Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Book Review: Midnight in Everwood

Remember when I had Covid a few weeks ago? Well I get to deal with an awful stomach bug now, courtesy of my adorable younger daughters bringing the worst of germs home from school. Though that's totally bad enough, my bougie self can't just let it be that, oh no. I kicked that illness off by kneeling on the floor of a Walmart bathroom for a half hour, throwing up literally every thing I had ever eaten.  

It was a low moment in my life. Matt still believes I need to burn my clothes because that floor was foul

Midnight in Everwood - M.A. Kuzniar

A spell-binding retelling of The Nutcracker, filled with enchanted toys, decadent balls, fierce feminine friendships and a forbidden romance. For fans of The Toymakers, Caraval and The Bear and the Nightingale.

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.
Do you know what I really, really love? A re-telling of a classic story. I will read anything if you tell me it is a re-telling and I really don't know why. I'm all in, and this one is a gorgeous re-telling of The Nutcracker and it was worth me staying up to finish this despite being totally too tired to be staying up. 

I loved this so much and I got House of Salt and Sorrow vibes because it's dark and moody, but mythical and magical at the same time. You don't really know what's going on, but you kind of think you do, and then at the end it takes a quick turn. The writing is absolutely gorgeous, and there is so much detail that I feel like I need to do another read through because there were some things towards the end that I kind of remembered being noted earlier in the book, so I have to see if I missed some clues. I also never read the original Nutcracker stories, so now I kind of want to go back to see what similarities (and differences) there are. Also, this villain??? WHOA BOY.  

If I have to give a critique, it would be the sex scenes... which aren't really sex scenes. Honestly this feels more new adult than young adult, and though I did like the romance overall, some of these scenes were just so off that it would have been better to leave them out all together and let readers assume what happened. 

Even with that, I loved this and have to give it four stars, no question. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and HQ for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review!
This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Book Review: The Sweetheart Deal

Well, I've been hit with Covid. It really is as awful as everyone thinks. Right now the worst that I am dealing with is the exhaustion, I literally sleep all day, and then the coughing. The coughing is SO awful and the fact I haven't coughed up a lung yet is a miracle. 

The Sweetheart Deal - Miranda Liasson

Pastry chef Tessa Montgomery knows what everyone in the teeny town of Blossom Glen says about her. Spinster. Ice Queen. Such a shame. It’s enough to make a woman bake her troubles away, dreaming of Parisian delicacies while she makes bread at her mother’s struggling boulangerie. That is until Tessa’s mortal enemy—deliciously handsome (if arrogant) chef Leo Castorini, who owns the restaurant next door—proposes a business plan…to get married.

Leo knows that the Castorinis and the Montgomerys hate each other, but a marriage might just force these stubborn families to work together and blend their businesses for success. The deal is simple: Tessa and Leo marry, live together for six months, and then go their separate ways. Easy peasy.

It’s a sweetheart deal where everyone gets what they want—until feelings between the faux newlyweds start seriously complicating the mix. Have they discovered the perfect recipe for success…or is disaster on the way?
I don't know if you know this, but Entangled Publishing is amazing and I have yet to read something from them that I didn't like. I'm not even kidding. If you are a fan of romcoms, or maybe just a good enemies to lovers trope, this book should be your next read! I had to look but this was my first read from Miranda Liasson, but it definitely won't be my last. Her characters were fun, the story was funny at the right times, and the relationship was adorable to watch it roll out. 

There is also a line about Gnomeland Security and that completely sold me. I am a fan of gnomes and if a story features gnomes, I am sold and in love. 

The only ding I have to give it is that it is pretty low steam. Of course there are tons of readers who specifically want low steam, but I'm a fan of inferno level. With that though, this story was adorable, and a definite pick me up in a rather low week for me. If you need something to get you through the doldrums of winter, I highly recommend this one. You can also pick up the other two in this series, but if you don't, it's OK because they are all stand alones, so you'll be fine. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Entangled Publishing for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review!