Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

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 spotlights the top 10 Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019!!! I thought I’d have trouble with this topic since It’s been a very slow bookish year for me however, it turns out I have closer to 20 smh. For this list I’ll keep it to 10 but Yikes! my Goodreads is Poppin’ now 😂 …yeaaaaa I lied! 🤷🏻‍♀️ there are 12 & I would’ve felt bad leaving any of these out! 🖤

June 17th: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

The Good Luck Girls (The Good Luck Girls #1) by Charlotte Nicole Davis – Described as Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale 😱 who wouldn’t stop dead in their tracks & with a STUNNING cover to match?!?! 😍 Historical Fiction/Fantasy, this one is about children who’re sold to a “welcome house” where one is accused of murder. they escape & are on the run from both human & inhuman forces.

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones -YA Fantasy/Horror, honestly the synopsis mentioned a few things that made me go OOooO! ahhh!: Fae, Mapmaker, Corpses coming back to life & a decades old curse. Fascinating!

Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron– STUNNING cover! 😍 this is one I’ve been following closely on Twitter. As soon as I heard Witch Doctors my soul did a little shimmy 🤗 this one features a MC who is having difficulty calling on their powers. Pretty soon, she may just have to go to her last resort & exchange years of her life for magical powers. INTRIGUED!

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern– Full transparency here, Erin Morgenstern could write up a grocery list & I’d soak it in! ever since reading The Night Circus years ago, I have searched the internet for any morsel of info on when if ever we’d get a new book by this author. Whelp! not only are we getting it but it has PIRATES in it! 🤗 “a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.”

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin– YA Fantasy Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.” I am MOST intrigued by this one, with lines in the synopsis like “The war between witches and Church is an ancient one” we get the story of a witch who crosses path with one who has taken an oath to the church to kill all witches. They are somehow wed & I’m just wondering how that happened and what the repercussions will be…

The Revolution Of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert“Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon comes a novel about first love and family secrets  from Stonewall Book Award winner Brandy Colbert.” I’ve been meaning to get to Brandy Colbert (have Little & Lion hauled) & then I see for fans of Nina LaCour…YASSS PLEASE! 😍 YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction; this one features a MC who is trying to please her parents by sticking to studying at all times until she meets a boy who is sweet but has a troubled past. We also meet her aunt who moves in after leaving a treatment facility for addiction. I can already tell this one is right up my alley & I will most likely love! also…it’s set above a hair salon & I’m here for that! 🤗

Steel Tide (Seafire #2) by Natalie C. Parker“The second book in a heart-stopping trilogy that follows the captain of an all-female ship intent on taking down a vicious warlord’s powerful fleet.” This is one of the sequels I am HIGHLY anticipating! after reading Seafire last year & LOVING it! I’m due for a dose of Caledonia & crew. I can’t really go into detail this being a sequel & all however, If you love pirates & are looking for a feminist take then I’d say this one is def worth a shot! 🖤

Tarnished Are The Stars by Rosiee Thor The Lunar Chronicles meets Rook in this queer #OwnVoices science-fantasy novel, perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Sharon Cameron.” I mean it’s like they know exactly what to say to hook me in! 😩“A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher’s chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog — donning the moniker Technician — to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner’s tyrannical laws…I’m long overdue for a f/f romance 😍

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo– Ha! when my Dark Queen writes ANYTHING! all else fades 😌 this is a boarding school Fantasy & I was blessed enough to have a friend lend me her copy sooOo this ism next read & I legit can’t contain my excitement 🤗

Children Of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy Of Orïsha #2) by Tomi Adeyemi– Last year I read Children Of Blood and Bone which left me with quite the book hangover. This is the sequel & so in the spirit of staying spoiler free, I’ll just say that COBAB ending was EPIC! 🔥 the world building is A+ and if you’re a fan of sibling relationships, well written magic systems, and a MC who rides a giant Tiger then I’d say def give this one a go 😉

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1) by Rin Chupeco– I fell in love with The Bone Witch trilogy & now we get a Duology by my new fave author?!?! 💓 “Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.” …Two things here that had me nodding yes! Frozen & Furyborn 🤗 Unlike Ana & Elsa though, the sisters (Twins) in this story are torn apart by a betrayal. Their worlds are literally split in half & they’re set to rule apart. Each sister is raising a daughter & circumstances make it so they must come together and save their world. This is one of the arcs I wasn’t able to get at BEA & so my wait begins…worth the wait! 🖤

Gideon The Ninth (The Ninth House #1) by Tamsyn Muir– I need all the Necromancy books to line right up & proceed to making themselves comfy on my nightstand 😌 This one leading the pack, LGBTQIAP+ Sci-Fi Fantasy…Lesbian Necromancers…sitting here wondering if it’s too soon to count down to September *taps fingers*

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

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

I need nothing more than this ^^^


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Friday Reads & Thangs…

It’s Friday for this New Yorker & I could NOT be happier to start this 3 day holiday weekend!!! After all, this is the weekend before BEA which means it’s legit prep time for many bookworms…

I’m super excited to be seeing many of my friends both far & near next week. Some of them I’ll be meeting for the very first time in person but I feel like I’ve known them my whole entire life. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to keep my reading light. I’m finally in a good reading flow and want that to continue by only reading books I’ve been absolutely excited to get to. I also have a few reviews that I’ll be streaming throughout the coming week (Middlegame, Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) & Serious Moonlight) to get back in the flow of things. This weekend I will most likely be heading to D.C. which means all of my reading will take place on my commute to & from (4.5 hours)…as long as sleep doesn’t sabotage my plans *fingers crossed* 

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I am 250 pages into this Contemporary New Adult & really enjoying it so far. It’s the LGBTQIA+ LATINX read I didn’t know I needed in my life. This follows the son of the first female President of the United States in a hate to love romance with the Prince of Wales. Not only is the chemistry off the walls but there’s an amazing friend group I can’t get enough of. I find myself constantly laughing out loud on the train ride to work and shaking my head in awe. Politics does play a big role in this story & I’m loving how McQuiston has pulled in some very relevant current day issues impacting this romance. I am only half-way through with hopes to finish this read tonight.

