May Wrap-Up & Book Haul…

Hola Hola Book Lovers! May was somewhat of a return to normalcy month for me after a rocky couple of months caused by health concerns. I kept my reading light (with the exception of one book that I mentally prepared for; The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore) and instead leaned more towards small towns both on Netflix and in real life. Road trips with the windows down paired with good music were my lifeline. New York City put on its best Spring dress after a long period of hibernation and like many others, I welcomed it with arms wide open (safely of course). Mother’s Day was SUPER special thanks to two tiny humans and my boyfriend who really marked the day with a variety of heartfelt gestures and gifts. Winter clothes officially went in drawers and out came my Spring/Summer dresses, shorts, skirts and sandals. My fridge is stocked with fruits for all your fruit bowl/smoothie/juicing needs. Last but not least, I went from drinking my Cafe Bustelo to Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew cause ya girl is too hot to be drinking hot coffee. Summer is almost here Luvs!!!

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The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (my review) -*4 Stars* The Romantic Comedy that had me once again pulling out all of my unread Christina Lauren books with plans to read this summer. Hate to love (sort of) romance, dating apps, BFF who writes the MC into her Romance novels, and super supportive grandparents. I smiled more times than I could count whenever Jess & Fizzy sat at the cafe talking about the odds of GeneticAlly truly finding their soulmate. This is one I’d watch a movie adaptation of in a heartbeat!  

 The Mirror Season by Anna Marie-McLemore – *5 Stars* I have yet to write my review and have no real promises to make. This was the hardest read I’ve picked up from one of my all time favorite YA authors. The subject matter being rape that is detailed on the page is utterly heartbreaking. To then read the afterward and see that it’s based on real life events the author and a friend lived through was devestating. This was still playing out in court in an open case at the time of publication and truly speaks to the strength of the author to bring awareness to something that many teens have experienced. I fully advise looking into content warnings. 

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala – *4 Stars* My very 1st cozy mystery and it did NOT dissapoint! I was excited to see the author’s cover reveal of the sequel (Homicide and Halo-Halo) that’ll be releasing in February 2022. Arsenic and Adobo was a fun murder mystery set in a small town, following a Filipino MC who is trying to find her path after a rough break-up. She returns home where her many aunties descend and begin to apply some pressure with a lot of love. Fun & addictive!

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho (my review) -*3.5 Stars* We follow 23 year old Jessamyn who has left the states with her parents to return to Malaysia and find her footing. Jess is a stressed out Zillenial Queer trying to maintain a long distance relationship with her girlfriend who no one in her family knows about. That is why when she begins to hear voices she thinks it’s a byproduct of those stressors and NOT the ghost of her Ah Ma who she never met. Ah Ma is her grandmother who when alive, was a Medium for a quiet and mysterious spirit called Black Water Sister. Ah Ma needs Jessamyn’s help in settling a score on behalf of this God or risk her wrath. Dark but also well balanced with snark and humor between Jessamyn and her Ah Ma. I’d also advise looking into content warnings.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (my review) – *6 EPIC STARS* Save the best for last amiright?!? Truly wasn’t expecting this since I admittedly fell into the unpopular opinion of not really loving Red, White, and Royal Blue. I ADORED this book to pieces and the fact that it dropped on June 1st, the first day of Pride month is 100% apropos! If I start writing I’ll never stop so instead I ask that you click on my review link so that you can read my GUSH review on the Q train. That is all. 

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ARIADNE | THE HUNTING WIVES | LAST SUMMER AT THE GOLDEN HOTEL | REALM BREAKER | ILLUSIONARY | THE PRISON HEALER | SON OF THE STORM | BLACK WATER SISTER | THE INHERITANCE OF ORQUรDEA DIVINA (ARC)

It was a heavy on the Fantasy type of haul with the exception of my Book of The Month picks. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard is very special being that it is the first Bookish Mother’s Day gift I received from my little human, she went straight towards the sword on the cover which made me so proud haha! Then I was sent a ARC copy of The Inheritance of Orquรญdea Divina from Atria Books (very thankful), Zoraida Cordova is a favorite author of mine so this was an exciting package to open. I LOVE the Fairyloot edition of The Prison Healer with its beautiful purple sprayed edges *heart eyes* Son of the Storm was an impulse buy while on a road trip, book store sighting always is a good reason to pull over. My review for Black Water Sister is linked up above in the Wrap-Up.

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CRUELLA (IMDB)

WOW! I should’ve known once I saw Emma Stone was chosen to play Cruella that it would be a solid performance. I was not prepared for this villains backstory but it is absolutely the BEST one I believe Disney has produced! While writing this post I had to stop and hop over to Spotify to download the soundtrack which was ON POINT! as were all of the costumes Cruella dons throughout the movie. The duality of this character is so well delivered that I honestly will always see this version as THE story of how she came to be who we all know. HIGHLY reccomend for those who love a good villain rising backstory, however It may throw off some of the younger viewers who only know the 101 Dalmations version. Still! This was EPIC!

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VIRGIN RIVER (IMDB)

My go-to for whenever I need a pick me up, are books and movies/tv shows that are set in small towns with a cast of characters that feel like family. This was it! Jess over at Litnoob on Bookstagram recommended Virgin River and from the very first episode I knew I would be binge watching the first two seasons on Netflix. We follow a nurse who has just lost her husband and decides to sell her house in L.A. and relocate to a remote Northern California town. The job ad she responds to online however, isn’t quite what it claimed to be. Instead she arrives at a beat down cabin, a curmudgeon doctor/employer, and a town full of neighbors who are ALL up in one another business haha! I LOVED it! anxiously anticipating season 3 streaming in July.


