Thursday, August 6, 2020

The TBR Tag

Hello, all!

I saw this TBR Tag over on Michelle's blog, and thought it'd be fun to do. Let's talk about some books!


What Are You Currently Reading? 

Cursed- Thomas Wheeler/Frank Miller and In Case You Missed It- Lindsey Kelk.

What Book Do You Plan on Reading Next?

Either Smash It!- Francina Simone or It Came from the Multiplex: 80's Midnight Chillers.

Top Three Books on Your TBR?

The Lies of Locke Lamora- Scott Lynch
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin- Roseanne A. Brown
In a Holidaze- Christina Lauren

An Intimidating Book on Your TBR?

The Eye of the World- Robert Jordan. I feel like I'm going to love this, but I just keep putting it off!

A Short Book on Your TBR?

Hmm... not actually sure.

The Book That Has Been on Your TBR the Longest?

The Lies of Locke Lamora. I swear I'll get to it this year!

The Most Reason Addition to your TBR?

The Year of the Witching- Alexis Henderson

Here are the questions if you'd like to do the tag as well! Lemme know if you do, I'd love to see your picks!

What Are You Currently Reading?

What Book Do You Plan on Reading Next?

Top Three Books on Your TBR?

An Intimidating Book on Your TBR?

A Short Book on Your TBR?

The Book That Has Been on Your TBR the Longest?

The Most Reason Addition to your TBR?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Blog Tour: Lies Lies Lies Excerpt

Hello, all!

If you're in the market for a new thriller to sink your teeth into, look no further than Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks. Simon and Daisy Barnes seem to have a perfect life: they have jobs they love, a talented daughter and a tight-knit group of friends... but they have their fair share of secrets, too. It took the couple years to conceive their little Millie, years of desperation and disappointment that took its toll on both Simon and Daisy. Simon's hoping for one more miracle, but after a doctor's appointment shatters his hopes, he turns to the bottle. With secrets swirling in their home, Daisy and Simon must try to hold onto the illusion of the perfect family before it shatters around them.

Pub Date: 8-4-20
Adult - Thriller

Big thanks to Mira Books for having me on this blog tour where I'll be sharing an excerpt with you all. Enjoy!

***
May 1976

Simon was six years old when he first tasted beer.

He was bathed and ready for bed wearing soft pyjamas, even though it was light outside; still early. Other kids were in the street, playing on their bikes, kicking a football. He could hear them through the open window, although he couldn’t see them because the blinds were closed. His daddy didn’t like the evening light glaring on the TV screen, his mummy didn’t like the neighbours looking in; keeping the room dark was something they agreed on.

His mummy didn’t like a lot of things: wasted food, messy bedrooms, Daddy driving too fast, his sister throwing a tantrum in public. Mummy liked ‘having standards’. He didn’t know what that meant, exactly. There was a standard-bearer at Cubs; he was a big boy and got to wave the flag at the front of the parade, but his mummy didn’t have a flag, so it was unclear. What was clear was that she didn’t like him to be in the street after six o’clock. She thought it was common. He wasn’t sure what common was either, something to do with having fun. She bathed him straight after tea and made him put on pyjamas, so that he couldn’t sneak outside.

He didn’t know what his daddy didn’t like, just what he did like. His daddy was always thirsty and liked a drink. When he was thirsty he was grumpy and when he had a drink, he laughed a lot. His daddy was an accountant and like to count in lots of different ways: “a swift one’, “a cold one’, and ‘one more for the road’. Sometimes Simon though his daddy was lying when he said he was an accountant; most likely, he was a pirate or a wizard. He said to people, “Pick your poison’, which sounded like something pirates might say, and he liked to drink, “the hair of a dog’ in the morning at the weekends, which was definitely a spell. Simon asked his mummy about it once and she told him to stop being silly and never to say those silly things outside the house.

