Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life

Top Ten Tuesday was created byΒ The Broke and the BookishΒ in June of 2010 and was moved toΒ 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 all about changes in your reading life & when I saw this I legit stopped what I was doing and opened up a bullet point notes doc on my phone. I’ve had such an impactful transformative glow up year that it really didn’t come as a surprise to myself when my reading life changed drastically.

Quality over Quantity

I started the year off hopeful by setting my Goodreads Challenge to what I considered an attainable 50. The thing is I started racking up life experiences, traveling and just enjoying connections with others that finding time to read became a bit difficult. I quickly realized I was coming face to face with a a reading slump If I didn’t throw #’s away & just focused on reading books I just knew I’d love. I started picking up books that were sitting on my shelves for way too long & discovering some favorites/5 star reads along the way (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) πŸ™ŒπŸ½Β of course next year I’ll most likely read more than I read this year but for now I’m good with knowing it’s been a quality reading year πŸ–€

Reading from my shelves

I fully admit I had a problem with buying books and not reading them. Most of the time I was busy reading ARCS which is a privilege I’m absolutely grateful for. This year I chose not to request any arcs seeing as I attended BEA & that was more than enough for me this year. I had a strong urge to read from my shelves. Back list titles I’ve heard so many great things about (The Poet X)Β yet I wasn’t picking up. I have a whole bookcase of Book of the Month books that I had barely touched. Β Whelp! that changed & I’m now happily showing my shelves so much love.

AUdiobooks

These babies have legit saved my reading life! I needed something to keep me company while I hit the gym & learned how to cook. On days that I work from home I can easily start a 6-8 hour book in the AM & be done with it by the time I transition to my workouts/cooking. I listened to With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo in 1 day, I cried and laughed all the way through! Audiobooks are exactly what I need when I feel myself getting in a funk & need that Hail Mary 😎

Romance books

I’ve always LOVED romantic comedies (Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, Brown Sugar, You’ve Got Mail)Β and have NO idea why I waited so long to get into some romance reads. Both sweet & steamy reads helped me earlier this year when I wasn’t feeling my best. Now I read them & give my boyfriend a run down of said steamy read and enjoy seeing his cheeks turn all shades of red (The Bromance Book Club)πŸ€—πŸ˜‚

Mood reading

Not sure why I always felt guilty whenever the mood struck to mood read but this whole year was a big ol’ mood! πŸ˜‚Β I couldn’t commit to a TBR & decided to just go with the flow. At any given moment I had a smutty read, psychological thriller, and fantasy going all at once πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈΒ it really just depends on what side of the bed I wake up on haha! again, next year I will most definitely have a bit more structure while stile leaving room for some mood reads πŸ˜‰

Library books

The Libby app has become my dearest pocket pal, just because I’ve cut back on buying books it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped wanting them πŸ˜‚Β Instead of buying books with the intention of one day getting to them, I now use my library & it’s AMAZING! I LOVE getting email notifications letting me know my hold has come through smh, legit I have a book shimmy I do when I see them in my inbox. It helps that you have a deadline to read the book before they disappear cause these one right here needs a lil pressure from time to time πŸ™ˆ

Daily reading goals

This is the season of the year I maximize my reading & so I’ve made some adjustments to my reading habits. Primarily, the main goal is that I actually read daily even if it’s a few pages. Making the most of my heavy commute and lunch breaks has really helped me in this area. I found myself earlier this year doing everything on my phone but reading. Shutting off my wi-fi & creating a reading playlist on Spotify has really helped me stick to reading on the train. Now it’s a goal to not end up at the last stop with only 5% left for me to finish the book…YES this has happened! Yes I totally ran to the bathroom & finished my book πŸ˜‚

E-books

I finally gave up on this fierce grip I had on physical books. I LOVE growing my home library, I really do…however, I’m way quicker to pick up an ebook over a physical copy. I also happen to read ebooks way faster than physical. Not to say that it’s a race but often times I’ll lug a hardback to & from work for 2 weeks straight. Whereas with a ebook I’ll finish with a couple of day, sometimes even in one sitting. This is also true for eARCS vs. Physical arcs. My Kindle is my baby…I’m still a sucker for a pretty cover and sprayed edges though #jussayin

ASMR/Hip-hop instrumentals

I honestly never thought I’d get so hooked on ASMR Rooms on Youtube but those Harry Potter inspired rooms are EVERYTHING! 😍 I also really enjoy rain & fireplace rooms. ASMR really helps silence my thoughts & background enhancing my reading experience which in turn gets me finishing more books. The Instrumentals Hip Hop Playlist on Spotify is a whole Vibe! I get so much reading & blogging done while listening to Soul Of Mischief’s 93 ‘Til Infinity 😎

Finishing Series

This last one I have yet to implement but it’s on deck so I thought I’d include it here for accountability purposes. 2018 was the year of fantasy trilogies/series & I am very guilty of starting so many and not following up with their sequels. I have a list I’ve started of trilogies I’d like to either finish or continue with. At the very top of this list is Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence and The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco and Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5) by Pierce Brown.


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Spoiler Free Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Title: The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club #1)

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

Pub. Date: November 5th 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 352 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

πŸ–€ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

I’m typically the bookworm who can get enticed by a nice cover but this plot is what immediately got my attention. We get introduced to Gavin who is the Nashville Legends Second Basemen as he finds out his wife Thea has been faking her orgasms for the majority of their marriage. On the brink of divorce, Gavin is brought into a secret club comprised of Nashville’s top elite alpha males. The Bromance Book Club are a group of husbands, boyfriends, and fiancΓ©s who at one point or another have faced the possibility of divorce. They discovered a love for Regency Romance books because they offered up a old school way of courting their significant others that actually works. The guys in the club begin to coach Gavin on the ways to save his marriage but ultimately it requires getting down to the root of the matter. Both Gavin and Thea will have to figure out what truths they’ve been avoiding & decide whether a second chance is worth putting in the time and effort for.

Thea- Our female MC is a former art school student who fell in love with our male lead Gavin. She gave  up her studies to become a full time supportive wife to a major baseball player & mom to two adorable twins. In the process, she lost herself and the passion she had for the things that bring her the most joy. Think of Ruby Rose shedding the leather jacket & bad gal look to instead don pastel sweaters and life planners. Every minute of her life now scheduled on a white board. We get to see her reclaims her lost self.

Gavin- Our male MC is a pretty big deal in baseball, he has just found out on the biggest night of his career that his wife has been faking her orgasms. He reacts poorly to this revelation which triggers their separation. Gavin won me over & this is one lead I’d use to start my book boyfriend Pinterest board πŸ˜‚ I don’t think I’ve ever found someone so endearing on the page & I just wanted him to win his lady back. Gavin has a stutter, a part of him he had to grow comfortable with…something Thea embraced wholeheartedly. An amazing father to his twins & ultimately a husband who was willing to go the distance to save his marriage.

Liv- Reminded me so much of my own little sister! Liv is fiercely protective of Thea & the twins. She’s an amazing sister & aunt who quickly stepped up to the plate in offering Thea her support. Liv has Thea’s back & having had a rough childhood, they face their issues of abandonment together. Side note: Liv will be getting her own story line in the upcoming book Undercover Bromance (The Bromance Book Club #2) & this Gal is STOKED!!! πŸ€—

Twins- I had to include them if only to say they are the cutest little girls on the page! both their personalities so different & well fleshed out. We see the effect separation can have on children which was a bit triggering for me but very well depicted.

The Bromance Book Club- These guys SMH πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ I LOVED being invited to their meetings! Del, Mack, Yan, Malcolm, and The Russian have all been where Gavin and Thea are. They all recognize toxic masculinity for what it is and through Regency Romance novels have managed to save their relationships. These meetings are hillarious but also how cool would it be if more men felt comfortable coming together to support one another on personal matters?  Their Bro Code is one I can get behind πŸ™ŒπŸ½

Lyssa Kay Adams not only gave us a book about a Bromance Book Club, she also sprinkled a bit of Regency Romance throughout the book. Told from dual POV’s, we toggle between Gavin and Thea which really helps the reader paint a picture of what led up to their separation. My heart went out to both characters for very different reasons & never once felt either of them were self serving. They both wanted each other & their marriage to work but they had some baggage to unload. The more serious passages are broken up with well timed humor and passages from the actual romance book the club has chosen for Gavin to read & study. I laughed & at times also self reflected seeing as I’ve been in Thea’s position. I’ll admit there were times it felt a bit preachy with the commentary on toxic masculinity however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. The news of Liv (side character) getting her own story line in the upcoming book Undercover Bromance has me STOKED to continue with this new Romance series πŸ–€

Content Warnings: Divorce, mention of miscarriage,   depiction of abandonment issues in children


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October Monthly Wrap Up & Book Haul

