WWW Wednesday: 9/8/2021

It has been way too long since I posted a WWW Wednesday mainly because I’ve been mood reading and partly because I’ve been on the go. It’s a wrap on this rainy summer and even though I didn’t get as much beach time, I have been safely traveling and working on my little indoor garden. Currently I’m nurturing a Monstera Deliciosa aka My Baby! in hopes she thrives in my home. Physical fitness has taken center stage and for the first time in a really long time, I’m actually really enjoying my new workout routine because of the variety I’ve included. Audiobooks come in clutch when i’m working out and pretty soon they’re going to be my best friend while I tackle painting my apartment. It took me some time to decide on whether or not to paint but seeing as I’m in NYC for at least the next couple of years, might as well bring my vision for Desert Chic to realization. Besides reading, I started watching Fear Street on Netflix and thisย scares-very-easilyย person is loving it! What are you lovelies reading/watching/planting/cooking? lemme know down below!

I started The Love Hypothesis last night and while I may not be a Star Wars fan, I did love me some Adam Driver! Our male love interest is most definitely Kylo Ren fanfic inspired. I AM HERE FOR IT! We get the fake dating trope between two scientists that promises to be cute and steamy, what more can we ask for? I’m hoping to get some reading in tonight while doing the laundry but can easily see this one keeping me up past the midnight hour. 

I also sporadically decided to start listening to The King of Scars audiobook while I work. This is a re-read for me since I originally read my physical copy in 2019 and three starred it. YUP. It was not a great moment. In any case, seeing as I’ve had a copy of Rules of Wolves sitting on my shelves for quite some time and I’ve been reading from my shelves…figured I’d give it another go. It may still be a three star but so far I’m enjoying the audiobook way more than the physical. Zoya is EVERYTHING and her accent makes me smile. 

I actually binge read The Kiss Quotient trilogy, I listened to The Heart Principle on my flight back to NYC. The narrators did a fantastic job with all three books, Helen Hoang is now a new favorite Contemporary Romance author. The Heart Principle did have a different feel than it’s predecessors seeing as it was birthed after a year of grief and loss for the author. I had the chance to read the author’s interview on Goodreads where she discusses what she experienced in 2019/20 and the therapy she sought out to help her cope with her grief. The Heart Principle felt raw and vulnerable, I deeply resonated with Anna who I embodied at one point in my life. Quan, her love interest is reclaiming his life and self love after also experiencing a tough battle. Although very different in tone, I can honestly say this book is my favorite of the three. Please check for content warnings, my review is in the works. 

I also had the chance to read an early copy of A Curse In Ash by Julie Zantopoulos (my reviewand LOVED it! this was a book I picked up on my day off and read it start to finish in one day. If you enjoy sexy fae times and fantasy that is set in a contemporary world, then this is for you. If you love friendship circles that portray healthy relationships, this is for you. Lastly, if you enjoy a steamy AF Fantasy…I mean all the way off the meter…the meter is broken my loves! then I HIGHLY recommend giving this one a go ๐Ÿ˜‰

Never has a book been easier to select off my shelves than The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova what better way is there to bring in Latinx Heritage Month (begins September 15th) than with a new book by one of my favorite authors, Zoraida Cรณrdova?!?! this is an adult fantasy that also spends time in Ecuador which is where Cรณrdova was born in. I’ve heard only positive reviews and cannot wait to dive in to the Ecuadorian folklore I’ve heard our author weaves in. My boyfriend also happens to be Ecuadorian and as with most books I read, I’ll be sharing this one with him for thoughts ๐Ÿ˜‰


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June 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

