Review: All Hallows by Christopher Golden

All HallowsAll Hallows by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

All Hallows, Christopher Golden’s upcoming Horror release, is set in Coventry, Massachusetts.

More specifically, all the events contained within this story surround Halloween Night, 1984, in the solitary neighborhood of Parmenter Road.

The energy in the neighborhood that day is electric, as everyone puts the last-minute touches on the night’s events, decor and costumes.

The Barbosa Family will be hosting their annual and this year, their final, Haunted Woods event. Tony and his daughter, Chloe, have been pouring their hearts and souls into this event for years; setting up just the right props and scares for neighbors and strangers alike to enjoy.

Also that evening will be the typical door-to-door trick-or-treating by neighborhood kids, as well as a block party hosted by the Koenig Family. There’s a lot happening.

The Reader follows the unfolding events via multiple perspectives of individuals living in the neighborhood, including both children and adults.

As the night begins to build, more and more drama is exposed on what one might suppose is a quiet little street. Parmenter Road, like many small town streets, contains a lot of people harboring a lot of secrets. A few of which are about to be brought to light in a big way.

On this night in particular, there are outsiders added to the mix as well. Children dressed in old-fashioned costumes, a Clown, a Scarecrow and a Raggedy Ann, begin to insert themselves into the activities, pleading with the local children for help.

They need to hide, just until midnight from The Cunning Man. Will anyone help them?

I had a lot of fun with this. I love neighborhood-focused stories and this one night on Parmenter Road gave me all the spectacle and intrigue that I could want in that regard.

There was just the right amount of family drama, 80s-references, kills, gore and creepy imagery to keep me 100% invested all the way through.

There are a lot of perspectives, which I feel like not everyone will be crazy about, but for me it made perfect sense. Considering how the story plays out, I actually can’t imagine it being told any other way.

I also loved the atmosphere. Golden brought me back to the Halloween Nights of my youth. Traipsing around with the other neighborhood kids under our claustrophobic masks, carrying plastic orange pumpkins, hitting up as many houses as we could, walking a little faster through the dark spaces between homes.

The strange children and the idea of The Cunning Man definitely brought the chills as well. Nostalgic and scary, I definitely enjoyed the unsettling vibes.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me a copy to read and review. I always enjoy checking out Golden’s new work, sure to be full of creativity and frightening imagery.

Hallow’s Eve is being released on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Preorder your copy now!!!

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Review: The Kind to Kill (Shana Merchant #4) by Tessa Wegert

The Kind to Kill (Shana Merchant #4)The Kind to Kill by Tessa Wegert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Kind to Kill is the 4th-book in Tessa Wegert’s Crime Fiction/Police Procedural series, Shana Merchant.

If you are unfamiliar with these books, they follow Senior Investigator, Shana Merchant, who, at the start of the series, transferred from the NYPD to the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York. She does this after having a horrendous run-in with a serial killer.

Initially, Shana is looking for a slower pace then her NYPD position. Alas, it seems murder and mayhem follow her everywhere she goes.

I definitely recommend starting at the beginning of this series and working your way through. Although, like many Adult Mystery, or Police Procedural series, you can read any of the books as standalones, or start anywhere along the line, I feel like this series has the greatest impact if you begin with book one, Death in the Family.

In this installment, it’s mid-summer and Alexandria Bay is gearing up for their popular Pirate Days event. The town floods with tourists eagerly anticipating the fun-filled annual festival.

Shana is still reeling from the events at the conclusion of book three, but she is hoping things will settle down soon enough. Maybe the Pirate Days are just what the community needs to distract their attention away from her and the high profile Blake Bram case for a bit.

Unfortunately, when a tourist named Rebecca, visiting the area with her husband, mysteriously disappears, Shana and her team realize this isn’t going to be a normal, relaxed community event.

Their resulting investigation could put a dark cloud directly over Pirate Days, a fact members of the local government aren’t too happy about. Shana refuses to back down though. Time is of the essence here and they need to find Rebecca; community reputation be damned.

As the investigation digs in, Shana begins to realize a lot of the evidence is reminiscent of the serial killer murders in New York she was involved in. Is it mere coincidence, or has someone targeted the area, targeted Shana, on purpose?

Does A-Bay have a full-fledged copy-cat on their hands?

As with the earlier books, I really enjoyed this one. Wegert has done a great job building out Shana’s character and backstory. In fact, it is a central theme throughout all the books in the series.

