Top 10 Books of 2020…

Not Lilly starting 2021 with a Top 10 of 2020? *side eye* this post should’ve gone up last week but your girl was enjoying her birthday shennanigans haha! Hello Book Lovers & Happy New Year! I originally was aiming for a Top 20 0f 2020 however as I’m sure many of you can relate to, I found I read a lot less this past year than I ever have. So, instead of reaching to deliver a Top 20 I decided to go with the books I have ZERO hesitations reaching for on my shelf. These are titles that invoked a range of emotions and/or left me with new and memorable characters I’ll be thinking about for quite some time. I would also love to see your favorite books of 2020 posts, drop those links down below <3’s!


HEAVY HITTERS – WE LOVE TO SEE IT!

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TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN BY TALIA HIBBERT (SPOILER FREE REVIEWThis book will forever go down in the books as having the MOSt swoon worthy couple EVER! I fell head over heels for both Dani & Zaf who are complete polar opposites that compliment each other. Dani is a daughter of Oshun, a witch who is fiercely independent & closed off to the idea of love. Zaf listens to romance books, helps youth males shed toxic masculinity through his foundation, and worships the ground Dani walks on. Sexy AF couple GOALS Bookworms!

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB (SPOILER FREE REVIEWI allowed myself to get swept into this Historical Fiction story of a girl born way ahead of her times. Addie seeks to escape a life of domesticity she will certainly be tied to when married off by her parents. A prayer made at night and heard by the wrong God grants her the chance to strike a deal. Immortality of sorts, her soul to be rendered to Lucifer once she tires of it. The deal is made with stipulations, Addie will not be remembered by anyone once she is out of sight even if for a few minutes. This book had me up at all hours of the night thinking about the footprints we leave behind. Yes, I absolutely was left heartbroken at the very end.

SUCH A FUN AGE BY KILEY REID (RTC) This was my last read of 2020 thanks to my good friend Taylor at NerdNarration who gifted me a copy. I also listened to the audiobook which delivered an A+ performance. I can’t think of a better time to have read this book than in 2020, the year that many were forced to take off their rose colored glasses and see their own internalized racism and microagressions. Told in dual POV we follow Emira who is a young black woman working as a sitter for a white family. Emira is asked to do the family a favor and take their little girl for a walk (in the middle of the night) while they sort through some things at home with the police. Emira is then approached by a neighborhood Karen at the Supermarket and accused of having possibly kidnapped the child in her charge. It’s not meant to make you comfortable, it’s one of those reads I’ll never forget.

ANXIOUS PEOPLE BY FREDRIK BACKMAN (RTC) I went in blind to this book and honestly feel like this is the BEST way to go in! I listened to the audiobook which starts off with a bank robbery gone wrong but also in the BEST of ways LOL smh. I have yet to write my review but that’s because I loved it so much and don’t feel I can do it justice. All I will say is that in 2021 I will be making my way through Fredrik Backman’s books.

MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA (SPOILER FREE REVIEWHAUNTING AF! Also the book that has sent me on a “MUST buy all Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books” quest #noregrets This Gothic Noir story transports you to High Place, a sort of mansion where Noemi our MC has arrived in search of answers. Noemi’s cousin who has married and left to High Place has been sending Noemi strange letters that are concerning. Is she ill or are there nefarious acts afoot at High Place? This was a ride! I didn’t expect where it took me but I was engrossed in the atmospheric setting nonetheless. This is not just horror written for the scare factor, there are also themes of eugenics and colonization weaved into this story that speak to Silvia Moreno Garcia’s level of craft.