Who else is falling short of TBR goals simply because you’re having one HOT person summer?!?! Well June threw a wrench in my reading goals in the best of ways so there’s no complaining here but I am back on track with my July Possibility Pile. I only read 4 books in June but they were quality readsย (one of them is a bit iffy as the days go by lol)ย I traveled with and enjoyed. I haven’t really been in the Fantasy reading mood lately, leaning instead into Romance & Contemporary Fiction. That being said (Ha!), this weekend during my post work-out soak I started She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (The Radiant Emperor #1)ย & already I’mย MIND BLOWNย (hits shelves 7/20/21)ย by the vivid imagery and the main character’s self awareness. Drop some love down below in the comment box with what you’re currently reading/watching/listening to โค โค โค

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Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto – โœจ3.5 ๐“ข๐“ฝ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ผโœจIf you can manage to suspend all disbelief, Dial A for Aunties will take you on a WILD hilarious ride! I listened to the audiobook on Librofm and I’m so glad I did, the narrator did such a phenomenal job of making this family feel real. We follow Meddelin Chan who goes on a blind date & somehow accidentally ends up killing her date. When she calls her mom freaking out, her mom calls in the Aunties who quickly come to help cover up & hide the body. Meddelin and her family all are in the family business of weddings & they end up concealing the body on the island where the wedding is taking place. This is a romantic comedy that is laugh out loud & over the top! What I loved? the beautiful descriptions ofย Chinese-Indonesian culture specifically wedding traditions. Also, the amazing support this family offers one another to ensure they’re all successful in their family business. Lastly, the AUNTIES!!! their in-fightings had me chuckling and shaking my head on more than one occasion. Overall a good time!

Survive the Night by Riley Sager – โœจ3 ๐“ข๐“ฝ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ผโœจย Unlike many of my friends who’ve read all of Sager’s backlist, this is only my second read by this author. It’s undeniably a page turner with a unreliable narrator. It has a very dreamlike feel that makes you wonder if the narrator really is hallucinating. I’ve changed my rating several times since reading it & not for the better, it sits at 3 stars because I couldn’t detach from it and ended up binge reading. Would you get in a car with a perfect stranger all the while knowing a campus killer is on the loose? Our MC Charlie is trying to leave campus for good after the murder of her roommate. A chance meeting at the campus ride board leads her to Josh Baxter. Josh who is on his way to care for his sick father and offers Charlie a ride. Set mostly in the car on dark roads, this story will have you flipping pages into the night. Charlie is an unreliable narrator & things get interesting when she begins to think sheโ€™s in the car with her roommates killer. Itโ€™s a game of cat and mouse that plays throughout the night and you really start to fear for Charlie. The problem is, some pieces don’t fit no matter how you try to make them and doing so will make the writing seem forced…that’s how I felt about the way all was wrapped up.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (My Review) โœจ4 ๐“ข๐“ฝ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ผโœจThis book hit on a more personal level for me, it didn’t dethrone TJR’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo but it does hold a special place in my heart. Overall, this is a story of childhood/sibling trauma and breaking free from the toxic cycles as adults. I love books that remind us how perfectly imperfect we can be, especially when you’re a parent because so often that role is one to look up to. When you fall from that pedestal you’ve been placed on, how you get back up or don’t…can possibly affect your children later on down the road. Nina (the oldest) in some ways was repeating relationship patterns her mother got caught up in. This story is told in past & present tense, in the past we follow Mick Riva and his wife as they struggle through infidelity and drug/alcohol abuse. In the present, it’s all about the Riva kids who are famous because of their father and are hosting their yearly party. Over the course of 24 hours we see them deal with their personal relationships & demons. I docked it one star because of the climax and how much I didn’t really care for it…that is to say, the party itself was just not it for me. it only detracted from what I really cared about and that is the characters themselves. For the most part we see Nina’s character development and then it’s surface level with the other siblings. I’m hoping we get a book following Kit who intrigued me so much! *fingers crossed*

Ace of Spades by Faridah ร€bรญkรฉ-รyรญmรญdรฉ – (My Review) โœจ5 ๐“ข๐“ฝ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ผโœจSave the best for last! One of the better debuts I’ve read this year, I honestly couldn’t put it down! This year has been really hard for me to find YA I enjoy which has me being way more selective with what I pick up. Ace of Spades had a little of Gossip Girl mixed with Jordan Peele’s Get Out mixed with Alyssa Cole’s When No One is Watching,ย check out my recent review in the link above.

