ARC Review: Brides & Brothers

Goodreads Blurb:

A modern retelling of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Camille Kelly is in real danger of becoming an old maid—at least by Cherish, Montana, standards. She has all but given up on finding Mr. Right—until her broken laptop leads her to Aiden Peterson, a tall, dark, and handsome computer genius. Camille would never have believed her magic moment was right around the corner, but after two whirlwind weeks, she has a ring on her finger and has happily ever after in sight. However, she soon discovers Aiden is part of a daunting package deal . . .

As the eldest of seven brothers, Aiden has never had a problem living under the same roof as his rambunctious siblings. When he falls for Camille, he is confident she’ll fit right into his family’s already bursting home. He thought wrong. Aiden and Camille’s storybook romance comes to a screeching halt when she discovers her new living situation. Not willing to submit to a life mothering a bunch of grown men, Camille has only one option: she embarks on a campaign to improve her new brothers-in-law and marry them off. And what better candidates for wives than her own best friends?

My Thoughts:

A sweet, clean romance.

What did I like?

  • Family Structure. Creating over 14 characters and trying to give justice does not seem like an easy task but the author excelled. They all seemed distinct enough, especially the brothers with their characteristics and physical attributions.
  • Clean romance. I live for clean romance.
  • Siblings supporting one another and looking after their best interests.
  • Friends lifting each other up.
  • Thought it was pretty clever to name all the brothers in ascending order of the alphabet. A,B,C,D,E,F,G. (Helped me remember their order that way tbh.)
  • Religious aspect to a certain point. (Read below.)
  • It was cute that the author named Camille after her best friend. A sweet gesture.
  • B’s jokes.

What could’ve been better? What I didn’t like?

  • The religious part had been too much. It didn’t feel right after a point. I was rooting for it through the first half of the book. After a point, I found myself sighing. What was it with the bible reference and Aiden’s kidnapping plan??????
  • I commend the author for the creation and narration of all these characters but it still didn’t feel enough. Of course, that is the risk of working with so many characters at the same time. Some might be sidelined and others with the excessive spotlight even if the MC were A and Camille.
  • Characters not taking enough control of their lives? Camille trying to be manipulative/matchmaker and it all somehow just works?

Miscellaneous Rambles. (These will surely make me sound like a stickler!)

  • Camille kept saying she lived with “7 men”. G was away, it should’ve been 6. And then so was A.
  • A and Camille’s relationship felt awkward at times including the dialogues.
  • Same with Camille and her mother. I am still trying to process how they JUST made up.
  • Some light on G’s personality would’ve been nice.

Overall, it’s a sweet book. I did like reading it.

My Rating: It’s a 3/5.

Content Notices: Death of loved ones in the past.

Audience: Young Adult

Pages: 288, Paperback

Thank you, NetGalley and the Publisher for the complimentary ARC. All thoughts are of my own.

ARC Review: Under Her Influence

Goodreads Blurb:

Fraser Park, the award-winning Scottish nature reserve and theme park, means everything to Beth Fraser. She’s more than a little preoccupied saving her family’s legacy and struggling against a board of directors who all seem to hate her. The last person she wants to need is selfie-obsessed, filtered to perfection, social media influencer Jemma Johnson. But she’s got to protect Fraser Park from a corporate takeover, and according to her brother, that means boosting their online presence. Jemma might be necessary, but Beth doesn’t have to like her, or follow her, or whatever it’s called.

Jemma Johnson, an Insta-success with hundreds of thousands of followers, is proud of her perfectly curated life. When she’s invited to stay at Fraser Park, the trip sounds like a fun adventure for a good cause, until she meets Beth, the only woman who sees beneath her sparkly facade and reminds her that not everything is as easy or flawless as it seems.

On their path to #truelove, will Beth and Jemma discover that reality is even better than illusion?

My Thoughts:

My heart is just…filled with love and warmth! Finally, I have found an author who does not rely on sex to make a book interesting!! I’m probably going to go on an Amanda Radley read-a-thon

Okay, I suppose I should compose myself a little but it was all so wholesome!!

