Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

MagpieMagpie by Elizabeth Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Magpie follows Marissa, Kate and Jake. Marissa and Jake seem to have a perfect relationship. So perfect, in fact, that they dream of having a baby together.

Kate, is their perfect new lodger, whose rent should help them start their family. She gets on with Jake quite well.

All sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Guess what, if it seems that way, it’s probably not. We all read Thrillers, we know this.

It’s not just the fertility issues that start to put a strain on their relationship. Their new lodger also seems to like to push boundaries. It’s most distracting.

Magpie is a good book. It’s a solid story that I know a lot of Readers will really enjoy. I’m glad I picked it up, but unfortunately, I don’t think it is one that will stick in my mind for long.

For one, I’m not sure the subject matter really suited my tastes. Additionally, from the beginning I couldn’t stand Marissa. I felt like I was supposed to be on her side and if anything, it was the opposite for me.

This book is broken into separate Parts. Part I is from one perspective and then Part II shifts to another. Right around this time there was a big reveal.

For me, the reveal felt like it happened too early, because after that it was sort of just telling the aftermath of that reveal. It sucked any intrigue out of it for me.

I also feel, and this is 100% personal taste, that I would have enjoyed it more if it would have had a format that alternated perspectives for much longer. Sure, this could add some confusion, but also, that’s part of the fun.

There was something else more towards the end, but that ended up falling a little flat for me in comparison. Overall, this is a solid story. The things that didn’t work for me are personal taste issues and completely subjective. I’m sure many, many Readers will have a lot of fun with this.

If the synopsis sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a shot. There’s a book for every Reader and a Reader for every book. This one could be a new favorite for you.

This review feels a bit shorter than those I generally tend to write, but this one is really difficult to talk about without going into specifics. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so will leave it here.

Magpie is entertaining, if not super memorable. I’m glad I gave it a shot. Even though it won’t end up on any of my favorites lists, it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.

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Review: For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa

For Butter or WorseFor Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Nina Lyon has worked hard to make a name for herself as a chef. When she decided to host a culinary reality television show, some people felt she was selling out, but Nina chose to take the risk anyway.

Nina views the show, The Next Cooking Champ!, as a great way to secure her name, brand and the success of her restaurant.

Her co-host, Leo O’Donnell, is a thorn in her side however, the only real downside to the show. Dealing with him every day; good grief.

Leo doesn’t mean to drive Nina nuts. He’s not like aiming to tick her off or anything, it just happens. The stress of filming gets to him and he seems to direct that towards her. Whoops.

When Leo takes a joke a smidge too far, Nina quits the show, live on air.

Later when Leo and Nina get caught in what appears to be a compromising position by paparazzi, the fans go absolutely nuts. Has there been a secret relationship unfolding when the cameras are off?

Well no, but it would certainly help both of their careers if that were true. Thus, their agents arrange a fake dating relationship in the hopes of salvaging these two celebrity chefs’ reputations.

For Butter or Worse is a cute and satisfying enemies-to-lovers meets faking-dating story. I enjoyed my time reading this and loved the idea of two celebrity chefs having a bit of a romance.

I wish that they would have spent more time actually involved in the reality cooking show though. That’s sort of what sold me on this, so I was a little disappointed it wasn’t more of a setting for the actual story.

With this being said, it was still enjoyable reading about two chefs as main characters. They come from different worlds in the culinary business and I liked reading about their challenges within their careers.

I also always enjoy an enemies-to-lovers trope and this one was well-done. I will say, I personally prefer when the banter has a bit more wit and humor, but it could be that this just wasn’t fit to my sense of humor. I definitely enjoyed it, but I wasn’t giggling along as Nina and Leo were exchanging barbs.

The sex scenes in this were great. I will say I enjoyed the level of steam La Rosa brought to the page here. There was just enough to keep me fanning myself, without crossing into eye-roll territory.

I also liked the sweet scenes a lot. The scenes were Nina and Leo really started to connect. While there was miscommunication, of course, it never got overplayed or annoying for me. I think the tension was well-built and resolved, so great job by the author on that.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It is a good, fun story, with believable characters and an interesting set-up. I would recommend this to fans of Jasmine Guillory ((me)), or Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series ((also, me)).

I am definitely looking forward to picking-up more from this author. I think she really did a lot of things well here and I look forward to following her skills grow with future work.

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

This is a fun book and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. It made me hungry…for delicious food and for more steamy romance!

