September TBR!

Welcome to September, I almost didn’t get this post up because I had just a horrendous day. But, the distraction of writing a blog post is helping – so here I am.

I’m planning on participating in #SequelsInSeptember, which is pretty self explanatory. I will be reading as many sequels on my TBR this month as possible. I shifted a bunch around on my TBR to accommodate this, but I have so many unfinished duos and trios that it made sense to just knock them out this month! So they will be covered in a variety of ways – through physical books, netgalley, and audiobooks (when it’s all my library has to offer for it).

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1)
  2. Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered #3), Tessa Bailey
  3. Song of the Dead (Reign of the Fallen #2), Sarah Glenn Marsh
  4. These Divided Shores (Stream Raiders #2), Sara Raasch
  5. Well Played (Well Met #2), Jen DeLuca
  6. Bid My Soul Farewell (Give the Dark My Love #2), Beth Revis
  7. Diamond & Dawn (Amber & Dusk #2), Lyra Selene
  8. The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons #2), Jenn Lyons
  9. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), Sarah J. Maas
  10. DEVIATE (LIFELIKE #2), Jay Kristoff
  11. TRUELIFE (LIFELIKE #3), Jay Kristoff
  12. A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2), Evie Dunmore
  13. Wild at Heart (Wild #2), K. A. Tucker
  14. Fable (Fable #1), Adrienne Young
  15. Mossflower (Redwall #2), Brian Jacques

EBOOKS

  1. Phoenix Flame (Havenfall #2), Sara Holland
  2. Warriors of Wings and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light #2)
  3. The Memory of Souls (A Chorus of Dragons #3), Jenn Lyons
  4. The Cul-de-Sac War, Melissa Ferguson
  5. Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood #2), Kim Smejkal
  6. Mistletoe & Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2), Sarah Morgenthaler
  7. This Golden Flame, Emily Victoria
  8. You Have a Match, Emma Lord
  9. Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl #2), Mara Rutherford

AUDIOBOOKS

  1. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3), Robin LaFevers

Happy reading, folks.

August Wrap Up!

August slipped away into a moment in time, cause it was never mine…

Yep, still listening to folklore like it’s my job. Kudos to you if you got that reference. Anyway, we’re officially at the end of August and frankly 2020 is exhausting me. So much is happening in the world that is making up more divisive then ever, even within our own little booksta community. Black Panther is now resting in power. My dad has been hospitalized 3 times this year, just getting out for the third time on Friday. I don’t know how much more I can take from 2020.

On a more bookish note, I did super well on my TBR goals for the first about 20 days of the month. And then I’ve only read one book the last 11 days of the month – which is just insane for me. Nothing has felt interesting, nothing has caught my attention. I’m hoping I will get more into September, because I am participating in another reading challenge – more on that tomorrow for my TBR post. I think it will help me clean up some books I’ve been looking forward to.

See below for the books I managed to read this month!

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0.5), Suzanne Collins – 3.5/5 stars
  2. Defy Me (Shatter Me #5), Tahereh Mafi – 5/5 stars
  3. Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6), Tahereh Mafi – 3/5 stars
  4. Twilight (Twilight #1), Stephenie Meyer – 5/5 stars
  5. Midnight Sun (Twilight #5), Stephenie Meyer – 5/5 stars
  6. Impersonation, Heidi Pitlor – 3.5/5 stars (ARC)
  7. Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1), Evie Dunmore – 5/5 stars
  8. Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1), Janella Angeles – 4/5 stars (NG ARC)
  9. The Boyfriend Project, Farrah Rochon – 4/5 stars
  10. The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1), Jenn Lyons – 4/5 stars
  11. The Worst Best Man, Mia Sosa – 3.5/5 stars
  12. The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson – 3/5 stars

EBOOKS

  1. The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins #2), Amanda Hocking – 4/5 stars (ARC)
  2. A Golden Fury, Samantha Cohoe – 3.5/5 stars (ARC)
  3. Body Talk, Kelly Jensen – 5/5 stars (ARC)
  4. A House Is a Body, Shruti Swamy – 4/5 stars (ARC)
  5. Strictly Come Dating, Kathryn Freeman – 4/5 stars (ARC)
  6. I Hope You’re Listening, Tom Ryan – 5/5 stars (ARC)
  7. Legendborn (Legendborn #1), Tracy Deonn – 5/5 stars (ARC)
  8. Stuck on You, Portia MacIntosh – 4/5 stars (ARC)
  9. The Love Study, Kris Ripper – 4/5 stars (ARC)
  10. The Baby Group, Caroline Corcoran – 3/5 stars (ARC)
  11. The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) – 4/5 stars

AUDIOBOOKS

  1. The Lost City (The Omte Origins #1), Amanda Hocking – 4.5/5 stars

How many books did you read this month?

