June Haul

For most of quarantine, I did a decent job on not buying ALL THE BOOKS. The past few months I’ve done decidedly less of a good job, BUT I will say, I think the books I chose to spend my money on this month are TOP NOTCH, especially considering pride month and the book community’s attempt to Black out the best seller list. Here are the books I purchased in June:

June Haul

  1. Heartstopper Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman
  2. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
  3. You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson
  4. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  5. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
  6. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London (BOTM)
  7. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (BOTM)

How many books did you buy in June??

xoxo

Jen

July TBR

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Ok, I know I said I was coming back…but I’ve done a PRETTY bad job at keeping up on posts. I mean, here I am already, late on my July TBR.

Speaking of TBRs…I’m not really DOING them at the moment. I have a few things I want to hit each month (1 book of the month book, 1 backlist book), but other than that, I’m doing a lot of mood reading lately which I LOVE. I do have a few ARCS to get to this month, although I’ve slowed down significantly on accepting those.

With all that being said, here are the books I am DEFINITELY going to read this month:

  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson – this is the Dragon and Tea Bookclub pick for July, and since I already have it sitting on my shelf, what better time to read it?!
  • More than Maybe by Erin Hahn – I absolutely LOVED You’d Be Mine by this author, and am actually on the blog tour for this one, so I will for sure be posting a review. I can’t wait to get to this one!

Anybody have other suggestions for books I HAVE to get to?? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: Girl Gone Viral

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Title: Girl Gone Viral

Author: Alisha Rai

Release Date: April 21, 2020

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 400

Rating: ★★★★

The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1)

[Goodreads Synopsis]

Review:

 I read the first book in this series, The Right Swipe, last year with Dragons and Tea Bookclub, and really fell in love with the writing and the characters. When I saw that Katrina was getting her own book, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Let me set the scene:

Katrina King:you may remember Katrina King as Rhi’s friend and roommate. She’s an ex-model with some major anxiety, and now lives an extremely private life. She’s the best cinnamon roll in this entire series and I want to put her in my pocket and never let anything bad happen.

Jas Singh: Katrina’s bodyguard for years and years and years, and one of the few people she trusts completely. She’s also had the hots – or the ‘zings’, as she calls it – for him for ages. Too bad he’s completely professional…

In an attempt to get her mind off of Jas and try to jump some hurdles caused by her anxiety, Katrina strikes up a completely innocent conversation with a cute guy at her favorite coffee shop. When he asks her out, she turns him down, and thinks that’s the end of it. Until…

A stranger at the next table live-tweeted (and embellished) their entire interaction, and now #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl have gone viral. All at once, Katrina’s extremely private life has been thrust into the very large public eye of the internet. As she starts to spiral, Jas comes to the rescue, and offers to whisk her away to his family peach farm. A hot bodyguard and his charge, after years of sexual tension and pining after each other, stranded together at a secluded farm? What possibly could happen???

Ok so let me lead with this: I liked The Right Swipe better than it’s sequel, and I’m not sure if it’s because I liked the characters better or the storyline better – I’m suspecting both. I connected more with Rhi than I did with Katrina, and this storyline just seemed unsatisfying somehow. I think some of the complicated problems that came up were solved just too neatly and easily?? And I think the chemistry between the two MC’s left something to be desired, BUT I think the way their romance progressed was right on par with their personalities, and there were definitely some swoon-worthy scenes.

There was also some fantastic mental health representation in this book –anxiety attacks, panic disorders, PTSD, and emotional abuse were all highlighted and were major plot points. The author didn’t just mention these topics, she showed her characters battling them and finding their own ways to ask for help and struggling to deal with them.

Overall, I did really enjoy this read. I know I already mentioned that Katrina is the cinnamon roll of all cinnamon rolls, but I really enjoyed Jas as well – he kind of snuck in and stole my heart without me even realizing it. If you are looking for a quick, easy read, slow burn romance with a diverse, fantastic set of characters, this book is for you. I can’t wait to see where this author goes next!

HIATUS TOP 5

Ok. I’m not going to sit here and review all 21 of the books I read while I was on hiatus (although if they were ARCs, I WILL be reviewing them!)

