Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My E-Reader

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic is “The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf” which I’ve amended to those that I hauled to my e-reader cause they deserve some love too. I’ll admit some of these I already own physical copies to, but its just easier nowadays to read from my tablet. Ok, this list here is QUITE the mixed bag which pretty much speaks volumes on my undying love for mood reading. These also happen to be the books I’ll be using as palette cleansers as I make my way through my ARC spreadsheet, a lot of which are Fantasy.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – Our MC works in a bookstore and is pretty much a happy introvert who thinks she’s an only child. When she finds out the father she never knew has passed away & that she’s one of many siblings, her whole life makes a huge turn. Add to this a unexpected romance with her trivia nemesis, I’m all IN!

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey – I’ve heard SO much about this series & finally got my copy. It’s a dark sexy Fantasy where the MC is trained as both a spy & a courtesan. When she stumbles across a plot against her homeland, she sets out to save that which she loves.

“Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.”

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang – this well loves contemporary is about a MC with Aspergers who hires a Vietnamese/Swedish professional to help her in all things dating & bedroom. This eventually turns into more & I’m really just way overdue to read this one.

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang – The sequel to The Kiss Quotient cause lets face it, I will most likely fall in love with TKQ & crave this one! $1.99 on Kindle last time I checked (1/19/2020) is a steal. Following characters from TKQ, this time our MC is a Vietnamese Autistic guy who feels he’s incapable of loving after experiencing a loss. The MC’s mother travels to Vietname to see if she can find him a bride. The love interest is a Bi-racial (Vietnamese/White) single mom who is willing to take  his mom up on her off to marry her son in hopes for a better life.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite – a F/F Historical Romance that comes HIGHLY recommended by some of my closest bookish buddies. Here we follow Lucy who is hoping to get the job translating a groundbreaking French astronomy text by a deceased Scientist. Recently widowed, Catherine isn’t expecting to fall in love as Lucy spends her nights translating scientific text.

The Queens Of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton – A land drained of it’s magic by a mad King who Is obsessed with property is being circled by enemies who want control over its ideal port for trades. The King must choose an heir on the longest night of the year. His three daughters care not to leave this decision to rituals & instead choose to go to war. Having really enjoyed Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton, I’m really hoping to LOVE this one *fingers crossed*

GUAPA by Saleem Haddad – A coming of age story following a Gay man in a unnamed Arab country during much political and social upheaval. In the course of one night his whole life changes. Caught in bed with his lover by his Grandmother, our MC heads out only to find three of his closest friends to be missing. Ashamed to return home he sets out to find his missing loved ones which takes him throughout the countries seediest slums. 

The Walflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare – It wasn’t until I sat down to draft this post that I realized this is book 3 in this series SMH! however, it does seem like it can be read on its own as a stand alone. This one features a wealthy ruthless MC who just wants his neighbor to clear out all of the furry animals she’s keeping next door. Lady Penelope Campion however, cannot truncates away any animal in need. She strikes a deal with the Duke, if he can find homes for all of her wounded charges the & only then will she clear out her home. THIS should be innneresting haha!

The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1) by Evan Winter – “Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.”—> This is an African inspired EPIC Fantasy I’ve heard good things about. I am ALWAYS looking for Diverse/Own Voices high Fantasy reads & so this was a MUST!

Shadow Frost (Shadow. Frost #1) by Coco M

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.” —>This is a YA Fantasy I caught wind of last year. Having heard it features a cast of very funny characters, that’s just about all I needed to know I’d give it a go.


