Katie McGarry has written many best-selling YA books, but in her new book, A Stormy and Sultry Sea, readers are brought into an adult fantasy world with Faeries, witches, and demons. Set to be released on October 13th, the second book in the Witches of the Island Series shares what’s in store for the characters we met in book one.
A witch and a Fae aren’t supposed to fall in love, nonetheless be soulmates… New witch and midwife Cassie Strega helped a human mother through the tumultuous birth of the queen of the demons, and now Cassie and the baby have been kidnapped by one of the four demon princes fighting each other to lay claim to their new queen. Cassie hopes she can appeal to the human side of the child in order to save humanity, but as the child feeds upon her soul, Cassie must also battle the four demon-prince-uncles who intend for the infant to fulfill her dark destiny. The love of Cassie’s life, the sultry Fae warrior and heir to the Fae kingdom, Orion, is still searching for the Fae queen he’s been tasked to find, but he is also desperate to save Cassie from his archenemies. He is torn between his heart and his duty, but if he doesn’t save Cassie by Beltane, the blood bond that connects Cassie to Orion will forever be severed and she will be marked as an enemy to the Fae—one he is sworn by oath to kill. Fate was cruel when it linked Cassie and Orion together. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, their love assured, but these fated lovers are doomed by a curse that threatens to keep them apart. Every touch during every shared dream, every kiss during every cherished moment together is driving them closer to what will either be a victory of humanity or an end no mortal will be able to survive. Will love, in the end, truly conquer all or will it destroy them all?
I was really hoping to like this book but unfortunately theist, like the first book in the series, it just fell a little flat for me. The characters in this book are great, but it’s the plot that I found lacking. This book seems to want to mesh fantasy and romance like other popular series like ACOTAR but the fantasy world-building is a bit too confusing to feel super invested in the story and the romance gets dragged out a bit too much and isn’t heavy enough to make up for the lack of world development.
The main ideas and plot points are great but it’s the execution of it that has me on the fence about this book. The ending is engaging enough to make me want to read the next and final book in the series, but that’s about it.
I think this series is worth taking a look into, but if you’re a die-hard fantasy fan who values intricate stories and characters, you might be disappointed. Nevertheless, I still look forward to see what will happen next for these characters.
*I recieved an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Even though it’s coming out on October 12th, Tracy Ardeen’s new YA novel So, This Is Christmas has me ready for the holidays and all of the joy that comes along with the most wonderful time of the year! So what happens during the holidays in a town called Christmas when unexpected guests arrive? Only a little bit of holiday mischief...
When Finley Brown returned to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, from boarding school, she expected to find it just as she left it. Christmas hasn't changed much in her sixteen years. But instead she returns to find that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, her parents have separated, and her archnemesis got a job working at her grandmother's inn. And she certainly didn't expect to find the boy she may or may not have tricked into believing that Christmas was an idyllic holiday paradise on her grandmother's doorstep. It's up to Finley to make sure he gets the Christmas he was promised. This is Finley's Christmas. It's about home and family and friends and finding her place, and along the way she also finds the best Christmas present of all: love.
This book is like a Hallmark movie in book form (which isn’t surprising considering the author has literally written multiple screenplays for Hallmark) and it’s the perfect read to get you ready for the holiday season! With the holiday activities described in the book and the cozy romances in the air, it’s really not hard to fall in love with this book.
Not only is this YA romcom adorable, but I really enjoyed all of the subplots of the story that intermixed with the main plot, all of which is amazingly (and sarcastically) narrated by Finley. Plus, I’m a sucker for a small-town story and this book makes me want to visit Christmas, Oklahoma and experience the town for myself!
This is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the holidays (even if it’s only October lol)! Make sure to add this to your holiday TBRs!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
When you first hear the words “magic hotel”, anyone’s first instinct is to experience the magic for themselves. However, in The Splendor by Breanna Shields (which comes out on September 28th), one girl realizes that sometimes separating fantasy and reality can be a dangerous thing.
