Quick Lit: October 2019

Ah, I'm almost caught up on my Quick Lit posts! I wish I could promise to never get behind again, but I'm already anticipating another blogging break when this new baby is born. I remember those early days with my first, and I know that I'll probably still be reading but won't feel much like writing. So, please be patient with me when that day comes! But let's focus on October for now. I finished 14 books and have reviews for 12 of them today. I'd already reviewed one in September's post, and the other is briefly mentioned at the end of this post. If you enjoy short and sweet book reviews, you'll find links to similar posts in the comments on this feature over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

SERPENT & DOVE BY SHELBY MAHURIN – When I saw Steph raving about this book, I had to check it out. It didn't really appeal to me because I'm generally turned off by books about witches, but it seemed like a fitting way to kick off October. I picked it up one afternoon and was shocked when I'd finished all 528 pages by the end of the day. I couldn't put it down! So, here's the deal: you've got a witch on the run and in hiding and a man sworn to hunt witches... who end up forced to marry. I loved that this led to a very compelling enemies-to-lovers dynamic because that's one of my favorite tropes. The world and magic system could have been more fully developed for me, personally, but I still So Enjoyed It. This was an exciting debut, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel!

KULTI BY MARIANA ZAPATA – I've seen many readers recommend this book and others by Zapata, so I snagged it when the e-book went on sale. I'm not a huge fan of sports romances but decided to give it a shot. While this didn't end up a favorite for me, I still So Liked It. There's a big age gap in this romance (the hero is 12 years older than the heroine), which was addressed in a realistic way. I've seen this recommended most often for fans of slow burn romances, and it's definitely very slow. I personally felt that it dragged on too long. There was no reason for it to be almost 600 pages, especially since so much of it was the heroine's internal musings. Boring! I was debating a 4-star rating up until a very unnecessary sex scene was tacked on to the end. Fun but not worth the hype, in my opinion.

THE NOBODIES BY LIZA PALMER –  What do you do when an author you've loved in the past writes something that seriously lets you down? I don't even know where to start. I've read several of Palmer's earliest books and liked/enjoyed them overall. Nowhere but Home and Girl Before a Mirror, however, quickly earned spots on my favorites lists and made Palmer an author to watch for me. Though I skipped her 2017 release, I was excited to dive into The Nobodies. But if I hadn't purchased it, I would have decided not to finish it. I had issues with almost everything about it: the plot, the characters, the pacing, the writing, the conflict, the resolution, and more. Nothing worked for me. I'd go into more detail, but I'm So Over It and that's all you really need to know.

MEET CUTE BY HELENA HUNTING – I wasn't planning on reading  Meet Cute because Hunting's previous release, The Good Luck Charm, didn't really work for me. But a reader I enjoy following on Goodreads highly recommended this one (and had DNF'd the other). So, I decided it couldn't hurt to try! If you suspend some disbelief on the premise, this was a really fun read overall. I thought one aspect of the storyline was so predictable, but didn't mind too much since most contemporary romances aren't reinventing the wheel. I liked the unexpected depth to the story since it deals with the characters' grief in a moving way. The dynamic between the hero and heroine was fun, and I particularly liked the  former celebrity/major fangirl aspect. That was hilarious! I So Enjoyed It overall.

HOTSHOT DOC BY R.S. GREY – This author's books pop up on Amazon frequently when I'm just browsing, so I decided to borrow this one from the Kindle Lending Library. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't stop once I started! Even though I was sucked into the story, it did feel a little unrealistic – and maybe factually incorrect? A throwaway line in the Epilogue was so inaccurate that it made the question the book as a whole. But someone with a medical degree would probably know better than me! Regardless of all that, I still So Liked It. It basically felt like Grey's Anatomy in book form, and I love that dumb soap opera. Ha! It didn't pack the emotional punch that Grey's does, but it was a fun read. I'm not sure I'll read more R.S. Grey in the future, but I'm glad I gave her a shot.

THE SKYLARK'S WAR BY HILARY MCKAY – While browsing Hatchards in London with Kelly earlier this year, I spotted this beauty in the children's section. The gorgeous cover and the "Costa Books Awards Winner" sticker on the front made me pick it up, the summary intrigued me, and the first page was just so good. I had to buy it! I finally read it in October, and it... did not go well for me. It was so slow that I was forcing myself to pick it up, and I wasn't invested in the characters at all. The writing started to grate on me because it felt like it was trying too hard to imitate a children's classic. And I kept wondering about the audience for the book. It's middle grade, but would a 9-12 year old really appreciate this depressing, contrived story? I have no idea, but I was So Over It personally.

