Review: A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Goodreads

Release date: November 1, 2023

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity. 

It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…

Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together

Review:

This is the fifth book in a series and man, I’ve really enjoyed every single book which is honestly not all that common as a series goes on. I’ve been loving celebrity romances this year too so I was excited to get that side of Colton’s story as well as his history. This also has a sunshine and grump trope and when the guy is the happy go lucky one like Colton was I just swoon. This is definitely Christmassy but no too much of that’s not your thing, I was still satisfied with that aspect and my love of all things festive was pleased. The best part of this series is checking in with the boys and it was hilarious as usual when they all get together. Loved the latest installment in this series and adored the charm and humor as always.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

Goodreads

Release date: January 3, 2023

Publisher: St. Martins

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

Review:

This was such an addictive and fun popcorn thriller! I know it’s early for me to be reviewing it but it was entertaining enough that I figured getting it on your radar early would be a good thing. One of the things I’ve come to enjoy the most about this authors books is the way she creates unsettling settings for her books and this was no exception. It flips back and forth between present day when Emily and Chess are vacationing in Italy and then back to the 1970s when Mari spends a summer at the same villa as Emily. I was very drawn to the past timeline because you already know the summer comes to a violent and deadly end but the lead up to the tragedy was so fascinating. The author did a really great job with these two timelines showcasing such similar and parallel experiences but it was still easy to keep things separate in my head. I think I expected a slightly more explosive ending after such a strong lead up but I appreciate what the author was doing and why she made the choices she did. Overall a solid read with a unique edge and very cool throwback vibes.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

Goodreads

Release date: November 1, 2022

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in December, Kiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.

Review:

I adored the authors last book, The Charm Offensive and had super high expectations for this one. I’m so happy to report that this one more than lived up to my expectations and I enjoyed it just as much.

You have fake dating and instead of a love triangle you get a love trapezoid and that worked so much better for me than a boring triangle. The relationships between the characters are complicated to say the least so the entertainment value alone makes it worthwhile but it’s so much more than a sappy rom com with funny moments. It also has those too but the author does such an incredible job at representing a wide variety of people and handling their issues and problems in a delicate and sensitive way. The side characters don’t even feel like a secondary part of the story, every one adds value to the story and they were all so well drawn. Everything about this one felt thoughtful and combine that with a charming sapphic romance, a festive setting for a good portion of the book and Taylor Swift references and I was beyond happy. Loved this one!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

Goodreads

Release date: November 8, 2022

Publisher: Park Row

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis: Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

Review:

I’m a sucker for a locked room style mystery this time of year so I was excited to get my hands on this one. I was pretty much immediately drawn in here, there’s a ton of different viewpoints and while I wasn’t sure how they all fit together at first, I was able to settle in fairly quickly. There is one mysterious POV that doesn’t click into place until closer to the end but I was invested in this persons story and actually looked forward to their chapters when they popped up. The setting is fantastic, you have an isolated and claustrophobic cabin in the middle of nowhere and despite the amenities when Mother Nature brings a storm in money can’t save you. I think the less you know her the better off you are so if you enjoy tense and addictive locked room style thrillers try this, it was a lot of fun while also delivering a dark and sinister edge.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

Goodreads

Release date: November 8, 2022

Publisher: Park Row

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis: Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

Review:

I’m a sucker for a locked room style mystery this time of year so I was excited to get my hands on this one. I was pretty much immediately drawn in here, there’s a ton of different viewpoints and while I wasn’t sure how they all fit together at first, I was able to settle in fairly quickly. There is one mysterious POV that doesn’t click into place until closer to the end but I was invested in this persons story and actually looked forward to their chapters when they popped up. The setting is fantastic, you have an isolated and claustrophobic cabin in the middle of nowhere and despite the amenities when Mother Nature brings a storm in money can’t save you. I think the less you know her the better off you are so if you enjoy tense and addictive locked room style thrillers try this, it was a lot of fun while also delivering a dark and sinister edge.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

Goodreads

Release date: October 11, 2022

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

When Cassie Klein goes to an off-campus bar to escape her school’s Family Weekend, she isn’t looking for a hookup—it just happens. Buying a drink for a stranger turns into what should be an uncomplicated, amazing one-night stand. But then the next morning rolls around and her friend drags her along to meet her mom—the hot, older woman Cassie slept with.

