Spoiler Free Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Title: The Witch’s Heart

Author: Genevieve Gornichec

Pub. Date:ย February 9th 2021

Genre:ย Norse Mythology/Fantasy

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Ace Books

Pages: 368 pages

GOODREADS |ย BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

โ€œ๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ฆ ๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘‘ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘ก, ๐‘–๐‘› ๐ผ๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘‘, ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘ , ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘œ ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘ข๐‘› ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘›. ๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ฆ ๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐ด๐‘ ๐‘”๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘›๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘ข๐‘๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘Ž ๐‘๐‘ฆ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’, ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘› ๐‘๐‘’๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘“๐‘™๐‘’๐‘‘โ€œ

Iโ€™m happiest with a slower paced read that pulls me in with lush storytelling and characters I canโ€™t help but get invested in. The Witchโ€™s Heart will appeal to fans of Madeline Miller, Katherine Arden and Rin Chupeco. We follow Angrboda a Giantess who has lived many times over in the Ironwood. Sheโ€™s been burned by Odin three times and has had her heart cut out, yet she lives. Angrboda is gifted with the magic of Seid, the ability to see the future and essentially the end of the world as the Gods know it. She lives protected and in hiding until the God of mischief Loki stumbles across her cave. This is the story of their complicated love, offspring, and revenge on the Gods who constantly play with the lives of those they consider beneath them. Angrboda is bi-sexual and thereโ€™s a beautiful relationship that develops later on in the book, slow burn *๐ถโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘“๐‘  ๐พ๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘ * worth the wait! I went into this story not knowing much other than it was centered on Norse Mythology which is a subject of interest for me. I allowed myself to get swept away by Angrboda’s story and quickly found myself absorbed by these characters lives. There’s a prophecy and there are Gods behaving badly, it just doesn’t get better than that!

There is a fair amount of dialogue in this story which is something I personally enjoy. Iโ€™ve seen some reviewers say they were a little thrown off by the dialogue being a bit more modern in comparison to the world itโ€™s set in…honestly, the witty banter between all of the characters is what made this book super entertaining and endearing. Angrboda herself is someone who has lived a few times over and as such she is NOT in any way old fashioned. As a matter of fact she’s quite the opposite! Angrboda is all accepting, she loves who she wants to love and is quick to look you in the eye and ask why you’d assume she preferred one gender over another for her lovers. She’s simply a character I hope to never forget! now, I didn’t think we’d get much from Loki but I was pleasantly surprised by how Gornichec wrote this character. Loki is a multi-faceted character who is very comfortable with his sexuality and wishes only to never be controlled and/or know what the future has in store. We also got an amazing line-up of side characters in Angrboda & Loki’s children but I won’t speak on the why’s since that would be spoilery. Overall, a new favorite for me this year and a mood changer. I’d say this is a medium paced book with lots of character development, witty banter and YES! ROMANCE for the WIN! ๐Ÿค—


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Spoiler Free Review: The Project by Courtney Summers

Title: The Project

Author: Courtney Summers

Pub. Date:ย February 2nd 2021

Genre:ย Young Adult Thriller

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Wednesday Books

Pages:ย 352 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

โ€œ๐‘Šโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘’ โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’ ๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘š๐‘ฆ ๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘“๐‘–๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘–๐‘กโ€œ

๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ƒ๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘—๐‘’๐‘๐‘ก ๐‘๐‘ฆ ๐ถ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก๐‘›๐‘’๐‘ฆ ๐‘†๐‘ข๐‘š๐‘š๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘  is the story of two sisters who experience the tragic death of their parents in a car accident at a very early age. Lo almost lost her life alongside her parents that same night. Her sister Bea was left praying for a miracle when a mysterious man presents himself to her at the hospital. Bea believes him to have healed her sister and so she decides to follow him back to the Unity Project, cutting off ties with her loved ones as is required from all of their members. The Unity Project is widely known and loved in most of the Upstate New York region for its charitable endeavors and shelters theyโ€™ve opened for women and children. Years pass by and Lo goes in search of her sister, she isnโ€™t convinced the Unity Project is all that it portrays. When a man accuses the Project of killing his son, Lo takes that and runs with it determined to get her sister back.ย The Projectย is a medium paced character driven story that chronicles the inner workings of a cult from recruitment to the inception of its members and later the psychological effects on those who have left the cult.