Pardon me while I bust out in a little dance cause I read 8 books in October!!!! I broke a record seeing as 2019 has been a bit of a slumpish year for me I’ll count this as a major break through *whoop whoop*Β I’ll admit I was a bit all over the place in my books this month because I simply was picking up whatever I was in the mood for at the time. I can also see this being the case for the rest of the year. Once January comes around I will be buckling down just a smidge because I have acquired some new arcs I’m really excited to get around to in the New Year. I may have a post in the works with those highly anticipated arcs I managed to get a hold of πŸ˜‰

We can all use a lil Rosie Perez in our lives! *Queen* ❀

The Beautiful by RenΓ©e Ahdieh ✨4Β STARS✨ (my review) polarizing in the bookish community, this book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but it def was mine! ❀ more than anything, I’m STOKED at the hints of what’s to come.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong ✨5 STARS✨ (my review)

I listened to the audiobook & laughed my a** off at all hours of the day/night. Ali Wong won me over when I first saw her in Always be my Maybe but listening to Dear Girls led me down a rabbit hole. I watched Baby Cobra on Netflix as well and Hard Knock WifeΒ which really rounded out the audiobook experience. These stand-up series are mentioned in Dear Girls and it was nice to go back & see those after. This book also got me wanting to start my own letters to my two tiny humans.

The Never Tilting World by Ron Chupeco ✨4 STARS✨ (my review)

A WILD RIDE!!!! I was not sure what I was expecting going in after reading & loving The Bone Witch series but this was unique and chaotic in the best way. I tried to gather my thoughts as best as possible in my review haha!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo ✨5 STARS✨ (RTC)

I have ZERO excuses for not having a review up just yet but I promise it’s coming & it will be a RAVE review πŸ™‚

Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #2.6) by Alyssa Cole ✨4Β STARS✨ (RTC)

This novella is absolutely my MOST favorite addition to the Reluctant Royals series! Nerd love at it’s finest & most cutest! GAHHHH! I need more! I will save my thoughts for the mash-up review I have coming for this & the other novella in this series Once Ghosted, Twice Shy #2.5

American predator by Maureen Callahan ✨5 STARS✨

I did consider writing a review for this SUPER creepy read but opted not to. I rated this one a 5 stars simply because the amount & quality of research really jumps off the page here. This is a real life story told from the perspective of the killer who has been captured. He is absolutely remorseless & only confessing certain kills in order to ascertain the death penalty for himself cause he just can’t live with himself anymore.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Baron ✨4 STARS✨ (my review)

I’m so happy there will be more books in this series/trilogy & even more excited to one day see it hit the big screen. This West African inspired Fantasy reads more like an Adult Fantasy as far as world building & complex character development. I’d love to see more YA Fantasy fleshed out in this way where the author fully trusts the reader to take in the world they’ve imagined on the page.

Paper Girls Volume 1 ✨3.5 STARS✨

This one was recommended to me because I love Stranger Things & all things Goonies. Paper Girls gives off the weird sci-fi vibes I love & for that reason alone I’ll be continuing with this graphic novels series. However, there are a lot of triggers for homophobic slurs, homophobia, violence, and alcohol abuse. Even though these issues align with the time period this takes place in, I’m seriously hoping this isn’t a theme in the volumes to follow.

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The Grace Year | The Bone Houses | The Water Dancer | Imaginary Friend

My October haul was a bit on the humble side seeing as I unhauled give or take 60 books. I wasn’t trying to spend much on books but I was focused on reading from my shelves. Two of these were my monthly Book Of The Month picks (my referral link)Β & the other two were highly recommended. November however is already turning out to be shelf luvin’ & I’m not complaining πŸ™‚

Joker ✨5 STARS✨

This movie will forever be seared into my memory for its depiction of mental health & the real need for discussion and resources for those that are struggling. I wasn’t expecting for it to be as hard hitting as it was but it only deepened my appreciation for this portrayal. I feel Joaquin phoenix performed exceptionally & frankly left me in awe.

LEGACIES ✨4 STARS✨

The Originals spin-off is highly addictive & full of bad a** characters you can’t help but get invested in. Hope Mikaelson truly feels like a piece of Klaus was gifted to us & I cannot wait to see her growth in this series. We follow Hope in this school for supernatural beings that has a very X-Men vibe I love. It was almost a full 5 stars if it hadn’t been for the meh last episode haha! still though, as a whole this is one show worth checking out if you followed its predecessors & are looking for your paranormal fix πŸ˜‰


October was such a great quality reading month that i’m hoping it continues into november. with all of the major new releases i think that’s a safe bet. i’m enjoying the cooler weather, bookstore dates, & coffee breaks with good company and books.I hope you’re all having a great start to this Autumn season <3’s!