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Spoiler Free Review: Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

55119872Title: Black Water Sister

Author:ย Zen Cho

Pub. Date:ย May 11th 2021

Genre:ย Fantasy/Queer

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: Ace Books

Pages:ย 384 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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๐Ÿ–คeGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review,ย all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release๐Ÿ–ค

The 411..โ€œ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’–๐’๐’„๐’๐’†๐’” ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’‚๐’–๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’˜๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’ ๐’–๐’๐’’๐’–๐’†๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ๐’๐’š ๐’”๐’–๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’–๐’”. ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’Œ๐’†๐’… ๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’๐’–๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’”๐’–๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’๐’‚๐’•๐’–๐’“๐’‚๐’ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’”๐’‚๐’Ž๐’† ๐’Ž๐’Š๐’™๐’•๐’–๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’“-๐’๐’‡- ๐’‡๐’‚๐’„๐’• ๐’‚๐’„๐’„๐’†๐’‘๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’„๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’„๐’‚๐’–๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’Š๐’„๐’‰ ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’„๐’–๐’”๐’”๐’†๐’… ๐’‘๐’๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’„๐’”, ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’Ž๐’–๐’„๐’‰ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’”๐’‚๐’Ž๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’”๐’๐’- ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’Œ๐’๐’†๐’˜ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’Ž๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’• ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ.โ€œ

Black Water Sister is set in Malaysia where we follow our main protagonist Jessamyn who is returning with her parents for the very first time since leaving the country when she was only a toddler. Jessamyn has just graduated college and is in that weird stage of life trying to figure out which path to take. She’s also queer and in love with her girlfriend who she’s trying to maintain a long distance relationship with. Jessamyn isn’t out to anyone really and the stress of this alone is enough to make her believe that the voices she’s begun to hear are all in her head. When her Ah Ma aka Grandmother starts appearing and sort of demanding Jess help her with some unfinished business, things really get interesting for her. When Ah Ma was alive, she was the Medium for a feared and mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. A gang boss has offended the God and Ah Ma is set on settling the score to appease her and also to transition in the afterlife. This Zillennial Paranormal Urban Fantasy has a little of everything! ghosts, spirits, mob bosses, invasive aunties, and also some heavier topics. There’s attempted rape and sexual assault as well as mention of domestic violence and homophobia. Jess also mentions not wanting to introduce her Indian girlfriend to her parents for fear of racism towards her. These complex relationships are center stage and felt easily relatable all the while taking you on a wild ride through the streets & temples of Penang.

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If the book has a healthy dose of snark and witty banter, I’m always game! this time though it’s not between two love interests. Instead, we get Jessamyn and the ghost of her deceased Ah Ma who she had never really met before her death. Ah Ma is tough as nails and that’s because she didn’t have it easy in life or in love, her kids were also estranged from her. Through Ah Ma, Jess is able to finally answer some questions she’s had about her own relationship with her mother who is Ah Ma’s daughter. I found myself easily invested in these characters and hoping that by the end, they’d bridge some of the gaps keeping them apart. This definitely leans towards the darker side of fantasy due to the heavy dose of violence but it’s balanced out with Ah Ma’s personality. Ah Ma left me shaking my head smiling one too many times with her disbelief at getting stuck so to speak with her granddaughter for a Medium. I absolutely LOVED the snark between her and Jessamyn, it was so much fun to go along with these two! When I first heard that this would be set in Malaysia I immediately added it to my TBR hoping that soon I’d get to dive in and be transported to a country I really didn’t know much about. Although we see Jess in action at the temple of the Black Water Sister, we don’t really see her exploring beyond the home she’s a guest in and the Uber to the temple. There’s mention of her work with photography and I sort of hoped we’d get to see some of Malaysia through her own sorting out of which career path to take post Harvard. Nonetheless, there’s tons of action to keep you on your toes with undeniably witty characters. I will absolutely read whatever Zen Cho writes next!


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Spoiler Free Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

55692620Title: The Soulmate Equation

Author:ย Christina Lauren

Pub. Date:ย May 18th 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher:ย Gallery Books

Pages:ย 368 pages

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GOODREADS |ย BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZONย 

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๐Ÿ–คeGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review,ย all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release๐Ÿ–คThe 411..

Single mom Jess Davis is a statistician convinced that the dating scene is just not for her. Sheโ€™s felt abandoned way too many times and doesnโ€™t want to put her daughter through that again. Jess and her BFF Fizzy hear about GeneticAlly a match making company that is in its early stages of testing. Finding a soulmate through DNA sounds far fetched and she thinks her odds are low. That is until she matches at 98% with one of the app developers!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ the same guy who walks into the coffee shop every day with ZERO social skills. The guy who is hot AF but is always on the go to even consider his surroundings. Sort of hate-to-love if you can actually hate someone you don’t really know? Think more along the lines of modern day heartwarming tale on the lower end of the steam scale between two individuals who would make quite the odd pairing if you’re only matching by personality. Jess is super relatable as a single mom who is struggling financially to make ends meet even though she’s quite good at what she does for a living. She also happens to have a strong support system between her grandparents and best friend. Jess isn’t fully convinced that GeneticAlly is accurate, she entertains it with skepticism, intrigue, and sarcasm all at once. Dr. River Pena has invested everything into GeneticAlly, it’s basically his baby and although he also doesn’t believe he could’ve matched correctly with Jess…in order to protect the integrity of his research, he has to be willing to date her.