INCENDIARY BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA (SPOILER FREE REVIEWI actually laughed out loud when I started typing for this one simply because I would NOT call it a night until I read the last page of this book. I remember my boyfriend giving me that look and the scream/jump I gave when I read the last line…Yeah it was a cliffhanger! the MOTHER LOAD of all cliff hangers at 2am smh! I love Zoraida Cordova and found that compared to the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy, I much prefer the older side of YA writing delivered in this book. Set during the Spanish Inquisition in a Fantasy world where magic is deemed a disease, we meet Renata who can steal other peoples powers. She is taken at a young age and weaponized until she matures into a young woman and crosses over to the rebel side. A more twisty YA Fantasy I haven’t read in a long time & the crew of characters will be a hit for those who enjoyed Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

LOBIZONA BY ROMINA GARBER (SPOILER FREE REVIEW) This one raised the bar for me when choosing YA Fantasy to read. I was blown away by how Romina Garber managed to portray the feelings of displacement felt by many young immigrants. Our MC Manu is caught between two worlds, an immigrant from Argentina living in hiding in Miami Florida she stumbles into a world of magic. Witches, werewolves, a magical school with their own sport paired with important themes of gender identity and immigration  made this one an absolute favorite of the year!

HOUSE OF BLOOD AND EARTH BY SARAH J. MAAS (SPOILER FREE REVIEWI picked this one up on release day which was back in March before the country shut down and all ish hit the fan to be quite honest. SJM provided the escapism I so desperately needed at the time. By now we all know what to expect when reading a book by SJM, characters you can’t help but get invested in & a compulsivly readable plot. Do not read the synopsis on GR if you plan on reading this book! it’s super spoilery and you’ll be robbing yourself of the heartbreak everyone else experienced who didn’t read the synopsis. Angels, Fae, Wolves and a lovable Fire Sprite who loves watching Fangs & Bangs…mhmmm it’s exactly what you’re thinking LOL!


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A Diverse Non-Fiction November…

Hola Book Lovers! It’s been quite some time since I picked up a Non-Fiction book, but the mood hit yesterday and before I knew it I had 5 books I’d like to read this month. I’m not too surprised this was a last minute thing since that pretty much sums up most of my reading this year. That it just so happens to be Non-Fiction November is a plus! Earlier this morning I finished listening to  In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. I expected the horror noir vibes but wasn’t expecting it to hit on a personal level. This is going to be a tough read but for those who are interested in the audiobook, the author does narrate it herself which personally made the delivery that much more profound. I’ll hopefully have a mini-review up for In the Dream House this weekend.

DIVERSE NON-FICTION I’M READING THIS MONTH


IN THE DREAM HOUSE BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADODocuments the authors own experience within an abusive same-sex relationship. I wasn’t expecting to listen to this in one sitting but it happened. At times very hard to listen to, raw and unflinching in its honesty. The author wants to raise awareness of how abuse within queer relationships is handled. The fact that often times victims aren’t believed unless there are visible scars & even then it’s sort of swept under the rug. The toxicity in this relationship ranges from emotional to verbal & at times even physical, I’d say you have to be in the right mind space.

BORN A CRIME BY TREVOR NOAH “Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.” I’ve followed Trevor Noah on The Daily Show for some time now & heard amazing reviews about his memoir, it’s time to dig in! 

ORDINARY GIRLS BY JAQUIRA DIAZ“Ordinary Girls is a fierce, beautiful, and unflinching memoir from a wildly talented debut author. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira Díaz found herself caught between extremes: as her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was surrounded by the love of her friends; as she longed for a family and home, she found instead a life upended by violence. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.” Thank YOU Bookstagram for placing this book on my feed cause the minute I saw the cover I ran over to Goodreads for a synopsis. This sounds like it will be a powerful read! 

THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS – “One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation. Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants–and to find the hidden key to her own.” Having had many of my own family members battle for years to obtain their paperwork for an opportunity to live & work in the USA, this one is HIGH up on my priority list. 

HOOD FEMINISM – “Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?” I’m MOST stoked to read this one, I have both the audiobook and a physical copy I was gifted from a friend. It’s important for me to read books with a focus on intersectional feminism. 


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FEBRUARY 2020 BOOK HAUL

Hello Bookworms! I honestly am looking for ways to occupy my mind away from the very grim reality we are all facing. That means I may actually get some more reading & reviewing done, glass half full amiright? I read some really good books in February that I’ll break down in my Wrap-up which should be up early this week. I’m still keeping to my 2020 goal of buying only my favorites OR titles I know I’ve been eager to get to. I also happened to take a trip to Philadelphia & stopped by one of my favorite Comic Book shops on South Street Atomic City Comics. This comic book shop has such a chill vibe with AMAZING staff that really go out of their way to talk to their customers & make some dope recommendations. I LOVE their spotlight table where you can find titles featuring LGBTQIA+ and POC, Abbott (Pictured down below) is one of the titles I scooped up from their shop 🤗

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LADY MECHANIKA VOLUME 1 | ABBOTT | THE SIMPLE WILD (WILD #1) | WILD AT HEART (WILD #2)| THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN (HELL’S LIBRARY #1) | LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI (LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI #1) | WHERE DREAMS DESCEND (ARC) | STARSIGHT (SKYWARD #2)

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ANNA K | THINGS IN JARS | WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT

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ALL THE STARS AND TEETH


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Spoiler Free Review: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Title: Dark and Deepest Red

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Pub. Date: January 14th 2020

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

Pages: 309 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON 

*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

“Well-crafted seams and delicate beading gave my family a trade and a living. But red shoes gave us a name. They made us infamous. They made us brazen. Until they came for us. Except that’s not quite true. They didn’t come for us. They came for me.”

I’ve always been intrigued by the Salem Witch trials & the mass hysteria caused by outcries of devil worship. This story however takes place in 1500’s Strasbourg, a time when Romani people were being forced out of France & Germany. Our MC Lala is a Romani girl, she is a person of color, unwed, makes her own living and is in love with a transgender boy. She must give up all Romani traditions & beliefs if she is to pass off as German or French in Strasbourg. Lala has a target on her back when the women are inflicted with dancing fever, a dance they cannot stop & often ends in injury or death. Witchcraft is believed to be at the very heart of these dances as more and more women are touched by the fevered dance. The author gives us Lala’s POV during this time while also jumping ahead to her descendants in current time.

Five centuries later we meet Rosala Oliva & Emil who have ties to Lala & figuring out what those are may help stop the dancing fever from returning. Rosala’s family has been making the red shoes said to deliver a bit of magic to its wearer. Being Romani is something Rosala & Emil have in common, something they know makes them different. Five centuries later their traditions and beliefs aren’t something they’re made to feel they can openly share. When the threat of the Dancing Fever looms over Rosala she turns to Emil who is the only person who can shed some light on the history that binds her both literally & figuratively to her red shoes.

Content Warning: death, religious persecution, racism, homophobia/transphobia, some body horror

We follow two sets of characters, those in 1500’s Strasbourg & those in present day. I personally loved how well fleshed out Lala, Tante, and Alifair are as their part of history is brought to life. Lala knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s made a target of injustice & hate once the dancing fever takes a hold. She knows the odds are well stacked against her even as she falls deeply in love with Alifair who is a transgender boy. Seeking acceptance from those around them is something both Lala & Rosella share in common. They make themselves blend in so as to stay safe. Both learn that embracing that which sets them apart is really the only way to fight back oppression. I admired Alifair’s strength & how protective he is of his found family (Lala & Tante) while also carrying his own secret that if exposed would mean sure death.

Emil & Rosala were also very interesting characters to follow as they navigate relationships with their peers. Their parents have passed down their own knowledge of things that happened during the 1500’s to some of their ancestors. A knowledge that weighs heavy because it’s filled with pain, violence, and persecution for being Romani. These characters know they carry within them a history so rich it’s seeping into their day to day lives. It’s safe to say McLemore has once again delivered an unforgettable cast of characters.

