YVO’S SHORTIES #99 – Sweetheart & Alice In Zombieland

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two completely different genres and two completely different reading experiences… While I loved my second meeting with Archie and Gretchen in Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, I couldn’t say the same for Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter. That one is without doubt a series I won’t be continuing any time soon (more likely never).


Title: Sweetheart
(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #2)
Author: Chelsea Cain

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 1st 2008
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Finished reading: May 2nd 2019
Pages: 328

“It broke his heart. Not because she was worried that he was in danger, but because she thought she had a chance of saving him.”


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WARNING: possible spoilers if you haven’t read the first book yet. 

I can’t believe it took me three years and a TBR jar to finally continue this series. I remember loving the first book way back: the serial killler up close and personal, the broken characters, the suspense, the sheer twistedness of it all. This series is exactly my cup of tea, but somehow it got lost between the other books on my TBR mountain. I’m definitely going to remedy that though, because Sweetheart has definitely reconfirmed my love for this series. What a delightfully disturbing and twisted read! I always love it when we get to see a serial killer up close and Gretchen Lowell is without doubt one to reckon with. I advice reading this series in order, because you will be missing out on details behind Archie’s state of mind and his unique relationship with Gretchen otherwise… Personally, details came back soon after I started reading Sweetheart and I found myself forgetting about prior engagements, hiding in a corner and just turning those pages instead. Both Gretchen and Archie play a key role in this series and having both a detective and serial killer that present definitely takes Sweetheart to a different level. It was fascinating to see how past events have affected Archie up to a point even his family and friends don’t seem to recognize him… This story has twists, turns and a healthy dose of action and suspense as well as an insight in the psychological aspects. You’ll be having a hard time putting this one down before you find out what happens, and the cliffhanger will most definitely leave you wanting for more. Guess who isn’t going to wait that long this time around to pick up book number three?


Title: Alice In Zombieland
(White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: September 25th 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Finished reading: May 5th 2019
Pages: 408

“Truly living required risk.”


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I admit I was a bit wary to pick up this title, but I decided to pick it up anyway since I already had a copy on my kindle and needed it for a prompt of the BTB Bingo challenge. Unlike what you might guess from the pun in Alice In Zombieland, this first book of a series actually has very little to do with the original story. Wait, this isn’t a retelling? Nope, I would never consider calling it that. Why? Well, apart from the main character being called Alice and a white rabbit cloud appearing repeatedly, there are no references to or similarities between the classic and this concoction. I was surprised and a little disappointed after such a clear reference to it with the title and cover art. Instead, we have a story about zombies where we encounter a different kind of unread this time around; they are basically spirits and a lot more difficult to fight than your regular brain eaters. This could have been a premise for a very bloody and disturbing read, but sadly the fighting scenes and horror have been taken over almost completely by an overdose of cheesy and sappy romance scenes, a very frustrating love triangle and a whole lot of high school drama. The romance alone was so unbelievably cringeworthy I almost stopped reading there and then… Especially since some of those scenes were definitely too steamy to be appropriate for YA. The love triangle itself is so cliche it could have been an example in a dictionary… And all the high school drama, catfights and popularity contests in general were another huge turn off. Like I said, the idea behind the zombies is interesting and I would have loved to learn more about them and have more background on the slayers. The fighting scenes were pretty dark and did get bloody and almost horror worthy, but it’s almost like those scenes were put in as an afterthought. Alice In Zombieland and me definitely didn’t get along and it will be no surprise I won’t be picking up the next book any time soon (more likely never). If you don’t mind a huge amount of cheesy romance, cliches and high school drama and on top of that don’t object to a few dark and disturbing zombie fighting scenes either, you might have a better time with this story.


