Happy Halloween! No tricks, just treats around here and for me, my monthly book review is always a treat!
While this isn’t my absolute favorite holiday, I have always loved dressing up and choosing costumes, particularly group costumes for my family, and I enjoy going all out. This year, my inspiration was from Vi and her obsession with Frozen.
I am so looking forward to trick-or-treating with this crew tonight, but first things first, let’s take a look back at the books I read this month.
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Fueled by too much vodka and a broken heart, young witch Vivienne Jones uses her magic to place a seemingly harmless curse on her now ex-boyfriend, Rhys Penhallow. Now nine years later, Rhys has returned to town and it isn’t long before Vivi realizes that innocent curse she placed years ago actually has very real consequences. Vivi and Rhys now have to work together to reverse the curse and save the town . . . and maybe discover that their summer love from all those years ago hasn’t faded like they thought.
I specifically chose this book to read over Halloween weekend and that absolutely upped the enjoyment level for me. The small town setting feels like a Hallmark movie but for witches at Halloween and that was just the vibe I was going for. It’s obviously fantasy so you have to ignore the unrealistic bits, but I loved Vivi and Rhys and their dynamic and found the story to be a fun little world to get swept up in. I did wish there was some more backstory and side plot development, specifically relating to their families, and felt like there were a few unresolved or hastily-resolved plot points. There were some random things thrown in there that could have been skipped in order to give more time to relevant side plots, and the ending felt a big rushed. Fair warning: it’s not incredibly graphic, but there are quite a few steamy moments and references (felt a bit overkill at times) so I’d give it an R-rating for content. Overall, I liked it and it was a satisfying choice for Halloween weekend, but I think if I wasn’t in the mood for that specific vibe I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I’d give it a solid B rating, upping it to a B+ if you’re reading over Halloween!
The Wedding Ringer by Kerry Rea
Once a successful blogger, Willa has been struggling to figure out a plan for her life ever she found her fiancé and her best friend in bed together. After a chance encounter in a coffee shop introduces her to Maisie, they realize they might be the answer to one another’s problems. Willa needs money to start fresh in a new city and Maisie needs one more bridesmaid for her upcoming wedding and is willing to pay Willa to fill the role. Willa is determined not to be burned by love or best-friendship again, so through bridal showers and dress fittings she works to not actually grow close to Maisie – or to the charming best man, Liam. As the wedding approaches, the relationships she’s forming seem less and less like a job and more and more like the real thing and Willa has to decide if it’s worth truly putting herself out there again.
I think this would probably be classified as a romance, but the theme definitely centers more on the importance of female friendship. Willa is clearly way more devastated about losing her best friend from childhood than she was about losing her fiancé, and the central plot focuses much more on her relationship with Maisie than it does on her relationship with Liam. On the one hand, I found that to be very refreshing, but on the other hand, it got really repetitive. Willa is devastated over Sarah. Willa can’t figure out why Maisie doesn’t have real friends. Willa resists getting close to anyone. Rinse and repeat. I guess I got a bit tired of it being continuously about that cycle and I felt like that left some other things underdeveloped. I would have liked to see more of the relationship with Liam and more development within the supporting characters. I liked Willa, Maisie, and Liam and wanted to root for all three, but I also cringe reading plots based on a lie that you know all along is going to be a disaster when it’s revealed, so that did affect my enjoyment a little. I can’t share other feelings without it getting into spoiler territory so I’ll just say: this was a fine read with likeable main characters that uplifts female friendship, but ultimately left a few things to be desired and I ended up feeling like it was B- level.
The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey
If you’ve ever seen the American version of the TV show The Office, you know Jenna and Angela as two of the main characters, Pam and Angela. What you might not know is that this show brought them together not only as coworkers, but real life best friends. This book recaps their experience on the show and how their friendship grew alongside it through the years, giving lots of fun behind-the-scenes tidbits and photos along the way.
I would consider myself to be a moderate Office fan – I’m not going to win any obscure Office trivia contests and I didn’t watch while it was on TV but I’ve seen all the episodes since and definitely think it’s funny. This book was such an entertaining deep dive into the show and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I actually think this book would still be enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the show; it gives so much insight into how TV shows are made, which I found to be fascinating, and Jenna and Angela’s dynamic is so relatable. You know when you see a magazine feature along the lines of “celebrities: they’re just like us!” and then you see a picture of them pumping gas for their car or watching their kids play soccer? This book felt like that only so much better. I loved reading how Jenna and Angela love crafting and Target and hosting Yankee Swap (aka White Elephant) gift exchanges. Their red carpet experiences were both hilarious and charming and hearing how their friendship grew through successes and challenges, both at work and in their personal lives, was heartwarming. Overall, I just found this book to be a delightful read and especially recommend it to any fan of the show!
Have a happy Halloween!