August 2015 Recap

Cute and Crafty 2015 Printable Calendar

I’ve had a much better reading month than I did last month. Despite having a bit of a reading slump within the last week, I really sped through some books early in the month.

Books Read: 14

Genres Read:
Adult: 5
Young Adult: 9

Books Read in 2015 Overall:


Books Reviewed: 6

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin – 4/5 Stars
Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin – 3/5 Stars
The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman – 2/5 Stars
Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud – 3/5 Stars
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – 4/5 Stars
If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins – 4/5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesdays:

Authors I’ve read the most books from

girl and book

Funny Fridays:

August 7th

#HarlequinBooks #FortheLoveofBooks

August 14th

August 21st

Sometimes even less ;) #Books #BookLove

August 28th

Other Posts:

The 1989 Book Tag
If my life were like Chick Lit…The Wedding Date
The Emoji Book Tag
Today I’d like to ignore everything else and just READ
Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2015

Looking Forward to September:

On a personal front, there are a couple big things happening in September. My 4-month old niece (and sister and brother-in-law) will be visiting for a week! They’re from Canada and I’ve only seen my adorable little niece once so far. They will be here the week preceding my little brother’s wedding, which is the other event in September.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2015

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I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads


Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer Armentrout. Read July 30-August 1. 3 Stars.

If I’m being completely honest, despite being from JLA, I never really fell in love with this series. If it wasn’t from this author I probably wouldn’t have continued it after the first book. That said, Every Last Breath was a pretty decent ending to the series. We find out around 20% in Layla’s choice of guys – the result of fan voting – and I’m glad it wasn’t dragged out. However, SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER* I never once thought that Zayne had any chance of “winning.” I liked the idea that fans got to vote after book 2, but I don’t think it was written in a way that it would be an actual contest. Roth was always obviously the author’s top pick and thus was written in a way to be ours, as well. *END OF SPOILER* There was one “mystery” that was brought up and then left hanging in this installment that kind of annoyed me. The answer was kind of implied, but still left open. While Layla’s story ended conclusively, I think it left enough side plot ideas open enough that there could be more from this world in the future.


Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga. Read August 1-4. 3 stars.

The Good:
-We get more POVs, including Howie and Connie
-I love Howie even more this time around. He’s still funny, but getting his POV we get to know the serious side of him, too.
-Once all the pieces came together, the Game was pretty clever.
-The New York setting

The Bad:
-Throughout the book I steadily grew to dislike Connie more and more. Girl is STUPID. All of her decisions were poor and she kind of deserves to be where she ended up by the end of this book. Her drama queen moments with her parents were very annoying, as were her parents’ reactions.
-The plot was pretty convoluted. Like it was hard to understand at times until it was all laid out. Even then, not everything is explained.
-Bringing a minor across state lines without adult supervision/consent to consult on police business? Really?
-Jasper’s discovery at the end of the book was very, very predictable.
-Cliffhangers in every plotline!

I know it looks like there’s more bad then good, but the good things really did outweigh the bad. This series does have a pretty unique concept and Jasper is still a great character. While I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book, it was still good and I look forward to the conclusion of the series.


Blood of my Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga. Read August 4-7. 3.5 Stars

This book was a little longer than it had to be. There were several moments I hated Connie and the phrase “too stupid to live” came to mind. There was a big reveal that I think was supposed to be shocking, but I suspected it since book two. I think it ended well, though, overall. I’m glad I read this series. Maybe a more in depth review to come after I’ve thought about it a bit.


Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot. Read August 8-9. 3.5 Stars.

This book was pretty cute. I was a big fan of the romance between Ellen and Yan. Even though it happens quickly (the book takes place over a week), it felt like a slow burn romance and not insta-love. I thought both of the characters were well-developed and they were really well suited together, despite their differences.

