BLOG TOUR!- A Golden Fury

Title: A Golden Fury

Author: Samantha Cohoe

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: October 13th, 2020

320 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of a revolution looming, Thea is sent to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

Review

A Golden Fury is a historical fiction/fantasy involving alchemy in the 1800’s. Thea, our MC, has worked her whole life under her mother as she chases the holy grail, the Philosopher’s Stone. But, just as her mother makes the stone, she goes mad and tries to kill Thea. She smashes the stone and Thea must flee her French patron’s house to live with her father in England, who doesn’t know she exists. Thea is determined to recreate her mother’s success in order to heal her of the madness. But as she continues on in her journey, Thea realizes there is a curse on the person who attempts to create it, and the people around her start to go mad. Thea is then caught between her friend Will and a high ranking noble as she is kidnapped and forced to create the stone herself. Will Thea be able to create it, or will she go mad as well?

I liked Thea as a MC, she was strong-willed, especially for the time she was living in. She had so much sass and wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself, even against men or when she was being told she couldn’t do something because she was a woman. I also really enjoyed that there was no overt romance plot line. She and Will had a slight involvement prior to the story starting, but there was no romance told during the book. It truly focused on her journey independently.

I wasn’t thrilled with the ending. I felt it could have been wrapped up better, especially her last conversation with her mother. There were some parts of the book that I couldn’t see coming, which was fantastic. But the ending just fell flat. I wanted an epilogue or something to round out the story more. See where the characters ended up. It just sort of stops.

If you enjoy historical fiction or the Discovery of Witches books, I think you’ll enjoy this standalone about alchemy.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Mistletoe and Mr. Right

Title: Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

Author: Sarah Morgenthaler

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

352 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Review

After recently reading The Tourist Attraction, I was very excited to be approved for Mistletoe and Mr. Right. If you’ve read the first book (which you don’t really NEED to do, it just helps & gives background), this book covers Lana and her adventures into trying to save Moose Springs by doing exactly what the locals don’t want to have happen – increasing tourists in the area. While she does this, she begins to fall in love with the very quiet but very handsome Rick, who runs a bar in Moose Springs and who blushes whenever Lana looks at him. Rick is a local, living a small town life.

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the first book. I enjoyed the consistency within the dramatic points where the female does something fairly illegal to the male & hijinks ensue. I thought the Santa Moose plot line was hysterical, and I truly enjoyed the depth that Lana’s character was given. She wasn’t the typical rich, party girl in the first book, but she also wasn’t given much attention or personality. In this book you really get to see how she feels about her family, the business, and the town.

I wish the Santa Moose has a more distinct ending. That plot line truly fell flat. I wish Rick had more of a personality. Outside of being a genuinely nice guy, there wasn’t much given to him at all. Even from his POV the thoughts you’re privy to are just so surface level. Lastly, the ending was way too forced and rushed. The pacing of this book was all off for me. For these reasons, I enjoyed this first more, but I will be reading the third when it comes out!

Overall, a cute, Christmassy story coming out in the Fall. Go check it out!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – I Hope You’re Listening

Title: I Hope You’re Listening

Author: Tom Ryan

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

368 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

EVERY MISSING PERSON HAS A STORY.

In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.

At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.

When another little girl in town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much of her own story is she willing to reveal in order to uncover the truth?

Review

I Hope You’re Listening is a YA thriller that is coming out at the perfect time! It has enough spookiness and mystery to make it perfect for October. When Dee Skinner was 6, she was playing in the woods with her BFF Sibby, when Sibby is captured by strange men and never seen again. Fast forward 10 years, Dee is still dealing with the guilt of being left behind. She started a podcast called Radio Silent, bent on solving some missing persons cases – when her case can’t be. She’s had major success with it. When another young girl goes missing from the same house Dee lived in when Sibby went missing – it brings the original case back up. A Radio Silent listener sends Dee a clue to Sibby’s whereabouts, and Dee is thrust back into the past. Can Dee figure out the two cases?