When Juliette’s sister, Clare, returns from her birthday week at the magical hotel upon a hill, she comes back changed. All at once, it seems Clare’s love for Juliette has vanished. Or perhaps it was stolen. Deeply unsettled, Juliette uses the last of her savings to book a stay at the Splendor and unravel its mysteries. Run by the talented young illusionist, Henri, the halls are full of magnificent delights and alluring distractions. Every wonder seems to twist Juliette’s attention away from the answers lurking just beneath the surface. Even as Henri reveals the truths behind his illusions, Juliette is uncertain whom she can trust in this palace of lies. The Splendor promised Juliette her dreams, but the longer she stays, the more it feels like a nightmare.
This book was a really engaging read! The mysteries of The Splendor Hotel and the allure of magic was well written and the plot was entertaining. I can totally picture this book being made into a movie or something in the future since everything was so detailed.
Figuring out the secrets of the hotel through Juliette and Henri’s eyes was fascinating and made this YA novel a fun escape from reality (similar to The Splendor itself). I found some parts of it to be predictable, while others were shocking. However, to a younger audience, I think this book would be so enrapturing.
I think this is a great YA book for those just looking for a fantastical mystery, especially for younger readers on the YA spectrum. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy that will be a quick read, then I highly recommend Shield’s novel!
*I received an ARC from Page Street Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Staci Hart is back on the romcom scene with the release of her newest book, For Love Or Honey. Set to be published on September 21st, this buzz-worthy read brings readers back to Lindenbach, Texas for another small-town romance that will have you swooning.
When the devil comes to town, you have to meet him head-on. Which is exactly what Jo Blum did when Grant Stone rolled into her small Texas town, driving a sports car she could fit in the bed of her truck, wearing a suit as black as his soul. He’s here to acquire mineral rights to half a dozen farms in town and there’s no way he’s getting hers. She doesn't make deals with the devil. So when he challenges her to show him the small town ropes, Jo’s motivation is the prospect of seeing him make a fool of himself. He might have an angle, but if he thinks he can finagle her into endangering her bee farm, he’s got another thing coming. Until the line in the sand is washed away. Her family farm is in danger, her town is in upheaval, this man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and Jo is in the middle. When the devil comes to town, you have to meet him head-on. And when he sneaks into your heart, he’ll only break it.
As with every other Staci Hart book I’ve read, I binged this story so quickly and was enamored by the romance. The book seemed to start pretty abruptly so I definitely recommend at least reading Friends with Benedicts first for a little precursor to give you a little background on the town of Lindenbach; that being said, this book still totally works as a stand-alone novel!
I adore a good small-town romance and Hart is always a master at weaving together a small-town community in a book. Throw in a little enemies-to-lovers steaminess, a sexy man in some Wranglers and boots, and some other drama and you’ve got a delicious romance that is the perfect read to kick off your Fall with!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: go read a Staci Hart book if you haven't already! This is just another example of why Hart is a fantastic romance writer and I cannot wait for the next book in this universe to be published!
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
From bestselling author Helena Hunting comes a friends-to-lovers romance that will set off a new series of love for a set of isters. Set to be released on September 21st, When Sparks Fly shows how healing can help bring people together.
Avery Spark is living her best life. Between her friends, her sisters, and Spark House, the event hotel her family owns, she doesn’t have much time for anything else, especially relationships. She’d rather hang out with her best friend and roommate, Declan McCormick, than deal with the dating scene. But everything changes when she is in a car accident and needs someone to care for her as she heals. Declan avoids relationships, giving him a playboy reputation that he lives up to when he puts a one-night stand ahead of a promise he made to Avery. While he may not have been the one driving the car, he feels responsible for Avery’s injuries and is determined to make it up to her by stepping into the role of caretaker. Little did they know that the more time they spend in compromising positions, the attraction they’ve been refusing to acknowledge becomes impossible to ignore. When they finally give in to the spark between them, neither is prepared for the consequences. Their love is fragile and all it will take is a blow from the past to shatter it all.
I really enjoyed the trajectory of this story. The way these best friends deal with tragedy, altering their relationship, realizing their feelings, and overcoming the obstacles in their lives is so well done and shows that not every relationship can be solved with a single grand gesture and apology. That sometimes it takes time and work to make a relationship work.
