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 RAVE Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

ย 54860443Title: One Last Stop

Author:ย Casey McQuiston

Pub. Date:ย June 1st 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages:ย 544 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM

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

The 411..

I will preface this review with first asking that you read this book when it hits the shelves next Tuesday June 1st! That it just so happens to be the very first day of Pride month makes this pure PERFECTION! This is a SUPER SEXY, Queer, time-slip Contemporary Romance filled with all the found family feels and New York City History. Specifically the history of the Queer community and the challenges they faced as well as the many strides made leading up to present day. We meet twenty-three year old August who is quite cynical and doesn’t believe in much. She’s spent most of her life assisting her mom in trying to crack a missing persons case and decides it’s time for a change. Moving into a New York City apartment with three other queer roommates and working the night shift at a 24 hour pancake diner fast track August on becoming a true New Yorker. Always on the go. The chances of meeting the same girl on the Q train every day at the same exact time seem almost too good to be true. Yet there Jane is, on the exact morning that August is having a bad start to her day offering her a red scarf to help cover up a coffee stain. Jane, a Chinese Lesbian wearing a leather jacket with 70’s pins. She’s cool and laid back yet charming, sexy and mysterious AF! August CANNOT get her off her mind and thus begins her every morning routine ensuring she gets on the same car train at the exact hour of their first meet. This is NOT for the feint of heart Book Lovers! *turns mini desk fan on*ย 

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I’ve been waiting to find a 6 star read this year and it being days away from June, I was breaking a sweat thinking it just wasn’t going to happen. This book changed that and I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t expecting it to. Although I enjoyed McQuiston’sย Red, White & Royal Blue I didn’tย exactly claim it as a favorite in 2019.ย One Lastย Stopย however, was the EXACT level of romance, steam, and comedy that I crave whenever I pop into the Contemporary genre. This was also a love letter to NYC, the city I was born and raised in and was able to visualize while riding the Q train with these characters. I’ll also never tire of the found family trope because it’s one that I can relate to personally with my own group of life long queer besties. The side characters were also center stage and I loved this so much! they were each so deeply fleshed out and just what August needed as a welcoming committee to the city of NY. She’s a Bisexual 23 year old paving her own way in life and that can be quite scary to do alone…except she doesn’t have to do it alone. She has Niko, the Trans Psychic Latino who read her aura and pretty much decided she had a home with them from the minute they met. Myla, a queer electrical engineer/artist who has habit of inventing weird in-home games that often take a turn for the worse. Wes, a queer Jewish tattoo artist who is in love with their neighbor but can’t muster up the courage to act on it. We get it all in this book! NYC, one hot steamy romance, time jumps to the 70’s, pancake goodness and drag queens my luvs! I can go on for days but part of the fun is getting to know these characters and falling in love with each and every one of them. I’m ready for whatever McQuiston writes next! โค

P.S. for those thinking of giving the audiobook a go, I’d highly recommend it! the narrator was on point and I have aย referral link to Librofm if you find that you’re interested <3’s!


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Spoiler Free Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

55692620Title: The Soulmate Equation

Author:ย Christina Lauren

Pub. Date:ย May 18th 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher:ย Gallery Books

Pages:ย 368 pages

ย 

GOODREADS |ย BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZONย 

ย 

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

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

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

The Soulmate Equation hits shelves next week Tuesday May 18th


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

Title: Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Author: Eve Brown

Pub. Date: Marchย 9th 2021

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Avon Books

Pages: 400 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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February 2021 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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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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Top 10 Books of 2020…

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


HEAVY HITTERS – WE LOVE TO SEE IT!

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TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN BY TALIA HIBBERT (SPOILER FREE 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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Spoiler Free Review: Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Title: Spoiler Alert

Author: Olivia Dade

Pub. Date: October 6th 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 416 pages

๐Ÿ–คALC & Galley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

This may just be the book responsible for me dipping into the world of fan-fiction, I had an absolute blast reading from the POV of April & Marcus. If like myself you’re someone who didn’t quite get on board with the finale of Game of Thrones or Dexter (haha), possibly even thought you could’ve written a better finale? then this book is for you! Set in a post Gameofthronesque (totally made this word up #noshame) world we follow April a plus size fan-fiction writer for the show Gods of the Gates.  April has just tweeted out a photo of herself in a self made/designed Lavinia Cosplay who is one half of the show’s OTP. When her photo goes viral it captures the attention of many a troll as well as that of Marcus Caster-Rupp who plays main guy Aeneas AKA the other half of this beloved OTP. One twitter exchange leads to another and Marcus sees himself asking April out on a date to spite the nasty trolls who are body shaming her on social media.

April has no idea that Marcus has a secret online persona he uses to write fan-fiction of his own. Gods of the Gates Fan Fiction that contractually he needs to not be linked back to. In this fandom he’s known as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous writer who gets to take out his frustrations with the show he works in. Little does Marcus know but he and April have a ton in common, April is Unapologetic Lavinia Stan in the Gods of the Gates Fan Fiction world. Furthermore, they have actually been friends all along but Marcus can’t let her know his real identity. For Marcus, the acting career he’s worked so hard to build means everything to him & he’s not ready to risk his contract. However….staying away from April is just simply NOT something he can do.