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I stayed up until 1am reading it (which only upped the thriller ante), and gobbled it up whole. Were there some problems, sure, but overall this book was so well written and interesting that it’s easy to overlook them. Starting with the plot, I loved the podcast element. The fact that a young woman an create such a successful enterprise & actually help find missing people (with the help of the Laptop Detectives) is so cool to read. I also just love missing person mysteries, they are the hardest for me to predict! And I could NOT predict where this book was going at all. Every revelation was a shock.

In terms of characters, Dee had some issues. She wasn’t exactly the nicest, and she was pretty self-absorbed at times. I think she made decent growth over the span of the book, but she also wasn’t held responsible for any of her mistakes or actions. And a lot of what she does is somewhat unrealistic for a 16 year old. BUT, in her own way, she made for the perfect character in this story. Also, there was a touch of LGBTQ romance, which is always a plus!

Thank you to Albert Whitman & Company and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – In a Holidaze

Title: In a Holidaze

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: October 6, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Review

Christmas books are great no matter what time of year. Christina Lauren does it again with a cute and romantic story and a woman who gets stuck in a time loop, living the Christmas holiday over and over again until she gets it right. Mae’s large group of family and friends get together every year at a cabin for Christmas, and she’s always been in love with Andrew – one of the members of the group. They’ve known each other all their lives but she’s never been able to say anything. In a near death experience, Mae asks the universe to show her what would make her happy – and the time loop begins.

Mae’s antics in this book had me cracking up at times. She starts off so careful and focused on keeping the traditions of the holiday that doesn’t really allow her to be herself. The time loop gives her the opportunity to freak out and just be real with everyone, and not take everything so seriously, which allows Andrew to see a different side of her. Andrew is an interesting character and seems very nice and normal – but I don’t feel like he was developed very well. There’s little back story of him or personality building. There were also so many side characters that it was hard to keep everything straight.

I loved the time loop concept. It was so fun and I haven’t read a romance novel with this concept. The plot was obviously not science fiction so the time loop isn’t explained or explored, just something that you accept as happening. Each time loop sequence was so cool because Mae just came off as crazy before she figured out what was happening and had to convince people what was happening. It was a really zany situation that ws just hilarious at times. I wish that she had been reset in time just one more time than she was, because I feel like it would’ve added depth and more conflict to make it more interesting.

If you like Christina Lauren books, you’ll like this one. And just in time for the holidays!

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for an advance copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Title: The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Author: Jillian Cantor

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

304 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Emma Woodhouse is a genius at math, but clueless about people. After all, people are unreliable. They let you down—just like Emma’s sister, Izzy, did this year, when she moved to California for college. But numbers…those you can count on. (No pun intended.)

Emma’s senior year is going to be all about numbers, and seeing how far they can take her. When she and George, her Coding Club co-president, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born—a matchmaking app that goes far beyond swiping, using algorithms to calculate compatibility. George disapproves of Emma’s idea, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.

Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other and her own feelings defy any algorithm? Emma thought math could solve everything. But there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love.

Review

A retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, The Code for Love and Heartbreak follows math nerd Emma as she is beginning her senior year. She is co-president of the coding club, along with George, her sister’s boyfriend’s little brother and her prime rival for valedictorian. Emma doesn’t understand people, but she does understand numbers, and she needs a great idea for her coding club project so she can win in her senior year and get into Harvard. So, she comes up with the idea to create a system to match couples up in her school for dances. It starts off so well, but when couples start breaking up, Emma must rethink her approach to the math, and maybe even love.

This book was super cute, and reminded me of high school when we did matching services. I love reading about coding, I have no idea why but it really interests me in books. I liked the competition aspect of the plot line, and how the lessons in this book aren’t just about life and love, but also about friendship and what it means to be a friend. Emma really grows and changes during the book, which is always a great plot line.

