• STAR RATING:  5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 440 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: August 29, 2013
  • PUBLISHER: Doubleday Children’s Books
  • WHAT SERIES? Lockwood & Co.
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Screaming Staircase
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Murder, Fatphobia (George is described as fat several times), Child death (off page)
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud


When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

This is the first middle grade book I’ve read in….a long time. Like a long, long time. I always read ahead of my peers when I was in school, so I was out of middle grade by like…5th grade? Either way, it doesn’t matter, not really. I picked The Screaming Staircase up simply because I’d seen the TV show and wanted more of the characters. (And not to mention that I absolutely loved Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus series.) Well, color me absolutely not surprised at all because I loved this book.

Look, if you need a break from the adult world and want something that’s funny, charming, and sometimes quite spooky, this is what you want to read next. Stroud stretches his writing chops here creating a whole parallel world to ours that is plagued with a huge problem: ghosts are coming back from the dead and killing people. For some reason, only children can see (and fight) the ghosts. Adults just…die. Stroud sets this world up quickly and without any impossibly huge info dumps — everything you need to know is given to you in bite-sized pieces between everything else.

Our heroes are Anthony Lockwood, a rather mysterious young man who owns his own ghost hunting/fighting business. George Cubbins — a large boy who focuses on research and irritating everyone. He was quite annoying, but not enough to degrade my experience of the book. Lucy Carlyle, whose POV the books are told, is a girl who is running away from a horrible experience. Together, they try to solve a murder-mystery. Is it predictable? Maybe a little, but you have to remember who the audience is, and well, predictable does NOT mean badly written. It didn’t lessen my enjoyment of this book at all to know where it was going.

This was so much fun. I’m absolutely going right onto the next book in the series.

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Hello, my friends. I hope that you’re having a great Wednesday so far. Here it’s incredibly smoky, and hard to breathe. I’m asthmatic and I am coughing up a storm. It’s not going to be pretty today — it’s apparently going to be the worst today, and then maybe get better? We’ll see. I think we’re going to have problems with smoke until they get the fires up in Canada taken care of. Oh well.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words. The idea is simple, every week you dedicate a post to the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What have you just finished reading? What are you going to read next?

I am on the last book of the Lockwood & Co series and I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with these books. They are so well written (though the fat shaming I could have done without) and they’re so much fun. I love the mysteries at the heart of every book, and the characters themselves are all absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend them. Next, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll read, but I might dive into my ARC of Dark Water Daughter.

Happy Wednesday!

a banner that reads Top Ten Tuesday


Well, it’s Tuesday again, and I’m dealing with some asthma issues due to wildfires in Canada blowing their smoke over the border and right into WNY. It stinks, but there is literally nothing I can do about it other than pray for rain. Everything is so hazy and gross. I hope you’re fairing better, friends.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is BOOK COVERS THAT REMIND ME OF SUMMER. Easy. I picked covers with BRIGHT colors. And one with a shirtless man seemingly by the pool. Very summery.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy Tuesday!


Morning, my lovelies! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Ours was alright — I was still hobbling around for most of it. I was feeling better on Sunday, but then I went grocery shopping and my foot absolutely disagreed with that choice. I was fine after a couple hours, but still. It hurt BAD after that. Today, though, it seems to be healing. Munchkin was pushing his LIMIT yesterday. He was not listening to a single thing that we said, which was extremely frustrating. I know he’s just feeling his age — two — but he was rough yesterday. Here’s hoping he’s better today. I hope you had a great weekend, my friends, and that you’ll have an even better week!


As someone who has a BA in Art History, any book relating to art history is of EXTREME INTEREST. (Obviously) So when I saw this book on another book blogger’s post, I immediately added it to my TBR. Unfortunately, my library only has the ePub version, and not the kindle version so I can’t even borrow it!! (This is really frustrating.) I may have to buy this, hopefully it’ll be on sale soon.


Enter the sumptuous world of 17th century Florence, where art and magic are interwoven. Artemisia Gentileschi is a bright talent mired in shadows and will stop at nothing to make her mark, or exact her revenge – perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke.

