First Lines Friday | 6-2-23

Hello Lovely Readers!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“The stars are absolutely in your favor.”
A smile twisted Arjun Mehta’s lips, his cosmic black eyes twinkling at middle-aged woman sitting with her legs crossed in front of him.


The book is….

In this charming YA debut, a girl who’s determined to prove her star chart wrong ropes her longtime best friend into an experimental relationship—not knowing that he has been in love with her for years.

Is it possible to change your fate?

Madhuri Iyer is doomed. Doomed for her upcoming senior year to be a total failure, according to her astrology-obsessed mother, and doomed to a happily ever after with her first boyfriend, according to her family curse.

Determined to prove the existence of her free will, Madhuri devises an experimental relationship with the one boy she knows she’ll never fall for: her childhood best friend, Arjun Mehta. But Arjun’s feelings for her are a variable she didn’t account for.

As Madhuri starts to fall for her experimental boyfriend, she’ll have to decide if charting her own destiny is worth breaking Arjun’s heart—and her own.” (Goodreads)


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Book Review | Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz

Title: Midnight Strikes
Author: Zeba Shahnaz
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Seventeen-year-old Anaïs just wants tonight to end. As an outsider at the kingdom’s glittering anniversary ball, she has no desire to rub shoulders with the nation’s most eligible (and pompous) bachelors—especially not the notoriously roguish Prince Leo. But at the stroke of midnight, an explosion rips through the palace, killing everyone in its path. Including her.

The last thing Anaïs sees is fire, smoke, chaos . . . and then she wakes up in her bedroom, hours before the ball. No one else remembers the deadly attack or believes her warnings of disaster.

Not even when it happens again. And again. And again.

If she’s going to escape this nightmarish time loop, Anaïs must take control of her own fate and stop the attack before it happens. But the court’s gilded surface belies a rotten core, full of restless nobles grabbing at power, discontented commoners itching for revolution, and even royals who secretly dream of taking the throne. It’s up to Anaïs to untangle these knots of deadly deceptions . . . if she can survive past midnight.” (Goodreads)

I thought this would be an interesting book due to the blurb. There were some fascinating things about it but the whole time loop thing just didn’t work for me and it’s probably because it is my least favorite thing to see in a book.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Anaïs. She becomes stuck in a loop due and feels that it is her job to undo the revolution that is starting and save the royal family. For this reason I thought she was a strong character. It would honestly be exhausting to keep waking up over and over again to live out the same events and see people die each time. She tried her best each time to find new information and through that start putting the pieces together.

The other characters that Anaïs interacts with are very flat in my opinion. It’s hard to get to know them when the day keeps repeating and with Anaïs trying to solve the mystery its not like we are really getting to know them personally. The romance was okay but it also falls into the being flat category. I just didn’t feel it.

Books with a time loop can be cool but it’s just really hard for me to get into them and that’s definitely on me and not the book!

Overall, this was okay. I just didn’t fall in love with the characters and thought that some of the things fell flat for me.

Book Review | Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan

Title: Same Time Next Summer
Author: Annabel Monaghan
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 6th, 2023
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

Beach Rules:
Do take long walks on the sand.
Do put an umbrella in every cocktail.
Do NOT run into your first love.

Sam’s life is on track. She has the perfect doctor fiance, Jack (his strict routines are a good thing, really), a great job in Manhattan (unless they fire her), and is about to tour a wedding venue near her family’s Long Island beach house. Everything should go to plan, yet the minute she arrives, Sam senses something is off. Wyatt is here. Her Wyatt. But there’s no reason for a thirty-year-old engaged woman to feel panicked around the guy who broke her heart when she was seventeen. Right?

Yet being back at this beach, hearing notes from Wyatt’s guitar float across the night air from next door as if no time has passed–Sam’s memories come flooding back: the feel of Wyatt’s skin on hers, their nights in the treehouse, and the truth behind their split. Sam remembers who she used to be, and as Wyatt reenters her life their connection is as undeniable as it always was. She will have to make a choice.” (Goodreads)

I had been dying to get my hands on this book after I found out about it. I loved her first book that came out last year and was just waiting for the author to write another book! I will say that this felt a bit different writing wise and although the tropes weren’t a favorite I thought it was still a decent read.

