Review: Love Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell

Love Letters to a Serial KillerLove Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Letters to a Serial Killer is like nothing I have read before. This one is truly in a category all of its own, and the more I think about it, the more I think I enjoyed it!

This story follows Hannah, who in her 30s, finds herself in a rut. Her job is a bore, she feels disconnected from her soon-to-be-married best friend, and the guy she’s been in love with has moved on to someone else.

Hannah is lonely. She needs a change. When four women are killed in Atlanta, apparently by an active serial killer, Hannah discovers True Crime forums. She’s immediately hooked into the energetic community of online sleuths.

When a handsome lawyer, William, is arrested for the crimes, Hannah’s interest quickly becomes obsession.

Captivated by the case, Hannah decides to write William a letter as a way to air all of her frustrations and anger. What harm could come of it? It feels like a great way to express herself, and no one else will ever know anything about it.

Unexpectedly, William writes back. His letters are surprisingly charming and he seems so interested in her. It’s hard to reconcile his beautiful letters with the horrible monster the world is claiming him to be.

As mentioned, this whole thing has become an obsession of sorts for Hannah. It takes over her life. After losing her job for poor performance, she decides to leave her life behind and head to Atlanta to attend William’s trial.

The trial is a media frenzy, but in spite of the chaos, Hannah attends each and every day. She ends up befriending some other attendees and eventually begins to feel more at home there than she ever did in her old life.

When a 5th-woman is murderer while the trial is underway, it throws everything into question. How can William be the guilty party, if women are still being murdered the same way while he’s locked up?

With this huge development, and the prosecution having nothing more than circumstantial evidence against him, the jury has no choice but to find William not guilty. Guess who he calls upon after?

That’s right. Hannah. The two move in together and officially become a couple. Everything is great. William is so supportive of her, she doesn’t even have to get a new job.

All the more time for investigating him, because Hannah still suspects William could be a serial killer, acquittal or not.

Honestly, Love Letters to a Serial Killer is an odd little story. Even though I didn’t like Hannah, or her bonkers choices, I still found it to be ridiculously compelling.

I could not stop reading!

I feel like this one is going to garner some strong opinions upon its release, and I’m definitely interested to read them all. I found it to be completely original and wickedly fun, but it definitely tackles some taboo topics.

It did take me a minute to commit to the story. Hannah seems so desperate in the beginning. It annoyed me. I thought to myself, no wonder she is going to fall for a serial killer. She was just looking for any attention AT ALL.

Once it got to the point where she discovered the forums though, I was hooked. Then there was the letters! Was she nuts? He hadn’t even gone to trial yet. She was thinking he’d be locked up forever, but that’s never guaranteed.

Her choices were just a string of, WTF, Hannah?!?, moments, and I was eating it up.

As it goes along, it gets more and more wild. The family gets involved, other people, and then their relationship. OMG, I just, I’m not really sure how to sum up my thoughts on it.

It’s sick, it’s twisted, it’s slightly deranged, but I liked it. Hannah is like the Carole Ann Boone of the Romantic Thriller genre.

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

This is an incredibly memorable one for me and I can’t wait to get more from this author!

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Review: Plot Twist (The Hollywood Series #2) by Erin La Rosa

Plot Twist (The Hollywood Series, #2)Plot Twist by Erin La Rosa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Sophie Lyon is a Romance author with a big problem: Writer’s Block. After the great success of her first book, Sophie is truly struggling to get her second completed by the Publisher’s deadline.

There’s so much pressure, and she just can’t think of a way to finish it. Out at a karaoke bar one night, blowing off some steam, Sophie has too much to drink and has a breakdown with the mic in hand, confessing she’s never been in love.

The unflattering moment is caught on camera and goes ridiculously viral. How can Sophie write Romance novels if she’s never been in love?! It makes her look like a big fraud.

In an effort to get out ahead of it, and save her reputation, Sophie comes up with a plan to confess the truth on TikTok. Then she will meet up with all of her exes and talk to them about why their relationship didn’t work out.

First of all, great content. Secondly, Sophie is hoping that something in this process will help to break her Writer’s Block, and bring her closer to finishing off her novel.

Dash Montrose is from a successful Hollywood family. He’s a former teen heartthrob, who has since distanced himself from the limelight.