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Spoiler Free Review: Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra

Title: Meg & Jo

Author: Virginia Kantra

Pub. Date: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 400 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

Inspired by Little Women, this is the story of the March Sisters…“Reliable Meg, Independent Jo, Stylish Amy, and Shy Beth” told in dual POV we follow Meg & Jo as the oldest of the bunch as they lead very different lives. Meg always wanted the husband, white picket fence, and kids while Jo dreamt of becoming a journalist in NYC. When we meet them they’ve got a lot on their respective plates & things aren’t quite what they had planned. Meg is struggling with married life all while managing her twins. Jo’s writing career is stagnant & instead she’s working in a restaurant kitchen by day & anonymously running a foodie blog by night. When their mother who is the rock in the family falls ill, the March sisters are drawn home. It’s been years since I’ve read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott but its remained a childhood favorite of mine. Character traits from the original cast can still be seen in this modern day story set between North Carolina and New York City. At its core this is a story about familial bonds and the unexpected twists & turns life can take. 

Although we do get to meet all four March Sisters, the book is only told from the POV of Meg & Jo. They are the oldest of the bunch & look over the younger ones while managing their own lives…

Meg – Married with Twins, Meg has the picture perfect family set-up but not all is at it seems behind closed doors. Both Meg & her husband have sacrificed perhaps too much of their individuality to make their family unit work. I really admired seeing this couple work through their issues & persevere. Meg lovingly takes after her mother & providing a loving home is  her #1 priority. Seeing her handle married with kids life while also trying to stay in touch with her siblings was something I could relate to. She is very much a juggler who sometimes forget to give herself a break which made me really connect with her.

Jo – Having left North Carolina for life in the Big Apple pursuing a writing degree, Jo has big dreams! Except life has a funny way of not always turning out exactly as you’ve planned. Still, Jo settles into NYC as a worker in a restaurants kitchen where her ears stay open for inspiration. By night she is an anonymous food blogger with some success. Things really get hot in the kitchen with an unexpected attraction between Jo & the very handsome black Chef with full sleeved tattoos. Things of course gets a bit complicated when she has to drop everything & head back home to tend to her sick mother.

I’ve come to the realization that I really enjoy stories centered around big families because of all the complexities added to the story. The March sisters all have very different personalities, ambitions, and pursuits but what I loved about them is how they embraced one another. There was a mutual understanding of everyone’s personal lives & how to come together for the head of their family. Marriage (the good & the bad) plays a big part in this story, content warning for separation. The bonds between Father/Daughter are also discussed with regards to the absence the sisters feel even while having their father in their lives. Although they are supporting characters, seeing the parents of the March sisters battle their own rough waters made this story come full circle. This was heartwarming & heartfelt in more ways than one. I will absolutely look out for more from this author in what I hope is the near future.


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WWW Wednesday 1/15/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

January has been very good to me & I’m really hoping this streak continues. Hot off the heels from #Smutathon I’ve already started to tackle my ARC spreadsheet while still picking books off my back-list (2020 Resolution). The ONLY real challenge to my reading time has been Netflix, Lé struggle! I walked away from a recent friends dinner with a small list of recommendations & I now live, breathe, speak Schitt’s Creek SMH…

 

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

“All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.” – Goodreads

This was just about all I had to read before requesting it on Edelweiss. I read 25% of this book today & had to pry myself away from my Kindle. It’s witty & addictive, I LOVE jumping into this story when I have time to cuddle up with it. Otherwise I TRULY struggle putting it down. EARLY PREDICTION: This may be 5 star worthy *fingers crossed*

SKYWARD (SKYWARD #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. -Goodreads

I’m about 20% into Skyward & have already grown fond of Spensa who is fierce & ambitious. When I picked this one up I had no idea this featured a close father/daughter relationship which I’m ALWAYS in search of in my books. Sanderson also happens to be one of the very few male authors who in my opinion writes female characters well. EARLY PREDICTION: This will probably be my first 5 star YA/Sci-Fi of the year *fingers crossed*

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER BY MELISSA BRAYDEN

This past weekend I finished reading Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden (Smutathon Wrap-up), a F/F Romance set in a beach side town I’d HIGHLY recommend to anyone who’d listen *heart eyes*  I have a full review coming over the next few days & plans to make my way through Brayden’s backlist. Beautiful Dreamer is a small town romance with a cast of colorful characters you can’t help but get invested in 😉

