Thursday, February 25, 2021

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 1-5-21
Adult - Sci-Fi

Light of the Jedi- Charles Soule: It's truly a golden age in the High Republic: scouts are using hyperspace lanes to connect to even the furthest settlements in the Outer Rim, worlds are flourishing under a compassionate and capable Senate leader, and thanks to the renowned Jedi's, peace reigns in the galaxy. With the Jedi by their side, the citizens of the galaxy are confident that they can face any obstacle that comes their way, but when a shocking disaster tears a ship apart in hyperspace and the scattered debris threatens to destroy an entire system, will the Force users prove to be enough? As panic and despair rage through the galaxy, the Jedi's are each pushed to their limits and must trust in the Force like never before because one single error could be their doom. All the while, a storm is brewing in the shadows. A sinister threat growing in the dark with only one mission in mind: to snuff out the light and Jedi once and for all.

Let me start by saying, I'm a huge Star Wars fan. With that in mind, I went into this with higher expectations and assuming it would blow me away, but it just didn't. That's not to say it wasn't a decent book, there were parts I enjoyed, but I was hoping for something great and what I ended up with was just...good. The writing was a bit hard to get into and the pacing was all over the place. I felt a lot of things happened off-page and weren't always explained well enough to give you a coherent picture of what was going on. You're also introduced to so many different characters that don't really have any distinct personalities so they all just mesh into one and it's hard to differentiate who's who. Despite all that, what I did like was the combat scenes, which felt very big and cinematic, and the Nihil, I'm intrigued to see how they're going to play out as the big bad in the grand scheme of things. So, overall, while I was hoping for more, it's still a fun read if you're a fan.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 12-1-20
Adult - Contemporary

How to Fail at Flirting- Denise Williams: Naya Turner is conservative. Like, matching sweater set buttoned all the way up. She never used to be this way; she used to be vibrant and loud, but an abusive relationship dulled her shine. To get out of her head, Naya throws herself into her work as a professor, but when her failing department lands on the chopping block and her abusive ex starts hanging around, Naya's friends convince her she desperately deserves a night with no inhibitions. When she meets a handsome stranger in town for business, Naya seizes the opportunity. Jake and Naya immediately click, and he makes her feel confident in a way she hasn't felt in a long time. The pair spend every moment they can together, both feeling like this is more than a little fling. But things quickly sour when Jake turns out to be the consultant brought in to cull departments at Naya's university. The discovery leaves Naya torn: is she willing to risk her career on the only one who's ever made her feel alive?

I wasn't expecting to love this as much as I did, but I couldn't get enough! I read this in a day because I didn't want to put it down. I was hooked from the very first page. Naya and Jake are absolutely adorable together and had me smiling the whole time. I was also a big fan of all the cheesy jokes and puns they were tossing around. They were so effortless together and it made you root for them. Their chemistry was everything and I ate it up. I also think Williams did a nice job handling the sensitive matters that both Naya and Jake faced. My only issue with this was that I wished Naya would've opened up to Jake and been honest with him sooner about her ex. He trusted her with his past relationship, so the fact that she kept it hidden for so long was just a bit frustrating. Other than that, I enjoyed this so much and it's definitely a new favorite.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pub Date: 2-9-21
Adult - Thriller/Mystery

The Burning Girls- C.J. Tudor: All small towns have their secrets, and none more so than Chapel Croft. Hundreds of years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake, back in the '90s two teenage girls went missing, and recently, the vicar of the local parish killed himself. After an incident at her previous church, Reverend Jack Brooks is reassigned to Chapel Croft as a way to start fresh. She and her teenage daughter are hoping to find peace in the small village, but instead, they are met with suspicious local history and a mysterious box left for Jack which contains an exorcism kit. When Jack's daughter is plagued by strange sightings in the chapel, Jack discovers there's more to Chapel Croft than meets the eye, and takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of the mystery before the town claims another victim.

This was such a page-turner! I'd never read anything by Tudor before, but I think she may be an auto-buy author for me now. This was so compelling and sucked me in from the very beginning. The characters and setting were spot on and added to the creepy vibe. Even though Jack is a vicar, she's a very morally gray character and I think that made following her so interesting. She has so many secrets of her own and a past she's running from that she'll do whatever it takes to keep hidden. As far as the mystery itself, I was able to suss out a smidge of Jack's background but Tudor threw in some twists that made it all come together in ways I wasn't expecting. There were some paranormal things, such as Jack's daughter seeing images of the girls who were burnt at the stake, that I wish were touched on more just out of sheer curiosity. Other than that, I thought this was fast-paced, engaging, and a well-developed thriller that'll keep anyone on their toes.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Court of Silver Flames Review

Hello, all!

Are we surprised that this was my first 5-star read of the year? A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas is the start to the continuation/spin-off series of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but focusing on Nesta and Cassian rather than Feyre and Rhysand. Ever since those two met, I've been dying for a story based solely on them, and it was absolutely worth the wait.

