February 2021 Anticipated New Releases

Who thought February was going to be a slow publication month? THIS Gal right here! It took me by surprise when I looked at my Notes app and realized I had 22 titles listed for this month and that’s not including any of the BIG hyped up releases (lookin’ at you SJM) but I wanted to spotlight those many may have not heard about. As always, I scout out as many of the BIPOC books hitting the shelves in hopes you too will be as stoked as I am to read these new stories. Yesterday I actually finished reading one of the books on this list (The Project by Courtney Summers) and your girl is still shooketh! I also just received my copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers in the mail from Book of the Month & will be squeezing it into my February “Possible Reads” If you make it to the end of this post, drop some love in the comment box. What new releases are you MOST excited for? any that aren’t listed here? Curious Bookworm here ๐Ÿ˜‰


YA & SCI-FI

MUSE BY BRITTANY CAVALLARO (2/2) – YA Historical set in 1893 during the World’s Fair, we follow Claire who is the daughter of a famous genius inventor. Her father believes that her touch is what has granted him this gift and plans to use her as St. Cloud prepares for war however, Claire plans to claim her life for herself.

WHAT BIG TEETH BYย  ROSE SZABO (2/2) – YA Horror/Paranormal pitched as perfect for fans ofย Wilder Girls this follows Eleanor who has been estranged from her wild family for some years. When an incident takes place at her boarding school she is forced to return home where she struggles to fit in with her monstrous family.

DARK AND HOLLOW STAR BY ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH (2/23) – YA Fantasy pitched asย The Cruel Princeย meetsย City of Bones,ย an Urban Fantasy set in the magical world of Toronto. We follow a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes threaten to expose the Faerie world to humans. THAT COVER!!! I’m glad this is one I know for sure will be in one of the book boxes I subscribe toย *books shimmy*

ALL THE TIDES OF FATE (ALL THE STARS AND TEETH #2) BY ADALYN GRACE (2/2) – This is the sequel to All the Stars and Teeth (My Review) which was one of my favorite YA Fantasy books in 2020 & had I been able to come up with 20 faves in 2020, it would’ve certainly made the cut! Mermaids, Pirates, curses and a bad a** female heroin who trying to protect her Queendom. Amora is the unlikeable character I absolutely wanted more of, STOKED to pick this one up!

THE GILDED ONES (DEATHLESS #1) BY NAMINA FORNA (2/9) – West African inspired YA Fantasy, we follow a 16 year old MC who prays her blood will run red on the day of her ceremony. When it runs gold (the color of impurity) she must decide whether to stay in her village & live through the consequences or leave and join the emperors army of girls just like her. Near immortals with rare gifts who are the only ones able to stop the threat to the empire.

YESTERDAY IS HISTORY BY KOSOKO JACKSON (2/2) – I heard time travel featuring a m/m romance and decided that was all I needed to know! we have a MC who receives a liver transplant and before he knows it, is time traveling between present day Boston and 1969 where he meets his love interest. The family of the donor explains that time travel is a gift attached to the liver! Can anyone say ORIGINAL?!?! Hella intrigued!

REAPER OF SOULS (KINGDOM OF SOULS #2) BY RENA BARRON (2/18) – I have a non-spoilery review coming later this week but gahhH! if like me you loved Kingdom of Souls then this is an absolute MUST! it’s beautifully written with even more in depth unraveling of the Gods. This was an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns, slow to start but when it takes off there’s no getting off the ride!


YA CONTEMPORARY

LOVE IS A REVOLUTION BY RENร‰E WATSON (2/2) – STOKED! a story where our female plus size black MC finds self love! Yes she does so while sorting out some lies she told her love interest who is an activist but STILL, we do NOT have enough or any self-love stories in YA. I’m READY!

FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA BY CRYSTAL MALDONADO (2/2) – Keeping on with the self-love reads, this a Latinx coming of age story where we follow a brown skinned fat MC who is done having to fit into the image everyone else has for her. Her BFF is the only one who fully accepts her for who she is but things get complicated when Charlie gets asked out by cutie in class Brian. The problem being that Brian asked Charlie’s BFF out first which now brings forth so many questions.