The beginning of this had a bit of a slow start for me. There was quite a bit of exploration of the community outlook and others opinions of Shana, her connection to Blake Bram and whether or not she had a culpability in his crimes.

For me, we sort of dug into that side of the story a bit too much at the beginning of this, when I would have preferred the focus to be more on the investigation into Rebecca’s disappearance.

With this being said, once the investigation does really get underway, I was hooked. I’m hooked into Shana’s personal story as well, don’t get me wrong, it just felt a little uneven there in the beginning.

The intensity of the case continues to build throughout the book, as more people get involved, including the complicated family of one of Shana’s team members. There were some clever red herrings placed throughout and I enjoyed guessing at what the final outcome would be.

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t guess correctly!

I’m so excited by the ending of this one. Nice set-up, Wegert! I cannot wait for the next book. Already! It’s true, I’m totally invested in this series.

Thank you to the publisher, Severn House, for providing me with a copy to read and review. The Kind to Kill releases in early-December 2022, so you have plenty of time to catch-up with, or start the series, before its release.

Don’t miss out!!

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Review: Found Object by Anne Frasier

Found ObjectFound Object by Anne Frasier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Jupiter Bellarose is an investigative journalist whose last project ended in tragedy. She feels responsible for the way things turned out and struggles to move past it.

She spends some time in a mental health hospital during her recovery and upon her release, her boss, Bennett, suggests that she take a break from her life in Minneapolis. He further suggests that perhaps it would be a good time to go home to Savannah, visit her father and work on an easy story.

Jupiter has avoided Savannah for a long time. As a place, it holds a lot of dark memories for her. Her mother, Marie Nova, a world-famous actress was actually murdered there when Jupiter was a teenager.

Jupiter, unfortunately, along with her father, stumbled upon the very gruesome crime scene, including her mother’s decapitated head, shortly after the police did. It was a scene that continues to haunt her.

It’s a real testament to how shaken up she was by the last assignment that she actually agrees to go back. Her new project is a fluff piece regarding the Lumet family and their cosmetics empire, Luminescent.

Jupiter’s mother was once the face of Luminescent cosmetics, so Jupiter already has a bit of knowledge, including first-hand experiences, with the family. She can get this done.

In Savannah, Jupiter is hit in the face with her past. The sudden overflow of memories makes her curious. Some things about that tragic night long ago don’t add up.

Jupiter begins to do what she does best, she digs and she digs, coming ever closer to the answers she seeks. Will she be able to find the truth, or will she be taken out before she can? There’s only one way to find out…

Found Object definitely surprised me with its ability to draw me in. I wasn’t sure if I would end up liking this or not, truth be told, but oh my word, once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Some aspects of it were a bit ridiculous, but I didn’t even care. I was so intrigued by the horrifying story of Jupiter’s mother. I had to know what the truth was.

Jupiter was a great main character. She was well fleshed out and I felt like over the course of the story, I really came to understand her. She had a complicated history and her personality definitely matched that.

There were also some great side characters, Ian, a local police officer, and Poppy, his sweet and smart little niece, definitely stick out in my mind.

For me, the mystery was fun. I love the examination of long ago cases and this one didn’t disappoint.

Additionally, I liked watching Jupiter go about her investigation. Being an investigative reporter, it made sense that she would be as resourceful as she was. Having Ian as a friend during her time in Savannah definitely helped as well.

This concluded in a place that definitely left it open for a continuation of Jupiter and Ian’s story. I would absolutely, one hundred percent, no doubt in my mind pick up a second book if one were published.

No pressure, Anne Frasier, but when can I get it?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Thomas Mercer, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I truly had fun with this story.

Found Object releases this Tuesday, October 18th!!!

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Review: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Together We BurnTogether We Burn by Isabel Ibañez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is the daughter of famous parents. Her mother was the most cherished flamenco dancer in Hispalia prior to her death and her father is the most celebrated Dragonador.

For a time, the family seemed to have it all. Their own arena, their own dragons and flocks of adoring spectators arriving for all of their shows.

After the tragic death of her mother, however, things begin to spiral for the Zalvidars, made worse after another tragedy strikes during their 500th-anniversary show.

Zarela’s father is seriously injured during the incident, as well as many others, and since it involved some of the Zalvidar’s dragons, the family is being blamed.

Now they face punishment from the Dragon Guild and could potentially lose their ancestral home, as well as their livelihood.