Pub Date: 2-16-21
New Adult - Fantasy

As a human, Nesta Archeron was a force to be reckoned with, able to cut a person down with only a look and a cutting remark. Now, after being Made into High Fae against her will, she can make whole courts tremble with just a wisp of the power she tore from the Cauldron she was thrown in. She used that power to aid her family in the war with Hybern, which was so disastrous they barely made it out alive, and the cost they all had to pay for victory was something that haunts Nesta to this very day. Nesta has never grown accustomed to her new Fae abilities or understood fully the dark, writhing power that strums through her very being. She knows everyone is afraid of her--as they should be-- but the only person who has never once backed down from her is Cassian, the warrior General of Feyre and Rhysand's Night Court.

Cassian has fought in more battles than he can count, has walked side-by-side with Death throughout his entire life, and has never been one to shy away from a challenge. And that's exactly what Nesta is. The pair have always been able to push one another's buttons and neither can deny the heat between. When Nesta's self-destructing ways finally catch up to her, the pair are forced into living and training together and to confront all their feelings head-on. Meanwhile, the threat from the human Queen's still lingers as rumblings of their new alliance with an even darker force come to light. With the realms once again at stake, Nesta and Cassian both are forced to face their haunted pasts if there's any hope of forging a lasting future.

Honestly, this book left me so speechless I don't even know if I have the words to say how much I loved it, but I'm going to try. This was just everything I could've hoped for and so much more. The character development? Phenomenal. The depth of emotions that both Nesta and Cassian go through? Beautiful. They truly are two sides of the same coin: both are hot-headed and abrasive, but also fiercely loyal and protective. They would do whatever it takes to keep their loved ones safe with zero hesitation. I've always enjoyed watching them throw verbal jabs at one another because they each aren't afraid to give as well as they get, but watching them be vulnerable and open up was amazing. The emotional journey they both went through to heal from their respective wounds was heartbreaking but made them stronger both as individuals and mates. And oh my god, how I squealed when the mating bond finally clicked into place!

Aside from the swoon-inducing romance aspect, Maas also did a fantastic job with the plot itself. Despite how chunky this book is, no part ever felt slow or dragging. I was fully invested in the training (I wish I were a Valkyrie) and watching Nesta develop into an even more formidable badass. I loved how she developed a sisterhood with Gwyn and Emerie and the lengths that they would go to for one another, especially when they were thrown into the brutality of the Illyrian Blood Rite. I found the Dread Trove items and Koschei really fascinating and I'm intrigued to see how he'll play a role in the coming books. Of course, I loved seeing the glimpses of the rest of the Night Court, especially Feyre and Rhysand (that was another aspect that made me squeal with delight), but I appreciated how they took a backseat to Nesta and Cassian. Overall, there wasn't anything about this that I didn't love or at least really enjoy. I wasn't even halfway through before I wanted to re-read it all over again. It made me run the gamut of emotions: I was happy, I was frustrated, I was stressed, I was angry, I was hopeful, it made me feel everything. I'm constantly in awe of the way Maas builds her worlds and characters in such a way that just cuts straight through you. This was hands down my favorite of the series, and one I know I'll come back to again and again, and it makes me so excited to see where else we'll go from here.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire Review

Hello, all!

So, I mentioned last month how much I've been loving the From Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout (review here), but I just can't get enough and I'm pretty much impatiently waiting for the third book after devouring A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire.

Pub Date: 9-1-20
New Adult - Fantasy/Romance

Poppy has shed her Maiden's veil and along with it all the lies that she's been fed her whole life. The Ascended are not the beings she once thought, but in reality the monsters she should've been fearing all along. She's been betrayed by everyone she's close to, but none more so than Hawke. Because the Royal Guard she's been falling for, the one she's risked everything for, is actually Casteel Da'Neer, the Prince of Atlantia, the Dark One, and he has plans in store for Poppy.

To free his brother from the clutches of the Ascended, Casteel needs a hefty bargaining chip, and he saw that in Poppy. Long before he ever got to know her, he planned to kidnap her and ransom her life for his brothers. But all that changed the moment he realized Poppy moves him and makes him feel things that no one ever has. So, Casteel changes his plans. He'll still do whatever it takes to free his brother, but he'll do it with Poppy by his side, as his wife. Needless to say, Poppy isn't thrilled with the idea of marrying the one who broke her heart so badly, but she can't resist the temptation of his touch or the yearning she feels whenever she looks at him. Soon, unrest is crawling through the kingdom as Casteel's people grow both weary and fearful of Poppy especially as her powers start to grow in ways that no one has ever seen before. With battles already fought and more on the way as the secrets of the two kingdoms fight to stay hidden, Poppy must uncover the truth about herself before it's too late.

