Arc Review: A Cat Cafe Christmas by Codi Gary

Title: A Cat Cafe Christmas
Author: Codi Gary
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Publisher: Forever
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

“Veterinarian and animal lover Kara Ingalls needs a Christmas miracle. Opening the Meow and Furrever Cat Café to find loving homes for adorable, adoptable cats was a dream come true—but with more cats than customers, it’s quickly turning into a nightmare. If Kara can’t figure out some way to get the café out of the red, it won’t last past the holidays.
Marketing guru Ben Reese may be annoyingly smart and frustratingly bossy, but when he hatches a plan to put the café in the “green” by Christmas, Kara realizes that she’d be a fool to turn down his help. And so what if he turns out to be an excellent problem solver and nerdy-hot—he can’t even handle fostering one little kitten. She needs to keep their relationship professional and focus on saving the cafe.
But if Ben and Kara can set aside their differences—and find homes for all the cats by Christmas—they might discover that, by risking their hearts, they’ll have their own purr-fect holiday . . . together.” (Goodreads)

I’ve already finished a few Christmas reads this year and so far this is my favorite!

The book is told from multiple point-of-views and they come from Kara and Ben. It is is told in third person narrative and I liked how it was written. Both Kara and Ben have some baggage that they are still sorting through when fate has them bump into one another. Their first meeting is far from a meet-cute but it was definitely funny and it means that the romance follows the slow-burn trope which I enjoy.

They both have a great friendship with two of the side characters and I liked having those friendships be a big part of the book. Sometimes they tend to be short with little development.

I really liked how the author incorporated all of the adoptable cats in the book by having their bios begin each chapter. It was a fun way to include different parts of the story. I am also a big cat fan so it’s just a really big plus for me, lol. I’ve also always wanted to go to a cat café and so I liked the setting.

The plot is filled with romance, friendships, the negatives and postives of social media, as well as other sorts of topics. Even though there was a lot going on, I didn’t feel like any of them were lacking.

Overall, this was a fun read! I liked the characters and learning about their struggles while finding a way to swim through the mess and find love.

Book Review: Nick and Noel’s Christmas Playlist by Codi Hall

Title: Nick and Noel’s Christmas Playlist
Author: Codi Hall
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablance
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Nick Winter is just out of the military, and his Christmas homecoming is not going as planned. What was supposed to be a memorable holiday with his long-time girlfriend goes sour when he learns she cheated on him while he was stationed overseas. At least Nick can rely on his usual shift at the family Christmas tree farm with his best friend, Noel Carter, and her endless supply of Christmas tunes to lift his spirits. A night of fun together is just what he needs to forget about his ex.

But then they kiss. And it feels…so right.

If Noel can turn Nick’s Blue Christmas merry and bright, this might be the last Christmas Nick spends with a broken heart. This year, they’ll be Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree as a couple―as long as Nick’s ex doesn’t go standing under any mistletoe.” (Goodreads)

I wanted to give this one a try as I had seen it last year but never got around to it. It doesn’t matter if it is Christmas or not, I’ll still read it anytime of the year lol.

Personally, this one just wasn’t for me. I am not a fan of friends-to-lovers but do try to give it a try when the book is appealing. It has worked a few times for me but I just couldn’t get behind Nick and Noel. It felt like they had already made their minds up from the beginning but just had all of this extra baggage that kept following behind them, especially Nick’s ex. She was something else.

The Christmas aspect of the book was very minimal. I would have liked to see more.

I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style and this is more of a me thing than an issue with the book. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it just doesn’t and that is okay!

Overall, it was okay.