Told in Multiple POV format this is a YA Historical Fantasy in which we follow two sets of characters. Most of the focus however is on Lala & her family in the 1500’s, these characters are well fleshed out vs. the ones we meet in present day. That being said, I felt this worked well since history has a way of repeating itself. Understanding where it all started was emphasized in the way this story was weaved. Although difficult to see, the time I spent reading Lala’s POV was perhaps what I loved most about this book. This may be my bias because I hold a special place in my heart for Historical Fiction but the touch of magical realism McLemore delivers so well is really what draws me in. Scenes with Tante dyeing cloth to sell in rich colors contrasted against the fevered women dancing through the streets till their feet were raw visually stand out. The heavy blanket of anxiety that sits on top of these characters is felt by the reader. Despite the darkness, I am thankful for how McLemore is consistent with delivering a sense of hope with all of their stories. There is a sense of solidarity that comes through at the very end that stirred up some deep emotions within me. I will continue to read all that Anna-Marie McLemore writes for the simple fact that their stories leave a lasting impression in my soul.


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Spoiler Free Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Title: Get A Life, Chloe Brown

Author: Talia Hibbert

Pub. Date: November 5th. 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 373 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Chloe Brown has had a near death experience one morning that leaves her pretty shaken while also reinvigorated. She is a chronically ill computer geek who sets out with a list of 7 things she must do in order to give life some meaning…

✔️Move out of mansion & into own place

Enjoy a drunken night out
Ride a motorcycle
Go camping
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage
And… do something bad

We start off with Chloe moving into her own digs & adjusting to life as a tenant. Accomplishing some of the things on her list becomes interesting when she recruits Redford”Red” Morgan the handyman she is constantly at odds with. Red is automatically put off by Chloe’s wealthy background & because of that they are always sparring with words. We follow Chloe & Red as they tackle this list and in turn get to know one another better while breaking past many misconceptions.

Chloe-I truly fell in love with Chloe’s personality! she is a beautiful plus sized black woman who exudes confidence despite the fact that many of her days are spent with chronic pain. She’s single & sort of has her walls up because Chronic pain isn’t something easily explained. Chloe has already experienced heartbreak with her ex who believed her pain was mental & not a real thing. She’s not by any means jaded, she’s just weary of those she lets in her space. A true geek through & through, Chloe works doing web design from the comfort of her home with a Playstation nearby.

Red- Sexy, tattooed, Handyman/Painter Red Morgan won me over for a number of reasons. Not only is Red attentive & nurturing but he’s genuinely just a good guy who has also been through heartbreak. Having experienced a very toxic relationship with a very wealthy woman, Red is not expecting to fall for yet another. What I loved about Red? the fact that he didn’t try to dissect Chloe’s pain, it was written on her face. Instead Red went about finding ways to make their trips outdoors more comfortable for her.

Both Chloe & Red are wonderful characters but so were the side characters.  I LOVED reading scenes with Chloe’s fabulous grandmother & her sisters. She’s surrounded by an amazing support system who also happen to be very curious about her new comings & goings now that she has a new lease on life haha!

I read this whole book in a British accent & had such a good time! the flirting between Chloe & Red had me smiling from ear to ear, often times outright laughing out loud at the awkward situations. I loved how dialogue heavy this was because it allows you to get a real feel for the characters. Chloe in particular really came to life on the page as someone I could relate to. She’s very body positive & confident in who she is which I love seeing in my books. Her character will be very hard to forget, besides the fact that she is outright funny as hell she’s also fiercely independent. Chloe doesn’t want to burden anyone & giving love another shot isn’t on the list but she manages to surpass her fears. This book really is about learning how to love again in a healthy way after leaving behind toxic relationships. It’s about taking back control of your life & living each day to the fullest. It’s about breaking past misconceptions surrounding chronic pain & understanding how painful it can be to have your pain dismissed. Adding this one to my list of Romantic Comedies I absolutely adored!


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Spoiler Free Review:All the Stars and the Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Title: All the Stars and the Teeth

Author: Adalyn Grace

Pub. Date: February 4th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Imprint

Pages: 384 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Honestly! the YA Fantasy I’ve been picking up lately has truly been keeping my internal flame for the genre. I  just knew All the Stars and the Teeth was a MUST read for me once I heard mention of Pirates & Mermaids cause they happen to be my fave types of fictional characters. I was NOT expecting to love it as much as I did despite it featuring one hell of a unlikeable female MC yet here we are *shoulder shrug* haha! we get this expansive world where kingdoms are separated by the magic practiced by its inhabitants and only 1 magic per Kingdom is allowed. Our MC Amora is soon to be put to the test in order to obtain the title of High Animancer. In this world, a royal title is not inherited but instead the “heir” must prove their worth in claiming the crown. We meet Amora as she prepares for the big demonstration of magic she is to show her people that will in turn solidify her ascension to the throne after her father. Things go ALL the way wrong which then sets off a series of events that place Amora aboard a ship with Bastian, a sassy easy on the eyes Pirate. However, things get further complicated when Ferrick the man she’s been betrothed to also hops on said ship.

Having had her demonstration of magic go terribly wrong, Amora fears she will be killed by her people. She makes a run for it in hopes of making a comeback to convince her people she is worthy of another chance. What Amora doesn’t anticipate is uncovering some unsavory truths about the state of her kingdom & its affairs. Truths about her magic that go back in time to the very beginning & challenge all she’s been made to believe. We see her embark on this sort of adventure that humbles her & redefines what it means to be a good leader. She sees first hand the state of the other lands within her kingdom which ends up having a sobering effect.

Although the adventure itself is A+ as is the magic system, I’ve always been a reader who loves a great cast of characters. Amora may have started off as hella unlikeable but by the end of this story I grew to have a deep admiration for her.She is fiercely protective of her kingdom & confident without a doubt that she is the right person for the job. Bastion & Ferrick may be complete opposites but I found something to love in each of them. While Bastion may have won me over with his quick witted responses, Ferrick with his gentlemanly ways also wiggled his way into my heart. Ferrick is a Suntosan which means he has healing capabilities & seeing his magic at play was pretty cool. Our Mermaid Vatea joins the crew in the latter half of the book but GODDESS she is! her song will call to the hearts of any within earshot & her ruthlessness is never something she shies away from. LOVED seeing Amora find a true friend in Vatea & could only hope we get more from bad a** character *fingers crossed* The character development, I felt was done well across the board.

Lastly, I have to mention how Adalyn Grace seriously nailed pretty gruesome imagery when it came to Amora’s Soul Magic. Our MC’s magic deals with soul binding which means she obtains body parts as a method of  binding. These scenes aren’t for theft of heart but personally I felt it really did up the magic system. The duality of magic (light & dark) is always at play in the background which I found SUPER interesting. The inclusion of curses & elemental magic as well really brought this world to life & gave it a rich feel. There were times while I was reading I couldn’t help but think of Avatar the Last Airbender in the sense of world building & that’s a VERY good thing for this Avatar fan. The way we leave off in this adventure has me truly anticipating any news of the sequel, I will be patiently awaiting its arrival 🖤


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January 2020 Book Haul

Hello Bookworms! this week has sort of blown right by, no complaints here though cause the weekend is where it’s at! 🙌🏽 Girl Scout season is OVER so this Lil Mama can take a break & catch up here with you lovely readers 💜 February is well under way & I’ve been good about not buying too many books but my January was EPIC! I made use of my birthday gift cards & was a smidge spoiled by my boyfriend as well. January was also the first time in over a year that I reached out to a Publisher for an ARC (The Faithless Hawk) & was STOKED to have been granted my request. The Golden Girls bookmark caught my attention as I was ready to walk out of a book store in New Jersey making my night! All in all it was a great way to start 2020 💓

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BEAUTIFUL DREAMER | AVATAR RISE OF KYOSHI (THE KYOSHI NOVELS #1) | THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR | THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS (THE AGE OF DARKNESS #1) | GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW (GIRLS OF PAPER & FIRE #2) | CROWN OF FEATHERS (CROWN OF FEATHERS #1) | ARCHENEMIES (RENEGADES #2) | SUPERNOVA (RENEGADES #2) | THE FAITHLESS HAWK (THE MERCIFUL CROW #2) (ARC)  

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THE SUN DOWN MOTEL | RECURSION | WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS

*Book of the Month did allow their members to choose 1 free book from their list of 2019 BOTY Finalists. I already owned copies of all their finalists with the exception of Recursion by Blake Crouch.

