Goodreads Monday | What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez

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: What the River Knows
Author: Isabel Ibañez
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Publisher: Wednesday Books

The Mummy meets Death on the Nile in this lush, immersive historical fantasy set in Egypt filled with adventure, a rivals-to-lovers romance, and a dangerous race.

Bolivian-Argentinian Inez Olivera belongs to the glittering upper society of nineteenth century Buenos Aires, and like the rest of the world, the town is steeped in old world magic that’s been largely left behind or forgotten. Inez has everything a girl might want, except for the one thing she yearns the most: her globetrotting parents—who frequently leave her behind.

When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez inherits their massive fortune and a mysterious guardian, an archeologist in partnership with his Egyptian brother-in-law. Yearning for answers, Inez sails to Cairo, bringing her sketch pads and an ancient golden ring her father sent to her for safekeeping before he died. But upon her arrival, the old world magic tethered to the ring pulls her down a path where she soon discovers there’s more to her parent’s disappearance than what her guardian led her to believe.

With her guardian’s infuriatingly handsome assistant thwarting her at every turn, Inez must rely on ancient magic to uncover the truth about her parent’s disappearance—or risk becoming a pawn in a larger game that will kill her.” (Goodreads)


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Arc Review: The Raven Thief (Secret Staircase Mystery #2) by Gigi Pandian

Title: The Raven Thief (Secret Staircase Mystery #2)
Author: Gigi Pandian
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: March 21st, 2023
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

One murder. Four impossibilities. A fake séance hides a very real crime.

Secret Staircase Construction just finished their first project with Tempest Raj officially a part of the team—a classic mystery novel-themed home interior. Their client is now ready to celebrate her new life without her cheating ex-husband, famous mystery author Corbin Colt. First up, a party, and Tempest and Grandpa Ash are invited to the exclusive mock séance to remove any trace of Corbin from the property—for good. It’s all lighthearted fun until Corbin’s dead body crashes the party.
The only possible suspects are the eight people around the séance table—a circle of clasped hands that wasn’t broken. Suspicion quickly falls on Grandpa Ash, the only one with actual blood on him. To prove her beloved grandfather’s innocence, Tempest must figure out what really happened—and how—or Ash will be cooking his delectable Indian and Scottish creations nevermore.” (Goodreads)

I enjoyed reading the first book in this cozy mystery series and was excited to see the sequel on Netgalley. I’m happy I was able to get the audiobook as the narration was well done!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Tempest Raj. She is working at the family business with her dad after her magician job didn’t pan out well after the tragedies in book one. I was curious to see what she would be up to and although she isn’t a practicing magician, she still has a few tricks up her sleeve!

I like Tempest. She is strong willed and family is very important to her. It’s not easy to see her grandpa, and even her dad, in tough spots as the investigation gets going for the death of Corbin. The family is always there for one another regardless of the circumstances and they always have friends to back them up to. It’s a really great community. It’s surprising that death is always following them, haha.

Even though there is not a lot of development for the side characters, I didn’t mind. It adds a bit of mystery to them and what we do find out helps give us clues as to who may be the murderer. I never guessed who it was! I did like that a lot of the clues surround books. I love a book about books.

Overall, this was another good book in the series. There is still one mystery that hasn’t been solved yet which deals with Tempest’s mother. Hopefully that means we will get more books!

Weekly Wrap-Up | 3-19-23

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

This week has been very busy for me!

Since Thursday I haven’t had much time to sit down and blog or even hop. I had a follow-up dentist appointment and I passed! Woo! I also went Friday to my grandparents-in-law house which is an hour and a half drive to help them clean their house. They just can’t do many things anymore and I’m always happy to help. My daughter loves going and spending time with them so it’s a win lol.

Yesterday was filled with relaxing and doing nothing because I was so tired from Friday. I haven’t picked any books up since Thursday.

