Arc Review: Well Traveled (Well Met #4) by Jen DeLuca

Title: Well Traveled (Well Met #4)
Author: Jen DeLuca
Genre: Adult Cointemporary / Romance
Publication Date: December 6th, 2022
Publisher: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

“A high-powered attorney from a success-oriented family, Louisa “Lulu” Malone lives to work, and everything seems to be going right, until the day she realizes it’s all wrong. Lulu’s cousin Mitch introduced her to the world of Renaissance Faires, and when she spies one at a time just when she needs an escape, she leaps into the welcoming environment of turkey legs, taverns, and tarot readers. The only drawback? Dex MacLean: a guitarist with a killer smile, the Casanova of the Faire… and her traveling companion for the summer.
Dex has never had to work for much in his life, and why should he? Touring with his brothers as The Dueling Kilts is going great, and he always finds a woman at every Faire. But when Lulu proves indifferent to his many plaid charms and a shake-up threatens the fate of the band, Dex must confront something he never has before: his future.
Forced to spend days and nights together on the road, Lulu’s interest in the kilted bad boy grows as he shows her a side of himself no one else has seen. The stresses of her old lifestyle fade away as she learns to trust her intuition and follow her heart instead of her head. But when her time on the road is over, will Lulu go with her gut, or are she and Dex destined for separate paths?” (Goodreads)

This one was hard to rate. One side, I did like it but on the other, it wasn’t a favorite which is really disappointing. Again, I did like it though! Close proximity, finding oneself, and kilts? Come on!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Lulu. We were introduced to her in the last book and I loved her! I couldn’t wait to see what her story would be about. She definitely goes through a lot of growth when it comes to her job, family, and love. I do wish that there would have been more when it came to her family but I understand, she was living off-the-grid. It’s just a shame we saw them in the last book with Mitch but not in this one. I think it would have added a bit more.

There are other characters that were present in other books come back for this one. Stacey and Daniel are one of my favorite couples! I am happy they are back and helping Lulu find her purpose. It was nice to see another side from them as well as the others in the Dueling Kilts, especially Dex. He is the definition of not judging a book by its cover and he gets judged a lot from those close to him as well as all of the other people putting on a show at the ren faire. He is hiding a softer interior and I loved getting to know him a whole lot better.

The romance between Dex and Lulu was cute. It involves close-proximity and not knowing what the future holds. They learn a lot about each other before ever getting into anything I liked that approach. The downside is that even though they were getting to know each other, it felt like a rapid stride from somewhat friends to lovers and it just didn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, there were cute moments between them and I still loved them but I just wanted more between them. You know what I mean?

Overall, I liked this one. Not a favorite but it was still a good read and I’m glad that Dex had a happy ending after meeting him in book two. I’m also glad we got to see Lulu and understand her better as well. She really is a great character.

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Arc Review: To Get to the Other Side by Kelly Ohlert

Title: To Get to the Other Side
Author: Kelly Ohlert
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: December 6th, 2022
Publisher: Alcove Press
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“Trixie isn’t exactly sure what she was thinking when she stopped her car in the middle of downtown Chicago, scooped up a chicken struggling to cross the road, and drove off… but she does know that she has to find a new home for herself and her new feathered friend. The landlord at her apartment doesn’t allow pets and has caught Trixie in one too many pet-smuggling attempts in the past.

Bear likes his quiet life with his close-knit family, who own a flower business, but he’s in for a rude awakening when his meddlesome sisters post an ad to rent the spare room in his simple home, without asking his permission. Still, when Trixie responds to the ad, he agrees to let her move in, despite immediate worries about keeping things platonic.

Determined to keep her new room, befriend Bear, and give her rescue chicken the care she deserves, Trixie fights to keep her walls up and resist her romantic feelings for Bear. However, it’s not long before the pair’s proximity and chicken parenting ignite flames that have Trixie and Bear testing the boundaries of their platonic ground rules. They have to figure out how to save a family business, pay for mounting vet bills, and navigate their own emotional baggage if they want to find the love that they all deserve.” (Goodreads)

This book may be someone else’s cup of tea, but it wasn’t for me. This isn’t the worst book I have read and had some decent aspects to it but it wasn’t as cute as I had wanted it to be.

The book is told from two point-of-views, Trixie and Bear. They are complete opposites and have one run-in before she notices an ad for a roommate and it happens to be his home. Not of his doing though, pesky sisters. Although I liked the setup for the book, I felt like the characters stayed the same throughout and kind of fell flat. I also felt that out of all of the people he could have as a roommate it’s her and he has only seen her chase a chicken, literally. The romance feels very insta-lovey from this point and that is not my vibe.

