January Wrap-Up

I tried to kick off the decade STRONG reading-wise, and I think I succeeded! Kind of. I did a LOT of reading this month, which was nice. What wasn’t so nice is I had a lot of 2-3 star reads, which hasn’t happened in a long time. I guess it can only go up from here?

Here are the books I read in the first month of the new decade:

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  1. In The Unlikely Event by LJ Shen: 
  2. Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman (2020 backlist read): ★★
  3. Jane, Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz (ARC): 
  4. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker (audio): ★★
  5. Risky Play by Rachel Van Dyken: 
  6. Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote: 
  7. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (audio): ★.5
  8. March by Geraldine Brooks: 
  9. A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (audio, reread): 
  10. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (2019 backlist read): 
  11. A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (ARC): ★.5

So…any suggestions on books to turn my rating trend back in the right direction? Let’s hope there’s better luck in February!

Happy reading, everybody.

xoxo

Jen

January Haul

First book haul of the new decade! And lo and behold, I actually kept it pretty small. Over the past year, I’ve really cut down on buying books and made a bigger effort to try and read the ones already on my shelf. And I’ve done pretty well! … for the most part.

Here are the books I hauled in January:

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  1. Recursion by Blake Crouch (BOTM)
  2. When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (BOTM)
  3. Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey (ARC – thanks Avon and Goodreads!)

Wow, and that’s it, folks! My BOTM picks and a freebie!

How many books did you haul to kick of 2020?

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: BOTM 2019 Review!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

Happy Tuesday, friends! This week’s prompt was a book cover freebie…but I’m changing it up a little bit.

In 2019, I made one of my goals to read a BOTM book each month, and I was SO CLOSE. I ended up reading 11 out of 12. I figured I’d use this TTT freebie to review the ones I read! This is a goal I’m continuing in 2020, so hopefully I can keep up the progress. My BOTM shelf is getting SO full… I need to actually read them as I buy them. Whoops. Here are the BOTM books I managed to read last year!

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 5 stars

 

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rating: 2 stars

 

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Rating: 5 stars

 

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How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

Rating: 3 stars

 

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The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X R Pan

Rating: 5 stars

 

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The Whisper Man by Alex North

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Rating: 4 stars

 

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 4 stars

 

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One Day In December by Josie Silver

Rating: 4 stars

 

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Rating: 4 stars

 

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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Rating: 4 stars

 

Ok apparently I can’t count, because that’s actually 12 books?? Success! Which BOTM books did you read last year? Which were your favorite? And which ones should I read in 2020??

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

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Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Pages: 464

Rating: ★★★.5

A Curse So Dark and Lonely: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“Choices are never easy. There are good and bad options, but the most dangerous is to not make any choice at all.”

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I really enjoyed A Curse so Dark and Lonely, so I was definitely anticipating the second installment! I ended up giving it 3.5 stars, which was a little bit of a letdown, but not completely.

AHSFAB picks up right where we left off in ACSDAL. The curse has been broken, and Harper, Jake, and Noah are living at the castle with Rhen. The castle has been returned to it’s former hustle and bustle, and Rhen’s no longer alone. Lilith has not returned – but neither has Grey. Not knowing what happened to the former guard Commander is eating at them both.

But Rhen may have bigger problems. Rumors are circulating that he is not the true heir to the throne, and that the real King has magic in his veins. As the kingdom becomes more and more unsettled, Rhen holds on to his throne tighter and tighter… especially when he finds out that the man rumored to be the heir is no other than Grey.

Grey is on the run, and has no desire to the claim the throne as his own. At least, he didn’t, until Karis Luran and her daughters offer an alliance with Rhen. When he refuses, war threatens on the horizon. It may be that the only way Grey can save his kingdom is by claiming his place as rightful king – and overthrowing Rhen himself.

“The world is full of men who underestimate women. Men who undermine them. I cannot rule from a place of weakness. Id o not have the luxury of mercy and sympathy.”

Ok, let’s start with what I DID like. This book is a total page-turner. I read it in just about two sittings. It was action packed from cover to cover, and the pacing was right on point. And I got what I was desperately wishing for in book one: GREY’S POV. In ACSDAL, I loved Harper, but I was not super sold on Rhen. But Scary Grey? SWOON. I loved Grey in the first book, and I loved him in the second. And I looked forward to every single one of his sections. I also really enjoyed watching him come into his own. He made a great guard for Rhen, but following orders doesn’t allow for a lot of character growth. When he started having to make his own decisions, I fell even more in love with him.

