The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

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Publication Date: This edition with this gorgeous blue cover was recently published January 7, 2020. The book was originally published October 16, 2015.

Publisher: HQN Books

Pages: 416

Genre: Contemporary with a touch of romance

Rating: 3/5

This book follows  book store owner Sarah Smith who is feeling stuck in her small town life and when she gets the opportunity to swap places with her friend, Sophie, who lives in Paris she jumps at the chance. Sarah is also trying to figure out her long distance relationship with her reporter boyfriend, Ridge. Upon reaching Paris, Sarah quickly learns that this is not going to be the fairytale vacation that she was picturing.

The story itself is fun and interesting with lots of great characters but this book tends to drag on. There was a lot that happened but at the same time it was also repetitive in a lot of areas. I think if the story had been cut down it would have flowed a lot better and kept everything moving forward. I did really enjoy not only Sarah’s character but the other people at the Paris bookstore. The journey of the bookstore was my favorite part of the book and I loved how it started and how everything ended up.

As I mentioned above this book does have a romance element in it but I classified it as a contemporary since the romance takes a back burner to Sarah’s journey of finding herself and of course the bookstore. I also didn’t care for the bit of romance that we did have. I don’t have anything against long distance relationships and while I have never been in one I don’t think this was the healthiest representation of one. I would have rated this book higher if Sarah’s romance hadn’t been a part of her story.

I think that if you enjoy Adult Contemporaries and also are in love with books then this is a book for you. The author, Raisin, is definitely a fellow book lover because the way Sarah talks/feels about books is something I related to as a book collector. If you also love contemporaries set in Paris then I also recommend this book to you because the city comes to life in this story. I could easily imagine myself among the streets of Paris and if I ever get lucky enough to go there I will for sure be rereading this book first.

*I was supposed to review this book has part of the HQN romance book tour but there was something wrong with my original link for that tour. I have been emailing my contact at the publisher before each book that I review for the tour material. With everything that happened earlier this month it slipped my mind so I just decided to do a regular review for this book.

~Cassie

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Witness Protection Widow by Debra Webb

Harlequin Series Spine Showcase

Today I’m here to share my first of three posts with Harlequin Carina Press February 2020 blog tour. They are promoting their February releases which you can see in the above picture. The book I’m reviewing today is Witness Protection which a Harlequin Intrigue Novel.

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Book description WITNESS PROTECTION WIDOW:

Can the witness protection program keep her identity secret?
After Allison James finally escapes her marriage to a monster, she becomes the star witness in the case against her deceased husband’s powerful crime family. Now it’s up to US Marshal Jaxson Stevens, Ali’s ex-boyfriend, to keep the WITSEC widow safe. But as the danger escalates and sparks fly, will Jax be able to help Ali escape her ruthless in-laws?

REVIEW

This book is definitely deserving of the Intrigue title. I was pleasantly surprised that there was so much thrilling action. There was one part in particular that had me biting me nails with the suspense of it all. Also the romance, while tame, was a sweet second chance lovers. It is very evident from early on how much both characters want the best for each other and I found that really heartwarming.

Ali is a character that I immediately liked and was rooting for. Her story is so sad and the things she went through were absolutely heartbreaking. Despite of all of that though, she is someone who still knows their worth and is fighting to do the right thing and get the future that she deserves. Jax, on the other hand, is a character that I didn’t really like. He had his moments of brilliance but overall he just wasn’t for me. I did enjoy the marshal aspect of his character and the steps he took to ensure Ali made it to the trial. My favorite moments of Ali and Jax together were when he was protecting her and keeping her safe.

I am sad to say that I was pretty disappointed by the ending. I felt like there was no payoff for the story as a whole and to a certain aspect that happens closer to the end. I was reading and then I got to the end and I was so confused because it ended in the most random way. I feel like the rest of the book had really great pacing and moved along well so it was shocking to have that ending. The rest of the book was good and a great choice for any fan of romantic suspense. The size of this book, 256 pages, also makes it the perfect one sitting read. If you want to sample a bit of the story then don’t forget to scroll down and check out an excerpt of the book.