One thing that I didn’t like is that Emma was unnecessarily mean at points in this book. Like, in most stories there is a conflict, where the MC loses friends, alienates people, etc. But I felt like it went too far in this book, and bordered on actual bullying. The same effect could’ve been manufactured without turning Emma into someone who says horribly mean and rude things to her friends.

Overall, the story was adorable and the way the love story progressed was super cute. It was a solid friends to lovers, and the big romantic gesture was super nerdy yet adorable. The main themes of this book were good, I just couldn’t give it a full 4 stars due to the issues I had with Emma.

Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Kingdom of Sea and Stone

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crowl of Coral and Pearl #2)

Author: Mara Rutherford

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.

As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…

Review

Sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl, Kingdom of Sea and Stone is a direct follow up to the events of the first book. I do like when sequels start up right at the end of the first, without having to wonder really what happened in the midst of the two books. The story is still told from Nor’s POV exclusively.

I love the concept of the duology so much. The villain is the perfect, no redeemable but you still feel kinda bad for him, character. Nor is a super capable and intelligent main character. Tallin is the hero you live for as a YA reader. The setting is rich and beautifully told, and the magic system that was only slightly touched on in book one is expanded in this one in amazing ways. It is truly unique and I would love to have more information and stories about it, even in companion novels!

I found myself less invested in the romance in this book. I actually felt like a background character would be a better love interest for Nor than Tallin. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but Tallin was not great in this book. I also felt like the ending left much to be desired. It is fairly open ended, so I could see the author returning to the world in the future – which would be open to and would read. Some of the scenes and writing in this book just felt disjointed and off pace compared to the first book.

Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Love Study

Title: The Love Study

Author: Kris Ripper

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication date: September 29th, 2020

Unknown pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.

And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.

When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.

The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.

Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.

Review

The Love Study is an experiment in queer dating in the 21st century. With a great friend group, Declan has just about everything he wants. He doesn’t want or need a committed relationship like some people and he loves his temp job because he doesn’t like to be tied down. When he meets Sidney, a genderqueer Youtuber, he agrees to go on their channel to do a dating experiment to help others. What he doesn’t expect is the feelings he develops for them.

This story was super cute! I really enjoyed Declan’s forays into dating and his journey to define what a relationship looks like for him. I think the main takeaway from this book is that all types of definitions and dating behaviors are valid, as long as both (or all) parties agree and feel comfortable with the decision! Declan and Sidney’s relationship definitely doesn’t fit the general “mold” that heteronormative society prescribes to, and that. is. okay.

I enjoyed that both Declan and Sidney tried really hard to be sensitive to each others opinions, feelings, and thoughts. However, it got in the way of their communication most times, because in the effort of being open and accepting to the other person, they stopped being true to themselves. It can be hard to buck traditional gender and dating roles, because it gives structure to the relationship and how to act in it. Finding a good balance is what Declan and Sidney struggled with throughout the book, but their journey to discovering each other was very insightful and informative.

This is a type of relationship that doesn’t get written about often because it doesn’t fit the general model. But truly, more genderqueer/nonbinary/LGBTQ relationships should be written about so it becomes more accepted, understood, and validated.

Thank you to Carina Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Bringing Down the Duke

Title: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)

Author: Evie Dunmore

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

368 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

Review

“If we were of equal station,” he said softly, “I would have proposed to you when we took our walk in the maze.”

evie dunmore, bringing down the duke

HOLY WOW, I generally don’t read historical… anything – but Bringing Down the Duke was seriously amazing! Set in the 1800’s in London, Bringing Down the Duke tells the tale of Annabelle Archer, a bluestocking at Oxford trying to escape her cousin’s country home after falling from grace. Part of her stipend requires to work with a women’s suffrage group, looking to restore voting rights to women in society. Her target? The Duke Montgomery, a divorcee who has his own agenda. They meet, and sparks fly. Their difference in station makes their romance forbidden, but can either of them stay away?

