Midnight In Everwood // Book Review

About The Book
In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here. The Nutcracker for adults, perfect for fans of Robert Dinsdale’s The Toymakers, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.

My Rating


All I knew about this book was that it’s a ‘Nutcracker’ retelling with a stunning cover. Since, I read ‘The Toymakers Apprentice’, which is also a ‘Nutcracker’ retelling, and loved it, I decided to give this one a  try.

The story is set in the 1900’s and follows an aspiring ballerina, Marietta. Throughout the book, Marietta expresses her desire to dance professionally, but her parents are more concerned with their social status, and getting Marietta married, to lend her dreams any consideration. Her parents were cruel and unfeeling, which worked well with the story the author was trying tell.

As for Marietta, I found her to be stubborn, but strong. Smart, yet childish. She reminded me of Belle, from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Her goal in life wasn’t to be a wife and mother. She wanted to choose her own path.

Marietta’s brother, Frederick, was a much needed addition to the story. He wasn’t afraid to remind his sister of her privilege, while still supporting her dreams. Although, he followed his parents’ plans for his future, and kept his relationship a secret, he wasn’t bitter about the life he had.

When a new charming man arrives in town, Marietta wasn’t impressed by him. She wasn’t fooled by his façade, and knew there was more to him than met the eye. It felt as though people shrugged off her concerns because she was a woman, which is all too true for that time period.

At first, I found the story a little confusing, and my mind kept wandering. But once the magical realism aspect was introduced, I fell in love with the story. The author created a world that transported the reader into an enchanted, but scary land. It was easy to see how Marietta was fooled by the king, and also by Everwood’s beauty.

“Never dull your sparkle for anyone else, flame fiercely into your own glittering future.”

While in Everwood, Marietta meets two other girls who are trapped within the kingdom as well. They forge a bond that is strong, and somewhat sisterly. And, they start to fight back. The girls in the book are seen as something to be owned, and will bend to a man’s will.

In the book, Marietta starts to connect with the captain of the King’s Arm. Let’s just say that he was swoon-worthy. His and Marietta’s relationship felt real, even though Marietta didn’t belong there. It shows that you can find love in the most unexpected places.

The ending was amazing, and had a strong message of following your dreams, no matter the cost. Still, the ending was quite sad, yet it plays off the famous quote “’It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

Overall, the plot focuses on privilege, and if having money is worth sacrificing your dreams. As for the writing style, it was a slow paced story with poetic writing. Much like ‘The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein’ by Kiersten White, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

There are a lot of triggering topics in this book. To name a few, there’s sexism, violence, and stalking. Please do your research before reading it. You can visit the book’s StoryGraph page to see a full list of all the content warnings for the book.

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Until The Next Chapter,

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A Taste for Love // Book Review

About The Book
For fans of Jenny Han, Jane Austen, and The Great British Baking Show, A Taste for Love, is a delicious rom com about first love, familial expectations, and making the perfect bao. Both high school senior Liza Yang and her mother share a love and talent for baking but disagree on the subject of dating, especially when Mrs. Yang turns her annual baking contest into a matchmaking scheme.

My Rating

This book sounded like a cute YA contemporary with a baking element. The main character, Liza, is an Asian-American teenager that has been compared to her older sister Jeanie for years. Her sister is a New York model and college student, while Liza, on the other hand, is a typical teenage girl with dreams of being a baker.

Liza is a respectable main character that doesn’t want to be controlled by her parents, mainly her mother. I understood Liza’s annoyance with her mothers constant need to set her up with upstanding Asian boys, and slight digs at her appearance and choices. The books take on Asian parents is similar to how they are portrayed in Claire Ahn’s ‘I Guess I Live Here Now’, which I have also reviewed. Liza’s mother is constantly telling her that she needs to focus on school, and trying to find her a suitable Asian boy to marry. She even goes so far as to tell her daughter that ‘true love’, so to speak, is a work of fiction.

I wasn’t a fan of how her mother treated her. She put her daughter down, and had no real faith in her. She even body-shamed her, which is not acceptable for anyone, especially a parent, to do. However, she did this all under the pretense that she was just trying to help, and was worried about her daughter’s future. On the flip-side, Liza’s father was kind, and understood Liza’s desire to figure out her own path, which was a nice contrast to her mother.

