Book Review

Book Review: Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 416 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder! More dark secrets are exposed in this addictive, true-crime fueled mystery.

Pip is not a detective anymore.

With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.

But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared, on the very same night the town hosted a memorial for the sixth-year anniversary of the deaths of Andie Bell and Sal Singh.

The police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it’s too late?

HARD TO PUT DOWN.

Yet again, I was completely surprised by this read. It’s easily one of my favorite young adult thriller series.

I loooove Pip. She’s so clever and a pretty impressive detective. This book never feels too young, and if you find this predictable, I am seriously impressed. I am blindsided by at least half the information I find out while reading. My mouth feels like a permanent shocked face when I hit the last 50 pages.

This was an intense mystery with so many layers to it. I appreciated that it was clearly different from the first book. It was a new story with characters we hadn’t formally met yet and a plot that went outside the city limits. It mashed up some plot points from the previous book and added more that I hope to see continued in the next one.

I could have used a touch more romance. It really felt shoved aside rather than put along with the plot. I love Ravi and would have loved more of them working together overall. And it did take me a little bit to get into it (but once you’re in, you’re hooked).

The formatting is one of my favorite aspects. I love the pictures, crime notes, websites and more. It really adds depth to the true crime saga unfolding.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA thriller
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, gun violence, a previous rape case where the guilty party walks free, depictions of shock from witnessing trauma, mentions of suicide, a story told of a serial killer (he murdered children), drug use

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Arlem Hawks
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

1792, France

Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory.

A bourgeoise and royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought.

As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides.

Thank you to the publisher for an ARC.

A GREAT READ.

That’s how I feel I can best bottle this one up. It was highly enjoyable and I found myself very much invested by the end hoping for a positive outcome.

I thought this romance was SO DANG SWEET. The way it started out had me laughing and I loved the progression. It’s slow, it’s full of feeling and you can feel Gilles and Marie-Caroline’s connection across the pages. I adored the tender things Gilles did for Marie-Caroline, how Caroline teased Gilles and the way they both protected and pushed each other outside of their confined boxes.

The setting was unique for me in regards to historical fiction and I love a good switch-up! I got to see a bit about the French revolution. I wish there was a bit more of that dynamic on a larger scale, but this small scale version in the seaside town did the trick. I also really liked a lot of the side characters. There’s a few you love to hate, but also people like Gilles father had me absolutely gleeful when they played a bigger role. There were many well thought out and well placed characters.

It’s a slower read, and one I didn’t mind had that facet. The writing is gorgeous and moves the plot along well. I love that this was from the hero’s point of view (with some small pieces from the heroine). Many things made this book unique and I highly recommend for historical fiction fans!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: war themes, physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discussion/use of guillotine, loss of a sibling, mob attacks

About the Author:

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in print journalism, and she lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

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Book Review

Book Review: A Trial of Sorcerers (A Trial of Sorcerers #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy
Length: 355 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: March 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ice is in her blood.

Eighteen-year-old Waterrunner Eira Landan lives her life in the shadows — the shadow of her older brother, of her magic’s whispers, and of the person she accidentally killed. She’s the most unwanted apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers until the day she decides to step out and compete for a spot in the Tournament of Five Kingdoms.

Pitted against the best sorcerers in the Empire, Eira fights to be one of four champions. Excelling in the trials has its rewards. She’s invited to the royal court with the “Prince of the Tower,” discovers her rare talent for forbidden magic, and at midnight, Eira meets with a handsome elfin ambassador.

But, Eira soon learns, no reward is without risk. As she comes into the spotlight, so too do the skeletons of a past she hadn’t even realized was haunting her.

Eira went into the trials ready for a fight. Ready to win. She wasn’t ready for what it would cost her. No one expected the candidates might not make it out with their lives.

This is the first book in a young adult, epic fantasy that’s a tale of competition, coming of age, distant lands, elemental magic, and romance. It’s perfect for fans of the Legend of Korra, Truthwitch, and A Sorcery of Thorns.

WELCOME BACK TO SOLARIS.

Ahhhhh I’m so happy I loved this one. I LOVE AIR AWAKENS WITH MY WHOLE BOOKISH SOUL. And when the Vortex Chronicles let me down I didn’t know what to expect with A Trial of Sorcerers. Thank heavens it was a HIT.

I felt a reawakening of my love for Kova’s writing and expert slow burn and torturous romance scenarios. I loved Eira. I loved how much she learned to believe in herself and stand up on her own. I also felt like there were some nods to Elsa from Frozen. I love a bad-a ice queen so no complaints here. It was delightful.

Completely tortured by a love triangle where I just KNEW what was going to happen and wasn’t surprised (but not in a bad way) when things unfolded as they did. I honestly would have been upset otherwise. I can’t wait for more of Cullen. ALL THE CULLEN.

The plot is intricate and I’m amazed how easily another story in this universe has been unwoven. I think it’s going to be another great series ahead and I am anxious for book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a loved one (on page), near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell #6) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction / Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A princess is missing, and a peace treaty is on the verge of collapse in this new Veronica Speedwell adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club—an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women—Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela’s chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves—and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears.

Having noted Veronica’s resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica’s own family—the royalty who has never claimed her.

NOT THE SAME.

It’s official. This series has lost its steam. I honestly think it should have ended around book 4 (maybe 5 with a better ending?). Each book has a new case to solve, but there isn’t enough progression personally to keep me overall invested.

This was my first listen on audio for this series too! I didn’t LOVE it, but I could listen to it at a very fast pace so that was nice.

I do love my main man Stoker. He never gets old. I love his snark and romantic self and how he is always trying to protect Veronica. If I could just get Veronica to ADMIT SOME DANG FEEEEELINGS, it would be better. I would love some reciprocation. Then I can really cheer on this power couple. They do actually have conversations and work through disagreements which is really great to see.

The mystery here was fine. I was definitely distracted by other characters enough to not see the true murderer and involvement of other parties. I like the twists towards the end and getting to know the full story.

A mixed bag all around. I don’t love these like I originally did, but it’s kind of nice reading about them again at the same time?

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction mystery / romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses to mentions of closed door scenes
  • Violence: physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, mountain climbing accidents (resulting in death), kidnapping, attempted murder

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