MIND 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. Is it suitable for Young Adult readers? I believe it to be if viewed as a cautionary tale of sorts since cults do exist and many fall victim because they lack the knowledge on how they work. It is a very emotionally heavy read that does a fine job of tackling tougher topics such as religion, faith and those in positions of power within religious groups. This absolutely reads on the more mature end of the Young Adult scale with its dark tones in manipulation and abuse. Personally, I couldn’t stop reading this book and I’m glad I have a copy ofย Sadieย by this author to hold me over until their next published book. There are a slew of content warnings that I encourage you to review, I’m adding those provided by the lovelyย Melanie from Meltotheany down below:

Content and Trigger Warnings: abandonment, loss of loved ones, sleep paralysis, grief, depression, panic attacks, hospitalization, talk of death of child in past, physical abuse, torture, emotional abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, blood depiction, complications with childbirth, murder, child abuse, captivity, and cults.


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February 2021 Anticipated New Releases

Who thought February was going to be a slow publication month? THIS Gal right here! It took me by surprise when I looked at my Notes app and realized I had 22 titles listed for this month and that’s not including any of the BIG hyped up releases (lookin’ at you SJM) but I wanted to spotlight those many may have not heard about. As always, I scout out as many of the BIPOC books hitting the shelves in hopes you too will be as stoked as I am to read these new stories. Yesterday I actually finished reading one of the books on this list (The Project by Courtney Summers) and your girl is still shooketh! I also just received my copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers in the mail from Book of the Month & will be squeezing it into my February “Possible Reads” If you make it to the end of this post, drop some love in the comment box. What new releases are you MOST excited for? any that aren’t listed here? Curious Bookworm here ๐Ÿ˜‰


YA & SCI-FI

MUSE BY BRITTANY CAVALLARO (2/2) – YA Historical set in 1893 during the World’s Fair, we follow Claire who is the daughter of a famous genius inventor. Her father believes that her touch is what has granted him this gift and plans to use her as St. Cloud prepares for war however, Claire plans to claim her life for herself.

WHAT BIG TEETH BYย  ROSE SZABO (2/2) – YA Horror/Paranormal pitched as perfect for fans ofย Wilder Girls this follows Eleanor who has been estranged from her wild family for some years. When an incident takes place at her boarding school she is forced to return home where she struggles to fit in with her monstrous family.

DARK AND HOLLOW STAR BY ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH (2/23) – YA Fantasy pitched asย The Cruel Princeย meetsย City of Bones,ย an Urban Fantasy set in the magical world of Toronto. We follow a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes threaten to expose the Faerie world to humans. THAT COVER!!! I’m glad this is one I know for sure will be in one of the book boxes I subscribe toย *books shimmy*

ALL THE TIDES OF FATE (ALL THE STARS AND TEETH #2) BY ADALYN GRACE (2/2) – This is the sequel to All the Stars and Teeth (My Review) which was one of my favorite YA Fantasy books in 2020 & had I been able to come up with 20 faves in 2020, it would’ve certainly made the cut! Mermaids, Pirates, curses and a bad a** female heroin who trying to protect her Queendom. Amora is the unlikeable character I absolutely wanted more of, STOKED to pick this one up!

THE GILDED ONES (DEATHLESS #1) BY NAMINA FORNA (2/9) – West African inspired YA Fantasy, we follow a 16 year old MC who prays her blood will run red on the day of her ceremony. When it runs gold (the color of impurity) she must decide whether to stay in her village & live through the consequences or leave and join the emperors army of girls just like her. Near immortals with rare gifts who are the only ones able to stop the threat to the empire.

