Welcome to 2022! Is it possible to hope for a better year?? Or is that just wishful thinking at this point?
I'm happy for a new year and a new planner to try to make my life a little less chaotic. Keep my street teams straight (I'm on 4 at the moment, I love it so much!!!), keep my family schedule straight, and try to plan life out as much as possible hahaha I use the Happy Planner and have for many years, I truly enjoy how easy it is to write things in the day to day and how pretty the designs are!
This month I have a small goal to read more indie books than traditionally published ones. I've done pretty well and I still have a LOT of ARCs to finish to make sure I keep a good standing with NetGalley, and I have enjoyed my membership immensely and I'm grateful for the opportunity to read more amazing books!
I don't have many goals for the year. I am very hesitant to make goals because I am very hard on myself if I don't accomplish them, so I try to just kinda generally throw ideas out to the universe instead of full blown goals. Just being in survival mode for the past few years has kinda made it hard to look too far into the future just in case, ya know, life happens hahaha
The past couple years I've used my books to help me escape and while I will still use them for such, I'm looking forward to having some other grounding methods and coping mechanisms.
These bookcases, other than our office redo, were the best purchase of last year for sure! I've enjoyed decorating them and filing them with so many amazing stories. I've met so many amazing people through the social media circles of the book community and for that I am so grateful, especially so many indie authors and those friendships are so precious to me.
This year will be better than the previous ones. One thing I decided for myself for this year however was to finally put my mental health at the forefront and to help myself. With that in mind, I have my first therapy session scheduled and I am so excited and terrified at the same time. I've wanted this for so long that I'm worried it won't work or help me, but I know eventually it will. If I'm open enough and willing to work hard this will absolutely help me handle my anxiety and hopefully my depression too. Happy New Year everyone!
Hello my party people! I know, I KNOW! It's been a hot minute since there's been a post here and for that I am sorry! But I'm here today with some of my bookish buddies to share some amazing holiday reads with you!
All I Want For Christmas is a.....
Sheriff in On Christmas Avenue by Ginny Baird
Ginny Baird seems to know Christmas, and Hallmark has her number. If you don’t believe me, check out her other series- Christmas Town and Holiday Brides. If you love cheesy, sappy-sweet romances, this is the book for you. In On Christmas Avenue, Evan, the county sheriff, knows that businesses are struggling in the small town of Clark Creek. But unlike the mayor—who happens to be his mother—he doesn’t think that hiring a “Christmas Consultant,” will help, especially when this Christmas Consultant proposes a holiday parade that seems likely to overwhelm his staff and leave the town in even more debt. Mary is sure the parade is going to be a superb fundraiser. She’s going to make sure of it, overcoming every obstacle, including those put in place by the stubborn sheriff. But in the middle of her planning, the unexpected happens: she and Evan begin to see one another in a different light. With his realistic viewpoint, especially contrasted to the outlandish Mary, I definitely relate a little more to Evan the sheriff. Full of figurative language and extra sap, On Christmas Avenue will bring you miracles and a sheriff with a bow!
Lawyer in Christmas in the Scottish Highlands by Donna Ashcroft
An overworked school teacher, a cynical divorce lawyer and a lonely grandmother are the main characters in this fun Scottish highland Christmas tale. When Edina is injured by Belle in her bike in the snow Belle moves in to take care of her elderly neighbor much to the chagrin of Edina’s grandson Jack with whom she’s just come into contact with. Belle’s constant goodwill makes Jack suspicious but as time goes on her goodness starts to break through his shell. But when Edina’s Christmas list to Santa includes him reconnecting with his estranged mother Jack doesn’t want anything to do with our dogooder Belle. Yet the attraction seems to be irresistible.
A sweet story and quick read. The relationships are well developed and has just enough heat with all the heart attached.
Cowboy in Cowboy’s Christmas Past by Jackson and North
Looking for a book with a little more grit? Cowboy’s Christmas Past is perfect for John Wayne film-lovers. After his mother’s death, Beau Taylor returned from college to care for his baby sister. He left behind his dream of becoming a cinematographer and his girlfriend Amelia to help on his family’s ranch. Beau never thought he’d see her again. Amelia followed her dreams and became a big movie star. But ten years later she shows up in town to shoot a western (a remake of The Searchers (1956) with Amelia a sEvelyn Edwards; John Wayne played Ethan Edwards in the original), and their worlds collide after Beau’s ranch is selected as the perfect filming location. Amelia can make audiences believe she’s in love, yet the only time she’s ever truly fallen for a man was with the smoldering Beau. With Beau’s attraction to Amelia growing, it might also be the perfect setting for a Christmas romance. If you’re looking for a Christmas book with cowboys, horses, and a small western town, you’ll love this gift!
