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Review: Not The Witch You Wed by April Asher

Review: Not The Witch You Wed by April Asher Book Cover Review: Not The Witch You Wed by April Asher
Supernatural Singles #1
April Asher
Paranormal Romance, RomCom
St. Martin's Griffin
February 2, 2022
Audiobook
341 Pages / 12 hours, 15 minutes
Public Library
December 29, 2022 - January 12, 2023

A fake relationship between a magic-less witch and a wolf shifter turns to more in the start of a bewitching new paranormal rom-com series. Magic-less witch Violet Maxwell wants nothing to do with alpha wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne―the man who broke her fragile, teenage heart. But when the two of them are forced by arcane Supernatural Laws to find mates, Violet and Lincoln agree to fake-date their way to a fake-mating in order to conjure themselves some time. The joke’s on them. When old feelings make a reappearance―along with Violet’s magic―they both realize there’s nothing fake about their feelings. But there are old secrets and looming threats that could snatch away their happily ever after, again. One thing’s for sure: magic doesn’t make dating and love any easier. In Not the Witch You Wed, April Asher brings all the hilarity and sweet, sexy moments you love in a romantic-comedy―plus a fun dose of magic―to this spell-binding new series about being sexy, single, and supernatural in New York City.

My Review

Not The Witch You Wed is the first book in the Supernatural Singles series.

This light paranormal romance is the story of Violet, the eldest triplet in a magical triad… except, Violet doesn’t have any magic. Or does she? When she runs into her old flame, Lincoln, the man who broke her heart years ago when they were in high school, suddenly Violet’s nonexistent magic makes an appearance. And as if that isn’t stressful enough, Violet is informed that, as the eldest of the magical triad, she must find a mate and commit to a witch bond. SOON.

Meanwhile, Lincoln, the alpha of his werewolf pack, is trying to break down the alpha system within the shifter society he hates. But in the meantime, he’s getting closer and closer to his own due date to take a mate.

Lincoln doesn’t want a mate, and neither does Violet, but what they both need is to buy time. What better way than to pretend they’re courting one another?

Can Violet forgive Lincoln for breaking her heart all those years ago? Will Lincoln ever be able to tell her what really happened back then? And can they each succeed in doing so without falling in love with one another?

This was a slow start for me. I read book 2, Not Your Ex’s Hexes first and that one grabbed me from the get go. This one, because it has a little more world building (that I promise helps make book 2 make more sense!), took a little more time to get going. But once it was going, I did enjoy it quite a bit. It’s a cute, light, sexy, romance that doesn’t take itself seriously and sometimes that’s just what we need in our lives, amiright?

REVIEW: All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

All the Dangerous Things Book Cover All the Dangerous Things
Stacy Willingham
Suspense
Macmillan Audio | Minotaur Books
January 10, 2023
Audiobook
Hardcover: 336 | Audiobook: 9 Hours, 55 Minutes, 34 Seconds
NetGalley
January 6-11, 2023

Following up her instant New York Times bestseller, A Flicker in the Dark, Stacy Willingham delivers a totally gripping thriller about a desperate mother with a troubled past in All the Dangerous Things. One year ago, Isabelle Drake's life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally. Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year. Isabelle's entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle's past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust... including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

My Review

Wow. I just finished this audiobook and I’m still trying to process everything I listened to.
What begins as a search for a missing son, turns into a journey into the secrets we all carry.

What a wild ride.

As a mother myself, my heart ached for Isabelle. I can only imagine what it must be like to have your child go missing.

But this book is so much more. As the author says in the afterword, this book is the story of women. All of the women in the book have their own secrets and complicated histories.

I really can’t say a lot about this book without spoiling the ending or the journey. I will tell you this, the journey is amazing and the ending is satisfying. I lost count of the number of times I gasped in shock as another theory about what happened to little Mason, or what’s happening in Isabelle’s backstory, came to light.

This book is absolutely worth the read. (Or even better, the listen! The audiobook narrator did a great job, I almost forgot it was one woman speaking for each of the different characters! Including children and men!)

Thank you Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for an advanced release copy of this audiobook.