Dash’s sister, Poppy, is Sophie’s best friend. Dash also happens to be Sophie’s landlord. When he learns what Sophie is attempting to do, he offers to help her with her social media presence, as TikTok is a platform he is well-versed in.

Of course, he doesn’t tell her the reason he knows that platform so well is because he is a successful anonymous online crafter…

In fact, Dash has a lot of things he hides from the world and his family. The biggest being his struggles with alcoholism and the fact that he has been sober for the last 18-months.

There’s a lot of pressure within his Hollywood royal family, and he just tries to steer clear of stirring up any scandal. He lives a quiet life now, a bit of a recluse, and Sophie’s energy is sure to shake that up.

Will Dash be able to handle helping with Sophie’s exes project, while keeping a firm grip on his new found sobriety? It’s definitely a risk.

Nevertheless, the two form an unlikely secret alliance. As they grow closer, feelings and attraction begin to come into play.

Plot Twist is a solid Romance story, which plays off a friends-with-benefits scenario. This is the 2nd-book in Erin La Rosa’s Hollywood series, but you do not need to read Book 1 in order to read this one.

These are companion novels and nothing will spoil Book 1 for you if you read this one first. The MC in this novel, Sophie, is the sister of the MC, Nina, from For Butter or Worse.

I do like Contemporary stories that follow fictional celebrities. I know not everyone is crazy about that, but I find their lives interesting. The different issues that arise when someone has a certain level of fame always feels engaging to me.

Therefore, the Hollywood setting of these novels attracts me. I also enjoyed that Sophie was a author who was struggling. Her career wasn’t painted with rose-colored glasses, and Dash’s wasn’t either.

This turned out to be heavier than I was expecting, so I would caution Readers, if you are looking for a light, fun read, this may not fit the bill for you. While it does have some fun, flirty elements, the issues, particularly that Dash is going through, are fairly heavily.

Alcoholism and struggles in recovery aren’t something to be taken lightly and feel like La Rosa does a good job of representing that here, as best as can be done in a Romance story. Because of the serious topics though, it does bring down the overall tone of the story.

If this makes sense. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with tackling serious topics in a Romance novel, I just want Readers to be aware prior to picking this up.

Firstly, for the triggers, and secondly, just to rein in expectations. The cover looks so light and fluffy, I feel like it could lead to a mischaracterization of what this is all about.

I did enjoy learning about both Sophie and Dash’s characters. Additionally, I liked them together, although it did feel a bit too instalove for me. I was very surprised at how quickly things escalated to a point where I felt like that had been communicating for 2-days and then were hopelessly smitten with one another.

I did enjoy this one a bit more than the first book, which is why I decided to round up my rating. I am a Reader who enjoys some serious topics brought into my Contemporaries, so that aspect worked for me.

I also had fun watching Dash and Sophie work together on her exes project. They even go on a road trip where there ends up being a forced proximity element that was nice and sexy.

There’s definitely some steam in this. Not the exact type that I tend to go for, but it wasn’t bad. I only cringed a couple of times. Depending on your kinks, it could end up working well for you.

Thank you to the publisher, Canary Street Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was entertained. Iff there are more books released in The Hollywood Series, I would def check them out.

I actually would love for Poppy to get her own installment!

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Review: The Break-Up Pact by Emma Lord

The Break-Up Pact: A NovelThe Break-Up Pact: A Novel by Emma Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Break-Up Pact is Emma Lord’s upcoming release and one I was so excited for. Set to hit shelves in August 2024, this is also Lord’s Adult Romance debut.

In this story, we follow June and Levi, who were best friends as teenagers. A misunderstanding just prior to Levi departing for college, resulted in a falling out, and the two have essentially lost touch ever since. Now as adults, they’ve both returned to their hometown of Benson Beach.

June is struggling to maintain the beach-side tea shop opened by her sister. She also has just had a very embarrassing, very public break-up, resulting in her being dubbed ‘the crying girl’ on social media. Humiliating!

Levi has returned to town after an equally public break-up, wherein his long-time girlfriend left him for a celebrity. Everyone is talking about it. Trying to escape the limelight for a while, Levi flees NYC and returns to Benson Beach, where he can focus more on his writing.

As Levi and June come back into each other’s orbit, they begin talking and catching-up. After a picture of them caught in a very suggestive position goes viral, they decide to go along with the charade and pretend to be a couple.