I thought the side-plots were a little ridiculous. Ellen’s ex-boyfriend really betrayed her and she got her revenge on him, but she spends the majority of the book waiting for it to come back to bite her. In the end, I thought it was all resolved a little too easily. Yan has a more troubled past, but other than him leaving Bulgaria and needing to make a new start, there wasn’t really any long-lasting consequences. He had a more personal problem that was skirted around for most of the book, but I thought was obvious pretty early on. However, it was still a little heartbreaking to see how it affected him so much and I was glad to see it resolved in the end.

I hated Lacey. HATED HER. She was a spoiled, selfish brat and even though she had a few nicer moments throughout the book, it wasn’t really enough to redeem her for me. In a literary sense, she worked as a nice counterpoint to Ellen’s personality, but I still hated her.

Overall, I thought this was a cute, quick, summertime read that I enjoyed. At times it seemed to drag a little, but I really enjoyed the setting and the romance. I’ll definitely be checking out more from Baggot in the future.


Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London. Read August 9-10. 3.5 Stars.

I’m a complete sucker for boy band books because I looooved boy bands back in the day. This book was all kinds of adorable. I liked both Aimee and Miles. The romance was a little fast, but very sweet. There was some eye-rolling drama, of course. And some of the dialogue and Aimee’s internal monologues annoyed me – I think it was supposed to be “teenage slang”, but it sounded silly to me. But maybe that’s how kids talk these days? I don’t know. I didn’t like that the rest of the boy band members weren’t really well-developed characters at all. But then I found out that this is a series where each book – about a different band member – is written by a different author, so I can forgive the story for not developing the other guys too much. Overall, it was very cute and I’m sure I’ll re-read it any time I need a cute little pick-me-up.


Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein. August 10-11. 3 stars.

This book wasn’t as cute as the first one in the series, but there was still enough cuteness that I enjoyed it. The romance happened really fast and I didn’t buy into it as much as I would’ve liked to, but as I said, there was still cuteness. It read a little more like a less graphic NA than a YA read. I enjoyed the banter between Ryder and Mia and between Ryder and Miles. I do want to continue the series, but I’ll probably wait and see if the next one goes on sale before trying to buy it.


The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar. Read August 17-20. 3 Stars.

This book has been on my radar for awhile, but it was never at the library. Then I won it in a giveaway! It was an enjoyable book. I think it started out good and then went downhill a bit, but overall it was still good. The main character was mostly likable and I really liked Oliver. The end is a major cliffhanger and I must now buy the second book to see what happens.


Fiancé by Fate (Anyone but You #1) by Jennifer Shirk. Read August 22-23. 3.5 stars.

A quick, sweet read. It’s your typical Fake Relationship story, which is exactly what I was looking for and I enjoyed it.


The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1) by Ali Novak. Read August 23-25. 2 stars.

A couple of funny/cute moments is why I’m giving this book 2 stars instead of 1. I’ve been on a boy band book kick lately – I don’t know why. This has been my least favorite of the bunch.

Stella was such a brat and she drove me crazy almost constantly. I liked the other three band members much more than the love interest. I was rooting for Alec to become the love interest instead, but he’s too good for Stella, so I guess I’m glad it didn’t happen.




Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. As I said, I’ve been on a boy band book kick. This book has the most well-behaved members of all the books I’ve read, as well as the most likable main character. I’m looking forward to the sequel of this one!




Play On (Lewis Creek #1) by Michelle Smith. I read some good reviews on this one and was looking forward to it, but I just couldn’t get into it. I’ll probably try it again some day, though.




Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton. To be fair, I only gave this book a few chapters before giving up, so it might get better? I’m just not interested enough to care, though.    


Review: If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate understands the happily-ever-after business, yet somehow she’s still involved in her ex-husband’s life. In fact, Owen’s new wife may—inexplicably—be Jenny’s new best friend. Sensing this, well, relationship isn’t helping her move on, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll be able to bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and hopefully make one of her own.

