Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2020

February was a pretty good reading month! Because of the holiday and my participation in the Bookish First’s Valentine’s Day Bingo, I read a lot of contemporary romance and I believe that’s why I had such a great time with books this month.


44280868ALL THE STARS AND TEETH: This a fun, adventurous story about the heir to a kingdom joining a cast of vastly different characters in order to prevent an evil force from destroying their world and regaining what they’ve all lost. This book was not short on action, that’s for sure. And the pacing was executed perfectly. It never felt like the plot was stalling or that unnecessary pages were spent on passages of time.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

49366204._SX318_SY475_THE BEST LAID PLANS: Ladies and gentleman, I don’t believe it’s too early to say that I have found one of my favorite reads of the year. The Best Laid Plans was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. Basically, all you need to know is that it contains best friends-to-lovers, unrequited pining, delicious drama and lots of angst!  ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst.  [review]  ★★★★★

AlwaysNever_BOM_4p.inddALWAYS NEVER YOURS: Wherefore art thou, Romeo? I loved that Megan was unapologetically flirtatious and “boy-crazy”. Every relationship she’s been in ends with her boyfriend finding the love of his life while they’re dating, and instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for herself, Megan is carefree and just has fun with her dating life. Which makes it even more special to see the bond that develops between her and Owen.  [review★★★★

39216077._SX318_EMBER QUEEN: This was such a great finale to a series that I have absolutely loved. The hard part about trilogies is that many times one of the books either lags or weakens, but that never happened with the Ash Princess trilogy. The third book finished strong and wrapped up the plot in a way that felt complete yet realistic. For a book that is 500 pages long, I was actually surprised as to how fast the plot moves. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  ★★★★

49538360UNDERCOVER BROMANCE: As with The Bromance Book Club, the idea of a book club for men who unashamedly enjoy romance novels and use the “knowledge” they learn from said romance novels to better their love lives is amazing and Lyssa Kay Adams knocks it out of the park. This story totally changed my opinion about Braden Mack: there’s definitely more to him under the surface of easy-going charm and we need more men like him in the world!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

44646004._SY475_THE WILL AND THE WILDS: This was such a unique fairytale fantasy story! After enlisting his help, a young woman works together with a demon to break the magical pact they had created to save both their lives. I flew through the pages. I loved the built up romance between Maekallus and Enna and how it stemmed from the trust and understanding they had to slowly develop first. I think this is my favorite Charlie H. Holmberg book!  ★★★★

40950392THE STARS WE STEAL:  My favorite thing about this book is the sci-fi retelling of Jane Austen’s novels. I have to admit that I’ve never read Persuasion, but that didn’t stop me from understanding the plot of this story or the nods to the original. I think that Alexa Donne did a fantastic job writing a unique and clever twist on the classic novel and making the story her own. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys subtle Jane Austen retellings.  ★★★

46404345CHASING LUCKY: Usually I really enjoy Jenn Bennett’s books, but this one was very disappointing. I didn’t like any of the characters, the plot failed to keep my attention, and I found parts of the story a little ridiculous. Some parts were still really cute and I enjoyed, which is why I didn’t completely hate it, but it was definitely not my favorite and fell short to the other stories I’ve read by this author.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★½

45891343THE UPSIDE OF FALLING: This book is about two teenagers who decide to fake being in a relationship for their mutual benefit. I mean, is there anything better than a fake-dating that turns into real feelings kind of book? Unfortunately, although I loved the premise of the story, the rest of the book didn’t do it for me. The first major issue was that the pacing was extremely fast, especially for such a short book. My other issue was there wasn’t enough to convince the reads as to why they need to be in a fake relationship. It happened just for the sake of the book.  [review]  ★★½


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Blog Tour: Foul is Fair | Favorite Young Adult Contemporary Romances | WWW Wednesday #26 | Blog Tour + Giveaway: All the Stars and Teeth | The ABC Book Challenge W

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2020

Welcome to 2020! 🎆 I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start. My reading is going good so far! It’s also my last semester of nursing school so I’m both nervous and excited about the next few months 😬


41150487._SY475_RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE: This was such a warm, amusing story about self-discovery and an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance between the son the President of the United States and the Prince of England! Alex and Henry were such soft, tender-hearted men and I felt giddy the entire time as their relationship and feelings unfolded between them. Some parts of the book dragged and some of the political aspects were exaggerated and unrealistic, but otherwise I really enjoyed this book.  [review]  ★★★½

34213299THE KINGDOM OF BACK: I was expecting a fantasy story with musical aspects something along the veins of Wintersong, however, this story more focused on the bond between the siblings Wolfgang and Nannerl Mozart as they discover and cultivate their prodigious musical talents together. Honestly, I was a tad disappointed by the lack of fantasy elements, but enjoyed the history lesson this book provided regarding the Mozarts.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★½