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*Confession* I binged all 5 seasons of Workin’ Moms in 48 hours SMH #NOREGRETS I FELT SEEN! LMAO! The title really does say it all, we follow these four ladies as they juggle life with being modern career women. They all have such different approaches that it makes for a very unlikely group of friends but also, I think that’s what makes it work. Everything from marriage to raising tweens and having healthy supportive female friendships is explored. I had a GREAT time, laughed a whole lot and also shed some tears along the way. Come on season 6!ย 

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PIXAR! why do you always leave me ballin’ my eyes out?!?! Luca and Alberto’s friendship really is top tier, I was smitten with their adventures on land. We follow these two sea monsters as they explore a fishing village that doesn’t like and actually hunts sea monsters for cash rewards. This is a story of acceptance and being judged by those who fear what you are. Disney has received some backlash for Queer baiting as many (including myself) wondered if there was more to Luca & Alberto. Regardless of what was intended, I found their human connection to be beautiful and a story that everyone can appreciate.


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Spoiler Free Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah ร€bรญkรฉ-รyรญmรญdรฉ

55518780Title: Ace Of Spades

Author:Faridah ร€bรญkรฉ-รyรญmรญdรฉ

Pub. Date: June 1st 2021

Genre: YA Contemporary/Queer

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Harper/Usborne

Pages: 480 pages

GOODREADSBARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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The 411..

โ€œ๐‘ฌ๐’—๐’†๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’๐’–๐’ˆ๐’‰ ๐‘ฐ ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐‘ฐ ๐’”๐’‰๐’๐’–๐’๐’…๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’†, ๐’Š๐’• ๐’‚๐’๐’๐’๐’š๐’” ๐’Ž๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’“๐’๐’” ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’˜๐’‚๐’๐’• ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’‰๐’๐’˜ ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’šโ€™๐’“๐’† ๐’ˆ๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’†๐’• ๐’Š๐’•, ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’šโ€™๐’“๐’† ๐’”๐’†๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’” ๐’„๐’๐’„๐’Œ๐’š. ๐‘ฉ๐’–๐’• ๐’ˆ๐’–๐’š๐’” ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’˜๐’‚๐’๐’•? ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’†๐’šโ€™๐’“๐’† ๐’„๐’๐’๐’‡๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’๐’• ๐’๐’“ ๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’๐’๐’ˆ.โ€œ

I first heard this book described as ๐†๐ž๐ญ ๐Ž๐ฎ๐ญ meets ๐†๐—ผ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฉ ๐†๐ข๐ซ๐ฅ which is on point as far as comparisons go. If you enjoyed Alyssa Coleโ€™s ๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐๐—ผ ๐Ž๐ง๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐–๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ , I would absolutely pick this one up! Compulsive, addictive and relevantโ€ฆI couldnโ€™t put it down for too long. Our MCโ€™s Chiamaka Adebayo and Devon Richards are the only two black students at Niveus Private Academy, a private elite school. They come from completely different socioeconomic backgrounds and donโ€™t really run in the same circles. That changes when they find themselves targeted by an anonymous identity known as โ€œAcesโ€ their secrets blasted to the entire school and their reputations smeared. We follow Chiamaka and Devon as they try to unmask Aces while dealing with their own personal relationships outside of the school. Devon is a black gay boy living with his mother and brother. His mom has to work long shifts as a nurse in order to sort of stay afloat and keep Devon at Niveus Private Academy. Devon is a latchkey kid who finds ways to bring extra income to the home by selling drugs in the neighborhood. Being queer in this neighborhood is generally not acceptable, Devon is basically in to completely different worlds on the daily. His approach in school is basically to keep his head down & out of the spotlight. Chiamaka is bi-racial (Nigerian/Italian) and comes from a wealthy family, we see her cope with being disconnected from family who don’t approve of her parents interracial marriage. This while also trying to be the Queen Bee at Niveus Private Academy where having flawless fashion sense is a MUST and dating the popular guy in school doesn’t hurt.