Don’t worry my romcom fans: there are still plenty of steamy times in this book as well as journeys of healing (both physical and emotional) for Avery and Declan. However, this boo gave me a lot of Katherine Center vibes so if you’re a fan of her work and like a bit of steam then this is the book for you!
For my first Helena Hunting book, I was very satisfied with it! I can definitely see why people are such fans of her writing. I will definitely be checking out her blacklist collection while I wait for the rest of this series to come out!
*I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Chloe Liese has taken the romance world by storm with her inclusive and diverse romcoms. Now she’s back with her latest #OwnVoices novel and the fourth book in her Bergman Brothers Series, With You Forever, which comes out September 14th.
Rooney Sullivan is sunshine incarnate. Warm, bright, always smiling, she’s everything Axel Bergman is not and the last person he should have any business desiring. Desperate to hide a hopeless attraction, he’s done everything possible to keep his distance...until a charades game gone wrong brought that to a grinding halt. Since then, steering clear of Rooney has been impossible. In a matter of months, the woman who was once avoidable has become the last thing Axel needed: temptingly within reach. To Rooney, Axel is a gorgeous grump who doesn’t have the time of day for her. Thankfully, she’s kept her crush under wraps...well, until she kissed him. Charades got away from her, okay? She hasn't seen him since, which is for the best. Her life is a mess, and the last thing she needs is to embarrass herself further with the man who avoids her like that’s his job rather than painting modern masterpieces. It seems the universe, however, has a different plan. When Axel and Rooney unexpectedly find their paths—and problems—converging, a marriage of convenience proves the perfect solution. At least, until Rooney’s facing her most serious problem yet: a once-loveless marriage of convenience that’s inconveniently become a love match, after all.
This book further proves that Chloe Liese can do no wrong! Not only do we get a neurodivergent character falling in love with someone with chronic illness, but we also get the sweetest marriage-of-convenience slow-burn romance ever. All set in a cozy cabin in the woods featuring a lovable dog and cute kitten? Sign. Me. Up! This book just solidifies my love for Liese’s writing. This story is so easy to fall in love with and is a great read to snuggle up with this Fall.
I loved the way communication took a front seat in this book and how Axel and Rooney continuously try to put each other's needs and happiness above their own. Even though these two characters have such differing personalities (one’s a sunshine and one’s a grump), they begin to learn more and more about the other which makes this slow burn romance so delicious.
I also love how the Bergman Family always makes an appearance in some way, shape, or form during each book of the series and strings these storylines together. While this book could work as standalone, they are so much more fun to experience as a series.
As I impatiently wait for Oliver’s story to come out next, I highly recommend checking out With You Forever (and the rest of the Bergman Brothers Series) and embrace the wonder that is a Chloe Liese novel!
*I received an ARC from the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
From New York Times Bestselling authors Chandler Baker and Wesley King comes a young adult romance set during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poignant and relevant, Hello (From Here), which comes out on September 7th, shows how in an uncertain world, it's the unlikely connections that keep us together.
Maxine and Jonah bump into each other in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store just as the state of California is going into lockdown, when everything changes completely. Could there be a worse time to meet? Max's part-time job at a supermarket is about to transform into a hellish gauntlet. Jonah's pre-existing anxiety is about to become an epic daily struggle. As Max, Jonah, and their friends live together but apart through hijinks, humanity, and heartbreak, their story cuts across urgent matters much bigger than a teenage crush. Differences of class, privilege, mental health, and sacrifice are thrown into stark relief by the profound and personal stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. As thoughtful, probing, and informed as it is buoyant, romantic, and funny, Hello (From Here) looks at the first two months of the quarantine and adds falling hopelessly in love to the mess.
I thought it would be weird reading a love story set during COVID times, especially since COVID-19 isn’t completely eradicated yet, but I was so enraptured with this YA story and found it to be quite adorable.
This story reminded me that even though times were (and still are) different and frustrating and scary, it’s sometimes the little things or single people that make it just a bit more bearable.
I think the authors did a great job of highlighting the realities of the pandemic without being too carefree or doom-and-gloom about it. Additionally, the highlighting of different issues like mental health, privilege, and social disparities made this book more than just another young adult romcom.
