A MADNESS MOST DISCREET by Laura Lascarso

Michael D’Agostino is a bestselling mystery author suffering from writer’s block when he meets Arden Evans, a beguiling escort and catalog model attempting to write a memoir of his own.

Michael is captivated by the young man, whom he finds refreshingly honest and authentic. When Arden asks that they “keep it simple,” Michael readily obliges. Their arrangement becomes increasingly complicated, however, as Michael begins to want more from his enchanting lover.

And then there is the matter of Arden’s finances, something so fiercely personal that Arden refuses to discuss it. This same debt is what obligates Arden to his wealthy benefactor, much to Michael’s vexation.

Michael wants their love affair to last, but how do you hold onto a man whose gaze is forever fixed on the horizon?


Title : A Madness Most Discreet
Author : Laura Lascarso
Series : A Midsummer Story
Format : eARC
Page Count : 298
Genre : m/m romance
Publisher : indie
Release Date : June 20, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

As is often the case with me, I tend to forget what books are about by the time I pick them up. There are obviously times where this isn’t the case but it happens more often than you might think. Case in point : I had convinced myself that Lascarso had written something light and fluffy because a) my brain is a sieve these days due to work and the world and b) that cover is gorgeous and lovely and gives me happy vibes.

This book was way more than the cover implies. But it’s also a Lascarso so I’m an idiot for thinking it wouldn’t be more.. though one day she’ll probably write fluff just to mess with me.

What started out as a story leaning into a PRIDE AND PREJUDICE vibe (as explained by the author herself) due to the economic disparity — as well as the vast distance between opportunity and circumstance — between the protagonist’s situations shifted instead into a something sorta resembling Sex and the City. But with an HBO edge.

You’re cultivating a mystique.
I have to. It’s my only currency.”

This is a story I’ll admit did not hook me right away (though to be fair reading is a struggle these days..). But after a turning point, and I couldn’t even really say what or when that was, I looked up and it was eleven PM on a worknight, so. That says it all.

A MADNESS MOST DISCREET isn’t all sparkling Cosmos and the male-equivalent of Manolo Blahniks (right, that was the shoe? I maybe watched one episode of SatC), there are some less than comfortable situations, abutting completely real and often testy but still lovely friendship dynamics, so much steam it’s unreal, and is, still, somehow, also really sweet.

My one complaint is to do with an element of one of those uncomfortable situations because I do wish it had been clearer if there had been an end-in-sight to a certain arrangement, how long it had lasted, and/or how much traction had been made in the ensuing years.. but perhaps I had missed some of this info, as I did read well past my bedtime and it could’ve been one of those situations where your eyes see the words but the brain doesn’t get the memo. So, as I fully see myself rereading this, I will table that under the “maybe I’m just dumb” and eventually follow up. If it’s not mentioned, I mean, it doesn’t have to be, we as readers definitely get the idea, as well as the breadth of the situation, but it’s something I found myself musing on after finishing the book.

That said, if you couldn’t tell, I definitely recommend, and I definitely want more from this series. Whether that’s a companion, a sequel, or even a book focusing on the other couples. I don’t care what it looks like. I just want it.

** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

WHITE FRAGILITY by Robin Di Angelo

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.


Title : White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism
Author : Robin DiAngelo
Format : ebook
Page Count : 187
Genre : Non-fiction
Publisher : Beacon Press
Release Date : June 2, 2018

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

WHITE FRAGILITY is one of a range of reads I’m accessing to educate myself further on this journey many of us are on. Most of the non-fiction titles I have planned for myself are own voices reads and whilst this title isn’t, it is relevant and addresses so many pertinent issues. This read is challenging, provocative and makes you examine yourself, your actions previous and now and has provided many ‘oh my’ moments for me (about society and about myself).

Whilst all of the topics in this book have been educational and thought-provoking, these are the areas that have been most useful to me in my self examination and how to challenge racism:
– racial control and the protection of white advantage
– interrupting the forces of racism
– social constructs and their perpetuation of white privilege
– a system of advantage based on race
– institutional power
– reward for not interrupting racism, punishment for interruption
– white fragility in action
– feelings and behaviours

I think this should be part of a range of mandatory high school texts in the UK, influencing evolving thinkers at a crucial time; I wish I had read this earlier. As I move on to more non-fiction reads that get me thinking on my personal journey, I think this was a good starting point.

I have to add that this was a library loan and I was blown away by the excellent selection of reads in multiple formats that my local library has invested in. This may be due to the fact that ten years ago my locality experienced race riots of their own and this investment has been part of the changes in my area.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT by Meryl Wilsner


A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames? 


