Mini ARC Review | Phoenix Flame

Title: Phoenix Flame (Havenfall #2)

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: March 2, 2021

My Rating: ★★★

❗️❗️BEFORE YOU CONTINUE READING, BE AWARE THAT THIS IS A SEQUEL! YOU CAN READ MY REVIEW OF HAVENFALL HERE!❗️❗️

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Maddie thought her problems were over. She saved the Inn at Havenfall—a sanctuary between magical worlds—from the evil Silver Prince. Her uncle the Innkeeper is recovering from a mysterious spell that left him not quite human. And there are still a few weeks of summer left to spend with her more-than-friend Brekken.
But there’s more work to be done to protect the Inn—Maddie must put an end to the black-market trading of magical objects and open the Inn’s doors to the once feared land of shapeshifters.

As she tries to accomplish both seemingly impossible tasks, Maddie uncovers secrets that could change everything. What if saving everyone means destroying the only home she’s known?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Let me first start by saying that I loved Havenfall! The idea of a neutral meeting place for different realms was so intriguing to me and I had an absolute blast reading about it in book one. When Havenfall ended, I was left wanting more! I couldn’t wait for the sequel.

Fast forward to finishing Phoenix Flame and I am a bit underwhelmed. I didn’t connect with this book as much as I did with the first one. I felt like everything was rushed so it was hard for me to really get into the story. In all honesty, I think Havenfall should have just been a long standalone.

While I didn’t love this book, there were still parts that I enjoyed. I’m happy that we were able to see a glimpse of another realm. That was one thing I had hoped Sara Holland would add to the sequel so I was excited when it happened. I also really enjoyed the ending. For the most part everything was wrapped up and my questions were answered. There’s one thing that was left open which I’m kind of curious about. I don’t know if that was done just for interpretation or if the author plans to explore the character’s story more. I would definitely be interested in more books set in this world.

★★★

ARC Review | The Initial Insult

Title: The Initial Insult

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Release date: February 23, 2021

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things. 

Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.

But she’ll have to.

Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.

Review: 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I have always heard really good things about this author’s writing so of course I was very excited to pick up their newest title. The synopsis sounded pretty dark & thrilling which is something that I usually enjoy. Unfortunately though, this book just wasn’t the right one for me. I didn’t connect with it like I thought I would. In fact, I actually had a hard time sticking with the story. It lost my attention quite a bit.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. Both were unlikeable, which was meant to happen, but I had more issues with Tress than I did with Felicity. Tress has gone through a lot in her life. Her parents disappeared and she was sent to live with her neglectful grandfather. Yes, her life has been rough, but that doesn’t excuse her actions. She is violent and petty. Most of her chapters were spent blaming Felicity for everything that has gone wrong in her life. It was too much. Felicity hasn’t had it easy either. With frequent seizures that she keeps a secret & parents who care more about popularity, Felicity’s life isn’t perfect. She wants to move on from everything that happened with Tress’s parents, but Tress isn’t about to let that happen.

I wasn’t a fan of how the topic of seizures was handled. As far as the representation, that I cannot comment on. I do not have any knowledge or experience there. What I didn’t like was the fact that Felicity’s parents were very insistent on keeping the seizures a secret. Their reasoning behind this was if people knew then no one would want to marry Felicity. I feel like that is the wrong message to send, especially when there wasn’t anyone challenging their mindset. Am I reading into this too much? Probably. But as someone with a disability, It angers me when someone says that type of thing.

The past & present timelines were hard for me to follow. Throughout the story we get throwbacks to Tress & Felicity during the school years. I would get confused on where exactly we were at certain points. Since I did listen to the audio, I do think that had I physically read this book, that wouldn’t have been an issue.

I feel like there were lots of random elements of the story. The roaming panther and the mysterious flu just seemed out of place. I’m sure they connect to the story somehow, but I’m not sure. 

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect! I was super intrigued and wanted to know what exactly happened to Tress’s parents. The author did a good job keeping me guessing! 

The ending was satisfying. We didn’t get all the answers, but I think I got enough to have closure. This is the first book in a duology, but as of right now, I have no plans to read the second book. 

Overall, I do think that other readers will enjoy this book. It wasn’t bad by any means. It just wasn’t the right fit for me!

★★★

ARC Review | Admission

Title: Admission

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release date: December 1, 2020

My rating: ★★★.5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes an of-the-moment novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.

Admission tells the story of high school senior Chloe. It’s the time of the year when she has to buckle down and start thinking about college. After multiple SAT tests with scores that aren’t as good as she hoped for, Chloe is told that her dream schools aren’t achievable. Her celebrity mother decides to hire an admissions conceder to help make the process easier. When Chloe is accepted to her first choice school, she can’t believe it. Fast forward to when her mother is arrested for bribing her daughter’s way into college. How exactly did this happen? And how much did Chloe actually know??

I have gone back-and-forth with my feelings on this book. For the most part it was an enjoyable read but I never felt like I was fully invested in the story. Admission is told through dual timelines… before the arrest and everything after. I found myself way more interested in the aftermath. Those chapters I couldn’t stop reading. I was so eager to know how things were going to end up for the family.

Admission really explores privilege in all of its forms. Chloe’s family is very well off. With her mom being an actor and her dad working in finance, they have everything they need plus way more. Throughout the story Chloe is put in eye opening situations that make her realize she is very lucky to be where she is. Her character growth, while it takes time, is exactly what I was hoping to read. Taking responsibility is another major part of the story. Chloe’s mom learns the hard way that you have to own up to your mistakes. Even if the consequences are scary, you still have to do the right thing.

I absolutely loved Chloe’s sister Isla. She is such a fierce person. Unlike Chloe, she takes the time to educate herself about the case against her mom. She basically has to tell Chloe what to do in order to protect herself from facing charges. Honestly, Chloe would not make it through this book if it wasn’t for Isla. I also liked Chloe’s best friend Shola. While their friendship is super awkward, I loved that she put Chloe in her place at times. When Chloe would say or do things that were not acceptable, Shola would make sure Chloe checked her privilege and understood what she did was wrong. Isla and Shola played a huge role in Chloe’s growth.

Overall, this story is thought provoking and so timely. I applaud the author for taking on such an infuriating topic. Admission will definitely make you look at the Lori Loughlin & Felicity Huffman cases with a whole different perspective. 

Blog Tour + Review: A Golden Fury

Hi friends! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe! I want to give a huge thank you to Wednesday Books for inviting me to be on the tour and for providing me with an eARC! I am so grateful for the opportunity!

Title: A Golden Fury

Author: Samantha Cohoe

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release date: October 13, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists. 

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

Review:

I absolutely loved A Golden Fury! It was one of those books that you devour in no time because you are so invested in the plot & characters. I was completely blown away by Samantha Cohoe’s writing. As her debut, this story draws you in and will not let you go until the very last word! I cannot wait to see what this author publishes in the future!

Our main character Thea was wonderful! She was strong and so talented. I fell in love with her from the very first page. Thea goes through so much in this book and she never once gave up. Her love for alchemy and her friends & family gave her the strength to keep going even in the darkest times. Thea was so relatable and without a doubt a new favorite character of mine!

The side characters were fantastic as well. Each had something special about them that made me root for them, even when I really shouldn’t have. In particular, I couldn’t get enough of Dominic, Valentin and the Stone. I loved each for very different reasons. Dominic was such a great friend and he literally had a heart of gold. Valentin though, he was rough around the edges, but you could tell that he still had empathy for others. The Stone was a character all on its own and wow, I thought it was very clever. I don’t want to spoil what I mean by this, but I absolutely loved this part of the book. 

Alchemy was at the forefront of this story & to me, it was super intriguing.  I loved that we were able to see the behind the scenes of how the Philosopher’s Stone was made. Cohoe’s descriptive writing made me feel as though I was right alongside Thea in the lab. It made for a great reading experience.

If you haven’t heard of the Philosopher’s Stone before, it is basically an object that can turn any metal to gold, heal all illnesses and give immortally. It’s a super magical topic and I loved Cohoe’s take on it. The deadly curse that was put on those who tried to create the Stone was brutal. The author did a wonderful job showing the toll the curse took on the mental state of the characters. 

The ending was fantastic & satisfying! I really had no idea how things were going to conclude so you can bet that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. While this is a standalone, I really hope that Cohoe writes more in this world. There are a few characters who I would love to learn more about!

Overall. A Golden Fury was a delight to read! If you are looking for a historical fantasy that is full of science, magic and the the unknown, I highly recommend adding this book to your TBR pile! Release date is October 13th!

★★★★★

About the Author:

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

Links:

Buy A Golden Fury
Samantha’a Instagram
Samantha’s Twitter
Wednesday Books Instagram
Wednesday Books Twitter

ARC Review | Bookish and the Beast

Title: Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3)

Author: Ashley Poston

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release date: August 4, 2020

My rating: ★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a finished copy!

I absolutely loved Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl! They are two of my favorite books. Needless to say, I thought Bookish and the Beast was going to be another love of mine, but unfortunelty, it was just an okay read for me. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hopes that I had for it. 

First off, Bookish and the Beast is the third book in the Once Upon a Con series! These books are companions so no, you do not have to read Geekerella or The Princess and the Fangirl to read this book. It can stand on its own just fine. However, I personally feel like you will have a better experience with this story if you read the other books first. There are several references to prior events and characters so you may get a little confused if you don’t. Also, this series is a lot of fun so I highly recommend Geekerella & Princess any way! 

As you can probably tell, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling! Ashley Poston did a wonderful job taking the classic tale that we all know & love and she put a bookish and geeky spin to it! 

Rosie is our Belle! When Rosie chases after a dog, she ends up in an abandoned house….so she thinks. There she finds a huge library full of the Starfield books. After being caught in the house and damaging an expensive book, she must organize the library to pay off her debt. I really loved Rosie. She is a total book nerd. She loves the look of books, the smell of them and getting lost in th pages. My favorite type of character! Rosie recently lost her mother, the person who helped her to fall in love with books and Starfield. She is trying to navigate life without one of her parents while also trying not to be the “girl with a dead mom.” 

Vance is our Beast. He is Hollywood royalty and oh, he plays the villain, General Sond in the Starfield movies. After many slip ups with paparazzi, Vance’s parents send him away so he can try to see the error of his ways. Vance can be pretty annoying and almost unlikeable at times. He is has that *I can do anything I want because I’m rich* thing going on and it drove me crazy. Of course, I still wanted the best for him though. He struggles with trust. He thinks that everyone is out to get him. He also feels like he isn’t good enough. It was interesting to see his character changes & learns. By the end of the book, he isn’t the same person we see in the beginning.

What I loved most about Geekerella & The Princess and the Fangirl is that they were very fandom centric. Being the nerd that I am, I really enjoyed the convention settings, cosplays and all the other geeky things that those books had. I was hoping for something very similar with the third book, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Bookish and the Beast went in a different direction and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. We still get to see the wonderful word of Starfield, but it’s through books. Obviously being a bookworm, I loved that, but I always found myself missing the fun of the ExcelciCon! Compared to the first two books, there wasn’t enough fandom related things for me to nerd out to.

As far as the romance goes, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t find myself rooting for it either. The chemistry between the two seemed to fluctuate. At times I could definitely see the sparks between the characters and then others times I was almost cringing at the awkwardness.

My favorite part of Bookish and the Beast was the adults that surround Rosie and Vance! They were incredible. Vance’s guardian, Elias is a total gem. He was always there to support Vance, especially when his parents weren’t. Yes, Vance has his troubles, but Elias saw the best in him. He believed in him when Vance needed it the most! Rosies dad was the coolest! I’m not even kidding, I loved him. He is a 90’s rock band loving, ear gauge wearing, queer librarian. Total perfection! His relationship with his daughter as very special. It’s just him & Rosie. They take care of each other no matter what. He is so supportive and gives amazing advice! Space dad is the best!

This may not have been my favorite book in the series, but it was still a fun & quick read. The Once Upon a Con series will forever have my fandom loving heart! 

★★★

thelibrarylane

ARC Review | One to Watch

Title: One to Watch

Author: Kate Stayman London

Publisher: Dial Press

Release date: July 7, 2020

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing my with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I absolutely loved this! It was everything I wanted and more. As a plus size woman, I connected with tis story on such a deep level. I often get nervous about reading books with plus size main characters. I don’t always feel like they are portrayed in the best light, but thankfully that was not an issue with One to Watch. 

Bea Schumacher is a very successful plus size blogger. She has it all…a loving family, tons of loyal followers, and amazing friends. But when her heart is broken by her best friend she has been in love with for years, her world falls apart. Fast forward to when she is asked to be the next Main Squeeze (the equivalent to The Bachelorette). Bea accepts, but she has no idea what she is signing up for. Will she find love on a reality dating show?  

Bea is such an incredible character. She goes on a powerful inner journey and it made my heart explode. She learns that she deserves love just as much as anyone else. Stayman-London did a beautiful job showing the reality of being a plus size woman in today’s society. Just like Bea, people all over the country deal with fatphobic comments. Whether it’s being told that crop tops aren’t for people with big stomachs or that plus size people will never find anyone to love them..fat shaming happens way too often.

The dating show/romance side of One to Watch was super unique. Instead of having one love interest, there were 25! Of course the list dwindled down and we were left with a few constituents that we got to know. I loved al of the dramatic twists along the way. They sure did keep the story interesting. I honestly had no idea who or even if Bea was going to end up with someone. I did have a fun time trying to guess though. There were two men in particular (no spillers!) that were the sweetest and I would love a spin off book(s) about them!

One to Watch was written in a multimedia format. Told through emails, podcasts, blog posts, texts, interviews and TV episodes, it was definitely a clever and fun way to tell Bea’s story. 

Overall, this book was fabulous. One to Watch was fun and heartwarming. I highly recommend adding this to your TBR shelves! I will definitely be on the look out for Kate Stayman-London’s work in the future!

NetGalley Reads #3

This series is where I share some of the eARCs I have lined up for the next few months!

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston (Once Upon a Con #3)

Release date: August 4, 2020

Publisher: Quirk Books

Synopsis:

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

Release date: September 8, 2020

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Synopsis:

Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members–the most elite female students in the school–deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.

But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too–ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Release date: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Tor Books

Synopsis:

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Release date: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis:

In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by theNew York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners, asks what happens when wishes come true…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan

Release date: January 19, 2021

Publisher: Amulet Books

Synopsis:

A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before.

Do you have any NetGalley ARCs that you need to read??

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ARC Review | Something to Talk About

Title: Something to Talk About

Author: Meryl Wilsner

Publisher: Berkley Books

Publication date: May 26, 2020

My rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

Review:

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Something to Talk About was such an enjoyable story and a fantastic debut! This F/F romance was sweet, lighthearted and an all around fun time.

Jo Jones is a writer and showrunner for a hit show. Emma Kaplan is her assistant.  When Jo invites Emma to an award show, things do not go as planned. Rumors start flying that the two are a couple. While trying to navigate through the paparazzi and headlines, Jo and Emma start to wonder if maybe the rumors aren’t wrong…

I really loved both of the main characters. We spend a good portion of this book just getting to know them as individuals. Jo is very focused and serious. She is super passionate about her career and her family. She has such a big heart and will do everything in her power to help someone out. Emma is thoughtful and hardworking. She loves her job and she goes above and beyond to make sure things are perfect. I could definitely read another 300 pages about their separate lives!

If you love slow burn romances, then this book is perfect for you. As the reader, it was crazy obvious that the two had feelings for each other, but for Jo & Emma it took a while to realize and come to terms with that. I do think that it was a little bit too slow burn for my tastes, but it was absolutely worth it in the end. The chemistry between Jo & Emma was literal fire and the respect they had for each other made me so happy. They were perfect for each other, you can’t even deny it. I do wish we could have had a little more time with them once their relationship was established though. With Jo being Emma’s boss, there is a power imbalance, but the author does a fantastic job addressing it! 

I loved the Hollywood setting! I am a nerd for all things TV and with this story we really got to see behind the scenes of how shows are made. Something to Talk About takes on a huge issue that the entertainment industry (and the world in general) faces…sexual harassment. When I read the scene I was not expecting it at al, but I appreciate that the author chose to write about it. Sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is something that happens way too often and there always needs to be a conversation to spread awareness .The way the situation was handled was fantastic. It made a huge impact on Jo and I love that she decides to take action and create a safe space to help those who need it. 

Overall, Something to Talk About was a dream read! I was completely lost in the pages and with everything going on in the world, that is exactly what I needed! I highly recommend picking this title up as soon as it releases on May 26. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

ARC Review | It Sounded Better in My Head

Title: It Sounded Better in My Head

Author: Nina Kenwood

Publisher: Flatiron Books (US) / Text Publishing (Australia)

Release date: April 7, 2020

My rating: ★★★★.5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about first love and its confusions, and all of the awkwardness of teen romance.

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.

Review:

I had an absolute blast reading It Sounded Better in My Head! This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. When I had to take breaks all I thought about was these characters. I could honestly read 500 more pages about their lives!

In this book we follow Natalie, who’s parents just told her they are separating. To make matters worse, her two best friends hooked up. Everything is changing and nothing makes sense anymore. Then an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even more…

Our main character Natalie had a very rough time during puberty. It was not kind to her at all. She developed severe acne. I really appreciate that the author chose to discuss this topic. I was very lucky not to experience much acne growing up so this story showed me exactly how much of a toll it can put on someone. It affects not only your appearance, but your mental health. Natalie talks about having to take medication to calm the acne. She also shares all the side effects she had because of the medication. It is a lot and I couldn’t imagine being in her position. 

Her self confidence is also affected by her troubles with acne. She doesn’t like wearing certain clothing because it shows her scars. She has to make sure her makeup is applied well so it covers everything. She will cancel plans if she has a pimple. So much of her time is consumed by worrying and second guessing everything. It broke my heart. Throughout the book though, she really grows and starts to love who she is. 

Natalie‘s parents were the best! I loved how supportive and involved they were. They wanted her to experience all the good and bad that life has to offer. At the very beginning of the book, they tell Natalie that they are separating. She takes it pretty well at first, but of course deep down she is truly upset. There is a point when her mom decides to start dating again and Natalie is very angry about it. I understand why she felt the way she did, but there was no reason to make her mom feel like a terrible person. She was just trying to be happy. I don’t feel like their argument was ever really resolved so that is my only issue I had with the book.

The friendship between Natalie, Lucy and Zach was interesting to read about. I mean, I have been in Natalie’s place. It sucks to have a friend group of three and then the other two friends start dating. There’s nothing fun about being the third wheel. With all the changes going on, things get pretty rocky. Every friendship has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, the three friends were always there for one another. I loved how protective Zach was and how encouraging Lucy was. Such a great group!

Okay now for the best part of the book…the romance! I don’t want to spoil who Natalie meets, but ugh they were so cute. The love interest is swoon worthy for sure. The chemistry between the two is 10/10. Natalie is very new to everything that comes with dating so I loved all the awkward things that happened. It was so realistic. The couple’s relationship isn’t perfect by any means. It gets messy, but you can bet that I was rooting for them the whole time!

Overall, It Sounded Better in My Head was everything that I wanted it to be plus more. If you are looking for a fun and quick contemporary that has depth and a sweet romance…look no further!

April & OWLs Magical Readathon TBR

Hi friends! It has been quite a while since my last post. Things have been a little crazy. With everything going on in the world, I haven’t had the time or energy to write up new posts. I haven’t even been able to read much at all. My mind has been so overwhelmed with coronavirus news and it’s been hard to focus on anything else. 

 It’s been two weeks since social distancing/quarantine started and I am finally getting into a routine. I’m really hoping that April will be a lot calmer and easier than March was.

I have an ambitious TBR this month. I am going to break it down into sections to better explain!

ARCs

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
Release date: May 26
Publisher: Berkley
I don’t really know much about this book besides it’s a F/F romance set in the entertainment industry. That’s enough info to get me super excited to start reading!

Admission by Julie Buxbaum
Release date: May 5
Publisher: Delacorte
I know that it takes a while to get a book published, so I’m convinced this author is psychic. Admission follows a college bribery scandal. Sound familiar…Aunt Becky???

By the Book by Amanda Sellet
Release date: May 12
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Again, I can’t remember much about the synopsis, but I know it has to do with a book nerd. I’m here for it.

OWLs MAGICAL READATHON

This AMAZING readathon is hosted by Book Roast. She puts so much hard work into this and I am very excited to participate for the first time. I chose to pursue the Seer career! This means I need to complete three courses to pass my OWLs!

➸ Ancient Runes: heart on the cover or in the title

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
This is the companion novel to Letters to the Lost. I absolutely loved that book and I can’t wait to see some of the characters again.

➸ Astronomy: read a majority of this book when it’s dark outside

The Whisper Man by Alex North
An adult thriller about catching a serial killer. I figured this would be a great one to read at night!

➸ Divination: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read

Wilder Girls by Rory Power
This couldn’t have been a more perfect pick! I have been wanting to read this for such a long time!

OTHER READS

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
I have been waiting for my audiobook hold to come in for a while & I am next in line. Finally!

Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry
I thought this would be an interesting time to read this book.

That’s it! Fingers crossed I can get to all of these.

I hope you all are staying home (if you can) & taking care of yourselves.

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