Inhale. Exhale.

Under Her Influence is the perfect wholesome read after a dark book I had picked up. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, check my previous post!!) This is probably amongst those rarest of times where I found all the characters likable and adorable even when they had their own flaws. Those flaws made them more human.

Beth Fraser AKA The Ice Queen was the owner of the park where Jemma Johnson AKA Miss Positivity/Influencer was hosted at. Beth’s brother/twin, Cameron, had sought help from Jemma without consoling the powerhouse of the Fraser Park.

Beth’s character was beautifully crafted. A woman who had devoted so much of her time to work that her personal identity seemed to have dissolved. Whereas, Jemma brimmed with positivity on her online presence, didn’t even realize when her love for the craft evaded into a requirement for her living. Something she stopped enjoying.

Like an onion, they peeled each other’s layers, provided solutions, supported one another. And I live for that. Love or no love, women who support one another rather than being scorned after a misunderstanding, are amazing. Even though there was an attraction on sight, the story helps both the characters explore that attraction into something more.

The side characters. Cameron, Luke, and Abigail. So, so cute. And, I was in awe the outline of the Park. It reminded me of the time I went to a theme park. And the imagery used was enough to pull me inside.

My favorite line from the book:

“Sorry, yes, just plain popcorn. But it’s not just plain popcorn, not when you really think about it. It’s the smell that first greets you when you come into the park in the morning— it wafts around most of the resort. It’s fresh, warm, buttery, and perfectly seasoned. Never burnt, never under- or overcooked. It comes in a box that’s thick enough to keep its shape but thin enough to warm your fingers on a chilly morning. It’s shareable and you always want more. It’s never plain. It might not be a fashionable freakshake or ice cream mega concoction, but it’s never plain.”

My Rating: It’s a 4.2/5.

Content Notices: Anxiety and death of loved ones in the past.

Audience: Young Adult

Pages: 221, Kindle Edition

I received a complimentary advance review copy, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

ARC Review: The Dead Husband

Goodreads Blurb:

A murderer, a victim, and a witness… but no one in this house is innocent

Twenty years ago an unspeakable tragedy rocked Rose Yates’s small, affluent hometown… and only Rose and her family know the truth about what happened.

Haunted by guilt, Rose escaped into a new life. Now she seems to have it all: a marriage, a son, a career. And then her husband is found dead.

As far as Detective Colin Pearson is concerned, Rose is guilty. Her marriage wasn’t as happy as she’d led everyone to believe, and worse, she’s connected to a twenty-year-old cold case. She can play the part of the victim, but he won’t let her or her family escape justice this time around.

Grieving her husband and struggling to make ends meet, Rose returns home, hoping to finally confront her domineering father and unstable sister. But memories of a horrific crime echo through the house, and Rose soon learns that she can’t trust anyone, especially not the people closest to her.

From USA Today bestselling author Carter Wilson comes a story of deception, hereditary sin, and what we’ll do to protect our own. 

My Thoughts:

Secrets, lies, and deceit seemed like the cornerstone of the Yates family but their motto of “family over everyone else” seemed like the cause of all evil. I can’t say more, you just have to enjoy the rollercoaster ride!

What did I like about this book?

  • Carter Wilson’s writing. His words were smooth and the imagery was perfect. At times, I was horrified at the visuals but they were welcomed nonetheless. (Though, I didn’t expect it to be that vivid.) Also, a bonus point for thanking every Frontline worker at the end! It was humbling. (If you do want to give me a shoutout in your next book, I wouldn’t mind! haha)
  • POVs presented, the shuffle between Rose (1st person narrative) vs Colin (3rd person) was handled well.
  • Plots and sub-plots enough to keep the readers engaged.
  • The characters taking the literal meaning of “family over everyone else.”

What I didn’t like as much or could’ve been better?

  • 400 pages felt a little too draggy and left me unsatisfied with the resolution. The question of why “some” characters did what they did, didn’t seem justifiable to me.
  • Perhaps the constant images of Rose’s trauma could’ve been simplified. I wasn’t sure until the end if or not Rose was a sane person. She constantly thought and spoke of having done her research but stuck out like a sore thumb with a bulls-eye painted right on her every time she did anything or spoke. Maybe it was the author’s way of showcasing her diminishing mental health? I am not sure.
  • The constant portrayal of death and suicidal thoughts for both of the main characters.