Title : Something To Talk About
Author : Meryl Wilsner
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : LGBTQIA+ Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : June 18, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

That gorgeous cover reeled me in to reading the blurb and from there, I knew I wanted to read SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT. What I love about this book was that it sat in true contemporary romance territory, very low on steam, slow burn and with great main characters.

Jo, ‘the boss’ was quietly closeted, as someone in Hollywood, followed by reporters and photographed, she maintained a close privacy. Her assistant Emma, was a younger woman, super efficient and professional and with a small crush on her boss. This story took the office setting and made it interesting.

This book has a fair bit of miscommunication in it, misunderstandings that were just occasionally frustrating. Jo was 100% in charge and Emma was a bit sheepish at times, I wanted to see more of Emma asserting herself but she rarely did. There were interesting themes throughout this story, including #metoo issues. I also loved how asthma was represented in this story, I appreciated seeing that episode so much; I feel it’s so rarely conveyed in fiction.

The slow burn aspect of Emma and Jo’s connection had you hanging on a long time to see their relationship connect the dots. As a fan of slow burn, this was okay with me. However, I would have loved to have seen some epilogue and HEA in there.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT was refreshing and a perfect read to start #pridemonth. I would love to read more contemporary romance like this and I hope this is a sign of things to come. Rounded up to 4 stars.

CHASING LUCKY by Jenn Bennett – double review!

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…


Title : Chasing Lucky
Author : Jenn Bennett
Format : eARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children
Release Date : June 11, 2020 / November 10, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

What Jenn Bennett does to my reading soul is simply the best, I can rely on her that her books will hit the spot, make me happy and smile. CHASING LUCKY was no exception and this story of old friends getting to know one another as teens was gorgeous. There was an eclectic story that had Bennett’s characteristic uniqueness and whit; I got wholly wrapped up in all of it.

Lucky was Josie’s best friend until she left town with her mom, age 12. Returning at age 17 was a different experience with Lucky 2.0, family issues, a mom who frankly was hard to fathom and the grandmother matriarch from hell. Lucky 2.0 though, was the kind of puzzle worth fathoming.

“Whoa,” Evie says, leaning over the counter to peer out the window with me. “Got to admit. Phantom cleans up real nice. He’s the male Medusa. Don’t look into his eyes. Might get your pregnant.”

If you’re familiar with Jenn Bennett’s male characters, you’ll be pleased to know that Lucky was one of her most excellent beta male creations. I loved him in every way; he was genuine, with personality in bucket loads. Josie’s journey to friendship and more with Lucky was worth every page turn.

Josie’s family relationships made for avid reading. The family was truly dysfunctional but not beyond help in most cases. Josie’s relationship with her mother was probably the most frustrating but I felt pretty annoyed with Evie too at moments. The family was able to make me laugh though.

“Be careful” is all Mom warns me very seriously. I’ve got this. It’s only grandmother. Not an actual weapon of war.

I read this book with a smile on my face some of the time. That’s all the recommendation that you need. Go forth and enjoy.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the early review copy.



Hollis’ 3 star review

I went into CHASING LUCKY with a little bit of trepidation as my last few forays with Bennett post-STARRY EYES haven’t been great. Some I liked ish, others I didn’t at all, so when the first 30% of this book was both not wow’ing me and also veering into not great, uncomfortable, directions? I was anticipating the worst.

But this did, eventually, level out for me.

This story does give off a bit of a STARRY EYES vibe in the sense that Josie and Lucky were friends as young’ins and then something happened to split them apart and now they are trying to reconnect and understand, and navigate, the whys of what happened. And also maybe what could happen if they got close again. I’m still not quite sure I feel we got any real closure, or explanation, as to why they couldn’t continue their friendship from afar but, honestly, that’s the least of my complaints (don’t worry, I really did like it, but yikes). Overall I do think there maybe was a bit of a pacing issue? Or maybe it’s just that we were thrown into a town, and a world, where there’s so much history and so many pre-existing characters from the backstory, that you’re kind of left playing catch up, and not always getting as much time spent on some things, giving them their due, and others have too much time spent on them or spent on nothing much at all? It did sorta give me the Stars Hollow vibe of Gilmore Girls, mixed in with a non-magical Practical Magic-esque family, so that gave it some feeling of familiarity but also the book was also nothing like those things, so. Samey but not?

One of the main components of this story deals with side-bar relationship between Josie’s cousin and an on-again-off-again boyfriend, who causes a lot of drama outside of his stalking and drunken nonsense, and that whole thing? It’s good to see it on page for the younger readers, to understand it’s not acceptable, but yikes how I hated it. So that’s a personal thing for me. I can handle uncomfortable subject matter, have read heaps of things worse than this, but it just rubbed me wrong. And it’s supposed to. Again, I don’t know. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace to deal with it, because we also have lots of lies and miscommunications amongst all sorts of characters, and that ontop of the toxic BS? It was just a lot.