When Artemisia Gentileschi arrives in Florence seeking a haven for her art, she faces instant opposition from the powerful Accademia, self-proclaimed guardians of the healing and necrotic magic that protect the city from plague and curses. The all-male Accademia jealously guards its power over art and architecture, and has no place for an ambitious young woman arriving from Rome under a cloud of scandal.

Alone and fighting for every commission, Artemisia begins winning allies among luminaries such Galileo and Michelangelo the Younger, as well as the wealthy and powerful Cristina de’ Medici. But when the shadow of her infamous rape trial in Rome turns her thoughts to vengeance, and an incendiary preacher turns his ire from Galileo to Florence’s art world, Artemisia must choose between revenge and her dream of creating a legacy that will span the generations.

Have a wonderful week!


So May was a pretty dang good month, if you ask me! The weather has turned around and is now absolutely gorgeous. It was my birthday, my son’s birthday and Mother’s Day! A lot of celebrating, and a lot of visiting family made May really awesome. I hope yours was, too, friend, and let’s hope that our June is just as fantastic (but maybe with less bodily injury in my part…) Anyway, onto the wrap up!

For my Goodreads challenge, I am sitting at 58% done at the end of May! I am SHOCKED that I am this far along in my challenge. At this rate I’m going to have to add more books to the goal!


I’m currently 21 books ahead of where I need to be to complete the challenge on time!


I CANNOT believe that I read 19 books in May. I am seriously proud of myself, even if most of these clocked in around 300 pages. Four were ARCs, most of the rest were KU reads.


I did better on reviews this month, but still didn’t put up reviews for EVERY book I read on the blog. Most of the books I read were rambly-half-reviewed on Goodreads, if anyone’s interested.

✨ = ARC


I received one ARC this month — Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands! I’m still not going crazy requesting ARCs because I’m having so much fun reading backlist stuff at the moment. These other two books were gifts!

Well, that’s that this month, my friends! I hope you had a great May. ❤


  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 304 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: June 15, 2023
  • PUBLISHER:  Penguin Random House
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Domestic abuse, Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, Death of parent, Sexual assault
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott, or Sistersong by Lucy Holland

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


An atmospheric, feminist retelling of the early life of famed villainess Morgan le Fay, set against the colourful chivalric backdrop of Arthurian legend.

When King Uther Pendragon murders her father and tricks her mother into marriage, Morgan refuses to be crushed. Trapped amid the machinations of men in a world of isolated castles and gossiping courts, she discovers secret powers. Vengeful and brilliant, it’s not long before Morgan becomes a worthy adversary to Merlin, influential sorcerer to the king. But fighting for her freedom, she risks losing everything – her reputation, her loved ones and her life.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of all retellings with a female lead being proclaimed to be ‘feminist’ retellings. It’s not necessarily true, for one — you can have a retelling with a female lead and the book be almost misogynistic. Having a female lead doesn’t mean you’re feminist. Luckily, Morgan is My Name does have feminism coming off of it in waves — but don’t expect a woman to lead a queendom or anything inside it’s pages. This is Dark Ages Britain we’re talking about here. There’s only so much Keetch could get away with here without losing the historical accuracy that she was so clearly going for.

Because yes, while this book does have magic in it, there is very much a layer of historical realness here that isn’t usually present in these sorts of books. It truly feels like we’re right beside Morgan in these cold and drafty castles, watching as war after war is started. Morgan is My Name reminded me very much of Lucy Holland’s Dark Earth that I read last year and loved. These are both dark books with a heavy dose of female companionship and love. The Arthurian legend is here, but it’s very much in the background at first. Arthur isn’t even born until maybe halfway through the book. What we start with, and where we’re based is in Morgan’s childhood.

The aforementioned Morgan is, of course, Morgan le Fay or Morgana of the Arthurian legend. While she’s usually painted as something of a villain, in this particular book she’s just a wild-at-heart girl eager to learn everything she possibly can about healing. We see her heal someone miraculously with just her hands, and we see her dip into what we are supposed to assume is dark magic to bring someone else back from the brink of death. Morgan has magic, and she’s desperate to use it. Unfortunately for her, her brute of a husband all but forbids her. (She ends up going behind his back and doing it anyway.) We see all sorts of familiar names and places in this book, but a great deal of it seems to be pulled from either history or made up. It’s fine! It works wonderfully.

