BOOK REVIEW: Gods & Monsters – Shelby Mahurin

Title: Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove #3)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Rating: ★★★★

After the disappointment of Blood & Honey, I went into this book with a fair bit of apprehension. I’ll be honest that I started reading without any sort of expectations, and because of that I found myself pleasantly surprised when I realized I was really enjoying the book. Gods & Monsters brought back everything readers loved about the first book–the fast-paced plot, action, romantic tension and angst, high stakes and magical battles–and in doing so became the perfect conclusion to this trilogy!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Five Years of Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, I decided to forgo the actually theme and do my own idea. Last year, I missed the week for Top Ten Tuesday Turns Ten but I absolutely loved Jana’s post and wanted too do something similar. This year marks my 5th year of participating in TTT so I decided to comment/update some of my Top Ten Tuesdays from the last five years!


Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction (9/13/16)
For the most part, there’s not much I would change about this list. Most of these are still my favorite Historical Fiction books, however, there are a few that I would swap out to add From Ash and Sand, The Alice Network, and Salt to the Sea.

Top Ten Tuesday: Prettiest Books on My Bookshelf (1/24/17)
I’ve added so many books to my shelf in the four years since I wrote this #bibliophilelife. The UK edition of Uprooted is still one of the prettiest books I own.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2017 Releases (5/30/17)
There are so many good books on this list! I ended up enjoying every book here, but Day of the Duchess was probably my favorite.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Debuts (12/26/17)
Look back at this list is really interesting. On the one hand, a couple of these debuts that I was really looking forward to I ended up hating (Everless and The Hazel Wood). But it also features Sky in the Deep which not only became my favorite book of the year, but one of my favorite books ever. It’s also funny that A Court of Miracles was listed here because it didn’t actually end up releasing until 2020!

Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words in YA Fantasy Titles (4/24/18)
These words are still pretty popular, but looking back I don’t think they’ve been used as frequently in the past year or two.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Love to Meet (10/02/18)
What a fantastic list of authors! Since writing this post, I’ve gotten to meet Laini Taylor, Adrienne Young, and Leigh Bardugo. One of the most disappointing things about the cancellation of BookCon 2020/2021 and YALLFest 2020 was that I wasn’t able to go to any author events or signings. I’m really hoping YALLFest will be back this year and I can cross another author or two off my list 🤞🏼

Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books (11/06/18)
I wrote this as a push to read more backlisted books on my TBR in 2019. The only books I’ve ended up reading since writing this was The Alchemists of Loom, The Hating Game, and Roomies. Honestly, the only book on the list that I’m actually still interested in reading would be the Red Rising series.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart (11/20/18)
These are still some of my favorite pieces of art. That Sansa remains of the most beautiful things I’ve seen created.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples in Books (02/12/19)
Again, most of these couples I wouldn’t change at all and remain my ultimate #ships. However, there are a few that I would swap out. For instance, as much as it pains me I would probably switch out the Emma/Julian and Will/Tessa tie for Cordelia and James. And since I’m huge Rin/Nezha trash, I would somehow work them into the list as well.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love to See on Netflix (08/18/20)
Books being adapted into TV series/movies seems to be a big theme over the past year or so. Since writing this, I’ve learned that The Mediator series was optioned for Netflix 🙌🏼 I also heard a rumor that Dark Matter was possibly also going to be made into a movie but I can’t find much more information about that. Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers will be out on Hulu soon I’m maintaining hope that The Husband’s Secret will join her other books and be adapted as well in the near future!

BOOK REVIEW: Life’s Too Short – Abby Jimenez ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Life’s Too Short
Author: Abby Jimenez
Rating: ★★★★★

I have never been more thankfully for accidentally happening upon Abby Jimenez’ signing at BookCon a few years than after finishing this book. Life’s Too Short took my breath away. As with her other two books, this is more than simply a romance book: it has depth, emotional complexity, and touches on heavy issues. This is my absolute favorite of her books and I cannot recommend it enough.

Life’s Too Short centers around Vanessa, a travel blogger focused on living life to the fullest before her 30th birthday, all the while struggling to balance her family’s many problems. She’s trying her best to keep it all together and reluctantly begins to accept help from her neighbor; hot-shot lawyer and very eligible bachelor, Adrian.

If you are a reader that enjoys an excellently written slow-burn, Life’s Too Short is the book of your dreams. The chemistry between Vanessa and Adrian was off the charts. The yearning and sexual tension was palpable through the pages. And yet, a good portion of the story is focused on the developing friendship and trust between them. Friendship is such an important pillar for any romantic relationships and it shines through in this book.

