Book Reviews

Recent Audiobooks I Listened to While Knitting

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and earring making while listening to audiobooks. It’s one of my favorite things to do and makes doing the most menial tasks exciting. So I wanted to sum up my recent audiobook reads with these mini reviews of Check & Mate, Foxglove, After the Forest, The Headmaster’s List, & The Hunting Moon.

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Foxglove by Adalyn Grace

A duke has been murdered. The lord of Thorn Grove has been framed. And Fate, the elusive brother of Death, has taken up residence in a sumptuous estate nearby. He’s hellbent on revenge after Death took the life of the woman he loved many years ago…and now he’s determined to have Signa for himself, no matter the cost.

Signa and her cousin Blythe are certain that Fate can save Elijah Hawthorne from prison if they will entertain his presence. But the more time the girls spend with Fate, the more frightening their reality becomes as Signa exhibits dramatic new powers that link her to Fate’s past. With mysteries and danger around every corner, the cousins must decide if they can trust one another as they navigate their futures in high society, unravel the murders that haunt their family, and play Fate’s unexpected games—all with their destinies hanging in the balance.

Dangerous, suspenseful, and seductive, this sequel to Signa and Death’s story is as utterly romantic as it is perfectly deadly.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I was absolutely taken by storm by Belladonna and had the highest hopes for Foxglove and they were absolutely met. I loved where this sequel went not only did it give me more to swoon for, but I actually gasped. This entire series has stolen my heart. It’s swoony, has a tinge to the darkness, and is full of mystery. To sink back into the world of Belladonna has been so satisfying. The audiobook narration was sweeping and graceful, Kristin Atherton did a phenomenal job at infusing each sentence with promise, tension, and romance.

Fate is here to mess things up and Foxglove delivers a perfect balance between romance and mysterious death. With perspectives of Signa and Blythe, you’re wrapped up in two stories and two intrigues. How society fails to see the talents of women and how they use it to their advantage. In Foxglove I loved how Grace not only ties up loose ends, but also manages to solve murder while also introducing new grand plot movements. Yet another installment that solidifies my love for the series. Find Foxglove on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.

The Headmaster’s List by Melissa de la Cruz

One of them was driving.

One of them was high.

One of them screamed.

And one of them died.

When fifteen-year-old Chris Moore is tragically killed in a car crash, Argyle Prep is full of questions. Who was at the wheel? And more importantly, who was at fault?

Eighteen-year-old Spencer Sandoval wishes she knew. As rumors swirl that her ex, Ethan, was the driver that fateful night, she can’t bring herself to defend him. And their messy breakup has nothing to do with it – she can’t remember anything from that night, not even what put her in that car with Ethan, Chris, and Tabby Hill, the new loner in school. Was it just a night out that went very wrong? And is it just a coincidence they were all part of Argyle’s esteemed honor roll, the Headmaster’s List? In a place ruled by pedigree and privilege, the answers can only come at a deadly price.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I just want to start off by saying you need to listen to The Headmaster’s List on audiobook. The audiobook production is amazing full of sound effects and differing narrators, The Headmaster’s List is an immersive experience. While I was listening, I already recommended it to two different people. Not only that, but The Headmaster’s List is a twisty and mysterious story about what you’d sacrifice. About when you do everything right and still don’t get what you should, what do you do?

If you also love the idea of podcasts in a story – a secret obsession of mine 0 then you also have to add this to your list. André Santana, Eunice Wong, Inés del Castillo & Lori Felipe-Barkin are amazing narrators and you can feel the doubts infused. We aren’t ever sure what happens and it feels very readable contemporary detective story. Playing with unreliability, the skill of narrators is crucial! Find The Headmaster’s List on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood

Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory’s focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job that keeps the lights on. That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious “Kingkiller” Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.

Nolan’s loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What’s even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing? The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory’s victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can’t help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist….

As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place. And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren’t only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent…and infuriating…)


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Check & Mate is my favorite Ali Hazelwood hands down. Not only is it my favorite love interest of them all – we love Nolan – but it also features chess. A big component of this book is the sexism women face as professional players. As a fan of The Queens Gambit, I eat up all these scenes about chess, training, and how much Mallory loves it. She breathes chess. At the same time, she feels the pressure of her family so acutely, the ways in which she’s changed her life and future for them.

