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 🖤

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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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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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🐉Spoiler Free Review: As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows🐉

Title: As She Ascends (Fallen Isles #2)

Author: Jodi Meadows

Pub. Date: September 11th. 2018

Genre: YA FANTASY

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/Harper

Pages: 560

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

The sequel I’ve been anxiously awaiting is FINALLY here & it was everything  I was hoping it would be! If Before She Ignites was the breaking down of Mira’s reality, then As She Ascends lives up to it’s name with Mira rising like the Dragon Queen she really is! In the previous book we meet our Protagonist as she come across the cold hard truth about the government in Fallen Isles. A world entrusted by the Gods to take care of their children the dragons, has turned their backs on these creatures. Mira believes whole heartedly in The Great Abandonment, the belief that if the dragons aren’t fiercely protected, the Gods would truly abandon their people and devastation would spread across the islands. The problem is, not everyone believes in The Great Abandonment. Dragons are mysteriously dissapearing  from their sanctuaries due to unexplained illnesses and acts of violence. Mira and friends are being hunted by Altan & his group of Drakon Warriors (Once were in a position of honor for being protectors of the Isles) all the while they search for truths & a way to save all Dragons.

Mira’s character is one that I hold near & dear to my heart for so many reasons. Mira struggles with anxiety and OCD, we see her thrown in a jail cell without access to her medications in the last book and the effects that had on her. Here Mira is learning how to cope with her anxiety and find peace within the chaos her life has been turned into. I’m glad to see her mental health challenges weren’t written away, instead Meadows gives us a very realistic MC who isn’t made of Teflon. Mira’s strength comes from deep within, she’s caring and loving to her friends and has a maternal love for dragons that even they can sense. To see that even those saving the day in our books, can struggle with mental health issues is appreciated & frankly something we need to see more of. Seeing Mira experience many of the episodes I myself deal with felt relatable. Seeing her have a support system of friends who understand & help her through them send such a positive message.

There are so many great characters to love in this book besides Mira but I have such a soft spot for Aaru. Silent in movement & speech, this Idrisi has stolen my heart. Strong in his beliefs & unwilling to bend or break his faith, Aaru finds himself unable to stay away from Mira. This character intrigued me so much in Before She Ignites, so much so that when I realized Meadows had given him his platform to tell his story through a series of flashbacks I was elated. I figured Aaru had to have had a difficult past but I just didn’t imagine how hard its been. On Aaru’s Island, women aren’t allowed to work and are though of as the lesser sex. This is something he can’t wrap his head around & seeing him fight for what he believes in made me respect and appreciate him all the more. Aaru is the calm Mira seeks, when they’re together the whole world is a much quieter place where Mira feels at peace.

Last but not least, for those who wanted to see more dragons in Before She Ignites Meadows delivers & honestly has me obsessing! 😍 Not only are Lala & Crystal back 🐉💓🐉 but we get introduced to more amazing majestic dragons along the way. Lala & Crystal are given personalities and we get to see Mira & her BFF/Wing Sister train & take care of them.

There’s so much positive to say when it comes to this trilogy, mental health rep being at the forefront. Having a strong support system & practicing self-care even when you think it’s not possible. I love these characters with all of my heart & every time I step into this world is a real treat. Hella diverse, our MC is a POC as is her love interest and this time around we also have a Lesbian relationship between two of the supporting characters. The character growth is A+ if you’re looking at Before She Ignites as Mira hitting rock bottom. As She Ascends sees Mira finding real confidence, growing, and breaking away from those who’ve lied to her. Surrounding herself with genuine people & discovering inner strength. Aaru also had deep character growth while some of the others found new meaning & purpose in life.

The World Building was EPICCCC!!!! between the dragons & the culture/history we got from each of the Islands and the Gods that represent them/their people, I don’t know what I enjoyed most. This time around we see how these Gods affect the people & the power/strengths they draw from their Gods. I can picture the Fallen Isles so vividly & the ending left me with chills!!! to say that I miss this world having just been in it would be the understatement of the year for this bookworm. I am so curious to see where Mira goes next & the dragons she discovers along the way…


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: TO BE HONEST BY MAGGIE ANN MARTIN

Title: To Be Honest

Author: Maggie Ann Martin

Pub. Date: August 21st. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Pages: 304

Content Warnings: eating disorders, fat shaming, emotional abuse, cheating, anxiety/panic attacks

