Audiobook Review – Ugly Love


After loving It Ends with Us, I was super excited to read another by Colleen Hoover, but this one really didn’t work for me.

This story is told from dual POV (with Tate’s in the present and Miles’ in the past) as Tate and Miles start a benefits-only relationship. And, as always, Hoover’s writing drew me in immediately, and kept me flying through the pages, but on the whole, Tate and Miles’ relationship just didn’t work for me. Although Miles was clear up front that he was only in it for sex, Tate knew from the start that she wanted more than that. Not only that, but Miles was, in general, kind of a jerk to her, and she was always making excuses for him.

I feel like we got Miles’ backstory through his POV as also a kind of way of saying “oh but he’s not really a jerk at heart.” But… still, that didn’t really smooth things over for me, and his backstory didn’t hold my interest as much. Overall, if you’re a big Colleen Hoover fan, I might give it a look, but I can’t really say I was rooting for Miles and Tate in this one.

⭐⭐⭐¼

Not really for me, but it could be for you!

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Instructions for Dancing


Instructions for Dancing follows Evie, a one-time romance book addict who is struggling with her father’s infidelity/her parents divorce/her parents impending remarriage, and essentially doesn’t believe in love anymore. Then after a chance encounter, she develops the ability to see people’s whole love story from beginning to end when they kiss.

So, it was in this book that I realize I am not a big fan of self-aware books. And Evie is constantly comparing the events of her life to the tropes of a romance novel, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. But, then X and his dance competition entered the scene with the save.

Overall, this was a bittersweet coming of age tale of a young person learning the hard lesson that nothing lasts forever. The banter between X and Evie was cute (LOVED The Cupcakes and Kisses discussion) and in general, Evie’s experiences/attitudes definitely seemed to reflect that of a true young adult’s.

Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a bittersweet coming of age young adult tale. (Especially if you don’t mind the trope-awareness.)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

But I really want to read Cupcakes and Kisses now! 😂

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – When the Divine are Dead


When the Divine are Dead by E.K. Barnes follows Bradley, a fourteen-year-old boy with special Diviner abilities, Type I diabetes, and a string of deadly kind of bad luck.

We follow Bradley as he endures a school-shooting and a death of a family member, and then his family tries to start over in a new city with other Diviner families. We get bits an pieces of the horrible things that have happened to Bradley, his difficulty with his abilities, and the internal survivor’s guilt that plagues him as his family tries to start anew.

I really thought the author nailed Bradley’s authentic lower-YA voice, and I really felt for him as he tried to learn how to cope with his situation. Learning about the Diviners’ ability was super interesting, and in general, the tension and tight writing kept my attention straight through the end.

There were a lot of characters and siblings to keep track of, and I did find myself wishing we got a little more development from some of the other main characters. There were also a few strands I was expecting to get answers to that we didn’t quite get. However, this definitely seems like the first of the series, so they could have been left for future books. I also really enjoyed the audiobook narration, and the I think the narrator did an excellent job of telling this story. Would definitely recommend for all fans of YA urban fantasy. Thanks so much to the publisher for the free audible code!

⭐⭐⭐⭐¼

I’m always here for solid YA fantasy!

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – The Future Bride


I picked up The Future Bride by J.G MacLeod as the winner of my little free library contest when it totally hooked me with the tagline, “For adventure. For love. For kilts. (And strong gin)” and I absolutely love when a book is exactly what I think it’s going to be.

This is like a lighter, more fun Highlander. Brigid is a spunky, present-day barista (with martial arts skills) thrown into old Scotland, and she does not back down from the rough and tumble highlander life. The story moves really fast and I couldn’t believe I inhaled it in two days! I liked the interactions between

Brigid and Ferghus and found the portrayal of the old Scottish Gaelic language and culture really interesting. My only real critique was that I wish Brigid had been a little smarter/stronger in the final act. Overall though, really enjoyed this fun, romantic read and would totally recommend for anyone looking  for a romcom twist on Highlander!

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Someone’s definitely going to love this find!

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – The Controlled


The Controlled  by P.J. Willett follows a group of teachers and students in a bleak dystopian school after a human experiment goes terribly wrong. And, boy, is this book bleak. I’m all for dystopian shenanigans but these characters are absolutely a product of their horrible environment, and they are *rough*!

The story unfolds the fateful day from the perspectives of several of the main characters. Each one has their flaws and brutal backstory of surviving in this world in which the education system is now corporately controlled and has completely devolved. This book definitely has a message to convey, and it doesn’t hold any punches as it leans into a, at times, amusingly over-the-top caricature of a school under-siege by its mind-controlled-gone-wrong students. This dark narrative was wholly unique and definitely held my attention, but without anyone to truly root for, I didn’t feel super invested in the characters’ fates. However, if you’re looking for a twisted near-future dystopian that serves as an intense reflection on modern trends, I’d definitely give it a look!

Thanks so much to the publisher for the free ebook!

⭐⭐⭐½

Definitely makes the top 3 schools I do NOT want to go to. 😂

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Today, Tonight, Tomorrow


ERMAHGERDDD. I loved this book. Seriously. Amazing. The MCs were cute and well-developed, and their enemies-to-lovers ARC was just perfect. I loved seeing the history between them evolve into begrudging alliance evolve into something more. And I also totally loved the senior class scavenger hunt through Seattle. It was seriously fun, and I sooo want to play too! The pacing is quick, the voice is tone is fun, while still probing deeper into character development. I loved Neil and Rowan’s banter, and their adventure just reminded me how fun YA can be!

Probably one of the best YA contemporary romances I’ve ever read. Cannot recommend enough, and BRING ME THE MOVIE! The audiobook was also perfectly performed. Just in general, fabulous read/listen. Don’t miss it!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Locke and I are totally spreading the word about this book! It is Amazing!

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Defy the Night


I totally inhaled this book! Fast-paced, strong stakes, political intrigue, and a slowburn romance with thick “it’s complicated” vibes. I really liked both Corrick’s POV as the conflicted King’s Justice in a time where their kingdom is torn apart by disease and suffering. And it was perfectly balanced by Tessa’s more optimistic hopeful view tempered by what she witnesses out in the impoverished wilds. Usually I’m not into politics explanations in fantasy books, but I think this one did an amazing job of explaining the nuances of the sector relationships, rumors, and difficult choices of the rulers. I also really enjoyed how the characters change and grow as they come to different realizations about one another. It drew me into their world without slowing down the pace, and I totally drank it in. I also appreciated that even though there’s a sequel coming out, this book leaves you still feeling satisfied at the end. Totally recommend to high fantasy fans, and I would definitely read the sequel! Five glittering stars!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Aw look Locke’s even giving it a wink. Definitely approved!

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – House of Salt and Sorrows


I enjoyed Small Favors by Erin Craig, so when I saw the House of Salt and Sorrows audiobook in my library I had to grab it.

In my Small Favors review I think I described how I liked the writing style, and the dark, creepy vibes, but then ending didn’t quite work for me.

And bizarrely, I feel EXACTLY the same about this book. Really liked the writing style, the somewhat fantastical, dark vibe, and the mystery of what really is going on – which is also consistent with what I liked about Small Favors.

Also, Annaleigh is very similar to the MC in Small Favors—a girl who loves her sisters and is falling for a mysterious stranger while she tries to figure things out.

While, the premise of the deaths of her sisters was super intriguing and the unique island world was cool, the ending once again just fell a little anticlimactic for me, and I didn’t feel like the love interest was fleshed out enough.

Overall though, a solid read with a creepy, fantastical feel to it. And if you like this one, you will probably also like Small Favors!

⭐⭐⭐⭐¼

Looks like Locke needs a little more action in her reads…

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – Face the Music


Face the Music by M.L. East definitely ups the ante from A Trick of the Spotlight in so many ways! In Face the Music, we now get four more POVs (Ryo, Namgi, Mino, and Jaeyoon) and a whopping 171 more pages full of intense K-Pop drama that’s so hard to put down!

This book picks up right where the last one left off, with Kit in an almost impossible situation… and I hate to say it, but it doesn’t really get better for her. With the new POVs, there’s even more relationship drama, and we definitely get to know more about Vortex and its group dynamics. The stakes are higher here as Ryo’s controlling, gangster-like family gets involved, and Vortex is definitely on edge.

My only real critique is that I feel like Kit was almost a minor character in this sequel, and I liked her so much in book one! Hers was still my favorite POV, but I definitely felt like she was kind of sidelined here, and I wish we’d gotten to see more of her.

That said, this book still has that addicting, tear-through-the-pages feel of the first book, and I would totally recommend it to readers looking for juicy K-Pop drama.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Locke is always here for juicy K-pop drama!.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – R.I.P. Viola Winkle


R.I.P. Viola Winkle by E.P. Stavs is described as Rip Van Winkle x Beauty & the Beast x Celtic Fantasy, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen comp titles that match a book so well!

After reading may of E.P. Stavs’ other books, I did not hesitate to grab up this ARC and was definitely not disappointed. Every time Stavs’ writing style immediately pulls me in with smart dialogue, quick pacing, and strong plot flow.

The characters were all likable, and I really liked the feel of Ethan’s gothic home and the strong found-family vibes. Viola was fun and quirky as a 1950s librarian in a new world, and I loved her interactions with the 21st century child that was Sylvie. Red of course was my favorite, and I loved the conflict between him and Viola. The Buinnean family in general was also just an interesting Celtic addition to the mix!

Overall, I totally recommend this one to fans of a contemporary fairy-tale like romance that leaves you with the warm fuzzies of a happy ending and a well-told story.

Thanks so much to the publisher for the ARC! R.I.P. Viola Winkle launches 11 Aug on Amazon!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Elsa doing her best coonhound impression.

Thanks for reading!