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Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
So I absolutely ADORE the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. This series of portal fantasy novellas is thrilling and magical with all sorts of representation. You can find more of my reviews on the series here.  The last few books have come out in January, so I am always excited for the new year to hit so I can get my hands on the next installment in this series. Being that this book is pretty deep into the series, I don't want to give anything away by going into a plot synopsis.

This installment, book # 5, goes back to the sister characters Jack and Jill, who's door took them to the Moors, a land that's basically the stuff of black and white horror movies. Think vampires, mad scientists, and crazy lightning. Being a horror fanatic, I absolutely love this world and was excited to have more of it. 

Unfortunately, this is the first book in the series that I haven't given a 5 star rating. I thought the big climax scene at the end was rushed and I was disappointed at how quickly it came and went. It also seemed far too simple considering the build up. But please don't let that fool you: this book, and the series overall, are still absolutely excellent. This particular installment just didn't deliver quite as much as I was hoping for.

There should be three more books in this series, and I can't wait to see what additional adventures we'll get!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg

I decided that in 2020 I wanted to read more adult books and less YA. Not that YA isn't awesome, I just found that I wasn't enjoying the genre overall as much as I used to. One of my favorite adult genres is the thriller genre, so I was eager to pick up this Danish crime thriller as one of my first reads of the year. The Tenant by Katrine Engberg takes place in Copenhagen, and follows detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner as they try to solve the case of young torture and murder victim, Julie Stender.

I've always enjoyed books about books, and an unpublished thriller manuscript plays a huge role in this story. It did start off quite slow, but after pushing through the first 100 pages or so I found that it did pick up a little bit. On the flip side of that, I found the ending to be rushed. The reveal was also quite complicated. I did appreciate that I wasn't able to figure it out, since I do find a lot of thrillers to be predictable.

I typically don't read a lot of police-centric thrillers because I usually find the detectives to be pretentious and the plot to be dry. That being said, I loved the duo of Jeppe and Anette in this read! I would have liked to have seen more of Anette's perspective, as the majority of this read was focused on Jeppe and his personal back story. I thought it was a little unbalanced, since he had so many personal things happening in addition to the plot. Maybe since this appears to be the first in a series following the duo, we will get more of Anette's story in the next book. You also got the points of view of a few other characters in this story as well, which helped give further insight into the case.

I don't think I've ever read a Nordic crime fiction before, but from what I've gathered from other people's reviews, they tend to have certain characteristics that are distinctive of the genre. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about them to determine whether or not this book is true to the genre! I can say that the writing flowed well, and I couldn't tell that this book wasn't originally written in English.

Overall it was a solid read, but there were those few things I thought could have been done better.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Scout Press for a finished copy of this read! The Tenant by Katrine Engberg releases TOMORROW, January 14th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
This book was INTENSE. That's honestly the best word to describe All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell. Intense and dark and raw. Before I even hop into this review, definitely placing a huge trigger warning on this for rape/sexual assault. One thing I absolutely loved about this book was that it had a trigger warning for this right in the very first pages, as well as resources related to this in the back. This one is a YA contemporary with a few thriller elements mixed in.

Ava experienced something as a child that no one should ever have to go through, and she even has a large scar on her face as a result. Now seventeen, she is mostly content with her life: her tattoos, her best friend, and now maybe even a love interest. But when she stumbles across a body in the woods, Ava starts to be haunted again and her life suddenly doesn't seem as solid as she thought.

Again, this book was intense. It was beautifully written, hauntingly so, which really allowed the reader to enter into Ava's thoughts and stream of consciousness. This is an own-voices novel as well, with the author using her own personal experience as the basis for this story. I loved how this addressed rape culture, and Ava many times talks about how bad experiences happen to you, you don't make them happen (referencing how many individuals wrongly blame the woman for "inviting" rape by their actions). I appreciated the LGBTQ rep in this one as well. 

There's honestly not too much more I can say about this book, other than that if you are looking for a hauntingly real read that will stay with you, pick this one up.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to a rep at Harper Teen for sending me an ARC of this read! All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell is out now.

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I absolutely ended 2019 on a high note when it comes to reads. I didn't know anything about this book until my TBTB Santa (Katie!) sent it to me as part of my gift, and I decided to take it with me on my cruise at the end of the year. I am SO SO glad she sent me this book because it was incredible! Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau is the first book in a new series, The Beast Charmer series. It's a fantasy romance touted as Assassins Creed meets Fantastic Beasts, and that is spot on.

Leena is a charmer, a person who can charm and control wondrous beasts. Unfortunately, Leena has been exiled from her homeland and forced to sell some of her beasts to survive, something unspeakable by Charmer standards. Soon she finds that there is a bounty on her head for her actions. Enter Noc, the enigmatic head of Cruor and its assassins. Leena bargains with Noc, offering to capture beasts for him in exchange for her life. But things just can't be that simple.

I really enjoyed this read! I've mentioned on here before that I'm still slowly dipping my toe into the world of romance, having started with romantic comedies just last year. I don't read a ton of this genre so I can't be much of an expert, but I thought there were surprisingly few explicit scenes, which is perfectly fine in my book!

The plot was incredibly thrilling and I was so excited to pull this book out by the pool and on the beach on my vacation. It is told from two different points of view, both Leena's and Noc's, and I really enjoyed seeing their different perspectives on things. I loved all of Noc's brotherhood as well and they provided some fantastic comic relief. I definitely agree with the Assassins Creed meets Fantastic Beasts comparison, but I'd throw a little bit of Pokemon in there for good measure as well!

Interestingly enough, it appears that there is also a YA version of this book out, which I would assume removed the explicit language and sex scenes present in this version.

I'm so excited to get my hands on the next book, The Frozen Prince, when it comes out. I think this book definitely opened up my eyes to the fantasy romance genre, so I'm definitely going to be researching some more books along these lines to check out!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
A romantic comedy set within the film industry? Count me in. I was so excited when Putnam Books sent me a free copy to review as a partner. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters follows Evie, an assistant at a film agency who is desperate to finally move up in her career. When she's given an ultimatum, get screenwriter Ezra Chester motivated to write a script he still hasn't started or lose her job, Evie has to resort to staging "meet cutes" for herself in order to prove to Ezra that the romantic comedy genre is realistic. Will Evie be able to achieve the impossible and get Ezra to write a blockbuster romantic comedy? 

I absolutely LOVED this book! I'm super into the "meet cute" trope, so I loved getting to see all the ones that Evie set up. I'm also very interested in the film industry, so reading about the roles these characters played within that industry was great. 

One major thing to note here was that this really was a true romantic comedy versus a romance. There were no sultry or explicit scenes that you see with a lot of comedic romances on the market today, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that out.

This book made me laugh. A lot. A lot of this is British humor though, so if you don't typically like that kind of thing it might go over your head some. I really liked Evie's friends and thought they each brought something unique to the table. I even loved Ezra's character...in a love to hate kind of way! He was the perfect kind of arrogant and slimy for this type of story.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Putnam Books for a free finished copy of this read! Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters is out now, so be sure to pick up a copy!

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

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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