Contemporary-a-thon Round 5 TBR

The fifth round of the contemporary-a-thon starts Monday Sept. 23- Sunday Sept. 29. I am so excited to be participating and I seriously can’t wait to read every single book on my TBR. A lot of the books on my TBR can be used for at least one more challenge but I really wanted to find seven books that fit each challenge. In a perfect world I will be able to read all seven, especially since contemporaries tend to be quicker reads.

  1. Read a 2019 release

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Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

2. Read a contemporary with yellow on the cover 

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A magic passed down through generations . . .

Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has been passed down through every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.

An island where strange things happen . . .

No one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernwehs what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.

No one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.

No one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.

A summer that will become legend . . .

When tragedy strikes, what made the Fernweh women special suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.

3. Read a diverse contemporary (aim to read something outside of your own experience)

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When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

4. Read a contemporary with an illustrated cover

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Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

5. Read a dark/hard hitting contemporary 

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“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

6. Read a contemporary with plants on the cover

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Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

7. Read a contemporary that is beloved by a member of the book community

Basically everyone who has read this has recommended it!

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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.

~Cassie

Cover Reveal: Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

You guys I’m so excited to share this cover reveal with you today. I first learned about this book on Saffron Kent’s Instagram and I immediately was hyped to read it. You know that I recently read and loved Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas and I am in need of another age gap romance. The blurb sounds amazing and I am hooked after reading the first two chapters! Also, WOW can we talk about this cover?! So hot and definitely would make me want to pick it up and see what it’s all about. Mark your calendars for October 10 so we can all swoon over this forbidden romance!

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COVER REVEAL
Title: Dreams of 18
Author: Saffron A. Kent
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber
Model: Justin Clynes
Release Date: October 10, 2019

BLURB

Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.

Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.

On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing the biggest scandal of their sleepy suburban town.

Now, everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.

But Violet is going to make it right.

She’s going to find him and bring him back.

No matter how cruel and mean he is. Or how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.

And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…

The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually — again.

Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?

Even though that’s all you ever dream about.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41830260-dreams-of-18

Read the first two chapters: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/u4pkhek9mt

AUTHOR BIO

Saffron A. Kent is a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling author of Contemporary and New Adult romance. More often than not, her love stories are edgy, forbidden and passionate. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, New York Daily News and USA Today’s Happy Ever After.

She lives in New York City with her nerdy and supportive husband, and a million and one books.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSaffronKent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesaffronkent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesaffronkent
Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ybw47r
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/saffron-a-kent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192760.Saffron_A_Kent

~Cassie

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

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Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC

Publication Date: March 20, 2014

Pages: 274

Genre: New Adult Romance (Sport, Friend to Lover)

Rating: 4/5

The Year We Fell Down is about Corey Callahan who recently had a hockey accident that has left her with no feelings in her legs. So when she starts college she is put into an extra big dorm room which is across from another handicapped room which is where she meets Adam Hartley. Hartley is also a hockey player although he is only temporarily not playing because of a broken leg. Corey and Hartley strike up a friendship that starts to turn into more. The only problem is that Hartley has a girlfriend and Corey is also dealing with learning how to be confident in this new version of herself.

This book has the distinction of being my first hockey romance. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far in my life without reading one but I really enjoyed it. The Year We Fell Down really shines when it comes to the romance and the hockey. I love that Hartley and Corey connected over their love of hockey and how much they connected over the things that had in common. I also really appreciated that Hartley always saw Corey as a strong woman who was capable of doing things. My other favorite aspect of this book was all the side characters. I’m excited that this is the first in a series of companion novels because I can’t wait to learn more about some of the other characters.

One thing I didn’t like in this book was the Hartley’s girlfriend is portrayed. I understand she is the mean girl but it seems like more time was spent on how she is rich, beautiful and into her looks than on people bringing up that she didn’t treat people the right way. Also, she might not have been perfect but she definitely deserved to be treated better by her boyfriend. I actually liked Hartley a whole lot more the second half of the book than I did the first half. It wasn’t until then that he seemed like a real fleshed out character.

