Manga Review: The Apothecary Diaries Vol. 4-6 by Natsu Hyuuga

Title: The Apothecary Diaries Vol. 4-6
Author: Nekokurage (Artist), Natsu Hyuuga (Original Story), Itsuki Nanao (Composition), Touco Shino (Character Design)
Genre: YA Manga / Fantasy
Publication Date: December 8th, 2020
Publisher: Square Enix Manga
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The trail of the garden banquet leads Maomao to the Garnet Palace! Aiming to uncover the identity and motives of the culprit who nearly succeeded in turning the festivities into a tragedy, the young apothecary-turned-lady’s maid temporarily takes up there at Jinshi’s behest. Home to Lady Aduo—the consort with the longest tenure in the Emperor’s affections—the Garnet palace harbors many intrigues, some more shocking than even Maomao could have imagined! Will solving the mystery at hand lose Maomao her job…and maybe even her life?!” (Goodreads)

These volumes really picked up! Minus the fifth where it kind of slogged for a bit.

We are finally learning more about Maomao and I am very surprised as to where her storyline has gone. It’s just crazy! Although there has been more information, there is still a lot more to go by and I am curious how it will play out.

The romance arc is finally coming, I can sense it. At least I hope I am right about this. I do love Jinshi and find him quite humorous with his slight affection towards her, or whatever you want to call it. He is such a great character and I love that he his protective over her.

I do wish there was more about consorts still but hopefully we will get back to them and life in the inner circle. Hopefully everyone is still getting along, ha.

Overall, these volumes were great! I feel like this one is going to be up there with Yona of the Dawn.

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Manga Review: The Apothecary Diaries Vol. 2 & 3 by Natsu Hyuuga

Title: The Apothecary Diaries Vol. 2-3
Author: Nekokurage (Artist), Natsu Hyuuga (Original Story), Itsuki Nanao (Composition), Touco Shino (Character Design)
Genre: YA Manga / Fantasy
Publication Date: December 8th, 2020
Publisher: Square Enix Manga
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“When word of her accomplishments falls on the ears of His Imperial Majesty, Maomao finds herself tasked with a direct request from the throne. Turning down the emperor is out of the question for the former(?) apothecary if she wants to keep her head! But while acquiescing to the emperor is expected of all subjects, Maomao is about to discover that ladies-in-waiting have still more taxing duties to which to attend, as preparations of the garden banquet get underway! Concocting an aphrodisiac might be second nature to Maomao, but smiling prettily for the officials of the court could prove far more difficult…” (Goodreads)

I am happy to be back reading this series! It’s so cool to see apothecary and mystery be wrapped into one.

In a lot of ways Maomao reminds me of other characters I have read. She is smart and cunning, which are also probably her top qualities. I love seeing how her brain works and understanding the process of solving who is poisoning who.

There hasn’t been any romance between her and any of the other characters but I feel like it will be inevitable at some point. I could be wrong though.

I am still very curious about some of the characters and hope that they will get more page time later on.

Overall, this series is still going well and I can’t wait to continue on.

Audiobook Review: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley

Title: Would You Rather
Author: Allison Ashley
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022
Publisher: Mira Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Noah and Mia have always been best friends, and their friendship is the most important thing to them. Life is going great for Noah and he’s up for a promotion in a job he loves. But Mia’s life is on hold as she awaits a kidney transplant. She’s stuck in a dead-end job and, never wanting to be a burden, has sworn off all romance. So when the chance of a lifetime comes to go back to school and pursue her dream, it’s especially painful to pass up. She can’t quit her job or she’ll lose the medical insurance she so desperately needs.
To support her, Noah suggests they get married—in name only—so she can study full-time and still keep the insurance. It’s a risk to both of them, with jobs, health and hearts on the line, and they’ll need to convince suspicious coworkers and nosy roommates that they’re the real deal. But if they can let go of all the baggage holding them back, they might realize that they would rather be together forever.” (Goodreads)

This book didn’t make me dislike the friends-to-lovers trope more than I do so that is good! Haha. It’s definitely not a trope I enjoy but I wanted to give this one a try because of the marriage of convenience. That is a trope I do really enjoy. I think that there were good qualities and also bad ones that I thought needed more.

The book is told from dual point-of-views, Noah and Mia. I always like to see this done when it comes to romance because I want to get into both of their heads! Give me the details! I thought this was well done, but I did like Mia’s view more.

Noah’s development felt like it only involved his career move, but was very lackluster, and his relationship with Mia. Even though he was marrying her for the right reasons, he did seem to lust over her to often than not and it kind of killed the vibe for me. I felt like I never really got to understand their dynamic because they were married for too long before they got with it and then that’s basically all it was for the rest of the book. This won’t be an issue for everyone though.

