By Amy Alward
Series: Potion #1
Source Purchased
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 29, 2015


When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.

This book has been on my shelf for years! I went to a book launch party for it and got my copy signed by the author, and despite my intentions, it stayed unread on my shelf all these years.

This was my pick for one of my book clubs, because I’m trying to read the books that have been on my shelf for a long time. I did a big bookshelf cull earlier this year and the unread books that survived are the ones that I’m determined to read in the next year or so, including this one.

This was a fun, quick read. I really liked the magic and alchemy systems, but the characters and the romance felt a bit underdeveloped to me.

But there was something really fun about this one, and I have the sequel, Royal Tour, on my shelf too, so I can carry on with the series.


Serious Moonlight

Serious MoonlightSerious Moonlight
By Jenn Bennett
Source Library
Published by Simon Pulse on April 16, 2019


After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

This was a random selection from the library, and I ended up really liking it!

This was a contemporary romance with a little mystery thrown in, and some good banter between Birdie and Daniel. I really liked them, and I enjoyed their relationship developing slowly, although at times Birdie came across as wishy-washy about what she wanted and it frustrated me. But their honesty with each other was very refreshing to read about.

The mystery didn’t go the way I expected it to, and it was more of a secondary plot by the end, with Birdie and Daniel’s relationship as the main focus.

I loved the setting, and Birdie and Daniel’s relationships with their families. They were complicated, and Birdie and Daniel both had hardships in their past that they slowly revealed to each other (and the reader).

I’m so pleased that I ended up enjoying this book as much as I did! Now I need to look into Jenn Bennett’s other books.


Week In Review

August 26 – September 1

My vacation week is almost over, and I’m sad about it. It was a busy one and it went by too fast, but I got lots of reading done at least.

New books:

All of the library holds keep coming in at the same time! I picked up a bunch this week:

When the Light Went Out, Bridget Morrissey;

Immunity, Erin Bowman;

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark;

An American Marriage, Tayari Jones;

The Lonely Dead, April Henry;

Keep This To Yourself, Tom Ryan;

Amelia Westlake Was Never Here, Erin Gough; and

Lady in the Lake, Laura Lippman.

Books read:

I always have an ambitious TBR when I’m on vacation, so while I didn’t come close to reading everything that I wanted to, I did well enough:

You Owe Me a Murder, Eileen Cook;

Serious Moonlight, Jenn Bennett;

Madly, Amy Alward;

Lady in the Lake, Laura Lippman; and

Whisper Network, Chandler Baker.

Current reads:

I am deciding on my next read!

Posts and reviews:

I posted reviews of Josh Malerman’s Inspection and Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale, as well as a Waiting on Wednesday post and a TBR Thursday post.

I’m off to fit in as much reading as I can before the end of the long weekend (and my vacation). Happy Sunday!

Small Town Hearts

Small Town HeartsSmall Town Hearts
By Lillie Vale
Source Library
Published by Swoon Reads on March 19, 2019


Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?

This was a book that I picked up from the library because the cover really caught my eye, and the synopsis sounded like a cute summer read.

While I loved the setting (and got a bit of a Stars Hollow vibe, which I always enjoy), I just could not get invested in the characters and the story.

I also thought that there would be something to Babe’s disappearing coworker Ariel, but that little story snippet went nowhere, which was strange to me. I also got really tired of reading the words “summer boy”.

I kept reading hoping that I would get into it, but I couldn’t. I’m not sure why, because it was a sweet summer story, but I guess it just wasn’t for me.


TBR Thursday

TBR Thursday

I did a few of these posts years ago, when I wanted something like a Waiting on Wednesday post, but for books that had already been released (and usually already on my physical or virtual bookshelves). I  found the TBR Thursday meme at Book Blather and realized it was just what I was going for.

Today’s pick is a book that came out fairly recently: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig.

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

I own a couple of Chuck Wendig’s other books but haven’t read them yet, but I think this will be the first one of his that I have to read. I’ve heard nothing but very good things about it and I’m so intrigued by that premise.

It’s a chonky book (I have the hardcover and it’s nearly 800 pages!), so it may take me a while, but I really want to read this one before the end of the summer.

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