Although Liza was the main focus of the story, there were many other characters that played a big part within the plot. Her sister, Jeanie, was her confidant, and had her own struggles that Liza was a bit too blind to see. Her best friend, Grace, was a find character, but I felt as though her relationship plot happened way too fast.

“Maybe because I don’t want the guy I date to sound like a walking college application.”

I liked the addition of Liza’s friend Sara, since she tended to put her foot in her mouth a lot. She said a lot of ignorant things about Asian culture, but she acknowledged her fault, and even made it a point to say that her words never come out right. It is a very honest portrayal of a person that might say insensitive things, but without malicious intentions.

There is a baking contest in the book, but I felt that not only did the contest happen rather far into the book, it was way too long. Truthfully, the contest wasn’t as engaging as I hoped it would be, but maybe I would have felt differently if it had been more of a focus from the start.

The romance was good, but not my favorite, since I was hoping for an enemies-to-lovers type of story. It was more of an accidental encounter turned more. And even though somebody leaves a bad first impression, they deserve a second chance. Although, I didn’t think Liza and James had the greatest chemistry, and he did some frustrating things throughout the book.

James claimed to like Liza, but was willing to turn on her without even an explanation, which rubbed me the wrong way. He was older than her, but immature, and should have had the guts to talk to her before walking away.

Overall, the plot was interesting enough, and the writing was nice. My biggest problem was that I didn’t have the urge to pick the book up. I can usually finish contemporaries fairly quick, but there was just something about this book that didn’t grip me. I found that I was having to force myself to read it, which doesn’t make for a good reading experience. The moral of the story, no pun intended, is that this book just wasn’t for me.

Let me know In the comments if you’ve ever read a book that you just didn’t care for. And after you comment, hit the follow button, because I would love to have you join my bookish community!

Until The Next Chapter,

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What Once Was Mine // Book Review

About The Book
What Once Was Mine is the 12th book in the series. This book is focused on the story of Tangled. Instead of Rapunzel’s mother being given the Sundrop Flower, she is instead given the Moondrop Flower. Needless to say, Rapunzel’s story becomes a much different tale than the one that we all know and love.

My Rating


I had a feeling going into this book that I was going to enjoy it, and I wasn’t wrong. The plot was different than I imagined, but that wasn’t a bed thing. Right from the start, I got ‘The Princess Bride’ vibes, because there was a whole storytelling aspect thrown in. If you’ve seen the movie, or read the book, then you will know what I’m talking about.

As for the story, it was very original, yet it still kept the true the essence of the ‘Tangled’ movie. There were (of course) some differences, but they just made the story more interesting. It was truly a new, refreshing take on the story that, as a tangled fan, I found entertaining.

Unlike the movie, Mother Gothel was way more cruel and ruthless. Honestly, I felt bad for Rapunzel, because it was almost as if she was neglected, or even unloved. She was gaslighted, and possible had Stockholm syndrome. I might be overreacting, but Rapunzel and Mother Gothel’s relationship seemed darker in the book, as compared to the movie.

In the book, I found Rapunzel to be a bit annoying and childish at times, yet I can see that being locked in a tower can make you not able to grow up, so to speak. Also, she came off as boy crazy., which was irritating. However, even in the movie, I found her a tad annoying, so I guess the author kept true to her personality. She just isn’t my favorite Disney princess.

There was the addition of some new characters, which I loved. We got a strong female, an older witch, and of course Flynn Rider. Let me say, out of all the Disney princess’ love interests, Flynn is my favorite. He’s cocky, funny, and charming! Who isn’t in love with Flynn Rider?

“The truth about you is all tangled, like your braids, Rapunzel. Bound up unnaturally. It’s time to let it all down, to let it out, let it go.”

Of course, to keep true to the original story, Rapunzel and Flynn end up together, but to me it was an instant love romance. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I like a good insta-love plot, but only if they are done right. However, this one fell short, since I didn’t see a real connection between the two characters. At least, not the same connection they developed in the animated film.

The message within the story was that we must accept and forgive ourselves. And, we must look deep inside us to find what true love means to us. The plot had a lot to do with loving yourself, as well as love in general. It was a simple message that wasn’t shoved in the reader’s face. It existed more in the background, but was there all the same.