This book made me laugh and cry while also making me grateful for the loved ones that helped me get through this pandemic. I think this book was such a great read and any fan of YA romances like Five Feet Apart and The Fault in Our Stars will enjoy this book, too.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
From the bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo comes the story of four famous siblings, an epic party, and how their lives will all change after one fateful night. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest novel, Malibu Rising, shows how fame can affect people and who it means to be a family.
Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva. The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth. Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there. And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone. By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
This book was a lot easier to read than I thought it would be and further solidified my belief that Taylor Jenkins Reid is a masterful writer. The story flowed wonderfully and made it such an engaging read.
The way this story takes place in the span of a day in 1983, while also flashing back to moments from the 50s to 70s, is so wonderfully engaging and really broadens the scope of the characters and why they are the way they are and the actions that shaped them.
While I found there to be a few too many characters to keep track of at certain parts of the story, the different people taking part in the Riva Party actually gives readers a glimpse into not only what the party is like, but also what the 80s were like for those trying to make it big in Hollywood or those who already have. The setting of Malibu paints an idyllic picture of what fame and fortune can bring while also juxtaposing it with the realities of these people’s not-so-perfect lives.
Once again, Reid is a masterful storyteller and readers looking for an engaging story that will hook you in from the beginning will fall in love with this book! I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a final summer read or to escape real life for a while.
CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR HERE!
Many people recognize Enola Holmes from the famous Netflix Movies featuring Millie Bobby Brown; however, Enola Holmes was first the brainchild of author Nancy Springer and the protagonist of a young adult book series. Set to be released on August 31st, Springer continues the adventure series with Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche where our protagonist is once again set out to solve a mystery.
Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she's an independent young woman--after all, her name spelled backwards reads 'alone'--and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock's doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn't the truth, that she'd know if her twin had died. The Earl's note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover and she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl's wives to die suddenly and vaguely--and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl's home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl's hall, Enola is going to require help--from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether.
This book brought me back to my childhood of reading Nancy Drew books! I forgot how much I loved a good mystery until I dove into Enola Holmes’s world! This book had adventure, hilarity, and was just such a fun and quick read!
While this book is technically the seventh book in the Enola Holmes Series, I had no trouble diving right into the story with no prior knowledge of the events of Books 1-6. The prologue (which is narrated by the one and only Sherlock Holmes) provided the right amount of background information so that readers can jump straight into the newest books of this series.
With appearances from Sherlock and Watson helping out with the case, this book is a great melding of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories and a new and modern twist on them. If you’re looking for an adventurous mystery to binge-read then this is the book for you!
*I received an ARC from Wednesday Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi everyone! I have something exciting for you guys today!
I had the wonderful opportunity to take part in the blog tour for the release of Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche and in addition to getting to read the book early, I also got to ask the author of the book, Nancy Springer, a few questions about her inspiration for the writing this series and what's next for Enola Holmes! This character has become so well-known in the past year, but this book was my first time diving into the world of Enola Holmes and it's safe to say that I had so much fun reading about this adventurous and courageous character! If you want to read my review of the book, check it out here, but without further ado, here's what Nancy had to say about her new novel:
What inspired you to write this book/series?
My literary agent suggested writing books with a “classic chassis,” so I did some set in the King Arthur mythos, and some based on legends of Robin Hood, and then moved on to the world of Sherlock Holmes.
What's one thing you want readers to take away from ENOLA HOLMES?
That she doesn't need a boyfriend, for God's sake.
What was the easiest or hardest thing about writing ENOLA HOLMES?
Hardest: getting the details authentic. There were times when I would spend hours online just trying to figure out what Enola should wear. Easiest: letting Enola take the lead.
Who is your favorite character from the book and why?
Of course Enola herself is my favorite character, because she's the one I most identify with, and because she's the smartest and funniest.
Do you have any plans for a sequel? Or are you working on a new novel?
I'm working on another Enola Holmes novel. I don't yet have a title for it, and who knows whether it will ever be published? There's no way I can tell at this point whether it will be good enough.
Special thanks to Nancy Springer for taking the time to answer my questions and for everyone at Wednesday Books for making this possible!
Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer comes out on August 31st and you can find Nancy @NancySpringer on Twitter. Click here to check out Wednesday Books and preorder a copy for yourself, which I highly recommend doing!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!