He had been playing with his Etch A Sketch, which was only two months old and was a birthday present. Having seen it advertised on TV, Simon had begged for it, but it was disappointing. Just two silly knobs making lines that went up and down, side to side. Limited. Boring. He was bored. The furniture in the room was organised so all of it was pointing at the TV which was blaring but not interesting. The news. His parents liked watching the news, but he didn’t. His father was nursing a can of the grown ups’ pop that Simon was never allowed. The pop that smelt like nothing else, fruity and dark and tempting.

“Can I have a sip?” he asked.

“Don’t be silly, Simon,” his mother interjected. “You’re far too young. Beer is for daddies.” He thought she said ‘daddies’, but she might have said ‘baddies’.

His father put the can to his lips, glared at his mother, cold. A look that said, “Shut up woman, this is man’s business.” His mother had blushed, looked away as though she couldn’t stand to watch, but she held her tongue. Perhaps she thought the bitterness wouldn’t be to his taste, that one sip would put him off. He didn’t like the taste. But he enjoyed the collusion. He didn’t know that word then, but he instinctively understood the thrill. He and his daddy drinking grown ups’ pop! His father had looked satisfied when he swallowed back the first mouthful, then pushed for a second. He looked almost proud. Simon tasted the aluminium can, the snappy biting bitter bubbles and it lit a fuse.

After that, in the mornings, Simon would sometimes get up early, before Mummy or Daddy or his little sister, and he’d dash around the house before school, tidying up. He’d open the curtains, empty the ashtrays, clear away the discarded cans. Invariably his mother went to bed before his father. Perhaps she didn’t want to have to watch him drink himself into a stupor every night, perhaps she hoped denying him an audience might take away some of the fun for him, some of the need. She never saw just how bad the place looked by the time his father staggered upstairs to bed. Simon knew it was important that she didn’t see that particular brand of chaos.

Occasionally there would be a small amount of beer left in one of the cans. Simon would slurp it back. He found he liked the flat, forbidden, taste just as much as the fizzy hit of fresh beer. He’d throw open a window, so the cigarette smoke and the secrets could drift away. When his mother came downstairs, she would smile at him and thank him for tidying up.

“You’re a good boy, Simon,” she’d say with some relief. And no idea.

When there weren’t dregs to be slugged, he sometimes opened a new can. Threw half of it down his throat before eating his breakfast. His father never kept count.

Some people say their favourite smell is freshly baked bread, others say coffee or a campfire. From a very young age, few scents could pop Simon’s nerve endings like the scent of beer.

The promise of it.
***

More info about the book can be found here:

Friday, July 31, 2020

Nerdy Ink Harry Potter Covers

Hello, all!

JK Rowling has always and will always be a trash person. But what isn't trash are the cover redesigns that Nerdy Ink brought out for the US Harry Potter hardcovers. I had seen these covers floating around but never knew where to get them. When I finally found them, they were sadly sold out. Cut to me obsessively checking all their social media in hopes of a re-release, and ordering them the very minute they did.


I'm so in love with these new covers, I can't stop staring at them on my bookshelves. The artwork is beautiful. There are so many tiny details and you can tell that so much thought was put into them. Unfortunately, I do think they're sold out again, but check out their site for any updates and maybe you can snag your own at some point!

You can check out all the covers below! Lemme know which is your favorite!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Blog Tour: The Friendship List Excerpt

Hello, all!

Who doesn't love a story about best friends who will do anything for one another? The Friendship List by Susan Mallery follows two best friends who are determined to help one another shake things up and live their lives to the fullest, only to discover that possibilities are everywhere especially in the least likely of places. Big thanks to Harlequin for having me on the blog tour, for my part I'll be sharing an exclusive excerpt. Enjoy!

Pub Date: 8-4-20
Adult - Contemporary


***
“I should have married money,” Ellen Fox said glumly. “That would have solved all my problems.”

Unity Leandre, her best friend, practically since birth, raised her eyebrows. “Because that was an option so many times and you kept saying no?”