Since I liked this book so much I have been actively looking for more sport romances to try. I have already added a bunch to my TBR but if there are any that you really enjoy please let me know!

~Cassie

ARC Review: The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Publisher: Oni Press

Pages: 136

Genre: Children’s graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

This is the sequel to The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill and I loved this just as much as I loved the first one. This story primarily follows along with Rinn and Aedhan, who is a real dragon, and their friendship. Rinn has grown up with tea dragons but she has never met a real dragon before until the day she stumbles upon Aedhan who has been sleeping for a long time. Hesekiel and Erik from The Tea Dragon Society are also in this book and I really enjoyed getting to see more of them.

This series is the cutest graphic novel series that I have ever read. I absolutely love all the characters. There is so much diversity and all the characters have such pure good hearts that I can’t help but love them all. There was also different tea dragons introduced into this book and I seriously wish they were a real thing.

The message behind this book was of friendship and really being intentional about helping our friends through their troubles. I can’t say it enough about how loving and sweet all the characters in this book are. Also, the illustrations in this book are simply stunning. The colors, the style, the details, it is all simply so perfect.

I recommend this book to everyone. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this heartwarming graphic novel series.

~Cassie

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: December 1817

Pages: 236

Genre: Classic, Romance

Rating: 5/5

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abby is about Catherine who goes on vacation with her neighbors, the Allen’s, to Bath and while there she meets some new people. One is a family friend of her brother, the Thorpe’s , and the other is the Tilney family. In the Thorpe’s she finds a close friend, Isabella and her aggressive older brother, John. In the Tilney’s she meets Henry and his sister Eleanor. The story follows along with Catherine’s adventures with all four of these new friends. The latter part of the novel is about Catherine traveling with the Tilney’s to have an extended visit at their home, Northanger Abbey.

I went into this book not really knowing what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it was a sweet little romance. Catherine and Henry were so cute together and it is always fun to read a classic and be reminded of how different things were then between men and women. But at the same time there are so many things that are similar. The feeling of having a crush and being excited to see them are universal throughout history. Also universal is how frustrating and annoying an aggressive male can be who thinks that there is no way that you won’t like him. Another theme of this book is friendship. It was interesting to see how Catherine’s friendship with Isabella developed through the story especially in comparison to her friendship with Eleanor.

Some people describe Northanger Abbey as being gothic and creepy. There are definitely some veins of that throughout the story (mostly towards the end) but I don’t think there is enough to qualify as such. However, it probably was considered gothic at the time it was written, the late 1700’s. I have previously read two other Jane Austen books before but I think this one has to be my favorite. I plan on reading more of course but I really enjoyed the character of Catherine a lot. I also liked how Austen chose to write this book with a satirical approach. A lot of the commentary she made on social issues and on relationships  still pertain to now.

Austen has given us a coming of age contemporary romance that I think translates very well into our world  today. If you enjoy romance and are hesitant to pick up a classic I highly recommend this book to you. Not only is it short but it is very well written and has all the drama you could need.

~Cassie

Netgalley Review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

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The Doll Factory by Elizabeth MacNeal

Pages: 368

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Genre: Gothic, horror, psychological thriller

Rating: 3.5/5

Trigger Warning: animal abuse, animal torture, animal death (One of the main characters is a taxidermist)

The Doll Factory is set in 1850’s London and follows the perspectives of Silas Reed (a taxidermist who runs his own shop), Iris (who works at a doll shop painting dolls and desperately wants to work on her art), and Albie (a young boy who works odd jobs to help take care of him and his sister). Silas is a man with a dark past who has never fit in and when he sees Iris for the first time he is immediately obsessed with her.