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

🖤 Thank you Swoon Reads for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review 🖤

We meet Savvy as she and her mom are taking her sister Ashley to her dorm in college & there are a lot of feelings from the start. Savvy does struggle with anxiety & having such a tight bond with her older sister made separating all the harder. Besides not having her very best friend around anymore, she also has to deal with a difficult, strained, and just plain toxic relationship with her mother. Savvy’s mom went through a life changing event after her husband/Savvy’s dad cheated on her with her best friend. Her mom won a spot on a weight loss TV show & was flown across the country for intense weight loss training. Upon her return, her whole outlook on weight was toxic and Savvy was unfortunately the person she affected most. We see Savvy miss the relationship she used to have with her mother  prior to the drastic weight loss. Savvy is vocal with her thoughts on the unhealthy weight loss these TV shows promote which causes her to butt heads more often with her mom.

“It took everything within me not to add some extra hashtags, like #LoveYourBody or #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. I walked such a fine line with her because, yes, she was my mom, but I also did not agree with her views on her body and my body, for that matter”

That being said, Savvy really does love her mom & since it’s just the two of them home now, she tries her hardest to not cause friction or let her mom’s comments get to her. We follow their relationship & the very real fights that take place leading to days of silence. Maggie Ann Martin also did a A+ job of showing us Savvy’s mom & her battle with body image. I felt terrible for her mom because you know she’s a good mom but life’s curve ball really threw her off & her self esteem really took a hit. I wanted so badly to see her mom get the help she so desperately needed & be a positive role model for Savvy.

Savvy is in High School & we also get to follow her life outside her home which balances out against her home life. Savvy has an amazing best friend who she enjoys spending time with. She’s also a math tutor on the side but her real passion is journalism. There’s a a really caring teacher who encourages her not to drop out of working on the school’s paper & it leads to the sub-plot of this book. We see Savvy uncovering some under the table dealings with one of the athletic departments. We also see her tutoring turn into something more than 😉 & I cannot tell you the number of times I found myself smiling for Savvy 💓

Savvy- Our MC stole my heart! she’s her own level of cool & doesn’t even realize it. Savvy is fat, tall, blue eyed and blonde with no interest in losing weight in the same unhealthy manner her mother has. She definitely has her inner monologue of self doubt running in the background but she knows that to love her is to love ALL of her & nothing less will do! This made her all the more relatable cause we all have those moments of self doubt but to see her love the skin she’s in meant everything to me 💓 Savvy is also very funny, knows all the lyrics to every Eminem song, and is a math wiz even though she’d much rather be writing to make a difference in the world of journalism.

Ashley- aka Big Sis 💜 I LOOOOVE the sibling relationship between Savvy & Ashley who is now in college & trying to be there for Savvy even while college life is taking place. Ashley is described as being tall, slender, and a beauty by Savvy herself but never does Ashley make Savvy feel anything less than a beauty herself. Ashley is Lesbian & seeing Savvy encourage her to show interest in her college crush was the sweetest! 💜

Grace- Savvy’s best friend & partner in crime when it comes to journalism. Grace is Colombian & part of a BIG family who has welcomed Savvy into their circle whole heartedly. What I loved MOST about Grace is how supportive & in tune she is with Savvy when it came to her anxiety/panic attacks and general discomfort. She also isn’t afraid to give it to Savvy straight when she sees her bestie self sabotaging her own chances. Grace legit got Bestie Award Of The Year from me at the very end when they went shopping for Homecoming dresses…😉

George- The love interest here who also happens to be Grace’s cousin. I knew this guy was going to be a favorite of mine the minute he corrected Savvy for thinking he wasn’t part of the family based on his more Caucasian appearance. George is also blonde, tall, and slender and very much Columbian 🙌🏽 George is tutored by Savvy in math & all throughout we see him take a real interest in Savvy. Legit I wish I had a George in my life at 17 😩😂🙌🏼💓🙌🏼

To Be Honest (see what I did there? 😂)this book hit very close to home, I wasn’t expecting it to stir the feelings that it did in me but by the end I was left asking where was this book when I needed it MOST?!?! growing up as a plus sized gal myself. This book introduced me to Savvy, a fat MC who isn’t fiercely confident in the skin she’s in but she isn’t NOT confident either if that makes any sense. Well it did to me since this was the attitude I adopted in High School, I was Savvy & the things she experiences in this book with her mother and even in her love life, are things that feel all too familiar to me as a grown woman looking back. I wish this book had existed back when I found myself in a toxic home & turned to books as a way of comfort. Within these pages I see strength & courage for those who just want to love themselves but keep getting dissuaded at every turn. I see a MC who although she battles internally with what others may think…knows that she won’t allow anyone to love her any less. This book handled a variety of topics well, body image & mental health being at the forefront. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to read this book as I am currently on my own personal weight loss journey. This book lifted my spirits & reinforced my confidence in my own path to healthy 💞