43521785BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE: There’s so much to praise about this book. The wonderful characters, the simmering attraction between Annabelle and Sebastian, the witty banter and humorous writing. Everything came together perfectly to create this very compelling story. The author did a fantastic job writing the tension and passion between Annabelle and Sebastian. This was another historical romance written by a debut author that was nothing short of a fun, page-turning story.  [review★★★★½

44890039LOVE HER OR LOSE HER: This was a second-chance romance and falling in love all over again with your spouse. I loved watching Rosie and Dominic “relearn” each other’s love language and figure out how to better communicate and what needed to be changed in order to grow together and fix their marriage. I didn’t end up loving this one as much as I was hoping because I struggled with Dominic’s character.  [review]  ★★★½

44281049LUCKY CALLER:  I’m usually a huge fan of Emma Mills’ books, but this one was just okay. It centers around a group of students forced into a group for their class project and working together to form a radio show for their high school. I did really enjoy the relationship between Nina and Jamie, but I wish the angst and tension between them had been built up a bit more. All in all, not my favorite, but still a heartwarming story.  ★★★

46404266THIS VICIOUS CURE: It pains me to admit how unsatisfied and disappointed I was with the conclusion to this trilogy. I absolutely LOVED the first two books in the series. I really disliked reading half the book through Jun Bei’s POV, and the complete lack of interaction between Catarina and Cole left a lot of unresolved tension and plot so I finished the book feeling immensely sad, not hopeful.  [review]  ★★½

45045129TWEET CUTE:  This was such an adorable story! Two teenages pitted against each other on opposing social media accounts but falling for each other in real life? Yes, please! The story was told through both Pepper and Jack’s POVs and I thought it was an excellent choice. I loved reading the story from both their perspectives. I highly recommend for anyone looking for a fun, quick, heartwarming book!  [review]  ★★★★


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WWW Wednesday #25 | Top Ten Tuesday: Books Covers Featuring My Favorite Animal | The ABC Book Challenge – V | Blog Tour + Giveaway: Beyond the Shadowed Earth | The ABC Book Challenge U

REVIEW: Bringing Down the Duke – Evie Dunmore

Title: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)
Author: Evie Dunmore
Rating: ★★★★½

Another historical romance written by a debut author that absolutely thrilled me! Bringing Down the Duke had me hooked from the beginning and it was nothing short of a fun, page-turning story.  

What is this book about? Annabelle Archer, a poor vicar’s daughter, earns entrance to Oxford on a scholarship. However, in return for the scholarship she must join the women’s suffragist movement and she’s tasked with gaining the support of the Duke of Montgomery.

What did I like? There’s so much to praise about this book. The wonderful characters, the simmering attraction between Annabelle and Sebastian, the witty banter and humorous writing. Everything came together perfectly to create this very compelling story. The relationship that develops between Annabelle and Sebastian was amazing. The author did a fantastic job writing the tension and passion between the two of them and I really loved how they overcame the obstacles of their love.

What didn’t I like? I’m having such a hard time trying to think of something I didn’t like.

Overall thoughts: Bringing Down the Duke was a fun, delightful read about a bluestocking heroine with strong convictions and the duke she finds herself falling for. Everything about this debut novel was perfect and I really recommend this story for fans of historical romance!

Monthly Wrap-Up: December 2019

Hello! It’s the last monthly wrap-up of the year, can you believe it?! I’ve been off from school and work for the past two weeks and it has been so wonderful to have a break and some time for myself. Since I didn’t have any new releases from this year left to read, I got to catch up on a lot of ARCs that had been piling up.


43979540STARSIGHT: After finishing Skyward at the end of last year, I knew the sequel was going to be one of my most anticipated releases for this year. And while I really enjoyed Starsight and thought it was a fantastic sequel – plenty of action, great new characters, lots of continued world-building – I really missed the characters from the first book that I had loved so much and I spent a lot of the book wishing they would reappear.  ★★★★

41721210DIAMOND CITY: This is a case where the book started out really strong but slowly lost steam as the story went on. One thing I thought was great was the world-building–a world caught between industrialization and religion. The struggles between the two sides felt very believable and added depth to the story. I also really loved the main character, Aina, and the intriguing relationship she had with the Blood King.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★½

46378697A MURDEROUS RELATIONS: This series is usually so much fun to read. For what I assumed was the last book in the series it was extremely underwhelming. There was hardly any action or plot and I was very bored the entire time. And the thing that irritated me the most was that after all the angst and sexual tension built up between Veronica and Stoker, the moment when they finally got together was bland and completely unsatisfying.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. ★★★

42248816SCAVENGE THE STARS:  This story is a gender-bent retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, which is not something I had every read before. A quick google search of the synopsis helped me appreciate the cleverness of this book much better. I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m really looking forward to the sequel and seeing what happens next for Amaya and Cayo.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  ★★★½