YESTERDAY IS HISTORY BY KOSOKO JACKSON (2/2) – I heard time travel featuring a m/m romance and decided that was all I needed to know! we have a MC who receives a liver transplant and before he knows it, is time traveling between present day Boston and 1969 where he meets his love interest. The family of the donor explains that time travel is a gift attached to the liver! Can anyone say ORIGINAL?!?! Hella intrigued!

REAPER OF SOULS (KINGDOM OF SOULS #2) BY RENA BARRON (2/18) – I have a non-spoilery review coming later this week but gahhH! if like me you loved Kingdom of Souls then this is an absolute MUST! it’s beautifully written with even more in depth unraveling of the Gods. This was an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns, slow to start but when it takes off there’s no getting off the ride!


YA CONTEMPORARY

LOVE IS A REVOLUTION BY RENร‰E WATSON (2/2) – STOKED! a story where our female plus size black MC finds self love! Yes she does so while sorting out some lies she told her love interest who is an activist but STILL, we do NOT have enough or any self-love stories in YA. I’m READY!

FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA BY CRYSTAL MALDONADO (2/2) – Keeping on with the self-love reads, this a Latinx coming of age story where we follow a brown skinned fat MC who is done having to fit into the image everyone else has for her. Her BFF is the only one who fully accepts her for who she is but things get complicated when Charlie gets asked out by cutie in class Brian. The problem being that Brian asked Charlie’s BFF out first which now brings forth so many questions.

THE INITIAL INSULT BY MINDY MCGINIS (2/23) – First, let it be known I’ll read anything by Mindy Mcginnis! but to be blessed with a Duology is a real treat and to have it be inspired by Edgar Allen Poe? are we even worthy?!? Set in Ohio this one follows Tress & Felicity whose paths are bound to cross and it all is linked back to the disappearance of Tress Montor’s parents. Told in alternating POV’s this dark thriller sets the stage for an unraveling of a friendship that I’m sure I’ll be left reeling from.

THE PROJECT BY COURTNEY SUMMERS (2/2) – I was very lucky to have received a eGalley of this highly anticipated new book by the author ofย Sadie.ย HAUNTING AF Bookworms! SMH I have a full review coming over the next few days with a massive amount of content warnings. I haven’t read Sadie yet but after reading this book, I will absolutely read anything by Summers. If you’re interested in Cults & their inner workings as well as the emotional toll many people experience while being indoctrinated then this is a solid read. I gave it 5 stars but will save my thoughts for my review ๐Ÿ˜‰

A PHO LOVE STORY BY LOAN LE (2/9) – The minute I saw this cover I thought about Tweet Cute which I adored! and then I read the synopsis & it was a no brainer, I NEED this book in my life! Really just pass along any baking/Foodie books because they offer up so much comfort. Here we have two MC’s who are complete opposites as they both work in their families respective Pho restaurants. “For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, whoโ€™ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.”ย THIS!


CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE & FICTION

IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE, NONI BLAKE (2/23) – “Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there’s one she’s often overlooked–herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it’s time for that to change. She’s finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment.” –ย This bit right here had me stop dead in my tracks! Having personally seen myself embark on a similar journey, this is one I had to add to my TBR. A 30 something year old woman who sees herself starting over while traveling around the world. This promises to be hilarious and relatable, sign me up!

FIRST COMES LIKE (MODERN LOVE #3) BY ALISHA RAI – This is here solely because I’ve just started reading The Right Swipe and can already tell I’ll definitely be binge reading this series in 2021. This one promises a Catfishing story between our love interests & I’m a sucker for a good love story over the interwebZ haha! Beauty Influencer meets Bollywood Soap Opera Star…BUT WAIT! he doesn’t know who she is or rather who would use his name to woo her over the net!