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! To Be Honest will be hitting shelves this coming Tuesday August 21st, 2018 & I cannot wait to pick up my copy to display on my shelf of positive rep 💜 If any of you lovely Bookworms have recommendations for plus sized rep books, please drop them in the comments down below 💞


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July Wrap Up

Hello Bookworms! It’s the start of the weekend for me & on the agenda is getting some reviews posted here on the blog. I had one of the MOST fun reading months in July & pretty much picked up one book after another with no brakes. I also participated in  #Smutathon & read some awesome Contemporary titles, special thanks goes to Melanie for keeping us on track with them buddy reads haha! ❤ I also found myself reading books that I’d typically pick up in the Fall & I think that’s just my subconscious prepping for the season of warm sweaters, colorful leaves, and hot tea *bring it* In the month of July I truly tried to read whatever my heart desired seeing as the rest of the year is pretty booked with new ARCS & releases I have on deck to review. Looking down at my collage of book covers I’m smiling seeing the variety so this is one happily satisfied bookworm!

Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart 3 STARS I really enjoyed this tale of two sisters switching places however I ended up being interested & invested in one sister more than the other. There were some pacing issues however, the ending is soOo promising of what’s to come & I am definitely going to p/u the sequel to this duology.

The King Of Bourbon Street by Thea De Salle– 4.5 STARS✨ (RTC) This is the first Naughty read on Lair Of Books & I could NOT be more happier with it! well…I could have been hype as all hell had it been a plus sized gal up on the cover but more to come on that in my review. This was steamy & all around AMAZING with body positivity (except for the cover) & LGBTQIAP+ Rep. I look forward to continuing on with the rest of this series 😉

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory 4 STARSA Contemporary with important topics woven into the story. I LOVE the female MC however I wasn’t fond of the male interest, his attitude towards women left much to be desired. 

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu ✨5 STARS✨ (Mini RTC) This has to be the cutest web comic turned Graphic Novel EVER! well it’s the first I’ve read & has me officially HOOKED! I debated on whether to give this 4 stars cause I really wanted more of the romance but then again the friendships REALLY are AMAZING! Bitty stole my heart with his pie baking skills & I just need more of his college experience & Vlogs 💓

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton5 STARS✨ (RTC) A Pleasant & unexpected surprise this was! I thought I’d be creeped the heck out by Strange Grace but instead I ended up being entranced by this dark and beautifully written Polyamorous read. More thoughts to come in my review next week 🖤

Scream All Night by Derek Milman4 STARS✨ Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one is what I described this one as in my review. Scream All Night feature a MC who has had to emancipate himself at the age of 12 in order to get away from an abusive father. Now 17, Dario returns to the castle/studio where the worse of his memories still reside in order to be present for his father’s last wishes. This one read very different that anything I’ve ever read & it worked, I was engaged all throughout & enamored by Moldavia studios and its inhabitants 🖤

Josh and Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren4 STARS✨ (RTC)  There’s so much to love in this story! from the Korean culture we get from Josh to the fierce independence we see in Hazel. I had SO MUCH fun reading this & found myself falling in love with their love story, easily one of the best I’ve read!  More thoughts to come next week 🖤

The Black God’s Drum by P. Djèlí Clark 5 STARS✨ (RTC) I just need this to be made into a full length novel cause it absolutely left me wanting more from this world. Most intriguing is how I managed to get so interested & invested in these characters in such a short period of time since this is a novella but I did! If you enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone for its Orisha aspects then this is a MUST read 😉

I think it’s safe to say now that you’ll be seeing quite a few reviews start to trickle out here on Lair Of Books 😂 they are for the most part ARCS that are set to be published in September. Since I was on a roll with my reading, everything else pretty much took a back seat & that includes TV & Netflix. I did however go on a date with hubby & we watched…

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Paul Rudd & Evangeline Lilly were the PERFECT duo on the screen! Where Scott/Ant-Man fell short, Hope/The Wasp more than made up. Action packed scenes infused with the ol’ Wasp humor, enhanced suits, and old friends = a VERY good time!  I rated this one 5 STARS!