If it’s drama and intrigue the people want, it’s drama and intrigue they shall get. The bonus being extra business for June’s shop and both of their ex’s getting jealous.

I love a fake-dating trope and I thought it was well-executed here. Both June and Levi were compelling characters and I enjoyed learning about their past history, as well as watching them learn about each other all over again.

They are both dealing with some fairly serious adult issues, with their careers and their recent break-ups, and the examination of those things does take up a good portion of the narrative. Because of that, this has a much more serious tone than Lord’s previous works, IMO, but it makes sense.

In an adult world, adult things happen. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Businesses end up in trouble. You end up in a career you aren’t passionate about. You worry you wasted time with someone who was never going to be the one for you. You worry that you are never going to find the place you really belong. You lose friends, you lose loved ones; these are all things that most of us can relate to…

My concern for this novel is that people will go in expecting a super punchy, witty, fun Rom-Com and they’ll be surprised by the more serious tone; maybe causing them to not rate it as highly.

I would pick this up expecting an Adult Contemporary with a convincing fake-dating trope. It’s not all giggle and laughs and swooning; although there is some of that too.

In my eyes, this is a successful transition into the Adult space for Lord. I thought the characters were very well-developed and it did fill my heart watching the evolution of their relationship. I feel like as far as couples go, Levi and June are perfectly matched.

I did enjoy how this was paced. I thought it had a fun introductory section and then it slows down a bit as we get into the meat of their relationship. As the fake dates begin, it does pick up again and then as we get closer to conclusion, it speeds along at a great pace.

In addition to the likeable main characters, I loved the side characters in this as well. June’s best friend, who helps the couple with their plot, and June’s brother and his fiance, all had fun-loving, supportive roles, that truly added to the feel of the narrative.

Overall, I think this is a very solid, heart-warming story. I enjoyed going on this journey with both of these characters as they found themselves, and each other at the same time.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I adore Emma Lord and will continue to pick up everything she writes.

This was super cute and I’m proud of her for branching out into the Adult Contemporary space. Well done!!

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Review: Dungeons & Drama by Kristy Boyce

Dungeons and DramaDungeons and Drama by Kristy Boyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Dungeons and Drama is truly adorable. It made my nerd heart so happy and left me wanting more from this author!

This YA Romantic Comedy features a fake dating trope and lots of cute, fun and witty character moments.

In this story we follow Riley, a theater girl, who gets busted taking her Mom’s car without permission to go see a show in the city. With her best friend in tow, the girls take the risk, and sadly, don’t get away with it.

Riley gets grounded. She’s allowed no extracurriculars and as extra punishment, she has to start working at her Dad’s game store after school.

She’s barely ever set foot in the store and has no interest in games. All Riley cares about right now is getting the High School Spring Musical, currently canceled due to budgetary considerations, back on.

Her life is a mess without the possibility of the Musical. She can hardly think of anything else. Well, there’s a few other things she thinks about: her uncomfortable relationship with her Dad, her ex-boyfriend succeeding in all things theater and the fact that he’s driving her nuts.

A new co-worker at the store, cute and shy boy, Nathan, could be exactly what Riley needs. She convinces him to pretend they’re into one another. Her ex now thinks she’s moved on and the girl that Nathan likes is suddenly more interested in him, eaten up with jealousy because of Riley.

All is going to plan, until Riley realizes that flirting with Nathan is no longer much of an act. Have her plans gone too far? Is she falling for the D&D boy at the game store?

This book was so lovey. I read it in a day and got completely swept up in the story. I loved both Riley and Nathan. They were both incredibly earnest and naive, but in a way that felt natural to the story and works for the YA-genre.

I also enjoyed exploring Riley’s relationship with her Dad. As a child of divorce, who lives with her Mom, Riley has felt sort of abandoned by her Dad. He’s not a bad person, you can tell how me he loves her, but their communication at the start isn’t great.

I loved watching the time they spent together at the store have such an impact on the way they communicated with one another. I felt like that development was just as satisfying as the romantic portions of this story.

But yeah, the romance was pretty sweet. It was just so cute, I can’t think of another way to describe. I was crushing right along with Riley. Nathan is a pretty special guy.

I loved how he got Riley to join his D&D group; which was one of my favorite parts of this story. She ended up really enjoying it and was even able to channel some of her musical talents in her role as a bard.