I hope you all are having a great weekend!❤️

  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Last Sunrise in Eterna by Amparo Ortiz (arc) ⭐⭐⭐💫
  • Alma Presses Play by Tina Cane (🎧) ⭐⭐

(Since WWW Wednesday)



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Top Ten Tuesday | Books on My Spring 2023 To-Read List

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 Books on My Spring 2023 To-Read List! There are so many books I would like to get to lol. I need to put a fire under it and get moving.

1.) The Fine Print by Lauren Asher
2.) Next of Kin by Hannah Bonam-Young
3.) Married by War by Sarah K.L. Wilson
4.) Last Sunrise in Eterna by Amparo Ortiz
5.) Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

6.) The Last Word by Katy Birchall
7.) The Comeback by Lily Chu
8.) Chaos & Flame by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland
9.) Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto
10.) Ana María and the Fox by Liana De la Rosa

Have you read any of these?
 Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review | Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

Title: Make Up Break Up
Author: Lily Menon
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?” (Goodreads)

This was okay but also, I just wasn’t a fan.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Annika. She is driven to start up an app that will allow those help for their relationship. She has a competitor though and his name is Hudson Craft. He is here to cause break-ups to be easier and more efficient, usually for one side though.

I thought the characters were fine but it was clear they didn’t have a deep connection outside of wanting to bone the other. Annika had a lot of thoughts about him and they were usually mixed in with the “I hate him, but dang I want him.” I just needed more substance outside of the physical. This can also correlate with everything outside of the romance/relationships as well.

I thought the concept for the novel about two opposite apps was cool. I just don’t think it was executed well.

Overall, this just wasn’t for me in the end.

Book Review | The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway by Ashley Schumacher

Title: The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway
Author: Ashley Schumacher
Genre: Ya Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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

“Since her mother’s death, Madeline “Gwen” Hathaway has been determined that nothing in her life will change ever again. That’s why she keeps extensive lists in journals, has had only one friend since childhood, and looks forward to the monotony of working the ren faire circuit with her father. Until she arrives at her mother’s favourite end-of-tour stop to find the faire is under new management and completely changed.

Meeting Arthur, the son of the new owners and an actual lute-playing bard, messes up Maddie’s plans even more. For some reason, he wants to be her friend – and ropes her into becoming Princess of the Faire. Now Maddie is overseeing a faire dramatically changed from what her mother loved and going on road trips vastly different from the routine she used to rely on. Worst of all, she’s kind of having fun.

Ashley Schumacher’s The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is filled with a wise old magician who sells potion bottles, gallant knights who are afraid of horses and ride camels instead, kings with a fondness for theatrics, a lazy river castle moat with inflatable crocodile floaties, and a plus-sized heroine with a wide-open heart… if only she just admits it.” (Goodreads)

I was really looking forward to this one after loving her first two books. Sadly, this ended up not being a favorite but still a good read for what it had to offer.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Madeline Hathaway. It’s been almost a year since she lost her mother and she is still learning to deal with the grief that comes with loss. She isn’t in a typical family either because they had and still are, now with just her dad, travel around to the different Ren Faires.

Madeline doesn’t just deal with grief. She is also plus-size which comes with it’s own insecurities and obstacles. I can relate to her on that front because I have been overweight my whole life. The scene where she is trying on pants really resonated with me as I have been one to feel defeated while trying on clothes. It sucks and it’s nice to see it talked about in books.

The romance is where I struggled. Arthur is a cinnamon roll but he is definitely a “too good to be true” kind of guy. He doesn’t do anything hurtful, communicates well, and is oblivious to things that normal people wouldn’t be. I just had a hard time believing she liked him when she kept calling him annoying and being really mean towards him, but he was quite persistent. There also just wasn’t enough time for their relationship to blossom.

Side characters felt very one-dimensional and they were just okay.

I do wish we would have got more from the setting as well. There wasn’t too much going on with it like I have seen other books do with a similar setting.

Overall, this was good but could have been better. Even if this one didn’t wow me I would still recommend it for those who want a simpler YA Romance. I’ll definitely still check out whatever else she writes because I am a sucker for her books!