Overall, I liked the story, writing, and how everything was wrapped up at the end. However, the plot as a whole is darker than the original story, while still being tween and teen friendly. I would daresay that I liked the book slightly more than the movie, and the movie was good. The book does touch on the topic of cancer, specifically in teenagers, so that may be triggering to some readers.

In the comments, let me know which Disney princess is your favorite. Mine has always been Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Don’t forget to give this post a like and share! If you want to support my blog, and like bookish content like this, you can follow my blog to get post notifications.

Until The Next Chapter,

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Long Live The Pumpkin Queen // Book Review

About The Book
Nightmare Before Christmas fans rejoice! Long Live the Pumpkin Queen picks up where the beloved film left off, with Sally in her new role as the Queen of Halloween Town. This delightful return to The Nightmare Before Christmas universe is sure to appeal to fans old and new.

My Rating

If you are a lover of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, but have been dying for another story with these characters, then this book is for you. This time around, we follow Sally as she struggles to come to terms with her new role as the Pumpkin Queen.

It was interesting getting to know Sally a bit more. All we learned about her in the movie was that she was in with love with Jack, and created by the Professor. However, through this story, we discover, along with Sally herself, that she is strong, smart, and not simply a creation.

I don’t want spoil too much, but Sally’s discovery of something life changing was kind of cheesy in my opinion. The author literally flips the script on Sally’s whole backstory. So, it takes retelling to the max.

All I can say is that love and family are very important aspects in this story. I liked that the author showed that family is more than blood. Sally, despite her life before Jack, loved her home of Halloweentown. She would do anything for the monsters that lived there.

“I am now Sally Skellington. The Pumpkin Queen. And I’m certain I will never again be as happy as I am right now.”

The book takes our rag doll protagonist on a journey of self discovery, and I liked seeing her come into her own. She makes a great Pumpkin Queen. Also, the addition of the Sandman as an evil character was a nice touch. Especially since the Sandman is such an interesting fantasy character.

The other characters in the book were great! Jack and Zero were so similar to their movie counterparts. Shea Ernshaw captured the essence of Tim Burton’s film perfectly.

Overall, the book isn’t amazing, and something felt kind of ridiculous, yet I loved it! Honestly, if you have any love for ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, you need this book on your TBR. I would 100% recommend the audiobook, because the voices are nearly identical to the ones in the movie. It takes the reading experience to the next level.

In the comments, let me know your favorite Tim Burton film! Mine has to either be ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ or ‘Corpse Bride’. Don’t forget to follow my blog if you like bookish posts!

Until The Next Chapter,

The Lake // Book Review

About The Book
Esme and Kayla are back at Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, years after they agreed to cover up a terrible incident that occurred while they were campers there themselves. Unfortunately, it’s not all fun and games at camp, and when mysterious threats aimed at the counselors start getting more and more violent, the girls know they aren’t the only ones who know their secret.

My Rating

There were just so many things wrong with this book, that I don’t know where to start. The characters weren’t likable, and the plot was so predictable. And, to top it all off, there wasn’t even one twist that I didn’t see coming. If anything, the only redeeming quality was that it was over quickly.

In the book, Esme and her best friend Kayla return to a summer camp they went to as kids, to be camp counselors themselves. But Esme is nervous, since they did something horrible at the camp when they were kids, and it’s been their little secret for years now. Esme’s character was boring and annoying. She was seriously paranoid, which made me wonder why she even agreed to go back to the camp in the first place.

As for Kayla, she was a bad friend, and didn’t even want to take responsibility for her part in their past mistake. She kept making Esme think she was overreacting. Like, it was very obvious someone was after them. Personally, I would have left that camp after the first creepy experience.

The book was very main character focused, but there were a few side characters. Esme and Kayla formed a friend group with the other camp counselors, one being Esme’s sort of love interest. I say sort of, since the two didn’t have much chemistry, and didn’t seem to really trust one another. The rest of the characters were okay, but didn’t play much of a part in the story.

“Living with guilt is hell.”

