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

Title: The Witch’s Heart

Author: Genevieve Gornichec

Pub. Date:ย February 9th 2021

Genre:ย Norse Mythology/Fantasy

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Ace Books

Pages: 368 pages

GOODREADS |ย BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

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

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

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


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Spoiler Free Review: The Project by Courtney Summers

Title: The Project

Author: Courtney Summers

Pub. Date:ย February 2nd 2021

Genre:ย Young Adult Thriller

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Wednesday Books

Pages:ย 352 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

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

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

MIND BLOWN at the amount of research that had to have gone into cults and their inner workings. From how youโ€™re targeted, to isolation, brainwashing and eventually the feeling that youโ€™re indebted to a greater cause. All the while following someone who believes himself to be God. Is it suitable for Young Adult readers? I believe it to be if viewed as a cautionary tale of sorts since cults do exist and many fall victim because they lack the knowledge on how they work. It is a very emotionally heavy read that does a fine job of tackling tougher topics such as religion, faith and those in positions of power within religious groups. This absolutely reads on the more mature end of the Young Adult scale with its dark tones in manipulation and abuse. Personally, I couldn’t stop reading this book and I’m glad I have a copy ofย Sadieย by this author to hold me over until their next published book. There are a slew of content warnings that I encourage you to review, I’m adding those provided by the lovelyย Melanie from Meltotheany down below:

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


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WWW WEDNESDAYS 2/3/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted byย Sam @ Taking On a World of Wordsย and to participate all you have to do is answer the three Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

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

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

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

Blackathon (Check out Jesse @BowtiesandBooks announcement video)

Black buck by mateo askaripour

I’m 30% into this audiobook from Libro.fm and I’ve already had some “the audacity” moments! this is a satirical take on one young black mans shot to stardom when he gets offered a “once in a lifetime” opportunity while working as a Manager at Starbucks. Darren is 22 years old and unambitious, the former Valedictorian of his class at Bronx Science. His mother who he lives with in their family owned Brownstone in Bedstuy wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential. Rhett Daniels the CEO ofย Sumwun, NYCโ€™s hottest tech startup sees that potential and is intent on getting Darren on his team. Darren joins and from day 1 is met with some quite infuriating white leadership who dish out every single stereotype there is about black people. I’ve lost track of how many times Darren has been asked whether he’s been told by anyone that he looks like MLK or Sidney Poitier. Darren’s inner monologue has me smiling at times and other times laughing, fast paced and thought provoking this book explores race and ambition through a different lens.

the project by courtney summers

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

winter counts by david heska wanbli weiden

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

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


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

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

Author:ย Lyssa Kay Adams

Pub. Date:ย October 27th 2020

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Berkley

Pages: 352 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

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

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

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

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

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


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August 2020 Wrap-Up

The last official month of Summer has come & gone leaving me sitting here drafting up a wrap-up in warm fuzzies while sipping on my coffee. My reading in August was very scattered and looking back that was probably because I was anticipating September too hard to even focus. I’m a type A personality who organizes & plans for things and so most of my focus was in preparing for a more stress free work from home/remote learning set-up in my apartment. I did still squeeze in a few more trips to the beach in an attempt to stretch out the golden tan I worked so hard for smh. This all is the reason for which I listened to 4 audiobooks & read 3 physical books. Although I found some new authors I’d like to read more from, the only read to truly blow me away was Lobizona by Romina Garber & this now being September aka Latinx Heritage month, I hardcore recommend this read my friends! โค

THE ROOMMATE BY ROSIE DANAN – (MY REVIEW)โœจ4 STARSโœจFUN, STEAMY & SEX POSITIVE

THE VOTING BOOTH BY BRANDY COLBERT – (MY REVIEW) โœจ4 STARSโœจย A TIMELY READ THAT BRINGS ISSUES WITH VOTER SUPPRESSION TO THE FOREFRONT

FAITH TAKING FLIGHT BY JULIE MURPHY – (MY REVIEW) โœจ3.5ย STARSโœจCUTE QUEER STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS WITH SOME PACING ISSUES THAT MADE IT CHAOTIC TOWARDS THE END

ONE TO WATCH BY KATE STAYMAN-LONDON -(MY REVIEW)โœจ5ย STARSโœจย AUDIOBOOK WAS THE WAY TO GO! QUITE THE ADDICTIVE READ WITH A PLUS SIZE MC ON A DATING SHOW WHO FACES MUCH ADVERSITY & CRUELTY. THIS WAS AT TIMES HARD TO LISTEN TO BECAUSE IT WAS TRIGGERING, STILL ONE OF MY FAVES THIS YEAR