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About the author Debra Webb:

DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 150 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama. Visit Debra at www.DebraWebb.com

EXCERPT:

She shivered. The fire had gone out. She kept on her jacket while she added logs to the fireplace and kindling to get it started. Within a couple of minutes, the fire was going. She’d had a fireplace as a kid, so relearning her way around this one hadn’t been so bad. She went back to the kitchen and turned on the kettle for tea.

Bob growled low in his throat and stared toward the front door.

She froze. Her phone was in her hip pocket. Her gun was still in her waistband at the small of her back. This was something else Marshal Holloway had insisted upon. He’d taught her how to use a handgun. They’d held many target practices right behind this cabin.

A creak beyond the front door warned that someone was on the porch. She eased across the room and went to the special peephole that had been installed. There was one on each side of the cabin, allowing for views all the way around. A man stood on the porch. He was the typical local cowboy. Jeans and boots. Hat in his hands. Big truck in the drive. Just like Marshal Holloway.

But she did not know this man.

“Alice Stewart, if you’re in there, it’s okay for you to open the door. I’m Sheriff Colt Tanner. Branch sent me.”

Her heart thudding, she held perfectly still. Branch would never send someone to her without letting her know first. If for some reason he couldn’t tell her in advance, they had a protocol for these situations.

She reached back, fingers curled about the butt of her weapon. Bob moved stealthily toward the door.

“I know you’re concerned about opening the door to a stranger, but you need to trust me. Branch has been in an accident, and he’s in the hospital undergoing surgery right now. No matter that his injuries were serious, he refused to go into surgery until he spoke to me and I assured him I would look after you, ma’am.”

Worry joined the mixture of fear and dread churning inside her. She hoped Branch wasn’t hurt too badly. He had a wife and a daughter.

She opened her mouth to ask about his condition, but then she snapped it shut. The man at her door had not said the code word.

~Cassie

 

WWW Wednesday 1/29/20

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I’m taking part in the WWW meme that is currently being hosted by Taking on a World of Words. I think this such a fun way to talk about books on a weekly basis. To take part in this theme all you need to do is answer three questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you will read next?

Let’s get into it!

What are you currently reading?

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I am about 150 pages into this and I’m really loving the suspense and tension that this book creates. However, I am also disappointed at how predicatble this book has been so far. There have been a couple of twists that were pretty obvious but I am hoping that this book does have some surprises up it’s sleeve.

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I’m reading this book for my blog tour post with Harlequin Publishing. I’m just over half way and I’m really liking it. I’m getting a lot of Criminal Minds meets CSI vibes. Look out of my full review and excerpt next Tuesday!

What did you recently finish reading?

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I just finished listening to this yesterday. Anna Kendrick is one of my favorite actresses so I obviously loved this. I always want to like audiobooks but they just aren’t for me. I saw Alexa Donne review a bunch of celebrity memoirs she had listened to and I thought I would give them a try. I started this last month but I found the part where she talks about her Grandma’s death difficult so I put it down. I picked it back up a couple of days ago and overall I found her hilarious (of course) and relatable.

What do you think you will read next?

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I got this from the library last month and haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I haven’t read a YA Fantasy in a long time and I have been so intrigued by what I hear about it. Although, I’m not actually sure if this is YA or New Adult but I guess I will find out!

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I have quite a few books on my Libby app and I plan on reading one after I finish my review book. I’m not too sure if this will be the one that I pick but it’s the one I’m leaning toward right now.

~Cassie

 

 

 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 370

Genre: Fantasy with Historical Fiction elements

Rating: 4/5

The Bear and the Nightingale follows the life of Vasilisa starting from before her birth to her being a teenager. Although, this book is set in 1400’s Russia so Vaysa (the shortened version of her name) is considered to be pretty much fully grown. Her and her family live in the outer edges of the Russian wilderness where they grow up learning the folklore of their area. They are told stories of demons and spirits who surround them and/or help them. When Vaysa is a teenager her father decides to remarry and this event, along with a new priest that comes to her village set the story in motion. Anna, the stepmother, and the priest, Konstantin, are very devout in their religion and encourage and manipulate the village to turn their back on these “foolish” stories. Vaysa’s whole life she has been able to see the household spirits that help her family and over the course of her life she has struck up a friendship with many of them. When the spirits begin to grow weak from being ignored and no more offerings being left to them it is up to Vaysa to protect her people from the malevolent demon who is growing stronger and slowly destroying the village and its people. Also during the course of her life she has unwittingly attracted the attention of another demon, Frost, who has his own agenda.