 

 


Hope you’re all having a FAB August! It’s setting up to be an exciting month for me with my first vacation in over 10 years! LOOOOOONG overdue but oh how sweet it will feel taking that ride on the Hogwarts Express?!?! 😱😱😱 I know I’m a bit late with this wrap-up so instead I’ll end this by asking, what books are on your night stand? 💓


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THE RAGING ONES BLOG TOUR!!!🚀

Title: THE RAGING ONES

Author: Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

Pub. Date: August 14th. 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 352

Content Warnings: Physical Violence, Torture, Suicidal Thoughts and Drug Use

*Thank you Wednesday Books for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest opinion

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

The Raging Ones truly caught me by surprise in that I wasn’t expecting it to make me the 4th person in the bond our main protagonists share! Told in multiple POV, we get introduced to Court Icecastle and Mykal Kickfall first as they’re preparing to enroll for consideration into the Space Program that would allow them  to keep their secret. In a world where everyone is given their Death Day at the time of their birth, there are also classifications:

Influentials: their life expectancy surpasses 100 years of age which marks them for greatness. They get the best educations because it is believed their contributions to the world are of high value. Most are adopted into families in other countries that can provide them with as much. Influentials are the elite, wealthy, and basically V.I.P.’s in this world.

Fast Trackers: have a life expectancy between 13-29 years of age. When born they are returned to their mothers to live free & fun lives. They are most commonly recognized for their colorful hair, piercings, slang, addiction to certain drugs…they live fast & hard in the little time they have.

Babes: life expectancy is between infancy and 12 years of age. They also are returned to their mothers to live innocent lives never leaving their childhood.

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Court Icecastle is a Fast Tracker raised by Influentials, he is able to pass as a Influential himself and hopes to use this as a way into the StarDust Space program. Court Icecastle’s Death Day has come & gone leaving him very much alive with many questions and much more guilt. To make matters even more interesting, Court is bonded to Mykal Kickfall. Bonded in a way that lets them feel everything the other is feeling no matter the distance. Mykal has also survived past his Death Day & life brings these two together, Mykal a “Babe” comes from a distant land. He’s had a completely different upbringing & is a bit rough around the edges. Court makes it his mission to educate & train Mykal who he is now connected to for the StarDust enrollment exams. Years pass & the date quickly approaches for the entrance exam when all of a sudden both Court & Mykal feel a third connection. Franny Bluecastle is at deaths door when her connection to Court & Mykal activates. Franny a Fast Tracker living fast & hard is ready to die, it’s her Death Day after all and all she wants is to spend her savings on a room in one of the most well known hotels for V.I.P’s. Things don’t go quite as planned for Franny who is overcome with emotions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are not her own when she meets Court and Mykal. From this point on it’s edge of your seat, pulse pounding action with a Romance to satisfy all those who live for that A+ TOP quality angst! *need more 🤗*

Court Icecastle- has a ton of secrets, never smiles, and carries a whole lot of pain buried deep within. Court is a Fast Tracker who can pass for a Influential and really only has 1 goal in mind. That is until he meets Mykal, it’s more than just a bond…Mykal is his soulmate & there are reasons for which he can’t quite act on these feelings 😉

Mykal Kickfall- A Babe who lived past his death date & comes from a land where people still hunt for their food. He’s most comfortable in the outdoors chopping wood. Mykal is all physical strength but he also has a HUGE heart & in it he’s managed to find a special place for Court. I LOVE MYKAL TO PIECES! he accepts Court as he is but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy trying to get him to smile 💓 Also, Mykal is the one to come running whenever he smells danger to either Court or Franny, fiercely over protective in the best of ways!

Franny Bluecastle- A Fast Tracker who pretty much fits all of the stereo types known for FT’s & doesn’t know what to make of being linked to Mykal & Court. She has a different relationship with them both & I love that she never gives up on Court when it comes to getting him to lower his walls.

There’s so much to love in The Raging Ones but my favorite aspects of this book had to do with the bond these three shared. It wasn’t just talked about,   Krista & Becca Ritchie took us through the good, bad, and the ugly with these characters. The moments that should remain private but instead are shared 3 ways and the complications that arise when they come into physical contact with one another. The confusion that comes into play when you have 3 different personalities feeling everything the other is feeling and wondering if that was your own emotion or not. The world building was A++ and by describing each of the different types of people in this world we got a more fleshed out look as to what’s valued most & what is considered expendable. The romance is by far one of my favorites this year!!! there is so much angst for some very valid reasons but I was seriously shipping hard at the start of this book! Underneath it all, we also get a look at a society intent on putting their eggs all in 1 basket…in the hands of Influentials. All others are seen as lesser than because of the short lives they are destined to live. The ending left me with eyes WIDE open! to say that I am HIGHLY anticipating the sequel has to be the understatement of the year! I can’t wait to be reunited with Court, Franny, and Mykal & see what and where their adventure takes them next…


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WWW Wednesday 7/18/2018

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?

Happy Hump Day Bookworms!!! It’s been a minute since I posted one of these reading updates here on Lair Of Books. Mostly I’ve been updating Goodreads & Instagram (links at the end of post) but I’d really like to get back to doing updates here on the blog on Wednesdays or Fridays (there will be weeks I alternate days). Personally I love reading updates on the books you all are reading, loving, not so much enjoying haha! and doing these posts for me goes hand in hand with blog hopping. Also, sometimes mid-read I just need to rant or rave about my current book & what better place than here amiright? 😉

Strange Grace by Tessa Graton

I am buddy reading (currently @65%) this bone chilling book (thank the stars) with Melanie, Julie, and Candace & I’m legit hooked Bookworms! & I don’t know why cause this isn’t typically my genre…horror has always made me look like a chump. I steer clear of high key horror anything & yet I requested this cause the blurb spoke to my soul *covers eyes* yea I dunno why I do the things I do but I have ZERO regrets. The writing is A+ spooky and why didn’t I know this was LGBTQIAP+?!?! It’s giving me LIFE! I’m still reading it with the lights on but yea, look out for this one! witches, demons, demon forest, and one hell of a romance!


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

This has so far been the summer of me reading all the contemporary my heart desires which includes ROMANCE! I’m also buddy reading this one with Melanie cause we’re reading all the books together at this point & she’s the BEST buddy read partna! LMAO! I’ve fallen behind though so today I plan on binge reading the last half. So far, I’m enjoying the read & REALLY appreciating the body positivity.  This is a interracial fake dating romance that has all the ingredients for a cute romance movie. I don’t think this will be quite the 5 star read but it is highly enjoyable, we shall see.


Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Oh goodness I am enjoying this webcomic turned graphic novel oh so MUCH! which is probably why I’m taking my time with it smh. I do plan on finishing Check Please tonight. This is a LGBTQIAP+ story about a guy who is in his freshman year of college & is also on the hockey team. He’d much rather be baking pies but Hockey has the potential to help with the costs of college. I am OBSESSED with the MC Bitty & will be pre-ordering a copy ASAP! this is an arc I received at Bookcon, Check, Please! will be out on 9/18/18 🙂


Josh + Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren

I recently finished & thoroughly enjoyed this one, gave it a 4 star rating over on Goodreads. My review will be up closer to publication date as per the request of the publicist. This is a friends to lovers contemporary romance, my first by this author duo and I found it to be fun & quirky. We also get a Korean MC who I imagined to be quite dreamy haha! more thoughts to come, this one hits the shelves 9/4/2018 🙂


Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Last week I finished Grace and Fury and gave it a solid 3.5 star rating (my spoiler free review) & think it’s a promising start to a new Duology? I only see 2 books listed in Goodreads & that seems to be the trend lately. Grace and Fury has strong feminist themes threaded all throughout the story but ultimately it really came down down to my enjoyment of one sisters arc over the other. They both started off strong but I do feel the sister I was initially in love with, had her fire put out before it started. I do however plan on reading the follow-up since the ending left me eyes wide open! this one is filled with plot twists to keep you breakin’ your neck haha!


Scream All Night by Derek Milman

This is one that I’ve actually already started & stopped reading at about the 15% mark. No real reason other than I just wasn’t in the right mood for it. The 15% I read was enjoyable and also very odd with a bit of humor. I’m actually really curious to see where this goes.


Happy reading Bookworms! Does anyone else feel like today is Thursday? cause I’ve spent the entire day saying”heeeeeeY at least tomorrow’s Friday right?!?!” SMH. In some part of the world today is Thursday! so happy Friday’s Eve 😉 its been a long week & I’d love to see what you’re reading, drop some luv in the comments below <3’s! 