THE INITIAL INSULT BY MINDY MCGINIS (2/23) – First, let it be known I’ll read anything by Mindy Mcginnis! but to be blessed with a Duology is a real treat and to have it be inspired by Edgar Allen Poe? are we even worthy?!? Set in Ohio this one follows Tress & Felicity whose paths are bound to cross and it all is linked back to the disappearance of Tress Montor’s parents. Told in alternating POV’s this dark thriller sets the stage for an unraveling of a friendship that I’m sure I’ll be left reeling from.

THE PROJECT BY COURTNEY SUMMERS (2/2) – I was very lucky to have received a eGalley of this highly anticipated new book by the author ofย Sadie.ย HAUNTING AF Bookworms! SMH I have a full review coming over the next few days with a massive amount of content warnings. I haven’t read Sadie yet but after reading this book, I will absolutely read anything by Summers. If you’re interested in Cults & their inner workings as well as the emotional toll many people experience while being indoctrinated then this is a solid read. I gave it 5 stars but will save my thoughts for my review ๐Ÿ˜‰

A PHO LOVE STORY BY LOAN LE (2/9) – The minute I saw this cover I thought about Tweet Cute which I adored! and then I read the synopsis & it was a no brainer, I NEED this book in my life! Really just pass along any baking/Foodie books because they offer up so much comfort. Here we have two MC’s who are complete opposites as they both work in their families respective Pho restaurants. “For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, whoโ€™ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.”ย THIS!


CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE & FICTION

IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE, NONI BLAKE (2/23) – “Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there’s one she’s often overlooked–herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it’s time for that to change. She’s finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment.” –ย This bit right here had me stop dead in my tracks! Having personally seen myself embark on a similar journey, this is one I had to add to my TBR. A 30 something year old woman who sees herself starting over while traveling around the world. This promises to be hilarious and relatable, sign me up!

FIRST COMES LIKE (MODERN LOVE #3) BY ALISHA RAI – This is here solely because I’ve just started reading The Right Swipe and can already tell I’ll definitely be binge reading this series in 2021. This one promises a Catfishing story between our love interests & I’m a sucker for a good love story over the interwebZ haha! Beauty Influencer meets Bollywood Soap Opera Star…BUT WAIT! he doesn’t know who she is or rather who would use his name to woo her over the net!

MAKE UP BREAK UP BY LILY MENON (2/2) – Second chance romance trope?!?! YES PLEASE! a Las Vegas fling between two dating app developers that ends up turning into a competitive race to win a contest that if won can keep their apps afloat. “Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endingsโ€ฆthese are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the โ€œGoogle Translate for failing relationships.โ€High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast carsโ€ฆthese are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the โ€œUber for break-ups.โ€

SERENA SINGH FLIPS THE SCRIPT BY SONYA LALLI (2/16) – A story about an independent strong woman who is trying to prove to her family and many aunties that domestic bliss is not needed in order to have a happy life. We follow Serena who works at a firm in DC as she navigates friendships and reconnecting with family & even her ex-boyfriend while also trying to hold onto her own self-reliance.

HONEY GIRL BY MORGAN ROGERS (2/23) – I’m MOST Stoked for this new release and have since adjusted my expectations to understand that this is NOT a Romance. It’s more of a late coming-of age story set in NYC after our MC impulsively marries another girl while on a girls trip to Vegas. I will MOST likely be reading this book this month cause the anticipation is KILLIN me!


ADULT FANTASY & SCI-FI

WINTER’S ORBIT BY EVERINA MAXWELL (2/2) – A SCI-FI Romance featuring A M/M romance between Royals marketed for fans of Red White and Royal Blue. Early reviews have this one described as more of a Romance set against a Sci-Fi back drop which is something to keep in mind if you’re looking at this as more of a Sci-Fi focused book cause that it is not. I just got my copy from Illumicrate & can’t wait to dive in!