The first 10-15% of this story I had no idea what I was reading. It was a little confusing to me but also fascinating. I didn’t realize going into this that the book is set in medieval Russia which is why I was confused. Although the more I read the more I became enthralled with the historical elements of this story. The author, Arden, did an amazing job bringing this time period alive. The rich history and lush landscape are almost characters in their own right.

Another huge aspect of this story is the folklore and fantastical elements that Arden uses. I was delighted when I found out that all the mythology in this book is real and I would love to read more books based on these same lores. The cheryti (the spirit creatures) felt so real to me since Vaysa sees them and interacts with them that I was heartbroken when the people turned their backs on them. I also really loved how unapologetic Vaysa is about who she is and how she gains strength from her gifts.

I also need to mention how beautiful I found the language used in this book. It did take a small adjustment for me because this book is told in the Russian way of the same character having more than one name they are referred to. I haven’t read Russian literature in quite sometime and this book reinforced to me how much I enjoy the language.

To be honest I could probably write a whole essay about all the different aspects of this book. It is endlessly fascinating even if it did take me a little chunk of the book for me to get into it. I recommend this book to anyone but in particular for people who love The Golden Compass. I get similar vibes from both books and I can’t wait to continue on with this Winternight trilogy.

~Cassie

 

Top Books of the Decade

To celebrate a new decade starting I thought it would be fun to look at each year of the past decade and pick my favorite book that I read for that year. In all but two years I didn’t read the book the year it came out because I wasn’t reading much at the start of the last decade since I was a new mom and still working full time. Also while putting this list together I found so many good books that are still sitting on my shelves that I need to try to get to soon. It was also interesting to see in 2017 the rise of more contemporary and dark romances start to hit the most popular lists.

I picked books that have left an impact on me or that I thought were really well done and not necessarily ones that were the best written or the most important. Although, there definitely a few books on this list that are both those things.

2010

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IT HAPPENED FAST.
THIRTY-TWO MINUTES FOR ONE WORLD TO DIE, ANOTHER TO BE BORN.

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear–of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. Wolgast is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors, but for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey–spanning miles and decades–toward the time an place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterly prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

2011

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IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

2012

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Marriage can be a real killer.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

2013

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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

2014

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Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

2015

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A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. Fans of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train will love this modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Trainfrom the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart—which the Washington Post said “should be a contender for crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014.”

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

2016

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Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

2017

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

2018

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From New York Times Bestselling author Penelope Douglascomes a new forbidden love story…

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE

I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

2019

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Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

~Cassie

2019 Reading Survey

I had prepped this post before the new year started but I am just now getting around to typing it up. I had starting writing down questions to answer to wrap up my reading year and then I saw BooksandLala’s video called 2019 reading survey. So I decided to piggyback off of her video idea and answer the same questions that she did. I know at one point I was going to add in some of my own questions but honestly I can’t remember if I ever did. So full credit for this post goes to Lala and her always original video ideas.

Total Books Read: 141

Fave Book

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I LOVE THIS BOOK! I plan on reading this book every single year of my life. I have yet to read a book that felt so completely real to me.

Worst Book

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The story behind the famous author Anne Perry’s shocking childhood crime is interesting. She and her friend plotted and killed her friends mother. This book chronicles the girls lives, the crime, and the trial. This book spent way too much time on the author’s bias and his off putting fascination with Perry’s mother.

Overhyped

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I completely understand why people love this book so much. I also am so in love with Evelyn Hugo and her story. But the interviewer that Hugo is telling her life story to was so pointless to me. Her only purpose was for a plot device that I don’t think we needed at all. Daisy Jones and the Six was a much improved upon way of telling this kind of story.

Disappointing

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I started this Agatha Christie and could barely get through the 18% I read. This felt like it was written by a completely different author. Which is so sad for me because I have read my fair share of Christie and I think I have given them all a five star.

Most Read Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Most Surprising

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I don’t read too much YA contemporary anymore but when I do I usually like it and occasionally love. This book totally blew me away by how amazing it is. This book is absolute perfection and is another one that I can see myself rereading. This book also cemented to me that I really connect with magical realism stories.