As with her other books, Abby Jimenez also touches on some heavier emotional topics in Life’s Too Short. Vanessa struggles with her possible diagnosis of a terminal disease. Her younger sister struggles with addiction. Her father struggles with healthy coping mechanisms years after the death of her mother and other sister. Vanessa’s family’s struggles were realistically written and added another layer of depth to the story and characters.

Life’s Too Short is a heartwarming, poignant story full of exceptionally written characters and a beautiful slow-burn romance. I couldn’t have hoped for a better book and Abby Jimenez has definitely become an auto-add author. Add this contemporary romance to your summer TBR!

Requesting ARCs on NetGalley: the Good and the Bad

Hello bookish friends! It’s spring here in Chicago and the weather is slowing getting warmer! I’m starting to get back into my groove for reading and I’m 100% sure it’s because the warm weather puts me in such a better mood. As a (somewhat smaller) book blogger, NetGalley is the easiest option for me to get access to ARCs, but it’s not without faults. I wanted to discuss some of my favorite things about the website, and some of the things that make me want to pull my hair out!


THE GOOD

EASY TO NAVIGATE
NetGalley’s website is extremely user friendly and very easy to navigate. Whether it’s a specific title or publisher, or I just want to browse ARCs available for request in different genres, everything is so well organized and I can always find what I’m looking for.

SIMPLE REQUEST PROCESS
The fact that it’s so simple to request a title is both amazing and the bane of my TBR. NetGalley’s process for request an ARC could not be easier: it’s all a matter of simply clicking the ‘request’ button and waiting.

HIGH CHANCE OF BEING APPROVED
For book bloggers and other book reviewers, NetGalley is the best chance at getting approved for ARCs, especially for those newer to the bookish community. While you may not get approved for highly sought after titles right away, once you start writing reviews and increasing your feedback percentage, the chances of getting approved for more titles only increases. I’ve always had much better odds with NetGalley compared to other review request sites (such as Edelweiss), especially as someone who is a smaller(ish) book blogger.

FAVORITE PUBLISHERS
I absolutely love that it’s so easy to search available titles by publishers and that you can favorite publishers. There are a few imprints whose books I always tend to really enjoy, so it’s really convenient to be able to search through their ARCs and find something to pique my interest.

CONVENIENCE OF THE APP
NetGalley Shelf is new, but I really like it. For me personally, it’s great to be able to access my approved books from anywhere at anytime. The structure of the reading app is really user friendly as well and easy to utilize. My only complaint is that the app isn’t available for Kindle.


THE BAD

NO WAY TO “UNREQUEST” BOOKS
One of my biggest peeves about NetGalley is that once you request a title, there’s no way to delete that request later on. There have been a few times where after requesting a title, I later lost interested in reading that book but have no way have cancelling my request. I also absolutely hate that even months after a book is published, titles that I have requested that were neither approved or denied just hang out in limbo under my pending requests.

UNABLE TO DELETE OLD TITLES
Anyone who has ever used NetGalley has been: getting trigger happy with clicking “request” and then getting approved for way more titles than you have time to read. Sometimes, ARCs just don’t end up getting read. But I hate that they still sit under your approvals and count against your 80% rate. I have titles that have been sitting there for years. Like, clearly I am going to be reading this. There should definitely be a way to delete these, or at the very least the publishers should be taking down older titles so they no longer show.

80% FEEDBACK RATIO
This is the bane of all NetGalley users, especially new users. The best and easiest way to get approved for titles is to have a 80% feedback ratio, but the only way to get that ratio is to be approved for books and review them, but publishers are reluctant to approve reviewers without 80%, but you can’t build that ratio without getting approved in the first place…….and on and on and on. It’s vicious and completely unnecessary circle.

REQUESTS GRANTED SHORTLY BEFORE RELEASE DATE
There have been so many times when I’ve requested titles I was interested in reviewing months and months before their release date, but I don’t end up getting approved until a few days before it’s set to be published. I, like many other readers, have a long TBR and not nearly enough time on this earth to read everything. If I get approved for an ARC the week of or a few days before the book’s publication date I honestly just will not have time to read it. And then that title will sit in my approvals for forever, because like I said before there’s no way to get rid of older titles without reviewing them.


Do you use NetGalley? What do you like about the site? Is there anything you would change? Let me know below in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with ‘Love’ in the Title

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a Valentine’s Day freebie and my post is inspired by Paperbacks and Planners’ post from last year! Their theme was too tempting to pass up and I’ve been waiting to get a change to use it!


love in the title