Her timing couldn’t be more perfect, since Rachel will need her younger sister. Her idyllic marriage has just fallen to pieces in spectacular fashion after she discovers her husband sexting with one of his colleagues. Second chances aren’t in Rachel’s nature, but the desire for an intact family has her rethinking her stance on adultery, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ “perfect” marriage as a shining example, but to protect her sister Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a secret about their family she’s been keeping since childhood.

During this summer of secrets and lies, temptation and revelation, Jenny and Rachel will rely on each other to find the humor in their personal catastrophes, the joy in their triumphs…and the strength to keep hanging on.


If You Only Knew is a bit of a departure from Higgins other books. This book focuses on two sisters – in which we get multiple 1st Person POV – instead of two romantic leads. There’s still some zany family members and funny moments, but it’s overall more…mature. That’s not at all to say that her other books are immature because they’re not. They’re light and fun and I adore them. But this one is just much more serious and her main characters may be a little more realistic.

Jenny is a wedding dress designer who is moving back to her hometown from Manhattan. She’s had a divorce that devastated her, but she’s still friends with her ex-husband. In fact, the book opens up with her at her ex-husband’s new wife’s baby shower. Her relationship with Owen and Ana-Sophia (the ex and his wife) was frustrating. Jenny tried very hard to appear that she was totally fine with everything and because they’re such nice people, she couldn’t really despise them like she thinks she should.

Rachel is Jenny’s sister and is a stay-at-home mom, mother to three-year-old triplets. (Yikes.) She loves her life, though, and her husband and her kids. Her world is rocked, though, when she finds out her husband, Adam, is cheating on her. Throughout the book Rachel’s and Adam’s relationship goes from one extreme to another. They try counseling and make baby steps towards healing, but it seems every time Rachel gets a little closer to moving on from it, Adam lies again. I was soooooo frustrated by Rachel throughout all of this. I know it’s much easier to say from outside the situation, but she really needed to end things. She just kept denying it and then going back to him time and time again. I think she was right to try counseling first. She wanted things to get better. But after the 2nd lie – or even the 3rd – I think it should have just been done.

Jenny isn’t doing a whole lot better with her new romance. She’s developed a relationship with the super at her new apartment, Leo. Leo is not the typical romantic hero from Higgins’ books. He’s withdrawn, often surly, appears to be a bit of a slacker. But I loved his sense of humor and the banter between him and Jenny. That was probably my favorite part of the book. Despite the fact that he obviously has feelings for Jenny, he’s very firmly stated that he’s “only for recreation” and does not want a relationship. Even though Jenny does want a relationship, she agrees to go along with it, thinking he’ll change his mind. You can guess how that goes.

The heart of the story is really Jenny and Rachel coming to terms with who they are and how to handle the new events of their lives. They both grow backbones and confront the people who are treating them poorly. While I enjoyed both storylines, I have to say that I enjoyed Jenny’s a little bit more. I found her slightly more likable and I was just so frustrated with Rachel pretty much all the time. The times she really shined, though, was when she was with her triplet daughters, which also provided some great humor.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Though the ending didn’t tie everything up in a happily-ever-after, definitive way, I did like what happened with both sisters and am hopeful for their futures. I was feeling in a bit of a book slump and this definitely brought me out of it. Though it was different than her other books, I still love Higgins’ writing style and character development. I never wanted to stop reading it. My biggest complaint is that there is a lot more foul language in this book than her others which I didn’t care for. However, I would definitely recommend this to fans of Higgins and character-driven novels.

Overall Rating (out of 5:) 4 Stars

4 stars

There’s a giveaway from the book’s publisher for a trip to New York for you and a friend, including $1k in shopping money. You can enter it HERE.

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


I often tend to disagree with the hype surrounding popular books, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked The Wrath and the Dawn. It’s not a perfect book by any means, but I really quite enjoyed it.

