What I Read: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: This started off really promising and then it just kind of made me feel icky (also, I figured out the “twist” way too early for it to have any real impact once revealed). If you’re looking for a book with the same vibes as Rebecca, this ain’t it.

The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams: This book made me irrationally angry. It had SO MUCH promise and then it took a massive left turn into complete cheese territory (and not even good, charcuterie plate-worthy cheese. Like movie theater, liquid “cheese” that comes with a side of too-salty tortilla chips or questionably greasy pretzel bites). If the setup for this was a delicious, cozy plate of pasta with a large glass of red wine, the execution was more like off-brand Easy Mac with a flat can of RC Cola.

Single and Ready to Jingle by Piper Rayne: I may not be ready to put up my Christmas decorations quite yet, but I am more than ready for all the holiday romance reads! Single and Ready to Jingle DELIVERS. It’s adorable, it’s funny, it’s emotional. For the record, the holiday version of sunshine/grump is sugarplum/Grinch, and TRUST ME you will fall in love with Kenzie and Andrew. Thank you Valentine PR for the ARC!

To Catch a Raven (Women Who Dare #3) by Beverly Jenkins: Ms. Bev is a legend in romancelandia, and To Catch a Raven was a really lovely read. Raven and Braxton are mature adults who don’t play games – they’re open with their emotions (I mean, to a point, we do need a little bit of mutual pining to make the work!) and the main conflict in this story is purely external. This was probably one of the most historically accurate historical romances I’ve ever read, so I felt like I was actually learning something while also enjoying a well-crafted love story. Thank you Avon for the ARC!

What I Read: Oct. 10-16

Royally Screwed (Royally #1) by Emma Chase: This was such a pleasant surprise! Nicholas and Olivia were great characters individually and as a couple. Although the plot goes exactly where you’d expect, it’s still a fun journey getting there. I’m particularly excited for Logan’s bookThank you Valentine PR for the finished copy!

They Do It with Mirrors (Miss Marple #5) by Agatha Christie: I’m making decent progress on my attempt to read all of Agatha Christie’s books (trying to stick with one a month). They Do It with Mirrors was an interesting semi-locked room sort of mystery (really more of a secluded estate…) and, as of right now, it falls right in the middle of my ranking of the Marple series. For what it’s worth, I have seven more books to read in this series and they seem to (mostly) be getting better as they go.

Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1) by Juliette Cross: This series is PERFECT for spooky season. Wolf Gone Wild focuses on Evie (one of the well-known Savoie witches) and Mateo (a werewolf with a problem. And a frustrating alter-ego…) Although this was a BIT too long at times, I enjoyed the story as a whole and i’m excited to read the rest of the series. I found this to be a good read for people who enjoyed Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day, but aren’t QUITE on board with the monster romance genre.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna: This is such a cozy little read, primarily focused on found family with a dash of romance and a heavy dose of witchy goodness. Every single character in this book is huggable, and I particularly loved Jamie (i’m a sucker for a grump with a gooey center!) Thank you Once Upon a Book Club for the finished copy and box of goodies!

It’s a Widow Thing (Never Too Late #3) by Karen Booth: This was a mostly sweet, relatively low-drama romance (it helps that both leads are in their 40s) but clocking in at less than 220 pages, it did feel a little bit underdeveloped. Also, content warning for some fairly in-depth discussions about the death of a spouse.

REVIEW – Back in the Burbs by Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn

I had SO much fun reaching Back in the Burbs – it’s hilarious and heartfelt. Mallory’s life is a mess (no, really). She’s in the middle of dealing with a difficult divorce AND her favorite aunt has just passed away. However, when she learns that great-aunt Maggie left Mallory her house, she decides it’s time to take her life into her own hands and start fresh.

This is…easier said than done. Great-aunt Maggie’s house needs work. A LOT of work. And the cute guy across the street is a little bit rude.

This story ended up being more complex than I anticipated, and it was such a happy surprise. Back in the Burbs doesn’t get bogged down by the details – and while it covers a few heavier topics, it remains relatively lighthearted overall, with ample amounts of humor sprinkled throughout each chapter.

If you’re looking for a good summer or vacation read, this is it! Thank you Entangled Publishing and Valentine PR for sending me a copy of this book.