When I first started this book I didn’t think I was going to like it because it started off so slow. Over time though I found myself getting so attached to the characters that I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen and where this story was going. Iris went through a lot of character growth in this story and I really liked following her story along. Her interactions with Louis, a painter, was one of my favorite parts of the story.  The character of Albie was so sweet and I loved his relationship with his sister and how much he cared about her. Silas was so interesting to read from because the way he could take a situation and twist it in his head was fascinating. He is a character very out of touch with reality and the way he could justify things to himself was almost impressive. Macneal did an amazing job writing such well fleshed out characters and I am blown away that she is a debut author. I will definitely be reading more from her in the future.

However, there was an event that happened in this book that I really didn’t appreciate at all. In fact, it made me so mad that I wanted to close my kindle and not finish this book. It is a huge spoiler so I am going to be vague but I got so upset because I didn’t think it was necessary to the story or plot at all. It felt almost exploitative in the way it messed with my feelings for no reason other than to be shocking. Upon finishing the book I can see why Macneal made the choice that she did but off the top of my head I can come up with three or four different ways she could have achieved the same result. I looked up reviews for this book when I finished and I can’t find anyone who mentioned what I am talking about so I’m definitely in the minority with my reaction.

This book is listed as psychological thriller and there are definitely aspects of that in this book but to me it read much more like a gothic horror. The Doll Factory also has veins of You by Caroline Kepnes so if you liked that book and have been wanting to try something darker I think this might be what you are looking for.

~Cassie

 

September Book of the Month

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I had a really hard time this month trying to narrow down which books I wanted. I told myself that I was going to get some thrillers that I have had my eye on but I saw two romance books that I have been hearing nothing but amazing things about and I knew I couldn’t pass them up. I also told myself that the thrillers would be better for October anyways. If Book of the Month allowed me to buy more than three books I probably would have bought the thrillers as well. And yes, we have established that I have a book buying “problem”. (Some say problem… I say not really).

My official Book of the Month pick

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Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me. 
 
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.  

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.

My add on picks

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

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Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

~Cassie

September TBR

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I’m back with all the books that I want to read in September. I am historically terrible at sticking to my TBR but these are all books that I have been really wanting to read so I really want to get to all of them this month. I only picked 8 and I have been reading more than that a month so I feel confident that I can get it done. (Famous last words…)

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

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Milkman by Anna Burns

In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.

Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

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Heaven by V.C. Andrews

*I have read this book multiple times since I was a teenager. I have never read any of the other books in this series but I want to so I can watch the Lifetime movies that came out July/August. Am I the only one who has a thing about not watching movies unless I’ve read the book first?

Of all the folks in the mountain shacks, the Casteels were the lowest — the scum of the hills.
Heaven Leigh Casteel was the prettiest, smartest girl in the backwoods, despite her ragged clothes and dirty face…despite a father meaner than ten vipers…despite her weary stepmother, who worked her like a mule. For her brother Tom and the little ones, Heaven clung to her pride and her hopes. Someday they’d get away and show the world that they were decent, fine and talented — worthy of love and respect.
Then Heaven’s stepmother ran off, and her wicked, greedy father had a scheme — a vicious scheme that threatened to destroy the precious dream of Heaven and the children forever!

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Vicious by L.J. Shen

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

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King by T.M. Frazier

Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.

Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.

A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pu$$y or a combination of all three.

King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.

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The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else. What now?
 
She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.
 
Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.
 
Also, he’s taken.
 
Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.
 
They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.
 
But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

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The House by Christina Lauren

Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

 

~Cassie

August Book Haul

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The picture above is deceiving because it looks like I only bought five books last month. However, I went a little crazy on Kindle books last month so in reality I bought way too many books as usual. I should say I have a problem but in reality I am happy surrounded by books so I’m ok with it. Although, I guess I can’t really say that with ebooks sooooo…

I’m still ok with it though 🙂

Physical 

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . 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 and 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.