THE FAITHLESS HAWK (THE MERCIFUL CROW #2) BY MARGARET OWEN – (MY REVIEW) โœจย 5 STARSโœจย THIS BOOK! AHHH! ALL THE FEELS, TRULY LEFT ME BAWLIN’ MY EYES OUT ON THE VERY LAST PAGE. THIS DUOLOGY ย IS NOW SITTING NEXT TO MY MY SIX OF CROWS DUOLOGY AS FOREVER FAVORITES

HIS & HERS BY ALICE FEENEY – (MY REVIEW) โœจย 4 STARSโœจONCE AGAIN LIBRO.FM CAME THROUGH WITH A BONE CHILLING ALC! TOLD IN MULTIPLE POV WITH ONE OF THE 3 NARRATORS USING A VOICE CHANGER…COULDN’T LISTEN TO THOSE CHAPTER AT NIGHT JUSSAYIN.

LOBIZONA BY ROMINA GARBER – (MY REVIEW) โœจ5ย STARSโœจROMINA GARBER DELIVERED SUCH A SOLID STAND OUT DEBUT! IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO REPLACE SHE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED…LOBIZONA WILL DEF GIVE YOU HP VIBES.

PROJECT POWER EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS, SET IN NEW ORLEANS WE FOLLOW A TEEN WHO TEAMS UP WITH A COP & EX SOLDIER TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF A VERY SERIOUS DRUG THAT HAS HIT THE STREETS. A DRUG THAT GIVES YOU UNPREDICTABLE SUPER POWERS FOR 5 MINUTES. ย HIGH ADRENALINE DELIVERED BY JAMIE FOX WHO HAS YET TO DISAPPOINT ME.

“A COVERT TEAM OF IMMORTAL MERCENARIES ARE SUDDENLY EXPOSED AND MUST NOW FIGHT TO KEEP THEIR IDENTITY A SECRET JUST AS A UNEXPECTED NEW MEMBER IS DISCOVERED” I HAD NO IDEA THIS ORIGINATED FROM A COMIC BUT I WAS LEFT WITH A NEED FOR MORE! I TRULY WISH THIS HAD BEEN MADE A SERIES BUT THAT COULD JUST BE MY BIAS TOWARDS ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH IMMORTALS. LOVED THESE CHARACTERS (NOT ENOUGH TIME) AND THEIR OLD TIES TO ONE ANOTHER. AGAIN, JUST WISH WE GET MORE.


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March 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

March, the month of audiobooks and self care/luvin like never before! Mid-month was the start of social distancing, work from home, and remote learning. Like many of my fellow bookworms I saw myself struggling to do what I love most & that is reading. While finding my groove in this new normal I found comfort in audiobooks. The one exception I made was House of Earth and Blood which also happened to be the last book I physically picked up in Barnes & Nobles. I listened to 3 quality audiobooks and read the tome that kicks off the Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas. In between reading, I fell down the rabbit hole of Pinterest & Latin food recipes. The kitchen has become my little piece of heaven, creating meals while listening to books or watching my favorite content creators on Booktube. It’s now Mid-April & that means this post is hella late but prioritizing self care during these trying times is where a lot of us are at. Cutting myself a break here & just enjoying the little things while safe at home ๐Ÿ–ค

*Reviews linked down below*

UNDERCOVER BROMANCE BY LYSSA KAY ADAMS – โœจ4 STARSโœจThe follow-up to The Bromance Book Clubย which follows Mack & Liv. This is a hate-to-love romance that covers the #metoo movement. We get the see all of our old cast members while they team up to help Mack help Liv get rid of her dirt bag of a boss. LOVED this & I cannot wait for the next installment Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) *eeeeK!*

THE LAST HOPE BY KRISTA & BECCA RITCHIE – โœจ3.75 STARSโœจLOVED the full cast audiobook production so much! this follow up toย The Raging Onesย was one I was MOST looking forward to & it did NOT disappoint. I haven’t read anything else by this author duo but my curiosity has been piqued to the max. I got so attached to Court, Franny, and Mykall making this conclusion all the more bittersweet. This duology is definitely one to keep on your radar if you’re looking for Sci-Fi + Romance.

HOUSE OF BLOOD AND EARTH BY SARAH J. MAAS – โœจ5 STARSโœจย THIS BOOK PUT ME THROUGH IT! I’m so glad I read this at the same time my Twin BFF Gretchen (ChicNerdReads) did because we got to experience this emotional rollercoaster together! Best word of advice for those who haven’t read but plan on reading this one soon…DON’T READ THE SYNOPSIS!!!ย the effect of certain events won’t be the same if you do. All in all, I really enjoyed getting to know this world & characters. Eager for the next book in this series!

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL BY GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN – โœจ3.5 STARSโœจ This was an audiobook I picked up after hearing much buzz about the author duo ( see The Wife Between Us) the narration was on point & gave you that spider stuck in a web vibe. The only reason I gave it 3.5 stars is because the MC is HIGHLY inquisitive & yet she continued to irrationally allow herself to fall deeper.Eventually I started to get a bit frustrated but won’t deny I couldn’t stop listening to the story unfold. I’d def check out this author duos future works.

BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN

I’m a HUGE Harley Quinn fan but seeing Margot Robbie in The Suicide Squad solidified my love for this character. Birds Of Prey gave us a good dose of Harley as she picks up the pieces of her broken heart. The opening scene alone is very cathartic for Harley as she accepts the truth & cuts ties to her past to the Joker. Of course it’s Harley & wherever she goes trouble shortly follows but you can’t help but love her. One of my favorite ICONS Rosie Perez also had a role in this film & ahhhh! I Was LIVING for this HIGH adrenaline rush flick till the very end. Can’t wait to see Harley in future films & what is planned for her role in this universe.

BLOODSHOT

This isn’t my typical type of flick but my boyfriend was looking forward to it having had read the comics. I was curious enough to check it out & I’m pretty much game to anything Sci-Fi. Well, overall I wasn’t a fan of this movie & that’s simply because the plot failed to keep my interest. Still, Vin Diesel pretty much won my loyalty when I first saw him in The Fast & The Furious (yea I’ve given this franchise too many years/Dollars to stop now) which makes it a sure thing I’ll watch all his movies. Don’t ask me why but I just can’t disappoint Dom Toretto haha!


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL BY MAUREEN GOO

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel

Author:ย Maureen Goo

Pub. Date:ย May 8th 2018

Genre:ย YA Contemporary

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages:ย 336 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

This book will forever go down in my little corner of the universe as THE book that snuck up & delivered such a beautiful message of finding yourself and the connections we make along the way. Our MC Clara Shin is known as the school prankster & she sort of thrives on being disruptive. When one of her pranks goes a bit too far, she comes face to face with her archenemy. Rose Carver is the polar opposite of Clara, she’s very rigid and serious about her academic journey. Rose has made it very clear to Clara that she can’t stand her chill laid back approach to school. This last confrontation ends up getting a bit physical and both girls get heir parents called. Clara’s dad is a single parent trying to run a successful food truck in hopes of one day opening his own restaurant. It’s his idea to have the girls hash out their issues by working together at the food truck. The Way You Make Me Feel serves up delicious Korean-Brazilian dishes, teenage drama, cute romance, new found friendships, and parent/child relationships.ย 

At first glance I thought I was getting into a cute light hearted Contemporary & to some extent it is but at a further glance, it’s so much more. Clara doesn’t know why she’s never taken school all that seriously however in her efforts to maintain a relationship with her mother, she discovers some truths about herself. I loved seeing the teens & parents in this story take on the hard task of introspection, facing that which drives them to behave a certain way. There’s discussion of the after effects of separation, academic pressures, anxiety, as well as the challenges of parenting for a single dad. My favorite aspect of this book revolved around the father/daughter relationship, Adrian gets all my love for being a rockstar Dad. Those that have been around my blog long enough know I have a weakness for father/daughter bonds as I had an amazing one with my own. Adrian doesn’t pretend to be perfect, he’s just a single dad trying to get back on track with providing some structure for his teen daughter. He’s known as the cool, fun, handsome dad & that worked for some time but he has a what I call “get real” moment. Finding a balance between Cool Dad vs. Tough Love Dad which he handles so well! On the topic of writing I will sayย there were times where Clara’s attempts at sarcasm felt a bit awkward. I don’t think the humor hit home with me & at times I sort of just looked past it. Instead I took away the bigger message and that’s that the road to self discovery is a journey worth making.


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

Title: Dark and Deepest Red

Author:ย Anna-Marie McLemore

Pub. Date:ย January 14th 2020

Genre:ย YA Historical Fiction/LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

Pages:ย 309 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZONย 

*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 thatโ€™s not quite true. They didnโ€™t come for us. They came for me.”

Iโ€™ve always been intrigued by the Salem Witch trials & the mass hysteria caused by outcries of devil worship. This story however takes place in 1500โ€™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 Lalaโ€™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)ย 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 ๐Ÿ™ˆIt 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚ย 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 ๐Ÿ’œ

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra – โœจ4 STARSย โœจย (my review)ย I really enjoyed this modern take on Little Womenย 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 ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿฝ

Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera – โœจ5 STARSโœจ (my review)ย This 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 ๐Ÿ’œ

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – โœจ5 STARSโœจย  ย  ย ย (my review)ย I 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 – โœจ5 STARSโœจ (my review)ย The 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 – โœจ5 STARSโœจย 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+ ย 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 ๐Ÿ–ค

Reverie by Ryan La Sala – โœจ4 STARSย โœจ (my review)ย Ahhh! 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 Jediย 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.ย 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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Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My E-Reader

Top Ten Tuesday was created byย The Broke and the Bookishย in June of 2010 and was moved toย 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 isย “The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf”ย which I’ve amended to those that I hauled to my e-reader cause they deserve some love too. I’ll admit some of these I already own physical copies to, but its just easier nowadays to read from my tablet. Ok, this list here is QUITE the mixed bag which pretty much speaks volumes on my undying love for mood reading. These also happen to be the books I’ll be using as palette cleansers as I make my way through my ARC spreadsheet, a lot of which are Fantasy.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman –ย Our MC works in a bookstore and is pretty much a happy introvert who thinks she’s an only child. When she finds out the father she never knew has passed away & that she’s one of many siblings, her whole life makes a huge turn. Add to this a unexpected romance with her trivia nemesis, I’m all IN!

Kushiel’s Dart (Phรจdre’s trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey – I’ve heard SO much about this series & finally got my copy. It’s a dark sexy Fantasy where the MC is trained as both a spy & a courtesan. When she stumbles across a plot against her homeland, she sets out to save that which she loves.

“Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.”

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang – this well loves contemporary is about a MC with Aspergers who hires a Vietnamese/Swedish professional to help her in all things dating & bedroom. This eventually turns into more & I’m really just way overdue to read this one.

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang – The sequel to The Kiss Quotient cause lets face it, I will most likely fall in love with TKQ & crave this one! $1.99 on Kindle last time I checked (1/19/2020) is a steal. Following characters from TKQ, this time our MC is a Vietnamese Autistic guy who feels he’s incapable of loving after experiencing a loss. The MC’s mother travels to Vietname to see if she can find him a bride. The love interest is a Bi-racial (Vietnamese/White) single mom who is willing to take ย his mom up on her off to marry her son in hopes for a better life.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite – a F/F Historical Romance that comes HIGHLY recommended by some of my closest bookish buddies. Here we follow Lucy who is hoping to get the job translating a groundbreaking French astronomy text by a deceased Scientist. Recently widowed, Catherine isn’t expecting to fall in love as Lucy spends her nights translating scientific text.

The Queens Of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton – A land drained of it’s magic by a mad King who Is obsessed with property is being circled by enemies who want control over its ideal port for trades. The King must choose an heir on the longest night of the year. His three daughters care not to leave this decision to rituals & instead choose to go to war. Having really enjoyed Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton, I’m really hoping to LOVE this one *fingers crossed*

GUAPA by Saleem Haddadย –ย A coming of age story following a Gay man in a unnamed Arab country during muchย political and social upheaval. In the course of one night his whole life changes. Caught in bed with his lover by his Grandmother, our MC heads out only to find three of his closest friends to be missing. Ashamed to return home he sets out to find his missing loved ones which takes him throughout the countries seediest slums.ย 

The Walflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare – It wasn’t until I sat down to draft this post that I realized this is book 3 in this series SMH! however, it does seem like it can be read on its own as a stand alone. This one features a wealthy ruthless MC who just wants his neighbor to clear out all of the furry animals she’s keeping next door. Lady Penelope Campion however, cannot truncates away any animal in need. She strikes a deal with the Duke, if he can find homes for all of her wounded charges the & only then will she clear out her home. THIS should be innneresting haha!

The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1) by Evan Winter – “Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.”—> This is an African inspired EPIC Fantasy I’ve heard good things about. I am ALWAYS looking for Diverse/Own Voices high Fantasy reads & so this was a MUST!

Shadow Frost (Shadow. Frost #1) by Coco M

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.” —>This is a YA Fantasy I caught wind of last year. Having heard it features a cast of very funny characters, that’s just about all I needed to know I’d give it a go.


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