You could say that there were a lot of suspects throughout the book, but early on, Esme, and probably the reader, knows the culprit. I was hoping that the author would throw a curveball, and make the villain someone out of the blue. Instead of, you know, taking the easy way out and picking the most likely person. It was frustrating knowing right away who was behind it all, and so desperately hoping for some kind of twist.

However, there was a part where Esme pretended her car had broken down in order to talk with someone. The interaction reminded me of a scene in ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, so that was kind of fun. But one short and silly scene didn’t make up for a very lackluster thriller.

Overall, the plot didn’t have much depth to it, and the big secret wasn’t my favorite. The book was missing those thriller vibes, and was more of a mystery. The book ends on a cliffhanger, so be aware of that. However, I know some people like that in books. I am not one of those people.

As you can tell, this wasn’t the thriller for me, but let me know in the comments your thoughts on it, if you have read it. Please give my blog a quick follow before you go.

Until The Next Chapter,

The Survival List // Book Review

 About The Book
From author Courtney Sheinmel comes an emotional, page-turning novel about the bonds of sisterhood, the imprecision of memory, and the incomparable value of finding something to live for. Fans of I Was Here by Gayle Forman and Far from the Tree by Robin Benway will be floored by this heartbreaking yet uplifting teen novel about a grieving girl who follows a mysterious list across the country after her older sister’s death.

My Rating

I’m going to be completely honest, and admit that when I think back on this book, I could barely remember it. So that should speak for itself. The book follows Sloane as she struggles to cope with her older sister Talley’s suicide. Once Sloane finds a mysterious list that Talley left behind, she is hell-bent on figuring out what it means. She thinks that the list holds all the answers to why her sister chose to the take her own life.

The book shows Sloane going through a lot of guilt over Talley’s death, believing that she could have prevented her sister’s suicide. This made her very obsessed with the list. I haven’t experienced what Sloane was going through, but I found that her obsession with finding a reason behind her sisters death unhealthy.

In the book, the list takes Sloane to California, where she reconnects with her estranged aunt. And where she meets a boy named Adam, who might be a piece to the puzzle that is her sister.  But the thing is, suicide doesn’t always have an answer. It isn’t always so black and white. I wanted Sloane to give in to her grief, and try to start healing. She needed to start focusing on keeping her sister’s memory alive, instead of chasing her ghost.

Sloane’s aunt didn’t add much to the story, but gave Sloane new insight to  her sister, as well as her mother. As for Adam, him and Sloane’s friendship felt random and cringy. Honestly, I didn’t like how Sloane would lash out at him for keeping secrets. He barely even knew her, but she excepted him to be an open book. I get that she was lashing out because of grief, but he didn’t owe her anything.

Personally, all the characters in the book fell short, since they were bland. Not one of them stood out to me. Except perhaps Sloane’s best friend, but only because her name was Juno. Also, the book had very weird wording that was a bit on the juvenile side. I am a big YA fan but the author was trying way to hard using phrases such as ‘shit slammer’ and ‘up in my grill.’

“When you try to keep a secret, even if you convinced yourself that it’s for someone else’s own good, it often backfires.”

There was a twist at the end that some people might find offensive. Specifically people that know firsthand the difficulty of having cancer. It was a very unique twist that I found unsettling and wrong. It seemed as though the book was trying to create a reason behind suicide. As if it ran in families. Sometimes that might be the case, but most of the time, there’s no reason to why someone takes their life. Or, at least, you will never truly know why they made such a choice.

You never really know someone, even if they’re family. In the end, we are all fighting our own battles, and depression doesn’t discriminate. The smartest person, with a happy life, could actually be the one that’s hurting most of all. The fact remains that suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else.

It was nice that the author made it a priority to mention that the people you get close to will change your life forever. Even after they have passed on. People always leave their mark on the hearts they touch. I did find it funny that the book stated the whole ‘don’t ask permission, but ask forgiveness’ opinion. Because I know first hand, that isn’t true. Don’t believe me? Ask my mom.

Overall, the book was about showing the aftermath of suicide, and how it effects the people you leave behind. However, the story didn’t pack that emotional punch that it needed to make me feel something. I found myself to be pretty bored throughout the book, and I didn’t shed a tear. Still, it was interesting to learn that suicide is illegal in Minnesota. Yet, I don’t know if that still the case today. Remember to research all the trigger warnings for the book, but a few of them are suicide, underage drinking, depression, and overdose.