Mia is going through a lot when it comes to her health, job, and schooling. It was nice that Noah wanted to do so much for her. I did feel like she was a bit overdramatic when it came to her parents, but since I have never been in that situation maybe I would have been.

Overall, this was a good read. I did like the marriage of convenience, but I would have liked more development for their relationship.

Monthly Wrap-Up | October 2022

Hello Lovely Readers!

This is a bit late but that is fine!

October was filled with not a whole lot, haha. It was just kind of a normal month but I did manage to get a lot of reading done!

This month I managed to read 21 books, 7 audiobooks, and 14 manga/graphic novels.
42 books in total!

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My favorite book of the month would be two! The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson and A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams were both amazing.

My least favorite would be Married by Wind by Angela J. Ford. It was too short and repetitive.

  • The Apothecary Diaries Vol. 2-4, 6 by Natsu Hyuuga
  • Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega
  • The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson
  • A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
  • Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry
  • The Frost Goblin by Abi Elphinstone
  • The Apothecary Diaries Vol. 1 & 5 by Natsu Hyuuga
  • My Happy Marriage Vol. 1 by Akumi Agitogi
  • The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
  • How to Heal a Gryphon by Meg Cannistra
  • The Secrets We Keep by Cassie Gustafson
  • Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder
  • Married by Fate by Jenny Hickman
  • Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala
  • Out of My League by Sarah Sutton (3.5)
  • The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox (3.5)
  • Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra
  • The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park
  • Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee
  • Love Me, Love Me Not Vol 11 & 12 by Io Sakisaka
  • Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol 7 by Yoko Nogiri
  • After Dark with Roxie Clark by Brooke Lauren Davis
  • She’s Gone by David Bell
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston
  • Empire of Exiles by Erin M. Evans
  • Riley’s Ghost by John David Anderson (2.5)
  • Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese (2.5)
  • Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter (2.5)
  • Abe-Kun’s Got Me Now Vol. 1 by Aki Iwai
  • The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent
  • Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho
  • Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany
  • The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford
  • A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw
  • Built to Last by Erin Hahn
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 1 by Kanehito Yamada

HOW MANY BOOKS DID YOU READ IN October? DID YOU HAVE A FAVORITE?


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Top Ten Tuesday: Unlikable Characters You Can’t Help but Love | 11-1-22

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 Unlikable Characters You Can’t Help but Love. I don’t know if I can come up with ten but we will see how many I can get to! I may just throw in some movie characters as well, haha.

  • Jacks from Once Upon a Broken Heart (if you know, you know)
  • Kasta from The Kinder Poison (Didn’t like him til book 2 and now he is endgame)
  • Nezha from The Poppy War (Last book he really grew on me)
  • Sarkan from Uprooted (he was just grumpy but I like it)
  • Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses ( I just feel bad for him!)
  • AIDAN from Illuminae Files (what a wild piece of tech but still so nice, haha)
  • Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (Clearly I have a type 😂)

Do we have any in common? Do you disagree with some of mine?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Audiobook Review: Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Title: Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Genre: YA Historical Non-Fiction / Science
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“What happens when a person’s reputation has been forever damaged?

With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary’s controversial life.

How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was.

How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary?

This thorough exploration includes an author’s note, timeline, annotated source notes, and bibliography.” (Goodreads)

Typhoid Mary is a prominent person when it comes to the history of pandemics and how bacteria spreads. I have always been fascinated by her ever since I started reading about tuberculosis and she was mentioned. I’m happy I ran across this book by chance because I got to learn more about her life and the misery life dealt her.

The book is told from third person narrative and contains letters and journal entries written by some of the people mentioned, including Mary. It starts off with an encounter of typhoid and figuring out how one family came down sick with it and realizing through tracing it came do to the cook aka Mary. It’s interesting how tracing is something that is still used and was used during our own pandemic recently.

The state treated Mary horribly and even though she gets a bad rep for what happened, I don’t think she meant to do anything on purpose. Bacteria and germs were a new thing and back then it just wasn’t talked about enough. Because of this and articles that were written about her, she lived a lonely life from that point until she died. It’s very tragic. I do think through her there was a lot learned and for that I am thankful. I just wish they would have been kinder to her.

Overall, this was short but gave me more information on someone I had always heard about. I’m glad I got to learn more about her life even if it was quite sad.

Weekly Update |10-30-22

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

This week was pretty slow but also felt like it went by fast. Yesterday we went to get pizza since it’s what we usually do as a family around Halloween. It’s a holiday we don’t celebrate and so we do something together so my daughter doesn’t feel like she is being left out of something. It’s now going on as a 6 year tradition, haha.

