February 22, 2019

Five on Friday: Recently Added to my TBR Pile


I love sharing the recent books I have added to my TBR pile with you all! Hopefully these posts help your piles grow as dangerously large as mine! muwahahaha Kidding. Kind of. My list includes an amazing sounding fantasy novel, a new book by Meg Cabot, a scarily realistic dystopian, a tale of friendship that also discusses abortion, and a new young adult vampire book!

1. Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh (November 12, 2019)
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Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.

But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family.

2. No Judgments by Meg Cabot (September 24, 2019)
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When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.


3. Verify by Joelle Charbonneau (September 24, 2019)
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Meri Beckley lives in a world without lies. When she turns on the news, she hears only the facts. When she swipes the pages of her online textbooks, she reads only the truth. When she looks at the peaceful Chicago streets, she feels the pride everyone in the country feels about the era of unprecedented hope and prosperity over which the government presides.

But when Meri’s mother is killed, Meri suddenly has questions that no one else seems to be asking. And when she tries to uncover her mother’s state of mind in her last weeks, she finds herself drawn into a secret world full of facts she’s never heard and a history she didn’t know existed.


4. Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan (September 10, 2019)
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Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she would wish she’d failed a test until she finds herself holding a thick piece of plastic in her hands and staring at two solid pink lines. Even the most consistent use of condoms won’t prevent pregnancy when your boyfriend secretly pokes holes in them to keep you from going out-of-state for college. Veronica needs an abortion, but the closest place she can legally get one is over nine hundred miles away—and Veronica doesn’t have a car. Too ashamed to ask her friends or family for help, Veronica turns to the one person she believes won’t judge her: Bailey Butler, Jefferson High’s own little black cloud of anger and snark—and Veronica’s ex-best friend. 

5. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (October 8, 2019)
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In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose...


Are any of these already on your TBR pile? Did you find a new title to add?


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February 18, 2019

YA Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Fantasy Retelling
Length: 496 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Source: The library, but I will be purchasing my own copy.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: Fall in love, break the curse. It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope. Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world. Break the curse, save the kingdom. A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My Review

Review in a Tweet: A Curse so Dark and Lonely is both enchanting and dark, this Beauty and the Beast retelling is as unique as they come. A slow-burn romance, a cursed castle, and a kick-ass heroine make this book unforgettable. You will want to read it in one day.

Opening Lines: "There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I've killed this time."

Do I have a new favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling? You bet your ass I do. This book blew me away. Once I started it I just couldn't put it down. This is your warning to make sure you choose a good time to read this book, not right before having to go to work. Kemmerer does an amazing job at creating the magical fantasy world of Emberfall that exists alongside our real world. The descriptions of the cursed castle made it easy for me immerse myself into this story. While some of this story is dark, other times it is full of light.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is told in dual POVs from Prince Rhen of Emberfall and Harper of Washington, DC. Prince Rhen is cursed and his people are suffering. Harper has her own troubles and was not expecting to be kidnapped and brought to a magical kingdom. These two characters' slow-burn romance was incredibly painful and yet wonderfully beautiful to read. They are both different and compliment each other perfectly. I absolutely love that Harper doesn't just accept that she has been taken from her life and can't leave, she fights back. She is a fighter while Rhen is so over the curse he has basically thrown in the towel. Harper is strong, doesn't give up, and also admits when she is wrong. She is just so freaking awesome, and gives Rhen hope. You will want to meet her.

Although on the longer side, there is always something going on in this magical story so the reader will never be bored. The plot doesn't just feature a romance, but a friendship, family, a mystery, a monster, and a kingdom falling to ruin. I don't want to go into too many more details so you can discover them on your own.

The Bottom Line: If I haven't convinced you to read this book yet, I don't know what will. Read it! If you like fairy tale retellings, slow-burn romances, or mysterious fantasy novels, you will love A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

If you liked A Curse So Dark & Lonely try:


5 comments
February 15, 2019

Five on Friday: Television Shows


Now that I am done with grad school I seem to be spending a lot of my time reading, hanging with family/friends, or binge watching television shows. Therefore, I just had to share my most recent television obsessions. Have you seen any of these shows?

My Current Television Show Obsessions


Bodyguard


When I saw Richard Madden (GoT) win an award for his role in the Bodyguard, a TV show that I had seen highlighted on Netflix many many times, I knew it was time I give it a whirl. I was not disappointed. His acting is superb, the plot is intense, and overall it was a great show.

Killing Eve


I think Sandra Oh is a great actress and I couldn't wait to see her role in her new television show. Killing Eve was nothing like it expected it to be. It was filled with dark humor and amazing acting by all. This one is not to be missed. You can find this thrilling title on Hulu.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


The last few episodes are here! I am trying to only watch an episode a day to make it last. The two episodes I have seen so far are as hilarious as ever. I am sad to see the show end, but also hope it ends on a high note. I am not sure it would have kept being funny for too much longer.

You

This show can be creepy and funny at the same time. I don't like a single character, but I am engrossed in this story. What's her name from Pretty Little Liars and what's his name from Gossip Girl are the stars of the show. Hmmmmm, I am just now realizing that I watch a lot of dark/twisty shows.

Superstore


Why are more people not watching this show? It is ridiculous and hilarious and I love it. I am so glad my husband convinced me to give it a try. Each character adds their own fun quirks to the show, and I just can't get enough. I am currently binge watching the crap out of this.




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February 6, 2019

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words

It consists on answering these three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I'm Currently Reading

I just started listening to I Am Still Alive on audio and decided I needed something a little lighter to read as well so I went with Let's Get Textual.

 

What I Recently Finished Reading

I just finished listening to Ellie Kemper's My Squirrel Days. It had a few really hilarious parts, but overall it wasn't as funny as I was hoping and dragged a a little here and there. I just finished reading Lucky in Love and although I enjoyed it (not surprising since it is written by Kasie West), I didn't love it for personal reasons.


What I Plan to Read Next

My friend keeps telling me I need to get with it and read King of Scars already, but for some reason the mood has yet to strike me. I also plan to read Shout in the near future.


What are you currently reading?


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February 1, 2019

Romance Book Recommendations for February


The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen
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My Review

Synopsis: Taylor Simmons is screwed. Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.
 

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett 
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My Review

Synopsis: Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong? With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

What if It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
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My Review

Synopsis: Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
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My Review

Synopsis: Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. 

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
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My Review

Synopsis: While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
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My Review

Synopsis: Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.


The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
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Synopsis: When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn't come as a surprise--or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes...
 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
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Synopsis: Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting
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My Review

Synopsis: Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
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My Review

Synopsis: Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter
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Synopsis: When I put up a ROOMMATE WANTED poster, he was the last person on earth I thought would respond.

He was also the last person on earth I’d agree to let live with me…on purpose.

But, here we are—roommates. I’m certain we can coexist without it being awkward, and I’m determined to make it work. There will be no sexual tension building with each accidental touch, no flutters when he wears that stupid backward baseball cap, and definitely no flirting when we text back and forth.

Caleb Mills can’t be the guy for me. He’s my best friend’s ex-boyfriend.  And that would be wrong…right?
 

Consumed by J.R. Ward
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My Review

Synopsis: Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed... By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer. Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self. Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again--until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.
Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any romance recommendations for me? Give me your recs in the comments below!


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