Erin Bennett came to Family Weekend to get closer to her daughter, not have a one-night stand with a college senior. In her defense, she hadn’t known Cassie was a student when they’d met. To make things worse, Erin’s daughter brings Cassie to breakfast the next morning. And despite Erin’s better judgement—how could sleeping with your daughter’s friend be anything but bad?—she and Cassie get along in the day just as well as they did last night.

What should have been a one-time fling quickly proves impossible to ignore, and soon Cassie and Erin are sneaking around. Worst of all, they start to realize they have something real. But is being honest about the love between them worth the cost?

Review:

I really liked the premise here, poor Cassie has a sexy hookup with a woman she meets in a bar and the woman in question happens to be her best friends mom. Poor Erin too because she also has no idea Cassie is Parker’s friend either. So this definitely leads to an awkward situation for the both of them but I was so into their age gap romance! You don’t often see an older woman in an age gap romance (in traditionally published books) and you really don’t see it a same sex relationship so I was definitely here for it. The forbidden factor added some intensity to this super sexy story, this has plenty of heat and Cassie and Erin’s chemistry was so hot. The supporting characters added a lot to the story and their friendships felt genuine, I really enjoyed when they were all together. High heat factor aside this still had some tenderness and swoony moments too, overall a super enjoyable romance that cemented my status as a firm fan of the author!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Witchy Books to Read This Fall @reallyintoblog

Now that it’s finally fall my friend Sarah from ReallyIntoThis and I are all about the seasonal reads. Today we’re sharing some of our favorite witchy books, who doesn’t love a little magic this time of year? There’s also some that are still on our TBR for this year too!

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher

Synopsis: Magic-less witch Violet Maxwell wants nothing to do with alpha wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne—the man who broke her fragile, teenage heart. But when the two of them are forced by arcane Supernatural Laws to find mates, Violet and Lincoln agree to fake-date their way to a fake-mating in order to conjure themselves some time.

The joke’s on them. When old feelings make a reappearance—along with Violet’s magic—they both realize there’s nothing fake about their feelings. But there are old secrets and looming threats that could snatch away their happily ever after, again. One thing’s for sure: magic doesn’t make dating and love any easier. 

In Not the Witch You Wed, April Asher brings all the hilarity and sweet, sexy moments you love in a romantic-comedy—plus a fun dose of magic—to this spell-binding new series about being sexy, single, and supernatural in New York City. 

Amy’s Review: After a string of mediocre books I started this on a whim, not sure exactly what to expect. Am I a paranormal romance reader? Nope, but I’ve always wanted to branch out more and this sounded like the perfect place for a newbie like me to start. It totally was, I freaking loved this one. Who knew shifters would work for me?!

I was a little nervous that the whole supernatural aspect would be confusing for me and it wasn’t. I thought the author did a great job explaining the laws/rules while not getting too bogged down in the details to where I was bored. It honestly fascinated me and made me hope that maybe this will be the start of a new series? 🤞🏻There we’re so many interesting and fun side characters that I would love to read more about. The romance was perfection, Lincoln and Violet had A plus chemistry and witty banter wrapped up in a mash up of fake dating/enemies to lovers/second chance romance. Overall this one was just a pure delight, I can’t tell you how happy this one made me, it provided a true escape and left me smiling.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Synopsis: Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

Amy’s Review: If you’re looking for a seasonal read to get you into a fall state of mind this one would be ideal! I don’t really read paranormal romances but this sounded too cute to pass up and I enjoyed it so much that I think I’m actually ready to branch out into some more paranormal romance so if you have any recommendations I would love them!

