Arc Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne

Title: To Sir, with Love
Author: Lauren Layne
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 29th, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just five months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout to turn the store into a parking garage. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.” (Goodreads)

I’m not going to lie, the cover is vibrant and definitely grabbed my attention before even reading the blurb for it. You throw in enemies-to-lovers and communicating without ever meeting, you got yourself a girl willing to give it a try!

Since this is on the shorter side, I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters as much as I would have liked but it didn’t stop me from smiling every once and awhile when it came to them exchanging messages and even their in-person meetings before the realization. I did like how Sebastian was portrayed through Gracie’s eyes it definitely gives off, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. He is very much a cinnamon roll.

The side characters were in and out quick with not a lot of development, besides for one of her sisters and husband. It didn’t bother me too much since most of the focus was on Sebastian and Gracie which left for a lot of development.

The epilogue at the end was short but it gave us a hint into their future and it was cute!

Overall this was a good, light read. If you are looking for something that has cute moments and want a shorter romance, I’d suggest checking this one out.


Arc Review: Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift

Title: Cast in Firelight
Author: Dana Swift
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy to review! All opinions are my own.

The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.” (Goodreads)

I’ve been afraid to start this one because I didn’t want the hype to let me down. Plus, the cover is amazing and I want to be able to stare at it’s beauty while it sits on my shelf. It did have it’s rocky moments but the pay off was worth it!

The book has two point-of-views: Adraa and Jatin. We are introduced to them from a young age and of their first encounter. It’s one that is awkward because of the arranged marriage that has been discussed between them. I can only recall one book I have read where it dealt with arranged marriage and it was good but this one was a bit different when it came to the characters feelings.

Adraa is courageous, strong, and doesn’t want anyone to view her as less because of her gender. From the first encounter she had with Jatin I knew I’d like her, haha. It was literally something I would do and can recall doing something similar in elementary school.

Jatin is strong in his powers but I don’t think he tries to show off. He is just genuinely him. This could be because he doesn’t feel like he has to prove anything. Even though he has his own PoV, I don’t think his development was as strong but where as Adraa sees him as cocky, we get to see the softer side of him.

From the beginning, I wasn’t sure where the relationship would go. Will they put their competitive nature aside to get along? Will one of them find someone else and call it off? What actually happened, I was not expecting!


Mistaken identity is a glorious trope and I was here for it. One figures it out more quickly than the other but I’m glad there wasn’t a long and drawn out fight because of it. They realized their feelings outside of the arrangement and found love where they least expected it to be. You could say that the relationship moves rather quickly and Jatin was smitten from the beginning but I still enjoyed it all.

End of Spoilers!

The plot has magic, gods/goddesses, and cage fighting (those were some of my favorite scenes!). Books about goods/goddess always get on my tbr because I love mythology but I am also hesitant to start them because they can be hit or miss. Even though they don’t play a huge role until closer to the end, I liked what we got and I am hoping for more in the next book. The author also does a good job of creating a magic system that is exciting to read about. In ways it reminds me of Avatar: The Last Airbender but some of the people are able to control more than one type.

The pacing can be a bit slow at times but once it ramps up, it’s worth it. The last big cliffhanger had me hooked and I am so ready for the next book. Some of the smaller plot twists were easy to see coming but it didn’t stop me from immersing myself in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book! Although it started off a bit slow, this book took me by surprise and the author creates an intriguing world full of magic and a romance you can’t help but swoon over.

Audiobook Review: DEV1AT3 (Truelife #2) by Jay Kristoff


Title: DEV1AT3 (Lifelike #2)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: June 25th, 2019
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.” (Goodreads)

Reread Finished on 12/23/20

I do feel the same about this book since I read it back in 2019. It was such a great sequel and the ending has me hyped for the final one which I have already rented from the library as an audiobook.

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Let me tell you about this book. It was crazy! Plot twists came out of nowhere and literally ripped me a part!

The beginning is great as it reintroduces the reader to the characters once again and goes over what happened to them during book one. You don’t see this often but it’s always awesome to have a refresher.

When it comes to this series, you can expect that the writing style will always be unique with the choice of words the author uses which adds a touch of pizzazz and makes the characters pop. Lemon Fresh is a good example of this and is literally my number one!

The main characters are all pretty much struggling with their identity/feelings in some way. This is always nice to see and makes it easier to connect with the them on a deeper level. Caring for the ones you love is hard when obstacles are thrown in your way whether you are a robot or human.

Lemon Fresh has a lot going on and I was here for her story! She is at the top of favorite characters because she is fierce and loyal. I just want to squeeze her but I know she wouldn’t like that, ha. I hope everything works out for her because right now I am not okay with how this book ended.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and the heartbreak that came with it. I will be impatiently waiting for book three and trying to cope with my feelings. If you haven’t read this series yet, get on it! Jay Kristoff never disappoints.

