AUSTEN LOVE: The Jane Austen Society Review

Summary (from the publisher):
image002Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people–a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others–could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

 

 My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars 

 My Thoughts:

 The Jane Austen Society caught my eye for its comparisons to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – a book and Netflix movie so many of my book blogging friends have loved. Taking place in the village Jane Austen spent her last years in, the novel follows a group of people who are all struggling with loss and turn to Jane Austen’s novels for comfort. An eclectic mix of people who could not be more different, – a doctor and a movie star included – they band together to preserve Jane Austen’s last home.

The Jane Austen Society is a really cozy read that will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction meets women’s fiction type novels, although the book is set after World War II. Readers who love Jane Austen nearly as much as these characters will also eat this one up. The book follows at least eight different main characters, but Natalie Jenner provides an intimate perspective for each of them. All of the characters have experienced loss and tragedy in their own way. The novel is really about them growing through each other’s support and community. I think I preferred certain characters to others – I honestly could have a book all about Dr. Gray and Adeline and their relationship.

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Fangirl News Round Up #4: Rom Com Covers & Tons of TV

Another month, another opportunity to talk about all the book and TV news I’m excited about! While there are amazing cover reveals and new book announcements from this month, I have even more TV news!

Cover Reveals

Make Up Break Up by Lily/Sandhya Menon – Sandhya Menon revealed the cover of her first adult rom-com, Make Up Break Up. In the reveal, she also explained her decision to under the pen name Lily Menon for her adult fiction books. The cover is different than her YA covers, butI  totally understand the decision to differentiate between the two… and everyone knows that I’m a sucker for illustrated rom-com covers! Make Up Break Up comes out on February 2, 2021

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon – Another most 2021 anticipated release of mine, Rachel Lynn Solomon revealed the cover of her first adult rom-com, The Ex Talk. I love everything about this one, cover and synopsis both included! The Ex Talk is an enemies-turned-lovers rom-com set at a public radio station, available on February 9,2021.

Book News

Sneak Peek at V.E./Victoria Schwab’s Future Books

After getting a lot of questions about her next books, V.E. Schwab posted her to-write list on Instagram. The book I’m personally most excited about is the third book in the Villians series! In the caption, she confirmed that there will be three more books in Shades of Magic entitled Threads, a sequel to Vengerful, an Extraordinary Magic comic, a SFF book, a potential third Archived book, and a potential fourth Cassidy Blake installment.

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Fangirl, Vol. 1: The Magna by Rainbow Rowell & Sam Maggs and illustrated by Gabi Nam – This is some ‘older’ bookish news, but I am so mad at my past self for not including the magna adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books in a past news round up. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is being adapted into a four volume magna series by Sam Maggs and illustrated by Gabi Nam. I’ve never read magna before, but you better believe I will be buying and immediately reading this first volume when it comes out on October 13, 2020.

 

The Summer We Found Us by Hannah Reynolds – I love following debut book announcements. One that really caught my attention is Hannah Reynold’s debut, The Summer We Found Us, set to release in Summer 2021.

TV & Movies

I really thought that after the release of The Rise on Skywalker on Disney+, there wouldn’t be too many other things that I’m looked forward to on Disney+… but then Taylor Swift and Hamilton happened!

Taylor Swift’s City of Lover on Disney+ | Release Date: May 18

At the time of this post, Taylor Swift’s City of Lover concert is available for streaming on Disney+ and Hulu! The September concert in Paris aired on ABC on May 17 after the season finale of American Idol. I had been hoping to attend one of Taylor’s Lover concerts this summer, but the Lover Fest was cancelled due to the current state of the world and will be rescheduled in 2021.

 Hamilton on Disney+ | Release Date: July 3

A filmed version featuring the original Hamilton cast will premiere on Disney+ on July 3. I was fortunate enough to see Hamilton on Broadway back in January 2017, but the original cast had left the production by then. I recently got back into the Hamilton soundtrack while finishing up final assignments, so it will definitely stay on repeat playlist well through the summer.

The Bromance Book Club on Netflix

Lyssa Kay Adam’s The Bromance Book Club is being adapted for Netflix! There aren’t too many details just yet, but I’m so excited to see one of my favorite romance series hit the screen!

The Baby-Sitter’s Club (Netflix) | Release Date: July 3

In more streaming news about another favorite series of mine, the Netflix TV show of The Baby-Sitter’s Club is coming out July 3! I really hope the show helps introduce the series to a new generation of readers.

The Politician S2 (Netflix) | Release Date: June 19

The Politician was one of my top three favorite TV shows of 2019. With the pandemic putting film production on hold, there were rumors circulating around if The Politician had finished filming in time for it to still come out this summer. If you’re in the need of a new binge-worthy show to watch, I highly recommend checking this one out – I’ll definitely been re-watching the first season before June 19! I’m so excited to see if this season will include any song covers – I have Ben Platt’s version of “Vienna” always on repeat.

