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 😉


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 BY  ROSE SZABO (2/2) – YA Horror/Paranormal pitched as perfect for fans of 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 as The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones, 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 to *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 RENÉE 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 of Sadie. 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 😉

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, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.” 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.” – 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 endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.”

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 😉

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

THE BLACK COAST (THE GOD-KING CHRONICLES #1)  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 Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’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. ” This honestly sounds like it would also make for a dope book to movie adaptation.


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Spoiler Free Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Title: Legendborn (Legendborn #1)

Author: Tracy Deonn

Pub. Date: September 1st 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 512 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

🖤ALC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

“𝐼 𝑚𝑎𝑝 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑛’𝑠 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑠, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑖𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒 a𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑐𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑒. 𝐵𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑠 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒𝑠 𝑚𝑦 𝑏𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑦, 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝐼 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑏𝑒 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠”

It’s been a couple of weeks since I read the last page of Legendborn and yet thinking back on my reading experience, I still manage to get emotional and teary eyed. If you find yourself burnt out from reading Fantasy or even possibly that you may be outgrowing YA Fantasy, I’d say this is one worth giving a go. It’s simply one that gives the reader so much more than they go in thinking to get. At its surface Legendborn is a continuation of King Arthur and the Order but author Tracy Deonn gave this story raw life & emotional ties to actual history that often times was painful to read. This is in no way a tame read, it will make you uncomfortable but these are the types of stories that deserve a seat at the table.

Deonn gives us Arthur and The Order with a link to intergenerational trauma in the South. Our MC has PTSD and early symptoms of PCBD after witnessing her mother’s passing. She isn’t prepared for the revelations her grief will bring about. Recruited into a Early College program alongside her BFF, Bree is soon taken off course by a secret society. In this society there are descendants of Arthur and his Knights, the kicker is that they have an actual magical bond to their ancestors. This was set in place as a precautionary way of ensuring the line lives on and is well protected against any enemies of the Order. The Knights themselves remain in a dormant state and can only be awakened by an actual threat to King Arthur himself. During times of peace, the descendants train and take on pages such as Bree. Bree doesn’t exhibit any actual talents or strengths but she manages to get Nick (King Arthurs descendant unbeknownst to her at the time) who is self-exiled from The Order, to join her in trying to unearth any secrets The Order may have to her mothers death. She discovers links to her ancestors that are painful and a testament to her own inherited resilience. The root magic she carries within is steeped in history and not without a price. If you’re looking for a Fantasy with more character depth & historical ties, this is for you. Some will compare this to a YA version of Ninth House or even the Shadowhunter world. I’d say it has elements from both those worlds however Legendborn stands on its own.

If there’s one Fantasy I’ve read this year that I’d recommend, wholeheartedly without a doubt it’s Legendborn. I had zero interest in Arthurian Legend but one look at the cover & I knew this would be different. I had no idea what I was in for seeing that this is Tracy Deonn debut but I’m walking away grateful for the journey. I appreciated so much the inclusion of therapy for our MC who has experienced such great trauma at her mothers passing. The fact that Bree is at first apprehensive to receive the help because she’s not yet ready to let go or forgive. Bree is hurting and living in her hurt. Although she learns a lot of painful things when she goes digging, she also reconnects with the memories of her mother and her ancestors. Bree grows stronger throughout the book that by the end we have a girl who is coated in a completely different suit of armor. I will be running to the bookstore to pick up my copy of the sequel ON release day!


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April Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

April was a month FULL of bookish events online like the Social Distance Book Fest & YALLWEST that made it possible to attend Bookish events virtually. I personally was able to watch many panels for debut authors I’ve had on my radar as well as some favorites I’ve never had the opportunity to hear speak. For the Social Distance Book Fest, you can still watch the playlist on Youtube & they are ABSOLUTELY worth watching! My favorite panels included: Navigating Latinx Identity in Fantasy, New Voices in YA Science Fiction & Fantasy and Diversifying Romance. In the realm of books & what I watched, I’d say there really was NO method to my madness. I kinda just went with the flow & read when the mood hit vs. a more structured TBR. I also participated in Riley Marie & Ginger Reads Lainey weekend Smutathon as a last minute thing because by the end of the month my anxiety had seen a peak. Whenever this happens, I put the Fantasy heavy books to the side & go for some lighter reads. Now as far as what I watched…this has to be the STRANGEST month yet! Yes, Yes I did fall down the tiger hole that is the Tiger King & all things cats really smh! haha 😉

These are definitely not in the order I’ve read them but I figured I’d start with the steamy reads I p/u during Smutathon…

DESPERATE MEASURES – ✨5 STARS✨This reimagining of the Disney Princess Jasmine was NOT what I had expected at all in the best of ways! With her kingdom snatched away & her father thrown off the throne, Jasmine is at the mercy of Jafar who now claims ownership of their lands as well as Jasmine herself. This is a consensual non-consent steamy read that will never allow you to see Jafar in the same light again! I among fully invested in all Katee Robert books & can’t wait to read the follow up with Hades & Meg as the MC’s.

THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT – ✨4 STARS✨ Another Katee Robert novella, this was the Smutathon Group pick. HIGHLY enjoyable with A+ chemistry, this one sets the stage for a new series that features a M/M/F relationship. Our female MC is out for the night celebrating her birthday & trying to forget about her ever mounting debt. With her best wing mate she hits up a lounge where she meets two hella mysterious guys who look good enough to make her consider a threesome. SUPER intrigued to see where this goes seeing as there may also be a royal twist? we shall see!

YOUR DAD WILL DO – ✨4 STARS✨Ok so maybe it was an entirely Katee Robert weekend? SO WORTH IT! this author can write chemistry like no other! these short reads are packed with sparks that leave you wondering about the characters way after you’ve read the last page. This one features a taboo/age gap romance where the MC has just been dumped by her fiancé. Plotting her revenge she shows up at her exes dad’s house with a plan to seduce. That she does! but also she gets a lot more than initially planned. LOVED this!

MY DARK VANESSA -✨4 STARS✨ My darkest read yet! I don’t think any book has ever made me feel this uncomfortable. Following a MC in past & present tense, we get the story of Vanessa at the age of 15 as she is groomed by her teacher while at a boarding school. Present day Vanessa is still very confused about what to feel as she finds out she wasn’t the only one. That perhaps it wasn’t a special relationship she was having but actually a case of grooming. HEAVY trigger warnings for rape, suicide, drug & alcohol abuse.

RUTHLESS GODS – ✨4 STARS✨ (My ReviewThe follow up to The Wicked Saints took us to a very dark place! the characters we got invested in really show growth here & carry forth their battle wounds. The war between the Kalyazin & the Tranavians is reaching a climax with the underdog Kalyazin surprisingly flipping the script. There are some secrets that come to light & leave everyone questioning the Gods who may very well be more involved than ever. The war on land may just be a subplot to the real war taking place between the Gods. I’m READY for the final installment with will be mostly from Malachiasz’ POV…there is NO other villain in YA that currently holds a place in my heart like Mal! ❤

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE – ✨3.5 STARS✨(My Review) This was an audiobook I’d say was just ok. I’ve heard from other fans of Sandhya Menon that this is their least favorite. I still plan on picking up When Dimple Met Rishi in the near future seeing as that’s an ongoing series with a strong fan base.

INCENDIARY – ✨5 STARS✨(My Review) Saving the BEST for last! Zoraida Córdova is my Favorite YA Fantasy author! bringing to our shelves Latinx representation in characters is something she’s been doing since the Brooklyn Brujas Trilogy. Here we have a Fantasy inspired by the Spanish Inquisition with a cast of characters that are being hunted & killed for their magical abilities. The Kingdom has turned its back on what they consider heretics & our MC Renata Convida at one point in her childhood was their most formidable weapon. Now that she’s back on the right side of the fence, it’s time to take down the Kingdom once & for all. BIG time page turner with tons of plot twists that will leave you jaw dropped!