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Spoiler Free Review: The Beautiful by RenΓ©e Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful

Author: RenΓ©e Ahdieh

Pub. Date: October 8th 2019

Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical Fiction

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 448 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

 πŸ–€ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

At its core The Beautiful is a Paranormal murder mystery with a steaming romance in the mix. Set inNew Orleans (FAVE CITY) 1872, our heroine Celine has been shipped off with 7 other girls to live in a convent. The intention is to have the girls meet eligible suitors to marry since they’ve had no luck thus far. Celine & her friend Pipa however are ahead of their times, feminists through & through who have trouble conforming. One encounter with a member of La Cour des Lions leads to Celine discovering night life in New Orleans. Captivating & enticing, she quickly falls down the rabbit hole that leads her to meeting the Lions leader, SΓ©bastien Saint Germain. Coincidentally, the city begins to see young women being murdered. The victims are said to have been savagely drained of their blood. The person of interest is the young SΓ©bastien Saint Germain which Celine finds herself being pulled towards. She begins to investigate the murders & quickly realizes she may be next on the killers agenda. Could the man she finds so alluring also be the one murdering innocent young women? Celine knows he’s the leader of a crime ring with a reputation in the under belly of New Orleans. This man is shrouded in mystery and darkness, well protected by his organized crime family he almost seems untouchable. Celine sets out to discover the truth all the while trying to stay alive.

Celine A bi-racial fashionista who studied under the best seamstress in Paris before being shipped off to New Orleans. Our MC who is a Feminist way ahead of her time & I LOVED reading her commentary whenever faced with expectations she had no plans on meeting. Celine is torn between living up to societal expectations vs. running free and living life to the fullest. She feels most at home amongst the members of La Cour des Lions. She’s also SUPER curious and intuitive.

SΓ©bastien Saint Germain Fits the standard mold of ridiculously beautiful brooding MC (also bi-racial) who can’t be bothered. He has lost his entire family & has been taken in by his uncle who is a well known crime leader himself. Having had no children himself, SΓ©bastien is his only heir and is expected to follow in his footsteps with the family business. SΓ©bastien has no shortage of admirers, Celine just happens to be the one he can’t get out of his head.

Michael Grimaldi The police chief in charge of solving the murders and who has an age old feud with SΓ©bastien. Michael is a bit rigid and a by the book type of man. When he finds himself falling for Celine, it puts him once again up against SΓ©bastien. Of course, as is the case with most of the characters you come across in this world there’s more than meets the eye with Michael.

Pippa The closest thing to a friend for Celine, Pippa is the only one who can understand Celines dark & salacious humor. Pippa also is a feminist in her own way but she is more willing to conform to the norms. Pippa is what one would call a ride or die πŸ™‚

Odette is by far my FAVE character in this world! Odette may very well be non-binary but I’m not 100% certain. This character also loves fashion and you can find them wearing a pant suit or ball gown. Odette is attracted to women and similar to Celine is just trying to live their life on their own terms & I couldn’t love them more for it! ❀

Arjun Desai (described as being from the Far East; a person of color) A member of La Cour des Lions, Arjun stands close to SΓ©bastien as wise council. Arjun has studied law however due to the color of his skin during these times he was not permitted to practice law. Arjun is one character I would love to get more of in the sequel.

Without it being very clearly stated on the page, it is known The Beautiful is a story with paranormal creatures. It takes a subtle approach when introducing the different types of mythological beings we all know and love.  I for one was very happy with the hints & descriptions the author leaves behind forming a picture of who & what inhabits this world. At the very end we’re left feeling that this will be an expansive world & I for one am READY for a paranormal series set in 1800’s New Orleans. I found myself effortlessly flipping the pages & getting invested in these characters one by one. This is one hell of an atmospheric read where New Orleans comes alive on the page. If you go in expecting less Fantasy & more Mystery/Paranormal Romance, then I think this will be one very satisfying read. The only reason I docked it 1 star is because if I’m being completely honest, it could’ve been cleaned up a tad bit & that would’ve helped with the inconsistent pacing. However, I truly enjoyed the chapter breaks where we get the POV of whatever thing or person is hunting & killing. This added all of the creepy vibes to this book & had me dying to know their true identity. I do believe this is laying down the groundwork for what I expect will be a world lush with Vampires, Lycans, Fae and possibly more. If you’re a lover of historical romance, mysteries, and the paranormal…The Beautiful will deliver with hints of more in the future.