I’m the comments, let me know if this book is on your TBR. Don’t forget to like and share his review. You can always support my blog by giving it a follow.

Until The Next Chapter,

The Counselors // Book Review

About The Book
“A nervy, intense, and expertly crafted thriller that kept me hooked page after page. Dark secrets? Summer camp setting? Complex teen girls? Murder? Count me in. A simply stunning book.” — Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, You’d Be Home Now, and The Agathas.

My Rating


My Thoughts
At first, I thought that this was going to be a DNF for me, since the first few chapters were pretty boring. I have read ‘They Wish They Were Us‘ and ‘They’ll Never Catch Us‘ by Jessica Goodman, and have reviews up on both of them. If you have read those reviews, then you know that I haven’t been the biggest fan of her work. Still, I wanted to give this book a chance, because something about camp based thrillers intrigues me. Maybe, ‘Friday the 13th’ is to blame for it.

The book follows Goldie, whose life is turned upside down, and who ,has become an outcast at her high school. Her only safe place is the summer camp, Camp Alpine Lake. My opinion on Goldie changed multiple times throughout the book. Initially, I thought she was weak, since she was still pining for the guy that broke her heart, and let other people treat her like crap. She has this secret that she wants to share with her best friends, Ava and Imogen, but won’t. Yet, she whines about wanting to tell them all the time. It seemed that the author wanted us to feel bad for Goldie, but I was more annoyed at her for willingly taking shit from people for months on end. However, as the story went on, I saw her get stronger as a person – she was done keeping her mouth shut.

There were some side characters, the main ones being Ava and Imogen, who Goldie met at camp. Ava and Imogen don’t live in Goldie’s town, and have fabulous, rich lifestyles. But, Ava and Imogen like Goldie for who she is, and they don’t let money affect their friendship. I liked their friendship dynamic a lot, because they were there for each other, no matter what. There were a few other characters, such as Goldie’s ex-best friend, the owners of the camp, and a few other camp counselors. Honestly, I can’t remember anyone else’s name, and I’m pretty ashamed of that fact.

The main plot is the mystery behind who killed Goldie’s ex-boyfriend, Heller, who was found dead in the camp’s lake. It wasn’t until the halfway point, that I started to get super invested in the story, and couldn’t put it down. The characters started to grow on me, as did the writing style. There was a twist, but you could see it coming before it was revealed. Still, I thought the ending was solid, and was very fitting for the story.

“I inhale deeply and remind myself, You are home.”

The book shows that money and social status can affect people, and even drive you mad. This is something that we face in the real world, too. Some people are so focused on fitting in, having the nicest things, and making the most money, that they’ll do anything. Whatever happened to the saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’? But, we should probably ignore Blair Waldorf’s take on that message.

However, the thing that bugged me the most in the book was that nobody felt bad about their hatred towards Goldie. So many of these characters could have stood by her, but were totally spineless. To me, actions speak louder than words, and feeling guilty doesn’t excuse your bad actions towards them. You would never want to intentionally hurt someone you love.

Overall, this wasn’t a horrible read, and I’ll probably keep reading Goodman’s books. Still, this is in no way a thriller, so keep that in mind before picking it up. It is truly a YA mystery, and some people might prefer that over a thriller. I am not sure which side I fall on, since I am still kind of new to the mystery/thriller genre. Also, the book does mention underage drinking and drugs, which I understand that some readers might not condone.

In the comments, tell me which of Jessica Goodman’s books have been your favorites so far. Don’t forget to share this post, and give it a like! If you want to get notifications of all my upcoming posts, follow the blog.

Until The Next Chapter,

The Upside of Falling // Book Review

Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

My Rating

My Thoughts
This is a sweet, simple, and short young adult contemporary that I enjoyed right from the start. The plot unfolds quickly, and we learn a lot about the characters early on. However, the quick start was a minor con, since by the have way point the story started to lag a little.

In the book we follow Becca, a romance book lover, who is still dealing with the scars her father left when he walked out on her mom and her. You could tell that her father’s choice deeply affected her, and that she was, in a way, damaged by it. I liked seeing a character that had a lot issues, but not necessarily a mental illness.