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THE LADY JANIES ARE BACK WITH A SMASH HIT! BLOG TOUR: MY PLAIN JANE REVIEW + GIVEAWAY! 💙

Title: MY PLAIN JANE (THE LADY JANIES #2)

Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

Pub. Date: June 26th. 2018

Genre: YA HISTORICAL FICTION/PARANORMAL/HUMOR

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 464

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | TARGET (EXCLUSIVE BONUS CHAPTER)

    

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

When I first read My Lady Jane last year, I giggled and snorted in the most random crowded places with absolutely NO regret! I still vividly remember how much fun I had reading that book & so when I heard My Plain Jane was on its way, I legit couldn’t contain my excitement! luckily for me, there are some AMAZING humans in this world and I was able to read an arc copy early on (thank you Sarah!). What I wasn’t expecting was to love it so much I didn’t want it to end! My Plain Jane shares many similarities with its predecessor except, it’s not a continuation in a series and can be read as a stand-alone (I still urge you to read My Lady Jane lest you miss out on all the laughs 😉). Humor infused with a paranormal twist, this is one Jane Eyre re-telling I could not put down! The Lady Janies quite literally took two of my favorites & meshed them together: 1. a love for all things Gothic Victorian and 2. Ghostbusters 😱😱😱 WHAT?!?! YES!!! These books are fun & best of all…they don’t take themselves too seriously allowing the reader to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the silliness of it all. The writing is once again seamless, The Lady Janies are these 3 wonderful authors who must share the same sense of humor. I’m convinced when I am reading that it’s only 1 author but in all reality I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. This is to say, it has an organic flow and makes for such an enjoyable reading experience with unexpected laughs along the way.

💙Fan Made Book Trailer (and all other MPJ graphics here) by the Wonderful Sarah over at the YABOOKTRAVELER💙

Jane is an orphan who has the ability to see & speak to ghosts, she also enjoys painting and looks forward to a stress free life as a governess one day. The day comes sooner than she thought and Jane ends up in Thornfield Hall working for Mr. Rochester who has a pension for brooding. All the while, Jane has left the orphanage in the midst of a murder investigation. A Mr. Brocklehurst has been killed and his ghost is lingering behind in hopes of finding his killer. When the orphanage calls upon the services of the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Alexander Blackwell shows up and crosses paths with Jane right before her departure to Thornfield Hall. He quickly makes out Jane for having Seer abilities and offers her employment in the agency. Jane turns down his offer choosing the more “practical” route of governess. Jane’s best friend Charlotte Brontë is also an orphan at the same orphanage. As an aspiring writer, she would love nothing more than her BFF to take up the mantle as paranormal detective. Charlotte finds Jane’s life to be MOST fascinating! and even has a little notebook where she writes stories inspired by Jane. Polar opposites, the friendship between Jane & Charlotte are serious #FRIENDGOALS 💓

This book was filled with ghosts, witty banter, social commentary, feminist empowerment, and so much more! If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d have to go with Charlotte who truly embodied the feminist movement. There is no telling Charlotte what she can or cannot do. Strategic, intelligent, and resourceful are just some of the words that describe this beloved character. The romance she gets caught up with is hella swoooooon worthy! When I realized this was a full on ghost busting story, my heart skipped beats! This book left me happy with a smile from ear to ear, the ending was PERFECTION!💙

We’re the authors of the young adult novels, MY LADY JANE, and MY PLAIN JANE, which is coming in June 2018. Our group is made up of Brodi Ashton (New York Times bestselling author of the EVERNEATH series and DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY), Cynthia Hand (New York Times bestselling author of the UNEARTHLY series, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and THE HOW AND THE WHY), and Jodi Meadows (New York Times bestselling author of the INCARNATE trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN duology, and the FALLEN ISLES trilogy). Between the three of us we’ve written nineteen novels, a bunch of novellas, a handful of short stories, and a couple of really bad poems, but we have the most fun working on our books together. We’re friends. We’re writers. We’re fixing history by rewriting one sad story at a time.

💙 Win a signed copy of My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. Open US only.

🎉🎉Rafflecopter Link Here 🎉🎉

💙 Photo Challenge & Giveaway!

