Book Review

Book Review: Heart’s Blood by Julie Marillier

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance / Retelling
Length: 402 pages
Author: Julie Marillier
Publisher: Roc
Release Date: November 3rd, 2009
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the region in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies of Anluan’s family and his people. The woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom. And Anluan himself has been crippled by a childhood illness.

Then the young scribe Caitrin appears in Anluan’s garden, admiring the rare plant known as heart’s blood. Retained to sort through entangled family documents, Caitrin brings about the unexpected changes in the household, casting a hopeful light against the despairing shadows.

But even as Caitrin brings solace to Anluan, and the promise of something more between them, he remains in thrall to the darkness surrounding Whistling Tor. To free Anluan’s burdened soul, Caitrin must unravel the web of sorcery woven by his ancestors before it claims his life and their love.


This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

It was okay.

Honestly, got kind of bored about halfway through.

It was an interesting story [mostly]. It’s background was an Irish setting with all the things you’ve seen in B&tB. A small town with a mysterious ruler, magic, a woman who comes in to save the day (running from her own Gaston). For a retelling I thought it did line up on point for the original story. There were some additional tidbits to make it older, but that was mostly it.

I didn’t feel the chemistry between Caitrin and Anluan. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t know. Wasn’t working for me. I was also really confused by the magic. There were these magic mirrors that kept showing flashbacks? And then I would forget I was in a flashback, and things got convoluted at that point.

It’s a slow ride. I found myself forcing myself to finish, but was too far in to stop. The story wasn’t bad and I know others will probably really enjoy it. It was a not for me book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance, retelling
  • Language: little
  • Romance: kisses to some mild love scenes (mostly closed door)
  • Violence: war, skirmishes, physical
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual assault, domestic abuse, ableism, loss of loved ones, suicide, suicide ideation, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 300 pages
Author: Sarah Adams
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: August 17th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Is it ever too late to leave the friend-zone?

Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us.

Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.)

Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that!

Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me.

How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?

Send help.
XO Bree



Sarah Adams has done it again. WHAT A GEM OF ADORABLE CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

Nathan was *everything*. I was in love with that cinnamon roll of a man and did not hate for a second that he was a NFL quarterback. All of the sweet things he did for Bree to show he cared. And WOW do I love a group of friends coming together to help and support each other. I loved all of his teammates and I found myself laughing multiple times because of all of the antics.

Bree was great too! I really liked her as the heroine and found her feisty and utterly loyal companion. Someone with so much strength and still filled with a soft heart. Watching both of these two dance around each other brought out all of the angst. Bree occasionally annoyed me because I felt like she was resisting Nathan too much, but it didn’t detract from my overall impressions.

Everything flowed beautifully. The writing, as always, amazing. The pace moved well, I’m pretty sure after the first two chapters I was already shouting KISS ALREADY. And that’s the kind of feelings I was all over for Nathan and Bree’s story.

I can’t leave this review without telling you THAT ENDING WAS PEFECT. The impeccable way that that rolled out. I sat there smiling at my book with tears in my eyes because I didn’t even know I needed that kind of movie-like closing. Every book of Adams becomes my new favorite.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: on page depictions of anxiety and panic attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Angie Hockman
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?


Mostly because I read this book in winter, am I desperately wanting to find myself a cruise ship. Wow did this make me want to travel (which is definitely a bonus point for it).

Shipped was a good, quick read. I didn’t find myself falling in love with it ever. Every time it got close to that level, something would drag me back down. Hard to nail it exactly, things were just missing to make it a complete romance for me.

I liked Henley. She was intelligent, a bit of a workaholic, and had a lot of space to grow. By the end I appreciated her arc and thought it was empowering. Henley found the support of her friends and the strength within herself to make some big decisions that ultimately helped her find her true career passion.

Graeme was adorable. From the first page he popped up on I liked him. I thought there would have been more banter and angst between Graeme and Henley. It was a letdown to see how quickly they became an item honestly. I wanted some more push and pull.

The Author’s Note and the general theme of the book being in the Galapagos Islands was fantastic. It encouraged me to research eco-tourism and want to plan my own supportive trips. This was a bit of romance and larger plots that bounced off of each other well enough.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: side character in a domestic abuse situation

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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


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.


…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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