I'm not even kidding when I say the second I finished FBAA, I started this because I just could not after that ending, and ugh, the angst in this was everything. I love how Poppy has taken control of her life and has become an even bigger badass than she was before. She is done taking everyone's crap and I'm living for it. You feel for her and her pain after learning who Hawke truly is, and her reluctance to continue falling for someone who has hurt her so badly. There was so much tension between the two and despite all the games, you still root for them to pull through. Casteel is still his cocky self, but you get a peek into his vulnerable side that I enjoyed. Aside from their relationship, I loved Poppy and Kieran. The pair just antagonize one another like siblings and it was hilarious. I still had the same few issues as with the first book, where I found some of the writing repetitive and thought the first half was a little on the slower side. However, I still loved this and I'm so intrigued by these new powers Poppy has developed and I need the next book ASAP.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Blog Tour: Honey Girl Review

Hello, all!

I actually hadn't heard of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers before being asked to be a part of the blog tour, but I'm so glad it landed on my radar. Big thanks to Park Row for having me!


Pub Date: 2-23-21
Adult - Contemporary

Grace Porter spent her entire adult life focusing on one goal: earning her Ph.D. in Astronomy and becoming the best in her field. At twenty-eight-years old, she's got the diploma, but now what? Grace and her two best friends decide to celebrate by going to Vegas as a way for Grace to finally let loose. Being raised under a strict ex-military father, Grace isn't one to let her inhibitions go wild, so the last thing she expected from this trip was to wake up after a drunken night only to find a ring on her finger, an empty bed, and a note from the woman she hazily remembers marrying asking to come find her.

This one fleeting moment of rebellion against her regimented lifestyle leaves Grace questioning everything she's ever known. All of a sudden, her degree no longer feels fulfilling, and the weight of her father's expectations and repressed anxieties come crushing onto Grace's shoulders. So, she does the only thing she could think of to escape the burnout-- she tracks down her elusive wife and flees her home in Portland to visit her in New York City. When Grace finally properly meets her wife, Yuki, she's thrown for an even bigger loop. In New York, Grace is finally able to breathe for the first time in years, and it's all thanks to this wonderfully weird creative woman she married. But Grace soon learns all good things must come to an end, and when reality comes crashing down, it hits her like a ton of bricks. For Grace to find true fulfillment in her life, she'll need to stop running from all the pain she's hidden deep inside and decide what really matters most.

I went into this thinking it was going to be a fluffy contemporary, and while there is a romance, it's more of a subplot. This was more about Grace coming into her own and discovering what she truly wants out of life. She has spent the majority of her life doing what she thinks others expect of her and not stopping to think if that's actually what she wants. I enjoyed watching her go on this journey of self-discovery, and while at times, it was difficult for her to face her fears, she eventually sets herself onto the path of closure she needs. It was so satisfying and very relatable. Going back to the romance between her and Yuki, while it did play a smaller part than I originally thought, it doesn't mean it wasn't impactful in its own right. The pair were adorable together and brought out one another's vulnerabilities. Another highlight was the friendships. Both Grace and Yuki have an amazing support system and I loved every second their friends were on the page. They also added such levity to this which helped it not feel so dark. There were only small details about this that I had issues with. Namely the pacing, which felt uneven between the first half and second, and the writing, which at times just felt a bit clunky. Other than that, I thought this was enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5

More info about the book can be found here!

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million Powell’s


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Blog Tour: The Iron Raven Excerpt

Hello, all!

I'm a huge fan of Julie Kagawa's Shadow of the Fox series, so I'm excited to be a part of the blog tour for her latest release, The Iron Raven. Big thanks to Inkyard Press for having me!

Pub Date: 2-9-21
YA - Fantasy


This new series follow Robin Goodfellow, better known by some as Puck from A Midsummer's Night Dream. There are many legends surrounding this prankster, but Puck is finally ready to set the record straight. Puck will need to dig down deep for the courage to not only tell his story, but also face a dangerous threat to both the Faery and human world. 

This sounds like it's going to be a fun magical new series, and if it's anything like Kagawa's previous ones, it's sure to be very atmospheric. You can check out a excerpt below!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Paris Library Review

Hello, all!

Do you like stories that have dual POVs or timelines? I think it lends well to certain stories, and in the case of The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles, it definitely worked. I love historical fiction set during WWII, and the library setting just helped enhance my enjoyment. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 2-9-21
Adult - Historical Fiction

Odile Souchet lives a charmed life. She landed her dream job at the American Library in Paris, she’s courting a handsome police officer, and she has a loving family even if her father drives her crazy most of the time. Odile believes she’s on track for living the life that she’s always wanted, but everything changes once war breaks out and the Nazi’s take over Paris. With her twin brother off fighting, Odile takes it upon herself to help out at home wherever possible. She and the rest of the staff at the Library join forces to help smuggle books to those deemed “unfit” to enter the premises and to soldiers all over to keep up morale. When the war comes to an end, Odile is hopeful that the horrors and heartbreaks she’s endured are finally over, but unfortunately, instead of her happily ever after she’s left with only more betrayal from those closest to her.

Lily is a lonely teenager in a small town in Montana. She longs for adventure and the world outside the wide stretches of farmland that surround her. Nothing piques Lily’s curiosity more than her elderly neighbor, Odile. Lily is fascinated by this strange, solitary, elegant woman. The pair strike up an unusual friendship based on their mutual love of stories, languages, and the same longing to live their lives to the fullest. The more time they spend together, the more they start to view one another as family, but will their newfound foundation start to crumble after a dark secret from the past comes to light?