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THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES | CHECK PLEASE! BOOK 2: STICKS & SCONES

 

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BEACH READ & VALENTINE

*These are all ebooks I found for either $1.99 or $2.99*

BLOOD HEIR | THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN | GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW | ONLY FOR A NIGHT | WHEN WE LEFT CUBA | DOMINICANA | XENI | RAFE | BRING ME THEIR HEARTS | KULTI 

What can I say about the circus that is the Tiger King on Netflix? this documentary-series made me lose track how many times I asked myself & friends…Is this real? LMAO! SMH Joe Exotic is quite the unforgettable character & this is the story of how his Zoo of Tigers was shut down starting with Carol Baskin who is cat activist on a mission to “save the cats” or is she? the jury is still out on Baskin. I binged this in two sittings not for quality but just entertainment.

This documentary is three episodes that are also highly binge worthy. We follow a group of cat lovers as they track down & help in the ultimate take down of a cat/serial killer. If anything this opened up my eyes at just how easy it is to track anyone down as long as they’ve left an internet fingerprint. The Facebook group that pieced together this puzzle as the killer released videos of him killing cats was PERSISTENT! it became a game of cat & mouse that as a viewer is hard to look away from.


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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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Spoiler Free Review: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Title: Dark and Deepest Red

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Pub. Date: January 14th 2020

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

Pages: 309 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON 

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

“Well-crafted seams and delicate beading gave my family a trade and a living. But red shoes gave us a name. They made us infamous. They made us brazen. Until they came for us. Except that’s not quite true. They didn’t come for us. They came for me.”

I’ve always been intrigued by the Salem Witch trials & the mass hysteria caused by outcries of devil worship. This story however takes place in 1500’s Strasbourg, a time when Romani people were being forced out of France & Germany. Our MC Lala is a Romani girl, she is a person of color, unwed, makes her own living and is in love with a transgender boy. She must give up all Romani traditions & beliefs if she is to pass off as German or French in Strasbourg. Lala has a target on her back when the women are inflicted with dancing fever, a dance they cannot stop & often ends in injury or death. Witchcraft is believed to be at the very heart of these dances as more and more women are touched by the fevered dance. The author gives us Lala’s POV during this time while also jumping ahead to her descendants in current time.

Five centuries later we meet Rosala Oliva & Emil who have ties to Lala & figuring out what those are may help stop the dancing fever from returning. Rosala’s family has been making the red shoes said to deliver a bit of magic to its wearer. Being Romani is something Rosala & Emil have in common, something they know makes them different. Five centuries later their traditions and beliefs aren’t something they’re made to feel they can openly share. When the threat of the Dancing Fever looms over Rosala she turns to Emil who is the only person who can shed some light on the history that binds her both literally & figuratively to her red shoes.

Content Warning: death, religious persecution, racism, homophobia/transphobia, some body horror

We follow two sets of characters, those in 1500’s Strasbourg & those in present day. I personally loved how well fleshed out Lala, Tante, and Alifair are as their part of history is brought to life. Lala knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s made a target of injustice & hate once the dancing fever takes a hold. She knows the odds are well stacked against her even as she falls deeply in love with Alifair who is a transgender boy. Seeking acceptance from those around them is something both Lala & Rosella share in common. They make themselves blend in so as to stay safe. Both learn that embracing that which sets them apart is really the only way to fight back oppression. I admired Alifair’s strength & how protective he is of his found family (Lala & Tante) while also carrying his own secret that if exposed would mean sure death.

Emil & Rosala were also very interesting characters to follow as they navigate relationships with their peers. Their parents have passed down their own knowledge of things that happened during the 1500’s to some of their ancestors. A knowledge that weighs heavy because it’s filled with pain, violence, and persecution for being Romani. These characters know they carry within them a history so rich it’s seeping into their day to day lives. It’s safe to say McLemore has once again delivered an unforgettable cast of characters.

Told in Multiple POV format this is a YA Historical Fantasy in which we follow two sets of characters. Most of the focus however is on Lala & her family in the 1500’s, these characters are well fleshed out vs. the ones we meet in present day. That being said, I felt this worked well since history has a way of repeating itself. Understanding where it all started was emphasized in the way this story was weaved. Although difficult to see, the time I spent reading Lala’s POV was perhaps what I loved most about this book. This may be my bias because I hold a special place in my heart for Historical Fiction but the touch of magical realism McLemore delivers so well is really what draws me in. Scenes with Tante dyeing cloth to sell in rich colors contrasted against the fevered women dancing through the streets till their feet were raw visually stand out. The heavy blanket of anxiety that sits on top of these characters is felt by the reader. Despite the darkness, I am thankful for how McLemore is consistent with delivering a sense of hope with all of their stories. There is a sense of solidarity that comes through at the very end that stirred up some deep emotions within me. I will continue to read all that Anna-Marie McLemore writes for the simple fact that their stories leave a lasting impression in my soul.


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December 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Yes…Yes I am popping up in your feed with my December Wrap-up & Haul 🙈It was a VERY hectic fast paced end of 2019 but I somehow still managed to read quite a lot along the way. Going into the New Year I will absolutely make it a goal here on the blog to wrap up the month in at the very least a fashionably late manner 😂 at most a week late *pinky promise*

December is my birthday month but as is expected, the Christmas rush is where it’s at haha! January is the month where you finally let out a huge sigh of relief for having made it through the holiday madness. I made great use of my Kindle on the go & also watched some new favorite series on Netflix. I didn’t draft up any end of year posts or resolutions instead opting to just allow the beginning of a New Year with hope. Hope for continued growth in all areas of my life (including this platform), embracing the new, and appreciating every moment of my journey 💜

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra –4 STARS ✨ (my reviewI really enjoyed this modern take on Little Women more than I had anticipated. The March Sisters will suck you into their lives. You’l easily see yourself investing your time into flipping pages just to see how they manage whatever is thrown their way. I hope to see more from this author in the near future 🤞🏽

Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera –5 STARS(my reviewThis LATINX novella based on a F/F romance was everything I never knew I needed & then some. Two very different Dominican Bakers head over to Scotland to participate in a Holiday Baking Challenge. Sparks fly & things gets VERY steamy in & out of the kitchen. I will read ANYTHING & EVERYTHING by this author 💜

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black –5 STARS✨      (my reviewI may have waited more than a year to read this book but it DID NOT DISAPPOINT! I had a feeling this would be a favorite & I just couldn’t take it if it left me on a cliff hanger which it did. Thankful though to have waited & jumped right into the last installment soon after. I have no doubt in my mind that Holly Black is truly Fae & that no one can write Fae better than the Fae Queen herself.

The Queen Of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black –5 STARS(my reviewThe conclusion to this trilogy got 5 stars from me even though It truly wasn’t perfect. Mostly, I do feel this one could’ve benefited from being a bit longer. Everything seemed to be happening a bit too quick for my liking yet with that being said…it was a satisfying conclusion.

HARLEEN Vol 2 –5 STARS✨ I don’t have a review written for HARLEEN but I HIGHLY recommend these for any HQ/Joker fans. Besides the fact that the artwork is STUNNING! the storyline itself is A+  if you’ve ever been fascinated or even curious about the descent of Harley from intern Psychologist to Lover/Right hand to Joker then these are a MUST read 🖤

Reverie by Ryan La Sala –4 STARS (my reviewAhhh! this odd little gem of a book haha! I find that most who’ve read it either hate it or love it. I happen to have really enjoyed this one as a debut YA Fantasy from this author but it isn’t without saying it had plot issues. Ryan La Sala has convinced me of his skillZ & I’m really looking forward to see what he delivers next. A unique & vivid story like Reverie I have yet to read, this one definitely stands out in a good way.

