Spoiler Free Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

Title: I Killed Zoe Spanos

Author: Kit Frick

Pub. Date: June 30th. 2020

Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 384 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

It’s safe to say by now that I’ll give anything a shot when described as having a podcast style of writing & to this day I have yet to be disappointed. I guess my only wish here is that I had been able to also listen to the audiobook of this GRIPPING new YA Thriller. This being a eGalley however, I sat down to read for a bit not expecting to have to pry this book away or break night reading. Set in the Hamptons during the summer, we meet Anna Cicconi who has been hired as a nanny for a wealthy family. Anna is looking for a fresh start where she can shed some of her toxic past & prepare for life as a college student. When Anna arrives in the Hamptons she is received by many with stares due to the uncanny resemblance she bears with Zoe Spanos. Zoe is a girl who has gone missing & is being grieved by many, she is also the source matter for a trending local podcast run by Martina Green. Martina’s podcast is rising in popularity with many listening in as she interviews friends & family about Zoe. I absolutely LOVED the entries we read that are transcribed from the people Martina interviews. Although I was reading the eGalley, it was done so well that I could hear these people as if I were listening to the Podcast myself.

Anna Cicconi has the unfortunate luck of looking very similar to Zoe Spanos & that triggers in her a need to do a bit of investigative work herself. Anna starts asking questions that raise eyebrows & soon enough she finds herself deeply involved. Anna is an unreliable narrator, I definitely didn’t know if she was innocent or not for a good chunk of this book. Throw in the fact that Anna acknowledges having an alcohol problem, this made me question certain things. Anna finds herself confessing to the murder of Zoe Spanos however her story is riddled with holes & Martina is on a mission to fill those in. I could NOT stop myself from reading “just one more chapter” hooked until the very last page, I just needed to know what really happened to Zoe Spanos. How Anna came to be in the situation she finds herself in & whether or not there really was foul play afoot. Well! I could’ve NEVER guessed that ending & when I read that last paragraph I did so while my mouth hung open in shock. Sign me up for the next Kit Frick book, I’m here for it!


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WWW Wednesdays 6/17/2020

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

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

Hello Bookworms! I’m currently trying not to think of how many reviews I’m behind *failing* cause the urge the read has returned & so I’m finishing books at lightning speeds. I’m also thanking the universe for Librofm which has been the only thing to keep me actively reading. As I slowly make my way back to my TBR’s & eARCS, I have it in mind to read and boost black voices. Most importantly to read books that highlight intersectionality since we don’t see enough of these being spoken about in the bookish community. We have made great strides recently but that’s just the beginning, I will always do my part here on Lair Of Books to read, review & boost Diverse books. June being pride month means there are some amazing recommendations posts & videos in the community I encourage you to seek out.

Earlier this month, a friend reached out with the purpose of doing her part in boosting black voices with a Giveaway on my Bookstagram. This giveaway will be running through the month of June Internationally, five winners will be chosen to select from any of the books listed below. If you’re interested in entering, please click on the link below & see the original post on IG for details:

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The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon– I am about 40% into this audiobook having received an early copy from Librofm’s arc program. I was STOKED up until a few of my trusted bookish friends started giving mixed reviews. I didn’t let that deter me from starting my copy but I can honestly say that I agree so far with them. I love the friendship that forms between Somaya, London, and Taylor which is why I haven’t DNF’d. I say this because although it has a strong start, the mid-section dips & now I’m just kind of wondering if it’ll pick up again. We shall see…

The City of Brass (The Daevabad trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty– 70% into this wonderfully complex fantasy and loving every minute of it. I’ll admit I’ve been reading this book for a while now but tbh with the state of the world being what it is, escapism wasn’t something I felt I could indulge in. It wasn’t until recently when I took a step back for self care that I’ve managed to read this book in doses. It is no doubt worth all the hype it received back when it first released, full review to come.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta– I listened to this one on Librofm as well & loved it so much! narrated by the author, this is a coming of age story of a mixed-race gay teen. We follow Michael from childhood into college years where he finds a home within the Drag Queen club on campus. If you’re looking for more books with supportive families, this is definitely one to pick up. Full review to come.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson– Another Librofm listen cause I will never not listen to an audiobook where the narrator is the author themselves. Here we have a memoir written as a series of short personal essays on the authors life as a black queer child up until his adult years. I cannot stress this enough! If you only read 1 book this year, please make it this one. I have a full RTC where I’ll try my best to get my reasons across for why this book is important. How there currently isn’t anything like this on YA shelves & yet there are many black queer teens who can & will relate to George Johnson. This is a definite for my Top 20 of 2020!

