Book Review: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

The Dead Romantics book with typewriter, yellow rose, a candle, and a little black crow figuringe

58885776Title: The Dead Romantics
Author: Ashley Poston
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication: June 28, 2022
Publisher: Berkley


A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.


My Thoughts

The Dead Romantics is a sweet and inspiring love story about a romance ghost writer (who just so happens to be able to see ghosts), who can no longer write about love, because she no longer believes in it.

Ashley Poston has a fun and humorous writing style. She writes such relatable and effective imagery and inserts clever asides throughout the book, which really helped me as a reader to relate to Florence Day as a character and to visualize the world that I’ve stepped into. Because of the imagery and heavy description, the story is a little slower paced, with more of a focus on setting and character development than plot. 

This book deals with the theme of grief and loss in a few different avenues. Florence Day no longer believes in love, ever since her boyfriend of three years betrayed her in the worst way possible (at least, what I believe is the worst way possible, but I won’t state it here, because it’s a minor spoiler). She’s unable to write about love, and she’s dealing with the potential loss of her writing career because of it. She’s a ghostwriter for a famous romance author, and she can’t just switch genres. Florence can also see ghosts, and while she’s spent the better part of a decade ignoring them, in the past she’s helped them to move on, and suffered quite a bit in her home town from bullies and naysayers who didn’t believe in her gift. And finally, her father dies, and she’s forced to go back home and deal with the funeral, facing people she hasn’t seen in ten years, and trying to recover from the loss of the only other person in the world who could relate to her and her gift. Despite the darker theme of grief and recovering from loss, the book never feels too heavy, and it’s a perfect pick-me-up, especially for someone who’s experienced similar losses in their own life. 

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Book Review: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Love on the brain book beside The Love Hypothesis, a notebook, colourful pens, a blue candle, and blue flowers in a white vase

59571699._SY475_Title: Love on the Brain
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication: August 23, 2022
Publisher: Berkley


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a new STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.

Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project—a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia—Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school—archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it’s her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas…devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do? 


My Thoughts

Words cannot express how much I loved this book! But I’m writing a review, so I’ll have to try my best to articulate just how amazing this book is. Love on the Brain has it all–it’s hilarious, relatable, heart-warming, and a little angsty. I absolutely adored Dr. Bee Königswasser so, so much. She’s a neuroscientist who’s brought on to co-lead a NASA/NIH project. And her co-lead is Levi Ward, her nemesis from grad school. 

I absolutely love the author’s use of reader’s double vision throughout the story. The book is told entirely from Bee’s point of view, but that doesn’t mean that we, as the reader, don’t know exactly what Levi is thinking. This isn’t a spoiler, because it’s obvious right from the beginning, when Bee is outlining her past interactions with him. She thinks he hates her guts, but it’s clear to the reader that his feelings are quite the opposite… 

Just like with The Love Hypothesis, this book is chock-full of scientific and nerdy references. I ate all of them up! In this book, Bee’s assistant is a goth who is obsessed with the macabre, so on top of getting hilarious scientific references, we get little snippets of history and legend, including the curse of La Llorona. 

The author provides a witty and timely commentary on misogyny in STEM throughout both the narrative and the plotline itself. For instance, she talks about “Sausage Referencing” being when a man validates a woman’s opinion, and only then do the other men respect and/or believe that woman’s opinion, regardless of her level of expertise or the level of expertise of the man doing the Sausage Referencing. Hilarious and oh, so accurate.

This is definitely a ten-star read for me, but since five is the highest that my rating system goes, I’m going to have to settle for giving this five stars!

*Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for the ebook to review*

Five stars

Find the book:

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Book cover surrounded with white roses and a green book

I Kissed Shara Wheeler book coverTitle: I Kissed Shara Wheeler
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, LGBTQ+
Date of Publication: May 3, 2022
Publisher: St Martin’s Press


From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a debut YA romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.


My Thoughts

Casey McQuiston’s young adult debut is just as riveting and beautifully written as her adult books! 

Like with One Last Stop, this book has a cast full of lovable, three-dimensional characters who (sometimes) steal the show. Any one of them could be an engaging protagonist in a book about their own life story, which to me shows the depth with which McQuiston writes everything, even side characters.

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Book Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book Lovers book cover surrounded by orange flowers, an orange card catalogue made of lego, reading is sexy magnet, and romance books on a wooden background

58690308Title: Book Lovers
Author: Emily Henry
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication: May 3, 2022
Publisher: Berkley


One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves. 


My Thoughts

This book provides an original perspective–that of the self-proclaimed “Other Woman”. In Hallmark movies and traditional romance novels, there will be the “other woman”–the woman that the hero is dating before he finds his one true love. Nora self-identifies as the career-driven, city woman who’s dated not one, not two, but four different men who left her for their soulmates in romance novel trope-like situations. Nora is a cutthroat literary agent, and in this book, her sister, who’s pregnant for the third time, decides to take her to a small town for a much-needed break. But Nora doesn’t want a break. She loves her job. She loves the city. Everything about this small town goes against everything she is and everything she wants out of her life. As much as Nora wishes she could be something that she isn’t, the truth is, heartbreak aside, she’s happy with her career-driven life. 