Audiobook Review: The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast

Title: The Key to Fear (The Key #1)
Author: Kristin Cast
Genre: YA Sci-fi / Dystopian
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an early audiobook to review! All opinions are my own.

To Health.
To Life.
To the Future.

We are The Key.
‘No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.’

Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to…

Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn’t do what he’s told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance…

After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems.

Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God.(Goodreads)

This book is set in a world much like our own with the current pandemic we are facing. It can definitely be pretty intense to read, haha.

The author does a good job from grabbing your attention from the beginning with people being infected and it spreading rapidly, especially in the hospital where Elodie works. She has seen too much death.

There are multiple point-of-views and they all come from different people with different motives when it comes to the pandemic. Much like our own world, there are the people who believe that it is nothing but government restricting what we can. In their case, they can’t even touch. Personally, I’m not big on hugging but I would definitely miss being able to cuddle my daughter.

When it comes to the characters, some were more developed than others. Elodie and Aidan are the main stars and the rest just didn’t intrigue me enough for me to care about them. The guy that is supposed to be in a relationship with Elodie is mentioned a few times, comes in for a few scenes and is just quite predictable in his actions. Although, he could get more development in the next book if my suspicions are correct.

Even though we know about the pandemic that has changed the way they live, there isn’t much else we know about it. The world-building was lacking too but I did look past all of this because at least the plot was interesting enough. There are quite the plot twists!

I did enjoy listening to the audiobook and thought that it was nicely done.

Overall, this was a good book and I am curious about the sequel. It did leave off on an interesting cliffhanger that can definitely make or break the next book. Hopefully there will be more world-building and some of my questions will be answered.

E-Arc Review: The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Title: The Lost Love Song
Author: Minnie Darke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

Behind every great love song is a great love story, from the author of Star-Crossed

Concert pianist Diana is finally ready to marry her longtime fiance, Arie; she’s even composing a beautiful love song for him, and finishes it while on tour. Before she can play it for him, though, tragedy strikes–and Diana is lost to Arie forever.

But her song might not be.

In Australia, the world has gone quiet for Arie and he lives his life accordingly, struggling to cope with his loss. In Scotland, a woman named Evie is taking stock of her life after the end of another lackluster almost-relationship. Years of wandering the globe and failing to publish her poetry have taken their toll, and she might finally be ready to find what her travels have never been able to give her: a real home. And through a quirk of fate or circumstance, Diana’s song is passed from musician to musician. By winding its way around the world, it just might bring these two lost souls together.

With heart-wrenching emotion, The Last Love Song explores what it means to be lost, what it means to be found, and the power of music to bring people together.” (Goodreads)

This book follows many different people but it follows one song. It’s hard to picture how it would all come together but the author does a fantastic job of weaving it all together.

I did like some of the characters stories more than others. Aries and Evie being my favorite. I would also say that they are the main focus.

Aries has lost a lot when it comes to losing Diane. You don’t just lose out on the love from that person but also the life you were planning to share together. I could only imagine losing my husband. I would be losing a rather large part of me. Aries doesn’t know where to go even after it’s been awhile since that fateful day. His story of finding himself after loss was one that I enjoyed reading about even if it made me all emotional.

When it comes to Evie, she is living a much different life. She is living the life of a drifter and traveling to wherever feels right at the moment. How freeing would it be to be able to drop everything and go somewhere new? She hasn’t had the best of luck with relationships and wants to find someone who will do anything to make sure she is a top priority. I like her character a lot. It takes her some time to realize what she wants and sets out to hopefully find it.

The plot is filled with love, first times, loss, and being found. There are different things going on in each person’s life but yet that one song brings them together even when they don’t realize it. It’s an emotional ride that’s hard to put down because you want everything to work out for the best even though you know how cruel the world can be.

Overall, I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s hard to write a review for it without giving away more from the story and my words seem to be failing me. I do know that this book will stick with me for awhile. I’d definitely recommend this one!

E-Arc Review: Now & When by Sara Bennett Wealer


52905878._SX318_SY475_Title: Now & When
Author: Sara Bennett Wealer
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
For fans of Jenny Han and Christine Riccio comes a romantic dramedy about a teen girl who stumbles upon a mysterious website that tells her everything she doesn’t want to know about her future.

There’s something about Truman Alexander that Skyler Finch finds incredibly annoying. Actually, several things: his voice (grating), his arrogance (total know-it-all), his debate-team obsession (eyeroll), and his preppy vibe (does he iron his shorts?). She does her best to avoid him and focus on the important stuff: friends, school, and her boyfriend, Eli. His promposal was perfect–just like he is–and the future is looking bright. Or is it?

