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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Review: Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

Vampires of El NorteVampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Set in 1840’s Mexico, Vampires of El Norte is a love story a lifetime in the making. It’s more than just a love story between two people though. It also speaks to the love of the land, one’s home and culture.

This is the latest release from Isabel Cañas. It’s a beautifully told Historical Romance story with well-blended Horror elements. We’re talking creepy vampires!

Having loved The Hacienda, I was so excited for this release. Not only did it sound amazing, but the cover is easily one of my favorites of all time.

While this started a little slow, taking me about a week to make it through the first 10%, after I got through the initial build-up, I couldn’t put it down.

In this story, we are following two young people, Nena and Néstor. Nena is the daughter of a wealthy rancher and Néstor was her childhood best friend.

The two were inseparable as kids, even past the point where it was considered appropriate. They would sneak off and slowly, over time, they began to grow sweet on one another.

During one of their secretive late night rendezvous, Nena was attacked by a mysterious monster. Néstor races her to help, but believing Nena dead, he promptly flees the area. He’s been on the run ever since, wracked with grief, moving from ranch to ranch working as a vaquero.

When the heart of our story begins, nine years have passed since that terrifying night of Nena’s attack.

Nena has remained on her parent’s ranch, training with Néstor’s Grandmother to become a curandera. When war threatens to spill over their borders, the locals gather together and form a cavalry to fight back against the invaders from the United States.

Nena’s father is in charge and she convinces him to let her travel with the group as their healer. Men will be getting sick and injured and she knows she can prove herself useful.

Preparing to travel to the battlefields, Nena and Néstor are reunited with very mixed feelings. Néstor has lived the past 9-years feeling guilty for Nena’s presumed death and Nena has lived the past 9-years feeling abandoned by Néstor.

Good ole’ fashioned romantic miscommunication ensues.

As frightening and dangerous as war is, the nightmares from Nena and Néstor’s past still lurk in the shadows and they’re about to become more threatening than ever.

Forced to work together, will Nena and Néstor be able to put their misunderstandings aside long enough to rid their country from their enemies, both human and non-human?

As I mentioned above, this did take me a little bit to really become invested in. Once Nena and Néstor were reunited though, I was hooked. I loved their chemistry.

The journey of their relationship, as well as what was happening in the plot was just so satisfying. I really enjoyed them getting to know one another as adults.

The side characters, as well, added a lot. Both of them had family members still rather prominent in their lives and it was interesting watching all those dynamics play out.

I am not a Historical Fiction reader generally. It’s definitely not a genre I gravitate towards, however the way Cañas expertly blends in convincing Supernatural Horror elements really sells it for me.

I love the imagery she creates. These vampires are definitely not the sparkly kind. I also appreciate the vivid settings and how much culture plays a role in the story. You really get a sense of place and time from her writing.

Overall, I just had a really great time with this. I felt transported. This was the perfect type of romance story for me. I will remember this one for a long time.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Cañas delivers next!!!

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Review: Back in a Spell (The Witches of Thistle Grove #3) by Lana Harper

Back in a Spell (The Witches of Thistle Grove, #3)Back in a Spell by Lana Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Back in a Spell is the third book in The Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper. The fourth book, In Charm’s Way, is set to releases on August 22, 2023.

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 installment, we follow Nina Blackmoore and Morty Gutierrez. Nina comes from one of Thistle Groves founding families, so it is through her perspective where we initially get the magic in this story.

A year ago, Nina’s engagement was broken off. Her fiance left her, but not before leaving her with an ear-full of her faults first. Traumatized by this break-up, Nina hasn’t yet started dating again.

With encouragement from her best friend, Jessa, though, Nina decides maybe now is the time. Jessa helps her create a dating profile on a well-known site and they sift through potential matches.

After Nina connects with someone, Morty, they decide to meet up for a drink. Nina is impressed with Morty’s forwardness and looks forward to meeting in person.

The date ends up being a disaster though. They have nothing in common, but end up connected nevertheless after that fateful night when Morty begins developing magical powers.

I thought this was super cute and it was exactly what I was in the mood for. I listened to the audiobook in a day and definitely recommend that format. It was engaging and kept me entertained throughout.

I liked the set-up of this one. It has that classic enemies-to-lovers feel, but the failed date at the beginning added a little something extra. It seemed so promising at first, but I loved how they both ended up being annoyed by one another.

I love when people toss sharp barbs back and forth, all over the barely contained sexual tension. Witty banter pleases me to no end. It’s how I live my life.

I also liked how this tied in more of the lore of the town. We learned additional background surrounding the founding families, the Blackmoores especially. I am really looking forward to continuing on with this series.

For me, this was actually my favorite of the series as far as my engagement level is concerned. I think Morty and Nina are probably my favorite of the couples. I loved their chemistry and watching their relationship evolve.

I would recommend The Witches of Thistle Grove series to anyone who enjoys whimsical, low-stakes romance stories with a solid level of steam. Also, as mentioned above, I definitely recommend the audiobooks. I have listened to them all and really enjoyed the narration.

