Review: Cupcake

Cupcake was such a cute read! Ariel, whose nickname is Cupcake, is nominated for homecoming court her senior year of high school And while she’s not unpopular, she doesn’t describe herself as the “princess type.”

The prince Ariel is paired with for homecoming court, Rhys, is the quarterback of the high school football team.

The friendship that builds between Cupcake and Rhys was super cute and (spoilers!) I loved the very slow burn to them kissing.

This was definitely a feel good YA read with lots of different representations. Absolutely an enjoyable read!

Review: Fun with 50 States

This is such a cute activity book with a lot of great facts about the 50 states.

The book is sorted alphabetically, and each state has information about the state, including some fun facts or history and then a few activities that go with the state. This is perfect for young children of all ages!

Review: When Sparks Fly

Whoo! When Sparks Fly was quite a ride! I’m glad I listened to this one as an audiobook – I was sucked in immediately.

When roomies Avery and Declan are forced to spend more time together after Avery is severely injured, feelings for each other begin to bubble to the surface.

I did find it odd how quickly Declan offered to assist (*eye waggle*) Avery with her predicament. I mean, seriously.

At the beginning it did feel a little like Stockholm Syndrome leading to the romance. I mean, Avery and Declan are stuck together all day and Avery is reliant on Declan for everything.

But, I did wind up liking the chemistry between Avery and Declan, though. The author really laid the groundwork of them as friends. And I really like Avery’s sisters and Spark House. I hope to see more of them in future books!

Review: A Spindle Splintered

A Spindle Splintered was a fun and unique retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale. After an industrial accident when she was young, Zinnia was left with a rare condition. The one thing that is known about her disease is no one has lived past the age of 21.

Growing up, she has had an almost obsession with the Sleeping Beauty tale. For her 21st birthday, her best friend surprises her with a birthday bash and tops it off with a spinning wheel. When Zinnia pricks her finger, though, rather than falling asleep, she is transported to another dimension and meets another cursed girl.

I really liked how the author didn’t just use the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty – there are so many more interpretations of this story.

This was a short read and I am definitely looking forward to more if Alix E. Harrow writes more fractured fairytales.

I listened to this as an audiobook thanks to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley.

Review: Not the Witch You Wed

Not the Witch you Wed by April Asher was such a cute read – and perfect for spooky season! 

Violet Maxwell is the oldest sibling in a set of triplet witches. However, she is the Maxwell “dud” – she’s a magic less witch. Violet has spent her life trying to fly under the radar of the Supernatural Council. That is, until they force her to enter into a Witch Bond within three months.

Lincoln Thorne is a wolf shifter and the Alpha to the North American Pack of shifters. He’s trying to make real change in the shifter community, but has a deadline of his 33rd birthday to take a mate.

To fix each others issue, Violet and Lincoln begin fake dating, at least to make the Supernatural Council happy. However, with history between the two, there are quickly emotions added to their faking dating plan. 

The shenanigans that ensue while the two try to hide their feelings from each other and those around them had me turning pages.

I also really liked the women’s empowerment in this – and how Violet didn’t want a mate and stands up to the Supernatural Council to get out of requiring a Witch Bond.

While I loved Violet and Lincoln – and totally shipped these two characters, I absolutely adored the side characters in this book and am thrilled that this is going to be a series, because I want to spend more time with them! Violet’s sisters seriously stole every scene they were in, and Lincoln’s second in command needs his own story!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Not the Witch you Wed releases February 2022.

Review: Above and Beyond

I absolutely adored this book and read through Above and Beyond so quickly. Initially I was shocked by how wild the story was, and then even more shocked when I realized I wasn’t reading fiction!

Saskia becomes a private flight attendant for the world’s rich and powerful, and the excess that she describes is astonishing: food, alcohol, women, sex.

I honestly couldn’t believe I was reading a memoir at times with this book, and it was quite interesting to pull the curtains back on this industry. Not to mention, it was fascinating to travel the world through Saskia’s eyes and this lifestyle.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lume Books for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Shipped

Shipped by Angie Hockman was the perfect summer read – especially for a summer when my travel plans aren’t exactly what I had in mind.

Marketing manager Henley is competing for the promotion of her dream at the cruise line she works for, however, she is competing for the position against her work nemesis, Graeme. The twist? Both Henley and Graeme are being sent on a Galapagos cruise and tasked with drafting a digital marketing proposal for the Galapagos cruises.

I really saw myself in Henley – working all of time, taking work home while also taking classes for her master’s degree in the evening and not getting anywhere in her career.

However, Henley frustrated me while she is on the cruise. She’s in the Galapagos, surrounded by the beauty of nature and in a place that people save for their entire life to experience. But she would rather sit in front of her laptop and work rather than experience it.