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Initially I had my heart set to jump into The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (still next on my queue after this read) which was one of my May Book of the Month add-ons. Then I was blessed by an awesome friend who text me asking if I wanted her arc copy of Sorcery Of Thorns. I really didn’t even have to think twice before I accepted after hearing non-stop early rave reviews. One of my 1st jobs ever (unpaid) was as a Librarian Assistant in 5th grade. To come  across a book about books that have a life of their own…Grimoires that are kept in chains and guarded by a Warden?!?!  YES PLEASE! SIGN ME ALL THE WAY UP! I haven’t been this curious about a book in a VERY long time. *fingers crossed* it becomes a new favorite.


Honestly, I’m quite surprised I have yet to watch Big Little Lies. I read Liane Moriarty’s book some time last year & was as hooked as I was back in the day to Desperate Housewives on abc. To further entice me, it features two of my fave actresses, Reese Witherspoon & Nicole Kidman!!! *GASPS* I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the book & have high hopes for this HBO series, especially now that it’s been renewed for a second season. The plan is to alternate between reading Sorcery Of Thorns & watching Big Little Lies tonight on my ride to D.C.


Friends!!! We made it to the end of the week & I personally cannot be more excited for the chill time this weekend. Sure I’ll miss not having Game Of Thrones to run home to Sunday nights but thankfully I have a never ending TBR! What are your plans this weekend? Reading anything rave worthy? Sound off in the comments <3’s


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MARCH BOOK HAUL

Hello Hello is anybody out there? It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post & I’m admittedly a bit rusty 🙈 but ummm have no fear! I am quickly getting back in the swing of things. 2018 was a bit rough at the end for a number of reasons but 2019 so far has proven to be full of blessings & beautiful surprises 💓 I thought I had lost my love for books & blogging, turns out *Maury Voice* the lie detector determined THAT WAS A LIE!!! 🙌🏽 my appetite for books has returned full force. I recently finished & LOVED Daisy Jones & The Six, a gift from my Twin Soul Gretchen over at ChicNerdReads who truly knows when to send a book recc my way (thanks Twin!) 🖤 I’m currently reading Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncanmy first Fantasy of the year & so far I’m really enjoying this one 🤞🏽I have reviews I’ve been working on & will start to sprinkle out over the next week. One major thing did change & that’s the way I buy books. After un-hauling 50+ books, I knew I was going to be hella selective going forward. This haul contains only books that I’ve HIGHLY been anticipating & will be reading very soon. Whether you’re new or a Ol’ G here on my blog, thank you for sticking around & stay tuned for all the new content 🖤

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The Weight Of The Stars| Dealing In Dreams| Queenie (Book Of The Month)| LOT (Book Of The Month)| The Priory Of The Orange Tree| Fence Volume One


Hello Bookworms! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day with your next best read  I am STOKED to be reading & blogging again. This blog & community has brought me so much happiness & friendships I am so thankful for 💓 I think I’m going to enjoy making up for lost time ☺️ Happy reading!


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: PRIDE BY IBI ZOBOI

Title: Pride

Author: Ibi Zoboi

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Re-telling

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 304

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

BUSHWICK BROOKLYN MURAL (Photo = link to source)

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

There’s so much good to say about Ibi Zoboi’s Pride and why it’s such a relevant read for readers living in New York City or any major city for that matter. This is a Pride & Prejudice re-telling of sorts or as Zoboi calls it, a ‘Remix’ 🖤 but at its heart it’s a story about one girls love for her neighborhood and the effects of Gentrification. We meet Zuri Benitez, a young Afro-Latina (Haitian-Dominican) who loves slam poetry and everything about Bushwick Brooklyn. Zuri lives with both her parents and three sisters on a city block where everyone knows everyone and they treat each other like family. Her mother nurtures her daughters and the neighbors through her cooking and block parties bring everyone together with food and music.

Things in the neighborhood start to shift when a abandoned house across the street from Zuri gets turned into a mini mansion. Zuri and her sisters watch as movers move in pieces of expensive furniture and artwork all the while wondering what kind of family would be occupying this mansion. Zuri is very protective of her neighborhood and the people who have roots there, meeting this new family has her apprehensive. The Darcy family moves in, mom + dad with their two handsome young black sons. Zuri’s sisters immediately introduce themselves but Zuri isn’t trying to be welcoming. For Zuri, this family moving in means a change in dynamics for her neighborhood. All around her are the remnants of gentrification, changes that have changed the landscape of her home. We follow Zuri and her sisters as they navigate college life, college applications, crushes on cute boys, and their identity within the community they were born and raised in as it transforms.

It wouldn’t be a Pride & Prejudice remix without the romance of course & that we do get with THE hate-to-love of all ages! 🖤 Zuri may not be acceptant of the Darcy family moving in but she’s also very aware of just how attractive Darius Darcy really is. It’s the pride for the neighborhood she grew up in that keeps her from seeing Darius and his family in a more positive light. Weaved in throughout Pride are themes of Socioeconomic diversity, race, stereotypes, and gentrification that are quite relevant & currently being talked about within many New York City communities.

