Book Review

Book Review: A Batter of Life and Death (A Bakeshop Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Cozy mystery
Length: 304 pages
Author: Ellie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…

It’s autumn in Ashland, Oregon-’tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte’s famous peach cobbler. It’s also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family’s beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel’s reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

HOOKED.

Yes. I have been hooked in by this series. I just love mixing in cozy mysteries in-between my big fantasy books. I love that there’s so many genres of books out there y’all.

This was another good read. I had picked out my assumed killer at the beginning, but found myself, yet again, delightfully wrong. I love the reveals and the messes Jules ends up in. My favorite small parts are when the character acknowledges how often they’re around murder, like isn’t that the point of the book? lololol

I’m also loving the subtle romance I’m seeing. Loving the second chance vibes that better be happening. Carlos has got to go.

These are simple and fun reads. I love the bakery setting and really want to try some of the dessert recipes that are at the end of each book!

Overall audience notes:

  • Cozy mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: flirting
  • Violence: murder, physical attacks, attempted murder

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Book Review

Book Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 570 pages
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 20th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

A NEW FAVORITE.

All Rhodes Lead Here and Kulti are officially my favorite MZ books.

THIS SOCCER ROMANCE WAS EVERYTHING.

I absolutely loved Sal. The focus was clearly on her and her soccer career. I adored her as a character and the type of person she was. Sal was loyal and kind with a temper. Enter in Reiner Kulti who is silent as stone and immovable in emotions. CHEMISTRY FLIES. I love how they went from barely acquittances, to actual friends, and THEN to a romantic relationship. It all felt so natural and hot dang was fantastic. I love MZ’s ability to make me swoon over every tiny hand hold or hug. Those soft moments when you realize that stone is actually clay and is forming a new bond right in front of your eyes.

You won’t even notice that this is 600 pages. The progression is flawless and the pacing is everything I love about a stellar slow burn. My heart was an absolute puddle in the last pages with confessions and acknowledgements of feelings. A PUDDLE. Wow does Rey know how to lay out some tender words when he wants too. His support for Sal was EVERYTHING.

I really loved this story. It was heavily focused on the soccer season and yet never felt like it was overshadowing the fact that this is a romance book. Both plots wove seamlessly and I am smitten. Not to mention, smitten with the side characters too. Sal’s Dad was a GEM. And made me laugh and smile along with her other friends. I have nothing but good things to say about this book and highly recommend for anyone looking for a sports romance to turn their heart to mush.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: slut-shaming

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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

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

BACKLIST B&tB.

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

BOOK SUMMARY:

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

ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE.

Y’all.

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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