The book is told from two point-of-views and they come from Sam and Wyatt. Wyatt’s are usually from the past and explain what happened between him and Sam and how their lives took them on different routes. They obviously have a lot of things left unsaid and you can tell that there relationship was never completely dead.

Friends-to-lovers and second-chance romances are not my favorite tropes. I tend to have a harder time with them when it comes to getting into the romance between the two characters. There are a lot of past chapters when it comes to their romance and I kind of wish there would have been more in the present. I didn’t feel their feelings for each other in the present and what was in the present was so short because Sam was dealing with other things like her upcoming wedding. For me, it just felt lacking in a way.

I did love Sam’s family though! They were a fun bunch and you could tell that they really cared about Sam and her choices when it came to big decisions. Her fiancé just wanted to her to be a carbon copy of himself and didn’t see the need for her to follow her passion of art.

Overall, this was a good book. I can see this being a popular pick for the beach because it has all the vibes!

WWW Wednesday | 5-31-23

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

My audiobook is Running Mate by Leah Brunner. It was a spur of the moment pick from the library! It’s been good so far and it has the marriage of convenience trope.

Other books I am reading are The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang and Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria. The first I am about 70% done and would like to finish it today. The other has been started yet but will be today!

  • The Endless War (The Bridge Kingdom #4) by Danielle L. Jensen (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Role Playing by Cathy Yardley (arc) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Call Me Maybe by Cara Bastone (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The next audiobook hasn’t been picked yet!

I will be reading As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh and You, with a View by Jessica Joyce (arc).


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Top Ten Tuesday | Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

Hello Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book. There are definitely things I decide not to read or just turn me off once in a book. This should be fun to compile!

1.) Open Endings – This is pretty self explanatory. I just want to know how everything worked out and where their lives took them in a year or two! Give me all of the details!

2.) Friends-to-Lovers – I do still try these every now and again, but most of the time they end up being a dud. I will say that if I see it advertised as this trope I do tend to steer clear and pick up something else ha.

3.) Reverse Harems – I am pretty simple and just want one romantic partner.

4.) Dark Romances / Bully Romances – I just don’t find myself interested in these and feel like I would get angry while reading because I don’t think I would like the characters.

5.) Horror – It’s a genre I don’t like haha. I know some books I have read have this as a sub-category but the horror part is usually quite minimal.

7.) Problematic Content / Authors – Another self explanatory one!

8.) Writing Style – Sometimes I just end up DNFing base on this factor alone. It can be very hard to get into a book because of it.

9.) Cheating (to an extent!) – I’m fine with the MC getting cheated on as a plotline but when the MC is in a relationship and finds themself as the cheater is a no-go. I’ve also DNFed a book where the husband said “Hey, let’s give each other free passes to do whatever with another person.” It was to strengthen their relationship and I passed. It’s just not something I like.

10.) Too Many Nods to Social Media, Actual Companies, Etc – It reminds me of all of the closeup in movies for brands lol. I think it can become too much at times.

Do we have any in common? Would some of these turn you off from reading a book?

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Book Review | Murder Off the Books (By the Book Mysteries #3) by Tamara Berry

Title: Murder Off the Books (By the Book Mysteries #3)
Author: Tamara Berry
Genre: Adult Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Author Tess Harrow and her daughter, Gertrude, are starting to get a bad reputation due to their involvement in recent murder cases, so Tess has come up with the perfect plan to drum up some positive press. She’ll combine her new book release and her bookstore opening into one big event, giving her a chance to wine and dine the locals and some big press contacts. But the night before the party, Tess is greeted by a surprise: her mother has come for a visit, with her much-younger new boyfriend in tow…a boyfriend Gertrude recognizes as the notorious Levi Parker, a man recently connected to the deaths of three elderly widows.

