Review: A Cornish Christmas Murder (Nosey Parker Mystery #4) by Fiona Leitch

A Cornish Christmas Murder: A gripping and hilarious murder mystery perfect for fans of Richard Osman (A Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery, Book 4)A Cornish Christmas Murder: A gripping and hilarious murder mystery perfect for fans of Richard Osman by Fiona Leitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When Jodie Parker’s old school chum, Lily, invites her to cater a charity event for children hosted by a notorious millionaire, she graciously accepts.

The event is set to be held just three days before Christmas at an old abbey on Bodmin Moor. The location is remote and the property is currently being transformed by Lily and her employer into a boutique hotel.

As Jodie arrives on the night of the event, with her mother, daughter, best friend and dog in tow, the snow begins to fall in earnest.

Over the course of the night, with all the festivities going on, Jodie is too busy to notice that it never really stops. By the time things are wrapped up and Jodie and friends have cleaned and packed, it’s too messy to leave.

Although communication with the outside world is spotty, they do receive word that the roads through the Moors are blocked. They have no choice but to stay the night.

There are plenty of rooms, heat and food to accommodate the group left over, which includes, in addition to the caterer and her staff, Lily, her employer, the millionaire, his son and assistant, a Santa impersonator, a small group of Japanese eco-tourists and a stranded couple trying to travel home from a dinner party.

Early the next morning, one of the guests is discovered dead in his room. From the looks of the scene, it wasn’t a natural death.

Luckily, Jodie Parker, isn’t your standard caterer. She’s recently resigned from the Metropolitan Police and this isn’t the first murder she’s investigated.

Able to briefly contact her DCI boyfriend, Nathan, Jodie explains the situation and has Nathan call help for them.

Now she just has to keep the scene under control until the police force is able to arrive. Easier said than done.

I had so much fun reading this. It has a classic set-up and likable, hilarious characters.

Further, it featured some of my favorite Mystery tropes. This Cornish Cozy gave me exactly the vibe I was hoping for rolling into the holiday season.

I know the more books that I read in this series, the more attached I am going to get to these characters. Rest assured, I will definitely be reading the other books in this series.

The investigation was a hoot. The dynamic between Jodie and her family had me giggling throughout. The narrative is wacky, wild and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Leitch has got quite a sense of humor.

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I recommend picking this one up over the holiday season. Give yourself an escape for a bit. Sit back, put your feet up and have a laugh!

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Review: Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Not a Happy FamilyNot a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What could be better than a holiday dinner with family?

Yoga class, walking the dog, your favorite pair of leggings, reading, online shopping, taking your bra off after a long day at work, sitting by a crackling fireplace, trying a new beverage at Starbucks, getting your period, going to the dentist…okay, apparently there are a lot of things that are more enjoyable to holiday dinners with your family.

You know what I’m talking about. You know.

Maybe you have too much to drink. Maybe everybody has too much to drink. Comparisons between you and your siblings come up. Maybe even the dreaded political discussion and the next thing you know, you’re throwing on your favorite wool peacoat and storming out into the night in a huff of thinly-veiled rage.

I mean, I guess it depends on the family.

The family in this story, the Mertons, although wealthy, are not a happy family. Their holiday dinners get very messy indeed.

When the family comes together for this particular Easter dinner, things get especially uncomfortable.

The patriarch of the Merton family, Fred, seems to take great pleasure in making his three adult children, Catherine, Dan and Jenna, miserable. It’s like he is actively trying to make their lives more difficult.

The night ends fairly early, with everyone leaving a little disgruntled. Ahhh, dinners with family, am I right?

The following morning, when Irena, the family’s long-time domestic help returns to clean-up, she finds the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Merton. They’ve been murdered.

Now everyone in the family is a suspect. They all had a motive. Most of them had an opportunity. Who done it?

Going into Not a Happy Family, I will admit to being apprehensive. I’ve had a hit or miss relationship with Lapena, so had no clue how this one would be for me.

