July 2020 Book Haul

July will forever be marked as the month of endless summer nights turned into trips to the book store. Nights curled up with a good book under the night sky was where I found my zen this year. This also means that I more than made up for my sort of book buying ban in June, let’s be real not a month goes by where I don’t one click some Kindle deal or another. July was also the month where I purchased sequels to series I’m currently reading & really enjoying. I finally dived into The Daevabad Trilogy (My review) & continued in the world of the Brown sisters with Take a Hint, Dani Brown (My review). It also marks the month that I started to request on Netgalley again after a long hiatus of about 2 years. I’ve been blessed by the book Gods with some EPIC titles I’m already reading and will be reviewing both here & on my Bookstagram. August will be a MUCH slower book buying month, if I buy any at all simply because September in the bookish world is known as being big on releases.

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KOMI CAN’T COMMUNICATE VOL. 2 | TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN (THE BROWN SISTERS #2) | AVATAR THE SHADOW OF KYOSHI (THE KYOSHI NOVELS #2) | THE DAMNED (THE BEAUTIFUL #2) | THE EMPIRE OF GOLD (THE DAEVABAD TRILOGY) | DARKDAWN (THE NEVERNIGHT TRILOGY #3)| SEX AND VANITY | RAGE OF DRAGONS (THE BURNING #1)| THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING


Kindle Steals

I’m actually really proud of myself in not going click happy in July! these are the only 4 I downloaded for either $1.99 or $2.99 which is pretty hard to resist. I’ve heard only the best of things about all 4 titles & hope to get to them in the very near future.

CRIERS WAR (CRIERS WAR #1) | RADIANCE (WRAITH KINGS #1) | THE BLACK PRISM (LIGHTBRINGER #1) | THE WOLF OF OREN-YARO (CHRONICLES OF THE BITCH QUEEN #1)


Dipping my toes slowly into requesting on Netgalley & Edelweiss again since I still want to continue reading through my back-list books. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse was actually a wish granted on Netgalley which made my month all the better. These are 6 books I’ve been HIGHLY anticipating & will be reading throughout the next couple of weeks starting with Fable by Adrienne Young since it will be hitting shelves on September 1st! *book shimmy*

BLACK SUN (BETWEEN EARTH & SKY #1)| THE ROOMATECRAZY STUPID BROMANCE (BROMANCE BOOK CLUB #3) | FABLE (FABLE #1) | LEGENDBORN (LEGENDBORN #1) | BLAZEWRATH GAMES


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Spoiler Free Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author: Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

Pub. Date: June 30th 2020

Genre: Gothic Horror/Latinx/Mystery

Format: Physical

Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 301 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

“𝑨 𝒘𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂 𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝒅𝒐 𝒂𝒏𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈: 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒖𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒆𝒓”

𝑴𝒆𝒙𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝑮𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒄 is set in 1950’s Mexico, a Gothic Horror that follows our mid-twenties socialite Noemi (gave me young Evelyn Hugo vibes) who has been directed by her father to go check up on her cousin Catalina. Catalina the cousin who has always been a nurturing role model, married in haste & not much is known about her new husband. It is thought that perhaps there were financial motives driving her fiancé to seal the deal but distance has taken Catalina away from home. Now relocated to a more remote area where communication is lack, Catalina is a source of worry when her letter is received & in it she speaks of a haunted house and whispers within the walls. Noemi strikes a deal with her father, in exchange for enrollment in the University of her choosing she will travel to Catalina to secure her mental state. Noemi is a character way ahead of her times in many ways with a wide array of interests. She steers clear of getting emotionally attached to her love interests & instead feeds her unquenchable this for knowledge. Often times thought of as fickle for starting & ditching different subject matters, Noemi is a force to be reckoned with. Quick witted, fiercely independent, charming, headstrong with a dose of class that drips cool. Noemi is the type of character you’ll never forget. High Place, the big house she travels to is a place you’ll never forget. A place where Noemi will question not only the sanity of her cousin but her own as well. A place that has a lot of history, secrets & pain hidden within its walls. In many ways, High Place is a main character in this story…

