Book Review

Book Review: Digging Up Love (Taste of Love #1) by Chandra Blumberg

Rating: ★★☆ (2.5)
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 345 pages
Author: Chandra Blumberg
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: January 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From debut author Chandra Blumberg comes a playful, heartfelt romance about chasing your dreams and finding love in the process.

Alisha Blake works her magic in the kitchen, creating delectable desserts for her grandfather’s restaurant in rural Illinois. Though Alisha relishes the close relationship she has with her family, she can’t help but dream about opening a cookie shop in Chicago. She may be a small-town baker, but Alisha has big ambitions.

Then a dinosaur bone turns up in her grandparents’ backyard. When paleontologist Quentin Harris arrives to see the discovery for himself, he’s hoping that the fossil will distract him from a recent painful breakup. Instead, he finds Alisha—and sparks fly. The big-city academic and the hometown baker seem destined for a happily ever after.

But Alisha is scared to fall in love. And Quentin’s trying to make a name for himself in a competitive field, which gets even more complicated when the press shows up at the dig site. For love to prevail, the two may have to put old bones aside—and focus on the future.

WENT DOWNHILL.

This started off so well, and left me entirely at odds by the end. UGH.

I immediately knew I had to read this from the premise. A baker and a paleontologist? SIGN ME UP. I loved the worlds colliding aspects and how everything mixed together between the couple. Alisha and Quentin had a lot of positives and I did feel that immediate connection type of romance. It kind of comes off as insta-love, but I honestly thought it was written really well.

What I struggled with was the lack of angst. There was wayyyy too much drama at the end, but all leading up to that was a very straight forward relationship. An exact breakdown of the dates they went on, texting convos, etc. that was all nice in theory, yet didn’t give the fireworks between them time to spark. Pretty swoony kissing scenes mixed in there were a pleasant touch.

the pacing dropped so low I had to skim to feel like it wasn’t going to take me days to finish. All in all, plenty of sweet things and some good moments. Just left wanting towards everything else.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: bullying, micro-aggressions, parental abandonment

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Book Review

Book Review: The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy #1) by Chelsea Abdullah

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 480 pages
Author: Chelsea Abdullah
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 17tn, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

LOVED.

Wow did I love everything about this. It is my kind of fantasy checklist that I knew would be a five star almost from the get-go.

I loooooove the setting. Jinn and magic, relics that cause all sorts of chaos. A wild adventure through shifting sand dunes with even shiftier people. I could barely stay afloat as new betrayals were tossed towards me. I love not seeing things fully coming and watching as the author weaves an incredible debut.

The characters were my favorite part (no surprise here). I love solid character stories and they were in abundance for each POV. Distinct personalities that left you wanting to shake them and hug them all in the same breath. The rag-tag/found family aspects had my heart singing and I need MORE of them all. Do I also peep potentially sub-plot romances?? I sure hope so.

I almost feel like it’s harder to put into words a five star read when there’s so much to touch on. Basically I think you MUST READ THIS BOOK and thank me after. It’s a new favorite and I need to get my own copy ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: possession, kidnapping, weapons violence, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: Mistle Text (An Accidentally in Love Story #5) by Whitney Dineen and Melanie Summers

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Length: 302 pages
Author: Whitney Dineen and Melanie Summers
Publisher: 33 Partners & Indigo Group
Release Date: September 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Twas the text before Christmas…

Twenty-eight-year-old Holly Snow is the only mother her four-year-old niece remembers. Three years earlier, when her sister and brother-in-law were killed, Holly’s dream of becoming an international flight attendant was put on hold so she could be home for baby Faith. Holly is doing everything she can to keep the rent paid, including working as an online travel agent, filing medical claims, and cleaning apartments in her building. When her friend Maggie tells her that her boss needs someone to buy his Christmas gifts, she leaps at the opportunity.

Tall, dark and Scroogy, investment banker, Archibald Harrington is too busy to do his own Christmas shopping. When his assistant tells him she knows of a professional shopper, he happily checks another dreaded task off his holiday list. The last thing Archie is expecting is for his hired elf to text him insistently to find out more about the people on list. The last thing Holly expects is to develop feelings for grumpy man who’s stealing her Christmas spirit.

Will there be a Holiday miracle, or will Holly and Archie miss their chance at love? Find out in the fifth installment of the Accidentally in Love Series.

HOLIDAY CHEER.

We have found another win for the holiday romance books column.

I do admit you do have to let go of some drama aspects for this one (as you do with holiday books), but I thought it was overall really charming!! The romance got off to a nice meet-cute and I liked the banter between Holly and Archie. They had some sweet moments that built the relationship well.

The plot had those billionaire romance aspects that I know many will love and worked for me most of the time too. I loved the personal shopper side of it too. The combination just worked so well for me.

Faith was a cute addition that only increased the charm on this book. I loved the new family they were creating together and it had me showcasing a huge smile. Faith was cheeky and landed the anecdotes at the right moment.

It’s a lighthearted and quick holiday read that I think will bring the best kind of feels for the season.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: orphaned child (death of parents mentioned; off-page), a mother with dementia

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: November 2022

BIRTHDAY MONTH & HOLIDAY BOOKS. It was a good November.

FAVORITES

LEAST FAVORITES

  • Holiday Romance
  • Fake Santa Apology Tour
  • Spells for Lost Things
  • The Eradic
  • The Belle of Belgrave Square
  • Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD
  • Heart of the Sun Warrior
  • Bloodmarked
  • The Holiduel
  • The Lost Metal
  • The Two Bells of Christmas
  • Cabin Mate
  • Morrighan
  • My Knight Before Christmas
  • Built to Last
  • The Cloisters
  • A Billionaire Inventor for Christmas
  • Talk Santa to Me
  • House of Eclipses
  • [Novella] My Knight Before Christmas (Christmas in Connecticut #1) by Amanda P. Jones
  • Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh
  • [ARC] Scrooge and the Girls Next Door (Creekville Kisses) by Melanie Jacobson
  • Dance of a Burning Sea (Moussai #2) by E.J. Mellow
  • [Novella] The Fake Santa Apology Tour by Julie Olivia
  • The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
  • [ARC] Song of Silver, Flame Like Night (Song o the Last Kingdom #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao
  • [Novella] Mishaps & Mistletoe (When in West Virginia #1.5) by Lindsey Jesionowski
  • Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
  • Built to Last by Erin Hahn
  • Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch
  • [ARC] The Eradic (The Eradic #1) by S. Goodey
  • A Newport Christmess (Christmas Escapes #4) by Jess Heileman
  • [Novella] Holly Jolly Christmas Derailed by Emily Bradford
  • Cursed (Gilded #2) by Marissa Meyer
  • A Memory of Light (Until the Stars Are Dead #1) by Allyson S. Barkley
  • The Belle of Belgrave Square (Belles of London #2) by Mimi Matthrews
  • [Novella] Christmas Crasher by Ash Keller
  • [Non-Fiction] Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD by Eli R. Lebowitz, PhD
  • Heart of the Sun Warrior (The Celestial Kingdom Duology #2) by Sue Lynn Tan
  • [Non-Fiction] Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
  • [ARC] Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan #1) by Elle Cosimano
  • [ARC] Saint (The Narrows #0) by Adrienne Young
  • A Not-So Holiday Paradise (Christmas Escapes #5) by Gracie Ruth Mitchell
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
  • Bloodmarked (Legendborn #2) by Tracey Deonn
  • [Novella] The Holiduel (Falling for Franklin #0.5) by Hailey Gardiner
  • The Cloisters by Katy Hays
  • Prince of Song & Sea (Princes #1) by Linsey Miller
  • How the Grump Saved Christmas by Claire Kingsley
  • Later On We’ll Conspire (Christmas Escapes #6) by Kourtney Keisel
  • The Lost Metal (Mistborn Era 2 #7) by Brandon Sanderson
  • [ARC/Novella] The Two Bells of Christmas by Joanna Barker
  • [ARC] Cabin Mate (Under Kansas Skies #4) by Leah Brunner
  • Half a Soul (Regency Faerie Tales #1) by Olivia Atwater
  • A Billionaire Inventor for Christmas (Dexington Christmas Billionaires #1) by Dobi Daniels
  • [Novella] Christmas at Engine 17 by Ash Keller
  • [ARC] Morrighan (The Remnant Chronicles #0.5) by Mary E. Pearson
  • Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban
  • [Novella] Holiday Hang-Ups by Elle Anne Brown
  • House of Eclipses (House of Eclipses #2) by Casey L. Bond
  • [Novella] The Naughty, the Nice, and the Nanny (Holiday Brothers #1) by Willa Nash
  • Christmas After All by Cece Louise
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities: Unlocked (KOTLC #8.5) by Shannon Messenger

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