Review: Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli

Alexis holds a copy of Edgewood- green with a girl wearing a purple dress and holding a dagger- in front of a bookshelf.

Alexis:

Another 5 ⭐ review!

Edgewood is a new adult fantasy that has everything I love in a book: atmospheric writing, creepy woods, and a dynamic love interest. 

There were two really great themes woven throughout this book. The first is music. Emeline, the main character, is a nineteen-year-old singer, trying to tour and get her foot in the door of the music world. I loved how music played a magical role in this book.

The second is memory. Emeline’s grandfather, who she calls Pa, is suffering from dementia. Ciccarelli bases his character on her own grandfather who suffered from dementia, and so she writes Pa with care, and her grief comes through in her writing. The themes of forgetting and remembering play a critical role in the story.

There’s also a Wood King, a city deep in the woods, a curse, and interesting creatures that appear in the story. And I found Hawthorne, the love interest, to be a well-rounded and mysterious yet warmhearted character. 

My only critique is that there were a couple of minor storylines that I think could’ve been explored further. However, I enjoyed this story immensely and definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something atmospheric and full of forest imagery and magical music.

(And it doesn’t hurt that the whole book is beautiful!)

Review: Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

Alexis:

Synopsis: Ghost Wood Song follows Shady Grove, a teenage girl living in rural Florida. Like her father before her, Shady can call ghosts from the grave by playing her father’s fiddle. When her brother is accused of murder, Shady decides to play the fiddle to figure out what really happened, straight from the mouth of the dead.

I really enjoyed the overall Southern gothic vibes of this book. It’s creepy and haunted, dealing with ghosts, an evil figure that rises from the dark, a haunted house, and plenty of death. But in between the dark sections, Waters writes about a teenage girl trying to figure out her feelings for one of her best friends, Sarah, and a boy named Cedar. While I’m not one for love triangles, I found that this one didn’t bother me too much. 

I also enjoyed how Waters wrote about music. All of Shady’s friends play music, too, and I liked hearing about their playing styles; I felt like I learned a lot about bluegrass music. Waters’ love for music shone on the page and through Shady’s character.

My one main critique is that I feel like I didn’t get to know some of the secondary characters as much as I wanted to. We’re told that Orlando is Shady’s best friend, but I feel like he rarely shows up in any scenes. Near the beginning, we’re told what Shady is like from Sarah’s mouth, before I felt like I really knew Shady as a character. Throughout the book, a lot of the characters are kept at a surface level, which is a shame, because I enjoyed all of the characters and wanted to get to know them better.

Despite this, I like Water’s writing style. I enjoyed her imagery and descriptions, and the way she writes about the setting really allows it to come alive on the page. 

If you’re looking for a murder mystery with themes of family, grief, love, and music, with LGBTQ representation, then pick this up!

VERDICT: 👻👻👻👻/5

Review: The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

Alexis:

The Happy Ever After Playlist was another beach read chosen by my mom. When she finished reading it, she handed it to me and said, “Wow, I actually really liked that one!”

For fun, I looked it up on Goodreads, only to find out that it’s actually a sequel. But at the end of the book, Jimenez said that she wrote this one first. Regardless, I don’t think you need to read the first one at all to enjoy this one!

This was such a fun read. Under each chapter title is a song to go with the aesthetic of the chapter. I was so excited to find a number of some of my favorite songs included in the playlists. I ended up listening to most of the songs on Spotify when I started each chapter. Turns out, there’s an actual playlist for this book, so I definitely recommend checking it out!

Sloan’s fiance died two years ago, and on the anniversary of his death, she almost runs over a dog named Tucker. She takes the dog in and learns that his owner is a musician currently on tour in Australia. The chapters alternate in POV between Sloan and Jason as they get to know each other and fall in love pretty quickly.

This is pretty much everything you could want in a rom-com: dogs, drama, flirting, chemistry, music, and complete with some classic rom-com tropes later down the road.

The dialogue was hilarious, the chemistry between Sloan and Jason was certainly there, and I loved the whole playlist idea. The second half was a little more dramatic than I usually like, but I enjoyed reading this book until the end.

VERDICT: 📚📚📚📚📚