Book Series Recommendation: The Whimbrel House series

I just finished a book series and I loved it so much that I wanted to tell you all to read it too! I’ve actually had the first one or two in the series saved on my Kindle for a while, because I was waiting for the last book to come out so I could read them all at once… and I’m so glad I did!

The Whimbrel House series by Charlie N. Holmberg:

Read this if you loved the Spellbreaker series (Charlie N. Holmberg), The Sorcery & Society books (Molly Harper), The Paper Magician Series (Charlie N. Holmberg again), Anatomy: A Love Story (Dana Schwartz), or the Veronica Speedwell Mystery books (Deanna Raybourn).

Do not worry if you didn’t like The Hanging City by the same author. Troll love was a bit too much for me too… (Book #88 of 2023).

Synopsis of the first book:

Rhode Island, 1846. Estranged from his family, writer Merritt Fernsby is surprised when he inherits a remote estate in the Narragansett Bay. Though the property has been uninhabited for more than a century, Merritt is ready to call it home―until he realizes he has no choice. With its doors slamming shut and locking behind him, Whimbrel House is not about to let Merritt leave. Ever.

Hulda Larkin of the Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms has been trained in taming such structures in order to preserve their historical and magical significance. She understands the dangers of bespelled homes given to tantrums. She advises that it’s in Merritt’s best interest to make Whimbrel House their ally. To do that, she’ll need to move in, too.

I absolutely loved this series! The adventures and mysteries (some wrapped up at the end of each book, and some that carried over for the whole series) were really great and I also really enjoyed the growing relationships of the main group of characters. By time we get to book three, I was rooting for them all and was very happy with the way the last book ended.

With that being said, there is certainly room for more books in this series… so I wouldn’t be mad at all if a book 4 was announced in the near future!

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2024 Book List

It’s time to switch over and start a new yearly book list! As I finish each book, I share it and a mini review in real-time on my Instagram Stories and I also keep an updated list here.

If you’re interested in my previous lists, you can find them here: 2020 Book List, 2021 Book List, 2022 Book List, and 2023 Book List. Feel free to bookmark this page, as I will keep it updated as I finish each book. I’ll also stick a link to this post over on the right sidebar for easy access.

Here are the books I’ve read so far in 2024:

