Friday, October 21, 2022

Book Review: Dead Man's Hand by James J. Butcher

Title: Dead Man's Hand
Series: The Unorthodox Chronicles #1
Author: James J. Butcher
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Publishing

On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is...not one of those witches.

After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as "not Department material," Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can't help hoping he'll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors' number one suspect.

Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive.

Rating

*I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily*

Hello Fellow Reader,

I wanted to do this review without mentioning the other Butcher but unfortunately that seems impossible. I'm a Dresden Files Fan and urban fantasy are one of my comfort genres so I knew I absolutely needed to read this and wow and I so freaking happy I did. I can say that so far I currently prefer son over father. 

Dead Man's Hand reminded me of a buddy cop movie. One older no nonsense veteran and the cinnamon roll rookie can accurately describe Mayflower and Grimsby. Butcher created such an interesting world and despite it being fantasy and magical Butcher does a good job at making things realistic and believable. 

The story was very action-packed and fast-paced that I devoured the book pretty quickly because I wanted to know what would happen next. While I predicted who the bad guys were. I actually didn't mind that too much because I really enjoyed this book.

Overall, an amazing start and I can't wait to read the next one. 

 



 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Graphic Novel Review: The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis

Title: The Hard Tomorrow
Author: Eleanor Davis
Genre: Comic; Graphic Novel
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly

Hannah is a thirty-something wife, home-health worker, and antiwar activist. Her husband, Johnny, is a stay-at-home pothead working—or "working"—on building them a house before the winter chill sets in. They're currently living and screwing in the back of a truck, hoping for a pregnancy, which seems like it will never come. Legs in the air, for a better chance at conception, Hannah scans fertility Reddits while Johnny dreams about propagating plants—kale, tomatoes—to ensure they have sufficient sustenance should the end times come, which, given their fragile democracy strained under the weight of a carceral state and the risk of horrible war, doesn’t seem so far off. Helping Hannah in her fight for the future is her best friend Gabby, a queer naturalist she idolizes and who adores her. Helping Johnny build the house is Tyler, an off-the-grid conspiracy theorist driven sick by his own cloudy notions of reality.

Told with tenderness and care in an undefined near future, Eleanor Davis's The Hard Tomorrow blazes unrestrained, as moments of human connection are doused in fear and threats. Her astute projections probe at current anxieties in a cautionary tale that begs the question: What will happen after tomorrow?

Rating

Hello Fellow Readers,

Just a quick review today. I went to the library recently, and I picked up a couple of books. In them was The Hard Tomorrow as it seemed really interesting. I just don't think I was in the right mindset to read this as I just found it sad and exhausting. First, The Illustrations are great and does justice to the story. Davis held nothing back with this story but honestly, I just hated everyone. Had I been in a different mindset this may have hit me more emotionally but I just did not care for it. 

Overall, not for me right now

 

 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Book Review: The Accidental Viscountess by Caro Kinkead

Title: The Accidental Viscountess
Series: Just a Touch of Scandal 1
Author: Caro Kinkead
Genre: Historical; Romance
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020

Spinster and poor relation Dorothea Hindley is in London for one reason: to help launch her cousin into society, something that would be a great deal easier if Dorothea’s aunt hadn’t revived a long-standing feud with the mother of a viscount. The best Dorothea can expect for herself is a dreary marriage to a vicar. But in trying to keep her family from becoming the laughingstocks of London, Dorothea finds a surprising ally in the viscount himself.

Martin Drayton, Viscount Abernathy, can’t afford the distraction of the ancient feud his mother  insists on reviving. King George III lies mad at Windsor Castle and Martin is involved in supporting the Prince of Wales’ cause in the Regency Bill. But when he enlists Dorothea’s help to cool the flames of the feud, their undeniable attraction simply adds fuel to the fire.

Marrying a viscount never entered Dorothea’s head. But a moonlit kiss could lead to a scandal neither of them can afford. Can the accidental viscountess and her unexpected husband get their families to stop feuding long enough to save both the monarchy and their marriage?

Rating

Hello Fellow Reader,

I've had a itch to read a historical romance but unsure of which one I wanted. I picked The Accidental Viscountess because I wanted a juicy scandal. Now, there wasn't too much of a scandal but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I really loved Dorothea, she was just so strong, level-headed, and logical. Of course, I rooted for her throughout the book, wanted nothing but a happy ending for her. 

Martin, on the other hand, was not my favorite love interest. At first, I really liked him but as the story progressed I kept thinking that maybe Dorothea deserved better, but due to his POV chapters I do understand his frustrations at certain times. The story was quick and fast paced as things seemed to progress very quickly. I must admit I was hoping this would be a but spicier than what it was, but those smutty scenes were done very well. Now, because things were too quickly, I feel like the ending wrapped up a bit too quickly.

Overall, an entertaining historical romance.
 

 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Book Review: Horrific Modern Tales by Nick Schroeder

Title: Horrific Modern Tales
Author & Illustrator: Nick Schroeder
Genre: Art; Horror; Short Stories
Publication Date: July 11th, 2022

These terrors will twist your mind…

A DM from a long-forgotten classmate. Warnings from the beyond. A product with some unwanted side effects. What draws us to these tales of the unknown? Why do we seek out fear? Dim your screens, settle into a warm blanket, then dive into these horrific modern tales and let your imagination — and fear — run wild.
A collection of chilling and thought-provoking horror stories, with nightmare illustrations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rating


*I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.*
 
Hello Fellow Readers 

It's October, so that means spooky season is upon us. So what would be a better way to kick it off than with some Horror. Horrific Modern Tales is unique in two ways. One, is that each story includes a sort of updated spin in that it uses Modern Technology to introduce its horror, I guess this is where the Modern in the title comes in. I do like this aspect, even if it does feel slightly foreign, but as technology evolves so must our horror stories. 

The second reason this book is so unique is that each story includes artwork. I really loved each piece of art and in my opinion it kind of stole the show. Many would probably find each piece of art a bit weird but I really like weird and spooky. I really enjoyed this book, each story was just long enough to be interesting but short enough that it didn't drag on.
 
Overall, a great start to October

Friday, September 30, 2022

Book Review: The Fake Dating Trope by Jennifer Ann Shore

 

Publication Date:September 1st, 2022

When Lucas Hunt proposes that we fake a relationship to get what we both want, I think it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Yes, I need my car fixed, and yes, he needs to publicly move on from his disaster of a past relationship, but I’m not sure my anxiety or my preference for solitude can handle what he’s asking of me.

After all, as an avid reader and the star employee of Books & Beans, I’ve read enough fake dating trope storylines to know how this ends.

I refuse to be the girl who falls for the guy she’s pretending to be with.

Even though we’re spending all this time together, and I’m getting to know the real version of him, and he’s absurdly nice to look at—

Nope.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Not me.

Definitely not.

… I’m in so much trouble.

Rating


* I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.*

Hello Fellow Readers,

One of my favorite romance tropes is the fake dating trope, so this was an instant  must read, and I am so glad that I did. This book surprised me in a number of ways. First, was the lack of relationship angst. It was just so refreshing, I didn’t know how much I needed a break from the traditional third act unnecessary breakup that typical romances have until now. 

Secondly, was how immediate I loved these characters. Kate was just so great and relatable, a book lover with sensory issues whose home life is pretty tragic. Her home life hit a little too close to my own childhood and was sometimes a bit hard to read but I think this endeared her to me even more. Lucas was amazing from the very first moment to the absolute end. His home life, while not as crazy as Kates is still rough and he really just needed someone in his corner. 

Lastly, I couldn’t predict things like I usually do, this is probably because The Fake Dating Trope didn’t follow the normal romance formula. Now, the only gripe I had was the side characters. Unfortunately, they all seemed really one dimensional. I know that the focus was Kate and Lucas but I felt that they didn’t really add anything to the book.

Overall, a enjoyable sweet young adult romance. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

#Currentlyreading September 2022


 Hello Fellow Readers!

Just a quick update on what I am Currently Reading, some are requests and others are actual books I've picked out, something I have not done in a long time. Anyway, what are you all currently reading?

 

The only thing more twisted than a cursed witch is her family tree.

For the past fourteen years, Edgehill’s resident secret witch, Amber Blackwood, has been haunted by her parents’ deaths. The whole town knows about the tragedy, but the details remain a mystery even to Amber. From her tiny studio apartment above her shop, The Quirky Whisker, Amber can see her partially rebuilt old house out on the edge of town. Although she now has a good life—delighting children with her magically infused toys, concocting healing tinctures for Edgehill’s residents, doting on her cats, Tom and Alley, and sitting on the committee for the town’s annual Here and Meow Festival—she feels stuck in the past.

Amber suspects the fire that killed her parents was set deliberately by a witch from the cursed Penhallow clan, from whom no one has heard even a whisper since the night her parents died. The clan’s sudden disappearance is no coincidence to Amber, but her aunt Gretchen refuses to believe there’s a connection and urges Amber to stop looking for someone to blame. So Amber is shocked when Aunt Gretchen shows up unexpectedly, claiming the Penhallows have resurfaced and that one of them is heading for Edgehill with Amber in his sights.

Aunt Gretchen knows more about the fabled clan than she’s letting on. Amber is determined to find out what her aunt is hiding, and what the Penhallow seeks, before the same treacherous force that took Amber’s parents’ lives claims her own.

 

Stories of famous monsters in a new horror anthology edited by James Aquilone and featuring Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, and many others.

Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau, the Headless Horseman, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, the Wicked Witch of the West—they're all here, in this collection of horror short stories that reimagine, subvert, and pay homage to our favorite monsters and creatures.

Written by the biggest names in the genre—including Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Owl Goingback, Richard Christian Matheson, Seanan McGuire, Maurice Broaddus, Dacre Stoker, Linda D. Addison, Alessandro Manzetti, Tim Waggoner, John Palisano, Mercedes M. Yardley, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Braunbeck, Rena Mason, and Monique Snyman.


And monstrously illustrated by Colton Worley and Mister Sam Shearon.
 

 

 

Based on a true story.

A journey halfway across the world. Two people determined to remain on their chosen paths. But life doesn't always go to plan...


Captain Robert Crawford is proud to have achieved his first command. Despite his taciturn manner, he loves his ship, and those who serve under him are loyal and steadfast. Passengers, however, are another matter—troublesome, unpredictable and the bane of his life. The shipping company’s other edict is no better; he must marry, and the sooner the better. Even his best friend cannot understand why this troubles him so much. How could he when Robert has never confided in anyone about his past?

Miss Agnes Dinwiddie is still grieving one year on from her father's death. Seeing no future for herself in her old home, she accepts her brother’s invitation to be his housekeeper in America. Accepting a position as companion for the duration of the journey, she expects the trip to be the perfect balm to take her away from her heartache and help her to heal. What she wasn’t expecting was to meet an infuriating, complicated captain.

Confined on board with demanding passengers and a young woman who seems to challenge him at every turn, and who he can’t stop thinking about, Captain Crawford wonders what the devil he has done to deserve such a trial. One thing’s for certain, he’s never experienced a journey like it before.

 

 


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Current Requests featuring Netgalley, Booksirens, and Edelweiss+


 Netgalley

On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is…not one of those witches.

After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as “not Department material,” Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can’t help hoping he’ll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors’ number one suspect.

Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive. 

 

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party—or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones—the most elusive of all faeries—lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all—her own heart. 


 

Photographer Cassie Harris loves her job—her company Buxom Boudoir makes people look beautiful and feel empowered with her modern twist on classic pinup photography. Cassie’s best friend, Dana, is about to launch her own dangerously dreamy lingerie line and wants Cassie to shoot and direct the career-changing national campaign. But company politics and Dana’s complicated pregnancy interfere, and Cassie finds herself—a proud plus size Black woman—not behind the camera but in front of it.

Though she’s never modeled herself, Cassie’s pretty sure she can handle the sheer underwear and caution tape bralettes. She’s not sure she can work so intimately with the chosen photographer, her long-time competitor in the Chicago photography scene, Reid Montgomery. Their chemistry is undeniable on set, however, and feelings can develop faster than film



BookSirens

Darkness has a way of bringing things to life. Things forgotten. Things from our past. This becomes all too apparent for Miracle Jenkins. All she wants is a normal life filled with friends, family, and the occasional red Slurpee. But a life-changing event involving the police turns her world upside-down.