MAKE UP BREAK UP BY LILY MENON (2/2) – Second chance romance trope?!?! YES PLEASE! a Las Vegas fling between two dating app developers that ends up turning into a competitive race to win a contest that if won can keep their apps afloat. “Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endingsโ€ฆthese are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the โ€œGoogle Translate for failing relationships.โ€High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast carsโ€ฆthese are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the โ€œUber for break-ups.โ€

SERENA SINGH FLIPS THE SCRIPT BY SONYA LALLI (2/16) – A story about an independent strong woman who is trying to prove to her family and many aunties that domestic bliss is not needed in order to have a happy life. We follow Serena who works at a firm in DC as she navigates friendships and reconnecting with family & even her ex-boyfriend while also trying to hold onto her own self-reliance.

HONEY GIRL BY MORGAN ROGERS (2/23) – I’m MOST Stoked for this new release and have since adjusted my expectations to understand that this is NOT a Romance. It’s more of a late coming-of age story set in NYC after our MC impulsively marries another girl while on a girls trip to Vegas. I will MOST likely be reading this book this month cause the anticipation is KILLIN me!


ADULT FANTASY & SCI-FI

WINTER’S ORBIT BY EVERINA MAXWELL (2/2) – A SCI-FI Romance featuring A M/M romance between Royals marketed for fans of Red White and Royal Blue. Early reviews have this one described as more of a Romance set against a Sci-Fi back drop which is something to keep in mind if you’re looking at this as more of a Sci-Fi focused book cause that it is not. I just got my copy from Illumicrate & can’t wait to dive in!

THE WITCH’S HEART BY GENEVIEVE GORNICHEC (2/9) – Norse Mythology I HAVE MISSED YOU! this one is pitched for fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe which I’ve shamefully NOT yet read. We follow a Giantess who falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki and conceives three “unusual children” each with a. secret destiny. Since I scored a eGalley for this one I will be powering through this one later this week with a full RTC ๐Ÿ˜‰

FIREHEART TIGER BY ALIETTE DE BODARD (2/9) – A Sapphic Novella (by Tor!)ย pitched as “The Goblin Emperor meets Howlโ€™s Moving Castle” Mhmm! need I say more?!? I’m READY!

THE BLACK COAST (THE GOD-KING CHRONICLES #1)ย  BY MIKE BROOKS (2/18) – A new EPIC Fantasy series that promises War Dragons! This is a story about two different cultures who have to come together to maintain peace. This is a multiple POV Fantasy featuring queer characters and conversation on gender roles and sexuality. This is one I have high on my TBR.

THE ECHO WIFE BY SARAH GAILEY (2/16) – Pitched for fans of Big Little Lies? why, yes! Yes I am said fan *arms extended* Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwellโ€™s award-winning research. Sheโ€™s patient and gentle and obedient. Sheโ€™s everything Evelyn swore sheโ€™d never be. And sheโ€™s having an affair with Evelynโ€™s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty. ”ย This honestly sounds like it would also make for a dope book to movie adaptation.


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WWW WEDNESDAYS 2/3/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted byย Sam @ Taking On a World of Wordsย 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?

Day 3 of a snowy wintry setting in NYC and although I’m working from home, I’m still feeling that cold air in my apartment. Cozy socks & coffee are on, my window blinds are open while I watch the neighborhood help each other dig their cars out of the snow. I also have an ongoing list of “Possible Reads” cause who am I kidding with TBR’s at this point? absolutely no one smh. February is Black History Month however if you’ve been following my blog and/or my Bookstagramย for some time now, then you know I read books by BIPOC authors all year long (as one should)ย and promote their works. I didn’t join any of the Readathons this year since reading has been touch & go for me while I juggle life and physical fitness but my intention is to amp up my reading this month. In case you’re interested in any of these Readathons (run by some of the MOST down to earth people!) I’ll bless ya with the links here:

Black Author Readathon (Check out Steps Romance Book Talk announcement Video)