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โ€œThe people at the top in high school get into the best colleges, get the best jobs, go on to run the country, and win Nobel Prizes. The rest end up with dead-end jobs, heart failure, and then have to start an affair with their assistant to create some excitement in their otherwise dull lives.โ€  

I read this book in physical form and lost count of the number of tabs I used and the hours I spent binge reading in mostly one sitting. I felt ร€bรญkรฉ-รyรญmรญdรฉ really showed us the contrast between Chiamaka and Devon and how ultimately their differences didn’t mean anything because it’s the color of their skin they’re being judged on. Both these characters receive ill treatment across the board and it literally feels like the odds are stacked against them. Even though their social conquests differ, they’re both trying to be the best at their craft academically. Niveus is an Academy known to churn out super successful people but it is very cut throat as in the real world. I can’t go into deets about Aces because that would be spoilery but I will say that what made it so frightening is that it isn’t far fetched at all in my opinion. Book lovers, this was a page turner of a debut that I ate right up! HIGHLY recommend adding this book to your TBR’s *book shimmy*

๐‚๐—ผ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐–๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐ : homophobia, Stalking, Violence, outing of a queer character, racism, gaslighting, classism, death of a parentย 


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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: Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron

Title: Reaper of Souls

(Kingdom of Souls #2)

Author:ย Rena Barron

Pub. Date:ย February 18th 2021

Genre:ย Young Adult Fantasy

Format: eGalley/ARC

Publisher:ย HarperTeen

Pages:ย 448 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

โ€œ๐ผ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก ๐‘š๐‘ฆ ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘”๐‘–๐‘›๐‘›๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”, ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘–๐‘‘๐‘‘๐‘™๐‘’, ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘‘. ๐น๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐ผ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘ , ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘’ ๐ผ ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘‘, ๐ผ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ.โ€œ

Reaper of Souls was one of my MOST highly anticipated sequels to look forward to in 2021 and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Kingdom of Souls (My Review)ย introduced us to Arrah who comes from a powerful family of witch doctors but for some reason hasnโ€™t come into her own powers. After the catastrophic events we left off in Kingdom Of Souls, Arrah finally has the gift of magic but it came about in a terrible way. Returning from exile, we see Arrah go after those who have taken her people from their tribal lands. What she soon discovers is that this is a war between the Orishas and their demon children and caught in the middle are mortals. The Character development alone was phenomenal & the world building/magic system is very richly woven and inspired by folk magic. Arrah is discovering along the way the many secrets she unknowingly carries within. A deeper connection to it all. A sort of forbidden love. A choice to make. The inevitability of it all.

Rena Barron has delivered such a rich and beautifully written Fantasy where the lives of our key characters are constantly haunted by the mistakes and transgressions of their parents and ancestors. Will they choose to repeat those mistakes OR course correct for the good of their people? This story is told in multi-POV format between Arrah, Rudjeck and a third entity that for spoiler free reasons I won’t disclose. If you love character driven stories that are more slower paced with a big reward at the end, then this is absolutely a trilogy worth giving a go. Seeing as it had been some time since I had readย Kingdom of Soulsย I would’ve loved it if there had been a Legend/Key at the very start. There are a handful of Orishas and their history is fleshed out in the first book but this follow-up goes even deeper into their history and conflicts with one another. Pacing can seem a bit off at times but I chucked that off to Arrah’s own personal journey to self realization which in my opinion was done perfectly! If you’re expecting NOT to be left reaching for more after this book, you are sadly mistaken! I cannot wait for the conclusion to this fantasy/love story๐Ÿ’œ


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December 2020 Wrap-Up & Birthday Book Haul