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson– I purchased this book from Librofm after hearing so many glowing reviews from my trusted few. I purposely didn’t read the synopsis but know this is a F/F contemporary that takes place in a small town in Indiana. Stoked to take this one on the road this weekend.

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick– This may seem like an odd selection for this month however I was granted an eARC by Simon & Schuster that I’d like to review in time for its publication date. This book hits the shelves on June 30th & other than it being a YA Thriller that is reccommended for those who loved the Podcast SERIAL (it me), I didn’t look into this one too much. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy the read *fingers crossed* but we shall see…


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Spoiler Free Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2) by Talia Hibbert

Title: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)

Author: Talia Hibbert

Pub. Date: June 23rd. 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 320 Pages

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

I’m tempted to just start GUSHING from the start but I guess we should start with a brief synopsis. This is the second book in The Brown Sisters trilogy where we follow Danika Brown who is Chloe Brown’s sister (Get a Life Chloe Brown Spoiler Free Review) & hands down my favorite of the three. Dani is a bi-sexual plus sized scholar and witch who loves the Goddess Oshun. On the fast track to being a star in her career, Dani doesn’t have time for relationships or really the desire to be in one. She asks Oshun to send her a friend-with-benefits when her current lover ends up catching feelings she is not quite ready for which leads to a break up. Prayers seem to get answered quite quickly but it’s all a matter of seeing what’s right under your nose. Dani gets stuck on a elevator during a routine fire drill on campus & the brooding security guard Zafir Ansari comes to her rescue carrying her out in an Instagram worthy moment. Soon enough they’re all the buzz & people want to know more about this hot couple who they’ve assumed are dating. It turns out Zaf runs a charity for kids that could really use the publicity in order to raise funds & Dani is more than willing to help her very attractive friend with this endeavor. She’s also behind the scenes plotting to propose to Zaf that they enter a no strings attached agreement as bed mates. It all seemed like a good idea until it wasn’t & Zaf turns out to be the one who can finally have her face her fears head on.

Dani – Dani’s inner monologue alone had me smiling from ear to ear but the banter between her & Zaf had me outright laughing. Not only was the chemistry intense but the dialogue was non-stop entertainment. Dani is a strong empowered black woman who knows where her focus lies & that’s on her career & field studies. She has had her heart broken & since then has taken partners in that she keeps at arms length. There is no room for feelings & besides, allowing anyone in has only led to arguments & guilt trips. Dani recognizes she isn’t the mushy type & that mental stimulation trumps romance most of the time. Getting someone to understand that however is too hard a task & that’s why she opts for friends-with-benefits.

Zaf – Perhaps the complete opposite of Dani in every which way except in the confidence sector. Zaf is lovable, he is attentive & caring in all the things that matter. He listens to Romance audiobooks while manning the security desk! *smiles* & YES it does lead to an awkward moment that I truly LIVED for! ❤ I can honestly say I’ve never looked at a male lead & called him Book Bae but Zaf would absolutely get the part. Not only does he adore Dani to pieces, is NOT intimidated by her intellect & confidence, but he also really cares to give back to kids through his charitable organization. Zaf struggles with anxiety & there is a on the page panic attack he copes with, this is something he’s had to deal with all his life. He found a way to help boys on the Rugby team talk about their feelings & shed toxic masculinity. Zaf can do NO wrong in my book peeps #jussayin

I thought Get a Life Chloe Brown was unbelievably funny but this book made me feel SO good! I laughed, smiled, teared up & cheered on my new fave characters. I don’t think I’ve ever read dialogue this good, Talia Hibbert will always have my support. These characters are so well developed leaving you with a sense of comfort & familiarity. In many ways I found that I could relate to Dani who has built her defenses pretty high so as to not get hurt again. I found Zaf to be endearing & just all around the ideal partner. One who is supportive but knows when to give space. One who is in touch with his emotions in a healthy manner & therefore can show vulnerability. I love that their story starts off with real friendship & slowly builds. The fake dating trope was done so well I now want to read more books like this one. It’s modern romance done so well it leaves you wanting more. My copy has already been pre-ordered & a special spot reserved on my shelves 🙂


