Book Review: All Stirred Up

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. She returned to save her family’s dying legacy–but found the ghosts of her past alive and well.

Susan Napier’s family once lived on the success of the high-end restaurants founded by her late grandfather. But bad luck and worse management has brought the business to the edge of financial ruin. Now it’s up to Susan to save the last remaining restaurant: Elliot’s, the flagship in Edinburgh.

But what awaits Susan in the charming city of Auld Reekie is more than she bargained for. Chris Baker, her grandfather’s former protégé–and her ex-boyfriend–is also heading to the Scottish capital. After finding fame in New York as a chef and judge of a popular TV cooking competition, Chris is returning to his native Scotland to open his own restaurant. Although the storms have cleared after their intense and rocky breakup, Susan and Chris are re-drawn into each other’s orbit–and their simmering attraction inevitably boils over.

As Chris’s restaurant opens to great acclaim and Susan tries to haul Elliot’s back from the brink, the future brims with new promise. But darkness looms as they find themselves in the crosshairs of a gossip blogger eager for a juicy story–and willing to do anything to get it. Can Susan and Chris reclaim their lost love, or will the tangled past ruin their last hope for happiness?

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am a huge Jane Austen fan and this book is a great retelling of Persuasion. My only issue with this was the pacing. It started off super slow and really drug through the first couple chapters and continued through the first half of the book. Then it really just sped through the end of it too fast. It just felt disconnected in a way. 

I think it was a very interesting take on the Austen classic and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys Austen’s stories. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

Book Review:

MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES

Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907

When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.

In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.

But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….

A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this so much! It has such a creepy feel to it. I loved the atmosphere of the town they lived in. Creepy small towns are something I live for! I thought the characters were super well written and the plot was just a mysterious masterpiece. I thought it was dark and creepy in the best way possible. 

It was so fun to piece everything together. It wasn’t easy to piece together, but you still were able to figure out everything before Verity and her sister did!

Overall, I found this book a great spooky read for October! I absolutely could not put it down. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

Book Reviews: The Hollow Places

A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel from the author of the “innovative, unexpected, and absolutely chilling” (Mira Grant, Nebula Award–winning author) The Twisted Ones.

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more one fears them, the stronger they become.

With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s LabyrinthThe Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really connected with Kara’s character a little too much. I kind of love the moments where Kara would get lost in her head. It made me really resonate with her. A lot of people have had an issue with the internal dialogue, but I really enjoyed it. I am one of those people who have a lot of internal dialogue with myself, so I enjoyed it. 

Overall, this was a great horror sci-fi that I just really loved.

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

Book Review: Hush

“Hush has all the trappings of a great fantasy: a curse, a labyrinthine castle, many secrets, and powerful magic. At the center of it all, a girl unwilling to allow her world to be twisted by lies when she knows the truth. A truly gripping read.” – Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.

From Dylan Farrow comes Hush, a powerful fantasy where one girl is determined to remake the world.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, I am a bit on the fence with how to rate this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it on the other I felt like it could have been better executed. I loved the POV. I thought Shae was a strong choice. 

What I did really love is the magic system. I loved how intriguing it was. The premise for the book was also amazing. The romantic aspects of this book felt a bit awkward. You can tell the author is going for a love triangle in later books but it still felt a bit off to me. I think it will get better as the next book comes out. 

I really hate the instalove books, but I think with better execution this could be a great series. I will definitely read book two because I need to know what happens. Overall, this was an easy and enjoyable read with a great magic system and a good premise. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

Book Review: The Silvered Serpents

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.
Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.
As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.
A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Chokshi has done it again! Silver Serpents picked up almost immediately where Gilded Wolves  left off. It felt so fluid and seamless. 

Again, the characters are my favorite part of this series. I love them and I think they just really make everything about this story better. Silver Serpents has a very emotional and heartbreaking ending. So do not read if you don’t want a good cry. 

This story moved at such a fast pace and had such a steady flow. It was a rollercoaster of emotions but it was up and down at all the right times. I did feel like I was left with a lot of unanswered questions. I hope we get another novel to answer them. 

The villains were a tad predictable, but it was still very intriguing. Honestly, I feel like I liked this a lot more than the first book of the series. I love that the plot was more fully formed.

The writing was so descriptive and super vivid. As usual Chokshi does a wonderful job of world building and character creation and development. This book hurt me. I cried so much. I really hope we get some closure! 

Thank you so much to Roshani Chokshi, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s press for allowing me to review this title.

Image and Synopsis taken from netgalley.

Book Review: Ruthless Gods

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.
As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone…or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.
In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read Wicked Saints when it came out in April of this year and it had to be one of the bloodiest and darkest novels I have ever read. But Ruthless Gods takes the cake, it is bloodier and darker than its predecessor by 100 percent 

I did find the story to be a bit repetitive. It felt like I was rereading Wicked Saints with more blood and gore. I did really like this better than the first of the series, which is saying something because I truly enjoyed Wicked Saints. 

The pace in this book was much faster than the first book and the action definitely keeps you in suspense and glued to the page. 