My favorite aspect was how the story was formatted.

The short, alternating chapters, made it an incredibly fast read and I was fully engaged. After each perspective, I was sure I had it all figured out.

Alternating between everyone, you get a full picture of what being a part of the Merton family was actually like. It wasn’t pretty.

All of the children were treated poorly by their father and the mother never seemed to stick up for them. She certainly didn’t put a stop to it.

Also, there’s a large inheritance involved, so that always adds a layer to the motive cake.

With this being said, there were other players involved, so don’t narrow your focus too much. You never know who could be out to get jerks like this.

From the very first chapter I was hooked into this story. Lapena wastes no time jumping into the nitty-gritty and it kept me guessing until the very end.

The audiobook was quite good. I definitely recommend that as a format to take this story in.

This is my favorite Lapena thus far and I am looking forward to reading more of her work!

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Review: Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards

Seven Dirty SecretsSeven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars rounded up**

One caused the fall. One did nothing.
One saw it all. One didn’t care.
One used their head. One played the hero.
One was left for dead.

Reading the above at the beginning of the synopsis for Seven Dirty Secrets, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

I see something like that and automatically want to know all the scandalous details. In short, if someone has a secret, I want to know all about it.

Natalie D. Richards kicks this one off immediately. In the very first chapter you a diving into the drama. I really appreciated that.

We follow 18-year old, Cleo, who on her birthday receives a hella creepy invitation to participate in a scavenger hunt.

At first, although the initial placing of the first clue was scary for her, Cleo believes that perhaps her best friend, Hope, or her brother, Conner, are behind it.

However, when they both vehemently deny having anything to do with the hunt, she is forced to consider other culprits.

Cleo’s given a weekend to solve all the clues, or a deep dark secret of hers will be revealed. A secret that involves the drowning death of her boyfriend, Declan, the previous year on a rafting trip.

Cleo puts her head down and digs in, determined to solve this mystery, before it is too late for her and the rest of her friend group.

As mentioned above, Richards wastes no time getting into the nitty-gritty of this story. Cleo discovers the first clue within moments of the story beginning.

After that, it is non-stop action until the bitter end.

While the synopsis of this seems absolutely up my alley, I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed this reading experience.

I listened to the audiobook on a road trip over Thanksgiving holiday and had to push myself to get through it. The narrator just did not work for me. Frankly, it was painful.

It felt so forced, with zero expression. The voices for the male characters, wow. I would have preferred she read their dialogue in her regular voice than the ones she was putting on.

Further, anytime there was any excitement in the narrative, where someone would be shouting, or freaking out, it felt like she was reading it out loud in her apartment and didn’t want her neighbors to hear what she was doing.

With this being said, I can’t really blame the narrative style completely. There were parts of this story that I found repetitive and I didn’t care for any of the characters.

While I don’t need to like characters in order to enjoy a story, I at least need to be invested in their outcome. I just don’t feel like I ever relaxed enough into this one in order to feel that for them. I think I was too distracted by everything else going on.

This is a solid premise and Richards does a great job of keeping the pace steady throughout. I wish I could have connected with it more, but just because I didn’t, doesn’t mean you won’t.

If this synopsis sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a shot. A hard copy could end up being one of your favorite books of the year!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my honest opinions.

Even though this one didn’t hit like I wanted it to, I will absolutely continue to pick up Richards future work.

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Review: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, #2)Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Aurora Burning is the second book in veteran writing duo, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s, The Aurora Cycle trilogy.

If you have read The Illuminae Files you are well aware that these authors are no strangers to writing hella compelling, action-packed, YA-science fiction stories.

In this installment, Squad 3-1-2 is back, this time on the run from both the authorities and baddies alike.

With an ancient evil force threatening to consume the entire galaxy, it is safe to say that our lovable band of heroes have a lot on their plate. They believe Auri could be the key to solving the problem, but they still need to figure out how.

