April Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

April was a month FULL of bookish events online like the Social Distance Book Festย & YALLWESTย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

These areย 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 – โœจ5 STARSโœจThis 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 – โœจ4 STARSโœจย 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 – โœจ4 STARSโœจOk 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 fiancรฉ. 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 -โœจ4 STARSโœจย 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 – โœจ4 STARSโœจ (My Review)ย The follow up to The Wicked Saintsย 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! โค

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE – โœจ3.5 STARSโœจ(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 – โœจ5 STARSโœจ(My Review) Saving the BEST for last! Zoraida Cรณrdova 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.ย 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 | KULTIย 

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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January Monthly Wrap-Up

January was a month of much post holiday rest, organization, and goal setting. 2019 was a massive healing year for me which meant I focused more on Quality vs. Quantity reading last year to make room for new life experiences. January however had me back in the saddle with books on my radar for the rest of the year. It was also the month where I participated in my very first Readathon (SMUTATHON Wrap-Up) Challenge & had a blast! It was truly the BEST way to start off the new year, light & fun with a side of steam ๐Ÿ˜‰

Besides a ton of steamy reading, I also found my love for Netflix backlist shows like Schitts Creek andย continued with the latest season of Grace & Frankie. I also started Journaling, something I’ve been wanting to get back into for years but never quite took the steps & placed pen to paper. Writing has been truly cathartic in my journey to self alignment & self healing. As the new year takes off, I’m also keeping a small list of places/things I’d like to visit & do. I’ll include snippets of some of these trips in future wrap-ups as a way for me to look back on & share with you lovely readers ๐Ÿ™‚

The Loner’s Lady by Jessa Kane – โœจ2.5 STARSโœจย (SMUTATHON WRAP-UP)ย This age gap romance just was NOT my cup of tea haha! it felt very primitive & not my idea of a good time with a fake dating trope. I was generous here with my rating but in all reality it was a quick read that left me very underwhelmed.

Grading Curves by Naima Simone -โœจ4.5 STARSโœจย (SMUTATHON WRAP-UP)ย GOODNESS! SUPER SEXY! who would’ve known a tattoo parlor would host such potential for steam haha! Naima Simone is on my list of go-to authors for smut ๐Ÿ˜‰

The King Maker by Kennedy Ryan – โœจ4.5 STARSโœจ(SMUTATHON WRAP-UP)ย Kennedy Ryan blew me away with this very heavily researched read. A perfect balance between hardcore relevant topics & romance, this one I definitely plan on reviewing here on the blog. This is a age gap romance I can get behind & best of all it follows our characters over the years from the time they met in their 20’s to present day. Can’t wait to read the sequel in the All the King’s Men Duet,ย The Rebel King.

The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz – โœจ5 STARSโœจ (SMUTATHON WRAP-UP)ย Gothic Romance fever anyone?!? YEA that’s what Tiffany Reisz left me with after finishing Headmaster. I’mnot sure why but it gave me the same vibes I felt while reading Cassie Clare’s The Infernal Devices if only for the steam punk atmosphere. SO worth it especially if you dig Paranormal Romance.

SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson – โœจ5 STARSโœจย (MY REVIEW)ย I wouldn’t be surprised to see SKYWARD make my end of the year TOP 20 of 2020! it gave me such an adrenaline rush & reminded me of my experience with Pierce Brown’s Morning Star. Not just cause of the camaraderie between the pilots but also because of the flight patterns & attacks that really jump off the page and pull you in. I already have secured a copy of the sequel STARSIGHT & a more happier little bean I could not be *jazz hands*

Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden-โœจ5 STARSโœจ(SMUTATHON WRAP-UP) This F/F Romance legit transported me to a small beach town & immersed me in every single characters lives like nobodies business! UGH! I did NOT want to leave & the characters who are the epitome of polar opposites had me shipping them so hard all throughout. I have a list of Melissa Brayden backlist books I will be reading throughout the next couple of months… the Next one on my radar is Strawberry Summer thanks to the wonderful Leigh Kramer who I appreciate wholeheartedly! โค a whole review will hit this blog in the very near future, currently I’m reading faster than I’m writing SMH! haha!

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – โœจ5 STARSโœจย (MY REVIEW)ย on the Cuteness Meter, this one smashes the scale! This is another read that I may throw into my top 20 of 2020 but we shall see. I laughed & enjoyed the character interactions so much so that I traded in sleep haha! I have a full review linked above.