Book Review | Sanctuary by Caryn Lix


Title: Sanctuary (Sanctuary #1)
Author: Caryn Lix
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: July 24th, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

“Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.” (Goodreads)

I’m pretty sure I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time, probably around since it came out last year. A couple months ago I picked it up from Book Outlet for under $2 for a hardcover. I am so glad I did because what a wild ride this book is!

From the first chapter, I was hooked. The relationship dynamic between mother and daughter isn’t so black and white when your mother is your commander. Kenzie has a hard time seeing her mother this way and her mother is literally a dillweed! At least Kenzie has better qualities than her mother and learns to trust those she never thought she could, the prisoners of Sanctuary.

The prisoners aboard are unique in that 1.) they are teens and 2.) they each have a special ability too. They play a major role in the plot and it was crazy!

I really liked a lot of the characters but some didn’t get as much attention or have a background story that was talked about. I wish I would have got a little more from them.

The plot is really where this book shined through. It kept me intrigued and not wanting to put it down for a moment. The plot twists were also surprising which I am always a fan of. My only complaint here would be the romance. It felt forced and quick which is something I am not a fan of.

Overall, I loved this book! It was a great YA Sci-fi which I haven’t read in awhile. It is heartbreaking, adventurous, and will literally leave you hanging on to the edge of your seat! I would say more but I would give a lot of the book away so just do me a favor and read it!

Top Ten Tuesday | Authors I’d Like To Meet

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 Bookish People I’d Like To Meet and it can be from authors to book characters. I am going to go with authors today!

1.) C.S. Lewis
2.) J.R.R. Tolkien
3.) Hilarie Burton Morgan
4.) Jen DeLuca
5.) Joanna Ruth Meyer
6.) Joanna Hathaway
7.) Stephanie Garber
8.) Rebecca Ross
9.) Sabaa Tahir
10.) Axie Oh

The top two are dead but if I could bring them back for a day I would! I have so many questions about the worlds they built. The third one wrote a book about her life and there is so many things I could learn from her when it comes to farming. The rest are all authors that seem like awesome people on social media and enjoyed their books. I feel like they would just be fun to be around and of course, ask questions about what they have written. It would just be a fun tim!

Have you read any of these?
 Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review | The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray

Title: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: Adult Mystery / Historical Fiction / Retelling
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Publisher: Vintage
Rating: ⭐⭐

“The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. The unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.” (Goodreads)

I think I am just tired of Pride and Prejudice and other Austen retellings. I have read many and they just never work for me, and yet I still try to make them work. Haha 😅.

The book is narrated well and it was easy to listen to. It’s nice when a narrator does a great job! The plot of the book and everything that comes with it was just alright. I didn’t feel like it was very high-stake when it came to the mystery which is fine, but I just didn’t feel invested in the story because of it.

It is definitely unique since it has to do with characters from Austen’s world and I always give props to those who find a way to make them new again.

Overall, this was okay but just wasn’t meant for me.

First Lines Friday | 3-3-23

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!

“It was our first show of the summer, and if fate had its way, it might also be our last.”


The book is….

“Inspired by Moulin Rouge! and set on an island in a magical version of Prohibition-era New York, Revelle is a breathtaking YA stand-alone fantasy full of dazzling magic, romance, and mystery from debut author Lyssa Mia Smith.

On the island of Charmant, magic flows like bootlegged champagne, and fantasies can be bought for the price of a gemstone.

Luxe Revelle, star of her family’s fantastical show, knows the splendor is just an illusion. With Prohibition threatening their livelihood, her family struggles to make a living, watering down champagne and patching holes in their sequined costumes. So when the son of Charmant’s wealthiest family makes her an offer—everything the Revelles need to stay in business, in exchange for posing as his girl and helping him become mayor—she can’t refuse.

The moment Jamison Port sets foot in Charmant, he can’t shake the feeling of familiarity. An orphan with as few memories as gemstones, he’s desperate to learn what happened to his parents. But as he delves into the island’s secrets, he risks angering the wrong person and discovering a truth that just might break his heart.

When Luxe and Jamison accidentally meet, the sparks that fly are more than her magical enchantments. But keeping secrets from powerful people is a dangerous game . . . one that could destroy them both.” (Goodreads)


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