I am hoping to start the fourth book very soon!!

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Review: The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

The Seven Year SlipThe Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last year, after reading the synopsis, I had no idea how Ashley Poston was going to deliver on the The Dead Romantics. How was it even going to work?

Not only did she nail that, but it ended up being one of my most memorable books of 2022. I loved it so much and have been eagerly anticipating this new release ever since.

The time has finally come for the latest Adult Romantic Contemporary from Ashley Poston.

Unsurprisingly, The Seven Year Slip is stunning. I love this story with my whole heart. Poston has such a unique and magical sense of Contemporary storytelling that really vibes with my tastes.

I cried actual tears, y’all. That’s rough, but feels so good.

In this story we follow Clementine, a single-woman in NYC. She works in publishing and lives in a well-loved apartment that she recently inherited from her late-Aunt.

Six-months have passed since the toughest day in Clementine’s life and she feels like she is doing a relatively good job holding it all together. She is still working hard, focusing on that and just staying busy.

She may be fooling herself though, as she’s sort of standing in place; stuck.

That is until the apartment, which her Aunt always promised her was magical, delivers her the perfect gift she needed to potentially shake her out of her funk.

A man. The apartment delivers her a handsome, kind, sexy man with a Southern drawl and a penchant for cooking. The only problem, for him, it’s seven years in the past.

How the heck is this going to work, you may be wondering? How does this even make sense? All I can say to you is, trust the Poston.

The Seven Year Slip is an absolute delight. It’s so layered and beautiful. I loved so, so much about this story, but for me, the really special part was the relationship between Clementine and her Aunt.

As someone who is so incredibly close with my now adult niece and nephew, that aspect hit me hard. Right in the feels, like a gut punch. You could tell that Poston was writing this story from the heart. I felt it all the way to the marrow of my bones.

Poston’s writing is incredibly smooth and engaging. She quickly pulls you in and before you know it, you’re completely immersed in whatever world she has created.

Additionally, she has a smart and snarky wit that just tickles me. Her characters are fantastic and I love the exploration of the different kinds of love and relationships. Particularly the family relationships are so well done.

As you can tell, I adored this story. I walk away with a full heart. 10-out-of-10 recommend.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This will definitely be a standout for me in 2023!

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Review: Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Love, TheoreticallyLove, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Queen of steamy-STEM is back and she’s brought with her a BIG man! Oh yeahhhh, you better believe it!

His name is Jack, he’s brillant and he’s the size of a refrigerator. His chest is so wide, that when our MC, Elsie, runs into him, black holes are brought to mind. And his hands!? Don’t even get me started on his hands!!

Listen. We all know Ms. Ali Hazelwood has a formula. She knows what works and she is sticking to it. Clearly, as I have read everything she has had published, I AM HERE FOR IT!!

Seriously, I am such a fangirl at this point, it’s embarrassing. I don’t think I have ever rated one of her books less than 4.5-stars. It’s a whole thing.

The setting of this one is Boston’s bustling academic corridor. We have Elsie, a theoretical physicist, who is currently working as an adjunct professor at multiple area colleges and universities.

Elsie is sweet and quirky and also, struggling financially. She has acquired a bit of an undercover second-job, where she works as a fake girlfriend. She has kept this part of her life completely secret, except from her best friend/roommate, as it could put her academic career in jeopardy.

Sure enough, she finds herself in a bit of a pickle when the grumpy older brother of her favorite client turns up on the hiring committee of her latest job interview. It’s MIT. She wants this.

Jack Smith, an annoyingly attractive experimental physicist believes Elsie is a librarian dating his brother, so needless to say he’s a little shocked to find out who she really is.

Confusion ensues on both parts. What to do, what to do?!

It’s Ali Hazelwood, y’all! You know what’s about to go down in this story. Sparks, steam and all out nerdy romance bliss.

I loved these characters. Again. Always. Hazelwood creates such charming, lovable characters. They have issues, they’re not perfect and they’re so relatable because of that.

Jack is an absolute cinnamon roll. I loved how thoughtful and open he was. His feelings for Elsie were pretty clear, although she was a bit more bumbling, I did actually really adore her. The chemistry between the two was fantastic.

I feel like we do wait a bit longer for the steam to set in with this story than with previous Hazelwood books, but boy, oh boy, was it ever worth the wait!!!

I loved this. It’s that simple. I will continue to pick up every single thing that Hazelwood writes. I would love to see an archaeologist thrown in the mix at some point, but that could be my own personal kink…

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

As expected, this was steamy, swoon-worthy, witty, perfection. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Hazelwood comes up with next!!

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Review: Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler

Going BicoastalGoing Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Going Bicoastal is the must-read Queer YA Contemporary Romance of the summer! It made me giddy. I loved it!

That may seem like a bold proclamation, but I mean it from the depths of my soul. I absolutely adored it, from the first chapter to the last.

In this story, our main character is Natalya, a bi Jewish girl, who lives with her Dad, a mathematics Professor in NYC. Her estranged Mom works in advertising and lives in L.A.

With summer approaching, Natalya needs to make a big decision. Her Mom wants her to go to L.A. to live with her for the summer.