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SCAVENGE THE STARS (SCAVENGE THE STARS #1)

I love when a book subscription box offers up a couple of useful items because it makes me feel like it was money well spent. I was satisfied with the January Owlcrate box items, especially the Crooked Kingdom socks & the Children of Blood and Bone inspired candle which smells AMAZING! It’s always a treat when they send out new Harry Potter mugs, I’ve collected them all so far. I’m planning on buying a backpack this week which I may just use to show off the wonderful pins I get from Owlcrate 🤗


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January Monthly Wrap-Up

January was a month of much post holiday rest, organization, and goal setting. 2019 was a massive healing year for me which meant I focused more on Quality vs. Quantity reading last year to make room for new life experiences. January however had me back in the saddle with books on my radar for the rest of the year. It was also the month where I participated in my very first Readathon (SMUTATHON Wrap-Up) Challenge & had a blast! It was truly the BEST way to start off the new year, light & fun with a side of steam 😉

Besides a ton of steamy reading, I also found my love for Netflix backlist shows like Schitts Creek and continued with the latest season of Grace & Frankie. I also started Journaling, something I’ve been wanting to get back into for years but never quite took the steps & placed pen to paper. Writing has been truly cathartic in my journey to self alignment & self healing. As the new year takes off, I’m also keeping a small list of places/things I’d like to visit & do. I’ll include snippets of some of these trips in future wrap-ups as a way for me to look back on & share with you lovely readers 🙂

The Loner’s Lady by Jessa Kane – ✨2.5 STARS✨ (SMUTATHON WRAP-UPThis age gap romance just was NOT my cup of tea haha! it felt very primitive & not my idea of a good time with a fake dating trope. I was generous here with my rating but in all reality it was a quick read that left me very underwhelmed.

Grading Curves by Naima Simone -✨4.5 STARS✨ (SMUTATHON WRAP-UPGOODNESS! SUPER SEXY! who would’ve known a tattoo parlor would host such potential for steam haha! Naima Simone is on my list of go-to authors for smut 😉

The King Maker by Kennedy Ryan – ✨4.5 STARS✨(SMUTATHON WRAP-UPKennedy Ryan blew me away with this very heavily researched read. A perfect balance between hardcore relevant topics & romance, this one I definitely plan on reviewing here on the blog. This is a age gap romance I can get behind & best of all it follows our characters over the years from the time they met in their 20’s to present day. Can’t wait to read the sequel in the All the King’s Men Duet, The Rebel King.

The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz – ✨5 STARS✨ (SMUTATHON WRAP-UPGothic Romance fever anyone?!? YEA that’s what Tiffany Reisz left me with after finishing Headmaster. I’mnot sure why but it gave me the same vibes I felt while reading Cassie Clare’s The Infernal Devices if only for the steam punk atmosphere. SO worth it especially if you dig Paranormal Romance.

SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson – ✨5 STARS✨ (MY REVIEWI wouldn’t be surprised to see SKYWARD make my end of the year TOP 20 of 2020! it gave me such an adrenaline rush & reminded me of my experience with Pierce Brown’s Morning Star. Not just cause of the camaraderie between the pilots but also because of the flight patterns & attacks that really jump off the page and pull you in. I already have secured a copy of the sequel STARSIGHT & a more happier little bean I could not be *jazz hands*

Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden-✨5 STARS✨(SMUTATHON WRAP-UP) This F/F Romance legit transported me to a small beach town & immersed me in every single characters lives like nobodies business! UGH! I did NOT want to leave & the characters who are the epitome of polar opposites had me shipping them so hard all throughout. I have a list of Melissa Brayden backlist books I will be reading throughout the next couple of months… the Next one on my radar is Strawberry Summer thanks to the wonderful Leigh Kramer who I appreciate wholeheartedly! ❤ a whole review will hit this blog in the very near future, currently I’m reading faster than I’m writing SMH! haha!

