Somebody Give This Heart a Pen

Title: Somebody Give This Heart A Pen

Author: Sophia Thakur

Series: standalone

Genre: Poetry, Young Adult, Romance, Empowerment, Relationship

Pages: 112

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Rating: ★★★★★

*I received an ARC of Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: “A compelling collection of poems that explores the emotions and experiences of growing up as a mixed-race woman.

From acclaimed performance poet Sophia Thakur comes a powerful new collection of poems exploring issues of identity, difference, perseverance, relationships, fear, loss and joy. The collection is arranged as life is: from youth to school, to home life, falling in love and falling straight back out again. The poems draw on the author’s experience as a young mixed-race young woman trying to make sense of a lonely and complicated world. With a strong narrative voice and emotional empathy, this is poetry that will resonate with all young people, whatever their background, and whatever their dreams. As she says, she hopes the poems will help readers ‘grow through what they go through'”

Review: I’ve been drawn into the world of poetry by all those beautiful instagrammable poetry (milk & honey, etc.). While those modern poems are beautiful in their own way I have found more and more a sense of repetitiveness. This collection, although still modern, have so much more complexity. These beautiful poems are exactly what I needed to reignite my love of poetry.

I’ll admit I’m no poetry expert, but Sophia writes in such emotional, beautiful poems with so much strength. Her words tug at my soul. Sophia tackles so many different topics in her poems from friendship to race to self-empowerment. This is not a book to speed read through. Each poem has so much depth to discover and be savored!

Cover: ★★★★★

Favorite Quotes:

  • “From fixing we learned and from learning came life.”
  • “What matters is not what you are called But what you answer to.”
  • “silence cannot be misquoted”
  • “We are callusing where we should soften”
  • “When does compromise become sacrifice When does sacrifice become surrender”


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The Four Profound Weaves

Title: The Four Profound Weaves

Author: R.B. Lemberg

Series: Birdverse

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, LGBTQ+

Pages: 192

Publisher: Tachyon Publications

Rating: ★★★★★

*I received an ARC of  The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: “Wind: To match one’s body with one’s heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night

The Surun’ do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.

As the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

Set in R. B. Lemberg’s beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. In this breathtaking debut, Lemberg offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one’s identity in a hostile world.”

Review: An absolutely beautiful, poetic, and emotional story! I’ll be honest and say that I had trouble fully diving into the first 30% of the story. It almost felt like I had missed the first chapter where everything was explained and that I had just jumped straight into a complex world knowing nothing. However, after picking things up and finally grasping the world, the characters, and the plot the beauty of the story revealed itself.

Not only is this book written beautifully, but it also tackles issues with LGBTQ+ in society (even though it’s fantasy it reflects the real world well) and it has a strong focus on the trans community. This book is such an exemplary example of how fiction can be so important to the world.

If you love adventure, magic, and beautiful imagery this is a book you should definitely pick up!

Cover: ★★★★★

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Even far away from home, with only myself for company, I did not fit.”
  • “‘Why did they exile her?’ ‘Because they were afraid.'”
  • “I am whole in my body, but my people will never accept my changing. The thought of it stoppers my throat.”
  • “If you care about someone strongly enough, if you listen hard to their stories, perhaps one day you will find yourself in that place.”

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Wayward Witch

Title: Wayward Witch

Author: Zoraida Córdova

Series: Brooklyn Brujas #3

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Pages: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Rating: ★★★★★

*I received an ARC of Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: “Rose Mortiz has always been a fixer, but lately she’s been feeling lost. She has brand-new powers she doesn’t understand, and her family is still trying to figure out how to function in the wake of her amnesiac father’s return home. Then, on the night of her Deathday party, Rose discovers her father’s memory loss has been a lie.
 
As she rushes to his side, the two are ambushed and pulled through a portal to the land of Adas, a fairy realm hidden in the Caribbean Sea. There, Rose is forced to work with a group of others to save Adas. Soon, she begins to discover the scope of her powers, the troubling truth about her father’s past, and the sacrifices he made to save her sisters.
 