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WWW Wednesdays #221 – May 8th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Circe by Madeline Miller, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while and I’m really excited about. I’m also starting Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small as my blog tour stop is getting pretty close.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/05
Sweetheart has definitely reconfirmed my love for this series. What a delightfully disturbing and twisted read! I always love it when we get to see a serial killer up close and Gretchen Lowell is without doubt one to reckon with. This story has twists, turns and a healthy dose of action and suspense as well as an insight in the psychological aspects. You’ll be having a hard time putting this one down before you find out what happens, and the cliffhanger will most definitely leave you wanting for more.

2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (DNF at 41%; 0 stars) REVIEW 
First of all I have to stress that I feel really bad about the decision to DNF, especially since I almost never have to resort to such a drastic decision and Middlegame is such a highly anticipated title. Trust me, I haven’t taken this decision lightly,and I have really tried to overcome my initial feelings and warm up to the story. But after a second, third and fourth chance, I had to throw in the towel at 41%. More about why I took the decision to DNF in my review.

3. Alice In Zombieland by Gene Showalter (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/05
Unlike what you might guess from the pun in Alice In Zombieland, this first book of a series actually has very little to do with the original story. Wait, this isn’t a retelling? Nope, I would never consider calling it that. Why? Well, apart from the main character being called Alice and a white rabbit cloud appearing repeatedly, there are no references to or similarities between the classic and this concoction. Instead, we have a story about zombies where we encounter a different kind of unread this time around; they are basically spirits and a lot more difficult to fight than your regular brain eaters. This could have been a premise for a very bloody and disturbing read, but sadly the fighting scenes and horror have been taken over almost completely by an overdose of cheesy and sappy romance scenes, a very frustrating love triangle and a whole lot of high school drama.

4. The East End by Jason Allen (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/05
Look out for my thoughts on The East End during my blog tour stop tomorrow!

5. The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW  16/05
Finally a story that managed to convince me again! I’ve been meaning to read more Ruth Ware for a while now and I’m definitely glad I picked up my copy of The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. What a creepy and suspenseful read! The house in Cornwall is such an excellent setting for this story filled with secrets and lies… I admit I saw part of it coming, but I never guess the full truth.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a final May blog tour book I need to get to, which is also a title I’m really excited about: Breakers by Doug Johnstone. I also need to pick up my ARC of The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison,  which is another highly anticipated title. And my copy of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this story, so I’m probably going to ignore my May TBR and pick up this one ASAP. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender.


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WWW Wednesdays #220 – May 1st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I never thought I was going to be typing this, but I’m really struggling with Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. So far I’m feeling mighty confused and nothing much is making sense… There are so many 5 star reviews already that I’m almost wondering if I’m reading the same story. I confess I’ve been picking up other titles instead… Including my long pending TBR jar pick Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, which I’ll most likely finish  first as well.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Murder On The Links by Agatha Christie (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I really enjoyed spending more time with Hercule Poirot. He is such an interesting character! I love the way he investigates by using what he calls using his grey cells, and deducts and discovers the truth by noticing things others might overlook. The writing makes it very easy to fly through this classic, and I had an excellent time trying to discover the hidden clues along with Poirot. Mr. Hastings can get quite annoying, but I tried not to focus on that and enjoy the investigation instead. I had a great time with this second book and I will definitely be looking forward to see more of Hercule Poirot in the future.

2. Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
the story definitely lived up to expectations… What a read! After a string of reads that failed to blow me away completely, I finally found myself fully absorbed in a story again and posponed all plans until I had reached the final page. Before She Knew Him is well written, suspenseful and has an enormous plot twist bomb towards the end that will leave you with your mouth hanging wide open. I love it when a story is able to mislead me so well I actually yelled ‘WHAT?!?!’ when I stumbled across the reveal. If you enjoy the genre, Before She Knew Him is definitely a story not to miss.

3. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (2/5 stars) REVIEW
There is one thing that is certain, and that is that These Broken Stars is oozing with sappy romance scenes. What I hoped would be an interesting science fiction story set in space, soon turned into a survival story on a foreign planet after only a few chapters… The survival angle could have been interesting enough once you get over the fact you won’t be getting more space actions or a true explanation behind the crash, but to be honest I was rather bored instead most of the time. For such an interesting setting, nothing much was actually happening. The story instead focuses almost completely on Lilac and Tarver and their complicated relationship. Romance fans who enjoy a forbidden romance story with a space setting will probably appreciate this first book of the Starbound series a lot more though.