Opposite Becca, we have Brett, who seems to be the typical jock. But, like Becca, there’s a lot more to his character. Sure he is the popular, hunky high-school athlete, but he desperately wants his parents to be proud of him. He puts his dad, as well as his parents’ marriage, on a pedestal, which ultimately leads to disappointment.

In the story, Becca and Brett start up a fake relationship, because of some snotty comments made by Becca’s ex-best friend. Personally, I loved how Brett started the fake dating, and was such a sweetheart the whole time. Becca annoyed me at first, since she was not being a very good fake girlfriend. Yet it did fit with her personality, and her history with relationships.

However, at times, Becca was somewhat rude to Brett, because he was different than her. Why is it that girls in books tend to be more judgmental than the guys? But, the romance was cute and it progressed naturally. They might have started off fake, but took time to get to know one another for real. Becca and Brett were cute together fake or not.

“People always talk about falling in love but no one ever talks about falling out of it.”

Although, I wouldn’t say their relationship was ‘To All The Boys’ level good; I didn’t mind the love story being mid-range. Honestly, the book showcased some other important topics that were almost more interesting than the fake dating plot. Something major happens to Brett’s family life, and although it wasn’t shocking (I saw it coming miles away), it was an interesting turn of events.

The side characters were all fleshed out, good characters, and it was nice to see Becca clear the air with her former BFF. The two have this whole moment, and it was a big “aha” moment for Becca. As readers, we fall so in love with books and their stories, that we sometimes forget that they are still just a work of fiction. They can always be our comfort zone, but will never be our reality.

Also, there were a lot of little things added in to the story that I liked, such as Becca’s need for pro/cons lists, and Brett’s funny one-liners. There was even a mention of buying 4 books for $36.00, which is a steal in my opinion. And, I don’t think they were even secondhand books.

Overall, the book was an easy read, with a good plot and writing style. I already know that I will be reading more of this author’s works. Also, there is a part in the story where Becca tells Brett that she categorizes things in her mind. Labeling things as ones that are worth remembering, and the ones that aren’t. Now, it isn’t a way to live life, but it was fascinating to think about which moments or days I’d say are worth remembering.

Please know that divorce is a major subject in the book as well as another type of relationship issue in the book that I won’t mention as not to spoil anything. Nevertheless, some people might not like the way such topics are handled in the book. I for one, am not a fan of the outcome, since it is something that is unforgivable in my eyes. Even so, I was generally happy with the story.

Quick PSA, there is a scene that showcases a murder (of books), but it’s okay, you will get through it. Don’t forget to hit that like, and follow my little book blog for more reviews.

Until The Next Chapter,

14 Ways To Die // Book Review

A decade ago, Jess lost her mother to the Magpie Man, an infamous serial killer who is still at large and planning to kill again. Now, She’s going to use her new platform as the star of a YouTube reality series to catch him. That is, if he doesn’t catch her first.
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating


My Thoughts
I had been seeing this book in stores for months, and decided to pick it up. I went into it fairly blind, but the cover and title were very intriguing. It was interesting to see that the plot centers around a serial killer and unsolved murders. The book follows Jess, a teenage girl, determined to find the Magpie Man, who is the serial killer responsible for her mother’s death.

To draw the Magpie Man out of hiding, Jess enters a YouTube reality competition where she documents her search for her mother’s killer. Honestly, I t think that the whole reality competition aspect was unnecessary. You didn’t learn much about the other contestants, and the story could have had the same outcome without the reality show element. The author could have simply made Jess start her own YouTube channel about the murders, instead of adding cameramen and show runners.

It was understandable that Jess wanted to bring her mom’s killer to justice, but she was too reckless about it. She was literally asking for a serial killer to come get her. She didn’t even have a plan as to what she’d do if she found the killer. You should always have a plan. However, she gets points for being bold, since I don’t know if I could be as brave as Jess is in the book.

Yet, I didn’t feel like we got to know Jess, or any of the other characters, much. All we really learn is that Jess spent her whole life wanting to avenge her mother’s death, which I found to be very unhealthy. However, her determination was understandable for the story. You could see that she has a lot of unresolved issues, and hasn’t fully come to terms with the loss of her mother.