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – ✨5 STARS✨ (MY REVIEWon the Cuteness Meter, this one smashes the scale! This is another read that I may throw into my top 20 of 2020 but we shall see. I laughed & enjoyed the character interactions so much so that I traded in sleep haha! I have a full review linked above.

Ok soooo I may have binged almost all 5 current season of Schitts Creek onNetflix…I say almost cause in typical Lilly fashion I stopped myself from watching the last 3 episodes of season 5. I’m not a fan of endings & even though there is currently a season 6, I have to wait for it to hit Netflix sooo yea LOL! I had HUGE doubts about this show but JEEZ am I so happy I decided to give in & start this show. It appears to be super pretentious & ridiculous but I promise you there’s so much more depth to these characters. Ultimately it’s the reason I’ve fallen back in love with Netflix so if there are any shows that offer up this much comedic relief, please drop them down below in the comments Luvs!

OK! Bragging rights here cause my BF did NOT think this one was worth us going to see in theaters. WHELP! boy was he happy we went cause this was so GOOD! & possibly not the end of this franchise *fingers crossed* the boys are back & although they’ve aged just a bit, that does NOT stop them from getting back behind the wheel & catching them some bad guys…Ok well Marcus played by Martin Lawrence needs a bit of convincing & it is EVERYTHING seeing this duo back in action.


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SKYWARD BY BRANDON SANDERSON

Title: SKYWARD

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Pub. Date: November 6th 2018

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 510 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON 

Spensa is a young girl who has always been told to reach for the stars by her father, the one person she holds in highest regard. The world she lives in is constantly under attack & all that are left of the human race are fighting to stay alive. Most have been recruited to become Pilots in order to continue growing their fleets & balance the scales against their enemy. Not much is know about the mysterious ships that attack in the sky. The intel that has been gathered lets Spensa’s people know their enemy is more technologically advanced but their motives/agenda remain unclear. Spensa’s path to becoming a Pilot comes with a ton of opposition, her father was labeled a coward for deserting his team during an all out attack. This however does not stop Spensa from pursuing a career as a Pilot & searching for answers behind her fathers fallen legacy…

“𝑳𝒆𝒈𝒂𝒄𝒚, 𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒔𝒕, 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆 𝒖𝒔 𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍. 𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒘𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒍𝒆𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒅𝒆𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒖𝒔. 𝑾𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒂 𝒃𝒐𝒙 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒂𝒏 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏, 𝒊𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒈𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒐𝒐 𝒇𝒂𝒓.”

This may be a action packed YA Sci-Fi but make no mistake! the characters are the icing on the cake 🤗 Spensa our MC is a Sun Tzu quit lover with a ton of confidence that may often times come off a arrogance. She means well though & honestly just wants to be accepted amongst her peers & judged fairly w/out the alleged sins of her father being brought up to play. This does mean she puts up with ill treatment from superiors & having to consistently prove her bravery. Spensa is in flight academy along with her flight mates Kimmalyn, Jorgen, BIM, Nedd, Arturo, FM, and others. Her flight instructor Cobb was her father’s wing-mate & goes up to bat for Spensa when the higher ups were opposed to allowing her to enter flight academy because of her dad. Cobb is a seasoned older gentleman with PTSD who has opted to retire from flying & instead teaches future Pilots.

I loved seeing the team in simulated training sessions where their personalities truly came out to play. Kudos to keeping it strictly platonic! I don’t remember the last time I read about a group of teens where there wasn’t some romance so this was refreshing. Of course this will probably not be the case in the sequel but I’m actually excited to see if a certain potential ship takes off. My FAVORITE character who may just make it into my faves of all time is the A.I. M-Bot 😎 who is super advanced & dutiful. M-Bot is part of the ship Spensa discovers & with the help of her best friend Rig brings back to life. M-Bot is perfectly paired with Spensa, both pretty cocky and chatty these two were destined for each other. I had a few good laughs reading interactions between M-Bot & Spensa that left me craving more from this duo.