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I didn’t really go into this expecting a steamy romance, my hopes were that I’d walk away with a new favorite Rom-Com and I feel that’s exactly what I got. Besides the developing romance, we get to see a positive f/f friendship where the BFF is more like family. I ADORED Fizzy! a romance writer who has even written a character based off of Jess and honestly every time she threatened to kill her off, I giggled thinking of my own best friend. I would absolutely read a spin-off based on Fizzy’s own escapades which we get a slight glimpse to in this book. Even seven year old Juno was fun to get to know on the page, she’s got such an inquisitive mind and loves the library. Our love interest is just about the only aspect I wish was a bit more fleshed out. We get to know him through his research but it isn’t until the last quarter of the book where we get to see some of his personal life influences like his family. This is also where we learn he’s Latinx which tbh, I would’ve loved to have learned from the very beginning. A more balanced approach towards the main characters is something I find helps me get more invested in their lives. That being said, my heart melted every time Dr. River Pena interacted with little Juno! his respect for women and just his whole love language was *chefs Kiss* perfection!

The Soulmate Equation hits shelves next week Tuesday May 18th


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Spoiler Free Review: Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

51813582Title: Witches Steeped in Gold

Author:ย Ciannon Smart

Pub. Date:ย April 20th 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher:ย Harper Teen

Pages:ย 544 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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๐Ÿ–คeGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review,ย all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release๐Ÿ–ค

The 411..

This Jamaican-inspired Young Adult Fantasy follows two enemy witches who must form an alliance in order to take down the Queen. The Obeah ruling family (Iraya’s people/natural born magic)ย has been killed and their people enslaved by the Alumbrar (Jazmyne’s people/Use of magic via Conduits.)ย  Jazmyne happens to be the Queen’s daughter, only she doesn’t agree with how the Queen rules the people and hopes to overthrow her and take up the throne.ย Jazmyne is active in a rebel group plotting to eliminate the Queen when she hears of Iraya having survived her parents assasination. The last remaining heir of the previous ruling family, Iraya is a witch who was born with natural powers. See, in this world there are two ways to come about magic and that’s either through conduits to syphon it OR you’re naturally born with it. We first meet Iraya at the start of this story as she sits in jail plotting her vengeance on the Alumbrar Queen and whoever else played a part in killing her loved ones. Jazmyne plans to utilize Iraya to kill her mother, Iraya plans to allow herself to be used whilst carrying out a plan of her own.ย 

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I’ll preface my thoughts by saying that I am not an Own Voices reviewer for this story however I do encourage you seek them out. Joel from FictionalFates on Booktube gave it a 5 star rating and is an Own Voice reviewer for the Jamaican representation. I gave this a 3 star rating which means I enjoyed many aspects however there were a few things I wish had been ironed out. The world building is where I struggled quite a bit and that isn’t because of its complexity, I love my Fantasy to be meaty and in depth. However, the first half of this book doles out a ton of information and I felt it threw off the pacing. I’ll admit to even being confused for about 40% of the story while trying to take notes. The magic system is very interesting considering magic is attainable through other means if you’re not born with it. ย We don’t really get to see them in action much since the Obeah’s abilities are being surpressed by the Alumbrar. Some of the history that lead to the suppression of Obeah magic doesn’t get explained till much later in the story. Also, the Obeah aren’t the only people seeking to overthrow the Queen so there are a few power pieces on the board closing in on her that I would’ve liked to see more of. There’s a ton of plotting, scheming and double dealing which I happen to love in my Fantasy reads. There are characters who have good intentions but end up losing themselves along the way, I did enjoy Iraya’s POV more than Jazmyne. However, by the end of the story Jazmyne managed to get my attention back as I wondered what fate awaits her. All in all, I’m looking forward to the sequel and seeing if these characters can coexist.


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WWW WEDNESDAY: 3/30/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

The questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

Book Lovers, Is it really only Wednesday? this is one of those weeks where there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Coincidentally it’s also the week I return to work after some rest and recovery. The icing on the cake literally is my little girl turning 10! so yea, I’ve been donning my Wonder Woman cape to make it all happen and ending my nights with either a good book or episodes of Ginny & Georgia on Netflix which I sure do hope gets a second season *fingers crossed* By the time this post goes live I’ll probably be refreshing my USPS app in hopes that my copies of Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce AND Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo arrive sooner than later *shimmies in chair*

What is the highlight of your week? not having a great week, plans for the weekend? perhaps new releases you’re looking forward to? Drop some Luv down in the comments <3’s!

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51813582Witches steeped in gold by ciannon smart

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“This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes” – Goodreads

I’m only a few pages into this highly anticipated Fantasy and even though I can’t really say much about my enjoyment, I will say that this style of writing is what I gel with best. I’m hoping it delivers on the character development front and that each sisters voice is distinct and well fleshed out. I’ve never read a Jamaican-inspired Fantasy and would love for this to be a new favorite, I’ll have a full review up here on the blog next week.

23766634._SY475_a court of wings and fury (a court of thorns and roses #3) by Sarah J maas

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I’m not one to read two books at a time in the same genre but the audiobooks for the ACO series are pretty hard to stay away from for too long. Feyre is in full spy mode here and has since acquired a new title, I’ll not spoil that for those who haven’t had a chance to get to this series but would like to. I also just got in the mail my new book sleeves from Illumicrate & GAAASSSSP! STUNNING! I’ll be posting photos over on Bookstagram as I make my way through the books.

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54304125the final revival of opal & nev by Dawnie Walton

Earlier this week I finished & 4 starred The Final Revival of Opal & Nev which hit shelves yesterday March 30th. I have a full review hereย I would recommend it to anyone who loved Daisy & the Jones and the Six but gets that although this shares many similarities…it stands on its own and has a whole different unique vibe. The characters will stay with you, good luck not googling them to see if they actually exist in real life *yes. yes I did*ย If audiobooks are your thing, I hear this has a FULL cast! I’m tempted to use my Librofm credit for a re-read.ย 

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55692620the soulmate equation by christina lauren

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898ย “Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.”ย 

I’ve only ever read one other book by Christina Lauren and have checked out the synopsis to a few others with no genuine interest up until now. The premise of this single mom entering a science experiment/dating app that matches you with someone based on your DNA is super intriguing. That it so happens to be the creator of the app only doubles my interest! I’m hoping this is the book that drives me to give some of their other books a shot. I will be reading this as soon as I’m done withย Witches Steeped in Goldย since it is a May release and I have a Netgalley ratio to work on.