It may be January but your girl is still sorta…kinda…celebrating my birthday! It took many years for me to love celebrating this day (December 31st) but life should be celebrated & I’m very blessed with an awesome little family and friends. December was an odd month, I felt like I was watching everyone try and reach their Goodreads goals while I accepted quietly (of course smh) that it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t have a post going up with 2020 stats cause honestly that year is dead and gone and I have no desire to go dig it back up. However, I’m happy with the 67 books I read because of the grade A quality stories I discovered (Top 10 of 2020) and the new authors I fell in love with (I’m looking at you Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Fredrik Backman.)ย In the month of December I read 6 books, some of which ended up being my top faves of 2020! Now, onto some non-bookish December happenings…

I very bravely decided to made my very first Pavochon which is a Puerto-Rican style cooked Turkey!!! It was very important for me to make everything from scratch like my dad used to do and I have ZERO regrets on the turnout even if…it was a 3 day process (flashbacks oh no!) but it was also very therapeutic and FUN!!! my loved ones who are some of the TOUGHEST food critics were floored and that honestly made my birthday week. I’ve fallen in love with cooking these past 2 years and can’t wait to try out new recipes in the new year.

Promise to keep these brief since I have reviews for most of the books I read…

SUCH A FUN AGE BY KILEY REID – (Review) โœจ5ย STARSโœจย A more timely book I could NOT have read in 2020, we follow a black young woman who is accused of kidnapping while baby-sitting for a white family in a. predominantly white neighborhood. I listened to the audiobook which had a awesome narrator! this was a rollercoaster ride for me, feeling everything from anger to hopelessness. Although this does cover some very heavy themes of racism, the author managed to weave in some humor and truly captured what it feels like to be a twenty something year old trying to figure out what to do with your life.

BLAZEWRATH GAMES BY AMPARO ORTIZ – (Review) โœจ3.5ย STARSโœจย This was a fast paced YA Fantasy featuring a Puerto-Rican MC who is feeling displaced from the island after her parents go through a separation. There are dragons and a sort of magical olympics where the dragons and their riders compete. There’s also a villain who was formerly a dragon and is on the brink of starting a rebellion for his own gain. I enjoyed the Puerto-Rican rep I just wished there was more character development done on our MC Lana.

MERRY INKMAS BY TALIA HIBBERTโœจ4 STARSโœจI was looking for some romance/smutty reads around mid-month after reading Fantasy & this novella hit the spot. Yes we can probably all agree that we’re tired of seeing the body boy/dark past trope however, I hadn’t read it in quite some time so it felt new! haha! Here we have Cash Evans who very much love at first sight, falls for Bailey a curvy black woman who he hires to work at his tattoo parlor. Cash invites Bailey over to his family’s home for the holidays and their romance pretty much takes off. Steamy in all the right ways!

FOREVER WILD (THE SIMPLE WILD #2.5) BY K.A. TUCKER – โœจ5ย STARSโœจย I almost feel like this should’ve been a part of Wild at Heart which would’ve then made that a 6 star read. K.A. Tucker novellas really pack in a ton and this was no exception. My fave characters did Christmas and the in-laws in Alaska…PERFECTION! more Calla & Jonah is always a good thing but this time we get backstory on Roy! yea I know, our fave curmudgeon has a past & here we get to see more of him and his happy ending *smiles*

ANXIOUS PEOPLE BY FREDRIK BACKMAN -(REVIEW) โœจ5ย STARSโœจย Simply BEAUTIFUL! I adored this cast of characters & seeing them offer each other sage advice while they remain hostages in a botched bank robbery. The less you know, the better with this book! just bring a box of Kleenex ๐Ÿ˜‰

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE – (REVIEW) โœจ5ย STARSโœจย FINALLY! a V.E. Schwab book I ADORED start to finish. This book was heartbreaking and yet (hate to use this word again but…) BEAUTIFUL! I lost count of the times I teared up seeing Addie grow hopeful at the possibility of finding love and having that person remember her. Addie has made a deal with good ol’ Lucifer, in exchange for a somewhat immortal life she will surrender her soul when she tires of living. Of course, a deal with Luc doesn’t come without stipulations. Gahhhh! I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!


 

Blessed with SUPER AMAZING thoughtful friends! these are the books I received for my birthday and Christmas from Taylor @NerdNarration & Lourdes @Chaptersweloveย *heart eyes*ย safe to say I’m set for some good reads for the next couple of months *shimmy shimmy*ย 


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The Cozy Autumn Book Tag!

What’s this?!? a tag?!?! why YES, Yes it is! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year, it’s when my spirits are at an all time high and I want to do all the cozy & outdoor things. This year I’m adding one new thing to my list of Fall things…hikes & trails! I’m a sucker for a scenic route and it only helps my efforts to get some cardio in on the weekends whilst also staying away from crowded city life. I’m slowly going to be working my way up to some tougher/longer hikes throughout New York State & hopefully I’ll get some good colorful Fall shots along the way. Of course, it wouldn’t be my favorite season without some fave autumnal reads…

๐Ÿ‚ Q U E S T I O N S ๐Ÿ‚

1. What book always reminds you of fall/autumn? Adriana Mather’s ย Haunting the Deep #2 in the How to Hang a Witch series ALWAYS invokes Fall vibes. Set on the Titanic with a MC who is a direct descendant of a prominent figure in the Salem Witch Trials, this book with Its ghostly characters is a great way to kick off the Fall season.

2. What is your favourite autumnal book cover? This year it’s a toss up between Lobizona by Romina Garber (my review) & Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (my review). They SCREAM autumn with their lush dark burgundy and orange colors. Cemetery Boys does take place around Dia De Los Muertos which only amps up this book as one to pick up this season. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

3. What is your favourite autumnal drink to read with?ย Currently…COVID has me staying away from Starbucks BUT I found their creamers at Target *jazz hands* specifically the Caramel or Cinnamon Dolce creamers with my home made coffee topped off with some ground cinnamon. Mhm…as you may have guessed, I love cinnamon!

4. Do you prefer to read late at night or early in the morning?ย Late nights used to be my JAM! but alas, no longer! neither are the mornings tbh cause of my hectic jam packed schedule. Evenings are when I get most of my reading in.

5. Halloween is coming! What is your favourite spooky read?ย Up until this tag, I did NOT think to choose a fave spooky read. However, going forward Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (my review) which is haunting AF! will be that read I go to for its horror noir vibes. UGH! this book my fellow bookworms…will make the hair on your neck stand.

6. What is the ultimate comfort read for you?ย This will always be the Romance genre as a whole. However, most recently I discovered Adriana Herrera who I HIGHLY recommend. Here to Stay (my review) sees our MC relocate from NYC to Dallas Texas & it just so happens to run into Thanksgiving. The cast of characters/friends in this story felt like home to me so much so that I truly didn’t want the book to end. I will continue reading Herrera’s books whenever I need that cozy feeling.

7. What is your favourite autumnal reading snack? although it has been WAY TOO LONG! for many years, I’ve loved Junior’s NYC Strawberry Cheesecake. Not just for the flavor but for the many sweet memories attached to this treat.

8. What is your favourite autumnal candle to burn whilst reading?ย In previous years, I did buy candles from bookish shops but not as of late. While I burn through my current collection, I’ve noticed Butterscotch, Hot Cocoa and Salted Caramel scents seem to call to me.

9. When you’re not reading, what is your favourite autumnal activity? Long outdoor walks paired with a hoodie\leggings & an engaging audiobook. If not, then it’s curling up in bed watching romantic comedies in fuzzy socks.