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Spoiler Free Review: Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Title: Real Men Knit

Author: Kwana Jackson

Pub. Date: May 19th. 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family/Adult Fiction

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 320 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Real Men Knit is a Contemporary Romance with a family dynamic set in a Harlem knitting shop. After the death of Mama Joy a foster-turned-adoptive mother, we see four brothers struggle to keep the shop open while also dealing with their own lives. We follow Jesse Strong who is the most lax of the brothers as he sets out to prove that he can save the shop. All of the Strong brothers have different perspectives on what should be done with the shop. They see eye to eye only in doubting Jesse can actually pull it off & save the legacy Mama Joy has left in Harlem. Determined & with the help of Kerry Fuller, a friend of the shop who has grown up alongside the Strong brothers…Jesse starts to breathe life back into the shop. All the while, his reputation for being a heartbreaker in Harlem seems to be on pause. For Jesse, its always been Kerry he imagined as “the one” but things have never passed the friendship stage. This is a super slow burn/friends-to-lovers romance that will leave you cheesy smiling by the end. I personally enjoy my romance books to have a bit of meat in their plot but it’s always the books that tackle social issues that I appreciate most. Set in Harlem, there’s social commentary on gentrification & the lack of funding for after school programs in less privileged neighborhoods. The Strong brothers themselves are all men of color from different ethnicities who in their youth were having no luck finding good foster homes. Mama Joy gave these young boys an opportunity in a good home & community where they were able thrive & succeed in life. For this alone, Mama Joy is GOALS! 🖤

Jesse Strong & brothers are all described as being very attractive and the type to break your heart on any given day of the week. We have Noah the Dancer, Lucas the Fireman, Damian the Corporate Financial Analyst & Jesse who hasn’t really found his calling yet & isn’t really in any rush. Jesse is laid back & non-non-commital both towards relationships and life itself. This is what made Jesse the brother Mama Joy looked over most which in turn motivated him to save the shop she dedicated her life to making a safe haven for many in the community. Kerry Fuller has grown up around the shop & grew attached to the Strong family. Kerry & Jesse are super attracted to each other but also have this big respect for their friendship. In many ways Jesse sees Kerry as off limits because she’s who he’s always considered to be a “good girl” it isn’t until he switches lenses & starts seeing her as a woman that he allows those feelings to take flight. Kerry in turn did manage to get under my skin at times because even though we know she has that Mother hen personality, it just got to be too much at times. I did just want her to back off Jesse at times on the judgment. I also wasn’t with her whole looking down on other females regardless of the nano second of sympathy she offered them. Although we primarily follow Jesse & Kerry, we get a healthy dose of all the Strong brothers. Enough to spike my curiosity & want/hope the author gives us separate story arcs for each brother. Well, primarily I’d like Damian & Lucas story arcs *a girl can dream* 🤞🏽

It’s been a while since I sunk into a good book with all the feels of a comfy sweater but that’s exactly how this book feels! I felt like an honorary family member in the knitting shop surrounded by brotherly love. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see from the characters in this story. I may not have fallen in love with Kerry’s character but the supporting characters were EVERYTHING & they were well fleshed out bringing each one to life on the page. This has peaked my interest for their individual back stories & of course I’d love to visit the knitting shop again. All in all I enjoyed reading from the perspective from a fellow native New Yorker & look forward to whatever Kwana Jackson writes next.


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April Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

April was a month FULL of bookish events online like the Social Distance Book Fest & YALLWEST that made it possible to attend Bookish events virtually. I personally was able to watch many panels for debut authors I’ve had on my radar as well as some favorites I’ve never had the opportunity to hear speak. For the Social Distance Book Fest, you can still watch the playlist on Youtube & they are ABSOLUTELY worth watching! My favorite panels included: Navigating Latinx Identity in Fantasy, New Voices in YA Science Fiction & Fantasy and Diversifying Romance. In the realm of books & what I watched, I’d say there really was NO method to my madness. I kinda just went with the flow & read when the mood hit vs. a more structured TBR. I also participated in Riley Marie & Ginger Reads Lainey weekend Smutathon as a last minute thing because by the end of the month my anxiety had seen a peak. Whenever this happens, I put the Fantasy heavy books to the side & go for some lighter reads. Now as far as what I watched…this has to be the STRANGEST month yet! Yes, Yes I did fall down the tiger hole that is the Tiger King & all things cats really smh! haha 😉

