Book Review

ARC Book Review: Morrighan: The Beginnings of the Remnant Universe (The Remnant Chronicles #0.5) by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A richly illustrated and romantic origin story of Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant universe, the world of the BookTok sensations Dance of Thieves and Vow of Thieves and the New York Times-bestselling Remnant Chronicles.

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive.

And that girl’s name was Morrighan.

Discover the origin story of the Remnant universe, penned by the New York Times–bestselling master storyteller Mary E. Pearson, in this lush collector’s edition prequel with lavish illustrations, a romance for the ages, and a magic that stirs the heart.

Thank you to PRHAudio for the complimentary audiobook.

AS EXPECTED, STUNNING.

I have been a Pearson fan from the get-go and I know this novella has been around for a little bit and I am kicking myself for not giving it a go sooner. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Even with a condensed storyline, I felt all the swoon, all the romance and tension and heartbreak that came from these pages.

It’s been a few years since I read The Remnant Chronicles so unfortunately I don’t remember some of the nuanced details of the Morrighan influence in that trilogy. I didn’t have a problem loving this book even with that fact because this story stands really well on its own. I think you could read before or after the series and it would be just fine either way.

I loved these characters and the emphatic passion they had for protecting each other. Faced against some unlikely odds Morrighan and Jafir rose above. I love the writing style, world building and everything in between.

This is a must read for TRC fans!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance Novella
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed-door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, physical abuse, small battle themes, weapons violence

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Historical Fiction / Gothic / Romance
Length: 364 pages
Author: Hester Fox
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall. The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end.

WHAT?

That’s mostly how I felt after finishing this book.

It’s a bit creepy, definitely disturbing, and it does hit that Gothic vibe well.

Those were basically my good thoughts. And the audio was good. I’ll give it that too. I love an atmosphere read and I was spooked out here and there with this one.

But the struggles.

Oh my gosh I hated her sister. That was probably the point, which is fine, but what drove me wild was that the main character Lydia, kept letting herself be walked all over. And even when Catherine (the sister) KEPT BEING AWFUL, Lydia kept feeling like she needed to defend her and believer her? I’m sorry, once bitten, twice shy, STOP TRUSTING HER ALREADY. Lydia was a fool.

The romance was good when you focused on Mr. Barrett and Lydia. Unfortunately this pairing turned into an odd love…pentagon? I don’t know. There was a triangle at one point, then someone else would get throw in, then taken out, AND I JUST COULDN’T KEEP UP.

I did think it was written well, and the mystery was interesting (even if obvious). I liked the setting and some small scenes here and there. Most of the characters honestly weren’t that bad. The awful ones were just glaringly obvious.

Overall audience notes:

  • Gothic Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, dueling, incest, suicide, miscarriage, death of a child, animal death

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: December 6th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake. Either way, they’re never heard from again.

Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself. 

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

NEEDED SOMETHING.

I wanted to love this. I went in hoping I would, buuuut here we are. I liked it, it just wasn’t a favorite.

It did have a very distinct YA fantasy feel. And I know that can be a winner for a lot. For me, I felt like I needed more. Something that added an edge, something I hadn’t read before. I don’t know. Within a few chapters I knew exactly what was going to happen and I wasn’t surprised by how it ended.

I did love Leelo as a main character. She has that strength and loyalty that I always appreciate in a FMC. I love that she was open to changing her opinions and took time to understand the new information that was being heaped upon her. Leelo handled a lot of things really well.

The romance is a bit much on the insta-love side. I was hoping for to see them connect over more things before confessions of love started rolling out. Leelo and Jaren were charming and easily sweet on each other.

I loved Leelo’s Mom and Brother. They were some of my favorite side characters and helped me enjoy and look forward to scenes with them. I liked the conclusion and do think it wrapped up things pretty well.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, loss of loved ones, poison, weapons violence, murder, physical altercations

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Digging Up Love (Taste of Love #1) by Chandra Blumberg

Rating: ★★☆ (2.5)
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 345 pages
Author: Chandra Blumberg
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: January 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From debut author Chandra Blumberg comes a playful, heartfelt romance about chasing your dreams and finding love in the process.

Alisha Blake works her magic in the kitchen, creating delectable desserts for her grandfather’s restaurant in rural Illinois. Though Alisha relishes the close relationship she has with her family, she can’t help but dream about opening a cookie shop in Chicago. She may be a small-town baker, but Alisha has big ambitions.

Then a dinosaur bone turns up in her grandparents’ backyard. When paleontologist Quentin Harris arrives to see the discovery for himself, he’s hoping that the fossil will distract him from a recent painful breakup. Instead, he finds Alisha—and sparks fly. The big-city academic and the hometown baker seem destined for a happily ever after.

But Alisha is scared to fall in love. And Quentin’s trying to make a name for himself in a competitive field, which gets even more complicated when the press shows up at the dig site. For love to prevail, the two may have to put old bones aside—and focus on the future.

WENT DOWNHILL.

This started off so well, and left me entirely at odds by the end. UGH.

I immediately knew I had to read this from the premise. A baker and a paleontologist? SIGN ME UP. I loved the worlds colliding aspects and how everything mixed together between the couple. Alisha and Quentin had a lot of positives and I did feel that immediate connection type of romance. It kind of comes off as insta-love, but I honestly thought it was written really well.

What I struggled with was the lack of angst. There was wayyyy too much drama at the end, but all leading up to that was a very straight forward relationship. An exact breakdown of the dates they went on, texting convos, etc. that was all nice in theory, yet didn’t give the fireworks between them time to spark. Pretty swoony kissing scenes mixed in there were a pleasant touch.

the pacing dropped so low I had to skim to feel like it wasn’t going to take me days to finish. All in all, plenty of sweet things and some good moments. Just left wanting towards everything else.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: bullying, micro-aggressions, parental abandonment

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph