Wednesday, September 1, 2021

#CurrentlyReading September 2021

 


So baby has been born, and while it’s a been a wild ride I finally have somewhat of a routine down so that I finally have a little time to read. My current reading goal is only about 20 books and I’ve only read 12 which feels a lot lower than I am used to but real life gets in the way. Hopefully, I’ll be able to set time aside everyday to read.

Title: Paper & Blood (Ink & Sigil Book 2)
Author: Kevin Hearne
Genre: Magic; Urban Fantasy

There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted hands, paper and pen can work wondrous spells.

But Al isn’t quite alone: He is part of a global network of sigil agents who use their powers to protect the world from mischievous gods and strange monsters. So when a fellow agent disappears under sinister circumstances in Australia, Al leaves behind the cozy pubs and cafes of Glasgow and travels to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery.

The trail to his colleague begins to pile up with bodies at alarming speed, so Al is grateful his friends have come to help—especially Nadia, his accountant who moonlights as a pit fighter. Together with a whisky-loving hobgoblin known as Buck Foi and the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, Al and Nadia will face down the wildest wonders Australia—and the supernatural world—can throw at them, and confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries

Title: In the Garden of Spite
Author: Camilla Bruce
Genre: Historical Fiction; Horror; True Crime

They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams--their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte.

The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she'd given up, what was taken from her, how she'd suffered, surely they'd understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That's all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive
.



Title: Spellbreaker
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Genre: Fantasy; Historical Fiction; Magic; Young Adult


The orphaned Elsie Camden learned as a girl that there were two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like her, born with the ability to break them. But as an unlicensed magic user, her gift is a crime. Commissioned by an underground group known as the Cowls, Elsie uses her spellbreaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. She always did love the tale of Robin Hood.

Elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey is one elusive spell away from his mastership when he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment. To protect her secret, Elsie strikes a bargain. She’ll help Bacchus fix unruly spells around his estate if he doesn’t turn her in. Working together, Elsie’s trust in—and fondness for—the handsome stranger grows. So does her trepidation about the rise in the murders of wizards and the theft of the spellbooks their bodies leave behind.

For a rogue spellbreaker like Elsie, there’s so much to learn about her powers, her family, the intriguing Bacchus, and the untold dangers shadowing every step of a journey she’s destined to complete. But will she uncover the mystery before it’s too late to save everything she loves
?

Friday, August 13, 2021

Book Review: Pacific Blue by Kristina Luckey

Title: Pacific Blue (A Coastal Romance 2)
Author: Kristina Luckey
Genre: Contemporary; Romance
Publication Date: August 14th, 2019

Gallery assistant Piper Diaz is focused on getting her artwork shown, and screw anyone who’s told her to drop the hobby. Nothing will stop her now that Pacific Blue Fine Art Gallery has agreed to display her creations. Things are finally going her way…

Until entrepreneur Alex Hutton purchases the gallery. He’s got zero interest in unknown artists and nothing will sway him from his goals. He gives her an ultimatum: work for him or quit. Pacific Blue must reopen in a month or he loses everything.

Piper’s falling for him, but his refusal to display her artwork just might drive her away. Working with Piper has Alex thinking about a lifetime love, but his family’s heart-shattering past keeps him from committing.

Can two driven, passionate people see past their own goals and come together to create something more spectacular than they could alone?

 

Rating

*A Thank you to the author for allowing me to read this. This is my unbiased and honest review*

 

This was such a delightful, steamy, and fun romance read. First of all I love piper, she's such a non conforming free spirit and the chemistry she has with Alex is so potent you can pretty much feel it from their very first meeting. I will be honest and say that at first I was not sure how I felt about Alex, I thought he was just going to be some annoying rich guy, but he eventually grew on me and I really enjoyed Piper and Alex's romance. 

One of the reasons I liked the characters was due to Luckey’s ability to make them seemed so realistic, typically in romances you always have one character (typically the male lead) who just does not seem realistic at all which hinders the story, But Luckey did a really great job with her characters, and just her writing in general was very enjoyable and descriptive without being overly so.

Overall, A very fun romance real.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Book Review: How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Title: How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe
Author: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Genre: Romance; Young Adult
Publication Date: August 10th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.

Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen.

Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was.

Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?

 

Rating


 *Thank you to Edelweiss+ for allowing me to read this. This is my honest and unbiased review*


Spoiler Alert. I devoured This book. I immediately fell in love with Moon’s character and I ached for her home situation. I won't go into too many details but Moon deserves so much more than the universe. While yes this book has romance with a Enemy to lovers trope, it was so much more character driven than I thought it was going to be which was a huge relief.

 Gilliland is such an amazing writer. There's humor, beautiful descriptors and each character was thought out and given actual Characterization. There was a perfect balance of sweet lightheartedness and seriousness that made this book so much more interesting. 

I was so happy when the conflict that came actually helped the plot rather than hinder it, and seemed to naturally make the story flow rather than grind it to a halt like most YA romances can do. I really liked Moon and Santiago’s dynamic and chemistry.  Their relationship developed naturally, no instant love but a gradual build up that made it seem real. I also really liked the relationship between Moon and her sister Star even if I did see the plot coming. The ending wrapped up pretty nicely and I was very content with how it ended, although I wished their was more consequences for a particular people.

Overall, a great read


 

 


 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Book Review: American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Title: American Betiya
Author: Anuradha D. Rajurkar
Genre: Coming of Age; Contemporary; Romance
Publication Date:
Publisher: 

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in--his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art--make him her mother's worst nightmare.

They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver's troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself--and what's really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

 

 

 

Rating


*A Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. This is my honest and unbiased review*
 
Hello Fellow Readers,
 
This is a great book that delves into many topics that with our current social climate are needed. Rajurkar gives you such a realistic view of not only high school romance but into Indian American Culture. Rajurkar also isn't afraid to get into some bold topics such as toxic love, fertishization of women and racism. The main Character, Rani, is a high school girl who has artistic dreams but also wants to live up to her family educational expectations. She then meets Oliver, a white boy who her parents would never approve of. 

Their relationship becomes a whirlwind of intense love, and rebellion. At first, you think this is a typical high school romance but soon you realize that Oliver's obsession with Ran is disturbing and he's not treating her like a human being but like some sort of exotic creature he can show off. You can't help but get emotional over the relationship, whether it's anger, frustration, or sadness. Rani is amazing (as is her relationship with Kate [her best friend] and her family) and we get to see her amazing transformation from shy teenager to young college woman. My favorite part of the book was the epilogue because you can really see Rani's growth and development.

Overall, an amazing YA book


 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Book Review: Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

 

Title: Much Ado About You
Author: Samantha Young
Genre: Contemporary; Romance
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Publishing

At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling's life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she's passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There's no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

Not only is Evie swept up in running the delightful store as soon as she arrives, she's drawn into the lives, loves and drama of the friendly villagers. Including Roane Robson, the charismatic and sexy farmer who tempts Evie every day with his friendly flirtations. Evie is determined to keep him at bay because a holiday romance can only end in heartbreak, right? But Evie can't deny their connection and longs to trust in her handsome farmer that their whirlwind romance could turn in to the forever kind of love.

Rating

*A Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this. This is my honest and unbiased review*
 
 Hello Fellow Readers,

I really wanted to love this book, it seemed to check off a lot of my wants; Literature loving main character (Evie), small town feels and vibes, plus DOG! I thought it would have been a match made in romance heaven for me, but sadly I just couldn't get into it. There was just one main problem. Evie. I just couldn't click with her. 

At first I was sympathetic, she just got passed up for a promotion even though she probably deserved it (I hear you Evie!) She also gets stood up on a date, which is tough but is it enough to completely swear off men? No, especially when she has only been talking to the person and has never actually met them. Evie then makes a spontaneous trip to run a bookstore for a month in another country, yep we all need a change of scenery once in a while. This is understandable.

She then meets Roane when she saves his dog from being hit by a car. He's sweet and funny and so very obviously into her but since she has sworn off guys...basically this is where I lost any connection with her. Any conflict that arose between her and Roane was of her own making, she was basically her own worse enemy. I was hoping for Evie to develop character grown but everything just felt so forced. At the end of the day this book just didn't live up to what I hoped it would be.

Overall, not my cup of tea but it may be yours.

 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Book Review: When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert

 

Title: When We Were Infinite
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary; Romance; Young Adult
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuester
TW: Emotional & Physical Abuse; Suicide

All Beth wants is for her tight-knit circle of friends — Grace Nakamura, Brandon Lin, Sunny Chen, and Jason Tsou — to stay together. With her family splintered and her future a question mark, these friends are all she has — even if she sometimes wonders if she truly fits in with them. Besides, she’s certain she’ll never be able to tell Jason how she really feels about him, so friendship will have to be enough.

Then Beth witnesses a private act of violence in Jason’s home, and the whole group is shaken. Beth and her friends make a pact to do whatever it takes to protect Jason, no matter the sacrifice. But when even their fierce loyalty isn’t enough to stop Jason from making a life-altering choice, Beth must decide how far she’s willing to go for him—and how much of herself she’s willing to give up.

 

Rating

*A Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this. This is my honest and unbiased review*
 
 Hello Fellow Readers,

This book is so much more than a coming of age young adult book, and explores so many themes that I'm surprised they all fit into this book. I wish I read this book as a teenager or at least very early adulthood but since I am much older than the target audience it didn't make as big as an impact as it should. This does not mean that the book is bad, quite the opposite actually.

Gilbert has a magical way of making you feel everything that Beth (the main character) is feeling from the very beginning which sucks you in. Considering the contents of the book and being so invested in the emotions of Beth will make some parts very hard to read and get through for some readers. They were times however that I found Beth to be a bit irritating, not sure if that was the adult in me but certain actions or times (especially around her mother) which made me want to reach in a pull her out to explain that she should stop.
 
I had remind myself multiple times that Beth is just a teenager and combined with her neglectful father, picking a college, and being faced with what's going on in Jason's life, this is a very tumultuous time in her life. She is not always going to make the most logical decisions and what may seems obvious to us won't be for a teenage girl who has no reason to rely on anyone but her friends. 
 
Overall, this is a very powerful book.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Book Review: When We're Thirty by Casey Dembowski

Title: When We're Thirty
Author: Casey Dembowski
Genre: Contemporary; Romance
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Two friends. One pact. The performance of their lives.

Hannah Abbott is stuck in a dead-end relationship and at a job she loves but that barely pays the bills. The four walls of her tiny New York City apartment have never seemed so small. She’s barely toasted her thirtieth birthday when her old college friend Will knocks on her door with an unexpected proposal.

Will Thorne never forgot the marriage pact he made with Hannah, but he also never imagined he’d be the one to initiate it. One ex-fiancĂ©e and an almost-career-ending mistake later, however, he finds himself outside Hannah’s door, on bended knee, to collect on their graduation-night pinky promise.

With both of their futures at stake, Hannah and Will take a leap of faith.

Now, all they have to do is convince their friends and family that they’re madly in love. As long as they follow the list of rules they’ve drafted, everything should go smoothly. Except Will has never been good with rules, and Hannah can’t stop overthinking the sleeping arrangements. Turning thirty has never been so promising.

 

Rating

*A Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this. This is my honest and unbiased review*

Hello Fellow Readers,

I went into this book expecting a slew of fake dating tropes and hi-jinx, but it became very apparent early on that this was not going to be the case. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed by this as fake dating is my favorite romance trope but for Will and Hannah it was known pretty much from the start that they wanted each other. 

This doesn't mean that they didn't have their fair share of hurdles like; scheming fathers, disapproving mothers, ex-fiances, and a brother betrayal. So, they already had their fair share of things going on. The one thing I can definitely say I did not like was the conflict, which could have been avoided had they just communicated with each other from the beginning. To me it seemed a bit ridiculous that it went on for so long. 

Overall, a pretty solid romance

Monday, May 24, 2021

Anthology Review: A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton

 

Title: A Universe of Wishes
Edited by: Dhonielle Clayton
Authors: Samira Ahmed; Libba Bray; Zoraida Cordova; Tessa Gratton; Kwame Mbalia; Anna-Marie McLemore; Tochi Onyebuchi; Mark Oshiro; Natalie C. Parker; Rebecca Roanhorse; V.E. Schwab; Tara Sim; Nic Stone; Jenni Balch
Genre: Anthology; Fantasy; LGBT+, Short Stories; Young Adult
Publication Date: December 8, 2020
Publisher: Random House Children's Book

In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.

 

 

 Rating


 *A Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. This is my honest and unbiased review*

Hello Fellow Readers,

I love to read anthology books, it's easy for me to read a short story and put the book down to process before starting the next story which I love. Typically really good fantasy anthologies are hard to come by but I was amazed at some of the stories in this one. In only a couple of pages these authors managed to craft, amazing worlds with unique magic systems and characters that catch your eye. 

Like most anthologies some stories you do invest a bit more into stories than others, a few times I found myself saying "I wish they would keep going" or "Aw why did they have to stop it there!". This could be a good or bad thing depending on how you think. 

Overall A Delightful anthology.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Book Review: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Genre: Coming of Age; Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Holiday House

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it's hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn't help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there's one person who's always in Charlie's corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing--he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS

 

Rating

*A Thank you to Edleweiss+ for allowing me to read this. This is my honest and unbiased review*

Hello Fellow Readers,

Sorry for my absence this week but it's been busy here for me. This weekend I had to move my library, and convert it to a nursery so it was a bit bittersweet. We also had to do a lot of spring cleaning and it's a lot to do for being 6 months pregnant but it needs to be done. Anyway enjoy the review.

I was very excited to read this book, not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous but the story seems so relatable and Charlie was such a breath of fresh air. A nice, fun and (once again) relatable teenage. Of course, Charlie is self-conscious, this is due to her fitness and health obsessed mother who is constantly drawing attention to the food Charlie is eating and her weight. Charlie is also comparing herself to her best friend Amelia and a very pretty, athletic girl who is constantly being chased by boys (including Charlie's crush). Plus, Charlie has never had a boyfriend much less never been kissed. 

What I loved about this story was that the romance was cute, but Maldonado gave equal time to Charlie's friendship and focused, also, on the relationship with her mother. I love when authors are able to balance their characters and plot well. Maldonado's writing is fun and easy, although I really did not like the arguement between Amelia and Charlie which was the reason why Charlie had strife with Brian. Also, I felt we didn't get too much in the way of closure with Charlie and her mother.

Overall, a very delightful coming-of-age story.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

#CurrentlyReading May 2021


 Hello Fellow Readers,

 Just sharing with you today my current reading list. Let me know if you read any of these or have them on your TBR list.

Pacific Blue
Kristina Luckey
Romance

Gallery assistant Piper Diaz is focused on getting her artwork shown, and screw anyone who’s told her to drop the hobby. Nothing will stop her now that Pacific Blue Fine Art Gallery has agreed to display her creations. Things are finally going her way…

Until entrepreneur Alex Hutton purchases the gallery. He’s got zero interest in unknown artists and nothing will sway him from his goals. He gives her an ultimatum: work for him or quit. Pacific Blue must reopen in a month or he loses everything.

Piper’s falling for him, but his refusal to display her artwork just might drive her away. Working with Piper has Alex thinking about a lifetime love, but his family’s heart-shattering past keeps him from committing.

Can two driven, passionate people see past their own goals and come together to create something more spectacular than they could alone?

 

American Betiya
Anuradha D. Rajurkar
Coming of Age; Romance; Young Adult


Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in--his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art--make him her mother's worst nightmare.

They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver's troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself--and what's really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

 

 

 

Much Ado About You
Samantha Young
Contemporary; Romance


At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling's life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she's passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There's no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

Not only is Evie swept up in running the delightful store as soon as she arrives, she's drawn into the lives, loves and drama of the friendly villagers. Including Roane Robson, the charismatic and sexy farmer who tempts Evie every day with his friendly flirtations. Evie is determined to keep him at bay because a holiday romance can only end in heartbreak, right? But Evie can't deny their connection and longs to trust in her handsome farmer that their whirlwind romance could turn in to the forever kind of love.