I really enjoyed Morgan is My Name — I love the Arthurian legend and always have. This was a fresh new look at a character that is most often shoved to the side or painted in rather broad strokes. I loved getting a look at what her childhood must have been like, at what forced her to become what she does.

I truly thought this was a standalone novel, but the end of the book proves that to be absolutely false. I am very much looking forward to where Keetch is going with this. Right now, I can’t see this Morgan doing what Morgana does in the original legends, but I guess we’ll see how she gets there! Four stars!


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Morning! Good news is my foot feels a little better today. Bad news — I’ll have to do a bit more walking today than I have been doing. Kiddo’s got his 2 year doc appt today. Time to see how much of a giant he is!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words. The idea is simple, every week you dedicate a post to the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What have you just finished reading? What are you going to read next?

I’m in the last quarter of my ARC of Morgan Is My Name, a retelling of the Arthurian legend through Morgan le Fay’s eyes. So far I’m really enjoying it — it’s right up teenaged-me’s alley! I just finished up Melt For You over the weekend. My third reread of that book, and it’s still fantastic. Next, I’m going to be diving into the world of Lockwood and Co, because I loved the TV series, and because I love the author’s other work! It’s sitting on the border between YA and middle grade, when it comes to age ranges, but I don’t mind in the slightest.

Happy Wednesday!

a banner that reads Top Ten Tuesday


Well, friends, I sincerely hope that you had a better weekend than I did. I know, I know, I should be so lucky to have a four day weekend, but uh, not when it started with asthma issues, and ended with me in urgent care. Yay! I fell spectacularly whilst trying to get the bath started for the kid, and in the process did something to my foot. I felt all my toes go one way, while my foot went the other, and heard them all pop/crack. Urgent care says nothing’s broken, but goddangit it hurts like hell. SO I HOPE YOU’RE DOING BETTER THAN I AM, FRIEND.

Oh — I also want to note that my husband finished a half-marathon on Sunday and I am so very, very proud of him. Please congratulate him. 🎉❤

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is THINGS THAT INSTANTLY MAKE ME NOT WANT TO READ A BOOK. So the opposite of last week, really. Easy peasy. I know what my limits are.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

  1. BABIES/KIDS IN DANGER/KILLED – This one’s self-explanatory, I feel. I’ve never been a fan of watching or reading this happen, but since having my own munchkin, well, I want to read this even less. Usually if I see this happen in a book it’s an instant DNF. I know my own limits, and I know that reading this usually leads to me thinking about it for days or even having nightmares.
  2. SEXUAL ASSAULT – I’ve read enough of this for a lifetime. I do not want to read any more. There are other ways to move a story forward, and this one is rarely used appropriately.
  3. EXTREME VIOLENCE – I just am not a fan of this? You can have battles, you can have fights, but I don’t need the gory details.
  4. BAD WRITING – This is an obvious one, but sometimes I can struggle through if I like the story enough. Sometimes prose isn’t everything, but most of the time bad writing leads to a DNF.
  5. THE ‘CHOSEN ONE’ IS A WHITE CIS MALE. – I am so tired of this trope when it’s written exactly like this. I had a hard time with The Bladed Faith for this exact reason. The chosen one can be literally anyone why is it always a white cis dude?

No where near ten, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but whatever. I’m half-brain dead from this weekend. This is what you get, friends!


  • STAR RATING:  3.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 296 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: June 23, 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on KU
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, Misogyny, Sexism, Infidelity, Sexual harassment, Death
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary


There’s a devil on my shoulder, and every Monday morning she announces herself. She’s this delicious flame in my chest, a flurry of whispered suggestions in my ear. Suggestions I ignore…because every single one of them is about Ben Tate.

Ben—Stealer of Clients, Evicter of Homeless Women, Nemesis. Sitting across from me every damn Monday with his lovely, smug smile and his too-perfect teeth, the living symbol of everything I hate.