Zarela must keep the arena running on her own. She has to keep money coming in. In order to do so, she decides she needs to take her father’s place in the ring. She needs to become a Dragonador.

To prepare herself for the ring though, she’ll need training, and more dragons. Therefore, she ends up reaching out to dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, to basically beg him for his help.

While at first Arturo turns Zarela away, she is determined and not taking no for an answer. Ultimately, after an amazing show of will, he’s impressed by her stubbornness. It’s clear she’s not leaving without a yes.

Arturo agrees to help and along with two dragons, they return to Zarela’s home to train and prepare for the show.

During all of this, Zarela also has suspicions that the tragedies involving her family and their shows haven’t been accidents. She thinks someone is purposefully trying to bring them down and she means to get to the bottom of it.

Sweeping through this intricate and wonderfully-developed world, Together We Burn had me completely entranced from start-to-finish!

I absolutely adored this. It’s not a very complicated story, but what’s here is beautifully done.

It’s a story of family, tradition, legacy and a new generations forging their own path while simultaneously paying tribute to those who came before.

❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥

I found the world to be extremely creative. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it. The whole concept of the dragon fights, that practice, the similarities to traditional bullfighting, was very interesting to read about.

I liked that Ibañez gave her two main characters opposing views on the practice, as that let her give voice to both sides of the controversial issue. Personally, I thought that was handled very well.

At first I was a little concerned about that aspect of the story. I mean, even though dragons are fictional, I love them and don’t want to see them harmed.

I also enjoyed the characters so much and the mystery that ran throughout. Zarela was a great character to follow and the dynamic between her and Arturo gave the story just the right amount of humor and romance.

Finally, I really loved how this wrapped-up. I am more of a series girl, overall, as I feel some standalones leave me wanting more, but I was so pleased with the way this concluded. I walk away a happy girl!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

I can’t wait to read more from Isabel Ibañez!!

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Review: The Fervor by Alma Katsu

The FervorThe Fervor by Alma Katsu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

A minister takes his wife and some local kids for a picnic in the mountains. Mayhem ensues. A newspaper man and woman share a romantic interlude at cabin in the woods. An evil is unleashed.

There’s something out there and anyone who goes near it is putting themselves, and anyone they come into contact with after, at risk.

Spiders, spiders everywhere, in the trees and in my hair…

It’s the 1940s and as WWII rages on, hostility towards individuals of Japanese descent in the United States is on the rise. Internment camps have been opened with some public support.

While her husband, a military pilot, is off fighting overseas, Meiko Briggs and her daughter, Aiko, get sent from their home in Seattle to such a camp in rural Idaho. With no other family to help them, Meiko and Aiko are on their own.

They keep their heads down, hoping for a day when they can be reunited with Mr. Briggs and return home. They want their old life back.

We follow Meiko and Aiko during their time at camp. There’s an illness spreading there and Meiko suspects there is more to it than meets the eye. It starts out with cold-like symptoms, but quickly escalates making the infected anxious and violent; like things weren’t bad enough already.

We also follow the minister, Archie, as he deals with the aftermath of his ill-fated picnic on the mountain, as well as the newspaper reporter, Fran. Through these multiple perspectives the whole truth of the fervor is revealed.

Katsu’s signature style is on full display throughout this tale; melding historic events with Horror and supernatural elements.

While the human-side of this story is horrifying enough, the supernatural elements involve yokai, entities from Japanese folklore, specifically the Jorogumo, a spider demon. These aspects were absolutely fascinating.

The content of this novel provides a great opportunity for exploration of topics pertinent today, such as xenophobia and aggressive nationalism.

Also, the whole idea of the illness and it’s spread, the fear related to that; obviously, that’s quite topical as well and left me with plenty to think about. I think those aspects will make this a great pick for book clubs, or just to discuss with friends. It’s nuanced. We love that.

I would describe this as a slow burn, however there are plenty of creepy elements and intrigue sprinkled throughout. This kept me compelled enough to keep going. I needed to find out what was going to happen.

My slight critiques would be that I wished the Jorogumo would have played an even larger, or maybe more overt role, and the switching amongst the multple-POVs sometimes made it feel a bit disjointed. I did enjoy how it all came together eventually though.

This novel absolutely solidified my belief that man is the most dangerous monster of all. I picked up on that same message in Katsu’s earlier release, The Hunger, as well.

