I am, once again, woefully behind when it comes to writing reviews these days. 2022 has been a busy year with loads of change happening and I’ve found myself with less and less time to sit and write reviews. Though I’ve been reading a ton! Perhaps that is the problem 😂
That being said, I thought I would try and catch up with some of my reviews by talking about three books I’ve finished from one of the year long reading challenges I’m doing in 2022. I’ve not been doing great with my 22 in 2022TBR, but I’ve checked up a good amount from my 12 friends, 12 recommendations TBR! And, today, I’m going to finally review three of them.
Title: Battle Royal
Author: Lucy Parker
CW/TW: Death of a parent (past), abusive familial relationship, emotional abuse (past)
This was such a delightful read! It made me realize that food + romance may just be my thing, because I loved the backdrop of this sweet story. Two rival bakers competing to bake a royal wedding cake while also working together on a hit baking competition is apparently the recipe to win my heart, haha. Not only did I get a cute (and sometimes steamy) romance, but I got to drool over delicious sounding desserts at the same time. Win-win!
I truly enjoyed the chemistry between Sylvie and Dominic, though Sylvie is hands-down my favorite character. Sorry, Dominic… but she has an enchanted forest in her bakery’s basement! That’s a default win! They were both wonderfully written and complex characters, though, and I truly enjoyed getting to know them throughout this book. There were a few plot points that stretched the imagination, but, overall this was a charming and fun romance that left me smiling from ear to ear.
Last year, I was participating in a readalong for a thriller series that I instantly loved: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. This is a series surrounding a fictional crime podcast called Six Stories. In it, the enigmatic podcast host dregs up old cases and finds six people to tell us their version of events. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the series, but, after reading the first one, I knew I was hooked! I’ve recently finished the fourth book and realized that I never actually reviewed the first three! I’m here to remedy that today.
So, without further ado, let me share my thoughts on the first three books in the Six Stories series!
This is the book that introduced me to this fascinating series. For that alone, I would love it! But this book stands on its own as a great thriller, of course. Else why would I have continued on with the series?
In this first book, we are introduced to the Six Stories podcast and it’s secretive host, Scott King. The story being picked apart in the podcast is that of the discovery of a body in the Scarclaw Fell. The death was ruled as a misadventure, but there are those who wonder if there isn’t more to the story. Scott King is there to hear the stories and let the listeners come to their own conclusions.
As soon as I started reading this book, I loved the feel of it. I’m a watcher of true crime shows and this read like watching one of those felt. I was instantly invested in the story and the investigation. What I wasn’t expected and was a pleasant surprise was the absolutely creepy tale that was sprinkled within the interviews! It was like a horror story and a crime novel all mashed into one and I loved it! I also enjoyed the podcast aspect of this, though I feel it translates better in audiobook form than it does reading it physically. I have yet to try one of the audiobooks, but I really want to! Overall, I truly enjoyed this dark and creepy story and was eager to continue on with the series.
Because of who I am as a person, I am, once again, behind on reviews. I thought I’d take a moment to catch up with another edition of my mini reviews! This time, I’m focusing on three recent reads that I still need to put thought to paper (or keyboard) for since finishing them. These books are an eclectic mix, so there might be a little something for everyone here, haha.
Well, this was certainly… a book. With words. Lots of five dollar words that seemed a tad bit unnecessary, if I’m honest.
At the heart of this story is a ghostly tale of love and betrayal. Unfortunately, the ghost story is not the focus of this novel. I say “unfortunately” because the ghost/ghost story was the best part about this book! The focus, however, is on a bunch of the most unlikeable characters I’ve come across in awhile. I’m not saying I can’t enjoy a book that has unlikeable characters, but these characters came across as caricatures of their unlikeable traits. They all fell incredibly flat for me which, when the whole book is centered around them, didn’t make for an enjoyable experience.
However, where this book shined was in the atmospheric writing and the beautifully creepy ghostly elements. There are some gruesome scenes in this book that fix themselves in your mind as you’re reading with the way they are written. Definitely check trigger warnings before getting into this one! This author has an incredible talent for building tension and setting the tone of a horror novel. As I mentioned, if we had more of that and less a bunch of horrible people being horrible to each other, I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more.
I’m back with some mini reviews today. As a big consumer of fantasy, I tend to read a lot of longer books. Fantasy writers have a lot to get into a story and, sometimes, that can lead to some chonky books. Lately, though, I’ve found myself really getting into shorter fiction. That’s why I figured it was time to do a mini review of some mini books, aka novellas!
I’ve been having a great time with the novellas I’ve read recently, but am so behind on actually reviewing them! That being said, let’s jump into this post, shall we?
Title: Remote Control
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Genre: Science Fiction
CW/TW: Child abuse, body horror, grief & loss depiction, death of a family member, gun violence, animal death
Nnedi Okorafor has been on my radar for quite some time, but this was my first experience reading her work. Now, I wish to read everything she has ever written!
In Remote Control, we follow the story of a young girl who has lost her name and been adopted by Death. After a tragic event, Sankofa becomes her new name and death follows wherever she goes. She spends her days wandering Ghana with her small fox companion, trying to find answers and an object that fell from the sky and changed her life.