 

DARK AND DEEPEST RED BY ANNA-MARIE McLEMORE

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

With McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Redpairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

-Goodreads

Having only read When the Moon Was Ours by McLemore in 2016, my backlist for this author is growing. Lyrical, lush, atmospheric, haunting are just a few of the words that describe this authors writing. I was very lucky to get approved on Edelweiss but could’ve sworn I had another week before publication date. Whelp! I was wrong (unless it was bumped up) & will absolutly be reading this next. EARLY PREDICTION: McLemore can do no wrong in my eyes, only the highest of hopes here for a new favorite.


At the time this post goes live I will probably be making my way through Grace & Frankie season 6 which premieres TODAYYYY!!! *clutches pearls* let’s hope my reading doesn’t take a complete hit this week…


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SMUTATHON WINTER 2020 READATHON WRAP-UP

What better way to start the New Year than with a little Smut? amiright? 🤗 #SMUTATHON is a Readathon hosted by RileyMarie & GingerReadsLainey where we read any & all things Romance/Smut. This round of #SMUTATHON ran from January 4th through January 11th 2020 & it was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed 🙌🏽 after having a mediocre reading year in 2018, this was a nice way to start 2020. This time around they included a Bingo Board with 9 challenges which I layered up on since reading 9 books in one week, personally would be very challenging.


The Loner’s Lady by Jesse Kane -✨ 3 STARS ✨ This was truly like nothing I’ve ever read before 🙈 a HUGE age gap romance where our female MC is 18 & traveling with her gay BFF to see his dad who he hasn’t told he’s gay. They pretend they’re dating each other because the 40+ year old dad is former military & quite intimidating. It wasn’t the age gap so much as how it all wrapped up that didn’t make this a winner for me. Also, the dad comes off as a bit primal #jussayin

The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz -✨ 5 STARS ✨ On the steam scale this one is a whole lot tamer than anything I read this week. It’s Gothic vibes were hella atmospheric, set in the 1960’s this one takes place in a all boys school. Our female MC gets into a car accident and ends up working as the new English teacher at the school. There’s a bit of mystery surrounding the school & its inhabitants I enjoyed unraveling. The whole English man look & accent also really worked for me ☺️ I’ve been recommended to read The Rose which is based on Greek Gods Mythology.

Grading  Curves by Naima Simone – ✨ 4 STARS ✨ Naima Simone has made a true fan out of me! 🙌🏽 Good Lawd this steamy scenes had me all shades of red on my early morning train into work. The female MC walks into a tattoo parlor & ends up really hitting it off with the tattoo artist. Things get steamy & the next morning the male MC walks into the college classroom she’s teaching. My ONLY wish was that this was a smidge longer, the ending felt rushed. The writing however is legit off the meter steamy & sexy, LOVED IT!

The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men Duet #1) by Kennedy Ryan– ✨4.5 STARS✨ This author deserves all of the high praise they receive 🙌🏽 I got so much more than I expected from this story 💓This is a dual POV between our MC’s Lennix & Maxim who meet when Lennix is a underage activist protesting a pipeline that is being built on sacred Native American grounds. Maxim is the son of the man behind the pipeline however father & son share no common interests. We follow Lennix & Maxim through a span of time from teen years through Lennix’ 20’s & 30’s. I LOVE stories that span over time because we get to see growth in character & how life has shaped them in their adult lives. This book was BEAUTIFULLY written with a spotlight on such relevant hard hitting issues like the disappearance/murder of Native American women. The only reason I docked it half a star was because that ending was a bit left field & I’m still unsure how I feel about it but overall its’s a high quality read I’d recommend.

Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden – ✨ 5 STARS ✨ a F/F romance written for the stars! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book to pieces! a beachside dual POV story that left me wanting to leave the city & relocate in a small beach town where everyone wants to be your friend haha! We meet Elizabeth who is very friendly & outgoing, the town sweetheart who owns a odd job business she runs from her garage. Elizabeth is watching over Jill who has just experienced a life threatening car accident. She reaches out to Jill’s sister Devyn who is a BIG time real estate broker in Philadelphia in hopes she can get her to come out to Dreamer’s Bay. Devyn leaves Philly to be by Jill’s side & slowly starts to fall in love with Liz & the town she left behind after her High School graduation. Liz & Devyn are polar opposites but it’s their differences that make this romance work. Quirky, fun, heartwarming are just a few of the words that describe this read. Liz will forever be one of my favorite fictional characters 💓


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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic was a walk in the park cause I’m sure a lot of us have already started compiling & organizing our Goodreads shelves with 2020 titles. This will be the first year my list includes multiple genres & that’s because YA hasn’t been my primary focus. I still consume a fair amount of YA Fantasy however in an effort to continue reading what brings me joy in the new year, this list will be a mixed bag 😉

P.S. I sure did throw in 2 additional titles cause I just couldn’t stick to 10 #noregrets


The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice #1) by Mark Lawrence 

Releasing on 4/30/2020 is the next adult Fantasy series by the King himself Mark Lawrence! That cover is EVERYTHING! Mark Lawrence is one of my auto-buy authors. I don’t need to know much about the book & prefer to go in on good faith. I read just the one line on Goodreads that gave me all the chills & solidified its place on this list…

“In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.”

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Releasing on 3/3/2020 is Sara J. Maas 1st Adult Fantasy & for those of us who’ve read Maas YA Fantasy, the anticipation is pretty HIGH!

The story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.

This one can go either way, Maas can either really kill it in Urban Fantasy or leave much to be desired. Either way, I will be picking up a copy to see for myself.

Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker

More Calla & Jonah?!? ummm YES PLEASE! 3/3/2020 is going to be one EPIC release day <3’s!  The Simple Wild (my spoiler free review) was one of my TOP favorite reads in 2019. I’ve been a K.A. Tucker fan for the past 4 years & there hasn’t been anything she’s written I haven’t enjoyed. Take me back to Alaska & I will unplug myself from reality for these 400 pages 😉

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria 

I came from a generation where little girls watched telenovelas with grandma & it was perfectly normal haha! I myself have some really fond memories in fact of watching Spanish stories with G’ma & so seeing this cover stopped me dead in my tracks. “Perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin & The Kiss Quotient” this Own Voices Contemporary Romance is exactly what I would LOVE to see more of in the bookish world *fingers crossed* this book will hit shelves on 7/7/2020.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton 

6/16/2020 We head over to Fictional Key West to follow the lives of three women in the aftermath of a powerful hurricane. Set in the 1930’s this is one historical fiction stemming from the Cuban Revolution I am eager to read. I have copies of Next Year in Havana & When We Left Cuba  I still haven’t read but are at the VERY top of my TBR for 2020.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.”

Ok so everything about this author screams READ ME! & I’ve collected a couple of their books but I think I’ve allowed myself to be creeped out into thinking the writing might be too scary. Whelp! I simply can’t pass this one up with THAT cover! Set in Mexico, this MC doesn’t exactly scream rescuer material & yet I’m so down to see the type of amateur sleuthing sure to ensue in this Mexican countryside house. Still…this one does creep me out a smidge & I will be reading during the day.

 

The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna 

“The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.”

Releasing on 5/26/2020, The Gilded Ones looks absolutely promising! This one features a female army all of which have powers like our MC training to defeat the empires biggest threat but nothing & no one is as they seem. Super curious seeing as I’m a HUGE fan of both Children of Blood and Bone & Black Panther to which this new series has been compared.

The City We Became by N.K Jemisin 

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

This fellow New Yorker CANNOT wait for 3/26/2020! N.K. Jemisin is yet another author I am prioritizing this year.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Mermaids and Pirates! oh my! legit two of my very favorite fictional beings. I know a few close friends have already reviewed their copies (I’ll be reading mine this month) & are giving it HIGH praise. After getting a taste of a underwater kingdom in Holly Blacks The Folk of the Air trilogy, I was left wanting more. I’m hoping this is the start of a new expansive underwater YA Fantasy, either way 4/4/2020 we take to the treacherous waters!