THEN THERE WAS YOU BY MIRANDA LIASSON – Estelle recommended this contemporary romance to me and was kind enough to send me a copy for review. I'm always on the lookout for cute, small-town romances, and this one fit the bill! It's got one of my favorite tropes (hate to love) since the heroine (partially) blames the hero for her broken engagement. The beginning of the book does feel like it's setting up the series – introducing a lot of characters, the town, and some backstory – but the couple won me over as time went on. Plus, I enjoyed the family dynamics and was excited to find out the heroine's siblings will have their own books. I didn't enjoy the characters' negative motivations, but I So Liked It overall and plan on reading more from the series.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES BY L.M. MONTGOMERY – "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." I mean, how was I supposed to resist an October re-read of my forever favorite? I've had this audio edition, narrated by Rachel McAdams, waiting for the perfect moment to listen. And I timed it just right! This was the perfect way to close out the month, and it brought back all the memories. I believe I was in second grade when I met Anne Shirley, a kindred spirit through and through. This is one of the books that I credit with making me the reader I am today, and I always enjoy revisiting its pages. I find new moments to love and lines to cherish with each re-read. It just never gets old for me! I'm So Obsessed With It and would absolutely recommend McAdams' narration, too.

THE FIREBIRD BY SUSANNA KEARSLEY – I read The Winter Sea in 2017, and the historical heroine of The Firebird is the offspring of characters from that book. Thankfully, I remembered most of the important background info! I was immediately sucked into Kearsley's writing and found the contemporary and historical storylines to be equally engaging. That doesn't always happen for me! I thought both romances were well-developed and loved how they were paced. As with many of Kearsley's other books, this one contained a supernatural (ish?) element. In this case, the heroine can touch an object and see its past. I wanted the mystery to be uncovered in a more realistic way, but this element is part of Kearsley's style and charm. And honestly, I still So Loved It in the end. 

BEGINNER'S LUCKLUCK OF THE DRAW, AND BEST OF LUCK BY KATE CLAYBORN – This series wasn't really on my radar until I saw Estelle mention in an Instagram story that the first was on sale for $0.99 for Kindle. I knew she enjoyed them and have gotten so many great recommendations from her in the past, so I decided to buy Beginner's Luck and give it a shot. I had no idea I'd end up reading it almost immediately and buying the second and third in the series in quick succession. 

This series follow three best friends who randomly win the lottery together and find their lives forever changed because of it. Each friend gets her own book, and each book is told in dual POV (the heroine and hero each get their own chapters, which I loved). I was a little skeptical of the lottery angle but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was barely mentioned in each book aside from the way it enable each heroine to pursue her own specific dream. In the Prologue for Beginner's Luck, there's a few lines that give you such a good sense of what to expect from this series. The characters are discussing what they'd buy if they happened to win:

        Kit said, "A house," but what she thought was, home.
        Zoe said, "An adventure," but what she thought was, forgiveness.
        Greer said, "An education," but what she thought was, freedom.

I just loved that so much – and it definitely gives you an idea of what to expect from each woman's book! You'll send them working towards the dream they've said out loud, but you'll also get to watch how that leads to (or interferes with) the unspoken desire of their heart. Each book was around 250 pages, which felt like the perfect length. The romances in each felt fully developed, every story packed an emotional punch, and there was just enough drama/conflict to keep me hooked without ever dragging on too long. They are contemporary romances, so just note that there are a few steamy scenes in each. I've said next to nothing about each individual book, but I think my overall feelings give you enough details to decide if these will appeal to you.

If you love books with strong female friendships and swoony romances, this series needs to be on your radar. I joked with Kelly that I'd just started to find my reading mojo and then almost lost it again because of the major book hangover I had when I was done. I was leaning towards a 4.5 rating for all three books, but I've got to give them a So Obsessed With It. The more I think about them, the happier I feel. And I see a re-read in my future!

I read one other book in October! The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare was a cute addition the series, though my least favorite so far. The animal rescue/rehoming story didn't appeal to me, and I struggle with how modern Dare's historical romances feel. I still So Liked It, but it's definitely one where I skipped a lot because of the steaminess. 

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. That is a great sign for me about Serpent & Dove because I DO love witches haha! I kept seeing amazing reviews so I picked up a copy but have predictably not read it yet. And congrats on baby #2, I didn't realize you were expecting again!! Very happy for you <3

  2. The Chance of a Lifetime series sounds delightful! I genuinely want to give those a shot now, especially after that little excerpt you shared from it. It really does give you a wonderful sense of the heroines in the story, and I'm so curious to see how they end up getting what they want!


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