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

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Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

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A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

In Life After Life Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

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The Widower’s Wife by Cate Holahan

Ana Bacon, a beautiful young wife and mother, tumbled off a cruise ship into dark and deadly waters. Ana is gone–leaving behind her wealthy husband and adorable daughter–but not everything about her disappearance adds up. What secrets did she leave behind?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten-million-dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall, and the official ruling seems to hold up.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

Ebooks

Like I said above I got a good amount of kindle books in August. To save time I will am only going to share the top five that I am most excited about. All of these I bought on sale and I also re signed up for kindle unlimited. I will share all my kindle unlimited books another day though or else we really will be here all day.

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Baby Mine by Kennedy Fox

I saw her first.
Blonde. Gorgeous. Feisty.
I was smitten.

But it didn’t matter because she chose him and he was my best friend and roommate. I’d never be able to compete with that, so I pushed her away instead. It was easy when she lived hours away, and I didn’t have to see her every day, but then she moved in with us.
Now, I’m screwed.

To her singing in the shower every morning, dancing in the kitchen while she makes coffee, and doing yoga in our living room, I can’t stop thinking about her in all the wrong ways. She’s not mine and never will be, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to push her against a wall and claim her mouth.

She’s constantly on me for making messes, bringing chicks home every weekend, and being a smartass when their PDA gets on my nerves. Considering neither of them know how I feel, it’s not fair for the way I act toward them. I should move out so I can get over her for good; however, the selfish part of me can’t let go.

And then the unthinkable happens…
When my best friend dies in a motorcycle accident, the two of us are left to grieve our loss together. Instead of pushing her away, I pull her closer.

Just as we come to terms with our new reality, she finds out she’s pregnant with his baby.
And I’m left to make the hardest decision of my life.

**BABY MINE is an angsty, emotional, slow-burn romance wrapped up in a heartbreakingly delicious love story. It’s book 1 in the Hunter & Lennon duet of the Roommate Duet Series and must be read first.**

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

This is the story of a woman’s struggle for independence. Helen “Graham” has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter.

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Black Iris by Leah Raeder

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

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Pennies by Pepper Winters

“I’m not the hero in this story, girl. You’d do best to remember that.”

Once upon a time, I was an eighteen year old psychology student.
Now, I’m a man’s property.
Stolen and sold, I’ve been decorated in bruises since the day my world changed two years ago.
I suffer in silence, I crave freedom, but I never break.
I can’t.
Until he arrives.
Elder Prest, the only man to look at me and see me. The only man more ruthless than my owner.
He wants me for reasons I don’t understand.
He claims me for one night then leaves and never looks back.
Until he returns.
And life becomes much more complicated.

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A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime. One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.

When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

~Cassie

 

August Wrap Up: 16 books

I’m blown away with how many books I read this month. I credit a lot of that to rediscovering my love of romance books. I used to borrow my mom’s Jackie Collins and other romance books starting when I was in middle school and  through high school. I fell out of reading romance sometime after high school and it has been a lot of fun getting back into this genre. I’ve even recommended a couple of books to my mom and it has been fun talking to her about them. Although now that I have said all that I’m pretty sure the biggest reason I read so many books is because a lot of them are short books. A couple of them are under a hundred pages and a large number were under 300. So let’s see what I am able to accomplish in September.

I’ve been spending some time thinking of what I want my wrap ups to look like and I have decided that I want them to be much more structured. So, I’m going to share them organized by what type of book (audiobook, physical copy and ebook) and at the end of the post will be all my monthly stats. I find reading stats so interesting and I want to incorporate that more into my blog.

Ebook

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Netgalley Review: We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach

This is a contemporary centering around a group of friends who are living in a commune and the reader knows from the beginning that things are not going to end well. If you love character driven stories I highly suggest this one to you.

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Netgalley Review: The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

If you love thrillers you will love J.P. Delaney’s books.

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The Pirate Next Door by Jennifer Ashley

My first pirate romance and I loved it! I gave this book three stars because I didn’t really like the other random romance that was suddenly introduced into the book and was sporadically a part of the story. The worst part for me is that we would also read from the two lovers perspectives but I just didn’t care because it was taking away from the main story that I wanted to know about. The secondary romance should have been a novella and it would have worked a lot better. I tried reading a Jennifer Ashley book during the last round of the Smutathon and I ended up DNF’ing it so I’m happy that this book worked for me. One of her the books, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie has been recommended to me so I will definitely be reading that in the future.

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Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

My favorite read of the month. I was so invested in this romance and I shouldn’t have because on paper it sounds awful. A girl falling for her boyfriend’s dad. The longing and angst in this book was so good though!! Such a great forbidden romance and I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of romance or just wants to try the genre. I was not disappointed and I don’t think you will either.

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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

I will be doing a full review of this in a couple weeks when this book comes out. Just know that this is just as amazing as the first one.

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Verity by Colleen Hoover

Another amazing five star read. This had some of the creepiest scenes that I have read in a long time. I was so impressed with how well Hoover writes a thriller. Of course the romance in this book was superb and I absolutely loved the element of not knowing if we could trust the male love interest, Jeremy. I figured out the twist about half way through but I still think it was really well done. And I was going to bring my rating down to a 4.5 but I really like the way the ending leaves you thinking. I think this book would appeal to both fans of romance and thrillers. Definitely the best of both worlds.

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It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This is such a heartbreaking read. This book made me feel all the things and at one point I was actually crying while reading this. I teared up quite a few times but I was full on crying at one point. My poor husband was sitting next to me watching a movie and he just held me while I cried over this book. This book deals with domestic abuse and it feels so real to read about so please be aware of that going into this. Colleen Hoover based this story on the relationship her parents had while married and after you read this make sure you read her author note at the end of the book.

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Netgalley Review: The Favorite Daughter

This is a decent contemporary suspense book that I didn’t love but I can see why other people do.

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Enjoying the Show by Marie Harte

I was so impressed by how fleshed out this novella is. The book is only 91 pages but it felt like a complete story. The only criticism I have is that the stuff with Gage’s family takes away from Gage and Hailey’s story but I understand that it is there because we need that background for the rest of the series. If you are in the mood for a quick fun romance then I think you will enjoy this one.

Physical

#Classicsathon wrap up

August was #classicathon and these are the books that I read for that readathon.

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Shiver by Junji Ito

This is my first manga and most of these stories creeped me out. This is a short story collection of 13 horror stories. A few of them were on the funny side but for the most part they creeped me out. Some more than others. Greased was the most disgusting one by far. I honestly felt sick to my stomach reading that one. With that said I gave this five stars and I borrowed Ito’s other book Smashed from my brother to read soon. If you are a horror fan than you need to read Junji Ito’s work. He is called the master of horror manga for a reason.

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The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

This is the cutest book of all time. My second favorite read of the month (tied with its sequel).

Audiobook

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden Sate Killer by Michelle McNamara

Besides having the longest title of all time this was a pretty decent read. It took me months to finish the audiobook though because I am not really an audiobook person but I am trying. I would just prefer to listen to music or a podcast instead. I do think that I liked this book more listening to it than I would have liked reading it. The book really shined when it was dealing with the crime aspects and it felt like a crime podcast that I would normally listen to. I really struggled when it came to all the personal stuff about her family and life that I didn’t feel was necessary to the story.

Monthly Stats

Author                                        Genre                                         Book Source                Page #

Male: 6                                       Crime: 1                                      Library: 8                     1-300: 7                 

Female: 10                                 Romance: 4                                Own: 4                          301-500: 9

Thriller/Suspense: 3                  Netgalley: 4

Classics: 2

Graphic Novel: 4

Contemporary: 1

 

 

Release Date                           Star Rating                                   Total Pages Read:        Pages/Day

New: 4                                     2*: 1                                               3,790                               122.3

Older: 12                                 3*: 2

4*: 5

5* : 8

 

~Cassie