It’s been my policy to avoid him, but when a case comes into the firm—one that could change his career and mine—I make an exception. It means weekends and evenings by his side. It means enduring his smirk and his smart mouth and never taking the bait.

Until the night Ben says, “Beg.”
And that devil on my shoulder decides to make a few demands of her own.

Unfortunately, The Devil You Know is (so far) my least favorite book of the The Devils series. There’s much less humor in this one, and there’s a lot more screwing with each other in not so nice ways. My main beef is with the main couple — Gemma and Ben both had some serious baggage that kept rearing its ugly head throughout the entire book. I understand jaded characters, characters who struggle with trust, etc. But when the entire book is about it, well, it just…gets old quickly.

As someone who isn’t particularly career ambitious, reading about what Gemma is doing with her life was just sort of depressing. Gemma is a lawyer at a hot-shot law office. She’s been there six years, and is doing everything in her power to make partner. She hates it there, but stays because she’s got a plan. She lives in a blank-slate apartment with minimal furniture and no decorations. She works all week — including the weekends. She never took a break, and was seemingly very proud of it. It was…well it was almost boring, honestly.

I really wanted to like Ben more than I did. He really helped Drew out in her book, but in his own, well. He comes across as a kind-of creepy, almost stalkery kinda guy. Admittedly, Gemma could be described that way too, but that’s probably another reason that I wasn’t a fan of this one. That’s not to say that the writing itself took a nosedive or anything. It’s still top-notch, not overly long or anything. I just didn’t mesh with the characters. Probably just a me thing, but who knows! Not every book is for every person, so onwards and upwards, my friends!

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  • STAR RATING:  5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 316 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: January 20, 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on KU
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Alcoholism, Child abuse, Drug use, Suicide, Cancer, Panic attacks/disorders
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary, for more doctor romance


You don’t really know a guy until you’ve vacationed with him…

When Drew Wilson’s ex-boyfriend Joel “Six” Bailey asks her to go on his family trip to Hawaii with him just as her life is falling apart, she decides it’s the perfect time to give him another chance.

The hitch? The Bailey family includes Six’s rude older brother, Joshua—a hot-nerd doctor who has hated Drew since the moment they met and once suggested she’d steal the family silver.

Drew is determined to win the Baileys over and give this thing with Six a fair shot…but Joshua is making that difficult. Not simply because he is in her way at every turn, but because—as one tropical adventure leads to the next—she’s beginning to wonder if obnoxious, odious Joshua might be the brother she actually belongs with.

Good news! The sequel to A Deal with the Devil was just as good, if not slightly better!! This one took me just slightly longer to read because I picked it up right as I was leaving work on Friday, and then well, it’s next to impossible to read over the weekend. So it took me like…three days to swallow this one down, but omg. I could have read it in 5 hours like I did the first one! O’Roark is absolutely phenomenal at creating bickering characters that are perfect for each other. I loved reading Drew and Josh butt heads — they loved picking at each other and then all the sudden, Josh was protective. I love that in a hero, so…yes. Sign me up for more of this.

ANYWAY, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is Drew’s story — she featured semi-regularly in A Deal with the Devil, but honestly, you don’t need to read that one to understand what’s going on here. It’s very self-contained which is another great thing about these books. Regardless, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is about what happens when Drew is invited along to her on-again-off-again boyfriend’s family’s vacation. I never really caught on to why she agreed to go — Six made her so angry and upset — but she did go, and boy was that the right decision. I don’t need to summarize this — it’s all in the synopsis above.

I felt so bad for Drew almost the entire novel. She was so unhappy with her life and just sort of…muddled through it. She didn’t know how to get out, how to make it better, or even that she could make it better until she really got to know Josh. He woke her up from her life. Watching him watch her, watching him take care of her in his own way… well, it was just…chef’s-kiss amazing. Then you turn around and see how Six treated her. Oof. No comparison. I loved that Josh wanted Drew to fix her life for her, not so they could be together.

I loved this book, and yes, I’m going right into the next one. Don’t wait up for me!

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