THE WITCH’S HEART BY GENEVIEVE GORNICHEC (2/9) – Norse Mythology I HAVE MISSED YOU! this one is pitched for fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe which I’ve shamefully NOT yet read. We follow a Giantess who falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki and conceives three “unusual children” each with a. secret destiny. Since I scored a eGalley for this one I will be powering through this one later this week with a full RTC ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

THE BLACK COAST (THE GOD-KING CHRONICLES #1)ย  BY MIKE BROOKS (2/18) – A new EPIC Fantasy series that promises War Dragons! This is a story about two different cultures who have to come together to maintain peace. This is a multiple POV Fantasy featuring queer characters and conversation on gender roles and sexuality. This is one I have high on my TBR.

THE ECHO WIFE BY SARAH GAILEY (2/16) – Pitched for fans of Big Little Lies? why, yes! Yes I am said fan *arms extended* Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwellโ€™s award-winning research. Sheโ€™s patient and gentle and obedient. Sheโ€™s everything Evelyn swore sheโ€™d never be. And sheโ€™s having an affair with Evelynโ€™s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty. ”ย This honestly sounds like it would also make for a dope book to movie adaptation.


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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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Spoiler Free Review: When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Title: When No One is Watching

Author:ย Alyssa Cole

Pub. Date:ย September 1st 2020

Genre: Fiction/Suspense/Horror Noir

Format: ALC

Publisher:ย William Morrow

Pages: 368 pages

GOODREADS | BANRES & NOBLES | LIBRO.FM

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

Hi hello, Latinx Brooklynite here๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿฝspecifically Williamsburg where gentrification swept through and forever changed the neighborhoods I called home. Alyssa Cole gives us Sydney Green, a Black woman who loves her community in Brooklyn but is seeing it erased with each passing day. Major developers buying houses & converting them into condos. The beautiful brownstones where her neighbors have lived for generations sold. Sydney is feeling very paranoid & questioning the whereabouts of those familiar faces. After experiencing a neighborhood tour where the hostess pointed out ONLY the Caucasian history, Sydney decides to start up her own. Theo, a white newcomer to the neighborhood is experiencing relationship issues. He knows he wants to help Sydney in her research as an ally but has to prove his intentions are good. Theoโ€™s girlfriend is racist & constantly referring to them as superior to the black people in the community theyโ€™ve moved into. We follow Sydney & Theo as they set out in starting up her tour company. There are times where I wondered if Sydney was an unreliable narrator. Sheโ€™s a woman determined not to lose her home or her history. In many ways this book felt like Horror Noir & I LOVED it!!! The Goodreads synopsis mentions the movie Get Out by Director Jordan Peele & thatโ€™s exactly the vibes I got while listening to the audiobook. Loved listening to the excerpts from โ€œThe Hoodโ€ app where many of the โ€œKarenโ€ type characters really displayed their micro-aggressions & were checked by black residents in the neighborhood.

CW: alcohol abuse, sick parent, cheating, gentrification, microagressions, death of a parent, panic attacks, gaslighting, anxiety, abduction attempts, involuntary medical experimentation

I’m no thriller expert and so I won’t pretend to know what makes a good thriller. What I do know is that if you go into this read and treat it as you would a horror, then it will meet those expectations. Otherwise, the plot pacing will seem off which is in large part what many readers have said they found issue with. I urge you to seek out reviews by black content creators who have been vocal about how realistic they found the fear & anxiety Sydney was experiencing. What I can say is that as a Latinx woman who has seen my childhood neighborhood torn down, redesigned and sold to the highest bidder…I found this book extremely relatable. I’ve seen whole families disappear at times rather abruptly after being offered a big check to leave their homes. Other times they’re met with uncooperative landlords who make it so they have no choice but to leave the community.

