3 star, adult

Review: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.


“We all have a book that changed us forever,” I said. “One that let us know that we’re not alone. What’s yours?”

The Paris Library lived up to its name, bringing bursts of sympathy and wonder in equal measures. With a deep look into Odile’s past during the Nazi Occupation in Paris and her current life in the States, the biggest question one can ask is, how do the two points in her life connect?

I came in thinking this was going to be equal, alternating POVs between Lily and Odile, but it definitely focuses on Odile a lot more in the past. Lily’s story fills in the gaps and gives us glimpses into who Odile somehow becomes while pieces of the puzzle are still missing. I will start off by saying that I docked off stars because it does get slow in the middle at times, and the flow doesn’t always propel me to flip through the book as fast as possible. It meanders and lets us laze in the pages like we are going out on a stroll or browsing aimlessly in a library. But this is the only reason why it’s anything less than 5 stars, let me tell you.

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3 star, adult

Review: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen #27

Spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah Swensen doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered…and Andrea is the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or “Ricky Ticky,” as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!



This is a pretty generous 3 Drink Me Potions rating from me. I would say realistically it’s closer to a 2.5 for sure. That being said, these books are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Not always the most quality, but definitely an easy and lighthearted read, full of recipes for distractions. So no matter the quality of the writing, I find myself picking up one of these novels once in a while just to satisfy (perhaps that younger) part of me.

I do have my qualms about this one. I recently read one of the author’s first books in the series, and I thought it was so much more well written. Now, I haven’t really read them in order nor have I done an in depth analysis to say whether this is a pattern or not, but I definitely enjoyed that other book (Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder) way more as a lighthearted murder mystery with the amateur detective trope.

This particular book had way too much filler (and seemingly way more recipes, though those I don’t mind), but that reduced the plot to have little essence. Comparing to what I was expecting coming off reading the other book, this one left a lot to be desired.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder follows the amateur detective but expert baker, Hannah Swensen, as she investigates yet another murder in her small town called Lake Eden. When the widely unpopular mayor is suddenly put out of commission, the list of suspects stretches on and on. How will Hannah be able to eliminate all the suspects in order to figure out the killer’s identity?

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3 star, YA

Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Series: Fable #2

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.



Another seafaring journey for Fable in this sequel to her titular book, Namesake starts off where the first one ended, carrying Fable farther away from her friends and newfound family into the unknown across the sea.

I didn’t have any particularly strong feelings for book 1 so I wasn’t sure what to expect for book 2. And what I found I enjoyed immensely more here was Fable’s individual journey away from the crew she had just joined. Alone and seeing a familiar face on the ship taking her captive, she didn’t know who to turn to for help or guidance except herself. Her strength came in her decisive actions, whether that be to observe and bide her time or to act with the risk of everything falling apart.

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