REVIEW: Love Buzz

“I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. But it feels like it’s mine.”


Serena has her life together. She lives in Seattle and is a successful accountant and has a serious boyfriend. In New Orleans at her cousin’s bachelorette party she has a moment with a stranger that has her rethinking everything. He is gorgeous, also lives in Seattle and they have great banter. But in the madness of the moment they don’t exchange details. When she returns home she is suddenly feeling adrift, reassessing whether her “content” life is good enough. Is she really fulfilled? Will she ever see her mysterious crush again?

This is the type of rom-com / women’s fiction I enjoy. Serena doesn’t languish when she decides her life is not going the way she wants. She acts. And sure, it gets messy but she is in control of it. Everyone is entitled to time to sort themselves out. She doesn’t do it with the most poise, but she does it with passion. She is both introspective and deals with her issues. She has a great group of friends who support her and while it is tipped off by a man and a search for love, that is not all that drives her.

Check this one out if you’re a fan of Christina Lauren or Farrah Rochon.

Thanks to Harper Perennial for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

What’s your opinion on New Orleans? Love or hate?

REVIEW: A Nearly Normal Family

Stella is an eighteen year old who does not quite fit in with her family or classmates. She and her best friend spend their time as teens do and she begins an affair with an older man. When he turns up dead, the suspicion quickly falls to her. We follow the trial and all the events that lead up to it to find out what happened and who is truly guilty.

I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded with the different timelines and POVs. This story shows just how far people will go to protect the ones they love. It touches upon ethics and the impact of religion on this family’s choices. I did have an inkling how it was going to end up before it unravelled but I still enjoyed the ride.

This one has been on my shelf for ages, not sure why I left it so long. When I was approved on Netgalley for the audiobook, it rocketed back to the top of my list. I knew Richard Armitage would make for a fabulous narrator, and in fact all three were fabulous.

Thanks to MacMillan Audio for the gifted access via Netgalley. All opinions above are my own.

Do you have a “normal” family? Or are you firmly entrenched in a bunch of bananas (but at least they are your bananas)?

REVIEW: The Half Moon

The Half Moon is a bar at the center of Malcolm’s life. He goes from bartender to owner. His wife is a lawyer who dreams of being a mother. They muddle through life never quite getting what they dream of and their marriage falters. They must face the realities of their choices, hopes and dreams figuring out whether they belong together.

I found the characters in this one pretty unlikable. Generally I do not like a book that focuses on infidelity but that wasn’t the worst of the reasons I disliked Jess. I felt like poor Malcolm was in way over his head with a lot of things, but at the same time in your 30’s get yourself together. This is definitely more Women’s Fiction than it is Literary Fiction and I think that while it wasn’t for me, lots could find this book relatable. It deals with marriage and fertility issues, which aren’t things that resonate with me but I’m sure they will with others.

I was much more interested in the missing person aspect of the story but that didn’t really hit its stride til the last quarter.

Read this if you like We are the Brennans.

Thanks to Scribner Books, Dart Frog Co and the author for the gifted copy.

Did (or do) you have a favorite bar/pub/restaurant that you like to frequent?

REVIEW: Magician and Fool

When we meet Pamela and Aleister they are young children. Pamela is fascinated with the theater but must relocate from London to Jamaica. Aleister is a bit of an outcast obsessed with magic. As the years pass we see them experiencing little snippets of magic as they age. Pamela is drawn into the theater and Aleister into an underground magical society. When Pamela is enlisted to draw a special deck of tarot cards, their paths cross and only one can prosper.

I was a little lost with this one. I liked Pamela a lot but we didn’t spend enough time with her.  I’m not well versed in tarot so I think some of the references were lost on me. The story blends historical fiction with magical realism but failed to wow me on either aspect. The major battle that is outlined in the synopsis takes too long to get to. Lots of cameos in this one. Bram Stoker is a major character. We also see William Butler Yeats. 

Read this one if you liked The Spirit Engineer.

Thanks to Booksparks for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

Do you believe in tarot cards? Psychics? Fortune telling?

April wrap up

This month I read 24 books and DNF-ed two.

📱 A House with Good Bones* ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

📱 Skip to the End* ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

🎧 Dying of Politeness ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱 Seven Rules for Breaking Hearts* ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

📱 A Book in Time* – DNF

📱 Five First Chances* ⭐️⭐️⭐

📘 Seven Faceless Saints ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

🎧  Hello Beautiful ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐⭐️

🎧  Promise Boys ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱  The Golden Spoon* ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

🎧 Happy Place* ⭐️⭐️

📗 The Cuban Heiress ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📕 The Connellys of County Down* ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱 The Witch and the Vampire* ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

📱  Camp Zero* ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

📘  You Shouldn’t Have Come Here* ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

🎧  The Perfumist of Paris ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📗  The Rachel Incident* ⭐️⭐️️

📱  Trespasses – DNF📕  The Gifts* ⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱  Penance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱 How to Best a Marquess ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

🎧 The Great Reclamation ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

🎧 A Nearly Normal Family ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

📱 French Holiday ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫️

📘 Magician and Fool ⭐️⭐️⭐️

My favorite by far was Hello Beautiful.

What was your favorite read of the month?