Arc Review: House of Beating Wings by Olivia Wildenstein

Title: House of Beating Wings
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: New Adult Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Indie Published
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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

Free the crows, Fallon, and they will make you queen.
Until an oracle predicted my regal future, I’d never imagined myself rising above the curve of my round ears. After all, I was the magicless halfling loved by beasts but loathed by every pure-blooded faerie at court. Well . . . by all but one.
Dante Regio, prince of Luce, had owned my heart since he gave me my first kiss. If gathering a slew of iron relics could help me overthrow the current monarch and crown his brother to rule at my side, then treasure hunting I’d go.
If only the oracle had warned me what winged demon I was releasing into the world.
And that I’d become this demon’s obsession.” (Goodreads)

I have read this author before and wanted to give another of her series a chance. I thought this one would be for me but unfortunately I I kept falling out of interest with it.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Fallon. She isn’t well liked amongst those who are higher in society than her. I wouldn’t say that her family life is decent either. Fallon has a lot going on! I don’t think that she was a bad character. I didn’t mind her, but she was a bit wishy washy when it came to the two men who are vying for her affection.

I wouldn’t say that I liked either men. They both had their flaws and they were kind of too much for me. One felt possessive and the other was decent until she asked him something and he went weird lol. It just wasn’t my cup of tea but I know others may like them.

The world was a bit confusing because there are so many terms to learn that are put in the beginning of the book but it is a lot! I couldn’t remember them all. I did like learning about the creatures in this world and the plot was enjoyable for the most part.

Overall, this was good but also just not for me.

Audiobook Review: The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan

Title: The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: November 15th, 1990
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of th Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.” (Goodreads)

I knew I needed to get back into this series after seeing a lot of others getting back into it or doing a reread. I usually just keep putting it off because they are so long! This time I decided to go with an audiobook instead and it didn’t disappoint. The narration was well done.

The book is told from multiple point-of-views. It was nice to have since the characters aren’t always in the same place and they are dealing with different situations but all under the same plot. There are still characters that I like more than others but that is usually expected. Some new characters were introduced and some didn’t live long, haha. It was hard to feel bad for them since I hadn’t known them for too long.

Since this is a rather long book, there are some duller moments. I do think that the audiobook helped me to stay on track since I could say, “Hey, I am going to listen to 8% today.”, but usually listened to 10% or so. I think I am going to stick to the audiobooks

Overall, it was good but I do think I liked the first more. There seemed to be a lot more going on, but there was some thrilling moments in this one. I could definitely see where some inspiration from Tolkien was taken as well. I will still continue on with this series but not sure when I will start the next book.

Arc Review: One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

Title: One Dark Window
Author: Rachel Gillig
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.
But nothing comes for free, especially magic.
When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.
Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.” (Goodreads)

What a wild book this was!

This book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Elspeth but there are flashbacks here and there to explain more about the shepherd king and rhymes that correlate with the magic system which is done by providence cards. Basically, they are like tarot cards. I loved all of the tales surrounding the cards as they were fun to read and gave me a bit more on what to expect from them. Elspeth has grown up with keeping a lot of secrets for her own safety as well as those she is close with, like her family. It must have been tough because the ruling king seems kind of ruthless and as you get to know one of the princes you realize he is to.

Elspeth is strong-willed and wants to do what is right, but she can also be impulsive which can cause a lot of chaos. I would say that in ways she can be morally grey and the thing living inside her head definitely is. The nightmare is something else and I loved the conversations they had!

The other characters in the book were just as interesting, even if some had smaller parts. I never once thought, “ugh, it’s this person again”. Even though the ruthless prince has personality, not always in a good way but he sure knows how to liven up a party! A lot of the characters have the same goal in common but it’s getting there that is different.

My least favorite part was the romance. It’s not bad per say and I did enjoy it a lot, but the build-up kind of sped up and then they were definitely in love. I do like the guy that Elspeth is interested in and their banter was cute so I’m not really going to complain that much, haha.

There were so many plot twists when it came to the plot and I was hear for every single one! They had my jaw dropping and the author killed me with that ending. I knew something was going to happen but let me down easy. It came full force!

