BOOK REVIEW: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell.

I recently finished reading Songs from the Deep, a debut Young Adult novel written by Kelly Powell. It was a book I selected for the leisure reading collection at the academic library I work at and I was looking for something to read over our holiday break. Songs from the Deep did not disappoint.

Songs from the Deep takes place on the island of Twillengyle which has sirens off its shores. The story centers on Moira Alexander a 17-year-old who follows in her late father’s footsteps in playing the violin, and advocating for the safety of the sirens. It also follows her former best friend, 19-year-old lighthouse keeper Jude Osric. Their father’s were best friends and they grew up very close, until Moira’s father dies and she finds something in his belongings.

Once upon a time the islanders hunted the sirens. But Moira’s father helped create a ban on hunting the creatures and they haven coexisted in an uneasy way since. Many islanders have lost loved ones to the sirens, and still occasionally islanders are injured. However, most deaths come at the expense of tourists who don’t know how to best protect themselves with a piece of cold iron.

But now, a 12-year-old islander is dead, and the sirens have been blamed, but Moira doesn’t by it. She knows how sirens attack, and the cut across Connor’s throat is too clean to be made by teeth and claws. Moira and Jude reunite in order to find the true killer, while trying to protect the sirens from harm by the islanders.

I thought this book was an interesting twist on the typical murder mystery that is ever so popular in books today. The characters were believable with real problems that were handled mostly realistically. It was a good departure from reality and had me wishing sirens were real. Here’s hoping Powell’s next novel is just as good.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Husband Material by Emily Belden

This review will take a look at the book Husband Material by Emily Belden. I received an eARC of this romance through NetGalley. It’s release date is December 30, 2019, and I encourage romance fans to pick it up once it is released since I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Belden’s charming story Husband Material centers on Charlotte Rosen, a 29-year-old with a secret she has worked hard to keep from literally everyone in her life. She works in data and risk analysis, and surrounded herself with learning to avoid her past. Other than her cute dog, and weekly phone calls with her mom, Charlotte has also effectively removed all contact with people in her past life from her life.

But life has a way of giving you lemons when you least want to deal with them. An unexpected package brings Charlotte crashing into her past and reeling about how to deal with its contents five years after tragedy struck. This brings her back in touch with friends and family she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years, and stirs to life past emotions that Charlotte needs to handle.

Can Charlotte learn to forgive those from her past, and move forward in life? I found this romance had so many layers to it than just your typical romance normally has. Charlotte must deal with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness, while chasing a future of happiness. It was a touching read, so I hope you’ll grab a box of tissues and read a copy of Husband Material by Emily Belden.

Happy Reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han.

This review is going to take a look at the second installment in Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series; P.S. I Still Love You. Netflix just released the trailer for its sequel adaptation.

In this second book, Lara Jean realizes that she has fallen for Peter. The plot points at the beginning of this book take place in the first film. It begins with the viral posting of Lara Jean in the hot tub with Peter. Lara Jean feels insecure by the rumors that start flying around school and decides to stay away from Peter despite her feelings for him.

When Margot is preparing to return to college after her holiday break, she suggests that Lara Jean get a job to fill her time so that she can get over Peter. Lara Jean begins volunteering at Belleview, the local retirement home. At Belleview she meets a feisty old lady named Stormy who teaches LJ about life.

Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, who was just a baby when their mother passed away spends a good portion of this book trying to set up their father with their neighbor Trina.

Unlike in the film, by the end of the first book she hasn’t gotten a surprise visit from the last person she sent a letter to: John Ambrose McClaren. In the book he writes back to her and the two become pen pals. She invites him to a party of all of their old friends group from middle school when she learns that the neighborhood treehouse that they used to hang out in will be torn down. The group also decides to play a game of Assassins.

While Peter and Lara Jean are trying to make each other jealous and fighting LJ gets to know John Ambrose again, and finds out that he is Stormy’s grandson. He begins to spend more time at the retirement home and LJ takes him out in the game of Assassins.

Lara Jean and Peter eventually talk about their problems and he confesses that Genevieve’s father is having an affair and she’s having a hard time with it. Peter tells LJ that he loves her.

I enjoyed reading this book, and it was yet another page turner. I can’t wait to review the third book!

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.

This review will focus on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. It is the first installment in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy and was published in 2014. If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend you dig yourself out of the hole you’ve been living in and read the book, and watch the Netflix adaptation before it’s sequel airs.

I watched the Netflix adaptation before I read any of the books. But once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. It was a great decision of mine to buy all three books at once because I read them all very quickly.

This story centers on Lara Jean, a 16-year-old that is dealing with her older sister going away to college, being the only big sister at home for her little sister, missing her mother that passed away when she was little, and everything a typical teenage girl worries about. She typically hides her feelings, and in the case of any major crush she has had–she wrote a letter to that boy, but never sent it.

Somehow, her hatbox of letters has been mailed out and each boy approaches her about her letter. Josh, her sister’s ex-boyfriend is hurt by the letter, as he’s still grieving over the loss of his relationship with her sister. He doesn’t know what he’s feeling, but he turns on the over protective act when Peter shows up.