For some unexplainable reason, Skylar’s phone is sending her notifications from the future . . . a future in which, to her horror, she appears to be with Truman. As in, romantically. As in, Skyler cannot let that happen.

But trying to change the future means messing up the present, and what Skyler sees keeps shifting. Classmates disappear and reappear, swap partners and futures. Turns out there are no actions without reactions, and life doesn’t come with a road map. But sometimes the wandering leads you exactly where you need to be, and people–like glitchy phones–are full of surprises.” (Goodreads)

This has a great cover! The blurb sounds cute and interesting! But, you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

What would you do if you were given a link to a website from the future that includes photos from your 10 year reunion? It’s a good question and it does lead to some interesting events for Skylar.

I can understand the message behind the whole knowing the future and trying to change it to how you want it. It can be obsessive and really it’s just better to take one day at a time. Knowing the future and trying to change it left Skylar not being a likeable character for a majority of the book. She was too busy trying to change her future, her friend’s future, and it made her do stupid things.

One of those stupid things *Spoiler!* was cheating on her boyfriend who even did a cute promposal for her. Now, this is really where I started to dislike the book. I was really enjoying the beginning and the little banter between Truman and Skylar. But, cheating is just a big fat no! Especially when you don’t learn from your past decisions.

Skylar kisses Truman and feels guilty. Obviously she should! But, she is never fully honest with herself or her boyfriend. Here’s the thing, if you are conflicted then get out of the relationship you are currently in and say you need time to figure things out. Don’t be a dillweed and wait until things start escalating! Are you stupid or are you stupid? Then, after she tells her boyfriend and they make up she thinks its a good idea to later continue a project with Truman, alone, and then go bowling together and not tell her boyfriend that she was still hanging out with him. That girl needs some sense…

It was just really annoying and made me dislike her and him. Truman gets the blame too because he knew about her boyfriend. Just ridiculous! 🤦‍♀️

Anyways, one of her friends has/had a *Content Warning* cutting problem. Skylar is concerned but she was also more concerned with her own future. I think that this was just kind of thrown in and didn’t feel like it really needed to be there.

The plot, besides what was already talked about was fine. I thought it was interesting and made for some good moments.

Overall, I can’t say I didn’t like some of the book and maybe that’s because it became one big train wreck.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

E-Arc Review: Flying in Love by Chalon Linton


51206377._SY475_Title: Flying in Love
Author: Chalon Linton
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 8th, 2020

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“Will Paige decide to share her heart or fly solo?

Paige Hall’s happy ending may just be in sight. She has been dating her boyfriend for months and feels confident their relationship is going in the right direction—until she catches him kissing another woman. Humiliated and hurt, Paige retreats from the dating scene and pledges to never fall hard again as she throws herself into her work as a speech therapist. Her vow is upended in a grocery store parking lot when she is nearly run over by a handsome and very apologetic air force pilot.

Captain Jake Summers is everything a girl could dream of: charming, considerate, and hardworking. Despite Paige’s determination to avoid falling into another relationship, her resolve is no match for the whirlwind romance that ensues. When Jake is not flying, he and Paige are inseparable, and Paige begins to believe in happily ever afters again. But when the couple faces a heartrending loss, they must find strength in each other and in their faith or risk losing a once-in-a-lifetime love.” (Goodreads)

I fell in love with the cover the moment saw it. There is just something about a good sunset. I also wanted to read this one because it was labeled as Christian and I like being able to read something knowing that it doesn’t have all those steamy moments.

For the first 80%, I enjoyed the story. Paige was relatable in a lot of ways and it was easy to feel sorry for her and her situation but it was also nice to see her rely on her faith. Jake Summers was also a good character. He was funny, polite, and loyal. He struggled more with his faith especially when something tragic happens in his family but I think we have all been there at some point. It’s a nice bit of encouragement for those who may be struggling now.

The last 20% of the book I thought was unnecessary. It was added drama between the characters that felt unrealistic and it made Paige look very selfish and it rubbed me the wrong way. There wasn’t anything that Jake was doing wrong but it was like she was trying to find any excuse to leave him because of her past relationship.

Overall, it was a decent read. I definitely would have enjoyed it more without the last bit but at least the first part was worth reading.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

E-Arc Review: The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel by Michael Moreci


52121655._SX318_SY475_Title: The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel
Author: Michael Moreci, Sas Milledge (illustrator), Phil Hester (illustrator)
Genre: YA Graphic Novel / Superheroes
Publication Date: May 5th, 2020

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
Before Batman trained him to be Robin, Dick Grayson discovered the power of young love–and its staggering costs–at the dangerous, magical, and utterly irresistible Lost Carnival.