They get the opportunity to head back to the Hadfield, the ship from Auri’s past, to try to figure out some of the mystery surrounding her; there’s a lot.

As always, they run into a wee bit of trouble on that mission.

Bigger trouble is on the horizon when Kal’s savage long-lost sister makes an appearance with an entire Slydrathi army at her back. Let’s just say, she’s not there for a charming family reunion.

This entire book is go-go-go, from the very beginning. I enjoyed learning more about all of the characters, as well as being introduced to new ones.

The stakes are getting higher and I seriously have no idea how this trilogy is going to be concluded. I am really glad that I held off on reading this one until Aurora’s End released.

I don’t know how I would have made it through otherwise. This one finishes on such an incredible cliffhanger, oh my goodness!

I’m hoping to finish up with the trilogy by the end of the year. Wrapping up 2021 in style!

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Rereading The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter PeopleThe Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am sticking with my original rating of 4.5-stars, rounded down. There’s something about the final few chapters of this one that gets a bit convoluted for me.

I do still think the atmosphere in this is top-notch. Also, I love how McMahon formats her stories. The way she is able to blend historical perspectives with the present; chef’s kiss.

I’m super stoked for their 2022-release, The Children on the Hill, said to be inspired by Frankenstein!!!


Rereading with, you guessed it, my fabulous niece, Alyssa.
I recommended this book to her, so feel it’s only fair that I read it along with her.

I am so excited to be revisiting this one. I have recommended it to countless people since I originally read it in 2019. I have a feeling it’s going to be a full 5-star experience this time around.



In 1908, Sara Harrison Shea lost her daughter under tragic circumstances. Unsurprisingly, Sara was racked by grief and unable to move forward.

She would do anything to bring her daughter back.

In the present, Ruthie’s mom has gone missing. It seems she simply walked out of their house, into the surrounding Vermont woods, and disappeared.

With no note, and no signs of a struggle, Ruthie is forced to care for her creepy little sister whilst investigating the mystery of her mother’s sudden departure.

What Ruthie doesn’t know is that she is living in the very same house once occupied by Sara Harrison Shea. Is that mere coincidence, or is her mother’s disappearance related to that fact?

When she comes across parts of Sara’s diary hidden in the old farmhouse, she discovers that sometimes the past really can come back to haunt you.

Following both past and present timelines, this eerie tale is filled with an overwhelming feeling of dread.

I feel like Winter is the absolute perfect season to read this book!

When it gets dark early, when it’s cold, when the wind blows long and loud into the night. The atmosphere is richly developed and absolutely my favorite part of the story.

I went into this book completely blind, only knowing that quite a few of my book friends have loved it.

I was impressed with McMahon’s writing. She has a very strong Horror voice and I definitely look forward to reading more of her works.

I feel like with this one now under my belt, I know more what to expect from her, and I’m damned pumped for it.

There were a few issues I had with the storyline. Nothing major, but just things I wish would have had more information, or context.

The use of diary entries was well done and as always, I felt that made me feel more a part of the story; like I was investigating it myself.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it. If you like a ghost stories with a dark and ominous atmosphere, you should definitely check this one out!

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Review: Homicide and Halo-Halo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #2) by Mia P. Manansala

Homicide and Halo-Halo (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #2)Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Homicide and Halo-Halo is the second installment of Mia P. Manansala’s new Cozy Mystery series, Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mysteries.

I really enjoyed the first book, Arsenic and Adobo, so was quite excited to join back up with our feisty protagonist, Lila Macapagal, to solve another case!

Picking up a few months after the conclusion of the first book, Lila is still recovering from the horrifying events that occurred at her aunt’s Filipino restaurant, Tita Rosie’s Kitchen.

She is continuing to work with her best friend to get their new cafe up and running, but Lila is feeling a little blocked with regards to creating new recipes. She hasn’t really been talking about it to anyone, but it’s starting to weigh on her.