Seriously, the things people are willing to do to one another when they’re afraid…

Overall, this was a strong novel. It’s smart and explores a lot of really interesting and important topics. I continue to be impressed with Katsu’s imaginative take on Historical Horror. It’s so unique and refreshing. Well done!

Thank you so much to the publisher, P.G. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I have been highly anticipating this one and it did not disappoint.

The Fervor releases this Tuesday, April 26th!!!

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Review: The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

The House Across the LakeThe House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Casey Fletcher is a NYC-based actress, who having grown up in the industry, is used to a lot of drama.

Unfortunately for Casey, after suffering a personal tragedy, she makes a mistake many people have made before her. She turns to the bottle to numb her pain.

Initially, she’s still able to function somewhat, but she’s spiraling fast, head-first into the NYC pavement. Luckily, the paparazzi is there to capture her descent for the whole world to see. ((read with heavy sarcasm))

Casey’s mother, in an ill-advised effort to help her daughter, ships her off to their Vermont lake house, because we all know being secluded in the middle of nowhere on a lake will make you quit drinking.

Frankly, Casey could use a break from the city anyway, so she doesn’t put up much of a fight. Her mother thinks since Casey doesn’t have a car there, she won’t be able to get alcohol, but the friendly neighbor who is making her grocery runs keeps her fully stocked.

At the lake house, Casey struggles just as much as in the city. It is the last place she was with her husband and the root of her misery.

Drinking her days away, Casey is obviously not in a good head space. She struggles to concentrate on anything, or remain focused, that is until she begins to utilize the family binoculars.

Across the lake is a massive modern home recently purchased by an uber-wealthy couple, Tom and Katherine Royce. Tom, a successful businessman and Katherine, a stunning former model, give Casey plenty to focus on.

After a shocking encounter on the lake brings Casey and Katherine together, the two women begin a tentative friendship. The more the women chat and get to know one another, the more clear it becomes to Casey that all is not well in the Royce household.

Not long after, Katherine suddenly vanishes. Casey, having witnessed some very suspicious behaviors from the couple before, thinks violence may have been involved. She doesn’t believe Katherine just up and left of her own volition.

Casey becomes obsessed with revealing the truth, but at what cost?

Y’all know, I have been itching to get my hands on this release and it did not disappoint. With his signature-style, Riley Sager has spun another web of intrigue so delicious even Alfred Hitchcock would be giving it two thumbs up!

I loved the modern-Rear Window vibes and the setting was fantastic. Having Casey being on her own, in the house that literally haunted her just by being there, it felt so claustrophobic and unsettling.

It can be tough sometimes being on your own, but Casey being alone at that house was taking it to a whole new level of isolation. Sager paced out the reveals of the before perfectly, in my opinion. It kept me so interested.

I also really enjoyed, not just Casey as a main character, but all her interactions and musings involving the Royces. They certainly kept her mind occupied, at least for a little while.

There were additional side characters, two men in particular, that added a lot to the story as well. They were also residing on the lake at the time that Casey was there and I felt they both added in their own way to the drama unfolding. One was a solid presence, who it felt good to have around, the other, I wasn’t so sure about.

The ending of this is completely over-the-top and caught me by surprise. It’s definitely one of his more memorable conclusions. Trust me when I say, it’s a wild ride.

We started in one direction and ended in another. It was jolting and f*ing enjoyable as heck!!

I really had a phenomenal time reading this. I know that not every Reader is going to love Casey as a protagonist as much as I did, but I found her relatable and even charming in her own clunky way.

This was my most anticipated release of the year and I’m so happy that I was given the opportunity to get to it a little early. Thank you so much to the publisher, Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

The House Across the Lake is releasing on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Preorder now, as you won’t want to miss this!!

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Review: This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

This May End BadlyThis May End Badly by Samantha Markum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Weston School for girls has been engaged in an epic prank battle with the boys across the street at Winfield Academy for a century. This battle is on-going, with literally generations of girls and boys taking part.

Now that Doe is in her Senior year at Weston, she’s determine to win the battle once and for all. She’s a prank master and determined doesn’t even begin to describe Doe.

When the Weston headmistress makes an announcement that Weston and Winfield will be merging the following year, their campus descends into chaos. Chief among the dissenters, Miss Doe.

Doe is horrified. Weston and Winfield merging! She cannot possibly let that happen. Together with her best girlfriends, they vow to do whatever it takes to stop the merger.

One of Doe’s targets is Three, the kingpin of Winfield Academy. Smart, wealthy, good-looking and popular, Three is the kind of boy that has the world in the palm of his hand.