Gentrification is a complex subject and the ramifications it has on those who experience this won’t be the same for everyone. Sydney is a black woman who is made to feel paranoid. She encounters Theo’s girlfriend Kim who basically spews out any & all microagressions you can think of. What once was familiar territory is now a place where she has to watch over her back. Sydney is also experiencing a higher level of harassment from debt collectors, her stress levels are through the roof. All of which when put together, paints a picture of someone who may or may not be stable. That’s what made this book unputdownable for me! the fact that everything she was experiencing can and HAS happened. That ending was chefs kiss perfection! I smirked and nodded my head up & down as I stood in solidarity. This may be Alyssa Cole’s first book outside of the Romance genre but WOW! it is a solid entry into Horror Noir, I personally am excited to see more genre exploring from this author.


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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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June 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

Hola Bookworms! It’s finally Friday and I’m very much looking forward to unplugging this weekend. I took today off from work (this post was scheduled)ย to get away for a bit since we’ll be experiencing a heat wave in New York City. I’ve got two cute new bathing suits I’m pretty stoked to try out, a new found love for Roscato sweet red wine & Playa Bowls (pictured below). Currently I’m reading Forest Of Souls (Shamanborn #1) by Lori M. Leeย (Really enjoying this slower paced world building but then again that’s my thang haha!)ย and obsessing over John Legend’s new album Bigger Love. July is already proving to be a quality reading month with some 5 star reads. In the month of June I threw myself into reading even more diverse black voices & spent less time blogging. I’m just now getting caught up with reviews but figured I should probably wrap up the month seeing as we’re already in mid-July. Drop some love down below, how are you spending your weekend? reading? watching? writing?

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta – โœจ4.5 STARSโœจ I still stand by my original thoughts on this book, it is one of the MOST raw coming of age stories I’ve ever read. Written in verse, this is the story of Michael who is Jamaican and Greek living in London being raised by his mother. His mother is Greek, a single parent who is very supportive and loving to both Michael and his sister. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood & attending a school with mostly white children, Michael faces many challenges being a queer black boy. We follow his journey to finding himself and the freedom he obtains on that journey. I listened to the audiobook on Libro.fm & personally I loved getting the story narrated by the author. I listened in one sitting! โค

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon – โœจ3 STARSโœจAfter hearing many of my friends in the Book community express their thoughts, I adjusted my expectations on this one. I already had a Book of the Month copy as well as the audiobook from Libro.fm. I loved the friendship aspects of this story where we follow our MC as she meets two other women that happen to be dating the same man she is. An unlikely confrontation leads to a friendship which I enjoyed seeing develop. What I didn’t love so much was the romance seeing as it has the whole undercover angle & that took away from any chemistry I may have felt between the two love interests. I’d still be interested in reading possibly a story arc following the other friends *fingers crossed*

The City Of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty -โœจ4 STARSโœจ (My Review) LOVED the world building & plot! captivating and truly memorable however I didn’t fall in love or grow attached to any of the characters. Sure I had one that stood out but that was iffy too. Character growth is on the page & I do have high hopes for the sequel being a 5 star read.

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick – โœจ5 STARSโœจ (My Review)ย YA Thrillers! people sleep on them but truly they are something to explore! Kit Frick held me from the very first page & I could only imagine what the experience would’ve been like if I had listened to this in audiobook format since it does have a podcast feel. LOVED the unreliable narrator & the interviews throughout the book with neighbors & friends. Lastly, I’ll say that I did NOT see that ending coming & was left with my jaw hanging smh.

Abbott – โœจ4 STARSโœจMy only wish is that this had more issues but I can’t find any info online as to whether there will be. We follow a Journalist in Detroit who is investigating a series of murders that seem to have a paranormal twist. I was hella intrigued by our MC who is a black bi-sexual divorced woman with a bit of a brooding side she settles into each night with a glass of whiskey.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson – โœจ5 STARSโœจ (My Review)ย My BEST read of the month! One that I will not stop recommending! I listened to the author narrate his own essays in this audiobook via Libro.fm & was absolutely invested start to finish. I said in my review that it felt like I was at the kitchen table with George hearing stories of his youth as if he were a friend. This is how I’ll aways remember my time with this book. The importance of reading stories that feature intersectionality is something I’ll always stress. This is the story of George M. Johnson a young queer black man growing up in America.