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Audiobook Review- Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life

Title: Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life

Author:Β Ali Wong

Pub. Date:Β October 15th 2019

Genre:Β Auto Biography/Memoir/Humor

Publisher:Β Random House

Run Time: 6 Hours

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Where to start? I LOVE Ali Wong!!! πŸ–€Β I watched Always Be My MaybeΒ on Netflix earlier this year & it’s the one movie that actually helped me get through some down days. I just knew I had to listen to her new book Dear Girls & get to know the comedian a bit better, no regrets here! last night I stayed up till 2am watching her stand-up on Netflix “Baby Cobra” & had tears in my eyes from all the laughter. I love auto-biographies/Memoirs, especially those by comedians & have always preferred the audio-book format. Dear Girls is a collection of stories that reads like a long letter to Ali’s daughters. She recounts life as a single woman in NYC and what the dating scene looked like for her leading up to when she meets her husband & father to her girls. There are moments where she drops some knowledge on the comedy scene & what it’s like for a female trying to catch her big break. I LOVED how she makes it known from the get that comedy is something you have to have a passion for. She has a deep appreciation for the small gigs in shady areas that eventually led her to her big break. One things Ali shares is that she knows & has Asian comedian friends who stuck to performing within their Asian communities. This is something Ali wasn’t trying to do, she branched out & really put herself out there. Once she reached a certain level of success & started going on tour, she brought two of her Asian comedian friends along to open her shows.

The love for her roots & cultural background is a big theme in Dear Girls. She talks about how even though it sometimes brings forth judgment from her friend group, dating someone from your own cultural background has its perks. When she met her husband, she knew she had met the one because of how much they have in common. A shared love of Asian cuisine, parents who taught them the value of a dollar, and last but not least a DEEP appreciation for all things 90’s hip hop and R&B. These are some of the things we see her use as inspiration for the movie Always Be My MaybeΒ in which she co-starred & wrote for. I LOVED hearing about her birthing story simply because she doesn’t hold back. Ali gives us the beautiful along with the ugly deets many don’t talk about when describing the birth of their kids. Let’s face it, it can get nasty in the delivery room & I appreciated hearing someone recount their delivery day while I nodded along in agreement haha! There are most definitely some cringe worthy moments where Ali goes into detail about her sex life & I just about died laughing each time! One day her daughters will look back & appreciate those nuggets of wisdom she dropped on them.

Listening to this audio-book got me thinking about writing my own letters to my two tiny humans. A no holds barred approach to journaling that would leave them with a sense of hope when they’re going through ups & downs in love and life. In the last chapter to this audiobook, Ali brought in her husband. In this chapter he talks about meeting Ali and tells his girls a bit about gender roles & the effects on men who don’t necessarily follow traditional roles. Ali’s husband is super supportive of her career & an amazing dad who flew back and forth with the girls to make sure they were together as a family. Traditionally, the men are expected to be the bread winners as was the case with their own fathers. Ali & her husband adjusted their family unit to what worked best for them. Although he is a Harvard graduate & a successful entrepreneur, my heart smiled when I heard how there came time where he sold Ali merch outside of her shows. I loved hearing Ali gush about how she knew her husband was a catch the minute she saw him. Listening to her hubby speak about Ali with admiration was heart warming & you get a sense that they really are soulmates. I walked away from this audiobook knowing that seeing Ali at one of her shows is now a MUST! πŸ–€


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WWW Wednesday 10/30/2019

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted byΒ Sam @ Taking On a World of WordsΒ 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?

Two posts in one day? who am I?!? I’ve been on a reading frenzy this entire month and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down *fingers crossed* my review back log is keeping me up at night but that’s not what we’re here for today haha! I hope you’re all living your best reading lives & if you’re loving what you’re reading, please drop a reccomendation in the comments below. I don’t genre discriminate, all are welcome! ❀