Doe just wants to knock him down a notch or two. She ends up making a deal with Three’s cousin, Wells, to fake date, thus getting under Three’s skin and throwing him off his game. With Three out of sorts, Doe should easily be able to outsmart the Winfield boys.

As the pranks begin to escalate, so does Doe’s so-called fake relationship with Wells. Will Doe lose sight of her goals, give them up entirely for a cute boy, or achieve everything she’s ever wanted?

The May End Badly is such a fun and cute YA Contemporary. Wells is one of the most swoon-worthy boys I’ve come across in a long time and don’t even get me started on how great this fake dating set-up was!

At first, I’ll admit, I was a little confused by the passion Doe had for the prank battle, but the more I got to know about her as a character, the more it started to make sense.

Doe came to Weston after going through a very difficult time in her life. Her parents had recently divorced and Doe had been having some behavioral issues at her old school. Weston became a safe haven for her. A place where she could feel safe and grow.

She wants to be sure Weston can remain that safe space for girls into the future. However, has Doe let her own experience blind her to that of others?

There are some really great friendships in this story. Doe’s friend group is very close, but still not afraid to call one another out on bad behavior. Wells also has a strong and interesting friend group, so it was nice to see that with both the boys and the girls.

I loved watching Doe and Wells relationship grow. There were moments when I absolutely wanted to shake her, but I was definitely on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen between them.

Additionally, I loved the humor in this novel. There is some great, witty banter, including moments that had me in stitches. I even loved the parents. They were funny and helpful, which was so nice to see.

My only slight criticism of this novel would be that there was an issue going on at the school, with a teacher possibly being inappropriate with students.

Nothing about that storyline felt natural to me in the context of the rest of what was going on. This is obviously just my opinion, but it felt very forced.

It felt like there needed to be some tension at school, a villain, and this character was it. Oh and along the way we can stuff in some heavy social commentary.

It felt completely out of place with the rest of the story. I don’t know. I feel like I could have enjoyed this even more without that in there. It just felt disjointed to me.

Phew, that was uncomfortable to say, but overall, yesssss, I had so much fun with this one. I became so attached to Doe and completely head over heels in love with Wells.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m looking forward to reading more from Samantha Markum in the future!

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Review: Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin

ManhuntManhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy Splatterpunk, this was good!!
Caution: Don’t read whilst eating…

Honestly, I don’t even know how to begin going about reviewing this book. While it technically fits into genres that I have read, it’s like nothing else.

Manhunt is like being punched in the face repeatedly and enjoying it. Maybe even asking for more…

This is like an unrated version of The Walking Dead, but with trans and other queer main characters.

Basically this story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has turned the entire male population into horrifying creatures; like walkers.

We follow two best friends, Beth and Fran, trans women, trying to survive in New England. They are manhunters. For reasons I won’t go into here, they kill the infected men and harvest certain parts of them.

Any time they are out hunting they are in terrible danger. This entire setting is incredibly risky. There are not just the infected men they have to deal with, but also bands of TERFs scouting certain areas, as well as other general apocalypse survivors.

Everything and everyone poses a risk.

Over the course of the first part of the story, Fran and Beth join up with a trans man named, Robbie, and their long-time friend, a fertility doctor named, Indi.

Basically, as you can imagine, living situations in this world are highly unstable. We follow our quad as they move from one place to another, trying to find a safe situation for themselves. It ain’t easy and a lot of blood, guts and various other bodily fluids get shed along the way.

Y’all, wow. I haven’t read something this bloody, gorey, toe-curling, gag-inducing, addicting, erotic and uncomfortable, well…ever.

I love how Felker-Martin never lets up. It’s not a super gore-filled scene followed by 50-pages of nonsense. It is balls to the wall, pardon the pun, the entire way through.

The post-apocalyptic setting was so well done. I loved the idea behind the virus, how it struck men and how society tried to rearrange itself after. That was very creative.

Additionally, the characters were well done. I wish I had gotten to know each of them a little bit more, but I understand you can only make stories so long. The important bits were all here.

Towards the end, it did get chaotic for me. The perspectives were shifting so rapidly, it was sometimes hard to follow. In particular, as the final showdown approached, a few times I lost track of whose perspective I was reading from.

Overall, this was such an addicting story. Holy smokes. I feel like I need to take a recovery day to get over it. It’s violent, erotic, thought-provoking, visceral…did I mention erotic?