4. Romanov by Nadine Brandes (4/5 stars) REVIEW
This retelling mixes historical facts and magic in an expert way and gives us a whole new take on the events set in 1918 Russia. While Romanov can mostly be considered and in fact mainly reads like a historical fiction story, there are also magical elements incorporated that give the story a little something extra. I enjoyed the writing style, although I do have to admit that the pace is considerably slow and this might be a turn off for those who don’t enjoy slower and more character driven historical fiction. Romanov focuses mostly on the characters and their development, and only gives you a healthy dose of action and magic more towards the ending.

5. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (1/5 stars) REVIEW 04/05
It’s true I wasn’t sure if this one would be for me, but I needed a graphic novel for my BTB Bingo challenge and my TBR choices were limited. I enjoy reading memoirs and the idea of reading a memoir in graphic novel form intrigued me. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect to the tone or writing style of the author. The many many references to classic literature for me were, instead of an unexpected bonus, rather a hint to feelings of self-importance and superiority. I wasn’t a fan of how the whole lgbt aspect was handled nor how characters were portrayed. I honestly wish I would have just taken the decision to DNF, because I had a really hard time reaching that final page. This definitely wasn’t a story for me, although I should note others have highly enjoyed it so it could have been just me.

6. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/05
I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, especially since I want to watch the movie adaptation some time soon as well. The first thing that stood out for me was that this story has that The Fault In Our Stars and Everything, Everything vibe down to the terminal illness and cheesy romance. I’m still deciding whether that is a good or a bad thing, but there is one thing for sure: you will find yourself flying through this story. I literally finished it in less than a day, and a lot of this has to do with the writing style. I appreciated the focus and insight in CF and the impact of this disease on someone’s life. BUT. I’m not sure up to what point some aspects of the plot are exactly credible. More in my review, but it has to do with the unnecessary risk taking (something similar happened in Everything Everything). The romance itself was cheesy, but somehow I found myself liking it anyway. A story that will both make you smile and make your eyes water… Perfect if you enjoy the genre and don’t mind a pile of cliches and some inconsistencies.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few May blogtour reads I need to get to ASAP, and The East End by Jason Allen and Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small are up first. I’m also finally picking up my copy of Circe by Madeline Miller (it’s already waiting for me next to my reading chair!). I’m having high hopes it will finally give me another 5 star read. I also have a new TBR jar pick! The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender… I have really enjoyed her books so far, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one.


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WWW Wednesdays #219 – April 24th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally meeting Hercule Poirot again and started the second book The Murder On The Links yesterday… I’m hoping to get through to it soon. I’m also starting Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson in the hope I can finish it in time for Janel’s Instagram @criminallygoodbookclub…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall (2/5 stars) REVIEW
The Wolf Border was very close to getting me in a slump, and not in a good way. I literally made every possible excuse to not pick up my copy and do something else instead, and it took me considerably longer to finally reach that last page. I even thought about just DNFing it multiple times… In short, I don’t think The Wolf Border and me were ment to be.

2. The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/04
The genre is right up my alley, as I love WWII historical fiction, and I really liked the setting on Guernsey as well since I don’t think I’ve read about the Channel Islands as a setting in stories before. Not only the historical and geographical setting made this story into a success for me, but also the format that is chosen to narrate this story. The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society is an epistolary novel, where the story is told through a series of letters and occasionally telegrams written between a wide variety of different characters. While I admit it took me a little while to keep track of all those different characters, they all added their little touch to the story and I especially loved those letters set in Guernsey.