June was a e-book heavy month for me & as I’m still donating books from my shelves I didn’t purchase any physical books. I can tell you now that this is not the case for July smh but at least I have plenty of shelf space to house my new babies. The books down below were all Kindle deals mostly $1.99 at most $3.99, I went click happy because there were so many great titles on sale so here goes…

ONLY FOR A NIGHT (LICK #1) | PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING | THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS | THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE | QUEEN MOVE | THE STORM RUNNER | FORTUNA SWORN | TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY | RACE TO THE SUN | THE BOOK OF LOST SAINTS THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

For many years I’ve heard Guy Ritchie get much acclaim as a director but for me personally it was seeing this movie that really caught my interest. The minute I saw the cast of characters…Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant I KNEW I had to watch! Initially it was set to be a date night at the movies but Rona put a stop to that & I waited for it to be made available on Fandango Now. We follow McConaughey who is an American expat trying to sell his very profitable Marijuana empire in London. This of course captures the attention of many of his enemies & triggers many attempts to steal his business before he can sell. TONS of action, schemes, and yea even a few laugh out loud moments. Overall a good time!


June was an intense month in the world, i was proud to see many of my bookish friends in the community amplify black voices all throughout. The efforts to bring diverse stories to our shelves continues. i’ve always read diversely with an emphasis on intersectionality but i will be amping that up further on this blog.happy reading <3’s!


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Spoiler Free Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

Title: I Killed Zoe Spanos

Author: Kit Frick

Pub. Date:ย June 30th. 2020

Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher:ย Simon & Schuster

Pages: 384ย Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

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

It’s safe to say by now that I’ll give anything a shot when described as having a podcast style of writing & to this day I have yet to be disappointed. I guess my only wish here is that I had been able to also listen to the audiobook of this GRIPPING new YA Thriller. This being a eGalley however, I sat down to read for a bit not expecting to have to pry this book away or break night reading. Set in the Hamptons during the summer, we meet Anna Cicconi who has been hired as a nanny for a wealthy family. Anna is looking for a fresh start where she can shed some of her toxic past & prepare for life as a college student. When Anna arrives in the Hamptons she is received by many with stares due to the uncanny resemblance she bears with Zoe Spanos. Zoe is a girl who has gone missing & is being grieved by many, she is also the source matter for a trending local podcast run by Martina Green. Martina’s podcast is rising in popularity with many listening in as she interviews friends & family about Zoe. I absolutely LOVED the entries we read that are transcribed from the people Martina interviews. Although I was reading the eGalley, it was done so well that I could hear these people as if I were listening to the Podcast myself.

Anna Cicconi has the unfortunate luck of looking very similar to Zoe Spanos & that triggers in her a need to do a bit of investigative work herself. Anna starts asking questions that raise eyebrows & soon enough she finds herself deeply involved. Anna is an unreliable narrator, I definitely didn’t know if she was innocent or not for a good chunk of this book. Throw in the fact that Anna acknowledges having an alcohol problem, this made me question certain things. Anna finds herself confessing to the murder of Zoe Spanos however her story is riddled with holes & Martina is on a mission to fill those in. I could NOT stop myself from reading “just one more chapter”ย hooked until the very last page, I just needed to know what really happened to Zoe Spanos. How Anna came to be in the situation she finds herself in & whether or not there really was foul play afoot. Well! I could’ve NEVER guessed that ending & when I read that last paragraph I did so while my mouth hung open in shock. Sign me up for the next Kit Frick book, I’m here for it!


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WWW Wednesdays 6/17/2020

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?

Hello Bookworms! I’m currently trying not to think of how many reviews I’m behind *failing* cause the urge the read has returned & so I’m finishing books at lightning speeds. I’m also thanking the universe for Librofm which has been the only thing to keep me actively reading. As I slowly make my way back to my TBR’s & eARCS, I have it in mind to read and boost black voices. Most importantly to read books that highlight intersectionality since we don’t see enough of these being spoken about in the bookish community. We have made great strides recently but that’s just the beginning, I will always do my part here on Lair Of Books to read, review & boost Diverse books. June being pride month means there are some amazing recommendations posts & videos in the community I encourage you to seek out.

Earlier this month, a friend reached out with the purpose of doing her part in boosting black voices with a Giveaway on my Bookstagram. This giveaway will be running through the month of June Internationally, five winners will be chosen to select from any of the books listed below. If you’re interested in entering, please click on the link below & see the original post on IG for details:

LAIR OF BOOKS

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon– I am about 40% into this audiobook having received an early copy from Librofm’s arc program. I was STOKED up until a few of my trusted bookish friends started giving mixed reviews. I didn’t let that deter me from starting my copy but I can honestly say that I agree so far with them. I love the friendship that forms between Somaya, London, and Taylor which is why I haven’t DNF’d. I say this because although it has a strong start, the mid-section dips & now I’m just kind of wondering if it’ll pick up again. We shall see…

The City of Brass (The Daevabad trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty– 70% into this wonderfully complex fantasy and loving every minute of it. I’ll admit I’ve been reading this book for a while now but tbh with the state of the world being what it is, escapism wasn’t something I felt I could indulge in. It wasn’t until recently when I took a step back for self care that I’ve managed to read this book in doses. It is no doubt worth all the hype it received back when it first released, full review to come.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta– I listened to this one on Librofm as well & loved it so much! narrated by the author, this is a coming of age story of a mixed-race gay teen. We follow Michael from childhood into college years where he finds a home within the Drag Queen club on campus. If you’re looking for more books with supportive families, this is definitely one to pick up. Full review to come.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson– Another Librofm listen cause I will never not listen to an audiobook where the narrator is the author themselves. Here we have a memoir written as a series of short personal essays on the authors life as a black queer child up until his adult years. I cannot stress this enough! If you only read 1 book this year, please make it this one. I have a full RTC where I’ll try my best to get my reasons across for why this book is important. How there currently isn’t anything like this on YA shelves & yet there are many black queer teens who can & will relate to George Johnson. This is a definite for my Top 20 of 2020!

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson– I purchased this book from Librofm after hearing so many glowing reviews from my trusted few. I purposely didn’t read the synopsis but know this is a F/F contemporary that takes place in a small town in Indiana. Stoked to take this one on the road this weekend.

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick– This may seem like an odd selection for this month however I was granted an eARC by Simon & Schuster that I’d like to review in time for its publication date. This book hits the shelves on June 30th & other than it being a YA Thriller that is reccommended for those who loved the Podcast SERIAL (it me), I didn’t look into this one too much. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy the read *fingers crossed* but we shall see…


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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: AN ANONYMOUS GIRL BY GREER HENDRICKS & Sarah Pekkanen

Title: An Anonymous Girl

Author:ย Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Pub. Date:ย January 8th 2019

Genre:ย Thriller Suspense

Format: Audiobookย 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages:ย 375 Pages/11 Hours; 40 minutes

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

“You’re Invited: Seeking women aged 18 to 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality conducted by a preeminent NYC psychiatrist. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. Call for more details.”

We meet Jessica who is stressed beyond measure & feeling a bit over burdened with a sense of duty to her family. Self appointed financial care taker of her sisters medical bills, Jessica is struggling to make ends meet. Her job as a on the go makeup artist is barely allowing for her to make a living let alone supplement her struggling parents income. When she catches word of a study that’s being held by a University Professor she seizes the opportunity. Things get weird rather quickly during the initial survey questions…

“Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?”