I think as far as YA Rom-Com stories go, this has to be one of my faves. I feel like it was just really well executed. The character work was fantastic and I loved the messages and themes explored throughout.

I would definitely recommend this to any YA Contemporary Reader, particularly if you are a fan of RPGs, or the theater. This was a perfect blend of those things for me!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m really looking forward to reading more from Kristy Boyce.

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Review: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Business or PleasureBusiness or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Truth be told, I don’t actually read a lot of Romance. It’s not really a genre I actively seek out, or stock my shelves with. Not because I see anything wrong with it, it’s just not a genre I tend to gravitate toward on the regular.

With this being said, however, I do have a handful of Contemporary Romance authors that I gel with quite well. I do seek out their stories and pick up everything they put out. Rachel Lynn Solomon is one of them.

I love RLS. It’s her character work and dialogue that really does it for me. I enjoy how well-rounded her characters are and how they aren’t perfect. Each one will have flaws, or personal challenges, that they are navigating through in addition to the romance elements.

Business or Pleasure follows Chandler Cohen, a ghostwriter, who after penning a memoir for a social media influencer has become unsatisfied with her current career path. She’s not sure how much more she can take of being pushed to the shadows and overlooked.

Leaving a business event feeling down on herself and unsure of her future, Chandler heads to a bar. Relatable.

It’s there she meets an extremely charming man. He seems interested and she definitely is. One thing leads to another, and the most awkward hook-up ensues.

His moves left her cringing, but he did try. Feeling unsatisfied, Chandler takes off while he’s asleep; less uncomfortable that way.

She blames her bruised ego from the night before for allowing it to get that far and then vows to just get on with her life. It’s too bad, he was really cute though.

Her ability to get on with her life starts sooner than she expected when she gets a call from her agent, offering her a new project, to ghostwrite a memoir for a C-list actor, Finn Walsh, best known for his role in a cult classic werewolf television show.

We’re talking full on CW here, people.

Finn spends most of his time now traveling around to various conventions, where his fans still come out in droves. He’s had some other work, direct to television movies, that kind of thing, but he’s sort of stuck in a rut of his own.

This memoir will allow him to tell his story. To help people to see who he really is, versus his character’s persona.

Chandler never watched the show, but she definitely knows Finn. The man of the awkward one-night stand. How can this possibly be her life?

Nevertheless, awkward moments aside, Chandler accepts the assignment. She’s really going to get to know Finn now, whether she wants to or not.

The two end up traveling together, as he keeps up with his convention commitments and works on his memoir at the same time. There’s a huge elephant in the room and they decide to talk about.

When Chandler admits their encounter was well short of mind-blowing, Finn is mortified. No one has ever told him that he wasn’t performing as well as he could, or should. Trusting her, Finn requests Chandler school him in the art of satisfaction and she’s more than ready to teach.

I thought this one was a lot of fun. I always enjoy Solomon’s characters and romance plots. This one is extra steamy and promotes a message of sex positivity, as well as open and honest communication amongst partners.

I thought the relationship between Chandler and Finn was cute, although I could have done with more focus on the emotional areas and less on their sexual relationship.

That’s purely personal taste though. This is still an above-average Romance read, IMO.

This story includes some mixed media elements that added to the fun, such as excerpts from Finn’s show. I love fandoms and those excerpts definitely helped to build out that vibe surrounding Finn.

As a couple, these two are off the charts cute. I actually felt there could have been a bit more tension, miscues, or miscommunication between them.

I know that sounds crazy to say, as we all always complain about the pointless miscommunications, but it does add a bit to the basic problem/resolution format.

There was a little bit of that, but this almost seemed too easy. Either way, it was a ton of fun, I am glad I made time for it and I can’t wait to see what RLS comes up with next!!

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

Solomon’s characters and witty banter will keep me coming back each and every time. Well done!

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Review: Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan

Do Your WorstDo Your Worst by Rosie Danan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do Your Worst is a recent Adult Romance release from Rosie Danan. In this story we follow Riley Rhodes, a young American woman trying to make a go as a curse breaker, and Clark Edgewater, a disgraced young archaeologist trying to rebuild his tarnished reputation.

The setting is Arden Castle, an infamous Scottish castle known for its centuries-long curse. Riley gets the opportunity to travel there to try her best to break the curse before the new owners turn it into a luxury getaway spot.