These are definitely not in the order I’ve read them but I figured I’d start with the steamy reads I p/u during Smutathon…

DESPERATE MEASURES – ✨5 STARS✨This reimagining of the Disney Princess Jasmine was NOT what I had expected at all in the best of ways! With her kingdom snatched away & her father thrown off the throne, Jasmine is at the mercy of Jafar who now claims ownership of their lands as well as Jasmine herself. This is a consensual non-consent steamy read that will never allow you to see Jafar in the same light again! I among fully invested in all Katee Robert books & can’t wait to read the follow up with Hades & Meg as the MC’s.

THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT – ✨4 STARS✨ Another Katee Robert novella, this was the Smutathon Group pick. HIGHLY enjoyable with A+ chemistry, this one sets the stage for a new series that features a M/M/F relationship. Our female MC is out for the night celebrating her birthday & trying to forget about her ever mounting debt. With her best wing mate she hits up a lounge where she meets two hella mysterious guys who look good enough to make her consider a threesome. SUPER intrigued to see where this goes seeing as there may also be a royal twist? we shall see!

YOUR DAD WILL DO – ✨4 STARS✨Ok so maybe it was an entirely Katee Robert weekend? SO WORTH IT! this author can write chemistry like no other! these short reads are packed with sparks that leave you wondering about the characters way after you’ve read the last page. This one features a taboo/age gap romance where the MC has just been dumped by her fiancé. Plotting her revenge she shows up at her exes dad’s house with a plan to seduce. That she does! but also she gets a lot more than initially planned. LOVED this!

MY DARK VANESSA -✨4 STARS✨ My darkest read yet! I don’t think any book has ever made me feel this uncomfortable. Following a MC in past & present tense, we get the story of Vanessa at the age of 15 as she is groomed by her teacher while at a boarding school. Present day Vanessa is still very confused about what to feel as she finds out she wasn’t the only one. That perhaps it wasn’t a special relationship she was having but actually a case of grooming. HEAVY trigger warnings for rape, suicide, drug & alcohol abuse.

RUTHLESS GODS – ✨4 STARS✨ (My ReviewThe follow up to The Wicked Saints took us to a very dark place! the characters we got invested in really show growth here & carry forth their battle wounds. The war between the Kalyazin & the Tranavians is reaching a climax with the underdog Kalyazin surprisingly flipping the script. There are some secrets that come to light & leave everyone questioning the Gods who may very well be more involved than ever. The war on land may just be a subplot to the real war taking place between the Gods. I’m READY for the final installment with will be mostly from Malachiasz’ POV…there is NO other villain in YA that currently holds a place in my heart like Mal! ❤

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE – ✨3.5 STARS✨(My Review) This was an audiobook I’d say was just ok. I’ve heard from other fans of Sandhya Menon that this is their least favorite. I still plan on picking up When Dimple Met Rishi in the near future seeing as that’s an ongoing series with a strong fan base.

INCENDIARY – ✨5 STARS✨(My Review) Saving the BEST for last! Zoraida Córdova is my Favorite YA Fantasy author! bringing to our shelves Latinx representation in characters is something she’s been doing since the Brooklyn Brujas Trilogy. Here we have a Fantasy inspired by the Spanish Inquisition with a cast of characters that are being hunted & killed for their magical abilities. The Kingdom has turned its back on what they consider heretics & our MC Renata Convida at one point in her childhood was their most formidable weapon. Now that she’s back on the right side of the fence, it’s time to take down the Kingdom once & for all. BIG time page turner with tons of plot twists that will leave you jaw dropped!

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THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES | CHECK PLEASE! BOOK 2: STICKS & SCONES

 

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BEACH READ & VALENTINE

*These are all ebooks I found for either $1.99 or $2.99*

BLOOD HEIR | THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN | GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW | ONLY FOR A NIGHT | WHEN WE LEFT CUBA | DOMINICANA | XENI | RAFE | BRING ME THEIR HEARTS | KULTI 

What can I say about the circus that is the Tiger King on Netflix? this documentary-series made me lose track how many times I asked myself & friends…Is this real? LMAO! SMH Joe Exotic is quite the unforgettable character & this is the story of how his Zoo of Tigers was shut down starting with Carol Baskin who is cat activist on a mission to “save the cats” or is she? the jury is still out on Baskin. I binged this in two sittings not for quality but just entertainment.

