L-L-L-Little Reviews #44: December 2022 – Part One

Posted December 8, 2022 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 6 Comments

So I finally got around to making a button for this post. We’ll see. I feel like maybe I made it a little too busy. I might re-do it next year for December. I also decided I was going to start posting one of these a month. So what I’ll do is as I read a book that I don’t plan on doing a separate review for, I will add it to this post. I’ll get the base post ready at the beginning of each month to go. I’ll also re-do the button for each month as well I think. At least the frame and extra decorations. One reason I decided was because my method of naming these based on how many of what types of books were in them was kind of boring and repetitive I thought. So since I did one in October, I am jut going to start with this December one which will include a couple books from November, and then starting next year there will be just one or two a month. I decided to divide this month up since I already have 5 books to add. So I’ll probably still do one at the end of the month too!

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #44: December 2022 – Part OneSpoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
Series: Spoiler Alert #1
Published by Avon on October 6, 2020
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own. 
Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he's known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.
April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.
Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.
With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?

My Review:

I bought a copy of this one back at the beginning of 2021. Didn’t get to it in all that time, so I put it on my TBR Challenge read list for this year. It took me a bit to get through it as I had a lot of other review books. I did enjoy the story a lot. However it was third person, and sometimes that makes the read a little slower for me. Once I got my nice soaking tub this past summer, I kept it by the tub for whenever I got to enjoy a nice hot bubble bath. I will probably try to read the others in the series when I might get time.

Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #44: December 2022 – Part OneTalk Santa to Me by Linda Urban
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on September 27, 2022
Genres: YA holiday romance
Pages: 280
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

A teen girl gets the perfect second try at a first kiss in this young adult romantic comedy.
Francie was born in a stable. Really. Granted, it was the deluxe model with the light-up star on the roof, one of the many Christmas items for sale at her family’s Hollydale Holiday Shop. Their holiday gift empire also includes the Santa School, which was founded by Francie’s beloved grandpa, who recently passed away.
Francie’s always loved working in the shop, but lately Aunt Carole has been changing everything with her ideas for too-slick, Hollywood-inspired Santas and horrible holiday-themed employee uniforms. Aunt Carole’s vision will ruin all the charm and nostalgia Francie loves about her family’s business…unless she does something about it.
But this winter is about more than preserving the magic of Christmas. Francie is saving up for a car and angling to kiss the cute boy who works at the tree lot next door—hopefully it will be good enough to wipe her fiasco of a first kiss from her memory.
As the weather outside gets more and more frightful, can Francie pull off the holiday of her dreams?

My Review:

The publisher sent me a copy of this book to read as a possible nomination for the 24-25 Gateway Award books. It ended up being a perfect holiday read. It was really cute and a really quick read! A lot of fun moments and funny moments, and some kind of emotional moments with her family.

The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #44: December 2022 – Part OneThe Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider
Series: Emry Merlin #1
Narrator: Rosie Jones
Published by Listening Library on September 21, 2021
Genres: YA Fantasy, YA Historical Romance, YA LGBTQ, YA Retelling
Length: 13:35
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Channeling the modern humor of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, bestselling author Robyn Schneider creates a Camelot that becomes the ultimate teen rom-com hotspot in this ultra-fresh take on the Arthurian legend.
Welcome to the great kingdom of Camelot! Prince Arthur’s a depressed botanist who would rather marry a library than a princess, Lancelot’s been demoted to castle guard after a terrible lie, and Emry Merlin has arrived at the castle disguised as her twin brother since girls can’t practice magic.
Life at court is full of scandals, lies, and backstabbing courtiers, so what’s a casually bisexual teen wizard masquerading as a boy to do? Other than fall for the handsome prince, stir up trouble with the foppish Lord Gawain, and offend the prissy Princess Guinevere.
When the truth comes out with disastrous consequences, Emry has to decide whether she'll risk everything for the boy she loves, or give up her potential to become the greatest wizard Camelot has ever known.

My Review:

This was for the Gateway list of what might be nominees for next school year. And I really enjoyed this one! I listened to the audiobook and it was really good. The narrator was perfect. I didn’t realize we’d have a sequel and I am definitely excited for that, will be waiting I guess since it isn’t out yet. I like the cover you see here better than the original cover. And I think if it does get picked I hope they use this cover on the paperback. There was a lot of suspense and a lot of things that were going on constantly. I loved the idea of a girl wizard and how they used it kind of in parallel with Morgan LaFey or Morgana as good and bad and then there was even a twist with that at the end that I didn’t see coming.

Princess of Souls by Alexandra Christo:

I received this book for free from Bookish First in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #44: December 2022 – Part OnePrincess of Souls by Alexandra Christo
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 11, 2022
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 416
Source: Bookish First
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

From Alexandra Christo, the author of To Kill a Kingdom, comes Princess of Souls, a Rapunzel-inspired YA fantasy romance about a teen witch groomed to steal souls for an immortal king and the reckless, rebellious boy to whom her fate is tied.
For sixteen years, Selestra has been trapped in her tower on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as the King's Witch, who foretells deaths in the Festival of Predictions. Outrunning your fate earns a wish and the chance to steal the King’s immortality. But die and your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.
A soldier in the King's army, Nox is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but, driven by revenge, he is determined to steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra.
Yet when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, their fates become entwined, and death seeks to take both their souls. Only by working together can they survive long enough to escape the dark fate and the immortal King that now hunts them.

My Review:

I won this from Bookish First a while back, and since they wait and send finished copies, I don’t always get them read when they are published. Sadly. This one was a really good book though! I picked it up and was intrigued right away! It was a big book, over 400 pages, so it did take me a little bit to read, because I always take more time with fantasy books. I thought this one had some differences compared to other fantasies, wasn’t exactly the same old pattern. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. This is my first book by this author, and I will definitely keep their books in mind for future reads, as well as for ordering for my students.

Screwing Mr. Scrooge by Nichole Greene:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #44: December 2022 – Part OneScrewing Mr. Scrooge by Nichole Greene
on November 3, 2022
Genres: Adult Holiday Romance, Adult Romantic Comedy
Pages: 167
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on Amazon

I thought I was thawing the icy exterior of Asher Bennet, turns out, he was melting mine.
Asher Bennett, my new boss for the holiday season, is a billionaire CEO who looks like a movie star and acts like a scrooge. He’s grumpy, uptight, and entirely too serious. But the worst part of all is that he is taking up far too much space in my mind. I’d prefer to stay in my safe zone, help the community where I can, and leave work at work. But this job is forcing us together and the closer we get, the harder he is to resist.
Clara Snow is over-the-top, a mystery wrapped in tacky Christmas packaging. My newest employee, full of sunshine, has kept me on my toes from the moment we met. Every smile she gives me chips away at the walls I’ve built around myself. But I have a company to run and that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.
The problem is, her warmth is inescapable even on the coldest winter night.

My Review:

This was a really cute, fun little holiday story. I sped through it in two sittings basically. It had steamy moments, and sweet moments. Funny moments and romantic moments. There were a few times it was more of the telling what was being felt or happening instead of the showing that would have made it a bit more vivid, but I look forward to reading more by this author in the future, and meeting her at a book convention next year!

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