Robot in Created for Christmas by Joynell Schultz
This is a story that has a ton of family Christmas traditions, nerdy superhero references, and of course some robot romance (as well as other romance). There is also a small little mystery that is involved but frankly it's not really as big of a deal as the romance. It has a nerdy soft man character and a robot who is also a soft man with a lesson on how it is better to have companionship with people that appreciate who you are rather than who you create. If you’re looking for something new and unique as well as a short novella check this out!
Mythical Being (vampire werewolf etc) Walking in a Witchy Wonderland by Juliette Cross
An anthology of witchy Christmas tales that have a perfect amount of spice and holiday cheer! My only thing is I didn’t know they were sequels to other books so occasionally I felt a bit lost BUT overall fun stories and perfect for the season!
Writer in Write before Christmas by Julie Hammerle
This is one of those novels to me that combines the fans of Spoiler Alert and any of the baking romances out there. It has the small town Hallmarkeqsue Christmas traditions, an older more closed down romance, and a ton of writer insights such as word count, what happens to the author once they sell the movie rights to their book, etc. With that aspect, I really enjoyed what it brought to the table. I also appreciated that it shows a leading lady creating her own second chance after divorcing her first husband of 20something years controlling their life and that she didn't submit to the second love right away either. The only thing that I was not a fan of for this particular book is that some of the technology/ influencer careers on social media could date the book later. Overall though, this book is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.
Bookstore Employee in The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese
If you’re a bookworm, then this is the holiday romance for you. I’ve never been someone who actively chooses to read holiday romances, but this is now my favourite holiday romance and nobody can convince me otherwise. Jonathan Frost is boyfriend goals. This guy is the most thoughtful guy I have ever come across in a romance story. Hands down. Gabby and Jonathan actually have productive and respectful conversations about their feelings and I love that. Also the steam. Oh gosh. I never knew holding hands could be so sensual. This book is also filled to the brim with holiday cheer and it’s set in a bookstore, so it’s already a perfect addition to any bookworm’s holiday TBR. I honestly couldn’t recommend this book enough, as my mouth hurt from smiling throughout the entire book. Gabby and Jonathan just couldn’t be more perfect for each other and I want to reread this book already, just so I can experience their relationship again. This book is also an own voices story with an autistic MC and type 1 diabetes rep.
Musician in A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Have you ever made a spontaneous decision that ended up changing your life? After losing her job and living her life trying to be the perfect Indian daughter, the MC Niki makes the spontaneous decision to fly to Mumbai for her best friend’s wedding. Once there, she meets bass guitarist Sam at a Diwali celebration and thus begins the whirlwind of what she believes is just a fling. However, someone begins catching feelings and you can check out the book to see how everything turns out. If you’ve had a secret dream to date a member of a band at any point in your life, you’ll want to check out this book! ...Don’t read it if you’re hungry though, because the numerous mentions of Indian food will keep you drooling until the end.
Scrooge in A Little Christmas Christmas Spirit by Sheila Roberts
This is a heartwarming story about gruffy, Scrooge-like Mr. Stanley opening his heart after the death of his wife Carol. Lexie Bell and her son Brock move in next door to Stanley and he slowly begins to spend more time with them and growing to love Brock as his own grandson. He initially wants to ignore them and keep to his own business, but Carol appears to him as a ghost and insists he needs to stop being a Scrooge. This isn’t a romance between Lexie and Stanley, but there are lots of flashbacks to Stanley’s relationship with Carol. These flashbacks are so sweet and you’ll wish you had a Manly Stanley in your life, if you don’t already have one. He’s a gruff man with a heart of gold and always does anything to make Carol happy. There’s also a dog in this book, so it’s already a great read. If you’re looking for a heartwarming and extremely emotional Christmas story, this is it!