“It could have been. Maybe. If I’d ever, you know, met a rich guy I liked and wanted to marry.”

“Wouldn’t having him want to marry you be an equally important part of the equation?”

Ellen groaned. “This is not a good time for logic. This is a good time for sympathy. Or giving me a winning lottery ticket. We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never once given me a winning lottery ticket.”

Unity picked up her coffee and smiled. “True, but I did give you my pony rides when we celebrated our eighth birthdays.”

A point she would have to concede, Ellen thought. With their birthdays so close together, they’d often had shared parties. The summer they’d turned eight, Unity’s mom had arranged for pony rides at a nearby farm. Unity had enjoyed herself, but Ellen had fallen in love with scruffy Mr. Peepers, the crabby old pony who carried them around the paddock. At Ellen’s declaration of affection for the pony, Unity had handed over the rest of her ride tickets, content to watch Ellen on Mr. Peepers’s wide back.

“You were wonderful about the pony rides,” Ellen said earnestly, “And I love that you were so generous. But right now I really need a small fortune. Nothing overwhelming. Just a tasteful million or so. In return, I’ll give back the rides on Mr. Peepers.”

Unity reached across the kitchen table and touched Ellen’s arm. “He really wants to go to UCLA?”

Ellen nodded, afraid if she spoke, she would whimper. After sucking in a breath, she managed to say, “He does. Even with a partial scholarship, the price is going to kill me.” She braced herself for the ugly reality. “Out-of-state costs, including room and board, are about sixty-four thousand dollars.” Ellen felt her heart skip a beat and not out of excitement. “A year. A year! I don’t even bring home that much after taxes. Who has that kind of money? It might as well be a million dollars.”

Unity nodded. “Okay, now marrying money makes sense.”

“I don’t have a lot of options.” Ellen pressed her hand to her chest and told herself she wasn’t having a heart attack. “You know I’d do anything for Coop and I’ll figure this out, but those numbers are terrifying. I have to start buying lottery scratchers and get a second job.” She looked at Unity. “How much do you think they make at Starbucks? I could work nights.”

Unity, five inches taller, with long straight blond hair, grabbed her hands. “Last month it was University of Oklahoma and the month before that, he wanted to go to Notre Dame. Cooper has changed his mind a dozen times. Wait until you go look at colleges this summer and he figures out what he really wants, then see who offers the best financial aid before you panic.” Her mouth curved up in a smile. “No offense, Ellen, but I’ve tasted your coffee. You shouldn’t be working anywhere near a Starbucks.”

“Very funny.” Ellen squeezed her hands. “You’re right. He’s barely seventeen. He won’t be a senior until September. I have time. And I’m saving money every month.”

It was how she’d been raised, she thought. To be practical, to take responsibility. If only her parents had thought to mention marrying for money.

“After our road trip, he may decide he wants to go to the University of Washington after all, and that would solve all my problems.”

Not just the money ones, but the loneliness ones, she thought wistfully. Because after eighteen years of them being a team, her nearly grown-up baby boy was going to leave her.

“Stop,” Unity said. “You’re getting sad. I can see it.”

“I hate that you know me so well.”

“No, you don’t.”

Ellen sighed. “No, I don’t, but you’re annoying.”

“You’re more annoying.”

They smiled at each other.

Unity stood, all five feet ten of her, and stretched. “I have to get going. You have young minds to mold and I have a backed-up kitchen sink to deal with, followed by a gate repair and something with a vacuum. The message wasn’t clear.” She looked at Ellen. “You going to be okay?”

Ellen nodded. “I’m fine. You’re right. Coop will change his mind fifteen more times. I’ll wait until it’s a sure thing, then have my breakdown.”

“See. You always have a plan.”

They walked to the front door. Ellen’s mind slid back to the ridiculous cost of college.

