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April-May Reading Wrap-up and Mini-Reviews


1. Murder Outside the Lines by Krista Davis (Adult Cozy Mystery) (326 pages) (3.25⭐️)
This is the third book in the Pen & Ink mystery series following coloring book artist/bookstore manager Florrie. This mystery takes place at Halloween time and has a potentially paranormal angle. This was an improvement over the second book, but the plot was too bloated.

2. Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke (Adult Cozy Mystery) (304 pages) (3.5⭐️)
Sisters Juni, Tansy, and Maggie open a record shop but during the opening night party a dead body is found in the store - and their uncle is the primary suspect. The characters were (mostly) very likable and I thought the story of these sisters opening a store together was lovely.. However, this reads more like a contemporary/fiction novel than it does a murder mystery.

3. Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Ellle Cosimano (Adult Cozy Thriller) (309 pages) (4.25⭐️)
This is the fourth Finlay Donovan book and follows the titular Finlay and her children's nanny Vero as they travel to Atlantic City to rescue Vero's childhood love Javi from a loan shark. The Finlay Donovan books are fast, fun reads that aren't meant to be taken super seriously. This book completes the main story line and introduces the next one for book five.

4. Here We Go Again by Alison Cochrun (Adult Romance) (353 pages) (4.25⭐️)
Logan and Rosemary are childhood best friends turned enemies. Their mentor Joe is dying and his last wish is for them both to take him on a cross country trip to his cabin in Maine. Cochrun is my favorite romance author because she writes such wonderful mental health representation and LGBT+ love stories. While I related the most to Rosemary I found Logan's emotional journey to be the most compelling.

5. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (YA Fantasy) (368 pages) (5⭐️)
Logan has grown up traveling around the country with her ghost hunting, TV star dads Alejo and Brandon. They arrive in Snakebite, Oregon where teens are being killed by an entity known as the Dark. This was actually a reread for me and it was cool to be able to note all the foreshadowing I missed the first time around. This is a great spooky read and I love the way the Dark is a metaphor for grief and hatred in Snakebite.


1. A Fatal Groove by Olivia Blacke (Adult Cozy Mystery) (read 176 pages) (58%)
This book is the sequel to Vinyl Resting Place. As much as I like the sisters and their story of running their record shop, this book suffered from the same problem as the first. The mysteries just feel like afterthoughts and when I pick up a cozy mystery it's because I want to read about the mystery. I won't be continuing with any further books in the series.

2. A Book Club to Die For by Dorothy St. James (Adult Cozy Mystery) (read 179 pages) (61%)
This is the third book of the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series about a librarian who has a secret book room in the basement of her library after they go all digital. In this one her boyfriend's mom is accused of murdering the head of her fancy book club. This wasn't a DNF because I didn't like it but rather because of unfortunately timing. I was reading this book when I went into a reading slump due to health reasons. I plan to, at some point, pick it up again and restart.


1. Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee (YA Fantasy) (400 pages) (5⭐️)
Sirscha discovers she's shamanborn gifted with light magic that may be capable of destroying the haunted trees that divide the continent's three kingdoms. This book is an ideal read for autumn as it has a very spooky atmosphere. While there is no romance there is a strong sisterhood between Sirscha and her best friend Saengo. The magic system is reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

2. Broken Web by Lori M. Lee (YA Fantasy) (382 pages) (5⭐️)
This is the sequel book to Forest of Souls and follows Sirscha as she and her companions find themselves in the midst of a war between the three kingdoms. Meanwhile, the threat of the Soulless, an ancient evil, emerges. While not as creepy as the first book, this one focuses more on the politics between the kingdoms. We also expand on the world, traveling outside the kingdom of Evewyn for the first time.

3. Calling of Light by Lori M. Lee (YA Fantasy) (339 pages) (4⭐️)
This is the finale to the shamanborn/Forest of Souls trilogy. In this book Sirscha must kill the haunted threes and destroy the Soulless once and for all to save her found family and her homeland. While there's not much world building given it's the finale, we do get to see the Soulless at his full strength finally. While a solid conclusion, it does gloss over some plot points - one which seemed it was being built up to have a bigger conflict.
Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!

4. Funny Story by Emily Henry (Adult Romance) (400 pages) (4⭐️)
Daphne and Miles move in together after their exes dump them for each other. They start fake dating to make them jealous. I liked both Daphne and Miles but in particular felt bonded to Daphne. The fake dating set up was strong, but the gimmick was dropped early on. I really adored the side characters - Ashley and Julia - and would love to read spin-offs based on their romances.

5. A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow (Adult Mystery) (240 pages) (3.75⭐️)
Kate Shugak is a private investigator in Alaska. She is tasked with finding out what happened to a park ranger and FBI investigator who vanished into the Alaskan wilderness. There are a lot of characters introduced who I hope to see more of in future books in the series, though Kate herself is very prickly. I figured out the culprit prior to the reveal but there was a specific scene that had me doubting myself.

6. Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould (YA Fantasy) (337 pages) (3.5⭐️)
Avery and her sister Riley travel to the town of Backravel, Arizona, where time moves strangely, following instructions from their late mother who was investigating the town. This book has wonderful atmosphere - it's isolating, uneasy, and confusing. As with her prior novel there's also very poetic symbolism. However, the plot is too similar to her debut novel, and Riley contributes little to the story.
Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!

AVG. BOOK LENGTH (JAN-MAY): 361.28 pages
AVG. BOOK RATING (JAN-MAY): 152/195⭐️ (3.90⭐️)

AUDIOBOOKS (JAN-MAY): 12/39 (30.77%)
PHYSICAL READS (JAN-MAY): 27/39 (69.23)
DNFs (JAN-MAY): 10
REREADS (JAN-MAY): 6/39 (15.38%)
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