Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Thriller/Suspense/Crime Fiction, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: February 2021 – Part 1


*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik, The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, and Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas


» A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked

» My first book of 2021 is going to be hard to top!  I LOVED everything about this!!! Excuse me while I run to read ALL of Novik’s backlist and anxiously await the second installment!

» I’m a sucker for a school setting, especially in fantasy  Always have been, always will!   A Deadly Education takes place in Scholomance, a dark and dangerous school where students risk their lives every day during even the most mundane tasks.  Novik really took the school setting to the next level for me.

» I thought this world and magic system that Novik created here was so unique and compelling.  A world overrun with monsters?  Magic fueled by mana that has to be earned?  Different abilities and affinities?  Yes!

» El was such a complex and dynamic main character.  While El was definitely snarky and cynical, it becomes very clear that this is simply a wall she has put up.   Under her tough exteriror, El is empathetic, clever, loyal, and hardworking.  I loved watching her character development over the course of this story.

» The plot in A Deadly Education is dark, twisty, and thrilling.  The tension and foreboding!  ((Chef’s kiss))WhatIDidntLike» It did take me a good chunk of the book to fully wrap my mind around this story & and become fully invested.  The pacing was definitely on the slower side for the first half of the book, but things picked up in the second half.

› Recommended to ⇒ those that enjoy survival stories; dark fantasy fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ death; murder

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst


» The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating System

*4.5 Stars*WhatILiked» Probably one of the best romances I’ve read.  While this was very much a romance, I really appreciated that there was some substance to this story in addition to the central romance plot line.

» One thing I really appreciated was that we really got to know both Tiffy and Leon separately before they get together.  I feel like showing us their lives separately only made the payoff more satisfying when they finally get together.  The Flatshare was also told in a dual perspective, which I really like in my romance books.

» This was a slow burn type of romance that was well executed.  Watching Tiffy and Leon get to know each other slowly through notes around their apartment was a delight.  At one point, I was even growing impatient that they hadn’t gotten together yet.  I’m not going to lie, I was worried in the beginning when both of our main characters were in relationships with other people.  Cheating can be a big turn off for me in books, so I am happy to report that there is none of that here.

» This is definitely a rom-com type of story.  I found myself laughing out loud on a few different occasions.  I definitely enjoyed the repartee between the characters and all of Tiffy’s antics.

» The audiobook for this one is a must!  While the man that reads Leon’s part did a great job, Carrie Hope Fletcher, the voice of Tiffy, really brings Tiffy’s personality and quirkiness to life.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of the movie The Lake House

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ toxic relationship; verbal/mental abuse

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Beach Read by Emily Henry


» Home Before Dark by Riley Sager


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating System

After reading Lock Every Door I knew I wanted to read more of Riley Sager’s books.   This was even BETTER than Lock Every Door.WhatILiked» Home Before Dark is such an interesting genre bending type of book.  This has a very classic horror feel to it, but it also fits beautifully into the thriller genre.  This is one of the most unsettling books I’ve ever read.  The suspense was so real!  It gave me the same feels that I had while reading The Haunting of Hill House last year.

» While I did anticipate one of the twists, Sager did not fail to surprise me multiple times throughout this book.  I feel like Sager almost does this on purpose to throw me a bone, but then will turn around and blow my mind over and over again.  The bottom line here, you are almost guaranteed to be surprised at least once in a Sager book.

» The format of this book – alternating between chapters of House of Horrors and Maggie’s present day – was the perfect way to tell this story.  The “book within a book” literary device can be hard to pull off, but Sager executes it beautifully here.

› Recommended to ⇒ those looking for a book with both horror & thriller elements

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ suicide; death of a child

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Any of Riley Sager’s books!

» Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas



5-Star Rating System

*4.5 Stars*WhatILiked» Hands down my favorite aspect of Cemetery Boys was that it is brimming with Latinx culture.  From the traditional foods, to the Día de los Muertos celebration, to the multi-generational family drama, I absolutely loved seeing all the Latinx influences woven into this story.

» Cemetery Boys is an #OwnVoices book with a gay trans main character, so the representation is authentic.  Much of this story is about Yadriel’s fight for acceptance for who he is.  My heart ached for Yadriel every time he was misgendered or when his family would say something hurtful.  Yadriel grows so much over the course of this story, so it was a delight to watch him gain self confidence and feel more comfortable in his skin by the end of this story.

» The characters, from the main characters to the side characters, are all so dynamic and lovable.  While I definitely enjoyed Yadriel as our main character, Julian stole my heart.  He is a special little cupcake that I couldn’t help but love.  Also, Martiza and all her sass? Yes! I adored these characters.

» While I’ve never been into paranormal romance, Thomas executes it perfectly without making it cheesy.

» While Cemetery Boys covers different heavy topics like identity, acceptance, and loss, there were plenty of lighthearted moments that made me smile and even laugh out loud.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of paranormal romance

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ transphobia; misgendering; blood sacrifices


Bookish Life (1)

Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂


1 thought on “Mini Book Reviews: February 2021 – Part 1”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.