Pub Week REVIEW: Hotel Cuba

Pearl and Frieda are two young girls fleeing now Russian-occupied Poland. Their family sends them away to America to give them a chance at a better life. Unfortunately, they are rejected from Ellis Island but learn that if they spend a year in Cuba they will have a better shot at getting to America to join their older sister. The story details their fish out of water life in Cuba adjusting to new climate, culture, language etc and their plots to make it to America. We see how they are sponsored and supported by other Jews as well as how they work their hardest to get ahead.

I have a particular weakness for books set in Cuba, not sure why, but I find Cuba so intriguing. This is definitely the most unique Cuban story I’ve ever read, I loved learning a different angle on the Jewish diaspora. There are so many stories that take you straight from Europe to America but the stopover in Cuba was really interesting. I loved Pearl’s resilience and desire to build the best life for her family. Her journey was so unique and her entrepreneurism was so unusual for the time. I loved reading the epilogue and realizing the story was based on the author’s grandparents. Before that, I wasn’t sure I understood Pearl’s final choices but hearing the truth of it made it resonate so clearly. My only criticism is that I would have loved to hear how the family back in Poland ended up, but that’s minor, this is great historical fiction.

Thanks to Harper Perennial for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

I’ve got a bit of a Cuba reading obsession as you can see. Would you travel to Cuba if you could?

Pub Day REVIEW: The Ferryman

“Why, when our waking lives are so satisfying, should we feel the need for such torturous flights of storytelling?”


As in real life, Earth is dying. Prospera is humanity’s only hope. Citizens live in peace and structured prosperity when they come to the end of their very long lives they are retired. They take a trip with the Ferryman to start anew. But there is some unrest brewing in the community. Our main character, Proctor finds himself at the center of it all and must figure out what is really going on before the whole community collapses. 

Justin Cronin does it again! He’s a master storyteller, able to blend multiple genres together to create an immersive and emotional story that will take you away. A little Blake Crouch, a dash of Andy Weir with a helping of Steven Baxter… there are so many elements that I enjoyed about this story.  If sci-fi is not your thing, I wouldn’t worry about it. There’s so much excellent storytelling in the first 2/3 of the book by the time the science really kicks in at the end you’ll be so immersed in these characters. 

I’m landing at 4.5 stars for two reasons. One, there are a lot of characters to get to know, and there is not a clear delineation between chapters as to where you are in time in space until you’re a little way into the chapter. That could have been tightened up a bit. And two, another epilogue I could have done without. Otherwise this is a beautiful masterpiece.

Thanks to Ballantine Books for gifted access via NetGalley. All opinions above are my own.

Do you prefer to travel by land, air or sea?

Pub Day REVIEW: Warrior Girl Unearthed

Perry and Pauline are the twin nieces of our beloved Daunis. They are in highschool and spending the summer in an internship program for Native teens. She finds herself working in the local museum learning all about the artifacts and their care. When she learns about the battles to bring back sacred items and ancestor’s remains she finds herself overwhelmingly passionate about righting the wrongs. Even if she needs to cross the line herself to do what is right for her people. Meanwhile Daunis is caught up in a murder mystery and native girls keep going missing. Perry finds a way to get herself caught up in all of it.

I wondered if there was any way Boulley could beat the triumph that was Firekeeper’s Daughter but I think I loved this book even more. It educates on Native culture and the current and continuing damaging policies that America has without being too heavy handed or preachy. You live the atrocities and unfairness of the repatriation of Native items with Perry. This book will definitely make you angry and heartbroken.

You see how easily the government and law enforcement work against the Natives. Don’t get me wrong, Perry was a teen and often made precocious and unrealistic decisions that got her into trouble but her youth made the rest of the story more accessible. I also guessed the bad guy pretty early but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the journey.

This book also used Ojibwe language throughout, but did it in a way where it was accessible and understandable. It’s a big pet peeve of mine when English novels use the characters natural tongue but don’t ease into it or give you a real guide to understanding and internalizing. This novel did that so well.

Thanks to Henry Holt for gifted access via Netgalley. All opinions above are my own.

What’s the last book that knocked you off your feet?

REVIEW: Penance

Celia was attacked in college and she was too scared to do anything about it. Now when one of her attackers turns up dead, the police question her and she’s not sure what they know or why she’s suddenly in the crosshairs. As bodies stack up, it’s clear someone is targeting these men. Can Celia figure out what is happening before she ends up on the hook for their murders.

This is a great revenge story. It goes quite quickly from being a pacey mystery to an all out kick a** revenge story. I’m not sure I bought Celia’s quick transition. But I really loved Lily’s strong, balanced attitude. Read this one if you loved The Collective.

Thanks to Love Books Tours for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

If you could get revenge on someone without consequences for yourself, would you do it?

Pub Day REVIEW: You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

Grace is an attractive single woman who chooses her vacations by throwing a dart at a dartboard. This time it has landed her on a ranch in Wyoming. She is totally unprepared for the wildness of where she is staying, but is immediately intrigued by the handsome rancher. She learns to fish and horseback ride and enjoy nature. As her week progresses, she sees more and more the drama of the small town and begins to get a sneaking suspicion when she learns the woman who booked this AirBNB before her went missing.

This is definitely not a thriller. The piece of it is quite slow and plotting and it takes quite a while to feel any of the tension that Grace claims to be feeling. The last 20% is a wild ride but you need to be the type to enjoy a slow build to that in order to love this book. Just like A Perfect Marriage, the real money shot is in the final chapter.

Thanks to Blackstone Publishing for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

Have you ever gotten somewhere and immediately had the sense that you shouldn’t be there?