This documentary is three episodes that are also highly binge worthy. We follow a group of cat lovers as they track down & help in the ultimate take down of a cat/serial killer. If anything this opened up my eyes at just how easy it is to track anyone down as long as they’ve left an internet fingerprint. The Facebook group that pieced together this puzzle as the killer released videos of him killing cats was PERSISTENT! it became a game of cat & mouse that as a viewer is hard to look away from.


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Spoiler Free Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: Clap When You Land

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Pub. Date: May 5th 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary/Own Voices

Format: eARC

Publisher: HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books

Pages: 432 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

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

Where to start with what has easily become my favorite read of 2020 thus far? the author writes in her afterward that this story is inspired by the real life events of flight AA587. A flight routinely set from JFK airport to Santo Domingo aka the Dominican Republic. The flight that never made it & crashed in a Queens NY neighborhood was quickly forgotten about. Just two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, news coverage was focused on other potential terrorist threats but the flight AA587 crash was not terrorist related. 260 Souls who were mostly of Dominican descent lost their lives on this flight.

Clap When You Land is about the ties that bind in a family, grief, and the sometimes messy secrets that cannot be kept hidden. Told in dual POV we follow Camino & Yahaira who don’t know about one another’s existence. They share the same father who travels between New York & Santo Domingo throughout the year. His absence is always explained as “business” & each of his daughters look forward to his arrivals after a long stay away. On his way to Santo Domingo to spend time with Camino his flight falls into the ocean taking the lives of everyone on board. The news of his passing makes waves both in NY & in Santo Domingo. Many of the family secrets their dad was keeping could no longer stay buried. Camino & Yahaira find out about each each other. This is the story of how they come together, see pieces of their dad in one another, and  work through all of the emotions these truths bring.

Content Warning: Death of a parent, plane crash, heavy grief, attempted rape (not detailed on the page, premature labor, Cancer, Dengue Fever

Camino Rios – Born & raised in Santo Domingo, Camino is described as having her fathers features with her mother’s  slightly lighter complexion. Camino is a strong swimmer with a passion for medicine & a dream to one day study in Columbia University. Camino lives with a aunt who is a Curandera (self taught medical healer) & spends her days as an apprentice taking care of the sick in the neighborhood. Their medicine is a mix of natural herbs for home remedies as well as a connection to the Santos. Camino’s aunt is a Santera who has instilled in her love & respect for the saints who open paths & light the way. Camino is a little rough around the edges as a result of where she’s been raised. Camino is my favorite character, she’s been through so much & still manages to have a nurturing touch and soothing presence.

Yahaira Rios – Born & raised in NYC, Yahaira is described as being a mirror image of her father. Dark complexion, tight curls, curvy and a Pro at Chess. Yahaira is a rule follower who connects to her dad by way of Chess, it isn’t necessarily her favorite hobby but she’s a natural just like her dad. Yahaira is a Lesbian with a girlfriend who was also her childhood best friend, I LIVED for their nerd/fashionista love! Yahaira also lives with her mother who is described as a beautiful Dominican bombshell who is the daughter of a very important General in Santo Domingo. Yahaira’s mother has been a keeper of her husbands secrets, my heart really broke for the levels of pain she was feeling.

Yano – Although the girls dad has passed away & we never get to see him on the page, his presence is deeply felt all throughout. The man who became very good at living a double life was complex in many ways but one thing was true, he loved his daughters.

Elizabeth Acevedo is my Favorite YA author & this book only further solidifies this in my heart. I knew the premise of the book but I didn’t expect to see similarities with my own father in these pages. I lost my dad to natural causes, flew with him to bury him in Puerto Rico and quickly started hearing the rumbles of secrets. Secrets kept from my own father which were very painful & also had to do with paternity. I cried, smiled, and sometimes outright laughed out loud reading this story. There’s something oh so satisfying when you open a book and are met with characters you can relate to. Characters with the same upbringings & even spiritual beliefs.