I’m a sucker for books about libraries, and couple that with the fact that this is based around the true history of the librarians at the American Library in Paris, and you’ve got me hook, line and sinker. I enjoyed how this was set in two different timelines and places, both Paris during WWII and Montana in the 1980s, and also from the POVs of a young, ambitious Odile and Lily, an awkward teen. From a historical point, I did enjoy Odile’s chapters more because it was fascinating reading about Paris during the war and the library itself. These chapters especially came across as very atmospheric and heartbreaking, but also hopeful. Lily was a fine enough character and I liked seeing her grow and develop as the book went on, but she just didn’t interest me as much as Odile did. If you enjoy well-written stories about friendship, family, and the power of books, I’d definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Currently...

Hello, all!

I'm back to talk about some of my favorites from the past few months. Let me know what you've been loving lately!

 Listening to:


-evermore- Taylor Swift: Are we surprised? I think not. Taylor Swift is really out here getting everyone through a pandemic one album at a time. Both Folklore and this are a delight, but I think I like evermore slightly more. Some favorite tracks are: "willow", "no body, no crime", "ivy", and "long story short".

-"Afterglow"- Ed Sheeran: I've always been a fan of Ed Sheeran and his songwriting skills and this new single is no exception. 

-Across the Universe soundtrack: I feel like this is such an underrated musical. It's one of my favorites, but I hate to say I had completely forgotten how good the songs were until I heard my roommate playing it a few weeks ago. 

Watching:


-Bridgerton: Raise your hand if you've also become obsessed with Bridgerton. I binged the entire season once it premiered in December and I'm impatiently waiting for season 2. I've also started reading the books (I'm on the fifth now) and it's a blast. The Viscount Who Loved Me has been my favorite so far, so I can't wait to see how it's going to play out in the show.

-WandaVision: This has been so fun so far! The comedic timing of everyone on the show is on point, and Elizabeth Olsen gives me such Lucille Ball vibes and I love it. Her and Paul Bettany's chemisty is, of course, also a highlight. I have a few theories on how I think the plot is going to play out, and I'm interested to see if I'm right and if so, how much heartbreak I'm in store for.

-Sailor Moon: I always say I want to watch more anime and then the same thing happens: I watch a few episodes and then forget about it and have to start all over again. I'd really like to kick that habit, so I'm starting with my old reliable and re-watching the 90s Sailor Moon. I never missed an episode of this when I was young, so I figured what better way to start then with something I already know I love. Some parts definitely didn't age well, but I've been enjoying in nonetheless.

Misc.:


-Dinosaurs T-shirt: Dinosaurs was another show I loved growing up, so once I saw this shirt on ModCloth, I had to buy it. The show was also just added on Disney+ so I think that's another I need to binge soon.

-Microwavable slippers: You all know that I'm perpetually cold. My blood just doesn't believe in circulating well, so I'm basically a human popsicle year round, but especially in the winter time. My mom bought me these slippers for Christmas that you pop in the microwave and they've been a game changer. They are a bit heavy since they have so many of those little heating beads in them, but it's worth it. I'm not sure what brand mine were, but these are pretty similar if anyone's interested!

-Old Navy Sherpa hoodie: As I said, I'm always cold so I'm constantly on the hunt for cozy clothes. Aside from the slippers, my mom also got me this hoodie from Old Navy that has sherpa in the hood and it's the perfect work from home hoodie. My only tiny complaint is that it runs a little small, so while it still fits me fine, I tend to like my sweatshirts a bit oversize for maximum coziness. Other than that, I love it and it's one of the softest hoodies I own.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Netgalley for the copies!

Pub Date: 1-19-21
Adult - Contemporary

Enjoy the View- Sarah Morgenthaler:
 River Lane was once a Hollywood darling, but her career has taken a nose dive. She's decided what she needs is a fresh start, and agrees to help produce and star in a documentary about Moose Springs, Alaska. It sounds simple enough, but River and her team soon find out the townspeople of this small town are less than accommodating. River is determined to get the shots she needs, even if that means climbing to the top of a mountain by herself. Easton Lockett is no stranger to the wilderness and has taken many groups up into Mount Veil, but none as troublesome as River and crew. Between the weather, a furry companion, and the crew's inability to follow directions, it'll take all of Easton's skill to keep everyone in one piece. As they trek higher and temperatures drop, Easton and River can't deny the heat growing between them, but can their budding romance survive the harsh terrain?