She needs to get out of her own head for a while, so when the town officials decide to resurrect the Miss Teen Shady Palms Beauty Pageant, it seems like just the distraction she needs.

Lila, who actually won the pageant years ago, is asked to participate this time around as a judge.

Lila has some mixed feelings on the pageant, but she knows it means so much to the girls that participate, so she agrees to help out.

As the pageant kicks into high gear, Lila is forced to work closely with the other judges, pageant contestants and their often overly-involved mothers.

When the head judge ends up dead, Lila’s frenemy-slash-cousin, Bernadette, is considered the number one suspect. As much as Bernadette irritates Lila, she knows Bernie is no killer.

Therefore, Lila must dig deep into another mystery in order to clear her cousin’s name before it’s too late.

I had a ton of fun reading this. I was so happy to be back with these characters; Lila and her large, boisterous family, are a blast to read about.

I liked getting to know Lila more in this one. Her backstory is filled in a bit in regards to her complicated relationship with her mother and I felt like that really added depth to her character. I began to understand more about her insecurities, which helped me to relate to her.

There are still two very eligible bachelors flitting about Lila’s periphery, but I like how that is not a main focus of the book.

Lila has expressed that she isn’t ready to start anything with anyone yet and I like how she is sticking to her guns a bit on that. Instalove haters have no fear, you won’t find that here.

Overall, this is a fun, fast-paced, deliciously cute Cozy Mystery that you can really sink your teeth into. I loved the pageant activities and setting; the contestant and judge drama never let up.

If you are looking for a new Cozy series to start, or maybe you are just looking to get into Cozy Mysteries as a genre, you cannot go wrong with the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mysteries. Pure fun on the page!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

This is one of my most anticipated sequels of 2022 and I was beyond thrilled by the fact that I got to read it early. I hope this series runs for a long, long, long time!!


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Review: Nanny Needed by Georgina Cross

Nanny NeededNanny Needed by Georgina Cross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When Sarah Larsen finds a job posting in the lobby of her building from a wealthy family looking for a nanny, she thinks it may be just the break she needs to get out of debt.

Sure, it says, special conditions apply, which is a little suspicious, but she’s never going to make headway in her bills with just her waitressing gig.

Applying for the job, she can hardly believe it when she makes it through to the interview stage.

Even more unbelievable is the family home, a penthouse on the Upper West Side. This is exactly what she needs and she gets it!

The Bird family is extremely wealthy and cherish their privacy, therefore, Sarah is required to sign an NDA, which she doesn’t think too much about.

The pay, the work hours, the minimal job requirements, it all seems a little too good to be true. And y’all know, if it seems that way, it’s because it is!

It doesn’t take long on the new job before Sarah realizes something is very off with the Birds. Very, very off.

Although the other members of staff aren’t completely willing to talk with her about the family, the little she is able to pick up indicates there have been a few nannies before her, the last one departing suddenly.

What happened to them? What would make them leave such a seemingly prestigious placement?

Nanny Needed is one wild ride. Getting to meet the Bird family was quite the jaw dropping experience. Oh wow, the secrets we keep.

Sarah got into it deep. I can’t believe how long she stayed into it, but there we go. Throughout it all, I was hooked, I’ll admit it, like a moth to a flame.

Rich people drama is a trope I love. While this was a bit far-fetched, it still kept me entertained. Particularly the second-half, which I read it one sitting.

I think if you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, Lifetime movie-type read, this would be a good one to pick up. Even though it most likely won’t be super memorable for me, it kept me engaged the entire time I was reading and that’s a great thing!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Bantam, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I definitely look forward to picking up more from this author!

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Review: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

The Night She DisappearedThe Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In 2019, 19-year old Tallulah heads out on a date with her live-in boyfriend, Zach. The young couple have a beautiful baby boy, Noah, so don’t get to spend a lot of time alone together.