But there was also a bunch of good, too, a bunch of sweet, a bunch of gentle fun, mixed in there in the middle. We had a few big revelations that turned the tide for both the main character and her family and it was around that time where this story just really worked for me. I love that moment where you get the payoff and things come together. I don’t know that I quite liked Josie but I could feel for some of her baggage. And I really liked Lucky. And, as a pair, I really liked when they were sweet on each other and to each other; even when they bickered. Maybe especially then? This story is a bit strange in that so much happens and also not much, it’s both loud and kind of quiet. I did get to that like stage for CHASING LUCKY but this won’t be a favourite. But if not for that goodness, that sweetness, this wouldn’t be a three. So it was something of a close call.

If you’re a Bennett fan, and can withstand some of the messy bits within this read, I think you’ll be very happy. If you’ve yet to read this author and are looking for more good YA contemporary, you definitely need this Bennett on your radar. This might not the smoothest ride but you don’t have to go too far back into her backlist to find pure greatness.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

BLOG TOUR (UK) – BEACH READ by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.


Title : Beach Read
Author : Emily Henry
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 384
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Viking Books/Penguin
Release Date : July 9, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I’m going to preface this whole review by saying this was not the totally light read that I was expecting, with more serious tones to the story than I thought. BUT it was an easy reading experience with two characters that engaged the pages immediately and who had the most interesting yet heavy baggage.

The idea of two authors writing in different genres was an enticing one and the context did not disappoint. The grudging friendship and buddy writing including exposure to one another’s processes enriched the story as they navigated their mutual emotional mess and writer’s block.

I’ll take you through my research process. I’ll help you lean into your latent nihilism, and you’ll teach me how to sing like no one’s listening, dance like no one’s watching and love like I’ve never been hurt before.

January’s family situation had me wanting some answers all the way through and Gus’ elusiveness about revealing himself also left me guessing. Some of reveals about Gus had me giddy with the feels.

Why does this book deserve the hype it’s getting? The dialogue was a dream, I highlighted almost nonsensically as I read, loving how Gus and January interacted with one another through their friendship and journey to more. My favourite moments had to be some of the window notes. January in particular was the queen of the killer quip and I adored her sharp-shooting humour.

BEACH READ seems to be the it-read of the summer season and I can’t argue with that. It wasn’t hard to pick up but it’s definitely hard to put down. I’m joining the crowd of people recommending you pick this one up.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JUNE 16, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


CARRIED AWAY by P. Dangelico features a journalist fired for a bad tweet, and an ex-NHL’er who wants nothing to do with the press.

THE DARE by Elle Kennedy is the fourth in her Briar U series, which a spinoff from her Off-Campus series, and this match-up between the ugly duckling dared by her sorocity sisters to seduce the hottest guy on campus, the hot guy on campus who throws her a bone and pretends to be seduced. I bet we all know where this is going..

AIX MARKS THE SPOT by SE Anderson is a French adventure and coming of age story. Frankly, it’s the perfect YA summer read with the cutest vibes.

DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE by Joan He has a paperback release in the UK today. This story is a Chinese-inspired fantasy with royalty and magic.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT by Meryl Wilsner gets its UK release this week and its an f/f slow burn office romance. It hits some great spots, including a cute cover.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

ALLEGEDLY by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary? 


Title : Allegedly
Author : Tiffany D. Jackson
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 394
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date : January 24, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Wow, that ending.. 

So, here’s a book I went into completely blind. I had absolutely no idea, whatsoever, what this was going to be about. No context, no themes, nothing but the title and that haunting cover. And wow. 

Hard to celebrate the day you were born when everybody seems to wish you were never born at all.

This book is tough to read. We follow our main character as she navigates, and tries to survive, life in a group home after years in isolation within the prison system, after being charged with a crime at the young age of nine. Now sixteen, she’s dealing not only with her past, which has dictated her present, but the thoughts of future and what that looks like. Not to mention some added complications..

Mary was such a compelling character. Her strength, her determination, her resilience, in the face of so much tragedy, so much horror, was remarkable. She was smart for someone who knew so little of the world after having missed so much, but also, obviously, so unaware of so much. But not quite naive. She’d been saddled with a complicated life before everything changed forever and after..? Unreal.

.. yo, you realize if you were white, you wouldn’t even be in this shit? They would’ve said you were one of those crazy white kids, like the ones who shoot up schools and shit, and sent your ass back home!