But if Rose wants to return home so she can repair her broken family, she must figure out how to heal Adas first.”

Review: Let me do a quick review of the first two book in the series before I start on this one. I enjoyed both books, but I found the first book to be too predictable, as adventurous as it was. The much preferred the second book. However, I think this third book is by far my favorite (the second just being too… zombie-ish for my liking). I also am usually not a fan of series where each book takes on a different character’s perspective, but it makes more sense to do so for this series.

As a middle child, I thought I would relate most to Alex, but I think I am much more similar to Rose. In this third book of the series, I found myself intrigued by the Kingdom of Adas and enthralled by the twists and turns in Rose’s adventure. The magic in every Brooklyn Brujas story amazes me and Wayward Witch is no exception.

Wayward Witch is Rosie’s coming of age story filled with magic, romance, and growth. It also my favorite book so far in this series! Although I wouldn’t say this book ends with a cliffhanger, there are definitely some strings left untied that I can’t wait to see resolved in the next book!

Cover: ★★★★★

Favorite Quotes:

  • “What if New York were being destroyed by something we had no control over. Where would we go then?” (this felt way too relevant currently!)

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Fable

Title: Fable

Author: Adrienne Young

Series: Fable #1

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Adventure

Pages: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Rating: ★★★★★

*I received an ARC of Fable by Adrienne Young through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: “As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Review: If I didn’t have other things I had to do I honestly could have finished this in one sitting. Fable was everything I needed right now. A perfect distraction from this crazy world. With amazing characters, an ever-changing plot, and an energy that has you flipping pages without even knowing because you so desperately need that next word or next sentence.

I was excited to see that this was a fantasy novel since that’s exactly what I wanted to pick up during such a time where my mind is always filled to the brim with thoughts, fears, and reflections. Fable was the perfect escape. As a fantasy lover, and particularly a magic lover, I was shocked to realized HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK, that I hadn’t even missed the magical element I’ve come to expect fantasy novels to have.

This is only the FIRST of the series! Not only am I excited for more, but Fable is an amazing read, but an even more amazing set up to a series I cannot wait to read! We get an amazing glimpse into each character, just enough to get hooked and just missing enough to need more. Now, I will say this book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. However, even if you despise cliffhangers, I would recommend you pick this novel up anyways because: 1) It’s worth it and 2) you can now suffer with me!

This book is great for fans of Lila Bard (from the Shades of Magic series), action, romance, and an ocean breeze.

Cover: ★★★★★

Favorite Quotes:

  • “I didn’t like how calm it looked, the way the surface gleamed like newly fired glass. It was unnerving to see the sea asleep when I’d seen how bloodthirsty she could be.”
  • “It was a pathetic way to die, caught in the middle of someone else’s feud.”

April Time Capsule

* Time Capsule= Favorites, but it felt more appropriate given that these are some weird times. Stay safe and if you have had any interests or interesting moments, please share! To Eat lao gan ma: an oil chili condiment SO GOOD. I grew up really bad with spicy food and have only recently developed a …

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How to be a bookstagrammer

Want to be a bookstagrammer?! Here’s a few tips on joining the bookstagram community! Mindset Love books! Ok this sort of a given, but it is the essential part of bookstagramming! (Why make a whole account on something you don’t enjoy?!) Talk to people! There’s no point in joining a community without interacting with the …

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Little Women

Title: Little Women Author: Louisa May Alcott Series: Little Women #1 Genre: Fiction, Classics, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Literature Pages: (depends on the edition) Publisher: Amazon Classics Rating: ★★★★★ Synopsis: “As a New England mother struggles to support her family in the wake of her husband’s service in the Civil War, her four daughters …

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Break Your Glass Slippers

Title: Break Your Glass Slippers Author: Amanda Lovelace Series: You Are Your Own Fairy Tale #1 Genre: Poetry, Feminism Pages: 160 Publisher: Andrews McMeel Rating: ★★★★★ *I received an ARC of Break Your Glass Slippers through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: “more forgetting time.more midnight dances with …