Blackathon (Check out Jesse @BowtiesandBooks announcement video)

Black buck by mateo askaripour

I’m 30% into this audiobook from Libro.fm and I’ve already had some “the audacity” moments! this is a satirical take on one young black mans shot to stardom when he gets offered a “once in a lifetime” 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 1 is met with some quite infuriating white leadership who dish out every single stereotype there is about black people. I’ve lost track of how many times Darren has been asked whether he’s been told by anyone that he looks like MLK or Sidney Poitier. Darren’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.

the project by courtney summers

I actually had started my eGalley before getting swept up in Black Buck so it’s on a slight pause for now. I’m sure when I do pick it back up I will breeze right through it since it’s based on cults and YA Thriller/Suspense novels tend to be inhale reads for me. I’ve never read anything by Courtney Summers but I do own the Sadie audiobook I shamefully have procrastinated on starting SMH! Hopefully it’s as good as many of my bookish friends are anticipating it to be *fingers crossed*

winter counts by david heska wanbli weiden

Also a audiobook from Libro.fm that is fantastically narrated! I finished listening to this one on Sunday morning and immediately 5 starred it on Goodreads & Story Graph. Set on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota, we follow Virgil Wounded Horse a biracial Lakota local enforcer who is hired to take care of criminals when the tribal council & American legal system look the other way. Things hit close to home when his 14 year old nephew gets swept up in the middle of cartel drug wars. Virgil must find a way to get him out and get rid of these bad guys who are selling heroine & hard pills to the youth on the reservation. This was a DARK challenging read at times that is mostly character driven. I have a full review coming here on the blog next week but also have a post up on Bookstagram.

Continuing on with my list of “Possible Reads”ย pretty much makes any of these three a contender for my next read. However, I will definitely be starting The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis next week since it is a buddy read with Melanie over @Meltotheanyย that I’m really looking forward to. Chances are this may change mid week since I have a couple of library holds that are looking mighty close to coming through…I’m looking at you The Right Swipe & Ring Shout cause y’all are about to throw a wrench in my reading plans haha!


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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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January 2021 Anticipated New Releases

Hello Bookworms! I decided to try something new (to me) here on the blog since I always have a running list going on my phone of anticipated new releases. It helps me be more aware of what’s coming out in the publishing world even though I don’t particularly like or stick to TBR’s. I debated this past weekend on whether this post should be quarterly or monthly and with the help of a friend decided monthly would be best. The reason being that I read across many different genres and a quarterly list would look Nanas & would probably end up missing a few titles that slip through the cracks. I’m a little late this month since I was unsure on the format but in the future these posts will go up the last week of the month in anticipation of the following months titles. January is typically a slow month in books seeing as we’re gearing up to be overwhelmed with ALL the books come February and I do mean ALL the books haha! So without further ado…


YA & MIDDLE GRADE

LORE BY ALEXANDRA BRACKEN (1/5/2021)-Putting aside the fact that this cover is STUNNING & will make anyone do a double take…this book features Athena the Goddess of wisdom, war and crafts aka my favorite of them all! as punishment for a past rebellion, nine greek Gods are forced to walk the mortal earth while being hunted by ancient bloodlines. Our MC has turned their back on said world until a wounded Athena crosses her path. This one is coming in one of my book boxes & will MOST def be a book I read in February.

ANGEL OF GREENWOOD BY RANDI PINK (1/12/2021)- Historical YA inspired by the Greenwood Massacre of 1921 in Tulsa aka Black Wall Street. We follow two teens with  opposing views on how black people should handle conflict & racism. Isaiah is a follower of WEB Du Bois & believes black people should rise up and claim their place as equals. Angel is a follower of Book T Washington and believes black people should take a slow peaceful approach w/out forced conflict. Things change when a white mob storms their community destroying the town and leaving its residents displaced.

CONCRETE ROSE (THE HATE U GIVE #0) BY ANGIE THOMAS (1/12/2021)- The prequel to the The U Give, here we get the story of Maverick Carter (Starr Carter’s Dad) and how he came to be a young father.  For Mav, life hasn’t been easy but he tries to juggle school and becoming a young dad while also making money on the streets as apart of a gang. Son of a former gang legend, Mav is left to care for his family while his mother works two jobs and his dad is in prison. He’s offered a chance to leave street life behind and go straight but it proves to be much easier said than done. This is Mavericks story of becoming the man we later see in The Hate U Give. STOKED! black men as a whole are under represented in books, Mav is a fictional father I absolutely loved when I first met him on the page!

BE DAZZLED BY RYAN LA SALA (1/5/2021)- After reading and really enjoying Reverie by this author, I knew to keep an eye out for future works. Dubbed as Project Runway goes to Comic con! this a queer m/m YA Contemporary with a MC who loves creating, bedazzling, sewing, stitching, pattern making etc. when he enters a Cosplay competition in hopes of winning a sponsorship. The problem is that his ex boyfriend has also entered the competition and unresolved feelings still linger when they’re partnered to work together! SIGN ME UP!

WINGS OF EBONY BY J. ELLE (1/26/2021)-A debut fantasy about a black teen from Houston Texas who witnesses the murder of her mother on her doorstep. She’s then separated from her sister by her father and whisked away to an island of magic wielders, Rue is half God/half human. On the anniversary of her mom’s death she wants only to return to Houston and see her sister. When she does, she finds that Evil has taken a hold of the black kids in her community and forced them into crime and violence. Rue must tap into her ancestral magic to try and save her neighborhood before the Gods burn it to the ground.

ROMAN + JEWEL BY DANA L. DAVIS (1/5/2021)-What if Romeo & Juliet got the Hamilton treatment? Yea that’s about all I needed to read to know I want to to read this tbh. Our MC Jerzie wants so badly to land the lead role in what is Broadway’s hottest new show featuring a diverse cast of characters and “modern twists” on the play. She ends up however, being cast as the understudy and also falling for the male lead. The problem is, the mega star who has been cast as the star lead has also set her eyes on him. DRAMA! haha!

AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS BY B.B. ALSTON (1/19/2021)- Quinton Peters who is living in low-income housing has received two full scholarship offers to Ivy League schools when he mysteriously goes missing. His 13 year old sister Amari wonders why it’s not made a bigger deal. When she discovers a suitcase in Quinton’s closet with an invitation for her to go to a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs she decides to answer. In search of answers on Quinton’s disappearance, Amari discovers a world of mermaids, dwarves, yetis, magicians and a weredragon as a roommate. Mari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids who’ve known about the supernatural world all their lives. This just sounds like it’s going to a be a fun time!


SCI-FI & FANTASY

REMOTE CONTROL BY NNEDI OKORAFOR (1/19/2021) –“Sheโ€™s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.” An African Futurism Novella that features a MC named Fatima who has a fox companion she walks alone searching for answers on the object that fell from the sky changing her forever. STOKED to have a eGalley I’ll be reading tonight!

PERSEPHONE STATION BY STINA LEICHT (1/5/2021)-Dubbed as being for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop will pretty much get anyones attention! a Queer Sci-Fi space opera that takes place in a backwater planet called Persephone station where a bartender named Rosie serves two types of people: Those of the criminal class and those who seek to employ them. When Angel an ex marine and head of a semi-organized crew of criminal bent on doing the honorable thing gets hired by Rosie, she sees herself up against an army. The Serrao-Orlov Corporation is a corporation set on exploiting Persephone Station until met with Angel & crew. THAT COVER & PREMISE!!! โค


fiction & romance

THE PROPHETS BY ROBERT JONES JR. (1/5/2021)- “A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.” I received an ALC copy from Libro.fm that I’m pretty stoked to get to just from listening to the sample audio.