The host of characters in this group home made this book a very real, very uncomfortable, read. There were times I had to look away, just for a few seconds, and take a breath. Jackson infused elements of this story with a very real sense of dread, of trepidation, and with such.. simple writing. I don’t mean, like, unintelligent but there was nothing flowery or overly descriptive. And yet you felt it all. 

I’m not about to spoil or hint at what else you’re in for. But I definitely think you should pick this book up. I have both of Jackson’s other books on my TBR and you can bet your butt I’ll be bumping them up to be read very soon.

BLOG TOUR – AIX MARKS THE SPOT by S.E. Anderson

Hi everyone! Today we’re excited to participate in the bookstagram & creative blog tour for Aix Marks the Spot by Sarah Anderson organized by MTMC Tours! Sent to live with her estranged grandmother in Provence, 16 year old Jamie finds her parents’ old love letters – and clues to a secret treasure hunt that could save her family after the accident that tore them apart , the full synopsis is below. This YA Contemporary Travel Romance releases on June 16th, 2020 from Seabreeze Books!


One of the things I wanted to talk about is how hungry this book made me. The French are known for their delicious food and viewed through Jamie’s novice taste buds, I just wanted to eat EVERYTHING.

I’m talking croissants (of course), brioche glacee which I wanted to taste myself so much, saussisson with a white gravy, barbecue skewers of meat and veggies…oh and a bit of champagne!


SYNOPSIS
Jamie has been dreaming of this summer forever: of road trips and intensive art camps, of meeting cute boys with her best friend Jazz. What she didn’t count on was the car accident.

Exiled away from her family as her mother slowly learns to walk again, Jamie is sent to Provence and trapped in an isolated home with the French grandmother she has never met, the guilt of having almost killed her parents, and no Wi-Fi. Enough to drive a girl mad. That is, until, she finds an old letter from her father, the starting point in a treasure hunt that spans across cities and time itself. Somehow, she knows that the treasure is the key to putting her shattered family back together and that whatever lies at the end has the power to fix everything.

Armed only with a high-school-level of French and a map of train lines, she must enlist the aid of Valentin, a handsome local who’s willing to translate. To save her family, she has castle ruins to find and sea cliffs to climb; falling for her translator wasn’t part of her plan…


Title : Aix Marks The Spot
Author : S.E. Anderson
Format : eARC
Page Count : 380
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Seabreeze Books
Release Date : June 16, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

This was an engaging coming-of-age story of an American-French teen, Jamie. Set in Provence, it gave me Love & Gelato vibes but it floated my boat so much more than that book did. That said, I do think fans of that series would be drawn to this story.

Jamie arrived in Provence on a rush, sent by her parents to stay with her rather eccentric Grand Mere she had never met. It became immediately apparent that there was a language barrier and one of the things I liked about this book was picking through the french and translated dialogue peppered throughout. I liked guessing and testing my school French but I was always left understanding what was being said. Jamie was left to her own devices and had to explore the local village where Valentine took pity on her. What ensued was a crazy adventure, a treasure map set by one of her parents nearly twenty years ago and a colourful few weeks of fun.

A cute, nerdy French boy wanted to show me around a castle and knew exactly what cheeses I was going to like. Talk about a fairy tale…

Except this really wasn’t a fairy tale, underpinning this whole story was a terribly dysfunctional family, long in the making, that needed to communicate. Grand mere was frankly a little scary, intimidating and giving mixed (French) messages all over. The situation back home was complex and Jamie was stuck in a rut with regards to her thinking about it all.

They say the opposite of love is hate, but it really isn’t, it’s indifference.

AIX MARKS THE SPOT was a fun read, a cute read even but it had serious tones with a solid plot line and great character development. It’s the kind of book to be demolished in a day or weekend with truly summer vibes which I really appreciated on a hot day locked-down in my garden. Rounded up to 4 stars.

Thank you to MTMC Tours and the author for the early review copy. You can hop over to Micky’s bookstagram for a better look at the book .

All the buy links are here:
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository | B&N


About Sarah Anderson:
S.E. Anderson can’t ever tell you where she’s from. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because it inevitably leads to a confusing conversation where she goes over where she was born (England) where she grew up (France) and where her family is from (USA) and it tends to make things very complicated.

She’s lived pretty much her entire life in the South of France, except for a brief stint where she moved to Washington DC, or the eighty years she spent as a queen of Narnia before coming back home five minutes after she had left. Currently, she is working on her PhD in Astrophysics and Planetary sciences in Besançon, France.