I'm falling harder and harder for this series with each new installment. I've always liked Easton as a side character, so I love that he's the star of this one. He's so charming and sweet. I love how he comes across as this huge intimidating guy, but he's a real softie inside. It took me a while to warm up to River because certain aspects of her personality rubbed me the wrong way, especially her inability to follow instructions and landing in situations that put her and her crew in danger. While she did grow on me by the end, I just found her impulsiveness a little grating. In contrast to the other two books, this one mostly takes place outside of the town in the mountains, which I think was the perfect setting. Easton is so at home in the wild and it was fun to see him interact in that space. It also led to adorable moments between him and a marmot which were hilarious. Overall, while River wasn't my favorite love interest, I still liked watching her and Easton's relationship unfold and this was just another solid addition to what's quickly becoming one of my favorite series. You can read my reviews of the other two books here.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 2-2-21
Adult - Mystery

Killer Content- Olivia Blacke: 
Odessa Dean is used to her small bayou town where the pace is slow and everyone knows one another's business, so when she moves up to her aunt's Brooklyn apartment to cat-sit for a few months, she's like a fish out of water. It's loud, it's crowded, and dear god does it smell, but Odessa is determined to make the best of her time in NYC. She gets a job at a local bookshop/diner and during one of her shifts, another waitress, Bethany, rushes out and never comes back. The next thing Odessa knows is a massive flash mob proposal goes viral when it catches the death of Bethany in the background. The police rule her death as accidental, but Odessa can't shake the feeling that Bethany was murdered. Channeling her inner detective, Odessa will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the case, but will her digging put her right in the path of a killer?


This was a cute read, but I was hoping for just a little bit more. I like my mysteries to make me work for it, and I was able to tell who the murderer was within the first few chapters. Another issue I had was the need to go in-depth over minute things. Nothing about what Odessa ate for breakfast or about how hot NYC summers are is crucial to the storyline, so these random details did nothing to move the plot along and instead made it drag. Character-wise, I liked Odessa and found her sarcastic and driven, but as for the others, I could really take or leave them. While I had a few issues with this, I do still think it would be a good book to pick up if you're looking for a filler read or just one you don't have to think too hard on.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 2-9-21
New Adult - Contemporary

Loner-Georgina Young:
  Lona doesn't have much going on in her life. She splits her time between sneaking into the darkroom at her old art college to develop pictures and playing DJ at a roller rink. She's never been in a relationship unless you count the platonic love between her and her best friend, Tab. Lona has spent a great deal of time perfecting her cynical-not caring what others think-attitude, but is that persona stopping her from enjoying everything the world has to offer? As Lona comes into her own and meets new people who open up her world to new possibilities, she'll learn that despite enjoying her own company over others, it's also nice having people to share in the world with.


I was initially drawn in by the cover of this book and then was grabbed by the premise. I think Young did a nice job of making Lona feel very relatable. Almost everyone has some sort of anxiety, so it's easy to see yourself in her and it made her feel more real. The relationships between Lona and Tab, her family, and even her love interests also felt very true to someone in their early twenties. Despite having undertones of serious issues, there's a lightness that's threaded throughout which makes the story so easy to digest. I also enjoyed how short and snappy the chapters were and finished this in almost one sitting. That being said, I did think some of the dialogue and phrasing Young used to be slightly clunky, which was my only issue. Overall, I think this was a nice coming-of-age story and one I think a lot of young people would be able to relate to.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, February 1, 2021

Harry Potter Themed Brunch

Hello, all!

As you may know, I'm not a big fan of brunch or breakfast foods, but my mom surprised me with tickets to a Harry Potter themed brunch that was happening at a local bar, and it sounded too fun to pass up. I was definitely a bit apprehensive about it given the current climate, but the place actually took a lot of precautions to make things safe.


The entire place was decked out in Harry Potter decorations, from house banners hanging from the walls to Hogwarts letters and candles hanging from the ceiling. There was a limited amount of people allowed during each time bracket, and each set of tables had their own plexiglass partitions surrounding it. 



The actual food situation was also done with limited interaction and only one table was allowed up at once, and staff members handled the actual food so it wasn't like tons of people were all over it. They also had a full drinks menu that was potion themed, but I actually don't drink, so I passed on those. While you were eating, they also had The Sorcerer's Stone playing on a big screen that was set up, and someone pretending to be Harry walking around giving "magic" lessons.

(Unfortunately, the lighting situation wasn't the best!)






Overall, it was a cute time and it was nice to do something a little different while still adhering to safety guidelines.  Do you all like brunch? Have you ever been to a themed one before?

Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Wrap-Up

Hello, all!

I always share my monthly wrap-ups on Instagram (feel free to add me on there!), but I thought it might be fun to include it here as well. To keep this relatively short, I’m just going to share my ratings for each rather than going into in-depth reviews. I’ll also break it down by audio/digital/physical since that’s how I note in in my bullet journal. So, let’s get into the books!