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh Currently I’m 200 pages into this YA Paranormal Romance (It’s being called Fantasy but I’m not getting that vibe)Β & really enjoying what I’ve read so far. I’ve seen many bookish buddies give this one mixed reviews & can totally understand why. This reads much slower & has a historical romance vibe to it. Personally I’m just a sucker for New Orleans which you are fully immersed in from the very first page. There is a subtle approach to the supernatural beings in this world, we aren’t directly told they are vampires however they fit the prototype we are familiar with. There’s also hints that It may not just be Vampires who share this world with humans & that has definitely piqued my interest. The MC is feminist AF & way ahead of her times which only has me admiring her on the page. More thoughts to come in my review later this week.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong Currently I’m 45% into this audio-book & have lost count of the times I burst out laughing while walking in public & in my cubicle. Ali Wong’s letters to her daughters are raw, hilarious, and no holds barred. We see life as a struggling comedian in NYC & L.A, her dating life before meeting her husband, and life as a mom/career woman on her rise to fame. Ali Wong keeps it real with her daughters in a way I feel I would with my own little girl (one day haha!) as cringy as it may get. Mini Review to come.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo I listened to the audio-book, I’m a big fan of this author and her narrating voice is not to be missed. Having listened to With the fire on High as well as Pride by Ibi Zoboi (narrated by Acevedo) I just knew this was my preferred format. A short read, we get a Dominican MC who has been sexualized at a young age because of her rapidly developed body. She has a very religious mother & very little guidance on things she’s experiencing with her body as well as with boys/men. There’s a certain shame that hangs over her head that she is able to express through her poetry. This review is sitting in my drafts (almost finished) & will be posted this week but I will say that I 5 starred it & HIGHLY recommend!

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco (Review linked) A stranger mash-up I have yet to read LOL! I really didn’t know what to expect going in other than this was being pitched as Frozen meets Mad Max. PRETTY ACCURATE! It honestly just solidified my feelings towards this author…BAD A**!!! I will read anything Rin Chupeco writes. I have a full review linked above & rated this one 4 stars πŸ™‚

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the NinthΒ is the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton.

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’sΒ Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy…

The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.Β 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club…


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Spoiler Free Review: The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World#1)

Author:Β Rin Chupeco

Pub. Date:Β October 15th 2019

Genre:Β YA Fantasy/LGBTQIAP+

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages:Β 496

Format: eARC

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Β πŸ–€ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

I’ll admit when I first heard this book described as Frozen meets Mad Max I was very intrigued at how uniquely strange this came across. Whoever came up with this description hit the nail on the head! We have a world literally torn in half. Aranth is shrouded in darkness, frozen over & surrounded by a raging sea. While The Golden City sees only daylight under a scorching sun & is plagued by desert cannibals. At the center of the story are two sisters/Goddesses who are divided by a broken prophecy. Each one of them holds secrets & each one of them also have a daughter. It’s made known from the very beginning that these “daughters” are actually twins being kept apart. Odessa & Haidee are destined to meet, this is the story of their journey to their fated union. All they know is that there are higher powers at work pulling them towards one common direction, much else isn’t known. Β Both Haidee & Odessa set out on a quest to try and repair the damage that has been done sine “The Breaking” or splitting apart of their world. This was a WILD ride! & having read The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco I can also honestly say that this is a big departure from the style of world building we see in those books. There’s more chaos in this world & at times I wondered at just how odd this book really is…but it works!!! πŸ™ŒπŸ½Β I often felt I was watching a movie play out in my head as we alternate between the two sides of the world. Although it’s a Fantasy, we see environmental ramifications that hit close to home in the real world. This blend of Fantasy with reality made for a surreal reading experience.

Content Warning: Death of a loved one, panic attacks (PTSD related), mention of sexual assault, violence, torture

Odessa daughter of Asteria & heir to the throne, Odessa is Lesbian & a lover of romance novels

Haidee daughter of Latona also expected to one day rule, however she truly has no interest. Haidee is a Mechanika with a soft spot for animals. Haidee is my new FAVE fictional character! 😍

Lan Bi-sexual, a healer & travel companion to Odessa. Lan & Odessa’s relationship is complicated to say the least πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈΒ Lan also suffers from PTSD & is my second FAVE character. I felt a bit overprotective of Lan & at times felt the interactions with Odessa were very toxic.

ArjunΒ A no-nonsense orphan with Fire gate abilities, he is disabled by way of a missing hand. Arjun falls for Haidee even though he set out to hate her for the sins of her mother.