“Any of those old people you help have money?” she asked. “For the right price, I could be a trophy wife.”

Unity shook her head. “You’re thirty-four. The average resident of Silver Pines is in his seventies.”

“Marrying money would still solve all my problems.”

Unity hugged her, hanging on tight for an extra second. “You’re a freak.”

“I’m a momma bear with a cub.”

“Your cub is six foot three. It’s time to stop worrying.”

“That will never happen.”

“Which is why I love you. Talk later.”

Ellen smiled. “Have a good one. Avoid spiders.”

“Always.”

When Unity had driven away, Ellen returned to the kitchen where she quickly loaded the dishwasher, then packed her lunch. Cooper had left before six. He was doing some end-of-school-year fitness challenge. Something about running and Ellen wasn’t sure what. To be honest, when he went on about his workouts, it was really hard not to tune him out. Especially when she had things like tuition to worry about.

“Not anymore today,” she said out loud. She would worry again in the morning. Unity was right—Cooper was going to keep changing his mind. Their road trip to look at colleges was only a few weeks away. After that they would narrow the list and he would start to apply. Only then would she know the final number and have to figure out how to pay for it.

Until then she had plenty to keep her busy. She was giving pop quizzes in both fourth and sixth periods and she wanted to update her year-end tests for her two algebra classes. She needed to buy groceries and put gas in the car and go by the library to get all her summer reading on the reserve list.

As she finished her morning routine and drove to the high school where she taught, Ellen thought about Cooper and the college issue. While she was afraid she couldn’t afford the tuition, she had to admit it was a great problem to have. Seventeen years ago, she’d been a terrified teenager, about to be a single mom, with nothing between her and living on the streets except incredibly disappointed and angry parents who had been determined to make her see the error of her ways.

Through hard work and determination, she’d managed to pull herself together—raise Cooper, go to college, get a good job, buy a duplex and save money for her kid’s education. Yay her.

But it sure would have been a lot easier if she’d simply married someone with money.
***
More info about the book can be found here!

BUY LINKS:

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

July OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for this month was "Date with Destiny", and while it wasn't my favorite, there were still some fun stuff inside. Let's get into it.


First up we had this double sided wooden bookmark designed by In The Reads. I love bookmarks and I love Star Wars, so this Kylo/Rey one is right up my alley.


Next we had this tea packet from Riddle's Tea Shoppe inspired by Carry On. I'm very iffy with sour things, so I'm interested to see how I'll get on with this one.


Then we had this Raven Cycle inspired apron designed by @paperbackbones. It's definitely really nice quality, but I've never read this series, and I have so many aprons already, so this might be something I pass on to someone else.


I can always get down with some office supplies, and these arrow paperclips inspired by The Hunger Games by @paperbackbones on so on brand and I love it.


Last but not least, my favorite item in the box-- we got the next Cara Kozik Harry Potter mug! I'm always obsessed with her designs and look forward to every time we get another one. Her work is always so detailed and fun, and I'm so happy to add this one to my collection.


The book for this month was Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. If that wasn't enough, all of her people are dead and those she finds after she wakes keep calling her Goddess. Andra is forced into teaming up with an exiled prince to help navigate an unfamiliar planet lead by a vicious monarch in the hopes of discovering the truth about herself before the whole world dies.

Lemme know what you all thought of this months box!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Game of Thrones Collectors Box

Hello, all!

I'm not sure if you all know this, but I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan. I've read all of the books, watched the entire series, and am a ride or die Stark. When I was purchasing tickets for this years BookCon (which didn't end up happening 😢), I noticed they were offering a GoT collectors box and it was pretty inexpensive, so I thought "What they hey?" and got it. I wasn't expecting much out of it, but I ended up being super impressed with what I received.


First up we had this shirt with all the major house crests on it. The quality is really nice and soft, which I love, so I know it's going to be a great comfy shirt.