10. What is on your autumn/fall reading list? Ha! this may just be a bit ambitious but I’m sure going to give it a shot…


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Spoiler Free Review: The Beautiful by Renรฉe Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful

Author: Renรฉe Ahdieh

Pub. Date: October 8th 2019

Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical Fiction

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 448 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

 ๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

At its core The Beautiful is a Paranormal murder mystery with a steaming romance in the mix. Set inNew Orleans (FAVE CITY) 1872, our heroine Celine has been shipped off with 7 other girls to live in a convent. The intention is to have the girls meet eligible suitors to marry since they’ve had no luck thus far. Celine & her friend Pipa however are ahead of their times, feminists through & through who have trouble conforming. One encounter with a member of La Cour des Lions leads to Celine discovering night life in New Orleans. Captivating & enticing, she quickly falls down the rabbit hole that leads her to meeting the Lions leader, Sรฉbastien Saint Germain. Coincidentally, the city begins to see young women being murdered. The victims are said to have been savagely drained of their blood. The person of interest is the young Sรฉbastien Saint Germain which Celine finds herself being pulled towards. She begins to investigate the murders & quickly realizes she may be next on the killers agenda. Could the man she finds so alluring also be the one murdering innocent young women? Celine knows he’s the leader of a crime ring with a reputation in the under belly of New Orleans. This man is shrouded in mystery and darkness, well protected by his organized crime family he almost seems untouchable. Celine sets out to discover the truth all the while trying to stay alive.

Celine A bi-racial fashionista who studied under the best seamstress in Paris before being shipped off to New Orleans. Our MC who is a Feminist way ahead of her time & I LOVED reading her commentary whenever faced with expectations she had no plans on meeting. Celine is torn between living up to societal expectations vs. running free and living life to the fullest. She feels most at home amongst the members of La Cour des Lions. She’s also SUPER curious and intuitive.

Sรฉbastien Saint Germain Fits the standard mold of ridiculously beautiful brooding MC (also bi-racial) who can’t be bothered. He has lost his entire family & has been taken in by his uncle who is a well known crime leader himself. Having had no children himself, Sรฉbastien is his only heir and is expected to follow in his footsteps with the family business. Sรฉbastien has no shortage of admirers, Celine just happens to be the one he can’t get out of his head.

Michael Grimaldi The police chief in charge of solving the murders and who has an age old feud with Sรฉbastien. Michael is a bit rigid and a by the book type of man. When he finds himself falling for Celine, it puts him once again up against Sรฉbastien. Of course, as is the case with most of the characters you come across in this world there’s more than meets the eye with Michael.

Pippa The closest thing to a friend for Celine, Pippa is the only one who can understand Celines dark & salacious humor. Pippa also is a feminist in her own way but she is more willing to conform to the norms. Pippa is what one would call a ride or die ๐Ÿ™‚

Odette is by far my FAVE character in this world! Odette may very well be non-binary but I’m not 100% certain. This character also loves fashion and you can find them wearing a pant suit or ball gown. Odette is attracted to women and similar to Celine is just trying to live their life on their own terms & I couldn’t love them more for it! โค

Arjun Desai (described as being from the Far East; a person of color) A member of La Cour des Lions, Arjun stands close to Sรฉbastien as wise council. Arjun has studied law however due to the color of his skin during these times he was not permitted to practice law. Arjun is one character I would love to get more of in the sequel.

Without it being very clearly stated on the page, it is known The Beautiful is a story with paranormal creatures. It takes a subtle approach when introducing the different types of mythological beings we all know and love.  I for one was very happy with the hints & descriptions the author leaves behind forming a picture of who & what inhabits this world. At the very end we’re left feeling that this will be an expansive world & I for one am READY for a paranormal series set in 1800’s New Orleans. I found myself effortlessly flipping the pages & getting invested in these characters one by one. This is one hell of an atmospheric read where New Orleans comes alive on the page. If you go in expecting less Fantasy & more Mystery/Paranormal Romance, then I think this will be one very satisfying read. The only reason I docked it 1 star is because if I’m being completely honest, it could’ve been cleaned up a tad bit & that would’ve helped with the inconsistent pacing. However, I truly enjoyed the chapter breaks where we get the POV of whatever thing or person is hunting & killing. This added all of the creepy vibes to this book & had me dying to know their true identity. I do believe this is laying down the groundwork for what I expect will be a world lush with Vampires, Lycans, Fae and possibly more. If you’re a lover of historical romance, mysteries, and the paranormal…The Beautiful will deliver with hints of more in the future.