42595554FOUL IS FAIR: The book is a loose retelling of Macbeth that revolves around a group of teenage girls enacting revenge on a group of prep boys after one of the girls was assaulted at a party. The first major issue I had with the book was the writing. To put it plainly: I couldn’t stand it. The scenes were very abrupt and the way the dialogue was written felt so stilted and unnatural. My other problem with the book was that a lot of the things that happened felt very far-fetched and unbelievable.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★

book coverBEYOND THE SHADOWED EARTH: This is a companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea rather than a sequel. The story is about Eda, who makes a small appearance in the first book as the antagonist. Honestly, the thing I enjoyed the most about this book was Eda. She’s not written to be a very likeable character–she manipulated, lied, and murdered her way to be Empress. This is a redemption story for her and I really enjoyed reading about her growth as a character.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★

48341787._SY475_TO HAVE AND TO HOAX:  I’m so thankful the publisher reached out to be about reviewing this book. This was the best of two genres: rom-com meets historical romance. After an argument led to a falling out between them and cold detachment between the couple for the past four years, James and Violet begin a series of hoaxes and manipulation in the attempt to up-stage one another while insisting there are no feelings left between them.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

25614492SALT TO THE SEA: This is actually my third time picking this up. I had DNF’d this two times previously before getting even a quarter of the way through. Ruta Sepetys did an excellent job of grabbing my attention throughout the novel and telling some very compelling stories with the characters. I found myself loving Florian, Joana, and Emilia and was intrigued (although very disturbed) by Albert. The author once again has told a marvelous story about a period of history that is often unremarked upon.  [review]  ★★★★½

42867745._SY475_HUSBAND MATERIAL: Unfortunately, I had to call it quits shortly after the halfway mark. I skimmed quite a few parts from the remainder of the book, so I fairly good idea of what happens and I’m sorry to say that had I finished it, my final opinion would have been just as bad. The first issue I had was the overly descriptive writing. My second issue is that the “love interest” – if you could even call him that – was terrible.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [reviewDNF @ 58%

43822778TWICE IN A BLUE MOON: I usually love Christina Lauren books, but this one was not my favorite.  Half the book is told in the past, and half is told present day which didn’t really work here. Because of that, the present day part of the felt very rushed. I think that had the story been told totally in present day with flashback chapters between, it would have worked much better. That being said, the writing was as wonderful as always and the love story was very touching.  ★★★½

42281865ASHLORDS: The premise is unlike any other I’ve read. The story is about three characters from three very different backgrounds as they enter an annual competitive race featuring phoenix horses. The concept of phoenix horses and using alchemy to rebirth different breeds of the horses was so well-developed and extremely interesting. Once I got into the meat of the novel, it was hard to pull my attention from its pages.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½


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WWW Wednesday #24 | Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Wintry Setting | The ABC Book Challenge – T | Young Adult Fantasy Standalones of 2019

REVIEW: To Love and to Hoax – Martha Waters (ARC)

48341787._SY475_Title: To Love and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

Had the publisher not reached out to me about this book, it probably would have missed my radar altogether. I haven’t seen the title on any upcoming lists, I hadn’t hear of this debut author, and in all honesty, one look at that cover and I would have skipped right over this (please can it get a makeover?). That being said, I am extremely thankful that I received that email about this upcoming rom-com, otherwise I would have missed out on this brilliantly written, laugh-out-loud funny, hate-to-love story.

What is this book about? To Love and to Hoax is a the best of two genres: rom-com meets historical romance. After an argument led to a falling out between them and cold detachment between the couple for the past four years, James and Violet begin a series of hoaxes and manipulation in the attempt to up-stage one another while insisting there are no feelings left between them. To Love and to Hoax is a second-chance romance story full of pranks, miscommunication, and a plethora of angst and sexual tension. Basically, everything I love best.

What did I like? Everything. I found both James and Violet to be delightful characters, each with their own problems that need to be worked through, and I loved watching their character growth both separately and has a couple. The antics the two of them create with the intention of vexing the other spouse were childish, yet totally believable. Although I am not married myself, I have heard from others on more than one occasion the kind of immaturity people get up to with their spouses that stem from a place of miscommunication and frustration.

The book also had a cast of lovely side characters! I’m really hoping the author decides to continue writing stories about James and Violet’s friends; I’d especially love a story about West and Sophie or Jeremy and Diana! Martha Waters is a debut author, but her writing was absolutely spectacular. I really look forward to reading more from her in the future.

What didn’t I like? Honestly, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about the novel is the cover. Literally that’s it.

Overall thoughts: I loved everything about this: the clever plot, the superb writing, the steamy romance, and the the humor. Martha Waters has written a fantastic hate-to-love rekindled romance that I’m so thankful was brought to my attention by the publisher. I really do think the book needs a new cover however, if only because a lot of people judge books by the cover (even though we swear we don’t) and I truly believe a revamped cover will up this book get the attention that it deserves.