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The Guinevere Deception | Children Of Virtue & Vengeance | House of Salt & Sorrows | Princess Jellyfish Volume 1 | HARLEEN Vol. 3

For more bookish content/photos, please consider giving me a follow over on Instagram

The Wives | The Secret History | Long Bright River

Its been years since I’ve watched a movie in a theatre at 3am, it happened & gahhh! it was a challenge haha! The fact that I managed to stay awake at that hour though speaks to my personal enjoyment of this flick. The storyline revolves around the truth behind Rey’s parents & her finalizing Jedi training to face Kylo Ren. We see some interesting turn of events & unexpected revelations. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in my opinion, continues to be the stand out performance & I’m not just saying that cause he’s easy on the eyes haha! I really enjoy Star Wars movies but I can’t say I’m a hardcore fan like say my boyfriend. He felt this film was a big imporovement from The Last Jedi but still left some unanswered questions. All in all, it was a satisfactory conclusion to the Skywalker Saga.

ICONS Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda have gifted us with 6 seasons of this wonderful series I cannot get enough of! We had Thelma & Louise in the 90’s & now we have Grace & Frankie. This odd couple friendship starts off after their husbands who happen to be business partners, sit them down & let them know after 20+ years of marriage that they’re Gay & in love with each other. They somehow end up moving in together & start a new chapter in their lives. This show is all about friendship, rediscovery, self love, self healing and the shedding of inhibitions. It’s about family & finding your new normal, it’s also beautifully Queer & inclusive. Grace & Frankie has been green lit for a 7th season which will be its last & although it makes me a little sad, I’m glad It found its way into my heart.


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Spoiler Free Review: Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra

Title: Meg & Jo

Author: Virginia Kantra

Pub. Date: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 400 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

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

Inspired by Little Women, this is the story of the March Sisters…“Reliable Meg, Independent Jo, Stylish Amy, and Shy Beth” told in dual POV we follow Meg & Jo as the oldest of the bunch as they lead very different lives. Meg always wanted the husband, white picket fence, and kids while Jo dreamt of becoming a journalist in NYC. When we meet them they’ve got a lot on their respective plates & things aren’t quite what they had planned. Meg is struggling with married life all while managing her twins. Jo’s writing career is stagnant & instead she’s working in a restaurant kitchen by day & anonymously running a foodie blog by night. When their mother who is the rock in the family falls ill, the March sisters are drawn home. It’s been years since I’ve read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott but its remained a childhood favorite of mine. Character traits from the original cast can still be seen in this modern day story set between North Carolina and New York City. At its core this is a story about familial bonds and the unexpected twists & turns life can take. 

Although we do get to meet all four March Sisters, the book is only told from the POV of Meg & Jo. They are the oldest of the bunch & look over the younger ones while managing their own lives…

Meg – Married with Twins, Meg has the picture perfect family set-up but not all is at it seems behind closed doors. Both Meg & her husband have sacrificed perhaps too much of their individuality to make their family unit work. I really admired seeing this couple work through their issues & persevere. Meg lovingly takes after her mother & providing a loving home is  her #1 priority. Seeing her handle married with kids life while also trying to stay in touch with her siblings was something I could relate to. She is very much a juggler who sometimes forget to give herself a break which made me really connect with her.

Jo – Having left North Carolina for life in the Big Apple pursuing a writing degree, Jo has big dreams! Except life has a funny way of not always turning out exactly as you’ve planned. Still, Jo settles into NYC as a worker in a restaurants kitchen where her ears stay open for inspiration. By night she is an anonymous food blogger with some success. Things really get hot in the kitchen with an unexpected attraction between Jo & the very handsome black Chef with full sleeved tattoos. Things of course gets a bit complicated when she has to drop everything & head back home to tend to her sick mother.