Audio:

-When We Left Cuba- Chanel Cleeton; 3.5/5
-The Faithless Hawk- Margaret Owen; 3/5
-An Offer From a Gentleman- Julia Quinn; 3.5/5
-Persephone Station- Stina Leicht; 2/5
-Enjoy the View- Sarah Morgenthaler; 4/5
-Romancing Mister Bridgerton- Julia Quinn; 3.5/5

Digital:

-Home Body- Rupi Kaur; 3/5
-Greek Myths: Meet the Heroes and Heroines, Monsters and Gods of Ancient Greece- Jean Menzies; 4/5
-The Worrier’s Guide to Life- Gemma Correll; 3/5
-Loner- Georgina Young; 3/5
-The Paris Library- Janet Skeslien Charles; 4/5
-Honey Girl- Morgan Rogers; 3/5
-Killer Content- Olivia Blacke; 3/5
-The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man; 3/5

Physical:

-Ten Rules for Faking It- Sophie Sullivan; 3.5/5
-The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey; 4/5
-Storm & Fury- Jennifer L. Armentrout; 3/5
-Tall, Duke and Dangerous- Megan Frampton; 3/5
-Light of the Jedi- Charles Soule; 3/5
-Scarlet Witch, Vol. 1: Witches’ Road; 3/5
-Scarlet Witch, Vol. 2: World of Witchcraft; 3/5
-Scarlet Witch, Vol. 3: The Final Hex; 3/5
-Moon Knight, Vol. 1: From the Dead; 4/5
-Moon Knight, Vol. 2: Dead Will Rise; 4/5
-Moon Knight, Vol. 3: In the Night; 4/5
-The Final Empire- Brandon Sanderson; 3.5/5   


Some favorites were: Enjoy the View and The Snow Child. Some least favorites were: Persephone Station and Ten Rules for Faking It. I’m also jazzed on how many graphic novels I was able to tick off my list this month. I’m terrible at keeping up with releases of single issue comics, so I usually wait until the trades come out to binge in one sitting, but I’ve become behind on those as well. I’m making it a point this year to try and get to as many as I can.

How was your reading month? What was your favorite or least favorite read?

Thursday, January 28, 2021

January OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

OwlCrate kicked off 2021 with by far my favorite box they've sent in ages! The theme was "From Olympus With Love" and it was chock full of Greek mythology related goodies!


First up we had this pin banner with olive branches that was designed by Michelle Gray. I have so many of these and never actually use them for my pins, so I should probably get on that.


Then we had loose leaf tea by Riddle's Tea Shoppe called Nectar of the Gods. It says it has notes of peach, marigold, vanilla, and caramel so I'm interested to try it out because I love peach teas.




My favorite item had to be this double-sided wooden bookmark designed by In The Reads. Not only are the actual designs gorgeous (there's even flecks of gold in the background and throughout the fig), but both are quotes by Madeline Miller from Circe and The Song of Achilles which are two of my favorite books, so this is just *chefs kiss*


Next up was this lunar calendar tapestry by Eden Cooke featuring Athena and Artemis. I think the design of this is beautiful, but I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it.


The last item was a letter board that comes with a pouch to keep all the letters in. I love how they used Hermes as the inspiration for this since he's the messenger of the gods. I like the attention to detail, Team OwlCrate!


The book for this month was, of course, Lore by Alexandra Bracken. I reviewed this earlier in the month (review here), so I won't go too in depth, but this takes place in a world where Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals while being hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines. Lore grew up with aspirations of being a hunter, but when her family is brutally murdered, she turns her back on everything she's ever known. Now, as the next hunt is gearing up, Lore finds an injured Athena on her doorstep, and she's roped into participating in the hopes that she'll finally be able to get revenge she seeks.

Let me know what you all thought of this months box!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Blog Tour: We Could Be Heroes Excerpt

Hello, all!

Since last year, I've been trying to get more into sci-fi books, so I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen. This story follows two misfits, Jaime and Zoe, who both have extraordinary powers but neither have any recollection of how they came to be.

Pub Date: 1-26-21
Adult - Sci-Fi


Rather than use their powers for good, the pair instead use them for their own gain. Jaime has the power to read people's memories which he uses to rob banks for quick cash, and Zoe uses her speed and strength to deliver fast food and beat up bad guys on the side. When the pair meet at a memory loss support group, they decide they are each other's best chance at figuring out what happened to them. Their quest leads them to a shady government medical conspiracy that threatens to wreak havoc on their city, and it's up to them to band together to stop the evil forces at play and hopefully learn who they truly are.

This sounds like it's going to be a super fun vigilante/villain story, and I'm excited to be able to share with you all an excerpt below. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 21, 2021

From Blood and Ash Review

Hello, all!

So, you may have heard a lot of hype surrounding the From Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout lately. I had never read anything by her before, but decided to pick it up since it's been all over BookTube/Bookstagram, and I devoured both books in about 4 days last year and am now impatiently waiting for the third book to come out in a few months.

Pub Date: 3-30-20
New Adult - Fantasy/Romance

Ever since she was born, Poppy's life has never been her own. Chosen to become the "Maiden" for her people, Poppy has spent every moment confined, waiting for the day of her Ascension when she'll be given over to the gods. No one but a select few is allowed to speak to her or even see her unveiled. Little things that people take for granted like walking outside or being touched are forbidden to Poppy for fear of being deemed unworthy by the gods. The entire kingdom rides upon Poppy's shoulders, and she has never wanted anything less.