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Review: Bad Dolls by Rachel Harrison

Bad DollsBad Dolls by Rachel Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Bad Dolls is a collection of 4-short stories from Rachel Harrison, one of my new go-to Horror authors. I recently read Harrison’s October 2022-release, Such Sharp Teeth, and absolutely loved it.

After I finished, I thought, do I need to wait an entire year to get another new release from Harrison? If so, how sad. I checked out her author page and was delighted to discover this collection releasing Tuesday, December 6th.

Berkley came through for me and I was delighted to be able to check out this collection a little early.

For me the collection was perfectly arranged, with each story increasing my enjoyment level. The first story follows Jordan, who picks up a Magic 8-Ball for nostalgia’s sake at a flea market and it ends up influencing her life in big ways.

I enjoyed this story as a start to the collection. It didn’t knock my socks off, but was well-written and had an intriguing concept.

The second story follows Nat as she attends her best friend from childhood, Hailey’s, bachelorette party. Nat doesn’t really know any of the other women that well, as they are Hailey’s friends from college. It explores her feelings of exclusion and how friendships can change over time.

This one went in such an interesting direction that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed Nat’s narrative voice and love how this one ended.

The third story follows Meg, who decides to join her friend on a diet prior to attending her ex’s wedding. The women download an app called, Goblin, that is supposed to help them stick to their plan.

The exploration of body issues and struggling with an eating disorder was very well done. I loved the idea of the Goblin. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I would throw a caution flag on this story for Readers who may be triggered by active eating disorders, or BDD.

Finally, the fourth, and my favorite story of the lot, follows Mackenzie, who moves back to her hometown following the death of her little sister, Audrey.

This story explores grief, guilt and regrets. Mackenzie rents an attic apartment and discovers a porcelain doll there. Things get weird, things get creepy and I absolutely loved it. This story for me was a perfect example of why I love Rachel Harrison’s work so much.

Overall, this is a great collection. I definitely recommend it for anyone who has enjoyed Harrison’s novels, or anyone who enjoys short-Horror in general.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. These stories are going to stick in my mind for a long time. Well done!

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Review: A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

A Wilderness of StarsA Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vega has been raised by her mother in a secluded valley. The two are completely isolated from the rest of their society, except for occasional visits from Pa, a medicine man, who travels around selling tonics and tinctures.

Her mother has warned her about the many dangers that lurk outside their safe haven. A rapid illness is sweeping the land, making people desperate, scared and fierce.

One night Vega sees an omen in the skies. It matches a legend she has been told; a prophecy of sorts. It calls for her to leave their valley.

Unfortunately, Vega’s mother is very ill. She cannot travel and Vega refuses to leave her behind. Vega’s Mom knows what the message of the skies means though, she knows Vega’s time is limited, she must leave. So, her Mom dies.

Problem solved.

Officially on her own for the first time, Vega, secretly the Last Astronomer, knows what she must do. She needs to travel to the sea, a place neither she, nor her ancestors have ever been and she needs to find The Architect.

Within the two, the cure to their world’s ills may be found. Hopefully. Vega knows her position is precarious, so keeping her identity secret is of the utmost importance.

This story follows Vega on her journey. There are a lot of obstacles standing in her way, but along with a couple of strong allies, she’s hoping she can get to the sea.

If she does though, what will happen once she gets there? It’s hard to decipher from the legends. All Vega knows is that the fate of her world rests in her hands. No pressure.

Objectively, I know that A Wilderness of Stars is a good, creative story with fantastic writing. However, it just was not for me.

It hurts my heart to write this, but honestly, I was bored throughout the entirety of the book. I didn’t like the characters, I found the setting to be lackluster and I wasn’t sold on the romance in the slightest.

It felt very low stakes and unengaging. I know you might be asking, how can the entire fate of the world being in one girl’s little hands not be high stakes? And to that I will just say, I gave zero poops about the world. It could’ve burned out in a blaze of glory for all I cared.

I have read other reviews and I know that I am definitely in the minority opinion on this and that’s okay. The writing is very lyrical and I know a lot of Readers love that. For me, the essence of the story sort of got overshadowed by all that beautiful writing.

Like, where you at plot, all I see is beautiful sentences…

With this being said, this is 100% personal opinion. I know the majority of people are going to read this and love it. It just wasn’t suited to my tastes.