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Continue reading “WWW WEDNESDAY: 3/30/2021”

SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV BY DAWNIE WALTON

Title: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Author: Dawnie Walton

Pub. Date: March 30th 2021

Genre: Adult Fiction

Format: eGalley

Publisher: 37 INK

Pages: 400 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

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๐Ÿ–คeGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review, all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release๐Ÿ–ค

The 411..

Written in oral history format this is the story of a young black woman with a whole lot of style and personality. A visionary who knew how to entertain and couldn’t see herself working a 9 to 5, Opal knew she’d be recognized one day and catch her big break. Born & raised in Detroit alongside her sister and single working mother, she was always up for a performance. Opal’s sister had the voice and was very attractive while Opal was considered unusual due to having Alopecia Areata. She had begun to lose her hair in patches and while she struggled with self image, it did not deter her from the limelight. Opal didn’t have the voice but what she lacked there she more than made up for in stage presence which eventually led to her getting the attention of Nev Charles. Nev who was out with his manager in search of an act that would enhance his performance which was missing something. A singer/songwriter, Nev was born and raised in Britain but had traveled to New York in search of his big break. Signed to Rivington Records, a small and struggling label who took a chance on him, Nev extends the opportunity to Opal after one of her performances at a bar in Downtown Detroit.

Set during the early 70’s in New York City, a time of political tension and racial injustices reaching a climax. Where artists and musicians were providing commentary through their work and a girl like Opal could find her voice. Opal & Nev were never mainstream however they did have a strong cult following. They appealed to those society considered misfits as well as marginalized teenagers who were coping with all sorts of issues like drug addictions, abuse and self harm. Things decisively change for Opal in particular when Rivington Records decides to sign a band who openly praised the confederate flag. During a promotional concert backstage that flag is waved which leads to Opal taking action in protest, this then leads to an outbreak of violence and the loss of life. Nothing is the same after this night, not for these artists individually or for them as a duo. Decades later Opal is considering a reunion tour of sorts with Nev who has shot to stardom while her career has entered a stage of dormancy. Sunny Shelton the daughter of Jimmy Curtis, the black drummer playing for Opal & Nev who was brutally beaten and killed that night, sees an opportunity to put together an oral history of her idols. What she uncovers while conducting interviews however paints a very different picture of what led up to the violence that night.

Content Warning: drug & pill addiction, overdose, cancer, xenophobia, Infidelity, homophobic slurs, violence, racism, death

People always used to comment on how different the two of us were, but a lot of that was optics. Me and Nev had real soul connections-funny stories about growing up, the hilarious things you do to make your way through this world as an outsider. But behind that there was some heaviness too.

The Final Revival of opal & Nev

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I’ll admit that my interest was initially piqued when I heard rumblings of this book being similar to Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid which I absolutely LOVED in 2019! However, Opal & Nev is its own story also told in oral history format but with a ton of funky personality. Not only did the author do a phenomenal job of bringing Opal & Nev to life but the cast of characters also will remain unforgettable. These voices linger and it’s kind of hard not to open up a web browser and run a search for them even though you know they’re fictional. So much of what was going on in New York during the 70’s with Nixon, racial injustice, and HIV/AIDS was brought to the page in a way that further fleshed out their story. If Opal were a real person in todays society and culture, not only do I think she’d be ICONIC but also she’d be joining grassroots efforts to fight the injustices that continue to plague black communities. I was very close to 5 starring this book & it’s probably still going to make my list for best books of 20201. In between the oral history Sunny is piecing together from each character, we get what’s titled “Editiors Note” from Sunny herself. Sometimes I did feel these parts took me out of the narrative a bit even though I was still genuinely interested in Sunny herself. It was never enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story, perhaps it was a matter of Opal taking center stage so much that I found it hard to pull away from her voice. Overall I found this to be quite the engaging character driven read and I already have my eyes on the audiobook from Librofm which is released this Tuesday March 30th with a FULL cast!


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Spoiler Free Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Title: Down Comes the Night

Author: Allison Saft

Pub. Date:ย March 2nd 2021

Genre:YA Fantasy/Queer

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages:ย 400 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

๐Ÿ–คeGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review,ย all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release๐Ÿ–ค

A Gothic Bi-Sexual Fantasy/Murder Mystery with a hate-to-love romance?!?! sounds too good to be true but Allison Saft truly delivered. MC Wren Southerland is orphaned at a young age and taken in by her aunt (The Queen) as a healer in the Queen’s Guard. While in the military she falls in love with Una Dryden, a career ambitious general who loves her in return but will always choose her rank and service to the Queen over Wren. There is a long lasting war between the Danubians (Wren’s People) and the Vesrians while the Cernosians remain neutral and apart from their war. The body count is rising and soldiers have begun to go missing while on guard. Una is the sole reason for which Wren continues in the military, she is ill suited for the jobs more harsh requirements when handling enemy hostages. Wren has a couple of infractions for displaying what is considered to be too much empathy.

โ€œI need you by my side. And there Wren would stay, even if it she couldnโ€™t always stomach what at any and all costs entailed. She cursed the empathy that flowed in her blood as surely as her healing magic did.โ€

Dismissed from the Queen’s Guard, Wren decides to accept a mysterious invitation from an eccentric reclusive Lord. He writes of a sick member of his staff and the urgency with which he seeks out Wren’s medical expertise in exchange for assistance with her dilemma. She arrives at his estate to find a cold and crumbling mansion, the Lord welcomes her in his study with a contract for her to sign should she accept his terms and conditions. All seems quite odd but given her predicament and desire to redeem herself with the Queen, she accepts. The identity of the patient poses a HUGE conflict of interest for her and the ultimate test of empathy. Things begin to unravel at Colwick Hall, Wren is determined to uncover the truth behind her missing comrades and exactly what role the Lord of Colwick plays in the war.

