FINISHING THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR: The Dazzling Heights & The Towering Sky Review

You probably know that diving into YA dystopian/series about rich teenagers has been part of my 2020 reading game. If you’re in need of a read to distract you from reality (although I do not want to ignore the fact that this is such an important time for us to be educating ourselves & diversifying our reading), I can’t help but recommend Katharine McGee’s The Thousandth Floor trilogy. Since I’ve already reviewed the first book, today I’ll be sharing my mini reviews for the final two books in the series, The Dazzling Heights and The Towering Sky.

About The Thousandth Floor:

IMG_4341A 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.

The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2)

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

{E412C39E-9870-4F64-BD9C-D65C35ACAE49}Img100After finally getting on the hype train for Katharine McGee’s The Thousandth Floor in March, I knew I had to get my hands on the sequel, The Dazzling Heights. The Thousandth Floor is the dystopian meets Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars series you didn’t know you needed. 

This series overall, but The Dazzling Heights in particular, is like ‘reading candy’; once you eat one piece you can’t get enough! I devoured The Dazzling Heights in two sittings, having been immediately drawn back in the world of Avery, Leda, and co. living in their glamorous and elite world – with plenty of deadly secrets in tow. The Dazzling Heights picks up a few months after the ending of The Thousandth Floor, with Avery, Leda, Watt, and Rylin keeping plenty of secrets and blackmail between them. The Dazzling Heights also introduces a new perspective, Calliope, who immediately knows upon her arrival who her next con will be.Read More »

SUMMER MUST-READ: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Summary (from the publisher):

48079190._UY2048_SS2048_Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

 

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Beach Read has deservedly found it way into nearly every corner of the book blogging community.  So many of my bookish friends have loved this contemporary romance, myself included!

Since there have been a ton of Beach Read reviews floating around the book blogosphere, I’ve decided to forgo my usual review style to explain why you need to actually pick up this must-read beach read of summer 2020.

It’s much more complex than the title & official synopsis suggests. Beach Read does meet its synopsis: Augustus, a literary fiction writer, and January, a romance writer, are both in writing ruts and decide to challenge each other by writing a book in the other’s genre. But Beach Read goes beyond this competition.

I don’t want to include too many spoilers, but both January and Gus have experienced some hardship and loss. After the death of her father, January is left with his beach house in Michigan. January is struggling to cope with his death, his hidden past, and the manuscript of her latest romance novel that is due to the publisher by the end of the summer. January decides to spend the summer at the beach, packing up the house and writing her novel. Early on in the story, it’s revealed that January’s grumpy neighbor is none other than Augustus, a best-selling literary fiction author AND January’s college rival.

There’s a ton of exploration into the two main characters’ past, loss, and their college history. As Gus and January move from enemies to lovers (you really don’t believe that the synopsis says no one falls in love, right?), the two reveal more about their family and relationship history. Somewhat unrelated and a bit random I admit, Gus is also doing a lot of research on cults for his book. The two spend a few of their literary fiction research nights on that subject and interviewing people with heavy histories of their own.

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While there is heaviness and depth, there is plenty of humor. I wouldn’t say that Beach Read is a rom-com (sidenote that I agree with the growing sentiment that publishing is using ‘rom-com’ too much to describe contemporary romances), but Gus and January have such incredible chemistry that leads to a lot of laugh and a few jokes at the other’s expense (in the most light-heartedly way possible).Read More »

MUST READ NOVELLA: Love at First Fight Review 

Summary (from the publisher): 

love-at-first-fight-9781534482524_lgFrom New York Times bestselling author Sandhya Menon comes a delightful enovella sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie, about a Valentine’s Day group date gone hilariously, disastrously awry. Ashish Patel has never considered himself a hopeless romantic. But now that he’s found his other half, Sweetie Nair, there’s nothing he wants more than to celebrate love in all its forms. So when Valentine’s Day rolls around and he hears about a romance-themed escape room, he knows it’s the perfect opportunity to bring together Sweetie along with his newly engaged brother and sister-in-law-to-be, Rishi Patel and Dimple Shah. On their way to the escape room, the group runs into Pinky Kumar and Samir Jha—both friends to Ashish but nemeses to each other. Despite Pinky’s kneejerk reaction to the cheesy theme (which gets her a high-five from Dimple), the two of them agree to join the group. The escape room is as insufferably saccharine as Pinky feared, but even she is surprised when she and Samir actually…work well together. Samir embodies everything Pinky despises—following rules, having no fun, consuming single-use plastics. Getting along with someone like him—a shiny Volvo when she’s so used to junkers—sends Pinky into a tailspin. Sparks are definitely flying, but it’s unclear if that’s a good thing. Could this be love at first fight?

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I question the purpose of novellas … but that’s never the case when it comes to Sandhya Menon. After loving the first When Dimple Met Rishi/Dimpleverse novella, As Kismet Would Have It, I knew I had to read Love at First Fight. 

Let me take some time to explain the Dimpleverse. The Dimpleverse is composed of When Dimple Met Rishi, There’s Something About Sweetie, and 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, and the two novellas. I do recommend reading As Kismet Would Have It AFTER reading There’s Something About Sweetie, but BEFORE Love at First Fight. Sandhya Menon has also stated that you do not need to read Love at First Fight before reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. However, I did read the novella before reading the upcoming book, which comes out on July 21, 2020. I really wanted to revisit the Dimpleverse, and yes, I also wanted to read everything in chronological order. 

Ultimately, I do not think you have to read the novellas to fully understand the Dimpleverse, but I do recommend reading them. They’re such cute compliments to the books and offer a where-are-they-now glimpse at the characters since their books. Both As Kismet Would Have It and Love at First Fight are currently available for free on rivetedlit.com. 

Love at First Fight takes places on a Valentine’s Day couples date, in which Rishi & Dimple and Sweetie & Ashish decide to go to a romance-themed escape room. Along the way, they meet us with friends and polar opposites, Samir & Pinky, who are NOT a couple – Pinky makes that clear to everyone and anyone. 

I really loved getting to check in with Dimple & Rishi and Sweetie & Ashish. Dimple & Rishi are just so classic, and I love how they’ve really stayed true to themselves since their book. Rishi is ever the romantic, while Dimple still disputes a lot of stereotypes surrounding relationships. I’m interested to see if there’s any talk about marriage in 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. Maybe Sweetie’s name is some form of foreshadowing, but Ashish and Sweetie are just so sweet! I think I enjoyed their chapter working together to find clues the most. 

And last, but not least, Pinky and Samir’s dynamic sets up for their book. As much as Sam and Pinky clash about nearly everything, there’s no denying that they have feelings for one another. Like Dimple, Pinky is such a headstrong character, but even within the novella, we get to experience her softer side. I think their book is going to explore much about Sam’s family life and why Pinky puts on such a hard exterior. I also hope there’s some sort of reference to their escape-room photo. 

Overall, Love at First Fight was such a cute compliment to the Dimpleverse and will makes readers even more excited to get their hands on 10 Things I Hate About Pinky -and reread the first two companion books! 

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Have you read Love at First Fight? Have you read any books in the Dimpleverse? Is 10 Things I Hate about Pinky on your TBR? Share in the comments! 

TBR & JUNE READING PLANS: The Stuck At Home Book Tag

Almost three months later, the stay at home life is still going strong for this blogger. I’ve been home since the second week of March, having finished my last undergraduate semester online and since then, working remotely from home and taking remote grad school courses. Although I have started to venture into the world more with each month – picture socially distant walks and outdoor hang-outs with friends- I admit that one silver lining to having less travel time and more home time is all the added reading time.

Alexandria of Reading by Starlight tagged me to do the Stuck at Home Book Tag, created by Ellen of allonsythornraxx. 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently re-reading Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and reading Kathryn Ormsbee’s The Sullivan Sisters for review.

What’s your favorite ‘can’t-leave-the-house’ activity?

Besides reading, I have been doing a lot of binge-watching (PSA to leave me some TV/movie recs in the comments). Stalking the ‘Latest’ page on Netflix has become a new hobby for me. My favorite shows have been:

  • Workin’ Moms (Netflix)
  • Beauty and the Baker (the Israeli version on Amazon Prime)
  • Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
  • You (Netflix)
  • Selling Sunset (Netflix) 
  • Schitt’s Creek (PopTV/Neftlix)
  • Below Deck (Bravo)
  • Outdaughtered (TLC) 
  • The Morning Show (Apple TV) 
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+)
  • Ben Platt Live from Radio City (Netflix)

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WAS IT WORTH THE HYPE? : Where the Crawdads Sing Review

Summary (from the publisher):wherec

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

 

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

The hype for Where the Crawdads Sing finally got me.

Two of my friends had recently read Where the Crawdads Sing and told me I absolutely had to read it. One of them definitely got me by allowing me to borrow her copy. Since the library has been closed and I’m lacking in the physical books department, I took her up on her offer. Previously, Where the Crawdads Sing never really interested me. I had seen it on nearly every best-sellers and recommendations list since 2018. But there was something about the synopsis that never grabbed my attention. Some of my friends on Goodreads had mixed reviews, while I had also recently listened to an episode of Bad on Paper, where co-host Becca (who typically has reading tastes similar to me) said she did not understand the hype for it while co-host Grace loved it. Although I didn’t LOVE it like so many other readers, I did really enjoy Where the Crawdads Sing and do understand the hype. In short, this book has such a sad story, but there’s still this sense of hope and optimis that makes you hold out for the characters and want to know more.Read More »

Gravity is Heartless Q&A with Author Sarah Lahey

Summer 2020 is filled with so many exciting new books. One book on my radar is Sarah Lahey’s first book in her new science-fiction romance series, Gravity Is Heartless. 

I had the opportunity to ask Sarah Lahey a few questions about the book, ranging from her inspirations, Sarah’s sci-fi and romance book recommendations, and how readers can be more environmentally conscious to prevent a world like Gravity Is Heartless from ever occurring.

About Gravity is Heartless:

9781631528729What will the world look like in thirty years’ time? How will humanity survive the oncoming effects of climate change? Set in the near future and inspired by the world around us, Gravity Is Heartless is a romantic adventure that imagines a world on the cusp of climate catastrophe.
The year is 2050: automated cities, vehicles, and homes are now standard, artificial Intelligence, CRISPR gene editing, and quantum computing have become a reality, and climate change is in full swing—sea levels are rising, clouds have disappeared, and the planet is heating up.
Quinn Buyers is a climate scientist who’d rather be studying the clouds than getting ready for her wedding day. But when an unexpected tragedy causes her to lose everything, including her famous scientist mother, she embarks upon a quest for answers that takes her across the globe—and she uncovers friends, loss and love in the most unexpected of places along the way. Gravity Is Heartless is bold, speculative fiction that sheds a hard light on the treatment of our planet even as it offers a breathtaking sense of hope for the future.

newfireborderHi Sarah! Welcome to Fangirl Fury! Can you share a little about yourself and your writing?

I grew up in a house where words mattered, and people read. My father and stepfather were writers and newspaper journalists, and my mother was chief-of-staff at the local newspaper. My parents often worked from home and often from the dining room table, so my brother and two sisters were essentially immersed in a world of words and stories from a very young age. Then, I married a journalist, his friends became my friends and we’re still discussing stories and books, and the fascinating things that people do.

However, I chose a different career; I’ve been an interior designer for over 30 years. But during that time, I wrote a few small romance novels and finished a degree in communication, so writing stayed close. Then, about a decade ago I started teaching and lecturing university students, and I became aware of the importance of sustainable design and the significance of climate change. I started the Heartless Series as a way of exploring these topics in more detail, and science fiction is the perfect way to investigate our concerns about technology and our fears about the future.Read More »

SUMMER READING START & NETFLIX: May 2020 Wrap Up

IMG_2733May was another month having to adjust to the new normal we live in, with plenty of books & TV and a few more life happenings. In short, I graduated from college (virtually), read a lot of books, started grad school (virtually), and started working on my summer tan!  Since my state has had one of the most severe amount of outbreaks, we’re still primarily home as some stores and business slowly start to re-open. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work from home and take graduate school courses online, so I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time still home this summer.

Since I now do monthly If We Were Having Coffee posts and Fangirl News, I’ve decided to not include the Life Happenings section in my monthly wrap ups. I’ll add some tidbits about life lately in my introduction but I’ll be getting into more detail about my life and anticipated bookish happenings in those respective posts.

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The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass | 3/5 Stars

The One was actually my least favorite book in The Selection trilogy. America annoyed me the most  out of all three books, and it threw in so many new elements that were too late, considering that this is the last book in the trilogy. I know The Heir and The Crown are considered sequels, but I’m not sure if I see myself picking them up.

 Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren | 4.5/5

 I totally now understand everyone’s love for this Chriistna Lauren favorite! Hazel is one of my new favorite protaoginsts of theirs.Read More »

SUMMER READING TO-DO: Summer 2020 Most Anticipated Releases

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year to dive into a new pile of books because it’s beach and poolside reading season! My anticipated Summer 2020 releases list is definitely different than what I had imagined it would be at the start of 2020. Many spring books got pushed back to summer, so you might see a few repeats from my Spring 2020 anticipated releases posts.If you want to refresh on what books came out this spring, I shared my anticipated adult and YA releases. Some new books that were originally scheduled to release this summer also were moved to the fall. The following books are scheduled to release from June through August 2020.

The Dare (Briar U #4) by Elle Kennedy | Release Date: June 16

Elle Kennedy made my April when she announced that there would be a fourth book in the Briar U series, The Dare! I cannot recommend the Off-Campus and spin-off series, Briar U, enough! This hockey romance follows crowd-favorite hockey player, Conor. I have all of the Briar U books in paperback, and I believe the paperback version is available for preorder on Amazon.

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai | RD: June 9

The enemies-to-lovers storyline is one of my favorites in rom-coms, which makes me even more excited for Sara Desai’s The Marriage Game. Working above her father’s restaurant, Layla is getting her new business up and running while also deciding to join the world of online dating (even though her father decides to set her up on a bunch of blind dates). CEO Sam unexpectedly ends up sharing the office space with Layla, and the two spar off over their shared space and Layla’s blind date suitors.

The Sullivan Sisters by Kathryn Ormsbee |RD: June 23

After really enjoying Kathryn Ormsbee’s Tash Hearts Tolstoy back in 2017, I was instantly intrigued by her upcoming release, The Sullivan Sisters. Painful events have kept the Sullivan sisters from confiding in each other like they used to, but a letter about their dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing causes them to work together to solve a family mystery. I’m also up for a mystery or thriller to break up my contemporary reading game!

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein | RD: June 23

I feel like we’re starting to see gymnastics more and more across genres. The one I’m most excited for? Hannah Orenstein’s Head Over Heels! After a disastrous performance that ended her hope to get into the Olympics and career, Avery is asked to help coach a young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. While sparks fly with her fellow coach, Ryan, Avery’s world is turned upside down yet again when a scandal breaks out in the sport.Read More »

WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS SOONER: Well Met Review

71mbWCWSjILSummary (from the publisher): All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Well Met had been on my TBR for forever and a half. Almost all of my blogging friends have loved this contemporary romance about a woman who finds herself wrapped up in small town life and its annual summer-long Renaissance Fair. I always wanted to pick up Well Met, so I don’t know what prevented me from picking it up before this May.. okay, maybe blame it on my irrational fear of running out of contemporary romances on my TBR. I finally bought my own copy back in March and after officially finishing all of my undergrad work, I treated myself and started reading! I ate up Well Met over one weekend and it quickly became of my favorite reads of 2020!

As soon as I began the first chapter of Well Met, I fell in love. After a bad breakup and needing to help her older sister after a bad car accident, Emily is in Willow Creek for the summer, which means volunteering with her niece to participate in the town’s Renn Faire. Emily finds herself enjoying the experience way more than expected… that is except for Simon, the fair’s organizer who seems to perpetually have a clipboard up his butt. But when Emily and Simon are in their faire chracters, Emily a tavern wench and Simon a pirate, their flirting game is on and blending the lines in their relationships as enemies vs. something more.

I personally fell in love with Simon because he gave me major Ben Wyatt vibes (aka my fictional boyfriend/husband from Parks & Recreation), thanks to his appearance, organization and adorable nerdiness. While Emily is our main focus, we learn why it’s so hard for Simon to break out of his hard demeanor and why the faire means so much to him. I liked how we’re able to get to know him without having his perspective, since I liked Emily’s first person narrative so much.

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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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