Halfway Wicked by Dara Kent - Demon hunters, and sisters, Riss and Lily are twice marked - both Heaven and Hell claim their blood. In order to save their souls they have to kill as many demons as possible to hopefully cancel out Hell’s hold on them. When their friends start dying and Riss starts having more paranoid thoughts than normal she has to put aside her issues and find out who’s really going to help her free her sister’s soul. Nothing else matters but Lily’s safety to Riss, and she’ll do anything to keep her that way. The premise was good. I liked the idea and maybe later books will be better overall but this just felt like a LOT of set up and not enough fleshing out. But I enjoyed the characters, the spice level was excellent, language was a bit much for my personal taste but overall I’m hopeful for the next books to have more depth. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A Letter to Three Witches - Cousins Trudy, Gwen and Milo all receive a letter from Tannith - another cousin that is always wanting to be the center of attention no matter what. On the premise of her moving away, Tannith tries to make some mischief between them all and chaos ensues. A cacophony of misunderstandings, Magic and mayhem make up this fast paced contemporary. This was cute! A little hard to follow on occasion but I enjoyed it enough to ensure the 4 stars! I love Gwen finding her inner power and standing up for herself. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Iron Widow - Holy crazy awesome!!! Zetian, born a girl therefore meant to be a sacrifice to the war effort with her spiritual energy to the pilots of the famous Chrysalis’. After the death of her Big Sister however she’s plans her revenge on the pilot that killed her, once she is successful in that attempt she is labeled the infamous Iron Widow. Paired once again with a male pilot, the Iron Demon, they have to work together to win the war and save themselves. This is so action packed and Zetian is a firecracker! I love her spark and her passion and her determination. She’s not timid ever and for that I admire her. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dromfrangil - A fun new fantasy series with a MC with a prosthetic arm and uses a cane! It was fun, had adventure, love, loss, friendships and is about finding your power while also helping others. Looking forward to more! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Fools in Love - Very cute little anthology of love stories and the range was really nice to read and change between! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Dating Dare - A steamy romance between two people that do not want to fall in love. After a drunken dare to 4 dates Tara and Seth start on a journey of desire and denying it as long as possible to save yourself from hurt. A game of cat and mouse ensues and it's fun to watch them figure out whether or not love is worth it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Female Preferred - Multiple POV little love story. Brigette and Connor couldn't be more different but when circumstances lead them to become roommates they form a friendship that could blossom into something much more and so special. Pretty good quick read though the changing POV was hard to follow sometimes. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Beyond the Tracks - Another harrowing story of the horrors of WW2 and the experiences of Jewish people of Europe. The narrator was incredible and was a great performer. We follow Jakob and Ethan as they grow up through their experiences and the camps they lived in. For anyone that wants to learn more about the war, this is a fantastic historical fiction piece. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Accidental Gatekeeper - FINALLY a main character in a fantasy that isn't a teenager! I loved this book and Everly's story! She's snarky, too tired to do deal with people's crap and is fiercely protective of her daughter and it was a heck of a ride from start to finish! Loved this! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Aftermath - A beautifully written story about trauma, heartache and loss. Even if the circumstances are different, loss changes people and can be hard to discuss. I loved the narrator and the emotion she brought to the performance Trigger warning: school shooting survival, loss of child, trauma responses. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Boi of Feather and Steel- Beautiful story yet again from this author! Love the LGTBQ representation in this. Love the characters. Loved everything about it and the narrator!? LOVED THEM!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Gatekeeper's Staff - Beautifully woven story based on Nigerian mythology and magic! TJ is the perfect coming of age character and his needing to live up to his sister's legacy?! Priceless! Narrator was wonderful and gave the story life and made it so entertaining! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Rory and Jade give some recommendations for kids their ages!