Once Graeme opens Henley’s eyes and gets her to loosen up a little bit, she’s a bit easier to accept as a person.

Here’s the thing to remember readers: at your job, you are replaceable, at home, you’re not. Work-life balance is extremely important – you’re given vacation days, paid time off, personal time, etc., as part of your job’s compensation package…USE IT. (Sorry, rant over.)

I really liked the slow build romance between Henley and Graeme. The cruise ship is a fun setting for this romcom.

Review: Tiny Travelers Teasure Quest

The Tiny Travelers Treasure Quest series are search and find books for children that whisk them off on an adventure to China, Puerto Rico or Mexico. These picture books are full of fun facts and beautiful illustrations that children and parents will want to revisit over and over again.

The Treasure Quest series includes Tiny Travelers China, Tiny Travelers Puerto Rico and Tiny Travelers Mexico. Having traveled to all three destinations, I was excited to explore these books and see what adventures and fun facts were highlighted in these picture books. (I have included some photos from my own travels to each of these destinations at the end of this post – scroll down to check them out!)

According to the Goodreads description of this series, “the Tiny Travelers ‘Treasure Quest’ Series takes its readers on a fun-filled journey to discover what makes each country special.”

These children’s books are filled with full page spreads of detailed illustrations that highlight a particular part of each country’s culture. Each page has a cultural item for young readers to find, as well as a fun fact. Some of the fun “Did You Know” facts were even new to me! Like, in Tiny Travelers Mexico, one “Did You Know” fact was, “There are three different colors of corn tortillas: yellow, red and blue.”

I really enjoyed the way Tiny Travelers used foreign languages throughout these books. In Tiny Travelers Puerto Rico, Spanish is included in the rhyming story, and in Tiny Travelers Mexico and Puerto Rico, the location names are used with the pronunciation written in next to the bolded Spanish word. Similarly, in Tiny Travelers China, Cantonese words, written in both their English alphabet and in their traditional Chinese letters are included next to their English word.

The final page in all three books is a map of the world and the country from the book is highlighted, which is a great way to put in perspective how big and connected our world is to children, as well as teach them where these countries are in the world.

The Tiny Travelers Treasure Quest series is definitely a fun series for small children who will enjoy the search and find aspect of the books, as well as learning about other countries and their cultures. Older children might enjoy this series when paired with the National Geographic Beginners World Atlas. Younger children may enjoy this series paired with Around the World in 18 Ways, which teaches children to say hello, please, thank you and good-bye in 18 different languages with gorgeous illustrations.

Review: The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating

I honestly thought The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating was going to be a super cute romcom with fade-to-black smutty scenes. Oh boy, was I wrong. Let’s just say, the audiobook for this may be a little NFSW. 

The opening scene is Tori visiting her grandmother at her retirement home. The seniors are participating in a pottery class that has gone off the rails, with the seniors sculpting suggestive body parts with the clay. Honestly, I was laughing so hard that I’m sure my coworkers were wondering what was happening in my office. 

Then readers meet Colton, whose grandfather also lives at the same retirement home. Colton is also visiting and as the two walk out of the pottery class, it’s quickly evident that the two are more than just acquaintances. (Like, oh my god, can you hear what they’re saying through my headphones? Face aflame. Maybe I should listen to this at home, type of conversation between Tori and Colton.)

However Colton’s sister sets up an online dating profile for him and Tori’s friends set her up on a date. Only as they start to see other people do they come to realize what they’re actually looking for in a relationship and love. 

I did expect more online dating or first date scenes, based on the title, but I truly enjoyed Tori and Colton’s story!

The Introvert’s Guide to Online Dating was cute, and hot, and steamy. And thank goodness my office is further away from everyone else at work because I’m sure my face was flushed more than once while listening to this!

Thank you to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone

How can you make a cute romcom even cuter? Add a dog shelter full of adorable pups and a hot veterinarian. Since You’ve Been Gone is a fun second chance romance read, the perfect summer read!

When Garrett comes home to Magnolia Sound, he encounters Emma, the girl he was friends with throughout their schools years, and who he had a crush on the whole time.

I truly loved the romantic tension and the build up between Garrett and Emma. And once the two are together its even cuter and more swoon worthy.

What I really liked – versus the last couple romances I’ve listened to, Emma didn’t feel the need to drop the “L” word immediately.

There was some light steam, but overall this was a fun, light read. Since You’ve Been Gone is the 8th book in the Magnolia Sound series, but it worked as a standalone for me.

I listened to Since You’ve Been Gone as an audiobook, and Carly Robins was such a great narrator.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the audio review copy in exchange for my honest review.