Rin Chupeco has pretty much solidified her spot in my very top fave authors of all time. The change of pace in this new series had me blown away & also unable to pull myself away from this world. This series may not be everyones cup of tea because of how chaotic & high octane it truly is but I just can’t deny that the writing skills are top notch. Just when I would begin to feel as if I were going to start favoring one twin over the other, something would throw me back to uncertainty. You spend just enough time with each character so that you never tire & can quickly return to your faves if you wish. The only reason I docked it a star was because I felt I still did not have enough clarity on the secrets Asteria & Latona are keeping. This however did not hinder my enjoyment of this story & I hope we’ll get some questions answered in the follow-up. Rin Chupeco gave us Goddesses, demons, cannibals, sand dolphins, elemental magic, discussion of climate change & its effects, and a bit of romance in the background! πŸ”₯Β The Never Tilting World was a WILD RIDE! I’ll be on the look out for the sequel πŸ–€


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Spoiler Free Review: Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron

Title: Kingdom Of Souls (Kingdom Of Souls #1)

Author:Β Rena Barron

Pub. Date:Β September 19th 2019

Genre:Β YA Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Pages:Β 496

Format: eARC

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Β πŸ–€ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ–€

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron is exactly the type of YA Fantasy I look forward to reading whenever I pick up a debut author. On the YA scale this definitely leans more towards darker & more mature, it will appeal to those who enjoy adult Fantasy. Inspired by the authors West African ancestors, the world in which Kingdom of Souls is set in is very expansive. The magic system & world building is detailed and complex, the characters are multi-faceted as are their deities. At the center of the story we have Arrah who is the daughter of a High Priestess & Witch Doctor. In this world you come into your magical abilities between the ages of 0-16. However, Arrah hasn’t seen not even a stirring of her magic and fears that this will make her an outcast.

“I’m sixteen, near grown by both kingdom & tribal standards. My time is running out. No daughter or son of any tribe has come into their gifts beyond my age. if it doesn’t happen this year, it won’t happen at all.”

Β The five tribes in this land were said to have been gifted their magic by Heka who is their God. We follow Arrah as she attends celebrations for those who are coming into their powers in hopes she too will blessed by Heka. Her entire family carries powerful magic within but it’s her mother Arti alone who cannot accept Arrah’s lack of magic. Their strained and toxic relationship plays out throughout this book in a way I’ve never seen written before. We see Arrah have a very different & nurturing relationship with her father who tries to get her to understand that magic is not the end all be all. In the midst of it all we learn of children that have gone missing and aΒ  Demon King who is rising. This all serves to give Arrah an intense sense of urgency. She sets out to find other more dangerous ways to obtain magic in order to defend & protect her people. This of course bears a steep price to pay, an unknown amount of years shed from your life in exchange for magic. Arrah is determined to do whatever it takes to stop children from going missing & the Demon King from from fully coming into power.

This year has seen many debut YA Fantasies hit the shelves with all sorts of original stories & diverse sets of characters. I LOVED that this world although fantastical, is West African inspired with a cast of all black main characters. I also have a very HIGH appreciation for authors who steer clear of info dumping & instead deliver complex world building in a way that says they trust their readers. I never got tired of the story or lost interest, the only thing I would’ve liked to have seen is an index of some sort to keep track of all the tribes in this world & the deities. I can easily see (or at least I hope)Β this being a ongoing series because of how rich the world building is. I also loved seeing how much support Arrah really had even when she thought she was alone.Β I did NOT see that last portion of the book coming! it left me reeling for days wondering where these characters will go from here. It did not surprise me one bit to hear Kingdom of Souls has been picked up by Warner Brothers studios (see here) & will be produced by Michael B. Jordan. I will definitely be picking up the next installment in this trilogy.


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Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pub. Date: September 3rd 2019

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 391

Format: Physical Book

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one rare gem of a book! I can confidently say it’s my favorite read of the year & I doubt anything will top this. It’s also the book that gifted me a new auto-buy favorite author & a cast of characters that are truly memorable. Many have reviewed & gushed about just how amazing this story is, I’ve read eloquent reviews & watched countless booktubers sing its praises. The book that took the Bookish community by storm deserves all the love it continues to receive. The story of Evelyn Hugo born Evelyn Herrera to Cuban immigrants will lead you to believe you’re reading about a actual real life person and not a fictional character created by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Evelyn Hugo is a perfectly flawed Hollywood actress in her late 70’s who just wants to bare her truths and tell her story. She’s lived a very glamorous life and paid a heavy price to achieve true stardom.  Now that all of her loved ones have passed away and she doesn’t have much to live, Evelyn wants the world to see her for who she really is. A bi-sexual Latinx woman who sacrificed major parts of her identity in exchange for fame, wealth, and power. After all, 1950’s Hollywood wasn’t a safe and accepting time for people in the LGBTQIAP+ community. Neither was it a thriving time for a Latinx woman trying to start their career in acting. Evelyn knew she was destined for more & ambitiously set out to become what she dreamed of.

“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that”

Evelyn Hugo seeks out Monique Grant, a bi-racial journalist who is stuck writing “puff pieces” for Vivant. Recently separated from her husband & on her way to divorce, Monique is feeling very underused at Vivant. When the invitation arrives from Evelyn Hugo explicitly requesting her, no one would’ve guessed it was for a ground breaking/career making opportunity. Evelyn Hugo wants to have her Biography written by Monique Grant but the reasons behind it will remain undisclosed until the right time. It is through these interview sessions between Evelyn & Monique that we get a first hand account of all the glam, first loves, secrets, lies and heart breaks. We learn of each of Evelyn’s husbands, all very different from one another. The role they played in Evelyns career & the real story behind what was printed on the covers of glossy magazines. There’s one part early on in their sessions that sticks out in my memory the most. Monique asks Evelyn whether she’s ready to come out as a gay woman to which Evelyn responds with such powerful & moving words…

“I’m bi-sexual. Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box, Monique. Don’t do that”

This truth is one she’s had to live privately & so delivering her most authentic self in her biography was key. We go on to learn what becomes of Evelyn once she leaves her first husband in Hell’s Kitchen & gets her first gig in a movie. We see her as a victim of domestic violence in her second marriage & how that affects her going forward. She takes full control of her life & gives the media/world the image they crave. Highly intelligent, Evelyn knew how to mold herself. She kept her real life very private & delivered the version that would get her the highly coveted roles. There was no such this as bad publicity & when she found herself in a negative light, it was only a matter of time before she rebounded into a better position.

“I’m not saying the gossip columnists printed what they knew to be a lie. I’m simply saying they were all too happy to believe the lie I was selling them. And of course, that’s the easiest lie to tell, one you know the other person desperately wants to be true” 

This book truly had it all & has left such a lasting impression on me. I was deeply invested in Evelyn’s story and the small circle of loved ones she kept near and dear to her heart. I loved that this read as a historical fiction novel with glimpses into 1950’s Hollywood. We follow her career throughout the years, not just the behind the scenes takes as an actress but also politics & the LGBTQIAP+ community. As the story unfolds, we learn many shocking truths and ultimately discover the reasons for which Evelyn sought out Monique. I lost count of the times I felt raw emotion & stopped to highlight passages/quotes.  Having read Daisy Jones & the Six earlier this year, my only hope is to continue to meet more complex realistic characters on the page I can grow attached to. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like a TJR novel, such unique plots & story telling skills! There is absolutely no doubt in mind I will be following Taylor Jenkins Reid throughout her literary career.


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SEPTEMBER BOOK HAUL

Catch me on a Sunday morning in my laundry room reading & sipping on some coffee. Today however, I’m doing the laundry & scrolling through my blogger feed catching up with my fellow content creators & readers. September was perhaps the ONLY month where I didn’t go overboard on hauling books. I definitely didn’t do it intentionally…it sort of just happened. I also only read 4 books in September but they were EPIC reads! I’ll also talk about this a little more in my wrap-up but I spent the month soaking up some life experiences, enjoying good company, creating beautiful memories and enjoying the last of the warmer weather.That being said, I’m so excited to have these new reads on my shelves! ❀

Paper Girls

There’s a cute story behind how I came to own these copies that will probably be in my September Wrap-up post soon to come. These were gifts from my boyfriend who took me to what had to be the BEST comic bookstore I’ve ever been to. I previously owned the 1st volume which I just finished & have already started the 2nd volume. So far, I have to agree that these will appeal to fans of Netflix Stranger Things. I LOVE the artwork & sci-fi feels as well as the humor. That being said, there are some trigger warnings worth checking out on Goodreads. I will most likely review these in 2 separate posts since there are 6 volumes at this present moment.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey LeeBy day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. ”

Dominicana by Angie CruzΒ “Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.”

This Tender Land by William Kent KruegerΒ (For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Singz)Β “1932, Minnesotaβ€”the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.”

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The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones

The September Owlcrate box SCREAMS Fall/Halloween vibes! I gave it 3.5 stars which is a good rating, I just happen to base it on the usability of the items themselves. I was very happy to see this STUNNING copy of The Bone Houses as their selection, anything centered around the undead is a MUST read! the fingerless skull gloves & Skull detailed enamel are my favorite additional items. However, since I’m not a fan of candy corn…the “Caramel Corn” flavored coffee is a pass. I’m not yet sure what I’ll do with the little dish but it does have a neat quote on it. Overall, it’s an aesthetically pleasing box.


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