Book Review

Book Review: A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Sophie Irwin
Publisher: Pamela Dorman
Release Date: May 12th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A whip-smart debut that follows the adventures of an entirely unconventional heroine who throws herself into the London Season to find a wealthy husband. But the last thing she expects is to find love…

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin.

Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season.

Kitty may be neither accomplished nor especially genteel—but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with cunning and ingenuity, she knows that risk is just part of the game.

The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn…

This is a frothy pleasure, full of brilliant repartee and enticing wit—one that readers will find an irresistible delight.

SMITTEN.

Who knew an unlikable MC would win my heart? I loved Kitty. She was the perfect dose of irreverent and incredibly loyal to her family and helping them get out of a bad situation. The way she dove head first into tackling how to be fancy (is the best way I’m putting it) was full of wit and charm. I flew through this audiobook because it was such a delight to read.

I loved the our male lead too. Radcliffe could not care one whit what Kitty was up to as long as it didn’t involve his brother, until he realized HE CARED TOO MUCH. Snap, I love a book like that. I really appreciate the depth paid towards both of their backgrounds. I felt in touch with these characters and didn’t question reasonings behind decisions as each one fell in line with the plot.

The side characters were quirky and added a bit of punch to the tale. It was fun to see the dating scene of the season and the continual need to be absolutely perfect when in all actuality not a soul is even close. Lots of charming moments, plenty of balls and dinners. And don’t we all love an amazing confession of love at the end?! Gold.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Holiday Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Sarah Hogle
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: October 4th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?

From the author of Twice Shy comes a sprightly Christmas novel, a rollicking romp through the absurdity of family holidays and the hope of new love.

EMBRACE IT.

Oh my goodness, this book was wholly different than any other holiday read I have come across before. And I adored it???

We have a completely unlikable main character who has some major growth and things to work through. Enter in the book personification of Buddy the Elf and you have the love interest, Hall. I liked these two together! The reverse grump / sunshine trope worked perfectly here and I thought the ending was sweet.

Plot wise, I can’t say much was going on that I could gather. It’s a bit scattered for awhile and yet I burst out laughing more than once. The quips and one liners and all of the name drops somehow fit right in. The quirkyness of the story allowed a lot of free flow.

The spirit of the holiday season was brought to life. I loved many of the second half sentiments and now I feel like I am ready for all things Christmas after this book. Perfect for the season if you’re looking for something lighter and fun.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kissing
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: brief mentions of psychological abuse from a previous relationship

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy #1) by Chelsea Abdullah

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 480 pages
Author: Chelsea Abdullah
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 17tn, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

LOVED.

Wow did I love everything about this. It is my kind of fantasy checklist that I knew would be a five star almost from the get-go.

I loooooove the setting. Jinn and magic, relics that cause all sorts of chaos. A wild adventure through shifting sand dunes with even shiftier people. I could barely stay afloat as new betrayals were tossed towards me. I love not seeing things fully coming and watching as the author weaves an incredible debut.

The characters were my favorite part (no surprise here). I love solid character stories and they were in abundance for each POV. Distinct personalities that left you wanting to shake them and hug them all in the same breath. The rag-tag/found family aspects had my heart singing and I need MORE of them all. Do I also peep potentially sub-plot romances?? I sure hope so.

I almost feel like it’s harder to put into words a five star read when there’s so much to touch on. Basically I think you MUST READ THIS BOOK and thank me after. It’s a new favorite and I need to get my own copy ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: possession, kidnapping, weapons violence, murder

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called “Pastoral,” this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it… he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.

WELL THAT WAS TWISTED.

If you have the option, definitely go with the full cast audio book. I’ve read Ershaw’s young adult books and liked the atmosphere, but often felt they were slow. Reading with the audio book helped speed things up and I think this was an awesome adult debut.

This story was wiiiiild. And so trippy. Started off really creepy and dove into things I didn’t see coming. I was actually blindsided by the twist at the end. An interesting choice, but I thought worked well in the case for the plot. Which is fine, I’m good with that. I thought there were plenty of likable characters. All of the main characters were easy to read their stories, I wanted to cheer for them and help them get out.

Very much bewitching, I liked the tidbits of magical realism too. It made sense and completed the story better than without those extra pieces. I liked this one soooo much better than her young adult books. This hooked me enough that I’m back to wanting to read whatever Ernshaw writes next. Always great writing, spooky atmosphere, and a small dash of romance and whimsy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Magical Realism
  • Language: little
  • Romance: multiple vague open-ish door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide by overdose, grief/loss depiction, loss of a loved one, execution by hanging, physical altercations, manipulation and gaslighting

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph