February 2022 Wrap Up

February was another great reading month, having read so many good books and 12 total (one of them being the 800+ page beast that was my reread of House of Earth & Blood). I’m so happy with how much I’ve read so far in 2022, and hope I continue this reading energy throughout the year!

I read a total of 12 books this month, with 2 rereads – Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano and House of Earth & Blood by Sarah J. Maas.  The Finlay Donovan series has become of my favorites, & I loved being back in the world of SJM with my Crescent City reread. I plan on reading House of Sky & Breath soon! I kept up with my YA mystery/thriller kick by finishing the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series – I don’t have reviews for this trilogy but its become one of my new favorite YA series. The third & final book, As Good as Dead, was so dark & twisty, I’m still thinking about it. 

My gems from this month include Running Wild by K.A. Tucker (I need more Marie & Tyler), When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord, and I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys. I also read BookTok fave Reminders of Him and it’s become one of my favorite Colleen Hoover books. 

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano (reread) | 5/5

New Kid by Jerry Craft | 4/5

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord | 5/5 

Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson | 4.5/5 

As Good as Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson | 4.5/5 

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A FAV READ: Running Wild Review

418uWhNaEeLSummary (from the publisher):Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.

The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.

Or so she thinks.

While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

If there’s one book series that I love to binge-read, it’s K.A. Tucker’s Wild series. There is something just so addicting about this romance series set in rural Alaska. While the first two books & novella series follow Calla and Jonah, Running Wild follows Jonah’s best friend, Marie. Marie appeared in the first books, as a veterinarian, and yes, Jonah’s best friend who has always had unrequited feelings for him and makes Calla jealous. While I know some readers aren’t big Marie fans, I personally never really hated her and was so excited to learn that Running Wild would be Marie’s love story! 

Sidenote that I definitely do recommend picking up the first two Wild books & novella before picking up Running Wild, since there are spoilers for the first two books & nearly all of the characters from those books appear in Running Wild. 

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Red Thread of Fate Review

FKcob-uWQAMsST5Summary (from the publisher): Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant.

Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

The synopsis of Lyn Liao Butler’s Red Thread of Fate caught my attention as soon as I first heard about this book. The plot of Red Thread of Fate begins right from the get-go, as Tam’s husband, Tony, and his cousin Mia are killed in a car accident. While reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Tam finds out that she is the guardian of Mia’s five year old daughter, Angela. As Tam tries to figure out Angela’s place in her life and determine exactly why Mia & Tony were both together when they died, she is also trying to figure out what to do with Charlie, the young boy that Tony and her are set to adopt from China in a few months. 

I would categorize Red Thread of Fate as a family drama meets women’s fiction read, tackling motherhood, family, and love. There are many secrets revealed, as Tam pieces together why Mia would make Tam Angela’s guardian and her and Tony’s relationship. I do admit that I wasn’t really shocked by some of the secrets revealed until the last one revealed by Mia (trying to avoid spoilers). In addition, the book also focuses on Tam’s Taiwanese American upbringing and her husband and Mia’s childhood in China and then emigrating to America. I learned about a variety of topics, such as Taiwanese culture, immigration, life in China, and adoption, as Tam and Tony, after expiring a series of miscarriages, look to adopt a child from the Chinese adoption center that Tony’s mother had worked for. Lyn Liao Butler’s writing style was both informative about these topics while developing the plot and characters. 

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Summary (from the publisher): 

9781984836038Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite all-time authors and hands-down my favorite historical fiction author. As a Holocaust Studies minor in college and now English teacher, I’ve been more selective about the historical fiction I’ve picked up over the past few years, and I definitely favor non-fiction over historical fiction when it comes to history. However, Ruta Sepetys is such an auto-read author for me because her books always bring light to neglected or less discussed historical events. 

Her latest release, I Must Betray You, is set in 1989 Romania until the communist regime led by dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. I’ve learned about communism and the Eastern Bloc post World War II, but I had never particularly learned about the horrifying conditions and totalitarian government in Romania in the 1980s before reading this book. The book follows seventeen year old Cristian, who is forced to become an informer for the secret police. In exchange for finding out information on the American family his mother works for, the secret police will provide medicine for Cristian’s ill grandfather. Cristian wishes for the atrocities committed in Romania to be unveiled & risks his life in doing so, while not being able to trust anyone around him. 

I read I Must Betray You within 24 hours, based on the book’s writing style and the fact that I just needed more. The book has very short chapters, anywhere from 1-5 pages each, that make it easy to just keep going. Ruta Sepetys’ writing style is among my absolute favorites – she has such a way of being straight-to-the-point & plot driven while also using such vivid figurative language Every time that I contemplated putting the book down, the chapter would end with a cliff hanger or revelation that made me want to keep reading until the end. There’s twist after twist, even through the book’s ending. 

As mentioned before, I Must Betray You is an absolute shock to those who have not learned about Romania in the 1980s. I was absolutely horrified by the events and crimes committed by the Romanian secret police & government against people like Cristian, along with the general life conditions then. While terrifying to think about, I liked how we mostly received Cristian’s first person POV while also reading the secret police’s reports on Cristian and other informers & people the government was watching. 

Overall, I highly recommend reading I Must Betray You and Ruta Sepetys’ entire collection. Always, ALWAYS read the author’s note, research, & acknowledgment pages in Ruta Sepetys’ books because she provides so much background information and her overall experience researching and writing the book. Although I always want more of her writing, her books are always worth the wait based on the dedication and research she puts into each of her extremely well-written novels. 

Have you read I Must Betray You? Have you read any of Ruta Sepetys’ books? Which is your favorite? Share in the comments! 

Recent TBR Additions: February 2022 Editions 

Another month, another round of books I’ve recently added to my TBR. I definitely shouldn’t be adding books to my TBR (FYI please always keep adding books), in that I have piles of library books, spring 2022 ARCs, and the beasts that are Sarah J. Maas’ two HUGE Crescent City books sitting on my bedside table. 

Seoulmates (Seoul #2) by Jen Frederick – Jen Frederick’s Heart & Seoul has gotten mixed reviews among readers, but I personally really enjoyed this contemporary/contemporary romance (this book definitely leans more so on the women’s fiction side than contemporary romance) last summer. The first book follows a young woman who goes to Korea to find her birth mother. The first book ends with a semi plot twist/cliffhanger, so I’m looking forward to picking up book #2, Seoulmates

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng – Celeste Ng is just one of those authors where you don’t need to know much about the book before adding it to your TBR. My ‘claim to fame’ is that I read a review copy of  Little Fires Everywhere before it became a bestseller and then was adapted for Hulu, but the point is I’ve been waiting for a new book of hers since then! The book comes out on October 4th. 

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Reminders of Him Review

617uZq23IPLSummary (from the publisher): After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Colleen Hoover’s recent releases, including the ones I have picked up & some others that I haven’t picked up because their synopses haven’t grabbed my attention. For example, I haven’t picked up Heart Bones, I felt pretty mixed about Regretting You, I DNF’ed Layla this summer, I was not a huge November 9 fan, and I don’t have much memory of reading It Ends With Us – I am happy though for the fans who love that book that are getting It Starts With Us later this year. The biggest exception is Colleen Hoover’s indie release/thriller, Verity, which everyone should go drop what they’re doing and read that book ASAP.

So you might be wondering why I picked up CoHo’s latest release, Reminders of Him. This book was mostly a case of the hype getting to me, especially since TikTok & bookstagram have made CoHo a household name. I also was intrigued by the premise, following twenty six year old, Kenna, who has recently been released from prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter of her boyfriend. When the accident that took her boyfriend’s life occurred, she did not know that she was pregnant with her daughter, Diem. While serving time, Diem has been raised by Scotty’s grandparents and his best friend, Ledger. Ledger is an ex NFL player and now owner of a bar, where Kenna goes when returning to town. 

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All the Right Reasons Review

all-the-right-reasons-9781534499034_hrSummary (from the publisher): The Bachelor meets Gilmore Girls in this laugh-out-loud young adult romance about a girl who joins her mother on a reality dating show for single parents—only to fall for a contestant’s son.


Cara Hawn’s life fell apart after her father cheated on her mother and got remarried to a woman Cara can’t stand. When Cara accidentally posts a rant about her father online, it goes viral—and catches the attention of the TV producers behind a new reality dating show for single parent families.

The next thing Cara and her mother know, they’ve been cast as leads on the show and are whisked away to sunny Key West where they’re asked to narrow a field of suitors and their kids down to one winning pair. All of this is outside of Cara’s comfort zone, from the meddling producers to the camera-hungry contestants, especially as Cara and her mother begin to clash on which suitors are worth keeping around. And then comes Connor.