The Wrath and the Dawn is apparently an A Thousand and One Nights re-telling. I’m not really familiar with A Thousand and One Nights, so I can’t tell you how it works as a re-telling. This story focuses on a young king, or caliph, Khalid who is in a routine of getting married one night and then having his new wife killed by the following dawn. Shahrzad is a young girl who volunteers as a new bride, her heart set on avenging the death of her best friend who was one of Khalid’s wives. In doing so, she unwittingly becomes the catalyst to a new army uniting against the caliph, and to her father learning a dark, dangerous magic.

I have to point out here that one of the main plot points I found a little ridiculous. Shazi volunteers to become a bride so she can kill Khalid. You would think she has some sort of solid plan in place. But her whole fate rests on telling him a story and not finishing it by dawn, so he’ll want to let her live another day to hear the rest of the story. Ummm, ok? But, it works and he lets her live. And because she’s such a special snowflake, he keeps letting her live and they – surprise – start to fall in love. Even though it’s obvious and predictable and fast, I was a fan of the romance between them and their growing relationship.

Shazi was not always a likable character. She was impulsive, immature, and arrogant. However, she was written in such a way that I still cared about her and was rooting for her. Khalid also had a lot of the same characteristics so they worked together. I did like Khalid a lot, though, because who doesn’t love the whole tortured soul thing?

There are several side characters I liked, as well. Jalal is Khalid’s cousin and captain of the guard. He’s the stereotypical sidekick – charming, arrogant, comic relief, but actually very smart and loyal. Shazi’s childhood sweetheart, Tariq, is on a mission to save Shazi from the fate he believes awaits her and his best friend, Rahim (who also serves as a bit of comic relief), joins him. One character I really didn’t care for was Shazi’s father. He’s determined to make up for his prior weakness and he goes down a dark path of magic. I was actually kind of surprised by the magical elements of this book. While it was subtle, it’s central to the major plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn. I liked the relationship between Shazi and Khalid and that they both grew a little throughout the story. While there were several points I found the plot a little on the ridiculous side and the ending I found a bit unsatisfying, the well-developed characters and the overall story really makes up for it. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of YA and I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

Review: Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again.

Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle.

But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.


Pretending to be Erica  has been one of my most anticipated books of 2015. However, when the reviews started to post they weren’t too great, so I tried to go into it with some caution. While I didn’t hate it or anything, it definitely still left me disappointed.

I thought this book was going to be a lot more Heist-y than it was. I wanted that and lots of psychological games between Violet and all the people she’s trying to fool. The premise started out good. Sal, a master con man, adopted Violet out of foster care at a young age and taught her how to be a con man, too. Their end goal is to position her as the missing Erica Silverman, going so far as to get plastic surgery, to steal a priceless painting. However, Violet as Erica just left me a little disappointed.

Violet is supposed to have become Erica, but obviously she’s still herself. Violet is very different than who Erica is supposed to be and throughout the book her every reaction is told in twofold. It’s all,  “Erica responds this way while Violet responds this way”. It got old pretty fast and it also reminded me a lot of the whole “inner goddess” thing used in the 50 Shades books (which is the farthest thing from a compliment that I could give). Instead of psychological games, we spend a good deal of time with Erica’s inner monologue about how guilty she feels and what an unfortunate childhood she had.

I liked the supporting cast of characters. Not because they were particularly likable individually, but they were a diverse bunch and all brought different sides of Violet out. The romance was cute and it was firmly a subplot and didn’t take over the story, which I appreciated.

Overall, Pretending to be Erica was just ok for me. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be at all, which was disappointing, but for what it was, it wasn’t too bad. While the ending isn’t without consequences, which I liked, it was pretty open ended, which I didn’t really appreciate. While I don’t think this book is for everyone, I think readers who are into characters who spend most of their time in introspection would probably like it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars
3 stars

Review: The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

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Official Synopsis:

A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.


I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Murderer’s Daughter will be available August 18, 2015

This book made about zero sense to me. I’m a bit flummoxed about how to even review it.