This was such an incredible, quiet read. You would think a book about a girl that brings death with her would be more in-you-face, but this book is much more a character study that was strangely calm. Even when the character was surrounded by death and destruction. I absolutely loved the writing in this story and how it gripped me from beginning to end. I loved Fatima/Sankofa and following her around as she searches for answers to her suffering. Watching her character growth and her interactions with the world around her was a treat! And, even though I could have followed this story for chapters and chapters more, it still felt like a fully formed and finished book in this short amount of pages. I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Today, I’m bringing you a batch of mini-reviews for some middle grade novels I’ve read recently. I have to say, before 2020, I really didn’t get into middle grade books beyond the wildly popular ones. Then I joined in with the Middle Grade Marvels group and I’ve discovered some truly incredibly tales! I’m loving being able to chat about this wonderful books as we read and, honestly, middle grades are just good for the soul. They’re usually so freaking wholesome and, sometimes, that’s just what you need.
The books I’ll be reviewing today are the first three Middle Grade Marvels picks from 2021. Because I’m v. behind on my reviews 😅 That being said, why don’t we jump in!
We kicked off the year with a pretty amazing pick! A Pinch of Magic follows the Widdershins sisters, Betty, Charlie, and Fliss. Betty wants to explore the world beyond their small town, but her grandmother has strictly forbidden it. Through a series a misadventures, Betty finds out why: all Widdershins are curse to die if they ever leave their town of Crowstone. Now Betty and her sisters are determined to find a way to counteract this curse and they are racing against the clock.
This was a lot of fun to read and, I have to say, much darker than the cover would lead you to believe! Which I kind of loved, if I’m being honest. I had a lot of fun following the Widdershins on their spooky adventure. There were moments where Betty could get under my skin. She’s headstrong and makes some rather impulsive decisions. I had to remind myself constantly that we all do dumb stuff at that age… though maybe not so life-threatening.
Overall, I loved getting to know all three of the sisters and I really enjoyed the story. The pacing was great, the atmosphere was wonderfully developed, and it had a very satisfying ending. It’s a strong start to a middle grade series and I’m definitely interested in reading more about the Widdershins!
In an attempt to catch up on my vast backlog, I’ve decided to start doing more mini reviews. Especially for books that I’ve enjoyed but didn’t necessarily blow me away. With that being said, I thought I’d start with the madame of mystery herself, Agatha Christie! I’ve been reading the Hercule Poirot books this year with a group of bookish friends and it has been an absolute blast. I really enjoy Christie mysteries, but I love being able to discuss with the group at the end the most. Buddy reads are the best, y’all!
Though we’re deep into our Poirot readalong, I’m only going to review the first three books that I’ve read with the group. Spoiler alert: it’s not the first three actually Poirot books because I may have skipped the short story collection that should have been read number three 😬 I do plan on reading it (at some point…) but probably during a month where I don’t have a ton of blog tours going on. So… maybe in like three months, lol.
Though this wasn’t the first Hercule Poirot book I read, I think if it had been, it would have been a fabulous introduction to our egg-headed detective. This was a quick and interesting mystery that got the reader familiar with Poirot and his many mannerisms in the best way. I thought the set-up was great and the mystery itself was intriguing. Though I guessed at some things, I still found myself reveling in the reveal at the end. Poirot just has a way with laying everything out that is so much fun! But let’s not forget our favorite bumbling sidekick. This is the first time we get to meet Hastings and, though he can be a bit dense and maybe too preoccupied with a pretty face, I find myself missing him when he’s not around. Christie certainly has a way of getting you attached to her main characters!
Word of warning, there are a couple of racial slurs randomly dropped in this one. Though it didn’t detract from the overall story, it definitely jolted me out of the book for a minute.
That being said, this was a solid read and definitely a solid beginning to the Poirot legacy.
I’ve been reading quite a bit of middle grade recently, all thanks to joining in with Middle Grade Marvels! I had forgotten how much fun middle grade books can be! I do love a whimsical book and I’ve been getting a heavy dose of that lately joining in on the monthly reading for Middle Grade Marvels. But, though I’ve been reading a lot of middle grade, I’ve fallen behind on my reviews. I mean, I’m behind on all of my reviews, but let’s not talk about that 😂 Today’s post is me catching up! I’ll be reviewing three middle grade novels I’ve read and enjoyed recently.
When this book was picked as the September Middle Grade Marvels read, I have to admit I was stoked. I had heard a lot about this series from people all over the bookish community. And the concept instantly captured my attention! We’re following a young girl who has the ability to read minds. Not that she wants to… ever since Sophie fell and hit her head at the age of five, she has been assaulted by other people’s thoughts. It’s something she’s come to live with as she also keeps it hidden… until she meets a strange boy who seems to know all about her telepathy. Soon, she is whisked into a magical world where she learns that nothing she knew previously was at it seemed.
I have to say, this book was definitely a wild ride! It also did not go where I thought it was going to at first. The pacing will have you tearing through this book at breakneck speeds. I really enjoyed all the fantastical elements of this story and I think the author does a great job of capturing your interest throughout the book. I will say, if you’re not a fan of the Chosen One trope, you might want to give this one a skip because Sophie is about as Chosen as One can get! It even started rubbing me the wrong way and I don’t mind that trope at all. It just felt a little over the top at times. Still, I really enjoyed Sophie as a character and I thought the supporting cast were interesting, as well.
Overall, this book was a lot of fun and it had a lot of heart. Though it is thoroughly entrenched in the Chosen One trope, it was still an enjoyable read, with it’s fast-paced story and lovable characters. I’m definitely interested in continuing the series!
It’s been a minute since I’ve done a mini review, right? I’ve been doing quite a few blog tours and I’m really loving the experience! I have also been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately as I drive to work, so that seemed like a perfect theme for this edition. I feel like I go through phases with audiobooks. I’ll go through a stretch where I listen to them constantly and then I just… stop. I’m taking advantage of these current stretch by listening to as many as I can! And, today, I’ll be talking about three I’ve finished recently. Let’s get to it!
I was recently talking about this book because I did a whole post about books written in verse. It’s been on my radar for a minute, but I was always hesitant about picking it up. I’m just not a poetry person, it’s not my thing. But I had heard so many rave reviews about this coming-of-age story centered around a young, Dominican girl discovering slam poetry and her place in the world. I had also heard that the audiobook was the way to go to read this one, so, when I found it on Scribd, I thought I’d give it a shot.
Y’all… I’m mad. I’m mad at myself for waiting SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK! I find it hard to put together words to describe how good this book was! It’s so powerful and raw and poignant. It wraps you up in Xiomara’s world and you feel all her fears, all her anxieties, and all her joys. It’s just so damn beautiful 💕
I feel part of my visceral reaction to this book is due to listening to the author perform her work. Elizabeth Acevedo narrates the audiobook and it’s just *chef’s kiss* She is an award winning slam poet and it is easy to see (or, rather, hear) why! She puts so much emotion into her performance. It absolutely takes your breath away as you listen!
Welcome to the last day of April! And we all know what that means.
Well… yes… tomorrow is May. But, more importantly, it’s the end of the Magical Readathon! You can read my initial announcement post here. This year, I was set on completing O.W.L.s that would put me on track for my chosen magical career: Trader of Magical Tomes. That meant I needed to read four books to “test for” four different O.W.L.s: Ancient Runes, Charms, History of Magic, and Transfiguration. It was touch-and-go for half the month but, I am happy to report, I completed all of my O.W.L.s! And now I can try and string my thoughts together about each book I read. Let’s get to it!
It’s time for another set of mini reviews! I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile, as I finished all the books I’ll be reviewing back in 2019. I just find it difficult to review graphic novels since they are so short! Still, I wanted to talk about these three graphic novels because each of them left me with such a happy feeling and really helped close out my reading year.
Of the three graphic novels I read, this one was the most adorable. And it’s solely because of the TINY, BABY DRAGONS!! They are so stinkin’ cute 💕
Other than the adorable artwork, the story was quite enjoyable, as well. This is the story of Greta, who saves a tiny dragon from roaming dogs and ends up joining a long defunct society. It’s so interesting learning about not only the dragons, but the world in which both they and Greta live. I also love the incredible diversity that is such an easy part of the story. I think my only gripe with this book is that it’s soooo shooooort! I wanted more! Thankfully, The Tea Dragon Festival, the sequel, is already out there in the world so I can jump back in anytime I want.
I read this in December, but I felt like I was smack in the middle of spooky season. This is one of those graphic novels that just pulls you into the setting with the gorgeous art and the storytelling. I felt like I was hanging out at the pumpkin patch with Deja and Josiah. This story follows Deja and Josiah on their last day working at the local pumpkin patch. They have worked there every year, but this is not only their last day, but their last year there, as they’ll both be off to college soon. So Deja has decided to help Josiah do the one thing he’s never done at the pumpkin patch: talk to his long-time crush.
I will say that, solely from looking at the cover, I guessed how this book was going to end. And, yet, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all! I may have known what was waiting at the end, but the ride was so damn enjoyable that I didn’t care! I absolutely adored this graphic novel! The art was A+, the story was so dang cute, and the ending made my heart go pitter-pat.
I am a huge sap, though, soooooo… 🤷♀️ I thought this was a beautiful story with beautiful art to match!
This was the last book I read in 2019 and, can I just say, what a way to end out the year!
This is the story of a young seamstress named Frances, who dreams of her skills being adored by the masses. She ends up in the employ of Prince Sebastian, who sometimes wears dresses and loves Frances’ style. Together, they take the Paris fashion scene by storm, but how can Frances and her creations be recognized when no one can know who she is or who she works for?
Uuuuugh, this book hurt me and brought me joy in equal amounts. It was so beautiful! And I’m not just talking about the art, though the art is just *chef’s kiss* This was a touching story about trying to be accepted for who you are. There are definitely rough parts of this story that made me ache, but it is overall a wonderfully hopeful tale. And I recently found out that it’s going to be a movie and I am very excited!
Have you read any of these graphic novels? Do you have any suggestions for ones I should pick up? Let me know in the comments!