I appreciated the research that went into flight AA587 as well as Dengue fever & its effects on the island. With a return to Acevedo’s novel-in-verse Format, Clap When You Land is a vivid portrayal of the devastation of loss, grief, and forgiveness. It’s also a story that gives us a different perspective, that of the parents who sometimes may be idolized by their children but ultimately are still very humanly flawed. The backstory on Yano & how he came to live two separate lives was painful but not unheard of. This is one I’ll cherish for all the emotions it stirred up in me. Elizabeth Acevedo continues to be such a blessing to Latinx Book Community 🙌🏽


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Spoiler Free Review: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Title: From Twinkle, With Love

Author: Sandy Menon

Pub. Date: May 22nd. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Own Voices

Format: audiobook/Librofm

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 330 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

This is the part where I tell on myself…I have not read When Dimple Met Rishi. I still don’t know If I missed an Easter egg or two reading this one first but it doesn’t feel like it. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook version, this is a story of a young aspiring filmmaker who happens to be a self appointed wallflower. Twinkle Mehra has big dreams of becoming a big time film maker but she has yet to find her voice. We follow her as she makes mistakes, gets grounded/humbled in the things that matter most, and also falls in love. Twinkle is not a like-able MC, she managed to get a few eye rolls from me but I also smiled a ton. Having always been cast aside by the in crowd & her long time BFF, she can come across as a bit defensive. We see her take on the project of co-producing a film & navigating the changes in her closest relationships. Female/female friendship dynamics aren’t often discussed in YA books, I appreciated seeing the good & the ugly. Twinkle doesn’t seem to like change but her big dreams call on her to see things differently. Most of all, staying true to herself is the biggest challenge. This being a contemporary romance, we get introduced to Twinkle’s love interest. Unlike other YA Contemporary book boyfriends, I found Sahil to be very caring & just an overall nice guy. He values Twinkle for what she brings to the table the minute she expresses her ideas for the film they’re co-producing w/out hesitation. They work well together but above all else what makes him stand out is that he wasn’t with letting Twinkle stoop to lower levels. He stood up for his beliefs & let her know when she wasn’t being a good friend.

This book also touched on the effects of having two parents in the home that are more work oriented. Twinkle harbors some resentment towards her mother for her often times physical absence. She takes this to mean that her dreams in film making aren’t supported. there were some really good talks in there. My favorite side character is Dadi, Twinkle’s grandmother who has a whole VIBE to her. She believes in astrology & gives Twinkle subliminal advice/messages she received. Dadi is over all the cool grandmother I would’ve LOVED to have had. What I loved most about this story is that it’s told in the format of letters Twinkle writes to some of her favorite female film makers. This added a authentic feel for Twinkles love of film & everything that about that world. I absolutely will read When Dimple Met Rishi since I see it’s the first in a series & already got a look at the third book!  *Heart eyes*


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Spoiler Free Book Review: Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Title: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2)

Author: Emily A. Duncan

Pub. Date: April 7th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 544 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

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

🖤Although this is a spoiler free review of Ruthless Gods, you will probably be spoiled for the first book Wicked Saints if you haven’t read it🖤

Is it possible to love a second book way more than you did the first? ABSOLUTELY! Although I did enjoy Wicked Saints, I felt like Ruthless Gods really put me through the ringer of emotions. Our characters are bruised and battered after the events of the first book. Nadya shows a tremendous amount of character growth & development now that she’s left without the blessing of the Gods. She’s lost her direct line to them & any sparks of power she may have are dark in nature & unknown because she’s tapped into Malachaisz through blood magic. She’s lost the boy she loves & has so many complex feelings to sort through. Seeing him twisted into the demon shape he is leaves her constantly at war within her self over feeling she feels she shouldn’t have for him. Told in multiple POV’s we are also following Serafin the new Crown Prince who this book mainly focuses on. Serafin is the character I cherish the most & that’s just because he is silently fighting a war no one sees & he isn’t looking for a shoulder to lean on. Serafin is an alcoholic who has lost vision in one eye. More like he’s lost control of it to the God who has possessed him. We see him stumble about trying to hold thoughts of going mad at bay whenever he hears voices in his head or sees stars in the one eye he’s lost all vision in. Serafin also discovers some HARD truths in this book that will complicate many of his decisions along the way.

