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:

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


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.


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.


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.

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?

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!

January 30, 2019

Mini Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: I received a free e-ARC from Netgalley. This did NOT affect my honest review.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: Jesse Lachlin is cursed. So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland. Scarlett Copeland is psychic. Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin. Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

My Review

Only a Breath Apart in Three Words: Mesmerizing. Heartbreaking. Sweet.

Katie McGarry has done it again. She makes her characters come alive and does an amazing job at setting each scene. Only a Breath Apart is both heartbreaking and beautiful.

Jesse and Scarlett were friends, until they weren't. Now destiny is bringing them back together again. Their story truly captivated me. There are a lot of tough issues these two have to go through, but the ending makes reading through it all totally worth it.

I do wish there would have been a little more to what I thought was going to be some magical realism elements, but other than that I have no complaints.

Note: There are scenes of physical and verbal abuse.

The Verdict: I highly recommend you give this a try, especially if you have enjoyed reading other books by Katie McGarry.

If you liked Only a Breath Apart try:


January 21, 2019

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh (Jan. 22, 2019)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she's been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita. But then everything changes. When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls' restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.

My Review

The Bids, the Bees, and You and Me is an inclusive sex positive young adult novel, which is freaking awesome! This book would be a great resource to open up some dialogue about sexual health with its readers.

The main character Lacey is sweet and passionate. This is also such a small thing, but I was also so happy to see a teen MC play the viola! That never happens, and I used to play one as a teen! Anyway, Lacey is trying to figure out what she wants to do after high school. She loves playing with her friends in their band and is passionate about music, but she is also discovering her love of being a Doola and having frank discussions about sex and helping improve the school's sexual education curriculum. Does she want to focus on music or nursing after high school? That is the question.

While she is trying to figure out her future she is also juggling her feelings for her best friend Theo. There is just one big problem about that, her other best friend Evita used to date Theo so he is totally off limits. I adored Lacey and Theo's friendship, but I wasn't really caring if it turned into something more. That whole plot line just seemed like it was there because it had to be. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. However, Lacey's struggle with her feelings seemed authentic, if not predictable. Evita on the other hand was such a wonderful outspoken and fun character, and her and Lacey's friendship ringed true and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. However, this book constantly pushes its message in your face, making the friendships and romance stories take a backseat, which was kind of a bummer.

The Bottom Line: The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me is an overall fun story with some great/important discussion-worthy scenes. I loved this line "Like, which is better for keeping us healthy: shame or information? It seems like a no-brainer."

The Author

Olivia Hinebaugh loves all stripes of literature for children. When she isn’t writing fiction, she can be found writing freelance, making art, discovering new songs on spotify, texting her writing buddies, or folding laundry. She lives near Washington, D.C. with her spouse, three kids, a dog that looks like a coyote, and a one-eyed cat. The Birds, The Bees, And You And Me is her debut novel.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 18, 2019

Cover Reveal: Handle with Care by Helena Hunting

I am very excited to announce that today I get to share with you the cover reveal of Helena Hunting's Handle with Care, the next book in her sexy Shacking Up series. I highly recommend this series! Read my review of Shacking Up here and my review of I Flipping Love You here. The only sad news to share is that we have to wait until August to read this beauty.


Without further ado... here is the cover. I love it!


NOTE: This is an unedited excerpt and is subject to change.

I’m startled out of my thoughts when my brother jumps up and shouts a bunch of profane nonsense, hands flailing like he’s trying to swim on land, or approximate the chicken dance while on an LSD trip.
“You can’t do this! It’s absolute bullshit!” Armstrong yells.
I look around the table, trying to piece together what I missed.
“I’m sorry, Armstrong. I know this is a shock, but we feel it’s in the company’s best interest to put Lincoln at the helm during this transitional stage,” G-mom says firmly.
At the helm? I look to G-mom who’s busy not looking at me.
Armstrong jabs at finger at himself. “But I’m the one who’s put in all the time here! I deserve to run the company! Lincoln doesn’t know the first thing about Moorehead. All he knows how to do is dig wells and forage for food in the wilderness. How are those valuable assets here?” He turns his attention to our mother. “Did you know about this? How can you let this happen? Look at him. How can that be the face of our company? He looks like he crawled out of a gutter and mugged a twenty-year-old college kid on a bender. How is this better for our bottom line?”
My mother clasps her hands in front of her. “I’m sorry, Armstrong, but this decision wasn’t mine to make. I know this is hard for you, but your grandmother and fath—”
Armstrong stomps his foot, exactly as a toddler would. “The company is mine! Lincoln can’t have it!”
I raise a hand, half to quiet my brother and also to find out what the freaking deal is. “Whoa, let’s back this bus up.  Can someone explain what’s going on?”
“You’ve been appointed as the CEO of Moorehead Media, according to the will,” Christophe—no R, because that would make it far too pedestrian a name—my father’s lawyer says.
I’m working on trying to remain calm as I address my grandmother. “You didn’t say anything about me being CEO. You said you needed my help.”
“Running the company, yes,” she says through a practiced, stiff smile.
It’s her warning face, but seriously, when she said she needed my help for a few months I figured it meant I’d be keeping Armstrong in line while she sorted out who was going to take over the company, which I realize now was a stupid assumption.
“I didn’t think that meant CEO. How am I going to run a company with this dickhead on staff?” I motion to my brother.
“The name calling is unnecessary,” G-mom replies.
“Lincoln’s not even part of this family! He hasn’t attended one event in the past five years except for Dad’s funeral. He didn’t bother coming to my wedding and now he’s going to run the company? How is that fair?”
I snort. “Your wedding was an expensive joke.”
He crosses his arms over his chest. “I was set up. Amalie had cold feet and made me out to look like the bad guy.”
The woman beside him shoots him disgusted look.
Armstrong clears his throat and tugs at his collar. “My wedding is not the real issue. The point is that you’ve never involved yourself in any part of this family and now you think you can come in and take over. I will not stand by and let this happen!” He keeps jabbing his finger at me, as if he’s engaged in a finger sword fight.
I lean back in my chair and lace my fingers behind my neck. Armstrong has always been reactive. And self-absorbed. For a while it seemed like he finally had it together—back when he was engaged. But ever since that fiasco of a wedding he seems to have come completely unglued. Again. But worse this time. “Someone needs a timeout.”

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