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.”


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!


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

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Keep My Heart in San Francisco Review

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Netgalley and Simon Pulse for the copy of Keep My Heart in San Francisco by Amelia Diane Coombs!

Pub Date: 7-14-20
YA - Contemporary

Caroline "Chuck" Wilson was looking forward to spending her spring break perusing estate sales for vintage finds and touring the fashion school of her dreams. Instead, she's stuck working at her family's run-down bowling alley. As if that wasn't torture enough, Chuck accidentally stumbles upon a big secret her father has been keeping from her: Bigmouth's Bowl owes thousands of dollars in back rent and if they don't come up with the money fast, Chuck might as well kiss her home in San Francisco goodbye and say hello to her grandparent's house in Arizona.

Chuck refuses to leave the only home she's ever known, so she does the unthinkable. She teams up with her ex-best friend, Beckett Porter, and the pair devise a get rich quick scheme: they're going to infiltrate the Bay Area bowling scene and hustle players out of their money. The deeper the pair dive into the seedy world of underground bowling, Chuck fears her mental health will spiral just like her mother's did before she died. She also can't help the feelings bubbling back up for Beckett. Failure isn't an option for Chuck, if she doesn't win the money to save her family's legacy, she can kiss Bigmouth's and all her dreams goodbye. But if she wins, she'd have pulled off a perfect game.

I'm a terrible bowler, but I love it anyway, so I was looking forward to a story revolving around the sport. I enjoyed the characters and thought Chuck and Beckett were adorable together. They felt like real people, and I loved their banter back and forth. The writing was witty and fun and so easy to fall into. I pretty much read this in one sitting because it was so breezy. I also appreciated the way mental health was approached and handled in this. My only issue was the actual scheme Chuck and Beckett came up with. It was just so far-fetched that it was hard for me to believe it could actually happen. Other than that, I did still enjoy it and would recommend if you're looking for a quick read.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Today Tonight Tomorrow Review

Hello, all!

One of my favorite movies in high school was Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, and one of my favorite rom-com books is The Hating Game, so when I read Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon was a bit of a mash-up of both, I was completely sold. Massive thanks to Simon Pulse for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-14-20
YA - Contemporary

Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals all four years of high school. Anyway they could one-up the other, they did: book reports, SAT scores, college admissions acceptances, even gym pull-up contests. When Neil is named valedictorian over Rowan, she's determined to beat him at one last thing: Howl, the all-night scavenger hunt that takes the seniors all over Seattle looking for clues to win a big cash prize.

During one of the designated "safe zones," Rowan overhears a group of other seniors conspiring to take both her and Neil out of the game. Reluctantly, Rowan and Neil decide to team up until they're the only ones left standing, and then they'll go back to duking it out for the top spot. The only problem is, somewhere along the way, Rowan stops viewing Neil as the sarcastic grump he's always been and starts seeing him for the awkwardly perfect guy she's always hoped for.

This. Was. So. Cute. I adored Solomon's writing style and flew through this in basically one sitting because I just couldn't put it down. Rowan and Neil felt like those crazy competitive students everyone knew in high school. But after they stopped trying to bring each other down academically is when this really started to shine. Watching the pair go through this scavenger hunt while getting to know one another on a deeper, more personal level was so incredibly sweet and the bantering back and forth the whole time was everything. I also loved the whole premise of Howl and wished my high school had done something like that cause it seemed like a blast. Were there predictable parts? Of course, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment overall. If you're looking for a quick, fun, ridiculously charming read, I'd definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, July 9, 2020

June OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for June's box was "All The World's a Stage" and let's get right to it.

The first item was this coin bank inspired by The Night Circus designed by Forensics and Flowers. I really love how OwlCrate designs the packaging to match whatever the theme is, it's so cute.

Then we had these pencils that each have a Shakespeare quote created by the OwlCrate team. These are actually already sharpened which I thought was a nice touch.

We got another bag of coffee this month from Bones Coffee Company. I really wish I liked coffee because the mini donut flavor sounds like it'd be up my alley, so like every time we get coffee, I'll be passing this along to a friend.

When I first opened the box, something with a super strong scent hit me in the face, and turns out it was this little guy. This shower steamer by Whipped Up Wonderful is coffee and orange scented, and as stated above, I really don't like anything to do with coffee, so this wasn't my favorite thing to receive. I like the idea of a shower steamer, but I just can't get over the overbearing coffee aspect.

I love a To-Do list and this one is so cute! Inspired by The Greatest Showman (which I've still never seen), it was designed by @paperbackbones, and it seems like it'll be really convenient to jot down whatever I need to do during the week. I also like how there's a little spot to note what you're reading at the time.

The book for this month was Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. First off, this edition is gorgeous. It's a naked hardback, which I absolutely love, and I really think this is the prettiest edition of a book that OwlCrate has sent out.

This story follows a group of magicians who face off in a dangerous game of magical feats to prove who can be the best headliner of the Conquering Circus. Kallia is a powerful showgirl who will do whatever she must to prove she's the best; Jack is the enigmatic leader of the club and not above a lie or two; and Demarco is the brooding judge who's past is murkier than he lets on. As the competition heats up, the three notice that more and more accidents start piling up and with the risks higher than ever, they all must come to terms with their own secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

I've only vaguely heard of this book, but the most I know is that it was hyped as being a mix between The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge, which piques my interest. Lemme know what you thought of this box!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book Haul

Hello, all!

I've really been trying to buy less books recently, and now that my library is back open for curb side pick up, I can finally stick to that again. So, here are just a few that I've picked up in the past month or so. As always, if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

1. The Midnight Club- Christopher Pike
2. Nocturnal- Wilder
3. Beach Read- Emily Henry
4. The Marriage Game- Sara Desai
5. The Song of Achilles- Madeline Miller
6. Foundryside- Robert Jackson Bennett
7. Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies- Vicky Zimmerman
8. Weird Al: The Book- Nathan Rabin

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello, all!

I'm slightly late on this one, but it's fine. I always see this tag floating around BookTube, and I thought it would be fun to do it on here. Here we go!

1. The best book you've read so far in 2020?

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood- Sarah J. Maas.

2. The best sequel you've read so far in 2020?

I recently read the Arc of a Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman, and Thunderhead blew me away.

3. A new release you haven't read yet but want to?

The Marriage Game- Sara Desai, but I've just bought it!

4. The most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

There's a few: Well Played- Jen DeLuca; Crazy Stupid Bromance-  Lyssa Kay Adams; and A Rogue of One's Own- Evie Dunmore are three off the top of my head.

5. The biggest disappointment this year?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes- Suzanne Collins. Oof, it was rough to get through.

6. The biggest surprise so far?

The Duchess Deal- Tessa Dare. I always stayed away from historical romance cause the covers are so cheesy, but Tessa Dare has converted me.

7. Your favorite new author--debut/new to you?

Probably Tessa Dare. I really enjoyed everything that I've read from her so far.

8. Your newest fictional crush?

Jason from The Happy Ever After Playlist. Musician who loves dogs? Yes, please.

9. Your newest favorite character?

Bryce Quinlan from Crescent City. I'm always here for badass, sassy, fierce female characters.

10. A book that made you cry?

I don't usually cry in books 🤷

11. A book that made you happy?

Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood. These are two of my favorite queens from RuPaul's Drag Race and reading them give advice on everything from finances to fashion was hilarious. (This'll be out in July!)

12. The most beautiful book you bought this year?

I've actually been trying to curb my book buying, so I don't have an answer for this one.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Pretty much all the books coming out the rest of the year that I'm looking forward to! I'd like to get to The Lies of Locke Lamora- Scott Lynch especially though, cause that's been on my TBR for so long.

If anyone would like to do this as well, here are the questions!

1. The best book you've read so far in 2020?
2. The best sequel you've read so far in 2020?
3. A new release you haven't read yet but want to?
4. The most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
5. The biggest disappointment this year?
6. The biggest surprise so far?
7. Your favorite new author--debut/new to you?
8. Your newest fictional crush?
9. Your newest favorite character?
10. A book that made you cry?
11. A book that made you happy?
12. The most beautiful book you bought this year?
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?