3. The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/04

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I still need to read a final book to complete my O.W.L.s for the Magical readathon… I had a different title picked originally, but I needed a little break from historical fiction so I’ve decided to read These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner instead. I also need to start making a dent in my May NG ARCs as a few are due soon… First up are Romanov by Nadine Brandes and Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain; that one will definitely have to wait until next month. xD


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WWW Wednesdays #218 – April 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall, but that’s mostly because I haven’t been in the mood for it and put it aside to read other titles first. I’m finally continuing with it though and hope to finish it soon. I’m also starting The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, a title I’ve been looking forward to.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I was really hoping to fall in love with this series again, but once again the story failed to hit the mark completely for me… It’s not a bad read, the writing still reads lightning-fast and there are a lot of twists and turns involved, but for me sadly the spark of the first four books was missing. I felt there was almost too much going on in Final Betrayal, with multiple characters and POV switches even within the same character. Instead of adding the characteristic dept and complexity to the plot, I rather found it confusing and almost irritating this time around, especially since you never seem to get to settle down with one character for a little while. I had my doubts about the credibility and wasn’t convinced by the final reveals either… It has convinced me Lottie Parker and me are overdue for a little break and I have decided to step away from the series and leave it for those who still feel the same love for Lottie Parker.

2. How To Walk Away by Katherine Center (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/04
I think I’ve become an instant fan of Katherine Center‘s writing, and she is a new addition to my short list of contemporary romance writers that make me enjoy the genre. It took a few chapters to warm me up completely to the characters and the situation, but once I did I was hooked. Following the main character as she has to learn to live with the consequences of the accident was both heartbreaking and intriguing, as her struggles and fears are realistically and well described. I could really appreciate this was more of a slowburner romance and instead there is a lot more focus on Margaret’s situation and personal development. The chapters set in Belgium brought back memories of Bruges and made me crave chocolate! The ending of How To Walk Away was without doubt satisfying as well and I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the genre.

3. Across The Universe by Beth Revis (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/04
Despite the romantic cover, this first book of a YA science fiction series set in space is surprisingly light on the romance. There are hints of it now and then, but the main focus is the fact that the story is set on a space ship and the mysterious attacks that take place. And as you might guess, that is a huge bonus for me! The writing is engaging and this story is really easy to read. I liked the setting on the ship and how the story is able to show us the effect of having to live on a ship for generations has on its inhabitants.

4. Little Darlings by Melanie Golding (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/04
If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers and are looking for a little something different, this could be the perfect read for you. Folklore and fairy tale elements are mixed with suspense and a mental health angle in such a fluid way that really makes the folklore stories come to life… A very interesting mix of genres that will keep you wondering until the very end.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m hoping to pick up Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson next so I can finish it in time for Janel’s Instagram @criminallygoodbookclub… I also need to start making a dent in my May NG ARCs if I ever want to catch up, so The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is up soon. I need to read the last few titles for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge as well, and The Murder On The Links by Agatha Christie is up first. That one will also be the first title for the Reading Through The Centuries challenge! My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain; I don’t think I’ll be able to get to it this month since I have a bunch of other titles I need to get to first.


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WWW Wednesdays #217 – April 10th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the final book I need to complete the exams for the Magizoologist career in the #OWLsReadathon2019 which is The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. I’ve been curious about this title ever since I found it during our trip last year; fingers crossed it’s a good one. I’m also starting Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney as it’s due soon. I’m looking forward to spend time with Lottie Parker again!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Release by Patrick Ness (3/5 stars) REVIEW 14/04
I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. In fact, something similar happened with The Rest Of Us Just Live Here (the chapter introductions vs. the rest of the chapters) so I’m guessing this particular writing style and me just don’t really get along. What do I mean? Well, while I mostly enjoyed Adam’s chapters, I wasn’t so sure about the other more fantastical one (Katie). Both were so extremely different in tone and even genre that they mostly just clashed for me (like what happened in The Rest Of Us Just Live Here).