Miracle’s only retreat is music, which takes her soul on adventures of the past while she still has to confront the truths of today. But even music cannot hide her from the racism of her small California city. Nor can it shield her from the evils of this world. Still, she turns to the darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

A Sweet Teen Fake Dating Romance With A Book Lover and a Baseball Player
When Lucas Hunt proposes that we fake a relationship to get what we both want, I think it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
Yes, I need my car fixed, and yes, he needs to publicly move on from his disaster of a past relationship, but I’m not sure my anxiety or my preference for solitude can handle what he’s asking of me.
After all, as an avid reader and the star employee of Books & Beans, I’ve read enough fake dating trope storylines to know how this ends.
I refuse to be the girl who falls for the guy she’s pretending to be with.
Even though we’re spending all this time together, and I’m getting to know the real version of him, and he’s absurdly nice to look at—
Nope.
Nope. Nope. Nope. Not me.
Definitely not.
… I’m in so much trouble.

 

 

These terrors will twist your mind…

A DM from a long-forgotten classmate. Warnings from the beyond. A product with some unwanted side effects. What draws us to these tales of the unknown? Why do we seek out fear? Dim your screens, settle into a warm blanket, then dive into these horrific modern tales and let your imagination — and fear — run wild.
A collection of chilling and thought-provoking horror stories, with nightmare illustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edelweiss+

 
A profound poetry collection shrouded in tenderness and empathy, created to comfort the growing pains we all experience in life.

Teen breakout poet Christabelle Grace Marbun brings her latest collection When the Dark Spoke to Me to life through words wise beyond her years. Her uniquely positive perspective on life, death, and everything in between makes this book equally as comforting as it is compelling. Marbun’s exceptional thoughtfulness is evident in every word she pens––her messages of hope and her effortless optimism are sure to inspire every person who touches this book.



 
 
 
 
 
 
Seven students are avoiding going to school, hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends, until the moment they discover a portal into another world that offers temporary escape from their stressful lives. Passing through a glowing mirror, they gather in a magnificent castle which becomes their playground and refuge during school hours. The students are tasked with locating a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will allow whoever finds it to be granted one wish. At this moment, the castle will vanish, along with all memories they may have of their adventure. If they fail to leave the castle by 5 pm every afternoon, they will be eaten by the keeper of the castle, an easily provoked and shrill creature named the Wolf Queen.

Delving into their emotional lives with sympathy and a generous warmth, Lonely Castle in the Mirror shows the unexpected rewards of reaching out to others. Exploring vivid human stories with a twisty and puzzle-like plot, this heart-warming novel is full of joy and hope for anyone touched by sadness and vulnerability.

 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Book Review: Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Title: Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies
Series: Pies Before Guys Mystery Book 1
Author: Misha Popp
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: May 10th, 2022
Publisher: Crooked Lane

Daisy Ellery’s pies have a secret ingredient: The magical ability to avenge women done wrong by men. But Daisy finds herself on the receiving end in Misha Popp’s cozy series debut, a sweet-as-buttercream treat for fans of Ellery Adams and Mary Maxwell.

The first time Daisy Ellery killed a man with a pie, it was an accident. Now, it’s her calling. Daisy bakes sweet vengeance into her pastries, which she and her dog Zoe deliver to the men who’ve done dirty deeds to the town’s women. But if she can’t solve the one crime that’s not of her own baking, she’ll be out of the pie pan and into the oven.

Parking her Pies Before Guys mobile bakery van outside the local diner, Daisy is informed by Frank, the crusty diner owner, that someone’s been prowling around the van—and not just to inhale the delectable aroma. Already on thin icing with Frank, she finds a letter on her door, threatening to reveal her unsavory secret sideline of pie a la murder.

Blackmail? But who whipped up this half-baked plot to cut a slice out of Daisy’s business? Purple-haired campus do-gooder Melly? Noel, the tender—if flaky—farm boy? Or one of the abusive men who prefer their pie without a deadly scoop of payback?

The upcoming statewide pie contest could be Daisy’s big chance to help wronged women everywhere…if she doesn’t meet a sticky end first. Because Daisy knows the blackmailer won’t stop until her business is in crumbles.

Rating

*I received and advance copy for free, and I am leaving this honest and unbiased review voluntarily*

Hello Fellow Readers,

I've read a couple of books where baking and magic goes hand and hand but there is not a lot where the protagonist is using their magic for murder. Now, I am against murder (of course) but I am 100% rooting for Daisy. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe, but it does make for a very interesting story. Daisy is hard not to like, a little bit sweet, and a lot dark. I did get a little bit of Dexter vibes.

Or course, Daisy doesn't kill who she doesn't think deserves it, she very specific on who her victims are, but she does walk a very thin, fine line between hero and villain. The mystery aspect of the book was okay, although I guessed correctly on who the blackmailer was. The romance aspect was also pretty good, I kept waiting for Noel to make a sort of personality shift but was glad he remained on the up and up. 

Overall, a unique start to a magic, mystery series.


 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Book Review: How to Get a Girlfriend (When You’re a Terrifying Monster) by Marie Cardno

 

Author: Marie Cardno
Publication Date:July 31, 2022

Trillin isn’t technically a person. She’s a tiny breakaway piece of consciousness from the all-devouring Endless, doomed to eventually rejoin it. But when a human witch stumbles into her world, Trillin suddenly has a new reason to figure out individuality–one shape-shifting tentacle at a time.

Sian is sure important magical discoveries are just around the corner, if she can just get her portals to work reliably. Reaching the dimension of the Endless without being eaten on sight is a dream come true, and Sian is determined to explore every bit of it. For science, of course, not for the strangely adorable life-form who keeps popping up and trying to… flirt?

But Trillin’s world can be a dangerous place, and keeping Sian safe might risk drawing the attention of the Endless itself–which will swallow Trillin up along with all her dreams of humanity. Together, can this unlikely duo escape the Endless, figure out the optimum number of appendages, and maybe even find love?

Rating:

* I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily*

Hello Fellow Readers,

This was such a unique romance, something I have read in a while. Monster romances are somewhat popular right now so I thought I would try reading one and I am so glad I choose this one. Trillin and Sian are just so cute together and I absolutely fell in love with Trillin. I didn't mind Sian, I actually enjoyed her chapters but Trillin's naivety and innocence just made her entertaining and endearing. Sometimes I did forget that she was a terrifying eldritch monster, so it was pretty funny when Cardno would mention tentacles and it hits me. The book is pretty short but liked that because it allowed the author to have a pretty meaty story with no fillers. 

Overall, a fun and unique romance

Monday, August 29, 2022

Book Review: Goodbye Theodore by Candy D. Mitchell

Title: Goodbye, Theodore
Series: Return to Fowlengower book 1
Author: Candy D. Mitchell
Genre: Dark Fantasy; Horror;
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020

There are some worlds separate from ours - worlds that are thought to be just whispers. But what happens when one of those worlds collides inside our own? That’s exactly what happened in the sleepy town of Harthsburg. When Theodore Lexington’s body flew up into the chilly air it was clear that his day was turning into a real-life nightmare.

But the magical creatures that swept him into the sky, known to some as Twilight Breathers, took more than just Theodore. With only a small group of people left behind, three friends Eliza, Ben and Audrey set out to save him, along with any other townspeople they can find. But the more they learned the more they wonder if the creatures are really there on their own accord.Will the three friends be able to save Theodore in time? And who or what is behind the appearance of the Twilight Breathers?

 

Rating

 *I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.*
 
Hello Fellow Readers,
 
I really wanted to read a horror story and I thought this would be perfect to fill that itch and it did, at first. While the pacing was a little slow but I liked it that way since it helped me understand what exactly was going on. I will say I did like the three MCs, they felt real and reacted how I felt real people would react in these situations. It wasn't until we got to the real meat of the story where Goodbye Theodore lost me. 
 
This is where the majority of the fantasy elements came into play. With this addition, it felt like a little too much. I felt lost a majority of the time and would have to go back and reread which made it take longer than I would have liked. I will say that the ending felt a little abrupt but that made sense due to the fact that there is a second book coming out.
 
Overall, a pretty interesting books but not sure if it is for me.