed it. Still, I finished and am so proud of myself.

This is a rich family drama. I’m not normally a fan of family stories since mine is such a hot mess. This book follows the Sorensen daughters and their parents. It spans from when their parents meet to 2017. But it’s not told in a linear fashion. So there’s a lot of POV switching and time hopping. This was a little annoying when time periods would reveal different things, and I felt like the book was just dragging on at some points.

The book is weird because I liked it, but I was also mad at all of the characters. There were a lot of annoying traits they had, and sometimes their behavior was so… bad. The family is trying to deal with their second daughter have the child she gave up for adoption come back into the picture. Jonah is sixteen and ends up back in this family, due to circumstances that were unrealistic. This whole book can be melodramatic at times where I wanted to just scream at how ridiculous they would act. Jonah is the only character I liked. And the parents. The sisters were just so horrible in their own way, it’s like the author wants you to hate them. I ended up just deciding to buckle down and finish the book. I’m glad I did,but I think it could have been better if it was like a hundred pages shorter and more linear.

I look forward to reading more from Lombardo. Any fans of family dramas need to pick this up. Just be prepared to be reading this for a long time to come.

Know My Name [Book Review/Blogmas]

Photo credit

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Memoir

Format: physical library book

Let me begin this by saying I wasn’t going to rate this. Not because it wasn’t amazing, because it was. But because I think a rating of such a personal story trivializes the story. So, I’m a little iffy about giving this a rating. Still, it’s such a beautiful and much needed story.

All I’m going to say is as someone who is a rape survivor, this book was hard to read. I was a victim for years at the hands of a family member and it’s still a painful experience.

I loved this book. It took me longer to digest because there is so much to process. It’s such a well written book, but it’s not easy to read. I’m sure you could just sit down and read it in a day, but I felt much better taking my time so I could get the full impact.

Chanel is such a strong person. I admire her for taking back her narrative and saying she’s a victim but not his victim. I just… wow. She is claiming herself back and showing her tenacity . She talks about the whole process of the journey embarked upon from going to a party and waking up to find out she was raped. There’s a lot of sadness in this book, but there’s a lot of beautiful elements. Chanel talks about her family and childhood… her life… everything. Yes, it’s hard to read about her dark times but those are so important. She shares about how she felt fine… then dealing with her trauma and finally telling her story. I don’t have enough words to commend her spirit and how amazing she is. Chanel is so bad ass.

Chanel also touches on other events happening around the same time. Things I had forgotten about and that others probably have too. She frames them in the context of the world around us and the injustices still happening today. We have become so numb to events happening we just accept them and never ask why is this occurring or what we can do to stop them. The events are Isla Vista shooting, the murder of Philando Castile, the election of Trump, the concession of Hillary Clinton, the Cosby trial, and a few others I can’t recall. But they are all important. Reading this books makes you realize how much we should be paying attention to the world and seeing we need to be better and do better. Victims are speaking all of the time, and we all need to listen.

I absolutely adore this book, and I think everyone should read it. Definitely one of the best books of 2019 and in general.

Queen of Nothing [Book Review/Blogmas]

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.
And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Young Adult fantasy

Format: Library book

I finished Wicked King this year… and I was upset I was going to have to wait an entire year for the next one. Then the literary gods smiled upon us, and we were given this book in November. I was so thrilled to see what was going to happen to Jude and Cardan sooner than I expected.

I’m still sad this book is the shortest. I don’t know why authors make the last book so short. I was hoping for the most giant tome to get lost in because I was craving so many answers. Part of me hoped for a thousand page book I could cry over. Still, I finished this in the span of a day, and I’m not disappointed.

Jude is the exiled queen of Elfhame. She’s been exiled by Cardan, the high king. She’s living in the mortal world to protect her younger brother, Oak, who will be the high king someday. She’s training Oak for future and for his safety. Then Taryn, her twin, shows up and says she’s killed her husband. She needs Jude to pretend to be her during the interrogation. So Jude returns to Elfhame to help her sister… and she’s back in the court, not sure what’s going to happen or who she can trust.

I don’t want to create any spoilers so I’m going to cut my review short here. This book has so much going on you won’t be able to stop reading. I’m so glad about how this book wrapped up. It’s the ending I wanted and needed. I just felt like the ending was too quick, and I wanted more. I hope someday Holly Black writes more. For now, I’ll just be looking up some smutty Jude and Cardan fanfic.