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July 2019 Book Haul

Hello Hello Bookish Friends! ๐Ÿค—ย It’s almost Midnight here in NYC & I’ve had way too much coffee ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธย & so what better time than to knock out a few posts? ย  ย  ย July was a weird month for me, I had a craving for Fiction (could be the overwhelming amount of Fantasy arcs on my Kindle @ the moment ๐Ÿ˜‚)ย & I happened to catch some good deals. Besides the AWESOMENESS that is Book Of The Month, Amazon had an early Summer Black Friday sale I couldn’t turn away from. Wicked Fox was sent by the Publisher, it was a 5 star read & my review will be up this week. I also read Lock Every Door which was 3.5 stars, highly enjoyable but it did have its parts that dragged. I listened to the audiobook while reading along & loved the narrators performance. I’m currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray as part of the #DivinersReadalongย ๐Ÿ–คย Who is this Gal? reading all the books she hauls? haha! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธย Below I’ve included my Book of The Month referral link, if you happen to sign up using my link then I’d get a free book. I fully support this book subscription box, for an AMAZING price you get to choose some of the top buzz worthy titles. They’ve also recently added a seperate Young Adult subscription option in case Fiction alone isn’t your thing. Links for all books will take you to Goodreads ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Diviners | Next Year in Havana | When We Left Cuba | Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) | Where The Crawdads Sing | Lock Every Door | Three Women | Things You Save in a Fire

BOOK OF THE MONTH REFERRAL LINK

 

Spin The Dawn (The Blood Of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

“Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.” – Goodreadsย 

The July Owlcrate box has to be the MOST beautiful box I’ve received this year! ๐Ÿ˜ย I LOVE every item but if I had to choose one favorite it would have to be the deck of cards with STUNNING artwork & red foiled edges ๐Ÿ˜


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MARCH BOOK HAUL

Hello Hello is anybody out there? It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post & I’m admittedly a bit rusty ๐Ÿ™ˆ but ummm have no fear! I am quickly getting back in the swing of things. 2018 was a bit rough at the end for a number of reasons but 2019 so far has proven to be full of blessings & beautiful surprises ๐Ÿ’“ I thought I had lost my love for books & blogging, turns out *Maury Voice* the lie detector determined THAT WAS A LIE!!! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ my appetite for books has returned full force. I recently finished & LOVED Daisy Jones & The Six, a gift from my Twin Soul Gretchen over at ChicNerdReads who truly knows when to send a book recc my way (thanks Twin!) ๐Ÿ–ค I’m currently reading Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncanmy first Fantasy of the year & so far I’m really enjoying this one ๐Ÿคž๐ŸฝI have reviews I’ve been working on & will start to sprinkle out over the next week. One major thing did change & that’s the way I buy books. After un-hauling 50+ books, I knew I was going to be hella selective going forward. This haul contains only books that I’ve HIGHLY been anticipating & will be reading very soon. Whether you’re new or a Ol’ G here on my blog, thank you for sticking around & stay tuned for all the new content ๐Ÿ–ค

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The Weight Of The Stars| Dealing In Dreams| Queenie (Book Of The Month)| LOT (Book Of The Month)| The Priory Of The Orange Tree| Fence Volume One


Hello Bookworms! I hope youโ€™re all having a wonderful day with your next best read โค I am STOKED to be reading & blogging again. This blog & community has brought me so much happiness & friendships I am so thankful for ๐Ÿ’“ I think I’m going to enjoy making up for lost time โ˜บ๏ธ Happy reading!


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