Bambi all by Disney
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas
Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
Candy Apple Book: Totally Crushed by Eliza Willard
Poison Apple Book: This Totally Bites by Ruth Ames
City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn - I loved the concept of this story, the world building and most of the characters but the plot also fell a little flat and became predictable. Asa and Riven are great foils to each other but the overall recklessness of Riven made it hard to really want to see any ending other than the one provided. Hopefully the sequel will answer more questions and also give us more to guess. ⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit by Colby Cedar Smith - The writing of this book is beautiful. The poetry angle is refreshing and full of feeling. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different couples and the dynamics between them and their families and how they intertwine. I absolutely loved reading it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois Gorgeous poetry writing about the tragedy of 9/11 and the roller coaster of emotions of having an Army dad while also not wanting violence. All while being a girl in middle school growing into womanhood. Triggers include grief, trauma, bullying ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Never Say Never by Justine Manzano - Super cute fast read! Aphrodite is banished to earth for the events of Troy and hundreds of years later falls into Brynn’s life and is determined to make her believe in love again. Brynn wants nothing to do with love seeing as her own parents aren't in love anymore, it’s all just magic that doesn’t exist so why bother? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Once Upon a Royal Summer by Terri Wilson, narrated by Brittany Pressley - Cute little rom com and a perfect Hallmark traditional story. Fake princess, real prince, a vacation that changes them both and love is in the air! Loved the narrator and it was a good light and quick listen! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Hexing the Ex by Susanna Shore - Way cute little read about a girl getting accidentally cursed by her boss's ex-wife and the shenanigans of that. Witty writing and fun new characters and a house of magic make it an enchanting novel and I'm excited to read the sequel! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Reasons for Avoiding Friends by Megan Leavell - I love the relationship between Gwen and Iris. It's clear how much they still care for each other even after years of no contact. This story speaks to the true friendships people have, and it also speaks to the ridiculous pressure women are under in our society to be a specific way. Iris is struggling with keeping her husband happy and has a drinking problem, whereas Gwen is a homemaker who's husband is now unemployed and there's 3 kids to feed and take care of. Both women are refusing to open up about their problems when they truly need a friend to help them get through these dark times. Finally they talk and can be each other's support. I enjoyed their relationship and the proof that friends can make it through anything together. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
All the Blues Come Through by Metra Farrari - Ryan has finally found a way to battle the CO2 levels polluting the earth! Her seemingly magical Weeping Diana’s are the only way for humans to breathe clean air - the problem? She’s the ONLY one that can get them to grow! Frustrated by the media playing her out as a cheapskate and by the disappointment of no other scientist being able to duplicate her process she is THRILLED when a postcard comes to her filled with pictures of her flowers! A mysterious island full of people that dress differently than she does and she can’t quite put her finger on what’s different about them……..but there IS something possibly magical going on here. Really good story and writing, I’m looking forward to a sequel! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Spells Trouble by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - Firstly, the narrator (Cassandra Campbell) is incredible and has a great voice for audiobooks! This story is wonderful, sad, complex, and full of familial love. Twin witches that need to save their world from monsters from different realms of power?! Sign me up! Norse, Egyptian, Hindu, Greek, Japanese gates that needed to be fixed and closed again to keep the "Oogly-Boogly's" away from the world. Hunter and Mercy must work together starting on their shared 16th birthday, and the night of their mother's murder by a monster that was loosed, to seal the gates or risk being separated. I loved this so much! It was full of magic and just had the greatest weaved story! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow - Following the events of A Song Below Water we find Naema wanting to tell her half of the story. After all she is an eloko and deserves to be heard in her beloved Portland after Effie and Tavia so cruelly stoned her - in her own words.
I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I was hoping after the awesome prequel. I was 80% in and Naema was still a spoiled, whiny thing and it was driving me crazy. Once she meets up with her family in the Southwest things got better but it was still a slow book for me.
The narrators were amazing! The way they captured the emotions of the different characters was great and made it easier to follow along. ⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Keening by Anne Emery - Two timelines interweave in this historical fiction tale of a hotel owned by the Tierney's in lush Ireland. In present day the Tierney's are trying to keep an American investor from developing the land behind them into a casino and horrid tourist attractions by having an archaeological dig to find something to stop them. But old Cait is worried that they will find something that will turn the public against them because of the tumultuous past of the family and their land. In the late 1500s there is a string of murders in the town and the Tierney's are in the middle of helping find the murderer while also being careful not to bring the notice of the English to them. How will the past and present handle what's unearthed beneath? ⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Big Boned by Jo Watson - Lori has just been uprooted from all of her friends in Johannesburg to live in Cape Town so her autistic brother can be at the best school in the country for him, and so her mother can escape her father's impending wedding to his mistress after a messy divorce. She adores her brother and is happy to have found a potential place to help him, but once she sets foot in the local high school she knows this will not be good. No one else looks like her, she is the only fat person on campus and even though her anxiety meds should be helping, and therapy does sometimes, she feels instantly out of place. When the hottest guy in school starts paying attention to her she freaks out even more thinking it's all a joke. Can she get over her inner bully and discover that she also deserves happiness in her life regardless of other people's choices for her life? Beautifully raw and moving, Lori's story is one of finding your voice when you feel powerless and believing you deserve all the happiness in the world regardless of what anyone else has to say. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin - I loved this book! Rachel weaves a story of love, loss, trauma, magic, and healing in a brand new way! Clara is broken and fears so much about who she is as the only Everwitch in a century, and that with her use of her powers, the ones she loves are dead. This book is about not running from who you are regardless of your past, your mistakes, or whom you presume yourself to be. It's about finding a safe person that helps you see what's always been inside of you and helps you amplify others because of it rather than in spite of. One of my favorite reads of 2021 and of all time!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The English Girl by Sarah Mitchell - I love a good war time forbidden love story! We follow Frances, Fran, as she works for the prisoner of war camp hosting German soldiers in her British village in the wake of WW2's end. There she meets the handsome Thomas, a prisoner that speaks English and steals her heart. She also meets Martin, a man who was medically excused from the war and has immense guilt about it, and he and Fran build a friendship which could develop into more. With the war right behind the world can Fran be with the man she loves or will a safer choice rule out? Great storytelling and weaving of real events with the fiction of the love triangle. I can't wait to get a physical copy!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Text God by Whitney Dineen & Melissa Summers - Super adorable story of love and faith. Jen is an artist trying to make her way in the New York art scene but is having a hard time. When she gets a mysterious text message from God, her life is changed forever. Gabriel Oliver Daly has a plan: make partner, marry Alexis, have a family, and everything will be the way he's alway imagined it. Wen he meet a pretty front desk clerk at the hotel he's supposed to meeting a friend's sister at, his life is also changed forever. Very cute and well written and part of a series that's fun ad innocent and very fun to read! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Shadows of Saigon by Mark R. Anderson - From just the cover art and title you know this will be a sad story, The U.S. involvement in Vietnam is messy and complicated and always has a sad ending. This was no exception. Written beautifully and weaves a tale of love and sorrow and the aftermath for our soldiers that served so faithfully. It's a good book overall and reading Grady's story will help put things in perspective for us to not take anything for granted. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas - This was a heartbreakingly beautiful retelling of Peter Pan and Wendy. Wendy went missing with her brothers 5 years ago and only she came back after being lost for 6 months. What happened to her in that time frame? She has no idea. She's tried to remember but can never get past the blackness that invades her mind when she tries. When Peter crash lands back in her town looking for her everything she's pushed down so deeply comes back to the surface but can she and Peter save the other missing children and Peter's life before the shadow takes hold forever? I absolutely loved this book! It was heartrendering, tender, traumatic, faithful to the fairytale, and brought fresh storytelling back to Neverland. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Foretold by Violet Lumani - This book had many good qualities: a heroine with mental illness and dealing with grief, a magical world right under her nose that she's inexplicably drawn into, supporting characters that deal with their own trauma while helping their friend, and an overly supportive parent. Sometimes I didn't quite understand how the scrying worked. Even with explanations it was difficult to keep straight but I enjoyed how Cassie learns and develops as a person and scryer. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Queen's Spy by Clare Marchant - A timeless tale of intrigue and the balance of spying with family life. Tom is both deaf and mute, making him the perfect spy for Queen Elizabeth while she waits for an assassination to come for her from her cousin Queen Mary of Scots. With Tom's ability to read lips and melt int the background he becomes entangle in the web of the Queen's spymaster but will it be too much for the family he leaves behind? Mathilde has never known home to be a place of refuge. Always on the run with her mother and then alone at the age of 16, her beloved van as seen her home and has always provided a way to escape. When she is summoned to England she learn her father left her his estate despite being told he died in an explosion when she was very small. Now with new found family, and dare she say even love, will she finally put down roots? Seeing how Tom and Mathilde's stories intertwine and mirror was fascinating and I enjoyed going back and forth in time between resent day and the Tudors!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Where There's a Whisk by Sarah J Schmitt - This book was absolutely adorable and I loved it. The characters are complex, even for teenagers, and seeing how they take on the cooking challenges and the show drama. Reading about the New York landscape and the fun they have together even with show drama was enjoyable and made me reminisce about my own trips to New York. Staying true to yourself no matter what people try to force you into is the perfect theme for this book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Another Beast's Skin by Jesseka Grewe Glover - This was a great story! I enjoyed escaping to the UK and learning all the dynamics within a family/combat cadre and how much they impact our world and the world we can't see because of the Veil that separates Fae from human. Nesya begins on this journey after losing her father and after her divorce. She's always had a sword strapped to her back and has always wondered why he father would be insistent that she learn to defend herself. When she meets Cade, Corra and Silas on her vacation she starts to learn what part she may play in a bigger universe than she ever knew was there.