Happy reading, folks!

August Haul!

August is just about over, and I swear each month we’re in quarantine feels shorter than the last. Unfortunately, it’s not looking like we will get out of social distancing/quarantine status any time soon because the virus is still not managed in the US. I can only go on hoping that things will start improving.

So I managed to not buy many books this month! September may be a whole other story, but shhh that doesn’t matter right now. As usual, I’m putting every penny away for my wedding next year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t buy myself some books rights?! So see below for the books that I acquired this month!

FROM PUBLISHERS

  1. Impersonation, Heidi Pitlor (ARC)

AMAZON/BOOK STORES

  1. Midnight Sun (Twilight #5), Stephenie Meyer
  2. A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood #1), Amanda Joy
  3. The Worst Best Man, Mia Sosa

SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

  1. The Night Swim, Megan Goldin – BOTM
  2. Star Daughter, Shveta Thakrar – Owlcrate Special Edition, August box

GIFTED

  1. The Demon King (Seven Realms #1), Cinda Williams Chima (Thanks to my fiance!)
  2. The Perfect Escape, Suzanne Park (Thanks to andkellyreads over on IG)

Did you pick up any of the same books?

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Recommended for You

Title: Recommended For You

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2020

272 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

Review

Recommended for You is a short, cute YA Contemporary with a hint of adorable romance, and all the book loving vibes! Shoshanna works at a book store in the mall, and it’s Christmastime so it is very busy. She gets a new coworker, Jake, who gasp DOESN’T READ! They don’t exactly hit it off right away, so they are instant rivals. When the book store owner announces a contest to see who can make the most sales, Shoshanna is sure she will win. But Jake is sneaky good at sales, so she has her work cut out for her…

I’m serious when I say this book is super cute. I loved that the main characters were Jewish, it’s not something you see in books often but really should be represented more. It was pretty short, less than 300 pages, but didn’t FEEL short. Like sometimes short books can see underdeveloped, or too quickly paced, but I felt like this book did a lot with a little. The pacing and flow was spot on, and it covered a good few weeks worth of time.

In terms of the characters, I like Jake more than Shoshanna. Shoshanna is a bit… much. She’s uber perky and bubbly, but it’s almost unrealistic with just how happy and optimistic she is, all the time. Or maybe I just can’t imagine being that happy! It’s certainly a bone of contention with Jake, because he initially interprets it as immaturity (they are 16). But Jake. Now Jake is that brooding, hot guy who is quiet and snarky, which is just a type of character I love reading about. But then you learn his backstory and it rounds him out so. well. BUT, I desperately wanted his POV. I would’ve adored to hear his snarky remarks in his head to Shoshanna and her perkiness, so I did feel like it was missing that opportunity.

Overall, a well done and interesting read, very quick and reminiscent of Jenn Bennett. I recommend if you’re looking for Jewish MC, a quick read, or a good rivals love story.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Kiss Quotient

Title: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1)

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: May 30th, 2018

323 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Review

“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

helen hoang, the kiss quotient

I got this book through a trade with some friends, and I hadn’t even heard of it before! But now I’ve read it twice, and read the sequel The Bride Test. Yes, I somehow reviewed the second one before the first, no idea how that happened! Anyway, I adored this romance novel with an autistic main character. Both MCs are also Asian, so there’s multiple different reps going on here – which I love to see. AND the book is Own Voices because Helen Hoang has autism herself. I think Stella is modeled after Helen herself.

Stella and Michael were amazing characters, and I loved them from the jump! Michael is an escort Stella hires to teach her how to have sex, because she generally doesn’t enjoy other’s touch. What she finds is that Michael’s touch is more than tolerable, it’s addictive. They make a longterm agreement (to not fall in love), and of course that doesn’t work. Their relationship was amazing, even if it wasn’t perfect all the time. Stella has some failed forays into life with Michael’s family, but was able to patch them over. Honestly I love these two.