The ending had me really confused, but I think that it was part of the books magic because even the characters seemed really confused. My heart breaks for Nayda. I really just want things to work out for her. Malachiasz and Nadya will be the death of me, I am sure of it. I just want them to get their happy ending. I find their story so compelling and I just want all the happiness in their chaos ridden lives. 

I cannot wait for the next installment. It is such a good read. I hate that now I have to wait even longer since I got this one early!

Thank you so much to Emily Duncan, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Press for sending me a digital copy of this book for review.
Image and Synopsis taken from Netgalley.

Book Review: The Opposite of Falling Apart

After losing his leg in a terrible car accident, Jonas Avery can’t wait to start over and go to college. Brennan Davis would like nothing more than to stay home and go to school, so she can keep her anxiety in check. When the two accidentally meet the summer before they move away, they’ll push each other to come to terms with what’s holding them back, even as they’re pulled closer to taking the biggest leap of all—falling in love.

I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a beautiful story about overcoming obstacles. The story follows Jonas and Brennan whom are both battling either physical or psychological disabilities and their journey to helping one another heal. 

I loved how Micah Good tackles disabilities with such relatable characters. As someone who has suffered from anxiety for most of my life, I really resonated with Brennan’s storyline. The ‘what ifs’ she went through really struck home with me. 

I enjoyed how the love story was not the main focal point. Yes, it was present but the main point of the story is the healing and character growth. I feel like we have needed a more honest representation of mental illness in today’s novels, and this one does it justice. 

I enjoyed the two perspectives, it really kept you from guessing what was going on in the other character’s head. I feel this was definitely needed to be written this way because if this had been from Brennan’s perspective, I would have been just as anxious wanting to know what was going on in Jonah’s mind. I loved getting both sides of this story. 

I felt the chemistry between Brennan and Jonah was so organic and real. I was team “Jonnan” from the first time they met. I would highly recommend this book to absolutely anyone. 

A big thank you to Micah Good, Wattpad Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.  I really enjoyed it!

Images and Synopsis taken from NetGalley.

Book Review: The Sound of Stars

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a wonderful debut novel by Alechia Dow! I love alien stories, I really just adore anything to do with space. I grew up watching things like Star Trek and Doctor Who, so when I read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to read it as quickly as I could. 

From the first page, I was immediately transported into Dow’s fantasy world. Dow is phenomenal at world building and I really felt like I was right there.  I did feel like the book dragged a bit during the middle, but overall it was fantastic. 

I loved that the book contains real life issues we are facing in today’s society and how they were weaved in and out through every chapter. There are tons of current pop culture references throughout this book, so it is not really something that can be  “timeless” read. However, the story would have been really lacking if those references weren’t a part of it. I love the general theme of music can help you get through tough situations. 

The relationship between Ellie and Morris was my favorite. It felt so genuine and unique. It wasn’t rushed or forced it was just pure, innocence, beautifully organic. Dow’s writing style keeps you wanting more. I really do hope we see a sequel to this. Maybe I am a sucker for a series.. But I really want to know more about Morris and Ellie and their future together. 

Thank you so much to Alechia Dow, NetGalley, and Harlequin TEEN Publishing for allowing me to review this book.
Image and synopsis taken from NetGalley

Book Review: Loved

The world won’t stay safe for long…
Reunited in Tulsa after a year apart, Zoey and the Nerd Herd are ready to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. But it seems nothing at The House of Night is ever as quiet as it seems.
With rabid red vampyres closing in, the friends must come together again. But a year is a long time. Have they grown too far apart?
When the world fractures and allies become enemies, will darkness devour friendships or will light save those Zoey loves?

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always been a big fan of House of Night! The series itself is such an easy read with a good slow burn of a story and loved was just the same. I love the recapping that kinda takes you back to into the story.

My favorite part of this book (and most of the House of Night series) is the friendship tropes throughout the story. The story line is easy to follow and enjoyable to read. I really love that the pop culture references were toned down in this new trilogy. I always felt like they were too excessive in the previous books, but this really tones it down.

House of Night has a total cult following and will live on within us forever. This book was great, I loved everything about it. I love how easily it continued Zoey’s story. I love that she is now an adult in this creative universe. Honestly, I cannot wait for the next book.

Thank you kindly to P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast for creating this unique world that I love getting lost in time and time again, Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus publishing for allowing me to review this title.

Book Review: A Longer Fall

In this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am going to start this review off by saying I am a bit biased for Charlaine Harries. I have and I will read anything she comes out with (including her grocery list!) A Longer Fall feels so much different than most of her series. There is less magical and fantasy (although there is some mixed in) and more realism. I really enjoyed the first installment of the Gunnie Rose stories. I love how Harris doesn’t make things easy for her heroines. They struggle.. They struggle a LOT. 

I loved the honest take Harries took with this story. She took the issues of today and built an immersive story around them. We are a split US country at the moment and she built this amazing dystopian world around it. The pacing of this book is wonderful. It was fast and kept the story exciting and thrilling. It keeps you at the edge of your seat. 

I really just could not put this book down. I just wanted to stay in this world that Harris created and keep reading. I cannot wait until the next book! As with any Charlaine Harris, you can’t get too attached to the characters as no one is safe!!! 

Thank you so much to Charlaine Harris, Saga Press Publishing, and NetGalley for making this review possible.