Book #, Information & LinkMini Book Review
Book #1 of 2024:
Freaks, Gleeks & Dawson’s Creek: How 7 Teen Shows Transformed Television by Thea Glassman
The untold stories of seven teen shows (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, Freaks and Geeks, The O.C., Friday Night Lights, and Glee) that shaped the course of modern television and our pop cultural landscape forever. A really interesting look into the behind the scenes creation and cultural significance of the shows. However, I did think that it would be a bit more gossipy, rather than a review of the production, casting and story boarding for each show. My favorite chapters were the ones on My So-Called Life, The O.C. and Glee.
Book #2 of 2024:
Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane
A novel about a woman whose life unravels spectacularly after her screenwriter boyfriend uses their relationship as inspiration for his new television show. I usually love Mhairi McFarlane books, but this one just didn’t hit the spot for me. It was messy and sad and I felt like I was living through a long and drawn out breakup. It wasn’t witty or laugh out loud funny or even romantic like I’ve enjoyed from this author previously. And I wasn’t really invested in the new love at the end. 
Book #3 of 2024:
Magical Midlife Flowers (Leveling Up Series 7.5) by KF Breene
The author sent out an email that a kickstarter bonus story just became available and I snapped it up! I love the Magical Midlife series and this little side adventure was super fun. There’s a flower show with murderous flowers, some group bonding, Jessie’s terrible ex and some romance too. If you’re a fan of the series, grab this one ASAP!
Book #4 of 2024:
The Christmas Fix by Lucy Score
A hurricane puts Merry, Connecticut under water and it will take a Christmas miracle to get it put back together. Hot damn. This is like a smutty, sexy Hallmark Christmas movie meets HGTV. A kickass take no crap leading lady and some very steamy scenes that Lucy Score is known for. So, so good and I even teared up a little at the end! 
Book #5 of 2024:
All it Takes is a Goal by Jon Acuff
This book shows you how to plan goals that you’re guaranteed to reach by focusing on your best moments, navigating the three zones of performance, and finding ways to fuel your passions, all while actually enjoying the ride. Yeah. I totally lost interest about halfway though. HOWEVER, I did very much enjoy the idea of building a ‘best moments’ list. The idea is that you make a list of your best moments and then try to make more of them. It helps you have a positive focus and also enhances gratitude. 
Book #6 of 2024:
Thank You For Listening by Julie Whelan
The story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel. A fun take on romance novels and their tropes with a more serious side of overcoming trauma and figuring out what life will look like now. I enjoyed the best friendship and also the quick and then slow burn romance. Free on Kindle Unlimited!
Book #7 of 2024:
What Became of Magic by Paige Crutcher
Living a solitary life until the age of thirty, Aline’s life takes an unexpected turn when she is invited to a town that doesn’t exist on any map. Arriving in Matchstick, Aline learns of a lost magic that desperately needs to be found and only her unique powers can do it. This entire book was like talking to the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat. Everything was a damn riddle and nobody made any sense. I finished it because I thought maybe it would make sense at the end. And when I finished the last sentence, I said out loud “wow, I hate this book’
Book #8 of 2024:
Funny Feelings by Tarah Dewitt
Farley Jones is a standup comedian and the only thing she loves more than the rush of telling jokes is her hot older manager Meyer, though he doesn’t have a clue. When the biggest opportunity of Farley’s career comes along and forces the pair to fake-date in order to stir up publicity, it doesn’t take long for their act to bring all those other funny feelings out into the open. A super fun, entertaining and truly sweet romance! If you love friends to lovers and pretending to date turning into romance, you’ll love this book. I enjoyed it so much that I’m planning to hunt down more to read from this awesome author! 
Book #9 of 2024:
The Co-Op by Tarah DeWitt
Still on my Tarah DeWitt obsession! The Co-op is a steamy second chance romance about the never-ending construction project that partnership is, and finding enjoyment at every stage. With that being said, I really disliked LaRynn for the first half of the book. Look, I know she had issues but she was just so mean for no reason. Honestly, they both needed therapy. I did like the last third of the book much more when they both let down their guard. And I totally squealed when a character from Funny Feelings showed up for the perfect moment! 
Book #10 of 2024:
Rootbound by Tarah DeWitt
Another romance from Tarah DeWitt? Don’t mind if I do! Rootbound is set on a rustic ranch in Idaho and centers on family, heartbreak and whether the potential for disaster is worth the risk that accompanies love. Loved Tait and Henry so much. Even if I do hate her name. Their friendship. The family dynamics. The romance. So, so good. 
Book #11 of 2024:
In Rootbound, Funny Feelings, and in The Co-op, we get to see pieces of these characters’ pasts, along with glimpses of their futures. This is a book about their Christmas presents; each taking place the year following “The End.” After reading the authors three books back-to-back, of course I had to finish out the series with this holiday bonus! 
Book #12 of 2024:
Same Time Next Year by Tessa Bailey
With a half brother on the team, Britta has a strict no-dating policy for hockey boys. But she does have a soft spot for one particular player. With his work visa about to expire, Sumner’s only chance to stay in Bridgeport is to marry an American—and get a green card. Oooh this one is sweet and spicy! Tessa Bailey is always awesome and this fun little novella is totally worth the read. 
Book #13 of 2024:
Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benjamin Pasek and Justin Paul
This novel was inspired by the Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen, and written by the shows creators. While I am a musical theater nerd, I haven’t seen this show (or the movie), so I thought this would be good pre-reading. After reading the first half, I watched a few of the shows performances, so I’m excited to now watch the movie version and see how they line up. With that being said, the book was a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel about mental health and suicide. I’m not sure I’m ready to watch it again, but with singing quite yet. 
Book #14 of 2024:
Hypnotized by Love by Sariah Wilson
Hypnotist Savannah Sinclair is known for helping clients overcome their deep-rooted issues, from anxiety to addiction. But her nontraditional approach also attracts plenty of skeptics―including her high school nemesis and rival, Mason Beckett, who just so happens to be the boy who broke her heart. I really liked the authors other book (Lessons in Chemistry) but this one was a miss for me. I found Savannah so selfish and it drives me crazy how she would so loudly and dramatically jump to the worst conclusions. Every. Single. Time. And Mason was apparently perfect at everything. And forgiving every time.  Glad this was a free February read, because I hated it.
Book #15 of 2024:
No Time Like the Future by Michael J Fox
In this memoir, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Apparently he has 3 other memoirs, so this book is really more of a snippet of his life and some of the ups and downs he’s seen over the past few years. He’s optimistic and clever and I enjoyed this look into his life. 
Book #16 of 2024:
The Exception to the Rule (The Improbable Meet-Cute Collection) by Christina Lauren
On February 14, an accidental email to a stranger opens the door to an unexpected relationship in a captivating short story that is part of the Improbable Meet-Cute Collection. Oh my gosh, this penpal meet cute was absolutely adorable and I was rooting for them the whole way! (Collection free right now for Kindle Unlimited!)
Book #17 of 2024:
Worst Wingman Ever (The Improbable Meet-Cute Collection) by Abby Jimenez
A valentines note on the wrong car leads to this meet cute and OHMYGOD I liked this one even more than the last one. A total swoon from me. Download this one asap! (Collection free right now for Kindle Unlimited!)
Book #18 of 2024:
Rosie and the Dreamboat (The Improbable Meet-Cute Collection) by Sally Thorne
Rosie and her sister are up for some Galentine’s pampering at a day spa — until she gets locked inside a flotation tank. Enter a firefighter hero determined to pry this luckless pearl out of her high-tech shell. Blegh. Nope. Not this one. Skip it. (Collection free right now for Kindle Unlimited!)
Book #19 of 2024:
Drop, Cover and Hold On (The Improbable Meet-Cute Collection) by Jasmine Guillory
A Valentine’s Day earthquake traps Daisy and the handsome bakery owner in his shop. I usually love this author, but this short story is another blegh for me. Skip this one too. (Collection free right now for Kindle Unlimited!)
Book #20 of 2024:Audrey Love is cursed to be the person before you find your soulmate, the girl you dump for your true love. So when her best friend disappears hours before his Valentine’s Day wedding, Audrey fears that she did the unthinkable and kissed him at last night’s bachelor party. A cute ‘missing groom’ story but this short story really needed more time to turn into something. It was abrupt and kinda meh. (Collection free right now for Kindle Unlimited!)
Book #21 of 2024:
Royal Valentine (The Improbable Meet-Cute Collection) by Sariah Wilson
Valentine’s Day becomes a Roman holiday for a princess in disguise in the last of the short stories. While the collection started out strong with two winners, the rest — including this one — was rather lackluster. Moving on. (Collection free right now for Kindle Unlimited!)
Book #22 of 2024:
Keeper of Enchanted Rooms (Whimbrel House Book 1) by Charlie Holmberg
Set in a magical version of 1856, writer Merritt Fernsby is surprised to inherit a remote property that has been uninhabited for more than a century. Oh, and it’s haunted and won’t let him leave. Hulda Larkin has been trained in taming such structures in order to preserve their historical and magical significance. To do that, she’ll need to move in, too. Such a fun start to a new series with some wonderful world building and a very, very bad guy. It reminded me a bit of the Paper Magician series, which made much more sense when I realized it was by the same author. Can’t wait to continue the series with the next book. 
Book #23 of 2024:
Heir of Uncertain Magic (Whimbrel House Book 2) by Charlie Holmberg
Another adventure for Hulda and Merritt and the gang. Merritt’s powers are growing, Hulda’s boss is missing, and somebody has been manipulating their emotions. Loved the mystery and the new adventure, as well as some of the core group’s shenanigans. Loving this series and I’m looking forward to book 3.
Book #24 of 2024:
Boy of Chaotic Making (Whimbrel House Book 3) by Charlie Holmberg
The third and last(?) in the series and it was so much fun! Merritt and Hulda have another adventure, this one in England where they have the opportunity to get Owein his own body. He was previously haunting a house and then shoved into a dog body. It was a whole thing. But he has the chance to become a human again and life the life that was cut so short. A wonderful end to the series, but honestly I’d love some more stories with them!
Book #25 of 2024:
Amazing Adventures of a Nobody by Leon Logothetis
Tired of his disconnected life and uninspiring job, Leon Logothetis leaves it all behind and hits the road, deciding to go from New York’s Times Square to the Hollywood sign on nothing but $5 a day and the kindness of strangers. You guys. This dude is an idiot. He almost gets murdered like a dozen times. He has no street smarts. And if he were a woman… I mean. Come on. Also, I was really annoyed that he mentions in passing ‘oh yeah, I have a television team recording me the whole time’, but basically nothing else about that. Like. Really? You’re jumping in a car with a woman obviously having a mental break? And where is your camera crew. This book just made me mad. 