Kim, Tallulah’s Mom, who the kids live with, is happy to sit Noah for the night. Tallulah works so hard going to college and being a Mom, she deserves a nice night out.

Later that night, Kim receives a text from Tallulah that she is heading to the home of one of her friend’s from college. Kim tells her to enjoy. She’s happy Tallulah is letting loose for once.

But as the sun rises the next day and Tallulah still isn’t home, Kim begins to worry. Not returning home, and not notifying Kim as to why, is far from typical behavior for rule-following Tallulah.

Calling Tallulah’s friends, Kim quickly discovers no one knows where she is. Now Kim knows for sure, she feels it in her gut, something has happened to Tallulah.

In 2018, Sophie moves with her boyfriend, Shaun, to the campus of a boarding school in Tallulah’s hometown, where he will be the new head teacher.

Sophie, a Murder Mystery writer by trade, learns early on of some local missing persons cases and becomes interested.

After she finds what appears to be a clue to one of those cold cases, she begins her own investigation. The case in question, that of Tallulah and Zach.

This intriguing mystery novel follows multiple perspectives as past and present begin to merge. I was gripped from the very first chapter. Jewell immediately pulled me in.

My fabulous niece, Alyssa, and I actually Buddy Read this one together. We had a great time discussing various theories and plot points along the way.

The way Jewell structured this was so clever. Getting Tallulah’s perspective, in addition to Kim’s and Sophie’s, it built-out the truth of Tallulah’s ill-fated night on the town in such an interesting way.

I loved Tallulah as a character. She seemed so real to me. What she was going through, feeling and experiencing in early motherhood and with her relationship with Zach, it was very compelling and I felt myself growing quite attached to her.

Getting to know her friend group and the various players involved in the disappearance was extremely addicting. There were some bad actors, that’s for sure.

Sophie’s investigation also drew me in. Y’all know, an amateur sleuth is one of my favorite tropes in a mystery. Sophie was believable in that role and I loved the fact that she was actually an author of Mystery books.

Additionally, this one kept me guessing until the very end, which is never a bad thing.

I would say, thus far, this is my favorite Jewell to date. There were a few parts where I felt the pace dragging just a little, hence why I couldn’t give it a full 5-stars, but overall, this is a sensationally fun Mystery!

I would definitely recommend all Mystery Lovers add this one to their TBR!!


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Rereading Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Squad 3-1-2 forever!

Reading Aurora Rising for the second time was such a treat. I think I am going to be rid of that pesky 4.5-stars rounded up thing we did the first time round.

It felt so incredibly good to be back with these characters and in this world.

I felt like I was able to relax more into the story this time, as I wasn’t flipping the pages a million miles per hour to see what was going to happen next.

Therefore, I was able to learn more about and become even more attached to this cast. Each character is unique and brings their own special blend of something good to the table.

My plan is to move directly on to the second book, Aurora Burning, and then straight on through to Aurora’s End.

My copy of Aurora’s End just arrived today and I am so excited to see how this is going to turn out. I literally have no predictions.

If you are a Scifi fan, if you loved the Illuminae Files, if you love stories set in space, if you love stories featuring a ragtag group of individuals fighting for survival, you should pick this up.

Heck, everyone should pick this up! It’s a great book, an action-packed story and a phenomenal start to a series.


Now that the final book, Aurora’s End, has been released, I am rereading this, because I hope to actually binge the entire trilogy this month!


Let’s do this!!!


**4.5-stars rounded up**

Apparently, this is what it feels like to have your still beating heart ripped violently out of your chest?!

The year is 2380; our story begins on the eve of graduation at Aurora Academy. Traditionally, immediately following the graduation ceremony, squad leaders choose their teams and are given their first real assignments.

Tyler Jones, star pupil and known leader, cannot sleep.

Call it nerves, call it excitement for the future, whatever it is, sleep is not happening.

During the course of his restless night, he hears an SOS over the comm system and sets out to see if he can help.