Atmospheric & haunting this is a slow burn tale that will raise the hairs as you read. It is a mystery with smart writing in which Moreno-Garcia weaves in themes of eugenics, misogyny, racism, and colonization. It is character driven & has the ability to transport you out of your own surroundings. I read this on the beach and was easily transported to High Place which is the big house this story is set in. I got the same vibes I’d get whenever reading anything by Edgar Allen Poe which left me shook! I don’t ever run to pick up horror but I’d been hearing about this author for quite some time & decided it was time to see for myself. I devoured this book, engrossed & invested in every single page. Unable to put this one down I even read it while accompanied by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s Book Playlist on Spotify for this book. I was instantly sucked in by Noemi’s charm, seeing her work her way around the people living in the house while she tries to extract any bit of info. The creepy AF vibes you get while she wanders the halls & speaks to the residents who seem off and strange. Everything about this book was strange but in such a good way! Noemi didn’t shy away from any challenging topics & seeing her handle certain topics had me admiring her at many points throughout the story. This may be my first Moreno-Garcia book but it certainly won’t be last especially since I currently own a couple of her previous works. I’m looking forward to continue falling in love with this authors work, discovering more Latinx characters in the wide variety of genres she has written in.


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Review: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Title: The City We Became

Author:N.K. Jemisin

Pub. Date: March 24th. 2020

Genre: Sc-Fi/Urban Fantasy

Format: Physical

Publisher: Orion

Pages: 464 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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I’m just going to preface this review by saying I can 100% understand now why so many are deeply awed and at the same time intimidated by N.K. Jemisin’s writing. This author doesn’t pull any punches & completely trusts you as a reader to keep up & decipher whatever she’s throwing at you which is a WHOLE lot! this story takes off running with the introduction of New York as an avatar which is essentially a soul. There are five boroughs in NYC: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. They are all repped in this book by an avatar for the city of New York that is in danger of never being born…yea I know, try wrapping your head around that one!

All five boroughs must find their way to each other & save the main Avatar which is NYC himself. At the very start they aren’t all aware that they’ve been chosen as avatars but as their paths cross, things start to connect. One thing is clear! they love their city & won’t let anyone/thing threaten its birth. This was my first N.K. Jemisin read but I had heard from other bookish friends that the real treat is the social commentary embedded which I can now attest to. We have a villain who is referred to as The Woman in White who I came to understand, represents a threat to all that which makes the city of New York culturally diverse. The five avatars that are each a personification of the boroughs, range in ages & cultural backgrounds. This alone makes this one hell of a unique story because of its inclusivity & diversity which is exactly what I’d like to see more of in the Fantasy genre. The Bronx is repped by a woman in her 70’s who is a Native-American Lesbian & art administrator, Brooklyn is a middle aged black politician woman who was once a Hip Hop artist, Manhattan is a black male who is in Grad school & arrives in the city to meet his Trans roommate. Queens is repped by a young female Mathematician/Immigrant & Staten Island is the daughter of a homophobic, racist, Xenophobic cop. She’s never left the Island & lives in fear of Manhattan since it represents all the evil her father has warned her about.

These characters are complex & multi-faceted, they come bearing the weight of many of the stereotypes placed upon them. This isn’t your average Fantasy/World-building either, we don’t see any specific magic being used. Instead, a lot of their power comes from within and from the positive & negative life experiences they’ve each had. We see them learn to manipulate their powers once they notice the city react & come to life to help them in their battle against the woman in white. I am still thinking about these characters & all of the possibilities of where this story could unravel. NYC is just one of the cities being birthed, we also met Sao Paulo and Hong Kong personified. It is the duty of the last city birthed to help along the next & on the very first page there’s a map with some other possible cities. I’m very intrigued to see this series grow & while I wait, can now finally pick up The Broken Earth trilogy which is also by this author & very well loved.


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Spoiler Free Review: Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Title: Real Men Knit

Author: Kwana Jackson

Pub. Date: May 19th. 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family/Adult Fiction

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 320 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Real Men Knit is a Contemporary Romance with a family dynamic set in a Harlem knitting shop. After the death of Mama Joy a foster-turned-adoptive mother, we see four brothers struggle to keep the shop open while also dealing with their own lives. We follow Jesse Strong who is the most lax of the brothers as he sets out to prove that he can save the shop. All of the Strong brothers have different perspectives on what should be done with the shop. They see eye to eye only in doubting Jesse can actually pull it off & save the legacy Mama Joy has left in Harlem. Determined & with the help of Kerry Fuller, a friend of the shop who has grown up alongside the Strong brothers…Jesse starts to breathe life back into the shop. All the while, his reputation for being a heartbreaker in Harlem seems to be on pause. For Jesse, its always been Kerry he imagined as “the one” but things have never passed the friendship stage. This is a super slow burn/friends-to-lovers romance that will leave you cheesy smiling by the end. I personally enjoy my romance books to have a bit of meat in their plot but it’s always the books that tackle social issues that I appreciate most. Set in Harlem, there’s social commentary on gentrification & the lack of funding for after school programs in less privileged neighborhoods. The Strong brothers themselves are all men of color from different ethnicities who in their youth were having no luck finding good foster homes. Mama Joy gave these young boys an opportunity in a good home & community where they were able thrive & succeed in life. For this alone, Mama Joy is GOALS! 🖤

