Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Book Review: Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han


Goodreads Overview:

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Jacque's Review:

Overall I enjoyed the book and this series, but there was a lot of unnecessary drama that I think could and should have been avoided. Maybe it is because I am quite a bit older than the average YA reader, but I found some of Lara Jean and Peter's actions and decisions to be extremely immature in this book. I get the fact that the author needed some tension in the story and that an over the top happily ever after probably wasn't what she was going for, but it was emotionally draining at times.

Peter and Lara Jean have everything all planned out. Peter already has a lacrosse scholarship and will attend the same college Lara Jean's parents attended that has always been her number one choice. She is anxiously awaiting her acceptance letters, but things do not pan out as she had hoped. This puts a lot of strain on their relationship as they try to navigate what a long distance relationship might be like. 

In addition to the college planning, Lara Jean's Dad and Ms. Rothchild are in the midst of planning their wedding. Lara Jean has visions of a grand event with all the bells and whistles, but this is a second marriage for both of them. They would be happy with a simple ceremony with close friends and family, which Lara Jean just can't comprehend. In addition, there is a major transition as Ms. Rothchild moves into their family home and starts to add her own personal touches.

There is a lot of change taking place and Lara Jean just doesn't know how to deal with it. She makes some rash decisions that she ultimately ends up regretting. Thankfully, she is able to get things back on track and I was pleased with how the series ended. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Book Review: Well Offed in Vermont by Patricia Meade


In bucolic small-town Vermont, Stella Thornton Buckley feels out of her element—and not just because she's fresh from Manhattan. Mere hours after moving to maple syrup country, she and her husband, Nick, find a dead man, Allen Weston, in their well. The police investigation forces the couple out of their lovely farmhouse and—since the motels are packed with leaf-peepers—into a less than luxurious deer camp. Instead of mourning the loss of electricity and running water, Stella and Nick drive their Smart Car all over the Vermont hamlet to question the quirky locals about Weston, a shrewd businessman who rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way. Stella and Nick may never shed their flatlander reputation, but they just might be able to make a few friends and help Sheriff Mills solve a murder.


i live in the South, so when I think of anything fall-like, my mind instantly goes to the Northeast and the wonderful fall foliage that dominates that area in the autumn. On that alone, I was instantly drawn to the cover of the cozy mystery Well Offed in Vermont with its colorful colors of oranges and yellows. It just screams cozy to me.
he story didnt disappoint either. I loved the aspect of Nick and Stella, a married couple trying to investigate the murder and mystery that surrounded their new home. The banter bewteen the two was fantastic, how they played good cop- bad cop, I felt it was something only a married couple could pull off. It was also great to see them adjusting to living in the country in Vermont coming from New York City.
T The story was light hearted, fun, and it wasn't one that I instantly figured out, infact it took the actual revealing for me to know who had done it, and that I really liked.
Well -offed in Vermont is the first of a series, and I can easily see myself picking up the second one.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Book Review: Blacklist by Alyson Noel


Goodreads Overview:

Layla Harrison has finally found herself in the middle of a celebrity story worth reporting. Aster Amirpour’s name is in every tabloid—even if it isn’t the good kind of publicity she hoped for. Tommy Phillips is inches away from getting the girl of his dreams, which may be harder than scoring a VIP ticket to an Unrivaled nightclub.

But Layla, Aster and Tommy never imagined it would be because they’re entangled in the disappearance of Madison Brooks—a story that’s blinded the world like a starlet blinded by the flash of a paparazzi camera.

Now, Layla is receiving mysterious messages from an anonymous source, Aster’s looming murder trial is so huge even her parents’ lawyer can’t save her, Tommy is retracing his steps as the last person Madison saw alive, and Layla’s ex Mateo finds himself lured into the fold.

You can dig up dirt about celebrities that the tabloids miss if you search long enough. But when Layla, Aster, and Tommy team up with an unsuspecting insider to unearth the truth, they’ll find that some secrets are best kept in the grave.

Jacque's Review:

This is the second book in the Beautiful Idols series and I am just as confused about what happened to Madison as I was at the end of the first book. While all of the main characters have some element of suspicion for one another, I don't believe any of them had anything to do with Madison's disappearance. At first, I thought it was all staged so Madison could ride out some bad publicity. By the end of the book, we clearly know that is not the case. 

As Layla, Aster, Tommy and Mateo dig deeper into Madison's past, they discover a number of skeletons that could have contributed to her disappearance. How they can share this information with the authorities without somehow implicating themselves is the bigger problem. In addition, I do not trust Ira Redman, Tommy's father and the nightclub owner that hosted the contest that kicked off this series. Something also feels off with the reporter Trena Moretti, the reporter that has sky rocketed her career because of the Madison Brooks story.  

I do not feel like the story advanced much over the course of this book, but I am still interested in seeing how everything will unfold. I am vested enough in the characters and hope the final book will be more like the first, which I really enjoyed.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Book Review: Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.


Ok. Well. This book was certainly interesting. I think. Let me start out by saying that it was a difficult read. Not like, feeling wise or something like that, but like I didn't know what half the words meant. I knew going in, this was kind of about a Japanese Folktale, but I never thought I would have to sit with a dictionary looking up words to find out their meaning. I felt I had to, otherwise, what if I missed something that had to do with that word. Basically, it didn't matter, I am still not sure what I read.

I think the concept of the ohaguro-bettari was interesting, and that Khaw was able to make it the center of a horror story was brilliant on her part. The thought of a ghost bride waiting endlessly for her groom to come... sounds creepy. To me, however, the real horror came with the characters. They descended on this haunted mansion to celebrate the wedding of two of them. These are people who have been friends since high school, but their lies, their relationships, and their real feelings for each other ended up being more horrifying than ghost bride herself.

The story was well written, despite all the pretentiousness of the wording, and I really enjoyed the first half of the short novella, which was just over 100 pages, something I thought was going to be a quick read and quickly found that thought was WRONG. But halfway through I just tired of the drama between the friends, and found myself wishing that the ghost bride would come along and put me out of my misery!

Between the