I did think that the plot line which included a chicken was real unique. I had never seen it done before. As someone who has chickens in the backyard it was fun to see. This plot line does drag on a bit and can get old and boring because it feels like it should have been resolved sooner than it had.

Overall, this was interesting and had a unique setup but it lost it’s charm and ended up only being an okay read for me.

Arc Review: On Spine of Death (By the Book #2) by Tamara Berry

Title: On Spine of Death (By the Book #2)
Author: Tamara Berry
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Contemporary
Publication Date: November 29th, 2022
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

“In the aftermath of solving their first murder, bestselling author Tess Harrow and her teenage daughter Gertrude have decided to stay in Winthrop permanently. Now that they’ve made some updates to their cabin in the woods, they’re turning to the family hardware store that Tess inherited and converting it into the town’s first independent bookstore. But when renovations unearth bones from a cold case and send them toppling—literally—onto Tess’s head, the work comes to a grinding halt. With the whole town convinced that her grandfather was a serial killer, Tess has to call in a fellow horror author for reinforcements. Together, they’ll come up with a perfect story to make all the clues fit…and solve a mystery more than thirty years in the making.” (Goodreads)

What another thrilling book in this series!

The book is told once again from the point-of-view of Tess Harrow, a mystery writer who recently moved to the small town of Winthrop. It hasn’t been a quiet time either because bodies keep popping up. Tess is on the case and somehow keeps stumbling into trouble.

I love Tess. She is funny and loves pestering the sheriff. He still may not want to admit his feelings but I can see her weaseling her way into his heart. They both have different ways of handling situations and her method is usually going in guns a blazing, it doesn’t always work out in her favor though. Her daughter is another great character and I like that she has been diving into her own hobbies which still end up involving mysteries and bodies. What a weird family, haha.

New characters have also popped up and I am curious to see if they will have more to their story arc, one in particular!

As with the last book, I did not see the big reveal going down the way that it did, let alone figure out who it was! I didn’t suspect them and kind of feel like an idiot for not, ha. It was a great plot and I loved going along for the ride.

Overall, this was another great cozy mystery. I am very happy that I found this author.

WWW Wednesday | 11-16-22

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

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

It consists of answering these three questions:

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

My audiobook is Dark Room Etiquette by Robin Roe. It has started off pretty slow so we shall see how it goes. I’ve heard it can be real emotional at the end, haha.

Currently, I started Curse of Shadows (Amassia #2) by A.K. Wilder. It is an arc but right now I am just not in a fantasy mood….I just want to read romance all day! It’s also been slow going so it’s hard to get into and the characters are kind of meh compared to book one.

I am going to start reading Pumpkin Spice and Not So Nice by Becky Monson. I’ll read it to fix the romance need!

  • Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Happy People Are Annoying by Josh Peck (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I will be listening to House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur. It’s an arc from Netgalley and I am looking forward to it.

My next couple of books will be If the Broom Fits by Sarah Sutton and Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT READ? ARE YOU LOVING IT? HAVE YOU READ OR WANT TO READ ANY THAT I HAVE LISTED? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Books That I Think Will Give Me An “Aww” Moment | 11-15-22

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 Favorite “Aww” Moments In Books but I am going with TBR Books That I Think Will Give Me An “Aww” Moment! I honestly have a hard time remembering things so making a list of ten books with aww moments I have read is just ruthless, haha.

  • Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca
  • A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross
  • The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway by Ashley Schumacher
  • Off the Map by Trish Dollar
  • The Reunion by Kayla Olson

  • Married by Scandal by Tessonja Odette
  • Christmas Baggage by Deborah M. Hathaway
  • A Stolen Kiss by M.A. Nichols
  • If The Broom Fits by Sarah Sutton
  • Pumpkin Spice and Not So Nice by Becky Monson

What TBR Book Do You Think Will Give You An “Aww” Moment?

Let me know in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

Goodreads Monday: Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska | 10-24-22

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: Death Checked Out
Author: Leah Dobrinska
Genre: Adult Cozy Mystery / Contemporary
Publication Date: December 6th, 2022
Publisher: Level Best Books

“When in doubt, go to the library…and solve the murder mystery!