I think what worked best for me here was witches in a contemporary setting so it wasn’t too far out of my comfort zone but it was edgy enough for me to just be delighted with all the witchy vibes. Since I was really in the mood for a fall read I was the ideal audience for this one but then it was also seriously funny too. I genuinely laughed out loud quite a bit and the romance between Vivi and Rhys was sweet and super sexy. I really just adored this one from the small town cozy vibes, to the humor to the supporting cast of characters that added some additional quirkiness and fun to an already zany read. Audio narration here was fantastic and engaging as well and this totally made me want to light a fall candle, grab a cozy sweater and maybe say a little hex on those who wronged me myself 😉

Sarah’s Review: This is me invoking all the fall vibes! it may be early for a fall and Halloween-themed read for some of you, but for me, any bit of Halloween I can soak up is good for me!

🎃

🌙

Read this if:

You love witchy heroines

A fall festival really gets you going

Stories set around Halloween are your jam!

Forced proximity & second chance romances melt you into a puddle

🥰

THE EX HEX is one of my favorite reads of 2021! I can’t wait to get a finished copy and read it again and again! I feel like I may need to revisit these characters and the town every fall. This book is truly a warm hug for my fall, Halloween, and witch-loving heart!

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling

Synopsis: Gwyn Jones is perfectly happy with her life in Graves Glen. She, her mom, and her cousin have formed a new and powerful coven; she’s running a successful witchcraft shop, Something Wicked; and she’s started mentoring some of the younger witches in town. As Halloween approaches, there’s only one problem—Llewellyn “Wells” Penhallow.

Wells has come to Graves Glen to re-establish his family’s connection to the town they founded as well as to make a new life for himself after years of being the dutiful son in Wales. When he opens up a shop of his own, Penhallow’s, just across the street from Something Wicked, he quickly learns he’s gotten more than he bargained for in going up against Gwyn.

When their professional competition leads to a very personal—and very hot—kiss, both Wells and Gwyn are determined to stay away from each other, convinced the kiss was just a magical fluke. But when a mysterious new coven of witches come to town and Gwyn’s powers begin fading, she and Wells must work together to figure out just what these new witches want and how to restore Gwyn’s magic before it’s too late.

Amy’s Review: This is book two in the Ex Hex series and follows Gwyn and Wells who start off as enemies since they run competing business in town. This was an ideal fall read with a quirky and sassy heroine and a brooding and dark hero.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Synopsis: As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

Amy’s Review: If you like diverse reads about found family with a side of magic this is a must! This gave me all the feels and cozy vibes, I really can’t think of a more ideal fall read as it has a little something for everyone.

Witchful Thinking by Celeste Martin

Synopsis: Love is the trickiest spell of all.

Lucinda Caraway loves living in Freya Grove, the mystic seaside town where charms, hexes, and magical beings of all kinds are the norm. She spends her days teaching high school history and her nights reading tea leaves and tending to her conjure garden. It’s a good life . . . but she can’t stop wishing for more.

Until one night, that wish turns into a spell, and suddenly Lucy can’t say no. Not to a public karaoke performance. Not to running a 10K. And, most alarmingly, not to her high school crush, Alexander Dwyer, who needs her help unjinxing his new house—which just happens to be right across the street from hers.

Alex has spent the last ten years traveling the world on adventures Lucy has only ever dreamed of, and he’s planning to leave again as soon as his house is safe to sell. But until Lucy can unhex herself, she and Alex are stuck together. And with so much magic in the air, maybe the next spell Lucy casts will be the one that convinces him to stay.

Amy’s Review: This is a second chance small town romance with a twist, as there are paranormal activities abounding. Besides witches you have mermaids and gnomes too that brought the quirkiness and some cute laughs. This is more about the romance between Lucy and Alex than any magical happenings but you still get plenty of witchy fun!

Here are some books that are on our own TBR that promise lots of witchy vibes.