Jesse Strong & brothers are all described as being very attractive and the type to break your heart on any given day of the week. We have Noah the Dancer, Lucas the Fireman, Damian the Corporate Financial Analyst & Jesse who hasn’t really found his calling yet & isn’t really in any rush. Jesse is laid back & non-non-commital both towards relationships and life itself. This is what made Jesse the brother Mama Joy looked over most which in turn motivated him to save the shop she dedicated her life to making a safe haven for many in the community. Kerry Fuller has grown up around the shop & grew attached to the Strong family. Kerry & Jesse are super attracted to each other but also have this big respect for their friendship. In many ways Jesse sees Kerry as off limits because she’s who he’s always considered to be a “good girl” it isn’t until he switches lenses & starts seeing her as a woman that he allows those feelings to take flight. Kerry in turn did manage to get under my skin at times because even though we know she has that Mother hen personality, it just got to be too much at times. I did just want her to back off Jesse at times on the judgment. I also wasn’t with her whole looking down on other females regardless of the nano second of sympathy she offered them. Although we primarily follow Jesse & Kerry, we get a healthy dose of all the Strong brothers. Enough to spike my curiosity & want/hope the author gives us separate story arcs for each brother. Well, primarily I’d like Damian & Lucas story arcs *a girl can dream* 🤞🏽

It’s been a while since I sunk into a good book with all the feels of a comfy sweater but that’s exactly how this book feels! I felt like an honorary family member in the knitting shop surrounded by brotherly love. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see from the characters in this story. I may not have fallen in love with Kerry’s character but the supporting characters were EVERYTHING & they were well fleshed out bringing each one to life on the page. This has peaked my interest for their individual back stories & of course I’d love to visit the knitting shop again. All in all I enjoyed reading from the perspective from a fellow native New Yorker & look forward to whatever Kwana Jackson writes next.


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Spoiler Free Review: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Title: From Twinkle, With Love

Author: Sandy Menon

Pub. Date: May 22nd. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Own Voices

Format: audiobook/Librofm

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 330 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

This is the part where I tell on myself…I have not read When Dimple Met Rishi. I still don’t know If I missed an Easter egg or two reading this one first but it doesn’t feel like it. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook version, this is a story of a young aspiring filmmaker who happens to be a self appointed wallflower. Twinkle Mehra has big dreams of becoming a big time film maker but she has yet to find her voice. We follow her as she makes mistakes, gets grounded/humbled in the things that matter most, and also falls in love. Twinkle is not a like-able MC, she managed to get a few eye rolls from me but I also smiled a ton. Having always been cast aside by the in crowd & her long time BFF, she can come across as a bit defensive. We see her take on the project of co-producing a film & navigating the changes in her closest relationships. Female/female friendship dynamics aren’t often discussed in YA books, I appreciated seeing the good & the ugly. Twinkle doesn’t seem to like change but her big dreams call on her to see things differently. Most of all, staying true to herself is the biggest challenge. This being a contemporary romance, we get introduced to Twinkle’s love interest. Unlike other YA Contemporary book boyfriends, I found Sahil to be very caring & just an overall nice guy. He values Twinkle for what she brings to the table the minute she expresses her ideas for the film they’re co-producing w/out hesitation. They work well together but above all else what makes him stand out is that he wasn’t with letting Twinkle stoop to lower levels. He stood up for his beliefs & let her know when she wasn’t being a good friend.

