This is a really fun collection of ARC Reviews, I think, with a little bit of everything. Bad Girl Reputation by Elle Kennedy is a contemporary romance I enjoyed that came out on October 4th. A Turn of the Tide by Kelley Armstrong is a time slip romance between two historical time periods, which was unique and I really enjoyed it! It also came out on October 4th. And then finally, we have Witchful Thinking by Celestine Martin, which came out at the end of September so I’m a little late on it. But regardless, I’m excited to tell you about my thoughts on these three books!
Bad Girl Reputation
by Elle Kenendy
On the one hand, I really liked Bad Girl Reputation and found it much more satisfying than the first book in the series. On the other hand, I feel like there is so much character development on display here that doesn’t really get explained or otherwise feel earned. In the immediate aftermath of reading this book, that left me feeling a little disappointed, but with time between me and finishing this book, I look back with more fondness than I felt right after finishing it so I think that’s probably a good sign.
Essentially, this book is following Gen and Evan. Gen is back in Avalon Bay because her mom died, but she left really without saying bye to anyone, particularly her long time boyfriend, Evan. However, Evan comes to her mom’s funeral and the two realize that the sparks between them have certainly not faded away. But Gen is trying to turn over a new leaf. She wants to be a “good girl” now. She doesn’t really drink anymore, nor does she go out and party. Evan, on the other hand, has almost not changed at all. He may have even gotten worse. Gen fights her attraction to Evan for the next… while of the book, with limited amounts of success. Meanwhile, Evan decides he’s going to prove to Gen that he can he can be a good person too.
I think it’s more Evan’s character development that bothered me more than anything, because you don’t actually get to see him develop. You just get… sort of told that he’s volunteering now to prove a point and then… he’s… reformed? I’m not really sure what my takeaway with Evan is supposed to be if I’m being totally honest. So while I enjoyed the story, I just wish Elle Kennedy’s talent with characters had been a little more on display in this particular book.
Oh, and the narrator did a great job! I really enjoyed listening to this one.
A Turn of the Tide
by Kelley Armstrong
I started reading this book for the Try a Chapter tag I like to do with my next month’s ARCs, particularly because I know I’m chronically late in getting my reviews posted. Well, when I read the first chapter of A Turn of the Tide, I didn’t want to put the book down at all! From the get go, this book pulled me all the way in and I was so invested immediately in the story. I loved the way this book showed us two different historical timelines and I loved the mystery combined with the romance. I think if I were to try and articulate where this book falls on the mystery to romance side of things, I would say the mystery felt a little more important than the romance in my mind, but overall, I was really satisfied with both elements of the book.
Essentially, this book follows Miranda Hastings as she goes to travel through the time slip at Thorne Manor, expecting to wind up in the 21st Century. Instead, she winds up in Georgian England and realizes that the man she’s just encountered is about to die (she’s seen him as a ghost). So she endeavors to save the life of Nicolas Dupris, a Robin Hood type figure. As things progress, there’s a lot of adventure and a lot of misdirection. I was actually curious to find out exactly what was going on with the mystery and felt like the ultimate reveal was really satisfying.
Overall, I’m really loving this series and I’m looking forward to more from it! (There will be more from it, right??)
by Celestine Martin
Witchful Thinking is a small town romance between a witch and a merman who had a connection back in high school, but ultimately nothing ever came from it. Now, Alex (merman) is back in town and his parents have gifted the world-traveling, no roots to put down merman with a house. And Lucy (witch) is feeling like her stable life is a little too stable. She doesn’t feel like her life is exciting enough in comparison to that of her school mates. Lucy, her sisters, and a cousin do a wish spell during which time Lucy wishes to live a more exciting life and seems to find herself incapable of saying no for a bit. Plus, she accidentally sent out a class notes update spicing up her life, just a bit.
I will begin by acknowledging that I probably read this at not the best time to read it because I am very sick and my reading comprehension may be compromised. However, ultimately, I felt like this book was good, but paced slightly awkwardly and I never fully understood Alex and his lack of desire to be tied down. It just didn’t feel developed in a way that made me understand the initial reticence or how he just sort of got over it. Overall, I mostly felt like Lucy was fully developed and Alex was given a couple of personality traits but never became a full person. So I had a good time, but wasn’t able to fully sink into the story or really fall in love with the characters. That said, I am definitely looking forward to returning to Freya Grove because I am intrigued by the rest of the Calloway women!
Overall, I enjoyed these three books, but the stand out for me was definitely A Turn of the Tide. I had a great time with that one. Have you read any of these yet? Do you want to? Let me know either way!