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March Favorites

Activities Journaling: If you haven’t journaled before, now is a great time to start! I always find it a great way to reflect. To me journaling works similarly to photography, but instead of capturing the physical memories, it capture the emotional or logical memories. I love reading old journals or just physically writing down my …

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A Strangely Wrapped Gift

Title: A Strangely Wrapped Gift Author: Emily Brynes Series: Standalone Genre: Poetry, LGBT, Mental Health Pages: 192 Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5/5) *I received an ARC of A Strangely Wrapped Gift through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: In these pages, you will find journeys from …

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Teen Titans: Beast Boy

Title: Teen Titans: Beast Boy

Author: Kami Garcia

Illustrator: Gabriel Picolo

Series: Teen Titans #2

Genre: Young Adult, Comic, Graphic Novel, Superhero, Fantasy, DC Comics

Pages: 208

Publisher: DC Ink

Rating: ★★★★★

*I received an ARC of Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis:Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the 17-year-old with green streaks in his hair can’t find a way to stand out–and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn’t find a way to impress the Chosen Ones–the social elite at Bull Creek High School–he will never know what it’s like to matter. Gar’s best friends, Stella and Tank, don’t understand why he cares what other people think. They miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend.

Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the Chosen Ones and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops and, suddenly, he’s stronger and faster. He’s finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself–and the people who truly matter–before his life spirals out of control.”

Review: I have been loving the Teen Titan comics and Beast Boy is only causing my love to grow for this series! Kami Garcia is such a brilliant author and it still shows through in comics! I could go on and on about Gabriel Picolo’s art, but just take a look and you’ll see how amazing his style is and how it translates brilliantly to comics!

Beast Boy is such a fun character and the way his backstory is set up is fascinating! Even though my twin sister and I would watch some of the episodes of Teen Titans as kids, I never learned more about the characters and this is such a beautiful and exciting way of learning about each character! As an animal lover, Beast Boy as always been one of the characters I was more interested in and this comic has only increased my love for this character!

This is such a quick and fun comic and is definitely something people of all ages could and should pick up! If you’re looking for action, amazing art, and nostalgia be sure to read Beast Boy (as well as Raven, the first book of the series)!

Cover: ★★★★★★★★★★(and all the art inside!!)

Dewdrop

Title: Dewdrop Author: Katie O’Neill Series: Standalone Genre: Childrens, Picture book, Fantasy Pages: 40 Publisher: Oni Press Rating: ★★★★★ *I received an ARC of Dewdrop through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: From the author of The Tea Dragon Society comes Dewdrop, the delightful children’s tale of an adorable axolotl who …

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Nineteen

Title: Nineteen Author: Mackenzie Campbell Series: standalone Genre: Poetry Pages: 192 Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing Rating: ★★★★☆ Synopsis: “By the author of the wildly successful 2am Thoughts, comes Nineteen — titled after the poet’s age when she wrote this new book. Nineteen is a collection of poetry that broaches heartbreak, love, loss, war,peace, and healing. …

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February Favorites

Food Chocolate wafers: OMG The dark chocolate Quadritini’s are my life. I have to stop myself from buying them because I eat them so fast and relentlessly. Seriously though, I love them so much. Libraries NYPL: ok this is a weird one I guess, but I finally got a library and visited the NYC libraries …

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Anna K.: A Love Story

Title: Anna K.: A Love Story Author: Jenny Lee Series: Standalone Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Contemporary, Romance Pages: 448 Publisher: Flatiron Books Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5/5) *I received an ARC of Anna K.: A Love Story through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: Every happy teenage girl is the …

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Shadow of the Batgirl

Title: Shadow of the Batgirl Author: Sarah Kuhn Series: Standalone Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Comic, Superhero Pages: 185 Publisher: DC Ink Rating: ★★★★★ *I received an ARC of  Shadow of the Batgirl through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn’t exactly Batgirl …

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The Raven and the Dove

Title: The Raven and the Dove Author: Kaitlyn Davis Series: The Raven and the Dove #1 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling Pages: 502 Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC Rating: ★★★★☆ *I received an ARC of The Raven and the Dove through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: …

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Vicious Spirits

Title: Vicious Spirits

Author: Kat Cho

Series: Gumiho #2

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal

Pages: 429

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Rating: ★★★★★

*I received an ARC of Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: New romance and dangers abound in this companion to the crowd-pleasing Wicked Fox.