Overall, it was a nice read. I didn’t expect the ending at all. (Maybe I was too distracted by everything that was happening. In that case, YOU DID GOOD, WILSON!) Parts of it kept me hooked in, especially at the end of every chapter!

My Rating: It’s a 3.5/5

Content Notices: Suicidal thoughts, death of pets and people.

Audience: 18+

Pages: 400, Kindle Edition

I received a complimentary advance review copy, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity.

ARC Review: Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women

Goodreads Blurb:

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women celebrates the incredible and inspiring stories of 25 women leaders in politics, business, sports, activism, and more, all written in fairy tale form. It is part of the award-winning Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Reach for new heights with Vice President Kamala Harris. Organize voter registration with Stacey Abrams. Spread messages of kindness with Lady Gaga. And captain a team of Olympic gymnasts with Aly Raisman.  

This collection of 25 stories includes the most beloved stories of leadership from the first three volumes of the New York Times best-selling series, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. And also features 11 brand new tales of women’s activism, bravery, and vision.

Rebel Girls Lead celebrates the leadership of women from Michelle Obama to Malala Yousafzai. It is illustrated by female artists from around the world.

My Thoughts:

I am so grateful for this book. There has been such negativity and death in the world recently, and I was looking for something positive. I suppose sometimes we all just need an inspiring book to lift up our spirits! This book was exactly that. Stories of strong women from all around the world, fighting their battle and never giving up no matter what. So inspirational; and it goes to tell, consistent hard work gets you to places. No matter what people say or how they make you feel, you just need one true believer to support you truly.

I am so happy to learn about the journeys of these strong women, some of which I hadn’t heard until now! It’s never too late though.

Even though this book is designed for kids (I cannot wait to read this book to my kids someday in the distant future.) it is just as effective for adults. The ending of the book gives us an opportunity to write our own stories and draw ourselves along with a quiz that determines what type of leader we would be. It was really exciting to read Rebel Girls Lead. I just wish the bios were longer.

My Rating: It’s a 4.8/5.

Audience: Children’s book

Pages: 64, Paperback

I received a complimentary advance review copy, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

ARC Review: Hope Between the Pages

Goodreads Blurb:

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

My Thoughts:

Hope Between the Pages’ plot idea is wonderful but the book seems to be draggy. It failed to hit the mark.

For starters, I enjoyed all the book references that kept popping up, along with the characters’ love for books BUT it seemed like anywhere Sadie or Clara went they were encountered by bookworms. Oliver loved books. Vicky loved books. Max loved books. Clara’s father loved books. Robbie loved books. You get my point right?
Without reference to their names, I would’ve imagined them all as being the same characters. There was no proper distinguishment between them.

I adored to love story that bloomed between Sadie and Oliver, their love and loss made my heartache. Even though majority of Sadie’s story was expected in a way, the travels of England and the love they bore for one another was beautiful. Including the historical descriptions.

I found Clara to be a little childish. Almost every chapter, she would start crying. Her love and loss for Sadie felt superficial since other than their shared physical features and love of books, nothing connected them.

I felt like there were lots of plot holes in the story. To say why did Sadie hide what she did to her grandson, especially the deed. How did Oliver’s mother know about everything and not the bookshop? Why didn’t Vicky ever try to contact her? are a few to mention without giving away too much of the book.

In this particular book, I did enjoy the Christian references and talks about love. It made sense to why around a 100 years ago, women would be that conservative especially in the case of Sadie.

Even though the writing could’ve been better, the fact that a strong female lead was portrayed it was a decent read. Took me longer than usual to read though.

My Rating: It’s a 3/5. It’s not easy to create a dual timeline, but she did it!!

Content Notices: ….Uh… I can’t remember any…

Audience: Young Adult

Pages: 267, Kindle Edition

I received a complimentary advance review copy, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.