I'm such a sucker for a map of fantasy lands, and I'm in love with this one of Westeros. It's also limited edition and hand numbered. I can't wait to frame and hang this up.


Arya is one of my favorite GoT characters, so I was so hyped to get this copy of the Iron Coin of the Faceless Man. I'm so excited to display this on my shelves.


I love a replica prop! Not only did we get the coin, but there was also a reproduction of Robert Baratheon's will. It's surprisingly good quality and came closed with a wax seal with the Baratheon crest as well.


What's a GoT box without including the man himself? I think this sticker of George RR Martin is so funny and can't wait to put it in my reading journal.


My favorite item in the box was, of course, the special edition of A Song of Ice and Fire. This edition is absolutely gorgeous. It's bound in an eco-trim fiber which sort of mocks the feeling of really old leather, so it's so soft and supple. There's gilded foil edges, illustrations throughout (both in color and black and white), maps on the endpapers and a ribbon bookmark.


I'm just completely obsessed with this edition and haven't stopped looking at it since I got it. I actually don't own any of the physical books (I have them all as e-books), so I'm very excited that I can add this beautiful copy to my shelves.

The box also came with an online course code for learning Dothraki, so I may need to learn a new language during quarantine. Overall, I'm really pleased with this box and so shocked at how nice the quality of everything was especially since it wasn't that expensive. Lemme know if you're a GoT fan and what you thought of this box!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Lions of Fifth Avenue Review

Hello, all!

A fun fact about me: I have awful luck. I'm one of those people who constantly throw their name into giveaways and contests in hopes of winning something, yet never do. So, when I entered a GoodReads giveaway for The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis, I was shocked to find out I'd actually won. Big thanks to them and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-21-20
Historical Fiction

To most, it may seem that Laura Lyons lives the perfect life for a woman in 1913. She has a loving family, and her husband has a great job as the superintendent of the New York Public Library, where they all live in an apartment within the grand building. Despite all this, Laura wants more. She's passionate about having her own career and being able to stand on her own. When she gets accepted to Columbia Journalism School, she thinks she's one step closer to her dream. As her studies take her all over the City, she's drawn to the new bohemian vibe of Greenwich Village. Here, her friend and confidant, Amelia Potter, introduces her to the Heterodoxy Club-- a club full of free-thinking, radical women who aren't afraid to loudly voice their opinions on all matters from women's rights to birth control. While Laura is off having the time of her life, books start going missing at the library and her family starts to fall apart, and she must confront these issues before she loses everything.

In 1993 New York, Sadie Donovan has just been promoted to her dream job as curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. Her joy soon turns sour after a string of thefts start cropping up where priceless books go missing. Sadie, who happens to be the granddaughter of the famed essayist, Laura Lyons, has always felt a deep connection to the library, so she doesn't take these thefts lightly. As she assists the private investigator in getting to the bottom of them, she uncovers some unsettling truths about her family. Especially when she learns about the thefts during her grandmother's time, and how they eerily line up with what's happening now.

Historical fiction set in New York and at a library? Sign me up! I was really interested in this story and I did enjoy it, but I just felt it was missing something. I loved following Laura on her journey to independence. I went to school for journalism, so I felt a connection straight away. Watching her ferret out stories and try so hard to prove herself was empowering. She never let her gender hinder her, instead used it to pave her own way, and it was so amazing to see it work out so well. I enjoyed the Laura chapters slightly more than Sadie's for that reason. I liked Sadie, but I did find her a bit annoying at times. She came off a little too pretentious on occasion, which in turn, made it hard for me to connect fully. The two different book theft mysteries worked well and the way Davis weaved them together was nice. I will say I guessed the outcome for the 1913 mystery, but the one from Sadie's time threw me, and while I did appreciate the fact that I didn't see it coming, I felt it was wrapped up a little too conveniently. Overall, this was an enjoyable story and one to pick up if you're a fan of the genre.

Rating: 3/5