THE EX TALK BY RACHEL LYNN SOLOMON (1/26/2021)- hate to love romance? seems so. Shay, a producer for her Seattle public radio realizes things have gotten pretty stale on the air and the show needs a new concept.  Her newest colleague Dominic who has just attained a masters program in journalism thinks he knows all there is to know about radio. The idea is born to have exes come on the show and deliver relationship advice. Their boss decides they’re PERFECT to host the show since they already despise each other. This sounds innnnneresting haha!


What are some of the january titles you’re most looking forward to hitting the shelves? drop a comment down below & as always, happy reading <3’s!


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Top 10 Books of 2020…

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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August 2020 Book Haul

It’s Friday & I’m not posting a Friday Reads & Thangs because lots of non-bookish things are happening this weekend in my little corner. However, I come to you late my friends with my August Book Haul! This is actually one of my favorite stacks I’ve hauled in quite some time. I’m almost done un-hauling books from my shelves *book shimmy* that I’ve lost interest in, I’m sticking to only buying books that I’ve either read/loved OR have a STRONG inclination that the book will be a favorite new read. In this stack I have already read & 5 starred You Had Me at Hola (my review) & Lobizona (my review), these would be great additions to your TBR/shelves in the support of Latinx Heritage Month. Also, I am currently a host for a Latinx Heritage Month Giveaway over on Bookstagram. This is a weeklyย giveaway running through September, the winners are announced every Friday. To enter, keep an eye out for the Monday morning post each week ๐Ÿ™‚

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HANDS DOWN | YOU HAD ME AT HOLA | VICIOUS SPIRITS | STAR DAUGHTER | RAYBEARER | THE FIRST SISTER | LOBIZONA | HOOD FEMINISM ย (gift from Brittany over @DippedinColor)


WITCHES STEEPED IN GOLD | THE PROJECT | MUSE

Super thankful to Epic & Fierce Reads for the Edelweiss/Netgalley approvals, these are titles I’m looking forward to reading & reviewing here on the blog. Witches Steeped in Gold is already getting some early praise which absolutly heightens my curiosity.


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Spoiler Free Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Title: The Roommate

Author:ย Rosie Danan

Pub. Date:ย September 15th 2020

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Berkley

Pages: 336ย pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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This sex positive story about two people who unexpectedly end up being roommates was a fun page turner. Clara has followed her childhood best friend in a move across country in a case of unrequited love. When they get there, her BFF gets notice of his band landing a gig and leaves her his apartment. There she meets Josh, the roommate she didnโ€™t sign up for. Clara comes from a wealthy Manhattan family, her entire life goal has been to stay out of the rumor mill. After a few scandals sheโ€™s seen her mother weather, she doesnโ€™t want to be a cause for more. This is why she decides to tough it out & not go running back home. Josh is pretty chill, described as a dreamy Zac Morris from Saved by the Bell type. Heโ€™s the polar opposite of Clara who comes across a bit uptight. Thereโ€™s undeniable attraction when they first meet but a simple google search leaves Clara wide eyed. Josh works in the sex industry and is exactly the publicity Clara is trying to stay far away from however, running back to NYC just isn’t an option. Clara knows that would be the easiest route to take but in doing so, she’d be proving to her family that she’s driven by impulse and emotion. The family who has already cast aside her aunt as the black sheep of the family for a very public affair. Instead, Clara decides to indulge in her curiosity by sticking round and getting to know him a bit better.