Haly’s traveling circus no longer has the allure of its glamorous past, but it still has one main attraction: the Flying Graysons, a family of trapeze artists starring a teenage Dick Grayson. The only problem is that Dick loathes spending his summers performing tired routines for a dwindling crowd.

When the Lost Carnival, a wild and enchanting new attraction, opens nearby and threatens to pull Haly’s remaining customers, Dick is among those drawn to its magical nighttime glow. But there are forces ancient and dangerous at work at the Lost Carnival, and when Dick meets the mysterious Luciana and her carnival workers–each stranger than the last–he may be too mesmerized to recognize the danger ahead.

Beneath the carnival’s dazzling fireworks, Dick must decide who he is and who he wants to be–choosing between loyalty to his family history and a glittering future with new friends and romance. Writer Michael Moreci and artist Sas Milledge redefine Dick Grayson in The Lost Carnival, a young adult graphic novel exploring the power and magic of young love.” (Goodreads)

I’ve always loved Batman and Robin. Those movies have always been my favorite to 1watch. When I saw this cover and then saw it was story about Dick before he became Robin, I was sold!

The artwork is very nice and I liked that the colors switch from a grey/blue to a golden/orange color. It’s definitely pleasing to the eye.

The setting is a carnival and Dick and his parents are trapeze artists. There is also another carnival that is surrounded by mystery and magic. They have different acts and it was cool to see how each one entertained their guests.

The plot is filled with first love, wonder, and figuring out how to help his friend before it’s too late. I didn’t figure out who was the villain until it was revealed!

Overall, it was a great graphic novel that kept me engaged until the end.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)


E-Arc Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler


43352294._SY475_Title: The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1)
Author: Sarah Morgenthaler
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 5th, 2020

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness. (Goodreads)

I have seen a couple reviews about this book already and it only made me want to dive into this more! Anything that is about Alaska will automatically grab my attention because it’s one place that I would love to visit. Alaska plus romance was duo that called to me.

Graham Barnett is a funny guy. He literally dislikes tourists but somehow befriend Lana (a friend of Zoey) and clearly has romantic feelings towards another. He has a hard exterior but he is soft on the inside. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about him.

Zoey Caldwell is having her dream vacation but there is a lot of hiccups in her plans. She doesn’t understand the way of life of Moose Springs but she is always ready to understand. I liked that she was outgoing and tried a lot of new things. Her banter with Graham was always enjoyable to read.

The romance is not steamy and that was okay with me! You definitely felt the growing tension between them though and most of the time I was screaming in my head for them to just kiss!

Alaska as a setting was everything I wanted. There were different touristy things Zoey did and I loved that the author included moose. I mean, the town is named Moose Springs after all.

The plot was fun and it kept me engaged throughout. The ending was everything and it just made my heart full.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book and I am excited that it will be part of a series.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)


E-Arc Review: Hard Wired by Len Vlahos


45734832Title: Hard Wired
Author: Len Vlahos
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: April 28th, 2020

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
From Morris finalist Len Vlahos comes a contemporary sci-fi story about a boy who might not be human—for fans of Westworld and Black Mirror.

Quinn thinks he’s a normal boy with an average life. That is, until he finds a trail of clues the father he barely knew left behind.
After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” … and realizes his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. In reality, he’s the first fully-aware A.I. in the world, part of an experiment run by a team of scientists—including the man he thought was his father.
As the scientists continue to study him, Quinn’s new existence becomes a waking nightmare. Determined to control his own destiny, he finds allies in other teens—including crush Shea—and plots his escape. But what does true freedom look like when you’re not human?

Acclaimed Morris Award finalist Len Vlahos pens a high-stakes contemporary-rooted sci-fi that asks big questions about humanity.” (Goodreads)

This book had me intrigued from the beginning. The writing was easy to get swept away in and honestly, I forgot that the premise mentioned something that happened in the book to the point where I was completely surprised! (This may be due to the fact that I have terrible memory but let’s go with it anyways, ha)

I have become fascinated with the idea of AIs since reading The Illuminae Files. Aidan was full of personality and took matter into his own hands (clearly a figure of speech since he had none, ha! Gotta love puns). Quinn has an awakening and becomes very aware of the people and the world around him. He is quite clever and uses that to his advantage when possible. It was hard to see him as just a robot because of the way the book starts. He really believe he was human and would do anything to have the rights and freedom we have.

Although the plot could be slow at times, I was surprised at how intrigued I was with his story. Once he becomes awakened, the story really takes off! There are plot twists throughout and the last few at the end were intense! I definitely didn’t see one coming.

I’m assuming this will be a standalone since nothing has been said yet but I would love for these characters to be revisited. There is just something about them and I want to read more!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and Quinn is definitely up there on my list of favorite AIs.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)