There’s a book for every Reader and a Reader for every book. If the synopsis sound intriguing to you, absolutely give it a go. It could be a new favorite for you.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Although this wasn’t my favorite, I still love Shea Ernshaw so much and will continue to pick up anything and everything she writes!

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Review: Belladonna (Belladonna #1) by Adalyn Grace

Belladonna (Belladonna, #1)Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

With a story as beautiful as its cover, Belladonna took me completely by surprise. I enjoyed this so much!

We follow Signa Farrow, who is not your average girl. I know you hear that a lot, but in this case it’s true. For example, she has an immunity to Belladonna, can commune with spirits and has a relationship with Death.

Unfortunately, our Signa was orphaned as a child and has lived with many guardians since. Recently, she’s been with her Aunt Magda, who is cruel. There’s no love lost between the two. So, when Aunt Magda suddenly dies, Signa isn’t exactly heartbroken.

She does have questions about her future though. Then she receives word that her last remaining relatives, the Hawthornes, would like her to go live with them at their Thorn Grove estate, as her Uncle Elijah’s ward.

Lacking other options, Signa leaves her old life behind willingly and with a bit of hope in her heart.

Arriving at the estate, she begins to become acquainted with everyone. Her Uncle is mourning his wife, Lilianne, who passed away recently. Woefully, her younger cousin, Blythe, seems to be suffering from the same mysterious illness that prematurely killed her mother.

When it becomes clear to Signa that Lilianne didn’t die of natural causes an unexpected murder mystery begins to unfold. This is made significantly more interesting by the fact that Signa gets the support of her old friend, Death, as she tries to solve it.

This book surprised me. I really didn’t know much about it going in. My initial attraction was the cover, followed by Adalyn Grace’s name on said gorgeous cover.

I was delighted with the setting, which based off some dates of included journal entries would be sometime in the 1850s or 1860s. It has a lush gothic feel that I really loved. Even the focus on plants like belladonna, Signa’s frequent use of it, felt very period specific and natural to me.

I enjoyed learning about Signa’s Thorn Grove family along with her. She’s really thrust right into their world of formal parties, frequent visitors and gossipers galore.

Having lived a fairly secluded life up until that point, I think Signa had felt very lonely. Now surrounded with people she becomes attached, to some more than others. Particularly her cousin, Blythe. She’s very saddened by Blythe’s illness and becomes determined to see her well.

I actually really ended up enjoying the romantic elements as well. I loved the dynamic between Signa and the character of Death. It was giving me Addie LaRue vibes and I was not mad about it.

Signa, at the age where it would be acceptable for her to marry, has some other prospects as well. Watching her navigate that, while trying to decipher her unusual feelings for Death was super compelling. I was eating it up.

Grace did a fantastic job of building the tension and mystery. It was hard to put down once Signa began looking into Blythe’s illness. It was a bit of a race against the clock and for a while, almost everyone was a suspect.

I loved the ending of this as well. It was a great set-up for the second book. Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Signa is one of my favorite new characters of the year, so I can’t wait to be reunited with her.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Hachette Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

I definitely recommend the audiobook for this story. It was so easy to get swept up into this world through that medium. 10-out-of-10 recommend!!

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Review: Death at the Auction by E.C. Bateman

Death at the AuctionDeath at the Auction by E.C. Bateman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death at the Auction is the first book in what I am hoping will be a long-running Cozy Mystery series.

This story follows Felicia Grant. Felicia’s family owns a popular Auction House in her home village of Stamford. After a falling out with her father over the direction of the business, Felicia left the auction-life behind and moved to London, along with her son, Algernon.

When Felicia gets an early-morning call from her best friend, Cassie, back in Stamford, she knows it can’t be good news and it’s not.

Her father has had a fall. He’s okay, but pretty banged up and he’ll be unable to auctioneer at the auction set for that very day. Felicia is the only one with the knowledge and expertise to successfully fill in. There’s a lot on the line; a lot of money they can’t afford to lose.

Can she come right away?

Felicia agrees, packs Algie and off they go. She’s full of competing emotions as she heads to Stamford. It’s been a while. There’s estranged relationships to consider.

Additionally, she’s been out of the business for quite some time. Will her auctioneering skills have suffered?

Once the auction begins, Felicia slips into her old role with ease. It’s actually nice to see so many familiar faces and the buzz of the sale is contagious.

All is going swimmingly right up until the final lot. As it is open for bids, Felicia’s exuberant ex-husband Dexter bursts in, interrupting the entire process and then a body falls out of a large antique cupboard set at the back of the room.

The very dead body of one of her Dad’s greatest rivals.

As investigators begin to look into the crime, Felicia, Dexter and a whole-host of locals find themselves as suspects. Felicia, unable to leave well-enough alone, decides to do a little digging of her own. She’s determined to clear her name and lift the cloud from over the auction house.

Death at the Auction was a ton of fun. I loved the setting and the characters. It’s definitely a great start to a new series. I can’t wait to get to know them more.

Felicia was so great as a main. She’s extremely likable and I found her feelings and motivations easy to understand and relate to. The other characters were interesting as well.

Dexter, her ex, is quite the minx, adding a bit of humor to the story. Their son is sweet, precocious and wise beyond his years. There’s also Detective Pettifer, the intrepid investigator trying to get to the bottom of this mess.

One of the highlights for me was the relationship that develops between Felicia and Pettifer. He seems to take a bit of a shine to her and the two interact fairly frequently over the course of the investigation.

There’s definitely a budding friendship and I could totally see him consulting her on future cases. I loved their back-and-forth and the trust that started to build between them.

I also really enjoyed Felicia’s relationships with all of her family members. Her son is such a sweetheart. He’s very quiet, yet inquisitive. He sort of does what he likes, but I feel like it’s because Felicia has the confidence in him to give him a bit of independence.

Dexter and Felicia also have great banter and it was fun watching her interact with her grumpy Dad after such a long time. I want more!

Some of the extraneous variables of the mystery I found a little hard to track, but overall I had so much fun with this. It’s a great foundation to build many more mysteries from. I am certainly looking forward to being reunited with Felicia and friends.

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. If you love a solid Cozy, with a fun group of characters and compelling mystery, you should absolutely give this one a shot!

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Review: Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

Love in the Time of Serial KillersLove in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ph.D. candidate, Phoebe Walsh, has always been obsessed with True Crime. It’s a great way to focus her attention and avoid thinking about her own life for too long.

Phoebe and her younger brother, Connor’s, parents divorced when the two were kids. After that, Phoebe went to live with Mom and Connor stayed with Dad in their childhood home in Florida. Needless to say, it is a complicated family history.

After their father passes away, Phoebe agrees to live in his home and help prepare it for sale. It will be nice for her to have some privacy to continue working towards her degree; she has a lot of writing to do. She’s also looking forward to reconnecting with her brother.

They don’t know each other as well as you would assume siblings do, just due to the circumstances of their upbringing. Additionally, it can definitely be hard for Phoebe to let down her defenses to connect with people. At this point, she is willing to give it her best shot.

Truth be told, most people make her a little uncomfortable.

She arrives at her Dad’s late at night and is just deciding how much she wants to unpack in the dark, when a strange man pops up out of nowhere and offers his assistance.

A serial killer. That’s where Phoebe’s mind goes first.

This story begins there and then follows Phoebe as she grapples with her feelings involving her family, being reunited with an old friend and her quest to discover the truth about the mysterious neighbor, Sam.

There’s a lot of exploration of Phoebe as a character and why she views the world the way she does. I actually really enjoyed Phoebe. I liked her dry sense of humor and sort of cynical way of viewing life and love.

I also enjoyed Sam as a character. He would be the perfect golden boy of any romance. I mean, if he wasn’t a serial killer that is.

Even though I liked the characters individually, I wasn’t super sold on the two of them together. My interest waxed and waned over the course of the story and I wound up just being underwhelmed.

I liked it. It’s a good story. I did like Phoebe’s general sensibilities, but for me it just lacked like…I don’t know, heart, maybe?

It’s like when someone sings something technically very well, but there is zero emotion in it. That’s how I felt about this book.

It even took me two tries to get all the way through. The first time I stopped around 30%, deciding I just wasn’t in the mood and I would wait for an audiobook copy to come through from my library.

When the audiobook hold came through, Spooky Season was officially over, so I figured I would give it another shot. I’m glad I finished it, but it definitely wasn’t a memorable experience for me.

With this being said, just because this story didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. If the premise sounds intriguing, you should definitely give it a go. You could end up absolutely loving it. I know many Readers did.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it!

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Review: Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare

Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo LivesClown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

In my opinion, Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives suffered a bit from middle-book syndrome.

Based upon the rumor mill and the way this one left off, I am guessing there is going to be a third book and it’s going to knock this one out of the park.

It’s been a year since the bloodbath in Kettle Springs. Quinn Maybrook finds herself back in Philadelphia, attending college and trying to recover from the horrors she survived.

The public reaction to the Kettle Springs events are mixed. There are factions of online warriors who believe the whole thing was a hoax and some who believe that Quinn and her friends, Cole and Rust, were the actual perpetrators. Frankly, it’s been difficult trying to navigate that atmosphere.

Quinn is a tough egg though, she’s getting by the best she can, just trying to blend in.

Back in Kettle Springs, her father is now the mayor, doing his best to get the damaged town back on track.

The town has become a bit of a tourist attraction for fans of the macabre, general looky-los and unfortunately, a few crazies. All the day in the life of an infamous town.

One weekend when Cole and Rust go to visit Quinn at college, they’re suddenly attacked by a familiar figure. This isn’t their first rodeo, however, and our trio is able to fight off their attackers.

Then Quinn gets the most disturbing call of her life. Something is going down in Kettle Springs and her father seems to be the latest victim. The three must return and seemingly relive the worst night of their life all over again.

Is it a copy-cat? Is it a conspiracy? How were the attacks coordinated? Quinn’s not sure yet, but she definitely intends to find out.

I loved Clown in a Cornfield. I started it on release day, read my hardback copy and enjoyed every moment of my reading experience. It was the exact book I needed to kick off the start of my Spooky Season 2020.

I loved the new girl trope we had happening with Quinn as she first arrived in Kettle Springs. The set-up was fantastic, including details as small as the view from Quinn’s bedroom window. I see you, Frendo.

The social commentary was fantastic as well and the kill scenes were a ton of fun. I marveled at Cesare’s creativity.

While this reading experience was quite different for me, I’m not mad at it.

This time around, I listened to the audiobook, while preparing for and traveling for Thanksgiving. Because of this, I feel like my mind wasn’t 100% committed and had the tendency to wander.

In fact, I listened to the last 40% twice, just trying to determine my opinion on it. One issue was that I found the multiple perspectives difficult to track.

Additionally, I found the build-up to the climax to be a bit muddled. In fact, it was confusion city there for me for a while.

Obviously Quinn’s personality has completely changed as well. At least it felt that way to me. While that’s understandable after all she’s been through, I did find it a little more challenging to connect with her.

While Cole and Rust’s relationship/angle was a bit of a mess for me, I did enjoy the inclusion of a new character in Kettle Springs, Jeri. Meaning new, as in we get her perspective multiple times in this installment.

Jeri lost her sister in the first book and had a very close call with Frendo. I really enjoyed learning more about her and her experience in the aftermath of his sister’s death and the town’s sudden infamy.

Personally, I don’t think the audibook did me any favors either. It’s not like the narration was bad. It really wasn’t. It was great in fact. I just think this could have been a better experience for me if I had read my hard copy.

Regardless, this was still a solid book. The themes involved were well-expressed. Particularly relevant in the aftermath of the Alex Jones / Sandy Hook trial. Cesare did a good job channeling those types of real-life issues into this.

I like that. I always enjoy some social commentary in my Horror. So, while this wasn’t great for me, I’m still enjoying this series and would absolutely pick up a third book!!!

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Review: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Never Ever Getting Back TogetherNever Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My confession of the day is that I have never watched a full episode of either The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette.

Of course I have watched clips and understand the general idea, I’m not a savage. I also recognize it is an absolute sensation and many people love it.

After having so much fun with this book, I think I may need to binge some!

The set-up of Never Ever Getting Back Together feels very ode’ to The Bachelor and frankly I was living for it.

We follow rich, related-to-royalty, arguably-charming playboy, Jordy, getting his own reality television show, Second-Chance Romance.

For the show, ex-girlfriends of Jordy’s will be living together in a mansion, interacting with him and each other, participating in challenges and generally biding for his attention. Week-by-week, Jordy sends one girl packing, until the time comes for his final selection.

Maya dated Jordy two-years ago and the break-up was rough. He cheated on her for months before ultimately calling it quits suddenly when she called him out on his behavior.

Skye dated Jordy directly after Maya. In fact, Maya’s reputation precedes her. Jordy warned Skye how jealous and crazy Maya got after he broke up with her.

Skye can’t believe Maya is joining the show too. Isn’t she like a security risk or something?

When Maya learns Skye, the girl who stole Jordy from her, is going to be participating on the show as well, she’s furious. This girl knowingly dated Jordy behind her back for months. Who does that? Filthy liars, that’s who.

Arriving at the mansion the two girls learn an even more horrible truth, they’re being forced to room together. They’re quite literally bunk-mates.

They try to muscle through it, they might even be contractually-obligated to, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Along with four other girls, Maya and Skye start to settle into their new normal and compete for the ultimate prize: Jordy.

Maya’s no fool though. She knows Jordy too well to fall for any of this smoke in mirrors. Jordy hasn’t changed and that’s fine by her. Maya isn’t dreaming of becoming Jordy’s one-true love, she’s dreaming of revenge.

I had a lot of fun with this. Particularly the set-up, it was adorable. The narrative alternates between Skye and Maya, beginning a little before they even agree to be on the show.

The backdrop of the mansion, filming the reality show, it was great. I felt like I was getting a real glimpse behind the scenes of an actual show. It felt very realistic.

I also liked the mix of personalities that the contestants had. They all had their own motivations for being there and few of those actually revolved around Jordy, or love.

Skye and Maya’s interactions, as they got to know one another, as they battled and then began to drop their defenses; I thought that was really well done too.

My only slight issues with this story would be that I feel like it may have worked better if the story was actually written as New Adult, or Adult. It could have gone farther in the exploration of the relationships.

Also, I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters. I didn’t find the romance that ultimately transpires believable.

These are tiny critiques though and both of these things are simply my personal opinion. Overall, this book is adorable as heck and I really enjoyed following the concept through to the end.

I was lucky enough to listen to an audio copy and definitely recommend that medium. The narrators did an incredible job bringing this story to life.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I am absolutely looking forward to more from Sophie Gonzales!!


Never Ever Getting Back Together
releases next Tuesday, November 29th. Preorder your copy now. You don’t want to miss out. Get it while it’s hot!!

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Review: The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

The Killing CodeThe Killing Code by Ellie Marney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Killing Code is a YA-Historical Mystery following Kit Sutherland, a young woman with a big secret.

The year is 1943 and the war is raging in Europe. In America, women have been recruited to aid in the war effort in a number of different ways. Kit is one of these women, hired due to her education to work as a code breaker.

Pictured above: Code Girls working at Arlington Hall, circa 1943.

The women work and live at Arlington Hall in Virginia, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signals Intelligence facility.

When Kit arrives she’s full of trepidation. As noted above, she’s harboring an important secret, the revelation of which could get her into a lot of trouble. In spite of this, Kit feels her job is crucial and she throws herself into it with gusto.

Kit befriends a few of the other girls, most importantly, Dottie, Moya and Violet. Kit is comfortable, she’s happy. She feels like she belongs. She never expected it to be this way.

But then the murders start. Murders of government girls in and around D.C. This puts Kit and her friends on high alert. These killings are way too close to home.

When it appears the authorities aren’t taking the killings seriously, or if they are, they aren’t getting far, Kit and her friends decide to take matters into their own hands.

They can figure this out. They have too, or one of them very well could be next…

After being beyond impressed by None Shall Sleep, I was really excited to get more from Ellie Marney. Even though Historical Fiction isn’t generally my go-to, I knew in Marney’s hands it would be compelling.

Happy to report, I wasn’t wrong. This was so good. I loved the characters and really hope we get another book following Kit and her friends. I feel like this one set up that possibility nicely.

Kit’s character was so well-developed. From the very start, she’s intriguing. She has a solid backstory, one that could set her up for failure, but she was smart and determined. She pushed through when a lot of people would have given up.

I liked and respected that about her character, finding her easy to follow and root for. The other girls in her friend group were super likable as well, all with their own unique personalities and contributions to the group.

The mystery was solid. I did get confused at times, tracking the men they considered suspicious, but maybe that’s because I was so distracted by the dynamics going on amongst the girls.

I’m looking at you, Kit and Moya…

I was definitely satisfied with the resolution though and would love to hear news that this is actually a start to a series. That could be so fun!

I recommend this to Readers who enjoys a strong historic setting mixed with an even stronger dark mystery plot. We’re talking serial killers. Also, if you love girl groups, kicking butt and not taking no for an answer, you could really end up loving this.

Finally, while this is classified as a YA-story, I feel like Readers of all ages could enjoy this one. It didn’t really feel YA, except in the fact that the characters are late-teens, early-20s in age.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it so much and look forward to getting more from Ellie Marney!

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