The story started out really slow for me. It took a good 200 pages or so to really get into it. Honestly, if it wasn’t an ARC, I probably would have stopped reading. Grace, the main character, was not exactly likable. I didn’t hate her, but I was kind of ambivalent towards her, even her tragic background didn’t really make her a sympathetic character for me. She’s a psychologist, but she has her own brand of crazy. Her desire for adrenaline and anonymous sexual encounters is not really ever explained and just made her more unlikable to me.

After one of these encounters, Grace has a new patient and it turns out to be the man from the night before. Even though she can’t treat him because of what happened (because apparently she’s ethical now), she still tries to talk to him about why he sought her out to begin with. He acts really nervous and leaves before really telling her anything. Not soon after, she’s contacted by a detective when her business card is found on a murdered John Doe.

Grace is afraid this makes her a person of interest. She lies about her chance encounter with him the night before he came to her office and then decides to launch her own investigation into who this guy really was. And here the real crazy begins. Grace become some kind of Jason Bourne type, acting as a skilled stalker, investigator, spy, assassin, etc. She makes wild conjectures with very little information and no proof that all end up being right. The murder victim obviously has a link to Grace’s past, but honestly the link is pretty weak.

Every few chapters is told in an alternate timeline with Grace’s past. I generally love multiple timelines, but it took me a long time to get into it here. Despite the in depth history, I just didn’t feel like the character was well-developed. She was an unrelatable and pretty unrealistic character. The supporting characters weren’t much more than that and with the exception of Malcolm, the man who ended up taking Grace in, none of them really stand out.

Eventually, the story did pick up for me. The backstory chapters were more compelling and Grace ended up getting some real leads. However, the end just wasn’t satisfying or very believable.

Overall, I was not a fan of The Murderer’s Daughter. The writing style didn’t really click with me for a big portion of the book and the main character was pretty unlikable. The plot was not very believable and it annoyed me that Grace just made up a dozen wild theories and they all ended up being right. I’m sure there are people who will probably enjoy this book, but I wasn’t one of them.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

2 stars

Review: Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away – a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

Fairytale Beginnings

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

To be completely honest, I decided to read this book because of the cover. It’s whimsical and sweet and I was really in the mood for a cute, light read. While the book wasn’t entirely what I expected, it was a cute, enjoyable read.

Milly has a pretty awesome job working for a place called Castle Heritage that works on preserving castles. Cameron has recently inherited a property that he can’t afford to keep and renovate and hopes Castle Heritage will be able to help him. Milly, a die-hard Disney fan, loves the castle, but can tell right away that most of it is not the authentic architecture and thus Castile Heritage will probably not help. But because she likes Cameron and wants to help him, she stays a little longer than she should in a professional capacity and -surprise- they quickly fall for each other. Thrown into the romance plot is a bit of a fantasy element involving ghosts and curses and soul mates.

What worked for me:

-I felt like Milly and Cameron were both pretty well developed. They were likable characters and despite the insta-love, I was a fan of their romance.

-I love the castle setting. It was described very well and I wish it was real so I could visit it. It has dungeons and secret passages and a Disney-like appearance.

What didn’t work for me:

-The story started out pretty slow and it took me awhile to get into it.

-I was originally turned off by the presence of ghosts and curses because I wasn’t expecting that type of element in the story, but after awhile I got into it. I liked the incorporation of Milly’s possible role in breaking the curse, but I didn’t feel like that particular storyline was concluded in a satisfactory way. It felt like it was a big part of the plot for awhile and then it was kind of, “We’re real soul mates, forget about the curse.” I wish it would have either played a smaller role in the story or a bigger part in the end.

-Everything with Cameron’s PA Olivia was completely obvious and Cameron annoyed me for not seeing it and Milly annoyed me for never speaking up for herself.

Overall, I enjoyed Fairytale Beginnings. I wanted a cute, light read and this book delivered. I enjoyed the castle setting and liked the characters, but I felt the plot could have been pulled together a little more. I think readers who enjoy Chick Lit and are Disney-obsessed adults like Milly would enjoy this book.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars