March 2020 Wrap Up

It’s an understatement to say that this March wasn’t the best. I’ve shared some more details below and in some posts this month, but March was definitely an adjustment to a new type of normal for me, having moved home from my last year of college two months early. I am very appreciative of all the people in my life during this time, but the following books and TV also were the perfect way to find comfort.

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I’m so especially that I read so many incredible this month- at least five of these are favorites of 2020 and contenders of being my #1 favorite book of 2020!

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett (ARC) | 5/5 Stars

I think I finished Chasing Lucky on the last day in February, but forgot to add it to my February wrap-up. I haven’t met a Jenn Bennett book I haven’t loved, but this May 2020 release nailed everything I love in a YA contemporary.

Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin | 5/5

Blitzed follows one of my favorite characters in the Playbook series, Brynn. I loved the romance and the recurring cast from the first two books.

break your glass slippers by amanda lovelace | 4.5/5

I know I’ll be revisiting a lot of the poems in this new favorite Amanda lovelace poetry collection of mine.

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Star Wars, SJM, & Sidekicks: Sunshine Blogger Award Part 4

It’s been a few weeks (okay, three) since I’ve done a book tag, so I was very excited when Alexandra of Reading by Starlight nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This award brings attention to bloggers who bring sunshine- positivity and optimism (okay, throw some sarcastic bookish remarks in there too)- to the community. Typically, nominees answer 11 questions from the previous nominee and then create another 11 questions for 11 more nominees.

I’ve done the Sunshine Blogger Award three times- Alexandra also nominated me two times!- but I love both Alexandra’s blog and her questions too much to pass up the opportunity to do this award post again!

What is your favorite Sarah J. Maas book and what makes it your favorite?

This is never an easy question, but I’m going to go with Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4). If you’re curious, my #2 is Tower of Dawn because Chaol Westfall, and House of Earth & Blood might be stealing #3 (which is always a toss up between A Court of Mist and Fury and Empire of Storms). Anyways, Queen of Shadows is my favorite because I love the balance of the many different perspectives. This installment also has such a huge emphasis on the friendships and romances, with many of them finding their start in this one and dealing with the battles ahead.

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Who is your favorite bookish sidekick?

It’s probably because I’m still on the House of Earth and Blood/SJM reading high, but I’m going with two new favorite sidekicks, Lehebah and Sprinx.

Create a quick, five song playlist for any book.

whaI am going with a playlist for a recent read, Marisa Kanter’s What I Like About You:

“Keeping a Secret” by Bleachers

“Breathe” by Taylor Swift

“Island in the Stream” by Dolly Parton

“It’s Nice to Have a Friend” by Taylor Swift

“Run Away” by Ben Platt

Name a book and series you think is criminally underrated.

I don’t know if it’s necessarily criminally underrated, but I have much love for Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Gelato series. I think YA contemporary series don’t get as much attention as YA fantasy/sci-fi series, and I can’t wait for everyone to re-dive into this world with the third book, Love & Olives, coming this summer.

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Adult Romance & Contemporary Love: March 2020 Mini Reviews

I’ve actually done a pretty good job of writing full reviews for most of the books I’ve read so far in 2020. I’ll have more reviews coming in the next few weeks as more spring releases coming out, but today I’ll be sharing reviews that fall into slightly different adult fiction categories and are both well-read and much-loved: Christina Lauren’s Roomies and Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana.

Roomies by Christina Lauren

81Knrobp2wLMy Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

I’ve made it my recent mission to eat up as many Christina Lauren books as possible, which led me to Roomies. I feel like anyone and everyone was reading Roomies back when it came out in 2017, and I felt like it was finally time for me to pick it up! Plus, how could I not further delay a contemporary romance with an Irish male protagonist??

Roomies follows Holland Baker, an aspiring writer who makes too many excuses to stop at the subway station near her apartment to listen to her street-musician crush, Calvin. When Holland’s musical director of an uncle is in desperate need of a lead musician for his hit Broadway show, Holland gets Calvin an audition. The problem? Calvin is in the US illegally, since his student visa expired years ago. The solution? Holland marries the Irishman.

Roomies was such a light-hearted, rom-com journey for Holland and Calvin. While Holland is absolutely head-over-heels for Calvin from the get-go, this book is really about them finding their passion and love for one another. You better believe that the Irish girl that I am absolutely squealed out loud when Calvin gives Holland a gold claddaugh ring. The symbol- love, loyalty, and friendship- sums up their relationship! I also loved the little reminders that Calvin is Irish and has an accent,like  pronouncing “things” like “tings.” The book does take a while to really set the stage (no musical-puns intended) and get the plot going, but I really liked getting to know Holland her life. Yes, the marriage and romance (and yes, the romance scenes towards the end were so good!) are at its heart, but I loved Holland’s uncles and how they act as her support system. Many contemporary romance and Broadway lovers will especially enjoy Roomies’ settings, as it takes place in the NYC theater world. Holland, Calvin, and her uncle, Robert, have such a genuine love for music, and I loved seeing Holland embrace its place in her life even though she isn’t a musician. After finishing Roomies, I basically added all the Christina Lauren books I haven’t yet read to my TBR!Read More »

Bookish News Roundup 1: Cover Reveals & Upcoming Releases

It’s safe to say that we could all use a little cheer and comfort right now, and what better way to do so than through fangirling over all the bookish news?! While I admit that I’ve been spending a bit too much time on my phone and social media lately, one perk has been staying up to date on so many cover reveals and upcoming releases. I’ve dedicated a bookmark collection on Instagram for new books and covers. Today I’ll be sharing my favorite cover reveals and new book announcements from the past few weeks.

Cover Reveals

Snapped (Playbook #4) by Alexa Martin – Because of my love for the Playbook series, I get excited for any sort of Alexa Martin book news. This cover really compliments the others, and I love the gold football barrette.

The Secret Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab – I really like the cover for V.E. Schwab’s October 2020 adult release, but I think I was expecting more? I had hoped for some sort of illustration with a woman on the cover in the style of the new Vicious and Vengeful covers. I’m interested to see if the U.K. edition will have a different cover.Read More »

What I’ve Been Fangirling Over Lately: Life Update, Books, & TV Recs

It goes without saying that there are many difficult things going on in the world right. I hope this post finds everyone safe and healthy. I am especially grateful right now for my little corner of the Internet and being able to escape into the world of books and fangirl things for a while.

I’ve talked about this on Instagram and Twitter, but it’s major life update time. As some of you know, I am a college senior. My school had just gotten back from spring break during the second week in March only to find out on that Tuesday, we would be going online until April 3rd. We had the option of staying on-campus or going home, but with all the uncertainty going on, I elected to go back home. I was bummed that I’d basically be home for a month during the last eight weeks of senior year, but felt it was important to me at home with my family, and nothing was going on on-campus. I was also disappointed that this meant that my last college formal had been postponed, but I looked forward to going back a month later.

A Tuesday later, my college decided to officially go online for the semester. To say the least, I was, and still am, devastated. Yes, I have so much to be thankful for right now, and so, so many people have it way worse than me right now. All of my friends and family and myself included are safe and healthy. But I can’t help but think about those senior rites of passages I will be missing and won’t have the opportunity to get back: attending my last formal with my best friends; opportunities to present on my media and communications capstone research; ceremonies celebrating me and my classmates’ hard work; having my last day in the office I’ve worked in as a student employee for three years; saying my official last goodbyes to my best friends and professors; and the one that is hurting me the most right now, getting to walk across that graduation stage with my diploma in hand. My school is trying to work on a solution for this one, and I am really hope that a deferred in-person graduation will one day occur for us.

In light of all this, while I am still doing school work as I have online classes through the first week of May, books and TV have been a even more present comfort in my life right. I tend to not go on book buying sprees as often as I’d like, but I bought 5 books for myself within the first week I was home (thinking of them as early graduation gifts).

Today, I’ll be sharing and discussing the books and TV I’ve been enjoying lately in hope that you might find some comfort in them too. I’ve definitely been spending way too much time on my phone- my only exception in doing so is when I am FaceTiming or texting my friends- so I want to try to delve into more reading and watching this week.

Books

ARCs/Upcoming Releases: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter &  We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian – If there’s one thing I really appreciate about social distancing (PSA, please practice it), it’s having the opportunity to catch up on all my review copies. What I Like About You (YA book blogger with a love for cupcakes and an online alias meets her online crush and best friend IRL) and We Are the Wildcats (girls’ field hockey team must deal with a very toxic coach and reunite as a team) were two of my most anticipated releases of the year and they did not disappoint at all. Reviews for both will (with an inspired recipe or two) will be coming in April!

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – I now also have plenty of time to catch up on early 2020 releases that I missed; insert sigh here that I didn’t put more books on hold before the libraries closed- I’ll read you soon, Of Curses and Kisses & Anna K . My weekend read was Emma Lord’s Tweet Cute, which I am still utterly obsessed with! It was such a fantastic romance and I basically want to make 50 blog posts with recipes inspired by the book.Read More »

A NEW SJM FAVE: House of Earth & Blood Review

Whenever Sarah J. Maas comes out with a new book, it gets immediate priority on my to-read pile. According to my Goodreads, I had Crescent City on my TBR since May 2018, so I had plenty of time to plan my reading around its release. House of Earth and Blood, the first book in the Crescent City series, is SJM’s latest release since Kingdom of Ash came out in October 2018, so it was such an exciting experience going to the bookstore on release day and pick up her first adult fantasy book.

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I highly recommend checking out SJM’s Crescent City Q&A on the World of Sarah J. Maas YouTube channel. Since she cancelled the Crescent City tour due to the health climate, SJM and her husband, Josh aka Papa Maas, hosted a live show answering readers’ questions about the new series and basically anything SJM related. With no spoilers, they shared a lot of fun details about the book and Sarah’s writing process. I loved when SJM talked about the cover design and revealed the hidden details within. She also talked about her life outside of being an author, from how she met her husband to what it’s been like being a mom and her struggle and journey with anxiety and depression. Although she warned that things could change, it looks like we’ll be getting the first book in the Nesta ACOTAR spin-off series and Crescent City #2 in 2021. Like Crescent City, the Nesta spin-off will also be considered adult fantasy. SJM revealed that the new ACOTAR covers coming in June are meant to grab more adult readers.

As one of my go-to authors, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even need to read the full synopsis of her books anymore to know if I’ll pick them up or not- the answer is always yes! Of course, having loved SJM’s young adult books about Fae, I was even more excited for Crescent City when it was announced that this urban fantasy series would follow a young half-Fae woman on a mission to find the demon that murdered her closest friends two years prior.

Summary (from the publisher): Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard downloadall day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it. 

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

It’s no surprise to anyone that I absolutely loved House of Earth and Blood. I am already crying over the fact that I finished it and need the sequel. While SJM’s books tend to be on the lengthy side normally, I read this 799 beast over the course of the week. I did have some other things in life going on at the time aka homework, dealing with a very much altered school schedule, and watching Star Wars, but I found that I couldn’t really fly through House of Earth and Blood because there are so many details. I also didn’t want to necessarily fly through me because I wanted to catch all the details and really enjoy being back in SJM’s writing.Read More »

ANTICIPATED SEQUEL: Girls with Razor Hearts Review

Summary (from the publisher):

46404346Make me a girl with a razor heart…

It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.

The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.

And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.

 

My Rating: 3.75/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

After really enjoying Suzanne Young’s Girls with Sharp Sticks last year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel, Girls with Razor Hearts. Girls with Sharp Sticks is set an elite private school, Innovations Academy, where girls are trained to be basically be the perfect companions for men. When Mena begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem to be, her and the girls begin to rebel against their instructors and investigate what their school’s true agenda.

Girls with Razor Hearts was a solid follow-up novel to Girls with Sharp Sticks. Based on its sequence of events and ending, I suspect that there is going to be at least one more book in this series. That being said, Girls with Razor Hearts did fall into middle book syndrome. In the sequel, Mena and her friends must adjust to life outside of Innovations Academy, which includes facing their past trauma and stress. The girls are also on a mission to find the son of one of Innovations Academy’s prime investors at theor new and almost equally-sexist-as-Innovations school.

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