I’ve come to the realization that I really enjoy stories centered around big families because of all the complexities added to the story. The March sisters all have very different personalities, ambitions, and pursuits but what I loved about them is how they embraced one another. There was a mutual understanding of everyone’s personal lives & how to come together for the head of their family. Marriage (the good & the bad) plays a big part in this story, content warning for separation. The bonds between Father/Daughter are also discussed with regards to the absence the sisters feel even while having their father in their lives. Although they are supporting characters, seeing the parents of the March sisters battle their own rough waters made this story come full circle. This was heartwarming & heartfelt in more ways than one. I will absolutely look out for more from this author in what I hope is the near future.


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WWW Wednesday 1/15/2020

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?

January has been very good to me & I’m really hoping this streak continues. Hot off the heels from #Smutathon I’ve already started to tackle my ARC spreadsheet while still picking books off my back-list (2020 Resolution). The ONLY real challenge to my reading time has been Netflix, Lé struggle! I walked away from a recent friends dinner with a small list of recommendations & I now live, breathe, speak Schitt’s Creek SMH…

 

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

“All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.” – Goodreads

This was just about all I had to read before requesting it on Edelweiss. I read 25% of this book today & had to pry myself away from my Kindle. It’s witty & addictive, I LOVE jumping into this story when I have time to cuddle up with it. Otherwise I TRULY struggle putting it down. EARLY PREDICTION: This may be 5 star worthy *fingers crossed*

SKYWARD (SKYWARD #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. -Goodreads

I’m about 20% into Skyward & have already grown fond of Spensa who is fierce & ambitious. When I picked this one up I had no idea this featured a close father/daughter relationship which I’m ALWAYS in search of in my books. Sanderson also happens to be one of the very few male authors who in my opinion writes female characters well. EARLY PREDICTION: This will probably be my first 5 star YA/Sci-Fi of the year *fingers crossed*

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER BY MELISSA BRAYDEN

This past weekend I finished reading Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden (Smutathon Wrap-up), a F/F Romance set in a beach side town I’d HIGHLY recommend to anyone who’d listen *heart eyes*  I have a full review coming over the next few days & plans to make my way through Brayden’s backlist. Beautiful Dreamer is a small town romance with a cast of colorful characters you can’t help but get invested in 😉

 

DARK AND DEEPEST RED BY ANNA-MARIE McLEMORE

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

With McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Redpairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

-Goodreads

Having only read When the Moon Was Ours by McLemore in 2016, my backlist for this author is growing. Lyrical, lush, atmospheric, haunting are just a few of the words that describe this authors writing. I was very lucky to get approved on Edelweiss but could’ve sworn I had another week before publication date. Whelp! I was wrong (unless it was bumped up) & will absolutly be reading this next. EARLY PREDICTION: McLemore can do no wrong in my eyes, only the highest of hopes here for a new favorite.


At the time this post goes live I will probably be making my way through Grace & Frankie season 6 which premieres TODAYYYY!!! *clutches pearls* let’s hope my reading doesn’t take a complete hit this week…


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The One Where I Try To Read All The Books…

Hey Bookworms! It’s Saturday morning when I’m writing this post to go up on Sunday. TBH I had no intentions of making this “Official” I kind of always participate on the low 😂🙈 which is probably because of how high I set the standard for myself & don’t always meet it 🤷🏻‍♀️ This time, I wanted a bit of accountability. These are just the books I’ll be reading during Contemporary-A-Thon, my actual September TBR is dreadful & scares me putting on paper so that’ll just stay in my head 😂 This readathon is run by some truly fantastic Booktubers I adore to pieces & you should definitely consider checking out:

Julie @PagesandPens

Chelsea @ChelseaDollingReads

Natasha @MyReadingIsOdd

The Challenges:

1. Read a contemporary with orange on the cover
2. Read a dark/spooky contemporary
3. Read a diverse contemporary
4. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
5. Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover
6. Read a contemporary from a new to you author
7. Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction

 

Read a contemporary with orange on the cover  What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera Not only is my MOST anticipated Contemporary book of 2018! 😱 One of my top 3 fave authors co-wrote this book! If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you probably know how much I LOVE Adam Silvera’s books! They always leave me wrecked yet I keep returning for more tear jerking reads. I also think this will be a 5 star read & it also fits the diverse read category as well.

🌟Bonus🌟 One of the MC’s  is Puerto-Rican & therefore this book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) 🖤

Read a dark/spooky contemporary  Sadie by Courtney Summers which I’ve been trying my hardest not to start before the readathon! this book legit checks off so many of my boxes & appeals to my love of Podcasts. It’s been a while since I discovered Serial & the Adnan Syed case, but my time listening/obsessing over each episode is still fresh in my memory. I’ve had a couple of book blogging buddies tell me there is now a podcast to go along with the book & GAHHH! I’m so ready! I have this book in physical format & then used 1 of my Audible credits for the audiobook after hearing some AMAZING things about the narration.

Read a diverse contemporary  The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory  is sort of a companion novel to The Wedding Date (My review) published earlier this year. Carlos, one of the side characters who starred in The Wedding Date had me wishing so hard for a character swap #jussayin 😂 he was way nicer & just all around chivalrous which is something rare. Carlos also IMO has excellent taste in foods 😉

🌟Bonus🌟 Carlos is a Latino Doctor which means this book also book aligns with Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format  Blue is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh is a graphic novel I’ve been meaning to get to since 2017 & never got around to it. I’ve heard it’s best to go into it blind but that it for sure is a tear jerker starring a F/F romance. STOKED to finally have no excuse to not get to this one. I also just found out a movie exists for this story (IMDB) 🖤

Read a contemporary that has your initials somewhere on the cover  The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid & no a longer title I could not find 😂 truth be told, I’ve been DYING to read this for so long. My initials are simple, ‘LB’ or my unmarried initials ‘LL’ can both be found in this title. I’m possibly even more excited to read this one than What If It’s Us. All great books but this is one I’ve owned for so long with the knowledge it’s going to be a 5 star read & that once I read it I won’t be able to experience it for the first time again…anyone else do this? procrastinate with nooks you know will be your next obsession? 😩😂

🌟Bonus🌟  MC is a Cuban bi-sexual woman which makes this one perfect for Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018)

Read a contemporary from a new to you author  Flight or Fight by Samantha Young which I’ll be buddy reading with Melanie from Meltotheany (we’re also BR The Proposal). I admittedly don’t know much about this one other than it’s a cute hate to love contemporary everyone has been buzzing about. This will be my first Samantha Young read & I’m hoping to find a new fave author 🖤

Read a contemporary that is a 5 star prediction  Pride by Ibi Zoboi is one I’ve been highly anticipating! After reading American Street & the short story written by Ibi Zoboi in the YA anthology Meet Cute, I can’t help but want to read everything this author writes. The fact that it takes place in my home city of Brooklyn & that it’s a Pride & Prejudice REMIX (not a retelling 😂) has me HYPED!

🌟Bonus🌟  The MC Zuri Benitez is Afro-Latina….we don’t have no where near enough Afro-Latinx MC’s in our books, so happy to be reading this one for Latinx (I sure did change it to be more inclusive) Heritage Month (9/15/2018-10/15/2018) 🖤


Contemporary-A-Thon takes place from 9/17-9/23, all info to participate can also be found in the Booktube channels listed above. If you are participating in the readathon or just happen to have ready any of the titles I’ll be reading, drop me some luv in the comments down below 🖤