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club was a 2019 favorite for me & now we get more as we follow Braden mack & Liv Papandreas. This time around the club is not reading a regency romance, instead they’ll be reading a romantic suspense novel that ties in with this couples story. STOKED! I was blessed by the Book Gods with an early copy before its 3/10/2020 release date.

INCENDIARY (Hollow crown #1) by Zoraida Cordova 

Zoraida Cordova is quickly becoming a favorite auto-buy author, she won me over with her Brooklyn Burjas series & now this cover has blown me away! this one follows a female MC who has the power to steal memories which set the King upon her & her people. Now a rebel, our MC is helping others escape the Kingdom. When her love interest gets captured she has to maintain control of her need for vengeance while she infiltrates the Kingdom. I’m ready for 4/28/2020! *Heart Eyes* 

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Elizabeth Acevedo stole my heart with her raw narratives! This is one I CANNOT wait to get my hands on, 5/14/2020 cannot come soon enough. This time we follow two teens girls brought together by grief. One lives in the Dominican Republic & the other in NYC when they find out their father has passed away (ooooF! this will be triggering for me but if anyone can handle this with sensitivity it’s Acevedo) & that they’re sisters! Dual narrative POV’s, I’m pretty sure I’ll also be getting the audiobook to accompany my physical copy cause if ya didn’t know, Elizabeth Acevedo narrates her own books & she’s AMAZING! *STOKED*


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Spoiler Free Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)

Author: Holly Black

Pub. Date: November 19th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Pages: 300 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

*Although this review is spoiler free for The Queen of Nothing, it will contain spoilers for The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

The high stakes conclusion to The Folk of the Air trilogy was the BEST way to end 2019! I read The Wicked King & The Queen of Nothing back to back & so I didn’t have to bear the painful cliffhanger many of my fellow bookworms experienced. This last installment had double the schemes & politics making for one hell of a ride! While I’ll still maintain that The Wicked King is my favorite of the three, this was a satisfactory ending to a beloved YA Fantasy. Jude is living in the mortal world with her sister Vivi after having been exiled by Cardan when last we saw her. She’s taking odd jobs given to her by another exiled member of Fae in order to keep up appearances of making a living. She’d pretty much given up all hope of returning to Fae & also was harboring a lot of anger for how dirty she was done in by Cardan. Hope is restored when her duplicitous twin sister Taryn shows up in the mortal world asking for Judes help in clearing her name. Returning to Fae comes with much risk but Jude is up to the task if only to get closer to Cardan.

From the minute Jude is back in Fae it’s non-stop twists & turns with very little time to catch your breath. To top off all of the plotting & scheming we get a curse that is now plaguing the land of Fae itself. You’d think Holly Black wouldn’t be able to pull it all off in 300 pages but the Queen has done it again! it may not be my absolute favorite in the series but I won’t sit her & lie, this is entertainment at it’s FINEST!!!!

If I had to choose one thing I loved above all else in this trilogy & the very reason for why it will go down as an all time favorite, it would be the complex father/daughter relationship we see play out. We know Maddoc is the General who killed Judes parents but his choice in taking the twins & raising themas his own is hard to wrap your head around. He is trained in the art of war & Jude in many ways is his protégé. The complexity of their relationship is always at the forefront especially when she makes moves that will directly affect him. Her relationship with Tarryn is also filled with challenges they are still trying to overcome till the very end. Overall I’d say the bonds & relationships Holly Black developed on these pages are what gets you invested as a reader because in their own way these characters are relatable. Measuring up to someones standards, sibling rivalry, and the complexities of humanity come in to play making for one unforgettable story.