They’ve barely spoken in years and going to stay with her Mom, means leaving everything she knows and loves behind; including her Dad and the red-headed girl she’s been crushing on.

Natalya can see the other side too though. It could be a chance to repair her relationship with her Mom. Does she want that? And the opportunity to explore new interests and opportunities; to get out of her comfort zone.

It’s such an important choice. How will she ever be able to make it? She has a tough time making regular impact choices on a regular day…

She can’t choose. So then, in the best use of the Sliding Doors plot device since, well, Sliding Doors, we the Reader, get to watch both choices playing out parallel to one another via alternating chapters.

We see Tal in NYC, breaking out of her shell, talking to the girl, taking on new interests and potentially healing things with her Mom through a long-distance option.

We see Nat in L.A., living with her Mom for the first time in years, working at her Mom’s business, meeting an interesting boy who also is working as an intern at her Mom’s office, and befriending others in the L.A. Queer and Foodie communities.

Natalya’s learning so much about herself and the plethora of new experiences are helping her understand what she may want for herself in the future.

Y’all, Adler absolutely crushed the construction of this story. While it may sound confusing, it is so seamless, it makes perfect sense as it’s unfolding.

I never found myself scratching my head or feeling like I was missing something. It’s easy in the moment to just coast along with Natalya on her journey.

It’s also fun developing opinions on which situation you would prefer. I was Team NYC from the start, and pretty much stayed that way throughout, although the LA scene definitely grew on me due to the all the delicious sounding food and super friendly people.

The writing is engaging and keeps you wanting to know more. I desperately wanted to know what was going to ultimately happen. As I got closer to the end, I wondered how Adler was going to be able to wrap it up.

I loved the ending. It was such a great choice in my opinion. I feel like this might not be for everyone, but I fully support the direction Adler went with it. My heart fills with joy even thinking about it.

Honestly, I appreciated so much how unapologetically sweet and hopeful this story is. Everyone deserves a happy ending, and I think everyone can find one here.

I definitely recommend this to YA Romance Readers, or anyone looking for a fun and unique Queer story. Be prepared to smile.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. 10-out-of-10 recommend!

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Review: Nocturne by Alyssa Wees

NocturneNocturne by Alyssa Wees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s start off this review with a little confession, shall we?

I participated in a Readathon this week where one of the prompts was to read the lowest rated book on your TBR. While this isn’t the lowest rated book overall, it was the lowest rate ARC that I currently had to read.

Always trying to check off some ARCs, I decided to give it a go, but I didn’t go in with high expectations.

Luckily for me, Nocturne turned out to be a pretty great example of why I tend not to look at ratings and reviews before I pick up a book. I know that goes against everything we’re doing here, but it’s the truth.

Reading is an incredibly subjective activity. Pair the right book, at the right time, with the right Reader and magic can happen. Read that same book when your in a certain mood and it can be a total flop.

I’m clearly the right Reader for this book. This story is set in 1930’s Chicago and seamlessly blends Historical Fiction with Dark Fantasy and light Romance.

Our main character is Grace Dragotta, who after being orphaned, ventures out on her own and joins a dancing company. A life she dreamed of. When we meet Grace, she is a teen and on the cusp of being elevated to prima ballerina within her company.

Unfortunately for Grace, raising to this rank is bittersweet. She only gets the role after her best friend, Emilia, leaves her spot as prima to be married. Grace is losing the closest person to her in all the world. She doesn’t know how she’ll get by without Emilia’s comforting presence.

Not long after her ascendancy, Grace receives word from her Mistress that she has caught the eye of a mysterious, wealthy patron. In order to keep her dance house afloat, the Mistress essentially sells Grace to this man.

Grace is forced to live at his estate, only traveling back to the studio to train and perform. There’s a lot of whispers about her new life, but Grace tries her best to just get on with it.

As she learns the shocking truth about her patron, it’s clear that the life she dreamed for herself will never come to be.

Y’all, I really enjoyed this. It’s not a complicated story. It’s pretty straight-forward, well-written and the concepts are easy to understand.

I should note that I grew up in dance and playing the violin, the two artistic pursuits that the main character engages in. Having my own personal experience and passions in those two areas did increase my connection to the story. I loved Grace and learning about her life.

This feels very much inspired by Beauty and the Beast. I loved those elements. I wasn’t expecting them and every time I would come across something that made me think of that classic tale, it would make me happy.

The relationship between Grace and her Master, was lush and evocative. I really enjoyed the truth of him and what he was offering her. Additionally, I enjoyed the evolution of her feelings for him and her place in his world.

Wees writing is quite beautiful and I liked the way she wrote the initial set-up and then progressed the plot. I thought the pacing of this was fantastic, it kept me engaged the entire way through.

Overall, I found Nocturne to be lyrical, dark and enchanting. Wees successfully swept me up and away into a whole other world. In a way, it felt like a love letter to the healing power of artistic expression. I’m so glad I finally made time for it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Del Rey, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was gorgeous and I look forward to reading more from Wees in the future!

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