Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2023

ALL THE BOOKS. I had a SUPER great reading month (mostly because I reread all of Mary E. Pearson’s books and they are top level). And I ALMOST made it through the month without a two star (but End of Story gets to hold that prize).

Favorite Books

  • Eloise and the Grump Next Door
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea
  • Divine Rivals
  • Dragonfire
  • Whispers of You
  • The Love Wager
  • Speechless
  • Dance of Thieves & Vow of Thieves
  • Wildheart
  • The Remnant Chronicles
  • Merritt and Her Childhood Crush
  • The Buy-In

Least Favorite

  • The Realm of Oblivion
  • End of Story
  • The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3) by Elise Kova
  • The Sisters of Sea View (On Devonshire Shores #1) by Julie Klassen
  • [ALC] Eloise and the Grump Next Door (Oakley Island Romcom #1) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Angels of the Resistance by Noelle Salazar
  • The Earl’s Hideaway, No Ladies Allowed (Romance of Rank #2) by Esther Hatch
  • The Mobster’s Daughter by Rachel Scott McDaniel
  • A Fire Endless (Elements of Cadence #2) by Rebecca Ross
  • Stellarlune (Keeper of the Lost Cities #9) by Shannon Messenger
  • [ARC] Divine Rivals (Iris at the Front #1) by Rebecca Ross
  • A Deal with the Devil (The Devils #1) by Elizabeth O’Roark
  • The Stolen Heir (The Stolen Heir Duology #1) by Holly Black
  • Dragonfire (The Starchaser Saga #6) by Renee Dugan
  • [ARC/ALC] Whispers of You (The Lost & Found #1) by Catherine Cowles
  • [ARC] The Love Wager (Mr. Wrong Number #2) by Lynn Painter
  • The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time #5) by Robert Jordan
  • [Novella] Move It or Lose It (Love Mishaps #3) by Gracie Ruth Mitchell
  • Speechless by Lindsey Lanza
  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
  • [Non-Fiction] Flight of Gold by Kevin A. McGregor
  • [Reread] Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary E. Pearson
  • Wildheart (The Starchaser Saga #7) by Renee Dugan
  • [Reread] The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
  • [ARC] Stars and Smoke (Stars and Smoke #1) by Marie Lu
  • [ARC] This Dark Alliance (The Curse of the Blessed #1) by Renee Dugan
  • Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman
  • [Reread] Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #2) by Mary E. Pearson
  • [Reread]The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Chemistry of Love by Sariah Wilson
  • [ARC] The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton
  • The Realm of Oblivion by Marae Good
  • [Reread] The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson
  • What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green #5) by Julie Anne Long
  • [ARC] Merritt and Her Childhood Crush (Oakley Island Romcom #2) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • [Gifted/ARC] A Match in the Making (The Matchmakers #1) by Jen Turano
  • [Reread/ALC] The Buy-In (Graham Brothers #1) by Emma St. Clair
  • [Gifted/ARC] End of Story by Kylie Scott
  • Maidens of Candlelight and Lotuses (The Zheninghai Chronicles #0) by Anastasis Blythe
  • To Catch a Suitor (Dalton Family #2) by Sarah Adams
  • [Gifted] Hearts of Steel (The Blackstone Legacy #3) by Elizabeth Camden
  • House of Pounding Hearts (The Kingdom of Crows #2) by Olivia Wildenstein
  • Regrets Only by Kieran Scott

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: One for All by Lillie Lainoff

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Historical Fiction
Length: 389 pages
Author: Lillie Lainoff
Publisher: Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 8th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.

Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.

AMAZING DEBUT.

I adored this read. It was a fantastic debut and I was completely wrapped up in this young adult historical fiction.

There were many things I loved including: the chronic illness rep, found family, and women supporting women. Those were the biggest highlights and made this story. The audiobook was wonderful too and I would definitely recommend that avenue as well.

I loved the growth Tania showed throughout the book. She constantly showed a deep well of strength and perseverance. To love who she is, and to find a balance within her life. Her new found friends were great side characters and really enhanced the plot. I liked the conversations and dialogue throughout.

There’s even a tiny dash of romance which is always a plus for me. I thought originally this was a fantasy (because I rarely read summaries), but I like that there actually wasn’t any magic. It was a unique historical setting, especially with the gender-bend on the Three Musketeers. I can’t wait to see what other books this author will write!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: medium (present, but not intensely bloody/gory)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: chronic illness, bullying, kidnapping, near death experiences, loss of a parent, implied sexual assault, ableism and internalized ableism

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

Book Review: Kit McBride Gets a Wife (The McBrides of Montana #1) by Amy Barry

Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Western Romance 
Length: 352 pages
Author: Amy Barry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 23rd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The four McBride brothers have their worlds turned upside down when their precocious younger sister secretly places an advertisement for a mail-order bride.

Kit McBride knows that Buck’s Creek, Montana, is no place to find a wife. Between him and his three brothers–plus little Junebug–they manage all right on their own, thank you very much. But unbeknownst to Kit, his sister is sick to death of cleaning, cooking, and mending for her big brothers, so she places an ad in The Matrimonial News to get them hitched.

After Maddy Mooney emigrated from Ireland, she found employment with an eccentric but poor widow. When her mistress decides to answer an ad for a mail-order bride, Madd​y is dragged along for the ride to Montana. But en route to the West, Maddy is suddenly abandoned and left to assume the widow’s name, position, and matrimonial prospects….

With no other recourse in the wilderness, Maddy must convince Kit not only is she who she says she is, but she’s the wife he never knew he needed. 

Thank you to PRHAudio for the gifted audiobook!

HOW DANG SWEET.

I’m pretty sure I had no less than five people mention how good this book was and I caved. AND I’M SO HAPPY I DID.

This was DELIGHTFUL. Exactly what I needed after some terrible ARCs I had to get through. Full of heart and love and a family just trying to make it through the winter in the West. I loved that is was multiple POV with the love interests and family members. It added such charm and whit to every scene.

I ADORED June Bug. The amount of times she made me laugh and smile could be counted on more than one hand. She was absolutely tenacious and I loved her snark and commitment to her story.

The romance aspects had me melting. I loooove a smitten man from the get-go and Kit was that man for me. I love how he and Maddy came together and it had everything I could hope for between them.

I can’t wait for the next book because I know it’ll be just as charming.

Overall audience notes:

  • Western Historical Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: light innuendo; closed door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mentions of loss of loved ones

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph