Friday, September 15, 2023

Book Review: The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by

Title: The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic
Author: Breanne Randall
Genre: Fantasy; Paranormal; Romance
Publication Date: September 19,2023
Publisher: Alcove Press

Sadie Revelare has always believed that the curse of four heartbreaks that accompanies her magic would be worth the price. But when her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer with only weeks to live, and her first heartbreak, Jake McNealy, returns to town after a decade, her carefully structured life begins to unravel.

With the news of their grandmother's impending death, Sadie's estranged twin brother Seth returns to town, bringing with him deeply buried family secrets that threaten to tear Sadie's world apart. Their grandmother has been the backbone of the family for generations, and with her death, Sadie isn't sure she'll have the strength to keep the family, and her magic, together.

As feelings for Jake begin to rekindle, and her grandmother growing sicker by the day, Sadie faces the last of her heartbreaks, and she has to decide: is love more important than magic?


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

When the read the synopsis and saw that this was a cross between Practical Magic and Gilmore Girls I was so excited. I practically clawed my way to request this, sadly it just wasn't my cup of tea. First I couldn't connect to the MC Sadie, she actually made me want to rip my hair out multiple times. Secondly, I just did not like the romance. Jake was just unlikable, and when we hear about why he's even back sniffing around Sadie it just makes it worse to me. I would have loved it if Sadie actually stayed single, as every interaction between them felt forced and flat. Third, Sadie's grandma was annoying, I might just be tired of the 'Hardass but loving Grandmother' trope. Lastly, while in the beginning I really enjoyed Randall's writing, towards the end I felt like she was adding descriptions to make a word count. 

The idea behind this sounded so good, it's just the execution could have been better. There are a lot of themes that I would love to have explored like death and heartbreak and how it would affect magic. Also, Randall's magic system seemed interesting. 

Overall, This just wasn't for me but it could be for you. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Book Review: The Name Drop by Susan Lee

Title: The Name Drop
Author: Susan Lee
Genre: Romance; Young Adult
Publication Date: September 12, 2023
Publisher: Inkyard Press

When Elijah Ri arrives in New York City for an internship at his father’s massive tech company, Haneul Corporation, he expects the royal treatment that comes with being the future CEO—even if that’s the last thing he wants. But instead, he finds himself shuffled into a group of overworked, unpaid interns, all sharing a shoebox apartment for the summer.

When Jessica Lee arrives in New York City, she’s eager to make the most of her internship at Haneul Corporation, even if she’s at the bottom of the corporate ladder. But she’s shocked to be introduced as the new executive-in-training intern with a gorgeous brownstone all to herself.

It doesn’t take long for Elijah and Jessica to discover the source of the they share the same Korean name. But they decide to stay switched—so Elijah can have a relaxing summer away from his controlling dad while Jessica can make the connections she desperately needs for college recommendations.

As Elijah and Jessica work together to keep up the charade, a spark develops between them. Can they avoid discovery—and total disaster—with their feelings and futures on the line?


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

This was such a fun and drama-filled romance. Typically when romances are full of drama I tend to turn my nose up at them but in "The Name Drop' it made sense. First of all, the premise is right up my alley a case of mistaken identity causes two teens from opposite sides of the financial spectrum to meet and ultimately, fall in love. Jessica and Elijah were so cute and I loved how throughout the book you can see their characters grow into young adults.

 Of course, considering the plot you know eventually the poo is going to strike the blades of a fan so there is an underlying tension of waiting for when they get caught and the fallout. This is where the meat of the drama is, and some drama it is, It only takes a couple of chapters there is a lot that happens. Despite being a romance, there are some serious topics that Lee handles like misogyny and classism. I do appreciate the epilogue as I always wonder how things go after the ending, and it went exactly as I hope. 

Overall, a great romance.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Quick Manga Review: Soara and the House of Monsters Volume 1

Title: Soara and the House of Monsters Vol. 1
Author: Hidenori Yamaji
Genre: Comics; Graphic Novel; Manga
Publication Date: September 5, 2023
Publisher: Penguin Random House

In this delightful and intricately illustrated fantasy tale, a girl who was raised to fight monsters starts building cozy homes for them instead!

Soara is a young orphan girl who was raised by knights and trained to fight against marauding monsters. By the time Soara is old enough to join the fray, her blade is no longer needed, as peace has been declared with monsters. Searching for a new calling, Soara stumbles upon Kirik the dwarf, Architect of the Monster World. Suddenly, instead of fighting monsters, Soara finds herself working alongside Kirik to build comfortable homes for monsterkind! In the course of her new career, will Soara find a home for herself?


 Hello Fellow Reader,

I liked this so much, I thought it was so cute and unique. First off the art style was lovely and every panel looks great. I didn't have trouble making out what anything was, while also enjoying the art. The Story was so cute, I can't wait to see how Soara grows throughout the series. I do wish we saw more about the Kirik and his band of dwarf builders, as I am so curious about them. They seem well known throughout the monster kingdom so the fact that Soara has never heard about them is weird but I can't wait to learn more about them.

Overall, a fun new manga series I can't wait to see the next one. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Happy Pub day! Suddenly This Summer Romance Anthology featuring Best Man Next Door by Stefanie London

Nothing is sweeter than the first kiss of summer…

Say You'll Stay by Susan Mallery
Shaye Harper has sworn off men for good. But when she meets army vet Lawson Easley during a pit stop on the road to a fresh start, she’s drawn in by the quirky town—and the handsome stranger she can’t resist. Lawson knows there’s no place better than Wishing Tree. Too bad the woman he's certain is “the one” is just passing through…unless he can convince her to give him and his hometown a chance at forever.

This Time for Keeps by Synithia Williams
Home to care for her ailing father, Michaela Spears is on a reconcile with the one man she can’t forget. She broke his heart years ago, so when Khalil appears on her parents’ doorstep in his scrubs, she knows it’s her last chance. Khalil Davenport shouldn’t have taken the job as her dad’s home nurse, but he couldn't resist her. Their timing was never right, but now can he trust that she’s home to stay?

Best Man Next Door by Stefanie London
For Sage Nilsen, coming back to her small Massachusetts hometown for a family wedding feels like high school all over again. Except Jamie Hackett has gone from charming boy next door to handsome best man. And sparks are suddenly flying between the popular guy and the so-called outcast. As the wedding gets closer, Sage finds herself on the edge of something unexpected—a second chance in the town she left behind…with the guy she’s never forgotten.

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

Hello Fellow Readers,

Trying something a little new today as this review will be mostly focused on Best Man Next Door by Stefanie London. I love London's books, she always creates realistic characters that you can't help but root for and this time was no different. Sage is amazing, a dressmaking shy introvert who suddenly found themselves leaving New York in a scandal. Jamie was everything you wish a book boyfriend would be, charming, fun, and caring he would absolutely make your top five. Besides making amazing characters, London has the ability to provide unique and wonderful descriptions without info dumping. There was next a time when I wanted to skip a scene or wish things would move on for the sake of the story. In short romance stories, it is hard to not have the romance feel like Insta-love, but London pulled it off. You could feel Sage and Jamie's chemistry and connection. I finished the story in one night I was so interested in Sage and Jamie's story.

Best Man Next Door really made me look forward to Say You'll Stay by Mallery and This Time for Keepsby Williams because of they are as good as this one this book will definitely be a must-read 5-star. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Book Review: The Love Plot by Samantha Young

Title: The Love Plot
Author: Samanta Young
Genre: Adult; Romance
Publication Date: August 29, 2023
Publisher: Berkley Publishing

There's a magnetic attraction when a happy-go-lucky gig worker agrees to a fake relationship with a rich, uptight New Yorker in this steamy romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young.

Star Shine Meadows is all about freedom, thanks to the hippie parents who raised her. Juggling her jobs as a professional costume character actor and a line sitter, she believes in no expectations, no stressful ambitions, and no-strings-attached relationships. So when she meets a birthday girl's grumpy uncle while working a princess party, she can't help but needle him. She'll never see him again, and honestly, he's pretty hot.

Rafe Whitman may be a veterinarian with a great bedside manner, but that doesn't mean his patience extends to anyone with opposable thumbs. His family will not stop nagging him about finding "the one," so when he runs into obnoxiously cheery Star again, he makes her an offer: He'll pay her more than she would make doing her odd jobs if she'll pretend to be his girlfriend at family gatherings. She can stop sitting in line waiting for someone else's new phone, and he'll get his family off his back.

When the tension between them heats to a breaking point, Star's desire for "no strings" is tested against Rafe's staunch stability. They say opposites attract, after all...


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

I absolutely loved this book and pretty much devoured it in a couple of days. If I didn't have real-life commitments like a child I need to care for I would have read this in one sitting. This book has two of my favorite tropes fake dating and grumpy/sunshine and of course, the grumpy male romantic interest ends up turning into a gooey cinnamon roll. 

I love Star, like 100% would maim for her. She's so strong and real but also has this vulnerability that shines through that you can help but want to wrap her up when something bad happens. I do love the growth that we see Star go through, how she ends up dealing with the trauma of her childhood, and how she handles her parents.  Rafe, is also in my top 5 list of book boyfriends, oh man if I wasn't married and he wasn't a fictional character I would drool over him from far away because I would be too intimidated to approach him. I also love how young makes Rafe evolves. He goes from judgemental a-hole to a sexy accepting boyfriend. I don't blame Star at all for falling for him. Also, the spicy scenes were *chef's kiss* and I do kind of wish there were more of them but I won't complain about the ones that we did get. 

Besides the two tropes mentioned above, there is also a little bit of forced proximity, enemies to lovers, and a rich guy/poor girl. I got to admit I don't like the latter at all but it worked in "The Love Plot'. There was some miscommunication which was frustrating but forgivable considering how much I love the book. I also wish that we had more of Jude, Kendall, and Roger as I loved their friendship with Star.

Overall, A great romance that may make my top 5 list for this year.                               

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Book Review: The Princess and the Bruiser by Jess K. Hardy

Title: The Princess and the Bruiser
Series: Ignisar Book 3
Author: Jess K. Hardy
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: January 19, 2023

A clandestine marriage? Easy. Not falling for the princess before she leaves forever? Impossible.
Rax Varon, head of security on the interstellar pleasure cruise the Ignisar, loathes the Royals of his home planet, especially House Lysero, the palace lording over his home city. The last thing he expects returning from a visit to his mother is the insufferable only princess of House Lysero hitching a ride on his shuttle.
Kateri Lysero is desperate to escape her arranged marriage into powerful and dangerous House Hasantis. Running from her pristine public image, her abusive uncle, and her distant mother, she stows away on the first deep-space shuttle she can find, hoping to vanish among the stars. She never dreamed her survival would hinge on convincing the grumpy green bruiser piloting the shuttle to hide her away on his infamous sex cruise.
Reluctantly playing bodyguard, Rax helps Kateri hide in plain sight while also keeping her out of trouble. But when trouble finds her, he knows the only way to keep her safe is to teach her to defend herself. When a mysterious Royal arrives on his ship, he learns there’s a better way to protect her. He has to marry her


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

I loved the second book in the series, so much so that I purchased the first one right away. So, when I saw that there was a third one I was giddy with excitement. For some reason, this took me forever to read and I think the reason is that 'The Princess and the Bruiser' felt like much more of a slow burn for me. It just felt like it took too long for Rax and Kateri to come together and it just drove me crazy.

Rax was such a great character a gruffy big guy with a gooey soft side he only shows those he is close to and Kateri a princess just trying to be free really did make me like both characters. The spiciness was great and really well done just like Hardy's other books. The plot in this one seemed a lot more interesting than the last book.

Overall, a solid romance.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Book Review: A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales

Title: A Most Agreeable Murder
Author: Julia Seales
Genre: Historical; Humor; Mystery
Publication Date: June 27, 2023
Publisher: Random House

Feisty, passionate Beatrice Steele has never fit the definition of a true lady, according to the strict code of conduct that reigns in Swampshire, her small English township--she is terrible at needlework, has absolutely no musical ability, and her artwork is so bad it frightens people. Nevertheless, she lives a perfectly agreeable life with her marriage-scheming mother, prankster father, and two younger sisters-- beautiful Louisa and forgettable Mary. But she harbors a dark secret: She is obsessed with the true crime cases she reads about in the newspaper. If anyone in her etiquette-obsessed community found out, she'd be deemed a morbid creep and banished from respectable society forever.

For her family's sake, she's vowed to put her obsession behind her. Because eligible bachelor Edmund Croaksworth is set to attend the approaching autumnal ball, and the Steele family hopes that Louisa will steal his heart. If not, Martin Grub, their disgusting cousin, will inherit the family's estate, and they will be ruined or, even worse, forced to move to France. So Beatrice must be on her best behavior . . . which is made difficult when a disgraced yet alluring detective inexplicably shows up to the ball.

Beatrice is just holding things together when Croaksworth drops dead in the middle of a minuet. As a storm rages outside, the evening descends into a frenzy of panic, fear, and betrayal as it becomes clear they are trapped with a killer. Contending with competitive card games, tricky tonics, and Swampshire's infamous squelch holes, Beatrice must rise above decorum and decency to pursue justice and her own desires--before anyone else is murdered.


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

This book really should have been called Beatrice Steele's Wild Murder Mystery Ride because that's what it felt like I loved every minute of it. Considering the previous sentence it's safe to say that this is not your usual historical fiction. First, everything about Swampshire is so weird from the lady's guide with 200+ chapters to the absurd number of frogs that I knew from the description of this town that I was in for a treat. Second, Beatrice is delightful, a woman who loves true crime but needs to hide it as it's not very ladylike but of course shines when it's time for her to participate in a sudden murder at her childhood friend's home during a ball. 

Seales has such wonderfully witty and humorous writing. I love the little excepts between chapters that included letters between characters, articles, and excerpts from a play. I love how each character's voice felt different and I didn't have a hard time keeping track of any of them. I will say that the mystery murder part wasn't too suspenseful and very easy to solve but that didn't bother me as I was just entertained with everything going on.

Overall, a fun historical murder mystery. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Book Review: Time's Orphan by Hayley Chow

Title: Time's Orphan
Series: Odriel's Heirs #3
Author: Hayley Reese Chow
Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2, 2023

Speak of pain, and I’ll tell you of the Time who stole it away…
Besieged by war, ravaged by monsters, and crawling with the undead, the land of Okarria is dying. Seventeen-year-old Emara survives by using her modest healing gift to save as many as she can while eluding the invaders who thirst for her enchanted blood.

So when a cursed cat saves her life and reveals Emara is the legendary Time Heir the necromancer king’s been searching for, she agrees to act as bait in a plot to destroy him. But when the plan goes horrifically awry, Emara must discover how deep her powers go, what she can change…

And what she cannot.

Unfortunately, Time Heirs have a history of getting killed, and with Okarria’s future on the line, Emara may have no choice but to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps.


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

Despite the fact that this was the third book in a trilogy you could read this as a standalone which is what I did. I do wish that I had read the other two first though so I could have known more about some of the characters that were featured. I'm thinking of getting the first two books as I would love to continue Chow's world and her writing has a way of immersing her readers so you feel like you're experiencing everything alongside her characters. 

Speaking of characters, Emara just felt real, she was such a fighter and given the world she lives in such a survivor. She had her vulnerable moments but her resourcefulness really shined through that you couldn't help but root for her. Chipo and Jai were amazing as well, they didn't outshine Emara but held their own in terms of characterization. I actually really liked the romance too! Most YA fantasy romances leave me shaking my head half the time, usually because of insta-love or lack of chemistry (also, this didn't have the dreaded love triangle), in Time's Orphan Chow allowed the romance to progress naturally, nothing felt forced or out of place. 

The one gripe I did have was I felt like I was missing some things about Okarria that I felt I would have gotten had I read the first two books. So I do suggest reading all three in order. 

Overall, an amazing fantasy read. 

Friday, June 2, 2023

Book Review: How Pot Murder by Jennifer J. Chow


Title: Hot Pot Murder
Series: L.A. Night Market #2
Author: Jennifer J. Chow
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: June 6, 2023
Publisher: Berkley

Trouble is brewing for cousins Yale and Celine Yee after a hot pot dinner gets overheated and ends in murder in this second novel of the L.A. Night Market series by Jennifer J. Chow.

Yale and Celine Yee’s food stall business is going so well that they’ve been invited to join an exclusive dinner with the local restaurant owners association. The members gather together for a relaxing hot pot feast…until Jeffery Vue, president of the group, receives a literal shock to his system and dies.

Everyone at the meal is a suspect, but the authorities are homing in on family friend Ai Ho, owner of the restaurant where Jeffery was killed—and Yale’s dad is a close second on their list. Yale and Celine step up to the plate and investigate the dinner attendees: the association’s ambitious VP, a familiar frenemy, a ramen king, a snacks shopkeeper, and a second-generation restaurateur. It’s up to the detecting duo to figure out what really happened before their friends and family have to close their businesses for good.


*I received an advanced review copy for free and I am leaving this unbiased review voluntarily*

Hello Fellow Readers, 

This series is quickly becoming one of my cozy favorites, and I am so happy that I am able to read along as it releases and I can grow with the characters. Just like last time I really loved Yale and Celine both are just amazing. I do love that they have grown closer and even though they are so different from each other, they still support each other. 

I was right in my last review and Nik had a bigger role but Chow has made him more likable. I was also partially wrong as I thought he would be Yale's love interest but it turns out this wasn't the case. The case was interesting in this one as we got a closer look at Yale's restaurant community and the recurring people who no doubt will make more appearances in upcoming books. I did guess the killer pretty early but I didn't mind as I was having fun being along for the ride. 

There was also a subplot that had to do with Celine and her parents which I found interesting. It gave more insight into Celine and her family dynamic. I do love Celine and I hope once the series is more established the author will think about doing a novella/ side story with Celine as the main character, and I think it would be interesting.

Overall, a fun second book to a series that is becoming my favorite. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Manga Review: How to Grill Our Love. Volume 1

Title: How to Grill Our Love. Volume 1
Author: Shiori Hanatsuka
Genre:Food and Drink; Graphic Novel; Manga; Romance
Publication Date: May 02, 2023
Publisher: Kodasha Comics

Dating can be tough when you nerd out over barbecue. Kenta, a practical pitmaster, looks for a grill-friend in Chihiro, an aloof and faultless business babe…or is she? Scared of being rejected for who they really are, the two of them find comfort in food and each other…and all is well until Kenta must transfer away. With their developing relationship at steak, Chihiro proposes they tie the knot and they marry for better or wurst. Winging a long-distance marriage is one thing, but here’s the rub—they barely know each other! It’s a rare marriage where all the awkwardness of dating meets a sizzling passion for grilling!


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

Hello Fellow Readers,

Food-based romance? I absolutely wanted to read this. It's been a while since I've read something so wholesome and sweet, while yes Kenta and Chihiro move a little too fast with getting married before they've even held hands but I found it endearing. Kenta was charming in a nerdy sort of way while Chihiro was just cute and I love reading about their awkward romance. Watching their courtship get enhanced with the power of grilling was interesting and also made me hungry that I made my hubby clean the grill so we can have some BBQ. I've also always thought that good food has the amazing power of bringing people together and it's very prevalent in 'How to Grill Our Love'. 

I do hope we see more depth about both Kenta and especially Chihiro characters, as well as some awkward hijinks that comes with a new relationship. I'm tempted to try grilling some of the recipes that Kenta uses to see how they are. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this and can't wait for the next one.