We went to the library and I picked up some books as well. They have been two I have been eyeing so we will see if I like them!

No reading has been had this weekend but with 40 books under my belt for the month (manga included) I don’t feel bad, lol.

I hope you all have been having a great weekend! Enjoy the photos of my pumpkin and an amradillo!

  • Empire of Exiles by Erin M. Evans (arc) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany (🎧) ⭐⭐
  • The Frost Goblin by Abi Elphinstone (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Riley’s Ghost by John David Anderson (🎧) ⭐⭐
  • The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford (arc) ⭐⭐
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HOW WAS YOUR WEEK? DID YOU DO ANYTHING FUN OVER THE WEEKEND? READ ANYTHING GOOD THIS WEEK? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

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Arc Review: She’s Gone by David Bell

Title: She’s Gone
Author: David Bell
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: November 1st, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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

When a girl disappears, who do you suspect?
When 17-year-old Hunter Gifford wakes in the hospital on the night of homecoming, he’s shocked to learn he and his girlfriend, Chloe Summers, have been in a terrible car accident. Hunter has no memory of the crash, and his shock turns to horror when he is told Chloe’s blood has been found in the car―but she has disappeared.
Back at school, his fellow students taunt him, and his former best friend starts making a true-crime documentary about the case―one that points the finger directly at Hunter. And just when things can’t get any worse, Chloe’s mother stands in front of the entire town at a candlelight vigil and accuses Hunter of murder.
Under mounting pressure from the police, Hunter takes matters into his own hands by questioning anyone who might know the truth and posting videos to prove his innocence. When Hunter learns he and Chloe were seen arguing loudly outside the dance, he faces a sickening possibility. Was he angry enough to kill the person he loved?” (Goodreads)

I have mixed feelings about this one. On the plus side, I finished it in less than a day. On the down side, I just needed more character development.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Hunter. He was in a car accident with his girlfriend. He made it to the hospital somehow, but she is still missing. There is a lot he needs to recall since his memory hasn’t been the same since that fateful day.

I wouldn’t say that there is much going for Hunter besides trying to solve what happened to his girlfriend. I would say the same about all of the other characters as well. The character development was lacking and this could honestly be because the book was more plot-driven. I just tend to like a bit of both. Olivia was definitely my favorite character as she really cared about her brother and the outcome of the mystery.

The plot was pretty good. It did have me guessing but I did figure out who it was before the big reveal but not how it happened. The how it happened was not what I was expecting and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

Overall, this was a fine YA Mystery. It will definitely reel you in and at least it is easy to get through.

Top Ten Tuesday: Gothic, Spooky, and Mysteries Unfold (Halloween Freebie!)

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 Halloween Freebie! I am going to do a mix of reads that fit perfectly for this time of year. I have read them all and linked reviews for ones that I did review. I hope you enjoy them!

WOULD YOU READ ANY OF THESE?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Audiobook Review: The Darkening by Sunya Mara

Title: The Darkening
Author: Sunya Mara
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: July 5th, 2022
Publisher: Clarion Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

“Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.

Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.

Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.

Even cheat her way into his cold heart.

But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.” (Goodreads)

When I first started this, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. I’ve seen good things about it but you still never know how you will actually feel about it. I did like a lot of what I read. There are some interesting and unique aspects to this story. I think it set up for a sequel well and I am curious to read on. I do think that some aspects could have been done a bit better for my taste but it’s nothing that really makes or break the story one way.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Vesper Vale. She is the daughter of revolutionaries and her whole life has been running from the past with her father. These events lead to a very exciting beginning because the past has finally caught up.

Vesper will do anything for her family. You can tell she cares deeply for her father and would leave safety to continue to stay with him. Although this can be a weakness for her, she still remains loyal and I respect that. I can understand wanting to do anything for family. Her love for her father leads into the wolves den and we begin to really meet and get to know those who are in charge and take care of the storms.

The storms were a fun aspect. I can only think of one other book with storms and that would be Roar by Cora Carmack. Each writer uses storms in a different way so reading this one felt like a fresh take. Who knew beasts could come forth and wreak havoc?

There are other characters that play bigger roles and ones that feel smaller but do have impactful plot points. I think it was a good mix to have. I will say that for some I felt more for than others and this did effect how I felt about certain plot points, or lack of feelings. The romance was okay but I feel like it didn’t have enough time to develop for me to be rooting for them. I hope there is better development in the next book.

Another thing I wish I had more of was world-building. I feel like there was a bit but I am still confused by certain things. There may be more explained in the next book since I guess I would say it is a part of the plot but we will see.

Overall, this was interesting enough for me to want to continue. I do think that the narrator did a great job and it left me wanting to keep listening.