Book Review

Book Review: The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: September 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Inheritance Games perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.

With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.

I’M ON THE WRONG SIDE.

…OF THIS LOVE TRIANGLE. Ugh. I have one book left to see if things go by way because gosh dang it, I hate being on the wrong side. Don’t get me wrong, Jameson made some great strides and I saw growth in his character. BUT IT’S TEAM GRAYSON OVER HERE.

I’m in awe of this authors ability to craft amazingly detailed and intricate puzzles. They wow me. The reveals mostly catch me off guard. Explosions, kidnapping, being followed. Avery goes through another wild ride trying to keep her inheritance at the Hawthorne’s.

For a middle book I was thoroughly charmed. The pacing kept up and action was definitely there. I found enough quiet moments to relax before things picked back up and I love that I feel like I can’t trust many characters. It’s fun to be on my toes wondering what’s going to happen next. The finale is sure to be something else and I can’t wait!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Mystery
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, recounting of house fire with loss of life, plane explosion, gun violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Royally Rearranged by Emma St. Clair

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 380 pages
Author: Emma St. Clair
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 30th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

There WILL be a royal wedding. The only question–who will be my groom?

An arranged marriage isn’t the worst fate for a princess like me. Especially because I’ve been in love with my intended groom since we were children.

But when my prince shows up with an American girlfriend instead of an engagement ring, all arrangements are off.

The clock is nearing midnight–I won’t turn into a pumpkin, but if I’m not wed by summer’s end, I’ll forfeit my kingdom.

Just your typical royal dilemma.

Out of sheer desperation, I make a deal with a devilish duke. Rafe de Silva is the prince’s rival and has a plan so ridiculous it just might work.

One moment, Rafe seems to relish making the prince jealous.

And the next… he’s making me question everything with his words, his touch, and his ability to melt my Ice Princess persona.

I’m not always given the luxury of choice, but now I have a huge one to make. I only hope I don’t lose my crown, my heart, or myself in the process…

Royally Rearranged is a sizzling, swoony, closed-door romantic comedy.

NEW ROYAL FAV.

First: ADD TO TBR.

Second: Continue with the rest of the review.

Y’all. I don’t find book boyfriends easy. Ones that live absolutely rent free in my mind. Rafe has been added to that list. RENT FREE. Ohhhhh my gosh what a vulnerable cinnamon roll with swagger. I loved every single moment he was on page. All that I learned about him. His emotional willingness to help Serafina find whatever she wanted. The support from both sides. Tender ending. ALL SO GOOD.

Not to put Serafina aside because she was top notch as well. I love how formidable she was. Intelligent and uncompromising. Not only did she really grow as a character, Serafina also showed my favorite kind of shut down. Thank heavens, when a miscommunication came up that I thought about throwing my kindle, she said, wait let me talk to him first. WHAT A CONCEPT. Five stars.

This gave off MAJOR Princess Diaries 2 vibes (it’s the best of the two, I will die on this hill). All the royalty I love to see without over the top dramatics. Everything was laid out perfectly and this book was just so dang good. My new favorite for this author.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gaslighting and psychological abuse (recounted and a bit on page)

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Book Review

Book Review: Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Cozy Mystery
Length: 307 pages
Author: Ellie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: December 30th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to Torte-a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all.

FOUND A NEW COZY SERIES.

This was a friend recommendation that did not disappoint! I found a love for cozy mysteries last year and now I may have found the series I read this year.

I looooove that this was set at a bakery! As someone who bakes a lot I loved getting to see all of the delicious treats come alive. What’s fun is that anything made in the book is left with a recipe at the end! I plan on trying some of the ones I read about.

I thought Juliet Capshaw was a fun main character. A bit ditzy about locking her shop’s door at night, but otherwise a pretty solid amateur sleuth. I only got the beginnings of her story and would love to continue unravelling everything. I think there’s a great set-up for a little romance, some growth in the bake shop and more.

It was a charming read, in a smaller town in Oregon. I liked the dramatic characters and Shakespearean anecdotes. It’s a typical cozy mystery, but isn’t that the point? I love the simplicity and easy-going-ness of it all. This is what this genre is about for me and why I fell for them!

Overall audience notes:

  • Cozy mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, physical altercations, smoke (from surrounding wildfires)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Well Matched (Well Met #3) by Jen DeLuca

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

Thank you the Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

AAAAAAPRIL.

Someone please tell me they read that in Andy Dwyer’s voice?

After that brief intro, let me voice my thoughts on this book.

BECAUSE I LOOOOOOVED IT.

All I could want for Mitch and April’s storyline was in here. I have been waiting for this book since Well Met. It wrapped me up and filled me with so many emotions throughout. I finished it in a day because I was so enraptured by this love story.

I love that there was a deeper story for Mitch. I really got to see all of his layers pulled back and see the insecurities that he struggles with. Watching April stand up for him and be by his side brought all the warm fuzzies and fist pumps because I was behind her back saying YEAH TELL ‘EM. The united front brought on by fake-dating (YUP THAT TROPE Y’ALL!!!) gave way to the clear emotional pull between them. [And let’s face it, I’m a total sucker for the fact he wore a kilt for a good portion of this book.]

April frustrated me, but not in an overly annoying way. More of a, I get it, kind of way. She had to work through a lot of feelings. Coping with becoming an empty nester after being a single-mom, seeing her ex again and learning that plans change. And that all of that is okay. But that it’s also okay to have moments of pure doubt and freak out a little because change is scary. Even when I felt exasperated, I still sat in April’s corner cheering her on to her, much deserved, happy ending.

There’s many a trope abound in here. And I love a good mash-up. Fake-dating was already mentioned, but there’s also single bed, age gap, and more. I was wrapped up in all the Ren Fest related and this series always makes me want to pull out a corset and dive into the fray. I ADORED a moment that reminded me of a scene in Grease (and I’m sure many other books/movies, IYKYK because I don’t want to spoil). There was layer upon layer of story here that had me swooning, begging for reconciliation, and rallying for that final push to my favorite kind of HEA.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to a few open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: divorce (husband abandons April), family tension/bullying, abandonment of a child (side character)

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