As the son of a contestant, Connor is decidedly off-limits. Except that he doesn’t fit in with the cutthroat atmosphere in all the same ways as Cara, and she can’t get him out of her head. Now Cara must juggle her growing feelings while dodging the cameras and helping her mom pick a bachelor they both love, or else risk fracturing their family even more for the sake of ratings. Maybe there’s a reason most people don’t date on TV.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I am always in the mood for a reality TV inspired read, so it’s no surprise that I was really excited to read Bethany Mangle’s All the Right Reasons. This YA contemporary follows seventeen year old Cara, whose life fell apart when her parents & gym co-owners in Ohio divorced after her dad cheated on her mom. While recording a digital video journal talking about her frustration with her parents, Cara accidentally publishes it for everyone to see, attracting a reality TV show for single parent family. After a whirlwind audition, Cara and her mom find themselves in Key West and stars of the reality show, Second Chance Romance, where Cara’s mom will choose a new husband and stepchild for their family. Cara and her mom are basically best friends, but the two go head-to-head over Cara’s mom’s love interest. 

All the Right Reasons was a fun & light-hearted take on the reality TV storyline. There have been more & more The Bachelor inspired books over the past few years (I list some of my recs at the end of this review), but this was the first YA book I’ve read with the inspired synopsis, and the family angle was very unique. I really enjoyed Cara and her mom’s relationship, especially as its put to the test on the show. There is a slight Gilmore Girls feel to their relationship, as Cara and her mom have been a duo ever since Cara’s parents separated. There’s ALL the drama expected from a Bachelor like show, from choosing who gets eliminated to on-set sabotage and so much more. It’s overall such a fun read, and I loved again diving into the on-set events and behind-the-scenes action (I do admit that I predicted Cara’s mom’s final choice from the get-go). There was also representation surrounding race (Cara identifies as Korean & white), and there’s also disability representation. 

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YA MAMMA MIA LOVE LETTER: When You Get the Chance Review

51ec6MjgywS._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Summary (from the publisher): Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.


There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts: 

 It goes without saying that I love Emma Lord’s books so much. Her YA books balance romance, friendship, character development, family, & more with such unique settings. If Tweet Cute was a love letter to food and You Have a Match was a love letter to sisterhood & The Parent Trap, then Emma Lord’s latest release, When You Get the Chance, is an absolute love letter to Mamma Mia, musicals, & NYC…& yes, I am definitely listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack while writing this review!  

When You Get the Chance follows rising high school senior, Millie Price, who dreams of becoming a successful Broadway actress. When Millie gets accepted into a precollege theatre program across the country, her single dad isn’t so keen to send her. Millie knows that her mother would’ve supported Millie’s desire to jumpstart her career training… except that Millie has never met her mother, only knowing that her mother left Millie at her father’s doorstep when she was a baby. When Millie & her best friend, Teddy, come across her dad’s LiveJournal from his college days, Millie identifies 3 potential women who could potentially be her mom and is determined to spend her summer in NYC finding the one, while also competing against her high school rival, Oliver, for a competitive talent agency internship. 

I just have to mention that Emma Lord has some of the BEST book covers in the YA book game. Not that a book’s cover affects my opinion, but I just love the brightness & pink scheme of the book cover & I absolutely want Millie’s outfit. 

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February 2022 TBR

There’s a ton of books that I’d like to read over the next few weeks, & I found myself wanting to write it out & share with you all. As per usual, my TBR is very fluid/subject to change because I am the definition of mood reader – for example, I did not expect to be going down a semi YA mystery/thriller rabbit hole towards the end of January and now entering this month! I also have a ton of books & new releases on hold from the library, so depending on how many come in will also impact what I do indeed read & pick up this month (new releases either come in right during release week… or about 3-4 weeks later). Some of these books include Fake by Erica Katz, I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys, Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano, Once More with Chutzpah by Haley Neil, and Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. 

Good Girl, Bad Blood and As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson – A few of my students get their book recommendations from Book Tok (& I hopefully a few from me!) and they told me I needed to read Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. I ate up this YA murder mystery and now plan on binge-reading the next two books, Good Girl, Bad Blood and As Good As Dead.

I killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick – I read a review copy of Kit Frick’s Very Bad People and I need more of her writing. I killed Zoe Spanos was always one of those books on my TBR radar, but now I’m even more exciting to pick up this YA murder mystery up. 

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