As Vicious Spirits begins, Miyoung and Jihoon are picking up the pieces of their broken lives following the deaths of Miyoung’s mother, Yena, and Jihoon’s grandmother. With the support of their friend Somin, and their frenemy, Junu, they might just have a shot at normalcy. But Miyoung is getting sicker and sicker by the day and her friends don’t know how to save her. With few options remaining, Junu has an idea but it might require the ultimate sacrifice and, let’s be honest, Junu isn’t known for his “generosity.” Meanwhile, the events at the end of Wicked Fox have upended the forces that govern life and death and there are supernatural entities lurking in the background that will stop at nothing to right their world.”

Review: As much as I enjoyed Wicked Fox, I loved Vicious Spirits even more. Wicked Fox set a good stage as the first book in the series, but the romance and action in Vicious Spirits are what I have been waiting for!

My favorite part of this novel is easily the romance. Somin and Junu’s chemistry is hinted at the end of the first novel, but it delivers in this one. Miyoung and Jihoon have a sweet, caring, and intense relationship whereas Somin and Junu have a passionate, enemies to lovers, and exciting kind of romance. It is so FUN to read and watch everything unfold. I could not put this book down (seriously I read over 90% of this book in one sitting).

While it took me a while to fully embrace urban fantasy (not a genre I usually passionately love right away), I really came to love it. It helped reveal how so many of the life lessons in the story are still applicable to people and not just gumihos and dokkaebis (though who’s to say they aren’t real)!

Kat Cho is amazing at building these characters. They each have stories behind them and like in real life, you get to know a little more of each character’s background as you spend more time with them. Although I loved the main characters, some of the repeating side characters are just as crucial to the story. I cannot wait to see if there are more gumiho series adventures!

If you loved Wicked Fox, get ready for an absolute experience with Vicious Spirits!

Cover: ★★★★★ ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!

January Favorites

Food King’s Hawaiian Bread: I just got my wisdom teeth out and as nice as mashed potatoes are, this has been my favorite snack. I could honestly eat a whole bag in one go. Rice Cake: Being at home during winter break means a whole bunch of Chinese food that I don’t get during school! …

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Of Curses and Kisses

Title: Of Curses and Kisses Author: Sandhya Menon Series: St. Rosetta’s Academy #1 Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling, Fantasy Pages: 384 Publisher: Simon Pulse Rating: ★★★★☆ *I received an ARC of Of Curses and Kisses through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of When …

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The Kissing Game

Title: The Kissing Game Author: Marie Harte Series: Standalone Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary Pages: 320 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Rating: ★★★★☆ *I received an ARC of The Kissing Game through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: “I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.” Game on. Rena Jackson …

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Woven In Moonlight

*I received an ARC of Woven in Moonlight through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.* Synopsis: A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history. Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when …

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (The Graphic Novel) Author: Leigh Bardugo (an irl wonder woman!), Kit Seaton (Adapted by), Louise Simonson (Adapted by) Series: standalone Genre: Graphic Novel, Superhero, Action, DC Comic, Fantasy Pages: 192 Publisher: DC Comics Rating: ★★★★☆ *I received an ARC of  Wonder Woman: Warbringer (the Graphic Novel) through Netgalley, but this in …

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Entwined

Title: Entwined

Author: A. J. Rosen

Series: Entwined #1

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult, Middle Grade

Pages: 288

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Rating: ★★★★☆

*I received an ARC of Entwined by A.J. Rosen through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: Sometimes love gets a bit twisted.

Avery Montgomery doesn’t even know if she wants a soul mate.

As a member of the Hellenicus—a race founded in antiquity and descended directly from the Greek gods—Avery’s attending her first Gathering where she’ll gain the ability to entwine her thoughts with her destined soul mate and be tied to them forever.

