Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas took the world by storm after its debut. You can hardly scroll through Bookstagram for two seconds without stumbling upon a flatlay featuring the YA fantasy novel.

I was really skeptical about this one. I’m always a little suspicious about books that get so much hype. How could it possibly live up to the incredibly high expectations?

But I was so wrong. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I don’t even have the words to explain how much I loved this book.

After reading ACOTAR, I went ahead and bought the full series. It was enchanting, romantic and action-packedโ€ฆ basically, everything a book should be. There were so many twists and turns that I never saw coming. And seemingly insignificant details weaved together so beautifully in the end.

The quality of the storytelling was absolutely brilliant. Sarah J. Maas is officially my new favorite author!

Book Review: Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas

Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas was a fun and lighthearted twist on the familiar DC comics villain.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

This was my first time reading a book from a villain’s perspective, and I suppose the old adage is true that even villains are the heroes of their own stories. It made for an entertaining read, as while Selina Kyle was committing crimes, she had a compelling reason driving her actions.

Selina was an interesting character and the ending weaved so many elements that appeared throughout the book together seamlessly.

Catwoman makes for a light and easy read. If you’re looking for a fun little escape and don’t mind her backstory taking an entirely different direction, then it’s worth checking out.

Book Review: Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

I can’t say enough good things about Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee.

It’s a research-based look at the aesthetics of joy, but the information is presented in a casual way that makes you feel like you’re chatting with a best friend. It’s not a heavy read by any means (rightly so, as it’s titled Joyful!) and is filled with fascinating anecdotes.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

Reading this inspired me to make a variety of changes in my own home, including making our laundry room (the way we enter our home 99% of the time) a more welcoming space, with cheerful yellow paint and inviting decor. It is SUCH a nicer way to walk in the door.

I could go on and on, but in short, this book is a must-read for anyone searching for ways to appreciate the little things in life.

The biggest takeaway for me was that, with time, we lose that childlike wonder at things that spark joy for us.

Joyful is all about owning and reclaiming those things which bring us happiness.

Book Review: The Vampire War by Michelle Madow

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The Vampire War is the fifth and final book in The Vampire Wish series, and oh my goodness! It did not disappoint.

I flew through the book. Madow expertly crafted competing storylines and weaved them together for the final book so beautifully. I think anyone who read the previous books will find it to be a satisfying conclusion.

What’s more, it’s the perfect lead-in to the next book in the overarching Dark World series, The Angel Trials.

Normally, I wouldn’t be drawn to a book about angels. I’ve never read one and honestly didn’t even know that was a thing in urban fantasy until recently. But since I’m already familiar with the characters from The Vampire Wish series, I’m curious enough to keep reading.

And, let’s face it – this will be the third series of Madow’s that I’ve read. Based on her other work, I know it won’t disappoint.

Book Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I’m a bit torn as far as how to review this one. On the one hand, I feel like this book is really inspirational in that it shows that with enough grit and determination, you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to, no matter how hard.

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On the other hand, while her life being in turmoil was what led her to begin her trek, it seemed the same poor decision-making continued throughout the entire journey. I kept waiting for a significant “a-ha! moment,” but it never seemed to come. I was just baffled that someone could make so many poor choices that had led her to the trail and not come out on the other side a different person. Or maybe she did, and the book just didn’t go into everything that happened AFTER finishing the trail.

Either way, I enjoyed Strayed’s writing style and found it to be an interesting read. And one thing is for certain – she is one resilient woman. I do admire that she perservered through the many hardships she faced.

Book Review: Trust the Wolf by Zoe Ashwood

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I read the prequel to the Shift series, Bearly Married, and absolutely loved it. So I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Trust the Wolf.


Ashwood is a brilliant writer. She has this amazing ability to pull the reader into a story and get lost in its pages. Emilia’s and Jason’s relationship unfolded in a way that felt so real, and the world-building in this story was just incredible. And there was tons of action, which I really enjoyed.

Ashwood is a brilliant writer. She has this amazing ability to pull the reader into a story and get lost in its pages. Emilia’s and Jason’s relationship unfolded in a way that felt so real, and the world-building in this story was just incredible. And there was tons of action, which I really enjoyed.

I also loved how she connected this book to the prequel. Even though they can be read independently of each other, she wove the stories together beautifully.

Trust the Wolf has much more steam than I’m used to reading, so I did find myself having to skip a few pages here and there. But the story was SO compelling I didn’t mind – and for fans of this genre, that will be a big plus anyway. Just keep in mind this isn’t a YA read. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think Ashwood is a writer to watch for sure. If you like steamy paranormal reads, you will fall in love with her stories.

Book Review: The Purple Haze by Andrew Einspruch

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase โ€“ at no additional cost to you!

The Purple Haze is a fantastic, family-friendly fantasy adventure.

It’s appropriate for both upper Middle Grade and YA readers and is just good ol‘ clean fun.