I loved the magic system and thought that it was very unique. Nothing I have ever read before and I think it was done well. I understood it from the beginning and that’s something that doesn’t always happen when reading fantasy.

Overall, this was a fantastic book and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Goodreads Monday: The Sweetest Betrayal (The Kinder Poison #3) by Natalie Mae | 9-26-22

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday was hosted and created by Lauren’s Page Turners and has now been taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: The Sweetest Betrayal (The Kinder Poison #3)
Author: Natalie Mae
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: February 14th, 2023
Publisher: Indie

In this heart-pounding conclusion to The Kinder Poison trilogy—which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”—war looms over Orkena, but can Zahru save her people without losing herself?

War has come to Orkena.
Zahru has risen as Mestrah, and she is determined to peacefully end the escalating tensions with Wyrim, her country’s long-time enemy. Yet diplomacy proves to be futile, and when Zahru turns to Orkena’s allies for help, she finds that none are willing to come to her aid—not without Kasta ruling at her side.
As Wyrim advances on the capital, Zahru is desperate to protect her people, even if that means accepting Kasta’s help. But her enemy is merciless. And as ambushes and betrayals push Zahru to increasingly dark tactics, she wonders if perhaps Kasta had it right all along: maybe peace was never an option … and maybe she was never meant to do this alone.
Can Zahru spare her enemy without sacrificing her kingdom? Or will Orkena’s salvation only come if Zahru becomes the monster her people need?” (Goodreads)

(Head here for a sneak peek of chapter 1 and a Q&A!)

DOES THIS ONE SOUND LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD READ?

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Arc Review: Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

Title: Spells for Forgetting
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Mystery / Magical Realism
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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

“Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.
But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.
August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.
The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.” (Goodreads)

Let me just start by saying that I did like parts of this book. It isn’t a bad book. It’s a quick read and can be very atmospheric. The problem lies with how long it took me to get into the book and how the ending was lackluster to say the least.

The book is told from multiple point-of-views. Everyone that lives on this island has secrets and they aren’t going to let them out willingly. I can’t say that I had a character I liked more than the others. They were all okay and a few felt like they were only present for a couple scenes so I can’t say I ever got to know them all. That’s fine because this is a mystery after all.

There are a couple relationships that are key factors and do play into the plot but it’s a very subtle thing. Don’t go in expecting a lot on the romance level because you will not find it here. Again, that’s fine. It’s more about the mystery anyways.

It did take me awhile to get into the book. I don’t think I really wanted to continue reading until about the 25%ish mark or so. From there it kind of picks up. I will say that I am not sold on there being secrets and nothing really coming of it until further into the book. I understand it is to keep you reading but you are going to have to give me a little something something to keep me engaged.

The ending was the real deal breaker here. It was one of the most anti-climatic endings I have ever read. Some people may enjoy it, but it wasn’t for me.

Overall, this had it’s moments and I did like 2/3rds of it. I think that it will work for a lot people and maybe some will find the ending to be tolerable lol.

Arc Review: Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim

Title: Last of the Talons
Author: Sophie Kim
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…
Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.
Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.
Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.
Even if it means giving up her own.” (Goodreads)

Even though I liked the sound of the book, it just didn’t give me what I wanted unfortunately. I think that it had a lot to do with execution and maybe would have been better if it wasn’t bogged down by so many things happening.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Shin Lina. She is an assassin for a gang and must do their bidding if she wants her sister to stay in good health. It’s a lot of pressure on her but she will do anything to keep her safe. Yay for sister bonds! I’m always down for that, but her sister was very much only used for that sole purpose and I really wanted to see more between them.

Lina as an assassin wasn’t it for me. I have a hard time with teens having this job in general, but it makes it even harder when they are talked up as the “greatest” assassin ever and then they fall short and start screwing up. I get that everyone has their bad days but give me something to work with here. Don’t hype up someone if they can’t live up to the expectations.

