Review | House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

“We are born of the Salt, we live by the Salt, and to the Salt we return.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: special slippers, lockets, bathtubs, nightmares, terrible deaths, midnight balls, masks, satin dresses, secret passages.

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

I can understand why people have so many mixed reviews when it comes to this book. Personally, my experience was overall positive.

I really liked how creepy this book is. This book has a very mysterious and dark atmosphere/setting, which is something I really like in fantasy books. There are so many gore elements and horror elements that make this book come alive! And don’t even get me started on that turtle scene… that was so graphic!

The characters were just okay. I didn’t connect with the main character like I thought I would, but she was okay. You can say there’s a small dose of romance in this, but there’s nothing too fancy about it (I honestly didn’t pay any attention to it). What I did like was the family dynamics in this! I really liked reading about all the sisters and their relationships with each other.

I also liked how this book was inspired by a classic: “The 12 Dancing Princesses”! I have heard about this story before, but I never knew what it was about so I did some research to get to know the story before reading this book. At least I got to learn something new!

I can agree that the overall plot wasn’t the best and I found the end confusing and nonsensical. This retelling has a very interesting approach to the original story, and I appreciate what the author tried to do but I think the link between the stories felt a little off. I think the “new” plot had a few flaws that ended up influencing the entire retelling in a negative way. I admit there were a few times where I couldn’t understand exactly what was going on or even how to visualize the scenes, and this caused some confusion during my reading experience. And the icing on the cake: the ending was a little weak and I was a little disappointed with the way the story was concluded.

In the end, I enjoyed this story for what it was and I ended up liking it even if it was far from perfect!

Review | The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

“No love is fully requited. No love is equal. No love is fair. There is always one side that loves more. And you better not be that side—because it suffers.” 2/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: new homes, cigarettes, broken pictures, envelopes and stolen kisses.

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

This book was a lot.

I personally don’t mind intense books and intense romantic relationships, but in this particular case it didn’t work out well for me. Actually, there were a number of things here that didn’t work out for me. 

For starters, I didn’t really care about the characters or the romance. The guy was an arrogant, douchebag (and not in a cool way) and the girl was the typical, pure girl that melted every time the guy touched her even if he was treating her badly – also, she’s not an actual teenager, but she is constantly referred to as “teenage bride”?

I wasn’t bothered by the age gap between the main characters, but some of the things that bothered me were the crazy amount of sexism, double standards and drama in this book. And don’t even get me started on their communication… “Nemesis”? Cringe.

At the end of the day, this book felt like a pile of nothing. Not only because of the reasons I mentioned before, but there’s a lot of “hating each other” that feels continuous and unnecessary. There’s a lot of negativity in this book constantly, and I didn’t like that.

It’s perfectly fine if a book doesn’t have a deep story behind it, but it should be at least entertaining…. and this definitely wasn’t. With the crazy amount of romance books out there, I think you would find a better one elsewhere in my humble opinion!

Review | Truth or Dare by Camilla Läckberg

3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: fireworks, New Year’s Eve parties, secret apartments, Monopoly, short dresses, truth and dare, a catering service, quick phone calls, terrible haircuts and rich families.

Four friends
Liv, Martina, Max and Anton have been best friends for years. So on New Year’s Eve, they’re more than happy to spend it together – drinking, flirting, and playing games.

Four terrifying secrets
But each of them is keeping a terrible secret. And when a game of truth or dare takes a dark turn, it’s not long before the shocking truth emerges.

A night that will end in murder
Now the secrets are out there, nothing will ever be the same again. And not everyone will live to see the chime of midnight…

This book was exactly what I needed to fight my current reading slump! 

This short fiction book follows the New Year’s Eve party of four (very rich) teenagers: Liv, Martina, Anton and Max. They decided to have their own small party at Max’s place while their parents are celebrating next door at Anton’s. Even though they’ve been best friends since primary school, all of them have some personal issues that they feel like they can’t tell each other – so, as you can imagine they have some dark secrets they’re hiding! As the evening progresses, they keep drinking and the games they play also keep getting darker… and that’s where I’ll leave it!

The teens are not very likable at first, but that plays a big part in this story so I’m not mad at that. Just imagine the typical super rich kids that are arrogant and feel like they can buy their way in the world – yep, here they are! As the book progresses, you start to feel a little sympathy for them because they begin to show more of their human side and vulnerability. They slowly progress from futile to human, and that made me care for them more.

As far as plot goes, I was really invested in what was going on until the end started. I was interested to see where their night was going since they started to open up more and more. But with that said, I didn’t love the way the book ended (it wasn’t terrible either). Let’s just say I was expecting something more surprising/shocking to happen. I ended up feeling a little underwhelmed with the “main event”.

Still, I had fun reading this and I liked it for what it was: a quick and entertaining short story!

Wrap-Up | What I Read in June 2022

Hello my dear bookish friends!

It’s the beginning of a new month, and you know what that means… it’s time to take a look at all the books I have read in June!

June was an okay reading month. Life got very busy really quick and I didn’t have more time to read! I spent one week abroad, then I got Covid right after coming home (and I couldn’t read with all the headaches), and to make matters worse, things got VERY busy with work right after I got better! So not only my reading time was limited, but I wasn’t really in the mood to pick up anything.

So in retrospect, my reading month wasn’t that bad after all! I ended up reading 6 books: 3 romances, 1 graphic novel and 2 thrillers from the same series. So let’s get to the books!

  1. Fauxmance by Cookie O’Gorman: 4.25/5⭐
  2. Pretty Girls (Pretty Girls #1) by Karin Slaughter: 4/5⭐
  3. Blonde Hair, Blue Eyer (Pretty Girls #0.5) by Karin Slaughter: 2/5⭐
  4. Tidesong by Wendy Xu: 2/5⭐
  5. Wallflower by Cookie O’Gorman: 4.75/5⭐
  6. Cupcake by Cookie O’Gorman: 4.75/5⭐

It may have been a small list, but the reviews are very mixed. I ended up loving two of the books, one was neutral and the other two received negative reviews from me.

The stars of this month were definitely the romance books from the author Cookie O’Gorman! “Fauxmance”, “Cupcake” and “Wallflower” were the perfect feel-good romances that I didn’t know I needed! Definitely recommend this author if you like fluffy, young adult romances. The neutral book was the thriller “Pretty Girls”. It’s a thriller with a good story, but there was nothing too outstanding about it, in my humble opinion. The two books that received negative reviews are “Tidesong” and “Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes”. You can see my thoughts on each individual book here on the blog!

I was sad I couldn’t read more in June, so I really want to compensate and read more in July. I hope I’ll do better this month!

What about you guys? How was your reading month? Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading friends, I’ll see you later.

Review | Fauxmance by Cookie O’Gorman

“It’s okay. You’re with me now. I’ll protect your heart.” 4.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: napkins, peeps, handkerchiefs, motorcycles, red dresses, disguises, elevators, soup kitchen, wedding cake, escorts and the fake dating trope.

Fauxmance (foh-mans): Term for a romantic relationship that is fake. Real feelings, like love, are strictly prohibited. See also: Why would anyone enter a fake relationship?

Eighteen-year-old Magnolia believes in true love.

Or she did.

When her boyfriend dumps her the day before her sister’s wedding, Maggie is devastated—but her broken heart is only part of the problem. Maggie is the maid of honor, and her sister insists: Every member of the bridal party must have an escort. No exceptions.

Thank goodness for Hayden Davenport.

Sarcastic, cocky, a surprisingly good listener and self-professed player, when Maggie gets stuck in an elevator with the handsome stranger, she thinks she’s found the perfect wedding date. Unfortunately, Hayden hates weddings. Like really hates them.

But one soul-shattering kiss changes everything.

Maggie needs a fake boyfriend. Hayden wants to prove he’s changed his playboy ways. Faking it should be easy. The hard part?

Remembering it’s all pretend and not falling in love for real.

This book features two opposites with sizzling chemistry, a sweet, hopeless romantic and a cynical bad boy who’ll steal your heart. Elevators, fake romance, and weddings, oh my! Get ready to swoon, laugh, and say ‘I do’ to this heartfelt YA romance.

Another great cutesy YA romance from Cookie O’Gorman!

Once again, I fell in love with the story and the characters. But is anyone really surprised by now? I really liked the romance and the characters in this book: the bad boy vibe from Hayden combined with Magnolia’s sweet personality made my little heart flutter! They had great chemistry and brought life to the book.

Not only the main characters were captivating, but I also loved the side characters as well. Especially the other guys from the band and Hayden’s grandmother.

One of my favorite things about this book is definitely the way Magnolia and Hayden met for the first time: by being stuck in an elevator together. It was everything my romantic heart could have hoped for!

If you like wedding themed books, you should give this one a try. A big part of this book talks about weddings, which I personally don’t love or hate as a theme. It’s just not my go to scenario when it comes to books, but I didn’t mind it as well.

Once again, I applaud the writing because it made the story flow easily and it made the reading experience fun and captivating the entire time. This is a very easy book to read, with simple language and fast pacing. I would recommend this author’s books for the younger audience (teenagers and pre-teens).

I had a lot of fun reading this! It was a nice, feel-good YA romance, and I’m sure I’ll pick up more from this author soon.