Greta Plank, library director in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. It’s how she copes with the hard stuff in life…like her sister’s death and her ex-boyfriend’s deception. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she stumbles upon a dead body on her way home from work. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, a new-to-town detective cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and save her reputation, Greta decides to do some off-the-books clue cataloging of her own. After all, asking questions is what she does best. With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta flips through the pages of the murder, uncovering details about Larkspur’s real estate market and the deceased’s rare book collection as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

With friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.” (Goodreads)

DOES THIS ONE SOUND LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD READ?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

Arc Review: Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban

Title: Talk Santa to Me
Author: Linda Urban
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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

“Francie was born in a stable. Really. Granted, it was the deluxe model with the light-up star on the roof, one of the many Christmas items for sale at her family’s Hollydale Holiday Shop. Their holiday gift empire also includes the Santa School, which was founded by Francie’s beloved grandpa, who recently passed away.
Francie’s always loved working in the shop, but lately Aunt Carole has been changing everything with her ideas for too-slick, Hollywood-inspired Santas and horrible holiday-themed employee uniforms. Aunt Carole’s vision will ruin all the charm and nostalgia Francie loves about her family’s business…unless she does something about it.
But this winter is about more than preserving the magic of Christmas. Francie is saving up for a car and angling to kiss the cute boy who works at the tree lot next door—hopefully it will be good enough to wipe her fiasco of a first kiss from her memory.
As the weather outside gets more and more frightful, can Francie pull off the holiday of her dreams?” (Goodreads)

I love a good Christmas themed book! It really gets me in the mood for the season, even if I’m not exactly reading it in the right season. 😂

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Francie. She has been in the business of Christmas since her birth. I liked the story of that which was included as a prologue. It was a nice touch! Her family runs the business and since the loss of her Grandpa who played Santa it just hasn’t been the same. Her aunt doesn’t help either because she is more of a Scrooge than anything! This was also another good inclusion because there is always that one family member who isn’t like the others and it adds to the dismay that Francie deals with when it comes to working at the family business.

Francie wasn’t a bad character but I wasn’t a fan of her journey to love. I thought that the book would have more romance with the guy at the tree lot but it didn’t start until halfway through the book. She also seems to spend more time worrying about her first kiss and wanting to know if she is a good kisser so she kisses other people so that they can rate her. It just wasn’t a plotline that I very much liked.

The other characters in the book are fine. I don’t think any really stood out besides her friend. They had a good friendship and I liked seeing them interact. The others were a tad bit flat and were there to help add to the plot but not in a big way.

The best part of the book was the Christmassy vibes! It made me ready for the season.

Overall, this was a good book. I liked a majority of it and only had a couple issues with the rest.

Arc Review: The Make-Up Test by Jenny L. Howe

Title: The Make-Up Test
Author: Jenny L. Howe
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 13th, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: ⭐⭐✨

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

“Allison Avery loves to win. After acing every academic challenge she’s come up against, she’s finally been accepted into her dream Ph.D. program at Claymore University, studying medieval literature under a professor she’s admired for years. Sure, grad school isn’t easy—the classes are intense, her best friend is drifting away, and her students would rather pull all-nighters than discuss The Knight’s Tale—but she’s got this. Until she discovers her ex-boyfriend has also been accepted. Colin Benjamin might be the only person who loves winning more than Allison does, and when they’re both assigned to TA for the same professor, the game is on.
What starts as a personal battle of wits (and lit) turns into all-out war when their professor announces a career-changing research trip opportunity—with one spot to fill. Competing with Colin is as natural as breathing, and after he shattered her heart two years ago, Allison refuses to let him come out on top. But when a family emergency and a late night road trip—plus a very sexy game of Scrabble—throw them together for a weekend, she starts to wonder if they could be stronger on the same team. And if they fall for each other all over again, Allison will have to choose between a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and what could be a twice-in-a-lifetime love.” (Goodreads)

This one really spoke to my English major heart. One thing I loved about taking English Lit courses were the discussions that took place. It was interesting to see what others would think about while reading a certain passage. That part of this book didn’t disappoint me. The mass amount of miscommunication is what did and how most of the characters were not-so-great.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Allison Avery. She has worked hard in her life to get where she wanted to be and had a caring mother and friend who were there for her. Although with her mother, Allison did take it upon herself to care for her more than not. I definitely could understand wanting to help your mother in any way. I liked that quality about her. Her relationship with her father is very strained throughout the book. It’s been an unhealthy relationship and I can understand why Allison wanted to set boundaries with him. Boundaries are very important.

