Book Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR and WHY

This is such a fun week! I’m excited about this topic and dove right into my TBR to find some books.

I found a list of books that I’m definitely hiding from for a myriad of reasons. Check them out below!

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

WHY – I have heard great things about this middle grade series, but it’s also a LONG series and LONG books. And I just haven’t hit the mood of wanting to read them yet. I can get them all digitally from my library though which is a huge plus.


Eidolon (Wraith Kings #2) by Grace Draven

WHY – I really loved the first book, Radiance, and thought I’d dive right into the next one but never got the chance. Now I’m afraid I’ve waited too long and won’t love it like I want to. So there it sits on my TBR.


The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

WHY – I have seen SO MANY CONFLICTING REVIEWS Y’ALL. Everything from 1 star I hated this, to 5 star this was amazing. Which is why I stare at it on my shelf and have yet to pick it up.


Princes at War by Deborah Cadbury

WHY – I am a mood reader. And I haven’t really been in the mood for a non-fiction. I picked this up for super cheap on Book Outlet and I really hope to get to this soon. It sounds interesting!


Hunting Prince Dracula & Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

WHY – I’m including these together since they’re by the same author. I have wanted to continue this series and binge the last two before Capturing the Devil came out. My library hasn’t gotten EFH yet though. And I’ve requested a few times without getting anywhere. They have the first two so I thought they would be cool with getting the third? UGH.


The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May

WHY – I’m not loving this series as much as I’ve seen other people. And since I’ve been reading it through the library it’s turned into an out of sight, out of mind book. I might eventually get to it, we’ll see.


Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova

WHY – Okay, it’s no secret around here. I LOVE THE AIR AWAKENS SERIES WITH MY WHOLE BOOKISH HEART. This is the next series and is a spin-off. Oh how I want to read it. Oh how I’m frightened to meet new characters and know I will compare it to Air Awakens.


The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2) by Lisa Maxwell

WHY – After super enjoying The Last Magician, I was excited to get to The Devil’s Thief. Then I saw some reviews and people seem to hate the second book?! WHY. This makes me want to pick it up, and also hide from it.


Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman

WHY – I LOVED BEARTOWN. And thought I would pick up book two immediately. I spoke to a Bookstagram friend about why she DNF this one. She mentioned that it was a bit repetitive if you read it right after Beartown (they go over everything that happens in book one). So for now I’m putting this away until I can’t remember Beartown quite enough to really love this one.

What books are you hiding from on your TBR? Are any of these on your list? Lets talk in the comments! Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

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BOTM

Special Announcement: September BOTM YA Book Picks (And what I chose this month!)

This post may contain referral/affiliate links. If you buy something, I may earn a commission.

Howdy! We have school’s back in session, the air maybe getting a touch cooler, and Hobby Lobby already making sure you have your Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas supplies READY.

But a new month also means new BOTM YA books! I am excited about this months picks (I’ve even read one of them already) and can’t wait for my book to get here. Check out below the options and if you’re interested please make sure you to use the link below!

Book of the Month YA

Fantasy:

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

I received an eARC through Netgalley, find my review here!

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.


Contemporary Romance:

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.

Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…


Historical Fantasy:

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (Debut!)

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.


Contemporary Fiction:

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner. 

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.


Contemporary Romance:

Frankly in Love by David Yoon (Debut!)

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

My pick for September is: The Ten Thousand Doors of January! I hadn’t even heard about it until reading over the options for this month and it sounds like a great pick. I’m going to be reading it with a friend and we’re both excited to check out this debut.

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Book Review

Book Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: July 17th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

ALL THE EMOTIONS.

This book tore me up. I love anything CoHo writes. I haven’t read all of her books, but currently I’m at 8 of them and this one might be my favorite yet. Hoover is able to take this intense situations and emotions and create a book that somehow still gives you hope at the end (even if you’re crying).

I really felt this book because of it’s main issue, infertility. This is not a light conversation ever and while I personally haven’t had to deal with this, I know many families who have. I thought the way the book conveyed how deeply infertility can affect someone (and those around them) was done well. There were so many sides to take in and brought in a lot of moments that made the book an easy five stars.

“I love you more in this moment than any moment that has come before it.” 

The now vs. then timeline had me speeeeed reading because I had to know what happened next. It was the perfect stop and starts as I got to see them fall in love, and find that love again. The last couple of chapters with Graham’s letters DESTROYED ME. I seriously went to go kiss my husband after finishing this book because it made me consider a lot. Every couple has to remember why they love each other sometimes and not to give in at the same time. So many truths in this book.

Characters made me want to hug them, yell at them, cry with them, and much more. I couldn’t believe some actions taken by others. It was hard to watch. I am in awe of how great this book was and I am forever a CoHo fan.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kiss, make-outs, detailed romance scenes
  • Trigger warnings: self-harm (MC cuts her wrist once), infidelity, infertility, miscarriage, depression, grief, cheating,

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Book Review

Book Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 440 pages
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 4th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

VERY CHARACTER DRIVEN.

This was very different than the previous four (maybe five?) Dessen novels I have read. Not in a bad way, just different.

This was heavily character driven and was a bit of a long book. It took a bit to get into because I didn’t know when it really began. I kept looking for a love story that I didn’t see. Once I realized that this was going to much deeper levels than that, I was able to get on board.

NOW, not to say there wasn’t a little bit of romance. Saylor does meet someone, and things end well. It isn’t the forefront of the novel though. The big focus is on Saylor and her growth over the summer. After a family tragedy she grows up not really remembering having spent any time there when she was younger. Her time spent on the lake allows her the opportunity to learn about her mother’s family. She’s able to reconnect with so many people and learn through them about her mother and more.

Saylor changes a lot over the course of the novel and helps her Dad do the same. He was a bit more stubborn (because of grief) and she is able to help him release the tension he had been carrying way too long. At times I would be upset with her Dad because I couldn’t grasp WHY he couldn’t relax a little. By the end, the rest of the story is out and we’re able to understand the decisions at play.

Lots of lasting re-kindlings with family are made and has given Saylor back apart of her life she didn’t realize how much she needed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: mentions of a boat crash (off screen) and a sailing boat capsizes
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, drug abuse, off-screen heroine overdose, underage drinking, loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Book Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

HEART-WRENCHING.

I liked this book, but it was not my favorite by Christina Lauren.

This was so quick to fly through. I really enjoy love stories that flip back and forth in time. The hype and anticipation that builds waiting to find out what really happened that one night that ruined it all. YES. It makes the book fly by and this was no different.

Even as soon as Elliot and Macy saw each other it was like whoa, that’s my lobster (Friends fans anyone?). The fact that they both immediately realized their attraction and childhood love was still there ripped my heart out. WHY DID YOU LEAVE FOR 11 YEARS. Seriously, all of the emotions.

These characters were flawed and layered in so many ways. It made this romance stand out and brought the entire story to life. I thought Elliot and Macy were well thought out, and even the side characters added just the right touch.

The reason for their initial issues was a little eh. I didn’t love it and it kind of made me mad because it was a bit cliche. I’m glad they were actually able to communicate (FINALLY) and solve the issues from that night. So many things went wrong and it pulled at all of the heart strings watching young love be dashed.

I looooove Elliot. He was so sweet. He refused to give up on his first love and I’m impressed he held out this long to only be waiting for maybe a chance moment of running into Macy. He was continually thoughtful and endearing and I couldn’t get enough of him.

This book had a bit too much casual discussions of sex, and descriptions of sex for me. It’s a total personal opinion so don’t be deterred if you don’t mind this level of detail! I know we all have our own comfort level.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, mentions of masturbation, casual sex, some detailed love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 73rd, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

A FUN SUMMER READ

a Bookstagram friend recommended this when I was looking for distracting books that I could be wrapped up in. I loved that this totally came through and I found myself flying through it.

I loved all of the dogs in here because I personally used to work with dogs so I felt all of this on a personal level. I thought it was unique too as I haven’t seen that be part of a plot before. I honestly think it would be the perfect summer job to walk dogs! HOW FUN.

The love story was cute. I was invested in it from the start and loved Clark. He was sweet, and nerdy and I would definitely be into a fantasy writer. Their interactions were absolutely precious and I had no problems loving them. I wish they both communicated a little better with each other, but overall I actually loved that it wasn’t enemies to lovers (my generally favorite trope). This was a summer fling kind of romance and YES. I am all over it.

Andie’s friends on the other hand were realllll annoying at times. That and the fact that for a contemporary I felt 500+ pages was too long were my only issues. Some random pieces of her friends lives were almost playing too big of a part in the story, and then it kind of ended weird? I understood where her friend was coming from, but was also reallll confused.

Andie had some Daddy issues that caused her to spiral at times but I liked her character. She was a lot more emotionally aware as a teen than I expected, even when she made some mistakes. She had to bounce back from a lot as she tried to navigate her summer and what was more important. There was a strong take on communication and re-connecting with family. I appreciated and enjoyed watching Andie and her Dad both work at their relationship.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: lots of kisses & make-outs, discussion of “bases” and going all the way but no actual depicted love scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆   
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

THIS DUO DOES IT AGAIN.

I finished this book IN HOURS. That’s how much I loved it. Oh it was so cute y’all.

There were moments where I actually found myself laughing out loud at the antics that Olive would find herself in. The poor girl is always the unlucky twin and her stories show. But, over the course of this book she had a lot of growth as she realized she also possessed the power to change her course and not always assume she would draw the short straw.

Ethan was precious. I loved all of his interactions (and that massage scene you guys!! – the angst was real throughout this entire book) He and Olive made this amazing pair. This book could have been even longer and I wouldn’t have complained one bit. This is less enemies-to-lovers than it appears though. The whole reason she has an issue with him is a misunderstanding. Goes to show, communication is key.

I had heard that this one was less steamy than their other novels. I found it to be a perfect amount. I personally don’t love when the books feels like only sex, so by dialing this down I got a lot of great banter, sweet-heart moments and more plot.

I struggled with Ami because I felt she should have trusted her twin more (and Dane is seriously, the worst). Their plot line only really added to the conflict between Olive & Ethan.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, a little-detailed love scene, a few more that are mostly fade to black
  • Trigger warning: cheating spouses

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