We also get a lot more background info on the REAL war taking place & it goes much deeper than Tranvians Vs. Kalyazin. Although I will say that as someone who roots for the underdog, there was something satisfying about Kalyazin making generous progress in the fight & pushing back. They went from having terrible odds to actually standing a chance because they’ve found something to sort of even the odds. Of course we can’t forget our “villain” or favorite Black Vulture Malachiasz (just found out I’ve been pronouncing his name allllll the way wrong smh) who is hella wicked yet I can’t hate him. Quite the opposite, this dark little soul just manages to leave me wanting to understand him all the more SMH! especially after getting a glimpse into his childhood *heartstrings* 

Content Warning: body gore/eye horror, self harm, alcoholism

I have pictured Emily A. Duncan in a dark little dungeon baring her soul to write this book. These characters have gone through hell & back but they’re only now getting to the heart of the matter. All of our characters are mentally tortured & coping as best they can given the circumstances. I loved getting the POV’s of Parijahan who is basically the closest Malachiasz has to a friend. I was very intrigued by her royal back story & the reasons that placed her on this journey to begin with. We also were introduced to a new character, Katya who is the Crown princess of Kalyazin and should be ready to strike Serafin down. Katya however finds herself relating to Serafin & it was also interesting seeing them cross paths and gain perspective from one another. As for the writing itself, I won’t lie the pacing really tested my patience here but it was SO worth it. I find this is the case with any stories the are centered around an actual journey. About 50% of the story is build up and backstory. The second half of the book raises the stakes with the presence of the Gods, at this point I couldn’t stop flipping pages fast enough. Considering this story focused a lot on Serafin, my best guess is that book 3 will be more Malachiasz focused & for that I will drop everything! *evil hands* haha!


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March 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

March, the month of audiobooks and self care/luvin like never before! Mid-month was the start of social distancing, work from home, and remote learning. Like many of my fellow bookworms I saw myself struggling to do what I love most & that is reading. While finding my groove in this new normal I found comfort in audiobooks. The one exception I made was House of Earth and Blood which also happened to be the last book I physically picked up in Barnes & Nobles. I listened to 3 quality audiobooks and read the tome that kicks off the Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas. In between reading, I fell down the rabbit hole of Pinterest & Latin food recipes. The kitchen has become my little piece of heaven, creating meals while listening to books or watching my favorite content creators on Booktube. It’s now Mid-April & that means this post is hella late but prioritizing self care during these trying times is where a lot of us are at. Cutting myself a break here & just enjoying the little things while safe at home 🖤

*Reviews linked down below*

UNDERCOVER BROMANCE BY LYSSA KAY ADAMS – ✨4 STARS✨The follow-up to The Bromance Book Club which follows Mack & Liv. This is a hate-to-love romance that covers the #metoo movement. We get the see all of our old cast members while they team up to help Mack help Liv get rid of her dirt bag of a boss. LOVED this & I cannot wait for the next installment Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) *eeeeK!*

THE LAST HOPE BY KRISTA & BECCA RITCHIE – ✨3.75 STARS✨LOVED the full cast audiobook production so much! this follow up to The Raging Ones was one I was MOST looking forward to & it did NOT disappoint. I haven’t read anything else by this author duo but my curiosity has been piqued to the max. I got so attached to Court, Franny, and Mykall making this conclusion all the more bittersweet. This duology is definitely one to keep on your radar if you’re looking for Sci-Fi + Romance.

HOUSE OF BLOOD AND EARTH BY SARAH J. MAAS – ✨5 STARS✨ THIS BOOK PUT ME THROUGH IT! I’m so glad I read this at the same time my Twin BFF Gretchen (ChicNerdReads) did because we got to experience this emotional rollercoaster together! Best word of advice for those who haven’t read but plan on reading this one soon…DON’T READ THE SYNOPSIS!!! the effect of certain events won’t be the same if you do. All in all, I really enjoyed getting to know this world & characters. Eager for the next book in this series!

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL BY GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN – ✨3.5 STARS✨ This was an audiobook I picked up after hearing much buzz about the author duo ( see The Wife Between Us) the narration was on point & gave you that spider stuck in a web vibe. The only reason I gave it 3.5 stars is because the MC is HIGHLY inquisitive & yet she continued to irrationally allow herself to fall deeper.Eventually I started to get a bit frustrated but won’t deny I couldn’t stop listening to the story unfold. I’d def check out this author duos future works.

BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN

I’m a HUGE Harley Quinn fan but seeing Margot Robbie in The Suicide Squad solidified my love for this character. Birds Of Prey gave us a good dose of Harley as she picks up the pieces of her broken heart. The opening scene alone is very cathartic for Harley as she accepts the truth & cuts ties to her past to the Joker. Of course it’s Harley & wherever she goes trouble shortly follows but you can’t help but love her. One of my favorite ICONS Rosie Perez also had a role in this film & ahhhh! I Was LIVING for this HIGH adrenaline rush flick till the very end. Can’t wait to see Harley in future films & what is planned for her role in this universe.