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What book and TV announcements have you been loving lately? Any book or TV recs for me? Share in the comments!

My Top 5 Sarah J. Maas Books

After reading House of Earth and Blood back in March, I started thinking about which book I consider to my favorite book by Sarah J. Maas. I considered ranking all the books across Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and now Crescent City, but I think that would require another full reread of all her books. I’ve read the first five ToG books twice and the first two ACOTAR books twice. I decided to at least rank my top five favorite SJM books in honor of the potential that ACOTAR #4 will be out in January 2021. This is unconfirmed, but as Kristin of Super Space Chick points out in her latest News & Stuff video, the book’s release date is set for January 26, 2021, on retail sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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My Top Five Sarah J. Maas Books

#5. A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2)

812Iu6GMZSLAs I was writing this post, I went on Goodreads to revisit my reviews for all of these books. I noticed that A Court of Mist and Fury is both SJM’s highest rated and most read book on Goodreads. This really isn’t a surprise to me because ACOTAR is way more well-read than Throne of Glass outside of the fantasy bookish community and/or readers who don’t normally read YA or adult fantasy and tend to read romance. ACOMAF is definitely the strongest installment in the ACOTAR trilogy. It’s obvious that this book completely sold me on Feyre and Rhysand (hellloooo Chapter 55), but it makes the series into something more than a Beauty and the Beauty retelling or what we might’ve expected after the first book.

A sidenote, by after my second reread, I realized that ACOMAF really should’ve made ACOTAR be considered as an adult or at least new adult fantasy series. You likely I am so much more of a romance reader since I reread ACOMAF – contemporary romance is my current favorite genre- but I think the genre name for this series needed to switch before ACOTAR #4, which Sarah has said will be considered adult fantasy.

#4. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)28260587

Empire of Storms could have easily been a ‘middle book’ between Queen of Shadows and Kingdom of Ash, but SJM completely nailed this one. The fifth Throne of Glass book features some of my favorite scenes and quotes in the entire series. Although it might not be a favorite amongst readers who love action in their favorite, I personally loved it because of all the plot and world-building and stage-setting for Kingdom of Ash. At the end of my reread back in 2018, I retitled this book as ‘Empire of Tears’ thanks to its ending.Read More »

SUMMERTIME READ: On Ocean Boulevard Review

MAMSummary (from the publisher):

It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the
beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

 On Ocean Boulevard immediately made my way on to my TBR for its summer contemporary-sounding synopsis. I often see Mary Alice Monroe pop up on a lot of women’s fiction summer reading lists, so I knew it was time to give this author a try. Upon reading it, I didn’t realize that On Ocean Boulevard is a sequel to Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series. However, this did not prevent me from absolutely enjoying this book!

Mary Alice Monroe effortlessly brings her readers back to Sullivan’s Island and Charleston, South Carolina. As someone who hasn’t read her books before, I felt that she thoroughly explained the characters’ background and past, making me feel like I didn’t have to read the previous Beach House novels in order to understand and enjoy this one. Readers re–enter the island with Cara’s niece, Linnea, who has returned after losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Cara is trying to prepare for her second wedding while balancing her work life with raising her young daughter…and also questioning if she wants a big wedding in the first place.

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If We Were Having Coffee: The Graduation Edition

If We Were Having Coffee is forming into a mid-monthly ritual. I love doing these more personal posts- don’t worry I’m bound to talk about books and TV somewhere- so I don’t have to save everything for my end of the month wrap ups. I’ve been embracing blogging and reading so much lately, and it’s been nice to reflect lately since these past two months certainly haven’t been easy for anyone.

If we were having coffee, I’d probably be sticking to iced coffee. By the time I make my way downstairs in the morning, the coffee that my parents brewed earlier in the morning isn’t remotely hot anymore. In that case, I just grab some ice and some caramel macchiato creamer.

IMG_2733If we were having coffee, I’d talk about graduating from college! Graduating from college can be bittersweet to begin with. While still bittersweet (maybe even more this year), it’s just plain weird. Since I finished up the second half of the semester completely online, it feels so bizarre to be done. Nevertheless, I graduated with my B.A. in English and Media & Communications with a minor in Holocaust Studies, and was inducted in Phi Beta Kappa!

That being said, if we were having coffee, I’d give you an inside scoop about what a virtual graduation is actually like. Like almost all, if not every college senior, in the U.S. , I did not have an in-person commencement or any IRL form of senior activities, ceremonies, rites of passage, and goodbyes for the past two months. My in-person commencement is currently scheduled for early August, but since stay-at-home orders have been extended into June in my state, there may be a chance that the ceremony will be pushed to the fall. However, my school wanted to commemorate our original commencement date and decided to hold a virtual ceremony. I’ve had an honor society induction and a few senior toasts online.

Although I know everyone has great intentions, the online replacements tend to make me more sad than happy because it just reminds of what should have been. This made me apprehensive going into the virtual commencement, but it was much more organized than I had imagined. The speeches had been prerecorded, while certain segments were still live. While they scrolled through the graduates’ names, many of our professors and faulty had shout-out videos! My family also decided to honor my graduation that day. I really appreciated their at-home festivities – my sisters and mom made me an at home cap and gown made from construction paper and a tablecloth and a hand-written diploma.

neverhaceIf we were having coffee, I’d tell that you need to watch Never Have I Ever on Netflix as soon as possible. I finished binge-watching it after I posted my April Wrap Up- no worries, I’ll probably end up including it in my May one anyway! Never Have I Ever  was the perfect blend of everything that I want in a ‘teen’ show. After the sudden passing of her father, high school sophomore Devi is willing to do anything she can to get her life back to normal- and by that, Devi really wants to become popular and date the hottest guy in school. This show was so, so funny and you really grow to become attached to all of the characters. The last episode left me smiling with tears rolling down my face.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about my subscription to Book of the Month. From podcasts to blogs to Instagram, Book of the Month has been taking up so many of my social media channels. You likely know that because of the public library being closed, I’ve been buying way more books than usually lately. One of those books? Emily Henry’s Beach Read. Beach Read is one of my most anticipated books of 2020, and I knew I wanted to get a copy ASAP. I considered pre-ordering a copy, but when I saw it was a BOTM pick (in hardcover as always), I figured I’d give the subscription service a chance. I’m honestly debating if I’ll keep my subscription because #brokecollegestudentlife but I’m tempted to try it out at least over the summer.

If we were having coffee, I’d of course have to mention at least one book I’ve read in May. I know I’m late on the hype train, but so far my favorite has been Well Met by Jen DeLuca! Speaking of hyped reads, I also finally read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and totally see why this it is many readers’ favorite Christina Lauren book.Read More »

FAN FAVORITE ROM-COM: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating Review

joshhazelSummary (from the publisher): Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

 

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

In my quest to read all the contemporary romance, I had to pick up Christina Lauren’s fan favorite, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. I started reading Christina Lauren last year and started with their newer titles, so I’ve been doing some backtracking to their older ones. I’ve read 6 books of theirs so far! Some of my book blogging friends haven’t been super in love with Christina Lauren’s books published after Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and claim that this book is the author duo’s best. It’s so much pressure for me to have to choose my favorite, but I’ll admit that Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is definitely a new favorite Christina Lauren read of mine!

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is one of the best friends-turned-lovers romances I’ve ever read. Josh was Hazel’s TA and biggest crush in college, and she reconnects with him seven years later at a barbecue. Hazel is insistent on becoming Josh’s best friend and getting him back into the dating pool after a bad break-up. The two set each other up on a series on double dates, but have more fun with each other than with the people they set each other up with.

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This book honestly feels like it could be so easily turned into a movie without any changes. You immediately fall in love with Hazel and Josh from the start. Hazel just might be one of the most perfect romance leads I’ve ever read. She’s funny and quirky, and honestly makes for the perfect third grade teacher. I haven’t read too many books with a teacher as a protagonist and I loved it! Hazel’s best friend (who also happens to be Josh’s sister and brother-in-law). There are a lot of books with protagonists who think they’re less than perfect, but Hazel completely owns and carries herself out with confidence. My only ‘complaint’ is that as much as she is confident, she often says that she ‘undateable.’Read More »

GIVE ME DYSTOPIAN YA DRAMA: The Thousandth Floor Review


Summary (from the publisher): Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.tf

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

 

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts: 

Katharine McGee’s American Royals was an absolute favorite book of mine in 2019. Since I loved American Royals so much, I knew I wanted to try out more of her books, which led me to her first series, The Thousandth Floor. A 2016 release, I admit that The Thousandth Floor never really caught my interest and has received some mixed reviews. However, I’ve been listening to old episodes of Bad on Paper podcast, and podcast hosts Grace and Becca said to give this one a shot because they love it so much. I’ve also been reading a bit more NA and adult than YA lately, and at the time of picking this one up, I was craving a binge-worth YA read. The Thousandth Floor met my expectations and made for such an enjoyable read.

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The Thousandth Floor is truly the YA dystopian version of Gossip Girl. I’ve come to the conclusion that I love books about the slightly ridiculous lives of the rich, extravagant, and yes, spoiled. The book takes place in 2118 New York City, where most of the city’s population lives in the Tower. A two mile and a half high building where each floor is its own residential area, the Tower is filled with high-tech life and plenty of drama. The Tower is basically organized by class status; the higher the floor you live on, the more wealthy residents tend to be- and tend to have more at stake. The book follows the lives of five teenagers: Avery, Leda, Rylin, Eris, and Watt, all who have secrets and a lot to lose. There’s a ton of romance, steam, betrayals, shopping, breakups, makeups, and mysteries in store.Read More »