Meanwhile, Clark is there working for the HES, surveying the site, making sure anything of historical significance is found, documented and handled properly.

There’s instant attraction, but also a healthy dose of animosity. This is definitely an opposites attract scenario, with their personalities clashing hard and often.

They’re both trying to drive each other away, but the chemistry keeps bringing them together. There are some silly moments, where you can hardly believe they’re making the choices they are, but as they begin to open up to one another, their personalities truly blossom.

I loved both of these characters. Riley is head strong and determined. She’s pushing to try to prove herself and I think she saw a bit of that reflected in Clark’s personality.

Clark is such a sweetie. He’s been hurt, so he has a bit of a wall up, but there’s also an innocence about him that is so charming. You can tell how much he is intrigued by Riley. It’s cute as heck.

I really loved this set-up and the setting. The story kicks off very quickly. I liked that Danan didn’t waste time before getting us to Scotland. The idea of the curse and the history of the castle were both interesting. I would love to get an assignment like Riley had here.

I also really enjoyed how different these two characters were, but how well their personalities played off one another. The banter was great, as were the steamy scenes. I think Danan did a fantastic job building out the relationship dynamics. Their push-and-pull was enticing.

The conclusion to this was very cutesy as well. It got me in my feels, but I was also intrigued by how it left off. Could we be seeing more of Riley and Clark in the future? I definitely think it’s a possibility.

Whether or not we are getting more with them, or maybe getting some stories with side characters involved, like Clark’s brother, whatever it is, I will read it. This was a strong Romance for me. It had just the right mix of humor, steam, and inclusion of work and family issues, for my taste.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had never read from Danan before, so this was a delightful surprise.

I am looking forward to picking up more of her work.

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Review: In Charm’s Way (The Witches of Thistle Grove #4) by Lana Harper

In Charm's Way (The Witches of Thistle Grove, #4)In Charm’s Way by Lana Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In Charm’s Way is the 4th-installment of The Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper. This is an Adult Romance series with a witchy-twist.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the books are companion novels. They take place in the small, magical town of Thistle Grove, following the same timeline, but each book focuses on different main characters.

In this story, we follow Delilah Harlow, who we’ve met before in previous books, and Catriona Quinn, a new character from out of town.

As the story kicks off, Delilah is struggling in the aftermath of an event that caused a serious disruption in her memory. It’s worse that just her memory though, it’s her brain in general. It’s not functioning at the level it once did. It’s highly frustrating for the once uber-independent Delilah.

She’s had to rely more on family and friends to make her way through every day responsibilities. At wit’s end, Delilah, in desperation, attempts a mysterious blood spell said to harness healing capabilities.

It’s crazy dangerous, Delilah isn’t even sure of the true origins of the spell, nonetheless she gives it a try. At this point, she is willing to do anything to get her life back.

While the spell does seem to work for the most part, it has an unexpected side effect. It basically turns Delilah into a magnet for certain types of supernatural creatures that previously hadn’t frequented Thistle Grove.

For example, the malevolent Succubus that attacks her one night. Luckily, a gorgeous and mysterious stranger, Cat, arrives in the nick of time and frees Delilah from the Succubus embrace.

Delilah is intrigued by Cat from the start. Cat, half-human, half-fae, is sultry and intriguing. That initial interaction is all it takes to draw the two of them together. What follows could not have been predicted.

I enjoyed this. I was happy to be returning to Thistle Grove and to be reunited with some characters I have previously enjoyed. This series is one of those that, even though none of them have knocked my socks off, I still have fun picking up and will continue to do so for as long as they are published.

I can’t help but compare the books in the series to each other as I am coming up with my rating. For me, this romance wasn’t very compelling for me and additionally, I found some of the plot points to be a little muddled.

My favorite part of this was learning more about the history of Thistle Grove. We learned a bit about the origins of the town and how the magic came to be there.

I did also enjoy Delilah’s journey. She had a rough road, but I think she learned a lot and I did see growth for her character. Maybe a little bit of peace as well. Her recovery from the brain injury has been tough and I appreciated the examination of that topic.

I think for me the only issue was Cat. I didn’t care for her and didn’t understand, besides her undeniable hotness, why Delilah would be so interested. Personal opinion on Cat aside though, I think it does make sense in the context of the story Harper created.