BLOODSHOT

This isn’t my typical type of flick but my boyfriend was looking forward to it having had read the comics. I was curious enough to check it out & I’m pretty much game to anything Sci-Fi. Well, overall I wasn’t a fan of this movie & that’s simply because the plot failed to keep my interest. Still, Vin Diesel pretty much won my loyalty when I first saw him in The Fast & The Furious (yea I’ve given this franchise too many years/Dollars to stop now) which makes it a sure thing I’ll watch all his movies. Don’t ask me why but I just can’t disappoint Dom Toretto haha!


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WWW Wednesday 4/15/2020

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

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

Who else is experiencing all of their library holds coming in at once? 🤷🏻‍♀️I wasn’t expecting my 8 week long holds to show up on my Available Now shelf & now I’m thinking its time to get serious about possibly creating a TBR? 🙈DREAD that for me! 😂 but I also don’t want to pass up this opportunity. I’m choosing to divvy up my reads between eGalleys & Library holds for the time being. This all the while I try to stop myself from falling into the next binge worthy Netflix show. All bets are off if we get anything along the lines of The Tiger King cause 🤦🏻‍♀️I can’t help watching the circus #jussayin! These books down below are what I’d like to focus on while I work from home 🖤

INCENDIARY (HOLLOW CROWN #1) BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA-I’m 170 pages into this book & can honestly say it will probably make my top 20 of 2020. Described by many as being inspired by 15th century Spain and the Inquisition, this is in my opinion Zoraida Cordova’s best book yet. Having read two of the Brooklyn Brujas books, I can see the growth in this authors writing. The world building is EXACTLY what I look for in Fantasy, to see this well done in YA Fantasy makes it stand out all the more. Incendiary deals with rebels & spies who are conspiring to bring down a kingdom hell bent on eradicating those of Moria descent. More specifically those who are wielders of magic. HOOKED & totally invested in these characters! 🙌🏽

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE BY SANHYA MANON-30% into this audiobook & am loving all of the cheesy smiles this book is getting out of me. Twinkle is a MC who hasn’t found her voice yet when dealing with confrontation. However, she has BIG dreams & a hunger to one day be a filmmaker. I’m still early on in the story but I’m enjoying so far seeing Twinkle, a self appointed wallflower come into her own while also falling in love.

DOCILE BY K.M. SZPARA (My Review)-This is a dark one Bookworms! My review does have content warnings, it is a M/M BDSM Adult Sci-Fi/Dystopian. Docile is quite the page turner that will probably keep you reading at all hours of the night. I rated this one 3.5 stars because of the way that it ended. It’s not a bad rating at all but I did feel rather uncomfortable with how certain things played out. I would however still check out any of this authors future works.

RUTHLESS GODS (SOMETHING DARK & HOLY #1) BY EMILY A. DUNCAN -I have a review in the works for this highly anticipated sequel here on the blog. I rated this one 4 stars & really am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy. I’ll admit I struggled with about 50% of the book, pacing was definitely an issue. It took us a while to get to the climax but once it was reached it took off & had me fully enthralled. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again, The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse has NOTHING on Malachiasz! this guy is 50 shades of complex & as such, will leave you feeling just as messed up smh 😂

MY DARK VANESSA BY KATE ELIZABETH RUSSELL“Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.” – I’ve been mentally preparing myself as best I could for this read & when I received the notification from Libby I knew it was Go time!

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND BY ELIZABETH ACEVEDO -This author is one of my favorite auto-buy authors, The Poet X & With the Fire On High were both 5 star reads for me last year. Seeing this title hit Edelweiss I quickly hit request & hoped for the best. No other title has made me feel this HYPED up to receive an approval email. This see Acevedo return to her well known written in verse format I absolutely LOVE! I was almost hesitant to request this book simply because if you’ve listened to any of her audiobooks that she narrated herself, you’d understand the raw quality behind this authors voice. Two girls separated by distance share the same father however neither know of each others existence. It isn’t until they’re made aware of his passing on a plane crash that their lives connect. BEYOND the moon grateful to have received an early copy! 🙌🏽


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