With the Ascension looming closer, Poppy is assigned a new guard, Hawke, to ensure her safety. No one knows much about the handsome guard, but Poppy is instantly drawn to him. Hawke isn't afraid to push Poppy's buttons, and the more time the pair spends bickering, the more Poppy questions everything she was raised to believe. When word of an uprising from a long-forgotten kingdom stirs, Poppy is thrown into a race not only for her life, but for the fate of the entire world as well. She'll also discover the dangerous threat they call the Dark One, maybe closer to her than she thinks.

This may have had its cringey bits, but honestly, I was into this from the very first page. Poppy is such a strong-willed character. I loved how despite being caged in her entire life, she never let it break her spirit, but instead used it to feed her determination into taking her life into her own hands. And Hawke! I mean, come on. He's everything I look for in a love interest. He's handsome, cocky, and completely devoted to Poppy from the get-go. Their banter was hands down my favorite part of this whole story. It was so snarky and fun. The only issue I had was that I felt the writing was a little repetitive at times, and that it was very easy to figure out who the Dark One was. Other than that, I couldn't get enough of this and immediately picked up the second after I finished. If you're looking for a new action-packed fantasy, this is it.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Shipped Review

Hello, all!

Are you missing the days when travel was easy and you didn't have to worry about a pandemic? If so, then Shipped by Angie Hockman is the perfect escape for you. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 1-19-21
Adult - Contemporary

Henley Evans works as a marketing manager for a cruise line and is shortlisted for a promotion of a lifetime. Henley would be a shoo-in if it wasn't for Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager, and her arch-nemesis. The pair have never met in real life, and Henley would love to keep it that way, but nothing ever seems to go Henley's way. To decide who gets the promotion, their boss wants them to draft a proposal on how to boost bookings, and what better way than to send them both on a cruise to the Galapagos?

When the pair finally meet on the cruise ship, Henley is shocked to find that Graeme isn't like the one-word email reply frustrating guy she thought he was. She also learns that all their friction may have stemmed from a big misunderstanding. The more time they spend exploring the islands together, the more feelings start to stir, and Henley finds that the balance between liking and loathing is very slim. But is a fling with a co-worker worth all the hard work she's put into her career or should she finally follow her heart?

This was said to be a mix between The Unhoneymooners and The Hating Game, so I was instantly intrigued. I don't think this was as good as those two, but I did still enjoy this. Henley and Graeme are very determined characters and both want this promotion so badly, which leads to some fun bickering back and forth. That banter was the best part of this. Some moments had me smiling and chuckling to myself. Another thing this had going for it was the setting. This is a great alternative during a time where you can't really go on vacation. I do wish there was a little bit more of the actual romance because, at times, it felt more of just an office drama, and it's way more sweet than steamy. I'm not sure how memorable this will be for me, but it was cute for what it was.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Lore Review

Hello, all!

I grew up obsessed with Greek mythology. Like, obsessed. I would check out D'Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology at least once a week from my library until my Mom finally just bought me my own copy (which I still own and love.) Needless to say, Lore by Alexandra Bracken was a no brainer pick up for me. Big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 1-5-21
YA - Fantasy

Every seven years, the hunt begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to participate in the Agon, where they must walk the earth as mortals for a week. If losing their powers wasn't enough, all the while, the gods are being hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, who are eager to kill the gods to take over their powers. Lore Perseous used to have high hopes of becoming a hunter, but those dreams were dashed when her family was brutally murdered. Afterward, she turned her back on everything she knew, and for years has tried to silence the part of herself which longs to take revenge on the one she believes to be responsible.

As the next hunt gets ready to wreak havoc through New York City, Lore is approached by two unlikely participants: her childhood friend, Castor, who Lore believed was dead, and the goddess Athena, who shows up on her doorstep gravely injured. The goddess offers Lore a bargain she can't refuse: if Lore will bind her fate to Athena, then she will get the revenge she desires and a way to end the Agon forever. But Lore quickly discovers her choice to return to the hunt isn't that simple, and there are even bigger forces at play with deadly consequences that could bring all of humanity to its knees.

I was sold on this book right from the get-go, and boy did it deliver! It was non-stop action from the very first page and didn't let up one bit. It was relentless in the best possible way. I loved how the characters and gods were depicted, especially Lore. She was so headstrong and defiant and had such a chip on her shoulder, but was willing to sacrifice all she had to protect the ones she loves. She really felt like one of those heroes from the stories. My only slight issue with this was I did get confused at times because some characters go by a few different names, so it made it a bit hard to keep track of. Also, I sort of wish this wasn't a standalone just so I could get more from this world! Other than that, I thought this was stellar.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Blog Tour: Find Me in Havana Review

Hello, all!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I have a deep connection with Cuba. I'm part Cuban on my Mom's side, and two years ago, my second cousin and I went to Cuba and actually found family that we didn't even know existed (you can read about it here). Our grandma's hadn't been to Cuba in over seventy years, and lost touch with all their family there after the Revolution, so discovering aunts and cousins was unexpected and brought so much joy to our families. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to go back and visit, but we do all stay in touch through WhatsApp which is great.