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Spoiler Free Novella Review: Mangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera

Title: Mangos and Mistletoe

Author:Adriana Herrera

Pub. Date: December 16th 2019

Genre:  F/F Romance/LGBTQIAP+

Pages: 152 Pages

Format: Kindle

GOODREADS | AMAZON

I’ll preface my review by mentioning that this novella was my first Kindle pre-order EVER! I’ve never been moved to click on that button until I saw this F/F LATINX Romance show up on my Twitter timeline cause it’s just not that common. I’m SO happy I did! this was one of my December reads & a easy 5 stars at that…

We meet Kiskeya Burgos as she arrives in Scotland straight from the Dominican Republic as a contestant in a televised Holiday Baking Challenge.  Kiskeya is highly driven & focused with one goal in mind and that is winning. She has a lot to prove back home and that means she has a plan and a set of rules she’s made for herself to keep her sharp and on track. One of the key rules is to NOT mingle in any romantic sense but all of that changes when Sully Morales walks into her life…

Sully Morales is the complete opposite of Kiskeya, she’s an extrovert who is proud of her Dominican roots. Sully is super friendly, affectionate, and VERY attractive. When Sully sees Kiskeya there’s instant sexual attraction and so begins to flirt with Kiskeya in what has to be the cutest & most fun way I’ve ever seen on the page. She knows she makes Kiskeya uncomfortable but she really likes her & isn’t shy about it.

For the Holiday Baking Challenge contestants are paired up such that there’s one professional baker and one home baker per team. Kiskeya & Sully are paired up which makes for some SUPER (level 10 😉) steamy chemistry that will have you wanting release between these two. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun with any romance I’ve read! We get two polar opposites who have to share a hotel room & come to an agreement on the recipes/decor/presentation for the challenges. They’re both Dominican who’ve had different cultural experiences and baking is the one thing that brings them together. I LOVED the inclusion of ingredients & the colorful descriptions of all their baking creations. I haven’t read very many F/F romance books but after this one I’m on a mission to gather up some recommendations. This was the PERFECT read around Christmas even though the holidays aren’t the main focal point, it gave me all the warm holiday feels.


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Spoiler Free Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Title: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

Author: Holly Black

Pub. Date: January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Pages: 336 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Fan art credit by Monolime (click on image)

This sequel is one I’ve had on deck for a very long time simply because I knew I’d want to binge the rest of the trilogy after that EPIC ending in The Cruel Prince. We pick up right where we left off with Jude as the new Seneschal to the newly ordained King Cardan. Jude has bound Cardan for exactly 1 year & 1 day to serve as the King while Oak the real heir is sent to the mortal world. This of course places Jude in a position of power where she can pull strings & eliminate any threat to the throne. This time the world of Fae is more expansive with the inclusion of Princess Niccasia & her mother Orlagh who is Queen of the Undersea. We see tension build up between land & sea which strains the long standing peace treaty forged between the two. All the while, Jude and Cardan walk a fine line between hate & want for each other. Cardan bids his time in service to the crown by training with The Court of Shadows, growing stronger as the days go by & he is further connected to the land. Jude knows the time is running out & pretty soon Cardan will be liberated. She knows he has no desire to rule over the land but feels she can convince him to renew their bond in order to keep her in control until Oak comes of age.

Jude I still haven’t come across another fictional character more strategic, intelligent and downright cut throat like Jude. She continues to impress me with her thirst for power & ability to think ten steps ahead of the game. Jude is truly a great example of the student overcoming the master. She is still dealing with deep emotional issues with regards to Madoc who is her adoptive father of sorts. This is one complex character ou can’t help but admire.

Cardan I wasn’t completely sold on Cardan when we first met him in The Cruel Prince but here he had my FULL attention! it could have been his training with The Court of Shadows or the fact that he never truly submits to Jude even though that’s what it may appear to be. Theres more than meets the eye with Cardan who we learn has had a pretty messed up childhood & has been prophesied since birth to be the ruination of the land. By far my favorite character in this installment to the trilogy.