Ibi Zoboi writes amazing, authentic three dimensional characters with rich voices I just can’t get enough of. Our MC Zuri is passionate about everything & everyone she loves. She values the culture within her community & doesn’t want to see it washed away by gentrification. The dialogue between her and her friends & family felt like home to me as a fellow born & raised Brooklyn native. I love how fiercely protective Zuri is of her sisters and neighbor. Her rose colored glasses have long been gone & she is able to pick up on the stereotypes and issues many in the minority class face. Some of my favorite parts with Zuri are the moments of introspection we get to see through her Slam Poetry.

There are so many characters we meet along the way but I LOVED the focus on family and the relationship between all of the siblings. We get to see Zuri interact and cope with seeing her older sister leave for college while she is in her last year of High School herself. We get some humor & overall silliness from Zuri having to now step up as the big sister in house to her younger twin sisters who are a bit of a handful. Zuri is well loved & respected within her community, her good reputation is something she’s proud of as one of the Benitez girls. The community plays its own character as well as they watch over these girls making sure they stay on the right path.

Last but not least are the Darcy boys who move into a neighborhood they really don’t know much about. Their family is well off financially and were able to buy the mansion across the street from Zuri’s brownstone home. I don’t believe Darius ever truly understood why Zuri was so proud & passionate about her community & in many ways came off as privileged. It wasn’t Zuri’s job to educate him on his surroundings (although that she did MANY times) but she often found herself trying to make him see that the walls that make up his home don’t change what’s outside. Realizing the Darcy family moving in does serve as a catalyst for change, is perhaps the toughest thing Zuri has had to face. So many interesting characters bring this Bushwick remix to life! ❤

Although we see the Pride & Prejudice influence in Pride, this story stands on its own as a modern day tale of maintaining your identity in a ever changing city. There’s so much to appreciate in this story, from the authentic dialogue to the relevant issues currently affecting those who live in major cities. Zuri’s community reminds me of the one I grew up in which is but a few blocks away from Bushwick. Community gatherings & block parties where the parents fed the neighborhood was very real. Looking up and seeing the one Grandmother who watches everyone’s kids & worrying about whether she’s going to tell your parents about that boy/girl she saw you flirting with was VERY real haha! but also, the reality of receiving an offer by a landlord to move you out in order for them to sell to a developer for a lump sum is also VERY real. The neighborhood I grew up in no longer looks like what I remember & the debate on whether that’s a good or bad thing is still going strong. Regardless of it all, home is where your loved ones are & this story although bittersweet is one way of looking at a brighter side of things 😉


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE PROPOSAL BY JASMINE GUILLORY

Title: The Proposal

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Pub. Date: October 30th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 336

Buddy Read: Melanie, Stephanie, and Leigh

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

The Proposal is a companion novel to The Wedding Date, a Contemporary Romance released earlier this year. In TWD, we meet Carlos who is the best friend to the male protagonist and who also frankly inadvertently stole the show in my opinion. It’s rare that I find a male lead I get so attached to 💓that I want to see more of their story but such was the case with everyones favorite Pediatrician Carlos Ibarra. When Nikole Patterson begrudgingly attends a ball game with her actor boyfriend and his buddies, she wasn’t expecting to look up & see her name misspelled on the jumbotron. She also wasn’t expecting it to be a proposal from the guy she’d only been dating a couple of months. Stuck in an awkward situation in front of millions world-wide, she tries to talk some sense into him. Meanwhile Carlos & his sister who are sitting behind Nik, come up with the idea of rescuing her from the most humiliating situation as it unfolds. Pretending to know Nik, they whisk her away from the reporters who are quickly approaching to interview the woman who turned down a very public proposal.

*Photos from Pinterest*

What started off as a act of kindness turns into a sexy friends with benefits arrangement with both parties on the same page. Of course, we all know these types of arrangements can turn messy when one person starts to blur the lines and break the rules 😌 We follow Nik & Carlos as they get to know one another through group friend dates, food dates (OMYGAHH! you can taste the food right off the pages! 😋), sexy nights, and unexpected events that make it hard to stick to the rules.

Content Warnings: Grief, Talk of death of a loved one, Racism (Challenged), pregnancy complications and miscarriage, talk of past verbal abuse (non-main character)

When I first caught wind of Carlos getting his own POV story I jumped for joy and hugged my pillow! I mean, could it be I was getting THE story I so badly wanted when I first met this handsome Mexican Pediatrician in The Wedding Date?!?! 😍😍😍 Why YES! YES it was happening and I was so on board! To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Drew the MC in The Wedding Date & found him to be a bit of an a** but his BFF Carlos, now there was a guy I’d date and here’s why…

Carlos No longer practicing medicine much, Carlos is now the Assistant Director of a teen clinic where he counsels youth. Carlos has a HUGE heart & has stepped into the role of Patriarch after his fathers passing. With many women in his family to look after, he pretty much has made it so that he doesn’t have time for dating. He knows that the day he meets THE ONE, he will give her 100% of his time & that just isn’t something he sees s possible. I love this character so much but he isn’t flawless by any means, at times his protectiveness can come off as being pushy but he is quick to catch himself in those moments. Overall, Carlos is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve & given how saturated books are with toxic masculinity (not to mention IRL) he was refreshing to get to know.

Nik Fiercely independent & I wouldn’t go as far as calling her a commitment phobe but she’s not trying to get attached any time soon. Having just come from one awkward as hell situation with the last boyfriend, Nik is just going for light & fun. No strings attached. She’s a journalist with pieces published in a few major publications & writing is where her heart is at. I enjoyed Nik’s character for many reasons but the feminist in her really called out to me most. I loved seeing her interact with her friend group & also the coverage she gave a small gym owned by a woman who had a second chance in life after leaving a controlling abusive marriage (loved the message behind this characters intro). I loved the passion she has for her work & her overall helpful nature with those she cares about.

Nik’s friends Dana & Courtney Usually friend groups offer up a few good scenes & laughs but Dana & Courtney really raise the bar. Super supportive, these friends aren’t the type who’ll just say they’ll be there for you whenever you need them. They are present in Nik’s life and empower one another. Whether it’s joining a self defense class in solidarity or saving a batch of cupcakes from their shop for you on a day when you need it most, these are your ride or die friends.

Fun, sexy, filled with food and good times against the backdrop of Los Angeles; It’s my opinion The Proposal is more enjoyable than its predecessor. I rated this a high 4 stars simply, I honestly wanted Nik’s background\family life a bit more fleshed out. Told in multiple POV’s we get to see Carlos’ family & his awesome sibling relationship. Although we do see Nik’s friend group, we don’t get any of her family background. Nik is a strong independent woman & I would’ve loved to dig into her backstory a bit. Also, although I loved Carlos & still do, I almost felt his actions towards the end didn’t quite fit his personality at all. It just didn’t make sense considering how he met Nik & so I felt a bit resentful towards him for that reason alone. Last but definitely not least, I will continue to read all that Jasmine Guillory writes because of how beautifully diverse all of the characters are. The Proposal is a Contemporary Romance between Carlos a LATINX/Mexican man & Nik a black woman but we also get Courtney a Korean plus sized woman & Dana a black lesbian woman. The diversity and important topics woven in throughout Guillory’s books set them apart & will always make them a go-to for this bookworm 💜


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SEPTEMBER BOOK HAUL

Hello Bookworms! I haven’t done a book haul since July here on the blog (book buying never stopped) & that’s because during the end of August/beginning of September I was on vacation. My first one in over 10 years & it was the most magical & happiest place on earth…more to come -pictures too- in my Wrap-Up. In September I got two subscription boxes and one Exclusive Box. My Kindle probably saw the most love during September & I’m kind of happy it worked out that way cause I’m way overdue for a un-haul & cleansing of my physical shelves. I’m really excited for the books that I did haul, they’re titles I have been eagerly anticipating and can’t wait to dive into. We’ll start this haul off with a little Gosling appreciation *heart eyes*

Image result for i see books memes

 

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From Here To You | Unbroken 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth (my review)| City Of Ghosts | For A Muse Of Fire (Litjoy Crate) | Darius The Great Is Not Okay | Vengeful (Owlcrate Exclusive Edition)| Mirage (Fairyloot)| Archenemies (#Booksfortrade)| Shadowhunters & Denizens of The Downworld | City Of Bones 10th Anniversary Edition (Gift from the hubby)| Runaways Vol 1

FAIRYLOOT

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Mirage (my review) by Somaiya Daud

I read Mirage as part of a ARC Buddy read & was surprised in a good way to find that it’s a Sci-Fi Fantasy. I wasn’t expecting the sci-fi aspects but loved every bit of the world building this 1st book delivered. As for the FL box, with the exception of the shoelaces (major side eye) I’m really satisfied with the contents of their September box. My fave items are the art prints, notebook, and candle…although if I’m being honest I can’t smell anything from these teeny tiny candles so it’s more for the label *shrugs*

Fairyloot art prints & apron with quote

Owlcrate Vicious & Vengeful Exclusive Edition

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BOOK OF THE MONTH

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The Silence Of The Girls | The Mermaid And Mrs. Hancock

*Making an active effort to read these sooner rather than later 😉

KINDLE & AUDIBLE

The City Of Brass | The Last Namsara | Evidence Of The Affair | Atheists Who Kneel and Pray | The Poet X (Audible) | Pride (Audible)

*Review for Pride goes live on 10/4*

eGalleys

Enchantée | 99 Percent Mine | The Devil’s Thief (Blog Tour & Giveaway!!!!) | The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried | Slayer | Crown Of Feathers | Serious Moonlight | The Kingdom Of Copper


Hello Bookworms! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day with your next best read ❤ The next two weeks are HUGE in the publishing world with so many great new releases what are some you’re excited to see hit the shelves? Sound off in the comments down below 😉


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SPOILER FREE GUSH REVIEW: THE SIMPLE WILD BY K.A.TUCKER

Title: The Simple Wild

Author: K.A. Tucker

Pub. Date: August 7th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 388

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

Whenever K.A. tucker writes a book I stop whatever I’m doing to read said book & gahhhh! I’m always left with a book hangover but it can’t be helped. I LOVED The Simple Wild & felt the relationships that formed all throughout the very depths of my soul. This is the story of Calla Fletcher who we meet in the process of losing her 9 to 5 office job. She lives at home with her mom and supportive Stepdad Simon while also running a lifestyle blog on the side with her best friend. One day she gets a call from a woman asking her to fly to Alaska to see her dad who is terminally ill. Calla feels so many things at once for the man who stayed behind when she was just 2 years old & her mother decided she wasn’t cut out for Alaskan life. Feelings of abandonment, detachment, and also a need to have her questions answered.  Calla doesn’t know very much about Alaska other than the stories & descriptions her mother has shared, none have been very pleasant. She isn’t prepared for the change in lifestyle or the people who will become like a second family to her while she gets to know her estranged father.

“Life up here may be simple but it’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone. Water runs out; pipes freeze; engines won’t start; it’s dark for eighteen, nineteen hours a day, for months. Even longer in the far north. Up here it’s about having enough food to eat, and enough heat to stay alive through the winter. It’s about survival, and enjoying the company of the people that surround us. It’s not about whose house is the biggest, or who has the nicest clothes, or the most money. We support each other because we’re all in this together.”

We follow Calla as she settles into her dad Wren’s home, they’re strangers sharing a house for the bit of time she is visiting. I loved that Wren wasn’t written to be the type of dad who right off the bat wanted to justify his decision to stay behind while she was raised without him. He’s a quiet man full of regrets but he also understands that Calla flying to Alaska to see him is a big move on her behalf. While navigating the awkwardness around seeing her dad for the very first time, Calla also has to deal with the tall, rugged, unshaven yet handsome, proud Alaskan neighbor. Jonah has been her dad’s right hand man in a small yet profitable charter plane business. He loves everything about life in Alaska and in many ways is a younger version of Wren. Calla is a trendy city girl who has had a moderately easy life back home. Jonah sees Calla as attractive but he also has a ton of reasons (mostly Calla in his opinion being high maintenance) for which he’d never act on anything. This is definitely hate to love & I LIVED for every moment of this romance! 💓

*Content Warning: Death, Cancer, abandonment, grief 

Calla, I feel was dealt a hard hand. Not only does she have to face her dad with all her feelings of abandonement but she’s also uprooted and very far from home in a state that isn’t accommodating to city lovers. She then meets Jonah who although she’s sexually attracted to, finds that he can’t stop giving her a hard time. Calla loves to dress in the latest fashion and trying out new hair/makeup products. I saw nothing wrong with trying to maintain some level of norm while being in a place that demands you shed your past life. I loved that Calla was the complete opposite of her mother, she didn’t allow her mother’s experience to taint her view of Alaska. She’s open minded & willing to put in the work. At her very core, I felt Calla had Alaska running through her blood 🖤

Jonah as rugged as they come, but he’s honestly all bark and no roar 😂 Jonah has a huge heart & he’s very vulnerable when it comes to those he loves. Wren is someone he views as a father figure and just wants to make sure he’s well taken care of. Jonah loves piloting planes and is the very definition of a space cowboy. He isn’t without purpose though, life isn Alaska is all about community & he loves to help out whenever/wherever he can. I was bothered a bit by how hard he got on Calla over her wanting to do her makeup/hair, it just shouldn’t have mattered & I’m glad that ultimately it didn’t. Besides that, it’s safe to say I swooned hard for this guy 💓

Wren aka Calla’s Dad a man of very few words who fell in love with Calla’s mother but knew deep down she’d never be happy living in Alaska. Respectful and regretful all at the same time, Wren knows he could’ve been a better dad. Seeing the subtle way he showed Calla that he was happy to have her there warmed my heart. Ultimately my heart went out to Wren who although it may appear he continued living after Calla’s mom left, really has just been holding onto them both from afar.

Calla’s Mom Perhaps my least favorite of all the characters. I can understand making mistakes in life & doing what’s in your best interest. I get it. When Calla’s mom decided life in Alaska wasn’t for her & she had to get back to life in Toronto, she got to take Calla with her. My biggest issue with Calla’s mom is that she continously harps on how miserable she was during her time there. This happened up until the very last minute of Calla packing to go to Alaska. Then she persistently called Calla in what felt like she was hoping Calla would feel the same way & hate it there too. Lastly, although I know this happens, I am never comfortable with it. Calla is clearly still emotionally attached to Wren & there’s mention of years past where she very much could’ve left Simon her current husband, for Wren. I feel this was emotional cheating 101 & Simon just didn’t deserve it.

Simon aka Stepdad SUPER SUPPORTIVE! is very well aware of the feelings that still linger between his wife & Calla’s dad yet that never changes how good of a stepdad he is to Calla. Simon is a Psychiatrist & listening to Calla comes as second nature. He is by all definition a real dad to her, Simon definitely deserved a better love than Calla’s mom but that’s just my opinion 🤷🏻‍♀️

K.A. Tucker’s characters always manage to linger in my thoughts way past the last page. It’s not just the MC & their love interest, it’s the way she brings in side characters you begin to think of as family. I LOVED all of the characters Calla met in Alaska and often wonder about their lives only to have to remind myself that they are fictional characters. Alaska really did come to life on the page and it just seems like Tucker really did her homework on the way of life all throughout the state. I enjoyed seeing the trips Jonah took on his small aircraft into the more rural parts of Alaska where medical help & supplies are needed. The Simple Wild will transport you into it’s cold atmospheric setting but I guarantee you won’t want to leave once you meet the hard-working & neighborly people who will treat you like family…


Happy Sunday Bookworms! by the time you’re reading this i’ll probably be on my 2nd cup of coffee 🖤 but I’d love any RECOMMENDATIONS for contemporary romance books with atmospheric settings…


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Review: Unbroken 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth

Title: Unbroken 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth

Authors: Marieke Nijkamp, William Alexander, Fox Benwell, Keah Brown, Dhonielle Clayton, Corinne Duyvis, Keah Brown, Heidi Heilig, Kody Keplinger, Katherine Locke, Karuna Riazi, Francisco X. Stork, Kayla Whaley, Kristine Wyllys

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Anthology

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 320

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

This Anthology holds such a special place in my heart, I found myself taking my time with each story many of which moved me or empowered me. Many left me in tears while others left me with hope. These stories are filled with strong characters who really just want to be seen and heard for the person they are rather than their disabilities be it it physical or mental or both. I am on my own personal journey with mental health, this collection felt very therapeutic to read & ultimately kept me company on days I needed it most.  Told by authors with disabilities, these stories are important and I for sure have found some new to me authors I look forward to read more from.

*Note: I’m not sure these stories are inspired by the various authors specific disabilities as it isn’t indicated. 

The Long Road by Heidi Heilig: 3.5 STARS

About a Chinese Protagonist with mental health disability who travels with her parents to Persia in search of a “cure” (mental health disability) & along the way discovers the possibility of finding others that are doing to same for their loved one(s). I loved seeing super supportive parents & also the acknowledgment that change to a more clean/healthy lifestyle can be costly.

Britt And The Bike God by Kody Keplinger: 5 STARS

Loved this story so much! Keeping in step with the first story, this also features a supportive parent. The MC has Retinitis Pigmentosa, a condition that causes the gradual loss of vision. Dad share a love of bikes with Britt, his daughter. He starts a Cyclist club since Britt’s school doesn’t have any “blind friendly sports club” & makes it all inclusive. All ages welcome with the only exception being that each gets trained to ride a tandem bike when they join & volunteer to Captain for Britt. There is a romance with a POC character (F/M) & it’s super cute! I loved the inclusivity of the bike club & that Britt is able to physically take part in the sport she loves.

The Leap and the Fall by Kayla Whaley: 3.5 STARS

Carnival stories always make for eerie settings, throw in a aggressive ghost/possession, some tarot cards and we have ourselves one atmospheric short story! This one stars a girl in her wheelchair and her BFF who she’s started to grow feelings for (F/F), this one could’ve definitely benefited from being a full length novel. The progression from long friendship to romance is hard to dive right into in such a short period of time.

Per Aspera Ad Astra by Katherine Locke: 4.5 STARS

A Sci-Fi short story starring a female coder who has panic attacks. MC lives and studies from her room not having stepped outside in months. This all changes when her world is attacked & at war, she must decide whether she can step out & offer her coding expertise to save the planet. I’m a big supporter of ALL women in STEM so this one definitely captured my interest. I also loved the supportive side character who doesn’t sweep the MC’s feelings of anxiety & fear under the rug.

Found Objects by William Alexander: 3 STARS

Latinx MC (gender not mentioned) who has idiopathic pain. This one threw me for a loop, I don’t think I fully grasped what was going on but I didn’t dislike it if that makes any sense? MC has a passion for performance art & there’s a conversation between the MC & their deceased grandfather where the issue of casting disabled people as villains is briefly mentioned. There’s also discussion of chronic pain & feeling like you can’t really talk to anyone about your pain because of the stigma. I’m not quick to label anything as being Magical Realism but this one did have an element of MR that gave off very vivid imagery.

Plus One by Karuna Riazi : 4 STARS

MC goes on her spiritual journey aka Hajj, along the way she battles against “IT” this is a presence the MC feels, sees, and tries to escape. We see her struggle with religion as well, feelings of inadequacy at not experiencing a huge transformation by the end of her Hajj. Feelings of not being devout enough all the while dealing with her plus one that only she can see. I feared for the MC at the airport where customs is known to flag people down for wearing a Hijab. I feared they wouldn’t offer up any understanding for someone struggling with mental health just because they’re wearing a Hijab. I felt this story the hardest & would love to read more from Karuna Riazi.

The Day The Dragon Came by Marieke Nijkamp: 4 STARS

This one tells the story of a girl with a cane who is treated poorly by the towns people who view her disability as a curse. She wishes to leave her town and travel/see the world. She then meets a Carpenter boy (may be Trans) who feels quite the opposite for the town they live in. He enjoys being a part of building the churches and other buildings. He also understands what it feels like to live somewhere that doesn’t accept you for who you are. A friendship turned romance story with a touch of dragon lore.

Captain, My Captain by Francisco X. Stork: 4.5 STARS

Latinx MC hears a consistent voice in his head that encourages him to liberate himself from the responsibilities that keep him by his sisters side. This voice very much tries to influence the MC’s every move. Evaluated in a school setting and said to have a “intellectual & development disability” his options for work limited. He has a sister and baby nephew he stays with along with a mother & siblings in Mexico he helps out with. His sister is in a abusive relationship & he fears what will happen if he leaves. Sibling bond is strong in this one.

Dear Nora James, You Know Nothing About Love by Dhonielle Clayton : 5 STARS

MC has a love & dating advice column for other teens, a idea she got from her grandmother who she admires. MC has never actually been in love & so it adds a bit of humor to this short story. This character has
episodes of irritable bowel disorder that keep her from being social & she also has anxiety. I actually would’ve loved a full length meet cute out of this short.

A Play In Many Parts by Fox Benwell: 4 STARS 

This short story was told in different formats, parts read like a screenplay and others are being narrated. Our MC is non-binary and
uses They/Them pronouns. MC walks with a cane and suffers from chronic pain. At first I was a bit intimidated by the format of this story but ended up really enjoying it. There’s a love for theater & the arts, and a teacher who has a passion for creating. The teachers husband may have dementia & the final act saw me unexpectedly teary eyed.

Ballad Of Weary Daughters by Kristine Wyllys: 3.5 STARS

Bi-racial MC (Native American) who has to grown up way too fast when her father up & leaves with his mistress. A hardworking mother is left to pick up the pieces of a broken home by working long hours in order to provide. MC steps up as a mother for her siblings all the while trying to cope with Bi-Polar II Disorder. There is a romance (F/F) with a Cuban girl who is super supportive and is also dealing with her own issues at home.

Mother Nature’s Youngest Daughter by Keah Brown: 5 STARS

I LOVED this one to pieces! which really doesn’t surprise me since Fantasy is my genre of choice. This short stars a MC with Cerebral Palsy who is being bullied in school. MC has hidden powers as do her siblings & her mother, she isn’t supposed to use them for wrong but makes an exception to get even with her harassers. I rooted for her of course! but it didn’t go unpunished by her mother. Each of the family members can control a different element of weather/nature & I am legit interested in a full length anything with this family! ❤

One, Two, Three (re-named “A Curse, a Kindness”)by Corinne Duyvis: 5 STARS

This in my opinion was the best story to close off this collection. A autistic girl finds herself cursed after bearing witness to a accident. MC is a young girl when she witnesses the accident & isn’t able to respond to a call for action at the moment. Autistic, young, and in shock she is approached by a mysterious man who places a curse on her life. She must grant 3 wishes to whoever shows her a kindness for the rest of her life. A chance encounter with a girl in a parking lot has the potential to change her life. F/F romance that left me smiling.

Content Warning: Death, Physical abuse, misgendering, anxiety, adultery

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The One Where I Try To Read All The Books…

Hey Bookworms! It’s Saturday morning when I’m writing this post to go up on Sunday. TBH I had no intentions of making this “Official” I kind of always participate on the low 😂🙈 which is probably because of how high I set the standard for myself & don’t always meet it 🤷🏻‍♀️ This time, I wanted a bit of accountability. These are just the books I’ll be reading during Contemporary-A-Thon, my actual September TBR is dreadful & scares me putting on paper so that’ll just stay in my head 😂 This readathon is run by some truly fantastic Booktubers I adore to pieces & you should definitely consider checking out:

Julie @PagesandPens

Chelsea @ChelseaDollingReads

Natasha @MyReadingIsOdd

The Challenges:

1. Read a contemporary with orange on the cover
2. Read a dark/spooky contemporary
3. Read a diverse contemporary
4. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
5. Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover
6. Read a contemporary from a new to you author
7. Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction

 

Read a contemporary with orange on the cover  What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera Not only is my MOST anticipated Contemporary book of 2018! 😱 One of my top 3 fave authors co-wrote this book! If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you probably know how much I LOVE Adam Silvera’s books! They always leave me wrecked yet I keep returning for more tear jerking reads. I also think this will be a 5 star read & it also fits the diverse read category as well.

🌟Bonus🌟 One of the MC’s  is Puerto-Rican & therefore this book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) 🖤

Read a dark/spooky contemporary  Sadie by Courtney Summers which I’ve been trying my hardest not to start before the readathon! this book legit checks off so many of my boxes & appeals to my love of Podcasts. It’s been a while since I discovered Serial & the Adnan Syed case, but my time listening/obsessing over each episode is still fresh in my memory. I’ve had a couple of book blogging buddies tell me there is now a podcast to go along with the book & GAHHH! I’m so ready! I have this book in physical format & then used 1 of my Audible credits for the audiobook after hearing some AMAZING things about the narration.

Read a diverse contemporary  The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory  is sort of a companion novel to The Wedding Date (My review) published earlier this year. Carlos, one of the side characters who starred in The Wedding Date had me wishing so hard for a character swap #jussayin 😂 he was way nicer & just all around chivalrous which is something rare. Carlos also IMO has excellent taste in foods 😉

🌟Bonus🌟 Carlos is a Latino Doctor which means this book also book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format  Blue is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh is a graphic novel I’ve been meaning to get to since 2017 & never got around to it. I’ve heard it’s best to go into it blind but that it for sure is a tear jerker starring a F/F romance. STOKED to finally have no excuse to not get to this one. I also just found out a movie exists for this story (IMDB) 🖤

Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover  The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid & no a longer title I could not find 😂 truth be told, I’ve been DYING to read this for so long. My initials are simple, ‘LB’ or my unmarried initials ‘LL’ can both be found in this title. I’m possibly even more excited to read this one than What If It’s Us. All great books but this is one I’ve owned for so long with the knowledge it’s going to be a 5 star read & that once I read it I won’t be able to experience it for the first time again…anyone else do this? procrastinate with nooks you know will be your next obsession? 😩😂

🌟Bonus🌟  MC is a Cuban bi-sexual woman which makes this one perfect for Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary from a new to you author  Flight or Fight by Samantha Young which I’ll be buddy reading with Melanie from Meltotheany (we’re also BR The Proposal). I admittedly don’t know much about this one other than it’s a cute hate to love contemporary everyone has been buzzing about. This will be my first Samantha Young read & I’m hoping to find a new fave author 🖤

Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction  Pride by Ibi Zoboi is one I’ve been highly anticipating! After reading American Street & the short story written by Ibi Zoboi in the YA anthology Meet Cute, I can’t help but want to read everything this author writes. The fact that it takes place in my home city of Brooklyn & that it’s a Pride & Prejudice REMIX (not a retelling 😂) has me HYPED!

🌟Bonus🌟  The MC Zuri Benitez is Afro-Latina….we don’t have no where near enough Afro-Latinx MC’s in our books, so happy to be reading this one for Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) 🖤


Contemporary-A-Thon takes place from 9/17-9/23, all info to participate can also be found in the Booktube channels listed above. If you are participating in the readathon or just happen to have ready any of the titles I’ll be reading, drop me some luv in the comments down below 🖤


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Spoiler Free Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Title:Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

Author: Christina Lauren

Pub. Date: September 4th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 320

Content Warnings: Homophobic slur referenced & cheating on behalf of a background character

Buddy Read: Mel from Meltotheany

🦋 ARC received in exchange for an honest review 🦋  

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

I’m newer to the Contemporary Romance genre than most of my Blogger friends but Christina Lauren is a name I’ve heard float around since the beginning of my blogging journey. I came across Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating on Bookstagram & of course the colors caught my attention for a potentially fun read 💓 Happy to report that it is most definitely one of the MOST fun reads I’ve read in a long time. I laughed & giggled so much and also just rooted for a new found favorite character. Hazel & Josh are the definition of night and day but also give truth to the saying “Opposites attract.” I enjoyed getting to know these two characters over the course of several bad double dates and shook my head so many times reading my first ever friends to lovers romance. Funny & a downright blast to read, I’d easily recommend this book for a good time. Weaved throughout the story is a awesome F/F friendship, A+ sibling relationship, and Korean-American rep.  I also might be a little biased only because Hazel reminded me SO much of Polly Prince from Along Came Polly who I absolutely ADORE for all her unapologetic quirks and eccentricities 🙌🏽

Related image
Image from Coolspotters.com

These characters were so much fun getting to know and although Hazel and Josh are the MC’s, I also included a side character. Emily is BFF to Hazel & also Josh’s sister & many times fills the role of translator between the two. Emily knows her brother & BFF better than they know themselves and really does have both their best interest in mind. One of the best examples of F/F friendship #GOALS I’ve found on the page.

Hazel– Quirky, eccentric, free spirited, feminist AF, and openly admires Josh which really made for some of the funniest lines. Hazel is a teacher & everything from her quirky clothing to her love of animals make her the complete opposite of Josh who she’s known since college. Hazel’s unbending will to stay true to herself made her an instant fave for me & I just LOVED the message she sends out with regards to self acceptance 🖤

“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary. These men eventually grow bewildered that we don’t settle down into calm, potential-wifey girlfriends.”

Hazel’s mother is also briefly mentioned but we get enough to know where Hazel’s beliefs come from. Having a mother who was unhappily married to a man who never accepted her quirks, Hazel looks up to her mom for having the strength to move away from that. It isn’t about changing the person you’re with, it’s about loving them for all of the things that make them stand out 🖤

“I realize that finding the perfect person isn’t going to be easy for me because I’m a lot to take” she says, “but I’m not going to change just so that I’m more dateable.”

Josh/Jimin- a Korean-American doctor Hazel went to college with but has since lost touch with. Once she recognizes him as the guy she sort of had an embarrassing encounter with & that he’s her BFF’s brother, the fun really begins haha! Josh is legit the complete opposite of Hazel & often looks upon her with awe although he’d never tell her as much 😂 Josh is reserved and quiet, he has a rough start in the beginning of this story as he navigates a long distance relationship gone cold. Josh is also traditional & very close to his parents who he hopes to one day take care of as the only son which is also a part of Korean culture. The moments Josh found himself admiring Hazel were some of my fave parts…

“I could never quite tell whether she was oblivious or just didn’t care what people thought, but no matter how chaotic she was, she always managed to give off an innocent, unintentionally wild vibe”

Emily- I realize I started this segment of my review talking about Emily for being such a FAB friend to Hazel & caring sister to Josh but she really does deserve her own spot here. Emily truly cares about Hazel & accepts her as she is. Knowing how different & sometimes vulnerable Hazel can be, seeing Emily talk to Josh and question him to make sure he doesn’t do something he may later regret was really indicative of the kind of friend she is.

“I think that’s the one thing that could dim her light. We both know Hazel is a butterfly. I think you have the power to take the dust from her wings.”

This being my first Christina Lauren read, I can now say it won’t be my last. I actually already have a copy of Roomies on deck I can’t wait to get to & I’m sure will also love. This was the perfect read this Summer & also a perfect pick for #SMUTATHON which was a read-a-thon hosted by Lainey from GingerReadsLainey & Riley from RileyMarie that was SOOO much fun to participate in! This book had me in stitches at some points while in others I was red in the face embarrassed for Hazel’s predicaments haha! It was a fun  slow burn/friends to lovers read that kept me flipping pages through the night. The two reasons I docked a star was for the fast paced ending that didn’t match the tempo of the book as a whole & made it feel a bit rushed. Lastly, there is a conversation that takes place where a character mentions how a homophobic slur was used. Although it’s made clear that it was used in a negative light, it did leave me bothered to read it on the page and made me question the need for it in this story. It didn’t really serve a purpose at all & it was someone who isn’t a character in this book who said to begin with…just seemed like something that could’ve either been challenged by a character in the book or just completely left out. Overall I HIGHLY enjoyed this book, characters, and writing! Christina Lauren has now joined the ranks of my fave Contemporary Romance authors & I will most certainly read whatever they write next 🖤

🦋 Quotes taken from ARC/pre-publication & may be subject to change


Hey Bookworms! This little Bookworm is struggling a little on day 1 of being back from vacay & would LOVE it if you could drop down into the comments with YOUR fave friends to lovers recommendations, I’d love you FOREVER! Well I already do but you know 💓


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