Book Review

Book Review: Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 335 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: January 18th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

COHO HAS DONE IT AGAIN.

Not even surprised I loved this. LOVED IT. The hype is completely warranted and this is the type of classic Hoover read that I have to emotionally prepare for knowing it’s going to destroy me before stitching my heart back together.

I loved that this was way and beyond more than a romance. There were many types of love that played a part in Kenna and Ledger’s story. The major theme of getting a second chance had me in tears. Seeing Kenna come from so low and truly trying to do her best to get an opportunity to meet her daughter made for a heart squeezing read.

“Now that I’ve forgiven myself, the reminders of him only make me smile.”

Exploring different types of forgiveness and making the best choices in an horrible situation creating a memorable story. I love the gray areas Hoover explores and that each person’s path is not direct or like any others.

The romance was of course, fabulous. ALL THE ANGST. And Ledger is just a bar above the rest y’all. Plenty of chemistry, raw discussions and passion fueled moments. You’ll be hoping for the best for everyone involved by the end. This is now going to be ranking as one of my top CoHo books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple brief to longer open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicidal thoughts, detailed scene of losing a loved one by a car accident, under the influence car wreck (alcohol and drugs), grief and depression depiction, child neglect, parent incarceration

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 413 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: April 19th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the bestselling author of Where the Lost Wander and What the Wind Knows comes the evocative story of two people whose paths collide against the backdrop of mystery, murder, and the Great Depression.

Chicago, 1923: Ten-year-old Dani Flanagan returns home to find police swarming the house, her parents dead. Michael Malone, the young patrolman assigned to the case, discovers there’s more to the situation—and to Dani Flanagan herself—than the authorities care to explore. Malone is told to shut his mouth, and Dani is sent away to live with her spinster aunts in Cleveland.

Fifteen years later, Michael Malone is summoned to Cleveland to investigate a series of murders that have everyone stumped, including his friend and famed Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, now Cleveland’s director of safety. There, in a city caught in the grip of a serial killer, Malone’s and Dani’s paths cross once again.

Malone is drawn to Dani and her affinity for the dead and compassion for the destitute. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that she could help him solve his case. As terror descends on the city and Malone and Dani confront the dark secrets that draw them together, it’s a race to find the killer or risk becoming his next victims.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

ALL THE STARS.

I am forever attached to Harmon and her writing magnificence. The beauty and portrayal of the nuances of every aspect of her stories is immersing and impossible to turn away from. The moment this dropped onto my kindle I read it was quickly as I could as once again, I have nothing but good things to say.

AH THE ROMANCE. If you love a good age gap romance, this one is for you. I looooved the way that Dani and Michael came together. Through learning about each other’s backgrounds, to the slow forced proximity of their situations. And at last to the clashing of their souls has love took them under. It was everything subtly beautiful I love in a romance. I constantly needed more of them because each interaction pulled at my heart and while I loved Dani and Michael separately, I also loved the way they stood together.

The gritty murder mystery throughout was definitely hard to read in the dark at times. A bit gruesome and will keep you on your toes. I constantly was waiting for the other foot to drop and for the those final throw down scenes to ramp up my heartrate. Don’t worry, IT HAPPEEND. I liked the conclusions that were brought through to the end to tie up things for a book (even with the author’s note at the end explaining creative differences for the sake of the story).

This review is already a lot longer than my usual because I can’t STOP. I loved everything about this story. Amy Harmon writes historical romances like no other.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: med/high blood and gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, gruesome depictions of murder, dismembering, gun violence, murder/suicide

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Book Review

Book Review: The Vine Witch (The Vine Witch #1) by Luanne G. Smith

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy + Paranormal: witches
Length: 263 pages
Author: Luanne G. Smith
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

THE IDEA WAS UNIQUE.

The execution was less so.

I was really into this book at first, that beginning chapter where our MC is a frog? That’s interesting. I want to know more. As things went on, it started to drag and then I was truly confused at the point of some of the characters.

Elena, as a vine witch, works on a vineyard to produce the most extraordinary wine. Back from a curse she seeks to figure out who did it to her. This aspect of her personality I liked. She was headstrong in solving this case and was firm in choosing what she wanted to do. At other times I felt she let others do the work for her, or was too “weak” from her curse to do anything. It made her a bit wishy-washy.

I really liked Jean-Paul! He felt like a smooooth character (if that even begins to make sense). I immediately saw the potential connection between him and Elena. This never really worked out…even though they were together by the end? They spent very little time together and had little conversation throughout the book. I could see the author was pushing for their relationship, but I was no longer interested *shrugs*. I wanted a deeper connection with all of the characters.

Especially the villain. What was the point of her? She was a crone that had no story, no reason to be after Elena, and I don’t even know how to end this sentence. It was so lackluster that I am flabbergasted as to how I want to explain it. Frankly, she was superfluous and only there to fuel a plot that didn’t have a guiding light.

I liked the concept. The story with the witches who help a vineyard? That’s really interesting! I haven’t read any paranormal books like that. I just thought everything else could have been worked out a little better. The French influence was a perfect tidbit too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal fantasy (witches)
  • Language: a little (sometimes strong)
  • Romance: a little detailed fade to black scene, some kisses
  • Violence: poison, ritual murdering of animals, murder; fairly detailed

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