We all know fae are a little above and beyond and that they tend to wreck a little havoc wherever they go. We also know they’re irresistible…

With this being said, Cat grated on my nerves and I’d be happy if I never read another scene with her in it again. Harsh? Maybe a little, but that’s me.

One thing Cat did bring though, that I wouldn’t turn away in a further installment, was the heat. Maybe I am imagining it, but this felt like the steamiest of the books thus far. I may have even blushed for a moment.

At the end of the day, I am glad that I picked this up. I find this series to be comforting and easy. I also always enjoy discovering which characters we are going to follow and what romance tropes are going to pop up.

I would recommend The Witches of Thistle Grove series to anyone who enjoys whimsical, low-stakes romance stories with solid witchy-vibes.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I hope there are going to be more books in this series. I need more Thistle Grove romance!

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Review: A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft

A Fragile EnchantmentA Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

…like I wasn’t a big enough fan already!

A Fragile Enchantment is the third full-length novel from Allison Saft. It is set to release on January 23, 2024, but I couldn’t wait any longer to pick it up.

I have read all of Saft’s novels now and IMO, they just keep getting better and better. I’m so drawn in by her writing and dazzling, gothic-feeling atmospheres.

In this story we follow a magical young seamstress, Niamh, who gets called to the castle to create the wedding day wardrobe for the Prince and his bride-to-be. This is putting it simply, but that is the basic set-up.

As Niamh arrives at the castle and is introduced to court life, it’s clear she’s a fish-out-of-water. Coming from the country, she’s never experienced court politics close-up.

Nevertheless, she feels blessed to have the opportunity and even though her people aren’t big fans of the monarchy, she’s determined to make the most of it.

The Prince, Christopher, Kit to his friends, is the younger of two Princes. His brother, Jack, is functioning as monarch. It was actually Jack who arranged Kit’s engagement, as well as Niamh’s services.

When Niamh meets Kit, she’s a little surprised by how abrasive he is. It’s clear he’s not overjoyed about his upcoming nuptials. The wedding isn’t one that will be based on love, but rather on political advantage. So’s the way of court life, Niamh supposes.

The bride-to-be has now arrived at the kingdom, along with her father, and it seems she is just a pawn as well. With a dark personality and darker fashion sense, Niamh finds herself puzzled by the Princess, Rosa.

Nonetheless, she finds herself drawn to her and her charismatic lady’s maid, Miriam. Along with Kit’s childhood best friend, Sinclair, the five unlikely allies end up forming an entertaining friendship group.

Niamh is starting to feel like she belongs, though she never would have thought it possible, and the more time she spends with Kit, the less she is able to deny the chemistry crackling between them.

Unfortunately, she’s not the only one who has noticed the sparks and soon Niamh and Kit are the fodder of the anonymous gossip columnist, Lovelace. Will Lovelace’s rumors and insinuations ruin everything for Niamh, or will she be able to survive the scandalous court life unscathed?

Y’all, I thought this was fabulous. It kicks off so quickly. Saft wastes no time getting Niamh to the kingdom and enmeshed in the complicated palace lifestyle.

I loved that she was an outsider taking it all in for the first time. Additionally, I really loved Kit as a character. He had some depth to him and I feel like Saft spent enough time building-out his character, so that his caustic personality truly made sense.

I love a prickly, abrasive man, so his entire demeanor definitely worked for me. I enjoyed watching Kit’s relationship with his older brother, Jack, and learning a bit about their family history as well. I was definitely picking up William and Harry vibes there.

Further, I enjoyed the friendship group that formed between Niamh, Rosa, Miriam, Kit and Sinclair. I was able to glean a lot of insight from their interactions and I felt it helped to better develop each character.

The political intrigue really amps up in the second half and I felt that was exciting and extremely well written by Saft. There were some scenes, as we raced towards the conclusion, where I was at the edge-of-my-seat, biting my fingernails, just hoping for the best for the characters I had come to love.

Speaking of characters I loved, Kit’s betrothed, Rosa, was such a fun character. All I could picture when reading about her was Wednesday Addams. She was bringing all that morose, gothic energy.

As mentioned above, I started getting really tense towards the end. I figured, objectively that things would probably work out okay, but getting there sure was emotional!

Overall, I had such a great time reading this. Saft’s writing is accessible and fluid. It’s magical and enchanting, but without feeling over done. The plot never gets drowned out by flowery writing. It’s easy to follow along and become emotionally attached to her characters.