Content Warning: body shaming, toxic parent relationships, fat shaming

April AKA Unapologetic Lavinia Stan- Honestly represents everything I wish I was a few years ago. April is an empowered woman who is tired of hiding the parts of herself that make her phenomenal. She wants to live her geektastic life out in the open! meet her online friends IRL & last but not least, find the man who will love every inch of her beautiful body inside and out. We get a glimpse of the toxic relationship she had growing up with her parents that shaped her into the woman she is at the start of our story. April is body positive & won’t allow anyone, be it friend or family to body shame her.

Marcus AKABook!AeneasWouldNever – THIS MAN! getting to know him meant falling in love with this character. He appears to the masses as this vain persona but in reality he’s protecting the softer intellectual he truly is. Also stemming from a toxic childhood, Marcus isn’t living in his truth at the start of the story. He’s hiding just how amazing he truly is and relies on his fan fiction to express himself authentically. The way he loved up on April in every which way is EXACTLY what I LOVE to see!

Was I expecting to love a book based on fan-fiction culture? No. Was I sucked in & left cheesy smiling? YES! April is beautiful, sexy, smart, creative, and a true friend. She’s not apologizing for her body size, nor should she have to! I smiled and nodded YES every time she stood up for herself and claimed her power and femininity. The contrast between who she really is and what Marcus pretends to be is something that really stands out and makes these characters memorable. They both bring a level of healing into each others lives I don’t imagine they expected. LOVED to see it! This book was such a fun time, one of my favorite aspects being the excerpts we get from their actual Fan-Fiction. A lot of it being outright silly in its raunchiness HAHA! I’m now eagerly anticipating the next book by Dade which I believe will be based on a fave character of mine in this book! *fingers crossed*


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Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Title: Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3)

Author:ย Lyssa Kay Adams

Pub. Date:ย October 27th 2020

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Berkley

Pages: 352 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

Alexis and Noah have really solidified in my corner why I love & truly enjoy reading romance books with the friends to lovers trope. We’re first introduced to Alexis in Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)ย where she is the victim of a celebrity chefโ€™s sexual harassment. Noah is the hacktivist we also meet in book 2 who so happens to have been recruited by the Bromance Book Club to help bring down the dirt bag celebrity chef. Since then, Alexis and Noah have become very good friends who speak every day & spend most nights having dinner at home. They also have one thing in common, both have lost a parent at a young age and find comfort in each other over their shared loss. Is there non-platonic chemistry? ABSOLUTELY! but both are super protective of their friendship to rush into anything. We see Noah play it safe because he saw Alexis deal with sexual harrasment & the last thing he wants is to infringe on the trust she has in him. Alexis on the other hand never really looked at Noah as anything more than a friend up until some awkward physical encounters occur.

We follow Alexis as she manages her Cat Cafรฉ…Yes, a cafรฉ where cats are saved and Alexis finds them their forever home. She also hosts Yoga at night for victims of sexual harassment/domestic violence. In the background, the Bromance Book Club is busy with a wedding underway. Mack from book 2 is marrying Liv who has solely left him and the guys in charge of wedding planning. Mack has detected Noah’s predicament aka Friend Zone status & sets out to make him a member of the Bromance Book Club.

Alexis aka Lexa- exudes vintage 60’s style fashion, bakes & cooks, over feeder, master home/holiday decorator, cat savior and a safe haven to survivors of sexual harassment/domestic violence. Lexa and her HIGHLY Sus (haha!) cat Beefcake are now faves in this corner.

Noah- a Hacktivist in his younger years has now turned himself into a very low key wealthy owner of a security firm. When he isn’t providing services to members in the Bromance Book Club who are of high profile, he is grabbing tacos *heart eyes* for Lexa. Noah does have some baggage stemming from the loss of his dad in the war that took place in Iraq. Like Lexa, he has some boundaries that make their friendship more of a comfort zone that neither want to leave. Side note: Noah is by far the hottest Bromance Bookclub member I’ve pictured in my head!

It’s safe to say that at this point I’m deeply invested in this series & its characters. I enjoyed the first installment, however I’ve noticed my enjoyment levels significantly increase with each new book. As of this moment, Crazy Stupid Bromance is my absolute favorite. The friendship at the core of this book is well developed, we get the back history and the shared grief. I was cheering these two on all along and also hoping their friendship would remain intact. These books offer humor while also tackling some serious subject matter, the perfect balance between the two. I LIVED for the scenes between Beefacake & Noah, truly frightened yet entertained haha! The Bromance Bookclub is back together again & the book they’ve chosen is a slam dunk! I enjoy seeing my faves back on the page because Lyssa Kay Adams has given each such an authentic unique voice. Their personalities are intact including those of the supporting cast, which only piques my interest for our next couple in crisis. Could we finally be getting “The Russian”?!?! I Hope so!


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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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