This book also touched on the effects of having two parents in the home that are more work oriented. Twinkle harbors some resentment towards her mother for her often times physical absence. She takes this to mean that her dreams in film making aren’t supported. there were some really good talks in there. My favorite side character is Dadi, Twinkle’s grandmother who has a whole VIBE to her. She believes in astrology & gives Twinkle subliminal advice/messages she received. Dadi is over all the cool grandmother I would’ve LOVED to have had. What I loved most about this story is that it’s told in the format of letters Twinkle writes to some of her favorite female film makers. This added a authentic feel for Twinkles love of film & everything that about that world. I absolutely will read When Dimple Met Rishi since I see it’s the first in a series & already got a look at the third book!  *Heart eyes*


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WWW Wednesday 4/15/2020

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

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

Who else is experiencing all of their library holds coming in at once? 🤷🏻‍♀️I wasn’t expecting my 8 week long holds to show up on my Available Now shelf & now I’m thinking its time to get serious about possibly creating a TBR? 🙈DREAD that for me! 😂 but I also don’t want to pass up this opportunity. I’m choosing to divvy up my reads between eGalleys & Library holds for the time being. This all the while I try to stop myself from falling into the next binge worthy Netflix show. All bets are off if we get anything along the lines of The Tiger King cause 🤦🏻‍♀️I can’t help watching the circus #jussayin! These books down below are what I’d like to focus on while I work from home 🖤

INCENDIARY (HOLLOW CROWN #1) BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA-I’m 170 pages into this book & can honestly say it will probably make my top 20 of 2020. Described by many as being inspired by 15th century Spain and the Inquisition, this is in my opinion Zoraida Cordova’s best book yet. Having read two of the Brooklyn Brujas books, I can see the growth in this authors writing. The world building is EXACTLY what I look for in Fantasy, to see this well done in YA Fantasy makes it stand out all the more. Incendiary deals with rebels & spies who are conspiring to bring down a kingdom hell bent on eradicating those of Moria descent. More specifically those who are wielders of magic. HOOKED & totally invested in these characters! 🙌🏽

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE BY SANHYA MANON-30% into this audiobook & am loving all of the cheesy smiles this book is getting out of me. Twinkle is a MC who hasn’t found her voice yet when dealing with confrontation. However, she has BIG dreams & a hunger to one day be a filmmaker. I’m still early on in the story but I’m enjoying so far seeing Twinkle, a self appointed wallflower come into her own while also falling in love.

DOCILE BY K.M. SZPARA (My Review)-This is a dark one Bookworms! My review does have content warnings, it is a M/M BDSM Adult Sci-Fi/Dystopian. Docile is quite the page turner that will probably keep you reading at all hours of the night. I rated this one 3.5 stars because of the way that it ended. It’s not a bad rating at all but I did feel rather uncomfortable with how certain things played out. I would however still check out any of this authors future works.

RUTHLESS GODS (SOMETHING DARK & HOLY #1) BY EMILY A. DUNCAN -I have a review in the works for this highly anticipated sequel here on the blog. I rated this one 4 stars & really am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy. I’ll admit I struggled with about 50% of the book, pacing was definitely an issue. It took us a while to get to the climax but once it was reached it took off & had me fully enthralled. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again, The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse has NOTHING on Malachiasz! this guy is 50 shades of complex & as such, will leave you feeling just as messed up smh 😂

MY DARK VANESSA BY KATE ELIZABETH RUSSELL“Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.” – I’ve been mentally preparing myself as best I could for this read & when I received the notification from Libby I knew it was Go time!

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND BY ELIZABETH ACEVEDO -This author is one of my favorite auto-buy authors, The Poet X & With the Fire On High were both 5 star reads for me last year. Seeing this title hit Edelweiss I quickly hit request & hoped for the best. No other title has made me feel this HYPED up to receive an approval email. This see Acevedo return to her well known written in verse format I absolutely LOVE! I was almost hesitant to request this book simply because if you’ve listened to any of her audiobooks that she narrated herself, you’d understand the raw quality behind this authors voice. Two girls separated by distance share the same father however neither know of each others existence. It isn’t until they’re made aware of his passing on a plane crash that their lives connect. BEYOND the moon grateful to have received an early copy! 🙌🏽


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February Monthly Wrap-Up

Surreal to be sitting at home wrapping up February given the current state of the world but also it’s a way to hold onto some normalcy. At the top of February I took a trip to Bear Mountain as well as Philly with my boyfriend to get away from city life & I’m SO thankful that we did! Surprisingly I didn’t get much movie/Netflix downtime but I still managed the 1 Netflix movie many of us were HIGHLY anticipating (see end of this post) 🤗 My appetite for reading did skyrocket in February with 8 books read. This is high for me because of how hectic work/mom life was (it’s even more nanas now lol) but I also embraced audiobooks which really came in handy during #Contemporaryathon. I do hope you’re all keeping safe & whether you find yourself with more free time or no free time at all, you are not alone. This Bookworm is feeling it but coping & finding new ways keep anxiety at bay, sending virtual hugs & well wishes to you all 💓