The whole romance didn’t do anything for me and it’s a real shame because it does involve tropes that I do like. I do think that other books have done it better and this one was just average. It’s not bad per say but just not to my liking. I think that others will like it though so don’t take my words to heart especially if it sounds interesting to you.

The love interesting was kind of weird. He really lived off of her trying to kill him and I’m not really sure how to take it, haha.

I did really enjoy the world-building and seeing her find her way to the emperor. Mythology retellings are always fascinating to me and I will give this author props for that! It was well done.

Overall, this wasn’t for me but it could be for you. I had some issues with it and it ultimately led me to just not being able to vibe with the story.

Book Review: Days of Infamy: How a Century of Bigotry Led to Japanese American Internment by Lawrence Goldstone

Title: Days of Infamy: How a Century of Bigotry Led to Japanese American Internment
Author: Lawrence Goldstone
Genre: YA Non-Fiction / History
Publication Date: June 7th, 2022
Publisher: Scholastic Focus
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“In another unrelenting look at the iniquities of the American justice system, Lawrence Goldstone, acclaimed author of Unpunished MurderStolen Justice, and Separate No More, examines the history of racism against Japanese Americans, exploring the territory of citizenship and touching on fears of non-white immigration to the US — with hauntingly contemporary echoes.
On December 7, 1941 — “a date which will live in infamy” — the Japanese navy launched an attack on the American military bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan, and the US Army officially entered the Second World War.
Three years later, on December 18, 1944, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which enabled the Secretary of War to enforce a mass deportation of more than 100,000 Americans to what government officials themselves called “concentration camps.” None of these citizens had been accused of a real crime. All of them were torn from their homes, jobs, schools, and communities, and deposited in tawdry, makeshift housing behind barbed wire, solely for the crime of being of Japanese descent. President Roosevelt declared this community “alien,” — whether they were citizens or not, native-born or not — accusing them of being potential spies and saboteurs for Japan who deserved to have their Constitutional rights stripped away. In doing so, the president set in motion another date which would live in infamy, the day when the US joined the ranks of those Fascist nations that had forcibly deported innocents solely on the basis of the circumstance of their birth.
In 1944 the US Supreme Court ruled, in Korematsu v. United States, that the forcible deportation and detention of Japanese Americans on the basis of race was a “military necessity.” Today it is widely considered one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time. But Korematsu was not an isolated event. In fact, the Court’s racist ruling was the result of a deep-seated anti-Japanese, anti-Asian sentiment running all the way back to the California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Starting from this pivotal moment, Constitutional law scholar Lawrence Goldstone will take young readers through the key events of the 19th and 20th centuries leading up to the fundamental injustice of Japanese American internment. Tracing the history of Japanese immigration to America and the growing fear whites had of losing power, Goldstone will raise deeply resonant questions of what makes an American an American, and what it means for the Supreme Court to stand as the “people’s” branch of government.” (Goodreads)

I noticed this book while browsing the new books my library had added to their elibrary. The cover definitely caught my eye as well as the title. So, I borrowed it and here we are!

The book covers a lot of years in history and so sometimes it can feel like a lot, especially because it isn’t written in a unique way but more or less like an essay. This did tend to make it read it at a slower pace, but it was filled with a lot of information that I had never heard/read before. I liked learning as well as seeing how some of the rhetoric that is said today has been around. It’s amazing how that works.

Overall, this was a good read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List | 9-20-22

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 Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List! I haven’t thought much about what I would read for the fall so I guess it’s time to figure that out, haha.

✨Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca (arc)
✨A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw (arc)
✨Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston (arc)
✨After Dark with Roxie Clark by Brooke Lauren Davis
✨Sisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (arc)
✨The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
✨The Golden Enclaves (Scholomance #3) by Naomi Novik
✨The Ghost of Spruce Point by Nancy Tandon
✨The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
✨The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE? ARE ANY ON YOUR TBR?

Let me know in the comments below!

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