REVIEW: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

Series: Heather Wells #5

Read: October 11-12 2015

Format: Audiobook

My Book Rating: 5/5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance (New Adult)

 

Meg Cabot’s Mediator and 1-800-Missing series’ are two of my all time favorites. The last time I ventured into her adult books I was less than impressed. So, I shied away from them for a while. Therefor, this is my first Heather Wells book, and after reading (rather listening to…) this book, I’m kicking myself for not picking them up sooner!

Former pop superstar Heather Wells is in the midst of planning her wedding to PI Cooper Cartwright while working her job, helping run a dorm at the local collage. Things are going smoothly until a resident in her building ends up dead.

The events in this book are improbable and crazy, but Meg Cabot has a way of making them work. She makes a book about a murdered girl seem lighthearted. Her characters are fun, interesting and at times, down right hilarious.

Possibly my favorite character was Detective Canavan. He wasn’t in the book much, but he stole his scenes. I laughed out loud when he told Heather she has a habit of “kicking up shit.”

This book is definitely for the older teens to new adult crowd, but while there is sex, it’s pretty much innuendo and “off camera.” Which is what I prefer.

I’m eager to read the rest of the series and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys lighthearted mysteries with romance and humor.

REVIEW: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1

Read: October 12-13 2015

Format: Audiobook

My Book Rating: 3/5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal Romance YA

 

I’m writing this review for Shiver a little over a month after listening to the audiobook… and I had to look at the Goodreads description to trigger my memory. Not a good sign for a book.

Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam. When Grace was a young girl, she was attacked by a pack of wolves, pulled from her backyard and dragged into the woods behind them. Sam, a wolf at the time, saved her. Years later, Grace is obsessed with the wolves. Despite them having nearly killed her, she loves them with all her heart, especially one wolf. The wolf she will learn is actually Sam.

You see, Grace’s wolves aren’t regular wolves, they’re shifters. When the cold weather comes, they shiver from human to wolf.

This was actually a really interesting take on werewolves, but it was just lacking something for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It didn’t leave me desperate to read the next book in the series.

I did like that it was set in my home state of Minnesota. Not enough books set here IMO!

At times things moved really slowly, especially while Sam and Grace were apart. I wanted a romance, not a tragedy. I think I remember the ending being satisfying, but at this point I honestly can’t remember.

So basically, if you stumble upon the book give it a chance, but don’t go out of your way for it. My two cents.

REVIEW: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Read: September 2015

Format: Audiobook

My Book Rating: 4/5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary YA

Prior to this book, my only knowledge of John Green came from seeing the movie The Fault In Our Stars, and hearing about him from some of the Nerdfighters I used to follow on YouTube. I finally caved and decided to find out why people loved John Green so much. I’m glad I did because, though I wasn’t so sure about this book in the beginning, I had quite a laugh on the journey to THE END.

Colin Singleton has only dated girls named Katherine—nineteen girls named Katherine. There’s just something about that name that draws him in. After being dumped by yet another Katherine, his best friend Hassan convinces him to go off on a road trip with him.

Together the young men find themselves in Gunshot, Tennessee where they meet a lively cast of characters and Colin works on a mathematical formula to predict how long a relationship will last, using his own relationships with his many Katherines.

I’ll be honest, the mathematical theorem was ridiculous. All of the math jargon went right over my head because really, math and I don’t get along well. I spent quite some time trying to figure out what the actual plot of the book was, and though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it for some time, I didn’t really care because I was laughing out loud at some of the things Colin and, more notably Hassan, said. Those two are absolutely ridiculous together and I loved it.

In the end, the story did have a conclusion and I realized the plot was really Colin coming to terms with being dumped by his latest Katherine and learning to move on.

If you like comical, character driven stories you may want to give this one a try. If you’re looking for something with a lot of action and drama, look elsewhere.

REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Read: September 2015

Format: Audiobook

My Book Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Narrator Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance (Angels and Demons)

 

In my search of my local library’s very limited supply of YA audiobooks on CD, I discovered Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I think, had I read the book instead of listening to it, I would have had a difficult time getting through it (I’ll explain later). However, the audiobook was an addicting joy to listen to.