I look forward to a sequel!!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington - This was a great tapestry of a tale! The pieces wove together in colorful ways and had many layers to it. Circus life is thrust upon our narrator as the daughter of a very famous water act and the animal keeper. Sadly, her parents don't really want anything to do with her so she's on her own until another soul, Serendipity Wilson takes her under her wing and teaches her the art of the high wire. After many years and much hardship, our narrator, known by her friend as Mouse, sets off to the US in search of a baby girl gone missing. In pursuit of her psudeo sister, she becomes the Greatest Funambulist of All Time! It's a tale of love, loss, war times, happiness, and dealing with generational trauma. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - A fun magical short story! I liked the magic stem and the nahuale as her "familiar" that both helps and feeds off of her was a great twist. It was a quick tale and even though it was short there was plenty of character development and magic to be had!
My only drawback was that I went in thinking it was a full novel and it's a novella, the story and writing is incredible.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett - I loved this book! Historical fiction and a thriller to boot! I enjoyed reading about the witch hunting in Scotland back in the 1600s as well as the correlation to social media being similar to that mentality. The characters are developed and the mother daughter relationships are prominent and functional. I thoroughly loved meeting Honor and Alice and Tess and Jem and see how their stories line up thanks to the connection to Thistle Cottage by the sea in Scotland's lush backdrop. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley - This story reminded me of Rapunzel so to me it was a retelling of that classic fairytale. Mia escapes her controlling mother that hordes the pearls she sheds from her body claiming "if people knew about you, they'd lock you away and use you!". She starts a new life as a worker in a museum of oddities and selling her pearls to help with the mermaid display. But is all as it seems in her new found world?? Really well written and compelling! I was hooked within a few pages and I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📚
The Falconer Series 1/2/3 by Elizabeth May.
Set against the lush background of Scotland’s highlands we meet Aileana Kameron, a lady with a secret: she’s a Falconer - a fae hunter. With the help of her mysterious mentor Kiaran, they try to keep her world safe from the faeries that seek to destroy it. However, things don’t always go according to plan and once one piece falls, can they rally together to save themselves and the ones they so desperately love most - including each other?
This series was amazing! I read all 3 books in 2 days! It was a hook, line, and sink her for me hahaha I loved the characters, the storyline, everything about them! These were recommended to me by two of my friends and I’m so happy I read them! There’s even a FableBands for this series and I now need it badly! Aileana is fierce and inventive and so deep in character development I fell instantly in love with her. Definitely pick up The Falconer Trilogy and add it to your shelves!
Fat Chance Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonaldo
This book was amazing. Charlie was me in high school. Everything she felt, experienced, dreamed, etc was how my high school experience was. Reading her story proved how far I’ve come. I wanted to reach into those pages and just hug her so tight to let her know it gets better. To let her know she’s amazing already, and ultimately she discovers that herself. I loved this book. It’s easily in my top for 2021 so far. Thank you Crystal Maldonado for Charlie’s amazing story. For her strength and courage. I needed this book in high school, I’m glad girls can read it now and be better for it!
We Hunt the Flame/We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
People live because she kills. People die because he lived. Zafira is the Hunter, forced to pretend to be a man because it is shameful for a woman to do what she does. Nasir is the Prince of Death and goes where the sultan sends him. As their land lays dying around them, Zafira and Nasir are thrown together in a desperate attempt to save it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this world and story. Zafira and Nasir are one of my new favorite couples. The magic of the land is rich and vast and the intricacies of it was so nice to read about! Small amount of spice in it 🔥🔥/5
Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Ravka is divided through the middle by the vast Shadow Fold, a manifestation of a dark evil that only the legendary Sun Summoner can vanquish but he hasn't been found. Alina Starkov is a soldier in the First Army but when she makes the crossing of the Shadowfold with her childhood friend Malyen (Mal) Orestev, she is thrown headfirst into the world of the Grisha. These soldiers of the Second Army are gifted with powers over the elements (Etherealki), the human body (Corporalki), or to make fabricated materials (Materialki). Under the leadership of the Darkling, Alina must find what her role is in fixing the Shadowfold and uniting her kingdom in the light.
This trilogy is the introduction to the vast land of the Grishaverse in the kingdom of Ravka. The story is beautiful and intricate, the relationships especially are complex. Once you finish these I highly suggest following with the rest of the Grishaverse novels: Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, King of Scars/Rule of Wolves.