The worldbuilding is impressive. And I realize this sounds like an odd thing to say, but one of my favorite parts of the book was the names of the various villages. You’ll see what I mean once you read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

You can tell Einspruch put a lot of love and care into writing this adventure, and you’ll fall in love with Princess Eloise, Jerome and her other companions. The action really ramped up in the last quarter of the book, and while there is a cliffhanger, it’s a good one.

Click here to grab your copy today.

Note: I was provided with a copy ofย The Purple Haze by the author, but I am voluntarily writing this review and the opinions expressed are my own.

You can get a free copy of the prequel, The Wombanditos, by joining the author’s newsletter. Just CLICK HERE.

Missed my review of The Wombanditos? You can read the original post here.

The New Paranormal Romance Series You Need to Read Before Everyone Else

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you already know that to say I’m obsessed with vampire books is a massive understatement (after all, I am writing an entire vampire series right now!).

But when I saw the cover for Bearly Married, the prequel novella to the Shift series, I just had to pick up a copy. And I’m so glad that I did because I may have just stumbled upon a new favorite author!

As the name and cover suggest, Bearly Married is a story about bear shifters. But really, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful romance between Christine and the swoon-worthy Alexandre. You’ll be rooting for them from the start, and while the romance was my favorite part, there are some great action scenes, too! (There is definitely some steam, so be aware of that before picking up a copy. )

I don’t know if other readers struggle with this, but a lot of times when I pick up a book, it takes a good few chapters to get in the flow of the author’s writing. But this was NOT the case with this book. The writing flows so smoothly that I found myself totally lost in the story.

If the rest of this series is half as good as the prequel, readers will not be able to devour it fast enough. I can’t wait to read Trust the Wolf next! I guess I’m officially a fan of shifter books now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh. And best of all? You can read Bearly Married for free by joining Ashwood’s newsletter.

2018: A Year in Fiction Book Reviews

Here's a look back at some of the best books I read in 2018 (mostly YA fantasy and YA paranormal romance), plus one that I simply couldn't finish. Click to check out the full list of books and my reviews of them.

As much as I love to read, I’m actually a pretty slow reader. So I went into the year with the goal of reading one book a month.

Luckily, I discovered so many wonderful books that I read far more than that.

(And if I count the children’s books I’ve read to my kids, I could probably add 100+ to this list!)

So, without further ado, here is the round-up of the fiction books I read in 2018.

(These reviews first appeared on BookBub – be sure to follow me there for my latest recommendations and reviews!).

Plus, keep reading for the one book I just couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Books Worth Reading

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase โ€“ at no additional cost to you!

Elementals by Michelle Madow

This was a really enjoyable read. I thought the concept of the elemental powers was clever and intertwining that with mythology made for an interesting storyline. I’m planning to read the whole series. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Madow

I loved the second book in this series. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction to the characters and elemental powers in the first book, now that the characters are well established the reader is immediately pulled in to a wild adventure. I love Madows‘ writing style. Her books are fast-paced and easy to read — the perfect little escape from reality!

The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow

This book was action-packed, easy to read and thoroughly entertaining.

The Portal to Kerberos by Michelle Madow

The Portal to Kerberos continues Madow’s style of great world-building and is a real page-turner.

The Hands of Time by Michelle Madow

The conclusion of this series was action-packed, original and thoroughly entertaining.

Gods and Demons by BR Kingsolver

This book was very well written, it just didn’t capture my interest as much as I would have hoped. I don’t fault the author for that, though, as I knew I was trying a new genre. The main characters were original and believable (although I did have a hard time remembering who the more minor characters were). The storyline was unique and very creative. I think readers who enjoy UF books about elves and shifters will find this to be a fun read.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Why did I wait so long to read this?!?! It’s like The Bachelor meets dystopian YA fiction, but in the absolute best way possible. There’s jealousy, competition and friendship among the girls vying for Prince Maxon’s heart. And the blossoming relationship between America and Maxon feels so genuine and sweet. I liked this book WAY more than I thought I would. This is a series I definitely plan on finishing.

The Vampire Wish by Michelle Madow

I never got into the whole Twilight thing as a teen. But I’m on a The Vampire Diaries kick right now, so I wanted to read a book about vampires. I loved Madow’s Elementals series, so I knew this series would probably be good, too. And it is! The book is written from multiple points of view, and the chapters are relatively short and keep you wanting more (in a good way). It was a really fun read and not too graphic. I think this is a book both teens and adults will enjoy.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I don’t know why I waited so long to read the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Cinder, and Scarlet did not disappoint. Scarlet is definitely a strong female lead and will do anything to save her beloved grandmother, even if that means putting herself in grave danger. Marissa Meyer’s beautiful descriptions and thoughtful character development make this book one you can lose yourself in. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

I have mixed feelings about the second book in the series. I didn’t love it as much as the first. But every time I thought I might be about to lose interest, a new twist pulled me back in. I’m still enjoying the relationship blossoming between America and Maxon and hope America can use her position for good. I’m still liking this series enough to read the next book. ๐Ÿ™‚

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I’m (seemingly) one of the few people in the world who didn’t read the Twilight series when it first came out. I think I would have absolutely loved it as a teen. As an adult, I can see the argument for Edward coming across as a bit creepy and controlling. But if I turn off the logical part of my brain and just enjoy this story for what it is, it’s hard to deny that it’s a fascinating premise and keeps your attention. It’s easy to see how this book started a phenomenon.