Karou is the quirky, mysterious heroine to this story. She’s an art student in Prague and seemingly normal—blue hair aside. However, she has a habit of mysteriously disappearing (much to her best friends annoyance), and she is, in fact, running errands for a demon. Karou doesn’t know anything about where she came from, all her life she’s lived with the demons and she’s accepted that’s just who she is. As payment for her errands, Karou is gifted beads that allow her to make wishes. She wishes for silly things such as her hair to grow out of her head blue or she wishes for someone to have an itch. While this story could have been taken very seriously and dark, Taylor has managed to pepper the story with humor. I really, really loved Karou’s character. She just came to life for me and I wanted to be her friend.

Taylor’s writing is beautifully descriptive, to the point where I would probably gloss over it when actually reading it with my eyes, but I loved the details while I had the story read to me. I’m gravely disappointed my local library does not carry the rest of the series on audiobook!

Much of the book is Karou going about her business, with little hints of what Akiva (an angel) is up to. When all hell breaks loose (get it? Hell? Demons? …..sorry) we’ve already seen the seeds planted, but it’s all a revelation to Karou. She is hit with tragedy, sadness, joy… a plethora of emotions all at once.

I don’t have a text copy of the book, so I may quote this incorrectly, but I believe the beginning of the book begins with a quote of: “Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love. It did not end well.” This is truly a tale of Romeo and Juliet, but much more interesting than Shakespeare’s version. The entire world Taylor has crafted is brilliant, when all of the pieces came together in the end I had an “OHHHH!” moment. I never guessed that was where things were going, and I absolutely loved that’s where they went. (I’m avoiding spoilers here!)

I knocked half a star off because at one point we’re given huge chunks of backstory, which I normally hate. However, Taylor mostly pulled it off due to her beautiful prose and her incredibly interesting storyline.

This is a must read in my opinion, or even better, get your hands on the audiobook. The narrator is fabulous, the different voices she used for each character were brilliant.

REVIEW: Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Read: September 2015

Format: Audiobook

My Book Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Narrator Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Time Travel Romance – Young Adult

 

First things first, can we talk about how beautiful this cover is? So soft and romantic, the blues and pink. Him, so close to her yet so far away. And the longing on her face. Love the cover. Love, love love.

The book itself….

Time Between Us – or as I call it, “Twilight, but with time travel” – is the story of Anna and Bennett.

Anna is a high school girl who falls for the new guy in school, Bennett. The day he started school, she was sure she saw him that morning watching her run on the track of the local college. She was sure he knew her, somehow, from the way he watched her so intently. Yet, when they meet each other at school, he denies being at the track and seems legitimately confused. However, upon learning her name is Anna, something sparks within him.

You see, Bennett has the power of time travel. He has limitations to his time travel that we learn in the book, and his own set of self-imposed rules. Additionally, Bennett meets Anna in the prologue – before the events of the book take place. He meets Anna in HIS present time, before they meet her in HER present time. (That’s confusing…)

Anyway, as I stated above, I lovingly call this book “Twilight, but with time travel” because it follows many of the same themes. New at school (Bella/Bennett), falls for the boy/girl (Edward/Anna) even though “we can’t be together” (because he’s a vampire/time traveler). There’s the moment of the big reveal where he saves her life and she discovers he’s a (vampire) time traveler and it’s revealed over dinner at a restaurant. Oh yeah, Bennett is also filthy rich. Just. Like. Edward. Cullen.

I did enjoy this book, but it was very difficult to look past all of the Twilight parallels. I liked the romance between Anna and Bennett, the build was done pretty well and I believed they really cared for each other. They were both pretty well developed.

Aside from the Twilight parallels which had me rolling my eyes (and I would like to point out that I do enjoy Twilight) the only other problem I had was the flimsy reasoning behind why Bennett has the power of time travel. SPOILER ALERT – there is no reason. One day he just thought, “I wonder if I can time travel”, tried, and it was a success. I didn’t buy that for one second. It felt like a cheap cop out by the author. Like, she really wanted to do a time travel book, but she didn’t want to think past the romance.

I did like that upon losing Bennett Anna actually did learn to move on with her life, unlike Bella who was catatonic for months. Sure Anna was sad, but she could function as a normal human being.