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Daunis Fontaine is from two worlds: those of her white family and her Ojibwe heritage. When her best friend is murdered, she is roped into an FBI investigation into the meth distribution in her community, and she wants to stop it from spreading more. She navigates being undercover, the budding relationship with handsome undercover agent Jamie, and her community/familial obligations without tipping off anyone that may be watching.
There are some trigger warnings for this book: drug abuse, sexual assault, trauma, and witnessing murder. I thoroughly enjoyed this even though it's not usually in my wheelhouse of what I buy. I'm a fantasy reader usually but this was written really well and told a story that deserves to be told.
✨Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen✨
Sisters Claire and Sydney have never truly seen eye to eye on anything but when Sydney shows up at Claire’s door with her young daughter Claire has to start letting people into her solitary world. Using their gifts that have turned them into local legends the sisters find their way through heartache to love, happiness and a little bit of magic.
This book was so cute and sweet! It’s a fast read and definitely NOT a YA. There are a couple steamy scenes but overall it brought me joy. This book had been recommended by multiple people to me so reading it just made my day! Little bit of magic, relationships - both familial and romantic, and learning how to overcome yourself. Absolutely fabulous read!
Add Garden Spells to your bookshelf for a magical adventure with a great ending!
✨Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson✨
Elizabeth has loved and lived in The Great Library for her entire life. When the Director is murdered by the most deadly grimoire is released and turns I to the monster within, Elizabeth is framed for the murder. She must ally herself with Nathaniel Thorn, a sorcerer who’s only job is to use magic to do evil and kill her. Or maybe she’s realizing that not everything is as it seems........
I loved this! It was a perfect mix of magic, wits, love, companionship, loyalty, breaking down stigmas and so much fun! Elizabeth is a strong female lead and Nathaniel is a perfect complement to her. The relationships in this book are complex and satisfying. Possibly the first of a series but unsure if that’s in the works or not??
If you’re looking for a wonderful magical YA, Sorcery of Thorns is a perfect addition to your bookshelf
✨One Way or Another by Kara McDowell✨
Paige has two choices: travel to NYC for Christmas with her mom and live her dreams of bigger better places than her hometown OR spend Christmas with her best friend in a snow laden cozy cabin and finally confess the love she’s kept hidden from him for two years?!
I really enjoyed this book! Kara did a great job navigating the waters of an anxiety disorder and the paralysis that can come from it. The whole book I felt Paige’s pain, fear, joy and sadness. Paige reminded me of my own high school self and I fell in love with both Fitz and Harrison and the tale they weave together.
If you’re looking for a great wintery YA romance, One Way or Another is a perfect addition to your bookshelf ✨
✨✨A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown✨✨
Malik has always known he had something special deep within him and when he makes a desperate bargain with a revenge-bent spirit for his sister’s safety he must embrace it as he enters the arena as the Sun Champion, and to kill the Princess. Karina watches her mother get assassinated right in front of her eyes and must figure out how to become the leader she was meant to be. Together they embark on a journey in which they learn what Solstasia actually means to their land and what they mean to each other.
I could not put this book down! The Rick tapestry of characters, legends and lore shown here sucked me in! Malik and Karina are such amazing characters and play off each other in a beautiful way. When it ended I was hungry for more and thankfully the sequel is scheduled for Nov 2021!!
Add A Song of Wraiths and Ruin to your bookshelf for a story that will resonate with your very souls!
✨✨ The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas✨✨
Star is trapped between cultural worlds. Her friend, Kalhil, is shot by a police officer while driving her home from a party. She is asked to testify about the shooting and has to navigate her feelings between the two sides of herself: the one that goes to her prestigious dominantly white school and the one that mourns for her friend and lives in her Black neighborhood.
I think this is one EVERY person needs to read regardless of age. The language is so heartbreaking and I felt her pain as she tried to figure out what was best for her and Kalhil’s legacy and name. It’s eye opening to those of us with privilege to never have to live with these kinds of choices. It will change you if you let it and maybe just maybe we can change the world for the better because of it.
Add The Hate U Give to get some perspective on the racial divide in our world.
**Forgive me for the random books here - technically I read these in 2020 but never wrote about them so now they count as 2021 Bookworm reads hahaha**
Here you will find love, magic, bookworm favorites, Disney tips, and a family on their journey to Happy Ever After!