The Vampire Prince by Michelle Madow

This book was romantic, had great world-building and is filled with wonderful characters.

The Vampire Trick by Michelle Madow

The third book in this series was easy to read, entertaining and totally original.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

While A Study in Charlotte is a little outside of the realm of what I normally read, I decided to give it a shot. And I’m so glad that I did. I thought this was an insanely clever idea. The descendents of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ending up at the same boarding school and teaming up to solve a mystery that they’re being framed for? Um, yes please! I wavered between giving this 4 or 5 stars. The biggest negative aspect of the book, in my opinion, is how casually Holmes’ drug use is treated. I mean, the girl has a SERIOUS drug problem, but it’s treated as if that is perfectly normal and just what teens do. That really rubbed me the wrong way. But the story was entertaining enough that I could look past it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am glad I decided to branch out and try something new.

The Wombanditos by Andrew Einspruch

The Wombanditos is unlike anything I’ve read – in the best way possible. In a novelette, author Andrew Einspruch has managed to create a whimsical yet believeable world inhabited by an OCD princess and her talking chipmunk companion Jerome (who was my favorite character!). Together, they set off on an adventure – and run into trouble along the way. Princess Eloise is kidnapped, and it’s up to her and Jerome to outsmart her captors – the Wombanditos. I actually found myself smiling as I read this story. There have been plenty of books lately that have made me teary-eyed, but I can’t remember the last time I SMILED while reading. It’s one of those books that’s a great little escape. Though this story can stand alone, it is the perfect teaser for the series. While it’s technically a YA book, it can certainly be enjoyed by a younger audience as there is no violence or graphic language. As a parent, it’s always nice to come across a fun story that can be enjoyed by all ages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

The One by Kiera Cass

The third book in The Selection series did not disappoint. If you enjoyed The Selection and The Elite, you’ll find The One to be a great conclusion to America and Maxon’s story. While I expected the dystopian element to play a larger part in things, this series is definitely more of a romance than anything else. I thought I had the ending figured out, but while there is an HEA, the way it played out was shocking. The action really ramped up, which made for a page-turning ending. This series is a great little mindless read. It’s fun and entertaining and a fun escape.

A Game of Vampires by Caroline Peckham

I think I just found a new favorite vampire series. I can’t wait to read the rest! The quality of writing was superb and the descriptions were so vivid without being over the top. For a relatively short story, it was full of action and romance. I loved everything about this book! I highly recommend it.

The Vampire Fate by Michelle Madow

If you enjoyed the rest of The Vampire Wish series, Book 4 will not disappoint! Can’t wait to see what happens next. ๐Ÿ™‚

V Games by Caroline Peckham

I absolutely LOVED this book. Like most readers, when I see something being compared to The Hunger Games, I’m a bit skeptical. But y’all… after reading it, I’m telling you it’s a totally fair comparison. It’s like The Hunger Games on steroids… with vampires. But in it’s own totally unique way. The whole premise was fascinating, the characters were well developed, the quality of writing is phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re into reading books about vampires, you do NOT want to miss this one.

The Book I Just Couldn’t Finish

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I realize that I’m in the vast minority hear, but I did not enjoy this book. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I really don’t get the hype. The idea was interesting enough, but I think there was just SO much description that, for me, it got in the way of the story. Before reading it, I remember seeing reviewers complaining about the excessive descriptions of dresses and thinking that was an odd complaint. But seriously. There are so many long-winded descriptions of dresses and colors that it started grating on my nerves. It’s not a terrible book by any means, but I was nearly finished with it when I realized I wasn’t enjoying it at all.

The YA Paranormal Romance You Need To Read Immediately

V Games is the first book in Caroline Peckham’s exciting YA paranormal romance series The Vampire Games. And let me tell you – I absolutely loved it.

Like most readers, when I see something being compared to The Hunger Games, I’m a bit skeptical.

But y’all

After reading it, I’m telling you it’s a totally fair comparison.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

It’s like The Hunger Games on steroids… with vampires. But in its own totally unique way.

The whole premise was fascinating, the characters were well developed, the quality of writing is phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough.

If you’re into reading books about vampires, you do NOT want to miss this one.

Enjoy this review? Check out my other book reviews here.