Content Warning: War themes, gore, murder, kidnapping, detailed surgical procedures

Haunting and at times disturbing, this slower paced Gothic Mystery sometimes left me cringing at the medical procedures described. In some ways it reminded me of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic which also took place in a Gothic styled mansion. In this stand-alone Fantasy there are Danubians and Vesrians who have been gifted with magic and the Cernosians who are a people without this gift. The magic system is where I would’ve like to have seen more exploration. Other than Wren who has healing magic and one other MC who has a different type of magic, we don’t really get discussion on the different types of existing magic in this world. Otherwise, I’d say this is one super atmospheric character driven story that would be perfect for the Fall/Winter seasons. I enjoyed the romance even ifย  many scenes were fade to black (expect a ton of sexual tension), it is still Young Adult and my guess is that it was written with that in mind.ย  Would I have read an adult version of this story? ABSOLUTELY! our MC Wren craves real genuine connection and affection, seeing her navigate her own feelings/emotions leaves you with a deep sense of yearning. I empathized with this character who at every turn was told to stop feeling so much and basically go against what is second nature to her. I won’t go into too much detail on her love interest(s) since I consider that to be spoilery but I was very pleased to get a complex character who was trying to atone while also acknowledging that their transgressions can’t be erased. I love who Wren ultimately ends up with simply because that person made her feel seen and appreciated those qualities that others tried to root out of her. A solid debut Book Lovers! I’ll be on the lookout for Allison Saft’s next book.


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March 2021 Anticipated New Releases

March, when the weather starts to change up here in NYC and the book releases start to double! One day I’m layering up at home and the next I’m sporting beach wear *queue the random snow flurries*ย Ordinarily this is also the time of the year when I’d go find a cozy cafe to go sit and read. Instead, I’ve taken to substituting reading on my commute and in cafes for a favorite room in my apartment paired with Tik Tok recipes of lattes. As for my favorite room?ย it’s a coin toss between the tub (bath bomb + wine are invited of course)ย OR a spot on the couch along with my fuzziest blanket and tea. Audiobooks is where I change things up a bit since I cannot sit still while listening to a book, my attention will go everywhere else. I really enjoy listening to a book while cooking, doing laundry or working out. Currently I’m finishing up Down Comes The Night by Allison Saftย and I feel almost like I have too many books I want to read next smh, stay tuned for a Friday Reads post this week <3’s!

ย What are you Lovely Book Lovers highly anticipating?ย I read across most genres, I say most because I’ve yet to venture into Historical Romance but I’m getting there *grin & nod* SO drop those I may have missed down below. Tackling myย Possibility Pileย is about to get a whole lot bigger and more innnnneresting with the titles listed below hitting shelves this month…


YA fantasy/SCI-FI/Middle grade/Contemporary

LOST IN THE NEVER WOODS BY AIDEN THOMAS – 3/23ย Aiden Thomas is releasing the first book he wrote prior to Cemetery Boys & I’m here for it! this is a Queer Peter Pan retelling about grief and after loving Cemetery Boys so much, I have zero doubts Thomas will deliver another 5 star!

A TRIAL OF SORCERERS BY ELISE KOVA – 3/4ย I shamefully own some of Kova’s books but have yet to read them SMH, this author is known for scoring such STUNNING covers! This is the start of a new YA Fantasy series that I’ve heard may actually take place in the same world as the Air Awakens series but can be read on its own.ย  Described as a “tale of competition, coming of age, distant lands, elemental magic, and romance. It’s perfect for fans of the Legend of Korra, Truthwitch, and A Sorcery of Thorns.”

NAMESAKE (FABLE #2) BY ADRIENNE YOUNG – 3/16 The sequel to Fable (my review) , a duology following a female Pirate on a quest to find the father who abandoned her. There’s a crew and a high seas adventure, treachery and what could possibly be the beginning of a romance? I’m curious enough to want to find out! also, Young has a real talent for writing familial connections that leave you all in your feelings. If you love a good audiobook, the narrator Emma Lyssy NAILED the performance onย Fable and is back again forย Namesake.ย 

CHAIN OF IRON (THE LAST HOURS #2) BY CASSANDRA CLARE – 3/2 I have nothing to say other than I’m a slacker AND all I can do is watch from the sidelines as everyone gets to read this book! I have yet to start Lady Midnight but that’s where I left off withย the shadowhuntersย so yes it’s absolutely on my to-do list this year. If only to justify buying a copy of this beautyย *sobs*ย 

THE MIRROR SEASON BY ANNA MARIE-MCLEMORE – 3/16ย Here in this corner of the interwebz we stan Anna Marie-McLemore, they are an auto-buy author for me and I already have a copy of this book arriving tomorrow. We have a MC who goes to a party and is the victim of assault along with a boy she barely knows. This causes her to lose her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. The neighborhood itself starts to mysteriously change and the boy who was assaulted with her shows up at her school with no recollection of the night they were both harmed. She then decides that in order to protect him she must hide the truth from him. THIS is going to break me! I just know it.

FIRE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER BY ANGELINE BOULLEY – 3/16ย A debut that has been making its rounds on the gram and the blogs & was selected for Reese’s Book Club. A mystery/thriller that follows a young bi-racial MC as she investigates a string of crimes plaguing her community using her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. This is one that’s going to be heavy in its subject matter, readers should seek out content warnings. I pre-ordered my physical copy and also was granted access to a complimentary copy from Libro.fm, I will absolutely be reviewing here on the blog.

RULE OF WOLVES (KING OF SCARS #2) BY LEIGH BARDUGO -3/30ย I’m still not sure where I stand with this title as far as excitement goes. King of Scarsย which I did not really enjoy…so much so I didn’t even review it. If I’m being quite honest, it’s the excitement of the Grishaverse coming to Netflix that has me considering picking up a copy of this sequel. I am however here for more Nina Zenik AKA The Queen of Mourning!

DOWN COMES THE NIGHT BY ALLISON SAFT – 3/2ย a Gothic Paranormal Romance (My current read) set during a time of turmoil and war. We have a bisexual MC who has magic in her blood, she’s a healer for her country’s military but she lacks the favor of her aunt the Queen. Dismissed from the Queen’s Gaurd and out of options to redeem herself, she accepts an invitationย  to Colwick Hall to cure a servant from a mysterious illness. The mansion feels haunted with its closed off and crumbling wings and the host is eccentric and restricting. This also reads as a mystery as our MC sets out to uncover what nefarious dealings are afoot.

BRIDGE OF SOULS (CASSIDY BLAKE #) BY VICTORIA SCHWAB3/2ย A middle grade series I haven’t started yet BUT the fact that it’s set in New Orleans with a MC who is a Ghost Hunter makes it a MUST read!

ONCE UPON A QUINCEร‘ERA BY MONICA GOMEZ-HIRA -3/2ย Described as “Jenny Han meets Jane the Virgin” *Gasp*ย a YA Latinx Contemporary with a MC who is stuck spending her summer in an unpaid internship where she must wear a ballgown and perform. When her company gets hired to work her cousins Quinceรฑera and she’s paired off with her ex as a dance partner, things get complicated. She wants nothing more than to leave her past in the past, hoping it’s as fun as it sounds haha!


Adult Fantasy & SCI-FI

THE UNBROKEN BY C.L. CLARK – 3/23ย Queer Sci-Fi Fantasy with a MC whow was stolen as a child and then raised to kill and die for the empire. When her company is sent back home to stop a rebellion she has to decide where her loyalties lie. We get a romance between our MC Touraine and Luca who is determined to get her uncle off the throne …that sounds so bad a**!!! HIGH hopes this will be a favorite of 2021 *fingers crossed*ย 

THE BONE MAKER BY SARAH BETH DURST – 3/9 “Five warriorsโ€”one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesnโ€™t stop just because someone once said, โ€œthe end.โ€ย THIS standalone Fantasy has all the makings of a EPIC read! we get heroes who fought and lost their lives to defeat a evil bone maker 25 years ago…possibly come back from the dead?!? IT GETS NO BETTER THAN THAT AMIRGHT?


Adult Fiction & Romance

THE LOST APOTHECARY BY SARAH PENCER – 3/2ย “A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged themโ€”setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecaryโ€™s register.”ย Excited to see this one as a Book of the Month March pick, I’m a sucker for Historical Fiction set in London and this one just sounds right up my alley.ย 

THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV BY DAWNIE WALTON – 3/30 “A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock โ€˜nโ€™ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom.”ย Another Book of the Month March selection I was looking forward to especially after hearing it’s written in the same oral format as Daisy Jones and the Six!!! a girl can only dream *heart eyes*

ACT YOUR AGE, EVE BROWN BY TALIA HIBBERT – 3/9 (My review)ย The third and final book in The Brown Sisters trilogy & I LOVED IT! I was granted access to a eGalley from the publisher which made my January all the better. This is Eve’s story, the youngest of the Browns who has been adrift when it comes to settling down whether it be career or relationships. Her parents put their foot down and cut off her access to her trust fund until she can show them she can adult. This leads her to working as a chef at a B&B and we get a close proximity hate-to-love romance with Jacob, an autistic man with a curmudgeon like personality. Be still my heart! โค

THE SONG BOOK OF BENNY LAMENT BY AMY HARMON – 3/16ย Historical Fiction set in 1960’s featuring a MC who plays the piano and writes songs, his father is also deeply connected to the mob. When his father introduces him to a singer with a powerhouse voice, they become an unstoppable duo both on and off the stage. This is also a romance between an interracial couple that spotlights a lot of the issues black people were experiencing during the 60’s in NYC. My copy arrives tomorrow & I have already planned to squeeze it into my March reading.

WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES BY DENNY S. BRYCE – 3/30ย In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and loveโ€ฆin all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.”ย Not a book set in 1920’s Chicago! *arms extended* saved the best for last here because I’ve truly been counting down the days for this one. I read the Goodreads synopsis after seeing this stunning cover pop up in a magazine ad and I got such Evelyn Hugo vibes which only got me more stoked. High hopes. High hopes.ย 


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Spoiler Free Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Title: Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Author: Eve Brown

Pub. Date: Marchย 9th 2021

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Avon Books

Pages: 400 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

๐Ÿ–คeGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review, all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release๐Ÿ–ค

Eve Brown hasnโ€™t quite found her footing in life when her family decides to stage an intervention. The wealthy Brown family love their daughters but realize that Eve is a bit lost and hesitant to set off in the world. Cutting her off of her trust fund and pushing her to set some goals turns out to be the push she needs to discover some things about what is holding her back. She stumbles into a Bed and Breakfast that is looking to hire a Chef, the owner Jacob is an autistic man who is everything Eve has stayed away from. Organized, meticulous, a bit rigid and a stickler for rules Jacob sees Eve as a tornado come at the wrong time. Eve personally applies for the job because she thinks it doesnโ€™t run the risk of being something she will fall in love with doing. For Eve itโ€™s not just fear of failure, itโ€™s also disappointing her loved ones. Itโ€™s why sheโ€™s floated in between careers and hobbies without ever truly setting roots even though sheโ€™s quite skilled and great at pretty much anything she tries her hand at.

โ€œ๐‘Š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜ ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘“๐‘’๐‘’๐‘™ ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘“๐‘ข๐‘™โ€”๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘™ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘“๐‘ข**๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘–๐‘ก ๐‘ข๐‘. ๐‘Š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜ ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘™๐‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘œ๐‘๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘™ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘ค๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘›โ€™๐‘ก ๐‘›๐‘’๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ฆ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’. ๐‘Š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜ ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘—๐‘œ๐‘ฆ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘“, ๐‘๐‘’๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘‘ ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘™๐‘ฆ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘› ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘‘.โ€œ

Jacob has just suffered an injury (won’t say how cause spoilers haha!)ย and doesn’t have anyone that can help run his B&B the way he is accustomed to on such short notice. He gives in and posts a flier looking to hire a Chef temporarily and Eve is who comes in for an interview. We get a hate-to-love romance with plenty of steam to accompany the dishes they’re serving! + who doesn’t love the proximity trope?ย *wink eye wink eye*ย UGH! just when I thought it couldn’t get better than Dani & Zaf from Take a Hint, Dani Brown (my review) Hibbert swoops in with the next all star couple *heart eyes*

Thereโ€™s so much we get to unravel with Eve as a main character, someone who is so giving of herself but doesnโ€™t see much of a return. This was really a story of self worth and setting boundaries that I heavily could relate to. Itโ€™s also not a Talia Hibbert book without A+ humor and banter, Eve & Jacob had me laughing for the entirety of my one sitting read of this book. I created a playlist of songs Eve listens to while she works and enjoyed my time with these characters. Character quirks I loved:ย Jacobs maddening inner monologue on how Eve drives him up the wall had me giggling for hours. His need for control and icy reserve slowly coming apart whenever he entered the kitchen and saw Eve in her element. Eve who is completely oblivious at just how magnificent she is…I LOVE HER! I lived for those moments when Eve delighted in the joy she got from making Jacob blush with her sexual innuendos. I love all of the Brown sisters but Eve is just so full of personality and a nurturer in ways she herself hasn’t acknowledged. Eve is a multi-talented, plus size, sexy, fun tee-shirt wearing woman with great taste in music and a big heart.

โ€œYour abilities lie in the places people usually overlook, so youโ€™ve been convinced you donโ€™t have any at all. But youโ€™re smart, and youโ€™re capable, and if people struggle to see that, itโ€™s their problem, not yours.โ€

Jacob is 100% supportive and in doing so helps Eve come to the realization that she is a phenomenal woman. They also share a lot more in common than meets the eye, won’t say what cause that would definitely be spoilery. I just honestly believe Talia Hibbert knows how to deliver a male love interest you can’t help but love! They’re in no way perfect but Red from Get a Life Chloe Brown, Zaf from Take a Hint, Dani Brown and now Jacob from Act Your Age, Eve Brown Come close to ideal when thinking of a life partnerย ย This is the conclusion to the Brown sisters and although bittersweet, I am beyond happy to have met all of these characters on the page. These are character driven stories filled with humor and strongly independent female leads paired with awesome male partners. Best of all is the humor, diversity, and body positivity they all carry within๐Ÿ’œ


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February 2021 Wrap-Up & Book Haul…

February…the month where everything didn’t go quite as planned. Valentine’s Day weekend my boyfriend had booked us a cabin and the weather seemed to favor it, we were packed up and ready to go. I’d been quarantining at home all year long, working remotely, and pretty much limiting my proximity to anyone. COVID however arrived at my doorstep. It hit us hard for two whole weeks and it ended with a week long hospitalization for myself. It had to be the single most scariest experience I’ve ever been through with the odds stacked high against me making a turnaround. I believe it was a whole lot of faith, strength, and will power coupled with an awesome team of medical professionals that pulled me through. I’m home now where I’m recovering from some tough residual side effects but getting better and stronger each and every day.

I read 5 books in February which is honestly surprising given the level of meds I was on that made it difficult to not see words swimming on the page. I did NOT write reviews for any with the exception ofย The Project by Courtney Summersย since that was an ARC from the Publisher. Instead, I will try to summarize my thoughts in this Wrap-Up for each title. I did watch a couple of good new shows and one Netflix Original movie. Other than this, It was a month to rest and recover while also being thankful for my health and that of my two tiny humans.

Sidenote: Why didn’t anyone tell me Matcha is where it’s at?!?! OBSESSED! How do you like your matcha?ย I’mย looking for new recipes <3’s!

THE RAVENS BYย KASS MORGAN & DANIELLE PAIGEย  โœจ3.5ย ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ โœจ-ย ๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘…๐‘Ž๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘  was one of the books I read during my hospital stint. I was feeling for a witchy read and this one proved to be fast paced which helped considering nausea limited my reading time. That being said, it couldโ€™ve improved upon its character development. Our MC Vivi has always lived life alongside her mother who is very superstitious and makes her living reading Tarot. They constantly uproot their lives and move from place to place to โ€œkeep safeโ€ however Vivi doesnโ€™t know from what. Very little answers are provided to her by her mom until she gets accepted to Uni and joins Kappa Rho Nu. Unbeknownst to her, this ambitious smart tough sorority is also a coven of bad a** witches ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ we get to meet these other witches and the powers they were gifted (Pentacles, Swords, Cups or Wands) from their family lineage. I didnโ€™t connect with Vivi or really sympathize as much as I believe the authors intended. I actually connected a lot more with each of the the Side characters. There was also an issue with a death of a side character that I felt was a bit glazed over even though it was center stage for the first half of the book. Overall it was a fast enjoyable read albeit these issues, I LOVED the spotlight it gave these Alpha women leaders in the making! Sisterhood is not something we get enough of on the page, Iโ€™m glad Fairyloot made this one of their picks! ๐Ÿ–ค

THE PROJECT BY COURTNEY SUMMERS (My Review) โœจ5ย ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ โœจMIND BLOWN at the amount of research that had to have gone into cults and their inner workings. From how youโ€™re targeted, to isolation, brainwashing and eventually the feeling that youโ€™re indebted to a greater cause. All the while following someone who believes himself to be God. A cautionary tale of sorts is what some may view it as. This is marketed as Young Adult but definitely reads on the more mature end of the scale. Fast paced & character driven, this dark tale will sink its clutches into you.