Share a photo or selfie with your copy of My Plain Jane and you could win a custom designed book sleeve, made by Second Hand Pages, a custom Jane Eyre candle from Canterbury Road Co, Jane Eyre (Barnes and Noble Collectible Edition), the Blu-Ray DVD of Jane Eyre, and a My Plain Jane Bookmark! For the photo, you can use your copy, a friends or one from the library. Use the hashtag #MyPlainJaneGiveaway to enter. Open to US only. Ends Sunday, July 8th.

 

Week 1
June 25 – The YA Book Traveler – Trailer & Review
June 26 – Alexa Loves Books – Gift Guide
June 27 – YA Wednesdays – Jane’s Playlist
June 28 – Novel Novice – Styled by Books
June 29 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Famous Janes
June 30 – A Backwards Story – Leaking Top Secret Dossier Files of Current ( Royal ) Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits Members
Week 2
July 2 – Bookcrushin’ – Supernatural Meets Jane Eyre – Tips for the Reluctant Ghost Hunter
July 3 – The Reader and the Chef – Guide to eating á la My Plain Jane (Bookish Menu) + Bookstagram Post
July 4 – The Clever Reader – Launch Event Recap
July 5 – Booknerd Addict – Review + Bookstagram Post
July 6 – Lair of Books – Review
July 7 – Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Famous ghosts & ghost hunters

Happy Friday Bookworms! Thank you so much for stopping by today, It’s been such a pleasure participating in the #MYPLAINJANE tour 💙 The 1st week alone has seen AMAZING news with My Plain Jane hitting the TOP 10 Bestsellers List! If you haven’t yet, check out the bloggers above who’ve come up with some of the most unique, fun, and creative blog posts to ever hit the net! Have you read My Plain Jane?!?! Plan to? let me know in the comments down below & best of luck to those who’ve entered the amazing Giveaway 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼


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May Book Haul

Hello Bookworms! a part of me wanted to believe I could abstain from buying or collecting books in any shape or form in May… what with BEA/Bookcon right around the corner first week of June SMH. Things didn’t quite pan out that way & May ended up being the month of book mail/approvals every other day. This isn’t the norm around these parts haha! but nonetheless I rolled with it & also finally purged my shelves of some books to make space for new stories…

The Poppy War | CIRCE | A Court Of Frost and Starlight | FURYBORN | To Kill A Kingdom | Girls’ Night Out

*Both FURYBORN & To Kill A Kingdom were 5 star reads, so happy to have them on my shelves! Girls’ Night Out is the only physical arc I received in May, super excited for this one since the thriller/suspense bug has finally bitten me 🙂

The Hating Game | The Astonishing Color Of After | Filthy Gods | OPAL | Ramona Blue

*Here’s where I started justifying my purchases smh…I have physical copies of Astonishing Color & Hating Game but I just couldn’t resist a good Kindle deal ($1.99) & said why not?!?  

No words…well maybe a few 😂 I can honestly say I’m excited over each & every one of these titles. I’ve already rated Bruja Born 5 EPIC stars!!! Scream All Night is not a book I’d gravitate towards cause spooky and I don’t mix. However, the publisher reached out after reading my review of The Dangerous Art Of Blending In & sold me on this book! Both What If It’s  Us & Blanca Y Roja are on my HIGHLY anticipated list. Adam Silvera & Anna-Marie McLemore are two of my FAVORITE YA authors, ANYTHING they write is a MUST read for this Bookworm! 💜

FAIRYLOOT

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ONYX & IVORY BY MINDEE ARNETT

    

Sprayed edges is almost always a win for me but Onyx & Ivory is one of those book I’ve really been looking forward to. This box was a slam dunk! from the beautiful book sleeve to the practical lip scrub I had heart eyes while unboxing 😍 the art print is STUNNING & I’m already using the page flags 💜 my least favorite item is perhaps the tea once again 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

BOOK OF THE MONTH

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THE PERFECT MOTHER BY AIMEE MOLLOY 


I hope you’re all having a wonderful day while squeezing in a good read or two along the way! 💜 if you’ve read any of the books I’ve posted here & think I should boost up on my TBR, drop a comment down below 💜


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April Wrap-Up

Hello Bookworms & happy Friday!!! here in NYC we’ve decided to skip Spring & go straight to Summer and although when I’m outside I truly dislike it…when I’m inside, I get to blast that A.C. & no sleep is better than one right next to that powerful ice machine 😂 anyways, I pulled up Goodreads to see how many books I’d read in April & had to do a Britney…