Nevertheless, Jessica was dead set on earning a bit of extra cash & answering some questions for a reputable doctor seemed harmless no matter how odd these morality/ethical questions seemed. As I listened to the audiobook which btw had excellent narration, I started to feel as if our MC was legit a spider caught in a web. I honestly got stalker vibes all the way through & wondered how the MC who was super inquisitive still managed to get lured in deeper. This was a very narcissistic read & our MC formed a co-dependent relationship from the very beginning. I can’t say I was honestly shocked by the twists & turns that were taken. However, the vibe of this book was so unsettling that it grabbed a hold of me & wouldn’t let go. If you’re looking for a suspenseful novel featuring some very toxic relationships then this would be the book to pick up. There were times I didn’t know for sure who was in the know vs. who was being drawn into a corner. Overall I enjoyed An Anonymous Girl & will most definitely be picking up this duo’s current title You Are Not Alone.

Content Warning: Suicide, Death, Sexual Assault, Adultery


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FRIDAY READS & THANGS

WHIMSICAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY ESRA Rร˜ISE

It’s Friday Book Lovers & I for one couldn’t be more thankful! last weekend I was in Philadelphia with my boyfriend, a city that’s quickly becoming a favorite for its rich history, food, awesome human beings & of course home of Rocky! ๐ŸฅŠย this weekend however is going to be more chill, staying local with a trip to one of my tiny humans favorite parks that offers up some good waterside scenic paths to ride bikes. I anticipate some down time (perhaps a smidge haha!) where I can squeeze in reading, most likely while meal prepping. I’m trying to get into the habit of always having an audiobook playing while multi-tasking & so far its been fun & productive. This week was pretty big for the YA publishing world with the release of SJ Maas House of Earth and Blood & Cassandra Clare’s Chain of Gold! ๐Ÿค—ย although I can’t partake in the Chain of Gold excitement just yet since I’ve yet to read Lady Midnight,ย I am wishing all those who are, a great reading experience! ๐Ÿ–ค

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL By the time this post goes live I’ll probably have finished listening to this audiobook from Libby. For the most part I enjoy choosing thrillers blindly since Synopsis tend to give away too much. This has been an interesting listen, not at all what I expected & I’m not sure yet if that’s a good or bad thing. This is a heavy on narcissism read where the MC becomes extremely co-dependent in a sick twisted triangle of sorts. Not in a romantic way at all but in a sick twisted spider caught in a web sort of way, my thoughts will be delivered in a spoiler free mini review.

HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD –ย This beauty is FINALLY out in the world & yes I’ve dropped all other physical reads to dedicate my time to this story. I’m not very far in it at all but I do now have a Kindle copy which will make it easier to read on my down time. This is SJ Maas’ first adult Fantasy & so far I’m getting all of the Urban Fantasy vibeZ I’ve been craving with complex world building for the win. High hopes here Book Lovers! HIGH hopes *fingers crossed*

DOCILE

There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.”ย ย —I’ve heard from a few trusted friends that this is quite the compulsive read & I’ve really been craving my next sci-fi read. I’ve also heard this deals with very murky consensual sex

DEMON SLAYER VOLUME 1 – While In a Philly comic shop I was on my phone looking for some top Manga recommendations when I came across Demon Slayer. Instantly sucked in by the sibling relationship portrayed on the cover I went looking for the 1st volume which was sold out! turns out it’s a hit manga that’s already on Hulu & now I was set on getting my hands on it. I ended up getting a copy at a Barnes & Nobles where I read the first 20 pages & grew attached to the MC Tanjiro. More thoughts to come, I may just review this manga in batches as I go through the volumes which I predict will happen rather quickly ๐Ÿ™‚

Gentefied (Season 1) was mentioned to me by Jessica a Bookstagrammer (Litnoob) I enjoy watching for their stories & in depth bookish thoughts. Gentefied is about three cousins with many differences who come together to save their grandfather’s taco shop (YUM!) which is struggling in a LATINX community faced with gentrification. I was looking for my next Netflix binge & am so very thankful for this recc! โค


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