But then she keeps bumping into an editor from the city that she doesn’t get along with. It turns out that he’s from this small town, and he’s back to help his father who’s sick. They’re both working remotely (much to Nora’s sister’s dismay), and they grow closer as they start to edit a book together. Sure, Nora is viewed as a shark in the industry, but is it possible that someone can love her because of it, not despite it? 

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Book Review: Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Part of your world book cover surrounded by a starry globe, a stack of blue books, a blue candle, and a purple quilt

cover236149-mediumTitle: Part of Your World
Author: Abby Jimenez
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication: April 19, 2022
Publisher: Forever


The New York Times bestselling author of Life’s Too Short delivers a refreshingly modern fairy tale perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Emily Henry.

After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.

While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.

Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?


My Thoughts

Abby Jimenez delivers yet another amazing romance novel–one that just might be her best yet! 

Alexis Montgomery is on her way home from a funeral when her car breaks down just outside of a small town. When a handsome local offers to tow her out, one thing leads to another, and they spend the night together. The morning after, Alexis realizes that this man is almost ten years younger than her, and she panics, returning to the city, fully intending to leave this encounter in her past. But forgetting the sweet, generous, and handsome Daniel is easier said than done. 

Alexis and Daniel both come from completely different worlds. Alexis comes from a family legacy of doctors, and the fact that she’s only an ER doctor has made her a disappointment in her parents’ eyes. The hospital has always had a Montgomery on staff, and now that her parents have retired and her brother has moved away, the mantle of being the celebrity doctor falls to her. Daniel lives in a small town and runs the B&B that’s been in his generation for 150 years. He’s in danger of losing it, and he’s working extra hard to keep it in the family. While their lives and upbringings are very different, there are several parallels that are cleverly thought out. For instance, Daniel is dedicated to maintaining his family legacy, and so is Alexis, but she’s doing it out of obligation, and he’s doing it out of love.

This book is so funny and sweet. There are so many parts that are downright hilarious, from the situational humour to the lines that certain characters come up with. While Alexis may be nine years older than Daniel, he’s the one that has his life and his priorities in the right order, and Alexis has a lot of growing up to do.  In true Abby Jimenez fashion, this book has a fair bit of angst, which makes the star-crossed lovers’ happy ending seem unattainable at first, making the resolution even more satisfying. 

I recommend this book to anyone who loves an angsty rom com, and other fans of Jimenez will definitely want to read this the instant it’s released!

Part of your world book cover surrounded by a starry globe, a stack of blue books, a blue candle, and a purple quilt

*Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for the ebook to review*

Five stars

Find the book:

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

She gets the girl book cover surrounded by daisies and a blue candle

58437812Title: She Gets the Girl
Author: Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBTQ+
Date of Publication: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


She’s All That meets What If It’s Us in this swoon-worthy hate-to-love YA romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Feet Apart Rachael Lippincott and debut writer Alyson Derrick.

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.


My Thoughts

This book was everything! I absolutely LOVED every part of this book. There’s just the perfect amount of angst, there’s a lot of humour, and the slow-burn romance is perfection. Alex has difficulty connecting with others, and her relationship with her girlfriend is on the rocks. She needs to convince her girlfriend that she can make–and keep–a friend. Molly has anxiety and wants things to be different in college than they were in high school, where her mother was her best friend and she spent way too many evenings curled up with her label maker. Her high school crush is going to school at the same university, and Molly has decided to make her notice her. But how can she do that? With Alex’s help of course! 

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Book Review: Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli

Edgewood book cover surrounded by Grimms Fairy tales, white candles, pine cones and beige flowers

57693515Title: Edgewood
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Date of Publication: March 1, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books


No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.

When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.

Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.

With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.


My Thoughts

Two years ago, Emeline Lark left her small town of Edgewood to move to Montreal to pursue a career in music. But when she hears that her grandfather–her last remaining family–has gone missing, she’s compelled to return to find him. Her grandfather suffers from dementia, and she’s worried that he’s wandered into the woods. Nobody else seems to be trying to find him. The neighbours all say that he was tithed by the Wood King, but Emeline doesn’t believe in the stories that she grew up listening to. So, when she heads into the woods to search for her grandfather, she’s far from prepared when she steps into the world of ember mares, shiftlings, and other mytholological–yet dangerous–creatures. 

This book has it all. It’s a fantasy, a coming of age story, and a romance. It’s a story of family and love and betrayal. It’s one of those books that’s on the cusp of being young adult and new adult, and I can see why it was marketed as young adult, because of the strong self-discovery themes. 

This book gave me serious The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert vibes. Like Emeline, the reader is not sure of what is real and what is merely fiction. The stories that Emeline grew up listening to in Edgewood are just that–stories. Or are they? 

Continue reading “Book Review: Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli”

Book Review: The Taxidermist’s Lover by Polly Hall

The Taxidermist's lover book

Taxidermist_trade_paperback.inddTitle: The Taxidermist’s Lover
Author: Polly Hall
Genre: Horror
Date of Publication: December 8, 2020
Publisher: CamCat Books


A modern Gothic tale of a woman obsessed with her lover’s taxidermy creatures and haunted by her past.

Things were never quite the same after you started mixing up the species.

When Scarlett meets taxidermist Henry, a passionate love affair commences. One year later, on Christmas Day, Scarlett recalls the ebb and flow of their intense relationship and tries to unravel her obsession with Henry’s taxidermy creatures and the influence of his rival, Felix. Both enchanted and entrapped by the isolated rural environment on the Somerset moorland she calls home, Scarlett reaches out to her only remaining family, twin brother Rhett, to make sense of the secrets they share. Soon Scarlett realizes that past promises have far reaching consequences.

Drenched in the torrential rains of rural South West England and the sensual pleasures of the characters, The Taxidermist’s Lover, lures you ever deeper into Scarlett’s delightfully eerie world.


My Thoughts

The Taxidermist’s Lover is a literary masterpiece, and I can definitely see why it was nominated for a Bram Stoker award. It resembles classic Gothic horror, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, not just in its themes, but in the style of writing. 

The book is told in two timelines. Present day is Christmas Day, where the heroine, Scarlett is making observations of the holiday and directing all conversation to “you”, her lover, the taxidermist and the love of her life. These snippets are short and very literary, instilling in the reader a sense of dread, while intentionally misdirecting us, so we really can’t understand what’s truly happening.  The past timeline is far more detailed, and each chapter is a new month of the year leading up to Christmas Day. In the past timeline, it’s still told in first person from Scarlett’s perspective, and she’s continuing to address the reader as if they are her husband. While these chapters aren’t letters, they do remind me of the epistolary style of some classic horror novels, such as Frankenstein or Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

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Book Review: Behind the Veil by E.J. Dawson

Behind the Veil book surrounded by black roses, a crystal ball, a candle, and creepy books

58445984._SY475_Title: Behind the Veil
Author: E. J. Dawson
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Mystery
Date of Publication: October 1, 2021
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust


Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

– Goodreads

My Thoughts

Behind the Veil is an atmospheric paranormal thriller set in 1920s Los Angeles. Letitia is a medium who helps the living move on by sharing the last moments of their loved ones. She has a genuine gift, and there’s something mysterious that happened in her past that compels her to help others, and not to take advantage of them in their time of grief. But when a man reaches out to her to help with his niece who is facing a mysterious specter and might have powers similar to Letitia’s, she must choose between helping the innocent girl and possibly losing her sanity–or even her life. 

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Book Review: Electric Idol by Katee Robert

Electric Idol surrounded by pink flowers, blue books, and a blue candle

Electric Idol Book coverTitle: Electric Idol
Author: Katee Robert
Series: Dark Olympus #2
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication: January 18, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


He was the most beautiful man alive.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.


My Thoughts

This second installment in the Dark Olympus series is a standalone featuring Psyche and Eros and their epic love story. 

The world that Katee Robert has created is fresh and unique. It has hints of the paranormal, what with Olympus being an impossible place to leave, but aside from this, none of the story has supernatural elements. Olympus resembles Manhattan, with the rich socialites and the political intrigue. The thirteen “gods” are in power in the city, and they each control different elements of trade and business. Psyche is the daughter of one of the thirteen, Demeter, and she has her public persona that is quite different from her personal one. She is a social media influencer, and is constantly seeking out the perfect photographs that look effortless while showing herself in the right light. I liked getting the peek of curtain for what the life of a social media influencer could really be like. Psyche deals with a lot of hateful comments on her posts because of her plus-size figure, and her carefully-perfected persona is both crafty and cunning. She has everything down to her favourite drink that she orders at bars selected under the knowledge that it will be under public scrutiny in the gossip magazines. 

Aphrodite is one of the Thirteen who is arch nemesis to Demeter. Aphrodite’s son, Eros, does her bidding, whether it’s protecting her from enemies or killing those she views as a potential threat to her power. Because Aphrodite and Demeter despise each other, their children are barely acquaintances. But when Eros shows up to a party injured, Psyche, being a kind and selfless person, is compelled to help him. But of course, they both live in the public eye, and the paparazzi catch them leaving the bathroom together and assume that they’re “together”. Aphrodite is furious, and she tells Eros that she wants Psyche killed. But Eros, despite believing himself to be soulless, can’t bring himself to kill the one person who’s ever shown him kindness. *Insert swooning here*

Continue reading “Book Review: Electric Idol by Katee Robert”