The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton

Synopsis: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the teahouse…

Miss Charlotte Pettifer belongs to a secret league of women skilled in the subtle arts. That is to say—although it must never be said—witchcraft. The League of Gentlewomen Witches strives to improve the world in small ways. Using magic, they tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper, entirely unlike those reprobates in the Wisteria Society.

When the long lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it is up to Charlotte, as the future leader of the League, to make sure the powerful talisman does not fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is most unfortunate when she crosses paths with Alex O’Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy. With all the world scrambling after the amulet, Alex and Charlotte join forces to steal it together. If only they could keep their pickpocketing hands to themselves! If Alex’s not careful, he might just steal something else—such as Charlotte’s heart.

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

Synopsis: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling rom-com by Lana Harper.

Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?

But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Synopsis: Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Witch Please by Ann Aguirre

Synopsis: Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls in this adorable witchy rom-com with:

• A bisexual virgin baker with a curse

• A witch looking to avoid romantic entanglements

• And a chemistry between them that causes literal sparks

Danica Waterhouse is a fully modern witch—daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and co-owner of the Fix-It Witches, a magical tech repair shop. After a messy breakup that included way too much family “feedback,” Danica made a pact with her cousin: they’ll keep their hearts protected and have fun, without involving any of the overly opinionated Waterhouse matriarchs. Danica is more than a little exhausted navigating a long-standing family feud where Gram thinks the only good mundane is a dead one and Danica’s mother weaves floral crowns for anyone who crosses her path. 

Three blocks down from the Fix-It Witches, Titus Winnaker, owner of Sugar Daddy’s bakery, has family trouble of his own. After a tragic loss, all he’s got left is his sister, the bakery, and a lifetime of terrible luck in love. Sure, business is sweet, but he can’t seem to shake the romantic curse that’s left him past thirty and still a virgin. He’s decided he’s doomed to be forever alone.

Until he meets Danica Waterhouse. The sparks are instant, their attraction irresistible. For him, she’s the one. To her, he’s a firebomb thrown in the middle of a family war. Can a modern witch find love with an old-fashioned mundane who refuses to settle for anything less than forever?

Hex Appeal by Kate Johnson

Synopsis:

Encanto meets Hocus Pocus in this perfect witchy romcom. An absolute must-read if you love Erin Sterling’s The Ex Hex and Lana Harper’s Payback’s a Witch!

It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…

Essie Winterscale lives in a huge and ever-changing house in the village of Good Winter, in deepest, darkest Essex. She lives with various witches of various ages, one of whom is still a bit salty about being hanged in the 1700s, one who keeps accidentally casting fertility spells, and one who knits things that create the future.

All Essie ever wanted was to have a normal life but in the end she found herself drawn back to Beldam House because she just can’t stop her witchiness (although the ability to instantly chill wine is pretty awesome, even she has to admit).

Into this coven of chaos stumbles gorgeous, clueless Josh, their new landlord – and he’s just discovered his tenants haven’t paid rent since the 1700s! As Josh is drawn further into the lives of the inhabitants of Beldam House, Essie is determined to keep him at broomstick’s length. That is, until a family secret, lying hidden for centuries, puts Josh firmly under her spell…

Review: The Social Climber by Amanda Pellegrino

Goodreads

Release date: January 3, 2023

Publisher: Park Row

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

ELIZA BENNETT IS NOT YOUR NORMAL BRIDE…

For Eliza Bennett, all her planning and scheming for her dream wedding is about to pay off. She’s girlbossed her way into an elite Manhattan lifestyle, including a high-powered job in PR and an engagement to Graham Walker, a high-society Yale graduate from a prominent blue-blooded family.

But as the big day approaches, secrets from Eliza’s past attendance at an Evangelical college start to throw her true motives into question. Who exactly is Eliza Bennett and what does she really want?

Written with a breakneck pace and capturing the glittering, privileged world of the one-percenters, The Night We Met is a gripping novel that shows how you can never truly outrun your past—nor the people from it.