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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic brought back a ton of good memories and reminded me that there are a few books I’d definitely re-read. These books are very near & dear to my heart because of the feelings and memories they invoke…

July 24th 2018: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

💜 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #4)– This book is my favorite of the whole series for so many reasons but the very top one being that it’s the one I had in my hands when I met my hubby. I walked in to my 1st day at a new job with my copy and saw him sitting with his copy of Deathly Hollows and knew it was a sign haha!  It was a constant game of “No Spoilers” that led to casual flirting smh 😉

💜 Heartless by Marissa Meyer– I buddy read this wonderful book with my book twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads after scoring arcs at Bookcon in 2017. I had all my alerts ready on my phone when I saw Fierce Reads tweet out that they were giving out T-shirts at their booth. Whelp I went right over thinking it was just a shirt, told them the magic password & ended up with a arc copy!!! *GASP* I still remember flipping out on the phone to my book twin and since hubby was with me, he got her a copy as well. The buddy read was so much fun and had us thinking about baking & pastries all along 🙂

💜 Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem– My first college assigned read  & it has stuck with me throughout the years. The MC Lionel has Tourettes and he finds himself working for a small time mobster. When the mobster who took him in as an orphan shows up dead, Lionel puts on his detective hat to find his killer. I was ABSORBED in this story & can remember discussing it in class as if it were just yesterday

💜 My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (The Lady Janies #2)– I read this book in one day, two sittings. I started it on the train ride home and found myself laughing out loud without any reservation. I was having a very bad week and this book didn’t let my thoughts wander. I laughed hard & long and in turn made those around me laugh…a contagious fun read I will always turn to for some silliness 🙂

💜 A Million Junes by Emily Henry– This book stirred up memories of my dad and I found the tears streaming full force by the time I read the last page. I won’t say how because it would be spoilery for this book but it will always be THE book that moved me with thoughts of my own dad.

💜 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows #2)– I finished reading CK on my train ride to The Strand for a Leigh Bardugo signing & although that was EPIC! it’s not the main reason I remember it fondly. This is the day I met my book twin Gretchen in person! from watching her videos on Booktube to being motivated by her to start my own blog and going on a blogging journey with her to a Leigh Bardugo event we had so much fun in! Crooked Kingdom will always be the book that brought me to my twin 🙂

💜 The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslie Walton– Ok! this has to be one of the most beautifully tragic books I’ve ever read! & I had the pleasure of sharing the heartbreak with my best friend of 18 years. He wasn’t happy with the ugly crying this book put him through but he loved it just as much as I did & it even kicked off a buddy read binge. My BFF doesn’t really read much so this was definitely a time I’ll always remember fondly 🙂

💜 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden– I don’t have a specific memory attached to this beautiful gem of a book but it’s one that will always feel, taste, sound like Winter whenever I think of the story within its pages. I read The Bear during the Winter and it couldn’t have been a more ideal read for the season.

💜 Nyxia: Unleashed by Scott Reintgen– I’ve gone ahead & linked to Melanie over at Meltotheany on this one cause I will always think of her when I think of this book. She & I buddy read a whole lot & I think that’s cause she has the patience of a Goddess cause ya girl lives life on the go & sometimes can fall behind Haha! anyways, we gush over this book for days & could NOT stop quoting front to back!

💜 A Dance With Dragons (A Song Of Ice & Fire #5) by George RR Martin– This is a bittersweet memory if there ever was one…where is book 6?!?! yea I know! haha! but it’s here because I remember buddy reading this 5th installment with my hubby while expecting our tiny human. Since I was limited due to a high risk pregnancy, weekends were spent reading Game Of Thrones in bed and trying not to read ahead for fear of spoilers…he still outread (totes should be a word) me though smh hehe 🙂


Happy Tuesday Bookworms! This post is going up wayyyy later in the day…it’s now night but somewhere in the world I am right on time! ❤ Hope you’re all reading amazing books & finding your next book obsession! 😉


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