And now for what I didn’t love so much. Remember how I said I loved Harper? Still true. But she was hardly in this book at all! And remember how I said I didn’t love Rhen? Also still true, only so much worse. I feel like whatever character growth he made in book one was…reversed in this one? He regressed and become this power-hungry, terrible, cruel king, and Harper, who in book one was a total BAD ASS, just stood by his side and watched him do it. As for the new characters that were introduced…I didn’t love Lia Mara (one of Karis Luran’s daughters). She just didn’t endear me to her as much as Harper did. I guess I’ll just always be shipping Harper and Grey no matter what happens…

I still think this book was worth reading, and I’ll still read the next book. I’m excited to see where the author takes this story, and to see my favorite characters – now on different sides of a huge brewing conflict – come back to the same storyline. I loved the writing, my favorite characters still felt like my very best friends, and the pacing was fantastic. I hope you enjoy the next installment in this magical retelling!

*Quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

A Heart So Fierce and Brokenwas released on January 7, 2020.

January Pick: BOTM

Ok guys, first BOTM pick of the DECADE…. No pressure! So when you are a BOTM BFF (I think that just means you’ve been getting the box for 12 months or more…) you get to pick one of the top 5 book of the year finalists for free! So I actually ended up getting two books this month. Here they are!

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When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

Goodreads Synopsis

Recursion by Black Crouch

Goodreads Synopsis

Why I Picked Them

As far as the January picks go, I actually was between When We Were Vikings and The Sun Down Motel. The only reason I went with Vikings is honestly…I have SO MANY mystery/thrillers from BOTM on my shelf! I am not allowing myself to buy any more until I read a few more of them!

As far as the 2019 BOTM finalist pick goes, I’ve already read Daisy Jones and the Six and The Silent Patient, so those two were out. I’ve been eyeing Recursion for a while, so this seemed like a really good excuse to add it to my box. Plus, it made my 2020 backlist books list!

What did you pick for your first BOTM of the decade??

xoxo

Jen

REVIEW: Heartstopper Vol 1

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Title: Heartstopper Vol 1

Author: Alice Oseman

Pages: 278

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis

Review:

First off, I must thank my wonderful friend Amy for sending me this book for Christmas, because I honestly did not know how much I needed it in my life. I’ve never been a huge comic fan, but this warmed my entire soul and I could not put it down. Needless to say, I finished it all in one sitting and then immediately ordered volume 2.

This comic follows Charlie, a gay boy in year 10 at a British all-boys school. While last year was tough for him, the bullies have mostly laid off and he’s been meeting a boy in secret all around the school.

Enter Nick, a year 11 rugby player. When the new year rolls around, he and Charlie are paired up for a class. Obviously, since they are both adorable and wonderful and sweet, they become fast friends. Unfortunately for Charlie, he also starts to develop a massive crush on Nick – who is apparently straight. Just goes to show you never know what can happen…

Ok, first of all, let me just touch on these two previous cinnamon roll characters. Is it possible to be crushing on both of them at the same time? Yes? Ok good. I’ve never wanted to put characters in my pocket more – I can’t help it, I just want to protect them forever and ever. I was rooting for these two SO HARD from the very first page.

I also want to applaud Alice Oseman. She is using a comic to tackle some difficult topics in an adorable way. Watching Nick begin to question his sexuality, and seeing the roller coaster of emotions he goes through, is so eye-opening and relevant and real and raw.

In addition to all of these wonderful things, the art is also stunning, and the side characters are fantastic. There was so much diversity and representation of all kinds. This comic made you feel all kinds of emotions: I blushed, laughed, hurt, struggled, loved, right along with Charlie and Nick. This was an easy 5 star read – in fact, my very first of 2020. I cannot wait to read the next installment!

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

Hard to believe we’re over halfway through January already. I’ve been having a ROUGH time with TBR’s in general, but there ARE some books that I’m wanting to get to over the next couple of months. Here they are!

Here are some ARCS that I need to get through sometime before the end of March:

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A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Beyond those, I definitely have some books I’m hoping to get to:

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

This is actually our book club pick for the month of February, so I’ll be getting to it fairly soon. I’ve heard mixed reviews, and also that the twist at the end is WILD, so I am itching to dive in.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I’m currently reading this one! This was one of my 2019 backlist books and I didn’t get to it, so I started it as soon as January began. I’m really enjoying it so far!

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Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman

I’m cheating – I already read this one. This was one of my 2020 backlist books, and I absolutely adored it.

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

I’m wanting to do a reread of Lady Midnight and then get to Lord of Shadows before Cassy Clare’s new book is released in March, but we’ll see how that timeline plays out.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

I’ll be starting this book the day it’s released. The end.

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I managed to read the first two books in this series in 2019, but somehow fell off before picking up the last book. I’ve really enjoyed the series so far, and I’d like to finish it out!

Have you read any of these yet? What did you think?

xoxo

Jen

2020 Backlist Reads

Last year, I picked 12 backlist books that I’d heard fantastic things about, or had been sitting on my shelf far too long, with the goal of getting to them throughout the year. I reviewed my progress last year – I didn’t make it to all of them – in this post here. While I’ll still be trying to get to those this year as well, I’ve curated my list for 2020!

Here are the phenomenal backlist books I’ll be getting to throughout 2020!

The Sisters of the Winterwood by Rena Rossner

A Heart In a Body In The World by Deb Caletti

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Legend of The Golden Raven by K. Ancrum

Recursion by Black Crouch

Have you read any of these? What did you think?? I NEED TO KNOW!

xoxo

Jen

BLOG TOUR: Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute Blog Tour Banner

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tweet Cute by Emma Lord! Thank you so much to St Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for asking me to participate.

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Title: Tweet Cute

Author: Emma Lord

Publisher: St Martin’s Press – Wednesday Books

Pages: 320

Release Date: January 21, 2020

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Let the games begin.”

And begin they do, folks. First, I’d like to thank Wednesday Books for asking me to take part in the blog tour for this book. This ADORABLE book that couldn’t get enough of. I read this book in almost one sitting, and was when it was over I felt like I was saying good bye to friends. This one was an easy 5 stars, and I’ve give it more if the rating system went higher.

This book bounces between two POV’s: Pepper and Jack. Pepper is a total type-A perfectionist. Her mom owns a huge fast-food chain, Big League Burger, and Pepper has somehow found herself in charge of the company’s Twitter account, in addition to all of her responsibilities at school.

Jack is the class clown and never seems to take anything seriously at school. In real life though, he spends all of his free time working hard in his family’s small deli – even if he isn’t sure that he wants that to be his future quite yet.

Enter: DRAMA. Big League Burger releases a new menu item: a grilled cheese that is almost IDENTICAL to one on their deli menu, and Jack’s grandma’s very own recipe. And while he may be easy going at school, this is one thing he isn’t going to let slide. Jack launches a twitter war against Big League Burger, completely unaware that Pepper is manning the other end of the war.

“You know, for someone named Pepper, you’re pretty salty about losing.”

It gets worse, guys. While Jack and Pepper are (unknowingly) launching a viral twitter war, they are also (unknowingly) falling for each other on an anonymous chat app…that Jack secretly built. AND, in REAL life, as their swim team duties bring them together more and more frequently, they start to realize that the other isn’t so bad…

You guys, Tweet Cute was the YA contemporary I didn’t even know I needed. It was honestly the best I’ve read in a really long time. I loved both Jack and Pepper as characters, and they were such realistic portrayals of teens. Pepper was snarky and witty and pretty much my high school me on paper. Jack was adorable and funny and the boy I WISH I could have met in high school. Even with deeper themes underlying this story, most of it was so lighthearted with the witty banter that I LOVE. This book was so incredibly charming, and I can’t wait to see where this author goes from here. Pick this book up immediately. You will not regret it.

 Tweet Cute releases on January 21, 2020.

*All quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of 2019 Backlist Reads

If you’ve followed my page for a while, you know that last year, I started picking 12 backlist books to read. These were 12 books that were published PRIOR to that year, that I’ve had sitting on my shelf for a while or that I’d heard incredible things about and knew I had to read. You can see my original post here. Before I post up my 2020 list, let’s see how I did in 2019:

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ONE: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

RATING: ★★★★★

This actually ended up being my top non-2019 publication read of the year! I absolutely loved this one and will sing it’s praises to everyone who has not read it.

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TWO: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

RATING: ★★★★★

I read this and ended up loving it! I neglected to write a review on it (story of my life) but I can’t wait to read Angie Thomas’ next book (also still sitting on my shelf…whoops).

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THREE: Circe by Madeline Miller

RATING: ★★★★★

This one also made my top 5 non-2019 publication list. SO GOOD. In fact, you may see another Madeline Miller installment on my 2020 backlist book because of how much I loved this one…

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FOUR: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

RATING: ★★★★★

I waited way too long to read this. It is beautiful and hard and raw and real. I highly recommend you’re in the right headspace to read it, but once you are…pick it up.

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FIVE: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

RATING: ★★★★★

Hard to believe that after I read and loved Radio Silence so much, I still haven’t picked up these other two books. And I better get on it, because Oseman has another gorgeous novel coming out this year!

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SIX: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

UNREAD

Alright everyone shame me… I didn’t get to this one yet.

SEVEN: A Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

RATING: ★★★★★

This was way out of my comfort zone – I’m not a huge science fiction reader. But I ended up absolutely loving it, and already can’t wait for the next installment.

EIGHT: City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

UNREAD

SHAME ON ME.

NINE: Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

UNREAD

Yikes guys I’m not doing so great at this.

TEN: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

CURRENTLY READING

Ok I know it isn’t 2019 anymore but I’m currently reading this one so that kind of counts, right?

ELEVEN: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

RATING: ★★★★★

I loved this one so much that I immediately jumped into the second book, but haven’t read the third yet. I LOVED the audio so if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend listening along while you read the book!

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TWELVE: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

UNREAD

Someone needs to get on me about this.

 

Ok. So I ended up reading 7/12…man that is not great. BUT I will get to these this year!

Have you read any of these books? What’d you think?

2020 Backlist reads will be posted later this week!

xoxo

Jen