But talk about a character who is so stuck and needs someone to make them see. To have a person who gets us knocked out of the rut we’re in. To see the ways we deserve better, but also how we deserve help. And enter Nolan my favorite love interest from Ali Hazelwood. He’s the signature tall and broody, but he’s also clear about how much he admires Mallory and we love a transparent love interest! Bottom line if you love chess, romance, and someone who challenges us, you have to read this.

Karissa Vacker does a phenomenal job at infusing the words and scenes with tension and also swoons. The fine line between challenging and romance. Find Check & Mate on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.

The Hunting Moon by Susan Dennard

Winnie Wednesday has gotten everything she thought she wanted. She passed the deadly hunter trials, her family has been welcomed back into the Luminaries, and overnight, she has become a local celebrity.

The Girl Who Jumped. The Girl Who Got Bitten.

Unfortunately, it all feels wrong. For one, nobody will believe her about the new nightmare called the Whisperer that’s killing hunters each night. Everyone blames the werewolf, even though Winnie is certain the wolf is innocent.

On top of that, following her dad’s convoluted clues about the Dianas, their magic, and what happened in Hemlock Falls four years ago is leaving her with more questions than answers.

Then to complicate it all, there is still only one person who can help her: Jay Friday, the boy with plenty of problems all his own.

As bodies and secrets pile up around town, Winnie finds herself questioning what it means to be a true Wednesday and a true Luminary—and also where her fierce-hearted loyalties might ultimately have to lie.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Hunting Moon is a sequel that took a while to get started – think around halfway through – but it’s one that forces characters to learn that revenge and vengeance has a place. That forgiveness will not give back what is lost. It’s a book that begins by sweeping us back into what happened in the past. Into the community group, into this insular community. The Hunting Moon examines Winnie who deals with misrepresentation. About what happened in her past to her family, but also about the trials.

The Hunting Moon manages to balance a story about the stories we are told, versus what we know, and action. While it took a bit to get into, the narrator Caitlin Davies helps keep the interest of the story. To have us witness the distrust Winnie has to navigate and to wonder who’s on her side. Find The Hunting Moon on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.

After the Forest by Kell Woods

Ginger. Honey. Cinnamon. Flour. A drop of blood to bind its power.

1650: The Black Forest, Wurttemberg.

Fifteen years after the witch in the gingerbread house, Greta and Hans are struggling to get by. Their mother and stepmother are long dead, Hans is deeply in debt from gambling, and the countryside lies in ruin, its people recovering in the aftermath of a brutal war. Greta has a secret, the witch’s grimoire, secreted away and whispering in her ear, and the recipe inside that makes the most sinfully delicious – and addictive – gingerbread.

As long as she can bake, Greta can keep her small family afloat. But in a village full of superstition, Greta and her intoxicating gingerbread is a source of ever-growing suspicion and vicious gossip.

And now, dark magic is returning to the woods and Greta’s own powers – magic she is still trying to understand – may be the only thing that can save her … If it doesn’t kill her first.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

While I wanted to love After the Forest – I love the idea of a Hansel and Gretel retelling – I got lost. Much like the main characters, while I liked the distinct fairy tale feeling, the fact that the ‘horrors’ aren’t over yet, but After the Forest lost me. I wanted to love Gretel because the rage at cleaning up the messes of men is distinctly my brand. It begins by asking us if sometimes we need to leave. After the Forest also includes a sibling relationship full of push and pull, but the politics lost me completely.

Through no fault of the narrator, Esther Wane, After the Forest had all the elements of a book I should love, but couldn’t connect to. The politics felt a bit clunky and they didn’t feel like I had a stake in it. That it was so far removed from me I wasn’t sure what we would lose. That being said, if you want to read a Hansel and Gretel retelling no matter what and a lot of politics aren’t a turn off, then read this one and let me know. I just don’t think I was prepared for it to be that detailed in that respect and was expecting a bit more of a hook. Find After the Forest on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.


What have you been listening to lately?

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