When she’s not writing, or trying to science, she’s either reading, designing, crafting, or attempting to speak with various woodland creatures in an attempt to get them to do household chores for her. She could also be gaming, or pretending she’s not watching anything on Netflix.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


MEET THE BLOGGERS

Who knows, you might not want to know anything about us, but on the small chance that you do, please read on for quirks, smirks and foibles.


Micky here. I’m in my 40s, a partner and mum to two teens who have lost their reading mojo (silently weeps). I am a NICU nurse by background but now walk the aisles of a lecture theatre, often shoe-horning fiction onto readings lists for nursing (I kid you not). I love my buzzing family home adjacent to the moors in the north of England but finding peace to read and personal space is sometimes a challenge.

I’m at that age where I’ve worked super hard in my career and now I’m all about the work-life balance and spending my wages on books. I was the twittering voice in Hollis’ ear…let’s start a blog, you know you want to, let’s start a blog (repeat x 100). I’m a genre hopper, reading pretty much everything but horror, that said, I’m happiest in the land of YA fantasy and contemporary. My specialist subject this year is coming to the series you’ve all read years ago and going, ‘hey, this is amazing‘ – read here The Infernal Devices, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and more. I have some book friends that I made years ago on facebook who I treasure and newer friends on bookstagram who are equally wonderful. Bookstagram and Goodreads are the platforms of choice for this booksta.


Hollis here! Micky and I don’t have much crossover when it comes to life, lifestyle, or how we are as readers, and that’s definitely one of the best parts of our friendship. I’m a self-proclaimed spinster with a cat, who is perfectly at home never leaving her house (making me an ideal candidate for sheltering in place as I am now) and I’m neither a classic introvert or an extrovert; I’m somewhere in between. I love being with friends, I enjoy travel (much of which I’ve done with Micky thanks to our mutual friend, love you Jess!), but if I go two days without exchanging a word or a text with the outside world? I’m cool with that, too. Bookish habits-wise, I’m not mood reader, I rarely ever polyread (aka the reading of more than one book at a time), and I can be stubborn both in the completion of a book I don’t like and a series I’m not loving (as some may notice as I recently chewed through the October Daye series two star after two star..). As for what I read? Like, everything. Five years ago I almost never read straight romance (and by that I don’t mean straight vs LGBTQIA+ romance, but, like.. any book that focused solely on romance), but it was diving into the GR community, and some online groups I’m part of, which changed the course of my preferences. Fantasy and sci-fi, both YA and adult, were my forever staples and they still are. Now I just read more of that and more of everything else, too. I never thought I would be a blogger, despite my very lengthy GR reviews prior to this venture, but I’m so glad Micky twisted my arm. If there’s anyone to blame for me having this platform and being allowed to shout at you from this space, it’s her.


Thanks to everyone who took the time to “meet” us, to everyone who reads our reviews, who comments, and generally makes the whole experience that much more fun.

THE BLUE CASTLE by Lucy Maud Montgomery


An unforgettable story of courage and romance. Will Valancy Stirling ever escape her strict family and find true love?

Valancy Stirling is 29, unmarried, and has never been in love. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she finds her only consolation in the “forbidden” books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle–a place where all her dreams come true and she can be who she truly wants to be. After getting shocking news from the doctor, she rebels against her family and discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.


Title : The Blue Castle
Author : Lucy Maud Montgomery
Format : ebook
Page Count : 218
Genre : Classic
Publisher : e-artnow
Release Date : May 28, 2016

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I picked THE BLUE CASTLE up on a whim, a whim built on an age of meaning to read this book and I have to say it’s the best £0.49 I’ve ever spent. It was quite an unusual start to the story with the sad existence that Valancy occupied in her family household. Valancy was surrounded by bullies and she had no worth or value, it was infuriating to read.

From there, life changed for Valancy in the strangest ways; I loved the reins that she took over her own life. The impetus for that change was a little cruel but the result was such a freeing read. I relished Valancy finding her voice, her snark and her don’t-care attitude. She was a kind and generous soul; it was also rather revealing seeing someone in this era with such low self esteem, maybe this isn’t such a contemporary problem, more one across the decades.

The idea of the blue castle as a place, the dust pile and the books of John Foster were elements that engaged me throughout this read. I knew there was something in this writer that would develop and even though I suspected the truth, it didn’t quell the enjoyment any. Valancy’s life on the little island filled me with such joy, I adored seeing her reach her potential as a person and as a woman.

This was a quirky story but one to thoroughly warm your heart. It’s been a while since I’ve read Lucy Maud Montgomery but this experience reminds me why I have loved her books all my life and I’m going to check which other treasures I’ve never read.