Tess immediately alerts Sheriff Boyd about the visitor, but it’s already too late. Levi Parker is found dead and Tess’s mother is starting to look like the prime suspect. Bernadette swears she didn’t murder Levi, and Tess is doing her best to maintain her mother’s innocence, but too many coincidences keep stacking up. With the whole town seemingly against her family, it’s up to Tess to get to the bottom of the story before it’s too late.” (Goodreads)

Tess Harrow is back at it again with another murder to solve!

The book is told from Tess’s point-of-view once again and she is accompanied by the wonderful cast we have grown to love from books one and two! I loved seeing Sheriff Boyd aka Victor, Gertrude, Edna, and Nicki. Edna is a real firecracker and her sales pitches are exceptional, haha.

Tess has a lot on her plate this time around because she is getting noticed by the podcast crowd for her odd run-in with bodies on many occasions. She also as her mother in town and a grand opening for her new bookstore. It also wouldn’t be a another day in the town of Winthrop without another murder and that is exactly what happens! Tess does a good job of being a mom, writer, and detective. She is definitely dedicated to it all. I liked seeing her relationship with Victor blossom a bit more even though he still is cold and elusive at times. Tess knows how to wiggle her way into his heart.

When it comes to the mystery I can never tell who the culprit is until the big reveal! It’s just how I like my mysteries. This series always has me binging the book so that I can know who it is. I am always invested. There have also been hints as to what the next plot will be about and I am so excited for it! Wingbat is such a fun character and I definitely want to know what him and the Peabody brothers are up to.

Overall, another great mystery added to the series!

Book Review | In the Tunnel by Julie Lee

Title: In the Tunnel
Author: Julie Lee
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Publisher: Holiday House
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

Trapped in an enemy tunnel, a young refugee experiences the Korean War firsthand in this searing story of survival, loss, and hope, a companion to the Freeman Award-winning novel Brother’s Keeper.

Myung-gi knows war is coming: War between North and South Korea. Life in communist North Korea has become more and more unbearable—there is no freedom of speech, movement, association, or thought—and his parents have been carefully planning the family’s escape.

But when his father is abducted by the secret police, all those plans fall apart. How can Myung-gi leave North Korea without his dad? Especially when he believes that the abduction was his fault?

Set during a cataclysmic war which shaped the world we know today, this is the story of one boy’s coming-of-age during a time when inhumanity, lawlessness, and terror reigned supreme. With only each other, Myung-gi, his mother, and his twelve-year-old sister Yoomee do everything they can to protect one another. But gentle, quiet, bookish Myung-gi has plans to find his father at any cost—even if it means joining the army and being sent to the front lines, where his deepest fears await him.” (Goodreads)

This was another good historical fiction book by this author. I am glad I got the chance to read it.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Myung-gi and it does have a dual timeline. It follows Myung-gi from the time before he joins the war to him having to enlist at the age of 16. It’s really sad to read about since he was such a young character and having to go through harrowing events for his family to survive. He had a lot of strength and did a lot to even find his father. I wouldn’t be able to do the things he did.

This author always does a great job of getting the reader emotionally invested in the story. You get invested in the characters lives even if they are around for a short time. The dual timeline does a great job of showing the past and present and how it has effected Myung-gi.

Overall, this was another solid read from this author. I’d recommend it if you like historical fiction.

Weekly Wrap-Up | 5-28-23

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

This week has been pretty chill. I did some errands on Monday and from then on haven’t really done much. We did go to the lake a couple of times this week to walk around it which was nice. The weather has been beautiful! Yesterday we had a catfish lunch for an early Memorial Day get together with family. It was nice to see some of my husband’s family that we haven’t seen in a bit.

This week and the following will be hectic as we try to get everything ready for our trip to MN. I need to start making a list so I don’t forget anything haha.