Peter is the first boy that Lara Jean ever kissed during a game of spin the bottle. He has had a long term relationship with Lara Jean’s ex-best-friend, but with that relationship on the rocks, Peter figures he can use Lara Jean to make his ex jealous, and Lara Jean figures she can hide from Josh this way. So Lara Jean and Peter write out a contract laying out the terms to their fake relationship.

Obviously, along the way they fall for each other, but they are both too proud to admit it, and have their own ways of hurting each other when they think it’s all for show and not real.

I really enjoyed this book, and although the characters have their problems to work out, overall it was a light, quick read. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out so I can see how it compares to the second book.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

This post is going to focus on The Vanished Bride written by Bella Ellis. It is the first novel in Ellis’s Brontë Sisters Mystery series and was released on September 10, 2019.

This book has the interesting concept of following the Brontë sisters in 1845 as they learn of a murder that has taken place in a nearby village. The murder has taken place in a home in which one of their friends works as a governess. But is it even murder? The woman of the house is missing, but left her room covered in blood. What other explanation could there possibly be?

Though they have yet to publish any of their works, they already have the research skills needed to become “detectors.” Ellis has done an enormous amount of research on the Brontë family and because of this was able to use each family member to their strengths in her plot.

Ellis also does a good job at describing a society that believes women should be at home, and seen, but not heard. They take various journeys together, and apart in following the clues they uncover under the guise of searching for the right place to open a school.

I found the plot enjoyable as I followed along the twists and turns throughout the English countryside. This book will be enjoyed by fans of the Brontë clan, and cozy mystery readers.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Trouble With Hedge Witches Series Bundle by Sarina Dorie

This review is going to focus on the Trouble with Hedge Witches 4 book series by Sarina Dorie. I received an eARC of the series through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first book in this series bundle is The Witch of Nightmares: Dark Fairy Tales of Magic and Mystery. This introductory book introduces readers to the main character, 14-year-old Abigail MacQuillan and her journey with fate. We are introduced to the Morty Realm, the Unseen Realm, and the Fae Realm, each having its own rules about magic.

This installment has readers following Abby on her journey to find her lost family. Can she accomplish this while protecting her younger brother, and staying away from dark magic?

The second book in the series is A Cauldron Full of Curses: Dark Fairy Tales of Magic and Mystery. This installment follows Abby as she deals with the loss of her family, learning how to use her plant magic, and becoming an apprentice to a wicked hedge witch, Baba Nata. Abby and her friend Lucifer, who is another apprentice of Baba, learn to fight against the Fae that prey upon lost humans.

The third book in this series is A Pocket Full of Poison: Dark Fairy Tales of Magic and Mystery. In this book you will learn that revenge comes at a price.

Readers will follow Abby and Lucifer as they continue to learn how to harness their magic. Baba Nata begins to teach Abby the darker magic that she will need to use against the Fae. How far will Abby go to avenge her brothers? Will she keep the act in her seduction, or fall for a Fae?

The last installment to this series bundle is Abigail Lawrence’s Untold Story: The Witch’s Familiar, which is also part of Dorie’s Womby’s School for Wayward Witches series.

This segment takes place almost thirty years after the last book, and Abby has led a life in the Morty Realm, reconnecting with Grace, and her nephew Adam. Over time she marries Adam, and they adopt two daughters. This story focuses on Abigail after she receives news that her twenty-two-year old daughter Clarissa is in danger and recovering from an attack at the school she teaches at.

Lucifer, who has been stuck in cat form for the last thirty years begins to act strange while back in the Unseen Realm and runs away. Much of this story is searching for Lucifer, and trying to find a way to return him to human form. Will she succeed?

This series was an interesting read, and I enjoyed reading about the different plant and animal magic affinities that different characters controlled. I started to lose some interest in Abby’s story in the third book because she was so entrenched in her desire to kill the Fae without listening to anything Lucifer would say about how it would change her. I hope you enjoy reading this series. Each installment is a quick, roughly 100 page, read.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Shape of the Night by Tess Gerritsen

This review is going to take a look at the book The Shape of the Night by New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen. I received an eArc of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was released on October 1st–so get out there an read a copy!

This novel is set mostly in a Maine coastal town with some appearances by Boston. Our main character, Ava Collette is a food writer, and while punishing herself she has decided to get away from Boston to test some recipes for her very late book.

The cookbook she is writing is about traditional New England cuisine, so where better than Maine to write!? She finds an old home available to rent of the summer called Brodie’s Watch. It is the former home of a sea captain that perished at sea. At first all is normal, until she begins hearing weird sounds.

Ava becomes all consumed with trying to figure out who is watching her and what is happening. She begins to wonder if it’s her, and the binge drinking to cope with tragedy, or if it’s all real? Who can she trust in this small coastal town where locals fit in and tourists aren’t trusted.

Gerritsen does a great job of writing the story in a way that it could actually be a ghost, or it could be this other more logical option throughout the entire book. Even after finishing the book I was left wondering–but was the ghost real? The story instills a real feeling of being right there the entire time. I felt like I was by the ocean in Maine. I drooled over the recipes Ava made, just like her carpenters. It was an entertaining read and I encourage you to go read it so you can be in Maine too!

Happy reading 🙂