With that in mind, I was thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick. I had read another historical fiction by this author, The Girls with No Names (review here), and I really enjoy her style and how she makes whatever time period she's writing about come alive. My interest was piqued even further when I found out it was about a real person. So, big thanks to Park Row for having me!

Pub Date: 1-12-21
Adult - Historical Fiction

In Cuba, 1936, many families are struggling with the fallout of the Cuban Revolution. Estelita Rodriguez and her family are no exception. When Estelita is discovered while singing in a Havana nightclub, she believes all her luck is about to change. Suddenly, at fifteen Estelita is singing on stages such as the Copacabana, and rubbing elbows with the handsomely famous Mexican singer, Chu Chu Martinez. The pair enter into a whirlwind romance, and soon Estelita finds herself pregnant. When Chu Chu forbids her from ever singing again, Estelita flees with their daughter, Nina, to live out her dreams in Hollywood.

In Big Sur, 1966, Nina Rodriguez is reeling from the sudden and mysterious death of her mother, Estelita. She grew up in awe of her mother's talents and charisma, even if her attentions were usually focused on anything but Nina. Even as a child, Nina knew that she was never the number one priority in her mother's life, and she knew her mother experienced hardships that she could never fully understand. As Nina finds herself slipping into the same destructive patterns that plagued her mother, she looks to her mother's past to learn and make a better future for herself.

I knew nothing of Estelita Rodriguez or her life before going into this book, but I still enjoyed it all the same. Both Estelita and Nina lead such hard lives and it was heartbreaking to see everything they had to endure. There were some aspects of their lives that seemed so glamorous, but it was as if the more fame Estelita achieved, the more she and her family suffered. This is told in a series of letters both by Nina and Estelita and while I did find it slightly hard to fully connect to, it did make the story feel more personal. However, the family dynamics are what shines in this. For much of the story, mother and daughter felt very at odds with one another, and you learn through the letters that that wasn't necessarily the case. This is an engaging historical fiction about real characters, their hardships, and the kind of understanding and connection that can only come from a relationship between a mother and a daughter.

Rating: 3.5/5

More info about the book can be found below!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

(A Late) End of the Year Book Haul

Hello, all!

I meant to get this out before the end of 2020, but it slipped through the cracks. That's okay though, cause who doesn't love a book haul! These were all gifts from my lovely family for Christmas, and most of them were ones I had read throughout the year and loved but just didn't own a physical copy of. I also have been trying to recollect all the Goosebumps books again because I had pretty much the entire collection growing up, but like a fool donated them years ago, so I got two bundles which I was so excited for.

Like last year, I am going to try and limit my book buying and utilize my library as much as possible, so we'll see how long that lasts before there's yet another book haul. Wish me luck!



1. 2- bundle packs of Goosebumps which each included 10 books
2. The Astonishing Life of August March- Aaron Jackson 
3. The Midnight Library- Matt Haig
4. A Star is Bored- Byron Lane
5. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories- Holly Black
6. I Would Leave Me If I Could- Halsey
7. Batman: Three Jokers
8. A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire- Jennifer L. Armentrout
9. ACOTAR- Sarah J. Maas (I finally caved on these new additions just so they would match A Court of Silver Flames when it comes out even though I still don't love them. 🤷)
10. ACOMAF- Sarah J. Maas
11. ACOWAR- Sarah J. Maas

Let me know what the last book you bought/received was!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Blog Tour: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder Review

Hello, all!

You all know I love a murder mystery, so I'm excited to be a part of the blog tour for Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg. Big thanks to Park Row for having me!

Pub Date: 12-29-20
Adult - Mystery

Deep below the streets of London lies a secret detective agency called Miss Brickett's Investigations & Inquiries. The mysterious detectives of Miss Brickett's use their cunning, wiles, and secret gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped the likes of Scotland Yard. One night, a filing assistant receives a letter of warning and goes to investigate but finds only an empty room...or so she thought. When her body is found, it becomes clear that the culprit had to be someone else who works at Miss Brickett's, meaning everyone within its walls is a suspect.

Against her better wishes, first-year Inquirer-in-training, Marion Lane, finds herself being dragged into the murder investigation. When her friend and mentor is framed for the assistant's murder, Marion vows to clear his name. Her investigation takes her all over the winding tunnels of Miss Brickett's, into hidden rooms harboring secrets that have been buried since WWII. Without knowing who can be trusted, will Marion be able to ferret out the true murderer before it's too late?

The premise of this sounded very twisty and suspenseful, but it sadly fell flat for me. I like my mysteries to be quite fast-paced, and this was just too slow for my tastes. There was a ton of exposition which made it feel too long-winded, and I found myself skim reading for most just trying to get to some action. The actual mystery was fine, it wasn't the best I've ever read and it does get a little confusing at times due to so many moving parts. The characters were also just fine, but a bit underdeveloped and one-note. That was my biggest issue with this: it was just meh. It had such potential to be a cool atmospheric murder mystery, but it just stayed at one level and never peaked. All in all, this was just a bummer.

Rating: 2/5

More info about the book can be found below!