2. The Dare by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/04
If you are looking for a well written, suspenseful and entertaining detective thriller that reads like a train, you know you can always turn to Carol Wyer. Both this series and her detective thrillers in general have been consistently solid so far and The Dare is no exception to that rule. I found myself flying through those pages to discover more about the killer and how things would unfold… It’s true I never grew to like Natalie as a character, but her team’s chemistry mostly makes up for that. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to discover whatever will be thrown at them next.

3. The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/04
I really loved this historical fiction story set in early 20th century Mexico. With a Gabriel Garcia Marquez feel, The Murmur Of Bees tells us the story of a wealthy land owner family and how the appearance of the mysterious Simonopio both saved and changed their lives forever. Historical facts are mixed with the surreal in such a way that will keep you invested until the very end… The writing is lush and wonderful and will take you to a different time.

4. Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/04
I love Greek mythology retellings, and Song Of Sacrifice is a new favorite. If you enjoy reading about the Troyan war and what happened to cause it, I can without doubt recommend this first book of a new series… The writing is more than solid and while there are many different characters involved it never distracted me (I guess it does help having a general idea of who the main characters involved are). I really liked that the story doesn’t focus on one character, and instead offers us multiple views and stories to treasure.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ve been trying to work through my ARCs and since quite a few were longer reads I didn’t get as far as I hoped. Little Darlings by Melanie Golding is up next; I’ve been hearing good things about that one. I also need to continue reading books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so How To Walk Away by Katherine Center and The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows are up soon… My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain; I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it this month since I still have three more ARCs and a bunch of readathon books (five including the two I mentioned here) I still need to pick up first.


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WWW Wednesdays #216 – April 3rd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge, the first a backlist title and the second an ARC. I’ve heard mixed things about Release by Patrick Ness so I’ve gone in with low expectations and I’ll be crossing my fingers… And I’m excited to be reading another Carol Wyer title and to be meeting Detective Natalie Ward again in The Dare.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Tell The Wolves I’m Home is a (recent) historical fiction slash contemporary story with a focus on family, AIDS and death. Tough themes that are very tricky to get right and sometimes not that easy to talk about, but the 1987 setting made for a very interesting backdrop for this story. I can’t put my finger on the why, but while I did find the Tell The Wolves I’m Home a very interesting read, there was also something about it that didn’t work for me. Part of this might have to do with the main characters…

2. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
With this new story she has once again proven to me she belongs on my list of favorite authors. What a read! What really stands out for me is the uniqueness of the format of Daisy Jones & The Six. The story is told through a series of interviews with the different members of the band and a few others close to them. This is done in a way that you start wondering if your memory failed you and there really was a band called Daisy Jones & The Six in the seventies… The different characters really came alive for me and it felt like a real biography of a rock band with a very colorful history.

3. Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/04
While I don’t feel Wolfhunter River was as good as the previous two books, I can’t deny I still highly enjoyed my time with this serial killer thriller. Suspenseful, twisted, explosive and lightning fast: once you get past the first few chapters and the setting changes to Wolfhunter, it will be really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. I had some doubts about the credibility of the plot and the way things wrapped up was a bit too convenient to my taste, but the story has a lot of promise for what it yet to come and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book.

4. The Blue by Lucy Clarke (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
The Blue turns out to have been an excellent choice. As someone who has been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in the past, I love reading travel related stories. Add a destination I haven’t been able to visit myself and that is another bonus… And if you combine it with one of my favorite genres (suspense), the book and me most likely are going to get along. This is exactly what happened with The Blue.

5. The Silver Ladies Of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/04
I was really looking forward to this one as I loved The Getaway Girls last year, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be… I had quite a few issues with this story and surprisingly none had to do with the fact that contemporary romance normally isn’t for me. I’m going to try to keep things easy in my review, but it might turn out into a rant… You’ve been warned.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get a few ARCs in before the due date, so both Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon and The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia are up next. They both fit the prompts for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so that is a bonus. 😉 I’m also picking up The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows for the same challenge. My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’m hoping to read that one once my ARC schedule has cleared up a bit.


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