December 2021 Mini Reviews

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Published: 2nd March 2021 by Legend Press
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I was really intrigued but he sound of this book - the idea of a women's-only apothecary used for nefarious purposes sounded great! Unfortunately the book didn't pan out exactly how I thought or hoped it would, and I ended up finding myself just trying to get through the book by the end of it. I enjoyed the fact that 2 of the protagonists were older women, in their 30s and 40s rather than the newly-adult women I typically read about. However, I do think my main drawback of the novel was the fact that no connection of any sort was made between modern-day Caroline and Nella from the past until over halfway through the book. It made it read more like 2 books than one cohesive story, sadly. I also didn't think one of the main plot points of the story, the murder, warranted the time it took up in the book, and I have to say I preferred Caroline's relationship and new life in London instead. The book was quite predictable and not really what I had hoped for.
3 stars

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Published: 2nd March 2021 by Little, Brown
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

This book was just so much fun! Definitely one of the less-realistic romances I've read recently, but I find that somewhat irrelevant because of how much I enjoyed reading the tricky tale of Reena and Nadim. Accidentally Engaged did have a bit of a shaky start, at least for me, with the first chapter reading very much like a Wattpad novel, which personally isn't what I look for in my romances. Luckily  it picked itself up pretty quickly after, and I did find myself looking forward to diving back into reading this book. It's pretty much a guarantee that I'll enjoy a romance novel if it features food in some way, so the baking and cooking show elements to this were perfect for me. I also always love a family dynamic in stories, especially between sisters, so it was nice to see the growth between Reena and her sister and them opening up to each other. I did find the chemistry between Reena and Nadim to be authentic, and I'll definitely look out for Heron's next work.
4 stars

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
(The Last Binding #1)
Published: 9th December 2021 by Tor
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I love a good Historical Fiction novel, so when I saw this was set in Edwardian England and featured magic, I knew I had to give it a go. I really enjoyed the slow-burn romance featured, and just the general chemistry between the two main characters, Edwin and Robin. Another thing I really liked was how the magic was introduced in A Marvellous Light and featured throughout without there being this need to have a whole elaborate backstory or huge world-building surrounding it. This book pleasantly surprised me for the most part - I found myself looking forward to the free time when I could pick up my kindle again - however, once the main storyline kicked into action I found the plot complicated at times and very action-filled, whereas I quite innocently preferred the introduction to all the characters and their seemingly quaint magical lives. I will still definitely pick up the sequel as I am very intrigued to see where the story will go from here.
4 stars

Published: 22nd September 2016 by Stripes Publishing
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I am very late to reviewing this but I wanted to make the effort to get to it now, considering it's Christmas time, but also because it supports such a great cause. The theme of 'home' was perfect for an anthology of such a variety of YA authors, but I do feel as though some adhered to the theme much more than others. What surprised me about this was how much I had my clear favourite stories but also some that I didn't enjoy at all, which unfortunately skewered my rating and general enjoyment of I'll Be Home for Christmas quite a lot. I'd have to say my two favourite stories were Cat Clarke's 'found-family' story and Katy Cannon's about a recent divorce and the new Christmas dynamic. I easily could've read full-length stories of those, but others that I didn't enjoy as much seemed to take up so much more room as well. Overall a bit of a mixed bag with a few standouts.
3 stars

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