Smutathon Wrap Up

I’m here today to go over all the books that I read (and in one case, tried to read) during the Smutathon. This was a really fun readathon for me and I discovered the authors Christina Lauren that I absolutely adore and want to read everything they have ever written. Which is interesting because I think I inadvertently picked two of their most tame books smut wise.

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This was a fun read but it was definitely inspired by 50 Shades of Grey. I really enjoyed the romance between Kate and Drake. I didn’t like the over the top judgmental behavior of one character. I also didn’t like how Kate had to keep reassuring herself of what she wanted and it turning into a mini rant on BDSM. Maybe because I’m already on the side of people should do what makes them happy (as long as no one is physically or mentally hurt) but it became irritating every time we had to stop the story to have these moments.

Rating: 3/5

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I dnf’d this at 45%. I didn’t care about the characters and their insta love after so much time apart. I also didn’t like that Bailey kept making excuses for Adam’s behavior and he would never apologize. So when I got to the part where they didn’t use a condom after multiple times being told how many other people Adam has been with I just decided I was over this book.

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I loved Amy and Sebastian’s romance. It starts off in a fun way and I loved the way they were together. I didn’t so much like the “mystery” they were trying to solve and all the random family drama from Amy but overall this is good smutty fun. I definitely want to check out more of Saskia Walker’s work in the future.

Lastly, I read my first two Christina Lauren books and I am a fan. I loved the romance better in Roomies but the characters better in My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I can see why everyone raves about their books. I think I might have read their two least smuttiest books but they can write an amazing love story.

Roomies: 4.5/5

My Favorite Half-Night Stand: 4/5

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Round 4 TBR

Tomorrow (June 12) starts the latest round of the Buzzwordathon and goes through June 18. The word for this round is YOU and you can stretch that to your, you’ll, you’ve etc. I love this readathon so much because it is such a fun way to read books that I already have on my TBR.

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Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Goodreads

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Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.

Goodreads

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No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

Goodreads

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It’s been one year since it happened…

When Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in a swimming accident, she shut out almost everyone. Now Paige has decided it’s finally time to rejoin the world, and she has a plan. First on the list: go out with Ryan Chase, her longtime and newly single crush. And last on the list: swim. Terrifying, yet possible?

But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin Max moves to town and recruits Paige for the QuizBowl team (of all things!), her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Starting over isn’t easy, but Paige knows the scariest things are usually the most difficult. Can she face her fears and open herself up to life and love again?

Goodreads

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Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Goodreads

~Cassie

Mini Reviews #7

I’m back with my latest installment of my mini reviews series. This one will mostly consist of all the smaller books that I have recently read.

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Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish

I loved this! When I was younger I was obsessed with the older Archie comics. More specifically Betty and Veronica so I was excited when I saw my library carries these graphic novels. It was a little weird in the beginning because so much is different but the overall feel of the comics is still the same.

Rating: 5/5

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Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire

This was so disappointing. This book is only 174 pages with larger print and spacing so a lot of the themes of this book felt so overdone. I appreciate the different characters and what they represent but it took over too much of the story. This story is more of an adventure quest which I really like but that story was so rushed because we kept getting inundated with Cora’s thoughts and insecurities about being fat. While what she was saying was important I also feel like it shouldn’t come at the expense of the story. There were numerous times where the characters were just going along and then all of sudden we would have a page or more of Cora having these thoughts but most of the time nothing was happening in the story to warrant them. I feel like McGuire really let down Cora’s character because what she has to say is important representation but the writing prevented it from having the impact that it should have.

Rating: 2/5

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This books should be taught in schools. What a powerful essay on feminism and how even if some people don’t want to see it that it is real. This is actually on excerpt of a TED talk that the author did and I definitely want to find and watch it. This the first work of Adichie’s that I have read and I cannot wait to read more.

Rating: 5/5

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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) by Seanan McGuire

This book totally redeemed how much I didn’t like the third book in the series. This one had such an interesting portal world that felt so fleshed out and I loved learning more about it as the story went on. I also like the progression of time this book goes through which made me fall in love with Lundy’s character so much more.

Rating: 5/5

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The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

The first book in this series I really liked the main character, America. As the series has gone on she has gotten more and more annoying. I liked seeing more of the world building in this one and I wish the book had focused more on that. Instead the book kept pushing the love triangle aspect which stopped feeling believable after book one. The way America flip flops on everything and believes in herself less and less as the books went on was irritating. There was also so much over the top drama at the end of this book that it was borderline aggravating. With all that being said, I do think I will eventually read the spin off books because I am intrigued by this dystopian world.

Rating: 2/5

~Cassie

ARC Review: The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookotoure for allowing me to read this book early in exchange for my honest review.

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Title: The Honeymoon

Author: Rona Halsall

Pages: 314

Publisher: Bookotoure

Publication Date: June 7, 2019

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 4/5

‘I’m your husband, Chloe. We’re a partnership now and we do what’s best for us as a couple. Staying here is going to be the best option.’ He picked up his drink and took a sip. ‘It’s not open for discussion. We’re not going home.’