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

Saft has quickly become a go-to YA Fantasy author for me. I look forward to following her career for a long, long time.

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Review: Cleat Cute by Meryl Wilsner

Cleat CuteCleat Cute by Meryl Wilsner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cleat Cute is the latest release from Romance author, Meryl Wilsner. I have read all three of Wilsner’s releases thus far and this one falls direct middle of the road for me.

In this story, we follow professional female soccer players, Phoebe Matthews and Grace Henderson. Grace is a veteran player, having played professionally since she was just a teen. While Phoebe is the hot new girl in the league, recently being called up after her stellar college career.

As a younger player, Phoebe grew up idolizing Grace Henderson, even hanging a poster of her over her bed. Now she is getting the chance to play with her; in her league. Phoebe can hardly believe this is her life.

Moving from Idaho to New Orleans will be a big change for Phoebe, but she knows she can make it work.

Phoebe throws herself into her new life with her signature gregarious style. Grace, of a much more subdued nature, is a bit taken aback by the new girl. The more time she spends with Phoebe though, the more drawn to her she becomes.

Over a series of increasingly personal encounters, the two women end up becoming friends. More specifically, friends with very incredibly hot benefits.

You then follow along with these women as they navigate their complicated friendship, as well as their equally complicated careers.

Cleat Cute features a well-developed romance, with plenty of miscommunication causing tension and growth, however, for me, my reaction to it throughout was mixed.

There were moments I was completely invested and enjoying the topics that Wilsner was examining. Then something would happen that would turn me off completely. It always took a while after the turn off to become invested again.

Phoebe’s character generally drove me a bit batty, but initially I felt like Grace was someone I could really get behind. Then there would be moments, where in order to provide a conflict, or miscommunication, it seemed like Grace’s personality would completely change in order to make that feasible.

I just didn’t like that aspect. I may be completely off base with this too, but to me it seemed like Grace was experienced and confident and then she would have these interactions with Phoebe that felt like she had never talked to another human before.

It was strange. It was like the conflict needed to be there and we were going to make it happen no matter how out of place it seemed.

It was those types of situations that made it feel slightly inconsistent to me. By the end though, the characters had won me over and I was fully behind their new-found open communication and expression of tenderness.

There were also some discussions, particularly with Grace, who was grappling with a hip flexor injury, about where she wanted to go with her career. She was benched for a while during recovery and she had to decide if she wanted to step back into a lesser role when she returned.

As a sports person, I enjoyed that, getting the chance to delve more into detail on Grace’s thoughts and emotions regarding her career and responsibility to her team.

I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a steamy sapphic romance; extra points if you enjoy a sports romance. The audiobook was well narrated, so definitely recommend that as a format for as well.

Thank you to the publisher, Griffin and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I will continue to pick up Wilsner’s new releases.

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Review: The Final Gambit (The Inheritance Games #3) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Final Gambit (The Inheritance Games, #3)The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

This was solid, but definitely my least favorite so far. I sort of feel like Barnes jumped the shark with this one…

If you get that reference and have read this book, you might be nodding your head right now.

I may also be being a bit hyperbolic with that leading statement, but since The Final Gambit is the third book in the series, I was really hoping to be blown away by it. It’s been such a solid build up to this point. Sadly, I just wasn’t.

Granted, in the whole scheme of things, this is still a good book and the series will always hold a special place in my heart. With this one though, for the first time, I feel like I am reading it more for the brothers than for Avery.

In fact, the ironic part is, I’m really, really looking forward to reading The Brothers Hawthorne, even though this one let me down a little.

I do think Barnes has created a compelling overall story arc with this series and those boys in particular have caused a lot of drama, mixed feelings and general swooning.

I did enjoy how this story covers the final days of the time stipulated in the will, where Avery has to remain living at the Hawthorne mansion before she officially inherits the estate, and all that goes with it.

It was nice to feel that whole ordeal sort of wrapping up. Avery did definitely grow as a character over the course of the trilogy, but I’m not sure I would have made the same choices as her. Perhaps she is just more mature than me.

Overall, while this was my least favorite of the trilogy, it’s clear that JLB is an incredibly talented writer, who knows how to create tension and drama.

As I mentioned above, I am very interested to check out the next book in the series. I am anxious to get more from the boys. I feel like I am going to love it and then all will be right in the universe.

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