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH BY. ADALYN GRACE  ✨5 STARS ✨ 

THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL BY MAUREEN GOO ✨4 STARS ✨ 

ASHLORDS BY SCOTT REINTGEN ✨4 STARS ✨ 

HEROINE BY MINDY MCGINNIS ✨4 STARS ✨ 

DARK AND DEEPEST RED BY ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE ✨5 STARS ✨ 

GET A LIFE CHLOE BROWN BY TALIA HIBBERT ✨5 STARS ✨

WILD AT HEART BY K.A. TUCKER (RTC) ✨5 STARS ✨

HEARTSTOPPER VOL. 1 BY ALICE OSEMAN (RTC) ✨4 STARS ✨ 

TO ALL THE BOYS P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

This was a pretty solid follow-up to the first act however this time around I found myself rooting hard for John Ambrose. Still love Peter but I won’t lie, he definitely grated my last nerve here  that I was surprised to see him win me back. Anywho, I’m ready for the 3rd installment & hope to see more Netflix Original movie adaptations of YA books 💓


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A LIL’ BIT OF THIS A LIL’ BIT OF THAT

Title: A PRINCESS IN THEORY

Author: Alyssa Cole

Pub. Date: FEBRUARY 27TH 2018

Genre: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Publisher: AVON

Pages: 360

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Ledi is just what I needed in a main character 😍 she’s a black, independent, intelligent, sexy, NYC girl. Managing multiple jobs to pay off student loans while also pursuing a career in STEM, Ledi isn’t really open to entertaining men. Meeting Thabiso, a mystery man with incredible sex appeal seems a bit SUSPECT but she’s curious enough to see where it goes. I LOVED these characters so much, finding it very easy to get invested in their lives. Sure the romance was off the meters but the cast of supporting characters that are living their own lives were also easy to get hooked on. There’s also humor sprinkled throughout starting with the emails Likotsi (Thabiso’s right hand) sends to Ledi in an effort to get her to accept her real identity & Ledi’s own inner dialogue. There were also some serious subjects tackled along the way such as gaslighting, foster care issues, alcohol abuse, toxic behaviors & co-dependency within friendships. Overall I found this first book in the Reluctant Royals series to be highly enjoyable which of course led me to pick up the next book 🤗


Title: A DUKE BY DEFAULT (RELUCTANT ROYALS #2)

Author: Alyssa Cole

Pub. Date: JULY 31ST 2018

Genre: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Publisher: AVON

Pages: 374

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

This book had me smiling start to finish! I loved it even more than its predecessor & connected to the MC Portia on so many levels 🖤 Seeing a protagonist who struggles with finishing passion projects & as a result has disappointed family & friends along the way was tough but also very enlightening. I really connected with Portia (MC) as she started a new chapter in life, shedding many toxic behaviors & rebuilding bonds with those who have never left her side. The discussion of undiagnosed childhood disorders was something I greatly appreciated seeing on the page. Book 2 is set in Scotland & our love interest Tavish is a broody divorcé swordsman who runs an armory. Known by her family for being the twin with no follow through & no real focus in a career, she sets off to Scotland after responding to a ad for an apprentice swords-maker. For Portia, the opportunity to learn a new trade & get a change of scenery was all the motivation she needed.

Tavish is 100% focused on his armory & helping those he loves as well as the community. He also has a bit of a jerky attitude he dons as a shield to protect himself from getting hurt again. Meeting Portia & feeling sparks go off was the last thing he’d expect to happen. Gahhhh!!! Haha! Tav is by far my fave guy in a romance book simply because he never allowed Portia her self deprecating moments. He saw greatness in her & made sure to voice it even if it wasn’t in the smoothest of ways haha! I truly enjoyed seeing this relationship play out & last but not least…A+ on the steamiest scenes I’ve ever come across 🙌🏽


Title: LOCK EVERY DOOR

Author: RILEY SAGER

Pub. Date: JULY 2ND 2019

Genre: THRILLER/MYSTERY

Publisher: DUTTON

Pages: 384

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid who disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Ok it still stands that I prefer not to read synopsis for thriller/mystery books 😂 I included a partial snippet in the 411 above sans what I considered spoiler bits. This was my first Riley Sager book although I do own two others & I found it to be fairly enjoyable. I read & also listened to the audiobook since I’d heard rave reviews on narration. I agree, the audiobook is A+ & it’s super easy to digest. Set in NYC, we get this Gothic style mystery with an MC who sees herself in a tough predicament when we first meet her. A recent break-up due to a cheating boyfriend leads her to answer an ad for an apartment sitter. Three months at 4K per month sounds too good to be true but to Jules who found herself in debt it was worth looking into. She wasn’t expecting the gig to come with a ton of restrictions but accepted the job nonetheless. Befriending Ingrid at the Bartholomew made things a bit better until Ingrid went missing. We then follow Jules as she falls down the rabbit hole of mysteries that surround the Bart. Missing apartment sitters are actually quite common at the Bart & no one seems to want to talk about it. Told in past & present tense, we follow Jules as she uncovers & recollects the secrets that ultimately lead to a near death experience. One thing I really enjoyed was how every time I thought I had the mystery all figured out, I couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now, I don’t read a ton of mystery and thought that possibly I’m just terrible at picking up on the trail. However, after seeing/reading other reviews, I was comforted by the fact others also struggled figuring this one out before the end 😂 There were definitely some parts I felt dragged & therefore hindered my overall enjoyment. However, I loved the atmospheric vibes Sager brought to the page & I’m really curious to read their other books.

Content Warning: Cheating, abduction, death of a loved one, abandonment, violence, suicide, terminal illness


Hello Bookworms! August was slow here on the blog, Summer shenanigans took over my life. However, I was continuously reading and drafting reviews. I recently finished & LOVED The Merciful Crow, my review will go live towards the end of the week. I’m currently reading There Will Come a Darkness & I can just feel the GUSH review coming your way deep in my bones 😂 Happy reading Luvs! 🖤

Review: Unbroken 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth

Title: Unbroken 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth

Authors: Marieke Nijkamp, William Alexander, Fox Benwell, Keah Brown, Dhonielle Clayton, Corinne Duyvis, Keah Brown, Heidi Heilig, Kody Keplinger, Katherine Locke, Karuna Riazi, Francisco X. Stork, Kayla Whaley, Kristine Wyllys

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Anthology

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 320

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

This Anthology holds such a special place in my heart, I found myself taking my time with each story many of which moved me or empowered me. Many left me in tears while others left me with hope. These stories are filled with strong characters who really just want to be seen and heard for the person they are rather than their disabilities be it it physical or mental or both. I am on my own personal journey with mental health, this collection felt very therapeutic to read & ultimately kept me company on days I needed it most.  Told by authors with disabilities, these stories are important and I for sure have found some new to me authors I look forward to read more from.

*Note: I’m not sure these stories are inspired by the various authors specific disabilities as it isn’t indicated. 

The Long Road by Heidi Heilig: 3.5 STARS

About a Chinese Protagonist with mental health disability who travels with her parents to Persia in search of a “cure” (mental health disability) & along the way discovers the possibility of finding others that are doing to same for their loved one(s). I loved seeing super supportive parents & also the acknowledgment that change to a more clean/healthy lifestyle can be costly.

Britt And The Bike God by Kody Keplinger: 5 STARS

Loved this story so much! Keeping in step with the first story, this also features a supportive parent. The MC has Retinitis Pigmentosa, a condition that causes the gradual loss of vision. Dad share a love of bikes with Britt, his daughter. He starts a Cyclist club since Britt’s school doesn’t have any “blind friendly sports club” & makes it all inclusive. All ages welcome with the only exception being that each gets trained to ride a tandem bike when they join & volunteer to Captain for Britt. There is a romance with a POC character (F/M) & it’s super cute! I loved the inclusivity of the bike club & that Britt is able to physically take part in the sport she loves.

The Leap and the Fall by Kayla Whaley: 3.5 STARS

Carnival stories always make for eerie settings, throw in a aggressive ghost/possession, some tarot cards and we have ourselves one atmospheric short story! This one stars a girl in her wheelchair and her BFF who she’s started to grow feelings for (F/F), this one could’ve definitely benefited from being a full length novel. The progression from long friendship to romance is hard to dive right into in such a short period of time.

Per Aspera Ad Astra by Katherine Locke: 4.5 STARS

A Sci-Fi short story starring a female coder who has panic attacks. MC lives and studies from her room not having stepped outside in months. This all changes when her world is attacked & at war, she must decide whether she can step out & offer her coding expertise to save the planet. I’m a big supporter of ALL women in STEM so this one definitely captured my interest. I also loved the supportive side character who doesn’t sweep the MC’s feelings of anxiety & fear under the rug.

Found Objects by William Alexander: 3 STARS

Latinx MC (gender not mentioned) who has idiopathic pain. This one threw me for a loop, I don’t think I fully grasped what was going on but I didn’t dislike it if that makes any sense? MC has a passion for performance art & there’s a conversation between the MC & their deceased grandfather where the issue of casting disabled people as villains is briefly mentioned. There’s also discussion of chronic pain & feeling like you can’t really talk to anyone about your pain because of the stigma. I’m not quick to label anything as being Magical Realism but this one did have an element of MR that gave off very vivid imagery.

Plus One by Karuna Riazi : 4 STARS

MC goes on her spiritual journey aka Hajj, along the way she battles against “IT” this is a presence the MC feels, sees, and tries to escape. We see her struggle with religion as well, feelings of inadequacy at not experiencing a huge transformation by the end of her Hajj. Feelings of not being devout enough all the while dealing with her plus one that only she can see. I feared for the MC at the airport where customs is known to flag people down for wearing a Hijab. I feared they wouldn’t offer up any understanding for someone struggling with mental health just because they’re wearing a Hijab. I felt this story the hardest & would love to read more from Karuna Riazi.

The Day The Dragon Came by Marieke Nijkamp: 4 STARS

This one tells the story of a girl with a cane who is treated poorly by the towns people who view her disability as a curse. She wishes to leave her town and travel/see the world. She then meets a Carpenter boy (may be Trans) who feels quite the opposite for the town they live in. He enjoys being a part of building the churches and other buildings. He also understands what it feels like to live somewhere that doesn’t accept you for who you are. A friendship turned romance story with a touch of dragon lore.

Captain, My Captain by Francisco X. Stork: 4.5 STARS

Latinx MC hears a consistent voice in his head that encourages him to liberate himself from the responsibilities that keep him by his sisters side. This voice very much tries to influence the MC’s every move. Evaluated in a school setting and said to have a “intellectual & development disability” his options for work limited. He has a sister and baby nephew he stays with along with a mother & siblings in Mexico he helps out with. His sister is in a abusive relationship & he fears what will happen if he leaves. Sibling bond is strong in this one.

Dear Nora James, You Know Nothing About Love by Dhonielle Clayton : 5 STARS

MC has a love & dating advice column for other teens, a idea she got from her grandmother who she admires. MC has never actually been in love & so it adds a bit of humor to this short story. This character has
episodes of irritable bowel disorder that keep her from being social & she also has anxiety. I actually would’ve loved a full length meet cute out of this short.

A Play In Many Parts by Fox Benwell: 4 STARS 

This short story was told in different formats, parts read like a screenplay and others are being narrated. Our MC is non-binary and
uses They/Them pronouns. MC walks with a cane and suffers from chronic pain. At first I was a bit intimidated by the format of this story but ended up really enjoying it. There’s a love for theater & the arts, and a teacher who has a passion for creating. The teachers husband may have dementia & the final act saw me unexpectedly teary eyed.

Ballad Of Weary Daughters by Kristine Wyllys: 3.5 STARS

Bi-racial MC (Native American) who has to grown up way too fast when her father up & leaves with his mistress. A hardworking mother is left to pick up the pieces of a broken home by working long hours in order to provide. MC steps up as a mother for her siblings all the while trying to cope with Bi-Polar II Disorder. There is a romance (F/F) with a Cuban girl who is super supportive and is also dealing with her own issues at home.

Mother Nature’s Youngest Daughter by Keah Brown: 5 STARS

I LOVED this one to pieces! which really doesn’t surprise me since Fantasy is my genre of choice. This short stars a MC with Cerebral Palsy who is being bullied in school. MC has hidden powers as do her siblings & her mother, she isn’t supposed to use them for wrong but makes an exception to get even with her harassers. I rooted for her of course! but it didn’t go unpunished by her mother. Each of the family members can control a different element of weather/nature & I am legit interested in a full length anything with this family! ❤

One, Two, Three (re-named “A Curse, a Kindness”)by Corinne Duyvis: 5 STARS

This in my opinion was the best story to close off this collection. A autistic girl finds herself cursed after bearing witness to a accident. MC is a young girl when she witnesses the accident & isn’t able to respond to a call for action at the moment. Autistic, young, and in shock she is approached by a mysterious man who places a curse on her life. She must grant 3 wishes to whoever shows her a kindness for the rest of her life. A chance encounter with a girl in a parking lot has the potential to change her life. F/F romance that left me smiling.

Content Warning: Death, Physical abuse, misgendering, anxiety, adultery

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Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Title: The Closest I’ve Come

Author: Fred Aceves

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Trigger warning: Alcoholism, Physical Abuse, Racism

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 320

Format: eGalley/Edelweiss

   

Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.

The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent household & the motivation he finds to want to get out. For Marcos, the daily grind is made up of getting up for school & hanging out with his boys after school to avoid having to go home. Life at home isn’t easy & he is met with either his mothers silence and closed doors or her boyfriends fists. Mentally checked-out, Marcos’ mother is a alcoholic who doesn’t really have much of any relationship with him. Marcos himself would love to play the role of over protective son however, the truth is that internally, more than anything he wishes she would show any signs of caring for him. Life outside his home isn’t exactly the best either but in his community he has developed friendships that have become a safe place to turn to. Academics have never really been Marcos’ main focus & with no one in his corner rooting and or encouraging him to apply himself, he hasn’t given much thought to life after High School. He believes that Maesta is the end all be all for him and many other teens like him. We come across teachers who provide Marcos with the confidence he needs & who most of all, believe in him.

At times, The Closest I’ve Come was difficult to read because of the violence Marcos experiences at the hands of his mothers boyfriend. It seemed like all the odds are set against this kid & with nothing really inspiring him & his own home being so volatile, I wondered when he would catch a break. With little to no money whatsoever, we see our MC try to earn cash the right way by cleaning parking lots but we also see one of his friends who is a straight A student go about it illegally by delivering drugs. Having myself lived in for many years what was considered a “ghetto” neighborhood, the reality is that too many bright futures are dimmed before they even get a chance to begin. There were so many tough themes in this book paired with positive reinforcement from Marcos’ educators that I found myself rooting him on in realizing that he is valued.

We see a tremendous amount of character growth take place within our MC Marcos which is perhaps the strongest aspect of The Closest I’ve Come. Aceves wrote Marcos’ character in first Person POV which allows the reader to really get into his thought process. From the way he views his barely existent relationship with his mother to how he handles rejection, Marcos isn’t a confidant cocky teenage boy. His physical appearance is something he is always hyper aware of because he lacks funds to buy clothes or pay for grooming. Something as simple as a haircut could boost his confidence briefly & a lot of the time he didn’t get the end result he was seeking but the effort was there. I LOVED this character & how humble he is the core, he definitely had me in his corner the whole way through. We meet some of his friends from around his neighborhood, mostly through visits to the courtyard to shoot hoops. There’s a sense of loyalty from these guys that I’ve seen for myself in neighborhoods where most don’t have it to make ends meet. I enjoyed one particular scene where one of the guys sets up shop on his stoop to cut hair for a couple of dollars, very much like a brotherhood. Although we meet many of Marcos’ acquaintances, they aren’t as fleshed out as our MC but nonetheless they serve their purpose in giving the reader a picture of what Marcos has in his life. The friends he has don’t really know how bad his home life is but I was glad to see them rise to the occasion when he really needed them.

Told in first person POV, The Closest I’ve Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos’ voice & narrative life. Own Voices Latinx author Fred Aceves was raised in a poor working class neighborhood just like the one he brings to life in this book. From the dialogue between Marcos and his friends in the streets to his stream of consciousness on life after High School, our MC is raw & uncut just like the world he lives in. Many who come from similar backgrounds will find this book to be very relatable. To those who don’t, The Closest I’ve Come is a insiders look to a reality that exists in our real world. Not only do we get POC representation but we also see socioeconomic diversity when Marco meets & befriends a HS student from a wealthy background. The challenges Marco has in his life are going to resonate with others & that is one of the biggest reasons I am happy to see this narrative hit the shelves.

*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Fred Aceves for the eGalley copy of The Closest I’ve Come in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. With so many diverse reads coming our way, which ones are you looking forward to? any Own Voices on your 2018 TBR?


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