The other characters, besides her friend, were just okay. Most were just dillweeds and didn’t have any redeeming qualities.

Colin, the love interest, was fine but he wasn’t what I wanted nor liked. He was the reason for many miscommunications but wanted Allison to accept his apology and be okay with everything that transpired between them. She also was a bit selfish in some of her choices by not wanting him to apply for anything that she was applying for. That’s not very supportive and obviously had already caused issues in their relationship. Despite all this, they did have cute moments together (loved the scrabble scene). I also liked the little flashbacks of their relationship to help build into the present.

I liked the important talks about boundaries, toxic family relationships, and body positivity. I think most were done well but I didn’t like how the family one concluded. It kind of felt like an easy way out for the dad.

Overall, this was an okay to moderately fine read.

Arc Review: The Epic Story of Every Living Things by Deb Caletti

Title: The Epic Story of Every Living Things
Author: Deb Caletti
Genre: YA Contemporary / Coming of Age
Publication Date: September 13th, 2022
Publisher: Labyrinth Road
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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

“Harper Proulx has lived her whole life with unanswered questions about her anonymous sperm donor father. She’s convinced that without knowing him, she can’t know herself. When a chance Instagram post connects Harper to a half sibling, that connection yields many more and ultimately leads Harper to uncover her father’s identity.

So, fresh from a painful breakup and still reeling with anxiety that reached a lifetime high during the pandemic, Harper joins her newfound half siblings on a voyage to Hawaii to face their father. The events of that summer, and the man they discover—a charismatic deep-sea diver obsessed with solving the mystery of a fragile sunken shipwreck—will force Harper to face some even bigger questions: Who is she? Is she her DNA, her experiences, her successes, her failures? Is she the things she loves—or the things she hates? Who she is in dark times? Who she might become after them?” (Goodreads)

This was a unique read when it came to the topics that it dealt with. I can’t say I have ever read a book about a sperm donor. It’s a good topic for a coming of age story and it really helps to connect the characters that find themselves related to one another in an unexpected way.

The book follows one point-of-view and it comes from Harper. Although, there are journal entries at the beginning of the chapters that connect the past to the present. It’s fun to have little details like this that keep you interested.

Harper is a girl who wants to know more about who she is. Growing up with a single parent has left her with a lot of questions. I can understand being curious. It’s always something that is in the back of our mind with a lot of things in our lives. She goes through a lot of discovery and I’m glad that her mother let her do the summer trip. Harper wasn’t always kind to her mother, but at least by the end she understands her a little bit more.

There are times that it felt like the book lulled and didn’t fully keep my attention. I think it was more me than the book.

Overall, this was a good read. I liked reading about a topic I hadn’t before and the growth that Harper has throughout the plot.

Arc Review: A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myer

Title: A Dreadful Splendor
Author: B.R. Myer
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction / Gothic / Mystery
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Be careful what you conjure…
In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners–until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The Lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young Lord peace, she will win her freedom.
Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve’s skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly–yet exceedingly handsome–gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren’t required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset’s ghost could be all too real…” (Goodreads)

I wasn’t sure what I would be getting out of this book since I hadn’t realized this was an author I had read before (her YA sci-fi) and didn’t like much, but I’m also glad I requested before knowing because I liked this one a lot! So much so, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish because I needed to know what would happen!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Genevieve Timmons. If you ask some they would say that she is a con-artist, a murderer, and a thief. Those things made her that much more interesting because I needed to know the background of those accusations. Two of them come rather quickly as we are thrown into her games, a séance.

I think that Genevieve got a bad rep that wasn’t entirely warranted. She was just trying to survive and using what she learned from her mother to stay afloat. It was fun to see her work and use what she learned from others through body language to continue on with the charade. She also becomes a detective later on in the book when things get quite sketchy at the Somerset Park estate.

Before some chapters start there are journal entries written by Lady Audra, the dead bride-to-be. They were very enlightening while trying to figure out who the culprit was. There were a lot of secrets she knew and they just kept coming the farther you get in the book!

My favorite part of this book was definitely the mystery. It was thrilling and definitely kept me reading as new things came to light. The séances were an added bonus and added to the gothic feel the book was going for. My least favorite would have to be the romance. It wasn’t terrible and does fit the genre, but it just didn’t give me enough for my taste.

Overall, this was a fun and exciting read. I liked getting to know the characters and the secrets that they kept. The mystery was good and had me guessing all the way up until the end.