However, I do want to highlight which ones I absolutely loved, and why. Just in case you were on the fence about reading any of these! Without further ado:

THE TOP 5 BOOKS I READ WHILE I WAS ON HIATUS:

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FIVE: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

This is probably the best mystery/thriller I’ve read in 2020. It was creepy, it kept me on the edge of my seat, and while I managed to guess some of the twists and turns, there were definitely reveals that had my gasping out loud until the very last page. I especially liked how the author ended the book – and hated it, two.

FOUR: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

I started this book JUST as COVID was starting to hit the states hard – whoops. But what a unique read! I loved it. I was completely drawn into this world, and couldn’t look away. The atmosphere was addicting, and I loved the main characters so much. This isn’t a happy read, and there is a lot of blood and violence. I had some minor issues with the ending, but I think it made it more realistic that way. Some of the best books leave us with a question, and at the end of Wilder Girls my question was this: what would you do in order to survive?

THREE: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

Ok let’s be honest, if you’re following my page you all know at this point that I’m SJM trash. This is no different. Are Rhys and the main love interest of this book literally the same person? Yep. Did I still eat it up? Duh. I enjoyed SJM’s first stab at an adult fantasy novel. While the world building and info dump are a little daunting, it was worth the initial effort. Side note, if you are NOT a SJM fan, you will not like this book.

TWO: Beach Read by Emily Henry

This book was such an adorable, quick, easy read. I am a sucker for enemies to lovers romance books, and this was no different. This story sucked me in and spit me out less than 24 hours later. But don’t let the carefree name fool you – this book tackles some tough subjects while somehow remaining swoon-worthy all the way through.

ONE: A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

I truly do not think I’ve ever read a book that has made me feel as much as this book did. This book easily is making my top 5 reads of all TIME, not just 2020, and may even be at the top. I saw myself so much on these pages. The anxiety, the tics, the running as an escape – the author NAILED this character. I felt like my soul was bleeding out of my body straight on to the page. And while what happened to the main character is terribly sad, this story somehow still left you feeling full of hope at the end. We can do hard things, we can survive, and we can heal. If you read one book in 2020, let this one be it.

 

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

xoxo

Jen

HIATUS HAUL

Ok, I realize while I was on hiatus there was a huge pandemic, so buying books was not high on my list of priorities. That being said, I did manage to purchase some! Here are the books I added to my shelves while I was away:

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  1. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
  2. The Two Lies of Lydia Bird by Josie Silverman
  3. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (birthday gift from Amy – thank you so much sweet friend!)
  4. The Diviners by Libba Bray:
  5. A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone
  6. Beach Read by Emily Henry
  7. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  8. The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
  9. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  10. Heartstopper Vol 3 by Alice Oseman
  11. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

To be fair, April WAS my birthday month so I may have gone a little wild and taken “treat yourself” completely to heart. Have you guys read any of these? What’d you think??

xoxo

Jen

HIATUS WRAP-UP

WOO it feels weird to be writing posts again. But also good??? I’m going with it. Ok so TECHNICALLY my last post was on the last day of February – a March TBR (that I can pretty much guarantee I didn’t stick to). But just because I stopped posting doesn’t mean I stopped reading. I’m not going to review all of these books, BUT I did want to give them some ratings to let you know what I thought of them. Some of the ones I rated super highly (or any that were ARCS) I’ll be reviewing SOON!

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  1. Recursion by Black Crouch: ★.5
  2. Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian: ★★
  3. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas (audio): ★★★
  4. Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser (audio): 
  5. Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian: 
  6. Wilder Girls by Rory Power (backlist): ★★
  7. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (audio): ★★
  8. Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey (ARC): ★★
  9. Always Human by Ari North (Dragons and Tea book club): ★★
  10. Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (ARC): ★★
  11. Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare (audio): ★★
  12. #FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar: 
  13. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (audio, reread): ★★
  14. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (audio, reread): 
  15.  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: ★.5
  16. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner (audio): ★★
  17. A Heart In a Body in the World by Deb Caletti (backlist): 
  18. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas (audio, reread): ★★
  19. Fake it Til You Break It  by Jennifer P. Ngugen (dragon and tea pick): 
  20. The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda (ARC): ★★
  21. Beach Read by Emily Henry: 

DNF: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer Armentrout (DNF @ 50%)

I guess on average that’s 7 books a month? Not bad. It’s important to note that if the book was an ARC, I’ll be reviewing it shortly! And I’ll have a post coming soon about my top 5 🙂 What’d everyone else read while I was gone?? Have you read any of these? What’d you think??

xoxo

Jen

RETURN FROM HIATUS

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HELLO everybody! It’s hard to believe my last post was over three months ago (on my blog, anyway)- I feel like that time flew by (or dragged incredibly slowly…thanks quarantine).