I appreciated the discussion on the sex industry, specifically the negative stigma society has placed on sex workers. Also, LOVED the positive discussion on the female orgasm as well as body exploration through self pleasure. Although Clara and Josh come from very different backgrounds, they both feel passionately that women deserve better sex. We follow them as they join together to bring sexual awareness & empowerment to women by using their individual talents and knowledge. The chemistry is wicked intense, the steamy scenes are a 10 because Josh clearly appreciates and understand the female body. He’s super respectful while also confident and smooth which in turn helped Clara feel more at ease and step into her own power. We also get an inside look to the trash treatment many sex workers get in the industry and the fact that many of it isn’t talked about. Society has already deemed their profession something to look down on which makes it just as hard to want to speak up. One of my fave characters Naomi Grant who is an ex of Josh, has managed to get control of her narrative as a sex worker. She embodies confidence and body positivity but like Josh, is one of the few who have learned the ropes well enough to not let anyone low ball them. Relationships are also discussed since its is something many outsiders have wondered about…can a sex worker manage to have a successful relationship? I’d say the verdict is still out on that with it depending on the individual because at the start of it all Josh is having relationship/trust issues. Ifย you’re looking for a read that offers a perspective we don’t often see,ย The Roommate delivers while also keeping it fun and sexy!


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FRIDAY READS & THANGS…

Happy Friday Book Lovers! I’m a little all over the place today but I’m stoked to get the weekend started. This weekend I’ll be flexing my newly found green thumb skills as I expand my at home window garden. I really thought this was something I sucked at smh since my past experience with plants were TERRIBLE. Whelp! (many things I thought I would suck at have turned out to be quite the opposite, never doubt yourself luvs)ย I have managed to keep my succulent Leo alive since the start of this year. Many will ask themselves (like my good friend Taylor @Nerdnarration), how do you kill a succulent? well it happened to me 2 years ago & I was set on never letting it happen again. Leo is now ready for siblings & my BFF IRL is bringing me a seedling from his very own garden! excited for this & have already ordered a few things for their arrival. On the bookish front, I have started a contemporary set to be released in 2 weeks & a few single issue comics. I also have plans for some outdoor activities with my tiny humans in a safe social distancing space.

The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow #2) by Margaret Owen– I had no idea this was a duology but I’m so satisfied with how everything wrapped up! The world was further fleshed out as was the magic system & our MC’s were put through the wringer. I did NOT expect to finish it with tears in my eyes but it sure happened to be that way. I have a full review coming next week.

Wynd Issues 1 & 2 by BOOM Comics! –ย If you’re a fan of all things Fae then this will be one to keep an eye out for. I’m already craving more from this story & appreciate so much the plus size rep as well as there being POC characters. Wynd is a Fae Queer boy living in Pipetown where all with magic in their blood have been exiled. Wynd is in hiding, he was taken in by a family when he was just a baby left behind in a basket. The family has taken great risk in hiding him while the King has hired help to eliminate any found within his kingdom. There’s also talk of a land where those with magic live freely, can’t wait to read more!

A Man Among Ye Issues 1 & 2 by Image Comics– I love all things pirates but its the female pirate stories that have given me LIFE! this comic is based off of the real Irish Pirate Anne Bonny. We get a female MC who is very confident & just a bad a**! aboard Captain Jack’s crew. Other than Jack who may be a love interest, the crew is very sexist & anti Anne. Mutiny is definitely afoot. Now I’m not sure if she will remain on his crew or venture off based on how issue 2 left off. I am absolutely in need of issue 3 cause it seems we will be getting more female POC Pirates. I have a feeling this will be a favorite & I’m really hoping it gets a trade paperback *fingers crossed*ย 

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

This was about all I had read from the Goodreads Synopsis before I clicked on request on Netgalley. So far its been receiving really good reviews & I can see why. Since starting it last I found myself quickly going through the pages with no real want to put it down except for the much needed sleep. I’ve heard it’s a very sex positive read & that one of the MC’s has a profession not typically seen in books…I’m intrigued ๐Ÿ˜‰

“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power tells the tale of Adora, a teenager who can transform into the heroine She-Ra and leads a group of other magical princesses in a rebellion against the evil Lord Hordak and his Horde.”

I’ve just started watching friends & can’t stop! thank goodness for slow work from home days amiright? haha! there are POC & plus size characters that I have absolutely been charmed by. These characters have quickly become faves! Final thoughts will be in my August Wrap-up.


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