I highly recommend this book for everyone who enjoys romance novels. It does have some level of steam – I’d say medium/high on my scale. There are some pretty detailed scenes that might not be interesting or comfortable for some people to read. It’s well written, and it really can be skimmed over without losing too much of the storyline.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Bone Houses

**Owlcrate Special Edition Cover, which is the edition I read**

Title: The Bone Houses

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication date: September 24th 2019

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

Review

“It was a risk, to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they’d leave someday. Then let go of them, when they did.”

emily lloyd-jones, the bone houses

Gravedigger, zombies, fae, and a sweet love story. What more could you ask for in a spooky season release? I highly enjoyed this book, it was captivating and complex, yet simple enough for a stand alone that didn’t feel rushed or like it needed more to round out the story. Lloyd-Jones is able to pack a lot of story into one 350 page book – a rich backstory for the world with urban legends, great backstories for the characters, and a harrowing adventure through the countryside to save their town. And did I mention the zombies?! Called bones houses in this book, the zombies come out of the forest after dark to wander and destroy, even to kill. Ryn as the gravedigger is the only protection the village has yet even the residents don’t believe the danger they are in.

Again, holy wow to this book. I loved the new take on a zombie book, which I generally don’t enjoy as much. Ryn was a very capable MC, hard yet soft, strong yet vulnerable at times. She worked well with Ellis, the traveling mapmaker who finds himself wrapped up in the bone houses. Also, the goat was by far the best character. IYKYK. The love story between Ryn and Ellis was so sweet and subtle, which I enjoy just as much as passionate, crazy love affairs. I love the storyline of being able to find love in the middle of a crisis, when it’s more about the little moments than getting wrapped up in each other. But I digress.

Prepare for a brief scene of intense sadness. I did not see it comes but I was shook by the surprise. Yet even in the middle of their adventure, Ryn doesn’t let it impact her goals which I thought was so amazing and strong of her. I highly suggest reading this book, and it’s coming up on Halloween, spooky times so it’s the perfect season for this book!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Guest List

Title: The Guest List

Author: Lucy Foley

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication date: June 2nd, 2020 (first pub date March 19th, 2020 in the UK)

330 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Review

I picked The Guest List as my June BOTM choice as I try to open up the genres that I read. AS one of my first thriller/mystery books, I had high hopes. However, it didn’t exactly do much for me, which was fairly disappointing. However, I plan to keep trying this genre because I like to mix up my books these days so it’s not all the same.

Anyway, onto The Guest List. There are 5 POVs in this book, which was really the crux of my issues with this book. It was just so much. I enjoy multiple POV books but 5 seems excessive to me. I also didn’t particularly like any of the characters in the books (but I think this is part of the point in this book). I ended up just being really confused, and it took me time to really get into this book because it kept switching around to different POVs.

On a more positive note, I could not for the life of me figure out who did it. It really came down to the wire for who killed the person, and there’s was no expecting it. On top of that main mystery, you find out so many more shocking things. The last 25% of the book is just bomb after bomb being dropped. So as much as it was hard to read for the first 75% of the book, the last quarter really picked up and heightened my experience of this book.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Crown of Midnight

Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication date: August 15th, 2013

420 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Review

“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”

sarah j maas, crown of midnight

Well this book was so intense! As a sequel the Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight picks up right after TOG ends. Celaena is the king’s assassin and has been working to fulfill his orders. Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, and Nehemia are all still large factors in this book, and they have much to work on. Celaena continues trying to understand her calling from Elena down in the tunnels. These books truly manage to put so much plot and action into a fairly normal sized book.

The magic in this book is so interesting, and you just know that so much more with it will happen over the course of the series. The romance in this book was also very interesting. It was surprising, but also not surprising, at the same time. I thoroughly approved, even if heartbreak comes later for the characters. Also, Celaena is a crazy cook assassin and even though she murders people with joy, you somehow also end up feeling badly for her. She really is a complex character, not at all redeemable but you kinda want to forgive her.