Like I said, historical books are never my preference – be it fiction or romance. BUT I was immediately drawn into this past world and barely able to put it down. If I do read historical, then I want the female lead to be strong and bucking of traditions – as we now know that women are not property & shouldn’t be. And Annabelle fits that bill perfectly. And Sebastian is such a good man, and very good at the art of the grand gesture!! Throughout every twist they couldn’t stay away from each other, no matter how “wrong” it was.

I felt pulled back in time reading this book, which for me is the mark of good historical writing. Annabelle truly has a league of extraordinary women around her and the side characters were also so good! There is easy justification for at least 3 more books, and I desperately hope we get all of them!!! (Lady Lucie’s story came out earlier this month!)

Highly recommend this romance book, a full 5 stars from me!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Silvered Serpents

Title: The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: September 22nd, 2020

416 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

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 rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into 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.

Review

**Thank you to Wednesday Books, Netgalley, and Roshani Chokshi for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The second installment of The Gilded Wolves trilogy continues the adventure of our new fave gang since Kaz Brekker and the Dregs. Severin and Laila (and others) are back with a new mission – find The Divine Lyrics, a book that no one can agree on what it says, but everyone knows it’s important. Severin needs it to become a God. Laila needs it to learn more of her past. The Fallen House wants it because it was theirs, but they can’t find it becasue it was lost so long ago. It’s a race to see who will uncover it first.

I was worried this installment would fall to the typical middle book syndrome but IT DID NOT. Middle books can sometimes be on the slow side because of setting up the plot in the third, but The Silvered Serpents kept the action and adventure going the whole time – with twists and turns and a stunning ending that I did not see coming.

One thing, Severin is a PUNK in this book. He’s so devastated after [REDACTED] has that ending in The Gilded Wolves. He treats Laila terribly and the book really lost some points for me for that reason. He is mean to the point of emotionally abusive to her (even though she isn’t innocent in this). I think the major issue in the plot could’ve been resolved by a conversation between Laila and Severin, which isn’t my favorite plot device.

For fans of Six of Crows and Enchantee, The Silvered Serpents continues the captivating, historical adventure that will take you through France and Russia – and everywhere in between – while deepening the magical story of these 5 friends.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Baby Group

Title: The Baby Group

Author: Caroline Corcoran

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: September 17th, 2020

400 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Her life was perfect. Until the video. Scarlett’s golden life suddenly unravels when someone sends a shocking video of her to everyone she knows. The only people who claim they haven’t seen it are the friends in her new mothers’ group: Cora, Emma and Asha. Scarlett is forced to delve into her past to discover who is out to get her. But as her circle of trust gathers around her, she has to ask – are her friends as innocent as they seem?

Review

The Baby Group centers on Scarlett, a new mom living in a small town in England. She has a group of mom friends, has a great husband and job, and runs a popular mom blog that is getting close to making money. That is, until someone send a sex tape of her from her 20’s having a threesome with two men. It gets sent to her entire company, family, husband, and friends. Everyone, except her mom group. Spiraling, Scarlett must find out who sent this tape out, and quickly before her other secrets come out…

I thought the concept of this book was very intriguing, and overall it was an easy read. You got Scarlett’s POV and the “Anon” POV of the person who leaked her sex tape and is trying to take her down. This added a fun, twisted aspect to the writing and gave the “bad guy” a voice. The great part was watching paranoia slowly cause Scarlett to spiral, as she began to suspect why this person would do this, along with then narrowing down who it could have been.

I wish the mystery was better. The second the character who ended up doing it was introduced, I knew it was them. I didn’t 100% get the motivations correct or the details, but I knew for most of the book who it would end up being, it was pretty much telegraphed. I also feel like the ending needed to provide more closure for the characters involved, yet it really ended weirdly in my opinion. I also did not like the husband’s character, but this I feel like was done on purpose based on the events of the books.

I gave The Baby Group 3 stars because I feel like the plot was executed well and well thought out. The characters were given good dimension and back stories. Also, it makes you think about the internet and how much putting our lives out there impacts our privacy.

Thank you to Avon and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!