I cannot remember the last time I read 8 BOOKS!!! *GASP* it was a great quality reading month, no complaints here (except for maybe Professed haha!) I was able to get ahead in my TBR 💜 I participated in 2 Buddy Reads and had so much fun talking to the Bookworms in our group chats. I also borrowed for the very first time from another blogger buddy who is simply an amazing human being! Thank you Sarah @TheYaBookTraveler I appreciate your kindness 💜 Out of the 8 books that I read, 4 were 5 star reads which means I had a lot of fun reading in April. I’m hoping for an equally as good May & so far I think I’m getting my wish thanks to Harper & some new arc approvals that came through. Now without further ado I present to you my April Wrap-Up…

Professed by Nicola Rendell ★★ STARS: Not what I expected but I read along since this was a book club pick for Julie & Chelsea’s Book Hangover Book Club. The characters just felt over the top & the “steamy scenes” were terrible 😞

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas ★★★★ 4 STARS: This being the first book I p/u as a reintroduction to the NA genre (not that I’ve read all that very many 😂) was UNPUTDOWNABLE! 😳 I seriously couldn’t stop reading & now I’m on a Penelope Douglas binge

Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody (Review) ★★★★ 4 STARS: Falls into the younger side of YA but still very enjoyable with its Sin City/Moulin Rouge vibes. Book 2 was just announced today, titled King of Fools for 2019 & I’m REALLY looking forward to It 💜💜💜

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young (Review) ★★★★ 4 STARS: Character driven, less focused on the bloody history of Vikings we’ve all come to know. This one is for those bookworms who love stories about family bonds and loyalty and choosing who your family is when you’ve lost it all.

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (RTC closer to publication date) ★★★★★ 5 STARS: I mean C’mon! I LOVED My Lady Jane to pieces when I first read it & waited ever so patiently for this sequel. When a bookworm friend offered to loan me her copy I was STUNNED & Happy & grateful! I devoured it & all I can say is THANK YOU My Lady Janies for the ode to my childhood faves The Ghostbusters 😂😂😂

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (RTC) ★★★★★ 5 STARS: a witchy read with a plus sized POC MC who’s a bit of a curmudgeon dishing out the sarcasm when she sees fit. Practicing witchcraft was never supposed to yield any real results until she needed it to & then…👀

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Review) ★★★★★ 5 STARS: This is perhaps my fave read of the month! a black MC who kicks a** & doesn’t back down whether it’s racist white men or the walking dead trying to make a snack out of her. This book has so much more going on underneath the surface, #Blacklivesmatter, Colorism, and racism are all weaved into this tale. I have a giveaway currently running until Sunday 5/6, open to international Bookworms as well 💜 Click on the link to take you to my review post to enter 💜

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (Review) ★★★★★ 5 STARS: Take me back to this little town & island PLEASE! so atmospheric & haunting, I cannot stop singing this books praises! Please pick this one up before the Netflix series airs, it’s a short read but sooooo good that it’s guaranteed to stick around even after you’ve read that last line 😉

Avengers: Infinity War

    

Date Day this month with the hubby was a ton of fun & led us to visit some of our favorite haunts. Starting off with breakfast at our fave diner by the theatre & a quick trip to The Strand where I picked up Leah On the Offbeat (Creekwood #2)by Becky Albertalli & the Graphic Novel Moonstruck: Magic To Brew. I spent a little too much time in the stacks & we ended up having to cab it to the other side of Manhattan to the theatre for a 1:30pm show. IMAX 3D…why do I always forget to wear contacts? instead I watch movies through 4 lenses 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

The movie was about 2.5 hours long & it just exceeded expectations! Thanos our villain is one complex character with depth to him, he wasn’t just trying to kill everything in sight for power or control. I found this villain really interesting but that ending still had me giving him major side eye 😂 It was awesome seeing some faves back on the screen & after watching Black Panther just last month, I was super stoked to return to Wakanda. This being part I of II, I expected to walk away with unresolved story line and I felt the ending sets up for the next movie rather nicely. The after credit scene led to a really cool development & now I spend my time on Screen Rant looking for any bread crumbs being released for the next set of Marvel movies. Overall I gave this movie 5 BUTTERFLIES!!!


I hope you’re all having a wonderful start of the month 💜 what was your favorite read in April? feel free to link those wrap-ups down below & I’ll make my way over to your corner of the interwebz 💜’s! Don’t forget to throw your 🎩 in the ring for a chance to win a copy of Dread nation (see here)! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼


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