THAT ENDING. Frankly, the ending of this book was spoiled for me due to bookstagram, but if you’re one of those rare birds who hasn’t read this series yet, and hasn’t had it spoiled, there is a HUGE BOMB DROPPED at the end of this book. Just be aware the last chapter is so intense! It isn’t a huge cliffhanger though, so I wasn’t itching to pick up the next book, Heir of Fire.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Where Dreams Descend

Title: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdoms of Cards #1)

Author: Janella Angeles

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: August 25th, 2020

464 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Review

Kallia is a female magician, stronger than most others, in a world where stage magicians are only accepted if they are male. She learned everything she knows from Jack, the master of Hellfire House, a club near the city of Glorian. She is the headliner of the club, but she longs to be on stage as a true magician, not a show girl. So she escapes to Glorian to enter a magic competition being held – but not before she finds out Jack has been lying to her all along. Now in Glorian, she is faced with opposition like never before, and she must remember that not everything is as it appears, especially when looking into mirrors…

I had a hard time reviewing this book, because the beginning and middle of the book were very different than the end. Throughout the book, I had no trouble putting it down. I just wasn’t fully drawn into the plot and the cast. BUT the ending was crazy insane and completely changed my mind on the entire book. Kallia is a great character, and her assistant Aaros made me laugh through the whole book. But Demarco wasn’t exactly what I would look for in a love interest, BUT I have high hopes for him in the second book! There was a lot of Kallia having to be strong against male opposition, due to all the misogyny in the book.

The world Angeles has built is super interested. You don’t know much about the world outside of Glorian or the Hellfire House, but it’s all very intriguing and mysterious which makes for a good read. I would’ve liked some more explanation into the magic system, I didn’t leave the book feeling like I truly understood how it all worked. BUT the descriptions and writing of the magic and the circus and the competition was glorious and so well done.

As you can see, this is a bit of a mixed review. I’m very much invested in reading the sequel when it eventually comes out, because I just MUST know what happens to everyone after that ending. Prepare yourselves for a decently large cliffhanger!

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Love Sold Separately

Title: Love Sold Separately

Author: Ellen Meister

Publisher: MIRA

Publication date: August 25th, 2020

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Dana Barry’s life is a mess, until she hears The Shopping Channel is auditioning new hosts. She dives right in and is stunned when she lands the job. Her keen eye for detail, knack for knowing what makes people tick and sheer bravado make her perfect for the role.

Then the star host is found shot to death in her office. Dana can’t help but involve herself in tracking down the killer. Never one to mind her own business, she winds up at the center of every drama. She also knows the prime suspect is innocent–they happened to have been together on the roof for some “alone time” when they heard the gunshot. His record may not be perfect, but she can tell the single father has a heart of gold. He may even be marriage material–something she’d focus on more if only Detective Marks wasn’t so handsome and their chemistry so electric. Dana is so close to having it all if, just this once, she doesn’t screw up. But trouble usually comes easier and is always a lot more fun…

Review

**Thank you to MIRA, Netgalley, and Ellen Meister for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Love Sold Separately is part murder mystery part love story, and it’s really good! Dana Barry is maybe not the best person in the world, but she knows it and doesn’t care. Her dream is to be an actress, and when an audition comes up for The Shopping Channel she jumps on it and nails it. BUT, on her first day – the star of the show is murdered in her office while Dana is on the roof sharing a joint with a coworker. She finds the body, and immerses herself immediately in the investigation. The detective leading the investigation rubs Dana the wrong way instantly, and they spend a good part of the book going back and forth.

I thought Dana was a good character, enough faults to make her interesting. I thought adding in her family dynamic was a good touch, because you can really see why she is the way she is. Her father is stingy with his approval and her sister is almost her complete opposite. There were some plot lines with Dana that felt unnecessary to me, because they didn’t end up going anywhere and weren’t really discussed again.

I think the murder mystery part of this was the most interesting. I figured about half of the ending out before it ended, but there were some twists that I didn’t see coming. The love story is really more of an afterthought, but the progression of the MC’s love affair is interesting to read. It just takes a backseat to the murder, so if you’re reading this just for the love story – know that is isn’t the main focus.

I have to say I enjoyed this more than I thought I would after realizing it wasn’t a love story. Even without that, it was interesting, twisty, and showed that a normal human can help investigate a murder and actually help solve it. Love Sold Separately is a fun, easy to read, novel that will keep you guessing.

Happy reading, folks!