Book Review

Book Review: The Cloisters by Katy Hays

Rating: ★★★
Genre: Mystery 
Length: 320 pages
Author: Katy Hays
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.

Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.

A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites and Simon & Schuster for the gifted copy.

BORING.

Goooood heavens. I thought I was getting one book and got another and I’m sad about that.

Things started off well, I liked the initial vibes and was curious about how all of this was going to go down, little did I know, how monotonous it would be.

Mostly it’s Ann going to work, hanging out with coworkers and occasionally finding something interesting. THEN SOMETHING EXCITING FINALLY HAPPENED, a murder! Who’s done it?! And while for a minute there I wasn’t sure, it became pretty clear, pretty quickly, who it was.

And then I spent the rest of the book trying to speed (3x audio) read through it.

The writing itself was good, it was the organization of plot and ideas that I found lacking. Parts of the ending had some tidbits that were interesting and at last gave the book the “dark” academia vibe I was told it had.

I just really needed more in many areas.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, fatmisia, drug use and abuse, car accident

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Book Review

Book Review: My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Regency Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Jennieke Cohen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Culinary delights abound, romance lingers in the air, and plans go terribly, wonderfully astray in this cheeky and charming historical tale, perfect for fans of Bridgerton or Dickinson.

It’s 1830s England, and Culinarians—doyens who consult with society’s elite to create gorgeous food and confections—are the crème de la crème of high society.

Helena Higgins, top of her class at the Royal Academy, has a sharp demeanor and an even sharper palate—and knows stardom awaits her if she can produce greatness in her final year.

Penelope Pickering is going to prove the value of non-European cuisine to all of England. Her contemporaries may scorn her Filipina heritage and her dishes, but with her flawless social graces and culinary talents, Penelope is set to prove them wrong.

Elijah Little has nothing to his name but a truly excellent instinct for flavors. London merchants won’t allow a Jewish boy to own a shop, so he hawks his pasties for a shilling a piece to passersby—but he knows with training he can break into the highest echelon of society.

When Penelope and Helena meet Elijah, a golden opportunity arises: to pull off a project never seen before, and turn Elijah from a street vendor to a gentleman chef.

But Elijah’s transformation will have a greater impact on this trio than they originally realize—and mayhem, unseemly faux pas, and a little romance will all be a part of the delicious recipe.

IT WAS SWEET.

I know nothing about My Fair Lady. Apparently this is a gender bend on that? Maybe so.

I did think this book was incredibly sweet. I liked the plot set-up and all of the FOOD. Oh my goodness, so much baking and cooking. I think I was hungry half the time just listening to this because everything sounded delectable. I’m a sucker for a good cuisine book and this nailed it.

I struggled the most with Helena. I knew her character was meant to be unlikeable but wow did she really annoy me. Hallelujah for the growth she showed in the end after Penelope and Elijah both showed some backbone and told her to get with the program and off of her high horse.

Penelope and Elijah were easily one of my favorite parts. Such a tender and slow burn acquaintances to lovers romance. I adored the way they connected over food and their history. The meaningful conversations surround those of mixed race and Jewish decent in the time period brought another complex layer to this read. I really enjoyed this one and the audiobook was fantastic too.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination, misogyny, loss of parents
Book Review

ARC Book Review: Miss Newbury’s List by Megan Walker

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Megan Walker
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: February 7th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

England, 1820

Rosalind Newbury loves her family and wants nothing more than to add to their legacy. So when an opportunity arises to marry a duke—a dream come true for her family—despite hardly knowing him, she quickly agrees.

But after rediscovering a childhood wish list, Ros realizes that she has dreams of her own and little time left to fulfill them. She recruits her dearest friend Liza and subsequently Liza’s handsome but wayward cousin Charlie—a gentleman turned rugged boxer—to help her complete her list before her wedding.

From boxing lessons to buried treasure, Charlie helps Ros experience a life and love that she’d never dreamed possible. Soon, Ros is faced with the very decision she’s been running from—to save her family’s future or her own. 

Thank you to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley for an eARC.

BEAUTIFUL.

Oh this is one of my favorite regencies of the year!! Just add it to the list now because it is faaaabulous. I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

I tend to struggle if the main character is in a relationship, but somehow Walker plotted this out in the best way possible. I was easily drawn in the right directions. The Duke can GO.

But Charlie? HE CAN STAY. I am smitten with that man. He was utterly adorable, sweet and kind. I loved the addition of pugilists as part of the plot and how committed he was to helping Ros complete her list. All of the antics they got up to just brought a smile to my face. And there’s a BALL. We all know those are my kryptonite.

There was even some intense action!? I was GLUED to my screen, holding my breath waiting for the next moment everything would be okay. I can’t get over how well this story was told. Everything unfolded at the right pace with the scenes lined up exactly as I hoped. Even that ENDING, with her family?! It was such a unique breath of fresh air to the genre where the family members are sometimes the worst. The support and love that Ros was surrounded by definitely brought some tears to my eyes.

READ IT. LOVE IT.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: knife violence, loss of a sibling (off screen, recounted), grief

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Book Review

Book Review: Bonded Fate (Guardians of the Maiden #2) by Beck Michaels

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 531 pages
Author: Beck Michaels
Publisher: Pluma Press
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Joined by blood. Bound by destiny.

The stakes are higher, new questions will surface, and more blood will spill in the thrilling sequel of the Guardians of the Maiden fantasy series.

Reeling from Cassiel’s confession, Dyna struggles to understand what the Blood Bond means for them both, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a newfound enemy. When reuniting with a familiar sorceress, she realizes the only way to defeat Tarn is to find her Guardians—all of them.

Cassiel never meant to tie himself to a human, especially one that inexplicably draws him. But then the bond develops a startling change, and it puts into question everything he thought he knew.

Zev straddles the line between human and wolf, unsure if his dark thoughts truly belong to the Madness. It’s growing stronger, determined to take over—and he may just let it.

The journey to get the answers they each need will test them all. But what Dyna doesn’t know is that it comes with a price, and it may cost more than she bargained for.

DID ANYTHING HAPPEN?

I wanted to love this more, BUT I’m still planning on moving forward with book three so all hope is not lost. I mostly feel like not that much actually happened? The crew kept getting attacked, but made no actual progress on their journey.

What did progress were some romantic plotlines, YAY. I did love those and am in love with all things Cassiel. Dyna, eh. She’s just not the heroine I’m here for [yet]. I will give her credit for making some progress. Dyna is a bit whiny and naïve about way too much, buuuut she did take the time to grow some necessary skills in magic/weaponry and practices moves us forward y’all. They’re relationship is all things I love about fantasy romance and I am here for more of it allllllll.

I love all of these points of view. It feels very epic fantasy with many characters and moving parts. I think [hope] a lot of the smaller things that happened here are precursors to the wild amount of things that can happen in book three.

The depth of the villain is starting to show and his buddy Von. I love that we get to see there side of the story too and needless to say, I’m cautiously excited to see where this moves to next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: servitude, physical and magical weaponry, suicidal ideation, grief, PTSD, near death experiences

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