Book #26 of 2024:
Plot Twist by Erin La Rosa
Romance author Sophie Lyon’s ironic secret just went viral: she’s never been in love—and it’s ruining her reputation. With a manuscript deadline looming, Sophie makes an ambitious plan to overcome her writer’s block: reunite with her exes to learn why she’s never fallen in love, and document it all for her millions of new online followers. Luckily, Sophie’s reclusive landlord, Dash Montrose—a former teen heartthrob—has social media all figured out and is willing to help. This one was quite a surprise. Yes, it was a romance. But the way it also focused on Dash’s sobriety journey and his fears in starting a new relationship were really good.  There were some spicy scenes and the ending felt well earned and real. 
Book #27 of 2023:
Face: One Square Foot of Skin by Justine Bateman
Face is a book of fictional vignettes that examines the fear and vestigial evolutionary habits that have caused women and men to cultivate the imagined reality that older women’s faces are unattractive, undesirable, and something to be “fixed.” I was hoping for an empowering look at the bullshit idea that women are of less value as they age. Instead, it was a slightly depressing group of short stories of the reality of being judged for getting older. 
Book #28 of 2024:
You, Again by Kate Goldbeck
This book is described as a When Harry Met Sally retelling for romance lovers who like realistic and flawed characters. And there are aspects of it that I enjoyed — like catching up with the characters after a series of time jumps. However, both Ari and Josh are really unlikable. They both had so much baggage and frankly need therapy before getting into a relationship. Especially with each other. 
Book #29 of 2024:
Magical Midlife Awakening (Leveling Up Book 10) by K.F. Breene
Oh this series. I will NEVER tire of this series and the absolutely hilarious characters. If you like a fun fantasy series with quirky characters, this one is an absolute winner. Start at the beginning because the story is epic and the kind where I literally laugh out loud with my kindle. I kind of hope it never ends!
Book #30 of 2024:
Fourth Wing (The Empyrean 1) by Rebecca Yarros
Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general―also known as her tough-as-talons mother―has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders. After EVERYONE has recommended this book, I finally read it and YES THEY WERE RIGHT! This book is like a more grown up version of Harry Potter but with riding dragons, killing each other and a liberal helping of spicy relationships. I was absolutely glued to it and couldn’t wait to get back to my reading each day. Loved it. Yelled at the end. Immediately downloaded the second one in the series. 
Book #31 of 2024:
Iron Flame (The Empyrean 2) by Rebecca Yarros 
Okay I’m pissed off now. I READ this series because I thought it was 2 books. I avoided spoilers purposefully, but Amazon shows “Book 2 of 2.”  They were both published. I was good to go. AND then it ends on a damn cliffhanger and I find out that the series is actually going to be 5 books and only 2 are out and I have to wait?!?! With that being said this book was awesome and even better than the first and I’m so dang annoyed that I have to wait for more. 😭 
Book #32 of 2024:
Fodor’s Travel: Best Weekend Road Trips
Back in the old days before we used the Internet for everything, the Fodor’s Travel books were exactly what you needed to plan your trip. I haven’t looked though one in decades, so this 2021 version was nostalgic in all the right ways. A great resource and it gave me some fun ideas for our upcoming Tucson trip and also some spots close to home. 
Book #33 of 2024:
Skip to the End by Molly James
Amy Daniels has the power that as soon as she kisses someone, she knows, in intimate, vivid detail, how their relationship will finish. And there seems to be no end to the unhappy endings. At her best friend’s wedding, Amy drunkenly kisses three men and sees three possible endings: two painful, one perfect. The problem is, Amy can’t really remember who she kissed, and worse, what ending belongs to which person. A super cute romance with strong friendships and a fun ‘who is its mystery. I guessed the mystery love at the beginning, but the journey was a fun one. 
Book #34 of 2024:
Role Playing by Cathy Yardley
A cute rom-com about two middle age gamers who meet online, become IRL friends and then fall in love. I enjoyed the fully fleshed out characters and the slow burn of the friendship. However there were a couple just horrible characters that I wish would have gotten what was coming to them. 
Book #35 of 2024:
Hanging By a Thread (Cricket Crosby Caper Book 3) by 
Liz Talley
Part-time private investigator/antiques store owner Cricket Crosby finds herself eyeballs deep investigating the attempted murder of a wealthy matriarch. Another fun visit to our friends in this mystery series. I wasn’t expecting a third book, so it was a nice surprise when this popped up in my kindle unlimited books!
Book #36 of 2024:
A Grave Robbery (Veronica Speedwell 9)
I love the Veronica Speedwell mystery series and I requested a library hold as soon as the latest book was published! In this adventure, Veronica and Stoker are trying to solve the mystery of a wax form, which turns out to actually be an oddly preserved actual human body. One of the best adventures yet and Veronica and Stoker’s ongoing love story makes me swoon. 
Book #37 of 2024:
Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home
The entire book basically comes down to” live a joyful life with what you have now.” There are some good chapters on purging what you don’t need and keeping what brings you joy. As well as some exercises on visualizing your ideal day/life. However, for me it felt quite repetitive with her other Kondo method book. 
Book #38 of 2024:
Before I’m Gone by Heidi McLaighlin
This one is absolutely a DNF for me.  I only made it to chapter 9 and it was awful. The writing felt really immature — like it would tell you everything and not show you anything. Just very stilted and painful to read. With that being said, people on Amazon seem to like this book. So… 🤷‍♀️ 
Book #39 of 2024:
Pretend You’re Mine (Benevolence Book 1) by Lucy Score
I love Lucy Score as a writer so I downloaded this older book on my kindle a while ago. Military man who likes his solitude and is mourning a loss meets a manic pixie dream girl. It’s fun, but honestly I really loved the rest of the town even more than the main character drama. So I’m happy to see there are two more books set in the same world that are free on Kindle Unlimited! 
Book #40 of 2024:
Finally Mine (Benevolence Book 2)
By Lucy Score
The second in this Lucy Score series and this one tells the story of Gloria and Aldo. Best friends with the characters from the first book. While this one focuses on their love story, it covers the same time period — so a lot of events and conversations are word for word repeats. Still a good book, but a little repetitive. Of course, that’s not keeping me from moving on to the last book in the series. 
Book #41 of 2024:
Protecting What’s Mine (Benevolence Book 3)
By Lucy Score
The third and last  in this Lucy Score series. I really liked this one — it was set about 5 years after the last two in the series, so it was nice to revisit the previous characters. This one focused on Fire Chief Lincoln Reed and Flight trauma surgeon Mackenzie O’Neil. I found parts of this one really funny and a great slow burn romance too! Great end to the series. 
Book #42 of 2024:
Murder by the Book (Lucy Little 1) by Gina LaManna
A cute mystery with Lucy Little, a romance writer than falls into the middle of a murder. This book serves as a pretty great set up to a series. But, it looks like there is no series considering this was published in 2021, there are no other books and the author doesn’t even have it listed on her website with the rest of her books. So odd. A fun one-off though, but seeing as there are no more I would have liked some more closure on her relationships. 
Book 43 of 2024:
This Crimson Debt by Rose Sinister
I had a whole phase of vampire stories when I was much younger, so this one had a nostalgic factor for me. Basically millennial girl gets turned into a vampire with no warning and wakes up confused and hungry. A fun story and I enjoyed many parts of it. However, it really needs to go though another round of editing as typos and broken sentences were really frustrating and took me right out of the story. A second novel in the series was planned… but doesn’t look like it happened. Bummer. I would be open minded to reading more (as long as it’s proofread!) 
Book #44 of 2024:
I See You Made An Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch
Actor and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch confronts middle age with candor, wit, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation. This is a DNF for me. I understand she’s being self-deprecating. But honestly it just comes across as depressing and not funny to me. 
Book #45 of 2024:
Mile High (Windy City book 1) by Liz Tomforde
A Chicago hockey player with a bad reputation and his team’s personal airplane’s flight attendant — we’ve got a bit of enemies to lovers here, with some forbidden love and misunderstandings tropes. However, this medium spicy romance is so much more because it brings in a mental health angle that I found really fantastic. I really liked this one and it convinced me that I need to read the next one in the series with high expectations! 
Book #46 of 2024:
The Right Move (Windy City book 2) by Liz Tomforde
The second in the Windy City series, and this one follows Ryan and Indy — the twin brother and best friend of Stevie from the first book. This one is a ‘faking a relationship’ trope with lots of misunderstandings. Super cute love story with some spicy scenes. Loved the slow burn of the relationship and the continued look at Stevie and Zander’s life too (from Mile High). 
Book #47 of 2024:…Coming soon…

Most of my books are borrowed using Kindle Unlimited (you can read my full review from 2015 here). If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited yet, it’s like an all-you-can-read for books and I’ve been using it for the last few years: Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans.

I also regularly use my local library for physical books and both Overdrive and Hoopla through my local library website for online books (you can download them straight to your Kindle or read them on your web browser). If you have a library card, be sure to check your library’s website to see if they work with an online partner. I mean, FREE BOOKS!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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2023 Books: Wrap Up

Happy 2024! Before we fully move into the new year, I want to take a moment to take one last look at the books I read in 2023.

After years and years and years of NOT keeping track of my reading, I started adding my lists to my blog a few years ago. Here are the last four years of lists:

For 2023, I ended up reading a total of 113 books. You can see the entire list of books and my mini reviews on my 2023 Book List page. As always, I borrowed a bunch of the books from the library (both in-person and the online). I also used my Kindle Unlimited subscription to download lots of books from Amazon.

For those of you looking for a short and sweet list to be added to your TBR pile, it was super hard to narrow it down, but here are my absolute top books I read in 2023:

I plan to continue this book tracking for 2024 as well, and will stick with the same format of mini book reviews and links. Let me know if you end up loving any of my book recommendations!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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