Proceed with caution, but also, don’t. It’s a ride worth being a little uncomfortable for. You can eat again after it’s over.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Gretchen Felker-Martin dishes up next!!

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Review: A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings

A Brush with LoveA Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harper Horowitz is in her last year of dental school and is anxious about her future placement into an oral surgery residency program. In truth though, Harper is anxious about a lot of things.

She has an anxiety disorder and sometimes finds it a struggle to keep herself focused and negative repetitive thoughts at bay. In spite of her challenges, however, Harper excels as a student and takes it very seriously.

Heading to class one day, Harper, distracted and in a rush, crashes into a jaw-droppingly cute boy named, Dan.

Her literal wrecking ball force of a crash destroys a project he had been working on. Harper, remembering how difficult that portion of first year had been, guiltily offers to help him repair it.

Working together on the project, the two hit it off. They feel comfortable with one another and the banter back in forth is flirty and fun.

Dan finds himself quickly falling for Harper, but she is pretty clear with him, she doesn’t want any distractions. She can’t afford it at this point in her life. They have to stay just friends.

Lines get blurred though and the ‘just friends’ mandate becomes more and more difficult to maintain.

Harper feels out of control. This whole Dan debacle is overwhelming. She needs her life to return to the way it was before the infamous crash, but is that what she truly wants?

A Brush with Love is such a smart, witty and romantic comedy. I fell in love with Harper from the very first chapter. I feel like she came to life on the page, and don’t even get me started on Dan.

Swooning from the start!

Even though this is cute and funny though, that’s not all it is. Both Harper and Dan had great depth of character with some hard-hitting story lines in their past.

Both of them were struggling to move past self-doubt, guilt and fear. I loved watching them open up with one another about their pasts and really support each other through those moments. Their vulnerability was beautiful.

Eddings did a great job balancing the humor with serious, real-life issues that many Readers will be able to relate to.

One of my favorite aspects was the incredibly fun dialogue. Harper had a great friend group and the dynamics between them all was fantastic. If you are a Reader who loves hilarious dialogue, you have to read this.

The one, very small critique I have with this story, is that I didn’t feel any real conflict in the plot until about the 70% mark. Then it felt like that wrapped up too quickly after it presented itself.

That’s extremely minor though and completely personal taste. You may read this and feel that it is perfectly paced. It is super fun the whole way through, I just could have enjoyed a bit more time with the resolution to the conflict.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I did listen to the audiobook and it was absolutely fantastic. I definitely recommend that format to Readers who enjoy audiobooks.

Also, I was super stoked to see that this is the first book in a companion series by Eddings. This makes me so happy. I cannot wait for the next book!!

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Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the SeaThe Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. The people believe the Sea God has cursed them. Therefore, every year, a young girl is thrown into the sea in an effort to appease him.

It is believed that these girls will serve as his wife until the next girl is sacrificed. Eventually one of the girls will be chosen as his true bride and the curse will end.

Mina’s older brother, Joon’s beloved, Shim Cheong, is the most beautiful girl in the village. Unfortunately, because of her beauty, Shim Cheong is set to be sacrificed. Joon will be heartbroken. Mina cannot let that happen.

So, on the fated night, Mina takes Shim Cheong’s place by throwing herself into the sea.

Guided by a majestic and slightly frightening dragon through the water, Mina enters the spirit world, where things are not quite as she expected.

The Sea God isn’t maniacally twirling his mustache, plotting evil deeds to unleash upon her village. He’s actually trapped in an enchanted sleep.

If she has any hope of ending the curse, Mina needs him awake. How else is he to choose her as his true bride?

Along with some new friends, including a mysterious boy named Shin, Mina sets out on a mission to try to discover the secret to waking him up. Time is not on her side, however, as humans can only survive in the Spirit realm for a short period of time. The pressure is on.

I had a great experience with this audiobook. The narrator did an incredible job bringing such a dreamy narrative to life. I was transported.

You might even say I was spirited away…

I have since discovered that this is actually a retelling of the classic Korean folktale, The Tale of Shim Cheong. I would love to get my hands on that now.

This was absolutely enchanting and I would be very interested to see how closely it connects to the original source material.

The entire story is so beautiful, so epic, so lyrical and so freaking amazing. I just can’t even express all the feels. I am clearly over the moon for this one.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me a copy of the audiobook to read and review. You better believe I will be snatching this up on release day!!!

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