But all is not as it seems at the Royal Court. There are severe and strange looks from the elders, whisperings from the ancient Dodona tree, and encounters with spirits who seem to know Avery better than she knows herself.

Throughout these whirlwind events at Court, Avery finds herself torn between her feelings for the wise and protective Vladimir and the passionate, fun-loving Adrian. Unwilling to surrender her independence or to betray her heart, Avery must decide once and for all if she’ll give in to her desires and risk the wrath of the Gods.

Because who are you if your destiny lies with another person? “

Review: When I first came across Entwined I was really drawn to the soulmate premise of this novel. Before I get into more detailed thoughts, I want to start off by saying that OVERALL, I enjoyed this story.

The first thing I noticed was definitely the writing, in particular, the conversations. They fell short and were, for a lack of a better word, cringey. I want to make it clear that I think it’s super cool and pretty amazing that Wattpad now publishes its stories, and that this is one of them! I also want to make it clear that I don’t think Wattpad stories are any less legitimate than other published stories, but in this case, I found the conversations unnatural.

This story is a fun greek mythology, love triangle, romance novel. However, it comes off a bit predictable and I think it would be much more suited for more of a middle-grade audience than a young adult audience.

That all said, I finished reading Entwined in ONE sitting. As a first novel, I can see there is room for improvement, but also it’s a debut novel!

Cover: ★★★★★

Pillow Thoughts IV

Title: Pillow Thoughts IV

Author: Courtney Peppernell

Series: Pillow Thoughts #4

Genre: Poetry, Mental Health

Pages: 288

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Rating: ★★★★☆

*I received an ARC of Pillow Talks IV by Courtney Peppernell through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: “The final installment in this bestselling series completes the journey that Courtney Peppernell began with Pillow Thoughts. With 600,000 copies sold across the series, Pillow Thoughts continues to inspire all who dip into Courtney’s encouraging words.

Self-healing is the theme of the entire Pillow Thoughts series. While books II and III focus on healing the heart and mind, respectively, Pillow Thoughts IV offers a balm for healing the soul. Have a cup of tea and let yourself feel. “

Review: Pillow Thoughts is such an iconic collection of poems and as the final book in the series, this does not disappoint! During such a tumultuous time, I really love reading poetry. It forces me to think about myself, the world, and forces me to reflect.

These poems are so beautiful and thoughtful and meditative experience. There’s something for everyone. From love to self-love, to forgiveness, to goal setting, each poem tells a story. This book doesn’t give you answers, but it might help you get there.

Cover: ★★★★☆

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Being in her skin didn’t feel like enough, as though she were merely a stranger with someone else’s name”
  • “The moon continues to shine light even when she is quarter, half, or full.”
  • “just remember that transformation starts with surrendering and ends in bravery”
  • “We are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. There is such beauty in redemption. Such wisdom in growing.”
  • “People fear those who stand up for themselves. The people who fight day in and day out for the rights of the vulnerable. They fear the people who fight the chains. So, continue breaking them.”
  • “If we accomplished everything in one day, there would be no purpose for tomorrow, and there is always purpose for tomorrow.”

The Love Scam

Title: The Love Scam

Author: MaryJanice Davidson

Series: Standalone

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, New Adult

Pages: 320

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

*I received an ARC of The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson through Netgalley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*

Synopsis: “A sweet and sassy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson.

Rake Tarbell is in trouble. When the fabulously wealthy and carefree bachelor wakes up horribly hungover in Venice, it’s not something that would normally be a problem…except he has no idea how he got there from California. Or who stole his wallet. Or who emptied his bank account of millions. Or who in the world is Lillith, the charming little girl claiming to be his long lost daughter. For the first time in his life, Rake is on his own and throwing Benjamins around aren’t going to solve his problem. Now if only the gorgeous, fun, and free-spirited woman who brought Lillith into his life was willing to help the situation…

Claire Delaney finds Rake’s problems hilarious and is not in the least bit sorry of adding to them by bringing Lillith into the mix. A pretty Midwestern girl with a streak for mischief, Rake is not the kind of man Claire hangs around with. Even if he is drop-dead handsome and charming as all get-out. Even if he needs help and she has all the answers. But if this helps Lillith, she will go out of her way. And with a guy like Rake, she’s willing to bend her rules a bit for some fun. But when adventure-filled days turn to romantic nights as they search for answers, and someone starts following them through the streets of Venice, Claire realizes she’s playing more than just a game. And maybe, just maybe, she isn’t willing to let go of Rake or Lillith just yet.”