Longest Book Read

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766 pages

Shortest Book Read

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52 pages

Biggest Accomplishment

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I have wanted to read this book for so long and I finally did it! And I loved this gothic dark romance. This was so great and I know that it is getting repetitive but I also will be rereading this one as well.

Favorite Characters

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Since I want to answer each question with a different answer I didn’t pick Daisy Jones and the Six. Jordan and Pike are characters that I also adore so much and I was so into their love story. I already having reading plans for this book this year (surprise surprise).

Book That Made You Cry

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This book broke me so hard. I was in an almost month long book hangover because of how hard this book hit me.

Book That Made You Laugh

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I haven’t read a Becky Bloomwood book in so many years and I honestly forgot how funny they are. I think I only ever read the first three books in this series and I want to start collecting and reading them all. I do have a couple of Sophie Kinsella’s stand alone books on my shelves and I want to try to get to those this year.

Favorite Author

I read my first two Kate Atkinson books in 2019 and I am so captivated by the way she tells a story. She is such a strong storyteller and I want to read everything she has ever written or will ever write. Atkinson has a way with words that speaks to me so strongly that I get so caught up in the characters and the story.

~Cassie

 

Romanceopoly 2020

I was fully planning on joining Romanceopoly at the start of the year but obviously my year didn’t begin the way I wanted it to. I was going to just skip it because I have a lot going on but because of my fatigue I spend a lot of time everyday reading (hello 16 books read). So even though I just posted my 2020 Bookish and Blog Goals where I said that I want to streamline my monthly TBR I’m still going to go for it. I will try to pick books already on my TBR (which worked out pretty well this month) but these are bonus books where if I get a chance to read them I will. If you want to join in on the fun here is the website.

I am sort of making up my own rules to play. The first half of the year I’m going to do the sun challenges and the second half I will do the moon challenges. I’m also rolling the dice and I’m just going to read anything I land on. That means if I make it around the board multiple times and land on a prompt I have already done I will just pick a different book for the challenge. I decided to do three rolls this month plus I added in the Winter challenge.

WINTER CHALLENGE

This is a book already on my TBR.

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On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

FATED FOLLY (sun)

Another book already on my TBR.

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The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both…

PASSION PLACE (sun)

Not on my TBR but it is a KU book. It is also a book and an author I have wanted to read for awhile.

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It was the biggest day of my life.
I know most people say that about something joyous; a graduation, a wedding ceremony, the birth of their first child. My situation was a little different.
Sure, it was my eighteenth birthday, but it was also the day that I was sold.
Sold to a man with hair like a crown of gold and eyes blacker than the darkest pits of Hell.
He bought me to own me, to control me, and to use me as a means to an end.
I was his tool and his weapon.
And through it all, somehow, I also became his salvation.

THE BAR

I borrowed this book from my brother either last year or the year before so it is about time that I finally read it.

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L.A. Confidential is epic “noir”, a crime novel of astonishing detail and scope written by the bestselling author of The Black Dahlia. A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law. And three lawmen are caught in a deadly spiral, a nightmare that tests loyalty and courage, and offers no mercy, grants no survivors.

~Cassie

 

Netgalley Review: The Reputation by Sara Shepard

Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton books for giving me a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Publication Date: December 3, 2019

Publisher: Dutton

Pages: 384

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 2.5/5

Reputation centers around a college town and the fallout of an email hack of the college, Aldrich University. Rumors, secrets and scandals pervade the environment and are turned up a notch when Kit’s husband, Dr. Greg is killed. Kit’s sister, Willa comes into town and uses her investigative reporter background to try to figure out who killed Greg.

This book had moments that I really enjoyed but unfortunately it had way too much going on. There were way too many characters that we were following and it really frustrated me when we got to the end and so much of it didn’t seem to matter. The suspense of the book really could have been amped up but by following all the storylines it became muddled. The closer we got to the ending the more I found myself not caring about who the killer was.

I was all set to give this book three stars but my biggest pet peeve with books is when authors spend pages explaining the ending to the reader. The ending was very self explanatory and I don’t know why we had to have the ending justified to us. It was good and surprising but also made sense when it was revealed.

If you are a fan of Shari Lapena then I think you might really enjoy this book. Lapena isn’t my favorite thriller writer but her books are always fun and entertaining. While this book didn’t quite hit all those marks for me I can see how other people might like it more.