I hope you all have been having a great weekend. ❤️

  • Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton (arc) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Bodyguard by Katherine Center ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Drowning Faith (The Poppy War #2.5) by R.F. Kuang ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Long Lost by Jacqueline West (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Since WWW Wednesday)

  • The Endless War (The Bridge Kingdom #4) by Danielle L. Jensen (🎧)
  • Role Playing by Cathy Yardley (arc)
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang



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First Lines Friday | 5-26-23

Hello Lovely Readers!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“Three shriveled lemons and a plastic bag of pita bread that’s more dry than moldy sit next to one another.
“That’s all this supermarket has to offer.”


The book is….

“Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom broke out in Syria. She still had her parents and her big brother; she still had her home. She had a normal teenager’s life.

Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors daily. Secretly, though, she is desperate to find a way out of her beloved country before her sister-in-law, Layla, gives birth. So desperate, that she has manifested a physical embodiment of her fear in the form of her imagined companion, Khawf, who haunts her every move in an effort to keep her safe.

But even with Khawf pressing her to leave, Salama is torn between her loyalty to her country and her conviction to survive. Salama must contend with bullets and bombs, military assaults, and her shifting sense of morality before she might finally breathe free. And when she crosses paths with the boy she was supposed to meet one fateful day, she starts to doubt her resolve in leaving home at all.

Soon, Salama must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are—not a war, but a revolution—and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.” (Goodreads)


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Book Review | Threads That Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou

Title: Threads That Bind
Author: Kika Hatzopoulou
Genre: YA Fantasy / Greek Mythology
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and BookishFirst for a complimentary arc to review! All opinions are my own.

In a world where the children of the gods inherit their powers, a descendant of the Greek Fates must solve a series of impossible murders to save her sisters, her soulmate, and her city.

Descendants of the Fates are always born in threes: one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. The Ora sisters are no exception. Io, the youngest, uses her Fate-born abilities as a private investigator in the half-sunken city of Alante.

But her latest job leads her to a horrific discovery: somebody is abducting women, maiming their life-threads, and setting the resulting wraiths loose in the city to kill. To find the culprit, she must work alongside Edei Rhuna, the right hand of the infamous Mob Queen—and the boy with whom she shares a rare fate-thread linking them as soul mates before they’ve even met.

But the investigation turns personal when Io’s estranged oldest sister turns up on the arm of her best suspect. Amid unveiled secrets from her past and her growing feelings for Edei, Io must follow clues through the city’s darkest corners and unearth a conspiracy that involves some of the city’s most powerful players—before destruction comes to her own doorstep.” (Goodreads)

This was a solid debut and has a fresh take on Greek Mythology!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Io Ora. She has two sisters and they are all Fate-born which means they have a gift from the gods. Their gifts deal with fates and it’s no wonder there are three because “one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself”. I liked learning about their gifts and what they could do with them. Io had to make a lot of hard choices when it came to hers. If you cut the thread then their love for whatever was on the other end would be a meh feeling from then on. I wouldn’t want all of that responsibility!

Io is more than just her gift though. She is also a private detective who tries to help people with their problems and find the truth. This plays a big role in the book since a few of her cases end up being connected in some way. The mystery was very intriguing and once I started reading it was hard to put down. I was guessing all the way up to the big reveal and even then there are still so many questions! I didn’t realize this was going to have a sequel until I got the cliffhanger and I definitely need to know what will happen next.

If you are looking for romance you won’t find it here. Io does find herself wanting someone but it is very complicated and when you think things will get more serious something happens. The minor characters’ relationships have more going on which wasn’t bad but I was rooting for Io.

The minor characters add a lot to the book because of their connections to Io or because of their powers, sometimes it is both. I liked learning about the politics behind their city and what happened during the riots that everyone is hush hush about. In this city it is hard to decide who to trust. In can be very cutthroat.

I have been very wary when it comes to plots with Greek Mythology because they all start to feel the same at some point. The good thing about this one is that it feels fresh and different. I can’t say I have read one like it, especially when dealing with the Fates.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I will be looking forward to the sequel!.