Review:

I will always pick up a novel about rich people behaving badly and the synopsis doesn’t even begin to cover what lies ahead. It’s still basically all you need to know though because this was a slow burn where you don’t even fully understand the characters motivations and intentions until the bitter end. Many times I’m not a fan of a slow burn, I tend to gravitate towards books with some action but I was never even close to bored here. The whole thing read as intoxicating to me and Eliza definitely had me under her wicked spell. You have a past and present alternating timeline and things don’t converge until almost the very end but when they do things were pretty explosive. Eliza as a character fascinated me, she got under my skin and there was something unsettling about her but I kind of liked that? Overall this had a sophisticated feel but a darkness as well, something cruel and complicated lurking. Definitely a fan!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: You Should Have Told Me by Leah Konen

Goodreads

Release date: January 3, 2022

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

A new mother chases the secrets her partner left behind after his sudden disappearance in this pulse-pounding domestic thriller from the author of The Perfect Escape.

Janie needs a break: her baby won’t sleep, she’s struggling with motherhood, and a secret from her past threatens to tear her new family apart. So when Max offers to do their baby’s feedings that night so she can finally get some sleep, she jumps at the chance. But when Janie wakes up at three a.m., her daughter is screaming alone in her bassinet … Max has vanished.

Alone with a newborn and desperate for answers, Janie searches for Max, but the more she learns about the man she loves, the more she wonders how well she knew him at all. When a woman is murdered and Max becomes the prime suspect, Janie must face her partner’s secrets—and her own—if she ever wants her daughter to see her father again.

An endlessly suspenseful and surprising look at both the beauty and darkness of modern motherhood, You Should Have Told Me is a rollercoaster of a thriller with family at its heart.

Review:

This is the third book I’ve read by the author and I really like her brand of writing. She always seems to come up with storylines that at first glance seem like something you’ve read before, but then when you dive in you realize she puts her own unique spin on it. A partner with secrets is nothing new but there was still something fresh here. The author managed to really capture the feeling of being a new parent, especially the low moments that aren’t often discussed. This aspect alongside a plot full of tension and secrets worked pretty well for me. I did think there was a repetitive feel at times but I almost wonder if that was done intentionally as much of it revolves around Janie taking care of her newborn. Other than that it was solid, some mild surprises along the way and it was the kind of compulsive read I’ve come to expect from the author.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: A Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha Young

Goodreads

Release date: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

When event planner Hallie Goodman receives party-inspiration material from the bride of her latest wedding project, the last thing she expects to find in the files are digital videos from Darcy’s ex-boyfriend. Hallie knows it’s wrong to keep watching these personal videos, but this guy is cute, funny, and an astronaut on the International Space Station to boot. She’s only human. And it’s not long until she starts sending e-mails and video diaries to his discontinued NASA address. Since they’re bouncing back, there’s no way anyone will ever be able to see them…right?

Christopher Ortiz is readjusting to life on earth and being constantly in the shadow of his deceased older brother. When a friend from NASA’s IT department forwards him the e-mails and video messages Hallie has sent, he can’t help but notice how much her sense of humor and pink hair make his heart race.

Separated by screens, Hallie and Chris are falling in love with each other, one transmission at a time. But can they make their star-crossed romance work when they each learn the other’s baggage?

Review:

How does this author manage to combine so many of my favorite romance aspects into one amazing book all of the time? I swear if another author tried to write a book that was part rom com but also had lots of angst and pining it wouldn’t work. She is just SO good at blending so many different elements together and she ends up with these epic stories of love. I adored both Chris and Hallie right from the jump and could not wait for them to get together. It was a bit of a wait, this was a slow burn (that’s where the angst comes in) but it was the delicious kind of torture that only certain authors can pull off. I was lining myself 😂 There was a ton of character development and growth as well, you see both of them come so far by the end, both separately and together and I always appreciate that deep type of growth. Overall an outstanding romance that I truly adored, if you’re already a fan of the author you’ll be pleased and if you’ve never read her before you should!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.