ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Master storyteller Alice Hoffman brings us the conclusion of the Practical Magic series in a spellbinding and enchanting final Owens novel brimming with lyric beauty and vivid characters.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

Release Date: October 5th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for the opportunity!*

* I am an affiliate with Bookshop.org and any purchases made through the link will help independent bookstores and earn me a small commission *


Let me tell you, I am madly in love with the Owens family and this saga, so when I received the ARC for the final book in the series, I SQUEALED and almost cried. These characters hold such a tender space in my heart and it felt so good to be back with them. The Book of Magic brings us back to the present day with Franny and Jet, Gillian and Sally, and Kylie and Antonia as they try to break their family’s curse once and for all. In pure Alice Hoffman fashion, this book, once again, delivers an engaging plot while it really delves into the human condition and what it truly means to love and be loved. Her prose is stunning, as always, and is imprinted strongly on my soul. Reading this book feels like that first sip of coffee on a crisp fall day- comforting, energizing, and full of hope. My only complaint is that it is the last book in the series because I could read about the Owens family forever.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Daughter of Lies and Ruin by Jo Spurrier Review

If they didn’t want to get turned into beasts and used to fuel a ritual, they shouldn’t have attacked a witch. That’s all there is to it.

There’s something strange brewing in this tinder-dry forest – a girl with a sword and a secret, a troupe of vicious bandits vanished without a trace, beasts that don’t belong and a witch with a macabre plan.

Elodie hasn’t been learning witchcraft for long, but she knows enough to be worried, and the fact that her mentor Aleida wants to pack up and leave in short order isn’t helping to settle her nerves.

Elodie just hopes to get everyone out of this mess unharmed, but it’s looking more unlikely with every passing hour. And when the strange witch’s ire falls on her, Aleida’s wrath sparks a fire that threatens to scorch the earth itself


*I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and any purchases made through my links will help independent bookstores and earn me a small commission*


* I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! *


I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Curse of Ash and Embers and was excited to be back in the world of the Blackbone Witches. I absolutely love our two main characters, Aleida and Elodie, and how magic works in this universe. In this book, Elodie is continuing her training as a witch when they’re attacked by bandits on the road, setting in motion a series of troubling and exciting events. Although I didn’t like the plot of this one as much as the first, it was still fun and full of action. It sort of felt like a transition book, setting up a bigger story arc for later in the series. I liked the new characters that were introduced, especially getting to see another type of witch. The ending was very cinematic and exhilarating, and while it wrapped up nicely, the story still has room to build and expand. I would definitely read on in this series and am looking forward to the next book!

Discussion Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #37

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! We’re slowly making headway on clearing out the good ole Goodreads TBR list, as it also steadily grows on the other end haha. Here is the next installment of the Down the TBR Hole meme that was started by Lia @Lost In a Story!

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books

Decide: keep it or should it go?

*I am an affiliate with Bookshop.org and any purchase made through my links will help independent bookstores and earn me a small commission! *


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

My Thoughts: I came in thinking I was going to toss this one, but it actually sounds really appealing and I have a feeling it would envelope me. VERDICT: KEEP


The Forgotten Girl by Jessica Sorensen

Twenty-one year-old Maddie Asherford is haunted by a past she can’t remember. When she was fifteen years old, there was a tragic accident and she was left with amnesia.

In the aftermath, Maddie’s left struggling with who she is—the forgotten girl she was six years ago or the Maddie she is now. Sometimes it even feels like she might be two different people—the good Maddie and the bad one.

Good Maddie goes to therapy, spends time with her family, and works on healing herself. Bad Maddie rebels and has dark thoughts of hurting people and sometimes even killing them.

For the most part, Maddie manages to keep her twisted thoughts hidden. That is until she starts having blackouts. Each time she wakes up from one, she’s near a murder scene with no recollection of what happened the night before and this helpless feeling like she’s losing control of her life. Maddie doesn’t want to believe she’s a killer, but she begins to question who she really was in her past. If she was bad Maddie all along and that maybe she was a killer.

My Thoughts: I’ve read another series by Jessica Sorensen that I really enjoyed. I am definitely intrigued by the plot of this one, but I’m not normally a thriller girl, and if I were to pick up a thriller it would probably be something with more hype… The cover is stunning though. VERDICT: TOSS


The Heiresses by Sara Shepard

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, comes The Heiresses—a novel about the Saybrooks, a diamond family blessed with beauty and fortune yet plagued by a string of tragic and mysterious deaths.

The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s solitaire is the family behind the diamond empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and mavens, the Saybrooks are the epitome of high society. Anyone would kill to be one of them. But be careful what you wish for, because if you were a Saybrook, you’d be haunted by secrets and plagued by a dark streak of luck.

Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again on a beautiful morning in May when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most remarkable Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her office. Everyone is shocked that someone so perfect would end her own life—until her cousins receive an ominous warning: One heiress down, four to go.

Was it suicide . . . or murder? And who will be next: Aster, the beautiful but reckless girl who’s never worked a day in her life—and who’s covering up her father’s darkest secret? Her older sister, Corrine, whose meticulously planned future is about to come crashing down around her? Perhaps it will be Natasha, the black sheep of the family who suddenly disinherited herself five years ago. Or maybe the perpetually single Rowan, who had the most to gain from her cousin’s death.

A gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about heiresses who must uncover a dark truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.

My Thoughts: Ummmm… How have I not read this/even heard of this!? I loved the Pretty Little Liars series and really enjoyed Influnce and this one sounds just as fun. VERDICT: KEEP


Vain by Fisher Amelie

If you’re looking for a story about a good, humble girl, who’s been hurt by someone she thought she could trust, only to find out she’s not as vulnerable as she thought she was and discovers an empowering side of herself that falls in love with the guy who helps her find that self, blah, blah, blah…then you’re gonna’ hate my story.

Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy.

I’m Sophie Price…And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

My Thoughts: This one is a toughy for me. I feel like I would normally let it go, but it does sound really interesting and has great reviews on Goodreads… but we’re trying to be ruthless here and if I’m honest with myself I probably won’t ever get to this. VERDICT: TOSS


I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways… but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

My Thoughts: This book has overwhelmingly good reviews and won some awards but…. it really doesn’t call to me. I’m usually not a fan of this type of book. VERDICT: TOSS


What do you think of my decisions? Let’s chat in the comments!

Monthly Wrap-Ups

August 2021 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! Long time, no see! I took a bit of a blogging break for the month of August and just read for pure enjoyment. It was a much needed and very refreshing break. I’m hoping to get back to more regular blogging again now, even if I’m not sure what that will look like. I have some very exciting things in the works and I can’t wait to share with you all. Thanks for hanging with me <3. Here is to the best season of the year!


August Reads

Strange Gods by Alison Kimble ★★

Shadowspell Academy: The Culling Trials by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer ★★★★

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli ★★★★

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers ★★★★

Bone Criers Moon by Kathryn Purdie ★★★★

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray ★★★


Favorite Book of the Month


Currently Reading


Challenge Updates

Goodreads Challenge: 44 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 10 of 50 (I have made ZERO progress on this)


ARCs · Book Reviews

Strange Gods by Alison Kimble Review

Spooky arrives at a wilderness boot camp for troubled teens with two suitcases and an ultimatum: either she keeps her head down over the summer or she won’t be allowed home at the end of it. All she wants to do is survive the pyros, bullies, and power-tripping counselors, get through senior year, and start her life somewhere new. She’ll do just about anything to protect that future.

But when an encounter with another camper goes awry and ends with Spooky hiding in the woods, something else finds her. Something ancient and powerful has sent out feelers, hoping to catch a human alone. For its purposes, one human is as good as any other. Even a delinquent teen will do.

If Spooky wants to survive to see any kind of future, she will have to figure out how to gain leverage over a god. And as if the one wasn’t bad enough, a pantheon of dark entities are lining up between her and the life she’s always wanted…

For fantasy fans, comes one girl’s journey through dark worlds of magic, gods, and monsters.

* I received this book from the author in return for an honest review! Thanks to Alison Kimble for the opportunity! *


Strange Gods is a quirky and weird YA fantasy/Sci-Fi novel about a “delinquent” teen named Spooky on a quest to save Earth from destruction at the hands of, you guessed it, strange Gods. And strange they are. Alison Kimble’s writing style was easy to read with its youthful voice and had some truly clever moments, but overall I found this book to be kind of boring. It follows a traditional fantasy quest format, with new obstacles added throughout, but the action seemed to get a little convoluted in the strangeness of the characters and the world. The ideas here have the potential to be incredibly interesting and different, but they sometimes got lost on the surface level and there was a lightness to the storytelling that felt mismatched to the oftentimes gruesome and bizarre events and descriptions. As a whole, while there were some great elements in this novel, it never gripped me enough to get seriously invested in the characters or the story.

Monthly Wrap-Ups

June/July 2021 Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! I realized that I never did a June Wrap-Up, so this time I will be doing a double wrap-up! These past two months have been a whirlwind and as of August 1st, I have made the move back to NYC! While leaving the comforts of home and the people I love there makes this move bittersweet, I am so excited to be back in the city I love with the prospect of theatre coming back! I’ve been contemplating taking a brief break from blogging, and while I haven’t fully committed to that, if things get a little quieter around here it’s because I’m taking some necessary breathing room so I don’t get completely burnt out. I can feel the excitement bubbling up when I think about reading whatever I want without trying to fit a schedule, so I might try to focus more on that feeling. I can tell you that I am pumped to have my subway reading time built back into my life and cannot wait to get back to the New York Public Library. Here is to a fresh start and a hopeful August full of books and experiences that fill us up!


June Reads

July Reads


Favorite Books of the Month


Currently Reading


Challenge Updates

Goodreads Challenge: 39 of 40

Classics Club Challenge: 10 of 50 WHOOPS


Throwback Thursday

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares


June Reviews

• Better Together by Christine Riccio • The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin • Don’t Hate The Player by Alexis Nedd • 

July Reviews

• Where It All Lands by Jennie Wexler Review • Small Favors by Erin A. Craig • 


June Posts

• Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Loved That Made Me Want More Books Like Them • Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #36 • Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Summer TBR • Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2021 • 

July Posts

• Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Could Have Read in One Sitting • Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Want With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island


tbt

TBT: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Hello my friends! I’ve decided to start a new monthly feature: Throwback Thursday, where I re-read old favorites and give my updated thoughts and opinions. My last series was Twilight, and now I have moved onto The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares! I was actually pretty nervous about this reread because The Sisterhood has such a special place in my heart and I was really scared that it wouldn’t hold up to my memories. I also haven’t read this since I was in 7th grade and I am very used to the movie now.


Omg so much nostalgia is hitting me right now.

This book is bringing me BACK. I moved in 7th grade, and I remember reading this book with my best friend from my old school the first time she came to visit. This book and these characters took over my life and was one of the first truly influential YA books that I read. It makes my heart happy to be revisiting it.

Wow, the movie changed a lot.

I remember being really upset with some of the changes they made when the movie first came out, but now it seems so normal to me, and I’m finding myself weirded out by the actual details from the book. Lena’s story was ENTIRELY different- so different that it almost felt new to me reading it again.

Bridget was my favorite… now I’m concerned for her.

I used to LOVE and idolize Bridget. I still love her, but looking at her with my adult eyes, my heart hurts for her. She acts so irrationally and there were a lot of moments that I used to think were so bold and fabulous, that now I think are crazy and worrying.

Also Eric is actually kinda creepy….

This one hurts me. I used to think this storyline was SOOO HOT and dangerous. Now, it seems really creepy to me. Their age difference isn’t that big, but something about their interactions and dynamic really irked me. Part of it is seeing Bridget’s behavior in a new light too, I think. The movie does a really good job of making their relationship and connection seem stronger and less skeevy.

I surprisingly was really drawn to Tibby and Bailey’s story.

Tibby was always my least favorite of the four, I think because she was the one I had the hardest time relating to as a teen. This reread, she was actually my favorite storyline. Bailey is the best- so much wisdom and their friendship was beautiful.

Lena and Kostos don’t actually have much interaction in this book.

They have very few real moments together. Lena was always my second favorite after Bridget, but to be honest I kinda found her story to be a little slow this time. I still love her character, but I understand now why they made the changes they did for the movie.

This book is so beautiful.

There are some truly magical moments in this book. They deal with real and deep issues and emotions that still affected me as an adult. Their friendship is beautiful and I can see why these books were so popular.


I really loved my reread of this book and being back with some of my all time favorite characters and I am very excited to get to book 2 which used to be my favorite one.

I would love for people to join me and chat about their thoughts rereading this series as well ❤

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

Release: July 27th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review!*


You guys. I am so surprised by how much I loved this book. It was definitely out of my comfort zone with the ultra-spooky vibe, but I dug it, even if I was afraid to read it before bed. I was obsessed with the setting- the old-fashioned, conservative, Children of the Corn-esque isolated community created the perfect atmosphere for this story and it really drew me in. Ellerie was a terrific narrator and I loved seeing this world through her eyes and how deeply she cared for her family and how she dealt with the chaos. The romance was a welcome relief from the horrors happening in the town, and Whitaker was an interesting and mysterious love interest. This book was a simmering, sinister ride, and I was honestly pleasantly shocked by the grit and darkness- especially towards the end. Some of the secrets were predictable, but the story definitely took a turn that I was not expecting. That ending stays with me, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about its ambiguity, but I also kind of love that. I’m not usually one for scary stories, but I’ll gladly let this one haunt me.