The last book to give me such an adrenaline rush was Pierce Brown’s Morning Star & so SKYWARD is joining my hall of memorable action packed reads. I could hardly put this book down & could visualize all of the teams calls to action. The fighting sequences & the ships themselves were so detailed in a reader friendly way. I never felt like it was too heavy on the schematics, instead it played out as if I was watching Maverick in the popular movie Top Gun but the female version 🙌🏽 With their being very few books featuring Father/Daughter relationships, SKYWARD already has a special place in my heart. Seeing Spensa follow in her fathers footsteps as a Pilot was heartwarming. We see Spensa battle her love for her dad & the image of him she has engraved in her memory. Character development was A+ as was the story building. We’re left off with a mind blowing revelation & final battle that sent me running for the sequel 🤗


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Spoiler Free Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Title: Tweet Cute

Author: Emma Lord

Pub. Date: January 21st 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 368 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

When Big League Burger steals a small Deli’s iconic grilled cheese recipe created by none other than Jacks’ Grandmother, it starts an all out twitter war. Pepper’s family are the owners of Big League Burger with her mother at the helm of the business. When accusations start flying, it’s Pepper’s snark and quick witty comebacks her mother has her tweet to defend their stance. Pepper & Jack happen to attend the same privileged school but have no idea they are in a war of wits against each other while defending their family businesses. All the while we see them both deal with social pressures in school & navigate expectations from their parents in an interesting way. Jack has taken an interest in app developing & is the anonymous creator of an app that allows students to chat under anonymous names in a main chat room. Eventually the app triggers itself to reveal the identity of the student you’ve been hopefully bonding with. Jack also uses his own app (honorably adheres to his own privacy rules) & somehow ends up chatting with Pepper, not knowing her true identity. This book truly had it ALL & was wildly entertaining! Twitter Wars, cute romance, sweet pastry baking, positive F/F friendships, swimming, sibling rivalries, Parentals who are visible, and also a realistic view of the stress students experience preparing for college/entrepreneurship.

Pepper –Known to many of her peers to be robotic, Pepper is goal focused & getting into a top college is what she strives for. She doesn’t really socialize in school with the exception of engaging in academic wars with her “archenemy” & perfecting her swimming skills. With a whole lot of responsibilities lumped on her plate & handling Big League Burger’s Twitter feud, Pepper finds comfort in chatting with “Wolf” who is also Jack, anonymously.

Jack – Living in the shadow of his very popular Gay twin brother isn’t easy for Jack but he manages. His brother Ethan is expected to go places & do big things after college whereas Jack’s family always saw him taking over the family Deli/business. We see Jack quietly seek out the things that actually bring him joy like app developing & being a member of the Dive team. Jack is hella loyal to his family & will drop anything/everything to help any one of them out.

The levels of enjoyment I experienced with this book are still pretty fresh in my memory. I have no doubt it’s going down as a Top Read for 2020 here on my end of year list. I lost track of the smiles it got out of me & on one or two occasions how it surprised me with teary eyes. Emma Lord brought to life current day teenagers on the page making this such an authentic smart & witty read. I loved how our author highlighted not only their intelligence but the fact that they are essentially capable of taking on a fair amount of responsibility. Both Pepper & Jack have a heavy schedule of academics & helping out with their family owned businesses. There’s a ton of stress but I enjoyed seeing how they came together in this one app to help alleviate those pressures. There’s also some more serious themes in this book like a family experiencing the after effects of a separation. There’s a healing of family issues & self exploration. Discussion on expectations & how college isn’t necessarily the only route to success. We see students choosing their paths to eventually place them in the career path that best suits their wants/needs. This book is packed with so much good & don’t get me started on the sisters who bake & give their deserts all sorts of quirky names on a blog they run together! sitting here eyes WIDE open for the next Emma Lord book *Chefs Kiss*


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