Keep in mind that the book is very plot driven, which is the case with a lot of thrillers. Still, I want strong character development in addition to a solid mystery. For me, a successful book is made up of an engaging plot, and a forged connection with the characters. This book was lacking on the character front.

There is a romance that forms between Jess and someone, which progresses gradually. The love interest cared for Jess, and wanted her to stay safe. But they also understood that she had to see her plan out until the end. He didn’t understand her pain, but wanted to be there for her nonetheless.

We lie to sad people because we think it will make them feel better. But sad people see through lies. You can only trick happy people with bullshit.”

There weren’t many suspects, so it was hard to see where the story was going. When the killer was finally revealed, you started to put all the pieces together. The author did a good job of dropping bread crumbs throughout the book without making the serial killer’s identity too obvious.The book depicts that everyone has a story to tell, and some people’s stories might be more tragic than others. Also, a murder is never truly perfect. There is always some evidence left behind. Yet, the police overlooked certain things for years. More and more, a lot of books have been brave enough to call out the police and the justice system.

Overall, I was a fan of the writing style and the short chapters. The book went by fast, but still got the story across. The plot twist at the end was good, but I was hoping for more. I think that fans of ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ would thoroughly enjoy this book. Speaking of the “Good Girl’s” trilogy, I do have reviews up for all three of those books, if you want to know my thoughts on them.

In the comments, let me know if you have read anything by this author. I would love to know more about their other books. If you like bookish content, then be sure to follow my blog.

Until The Next Chapter,

Love And Gelato // Book Review

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping New York Times bestseller filled with romance, mystery, and adventure. Kirkus Reviews called Love & Gelato “a sure bet for fans of romance fiction,” while VOYA said readers “will find it difficult to put this book down.” Readers are about to discover a new place, a new romance, and a new talent.
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating

My Thoughts
In the book, we follow sixteen year old Lina, who is dealing with the passing of her single mother. However, her mom’s dying wish is for her to move to Italy and get to know her estranged father, Howard. I could understand Lina’s frustration about the prospect of moving all the way to to Italy, and leaving behind her friends and loved ones. Her mother just died, and now she has to say goodbye to the people she’s known for years.

At first, Lina took out her frustration and grief on Howard. Sure, he wasn’t around for years, but you could tell right away that it wasn’t his choice. Also, you could instantly tell that there was more to her mother and Howard’s story. As a main character, Lina frustrated me, because she seemed completely clueless about Italy. Actually, she just seemed clueless in general.

A big part of the story is that Lina is given her mother’s old journal, which helps her see who her mother was before she had Lina. We learned a lot about her late mom, since she was almost like a second main character. It was interesting to see Lina discover a new side of her, and find out about her secret college romance.

“I thought I wanted caprice and fire, but it turns out that what I really want is someone who will wake me up early so I don’t miss a sunrise.”

There weren’t many other characters, at least not ones we got to know. There is Howard, and his co-workers, Sonia as well as Ren, who is Lina’s love interest. Honestly, Lina and Ren’s romance wasn’t a major part of the story, since it focused more on her mom’s life, and Lina trying to piece together her mom’s past in Italy.

Actually, the story focused a lot more on her mother’s love life, which I found to be way more interesting. I want to note that there are a few minor characters, such as Ren’s friends, Lina’s mom’s college friends, plus her mothers stuck-up ex-boyfriend that all play small parts in the story.

The ending was nice, and wrapped things up well, but there was still a slight twist, albeit one that was very easy to figure out. Still, I liked that Lina started to trust Howard more, and realized that her mother wanted to share all her secrets with him as well. But, I did think the outcome of her and Ren’s romance was a little too intense for teenagers.

A con was that being in Italy wasn’t a huge part in the book. There were some moments showcasing different places in Italy, and a lot of talk about gelato, but, I wish the author described the beauty of the country more. I wanted to feel like I was in Italy, and the book didn’t do that for me.

Overall, the writing was fine, and the story was well done. It isn’t my favorite contemporary – especially since the plot was fairly slow moving. I wouldn’t read it again, but it wasn’t a disappointing read.

In the comments, let more know what your thoughts on the book are, because I’d love to hear your opinions. Don’t forget that following the blog lets you know about new posts!

Until The Next Chapter,