Taryn Continues to be as unlikeable as ever, Taryn is honestly the sister I’m glad I never had to deal with. Superficial and motivated by all the wrong reasons, Taryn is the complete opposite of Jude. We do get more understanding on her character but it’s just not enough to redeem her as a person to me & that’s ok we don’t have to love them all *shoulder shrug*

Vivi/Heather/Oak These characters I’ve bunched together since they move as one single unit in the mortal world. Vivi is Jude & Taryn’s fae sister entrusted to care for Oak until he comes of age. Vivi has no desire to live in Fae especially now that she has her girlfriend Heather in the mortal world. This is a cute trio who we also see encounter issues since Heather doesn’t know Livvy & Oak are Fae.

Maddoc Ruthless as always Maddoc has FINALLY learned to stop underestimating his adoptive daughter Jude. The master is seeing first hand how well his student has learned & adopted many of his tactics. Still, Maddoc has an agenda of his own & he’s still much peeved at having the crown stolen from right under his nose by Jude when she had Oak crown Cardan. Maddoc is someone I’d love to hate but find myself fighting my inner feelings for. I should despise him but “it’s complicated” to say the least.

Nicassia & Orlagh The Princess & Queen of The Undersea had much bigger roles in this installment & I quite enjoyed seeing their Kingdom & Mer-folk. Nicassia is still Queen B or rather Head Mean Girl In Charge. She had her eyes set on a marriage with Cardan until Jude showed up & ruined that. Out of all the parent/child relationships we see play out in this trilogy, much respect goes to these two because it is the healthiest of them all. Orlagh loves her daughter & has her back just as Nicassia goes hard for her Mother.

Fan art credit by Melie Scribbles (Click on image)

If you’re a fan of smart political cut throat stories set in fantastical worlds, then this is in my opinion top tier in YA Fantasy. Other than Oak who is still pretty young to be anything other than innocent, all of the characters are morally grey. I LOVED seeing Holly Black expanded Fae to include the Undersea & its key players. It’s a massive world open to many possibilities if they wanted to continue writing stories set in this world. I continue to enjoy Jude & Carden as main characters with many layers. These characters hold their cards close to their chest giving them an air of unpredictability I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy.


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November Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Hello Bookworms! a smidge late here…Ok very late here but tis’ the season amiright? haha! November was FULL of family happenings but I’m happy to report that I still managed to read on the go. These wrap-ups are where I share a bit of everything bookish & life related to give you all a glimpse at the gal behind this blog. This month was a bit eventful, the boyfriend & I met each others families…it was just a little nerve-racking but also VERY different and better than I could have ever expected. Both families were friendly & welcoming which of course made us breathe a HUGE sigh of relief!

In between attending family birthdays, baby showers, Thanksgiving & my first Sunday Football game there were some new fave reads. I also learned my lesson with library holds during the holiday season after having them ALL come through in one shot…not the way to go Lol! I was also left feeling unsure about one of my highly anticipated reads but here goes my wrap-up (my reviews linked down below)

The Last True Poets of the Sea (4 STARS) A friendship story at its core, this one is set off the coast of Maine. There are definitely some triggers for suicide and drug/alcohol abuse as well as talk of panic attacks & anxiety to look out for. The MC can be seen as unlikeable but the bonds formed here make this one worth the read

The Bromance Book Club (4.5 STARS) The more I think about it, this can easily be a 5 star read cause I still think of the characters here & there. Also, I haven’t read anything like this or had this much fun reading PERIODT! haha! I enjoyed it enough to request the sequel coming out Spring 2020 & the Book Gods delivered with an ARC 🙂

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (5 STARS) The one audiobook I listened to in November that had me gripped to the very end. I loved listening to this SUPER slow burn romance, nodding my head whenever the two MC’s had scenes together. Both have very different love languages but the chemistry is A+!