In March, I made the hard decision to step away from the book community for a while. This decision was not something I made lightly, and I thought long and hard, considering every angle. The book community has brought me so much joy over the past two years, and I’ve made so many great friends and met so many incredible people. However, my mental health was not handling the added pressures well. Most of you know I’m in healthcare, and live in Michigan – one of the states that COVID hit the hardest. I took a voluntary position at a hospital on a COVID floor to help out during the peak of the virus, and simply couldn’t handle the added stress of deadlines, reviews, ARCs, or blog posts. While stepping away was a hard decision, I know it was the right choice for me at the time.

Michigan is slowly starting to open up, and my services are no longer needed at the hospital – this is a GOOD THING. And over the past few weeks I’ve found myself missing the book community more than ever – so I’ve made the (also hard) decision to return… WITH some changes in place:

  • While I was most active on my bookstagram account, posting almost every day, I was fairly active on my blog as well. This is going to change. I will not be participating in TTT or Down the TBR posts. I will still do hauls and wrap-ups, TBRs are TBD. I will primarily be posting reviews. Expect fewer posts from me in the future.
  • ARCS: I will only be requesting ARCS I am hanging on the edge of my seat to read, and will be using my discretion on accepting requests from publishers. This is to protect my mental health and decrease my stress level. If you’re looking for reviews on books prior to release, you may need to find another platform.
  • Reviews: similar to the two prior bullet points, I will no longer be reviewing every book I read. IF you have a question on a particular book and I haven’t posted a review of it, DM me and I’ll give you some quick thoughts!
  • Bookstagram: daily posts may not happen. I started these platforms because reading was something I loved and was passionate about. I do not what to feel like they are something I “have to” do.

I realize this is a much more vulnerable post than you guys are used to from me, but I also think it would be unfair to make these changes without recognizing them and the purpose behind them. I love the book community, but I also need to be fair to myself – I need this to continue to be something I enjoy, and not another stressor added to my plate.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you stick with me through these changes. ❤ Looking forward to discussing book things with you all again.

xoxo,

Jen

 

March TBR

Ok, TBRs have not been working well for me lately, but we’re going to give this another go. I have a few books that I need to get to this month, but the rest of it is pretty flexible, which will be nice.

Here are the books I KNOW I’ll be getting to this month:

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  • Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco: ARC releasing March 3rd
  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas (duh)
  • Malice by Pintip Dunn (Dragons and Tea March pick)

Beyond that, I’ll be picking a BOTM book and a backlist read for this month, and I’m buddy reading Queen of Air and Darkness with Amy!

What are you guys reading this month?

xoxo

Jen

February Wrap-Up

While my hauls have been low, I’ve been doing a LOT of reading (with the help of audio books), which is refreshing after my slump at the end of 2019. Reviewing is a whole different story… whoops. And for some reason I had a ton of rereads this month? Which was kind of fun!

Here are the books I read in February:

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  1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (reread, audio): 
  2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (BOTM): ★.5
  3. The Wicked King by Holly Black (reread, audio): ★★
  4. Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin (ARC): 
  5. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (reread, audio): 
  6. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (Dragons and Tea Book Club Pick): ★.5
  7. Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (2019 backlist): ★★
  8. Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (reread, audio): ★★
  9. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (buddy read with Amy, audio): 
  10. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer: 
  11. Recursion by Black Crouch (BOTM, 2020 backlist):

How many books did you read this month?

xoxo

Jen

February Haul

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of the month already! I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping my hauls low, which makes my bank account suuuuper happy. We’ll just forget that I went a little wild with my BOTM selections this month…

Here are the books I hauled in February:

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  1. Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
  2. Anna K by Jenny Lee – BOTM
  3. The Holdout by Graham Moore – BOTM
  4. You Are Not Alone by Hendricks & Pekkanen – BOTM

How many books did you haul in February?

xoxo

Jen