Ok soooo I may have binged almost all 5 current season of Schitts Creek onNetflix…I say almost cause in typical Lilly fashion I stopped myself from watching the last 3 episodes of season 5. I’m not a fan of endings & even though there is currently a season 6, I have to wait for it to hit Netflix sooo yea LOL! I had HUGE doubts about this show but JEEZ am I so happy I decided to give in & start this show. It appears to be super pretentious & ridiculous but I promise you there’s so much more depth to these characters. Ultimately it’s the reason I’ve fallen back in love with Netflix so if there are any shows that offer up this much comedic relief, please drop them down below in the comments Luvs!

OK! Bragging rights here cause my BF did NOT think this one was worth us going to see in theaters. WHELP! boy was he happy we went cause this was so GOOD! & possibly not the end of this franchise *fingers crossed* the boys are back & although they’ve aged just a bit, that does NOT stop them from getting back behind the wheel & catching them some bad guys…Ok well Marcus played by Martin Lawrence needs a bit of convincing & it is EVERYTHING seeing this duo back in action.


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SMUTATHON WINTER 2020 READATHON WRAP-UP

What better way to start the New Year than with a little Smut? amiright? ๐Ÿค—ย #SMUTATHON is a Readathon hosted by RileyMarie & GingerReadsLainey where we read any & all things Romance/Smut. This round of #SMUTATHON ran from January 4th through January 11th 2020 & it was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝย after having a mediocre reading year in 2018, this was a nice way to start 2020. This time around they included a Bingo Board with 9 challenges which I layered up on since reading 9 books in one week, personally would be very challenging.


The Loner’s Lady by Jesse Kane -โœจ 3 STARS โœจย This was truly like nothing I’ve ever read before ๐Ÿ™ˆย a HUGE age gap romance where our female MC is 18 & traveling with her gay BFF to see his dad who he hasn’t told he’s gay. They pretend they’re dating each other because the 40+ year old dad is former military & quite intimidating. It wasn’t the age gap so much as how it all wrapped up that didn’t make this a winner for me. Also, the dad comes off as a bit primal #jussayin

The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz -โœจย 5 STARS โœจย On the steam scale this one is a whole lot tamer than anything I read this week. It’s Gothic vibes were hella atmospheric, set in the 1960’s this one takes place in a all boys school. Our female MC gets into a car accident and ends up working as the new English teacher at the school. There’s a bit of mystery surrounding the school & its inhabitants I enjoyed unraveling. The whole English man look & accent also really worked for me โ˜บ๏ธย I’ve been recommended to read The Rose which is based on Greek Gods Mythology.

Grading ย Curves by Naima Simone – โœจย 4 STARS โœจย Naima Simone has made a true fan out of me! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝย Good Lawd this steamy scenes had me all shades of red on my early morning train into work. The female MC walks into a tattoo parlor & ends up really hitting it off with the tattoo artist. Things get steamy & the next morning the male MC walks into the college classroom she’s teaching. My ONLY wish was that this was a smidge longer, the ending felt rushed. The writing however is legit off the meter steamy & sexy, LOVED IT!

The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men Duet #1) by Kennedy Ryan–ย โœจ4.5 STARSโœจย This author deserves all of the high praise they receive ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝย I got so much more than I expected from this story ๐Ÿ’“This is a dual POV between our MC’s Lennix & Maxim who meet when Lennix is a underage activist protesting a pipeline that is being built on sacred Native American grounds. Maxim is the son of the man behind the pipeline however father & son share no common interests. We follow Lennix & Maxim through a span of time from teen years through Lennix’ 20’s & 30’s. I LOVE stories that span over time because we get to see growth in character & how life has shaped them in their adult lives. This book was BEAUTIFULLY written with a spotlight on such relevant hard hitting issues like the disappearance/murder of Native American women. The only reason I docked it half a star was because that ending was a bit left field & I’m still unsure how I feel about it but overall its’s a high quality read I’d recommend.

Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden – โœจ 5 STARS โœจ a F/F romance written for the stars! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book to pieces! a beachside dual POV story that left me wanting to leave the city & relocate in a small beach town where everyone wants to be your friend haha! We meet Elizabeth who is very friendly & outgoing, the town sweetheart who owns a odd job business she runs from her garage. Elizabeth is watching over Jill who has just experienced a life threatening car accident. She reaches out to Jill’s sister Devyn who is a BIG time real estate broker in Philadelphia in hopes she can get her to come out to Dreamer’s Bay. Devyn leaves Philly to be by Jill’s side & slowly starts to fall in love with Liz & the town she left behind after her High School graduation. Liz & Devyn are polar opposites but it’s their differences that make this romance work. Quirky, fun, heartwarming are just a few of the words that describe this read. Liz will forever be one of my favorite fictional characters ๐Ÿ’“