Chloe had the dream wedding. Dan is her perfect man. They haven’t known each other for long, but as she walked down the aisle and saw him standing by the altar, tears glistening in his eyes, she knew this was forever.

Later, as they relax on a beautiful island, settling in to their new married life together, they congratulate themselves on their lovely wedding day, and Dan jokes that he’d like them to stay there forever.

But as the honeymoon goes on, he becomes increasingly adamant. They shouldn’t leave. In fact, he won’t let her…

An utterly gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Clare Mackintosh, and The Wife Between Us.

Goodreads

This is a better than average domestic thriller. I really liked the way the main character, Chloe, is always questioning and rationalizing her thinking when it comes to her husband Dan. She knows that things are wrong and instead of blindly going along with it she stands up for herself. Sometimes, it feels like too much rationalizing on her part but overall I think the author, Rona Halsall, does a good job of not making Chloe a doormat. Chloe and Dan’s relationship was definitely rushed but at the same time it felt authentic. I fully believed that Chloe loves Dan and I could feel her pain and confusion over what was happening.

In the beginning of the book there are flashbacks and I didn’t like that it didn’t continue throughout the whole story. If you are familiar with my reviews you know that I am big on how a story is formatted. I would have preferred for the book to keep the same flow throughout the story. Also, there were a few times where there were flashbacks within flashbacks and I didn’t find them necessary.

I enjoyed the bulk of the story from when the honeymoon starts until the ending. It was well paced and I liked all the revelations that came out. The ending felt a bit over the top for me but it was still a fun read. I also really enjoyed the whole character arc for Chloe and the growth that she makes as a character. The unpredictably of Dan made the book very suspenseful as well because I was never quite sure what he was going to do or how far he was going to go.

I think that a lot of people would enjoy this book. If you are a fan of romance and/or thrillers then I definitely suggest you check this book out. It does a fabulous job of pushing the limits on what seems like a basic domestic thriller.

~Cassie

May Wrap Up

May was a great reading month for me. Not only was I able to read a good amount of books I also “read” my first audiobook. I have tried numerous times to get into audiobooks but I would just find my mind wandering and would just give up. However, I have heard great things about the one I listened to and I am so happy that I gave it a chance. I will have another mini review post up on Saturday where some of these will be reviewed so be sure to check back then for more of my thoughts on these books.

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I loved this! Review to come.

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This is my least favorite of the series. Which is another way of saying that I really didn’t like this. Review to come.

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This should be required reading in schools. Such an amazing little excerpt of a speech that I want to find and watch. Review to come.

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This is such an amazing thriller. I loved everything about it. Full review to come.

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I was nervous to read this after disliking Beneath the Sugar Sky so much but this is my favorite in the series. So good and I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Review to come.

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Another freaking fantastic book. A definite must read if you love contemporary romances. My review.

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An okay end to the series. I plan on eventually continuing on with the series because I am fascinated by the world these books are set in and I enjoy learning more about it in each book. Review to come.

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A good mystery for fans of Pretty Little Liars. My review.

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My least favorite Wendy Walker that I have read. My review.

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This has the honor of being the second book that I have ever dnf’d. I made it 33% and just couldn’t do anymore. Review to come.

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This book has such a great premise but unfortunately it failed to deliver. My review.

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Another book with a great premise but ultimately left me wanting more. This book is beautifully written though. Review to come.

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My first audiobook! This is an absolutely stunning book. I am so happy that I listened to the audiobook but I also want to get my own copy and annotate all the amazing quotes that this book is made up of. I finished this the day my chance to pick the June book of the month books and I picked her newest release because I can’t wait to read more from Elizabeth Acevedo. She also narrates The Poet X audiobook and I highly suggest you listen if you can because she does an incredible job reading her book so much emotion and feeling. I will further be reviewing this book soon.

~Cassie

June TBR

I was looking at my shelves a couple of days ago and realized that I have so many books that I want to read that I decided to make myself four tbr jars.I have broken down my picks into the different categories of jars that I made. I will also be reading my Fox Book Club June book and the few ARCs I have. I’m also participating in two readathons this month. I have already shared my Smutathon TBR and I will be sharing my buzzwordathon tbr later in the month. I’m also in the middle of three different books right now and I hope to finish them the first few days of the month. I will just be sharing my jar picks and my book club pick here and will do a full list of all the books I read during my wrap up at the end of the month.

Book of the Month pick

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Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

Goodreads

My Physical TBR shelves

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Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Goodreads

Most want to read ebooks

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Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

Goodreads

Most want to read physical books

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Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of this “genuine and truly eerie” (RT Book Reviews) debut in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

Goodreads

Fox Book Club 

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When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Goodreads

This is a pretty ambitious tbr for me but I feel like I can do it since my boys will be out of school next week and my schedule will be more relaxed. I plan on reading lots outside while they are playing and swimming and all the fun summer stuff. We also have a couple of road trips planned so I am hoping I will be able to successfully read all the books I have planned.

~Cassie