The Starless Sea Ok..SOoo I was REALLY looking forward to this one having LOVED The Night Circus so much. Also, my boyfriend knew how much I wanted this book & went out of his way to surprise me with a signed copy *eeeK* that being said, I’m still unsure where I stand with it. I opted out of giving it a rating or writing a review. This was such a strange whimsical read that I truly enjoyed & yet it left me hella confused. It may have gone over my head but ummm…no regrets here *shoulder shrug*

Song of the Crimson Flower | Ninth House | Get A Life, Chloe Brown | Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (illustrated edition) | Call Down the Hawk | The Starless Sea

The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #3) | Dirty Letters | A Girl Like Her: A Small Town Romance (Ravenswood #1) |Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) (ARC)

This Netflix series about a Cuban American family has become my go-to for mood lifting & comfort. Set in Los Angeles we meet a Veteran single mother with PTSD, her two kids and mom as they manage day to day life. Bonus: Her mom is played by none other than RITA MORENO! *clutches pearls* an ICON to say the least. This show has flown under the radar yet it’s the MOST relatable. Not to mention it’s LGBTQIAP+ friendly & socially aware making it a top favorite of mine.


Wishing you all the happiest of holidays Luvs!


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Audiobook Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Title: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

Author:Mariana Zapata

Pub. Date: February 28th 2016

Genre: Sports Romance

Run Time: 16 Hours

Format: Audiobook

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It’s safe to say I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of romance & I have ZERO regrets! Mariana Zapata is an author I’ve been hearing about for quite some time on Booktube & on Bookstagram. Some have dubbed her the Queen of Slow Burn. This being my first book by this author, I can’t really say if I agree but if the others are anything like The Wall of Winnipeg and Me then it’s a well earned title. This was slow burn to the max & I was HOOKED till the very last page! We start off with our MC Vanessa who is an assistant/cook/EVERYTHING to the popular football player Aiden Graves. She’s been working for him for two years & for those two years she’s pretty much felt invisible. Nevertheless, it paid the bills & helped her get back on track with debt reduction/savings. It was time to consider leaving the job now that she’d accomplished her goal. It was also time to focus more on her freelance graphic design gig. However, It was once she quit that Aiden had no other choice but to speak up. It was time for Aiden Graves to get his assistant back. The one he’d ignored on birthdays & every other morning. Of course there’s also a reason why he needs Vanessa back but that turns into so much more as the story unfolds and this is a spoiler free review 😉

This was my first Romance audiobook & I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant on quality. I was overjoyed when I realized that I was really getting into the story & MC Vanessa. 10/10 performance, in my opinion the narrator was the perfect fit for Vanessa. We don’t get a big cast of characters here which only allowed for A+ character development on behalf of our MC. I did wish we’d gotten a bit more of a fleshed out backstory on Aiden to start with as opposed to it being dished out at the very end. With Vanessa we get a female lead who has had a very toxic abusive relationship with her siblings & has pretty much distanced herself. She’s very much on her own making wiser money moves to get out of debt & working for Aiden was a means to an end. Still, it was hard not to be bothered by the fact that he made her feel invisible on a daily basis. We see her get back her power when Aiden goes looking for her with an offer. He’s in a difficult situation (it would be spoilery to mention the specifics) & he doesn’t trust very many people but Vanessa has never really been invisible to him no matter what appearances he gave off. Their interactions are limited until after she quits but Vanessa isn’t without a friend in the house. Zach who is Aiden’s roommate is by far a new favorite side character. He’s got this Southern charm & is all around a respectful fun loving guy who proves to be the friend Vanessa needed. I’d LOVE to read a story centered around Zach *a gal can dream* who made me smile whenever he walked into their fictional kitchen.

This is the type of story you pick up if you don’t mind the all powerful slow burn to the max. I definitely had moments where I just wanted these two to face their feelings for one another ASAP! but then again a part of me quite enjoyed having it drawn out #noshame Will I be picking up any other of Maria Zapata’s books? ABSOLUTELY! I already have Kulti & From Lukov with Love on deck…


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