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Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run by Alexandra Heminsley

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
If you know me in real life, you'll know that I'm currently training for my first half marathon. I've tried this twice before and unfortunately failed, so I'm hoping the third time's the charm! The last time I tried training about 4 years ago, I read this book for inspiration and really enjoyed it, so I decided to revisit it this time around. Running Like a Girl is a memoir by Alexandra Heminsley that details her experiences going from someone who never thought she could run to becoming a marathoner many times over.

The book is split into two parts. The first details Alexandra's personal journey, and the second is running tips and tricks for the reader based on what she has learned. From the highs of accomplishment to the lows of pain and self-doubt, the author takes us on her journey, then shares recommendation about all sorts of things: from the best running attire to nutrition tips, and she does it all with a wonderfully sarcastic and comedic touch.

This book 100% makes me want to get out and run. Even though I always knew that other runners experience the same struggles that I do, it's nice seeing that validated in writing. This is a short read, so this is definitely a book I plan to revisit even more times as I continue with my own personal running journey. 

If you have any interest in running, I definitely recommend picking this one up!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Spotlight: My Christmas Fake Fiance by Linda West



I can't believe how quickly the holidays arrived this year! I feel like it was just the middle of summer, then I blinked and it's time for Christmas! I just love reading holiday-themed books to get me in the spirit, and I know I'm not alone in that! This adult contemporary romance I'm happy to spotlight today is a romantic comedy that brings two polar opposites together during the holiday season. Fans of enemies to lovers and fake dating tropes would absolutely adore this read! If you're looking for a holiday read to add to your TBR, look no further than My Christmas Fake Fiance by Linda West.

Cover Art Courtesy of
Rachel's Random Resources
About the Book


Snowflakes are falling on Kissing Bridge Mountain, and Devlin is going home at last. But he can't go home without a fiance, even if it has to be a fake one! When he meets smalltown girl Allie, who has a Christmas crisis of her own-they strike up a deal. Soon, the fickle snow flurries of fate send them down a destined road they never expected...

You can purchase this book on Amazon US here or Amazon UK here.

Author Bio


Author Photo Courtesy of
Rachel's Random Resources
Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting "Christmas Kisses and Cookies." It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers' 'special' recipe book. 

Linda was the owner of Mayberry - a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cozy mystery and humor genre. With - Death by Crockpot - the first in her newest series -Linda takes her favorite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures. 

Find Linda on Twitter and on her website

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for including me on this blog tour and sending me a copy of this read!

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

I received this book in a recent OwlCrate and absolutely knew I had to get to it sooner rather than later. I think this is technically billed as a "historical fantasy horror," and even though I'm not usually into historical stories, the one time I really do love them is when there's horror involved.

In The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones, the dead don't stay dead for long. Gravedigger Ryn and cartographer Ellis must team up in order to save Ryn's town from the corpses that have risen from the dead, also known as bone houses. The two trek through the forest trying to find and destroy the magical cauldron that allows the dead to rise.

I loved that Ryn and Ellis were a gravedigger and a cartographer. I feel like there are never any main characters in reads with these professions so it was a nice unique touch. I really appreciated how the romance in this story was not the primary focus, rather a nice addition to an already exciting plot. I also really enjoyed the other side plots, like Ryn's family trying to save their home from their nefarious landlord, and Ellis trying to find his family. 

I got a lot of quest vibes from this story, since they were traveling to find and destroy a cauldron and encountered all sorts of trouble and terrors along the way, so if you love those type of adventure stories, this one would be right up your alley. I didn't get quite as much horror as I was hoping for, which is why I ended up knocking off a star.

But to be honest, my absolute favorite part of this book was the bone goat. You have to read the story to really understand what I mean by that, but I promise you, the bone goat is worth it.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
After reading Black Spire, I decided to tackle the entire Del Rey Star Wars canon. For those counting, it's currently at 23 books long. Jumping in at the beginning of the canon, my first read was Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott. Now this one is a little bit different, in that it was originally created as an audio production, then the script was turned into a book. Because of this, I chose to listen to the audio while I read along to the script so I was able to consume the media in its intended form.

This is basically Count Dooku's back story. This tells the tale of how Dooku started as a Padawan, training to become a Jedi. It talks about his family, as well as the relationships he had with other major Star Wars players, like Master Yoda (he was Yoda's own Padawan), and Qui-Gon Jinn (who Dooku chose as his Padawan). It also tells of how he abandoned the life of a Jedi to become Count of Serenno. The whole story is basically told through flashbacks, as his assasin Asajj Ventress learns about what makes her master tick.

I loved listening to the audio of this story as I read along with the script. It did take me a while to get through it this way, but hearing the full cast along with the sound effects really brought the story to life. I don't listen to a ton of audiobooks, but when I do I really prefer ones with a full cast.

I think learning about Dooku's back story was fascinating, and I really enjoyed the insight into why he is the way he is as we know him in the movies. You also got to learn more about Ventress through this story as well. 

Next up in the canon for me is Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, a story about Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Bunny by Mona Awad

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
What did I just read? I knew that Bunny by Mona Awad was going to be weird based on the reviews I was seeing, but I don't think I ever expected how weird it actually was. I picked this one up after seeing it reviewed by Books and Lala over on YouTube. This story follows Samantha, a student in an elite MFA writing program. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels alienated from her wealthy peers, not like she would want anything to do with them anyway. Especially The Bunnies. 

The Bunnies are four pretty, dainty, rich girls who are obsessed with one another and call each other Bunny, and they happen to be the only other members of Samantha's writing cohort. When Samantha gets an invitation to join them one night, she goes, more out of curiosity than anything, but soon finds herself absorbed in the twisted and sweet world of The Bunnies.

I was just so obsessed with The Bunnies themselves! I can absolutely see being fascinated with people like them in real life. From their clothes, to the way they talked, to the way they were obsessed with tiny food, I loved it all. This story was dark and twisted and super disturbing. 

There should be a trigger warning on this for brutal animal deaths. Interestingly enough, that's usually a big problem for me and something that turns me off from a book, but it didn't bother me at all in this story.

As weird as this book was, I really enjoyed it! I could see this one being a fantastic movie. The only reason I knocked off a star was because I felt the ending wasn't as strong as the rest of the book and left me wanting more than I was given.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
If you haven't yet read Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, where have you been? I absolutely adored this read when it came out last year so I was really excited to get my hands on an ARC of the next book in the series, Girls of Storm and Shadow. This series is a YA fantasy full of Malaysian influences and great LGBTQ+ representation.

Since this one is a sequel, I can't give too much away in a synopsis. In this world, there are three castes, including humans (paper), demon/human hybrids (steel), and pure demon (moon). The paper caste is the lowliest of them all, and they are frequently mistreated by the castes above them. Something HUGE went down at the end of the first book and the main character Lei is having to deal with the repercussions of that event throughout this second installment. Feel free to check out my review of the first book to get a little more detail on the back story of this world. 

Unfortunately this book just didn't live up to the first one for me, which was a shame since this was one of my most anticipated books of 2019. I felt like not much happened and I didn't like the direction some of the characters started to take. I did like the inclusion of some new characters here, especially Nitta, Bo, and Merrin. The ending of this one was not nearly as gripping as the first book either. It was still good, don't get me wrong. I love this world and Lei's character. But it didn't suck me in like Girls of Paper and Fire did.

There is still one more book to come in this trilogy and even though I didn't love this book as much, I still plan to pick up the third to see how everything plays out. 

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Little Brown/Jimmy Patterson Books for an arc of this thrilling fantasy! Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan just released last week!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
If you've been reading my blog lately, you may have noticed that I've been getting more and more into romantic comedies. I've come to really love this genre and can't seem to get enough of these funny, swoon-inspiring reads. 

After a near-death experience causes web-designer Chloe's dull and boring life to flash before her eyes, she decides to get a life...an exciting one. Enter the list. From enjoying a drunken night out and riding a motorcycle, to meaningless sex and going camping, Chloe has determined that by checking off the things on her list, she'll have a life worthy of flashing before her eyes should a near-death experience hit again. She never expected to find love with that list, but when her gorgeous superintendent Redford agrees to help her check some items off, she finds herself falling deeper than she ever expected.

First, let me give a huge shout out to Talia Hibbert for putting a content warning about a character recovering from an abusive relationship in an author's note at the beginning of the book! THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT PEOPLE! It didn't take away from the plot at all but was the perfect way to let a reader know that something potentially triggering existed in the book.


I absolutely appreciate that the main character struggled with a chronic illness. Chloe has fibromyalgia, and even though I have a different chronic illness than her (endometriosis here), I really identified with a lot of the things she went through. I thought she was really stuck up at first, but soon realized that this was just a coping mechanism that she used to protect herself from the fear of people leaving. I thought Red was a super stand-up guy and really loved seeing the softer, artist side of him. This book also had an adorable cat named Smudge, so I couldn't possibly leave that part out of the review!

There was a little too much instalove in this one for me, even though that normally doesn't bother me much. I just thought that Chloe and Red went from completely despising each other to being all over each other in literally seconds flat.

It looks like one of Chloe's sisters is getting an installment next, so I can't wait to read that book as well!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Avon for a finished copy of this read! Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert is out TODAY, November 5th, so be sure to pick up a copy to get your rom-com fix!

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Like almost everyone else I've seen on social media, I've been gobbling up the creepy reads before Halloween hits. Just the title alone of The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams made this a perfect choice for this spooky season.

On the surface. Esme seems to be just a normal teenager. She loves thrifted clothes and putting together outfits. She has a best friend named Janis and a pit bull named Pig. And she has a babysitter's club. But lately odd things have been happening to her. From cars driving on their own to volleyballs changing direction, Esme doesn't know what's going on. And when the kids she and Janice babysit for appear to be in danger and a mysterious new girl shows up eager to join their club, it's a definite wake up call that something isn't right.

First, can we talk about this cover? That pastel goodness is the stuff of dreams.  The book started out strong for me, but my rating dropped lower and lower as it went on. I really liked the plot of this story, but didn't think it was original at all. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Sitters instead of Slayers, a Counsel instead of a Watcher, etc. The strikingly high amount of similarities was hard to ignore. They even mention Buffy numerous times throughout the book. Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was that they kept calling  Esme's mom "crazy" when there are much more appropriate terms to use for mental illness. The story itself felt fairly juvenile even though the main characters were supposed to be seventeen. I really liked all the mentions of the different outfits the girls put together though, and how they themed all their outfits.

The story was fun and the book was an enjoyable read for the most part, but like I said, I felt like I had seen most of this stuff via other mediums before, and anything unique in this read was pretty forgettable. It looks like there is a second book coming out next fall, but I will probably pass on that one. This is really more of a 2.5 star read for me, but since I don't do half stars, I chose to round up just for the nostalgia factor.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I received an ARC of this read at the ALA Annual Conference. The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams is out now!