FIREFLY LANE BY KRISTIN HANNAHย  โœจ5ย ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ โœจ-ย Firefly Lane provided some comfort in February in its tale of friendship between two girls from the opposite sides of the track. I laughed and cried reading this book and then of course binge watched the Netflix adaptation. Although the show does deviate a lot from the story, many of its core scenes and friendship milestones remained the same. Accompanied by some awesome 70’s music tracks, we follow Kate and Tully as young girls in grade school to life with kids and careers. Kate has the kids and the husband with dreams of one day becoming a published author. Tully has always dreamed and passionately pursued her career as an accomplished news reporter. They see each other through heartbreaks, career wins, and the ups & downs of their Thelma & Louise vibe friendship.

BLACK BUCK BY MATEO ASKARIPOURย 

๐ผ๐‘กโ€™๐‘  ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘‘๐‘ข๐‘ก๐‘ฆ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘œ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘ข๐‘๐‘๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘  ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘  ๐‘–๐‘ก ๐‘œ๐‘›, ๐‘๐‘’๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘› ๐‘ค๐‘’โ€™๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘”๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘’, ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘  ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘ก ๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘›โ€™๐‘ก ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘ค๐‘’โ€™๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘œ ๐‘ค๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘œ โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘™๐‘.โ€
โœจ5ย ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ โœจ
๐ต๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘˜ ๐ต๐‘ข๐‘๐‘˜
is a satirical take on one young black mans shot to stardom when he gets offered a โ€œonce in a lifetimeโ€ opportunity while working as a Manager at Starbucks. Darren is 22 years old and unambitious, the former Valedictorian of his class at Bronx Science. His mother who he lives with in their family owned Brownstone in Bedstuy wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential. Rhett Daniels the CEO ofย Sumwun, NYCโ€™s hottest tech startup sees that potential and is intent on getting Darren on his team. Darren joins and from day one is met with some quite infuriating white leadership who dish out every single stereotype there is about black people. Iโ€™ve lost track of how many times Darren has been asked whether heโ€™s been told by anyone that he looks like MLK or Sidney Poitier. This is the book that had me SMH saying โ€œthe audacityโ€ at the things white privileged men felt entitled to say to Darren. Darrenโ€™s inner monologue has me smiling at times and other times laughing, fast paced and thought provoking this book explores race and ambition through a different lens.

SLAY BY BRITTNEY MORRISย  โœจ4 ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ โœจ- I inhale read this book and although it be small in page count, it is mighty in its message! a book I will gladly pass down to my Afro-Latinx daughter because it embodies black excellence. Morris gave us black girls in STEM, a detailed layout of the virtual game our 16 year old MC has designed, discourse on black spaces, the importance of not relying on black people to educate you on their experiences, code switching and so much more! Yes, chances are if you love books by Angie Thomas, you will also enjoy Slay. But even more incentive is that Kiera is just a girl who loves video games and geekinโ€™ out with others who just like her have been looking for a space to call their own. There were some cringe worthy moments with regards to Kieraโ€™s boyfriend Malcolm who was the walking definition of toxic masculinity HOWEVER, I found his scenes to be important and insightful. These characters are well fleshed out and multifaceted, by the time I reached the end of the book I was fully invested. Iโ€™m absolutely already anticipating Morrisโ€™ next book!

FIREFLY LANE | THE GILDED ONES | THE WITCH’S HEART | THE PUSH | THE KINDEST LIE | HONEY GIRL | STAMPED


TO ALL THE BOYS ALWAYS AND FOREVER

The conclusion to the “All the boys” trilogy…or is it? I’ve heard rumblings of a spin-off being considered and I for one would be all on board. Give us Laura Jean in NYC attending NYU. I LOVED this movie but it is the third one so there’s not much I can’t say that isn’t spoilery. However, I will say that it was pretty awesome watching LJ make her own decisions & following her heart when it comes to life after high school.

FIREFLY LANE

After reading Kristin Hanna’s Firefly Lane I jumped right into a Netflix binge of the adaptation. The show definitely stands on its own and changes up a lot of what was in the book but I think that’s because it was intended to have more than one season. If you’ve read the book, then you know there are some major events that would change the dynamic on TV. That being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the show & seeing the different paths taken. I also LOVED hearing some of the 70’s music tracks mentioned in the books & seeing the flashbacks. UGH! all the geek love for Kate with her Ginormous glasses, bell bottoms and love for Tolkien. Tully, be still my heart! I have a soft spot for this character who is just looking for home & family but keeps finding comfort in her career. The one thing that hasn’t turned its back on her because it’s dependent on her will power, ambition and determination. I hope the show gets a second run, that ending just can’t be it! if you know, you know HAHA!

WANDAVISION

This was a show that felt absolutely trippy! from the black and white “I Dream Of Genie” mixed with “I Love Lucy” and a bit of “Bewitched”ย styled Pilot episode to the consistent sitcom themed episodes that followed as it made its way to present time. I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sure at all this was for me however, by the 4th episode I was hooked and had to know what exactly was going on. Trust Marvel to have perfected their formula, at this point there isn’t anything I wouldn’t watch by them. STOKED for Falcon and the Winter Soldier streaming next Friday 3/19/2021!


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