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July Wrap Up

Hello Bookworms! It’s the start of the weekend for me & on the agenda is getting some reviews posted here on the blog. I had one of the MOST fun reading months in July & pretty much picked up one book after another with no brakes. I also participated inย  #Smutathon & read some awesome Contemporary titles, special thanks goes to Melanie for keeping us on track with them buddy reads haha! โค I also found myself reading books that I’d typically pick up in the Fall & I think that’s just my subconscious prepping for the season of warm sweaters, colorful leaves, and hot tea *bring it* In the month of July I truly tried to read whatever my heart desired seeing as the rest of the year is pretty booked with new ARCS & releases I have on deck to review. Looking down at my collage of book covers I’m smiling seeing the variety so this is one happily satisfied bookworm!

Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghartย โœจ3 STARSโœจย I really enjoyed this tale of two sisters switching places however I ended up being interested & invested in one sister more than the other. There were some pacing issues however, the ending is soOo promising of what’s to come & I am definitely going to p/u the sequel to thisย duology.

The King Of Bourbon Street by Thea De Salle–ย โœจ4.5 STARSโœจย (RTC) This is the first Naughty read on Lair Of Books & I could NOT be more happier with it! well…I could have been hype as all hell had it been a plus sized gal up on the cover but more to come on that in my review. This was steamy & all around AMAZING with body positivityย (except for theย cover) & LGBTQIAP+ Rep. I look forward to continuing on with theย rest of this series ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guilloryย โœจ4 STARSโœจA Contemporary with important topics woven into the story. I LOVE the female MC however I wasn’t fond of the male interest, his attitude towards women left much to be desired.ย 

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazuย โœจ5 STARSโœจย (Mini RTC)ย This has to be the cutest web comic turned Graphic Novel EVER! well it’s the first I’ve read & has me officially HOOKED! I debated on whether to give this 4 stars cause I really wanted more of the romance but then again the friendships REALLY are AMAZING! Bitty stole my heart with his pie baking skills & I just need more of his college experience & Vlogs ๐Ÿ’“

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton โœจ5 STARSโœจย (RTC)ย A Pleasant & unexpected surprise this was! I thought I’d be creeped the heck out by Strange Grace but instead I ended up being entranced by this dark and beautifully written Polyamorous read. More thoughts to come in my review next week ๐Ÿ–ค

Scream All Night by Derek Milman โœจ4 STARSโœจย Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one is what I described this one as in my review. Scream All Night feature a MC who has had to emancipate himself atย the age of 12 in order to get away from an abusive father. Now 17, Dario returns to the castle/studio where the worse of his memories still reside in order to be present for his father’s last wishes. This one read very different thatย anything I’ve ever read & it worked, I was engaged all throughout & enamored by Moldavia studios and itsย inhabitants ๐Ÿ–ค

Josh and Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren โœจ4 STARSโœจย (RTC)ย ย There’s so much to love in this story! from the Korean culture we get from Josh to the fierce independence we see in Hazel. I had SO MUCH fun reading this & found myself falling in love with their love story, easily one of the best I’ve read! ย More thoughts to come next week ๐Ÿ–ค

The Black God’s Drum by P. Djรจlรญ Clark โœจ5 STARSโœจย (RTC)ย I just need this to beย made into a full length novel cause itย absolutely left me wanting more from this world. Mostย intriguing is how I managed to get so interested & invested in these characters in such a short period of time since this is a novella but I did! If you enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone for its Orisha aspects then this is a MUST read ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think it’s safe to say now that you’ll be seeing quite a few reviews start to trickle out here on Lair Of Books ๐Ÿ˜‚ย they are for the most part ARCS that are set to be published in September. Since I was on a roll with my reading, everything else pretty much took a back seat & that includes TV & Netflix. I did however go on a date with hubby & we watched…

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Paul Rudd & Evangeline Lilly were the PERFECT duo on the screen! Where Scott/Ant-Man fell short, Hope/The Wasp more than made up. Action packed scenes infused with the ol’ Wasp humor, enhanced suits, and old friendsย = a VERY good time! ย I rated this one 5 STARS!

 

 


Hope you’re all having a FAB August! It’s setting up to be anย exciting month for me with my firstย vacation in over 10 years! LOOOOOONG overdue but oh how sweet it will feel taking that ride onย the Hogwarts Express?!?! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑย I know I’m a bit late with this wrap-up so instead I’ll end this by asking,ย what books are on your night stand? ๐Ÿ’“


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