He reasons, since he is incredible in almost every way, he will definitely be able to help.

When he comes across the starship emitting the SOS beacon, he finds hundreds of dead aboard, with just one survivor locked in cryogenic sleep state.

Fortunately, he is able to save her and bring her back to the Academy with him. But just who is this beautiful lone survivor?

Coming out of cryosleep, Aurora is shocked to find herself at an Academy for space cadets and not at Octavia Colony, her original destination.

As she struggles to clear her head and put the pieces of the puzzle together, she also discovers she has some sort of mysterious powers awakening.

Tyler is disappointed and confused upon returning to the Academy as well.

Due to his late night rescue mission, he missed graduation and as a consequence, the selection of teams.

As a new squad leader, what is he left with?

His sister, a loyal friend and a few other miscreants: Scarlett, Cat, Kal, Fin and Zila.

Thusly, Squad 312 is formed. The most lovable bunch of misfits the galaxy has ever seen!

The story follows all of their perspectives as they go on their first mission and learn more about Aurora, as well as her puzzling claims about the nonexistent Octavia Colony.

Guys, to say I am anxiously anticipating the next book would literally be the understatement of 2019.

I loved this story a ton. My only negative is that I found the numerous POVs a bit jarring at times. Other than that, nothing but love from me!

Squad 312 against the whole galaxy?

This author duo is hard to beat in my eyes. I hope they continue to collaborate for years to come!!!

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Review: Gilded by Marissa Meyer

GildedGilded by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gilded is the latest release from the ultimate Queen of Retellings, Marissa Meyer.

Pitched as a haunted retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, Gilded was one of my most anticipated 2021-releases. I preordered the heck out of this book and am so pleased that it now graces my shelves.

The narrative follows, Serilda, a miller’s daughter, who spends her days spinning tales for the children in her village. Her stories are wildly entertaining and full of untruths, even though to hear her tell them, you would think everything she says is possible.

Serilda is a truly gifted storyteller. Cursed years ago by the God of Lies, Serilda’s talent was bound to get her in over her head eventually.

When one of her stories draws the attention of the Erlking and his wild hunters, Serilda gets drawn beyond the veil into a world of ghouls, phantoms and other mythical creatures.

Based on her story, the Erlking demands that Serilda weave straw into gold for him, locking her in a tower, threatening her life if the task isn’t completed by morning.

After a mysterious boy appears in her tower room, Serilda discovers he has the exact magic she needs to save herself.

But who is he and what does he want with her? As the two get to know one another, their fates become intertwined in Serilda’s epic battle to free herself from the Erlking’s clutches.

As mentioned above, I had been really excited to get my hands on this book and it did not disappoint. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the audiobook from the publisher, Macmillan Audio. I decided to go with the audio version because of that and I am so glad that I did!

I previously listened to the entire Lunar Chronicles series on audio and had such a blast with it. To my sheer delight, I quickly discovered this audio is performed by the same fantastic narrator, Rebecca Soler!

She just has the perfect voice for Meyer’s stories. Whimsical and captivating, she breezes through Meyer’s whip-smart dialogue like she had written it herself.

In fact, that is one of my favorite aspects of Meyer’s writing; the dialogue. It is always so witty and fun, keeping me smiling even during the most intense scenes. Serilda’s perspective provided plenty of opportunity for Meyer to show off that comical style.

I actually read this entire story believing it to be a standalone novel. Surprise and elation, it is not!

This is actually the first in a duology, with the second book expected to be released next November. I cannot wait to find out the conclusion to Serilda’s story. I will definitely be rereading this one prior to that release.

If you have enjoyed previous works from Meyer, or just love a dark fairytale retelling, you absolutely need to pick this one up and give it a shot.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy of this to listen to and review. It’s an incredible story with some phenomenal narration to boot!

I cannot wait for the continuation of this story. 2022, here we come!!!

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