Review: I wanted to enjoy this story, but it did not live up to my expectations. Though I think I would still be open to trying some of Davidson’s other books, I found this story to be confusing and really hard to follow.

Although the characters caught my interest, the plot was just too tangled for me to enjoy their personalities. This story felt like a crazy mix of action, con-artist/spy?, and romance. Although I was intrigued by the idea of this story and did somehow get through it, the plot just didn’t work and I was left confused for the majority of the story.

Cover: ★★★★★

Rules for Visiting

Title: Rules for Visiting

Author: Jessica Francis Kane

Series: standalone

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Pages: 290

Publisher: Penguin Press

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis:A beautifully observed and deeply funny novel of May Attaway, a university gardener who sets out on an odyssey to reconnect with four old friends over the course of a year.

At forty, May Attaway is more at home with plants than people. Over the years, she’s turned inward, finding pleasure in language, her work as a gardener, and keeping her neighbors at arm’s length while keenly observing them. But when she is unexpectedly granted some leave from her job, May is inspired to reconnect with four once close friends. She knows they will never have a proper reunion, so she goes, one-by-one, to each of them. A student of the classics, May considers her journey a female Odyssey. What might the world have had if, instead of waiting, Penelope had set out on an adventure of her own?

RULES FOR VISITING is a woman’s exploration of friendship in the digital age. Deeply alert to the nobility and the ridiculousness of ordinary people, May savors the pleasures along the way–afternoon ice cream with a long-lost friend, surprise postcards from an unexpected crush, and a moving encounter with ancient beauty. Though she gets a taste of viral online fame, May chooses to bypass her friends’ perfectly cultivated online lives to instead meet them in their messy analog ones.

Ultimately, May learns that a best friend is someone who knows your story–and she inspires us all to master the art of visiting.”

Review: This story is such a personal and nuanced response/reflection of life and its many experiences. It’s not necessarily the book you’d pick up for fast-paced action, or magic, or adventure (in the traditional sense), but it is without a doubt a page-turner and you become invested in the main character’s journey (both mentally and physically).

This is a story about deep self discovery, a testament to friendship, and even overcoming, or at least facing, a trauma. My experience and path in life is not similar to May’s, yet I relate to so many of her feelings and thoughts.

Pick up this book if you’re looking for a contemporary novel that makes you reflect, think, and appreciate.

Cover: ★★★★★

Favorite Quotes:

  • “His age earns him the right to startle people with his vocabulary and hobbies while their babies nap or idle in strollers or tear about the lawn. Like an old cat who drools, he is forgiven.”
  • “When little, friends play house in order to pretend to be family, which is ironic because the beauty of friends is that they are chosen, not given. Should siblings play friends? And do we make friends or find them?”
  • “But it had occurred to me that one of the questions I most wanted to ask my friends was: Can I see an average day in your life right now? A real day, not one curated for social media or filled with the best activities to entertain a visitor. On one hand, it’s a simple question. On the other, it’s almost too intimate. And it might be impossible, because the presence of a visitor changes a day, no matter how close the friends are.”
  • “I don’t have a daughter and I don’t know if I ever will. But if I do, we will not carry this sadness forward. I’m tired of holding it.”
  • “I feel about historical houses much the way I do about biographies: guilty I don’t enjoy them more.”
  • “I told her avarice, envy, pride, lust, and wrath harm others, and gluttony is bad for your health. But sloth is just a willingness to move slower than others and that’s not a crime. I’ve always thought despair should be the seventh deadly sin instead.”

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