In all, I’d say this is a pretty average read. If you’re a huge Twilight fan you’ll probably love this book, unless the similarities drive you batty as they did for me.

REVIEW: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I recently started a new seasonal job. Well, it’s not exactly new, I did have this same job back in 2008, until the company laid off most of the staff on the night shift. I was an unfortunate victim of that layoff. I’m now at a point where a seasonal job with them again is a possibility, so here I am. And let me tell you, this job is perfect for anyone who hates customer service. Like me.

I work in a photo lab. My job is to grab batches of photos once they’ve been printed and check for quality and ensure they’re all there before sending them on to their next stop in the lab. Easy, right? Totally. And decent pay. And, bonus, I can listen to my iPod the entire time!

I’ve stocked up on audiobooks from the library and signed up for the library’s OneClickdigital program as well as downloading the program to my Kindle for more books.

To date I’ve worked eight days and completed four books. I could get used to this!

So, without further ado, here is the first of those four book reviews with more to come!


The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black

Read: September 2015

Format: Audiobook (CD)

My Book Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Narrator Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal YA

 

I must confess, I came into this book with a prejudice against Holly Black, because a good six or so years ago I read her book Tithe and absolutely hated it. It was painful to finish, but I hate leaving a book unfinished, so I endured.

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town was a recommendation from my friend Erin. She and I enjoy many of the same books so when I found this at the library in audiobook format I figured I’d give it a try.

What I’ve come to learn about Black from the two books I’ve read is that she enjoys writing heroines who are a little bad. They smoke and drink and swear up a storm (Tithe) or they drink and party and are traumatized by their pasts (TCGiCT.) Where this was overkill for me in Tithe, it worked in TCGiCT. While I couldn’t identify with Kaye in Tithe at all—in fact, I sort of hated her. I could sympathize with Tana. I could understand why she was the way she was.

In TCGiCT 17-year old Tana wakes up in a bathtub after a party. She’s sure her friends are going to never let her live it down that she got so drunk she passed out in a bathtub, but she soon finds this isn’t the case. The bathtub incident saved her life because while she was passed out her friends were in the next room being massacred by a group of vampires. In a state of shock, Tana knows she has to escape. She makes her way into the bedroom where her purse is stashed and finds her ex-boyfriend Aiden tied to a bed. Also in the room? A vampire. Chained up. For reasons I still don’t understand, Tana decides to rescue them both. And thus begins her journey to Coldtown. (And this isn’t a spoiler, this all happens in chapter one!)

In Tana’s world, Vampirism has become an epidemic. These aren’t your Twilight vampires, nor are they your Anne Rice vampires. I would say they’re more closely akin to the classic Dracula vampire, but not quite. While they lust for blood and that lust can make them do terrible things, they can also retain their humanity. To deal with the epidemic, the American government created Coldtowns. Places where those who have been infected or turned can live in peace. Anyone can enter, but once you’re in, there are very few ways of getting out. And it’s dangerous in Coldtown. Downright dreadly.

Along the way Tana, Aiden and the rescued vampire, Gavriel, pick up a set of twins going by the names Midnight (female) and Winter (male) on their way to Coldtown, the twins are set on becoming vampires. These characters were interesting for me because they really introduced how social media has played a part in the vampire outbreak. Midnight, the clear leader of the duo, is a hardcore vampire blogger. Winter is less sure about things, he clearly wouldn’t be on his way to Coldtown if it weren’t for his sister. I won’t spoil what happens to any of these characters but it’s quite a ride.

Plot-wise I really enjoyed this story. It was refreshing to see vampires as monsters with a touch of humanity. Storytelling-wise, there were some things that bothered me. Black mostly stuck with Tana’s third person POV, but there were times when she switched to Gavriel and Tana’s little sister, Pearl. While the backstory told in these scenes were mostly interesting, in my opinion they stalled the story. Especially Pearl’s first flashback POV scene because up until that point, she’d only been briefly mentioned, she wasn’t in the present day story at all. I would listen for a good ten minutes of backstory before the actual story moved forward once more. I’m not a fan info dumping back story, so this was where Black lost a star.

In all, I did enjoy this story and would recommend it to a friend.