~Cassie

2020 Bookish and Blog Goals

Before we get too far into the month I want to share what some of my goals are for this year. My aim in sharing this is so you can see the direction I’m going in for the year especially with the books I am picking to read. I also share just a few blog goals that I have and I think are realistic for me to achieve.

Bookish Goals

  1. Read 120 books this year.
  2. Read more big books. I was doing ok with this last year but then I dropped off toward the end of the year. I don’t have a specific number in mind for how many books I want to read, instead I just want to stay consistent with it and not shy away from reading them just to hit my target number of books.
  3. Keep reading a variety of genres. I genuinely enjoy so many different types of books and I want to make sure that I’m not getting stuck in only one or two genres.
  4. Going along with the one above I want to read more plays and poetry this year. I have never read a play for pleasure and I am interested to see how I like it. I obviously read some in school and I didn’t mind it but that was more than a decade ago. Also, I really do like poetry when I do happen to read it but I want to make it more of a priority.
  5. Part of the #ClassicsCommunity 2020 challenge is to read at least one classic per month and I definitely want to make sure that I’m doing that. More than one per month would be a bonus.
  6. I really want to read all the books that I pick for my monthly TBR’s. I have so many books and I get sidetracked but I would love to accomplish my monthly to read list every month. I already started this with the books I picked in my January + Magical Readathon TBR by only choosing six books per month.
  7. Kindle Unlimited is obviously something that I pay for every month but last year I was not good at all about using it every month. Which is beyond ridiculous because I have a huge running list on my phone of all the KU books I want to read. I hope to read at least one per month but I would love to be able to read more than one if I can fit it into the month.
  8. Hand in hand with the one above is I want to try to read more books that I have bought on my Kindle. I have so many amazing books that I buy on there and then never prioritize them. This is definitely something that needs to change this year.

Blog Goals

  1. Update my blog consistently. My goal is to always post on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays but I don’t always do that. I want to get back to doing that every week plus adding in more content as I can.
  2. I would really like to do a full review for every book that I read. While I know that doing that 100% isn’t completely feasible I do feel confident that I can do this 80-90% of the time.
  3. This will probably be a forever goal but there are always things that I want to tweak and add to my website so I hope to implement more of those during the year.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner Onsale

I’m back today with a super cute YA romance that I think so many of you will love. Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for including me in this blog tour!

Tweet Cute_Cover

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. 

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. 

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built. 

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Early Praise


Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” – Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

“Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest 

Buy Link

https://read.macmillan.com/lp/tweet-cute/

Review

This is an adorable YA contemporary romance. It feels so fresh and relevant and I am in awe that this a debut novel. Pepper and Jack are both characters that I immediately connected to and was rooting for. They are both going through a lot with trying to figure out what they are going to do with their lives since they are Seniors and also trying to  navigate some family drama.

The is a classic slow burn romance where I was dying for Pepper and Jack to finally get together. I really love how their relationship started out and how they navigated all the drama surrounding them together. They really became friends first and then we saw their feelings for each other start to grow. I really appreciated that the author, Lord, chose to do this because it made it feel much more realistic. Especially because YA tends to have more insta love and I think this book is a great example of a relationship between teens.

Family dynamics and conflict was very heavily woven throughout this book. As a parent it made it a little difficult to read at times because I was so irritated by the parents and their actions or inactions. Teenage me would have related so much to what Jack and Pepper are dealing with that I know I would have appreciated and related to them so much.

Also, I have to just mention all the amazing baking that happens in this book. Wow, was I so jealous of the characters for getting to eat all the delicious sounding baked goods. I wish there had been a part at the end with recipes for some of the goodies. There are also a few bits dealing with a baking blog which I obviously loved as well.

I do feel though that this book had a lot going on and the ending still had some strings of story still left undone. I wish this book had been more focused on the romance and just one or two other of the side conflicts/dramas that happened. By having so much in the story it made it almost impossible for Lord to wrap it all up in a cohesive way.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA and also to any romance fan. Emma Lord has done an incredible job with this story and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future. If you want to check out a small excerpt from the book then don’t forget to keep scrolling and enjoy!

Emma Lord

Social Links

@dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)

Excerpt

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”

~Cassie